My Apologies To Carolyn Simpson

I did some soul-searching yesterday.  I love writing. I enjoy that many of you want to read my thoughts on all things Snoqualmie. I find myself in new territory as I try to balance writing impartially about hot-button valley topics and friendship.

It was this desire to remain (or at least appear) impartial that lead me to publish a comment in response to my Snoqualmie Middle School annexation story.  That comment might be construed as publicly defaming Carolyn Simpson while she is running for school board.  The commenter stated they needed to remain anonymous because Carolyn has a reputation of intimidation and a bully.  The implication is this person is so scared that he/she needs to remain anonymous, or implies that Carolyn might hurt them.   This commenter gave no examples of such intimidation.  Carolyn has no violent bone in her body. Shame on me for publishing it.

Carolyn Simpson is a friend of mine.  She is kind, smart and passionate about education.  It only takes a few mouse clicks to find out I endorse her for school board.  Yet, I still want be impartial, not use this website for a pro Simpson campaign.  It was that desire for impartiality that lead me to approve a comment that hurt my friend. For that I am deeply sorry, Carolyn.

Yes, we had a school bond fail by one vote last year.  Some of you feel compelled to blame Carolyn for the loss.  I guess I look at it differently.  Thousands of valley residents voted no – each for their own reasons.  Carolyn felt the enrollment numbers that suggested the need for the extra high school capacity in 2013 were wrong.  As it turns out, it appears she was right.   Carolyn only voiced an opinion about enrollment projections.  I will admit I had doubts, but was scared my kids would be shipped out of Snoqualmie again for school.  Promise of a brand new school in my neighborhood and fear of what the district would do if it failed lead me to vote yes.

Can we as a community move forward? Stop blaming one single person for a bond failure where 3,983 registered valley voters checked the no box?  I feel personal attacks only defer from the true issues.  Carolyn has a real voice.  She asks hard questions.  She’s spent countless hours volunteering in this community even though both of her children are in college.  How many of you attend almost every school board meeting?  She does.

The issue is not that Carolyn voted no to build a school in 2013.  Possibly the real issue is why.  So if you want to blame something, maybe the numbers or the recession might be a starting point?  Does voting no to build a new middle school mean you don’t support education?  I am guessing 3,983 registered valley voters would say no it doesn’t.

Comments

  1. Well stated Danna. As I stated before in a prior post, this campaign does not need to lower itself to the level it has. Yes, I am a Simpson Supporter, but I have to honestly say I am proud of the fact that Carolyn has maintained her composture and has honestly responded to her critics. That, to me, is the sign of a true leader.

    You are right, Carolyn is not the only one who voted no. Many others did indeed. A review of the election results proves that fact. A thorough review of the final election results indicates that over 80% of Snoqualmie Ridge voters voted yes, while other precincts throughout the District voted no. So, any one person’s vote could have tipped the scale during the first bond; many more tipped it during the second. Please look and see if these people could be your neighbors, rather than single out one person.

    I think it is time for everyone to do some soul searching and decide if annexation is actually the right thing to proceed with in light of the lack of a replacement middle school. To proceed with this plan at this time is not actually good for ALL the kids. Right now, October 2011 enrollment is down at both the high school and the elementary school level. It is up, however, at the middle school level by about 80 or so kids. Shouldn’t we really be evaluating the need to place three schools worth of kids into two, rather than the failure of a bond? Shouldn’t we be questioning the need to overcrowd and tax our middle schools, rather than what happened several months ago? Hasn’t every single bond for new school construction missed the voting mark over the past several years? Why single out this one? Perhaps it is time to reevaluate why bonds are failing and what we are going to do with the kids we have to ensure they all have the opportunity to learn and meet their fullest potential. Let’s look to the future and let’s plan for a solution that meets more voter approval in the future. We have to deal with what we all we handed right now. Let’s not make a hasty decision and move middle school kids when there may not really be an overwhelming need to do so right now. Is there something the matter with recognizing that things have changed. A good plan is adaptable to changes. Maybe it is time to rethink the plan or, at a minimum, postpone implementation. Think about that? Why are so many wanting to push hard to proceed with something that may not be in the best interests of ALL the kids.

  2. Very well said Danna. And , for the record, I voted No on the bond on my own accord.

  3. Danna, no worries. I appreciate your heartfelt apology, and I understand what you were trying to accomplish by posting all comments. I deeply respect and continue to encourage the intense work you put in to try to present all sides of the issues in your blog. As a matter of fact, that is how we met, and I am so very glad that we are friends.

    Respectful and factual debate on important issues is healthy for a vibrant community and is vital for valid decision-making. But when that debate results in unsubstantiated personal claims, anonymous or not, it diverts attention from the issues at hand. I am running for office on a platform of essential issues related to the future of education for our Valley’s children, and I will not sink to the depths of personal attacks during this campaign. To learn more about why I am running and what I am trying to accomplish, your readers can visit my website at http://simpsonforschoolboard.com/.

    Carolyn Simpson

  4. Dear JD3McCall, I really appreciate this website. Thank you for taking the time to write and communicate and I wouldn’t I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to exclude remarks that hurt others. But please don’t change your style or limit your commentary because of the controversy. I’ve learned so much and have changed some of my opinions because I was uninformed or misinformed. I voted yes on the bond because I thought it would bring about math reform. After attending TFMS Math Pathways Meeting, I think I voted yes for all the wrong reasons! No, that’s not entirely true, I think I would still vote yes on the bond because I would love to see the land utilized, but through LivingSnoqualmie I am learning that perhaps the money for new schools could be coming from impact fees and perhaps we don’t need to pass any bond until we further analyze growth in this terrible economy. Many thanks to all commentators.

  5. Tracie Smith says

    Danna, you are fair and impartial and I too know Carolyn personally and adore her. She has incredible commitment and passion for the betterment of our school district that benefits the kids first and foremost as it is their education and I have never seen someone who looks at all sides before standing for what she believes like Carolyn does.

    Thanks for being thoughtful Danna… I believe you do a terrific job at being impartial and controversy is not always a bad thing. I am sure Carolyn is well aware that critics will be out there by the sheer fact that she is willing to stand for what she believes.

    Keep up the great effort in providing Snoqualmie with a great resource for all of us.

  6. Snoqualmie Schools Supporter says

    Glad you took a moment to clear the air, Danna. Carolyn isn’t scary. She isn’t a bully. Not at all. But she is misguided. She does not represent snoqualmie as she claims she does. And she doesn’t support education in a way I can get behind.

    “Does voting no to build a new middle school mean you don’t support education?” From this writer’s prespective, yes it does.

    Carolyn’s no vote obviously wasnt the only one. But… It was the only no vote coming from a candidate in Snoqualmie who is running for school board. It was a no vote from a woman who claims to “represent Snoqualmie” when clearly she does not. She represents the less than 15% of the no voters, NOT the 85%+ voters on Snoqualmie Ridge who wanted a new middle school.

    Craig Husa is a Naval Officer graduate from the Naval Academy. He has an MBA from Harvard, for crying out loud! He has done an exceptional job in his time on the board. He has contributed to our schools in very tough times. Though Carolyn is happy to exclaim to anyone who will listen, ” the sky is falling!”, it isn’t. Our schools are exceptional, but the only way she feels she can get elected is to claim the district is in shambles and is poorly run. Couldn’t be father from the truth.

    Carolyn will be divisive. Let’s talk about the Elephant in the Room, shall we? One of the greatest challenges we face as a school district is the anti-Snoqualmie Ridge sentiment coming from all other areas of the district. Do you know why there were 3,983 No votes? One of the greatest reasons was because many did not want to “give the Ridge another new school”. Carolyn’s position in the Director District re-draw, and her subsequent costly petition, does not help our case. By lobbying so hard to have an “Exclusive Snoqualmie” board member, she takes another step to alienate Snoqualmie Ridge from the rest of the district.

    I am very concerned for how she will represent me. We need to show the rest of the commmunity that we think broadly, about all the children in our district, rather than only what is good for Snoqualmie Ridge. We need a school board candidate who is NOT lobbying only for Snoqualmie. We might have gotten more yes votes – and our Middle School – that way.

    P.S. – love your writing, Danna, and your open-minded approach, allowing dissenting views to be heard.

    • I actually have the entire district in mind, as well as Snoqualmie.

      The high school enrollment is not growing, and the $56 million bond for a replacement middle school was not needed – not for Snoqualmie and not for the rest of the district. We have to represent all of the taxpayers and students when we make important decisions like bonds. It is imperative that those decisions are made with strong facts and reasonable assumptions, and this bond decision was not. Had it passed, would we have the trust of the voters? What about when we really need a school? Would anyone have believed the district if they had just taxed the taxpayers $56 million for a school that wasn’t needed?

      With respect to representation, the entire board right now is from North Bend and Fall City; there is no representation from Snoqualmie. This board all said “yes” to put this bond on the ballot (twice.) About 51% of North Bend voters said “no” and about 53% of Fall City voters said “no” to the last bond. Where are their representatives? On the school board? Where is their voice? And how many people in Snoqualmie voted yes out of fear that their middle school kids would be unnecessarily bused to two middle schools if the bond didn’t pass? A good bond process won’t need to spread fear. We need to bring our community together toward good decisions – all of us – Snoqualmie, North Bend, and Fall City.

      I want to take a better look at our enrollment and capacity needs district-wide. I want schools to be built when and where they are needed. I strongly support a better, conservative, and thorough decision-making process the next time a bond is placed on the ballot. I listen to the concerns of the voters, and I pay attention to the needs of all students in Snoqualmie, North Bend, and Fall City. I believes that the voters from across the entire district will support student needs when the process is fair and the need is justified.

      Carolyn Simpson
      SimpsonforSchoolBoard.com

    • Dear Anonomous,
      Please do us all a favor, quit posting your comments against Carolyn on this site under the veil of secrecy. Craig has his own website and facebook page and you should utilize that space to promote Craig on his merits and on his issues and platform. Also, when supporting Craig, could you omit your comments about Carolyn? Craig should be able to stand on his own. Carolyn has stood on her issues without spending any time denouncing her opponent. You do not have to agree with Ms. Simpson, however, you can agree to disagree and leave it at that. The fact that the PTSA Council asked how people voted on the bond was suspicious to begin with. People should not have to respond to such questions. Ballots are anonymous for that simple reason. I have to question the motive behind such a question. However, your posts seem to answer that question loud and clear.

      From here on out, I hope that all further posters stick to topic and not utilize this blog as a means to their own personal end. I believe that most people in the Valley are able to make up their own minds as to who they want to vote for–that is their own personal right and they do not need me or others trying to sway them one way or the other. I would never take that right away from anyone, nor would I spend any time promoting any candidate over another in such a manner as you have.

      If you would like to respond to me personally, please do. However, I will not respond back if you decide to remain anonymous. If you feel so strongly about something, you should be able to reveal your identity. My personal email address is LGibbs1111@aol.com. I, like Carolyn, am not a bully or intimidating. I appreciate others views when they are presented in such a manner that do not mirror personal attacks on anothers voting record, their character, or on myself.

      Thank you.

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