Campaigning 101

A fold-out flier in orange-and-brown fall foliage screamed “THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY SAFARI” and was hyping one of those seminars for political handlers and candidates. The early October event, held in Bedford, New Hampshire, included such session titles as: “Breaking through the Pack,” “The 99 Little Things You Should Never Forget” and “Dealing with Bloggers: When to Hire, When to Schmooze, When to Advertise and When to Ignore.”
In the latter session, you gotta love their divide and conquer strategems regarding bloggers: “When is it time to put them on your payroll? When is it time to take them off your payroll?” Hmmm. Is there a session on how to buy a news story? I don’t see that in the slick brochure. Maybe it’s in the next seminar.
But there were sessions for political handlers that confirmed what the public thinks of the way political campaigns are run: all image, phony photo-opps and schmoozing for dollars, little substance. Under the all important “99 Little Things,” the seminar session advises candidates to think about such weighty issues as: “What kind of car should you arrive at events?” “Does growing a beard relegate your candidate to obscurity?” And they did not leave out women candidates (gosh nope!) for they pose this very important question: “For women, pants or a skirt?”
And there’s this ethical session entitled “Laws and Loopholes: 10 Overlooked Opportunities for Stretching Campaign Dollars.”
I encourage anyone to get involved in the presidential campaign and perhaps, not allow the handlers to hijack our democracy. One way is to submit a question to for their upcoming CNN/YouTube debate of the Republican Presidential candidates. The entries from the American public already in are way better than the “pants or skirt?” variety offered by these so-called experts.

Temple City responds

I got a phone call from Temple City Unified School District Superintendent Joan C. Hillard last week. She was responding to my column “Reviving a community near crisis,” Sept. 22, which mentioned the summer crime spree in TC and how those in custody were former TCHS students. I also said I was disappointed with the lack of response from the school district.
Because I live there and my wife and I are raising our boys there and they attend TCUSD schools, perhaps my opinion carried some added weight. I was writing as a journalist, yes, but also as a resident and a TCUSD parent.
Since that column ran, Hillard mailied a letter to the parents with the Back To School Night papers. I did not know of the letter when I wrote my column. Hillard said some letters did not get to parents in a timely manner and that about 400 were delivered late. I eventually did receive it and have since read it.
We had a nice conversation in which she assured me the district has discussed the violent episodes with administrators, faculty and staff numerous times. “It is not being ignored. We are tyring to deal with it as best we can,” she told me. “We are not ignoring it.”
I said in my article, and reiterated to Joan, that the community looks up to the schools in some ways more than it does to City Hall.
I still believe we need to have more dialog between parents, TCUSD and the Sheriff’s Department on how to be on the lookout for bullying, hate speech and hate crimes, and vandalism. Unfortunately, these are all on the rise in Temple City.
Hillard agreed and said: “… we’ve got to be proactive.”
Looking for suggestions: Where do we start?