This weekend’s Park Record had a guest editorial calling out resident Bill Humbert for remarks made to the Park City Council. According to a previous Park Record article, during Public Comment Mr Humbert said he overheard a conversation between a city council person and a school board member regarding the upcoming $56 million bond. Mr Humbert said he overheard, “You just have to tell the voters that either you pass the bond or we will simply levy taxes on your property and it will cost you more.”
The editorial said Mr Humbert “took a conversation so out of context…that it is appalling.” It went on to say that the grandstanding that has gone on by many (not all) of those against this bond is so disingenuous that we must call it out. It ends by “shaming” the Park Record.
I don’t know what conversations were had by who at a parade. I don’t know if the accusations Mr Humbert were making were valid. I don’t know if the guest editorialist, Kathy Meyer, is the same Kathryn Meyer that received money from the school district in 2014. And frankly I don’t care about any of that.
Think back to 6th grade. Did you ever have a big kid in your class that would “kick your *ss” if you didn’t give him your lunch money? From personal experience, I know that he wasn’t lying. Just because it was true, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t bullying. Daren would beat the crap out of you if he had to, but he’d rather just take your money.
So, it’s accurate to say that members (and former members) of the school district have stated that their is no debate about whether the school district is moving forward with their $65 million plans. They have also said that if voters don’t vote for the bond, they will just raise taxes, which will cost a voter about 5 times more per year.
Do I believe them? Yes. I don’t think they are lying or bluffing.
In my mind the hard part is understanding intent, as this is a little different than school bullying. Is the mention of raising taxes purely educational in nature — something like “you should really save 10% for retirement because it’s more fiscally sound”? Or is it said with the intent of influencing the populace through a threat of raising taxes to a point that some people cannot afford?
The definition of bullying is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”
So, if those statements are said in a purely benevolent way in an attempt to educate the populace (imagine sitting down to a wedding dinner and being told you can either have the steak or fish … or in this case a bond or tax) then it’s hard to level a bullying claim.
However, if there is even an inkling of intimidation in any of these statements or tone by the district, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than this is a case of bullying.
Is the school district just making sure we know we have a choice between bond and tax, or is it a no-so-veiled attempt to influence the voter through coercion?
I guess that slight distinction appears to be in the eye of the beholder.