Still, Giles and Ann Florence, Salt Lake school teachers who attended the meeting, weren't comforted by the lawmakers' assurances about vouchers or even how the so-called town meeting was put together. The gatherings are being organized around the state by the Informed Voters Project, a political issue committee of lawmakers who support vouchers. Democrats are not invited, nor is anyone from the organized voucher opposition.The meeting ended with these legislators handing out copies of the poorly drafted bill and a plea that this bill is not saying bad things about public schools. If you are having to sell your bill or program by saying what it doesn't do, or what other people say about it isn't true, you are already in trouble.
The Florences complained they spent all day trying to find one of the meetings, calling newspaper and lawmakers' offices, before they found a listing in The Tribune.
They found the town meeting at Daybreak development's community center a disappointment.
"There was no open discussion - it was definitely loaded in favor of vouchers," Giles Florence said. "It was not a town meeting." The voucher discussion began with a slick promotional film, paid for by the Milton Friedman Foundation, that presented the voucher program as necessary to prepare Utah for an expected onslaught of 155,000 new students over the next five years.
The short video that included cameos by Hughes, Rep. Aaron Tilton, R-Springville, and Senate President John Valentine made a case that Utah's recent prosperity is not assured and an economic downturn similar to one in the mid-1980s is possible. "Then, Utah is really in trouble," says Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, in the film. "Everyone agrees something has to be changed," says Tilton.
Utah's stalled voucher program, which must survive a referendum next month to be implemented, is the change needed, the film maintains, because it would reduce the number of students in classrooms while leaving additional money for public schools.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
fake townhall meetings anyone?
Your Utah state legislature at work. In less than a month, Speaker Curtis and his fellow voucher voting Republicans will have egg all over their face when their bill to create vouchers is repealed by Utahns. Rather than work on finding out what their constituents actually want and making laws around those ideas, these Republicans are trying to sell something Utahns don't want by threatening a recession.