Paul Jacob

"I always made one prayer . . ." Voltaire wrote. "'O my God, make our enemies quite ridiculous!' God granted it."

Recently, ridiculous enemies have been popping up everywhere, like those persistent rodents in Whac-a-Mole.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Board of Education member David Allen must be chuckling. He had committed the ultimate heresy, saving his school district nearly four million bucks by pushing the privatization of some of the district's transportation services as well as the substitute teachers.

Understandably, this earned him honors in the community.

But not everyone was pleased. The Committee for Positive Community Change launched a recall campaign against Allen. That's no easy task. In order to force a recall election, the law requires the signatures of 16,500 registered voters on petitions. Of course, the Michigan Education Association lent a helping hand.

And, then, there they were on the deadline day turning in their signatures. The group's leader Kenneth Muhammad (also a local Nation of Islam leader) told reporters, "As far as we are concerned, we met our objectives."

What were their objectives? How did they do? They gathered a whopping three signatures. Just three.

Paperwork. Editorials. Several hearings. And the consequent outpouring of public support? Three . . . minus three. Tragically, not one of the signatures turned out to be valid. Because, at least according to Grand Rapids officials, the petitions were not filled out properly.

If you look on the bright side, though, the group was only 16,500 signatures short.

You might not find 16,500 citizens in my home state of Arkansas who can yet laugh about their enemy, Charles Ormond of Morrilton. Ormond has two ballot measures in the works. The measures are confusingly written, but are they confusing enough to successfully dupe folks into voting one of them into law?


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.