Is Governor Ducey forming a pattern of lashing out with propaganda against those who critique his ideas?
Is it dangerous to try to engage in constructive public debate with him?
When I was 16 years old, I worked in a shoe store with a dress code something like "skirts may be solids only, no prints." One day I had the audacity to wear a dress with a small print of flowers, so my boss' boss at the shoe store chastised me and said, "Don't rock the boat."
He was really talking to the wrong person with that message. If the boat is headed to crash, I will most certainly rock it!
I recognized that Governor Doug Ducey's Land Trust money for schools proposal was taking our state's boat heading for a crash over a waterfall, and I expressed respectful doubts. Even while my own favorite organizations, like ASBA ( AZ School Boards Association) were literally lined up to support the governor's plan, I published my concerns that it was "Robbing Peter to pay Paul, when Paul is in school today, and Peter is his baby brother."
Apparently, Treasurer Jeff DeWit recognized that looming waterfall, too. He rocked the boat. He sent a careful analysis to legislators. ANALYSIS. As a result of his audacity to oppose the governor, he is being trashed in extremist-conservative blogs. PROPAGANDA. Follow the money to ... well, it's a little dark but Laurie Roberts shined a light.
In her column, "Jeff DeWit Finds it's not nice to cross Doug Ducey", Columnist Laurie Roberts points out that Governor Doug Ducey appears to be making a pattern of lashing out against his opponents using propaganda funded by dark money. Ok, that seemed to happen a lot during the election. What's the news? -- It's not an election. This time, it's about policies that affect our lives.
Treasurer DeWit wrote, "I have attempted to work with the Governor’s office on alternatives that are financially and legally sound and provide more money to our schools, but those efforts have been unsuccessful."
The governor seems to be using propaganda -- instead of constructive debate -- even with folks in his own party. The propaganda is trashing DeWit's character, ignoring his math and his careful explanations. The Governor's plan is not completely bad. We do need more money for our schools, and that is why groups like ASBA and others have supported the initial idea. The idea needs more debate in public, and those who critique it should not be quelled.
If people don't publish their opposition to our governor's proposals, how ...
... how can those proposals be strong?
In my professional training and experience, one idea has always proven true:
To make a strong solution, it must be tested with the fire of opposition.
As a systems analyst, I've seen plenty of systems that were improved because their designers listened to the complaints and critiques of users and other analysts. As a school board member, I've seen proposals avoid terrible results because teachers and parents spoke up and administrators listened.
Without constructive debate, solutions are weak. In public policy, laws and programs that affect all our lives could be developed that are not just weak, they are harmful - to our wallets, our quality of life, our children, our future.
I call upon Governor Ducey and Treasurer DeWit to publicly work together on the Land Trust proposal. Further, I call upon them to develop a long-term plan to find adequate funding for our schools together with Democratic and Republican legislators.
Also, I call upon you, the voters. Be careful; be wary; be a little afraid when politicians --from any party-- counter constructive criticism with propaganda. History shows that doesn't work out well for anybody.
You can read Treasurer Jeff DeWit's constructive analysis of Governor Doug Ducey's State Land Trust plan here.