ACHTUNG: The following is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
Perhaps the most common criticism of the Wayland Union Schools’ $48.5 million bond proposal in the Aug. 2 election has been the assertion that it won’t raise taxes.
Assistant Supt. for Finance and Operations Patricia Velie made that claim a couple of months ago, and it’s raised more than a few eyebrows. Critics insist that though the yearly tax levy indeed will remain at 8.4 mills annually, the length of time it will be in effect will be extended by more than a few years.
So they object to the claim it won’t increase the tax rate, even though it won’t, it just lengthens the time it will be applied. Therefore, they charge the schools are guilty of only promoting something without acknowledging the downside.
Welcome to the ubiquitous and wonderful world of marketing and advertising. It seems too many people don’t mind not being told the whole truth by a business trying to sell a product, but they object to a public service doing the same thing for a better cause.
We are bombarded every day, every hour, every minute by claims that this or that product or service will do this or that for us personally, yet the side effects or negative aspects are hidden. After the rejection of the Truth in Advertising law 35 years ago, it has been more than possible for advertising and marketing to make claims that just ain’t necessarily so.
Cigarette advertising got away with plenty for many years, even with rules against misleading the public. And there have been many since who have made questionable and incomplete assertions with virtually no penalty for their sins. Remember Oxycontin?
In recent years, political advertisements have dominated the process of telling half truths and getting away with them. Most recently, Congressman Peter Meijer has flatly stated President Joe Biden did a horrible job withdrawing from Afghanistan while ignoring the foolishness that started that mess.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Closer to home, virtually all the Republican gubernatorial candidates have promised to outlaw the teaching of Critical Race Theory in our classrooms. CRT is not being taught in local schools at all. It is a collegiate graduate level study in master’s degree programs.
And I doubt any of the candidates even really know or can tell just what Critical Race theory is. They’re chasing a phantom bogeyman at our expense.
There are deliberate omissions and lies, just like what Ms. Velie is being accused of. Granted, I would feel a lot better if she would publicly acknowledge the lengthening of the yearly millage levy, but she is correct in asserting the levy will not increase.
If we somehow can overlook the tactics marketing and advertising use on us every day, we can somehow forgive the local school system’s attempt to avoid the albatross of “raising taxes.”
It is one thing to oppose the school bond because you just don’t want to pay more taxes. It’s entirely another if you consistently fall for phony claims that are eerily similar.