Sunday, May 26, 2013

Howler of the Week

Everybody needs a good laugh (in) from time to time, and Side may need it more than most, given the dark and humorless underbelly of the subject matter on which we typically report.

So we thought we’d delve into the annals of TV comedy for inspiration.


This week’s “Fickle Finger” goes to Rich Ellis of the Cape Brunswick School Board, who somehow evaded the attention of The Ostrich in the Abelmann op-ed on which we just reported.  But he more than made up for it with this gut-buster stand up routine highlighted in The Forecaster.

The best one-liners include these (punch lines highlighted so you know when to laugh):

Board member Rich Ellis, chairman of the facilities committee, said the meeting will effectively serve as a "reboot" for the board's process on the school facilities plan, because its estimated cost is far more expensive than what the board was expecting.

"The size of the estimate that came back will require us to go back to evaluate our assumptions and our process."

When the board begins discussing the school facilities plan again, Ellis said the bond's impact on taxpayers over the next five to 10 years will be a major consideration.

"How do we roll that into a budget in a way that doesn't adversely impact taxpayers?" he said.

All of which reminds us that there is more than one meaning to the term ‘punch line,’ if you think about it.


We trust you know what straining credulity means.  In case you forgot, see the photo above. 

We know one thing for sure; Ellis has a uniquely personal understanding of what the meaning of “adversely impact taxpayers” is, is.  He’s been the most reliable “money grows on trees” voice of the school board since he was elected. 

He’s found every imaginable distraction to prove that Brunswick is thrifty and spends less than any other town on the planet in its schools, and should be generously rewarded for allowing per student costs to rise from less than $7,000 per student a dozen or so years ago to something like $15,000 per student now.  While at the same time making it clear (in his mind) that whatever budgetary distress we may find ourselves in, it is not a function of spending, but instead, of failure of others to provide whatever is needed to cover the increases.  He’s a real pencil whipper and spread sheet illusionist, twisting himself in knots to convince the public that thrift is at the heart of everything the school department does. 


Who knows; may be he has ambitions for higher office, especially one that may be opening up very soon.  At least he hasn’t yielded (yet) to the three and four name affectation so ‘en vogue’ at his favorite Facebook page, where other school board members, past and present, hang out.

We know this: if he keeps honing and polishing his ‘bits,’ we may be moved to start thinking of School Board Meetings as latter day episodes of Hee-Haw, where they often woke up sleeping dogs with their irreverent ‘shtick.’

Their meetings are beginning to look like an ensemble show anyway, when in the same week you get Ellis and his routine, along with the Chair’s audition as reported in The Ostrich item we posted on earlier today:

School board chairman Jim Grant says he had “no knowledge” of what was discussed during Wednesday night’s executive session, when Brunswick’s top in-school administrator was given a graceful out just weeks before graduation.

It’s amazing what a good swaller from a jug of Kool-Aid can do for you, ain’t it?

We’ll close with a paraphrase of the famous line from Laugh-In, one which our elected betters seem particularly fond of:

“Sock it to them.”

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