Thursday, November 1, 2007

Don't Mess With Texas

Perhaps more to the point, don't mess with Texans.

According to the Galveston County The Daily News newspaper, Galveston Island resident Sandra Tetley has well and truly gotten up the nose of the School Board superintendent and Board of Trustee's members. To the point that these worthies are threatening criminal action against Ms. Tetley for her and others exercise of public speech on a blog Ms. Tetley maintains.

Coming from California as I do, I'm well aware that other states support their public schools differently then we do here. Briefly, the local school district within which your real estate is physically located appraises your property and levee's that amount against your property each year. This is in addition to the county/state property tax also assessed against the property every year. There has to be some system in place to fund government endeavors and this one at least has the explicit intention of expending locally collected funds on local activities - like the schools. Well enough, I suppose ...

Whatever the system within which it exists, any bureaucracy is at best inefficient; the precise demarcation between that and outright criminality can be a fine one indeed and very difficult to determine to everybody's satisfaction. In addition, local entities that dominate the lives of their neighbors tend to excite heightened passions in the most convivial of times, how much more so when the school board and administrator are publicly accused of just such criminality as well as abuse of their authority? Add further to the mix their apparent attempt to intimidate an accuser into censoring herself and others and you begin to get an idea of how Texas politics works even on the sunny beaches of Galveston Island. No, that last was not a deliberate pun, sorry to say. It's not that I'm above throwing gasoline onto a fire, I just haven't figured out who all's tied to the stake so far ...

It's hard to tell at this remove just what evidence Ms. Tetley and others commenting on her blog might have to back up their opinions and suspicions. I think it obvious that they all are well within their rights as citizens of Texas and the USA to express themselves as they appear to have done so up to now on Ms. Tetley's blog. So far, all I've read there are a bunch of admittedly uncomfortable and leading questions regarding past actions of the board and superintendent. Sorry Charley, that's political speech at it's most basic; if you aren't prepared to deal with that level of critical discourse, you need to find a different avocation. Quickly. And since it apparently needs to be said, seeking civil and/or criminal action to suppress such discourse is a real good way to convince your other friends and neighbors that you need to be soundly encouraged to do just that come the next election, too.

Galveston Island, a great place to get away from school, but apparently not so good a place to go to school.

I've got 5 bucks says the GISD hasn't the stones to follow through on it's threat. Any takers?

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