Friday, January 16, 2009

Rumors (and the Board of Supervisors)

A week or so ago, Bill Rasnick resigned from the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. (Most states call that body the "County Commission.) The remaining four members of the BOS will have to appoint someone to fill his position until a special election can be held (in November) to fill out the final two years of Bill's term.

It took about two days for someone to ask me if it was true that I was going to be the new supervisor. They told me that, according to what they'd heard, I was asking to BOS to appoint me to the position. And they told me that they thought that was a good thing. I'd make a good supervisor, they said...

I was flattered. But it wasn't something I'd contemplated much. And the rumor (that I'd already approached the BOS and was lobbying for the position) simply isn't true.

In the time since then I've thought about the BOS job. There are really two positions being discussed. The first is the appointed position as Northern District Supervisor; whoever gets that will probably take office in late February or early March. The second is the elected position as Northern District Supervisor; in November, someone will get that position and serve just over two years on the BOS, from November, 2009 to January 2012. Of course, the person who gets the first appointed position could easily also get the second elected.

The last time that a vacancy came available on the BOS, Jimmy Durham was appointed to fill the position temporarily and Mike Hymes was later elected to fill the position. Hymes had submitted a resume to the board and asked to be appointed, but wasn't.

So what is the truth about me?

Tom Childress has expressed an interest in filling both the first and the second position, being appointed to the BOS in the near future and then being elected to continue in the position in November. Childress has served the Northern District's interest through the local Democratic office since the 1970's, I think (long before I was around), and done so admirably. At least one other person has expressed interest in the elected position in November. I don't know that his interest in the position has been made public, so I won't mention his name here. But he wants someone else to take the appointed position and warm that seat on the BOS until November. And former Northern District School Board member Spot Steele tried to unseat Rasnick for the Democratic nomination for Rasnick's position back last year. I would guess that he's interested in the appointment, but I don't know for sure.

At least two other names are in play. Tom Brewster agreed to consider warming a seat on the BOS for a couple of months. But Dr. Brewster is a member of Virginia's State Board of Education and works in the Pulaski County school system (I think). Ken Franklin's name has also been mentioned as a seat warmer, but I haven't heard him express interesting in the position himself.

And the truth about me is that I hadn't really considered the position when the rumors started. I've asked some questions about it and talked to one member of the BOS about time commitments involved.

I work as a teacher during the day and I come home and work as a writer at night. Taking the position would require me to rearrange my life some and make some sacrifices. I suppose that's true for anyone who enters the level of public service we're discussing. In March, at about the time someone will fill the appointed position, I'll start the final internship for a educational leadership program I've been working on for the past two years. The internships are demanding and time consuming - at a time when the BOS will wholeheartedly involved in the budget process.

On Saturday January 10th, I stood up at a meeting of the Northern District's Democratic Committee and said in public that I wasn't interesting in running for election to the position in November. I'm really not. It probably wouldn't be fair to Northern District residents for me to put my name forward for the appointed position; I know that my internship will distract me greatly BOS activities until at least mid-April. I'm not arrogant enough to think that I can do it better than the other people who want it.

I suppose that one day I may grow more political ambition. But for this year at least, I think the BOS will have to live without me.

Finally, a shout out to Rene. I hear she reads my blog...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ending My Sentences with Prepositions

A note on my title at the Green Cup: I received a comment shortly after publishing this. No body; just a subject line that read "With whom do you reflect?" I went and found my copy of The Little, Brown Handbook. It's a Fifth Edition and I thnk they're up to the 10th now, so it's a little out of date. But I suspect the rules have become even more relaxed. It says that "Prepositions usually come before their objects. But in speech and informal writing the preposition sometimes comes after its object." It gives the example "What do you want to see him about?" This is a blog - a writing genre characterized in part by its informal tone. As a linguist, I doubt that a single native English speaker would miss my meaning in the title simply because of the placement of the preposition. I agree with with Tina Blue on the matter: Some of the "rules" of English grammar that you learned in school were devised by pedants who believed that English was inferior to Latin and should be improved by forcing it onto the Procrustean bed of Latin grammar. Finally, although I'm certified to teach high school English, I consider "whom" to be an archaic form that gets used now in only the most formal settings. I can't recall the last time I used it myself...