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Letter: 'Honest and transparent'? Here's a different opinion

By Don Brink and Rob Kremer, Co-chairs, Worthington Citizens for Progress Committee

Worthington Citizens for Progress Committee believes that the one who publicly boasts about being “honest and transparent,” as the school district’s recent editorial did, is often the one you should trust the least — especially when considering their poor track record of demonstrating it. To view District 518’s poor record of honesty and transparency, please read the many posts on our Facebook page over the past year.

One should demonstrate their honesty by their actions, be humble enough to admit it when they make an honest mistake — and then correct it.  Also, when tempted, one shouldn’t falsely impugn “deceitful” motives to your opponent’s honest mistakes. Doing so drives an unnecessary wedge into our community.

Much of the same narrative found in a recent District 518 editorial was communicated in St. James a few years ago during that district’s bond fight, where District 518's taxpayer-funded public relations professional, Jeff Dehler, also worked. We assume most of District’s 518’s editorial was written by him. Further, this is one of the services he invoices schools for.

The board of District 518 also wrote in the Globe that it was its lawful duty to send out the facts. We see no place in Minnesota that which sanctions districts for sending out partial facts, for omitting some facts, or for substituting assumptions for facts. Nor do we see where they are punished for providing the rest of the facts weeks after Election Day, nor for providing facts without full explanation. “Facts” so manipulated can be made to appear like truth, but are often far from it. Worst of all, we have never heard of a school referendum(s) that passed in which the vote result was ever overturned by a court because the school board sent out manipulated facts.

The District 518 school board wrote that groups like ours “….hire someone who has no investment in our communities and no investment in our students’ academic success to sabotage a referendum and to divide a community.”

By Mr. Dehler’s own admission to the school board (which we have on video), his home is split by commuting back and forth between the Twin Cities and Indianapolis, where his wife works. Other than the $40,000-plus of local taxpayer money that he is being paid to run the school board’s campaign, just what investment does he have in our community? Our consultant, paid for with our own private donations, lives 17 miles south of Worthington. For 37 years, his family has shopped almost every week in Worthington. He’s invested far more in our community than anything Mr. Dehler has.

The Worthington Citizens for Progress Committee will continue striving to present the voters the truth on this $68.5 million bond proposal in our ongoing effort to again mobilize a large majority of the community to vote no Feb. 13, 2018.

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