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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ken Smith & Logic: Not Always A Good Mix

This is taken verbatim from an attack ad mailed by the Ken Smith campaign:

"Bob Lesh
As Scranton School Director, Bob Lesh has voted the last for years in a row to raise school taxes. The largest percentage of Scranton taxes goes to the Scranton School District.
(Scranton School Board Minutes 2002-2009)"

So the logic here is that Bob Lesh should be judged by his record as a School Board Director, which is fair. The problem is that Ken Smith doesn't actually show specific votes and the context under which those votes were taken. For example, how many of these instances were in response to State mandates (*cough* pension funding *cough*)? State mandates, you know those things that often generate from the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Speaking of the Pennsylvania Legislature, Ken Smith wants us to believe that Bob Lesh should also be judged by the performance of the governmental body he serves on, namely the Scranton School Board. Wait a minute though, if Bob Lesh is "guilty" by association with the Scranton School Board, then isn't Ken Smith even more guilty via his association with the Pennsylvania Legislature? Say what you want about the Scranton School District, but...

...the Directors haven't given themselves a midnight pay raise (they don't earn a salary)
...they always have budgets submitted on time
...they always have balanced budgets
...they don't provide for a blanket, no receipts/no questions asked expense reimbursement policy*

Now I wouldn't hold up the Scranton School Board as a model of efficient or effective governance. However compared to the Pennsylvania State Legislature, they end up looking like experts at governmental efficiency.

Word to Ken Smith: Got to be careful throwing those stones, especially when you are sitting inside your glass house.

(*) Note that I have personal experience with this particular point.

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