There is a scene in the classic 1970s comedy “Smokey and the Bandit” in which Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played by the incomparable Jackie Gleason) stumbles upon a group of young Georgia car thieves on the side of the road.
After extracting information from them, the sheriff proceeded to give one a swift, forceful kick in the rear end.
That, the un-PC law-enforcement officer told the boys, is an “attention-getter.”
If there is any appendage on Arlington’s current body politic in need of an attention-getter, it is the School Board. Between its unfettered stupor and lack of initiative in addressing the pandemic – only neighboring Alexandria has let down its students more egregiously in the local area – to its embrace of every shiny fad a consultant dangles in front of it, to its continued budget profligacy, the five-member body is as much in need of a course correction as was the County Board in 2014, when angry voters delivered the ruling Democratic oligarchy a gut punch (albeit a temporary one) by electing independent John Vihstadt.
We have noted before that either Mary Kadera or Miranda Turner, who are squaring off in this month’s Democratic School Board caucus, would bring new blood and fresh thinking the body. And there’s no question that Kadera’s experience gives her a greater breadth of understanding of the myriad issues facing the school system.
But if Arlington voters want to truly give the School Board, in fact the entire government establishment, an attention-getter, they’ll make MIRANDA TURNER the Democratic endorsee.
She’s less savvy on the nuances than Kadera, true, but on the one issue that matters – getting this school system back on track as quickly yet responsibly as possible – she’s been the one storming the ramparts in an effort to overcome school-system inertia. That should be rewarded.
Kadera is a viable option, and the one who likely will win the caucus, but her candidacy comes with some warning flags that should not be ignored.
Her support for eliminating school-resource officers (placing “woke” foolhardiness ahead of safety), and her embrace of the Arlington Education Association’s political backing, after the leadership of that group thuggishly held the community hostage for months, leads to questions where her real priorities lie.
Because Democrats could not convince to run any candidate who could be counted on to carry the party’s water (many wisely begged off), Kadera has been adopted as the establishment’s de-facto preference in this race. Giving her a victory will confirm, at least in the minds of the current power structure, that the community has no tangible objections to the way things unfolded over the past year.
And after all the systemic failures of governance, and the inequity that has resulted, should the ruling elite really be rewarded? We think not.