Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jim Kach's Tweets

I've been going on about Mr, Kach's tweets since last July.  They were pretty big local news, so I'm always surprised that people keep coming  up to me to tell me they just read them for the first time and how disgusted they were.   I guess I shouldn't be surprised -- I spent most of my life ignoring local news and the school board -- that's probably typical.

I'm pretty sick of the tweets as a topic.  Horrific, stunning, unfortunate, controversial, noxious, reprehensible, bigoted, misogynistic ...  I'm running out of adjectives.  But I'm telling myself it's ten days before election day, Tuesday, March 13th.   If Dr. Ed Charle wins against Mr. Kach, I'll never have to mention them again.   So I'm going rehash them one more time in this post, because they show Mr. Kach does not project the values I want in my elected representatives.  I am hopeful the voters in the district will agree.

Some Selected Tweets

Let me start out by saying something nice about the tweets.   Some of them are genuinely funny:

Worrying that Obamacare may have a cash for clunkers provision. If the wife finds out, I'm gone!   3 Sep 09

This is clever, sweet and self-deprecating while managing to convey a political message.   I happen to support the Affordable Care Act, but reasonable people may disagree.   If all the tweets were like this one, they would not cause me to take issue with Mr. Kach representing me on the school board.   (Of course, the repeated violations of the law would remain a problem for me.)

These weren't the only sort of tweets.   Some were less than acceptable.   For example, referring to the Beer Summit at the White House, Mr. Kach had some plans for a bottle of Pabst.  He tweeted

Thinking if I was Crowley, I'd be at the WH with a long neck PBR and a jar of vaseline.

Is this really the kind of talk we want from our school board members?

Mr. Kach directs most of his hate toward liberal women.

Shea-Porker (D-NH01) All about her "Lighter Footprint" in Afghanistan via @addthis  28 Jul

HuffPo has picture of #Maddow when she used to be a woman   9 Jul 10

@AlinskyDefeater With Kagans looks, maybe the Gov't should regulate what we can SEE
Kagan will be nominated if only because she posesses the stunning good looks so common to progressive women   29 Jun 10

Rxrthepoet Rex Gero   All you home remodelers out there. LISA JACKSON the STUPID BITCH who heads the EPA has just put you out of (cont)  1 Apr 10

Michelle's war on obesity: If someone told her to haul ass, she'd have to make two trips.  16 Jul

There is plenty of birtherism and vitriol aimed at the president:

There may be something to this. Is Obama eligible to serve as POTUS?  3 Aug

It does'nt matter where Obama was born. Culturally he is not an American  11 Jun 10

Joe Wilson: Balls the size of Hilton Head. A great man!  9 Sep 09

You'll recall that Joe Wilson is the US congressman who yelled "you lie" at the president during the state of the union.

Mr. Kach's attitude toward his school board service is troubling:

@zillatweet It starts now. At the lowest level-school board, selectmen, alderman, State reps   and senators. Cut the legs from the beast   30 Sep 09

The Story of the Tweets

My wife Ruth discovered the tweets while trying to learn about the buyout of Superintendent Colter.  I think it was late June or early July, 2011.  She wasn't looking for trouble.  At that point she didn't know much about the recent controversies in the district.   She certainly wasn't digging for dirt as some have stated.   I doubt she knew of Mr. Kach other than as a name she once saw on a ballot. Upon seeing the tweets, she came to the conclusion that they alone were sufficient cause for Mr. Kach to resign.   I agree.

A Google search for Jim Kach tweets turns up 992,000 results.  I'm sure most have nothing to do with our controversy, but I paged through the first 10 pages of these and most of these were still relevant.   I'll highlight some links here in recounting the history, but won't include them all -- they're just too many.

Ruth wrote a letter to the school board asking Mr. Kach to resign.   She got a petition going to this end. 

The press coverage started with Foster's.

Local TV and NH press picked it up.

It spread to Boston television and print.

The Associated Press picked it up and we were national news.   Here's the article from a paper for a town in Texas:

This all led up to the next school board meeting (pdf minutes) on 7/20/2011.  The crowd was overflowing and  a TV monitor and additional seating were set up outside the board room.     Many members of the public, including students, spoke out against the tweets.   Mr. Kach did have supporters as well.   I uploaded this meeting to youtube at the ORCSDcleanslate channel.  I was especially proud of the students and recent ORHS graduates who spoke out so eloquenty.

The public comments are pretty good TV.   I was particularly moved by Brenda Worden.  Many people pointed out the "just a joke" defense has been used to justify lots of ugly behavior over the years.   One student (recent graduate? not sure) said how if he had made such tweets, he would have been fired from his job as an associate at Rite Aid.    Several people made the point that had a teacher, administrator, staff member, or student made such tweets, there would have been serious consequences.

There were plenty of letters to editor and articles in Foster's, most against; some supporting Mr. Kach.  Here's a random sample:
There's so much I've left out.   But the bottom line is that, even if Mr. Kach's intentions are good (and the tweet Cut the legs from the beast raises doubts) his very presence on the board divides the community.   The community is divided between those who believe Mr. Kach does not represent them and who thus want to distance themselves from his hateful comments, and those who are willing to overlook the ugly comments if he somehow manages to lower their taxes.   But it will be much easier to lower taxes and improve education when the school board is not justifiably mistrusted by a large subset of the community.

Mr. Kach and Chairman Brackett had their chance.  We got incredible churning of staff - two superintendents, two directors of instruction, a high school principal, a principal candidate that led to a student walkout, a director of IT, an assistant principal to be named, more I'm probably forgetting.  That cost money for severance, for searches, and for lawyers.   The board was twice found by a New Hampshire court to have violated the Right-to-Know law in multiple ways, and the second time was given the harshest penalty available: an injunction compelling them to obey the law or risk contempt of court and jail time.    And taxes are still going up, the new high school is falling apart, and there's still no plan for the future.   Let's start fresh.   On Tuesday, March 13th vote for Maria BarthDr. Ed CharléTom Newkirk, and Al Howland.   

- Dean Rubine, Lee

No comments:

Post a Comment