Common sense prevails; not Chicago-style politics

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

We try to refrain from commenting on letters to the editor, but occasionally a letter is submitted that is so ludicrous that we just can’t help ourselves.

Consider Oakville resident Sue Jernigan’s letter to the editor today.

In it, she opines the Mehlville School District used “Chicago-style tactics” to promote the passage of a 49-cent tax-rate increase last November. Really?

Having grown up in the Chicago area in the 1960s and 1970s, this writer knows firsthand how politics work there. We doubt the letter writer does.

For example, she writes that the so-called Mehlville political machine’s superior ability to raise funds for the passage of Proposition R last fall overwhelmed the opposition’s meager financial resources.

The letter writer appears to have a short-term memory, though.

As readers may recall, the Mehlville political machine had that same superior fundraising capability in 2006 for Proposition A and in 2010 for Proposition C.

Citizens Protecting Our Investments, an organization promoting the passage of Prop A, raised more than 10 times as much money as the committee that opposed the 97-cent tax-rate increase. In 2010, the Committee to Restore the Pride, the organization advocating the passage of Prop C, raised nearly 20 times as much money as the group that opposed that 88-cent tax-rate increase.

Yet David slew Goliath, as both measures were overwhelmingly defeated by voters. The difference between Prop R and the two failed measures is that Prop R had broad-based community support.

Furthermore, district officials and supporters clearly articulated the need for the passage of the tax-rate increase. That wasn’t the case with Prop A and Prop C, as both were overreaching wish lists of the then-board members, who deluded themselves into thinking either measure had a chance of success. Both were destined for failure from the get-go.

Today, Mehlville’s future is brighter than ever. For the first time in many, many years, the district has a visionary leader at the helm. Superintendent Chris Gaines, on the job for less than a year, already has proved that he is up to the challenge.

Historically, Mehlville always has more than its fair share of naysayers, including this newspaper when we thought it was warranted.

The naysayers certainly have a right to be heard, but we believe the progress Mehlville is poised to make under Gaines’ leadership will speak for itself.