Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dancing (and singing) around the issue

Anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention to the Wake County School Board over the past few years knows about the arrests of Rev. Barber and the other protestors for disrupting and refusing to leave a School Board meeting.  What some might not know is that District 8’s very own School Board representative, Susan Evans, was an active participant in those disruptions at that June 2010 meeting.

In this video (at the 21 minute mark), you will see Mrs. Evans (front row on the right, green shirt) standing in support of the protest, participating in the disruption by clapping, singing and praying along with Rev. Barber and those arrested, and eventually walking up and linking arms with the protestors.

An article ran in the News & Observer this week indicating the new Board had a closed session discussion about these arrests and chose not to change the decision of the old Board to pursue prosecution. After this meeting, Mrs. Evans posted this on her Facebook page:
Clarification: We did NOT vote last week that we wished to take protestors to trial!!! We were informed that the District Attorney could exercise his own judgment with these cases and we place out trust in Mr. Willoughby to do what is fair and most sensible for the taxpayers. Mr. Keung Hui of the N&O could not be present at the discussion, as it was a closed session, so he is speculating on the discussion and trying to incite the public. This is very unfortunate!!!
First of all, there’s a reason that the Board discusses some issues in closed session. Maybe someone should clue in Mrs. Evans about those reasons – and how Facebooking about them isn’t really a good idea.

Secondly, I fail to see how Mr. Hui’s reporting qualifies as inciting the public. Dancing and singing at a School Board meeting with the purposeful intent of halting the public’s business will do more to stir up a crowd than a news article.  As I see it, the decision to prosecute was made prior to this closed session, a discussion was held during the closed session (thanks to Evans’ Facebook post we now know some of the details) and the decision to prosecute remained after the closed session meeting.  Pretty straightforward, if you ask me. The decision to not change the decision is – a decision.

Lastly, I am just amazed that Mrs. Evans sees nothing wrong with her involvement in Board discussions about these charges while she maintains a personal relationship with those arrested. (Yes, at least one of those arrested helped her on her campaign last Fall.)  Has she been advised by the Board’s attorney to recuse herself from these discussions due to her rhythmically-challenged participation in these protests?  To avoid an obvious conflict, Mrs. Evans should withdraw herself from these discussions about the fate of her friends. Maybe her next Facebook post will be an apology to the citizens she represents for her disrespectful behavior.