For the past 12 years, I have had the pleasure of serving LISD as a member of the Board of Trustees. The goal everyone has is to continue making our district a world-class public school system. It is my belief we succeed in this endeavor.
A school board member receives no pay in his/her service to the district, whose compensation comes in the form of a smile on a child’s face when he succeeds, the exhilaration of a teacher when a student has their “light” come on and the handshake of a colleague. Those things are priceless gifts that never wind up on someone’s balance sheet.
The desire to win an election today seems, more often than not, to require certain candidates to tear down their opponent rather than competing in the arena of ideas and pertinent issues. When they can’t answer a question about anything relevant to the district, it is easier to attack their opponent’s character.
Certain individuals in my political party have started a smear e-mail campaign against Tommy Kim and me. The late night e-mail campaign began with an attack on me, saying I have three failed business ventures and a tax lien against me. Unfortunately, all of these accusations are true. I was part of a restaurant that failed as a result of the recession, a real estate development that could not get zoning and subsequent financing and another real estate building caught up in the restaurant. The tax lien is an offshoot of these failures.
During this time, my wife has been battling breast cancer. I know God has promised us not to give us more than we can handle, but I wish he wouldn’t get so close to the edge. So, I am faced with two choices. One, I could give up; or, I could get up, dust myself off and start over again. I have chosen the latter. This has been a tough time financially for a lot of people. Our family has been no exception. I have not been a proponent of the proposed tax increase in the district since I know there are a lot of other families struggling just like ours. The burden of asking for more tax money has weighed heavily on me.
Twenty-five years ago, I was involved in an automobile accident where the driver of the other car died. Why my life was spared, only God knows. I was charged with the misdemeanor of failure to control speed, which was identified then as negligent homicide. I was given a one-year deferred adjudicated sentence and the charge was dismissed. Eventually, I substituted in LISD for three years, was then hired as a teacher at Marcus High School, where my peers chose me as “Teacher of the Year” in 1997. I disclosed my accident during the hiring process even though, by the rules of the judicial process, I was not required to since the charge was dismissed. The issue was raised when I first was elected to the Board in 1998 and dismissed. I was re-elected to three additional terms with the issue never being raised again.
Now, a liberal blogger, has raised the issue once again. On a Dallas Morning News questionnaire, I left off I had initially been arrested in the accident, which was subsequently dismissed and adjudicated. I had been told the dismissal no longer required a disclosure. Still, I do not know if it is true or not that I needed to have divulged it considering I disclosed it during my first election.
The truly sad part of all this drama is a wonderfully good man, Tommy Kim, has also been caught up in the smear campaign and is at risk of being replaced on the Board through no actions of his own. Tommy is a Naval Academy and Lewisville High School graduate, who honorably served his nation and who has served this district with distinction for 12 years. He is head and shoulders above his opponents in every way.
What has become of our society when people get such great satisfaction in others’ failures? That politics, even local politics, have sunk to such a low level in order to win is not what I believe our Founding Fathers had in mind.
I am the same guy who has filled my seat on the Board for the past 12 years. This recession has been rough for many. It has been no different to my family as we try to recover and finish putting our last two children through college. I am proud I was a small part of helping to build and develop LISD into the lighthouse district it is today. I love this school district and the opportunities it has given my children to be successful in life.