People Out Loud: Never shy…

May 2015 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

DixonBy Dixon Bledsoe

Everyone needs a go-to person in their life. Someone you just know has your back.

A person that will tell you the white camping-tent size polo shirt makes you look heavier than the black one with its slimming effect. A friend who will make sure you get home after your Spaten-Optimator birthday party at the subdued September 2001 Oktoberfest just two days after 9-11.

A buddy who hears and keeps your deepest secrets, and who says just the right touching thing  at the right time, like “You need to get to the gym” after your brief hospital stay. Someone who should have been featured in the “I Want to Be Like Mike” television ad and isn’t named Jordan;  admired because of his work ethic, his values, his humor, his down-to-earth style and his remarkable candor and common sense. I know you will keep my deepest and darkest secrets for two reasons – You are a good man, and I know yours. Here’s wishing Mike Bothum a Happy Birthday on May 23.

“Bo” is the same guy who asks, “Why do you even go there” when a topic of controversy comes up and I just have to comment. This is an opinion column, and knowing me for some 50 plus years, Bo knows that “shy” and “Dixon” have never been seen in the same sentence.

Out of respect for my long-time friend, I will soft-pedal the following message about the May 19 Silver Falls School Board election.

Aaron Koch, Chris Bailey, Ron Valoff, Jim Squires and incumbent Chairman Tim Roth showed up to the Silver Falls Educational Association’s Candidates’ Forum this month, along with Zone 6 write-in candidate DaNette Wernette.  Wernette met with attendees before and after the forum to answer questions and let them get to know her.

Chuck White did a great job as moderator and asked tough written questions offered by members of the audience. The candidates’ answers were solid, insightful, and independent since most had never met each other before that night. I appreciated all of them making and taking time to address the more than 80 voters who came to find out more about the candidates before voting.

Oddly enough, their opponents had “conflicts.”

All five of them.

The ones who are running as a “team.”

Their “mentor” didn’t like my use of the term “commandeer” last month as I described a group with a coordinated message trying to “commandeer” the school board. The Oxford Dictionary says commandeer means “to take over.”

Since five people with one message who apparently skipped the candidate’s forum as a team, perhaps because the questions might get tough, “commandeer” kind of fit for me, since it is a seven member board and four members running on one slate and winning might be called a “takeover.”  Would those same candidates miss out on the school board meeting if they heard they might face some tough questions from the audience?

From my view, I am going with Tim Roth for his professionalism, track record, balanced approach and valuable leadership in tough times. I am endorsing Aaron Koch and Ron Valoff because they have no agenda except to serve kids well but in a fiscally responsible way.  Chris Bailey is getting my vote, too, as a relative new comer with a bright mind who is forward thinking, and has recent experience working with schools.

DaNette Wernette has a tough challenge as a write-in candidate, but I will take the time to write her in for the Zone 6 position. She is sharp as a tack, has a lot of experience with kids in the district, including those with special challenges, and deserves to be on the board as it faces some tough choices in the years ahead.

She is focused on ensuring the rural community is represented as well as the “urban” community. As an aside, she is a highly qualified candidate who happens to be a woman, in a time where the only woman is stepping down from the board.

Please be sure to vote on or before May 19 and remember that your ballot needs to be dropped off, not mailed, at the city’s Lewis Street parking lot.

This is one important election for the Silver Falls School Board, and the Fire District bond has my full support as well.

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