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Diehl responds to 'personal attack' on Frank


December 14, 2005 - To the editor:

The personal attack on Karl Frank Jr. by Ms. Stevenson illustrates why so few good people are willing to run for office in south county.

Rather than question Mr. Frank's stand on a particular issue or provide any proof that his facts are wrong, she chose to attack his family, his education, his age and his business. Are people not allowed to have differing opinions?

If Mr. Frank's education in the Mehlville School District is not sufficient for him to effectively serve on the school board, what does that say about the quality of education in the district? It is my understanding that Mr. Frank is not the only board member without a college degree. If you check the qualifications to run for school board, nowhere does it say that a candidate must have a college degree.

Does Mrs. Stevenson know for a fact that no one in Mr. Frank's family has a college education? I doubt it. And what bearing does the education of an elected official's siblings have on the office-holder's ability to serve anyway?

Ms. Stevenson goes on to criticize Mr. Frank for only taking an interest in public education when his children started attending public school. Well, duh. In an ideal world, everyone in the community would take an interest in the education of our children, but that will never happen. I believe all of the current Mehlville school board members have children in the Mehlville School system. Why is this a problem?

The St. Louis public school board is made up entirely of members who have no children in the school system they govern. Look at what they've got.

From what I could glean from her letter, it appears Ms. Stevenson is upset because Mr. Frank hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid re-garding Proposition P. Though I feel the improvements were necessary, many of my friends and neighbors have serious questions about how the district spent $20 million more than what was budgeted when the tax levy was passed.

The recently completed audit only ad-dressed the bookkeeping practices of the district — not the project costs, nor the contract approval process which Mr. Frank questioned. And at what point will the district drop its opposition to a valid Sunshine Law request for documents?

Believe me, I do understand legal bills.

From a PR standpoint, that legal stone-walling does not inspire my trust and is a waste of our tax money.

More than anything, I believe that our teachers deserve better pay and benefits, and I won't squawk about a few hundred bucks, but I think the timing of this new tax proposal is questionable. The consultant hired by the board to survey district voters reported that neither a 50-cent nor a 75-cent increase would pass, so why push for a 97-cent increase?

Wages are flat. Health care and gas prices continue to rise. Look at how Lindbergh voters responded to a much smaller in-crease request.

"Trained seal," "simplistic answers," "un-informed, lazy voters who cannot grasp, or choose not to tackle, the complexities of the tax system ..."

Is she calling anyone who may have reservations about giving Mehlville another $14 million a year lazy and uninformed? What is wrong with accountability and transpar-ency in government?

If Ms. Stevenson wants a board that works in lockstep unison on all issues, then why bother having elections? Our society would be better off if more elected public officials actually took the time to question our school supervisors, our county department heads and our state and federal bureaucrats.

It is our right and our duty to question those who spend our tax money, whether it's for roads and bridges, tanks and planes, or educating our children. Perhaps if the district would be more forthright to re-quests from the press or the public, Mr. Frank wouldn't need to continue his "rant" about Prop P.

I would hope that any future letters about the school district would be directed at issues and not at character assassination and mudslinging.

Tom Diehl

Oakville

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