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Bethel: Not your mother’s school board races

Post by Kim Bradford on Oct. 9, 2009 at 2:10 am with 3 Comments »
October 9, 2009 11:28 am

Old flames reunited on the ballot. A local gadfly seeking to undercut his lone ally. Of the 80-some candidates we’ve interviewed since June, none have been able to match the story lines of the races for Bethel school board.

Marianne Lincoln – who filed for an open seat on the board, withdrew, then refiled (more on that to come) – is pitted against her old boyfriend, Robert Etteldorf. The two had an oh-so-brief fling during their sophomore year at Bethel High School in the early 1970s. She was the pretty outgoing blonde with long hair. He was the shy, sweet kid.

But, alas, the relationship was not to be. Just a few days in – Marianne says four days, Bob says three – the paramours parted. On this they agree: They broke up because he wouldn’t hold her hand. “I was a wallflower,” Etteldorf says. “I said, ‘This is too much.’ I couldn’t see us leaning against a locker, me kissing on her.”

The two remain friends – and now friendly political opponents.

In the other school board race, the plot is not so sentimental.

The lead character is a school board member who is suing his fellow school board members – in part because of a wrong he says was done to his challenger.

Incumbent Ken Blair alleges in a federal court case (due to go before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals next week) that the wife of Bethel’s superintendent admitted to some board members that she was removing anti-school bond campaign signs.

Those signs belonged to Ron Morehouse, who had complained to the school board about his signs disappearing. Blair, who had assured Morehouse that the superintendent wasn’t involved, says he felt compelled to tell Morehouse when he learned differently.

That disclosure apparently helped fuel a tussle between Blair and the rest of the school board that eventually resulted in Blair being stripped of his vice presidency – the cause of Blair’s lawsuit, which alleges his First Amendment rights were violated. (For the record, the district’s position is that Blair is out to get the superintendent because he refused to underwrite Blair’s trip to England).

Morehouse didn’t respond to our requests for an interview, so we haven’t been able to ask why he wants to get rid of the guy who, if the lawsuit is to be believed, is the only person on the board who’s got his back.

I haven’t even begun to discuss Lincoln’s “I’m in, I’m out, I’m in again” filing. Look for a post next week on that. One thing’s for certain: These aren’t your typical school board races.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. anitalatch says:

    I have to question the fact that the paper has the rest of the story, about how the person appointed to be our county auditor threatened Marianne with criminal charges so as to convince her to withdrawl from the otherwise uncontested seat. When Lincoln was sure that she was legally allowed to run for the seat the folks in Bethel found Ettledorf to run against her. The appointed auditor, Jan Shabro, lied to Lincoln and you should not wait until after the ballots drop to tell the voters. Some people will vote before you run the story.

  2. S_Emerson says:

    anitalatch – indeedy.

    Here’s Marianne’s recount of the issue.

    Bad, bad Shabro.

  3. It is interesting that Kim Bradford is the only TNT news person that could not find me for a interview. One news person even interviewed on a saturday because she was interested in a complete story.

    Ken Blain and I differ in how we want to educate our children. We both understand that Bethel is a failing district and parents in some schools have the right to move their children to another school at Bethel expense.

    I would refer people to the Joyce Chen article in Friday paper of how a quality article is written without taking sides and attacking people.

    Ron Morehouse

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