One thing I love about tea party activists is their commitment to government transparency and accountability. When they see the media speaking no evil, hearing no evil and seeing no evil, they do the media’s job for them. Citizen journalists are quickly showing the media to be biased and growing irrelevant.
The tea party activist to receive the gold star this week is Lennie Jarrett of Grayslake, Illinois.
In the Grayslake, Illinois School District 46, three tea party members decided to take action by running for three available seats on the school board this spring. I wish more would do the same thing.
Their opponents were two incumbents with strong teachers’ union ties. One of the incumbents, Mary Garcia, also serves as the teachers’ union president in neighboring District 30. The other, Susan Fecklam, reportedly ran a coordinated campaign with Garcia.
The incumbents were obviously concerned about the presence of the tea party candidates on the ballot, and what they might do to the union agenda if they were elected.
So what did the incumbents do? They allegedly broke the law, or violated school policies, by using school email accounts to promote their campaigns, and by bribing 18-year-old students to register to vote, on the presumption the kids would vote for them.
These alleged misdeeds were discovered by Lennie Jarrett, founder of the Lake County Tea Party, through a freedom of information request. He sought and received more than 300 pages of school emails that he believes proves the two candidates, as well as the District 46 superintendent, crossed the line during the recent campaign.
A political campaign on school time
Jarrett said he learned about the alleged misdeeds when he was told that Garcia emailed a state official from her District 30 account, asking for a campaign contribution. That led him to file the freedom of information request, which led him many other Garcia emails.
In one email, sent to School District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll, Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barkley and several union leaders, Garcia wrote, "I think that all members of both unions should be appraised of this information. There will be no collective bargaining with these three (tea party candidates) on the board. I am very afraid that Sue and I will not have the funds necessary to fight a 'party.'"
Using school equipment for political activities is a violation of the code of ethics in District 30, where Garcia teaches, according to Jarrett.
Another e-mail, sent by Correll to a fellow superintendent in a nearby district, said "Mary Garcia is wondering how many signs or fliers you would take?"