Dispatches from the Creation Wars

UD Comments Again

There is an update at the bottom

Another commenter at UD made the following argument:

Under open meetings laws in most states, school boards can only consider items placed on the agenda IN ADVANCE. The old board decided not to put the ID policy on the December agenda. Yes, the new board was sworn in during the December meeting but could only consider items already on the agenda. They voted to put the ID policy on the agenda for the January meeting. THIS IS ALL THEY COULD DO LEGALLY.

And DaveScot responded:

Well, at least this is an attempt at an answer. I can’t find any prohibition in the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act regarding ad hoc agenda items. In my experience these are often added at the beginning of meetings to cover things where timeliness is a concern. Not everything that needs action can be anticipated a month in advance. Robert’s Rules of Order certainly don’t prohibit so I’m afraid the onus is on you to show me the Pennsylvania statute that prohibits it. Otherwise your claim is baseless.


I think the commenter overstated the case, and Dave is right that there is no legal prohibition to prevent the school board from placing an item on the agenda and voting on it at the same meeting (unless someone can show a PA law that does say that, which I doubt). But I think Dave still misses the point. Regardless of whether they had the legal authority to rescind the ID policy at that meeting – which I’m sure they did – he’s making a huge deal out of the fact that they didn’t do so but waited until the second meeting to do it. But it doesn’t have to be illegal in order to explain why they didn’t do it immediately. Dave seems to think that it’s not good enough to show some reasonable explanation for why they didn’t vote on it in the first hour they were in office; nothing short of a legal prohibition on them doing so will count. But come on, that’s just plain silly.

The fact is that, as a matter of tradition, policy motions (as opposed to procedural ones) not on the agenda of a meeting (and remember, the new school board didn’t make the agenda for the Dec. 5th meeting, the old school board did) are placed on the agenda for the following meeting. Dave still seems to think, erroneously, that timeliness was a concern, that rescinding the policy at that meeting would have changed something.

We’ve already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was not true (an argument he hasn’t even attempted to engage even while pretending he’s still correct). Nothing the board could have done in December was going to change the judge’s ruling or the legal fees they would have to pay. The board’s legal counsel agreed, the attorneys for both sides agreed, the judge agreed, and every legal scholar I’ve seen discuss the matter agrees. It’s time to stop engaging in this dishonest claim that the board could have changed the outcome of the case if they’d just acted fast enough.

That’s the linchpin of this little conspiracy theory, that the board intentionally delayed rescinding the policy to make sure that the school district they were elected to serve, the school district their own children attend, would lose a million bucks. That’s a ridiculous enough assertion to begin with, much less to make without a shred of evidence to support it. It’s significantly more ridiculous when combined with the fact that nothing the board could do was going to avoid a ruling in the case.

Update: And here’s Dave’s latest lie. He actually links to the minutes of the January 3rd meeting while simultaneously claiming:

The vote the next month was 8-0 and there was no discussion. There was no discussion because they were obeying the order of a federal judge.

Either Dave can’t read, or Dave is a baldfaced liar. There was indeed discussion of the matter and input from the public and it’s right there in the minutes. Oddly, the PDF file won’t let me cut and paste and I’m not gonna type it all out, but four different citizens stood up to give their thoughts on the policy – Jeff Brown, Keith DiGiovanni, Steve Stough and Brett Miller (with Miller being for the policy). There were then two votes taken on the ID policy, one on whether to appeal the ruling in the case, which had a 7-1 vote (Heather Geesey, who voted for the ID policy originally, wanted to appeal it). Then a vote on whether to rescind the policy, which was 8-0 (presumably, Geesey recognized that even though she disagreed, they should comply with the law and take the policy off the books).

He then writes:

The question remains – why didn’t they fulfill their campaign promise at the first opportunity? If law prohibited it then that’s the end of it. Otherwise the question remains unanswered

But this is just stupid. The standard he’s erecting is that either they were legally prevented from doing it immediately or there is no possible explanation other than the conspiracy fantasy for which he has no evidence whatsoever. That’s so idiotic, it’s hardly worth addressing. Dave, seriously, it’s time to give this one up. You’re just making yourself look more and more foolish with every word you write on it.

Comments

  1. #1 Rich
    April 6, 2006

    He’s not talking to you anymore Ed. He’s hand-picking comments to let through (using his design filter) and commentating on them. There’s a new one up.

  2. #2 BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2006

    “Nothing the board could have done in December was going to change the judge’s ruling or the legal fees they would have to pay. The board’s legal counsel agreed, the attorneys for both sides agreed, the judge agreed, and every legal scholar I’ve seen discuss the matter agrees.”

    What defense has DS put up for this? I haven’t seen him address this exact point yet (granted it’s ahrd to keep up with all of the BS DS spews forth). It’s the typical manuever to tell half the story, and only the half that supports his claim.

    Please address this ultimately important point Dave Scott.

  3. #3 BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2006

    damn typos

  4. #4 secondclass
    April 6, 2006

    Even if the school board could avoid paying legal fees via some loophole, would it be ethical? Is it right for us citizens to have to pay 7-digit fees for successfully defending our civil rights? Apparently Dave thinks so.

  5. #5 K Klein
    April 6, 2006

    Nothing the board could have done in December was going to change the judge’s ruling or the legal fees they would have to pay. The board’s legal counsel agreed, the attorneys for both sides agreed, the judge agreed, and every legal scholar I’ve seen discuss the matter agrees.

    This argument is going to fall on deaf ears I’m afraid. If DaveScot doesn’t care what evolutionary biologists have to say about evolutionary biology, what makes you think he will care about what a bunch of lawyers have to say about the law?

  6. #6 atari24
    April 6, 2006

    Isn’t the original school board responsible for the $1 million fine that is now placed on the taxpayers? If they had taken away the policy before the trial, or not even instituted it in the first place, there would be no fine.

    Placing the burden on the new school board that didn’t pass the policy in the first place just seems like scapegoating.

    The fault lies squarely at the feet of the original school board.

  7. #7 BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2006

    “If DaveScot doesn’t care what evolutionary biologists have to say about evolutionary biology, what makes you think he will care about what a bunch of lawyers have to say about the law?”

    HA!

    Good point

  8. #8 steve s
    April 6, 2006

    Dave, seriously, it’s time to give this one up. You’re just making yourself look more and more foolish with every word you write on it.

    Don’t listen to him Dave! Keep on truckin buddy.

  9. #9 steve s
    April 6, 2006

    Ed, Seriouslah! What would become of Official Uncommonly Dense Discussion Thread without Davetard?

    http://antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=SF;f=14

  10. #10 dheadley
    April 6, 2006

    DaveScot’s inane ramblings are one of the reasons I get up in the morning. Seriously.

  11. #11 Corkscrew
    April 6, 2006

    Transcription of relevant items:

    2. Mr Jeff Brown, {address}, Dover, thanked the Board in advance of their vote on this meeting’s agenda, Item XIII.A. Mr Brown feels he should have been more persuasive in his warning of opposition to the Board approving the curriculum change in October 2004 and thus he feels he failed.

    3. Mr Keith DiGiovanni, {address}, Dover, spoke on the verdict of the Kitzmiller v Dover and the issue of the Dover taxpayers being stuck to pay the legal bills concerning the case. Also Mr DiGiovanni spoke in detail his concerns regarding the Thomas Moore Law Center and their actions. Mr DiGiovanni suggested the current board send the legal bill for the lawsuit to the Thomas Moore Law Center.

    4. Steve Stough, {address}, Dover, commented on Agenda Items XIII.A and XIII.C. Mr Stough spoke in detail his concerns on having Intelligent Design as part of the curriculum via an elective Phiolsophy class, an elective Comparative Religion class, an American Government class or a Philosophy of Science curriculum. Mr Stough feels that Intelligent Design needs to die the “Noble Death” that it has earned here at Dover.

    5. Brett Miller, {address}, East Berlin referenced the United States Constitution, the second amendment in the Bill of Rights and sadden that the founding father’s original intent has been twisted and changed to the extent that it has in the courts. He’s praying that some day soon that school vouchers will become a reality so he can choose how his children will be educated, rather than being dictated to.

  12. #12 steve s
    April 6, 2006

    speaking of UD, there’s now a halfass transcript of Pianka’s talk up, and so far it’s not looking too good for the dingbats at UD.

  13. #13 bourgeois_rage
    April 7, 2006

    Come on Steve, you know that won’t stop them from claiming that they have solid proof that the transcript is proof for design.

    If there isn’t a God who designed terrorists liek Pianka?

  14. #14 LarryFarma
    April 8, 2006

    The board knew that this was an emergency situation because the Dec. 5 meeting was the last regular meeting before the decision was due. Under Pennsylvania`s open-meeting law, the Sunshine Act, the board could have handled the lawsuit as an emergency matter at the Dec. 5 meeting or scheduled a special or emergency meeting.

    The board was presented with professional legal advice that rescinding the ID policy and offering to sign a consent decree might moot the case. Even though the board`s own attorney disagreed, it was worth a try. The board had virtually nothing to lose because it looked like the plaintiffs were going to win and the new board members did not like the ID policy anyway.

    It is hypocritical to blame the old board for running up a big legal bill and then excuse the new board for missing a possible opportunity to eliminate or reduce the bill.

  15. #15 Jeff Hebert
    April 8, 2006

    LarryFarma said:

    It is hypocritical to blame the old board for running up a big legal bill and then excuse the new board for missing a possible opportunity to eliminate or reduce the bill.

    Yes, your honor, I shot that man. I loaded the gun, aimed it, and pulled the trigger. But it’s HIS fault he died because just before he kicked the bucket he didn’t try sawing his head off with a razor blade. Oh sure, it wouldn’t have worked, but he didn’t even try!

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