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The Community Web Log on Media and Government in Midland, Texas

   Monday, September 30, 2002

This sent in by a reader.....Midland's Next Big Event Featuring Invited (But Pending) Guests!

posted by Site Admin 6:13 PM

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   Sunday, September 29, 2002
Max Lucado appears to be the big draw for the Rejoice event. I tried reading some of his stuff....the message is good certainly....but I am afraid that Lucado is to writing what Thomas Kincaid is to painting.

posted by Walsingham 11:17 AM

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The full page ad for the "Rejoice" revival appears in today's paper and the invitation to the President and First Lady are still listed as "Pending". I don't think that they are coming at this point. Still, I wonder if a couple of event organizers have been posted at the airport, binoculars and radios in hand, scouting the skies for a certain 747.

posted by Site Admin 10:27 AM

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   Saturday, September 28, 2002
It is 12:10pm on Saturday (9/28) and channels 3 and 7 are running the exact same infomercial in the exact same time slot. Are the World Cup Finals here again already?

posted by Site Admin 12:15 PM

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Admin: What a relief. No self-respecting prospective Midland company would take a 4a kickback from an uncertified economic developer.

posted by Walsingham 12:00 PM

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Gee.....still no clarification on Midland City Manager Rick Menchaca's comment that the Amarillo Development Corporartion isn't having that much success lately......with a slush fund that is five times the size of Midland's. But we do have this news. Jobs will be created. At the Chamber and the MDC, of course. There is this good news:
"On Wednesday, the Chamber announced Clayton's certification from the International Economic Development Council as a professional economic developer. Only 65 of 470 Texas economic developers have this certification, increasing Midland's potential that much more."
I am sure it does, aren't you?

posted by Site Admin 9:52 AM

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   Friday, September 27, 2002
Gee....all this talk of "sacred times" and "hallowed grounds". Discussions of the September 11 attack and its aftermath? No. Recounting of the invasion of Normandy or the Battle of Gettysburg? Sorry, doesn't ring a bell. Believe it or not, all of the way, way, way overblown (but obviously quite serious) raw emotion and concern found in this article is about Texas Tech's decision to play a game on......oh my God.....a Friday night! This borders on self-parody.

posted by Stevenson 4:42 PM

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   Thursday, September 26, 2002
Just how does one measure the effectiveness of a slogan....and does this one strike you as a good one?:
"Midland=Odessa, the Sunny Smile of Texas - where you'll find people as warm as the weather," is the slogan used when promoting the area to prospective visitors. It is a slogan that has proven to be very successful.
The Sunny Smile of Texas? Yuk. No wonder we are going to shell out the big bucks to "brand" the area. Any suggestions for a new slogan for Midland and Odessa?

Howzabout this one: "Midland, Texas - We Shouldn't Have to Pay You To Live Here....But We Certainly Will!"

posted by Site Admin 10:27 PM

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Recognition comes to First American Bank Ballpark. The very frequent use of the "Blue T-Shirt Night" promotion must have worked real well.

posted by Site Admin 10:24 PM

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This is just wrong. I think that these guys should be forced to stay in the state and make trial lawyers rich.

posted by Site Admin 10:20 PM

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Flipping channels on the 10 o’clock news last night, channel 7 led with the fatal car wreck on highway 80, gave it 30 seconds of video and moved on. The “Nightbeat” & “Newswest 9” must have been watching because seconds later they both mention a “breaking story” with crews on the way to a fatal accident. 15 minutes later Jay intones over a silent still live shot for close to a minute about the accident, the color of the vehicles, mentioning over and over, “this, of course is across the street from Satin’s Gentlemen’s Club, and those lights you see behind the wreck are The Forest Night Club.” Finally they get the remote audio working and Stephanie goes on for another couple of minutes about, the color of the vehicles, Satin Gentlemen’s Club & The Forest, and it becomes apparent that the amount of time these guys spend on a story is inversely proportional to the information they impart.

posted by Ignatius 5:49 PM

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   Wednesday, September 25, 2002
5,000 Unique Visitors!
Over 44,000 Hits!
Just looked at the site statistics for Jessica's Well.....if we do normal traffic tomorrow (9/26) then we will reach the 5,000 unique visitors mark and over 44,000 hits since we came in to being late last March. Half-way through September we doubled the traffic from all of August. The trends look great! Walser, Iggy, Stevey, and Pliny....thanks for all of your (unpaid) work. What started out as an experiment hatched over drinks has become a real live blog site.

posted by Site Admin 11:14 PM

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Great Michael Kelly column today.
".....speech was one no minimally decent politician could have delivered. It was entirely dishonest, cheap, low. It was utterly hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts--bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in smarmy tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate."
No, it is not about Mr. Woodside, Mr. Kimball, or the CFR. It is about the latest from Al Gore.

posted by Walsingham 9:08 AM

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   Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Our first real-live submittal!
Dear Jessica's Well:

Been following the suggestion that extracurricular activities be cut from the MISD Budget as a precursor to another bond campaign, and this actually received some enthusiasm from el Presidente de CFR Woodrow Williams. "The district needs to get the M&O budget under control," he said. "I could see a $60 million bond to get them started, and they could use the money made from savings for our schools. I am tired of supporting the same old thing without seeing any innovative thought,...There are hundreds of suggestions that could be made, but the district cannot keep going down the same old path."

As a general rule, all innovative thoughts that have not been make public yet have only been repressed because they MIGHT alienate a few folks. (Innovation is rarely popular.) Out of curiosity, what would constitute innovative thought? This Dog has a few:

Cut Football! Now, that wouldn't be very popular although it would certainly get everyone's attention and make MISD one of the most innovative programs in Texas. Then, in the new stadium, you could fit ½ the students of MISD and eliminate the need for ANY school buildings!

Cut ALL athletic programs!! Those state championships in football, basketball and baseball did nothing but take valuable television time away from Ernie Angelo. We need to get our priorities straight.

Cut the HS Bands! It seems logical as it cost the most to move those kids to all the games (there just so derned many of them), but every time one (or both) of our bands get invited to the Rose Bowl, an Inaugural or something else special, Ernie rushes to the forefront to take credit for getting them the invitation. So, most certainly, that would not be the area cut. It might make more sense to fire the directors and insist upon mediocre programs with fewer kids participating, and save money through basic attrition.

Cut the Freshman schools. Completely. Just ship all the kids off to a remote section of Hudspeth County and let a "Lord of the Flies" effect take over. This will not only result in a net savings through the closing of two schools, but the attrition may be significant enough to allow MISD to consolidate high schools. (Face it, those kids are adolescents. Their parents won't miss them for YEARS.)

Cut all social studies programs!! All they are doing it teaching civics and ethics, and CFR has proven that neither of those are necessary!

But here is the most innovative of all the innovative cuts: All school administrators will take a 20% pay cut if the enormous and collective membership of the CFR will agree to a lifetime gag order on all school
matters. The absence alone of a group of people who tear down barns and build nothing would make it easy to attract capable school administrators. (NOTE: As a special consideration, Woody, Regan and Ernie can all play a woodwind instrument in the junior high band of their choice, but they cannot talk. The only rule here is that they cannot play any Lee Greenwood song.) BONUS: MISD can take over the now-dormant CFR World Headquarters and use it for the new Valencia Elementary School. [I have never personally seen the CFR headquarters, but you know it has to be large to house all those people!]

Now THAT'S innovation.

--- Chey The Dog

posted by Site Admin 11:31 PM

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   Monday, September 23, 2002
Big Gold Dog readies a bumper sticker for production. You may think about e-mailing him if you want one for your car.

posted by Site Admin 1:32 PM

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Stevey-girl: Your post is on the money. My only suggestion would be to add this to the sub-headline:


posted by Walsingham 11:44 AM

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Walsingham: Not that the CFR is big on intellectual honesty....but given their hot rhetoric about how the Artebury study was "ignored" by MISD...wouldn't any plan they propose have to adhere to that study and therefore involve closing some schools and doing away with the neighborhood school concept? Is the above theoretical headline inaccurate?

posted by Stevenson 11:05 AM

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Site Admin: The "CFR Watch" looks great. The ball is now officially in the court of Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball's two-hundred member strong Citizens For Fiscal Responsibility. They claim to have done the analysis. They claim to know, how they say "The Better Way." Let us now have the plan that the CFR will support that will make the updates and repairs and relieve the overcrowding. The clock is running, the counter is counting. Just your usual chin music is no longer enough.

posted by Walsingham 10:58 AM

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Along with Midland City Manager Rick Menchaca's comments about how the Amarillo Development Corporation hasn't been having much success lately....add Abilene to the list of cities having limited success with their "Economic Development" sales tax that the Midland Reporter-Telegram won't be telling you about. Read about it

posted by Site Admin 9:44 AM

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Walser: So it is written. So it is done.

posted by Site Admin 9:07 AM

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Site Admin: Thanks for the new "CFR Watch". You are going to want to kill me.....but can we have the start date for the count be October 7, 2000? That was the date of the last defeated school bond issue.

posted by Walsingham 8:59 AM

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   Sunday, September 22, 2002
Walser: Your wish is my command.

posted by Site Admin 5:34 PM

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Numbers of days since the last school bond election that Mr. Angelo, Mr. Woodside, Mr. Kimball, and the other two guys who belong to the Citizens For Fiscal Responsibility have failed to announce their alternative plan for updating MISD facilities. They told us over and over that "there is a better way". Now would be a good time to let us know what it is. Question to Site Admin: Is there any way to have this number automatically update itself each day?

posted by Walsingham 4:13 PM

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Iggy: Upon reading Mr. Howard's Letter to the Editor I am afraid that any analysis would require medical credentials on my part. I will have to decline.

posted by Walsingham 4:09 PM

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"The only way to get these buildings in shape is to begin spending money on them."

--- CFR President Woody Woodside

Gee Woody, thanks for the heads up there.

posted by Walsingham 4:01 PM

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   Friday, September 20, 2002
Disraeli was wrong. There are 4 kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and then the misguided miscellany that the CFR manages to get into print. This deal today is a lethal combination Kimball’s ethical standards translated in Woody’s garbled syntax. Irrelevant lies, poorly worded.

On another matter, why doesn’t the MRT consider using, “Editor’s notes” after they publish these wacko letters with obvious mistruths. “Many administrators make over $150,000. per year” kept showing up this week and a simple note saying that this was wrong would shut it down. Same with the “declining enrollment” hoax – why not refute this stuff when you know it’s incorrect?

Note to Walsingham: please deconstruct Max Howard’s letter. I wonder if his repeated use of “cram-it” is an attempt to shift his demographic appeal. Maybe a couple of risqué phrases will attract a younger audience to his radio show. “Hey, all you cool guys & gals out there, it’s uncle Max, the pharaoh of phat, so get ready to get down with the cool sounds of Mr. Kenny G playing show-tunes, or, if you prefer…Cram It!”

posted by Ignatius 4:55 PM

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Look closely at the CFR's big ad in today's paper. Read it twice. Once you have become familiar with it you can see exactly why it is that Midlanders for Our Schools, Our Future has refused to debate the CFR on the school bond issue. It is because the CFR refuses to debate the issue at hand, which is school facilities. There are seventeen items in their ad this morning. Seventeen. Only two have anything to do with school infrastructure. One of them at Harvard. But since tomorrow is the election let us go through the ad anyway.
"0 - Number of Teachers Unions Endorsing Bond"
There are two teachers organizations in Midland. One is under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO which has endorsed the bond package and the other is prohibited by its charter from taking positions on bond issues.
"95% - Percentage of Texas Schools Districts With Less Debt"
This number includes every school district in the entire State of Texas of every size. Think of how many districts in the whole state are larger (cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, etc.) than MISD and then how many are smaller. The fact is that MISD is larger than 90% of the school districts in the state and to carry debt commensurate with their size would automatically place them high on the debt list.
"78 - Projected Decrease in Secondary School Enrollment over the Next 6 Years."
The CFR continues to cherry pick their data even after they are made aware that their numbers are old. But given 100 portable classrooms spread across the district and the aging, Eisenhower era infrastructure that needs to be replaced and updated, what is their point exactly? If the CFR is right and the enrollment drops a whopping 78 students will this make the portable classrooms redundant? No. Will the aging building systems stop rusting? No.
48% - Amount of Your Tax Dollar That Reaches The Classroom"
52% - Amount MISD Spends on Overhead."
10th - MISD Ranking in Texas' 50 Largest Districts for Campus Level Administrative Costs."
Really? How does 48% compare statewide? How about the 52%? How much is state mandated and can't be controlled by the local school authorities? Not that this matters a whit to the CFR. They just flop it out on the table hoping that the reader will automatically thinks that MISD must be bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.
"0 - Number of Portable Buildings on Secondary Campuses in 1970 With 1024 More Students."
Perhaps the CFR is slyly advocating here for a 1970's era curriculum. Probably not, though. They are either complete Idiotarians or unconcerned with the whole truth. Or both. Did we have Title IX requirements in 1970? Uh, no. Did we teach computer classes?...and there are several types of computer classes, by the way, not just some class called Computers 101. No, we didn't. Did the public schools have to take on the special education kids in 1970? No, they didn't. Is the CFR making the case that the portable buildings go unused? No. Do they advocate combining classes? No. This represents either a high level of deceit or stupidity on the CFR's part. You can take your pick.
"Amount of Deferred Expences [sic] by MISD until 2003-2004."
What kind? Where? What for? Retirement vesting fund? Maintenance fund? Is it even related to school buildings or maintenance? Can't the CFR get someone to proof their ads?
$40,000 - "Amount MISD Paid For A Study Of Our School System and Ignored Its Recommendations."
This is just a flat out lie on the CFR's part and they prove it with their own criticisms. The Artebury study was a curriculum study (as opposed to a facilities study) that made recommendations appropriate to curriculum. Some of the recommendations were acted of them much criticized by the CFR...the hiring of an Assistant Superintendent. Odd thing here. The CFR criticizes the school district for acting on a recommendation that came from a report that the CFR says is being totally ignored by the school district. How can they do that, you ask? Hey, its the CFR. Deal with it. The study also went on to suggest that we could close some schools if we did away with the concept of neighborhood schools. Dr. Nicks suggested this to the board. The board suggested it to the constituents. The constituents came unglued and suggested the unmentionable. Argue the merits of the suggestion one way or the other, but the statement that this study was ignored is a lie.
"2766 - Number of Students MISD Lost From 97-01."
"1389 - Number of Students Abilene Lost From 97-01."
"2 - Number of Schools Abilene Has Closed. Recommendation to Close 4-6 More."
I always love to see the CFR admit that school enrollment is up in MISD. Oh, they would never say that out loud. You have to look for it in other the way their enrollment figures always stop with 2001. Now, about Abilene: What the CFR doesn't tell you is that a number of Greenwood-like districts are popping up around Abilene and attracting former AISD students. What the CFR is trying to show as frugality or better planning on Abilene's part is more properly described as flight from AISD. Perhaps the CFR's aim here is to drop school taxes by driving everyone in to Greenwood or private schools. But, hey, its a least a plan from the CFR...something never before seen.
"0 - Amount of the Homestead Exemption That MISD Will Guarantee."
The MISD board could always repeal the homestead exemption I suppose. Repeal of the exemption represents an employable asset to a group of this case the MISD Trustees.....charged with the duty (fiduciary and otherwise) to maintain the school system in Midland, Texas. They would be crazy to sign a pledge stating that they will never call on these resources regardless of what may happen in the future.
"1895 - Year Fogg Building at Harvard was Built and is Still Being Used. How About That For Maintenance?
Does the CFR actually aspire to abject stupidity or does it happen naturally? The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard was indeed built in 1895, is still standing, and is well maintained. So well maintained, in fact, that it costs no money to maintain it. Ever. Ok. Maybe some money. Just a little. Say, you CFR guys, do you think that money comes from Harvard's $19.1 Bbbbbbbbbbilion with a "B" Endowment morons?
"0 - Number of Debates Agreed to By Midlanders For Our Schools, Our Future. They Chose Not To Engage in the Democratic Way to Disseminate Information."
Debate what? Listen to the CFR's meandering and accusatory radio ads. Read the paid political ad commented on above once more if you need to, but the fact remains that the CFR doesn't debate anything close to the issue at hand. Ever. MISD points to rusting infrastucture and overcrowded schools....the CFR rebuts by accusing them of conspiring to repeal the Homestead Exemption. Picture this going on for 30 minutes.....televised.....starring Mr. Kimball, of course.

posted by Walsingham 11:12 AM

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Jailing Joel Oldham for failing to get counseling is one thing. Jailing him for not getting a job in this small town is quite another. And isn't it a bit strange that while we are waiting to put Mr. Oldham behind bars.....presumably to protect us from him.....he is in the meantime ordered to go out and have contact with us by getting a job?

posted by Site Admin 8:10 AM

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   Wednesday, September 18, 2002
I'd give 10 to 1 odds that Regan's letter was written by the king of the non-sequitur, the local contributor to Strunk & White, the jolly old ramblin' man himself, Woody Woodside.

posted by Ignatius 5:30 PM

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More Letters to the Editor. Apparently, the CFR has picked up its sixth member in Mr. Dick Ragan. This represents an all-time high for the CFR. Mr. Ragan gained almost automatic membership to the CFR by demonstrating no discomfort at all in using a curriculum study to condemn a facilities issue, then citing totally bogus salary figures (only the Superintendent makes more than $104k/year, not the multitudes that the word "they" was meant to purposefully and wrongly imply), then providing an estimate of what he thinks we will be paying based on the last bond if interest rate changes have no effect on the cost of borrowing.....finishing up with the CFR bogeyman for all situations: Repeal of the Homestead Exemption. But just in case Mr. Ragan thought all of this was not sufficient to gain him membership into the CFR, he finishes with this:
"There is a better way to fix our schools."
Followed by........nothing. No doubt Mr. Woodside, Mr. Kimball, and Mr. Angelo himself swelled with pride at this new member's ability to forcefully, eloquently, and passionately offer no alternatives or suggestions whatsoever. A true chip off of the old block.

Mr. Thomas E. Tryer is OK with millions and millions for corporate welfare and nice high backed stadium seating (with cupholders!) but not for schools. At least he still admits it, unlike Mr. Angelo.

Mr. Lloyd Webb copies off of Mr. Dick Ragan's notes with this:
"Are you aware many of the MISD administration have incomes exceeding $150,000 per year."
Apparently, Mr. Webb is unaware that only one administrator makes more than $150,000 per year. The Superintendent. The next closest salary is $104,000.

posted by Walsingham 4:13 PM

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   Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Mr. Kimball's five man CFR has apparently hit the radio airwaves with ads urging people to "not be afraid to vote against the school bond issue". He has a point. Any person of voting age would have to spend, at most, another year in the current facilities.

posted by Walsingham 10:17 PM

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Hey Walser: Since Lee is still winless in BurritoGrande Communications Stadium do you think that Terry Williamson will write any more "mash notes to his concrete mistress on the loop"?

posted by Site Admin 12:53 PM

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This from a tip from a faithful reader (thanks Susan): Regarding the dust-up following the Midland High - El Paso Montwood football game, check out the difference between the Midland Reporter-Telegram version and the El Paso Times version of the same incident.

posted by Site Admin 12:46 PM

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It is all one can do to merely finish this letter to the editor from Mr. Kevin Clark. I am sure that the information contained in the letter is all correct in as much as it had to have been copied and pasted from "the triennial survey by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations". You have to know that the whole triennial report is every bit the page-turner that this letter is, don't you? Mr. Clark then goes on to say that we need to look at the upcoming bond issue through the perspective of how it relates to MMH health care:
"It seems to me that before the taxpayers vote for hundreds of millions of dollars of additional debt, they should take a long hard look at the operation of MMH. This is particularly true now that the hospital is searching for new leadership.

Midland has an outstanding school system. The taxpayers deserve an outstanding hospital now that it is the only game in town. It does not seem that the proponents of the MISD bond package have their priorities in order."

What, exactly, is Mr. Clark advocating here? Does he want us to not pass the school bond? Or does he want us to pass the school bond but then give the money to the hospital? Does building one hundred additional classrooms to relieve overcrowding in the schools represent skewed priorities when we have an MRI machine that is a year out of date at the same time we are looking for a new hospital administrator? What??

Why not look at the school bond issue and how it relates to construction of the Enterada de Pacifica or a relocation of Midland Air Park? Unless Mr. Clark works as a lobbyist/consultant for health care groups seeking additional public funds this letter makes no sense.

posted by Walsingham 9:46 AM

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   Monday, September 16, 2002
Walser: Before you give the MR-T too much credit for brilliant tongue-in-cheek commentary for publishing the same letter from Mr. Dollahite twice, they just did the same thing with Mr. Gerald Mendenhall's letter that you posted on below.

posted by Site Admin 8:06 AM

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   Sunday, September 15, 2002
No Mr. Walsingham, I think the MRT, being devoted fans of this page, enjoyed so much your T. Dollahite parody that they published his letter again hoping for another send-up. I bet he had a hell of a time back before calculators when he tried to save the US from bankruptcy by figuring the “real cost” of NASA’s Apollo program. I hope he’ll figure the “real cost” to the city’s resources imposed by the guy who tried to vote twice thus wasting the valuable time of elections administrators, police line-up workers and district attorneys. But then think of the “real savings” to all of West Texas to have this demented fellow (whoever he may be) off of the streets and out of the letters column for even a few weeks.

posted by Ignatius 10:03 PM

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Lots of noise coming from Mr. Royce Bodiford, the General Manager of public television station KOCV in Odessa concerning the refusal of Midlanders For Our Schools, Our Future to debate the Citizens For Fiscal Responsibility. I had heard that the initial hangup came when it was discovered that both Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball would be appearing on behalf of the CFR. At that point Midlanders For Our Schools, Our Future then suggested that they too should be able to bring every one of their members to the debate. One can surely understand Mr. Bodiford's interest in all of this. Given his usual choice of public television programming he would have to think that even Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball would draw more viewers than the third re-run of "Marginalized Arachnids: Lesbian Spiders of the Rain Forest".

posted by Walsingham 8:58 PM

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So now the "all-knowing" "all seeing" Walsingham is finally knowing and seeing? What took you so long?

posted by Stevenson 8:27 PM

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Perhaps the MR-T is cracking wise. Perhaps they are sending a coded message. Maybe it was just an oversight and the MR-T needs to get advice from the Elections Administrator on how to prevent these things from happening to them....but Mr. Thomas Dollahite managed to get the exact same letter urging against passing the school bond issue published two times in the last six days. I am going to call it brilliant on the MR-T's part and award a "Laurel".

posted by Walsingham 7:48 PM

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   Friday, September 13, 2002
Mr. Gerald V. Mendenhall's letter is a breath of fresh air. Unlike the CFR, who merely close their eyes to 100 portable buildings spread across the district, Mr. Mendenhall, while against the bond issue, at least recognizes the space availability problem. He even offers alternatives.....something the CFR has never done.
"Secondly, our school enrollment has not shown any significant increase, so until we have gone to year round school and/or shifts there is no reason to add more space to what, now, is being used only about 8 hours a day."
And should we follow through with a plan for year-round schools or lengthening the school day we could then use the existing portable buildings to store all of the tar and feathers and soon-to-be-burned effigies of the school board that we would then require. Hey, everybody wins.

posted by Walsingham 8:34 AM

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I hate being wrong. I just hate it. On Tuesday, September 10, I sarcastically remarked that Osama bin Laden was sure to receive a "Dart" from the MR-T the next day. I was sooooo wrong. Osama's Dart didn't come until today.

posted by Site Admin 8:26 AM

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   Thursday, September 12, 2002
Inbound e-mail from a reader (we have readers!) reports that Mr. Kimball of the CFR was touring the San Jacinto campus only this week. The reader suggested that taking a tour of the facilities before coming out against the bond issue may have been a more appropriate order of events. Another e-mail says that Mr. Kimball's CFR is claiming over two hundred members. We can be forgiven for not knowing how many members the CFR has or doesn't have. But when they don't hold meetings, don't collect dues, and don't solicit contributions how does the CFR even know how many true members it has? Other than coming out against school bond issues, the only action one ever finds the CFR "membership" taking is alternately electing Mr. Woodside or Mr. Kimball "their" President.

posted by Site Admin 3:11 PM

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Letters to the Editor (9/12): John Fisco gets it. And he understands the Ernie phenomenon all too well. Ernie is no fiscal conservative. Judging from what he has supported in the past he is far from it, seventy-five photos with Reagan on his "Ego Wall" notwithstanding. He either has an axe to grind with public schools or, as has been mentioned before, is expecting the defeat of the bond and is getting out in front of it to enhance the "Ernie Mystique." Meanwhile, we just run a few thousand more kids through the school system hoping that sooner or later Ernie will tell us what it is he wants instead of what it is he doesn't want.

Ms. Deborah Fikes praises efforts to illustrate Sudanese religious oppression. One wonders if the Sudanese present were chiefly thinking to themselves: "Rock the Desert? You call this a desert?"

Mr. Harvey B. Rhoads (a Charter Member of the Midland West Rotary Club, no less) thinks that five Principals at Lee High School are just way too many......even if they are imaginary.

posted by Walsingham 2:44 PM

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   Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Don't search for "understanding".
Don't hope for "closure".
Work only for Victory.

posted by Site Admin 7:31 AM

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   Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Three Letters to the Editor, each wonderful in its own way. We begin with a Pat Thomas who unleashes this beaut:
"We have three issues to vote on. Why have three issues to vote on if I can't vote for one and against the others? I would like to vote to build a new Midland High School, but my vote will not count unless I vote for issue No. 1. In this case I will vote against all three."
Disregard the fact that Mr. (Ms.?) Thomas doesn't realize that there are a ton of things contained in Prop 1 that go into improving Midland High School that would be built upon if Prop 2 and Prop 3 pass also. What you have here....illustrated very clearly.....may be the CFR's whole strategy. Site Admin has already touched on this. The CFR publicly states that the improvements need to be done, even tells that poor delusional Louisa Valencia they want her to have an elementary school on the south side, is the way that it is packaged that forces them to come out against it. Then picture the choice ridden ballot theoretically favored by the CFR. Everything broken down to such a detailed choice set that when everyone has finished voting for what they think they want or what they think MISD needs the most.......every item on the ballot has received only 30% of votes in Favor.

Mr. William Sandidge either puts his name on a letter generated by the CFR or at the very least transcribes one of their, uh, fact filled brochures.
"However, they have not informed the public of their current $83 million debt and their plans to pay off this debt. They want to build new school buildings while enrollments are declining and their independent consultants are recommending closure of some schools. Also, MISD has not informed the public that they are considering cancellation of the homestead exemption to help pay off the new debt."
Why Mr. Sandidge doesn't consider the bond issue that generated the debt he refers to as sufficient notice I can't answer. The rest of the letter is just a recital of the CFR's untruths du jour......winding up with the Homestead Exemption bogeyman.

This leaves us with Mr. Sartain who winds up with this big finish:
"Tell the MISD to redo the proposals, do it right then we will vote yes."
Normally such a finish would have been preceded by some suggestion.....any suggestion of what constitutes the "right" way to do it. Nope. Nada. Zilch. It must be like Supreme Court Justice Steven's definition of "obscene": "I can't tell you what it is but I know it when I see it".

posted by Walsingham 9:43 PM

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Let Me Guess: Osama bin Laden receives a "Dart" tomorrow.

posted by Site Admin 9:20 PM

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On channel 9 last night they said that they had attempted to pry the name of the double voter from the D.A., but he says he won’t release the name until he sees a police report. I suggest that they call Kimball and ask: Does the CFR ever recruit local secret agents to test the integrity of the one man, one vote safeguards? If so, could there possibly be a better sleuth than Midland’s version of George Smiley, the innocuous master of the non-disguise, Tom Dollahite? Why not call him?

posted by Ignatius 9:40 AM

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   Sunday, September 08, 2002
Thomas Dollahite dusts off his old stand by Letter to the Editor in which he professes shock that lending institutions charge something to loan you money. Let us look at his letter from another angle:

Dear Editor: Our local real estate brokers are still trying to deceive the good home buyers of Midland by not revealing the true cost of the houses that they are selling in the newspaper.

The evidence of this boondoggle shows up in the real estate section of the paper EVERY SUNDAY when home prices are listed. I see houses for sale that are listed for $75,000! Horsehockey!

Sure, the listing may show a price of only $75,000 but why don't they admit that these houses will cost a huge amount of interest? These dishonest realtors try to put one over on us by saying that the price shown in the ad reflects the amount of money that will have to be paid the seller of the house. Horseapples!

And why do these people need new houses anyway? Horseradish! Everyone used to live in smaller houses!

All things considered, I sure intend to vote no on this issue and advise thinking citizens to do the same!

Twice if they can.

Thomas H. Dollahite
Note to Idiotarians: This is not actually a letter from Mr. Dollahite. It is a parody, but just barely one.

posted by Walsingham 10:06 AM

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   Saturday, September 07, 2002
Say, what happened to the "all-knowing", "all-seeing" Walsingham? If what I have heard is correct, you will recognize the name immediately......but I am not going to post it here without the actual police report in my hand.

posted by Stevenson 10:37 PM

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How is it that there is no name attached to this article? A guy attempts to vote twice, is known to the clerks as an opponent yet his name is not given?

posted by Walsingham 10:33 PM

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Ernie's sock-puppet gets a sock-puppet of his own.

Read about it

posted by Walsingham 10:12 AM

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Iggy: I don't agree that a South side elementary school would have fared badly as a standalone issue...........this time. But here is the potential problem that Louisa may have created for herself. Say Prop 1 fails this time (taking Prop 2 and Prop 3 with it, of course) the next go round the South side elementary will almost certainly be a standalone issue. An issue that would almost exclusively benefit an area with traditionally low voter participation and turnout. An issue that, consequently, would then require help from a load of pro-bond voters outside that area. And because it is a standalone issue these voters could vote for everything BUT a South side elementary, thinking that Louisa wasn't there for them when they needed her....why should they be there for her?

Maybe I am right here, maybe I am wrong. But if I am right, Louisa had better hope Prop 1 passes this time or there isn't going to be a Southside elementary school.

posted by Site Admin 9:55 AM

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Speaking of their “membership” – one crowd shot made the footage on Big 2’s coverage of Louisa’s shocker announcement. The usual suspects swelled the crowd: Woody, Mark, the coffee shop guy, a couple of neatly coiffed older ladies but…no Ernie. My guess is that while politics makes for strange bedfellows and all that, asking Mr. Republican to share a picture frame with an Hispanic woman sporting a “Sanchez” campaign button was too much to ask. Someday Ernie will regret casting his lot with this rag-tag group of “CAVE” men (Citizens Against Virtually Everything.)

posted by Ignatius 9:12 AM

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   Friday, September 06, 2002
I appreciate the credit you try to give me. But prescience is not required when I have a deep cover mole inside the CFR. He would be surprised to find out he is a mole......just like 85% of the CFR's claimed membership would be surprised to find out that they are now "members" simply because someone group e-mailed a bunch of their of which was in the CFR....and forgot to use the "Bcc:" option.

posted by Walsingham 11:37 PM

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Walser: The foreboding karma that you sensed this morning was eerily prescient. First Valencia caves for 15 seconds of fame, then a poor fellow attempted to vote against the bond – twice! Say what you will of Mr. Kimball’s shifty visage, he inspires a passion in the deranged that we will never be able to counter. We have only this page, these hollow words. Kimball has a mailing list that reaches every wacko in the county.

posted by Ignatius 11:26 PM

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Please, somebody get the tape! 2000 debate, Valencia & Kimball in a virtual Vulcan Mind Meld of agreement to defeat the bond because it made no provision for a South Side Elementary. Fast forward 2 years, the South side elementary is on the ballot with a legit chance of passing. Valencia, in her infinite political wisdom decides that the elementary should stand alone on the ballot where it would fold up faster than another restaurant in that doomed building on Big Spring. Jeeza, Louisa.........Kimball & Company would sooner pass a kidney stone than a South side elementary. How did they turn her? Maybe the allure of being the CFR’s 5th Beatle was too much for her to withstand (if you’re counting at home: Ernie, Mark, Woody, & that guy with the cool socks and sandals from the coffee shop downtown.) Or maybe they just asked, “Hey, Louisa, wanna be on T.V.?”

posted by Ignatius 10:24 PM

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You may be the Site Admin, but don't ever question the mighty, all-knowing, all-seeing Walsingham: You wanted to see it before you believed it? See it here.
"We are thankful the MISD considered placing an elementary school on the south side of Midland," Valencia is quoted in the press release, "but Midlanders should not be forced to spend $90-160-million to meet the real school needs of this area."

Translation: Give me what I want. Screw what you want.

The last part of the sentence...."to meet the school needs of this area.".....really grabs the eye. Does she not realize that every one of the kids that would attend a new elementary school on the South side will also pass through the secondary schools as well......or does she think that kids just vaporize upon completing the sixth grade? Louisa, thy name is Patsy.

posted by Walsingham 3:06 PM

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Hide and watch baby, hide and watch.

posted by Walsingham 2:37 PM

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Walser: I'll believe it when I see it. That the CFR would stab Louisa in the back is a given. Louisa stabbing herself in the back, and by extension, stabbing all of her constituents on the South side in the back is another matter entirely.

posted by Site Admin 9:48 AM

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It is morning and there is a feeling of dread across the land. The dogs are agitated this new day perhaps because their animal sense tells them that something is not right. My newspaper is wet from the sprinkler. My coffee bitter. I am overcome with the feeling that the world has changed and will never again, dear reader, be the same again.

This must be the morning that Louisa Valencia will come out against the bond issue, shaking the bond proponents to their very core. Only something that catastrophic would cause me to channel Ed Todd like this.

posted by Walsingham 7:25 AM

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   Thursday, September 05, 2002
My favorite call that morning was the shill who asked the leading questions:

“Let me get this straight, Mr. ah ah Kimball is it? So you’re saying that you were not allowed to give your presentation at certain events that the other side worked? And, further, were some of these presentations at tax-exempt venues such as churches or schools? Well, Mr. Kimball, I’m not an attorney, (in fact I sound suspiciously similar to that guy with the ridiculously large handlebar moustache who formerly sold time for cable tv) but I’m curious, could this possibly affect their tax-exempt status?”

And then he gave his canned answer that sent fear into the hearts of the principals of the various schools who happened to be listening, “Oh, God, we didn’t give Mr. Kimball the chance to ooze his skewed statistics upon our PTA…quick get me a high powered attorney on the phone. Kimball’s going to unilaterally revoke our tax-exempt status!"

posted by Ignatius 4:09 PM

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   Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Now that you mention many things point to the notion that, in the case of the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, there is no there there. At the issue oriented events you either see Mr. Woodside or Mr. Kimball. Sometimes both at the same time when they are really trying to swell the crowd. I think their Treasurer has a name that is neither Kimball nor In-Law maybe? Employee? You begin to see why Mr. Kimball stated on KCRS this morning that his group (of whatever size) doesn't make actual proposals, they just review and comment on the work of others. Have they named anyone on their investigatory committee? What are their areas of expertise? Do they even have meetings? Are there dues? Secret handshakes? What?

Not that being a tiny group makes them wrong......but is there really any indication at all that the CFR has even a fraction of the organizational resources that would be needed to fully investigate and critique the months and months of work put forth by the 35 member CFAC committee?

posted by Stevenson 5:14 PM

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Here you go, Stevie-Girl: We can let the readers decide for themselves whether or not Mr. Rushdie has blown his cover by coming out against the bond issue. Scuttlebutt has the CFR pretty steamed that they aren't automatically allowed to follow the bond proponents around town and hang on their necks like great millstones.....even, uh...ahem.... "just mentioning....not threatening" First Presbyterian Church with the loss of that church's non-profit status for denial of "equal time". Message to the CFR: Recruit and schedule your own speakers bureau and/or buy your own air time, you deadbeats.

posted by Site Admin 10:41 AM

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Hardly a "Man Bites Dog" story here. What everyone knew was going to happen before the first signature was gathered for the original petition has indeed happened. The Chamber has gotten the contract from the Midland Development Corporation to do the "Economic Development" work. One wonders if the MR-T editors have discovered this little 'ol website, though. In the past, the MDC couldn't soil a hankie without it appearing on the front page of the paper. Story after story on just the process of choosing the contractor was front page stuff. When the actual decision was made the story was bumped back to the Local section. But this little nugget was sure unexpected:
"'It calls for us to be much more creative and aggressive than the next guy,' MDC board member John James said of Midland's ED program.

His comment came after Midland City Manager Rick Menchaca said Amarillo, which has a $20 million to $25 million ED "war chest," is "not having that much success."
That last quote should set off not just one, but a series of articles investigating why it is that Amarillo....the same Amarillo that was used as a club to beat us into submission on the last ED sales tax initiative is suddenly discovered to be "not having that much success" with a "war chest" eight times larger than Midland's. Alas, you will not see such articles in the official news organ of the Midland Chamber of Commerce....otherwise known as the Reporter-Telegram.

posted by Site Admin 10:17 AM

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Walsingham: I am soooooooo glad that you posted the picture of Mr. Kimball. Sunday morning, upon entering the kitchen searching for my first cup of coffee my husband (who was already reading the paper) said to me "Honey, you will interested to know that Salman Rushdie has come out against the school bond issue."

posted by Stevenson 8:49 AM

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   Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Now comes Mr. Mark Kimball of the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, a group (one suspects) that is wholly comprised of five guys in possession of an e-mail list for the local media. Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit suspicious of a group that changes leadership less often than Red China? "OK, Woody, this is your year to be President and then I'll do it again next year." Reading Mr. Kimball's column it must come as no surprise that after thousands of man hours of work and interviews the Citizen's Facility Advisory Committee didn't manage to guess what it is Mr. Kimball's, uh.....organization had in mind for our schools. Let us go to the letter.
"The same old "Tax and Spend," "Take Out a Loan, Let Your Kids Pay For It" and "Plain Old Liberals" are out in force trying to convince you, the Midland Taxpayer, to live on credit. You know who these groups and individuals are: The Midland Chamber of Commerce, The Reporter-Telegram, and Midlanders For Our Future, Our Children. Many of these groups have supported every tax increase in the last decade. Fortunately for Midland, they have lost almost 70 percent of their battles."
Which brings up the question: Just where was the CFR, these vanguards of the tax dollar on the last two issues, one when we were deciding whether or not to build oversized stadiums...the baseball park being a total sop, in-your-face-public-subsidy of a privately held professional minor league baseball team, and the other issue being the last go round of the "Economic Development" sales tax that will enable everyone they are ranting about in the above paragraph to extract millions per year from the taxpayer the CFR purports to be protecting in order to make the Cingulars of the world major league corporate welfare queens? Now, when it is time to repair Eisenhower era school infrastructure that handles thousands of kids per day they suddenly develop "concerns" so deep that they are rendered incontinent on both ends resulting in the unmentionable from one end and columns like the "Speaking Out" dated 9/1/02 from the other. Let's face it, these school bond issues may provide them the opportunity to be "true to their charter", or at least get them their precious ink, but when it really counted the CFR was a total no-show.
"Midlanders believe in "Pay as you go". The proposed does nothing to improve education and ignores a lack of educational planning. It ignores professional advice for which MISD paid $40,000.00."
I agree. I think I speak for all Midlanders when I say that only after a forty-year-old air handler finally quits, or a plumbing system ages to the point that it puts forth brown water should we hold a bond referendum to generate the funds to fix those particular items.....but only if it meshes suitably with anticipated modifications to the proposed mathematics curriculum as laid out by those sections of Artebury study that the CFR agrees with but not those sections that the CFR doesn't agree with. Also, bond referendums should never be for an amount greater than one or two classrooms at a time, regardless of the level of overcrowding. While this may seem onerous to some, using this system (assuming no losses at the ballot box) we could completely eliminate our current need for portable classrooms by voting every Tuesday for slightly less than a year.
"MISD spending is out of control with no plan to curb its spending addiction while the addict begs for even more money with a flawed claim of a repayment plan."
"...begs for even more money with a flawed claim of a repayment plan." Ouch! I guess that was meant to sting....but the only information that this sentence provides the reader is that Mr. Woodside is helping Mr. Kimball write the column.
"Here are just some of the reasons to vote NO and support a better planned bond later this year. MISD PAID $40,000.00 FOR AN INSULTING STUDY: In February of this year, MISD received the findings of its MISD Curriculum Review written by Dr. Elvis Artebury, a former associate of Dr. Nicks at Lamar University. If this study is correct MISD is in danger on many fronts: education, too many buildings, and financially. Since the MRT limits contributors to 750 words, you will have to acquire a copy of this study at the MISD administration building to place the following quotes in context:

MISD "was found to be inefficient and ineffective".

"A comprehensive long range plan does not exist".

"MISD is not reducing cost of expenditures".

Since we are limited to a certain bandwidth per month on this website you will have to contact the system administrator to place the following quotes in context:

"Mr. Kimball, the context destroys your argument and you are absolutely counting on very few readers taking the time to verify this."

".....has carved out a niche in Midland politics as Ernie's sock-puppet".

"....disingenuous yet shallow and unintentionally comic...."


Oh, and a comprehensive long term plan does exist, is made up of several volumes, takes up space that is about the size of a small cafeteria sized table but for some reason does not exist inside the perimeter of the CFR's Reality Distortion Field.
"And, Dr. Artebury was quoted in this newspaper saying MISD "is set up to handle 2,500 more students than (it has)."

Boy, do I have egg on MY face! MISD has been found out on this big scam. When finally cornered, the great malefactor Nicks was forced to admit that the 100 portable temporary classrooms were, in fact, part of a movie set for upcoming feature film "Claustrophobia High". When asked what scene in the film required the use of the band and choir halls forcing students into the hallways for practice he replied, "Oh...that wasn't for the movie. We just do that for fun. I love messin' with the BQ's."
"A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS: MISD currently owes nearly $60,000,000.00! Add the cost of this bond, fees, and interest and MISD's debt will be a quarter of a billion dollars and Midland will earn the dubious distinction of being greater in debt than 97 percent of the school districts in Texas.
True, MISD currently carries about $60,000,000.00 in debt from the last bond issue which updated all of the elementary schools....on schedule and under budget, by the way. Anyone who works with school district debt numbers knows that large sized districts with freshly passed bond issues always move close to the top of the "debt list" only to be quickly displaced by other districts through a combination of paying down the debt along with other districts subsequently passing bond issues of their own. To be fair to the CFR, though, you should never subscribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.
"ENROLLMENT IS DECLINING: All summer long CFAC and Midlanders for Our Schools, Our Future have been claiming increased enrollment, yet MISD reported 20,755 students to the Texas Education Agency last October then claimed 20,179 last May. That is a loss of over 500 students. But, remember, MISD was already set up for 2,500 more students than it had in February!"
Enrollment is up by 381 students over the past two years. And the 100 portable classrooms that MISD is forced to use to handle the overcrowding aren't actually parts of a movie set. That was a joke.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?: MISD claims the bond will only cost 17 cents for every one hundred dollars in valuation in your home. But there are many hidden costs MISD does not want you to consider."
Hidden costs?? Uh, oh! Now MISD is totally screwed! Abandon ship! Person the lifeboats! Mr. Kimball has discovered and is about to list the millions in hidden costs!!
"Now for the hidden costs: Every business in Midland will be hit hard to pay taxes related to the bond."
Whoa! Back. The. Truck. Up. Seven hundred and fifty word limit be damned, if you throw out something like this you had better back it up with something more than that "Trust Me" smile on your by-line photo. What could possibly follow this bombshell? The CFR has held two séances and a OUIJA board session and now have definitive proof that the MISD Trustees either plan to have killed every first born in the district or will repeal the Homestead Exemption?
"And since MISD is already spending every legal dollar it can on maintenance and operations it must consider repealing a portion of your homestead exemption to make ends meet."
Whew! That was close. It was the Homestead Exemption!

posted by Walsingham 1:35 PM

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   Monday, September 02, 2002
Here we go again. The King of Smarm, the oiliest fellow in an oil field town has spoken out. And perhaps the funniest nugget of a truly laughable column was:

“Here are just some of the reasons to VOTE NO and support a better-planned bond later this year.”

It’s the old “There’s a Better Way” campaign all over again. His chutzpa is legendary but even long-term fans of Mr. Kimball have to laugh out loud at his claim for a “better-planned” bond. If he really had a plan, better or worse, after the 2000 bond he would have made a suggestion at a school board meeting, written one letter with a tip or two to the CFAC or maybe just let a bit of his better-planning out of the bag in a remark to one the poor wastrels who is subjected to his presence on a daily basis. What’s the big secret? Enlighten us, dear fellow.

After Ernie’s Speaking Out column last week, Kimball this week, you have to wonder, can Woody be far behind. All we’ve seen from him is one unintelligible letter to the editor. Come on Woodrow, your readership yearns for more of those disjointed incomplete sentences. Give us 750 words of your wisdom, random though they may be.

By the way, I checked out the CFR website and noted that their “poll” shows all three propositions passing. Don’t place too much faith in the poll, though. Who with the wherewithal to find the on/off switch of a computer would check out the CFR site unless they were mining for satirical material. They have a column titled, “Words and Phrases to Look For in the Bond Proposal.” The alert CFR member should be prepared for, “It’s for the Kids” and, “New South Side Elementary.” Now this is good. I guess all of you folks who are preparing campaign literature for the bond should note that, “It’s for The Kids” is taboo. “It’s for the 20000 occupants of the MISD buildings” would be more acceptable. “Kids” is too emotionally charged. They’re not against “kids”, although it is interesting to note that Mr. Angelo has supported the airport, the stadium, and the ED sales tax, but MISD catches his wrath every time. And now they’ve decided to officially back out of the pledge that the unctuous Mr. Kimball made to Louisa Valencia on television in the 2000 debate - to work for a South side elementary. Kimball acts (and looks) like a televangelist. His sermons to the disaffected sound like a camp meeting with a big tent full of victims. Ye Haters of Baressi & Nicks, ye despisers of interest rates, South side elementary schools, and the fiendish teacher who gave your kid a “D” in algebra, the CFR is here for you. Send Satan a message! I’ll tell you how we are getting to Heaven later.

posted by Ignatius 10:25 PM

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