|Can you think of anything more difficult to say? I believe Joe Dumas can beat Chip Baker in this election . . . and I can't think of a more
disturbing prospect for the future of this community.
When Tara and I moved to Signal twelve years ago, we immediately got involved with the Friends of Signal Mountain High School. Back then it was not well organized, but it contained hundreds of passionate volunteers.
Over the years, that group evolved and become more organized and effective - most notably with the leadership and support of people not included in this email address list. Even though many of us believed in different routes to get our high school and had some internal squabbles along the way, we all shared a similar vision for the future of our children, our community, excellence in public schools, and a complete education system on Signal Mountain. We knew the effort would be difficult, involve countless hours of
effort and sacrifice, and would include opponents.
No opponent has been more vocal regarding Signal Mountain High School and indeed, public education in general than Joe Dumas. For those of us who care to remember, during the 2004 referendum, he delivered flyers to the home of every Walden resident falsely inflating the duration and cost of the tax - we only won the Walden election by eight votes. He spread other forms of disinformation - I have kept a file on it and have copies of many of his postings and letters. I have sparred with Joe over the past eight years.
He is very intelligent, though the society he believes in is much different than the one in which most of us believe. He is a great manipulator of facts and the truth. He has done just that in his many attacks on our High School, our public schools, our community, and Chip Baker. He has not provided a vision for improving our schools, he only claims we are investing
too much on our schools and using public discord as a platform for his personal gain.
It concerns me to have heard in the past month many of my friends make comments like, "no way can Joe beat Chip"; "the community knows what Joe is about, they aren't going to elect him"; "this is Joe's fifth run for office, people are getting tired of him"; or perhaps the worst comment: "we have the high school now, it doesn't really matter who our school board representative is". I believe Joe as our school board representative, based upon his own words and writings, would not only be negative for the entire Hamilton County public school system, he would be hostile to our new High School and provide little support for other Signal Mountain schools.
I fear complacency and ignorance may allow Joe to win this election. In years past, we have been well organized, writing letters to the editors, email chains, going door-to-door at election time to make our case on key ballot issues. While I know most of you work very hard for the benefit of our schools, I don't see or feel the same energy and passion going into this election.
Let me remind you that we are a small community and District 2 is not large. In 2004 Lizetta beat me by one vote in the Signal Mountain Town Council race. We won the 2004 tax referendum by eight votes in Walden. One of Signal Mountain's greatest Mayor's, Bill Leonard only beat his recall by 200 votes. Lizetta beat her recall by 86 votes. And of course I was recalled by a mere 15 votes. Lest I remind those of you on this email list who supported the recall, that vote cost the high school $200,000 in funding via the 1/2 cent sales tax option. My point is that elections in this community are close - a single vote could decide this election, Joe has an active and energized campaign, and we cannot take anything for granted. I urge you to work in the next three weeks on this campaign with all the passion and energy you exert for our schools - it is for the same cause.
I cannot write letters to the editor or chattanoogan.com on the subject due to my polarizing position in the community. However, I have written letters on the subject and would be happy to share them with you to cut, paste, edit and send into the TFP or SM Community News. I also have many letters, quotes, etc., written by Joe opposing our high school, our armed forces, our government, his support for the legalization of dangerous drugs and narcotics, his support for the decriminalization of marijuana, his support
of hand guns in the public schools, his support for gay marriage, and other subjects. Let me know if you would like any of this information and I would be happy to send it to you.
Now please get busy.
Regards, Bob L