21 Aug 2014
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FACTS Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Isn't it amazing how Shakespeare still applies!

FACTS Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing FACTS Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing FACTS Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing FACTS Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Here we go again! Another non-scandal at the hands of the completely cartoonish TaxFACTS group that’s going to rock Geneva to it’s very core.

Or not!

As if we needed further proof of these folks' lack of imagination, they’re calling this particular kerfuffle, “.” And they had to go all the way back to 2006 to dig it up. Where’s John Ehrlichman when you really need him?” Apparently, some people have way too much time on their hands.

Also apparently, back in 2006, a District 304 consultant laid out what he believed to be the lowest, expected, and highest potential enrollment numbers for the next five years. But instead of using his 6,412 student 2012 estimate, District 304 used a 7,472 number when pushing the April 2007 referendum that brought us the and elementary schools.

Never one to pass up a “gotcha” opportunity, the FACTS equivalent of Rufus T. Firefly, Bob McQuillan, issued the inevitable pointy fingered “Aha!” and then demanded an explanation for this unholy discrepancy at the April 9 School Board meeting.

His wacky theory du jour is, had the voters been appropriately informed and not duped by a nefarious School Board, the 2007 referendum that passed by a scant 100 votes wouldn’t have!

My two-word response to that preposterous position would have to be, “Horse feathers!”

First, none of you bother to vote to begin with and, when you do, the criteria comes down to who you’d like to share a beer with. So suddenly somehow this whole thing hinged upon a 1,000 projected student differential?

Animal crackers!

As it was, is, and always shall be, self-interest ruled the day! The folks who believed the additional schools benefited them voted yes, while the people who no longer had children in the school system voted no. It’s that simple.

“But Jeff! Those dastardly School Board members clearly engaged in monkey business when they sold us that bill of goods!”

First, exactly what school board are we talking about? Like that Zen caution against stepping in the same river twice, of the seven current board members, only three were seated at that time. So how can we blame this board? Even the superintendent was relatively new.

Not only that, but despite the early 2007 warning signs, we still believed we were on our the way to an eternal housing market boom nirvana. So what if all those subprime mortgages were starting to unravel, that only affected those silly poor people.

With a multitude of Mill Creek homes planned and a brand new subdivision coming into LaFox, I don’t think a 7,472 student estimate was out of line. Just because you hire a consultant, that doesn’t mean you have to accept his work at face value.

Even if I did buy into FACTS' claim that, like good used-car salesmen, the 2007 board employed a bit of puffery to pass a referendum, my utterly non-flippant response would be, “No! Say it ain’t so, Bob! What! A public body gilded the lily to con the taxpayers into coughing up more cash to serve that body’s specific interest? The horror! That kind of thing almost never happens.”

Apparently no one from FACTS has ever shopped on ebay or craigslist.

C’mon! Does anyone really believe that Mitt Romney is suddenly an NRA standard bearer? And it’s always up to us, the voter, to see through this kind of consistent chicanery.

Of course, then McQuillan’s dutiful minions couldn’t help but add their 2 cents about the too-obvious ulterior motives for this heinous enrollment projection impropriety.

Oh, yeah! Being elected to the School Board is rife with perks, not the least of which is having to face down the freaking FACTS folks at every bloody meeting. Then there’s that huge salary, the benefits, the power, the prestige and it’s just one small step to the presidency. Wait a minute …

Other than the fact it’s fun and they have nothing better to do, what’s the point of rehashing some 6-year-old enrollment estimates now? It’s not as if we can dismantle those schools and send ‘em back! The time for this kind of due diligence was back in 2007.

Bringing it up now only makes the TaxFACTS group look petty, mean and small.

Geneva! We have a problem to solve. Even the sages that managed to predict the housing bust had no idea it would be this precipitous and deep. With gas prices and unforeseen affordable housing driving folks back into the inner suburbs, our efforts are better spent coming up with a reasonable District 304 debt solution—fast!

Though I agree with School Board President Mark Grosso’s argument that, especially in this case, there’s no point in discussing the past, it would be a mistake to give FACTS the upper hand in this, because that’s what they really want. Explain the enrollment discrepancy for whatever it is and move on.

Of course, FACTS will go off again because that’s what they know how to do! But just like a kidney stone, that will soon pass. If you don’t address it, then they will blather on and on and on and on and on and on … well, you get the idea.

Bob McQuillan had his chance to be a leader the day he managed to pack a board meeting with 200 Genevans, but he blew that opportunity in record time. Despite all of FACTS’ bluster, their highly vaunted website boasts a grand total of 21 registered users.

I get more comments on my worst columns. (Not that there are any.)

So, Mark! Don’t make the mistake of giving McQuillan and his shrieking minority of minions the power by playing their game. You don’t want this to turn into another night at the opera.

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