Unsent Letter to the Editor

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After voting on November 3, 2009 local election…

I wrote the following letter to the editor for our local newspaper but was persuaded not to send it. It was considered impolitic. Alas, I resort to posting it here:

I would say a few words about the candidacy of Monique Dollone for the Ventura Unified School Board.

My wife, Maria Geib, was hired as a long-term substitute teacher at Montalvo Elementary School and eventually became a full-time teacher there. It was while Monique Dollone’s daughter was in Maria’s 4th grade class that Monique was arrested for violating a restraining order. I heard all year long from her about the stress and dissension. Monique Dollone brought to Maria’s classroom and school. The emotions were intense for everyone involved. Enormous amounts of energy were expended.

In running for the school board in the November 3rd election, Dollone claims to want to shake up the “status quo” in a “complacent” Ventura Unified School District. She hopes, in the words on her website, to ensure a “Quality Education for All Children all the time.” Both Maria and myself, teachers ourselves, would admit that this goal is nowhere close to being realized. There are too many mediocre instructors with tenure and too many clumsy, unimaginative administrators in the Ventura Unified School District. Too many students are far from ideal in their academic performance. And in our opinion, a few superstars and a few real stinkers punctuate this main of mediocrity. Monique Dollone would paint herself as a reformer of a public school system in need of reform.

But this is false. If the system needs improving, Monique is not the person for that job. Monique would bring her “burn down the barn to save it” philosophy that would lead to further dissension. It would, in our opinion, not lead to forward progress. It is much harder to build a barn than to burn it down. Escorted by police off the Montalvo Elementary School campus in steel bracelets, let this simple fact speak for itself against Monique Dollone’s campaign rhetoric.

Happy I was to see Monique Dollone lose in yesterday’s election. But she plans to run again. Alas, the vagaries of local elections and city politics…
It was explained to me that with this letter I would offend both the putative “reformers” and the status quo “powers that be,” leaving me between enemies with no allies. On the other hand, the letter says pretty much what I feel to be the truth, even if it be “impolitic.” But I was reminded that even if the whole truth is a good thing, saying it out loud isn’t.
How strange it is in adult life that we so rarely say exactly what we think. So little candor, so much posturing! Ah, democracy!


“But this is false. If the system needs improving, Monique is not the person for that job.”.