Heins an embarrassment to board, school district
"Call the Tune" by Mike Anthony
Arrogance, sarcasm, mean-spiritedness and an unwillingness to listen to constituents are not very becoming qualities for an elected official.
Yet Mehlville Board of Education member Mike Heins apparently embodies all of those undesirable qualities given his recent e-mail responses to queries made by Karl Frank Jr., an Oakville resident who was unsuccessful in his bid for a Board of Education seat earlier this month.
As an elected official, Mr. Heins has an obligation to treat constituents with respect, regardless of his personal opinion of them, and a duty to listen to what they have to say, regardless of whether he agrees with them.
In his e-mail correspondence with Mr. Frank, Mr. Heins has failed to live up to his obligations and, in doing so, has embarrassed not only himself, but the Board of Education and the very school district he was elected to represent.
Mr. Frank e-mailed Mr. Heins, asking him his thoughts about unanimous board votes. Space prohibits us from publishing all of Mr. Heins' inappropriate e-mail comments, but consider these:
• "Lets (sic) see, I heard your speech on Tuesday, you e-mailed me on Wednesday and again on Friday. You really need some attention, don't you?''
• "... I know the importance of building consensus. You, on the other hand, have a gut feeling. Now that's quite a gut, I must admit. But in this case, size does not matter ...''
And when Mr. Frank sent a follow-up e-mail addressing the inappropriateness of Mr. Heins' comments, consider Mr. Heins' e-mail reply, which was addressed to "Frankie":
"In just one week, I have listened to your little speech and have received 3 e-mails from you. This is tiresome. Try this. If you don't want my opinion, don't ask for it! I certainly don't care to hear yours. Since you haven't answered my questions, I don't see this discussion going anywhere. Remove me from your address book.''
Given Mr. Heins' efforts to stifle public comment at board meetings and his comments to Mr. Frank, his disdain for the people he was elected to represent is obvious.
The full text of Mr. Frank's queries and Mr. Heins' responses are available on Mr. Frank's Web site at www.karlfrankjr.com. We encourage readers to review the e-mails. After doing so, we believe reasonable people could only conclude that Mr. Heins owes an apology not only to Mr. Frank, but to the entire community.