Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Response to Barth letter: Sylvie Butler

This is in response to Mr. Barth’s letter, requiring Carl Piedmont to explain his religious beliefs, based on the fact that his son attends an evangelical college. Following Mr. Barth’s lead, I have devised the following guidelines to help voters weed out unsuitable Oyster River School Board candidates:

Don’t vote for anyone whose kid might play hockey. That might mean they are pro athletics and against the arts.

Don’t vote for anyone who drives a car. That might mean they’re against trucks.

Don’t vote for anyone who eats meat. That might mean they’re against vegans.

Don’t vote for anyone who snow shoes. That might mean they don’t support downhill skiing.

Don’t vote for anyone who wears a tie. That might mean they’re down on casual Fridays.

Good grief, if we go by Mr. Barth’s logic and make assumptions about people based on peripheral facts about them, as in where their son goes to college, then we end up eliminating every single viable candidate out there. We want a diverse board, made up of people of different backgrounds. That’s what’s going to make Oyster River great.

If we want to vet our candidates, then let’s do so fairly and honestly by asking open ended questions based on issues relevant to their candidacy. Hit and run tabloid style attacks based on illogical assumptions should never be practiced or tolerated. Period.

Sylvie Butler

Lee NH


  1. Teaching creationism or intelligent design in public school science class is a controversial topic. What's not controversial is that it is obviously a perfectly acceptable topic to raise with your school board candidates. The question is legitimate. It is made even more so when one candidate discloses in his campaign literature that one of his children attends a college where such courses are offered.

    One of my relatives was involved in a ugly financial scandal recently. Out of deference to my feelings, can we not discuss the budget? Thanks.

    - Dean Rubine

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    1. Amen, Sylvia! (and that pun was intended) Carl Piedmont is as likely to turn ORHS into a theological HS because his son attends a religious affiliated college as Tom Newkirk is going to turn ORHS into an all-boys school because he is a professional in educating boys. Lets keep the politics to a minimum and let the candidates speak for themselves. This is just plain silly. Mr. Piedmont, Dr. Newkirk, and Dr. Rotner have stepped up to serve their community and the children of our district they should be commended for taking this action, supported in their candidacy and you all will have your chance say who you think will best serve you on March 12th.

  3. Krista, thank you so much for your service. It will be sad to see you go. Looks like a jam-packed meeting tonight. Hope the weather doesn't foul everything up.

    It would have been better to have covered this at the Candidates Forum, so the questions could be asked of all candidates equally. But there's really not much doubt as to the answers of the other two candidates, so why play games?

    It's legitimate to ask whether any candidate supports, say, "teaching the controversy" in biology. Of course it's relevant if the candidate sends his other son to a school where they "teach" the "controversy". Especially if the candidate touts the school in his own literature. Do we have to pretend we live in a world where people don't try to get onto school boards to affect these sort of things? Can we afford NOT to at least ASK the hard questions after our experience with Mr. Kach?

    I've been commending Mr. Piedmont for getting involved since we met. No one said it was likely that Mr. Piedmont had nefarious intentions. Bob Barth raised the questions in a polite manner, requesting assurance that Mr. Piedmont had no such designs.

    There was no need for anyone to react defensively. Mr. Piedmont could have simply replied that of course he would never to do anything controversial in this area. The matter would have been closed without anyone being called any names.

    - Dean

  4. Dean -- Carl Piedmont responded to Dr. Barth and put this matter to rest three days ago. His response was published here, sent to Fosters, sent to FORE, and apparently sent to you at your own blog. See:


    Furthermore, late last night Dr. Barth stated the following in a letter sent to Fosters, CC'd to this blog, and forwarded to me:

    "No, I would not vote for School Board anyone who espoused these doctrinal positions and I am fully satisfied that Mr. Piedmont renounces them and believes in rational thought and modern science."

    In my opinion, the creationism in our schools issue was put to rest when Carl responded clearly and succinctly three days ago. If that didn't satisfy you, then I would hope Dr. Barth's response puts this to rest for you. Please give Mr. Piedmont, Dr. Barth, and the rest of us a respite from your fear mongering.

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  6. Well put, Brian. I would add that the hypocrisy of Dean's position over Barth's letter is so perverse it defies reason. If Jim Kach had sent that letter, Dean would have trumpeted his righteous anger from the hills. But Barth has a "Dr." in front of his name, so any bigoted opinion he expresses is OK. And yes, I looked up the word in Webster's. It applies to Barth--by definition! If Dean doesn't think so, he needs to figure out where his dictionary comes from, hopefully not the campus library.

  7. Sorry guys, didn't see these comments till now. Let's chat again next year.