Friday, July 25, 2008

The problem with the West Bend School District

Boots and Sabers has been blogging lately about the West Bend School District and the possibility that its school board will try to saddle its taxpayers with another huge tax increase referendum to replace the failed $119 million referendum from last fall.

What’s wrong with West Bend?

Mark Belling has often asked his callers to explain the contradiction of conservative cities that routinely elect tax-and-spend liberals to city councils and school boards. His callers always get it wrong. West Bend is a perfect example. Washington County, which includes West Bend, is the most Republican county in Wisconsin. A democrat has as much chance of winning a partisan office in West Bend that a Republican has in Madison. So why is their school board filled with tax-and-spend liberals?

The problem can be summed up in two words - Candidate Recruitment.

Face it. Conservative people aren't attracted to local elected office for a number of reasons. They have busy lives and by their nature prefer to spend their free time with their families or in money-making activities that pay more than a pittance. Conservatives are, well, conservative. They don’t have the time or patience to spend their free time fighting losing battles in long committee meetings. That’s the domain of liberals.

In New Berlin, we've been very fortunate to elect conservatives to our School Board, and to a lesser extent, our city council, because a few dedicated individuals invested a lot of time and effort in candidate recruitment. Recruits are told that if every conservative served just one three year term in local elected office, the liberals wouldn't stand a chance. With only a few exceptions, conservatives always win.

The Republican Party should spend more time on candidate recruitment at the local government level, which was the whole point of political parties in the first place. The real work should take place months before the filing deadlines. Angry taxpayers should spend their time recruiting candidates who won’t give them tax increase referendums.

So, does West Bend have any hope? The funny thing about democracy is that voters get exactly what they deserve.