Local Politicos Work Things Out Rationally 092510
Last week the Prospect has eyewitness reports that Superintendent of Schools Stan Hardeman, who was announcing a Loyalton High Grizzly’s game campaigned for 5th District supervisorial candidate Karen Rickman, touting her support of county schools. Rickman is a well-known supporter of the schools and works for First 5.
Many felt that Hardeman’s position with the schools, and the venue, made endorsing a candidate unwise, maybe even illegal. It was also seen as unfair to the opposing candidate, Scott Schlefstein.
The Prospect had emailed Mr. Hardeman about the event, but hadn’t heard back by press time.
However, Mr. Hardeman did reply, saying he saw himself acting as a private citizen at the game; announcing football games is not part of the Superintendent’s duties. As a private citizen Mr. Hardeman can legally take part in any political actions he chooses.
However, when it was pointed out to Mr. Hardeman how the event looked to some, he quickly replied.
“I believe that my promotion of that candidate is somewhat exaggerated, however upon reflection I realize that I should have presented a "balanced" introduction of all the candidates or not said anything at all.”
Mr. Hardeman offered to square things up:
“I apologize for my indiscretion. I did announce to the Rotary club that I should have provided a balance to an introduction of a candidate and I will do the same at the football game on Saturday… I do know that Scott took the time to learn about the federal money that Sierra County/Schools receive in lieu of the reduced forest receipts (Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act) and he is in favor of supporting “our” efforts to get the act renewed (constitutes aprox. %16 of our school unrestricted budget) I will announce that fact at the game. “
Mr. Hardeman has been working with other schools and organizations in the state to save the “Secure Rural Schools” funding, which supports schools and does many other things for the community, but it looks like hard times at the federal level might mean drastic cuts.
Mr. Schlefstein released a statement to the press saying, “We are a family here in Sierra County. Instead of tearing each other down, we need to lift each other up.
… My kids attend this school, so as a parent, I care about what goes on at their school. The legal and ethical impropriety of this kind of thing was already made well known by both the Sierra Booster and Sierra County Prospect.”
Schlefstein acknowledged the slight, but showed no inclination for further action. “I think forgiveness is very important in life and necessary for so many reasons. People make mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance. We are all human.
So I call on both sides to put this behind us. One side should remember the law, think about the ethics of an action before acting, and tone down the rhetoric. The other side should not bother Mr. Hardeman about the incident any longer. It's over and we are moving ahead.”
The Prospect is deeply disappointed that this issue wasn’t blown all out of proportion, and that our local political folks are so willing work together. In other media markets lawyers are called, charges are made and denied, and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are frittered away. That’s real news. Real news isn’t made by people who apologize, nor by people who accept those apologies. Nice work, guys.