Just like last year, 2016 is off to an extremely strong start for Most Misguided Quotes.
As such, we will offer on a quarterly basis some contenders for the annual tradition, in which we chronicle the most misguided, misinformed and misleading statements of the year.
The Mehlville School District is on a roll with the passage of Proposition R last November and last week’s election in which voters re-elected incumbent Larry Felton and newcomer Kevin Schartner to the Board of Education, along with the passage of Proposition A.
Adding to Mehlville’s groundswell of positive momentum is Superintendent Chris Gaines’ proposed Choice School of Innovation.
Here’s what board member Lori Trakas had to say about Gaines’ visionary proposal in response to a Call candidate questionnaire: “Though in the beginning optimistic, I have concerns that the School of Innovation may be another federal education program wrapped in a new package, designed to enhance the U.S. Department of Education’s control over decisions that should be made locally.”
Really? Is there any wonder why Trakas was defeated in her re-election bid last week?
Then we have St. Louis County Police Department Chief Jon Belmar, the county’s top law-enforcement official, who wrote a letter to a federal judge in support of a convicted member of a drug trafficking ring, a month after County Executive Steve Stenger wrote a similar letter.
Belmar asked for leniency in the Dec. 17 federal sentencing of Michael Saracino II, who was indicted in 2014 with a dozen other members of a drug trafficking ring that made millions of dollars over four years bringing marijuana to Missouri from California.
“With regard to Michael’s offense, I will offer no excuse, but to say that I believe that he has the benefit of having a strong family surrounding him, who will provide the right type of support, and demand accountability from him as he moves from the tragic decision that he alone bears the responsibility for,” Belmar wrote. “… I remain confident that whatever decision you render in this matter, it is the right decision, and you enjoy my full support.”
This from a police chief?
Needless to say, the St. Louis County Police Association came out against the letters, and the county police board voted unanimously in a two-hour closed session Jan. 28 to issue Belmar a letter of reprimand.