Out of My Mind, May 3, 2012

‘Gridlock’ affects local, as well as national politics

It’s comes as no surprise the Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives haven’t been getting along very well for the last decade or so. The word “compromise” went out the window a long time ago. All we get now is gridlock and each party seems to use even the simplest decision as a time to beat the other over the head in the name of politics and the good of the people is left behind. This is true even to the extent that one party will block the efforts of another, even if it was the party doing the blocking’s idea in the first place. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad for those of us left out in the cold. Yes, sometimes even a bad decision is better than none at all.
To a lesser extent we were starting to see the same thing happen on the Oroville School Board and a pre-set agenda seemed to be getting in the way of getting the people’s business done. Board Chairman Phil Barker, who writes in this week’s letters to the editor that he is resigning at the next board meeting, refers to his John Wayne style. Serving on the school board doesn’t take a John Wayne style. People are elected to serve the district’s interests in a way that best educates our children while looking out for the taxpayers who provide the funds. That doesn’t mean the board should blindly follow what the administration wants, but clashes of personality, especially those that flare up during board meetings get us no where. The frustration shown by some of the board members, administration and public alike was becoming obvious. And lets face it, the situation was starting to become embarrassing.
I believe Phil was sincere in his feeling that his election was a mandate from some of his supporters to get certain things accomplished. However, there are still five members on the board and being chairman does not make you supreme ruler – it means the chairperson is tasked to run a smooth board meeting through parliamentary procedures and to cast the deciding vote in the case of a tie. The chairperson’s job isn’t to decide what will and will not be talked about because it’s not part of their personal agenda.
I’m sorry Phil is taking the step of resigning because I truly believe he wanted to serve the electorate and he brought with him a great deal of expertise regarding business and especially technical knowledge when it comes to heating and air conditioning. I was hoping that the two sides could settle their differences, end the gridlock and concentrate on the good of educating our kids.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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