I watched the school board candidate forum from the comfort of my home last night because, quite frankly, I've been under the weather like a lot of other Wisconsinites during cold season. What I found interesting from the start is that the candidates were not seated in ballot order as they were in the former candidate forum for the primary election. This, in and of itself, should cause one to raise an eyebrow at the Chamber of Commerce.
While the majority of the forum was status quo as debates go, it was clear that Corazzi was on the defense from the get-go and it was quite an interesting performance. Kathy VanEerden stuck to her usual Stepford-wife routine and spewed pro-Herdrich commentary and rehearsed DPI rhetoric. It's nothing we haven't heard before and, unfortunately, quite boring and nothing that has saved the West Bend School District from it's financial woes.
Randy Marquardt put his best foot forward by allowing the audience in on his farm-boy upbringing, assuring West Benders that his roots here go deep. His educational voyage into architecture is impressive and commendable. To his (and our) greatest benefit is the experience he brings with his time spent on the CFAC-II committee. Randy's public speaking is down to earth and makes people comfortable with him. His time spent in the clockworks of the school district is invaluable.
Moving on to Dave Weigand, I saw someone who put forth a large amount of information for an incumbent. Weigand came equipped with an easel and a diagram in order to explain his strategy for the school district budget. Not only did he share his philosophy for the future of our children's education, he had plenty to say about managing the school's budget in difficult economic times. Weigand presented numerous suggestions and ideas, which proves he is thinking deeply and will be proactive from the get-go if elected.
Lynn Corazzi showed a lot of passion, but most of it was directed in an unfortunate and unbecoming manner. Corazzi sat to the left of Weigand, which meant that in nearly every instance he spoke after Weigand. He used this to his (dis)advantage and instead of giving solid insight to his position as a candidate, he waited for Weigand to be finished and threw personal darts and accusations at Weigand. To Corazzi's discredit, this is not his first performance as a mudslinger. Last Saturday's two-hour candidate interview on WBKV with Bob Bonenfant produced more of the same, only worse. Corazzi could be heard consistently interrupting Weigand, taunting and provoking in a most unprofessional manner. Weigand refused to respond in kind, as is his usual calm approach even in difficult situations.
These behaviors, along with the facts that Corazzi is pro-tax, pro-referendum, pro-everything-that-takes-money-out-of-taxpayers-pockets kind of guy, will be Corazzi's demise on April 6.
Voters should take heed of the above character traits of Lynn Corazzi as well as the longstanding track record of Kathy VanEerden on a school board that has spiraled to the financial bottom. As Weigand said in last night's interview with the West Bend Daily News:
(On a side note, what was up with asking the candidates if they had kids in the schools? Oh, we know that answer. Never mind.)