Friday, August 30, 2013

Save Hoover endorses Hemingway, Geerdes, and Barron

The Save Hoover Committee has endorsed Phil Hemingway, Gregg Geerdes, and Sara Barron as the board candidates that provide the best chance of reversing the decision to close Hoover School. I had one vote in that recommendation, and it was a tough choice, since six of the nine candidates – Hemingway, Geerdes, Barron, Tuyet Dorau, Jim Tate, and Chris Lynch – have voiced support for keeping Hoover open. More on my own decision process in my next post. Here is the text of the endorsement:


The Save Hoover group has been working to pursue a reversal of the school board’s vote to close Hoover School. Many people have asked us which candidates in the upcoming board election support keeping Hoover open. After meeting with the candidates and reading their statements on the issue, we believe a vote for these three candidates will help maximize the chance that Hoover will stay open:

PHIL HEMINGWAY. A Hoover neighborhood resident, Hemingway is a longtime supporter of neighborhood schools. Hemingway wants the school board to follow through on the promises made to renovate and improve schools, not close them. He wants to restore the public’s faith in the board.

GREGG GEERDES. Geerdes opposes the closure of Hoover because it doesn’t make economic sense to close a vibrant, successful school at a time when enrollment is growing. Geerdes understands that closing a school only to rebuild the capacity elsewhere is short-sighted and unaffordable.

SARA BARRON. As a member of the Facilities Steering Committee, Barron voted against the proposal to close Hoover. Barron has a keen understanding of the capacity issues the district faces, thinks critically about the data, and is willing to challenge the administration when necessary.

Incumbent board member Tuyet Dorau deserves credit for voting against the closure. Candidates Chris Lynch and Jim Tate also support keeping Hoover open. But we believe that voting for Hemingway, Geerdes, and Barron offers the best chance of saving Hoover.

Candidates Karla Cook, Brian Kirschling, and Jason Lewis all favor closing Hoover. Cook voted for the closure as a board member.

Your polling place may have changed. To find your polling place, contact the Johnson County Auditor’s Office at 356-6004, or visit You can vote early at the Auditor’s Office instead of waiting until September 10.

You are allowed to vote for three candidates. We strongly urge you to use all three of your votes. Thank you for your interest in this issue.

Paid for by the Save Hoover Committee, Chris Liebig, chair.
For more information, visit


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. For awhile I was considering Kirschling, but he has proven NOT to be a friend of Hoover. When I saw the newsclip on channel 9 in which he said clearly, "revisiting the Hoover issue is not necessary," that did it for me.
I also considered Lewis, too, because I liked his Twain credentials. However, he also thinks Hoover should close, for reasons he says he now understands, but somehow doesn't feel he has to explain to anyone else. I guess we're all too dense?
That's because there are NO COMPELLING REASONS.
I will consider your slate carefully. Having heard each of these candidates speak on Hoover, I find myself agreeing that they will bring some much needed rational thinking and transparency to the board.

S Marie said...

In the interest of transparency, can you identify for your readers-- Who are other members of the Save Hoover Committee given a vote for this recommendation process? Is the Save Hoover Committee comprised of the same individuals who voted on the Citizens for Neighborhood Schools endorsement choices? The recommendation wording is the same, so are these two groups actually the the same group with two names? I am a "member" of the Citizens for Neighborhood Schools on facebook and was surprised to read an endorsement coming from that group written as though the endorsement was from all members of the group, without identifying who had actually a vote.
I personally support all three of these candidates, and my question would have been the same if other candidates had been supported. I am just trying to understand who had the "power" to submit a vote in the Save Hoover and Citizens for Neighborhood Schools groups! Thanks, and thank you for the important questions you ask on your blog.

Chris said...

S Marie – Thanks for commenting. I’ll describe as much as I can about the process that led to the endorsement. There are five or six people who have been particularly active in advocating to keep Hoover open and in organizing the yard sign and leafleting effort. I’m one of them, and so is Greg Howes. Meanwhile, there is a larger number of people who have been regularly in touch with us about the issue, speaking at the board public comment sessions, attending listening posts, going to the meeting with the candidates. Those of us who have been particularly active in the organizing effort spent some time hashing out the different possibilities for whom to endorse, and during that process we spoke to as many of that larger group of people as we could, to see if there was any consensus on whom to endorse. These three endorsements are the result of that process, though there will of course be some variation among individual Hoover supporters on whom to support.

It was important to me that the group not be completely anonymous, so the Committee bears my name as the chair. Not everyone feels as comfortable as I do having his or her name on the leaflets and press releases, etc., and that’s just a limitation that readers can make what they will of. But the choices really are a result of touching base with numerous people who are active on the issue to come as close as we could to a consensus. The last thing any of us wanted to do was make an endorsement that would be rejected out of hand by the people who have been supportive of the Hoover cause.

Greg started his own group, Citizens for Neighborhood Schools, to take the advocacy beyond the Hoover neighborhood. But the goal of the two groups is the same, and we both recognize the importance of not spreading the pro-Hoover votes too widely among six different candidates. I can’t speak for Greg’s organization, but I know that I thought it made sense for both organizations to endorse the same set of people. And once that was the case, it was just easier to use the same text, which, again, was the result of a collaboration among five or six organizers.

The whole process has been moving so quickly, with the closure vote occurring in mid-summer, that the Save Hoover group has been basically improvising from day to day about how to most effectively keep people informed and make a difference in the board election. The endorsement process was pretty much improvised as well. We considered having some kind of online poll to determine who to endorse, but were worried that it would be gamed and devolve into chaos. With the election just a ten days away, and with people increasingly asking us what we thought of the board candidates, we thought it was important to have a unified message, in hopes of maximizing the chance that the Hoover issue will make an impact on the election. I certainly don’t expect everyone to follow all of our recommendations, but I hope they at least help provide some sought-after information about how the different candidates stand on the Hoover issue.

Chris said...

Anonymous -- Thanks! I think the Hoover issue does raise larger issues about transparency and responsiveness to public input, and that the lack of transparency on the reasons for the closure -- and in particular about how the land will be used -- has been very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating blog, and I agree with you on saving Hoover, but I have to say your response explaining the endorsement process didn't clear things up much. So the votes were cast by you, and Greg Howes, and ... 4-5 others who are unnamed (why?)? And this was a result of an unexplained sampling of an unknown number of people that the 5-6 leaders quasi-polled? Were these three the clear favorites or did they lead the way with a small plurality over choices 4-6? The endorsement would carry more weight if people knew more about the group and and how the endorsement came about.

Chris said...

Anonymous -- Well, that was the process, and I just don't feel free to go naming online all the people we talked to. (You should have some understanding of that, given that your comment is anonymous.)

Again, the endorsement is intended as a group response to the many people who have been asking us what we thought about the candidates. No one's forced to listen to it. If you don't like it, change the channel.

Anonymous said...

I understand if people don't want their name mentioned. That's their right. But the definition of endorsement is to publicly declare one's support. I'm seriously trying to figure out what to make of this. Does the concept of an anonymous endorsement (other than you and Mr. Howes) not seem a little odd to you?

Chris said...

Anonymous -- As I wrote, it was important for me not to have an anonymous endorsement, and that's why it isn't one, and not only includes the name of the group, but also my name as chair. I don't see too many one-page political leaflets that contain the names of the entire membership of the sponsoring group.

But obviously you wish it were different. It's a free country. Feel free to publish your own non-anonymous endorsement.

S Marie said...

Chris- Thanks for the explanation of the endorsement process. I agree, it was important to have a unified message presented to voters asking for recommendations.
(Incidentally, I have a a lot of trouble "proving I'm not a robot" with this comment moderation system. I fail the test repeatedly because I cannot read the images, and the sound file is unintelligible. I've given up posting a few times because I can't pass the system!)

Chris said...

Thanks, S. Marie. If I had a dollar for every person who complained about Blogspot's comment system, I would have a truly monetized blog. I'm sorry about it. Without that system, the comments would be flooded with spam, so I have to just put up with it. Someday maybe I'll jump ship to WordPress, though I don't know if it's any better over there.

In the meantime, if you ever feel like you can't get it to work, you can always email me your comments. The address is in the sidebar. Just make sure you let me know that's it a comment that you want to have posted.

Oldtimer said...

Please join the 21st century and get a Facebook account for this blog. It would be so much easier to comment on a thread and more people would read your posts as well.

Chris said...

Oldtimer -- I hear you, but I just don't have it in me. I need to be spending less time online, not more.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the "save Hoover" group may be setting up the election to be a referendum on the facilities plan and, specifically, the issue of Hoover. By placing so much importance on this issue and seemingly selecting candidates based primarily on where they stand on the closure, are you not taking a large risk? What happens if the candidates elected, or a majority, end up not being from your endorsement list or not among those in favor of revisiting the plan? Wouldn't that severely undermine the argument that "a majority of the public disagrees with the closure?"

Chris said...

Anonymous -- Thanks for commenting. I don't see any alternative to making the arguments on the Hoover issue as strongly as possible. (In my opinion, the Hoover closure is not a "single issue," but raises many issues about, for example, cost, responsiveness to public input, transparency, and the precedent the closure sets for other schools.)

Ed Walters said...

Save Hoover! Hemingway, Geerdes, and Barron are all welcome to place yard signs in our yard.

Ed and Alicia Walters
110 S. 1st Ave
Iowa City, IA 52245