Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Troy Tudor is running for the school board.
Normally that would merely mean he could have divided loyalties. Suppose some measure would help the schools but hurt the Chamber? Say the school was looking at some land for its purposes but a prominent Chamber member wanted it for his business.
But the Chamber apparently seeks control of our county's politics. Businesses are waging a vicious and misleading municipal recall campaign. The incoming Chamber president says the Chamber will run candidates for all local offices. Is Tudor's candidacy part of that plan?
It may seem unfair to bring in the spurious and fraudulently-conducted Recall campaign; but Mr. Tudor is reportedly behind the “Close the Cafe” website that's been cheering on the Recallers with misleading posts. There's good reason to believe he is involved with it, but I have not been able to ask him whether he is or not. He may deny it, if he ever calls back.
Tudor didn't show up at a recent forum where all the other candidates spoke out and fielded questions. Nor has he returned the messages I left on his cell-phone Saturday and Monday morning.
Mr. Tudor recently “tweeted” that “Fox News rocks” – apparently in connection with his family closing its DirectTV account over DirectTV's business dispute with Fox. He can watch whatever he likes; but does his comment indicate he prefers the safety of a single voice to the open clash of ideas that should mark our politics and our school board meetings?
I'd not want school board members whose votes were motivated by ideology (left or right!), not by a fair and thoughtful consideration of facts.
In 2014, Mr. Tudor wrote against the new Monument, adding, “[L]et the will of the people as a whole be heard.”
Rightly or wrongly, a strong majority of local citizens favored the Monument. Surveys consistently confirmed that. After several years of discussion, and compromises with law enforcement and other interests, the President was ready to proclaim the Monument. Yet Tudor and the Chamber urged another delay to hear “the people as a whole” again. He apparently didn't like what “the people as a whole” thought.
Although the Monument appears likely to help local businesses at least a little, Tudor's ideology apparently overrode his obligation to further local business interests.
In September 2009, a neighbor sued Tudor for diverting water that harmed the neighbors property. Tudor denied most most allegations and counterclaimed for damages. (He also asserted twice that the Plaintiff spent a lot of each year in Thailand, as if that were a highly material fact.) After a court-mandated settlement conference, he settled, in a written settlement agreement. He was to do various work to restore the land to its prior state. Six months later Plaintiff had to reopen the case, alleging Tudor had reneged. Tudor had done nothing, and Plaintiff told the Court Tudor's conduct, then and earlier, had shown Tudor "to be disingenuous, uncooperative, and contemptuous of the law, and willful." He also alleged Tudor had settled in bad faith.
Tudor's insurer intervened, joining the discussion even though it complained Tudor gave the company late notice of the problem and that an "intentional act exclusion" protected it After a little more legal sparing, a June 2011 court judgment ordered ordered Tudor to do restoration work and pay $1,500 in damages and $3912 costs, plus interest. Again Tudor apparently reneged. Plaintiff reopened the case again. In September 2012 – three years after the lawsuit's filing – Tudor (or the insurance company) apparently payed the judgment amount.
There's likely a better side to Troy Tudor: but available evidence suggests he's not the ideal school-board member. If he doesn't care enough to answer questions, will he be forthcoming and transparent with the public if elected? Does his opposition to the Monument suggest that our schools' interests would also take a back seat to ideology? What does his behavior in the lawsuit tell us?
By contrast, Maury Castro is a conscientious individual with the public good in mind. He has real experience in education, as well as with budgets and policy-making – and is troubled by the stress that overemphasis on standardized tests places on students and teachers. He's in this race to improve the schools, whatever that takes – and not to impose a preconceived extremist ideology on our schools.
[The election is Tuesday, February 3. My Sun-News column this coming Sunday will look at the school board races from a different perspective. Meanwhile, I did want to get this posted -- and will add further information during the next couple of days, if time permits.]
[Tudor's conduct in the lawsuit may resonate more with me than with most because I've seen other situations where an innocent party (here, a neighbor whose property was being damaged and who couldn't get a cooperative response from the person damaging it, then went to law and paid extensive legal fees to get justice -- but, given Tudor's further conduct during the twice-reopened litigation, probably paid a lot of money for his justice and waited three years. Whatever the merits of the original case, Tudor's conduct during the litigation seems like that of a spoiled child caught doing something wrong who just kicks out destroying stuff instead of apologizing and cooperating in repairing the damage he's done.]
[By the way, it's mid-day Thursday, and he still hasn't returned my calls from last Friday and this Monday. Doesn't offend me at all. But doesn't suggest he's a fellow who wants to answer questions, either.]
[Someone just sent me a link to a recent KRWG interview with Mr. Tudor . I listened to the whole 12 minutes. Folks should listen if they have time. He sounds reasonable in tone, but everything he says is so incredibly general it tends to suggest that although he wants the school-board position he doesn't know much about the local school system and hasn't bothered to learn yet. When interviewer Fred Martino asks him a clear and specific question, Mr. Tudor either doesn't know or announces that it's a very complicated situation. (Things often are complicated, but his description of the complications teaches us very little.) Among other things he didn't meaningfully address the huge issue of excessive standardized tests and the use (or misuse) of those in evaluating teachers.]