This blog represents my opinions and my opinions alone, and certainly doesn't represent the collective thoughts of any of the Boards or organizations that I serve on. Unfortunately I make all sorts of miistakes, I'm a picky eater, I can't sing and I just recently found out I have been spelling certain words in my vocabulary wrong my entire life. That being said, I still continue to muddle ever onward. Welcome.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Please Get Out The Vote On April 6th!

It's almost over!
Polls are open from 7am to 8pm.
Polling places in Cottage Grove:
Cottage Grove Village Hall 221 East Cottage Grove Road
Cottage Grove Town Hall 4058 County N
Polling places in Monona:
Monona Community Center 1011 Nichols Road
Saint Stephen's Church 5700 Pheasant Hill Road


  1. Sooooooo, who are YOU voting for?

  2. Ummm, I'm not going to tell you that, but I will tell you this: I will never forget my first exposure to politics in the Fall of 1980. I was in second grade with Mrs. Byrnes, who tried mightily to teach us something of national politics. I only remember vague associations with chimpanzees and Planter's peanuts. I went home and asked my parents who they were planning on voting for, a quesion that left them aghast with indignation and suspicious of my prying ways. Nevermind I was their eight-year-old daughter, much less Studs Terkel examining mid-western middle-class political leanings. To this day, I have never again asked my parents who they vote for, although now I have a fairly good idea. Might have something to do with being Swiss- who knows?

  3. Where is Jennifer Pickel? Is she still running for the Board? I haven't seen anything of her in Monona, has anyone ales?

  4. Can you explain how it is that Sobol and Pickel are distributing their flyers attached to a PTO handout? I thought that the PTO was not able to be politically active, or is that only in Monona? Sobol's doing different literature in each community AGAIN. Jeeeesh.

  5. More information please. I'm not sure what you are referring to, but I can't imagine that any candidates would have their handouts attached to a PTO flyer. Can you elaborate?

  6. Sobol and Pickel's stuff are being distributed in Cottage Grove stapled to a flier from the PTO- isn't Pickel the PTO president? The PTO information has a link to the mgschoolcommunity. Who is this group? I know they endorsed the two. I though the PTO is not supposed to be political. Shady!

  7. I'm not going to speak for Jennifer or Peter- I' sure they will address your concerns. I am also wondering who this mgschoolcommunity is as well. I assumed the group had no affiliation with the PTO. I do know that the PTO is not supposed to engage in political activities, especially distributing political literature and endorsing candidates. Without seeing this flyer, I can't say whether or not it crosses that line.

  8. Jennifer has this post on her blog.

    "I have tried so hard to run a clean campaign, but I am not sure how I can compete with the attacks that are being made. This morning I received a phone call from Susan Fox telling me that a Get Out The Vote flyer that was sent out by the PTO was against board policy. Hmmmm..... Doesn't the PTO govern itself? And how is a get out the vote flyer inappropriate? Do we not want people to vote? Another report I got today was that Susan Fox and Susan Manning implied that my literature was not to be dropped with Monona City Council candidate literature. Seriously? Threatening volunteers who are dropping information that they had best think about aligning themselves with a person from Cottage Grove? Is this the standard of conduct we expect from people? This is OK???? Turning a get out the vote flyer into a divisive tool that is used to suit their own purpose? Wow. Apparently the bridge building that is being claimed to be done is only lip service. Unbelieveable. Apparently some people will do anything...anything at all.... "

    I have not seen the flyer, but friends have stated it is really a get out the vote piece. Not sure if that crosses the line, but the PTO has done this for the past couple of years.

    Ms. Fox and Ms. Manning may have to work with Jennifer and this is how they "build the bridge" with her. I would hate to see what they would do if they were not trying to "build bridges". Great leadership from 2 of the more experienced board members.

  9. "Sobol's doing different literature in each community AGAIN. Jeeeesh"

    This statement is not true. I am distributing identical literature in both communities. I have a color single page sheet I distribute door-to-door myself, and a yellow door hanger distributed mostly by volunteers. These two pieces are the same wherever I go.

  10. Seriously? Really? Give me a break! This whole flyer debacle is really flying out of control. I'm going to post more on this later today after stuffing myself silly with Peeps and pot roast and hopefully it won't seem so annoying then. I have a very hard time believing Susan Fox and Susan Manning are out in the community intimidating and threatening volunteers, just as I have a very hard time believing Jennifer Pickel and Peter Sobol are purposely violating Board policy and campaign rules. To anyone who has actually read this flyer, and is not just operating off of heresay, please post it. And in the mean time, it's a beautiful day outside. Go enjoy it.

  11. Is this REALLY what you want to discuss?? Okay. Let the people are the facts: Susan Manning and I found that literature for three candidates, Peter Sobol, and Jennifer Pickel had been delivered as a packet, sometimes rubber banded together, in Monona. We were surprised, since two of the other candidates have yard signs and have expressed support for Susan as well as Peter, and a combined lit drop clearly implies endorsement. We contacted the two candidates, both of whom were surprised, said they had not been asked and thus did not give permission, and were concerned. They contacted their lit drop coordinator to ask her to see that the practice stopped right away. She later contacted us and apologized, saying that a few days earlier she had received a request to add the Pickel literature to the lit drop. She declined to do so and shared that information with Peter. The lit drop volunteers picked up their packets from her, and my understanding as it was relayed to me is that Peter then asked at least one volunteer to add Jennifer's material to the packet and did so himself, until he received the phone call asking him to stop. Some literature continued to be dropped in packets containing all five pieces. At no time did Susan or I contact a lit drop volunteer, nor do we even know their names. Thus there was no bullying of anyone. If all three other candidates had been asked and had given their persmission to add Jennifer's literature, there would have been no problem, but they were not extended that basic courtesy. I have had no more contact with them, since they are aware of the situation and the job of managaging their campaigns belongs to each of them.

    With regard to the Cottage Grove lit drop, I noticed that Peter's and Jennifer's literature was stapled to a CG PTO flyer for delivery. According to the CG PTO Constitution, the name of the organization many not be used "on behalf on any candidate for public office..." and "the organization shall not participate or otherwise intervene in any political campaign on behalf of a candidate for public office." Peter acknowledged on his own blog that the stapling together of the material was not appropriate.

    School Board policy states that the PTO is bound by Board policy, which states that the group cannot distribute material that "promotes a political agenda/candidacy."

    I see part of my job as Board president as ensuring that Board policy is followed. Therefore, I called Jennifer Saturday morning to ask first that the materials be separated at the point of delivery, and secondly that the reference to the be lined out from the flyers or that the flyers be pulled. This email group has endorsed two candidates and thus is a political group. To advise people to sign up for these emails as a way to receive information about School Board issues in a PTO flyer is a violation of Board policy. I thought we had a cordial conversation and was surprised to see Jennifer's post on her blog accusing me of slinging mud. I had simply asked her to comply with policy and thought she had agreed to do so.

    I followed my conversation with an email to Jennifer to confirm the main points. I'll post this next, as it my post is too long to include it here.

  12. Sorry for a couple typos in the previous post. To continue from that post, I have re-typed my email to Jennifer Pickel, sent about noon on Saturday, in its entirety here:

    "Hi Jennifer, Thanks for returning my call so that we could discuss the board policy related to campaign material. Im glad that you agreed to contact the people who are distributing your literature to instruct them to either pull the PTO flyer or line out the reference to the MG Community group. Again, since that email group has now endorsed candidates, it should not be mentioned on any PTO material, in accordance with Board policy. As PTO President and as the candidate in charge of your campaign, I believe that you understand the importance of following policy in both of those roles.

    In addition, it is my understanding that you will instruct people distributing the literature, even with the reference to MG Community lined out, to make sure the flyer is separate from your and Peter's material. If you want to staple the latter two together, that is your choice, but the PTO piece cannot be stapled to the individual candidate material, nor can it be rolled together.

    These are the relevant polcies:
    MONONA GROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD POLICY 881.1 - Relations With Booster/Parent Organizations
    I. Booster/Parent Organizations will comply with all school rules and regulations and Board Policy.

    Administrative Rule 851 - Guidelines for the Display and Distribution of Non-School Materials
    c. Material which shall not be displayed or distributed includes, but is not limited to that which:
    (1) Promotes a political agenda/candidacy;

    Thanks for your cooperation in this matter.

    Later yesterday, a complaint about the political and, in this person's view, divisive, nature of the flyer was filed by a Cottage Grove parent with the superintendent and building principals. Again, let the people decide whether my request for compliance with policy and common courtesy, in the case of the non-school board candidates, should be viewed as "mudslinging."

  13. Wow, If a little get out to vote flyer has this much of a problem with Susan and Susan, how can we trust them to be on and run the school board. Its just a get out to vote flyer quit acting like little school girls and grow up. The school board is supposed tobe for our children not for board members to use for their own personal power that may be!!!!!!!

  14. "Later yesterday, a complaint about the political and, in this person's view, divisive, nature of the flyer was filed by a Cottage Grove parent with the superintendent and building principals."

    I have seen the PTO get out the vote flyer and in my opinion any person who would file a complaint that it is divisive in nature has another issue. There's nothing divisive about asking people to care about their community and vote. Who are these people who are offended at the idea of the residents of CG voting? The PTO has been encouraging the community for vote for years and I believe my kids have come home with a get out the vote flyer for at least six years. It is completely appropriate for the PTO to do this.

    And as far as campaign literature, I have delivered and received lit for multiple candidates many times and never thought it implied an endorsement of those candidates for each other, but rather an endorsement by the person delivering the material and have always felt free to vote for the candidates I choose. I have also never known anyone to staple materials together and would be very surprised if this were actually true as opposed to rumor. Susan, how is it that you would have seen this? It wasn't actually delivered to you was it? Or did someone pass it along to you saying that's how it was delivered to them? If materials were stapled together, it was probably someone who was inexperienced in lit drops and needs a simple explanation. There's no need to make this into some sort of underhanded, malicious, and divisive plot. To what end does this serve our district?

  15. Jessica, when you were questioned "Can you elaborate on Ms. Fox's outburst at the forum last night? I have heard she and Ms. Manning got very agitated with Mr. Sobel's comments" You replied "Anonymous, why in the world would you think it appropriate for me to comment on your post? I suggest you speak to the people involved with whatever it is that you are talking about."

    Yet when another poster tried to engage you the same way with "Can you explain how it is that Sobol and Pickel are distributing their flyers attached to a PTO handout? I thought that the PTO was not able to be politically active, or is that only in Monona?" Instead of replying "Anonymous, why in the world would you think it appropriate for me to comment on your post? I suggest you speak to the people involved with whatever it is that you are talking about," you instead exacerbated the situation by replying "more information, please" and "can you elaborate."

    This is clearly a double standard on your part. I had thought I could expect better from you. Please don't sink into the same sort of nasty political play that some of your conterparts engage in.

    And where is your anger about being referred to as a cat? You sure got upset when you thought Peter had implied that anyone else may have been more qualified to be on the school board than you. You felt it was detrimental to the board as a whole, yet you have expressed no indignation about Susan Fox's deragatory comparison of her fellow board members to cats! Is that because you knew she was referring to someone else and not you? Or because you like her more than you like Peter? Please try to hold ALL school board members to the same standard. If you don't, it would seem to imply that you have two sets of rules on this blog.

  16. You guys are funny.

  17. MGSD is in a nose dive and all members (and candidates) are fighting over the controls instead of working together to right the plane.

    This is going to end with a smoked filled crater that was once a good school district.

    Will everyone, and I mean everyone: members, candidates, citizens, PLEASE GROW UP!

  18. How's that achievement gap going?

  19. How's that racial intolerance working out?

  20. Or should we talk about cats and flyers and who likes who and who's mean to who and boo hoo hoo???????????????????????????????????????????

  21. "Or should we talk about cats and flyers and who likes who and who's mean to who and boo hoo hoo???????????????????????????????????????????"

    I agree with you-so ask yourself is a blog the best way to do this? It seems that current brd members are tied up in this up to their eyeballs and their fights are out in the open for everyone to see.

    You are in a position to tell certain members of the board to drop it OR at least not permit this discussion thread on your blog-

    So my point is-you are crying foul ball, foul ball and, yet, enjoying watching this car wreck.

  22. Oh please- you don't think I have enough to do? I have time to watch and ENJOY car wrecks? Righhhhhhht. But I do agree with you on this thread- no more posts. This is ridiclous.