Bacchus to MacDiarmid: "Part of me wants to dissolve into laughter"
Apparently in media circles they're asking themselves how much deeper VSB Chair Patti Bacchus can bury her personal reputation. Bacchus, wife of longtime The Province newspaper columnist Lee Bacchus, is a deft media manipulator. In recent weeks she's been using her anger and hyperbole to control the message like a west coast Evita, and for the most part reporters have gobbled it up.
Just the other day Vancouver Sun reporter Janet Steffenhagen referred to Patti as the VSB's "feisty and popular" chairwoman. I corresponded with Janet to ask her about the quote, and she explained the term "feisty" really was based upon doing several interviews with her. It could be interpreted as either lively, or irritable. "Popular" because she topped the polls in 2008 and because she received a rousing response in April from a partisan crowd (see the full email response here).
Today Minister Margaret MacDiarmid held a news conference at her constituency office and announced that she expects a balanced budget from the VSB by their June 18th deadline. Bacchus earlier dismissed the Comptroller-General's review as "politically tainted". The VSB Chair held her own press conference in response to the Minister's request.
Bacchus has become famous for her glib responses to serious questions, and today she didn't disappoint. In response to the news of the Minister's request, Bacchus was quoted by CKNW's Janet Brown as saying the following:
"I would have to laugh if this wasn't a joke. Part of me wants to dissolve into laughter."
"If the board is fired we would consider ourselves to be political martyrs."
Asked what she thought the Minister's next move would be, Bacchus retorted:
"Her doctor should be worried about her next move."
MacDiarmid became gravely ill with pneumococcal meningitis last year, but we don't think that's what Bacchus is referring to.
Asked if she will present a balanced budget to the Minister, Bacchus replied to CTV, "I can put it on some prettier paper for her." She said that their budget was done in April and she plans to make no changes to it in light of the C-G's recommendations.
Following Vision/COPE's BCTF-inspired messaging since the announcement of the review by the Special Adviser has been like nailing Jello to a wall.
First Bacchus & co. said they welcomed the report by the third party. When the C-G's scathing review of the Vision/COPE's incompetence came out, their first reaction was naturally to shoot the messenger. The BCTF and Mike Lombardi (a former BCTF staffer) circulated a video of Bacchus' press conference recorded by CBC. Later she responded that "I didn't run for office so I could carry out this government's dirty work and slash programs."
Bacchus is actually incorrect. The trustees co-govern the School Board with the Province. The Province gives them a budget, and they make decisions on how to spend it – full stop. So, like it or not, she was elected to make decisions based upon the limits set out by Victoria.
In the days since the release of the C-G's report, all stakeholders related to the BCTF – including the Vision/COPE board, the VESTA teachers group and the NDP education critic have all claimed that the report by the Comptroller-General was not "independent" enough. Reports have it that David Chudnovsky and his activist wife Ruth Herman (a former COPE trustee) have also been heavily involved in this political action by the Vision/COPE trustees, along with their NDP masters.
Bacchus also goes out on a limb to suggest that the Minister has a hidden agenda. Quoted again by CKNW the Chair stated:
"This is about an attempt to get rid of voices that are publicly elected and shut them down, I think," said commented Bacchus. "[MacDiarmid] would like to see us appointed regional boards that she can control – do business in the back rooms no public consultation. I think this is an attack on local democracy is what it is to deflect attention away from a government that has badly screwed up the finances of this province."
In the middle of all this rancor is all the damage being done by the Bacchus/BCTF carpet bombing of the media. Our kids and the reputation of our school system is being destroyed by Bacchus and her union radical buddies. It's no wonder many parents are giving private education a closer look in our town.
If you've not read Trustee Carol Gibson's response to the horror that is the Vision/COPE board, read her op/ed in today's Vancouver Sun.
- post by Mike