On March 30th, 2012, each candidate had a Compass piece published in the Anchorage Daily News. In her essay entitled "Changes needed to make schools shine", Starr Marsett puts forth five worthy ideas: Do away with social promotion, extend the life of existing schools whenever possible, expand our alternative programs and/or charter schools in response to under-usage of some elementary schools, provide an incentive program for more of our students to become teachers here in Alaska, and conduct an external Curriculum Management Audit before next school year to determine if the achievement gap amongst students is widening. All praiseworthy ideas -- a very electable platform. The Anchorage Daily News has also published a last-minute profile on the school board candidates.
In her essay entitled "City has real opportunity to improve local schools", Natasha Von Imhof followed up the Anchorage School District's adoption of the Common Core Standards by putting forth five ideas to reduce administrative redundancy and focus more on curriculum: Review No Child Left Behind to determine how it could be further pared down, promote more efficient collaboration with non-profits, put all kids in a demanding curriculum, seek additional opportunities make education a priority as often as possible, and hire the most effective teachers while giving them plenty of leash and holding them accountable. All praiseworthy ideas -- also a very electable platform.
So who shows up in the comments section of Von Imhof's essay? None other than one of our infamous progressive bloggers, Linda Kellen Biegel. However, Biegel seems more offended by the fact that Von Imhof's middle name is Rasmuson and she lives in a $1.5 million house rather than her platform:
--I wonder how someone with Natasha Rasmuson Von Imhof's combative attitude...proudly proclaiming at the HALO debate that she has absolutely no education experience so that means she "hasn't drunk the Kool Aid" and won't take the opinions "the School District has given me" ...plans to work civilly with the School Board, the School District, parents and the rest of the public?
--I wonder at someone who, each time she's asked about her outsourcing ideas for the School District, doesn't mention snow removal, IT services or even security. She uses as an example...I'm not kidding...a Middle School Honor Orchestra (Junior Youth Symphony) that is currently free for all participants through the School District, but she wants to have the Alaska Youth Symphony take it over...a program that charges $375.00 per student. Though she admits it "wouldn't save much money" (definitely not for the parents) as the program has two people on staff & the rest volunteers, it just somehow makes sense to her. (Perhaps the reason is that her friend and donor to the campaign happens to be the President of the Board of Alaska Youth Symphony.) If they give her a few more contributions will she try to outsource the entire music program?
-- I wonder at someone who (at the HALO debate) promises that only after she's elected she will go visit the schools and the departments of the Anchorage School District while her opponent has years of volunteer experience and service in education.
I suspect that Ms. Rasmuson Von Imhof has gotten bored sitting in her $1.5 million home now that her children are older and in school and is trying to find the best way "in" to conservative political ladder-climbing. The fact that her campaign sign for this "non-partisan" race is sitting in the front window of the Republican HQ is probably a good indicator.
Find photos, audio and video regarding everything I mention here: http://www.themudflats.net/2012/03/30/school-board-candidate-wants-to-outsource-orchestra-program-2/
Biegel's insistence on referring to the candidate as Rasmuson Von Imhof on two separate occasions reminds me of the practice by a few conservatives of referring to our president as Barack HUSSEIN Obama -- it's strictly intended to have an inflammatory effect. But why would she be offended by the name Rasmuson? It's because Von Imhof is "rich", and we know that progressives tend to think the rich are evil simply because they're rich (unless their name is Soros). So Biegel has introduced class warfare into the race.
This, of course, is the same Linda Kellen Biegel who participated in the two-year ethics jihad against then-Governor Sarah Palin. However, her one and only ethics complaint against Palin had nothing to do with Palin's behavior -- it was simply because Palin wore an Arctic Cat logo on a windbreaker during a public event. I'm willing to bet that if Biegel had been living in Palestine during the time of Christ, she would have filed an ethics complaint against Him for healing the sick on the Sabbath.
The Rasmuson family may be "rich", but they're hardly plutocrats. The Rasmuson Foundation started in 1955 dispensed over $33 million in awards and grants in 2010, for a total of $215 million since 1955. They seek to support not-for-profit organizations that are focused and effective in the pursuit of their goals, with special consideration for those organizations that demonstrate strong leadership, clarity of purpose and cautious use of resources. The trustees look most favorably on organizations which demonstrate broad community support, superior fiscal management and matching project support. Perhaps the lefties would be more favorably disposed towards the Rasmuson Foundation if it was to cut $1 million checks for Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and GLSEN.
The Seat G School Board race, which is citywide, has nothing to with candidate income or lifestyle. It has everything to do with vision and platform. Both Starr Marsett and Natasha Von Imhof would make worthy additions to the school board; the choice is not easy. Both candidates endorse Proposition 1, alhough Von Imhof's endorsement is a bit more conditional. What propels me towards Von Imhof is the fact that she has none of the union endorsements which would makes her more vulnerable to union demands, she's earned an endorsement from the conservative Anchorage Daily Planet, and in the comments section of the Von Imhof essay, Seat E School Board candidate David Nees has posted his own endorsement of Von Imhof.