Kunze: Yup--He's The Crack in the Conservative Bloc
So Kunze DID write that letter!
I had a pussy-foot around in the previous post, because 1) this is a satirical blog, and I wouldn't print a factual statement here unless I had real live attribution, and 2) I just didn't believe the guy would sink that low.
But he did sink that low! The Gazette did an excellent piece today blowing the lid off the Kunze betrayal, and publishing the complete text of his open letter.
The New Jersey word "douchebag" springs to mind and is "le mot juste", I believe. Not because Kunze opposes the levy. It's fine for Kunze to openly oppose the levy; that's his privilege. But Kunze agreed to a "white ballot" indicating that there was unanimous support by the entire board for the levy, and Kunze knows that the official norms that guide the members of the School Board require him to support a Board decision once it has been taken.
And worst of all, Kunze's timing decision--writing to the papers to make his opposition to the levy public NOW, with the vote looming. That's the stab in the back. Let 'em all go out on a limb to support an expensive levy, my colleagues on the board, the school superintendant, ha ha--when they're all the way out on that limb, I , Chris Kunze--WILL SAW IT OFF!
Kunze could have made his public stand months ago--he says he's opposed this particular levy all along; why wait til now to diss it publicly? It's a matter of trying to torpedo the levy at the very last minute--thus shoring up his popularity with the "we're already spending too much on the public schools" conservatives in town.
Why would Kunze want to do that? I will guess. There are a lot of these local "screw the public schools" activists to the right of conservative School Board Chairman George Thole. In my view, Kunze has always been trying to position himself to be the next Michele Bachmann or Matt Dean or something--a "no new taxes/cut spending" loon. For example, I think that Kunze may have been "the brains" behind the Board's incredibly unpopular (and stupid) decision to end free school bus transportation in the district a while back. (The reason I think that is because I pulled an article mentioning the idea of charging for school bus transportation off Kunze's web site. I still have it.)
The hell with the consequences for the kids and their families; that kind of thinking appeals to other "no new taxes/cut spending loons." And there's plenty of those around here--that's why all four of the elected officials representing the St. Croix valley in St. Paul are Republicans.
Thus I conclude: Kunze is thinking about his political future. He will lose his loon base of support if he goes along quietly with a pricy new levy (forced on the district by GOP cuts directed from St. Paul.) Kunze obviously doesn't care about what Board members and public education supporters think of him; he's hoping that his last minute public betrayal of the board and this last-minute attempt to torpedo the levy will make him a hero with local conservatives.
One thing we do know--his decision to make his opposition to the levy public, at this critical moment, was not motivated by principle. A person with principle would have stood up to Thole and the other board members and refused to go along with the unanimous vote/white ballot measure back in June. Then a person with principle would have spent the last four months loudly announcing their opposition to the present levy and tried to fight for a levy they believed in.
But Kunze didn't do that. Instead--waaaay back in June, Kunze motioned for the white ballot, and the appearance of unanimity.
So we know it's not principle that's moving him. My guess is that it's good old fashioned narcissism and careerism, which kicked in after conservatives explained to him that they'd never vote for him again if he "went along quietly" with this levy.
It turns out that Thole has been yelling at the wrong citizens. "I thought we were on the same team," said Thole, but it turns out that Kunze is on his own team--a team of one, where it's not about the schools, the taxpayers, the families and their kids. It's not even about keeping taxes low; if it was Kunze would have been openly opposing the levy all along.
Nope, it's not about any of that stuff--it's aaallll about Chris Kunze, and what's good for Chris Kunze. People should know that about this elected official. We shall watch his future political career with great interest.