The FORMER FORUM 44057
Posted in the Madison Forum
#1 Apr 2, 2011
I stopped posting on the former 44057 because many issues that seemed unique to Madison have since become pretty widespread. But I want to say something about the forum that went bye-bye.
Whatever the personal issues that the forum members and moderators brought to the forum, I felt an honest attempt was made to communicate issues, for the most part. A lively, and sometimes rancorous and raucous, debate often ensued. But, that's free speech, also. My particular interest was the school district forum.
I believe that Madison's problems didn't always originate with, or within, Madison. The decision in the mid-70s to bring the power plant to Perry affected the attitude and ambience of all the districts surrounding Perry, not just Perry, alone. With the financial consortium created and a feeling there was a big money pie to be shared, the various districts associated with the Lake County Educational Service Center became arrogant, intolerant of outsiders and creative thinking that wasn't beneficial to all-knowing, fascist-like and small-minded administrators. Decisions started being made that often were only barely legal, and skirted the law, sometimes stepping over the line. Madison had been a friendly, unassuming, rural community. That changed.
I was told by a superintendant that Perry had chosen a corporate model of management and operation based on private mega-corporate criteria for success. However, by law Perry is supposed to be a public school district. They are still supposed to be answerable to the community, which is NOT First Energy, no matter if the United States Supreme Court views corporations as individuals (see the recent financial contribution rulings by corporations)
And it was suggested that financial advisors and consultants were provided to Perry from Cententior and then First Energy-with a little arm twisting-to ensure that the corporate model would be followed. First Energy also determined that, to keep peace in the various community school districts, every district benefiting from the financial output of the consortium had to behave in a certain "don't-rock-the-boat " manner.
Superintendants regularly met privately to discuss how best to control their unruly and incorrigable citizens, discussed employees BY NAME across school districts and how to deal with them, and how best to swap jobs and titles with each other. Even though Perry eventually pulled out of the Lake County thing-a-mah-jig, they still operated-and might operate-behind the scenes, to regulate how affairs are managed and maintained in other districts. Take my work for it.
Madison became corrupted. The Board of Education and administrators got into the habit of persecuting employees or personnel assigned to Madison, whose ideas and suggestions were deemed threatening to the advancement of administrators whose ambitions exceeded their talent; hiding from the public, information about available funds while claiming the district was broke and had to keep raising taxes to maintain solvency; lying about personnel and gossiping about citizens of the community whose only crime was their right to express their views-usually expressed without malice-under the First Amendment; forshadowing Columbus's "New Deal" plan or conspiracy, of trying to privatize all of public education, by privatizing the bussing; of ridiculing and insulting a basically honest community, because some members had legitimate questions about the need for wholesale physical reconstruction of the school district buildings; and, allowing certain valued members of the community to help determine school district policy.
The 44057 Forum became one of the most important avenues to discuss issues in Madison for people both pro-and-con about school, community services, politics, business and industry, and recreational and human interest issues. I'm sorry to see it go.
Anybody remember Willow Pond Books? What a friendly place that was. No backstabbing, there.
#2 Apr 2, 2011
You have written a very thought provoking and intelligent post. Kudos!
The concept of a forum to discuss issues was originally a noble one.
However, that too became corrupted...and at breakneck speed.
It quickly became an arrogant, manipulative, backstabbing, and intimidating tool from the ones who held their traditional rolls of power and influence in the community to the bozos on the block who thought his or her misspells and misspeaks held the same legitimacy and value as those (like yourself, for instance) that actually had insight into what was going on in the area.
There are positives and negatives to most things.
Anonymity of thought unleashed much pomp & puff as well as base level rudeness and crudeness.
Some of it was very hurtful.
Keep in mind that when this first all developed "it" (the forum venue) was a new toy in the store for many people. Some people who don't share well in real life didn't share well on a forum.
#3 Apr 2, 2011
I never gave that forum much credence. I tried to register once (using my real name) to lend some advice to a question about youth sports. I have been a non-controversial coach/officer in a number of youth sports in Madison. I was not accepted. It was very apparent it was not a "community" forum.
#4 Apr 3, 2011
Because Madison is a small town, it's not surprising that some of the rancor takes on a personal dimension between competing and often, inflated, personalities. Often, debates or insults become more impersonal when those debates or arguments involve much larger numbers of people or issues involving state or national affairs.
But the forum also provided a way for people to be kept informed of issues that the Madison School Board attempted to minimize, suggesting that the details of operations and plans be left to the "experts," and only the initial grand strategies be communicated. Now, details of strategy implementations can be changed as the situation warrants.
One problem was that the Board often knows how details are going to change beforehand. Why? Because the Board often knows precisely what sort of assets the Board controls. And they engineer any changes or tinker with plans to meet often privately, pre-arranged goals, not wholly shared with the community. Money doesn't always talk, but sometimes remains silent.
Furthermore, as often the case, the Board's only real advice to the community was usually simply, "Just give us your money, and we'll work out the details." Anybody who lived in the community or served the school system who disagreed with policy, was branded a negative team-player, or some sort of troublemaker. And often, just so certain corrupt-like bigshots could feel like empire builders. How do you build an empire in a small community? But these characters had big ideas.
Madison still cannot be certain that the monies ostensibly for district infrastructure reconstruction, will be used as intended. Officially, it may be illegal to do otherwise. But, that hasn't stopped some of these characters in the past, and it won't stop them now, or in the future.
The local educational service center, in order to maintain influence with the districts, has been complicit in a number of ways to maintain to help district administrations to maintain overbearing control. It was even willing to accept, as its own, the First Energy/Perry policy of corporate philosophy and dictatorship, as the only legitimate method of operaton and oversight. I think one can legitimately ask, does First Energy manage Lake County government, not the other way around?
It's indeed unfortunate that former LCESC administrators have gone on to become superintendants elsewhere, or educational consultants. Perhaps a the word "travesty," would be better. I think the word "goombas," would be more appopriate to describe how they looked after each other's behinds. Certainly, the LCESC Board itself, was negligent in its oversight of the agency, and the LCESC's cozy relationships with districts it should have been consulting with more diligence.
So, small districts like Madison were left to their own devices and designs and their own small town versions of power politics. Wouldn't it have been nice for Madison/Riverside and other personnel to exercise all that on each other? Why'd they have to take it out on ordinary citizens, and turn them against each other?
That probably explains at least some of the anger and intolerance on the 44057 Forum, not just the fact that the Forum's managers were out to fight and attack people who disagreed with them in particular.
I remain convinced that a Forum of some kind is essential to allow for a democratic exchange of ideas. Hey, even that sort of democracy permitted the Forum itself to collapse, when the people who ran it had had enough with the criticism directed against them (some of it justified), right?
It wasn't exactly like the Norman Rockwell painting of the small town hall community meeting. Too much trading of insults on line. But it was better than nothing.
#5 Apr 3, 2011
Lake Tea Party, good post. Have you thought about joining the new Madison-44057.com forum? What do you think of the current school administration and school board?
#6 Apr 4, 2011
LTP, have you ever considered moving to Florida?
#7 Apr 4, 2011
*waving to LTP*
I have a very, very good idea as to who you are.=)
#8 Apr 4, 2011
Emmie loves LTP.
#9 Apr 4, 2011
LTP sure likes to blat on and on.
#10 Apr 4, 2011
If I don't stir the pot, someone else will. And on the former Forum, a lot of people did-to their credit. Even Madison administration cronies, who used to use the forum to communicate their own views.
Like Arlo Guthrie commented in his song "Alice's Restaurant," while he went on and on with his song...."I'm not proud..or tired."
#11 Apr 4, 2011
I always liked Arlo Guthrie.
#12 Apr 15, 2011
So it is very apparent which person was the anti-free speech nazi on the former forum.
#13 Apr 15, 2011
I cant belive it... someone having a great conversation starter topic . One that took alot of thought, and well written to say the least. Hats off to you. This is what a public forum "should" be like.
#14 Jul 13, 2013
could someone please give me the web address for
the original Madison44057 forum
#15 Jul 19, 2013
I cant remember it...but even if I did you couldnt find it. I do remember it being gone....forever
#16 Aug 1, 2013
The forum experiment in all its flavors in Madison may have been a noble enough concept at its beginning, but it turned into a monster which grew and grew by feeding on negativity and discord until it finally came crashing down on itself and those involved and was ultimately thought of at the end as a big failure in local human interaction.
Many were hurt. Many who were hurt also justified hurting others.
Then came Facebook.
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