Friday, April 10, 2009

Whither the balding white males? Election review

Dulcie and I returned hotfoot from across the pond (engaged in filial and other duties) just in time to catch the returns for the election in District 502. I tuned in at 98 % precincts reporting to find with unabashed joy that the good guys were triumphing in majestically shocking style - almost beyond one's wildest dreams. The full results, for those with an eye for statistics are below (Good guys in bold):

2 Year terms

Sandy Kim 39268 48.17%
Jeffrey J Handel 11427 14.02%
Mark J Nowak 30521 37.44%

6 Year terms

Allison O'Donnell 28705 12.68%
Kim Savage 38430 16.97%
Tom Wendorf 27654 12.21%
Matthew H Nelson 14570 6.43%
Ivan H Fernandez 7296 3.22%
Micheal E McKinnon 19513 8.62%
Lisa N Wehr 18192 8.03%
Sharon Giorno 12981 5.73%
Nancy Svoboda 42079 18.58%
Michael V Ledonne 16708 7.38%

Friends for Education can claim a dominant victory: the three candidates in the 6-year term garnered 47 % of the vote, while Sandy in the 2-year term obtained a clear majority with 48 %. Unfortunately a clean sweep was denied the Friends because Tom Wendorf, who made such a powerful impression at board meetings last year, fell short by about a thousand votes to the advantageously placed Alison O'Donnell. Nonetheless, I think that three out of four ain't bad.

One of the most notable changes to the BoT will be in its gender; at a stroke it will be transformed from a male bastion, with the brave Kathy Wessel carrying the lone torch for the "fairer" (I dare not say weaker in these politically correct times) sex, to a group containing five women. All the candidates elected were women. Is this the consequence of a feminine backlash against the "good ol' boy network" that the BoT had appeared to become, and the sordid maelstrom of alleged sexual harrassment, defamation suits and counter-suits that has occupied too much space in the local papers this past year?

It was somewhat surprising to see that Nancy Svoboda, alone of "our" (okay a tad too possessive perhaps) gang of four not to be endorsed by the Daily Herald, led all candidates at 18.6%. Meanwhile, Tom Wendorf, who with his business background might be thought to appeal to the broader community, trailed in at 12.2 %. Even more surprising is that Lisa Wehr, one of the ghost candidates, whosofar as can be told uttered not a single syllable the entire campaign, outgained the prominent LeDonne, friend of Taprooters and anyone else who came his way, who for his part had been quite prominent and generally well-spoken, even appearing at the candidate forum at COD. The mysterious Lisa almost out-polled the soon-to-be-ex BoT chair whose campaign can only be said to be peculiar: not good timing to have all that legal stuff in the papers the week before the big day.

The 2-year picture was a lot simpler with only three candidates. The youthful Sandy (I cannot imagine myself at that age contemplating running for a public office) easily beat the two men. Amiable (but when it comes to community colleges completely clueless - please don't talk to me of lecture halls teeming with a thousand students as a model for education - or mention parking one more time), plant-breeding dentist Dr. Handel trailed in a distant third. Thinking back to that despicable scene in the kangaroo court as Ms. Kim's candidacy was assaulted by some of the now-whithered males, the victory is the more sweet.

Mr. NOwak has been heard to mutter that this election has been motivated by the faculty being upset over their measly 2 % pay increase. I might point out that the gang of four polled a collective 145,000 votes, while there are only about 300 faculty members. His argument is a bit of a stretch to say the least; it is a hard to believe that 144,700 community members can be that concerned about the small increases of our giant salaries. Is it not perhaps the well-publicized bunglings and shenigans of the BoT, now in its death throes, that played a bigger role in the game? I cannot speak for the other 300 (gosh some kind of allusion to the Spartans?) but on my list the pay rise is at the very bottom of a very long list of reasons to replace the current gang of four by the new gang. It's going to take a little while getting used to the new dawn.

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