School Board election ad causes stir - Beloit Daily News: Local News

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School Board election ad causes stir

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Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2010 12:00 am

An April 4 newspaper ad has caused concern for at least two School District of Beloit board members.

The ad placed by Friends of Tim Listenbee asked voters to write-in Listenbee’s name. The ad lists only incumbent board member Shannon Scharmer and in parentheses the words “leave blank” appear. Also in the ad, current school board member Tia Johnson is listed as Listenbee’s treasurer.

Listenbee decided to run as a write-in candidate last week. He then filed paperwork with administrative assistant Michelle Shope. Shope confirmed Listenbee filed paperwork and met all deadlines to be an active candidate.

Johnson said Listenbee asked her to be treasurer and because she feels he is an asset to the community and a worthy candidate for school board, she agreed.

Johnson said she was not in the office when the ad was designed and though she feels Listenbee would make a good school board member she does not believe the board would be better off without Scharmer.

Johnson said, to her understanding, the ad was supposed to list all three candidates. She reiterated she does not want Scharmer ousted from the school board.

“I don’t think having Shannon Scharmer off the board would be in the best interest of the school district,” Johnson said. “I have nothing against Shannon Scharmer.”

Johnson said the ad was not designed to campaign against any one candidate but instead asked voters to question how board members are serving the public.

Johnson said she has not spoken with Scharmer about the ad yet because Scharmer and herself both have very busy schedules.

Scharmer said the ad was reminiscent of an “out of line” ad that was placed by the Beloit Education Association last year. She also questioned the motives behind the last minute write-in.

“Personally, I believe this last minute write-in campaign might be the effort of a group of BEA members whose hope was to posture themselves for imminent contract negotiations in hopes they will have a fourth vote to support unequivocally the interests of the BEA,” Scharmer said.

Scharmer said she has not spoken with Tia Johnson since the ad ran.

“I applaud Mr. Listenbee as I truly believe that the voters should have a choice at the polls. However, I am concerned that sitting board member Tia Johnson would take such a negative and ugly attack at another board member, particularly when Johnson campaigned last year on the platform that the board must be willing to work together,” Scharmer said.

Listenbee said the ad was intended to list all three candidates and he did not see it before it went to print. Several individuals were involved in designing the ad, though Listenbee did not want to name them.

After seeing the ad, Listenbee said it was not what he envisioned. He also has not spoken with Scharmer about the ad but is hoping to clear it up as soon as possible.

Listenbee said the ad was not run as an attack on any school board member but instead asked them to review their options for school board candidates.

Listenbee said he would like to apologize if the ad offended Scharmer.

“I would be willing to clear it up with her, it was an honest mistake,” he said. “I don’t believe in dirty politics.”

There were 205 write-in votes at this year’s election, Shope said nearly all of them were for Listenbee.

Despite the write-in effort all three incumbents were re-elected including Sharmer who received 628 votes.

Scharmer said she is committed to the board and will continue to serve. “I am very pleased with the election results and I am looking forward to serving a third term on the school board.

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  • bmhsparent posted at 4:31 am on Thu, Apr 15, 2010.

    bmhsparent Posts: 0

    I have never watched a board meeting where Scharmer did not come across as prepared, extremely informed, polite and professional. As for TIA JOHNSON, are you calling her a liar? She said in the article that she did NOT believe the board would be better off without Scharmer and that she does not want her off the board. Is she lying? Then maybe she should apologize to the voters if not to Scharmer.

  • beloitsupporter posted at 2:04 pm on Mon, Apr 12, 2010.

    beloitsupporter Posts: 0

    bmhsparent: Johnson doesn't need to apologize if she believes that after serving on the board for a year, that Scharmer (or any other board member) doesn't work well with others. And if you are going to demand apologies, then start by demanding one from Scharmer who has also played the dirty campaigning cards and is direly in need of Tribes training as she is extremely rude to staff and board colleagues. Wow, who can forget the days when she stomped, and yes, I mean stomped her feet during human growth and committee meetings. And, she hasn't always used appropriate language in meetings. Also, board members names have appeared in endorsements for some board candidates and not others in the past; isn't that a public attack as well by your definition?

  • bmhsparent posted at 2:42 am on Sun, Apr 11, 2010.

    bmhsparent Posts: 0

    bachjaarli: It's sort of like television...if you don't like it, turn the channel. I guess if you are a Listenbee supporter or if you like Tia Johnson's dirty politics, then you would rather we stop discussing this. So, turn the channel.The hipocrit is Tia Johnson who said, last year when she ran, that the school board needed people who could work well together. Tia, THIS is no way to get along with the others on the board. If you disagree with Sharmer then just try to persuade the others and vote your beliefs. You, as a board member, should not publicly attack someone who has served for 6 years. Legal? yes. Right? no. And you are too busy to apologize? Please.....

  • beloitsupporter posted at 2:14 am on Sun, Apr 11, 2010.

    beloitsupporter Posts: 0

    What was wrong with the ad? If a candidate thinks they can do a better job than a specific incumbent, then why shouldn't they target them specifically in an ad? And what about Scharmer and Acomb showing up at candidate forums in the past and targeting candidates with specific questions to make their preferred board candidates look good and make the other candidates look bad? Scharmer never made any bones in the past about trying to get fellow board members ousted and didn't care how it would affect relationships if the incumbent won. Tia Johnson supported someone whom she thought would make a good addition to the board, even it if was at the expense of an incumbent losing their seat. So what. Scharmer would like to have Charles back on the board, and Johnson would rather have Listenbee. They have the right to support another candidate without having to make any apologies about it.

  • HRDHD posted at 3:42 pm on Sat, Apr 10, 2010.

    HRDHD Posts: 8

    beloitguy,I agree with you that Shannon Scharmer is a necessary balancing force on a board that recently added three new members backed and supported by the BEA. We need her there. What I disagree with is that Tim Listenbee was such a benevolent contender. I've heard Listenbee speak publicly in a very intimidating way about other candidates. I also have done a background check on him. He is NOT the type of person we should trust with our tax dollars or our schools. I believe that is why he ran as a last minute write-n hopes that his record would not be discovered until it was too late. I also do not believe that he and Tia Johnson had no idea about the ad. He ran only one ad. Obviously a small budget. The Stateline shopper lists Tim Listenee as the person who placed the ad. He saw the ad. I believe he's lying. If he ever runs again he'll have to answer a lot of questions about his past.To Beloitsupporter: I don't think you have any idea what integrity or honesty is.

  • beloitsupporter posted at 4:30 am on Sat, Apr 10, 2010.

    beloitsupporter Posts: 0

    Scharmer is a hypocrit, having participated in dirty backdoor politics and in spreading rumors about other school board candidates in the past. Legally, board members have the right to endorse another board member. Furthermore, it is an assumption on Scharmer's part (she is infamous for making accusations based on false assumptions) that BEA members were behind the write in effort. Scharmer's behavior and tactics are in my opinion questionably manipulative, she has often been rude fellow board members and staff. And the BDN has never really thoroughly investigated the special benefits she has recieved as a board member. She is not honest nor a good board member. The public would be better off with a different conservative voice that operated from a basis on integrity, honesty, and without special interests.

  • Concerned Citizen posted at 5:29 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Concerned Citizen Posts: 733

    hrdhd - Why paint "teachers" with such a broad brush? I am a teacher and had no idea anything with Tim Listenbee and Tia Johnson was going on. I also had no idea the ads last election were coming out until I saw them firsthand. I am too busy doing my job to worry about things like this.

  • BeloitGuy posted at 4:55 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    BeloitGuy Posts: 109

    I've known Tim many years, and while our overall political views are direct opposites more often than not he is neither a liar nor dumb. I've found him to be honest, hard working, and quite caring about Beloit. He'd do anything to help a friend, and darn near anything to help a stranger.He's also quite trusting of his friends, and I strongly suspect that's why he didn't think to review an ad personally before it ran. It's a naive mistake, one I'm sure he wouldn't make again, and one that will not soon be forgotten.Those who created and ran the ad in his name quite clearly had the same goal in mind as the BEA ad of the previous election. Rather than presenting specific events which had at least been researched; however, this ad was absolutely nothing but a hack job against Shannon. These folks have made a good man look like a fool.I am thankful that this latest effort failed as I believe Shannon is a necssary balancing force against the inclinations of our newer board members, and I'm a fiscal conservative. As for Tim, he's a strong man and I've no doubt he'll accept his lumps for putting his name and face on such a vile ad. I'll also bet it doesn't happen again.

  • bachjaarli posted at 4:54 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    bachjaarli Posts: 48

    Hey, people...get a life and let this go. Don't we have bigger things in our community and our country to invest our energy in?

  • HRDHD posted at 10:37 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    HRDHD Posts: 8

    The sad thing is that teachers and sitting school board members are the ones responsible for these defamatory and tasteless ads over the past few years.Our children attend "character counts" events sponsored by the schools. They are expected to be civil and treat their peers kindly, yet the very people who are supposed to set examples and be the role models for our children seem to have only selfish interests at election time, forgetting that people are watching.

  • enuf posted at 4:24 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    enuf Posts: 0

    Sorry, Tia Johnson, but it is obvious that you and your candidate are lying. If you think Ms. Scharmer is so valuable to the board then why would you try to oust her? You wanted to list all three board members' names on the ad? Why? Did you really think Tim Listenbee would be better than WInkelman, Acomb and Scharmer? REALLY?? You and Tim Listenbee didn't even check the ad for accuracy before it ran? How can we trust you with balancing the budget and handling millions of taxpayers' dollars?The BDN reporter managed to reach Ms. Scharmer but you are too busy to get ahold of her to apologize? Maybe you're too busy to serve on the board.

  • icancount posted at 2:58 pm on Thu, Apr 8, 2010.

    icancount Posts: 0

    Interesting, so Johnson was not in "the office" when the ad was designed, and Listenbee "did not see it before it went to print" yet he states that several individuals were involved in designing the ad but he did not want to name them. Gosh, I wonder who has an "office" and who these several unnamed individuals are? So if Johnson, the treasurer, and Listenbee the candidate did not design and place the ad, who did? Could Scharmer be correct in her thought that it is several members of the BEA? While I would like to think that is not true, it seems that the true colors of several "unnamed" BEA members have just been shown. I hope that someone looks a bit deeper to determine who paid for the ad. After all, with campaign finance laws I think it is public information with things like this.

  • bmhsparent posted at 11:53 am on Thu, Apr 8, 2010.

    bmhsparent Posts: 0

    WOW! And the ad said that Listenbee is honest???He is either a liar or the dumbest person who ever ran. I am disgusted by his and Tia's actions and their denial of any knowledge of the ad. How little they must think of the voters' intelligence.


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