Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Meeting Sally Baird

A Little Wine and Cheese with Sally Baird

I drove and wound my way through some of the nicer Arlington back streets and into the Madison Manor neighborhood where Anne Bridgman and Keith Eddins held a wine and cheese fund raiser for Democratic School Board
candidate Sally Baird on Sunday. About 30 people were there with me; I stayed for about an hour.

The Bridgman-Eddins house was very nice, with art on the walls, and books on the bookshelf, including “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin, a favorite of mine.

I met Ms. Baird there, and she was very pleasant to speak with. She struck me as very capable and knowledgeable about the school system.

Her campaign manager was right on point. Karla Hagan told me, similar to what was reported in last week’s
Arlington Connection and elsewhere, that Ms. Baird was a manager in a good way, bringing together the best ideas and talents of everyone at the table.

Ms. Hagan told me this as I tried to keep myself from focusing on the fact that she was dressed like
Jessie the Yodeling Cow Girl from “Toy Story 2,” cow-print chaps, a red-yarn wig and all. Apparently there’d been a Halloween parade in her neighborhood just before the soiree.

I was surprised, though, to see how Mary Hynes, a fellow Democrat to Sally Baird and the school board chair, took over the conversation when she arrived a short while later. It wasn’t really in a bad way; Ms. Hynes, obviously, knows a lot and was covering the particular details of bringing second language education into the lowest grades. She was responding to a question made by another person in the conversation. Ms. Baird nodded and listened politely. I had to leave before I could hear the entire conversation and whether Ms. Baird had a chance to add her two cents.

Perhaps this isn’t fair, but I couldn’t help but think about how Ms. Baird is part of the juggernaut which is the Arlington Democratic Party. The school board elections are supposed to be non-partisan, but they have never really been that with the Democratic Party endorsing a candidate (and Ms. Baird has “Democrat” on her yard signs).

As I’ve said in other posts, my politics lean to the left, but at times the one-party system we have here can be a little too cozy, and Ms. Hynes’ arrival at the party just sort of reinforced that for me.

This feeling of no voice other than the Democratic-supported voice on the school board is one of the frustrations friends of mine have with the system. That’s partly why they’re supporting Cecelia Espenoza, the Independent candidate. [
See the Oct. 22 post.]

Ms. Baird’s philosophy of joining the similarities around the table is a nice one, but if everyone already generally agrees, the process can turn into GroupThink rather than a meeting of the minds.

Both candidates have the requisite backgrounds in the schools to be good board members, and both seem smart, hard-working and approachable. But I haven’t spent much time with either candidate to endorse or even be sure who I’m going to vote for.


Police Notes for Buckingham

Oct. 26:
Commercial burglary and grand larceny, auto on the 600 block of N. Glebe Rd. Between 8:20 p.m. Oct. 25 and 10:15 a.m. the next day, someone broke into a car dealership by shattering a glass door. The person or people took two car keys. One of the keys was used to steal a car from the lot.


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