Reader truly disturbed by Stevenson’s ‘hubris’

To the editor:

I would like to respond to Ms. Steven-son’s letter of pomposity.

I was truly disturbed by her own “hu-bris.” She expects a duly elected public of-ficial to be deferential to the administrators he is charged by law to oversee.

Ms. Stevenson fails to understand that the public chooses who it wants to represent them on elected boards. She states: “(B)eing a concerned parent does not earn him expert status in the education business.”

This letter writer believes that having “expert status” is not necessarily a qualification for a citizen’s election to public office. Past board members have included landscapers, letter carriers, insurance people, plumbers, attorneys, electricians, former government employees, homemakers, military officers and nurses. Did any of these people have any “special knowledge of the education business” upon their election to the board?

Elected officials who can think outside the box are reflective of our democratic ideal of checks and balances.

Mr. Frank is a public official who challenges the Mehlville School District’s “Mushroom Theory” of public relations.

That is, “keep them in the dark and feed them” manure — or compost. Please un-derstand I’m not referring to the Mehlville Messenger. When most of the district’s business is conducted in closed-session meetings, the public’s right to accountability and transparency is denied.

Under Missouri law, school board members are elected by the public for the benefit of the public and for their children’s ed-ucation. These members are to act as representatives of the public and not as a rubber stamp for the edicts of non-elected experts.

The way the current administration asserts its own version of the Mushroom Theory, it would have a publicly elected board exist to sanctify its own policies with little open debate or public discussion. If this board adheres to what are clearly unconstitutional restrictions on free speech, imposed upon them by the self-serving, how can the interest of the general public be served? Unfortunately, it cannot be served. The general public is taken out of the loop.

The Mehlville Board of Education, just like the U.S. Congress, a state legislature or a city council, is there to provide oversight over the experts for the people who elected them. A school board is not a corporate board. It is not an extension of the administration or management. It is there to ask questions, even if these questions offend other board members or make ad-ministrators nervous.

The Mehlville School District, in its board members’ oath of office, states that board members will uphold the U.S. Constitution containing that little inconvenience about freedom of speech.

Maybe in Mehlville, it may only be those parts of the Constitution of which they personally approve. Free speech, public participation and free and open elections, that is how it works in a democracy.

Kurt Kestler

Oakville