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Saturday, September 02, 2006


I’m supposed to be working, not posting. But I saw something that made me stop and get over to the blog at once. I cannot believe I missed this. There is major action in the Sandra Nicholson story!

You all remember Sandra, right? The school board member in Florida who attempted to have books removed from schools there—and hadn’t actually read them?

Here’s the news, which I just spotted on Bookshelves of Doom. In the end, out of the ten books that she proposed removing, the board decided to remove one. One is still too many, but at least her overall effort was revealed for what it was: ill conceived.

Here’s the kicker, though. Right now, Sandra is running UNCONTESTED for her position on the school board. That’s right. Uncontested. She’s going to get back on. It looks like the chance to register as a candidate is over.

It gets a little bit better, friends. Sandra herself speaks! I found this editorial she published in the St. Petersburg Times just a few days ago. My comments are in brackets.

Look for truthful candidates, then vote
Letter to the Editor
Published August 30, 2006

While educating myself on the qualities of the candidates at the recent Chamber of Commerce's forum, I became very irritated. While speaking to a candidate after the meeting, I was told that "it is just politics, and all groups must be linked together, regardless of the facts."

[Does anyone even know what she’s talking about here? Educating herself on qualities? And the “it is just politics and all groups must be linked together, regardless of the facts.” What groups? What facts? I’m not being deliberately difficult—I genuinely cannot figure out what this paragraph is supposed to mean. Clearly she went to some meeting to scope out her (non-existent) competition, but the rest leaves me at a loss.]

I recognized several inaccurate statements, however, there are two issues I would like to address for your readers.

[Again, having no idea what she is talking about, it’s hard to speculate on what these “inaccurate statements” might be. What were these people saying? Bees make cheese? Electricity comes from rainbows? But how about this one, Sandra . . . don’t go to a meeting and try to ban books that you haven’t even read. That's an ugly brand of inaccurate statement. But go on. Go on, sweet Sandra.]

- School Board members in the schools:

I know that I and several of my fellow board members spend a great deal of time in the schools every year. We sometimes tour the sites, volunteer for many activities, like reading (groups and one-on-one), judging projects (history, science), teaching, chaperoning field trips, attending special programs, sports activities and the list goes on.

[Reading, Sandra? Really? Come on, now. We’re all on to you on that one.]

- Planning ahead for schools:

Several years ago, we purchased 80 acres for a school on the east side of the county. We have been planning for the entire county with property purchases and reorganizing existing schools where it is feasible. We have been looking at all possibilities to provide the best education and reasonably comfortable facilities for our ever-increasing student population.

[Ah yes. Was this the same patch of land you had illegally bulldozed in April of 2004, destroying protected trees?]

I realize that as an elected official I need to have a thick skin, especially at election time, but I would like to say one thing to people before they vote: "You have heard what the candidates have had to say; now find out who is telling the truth."

[I can’t help but agree with you. People should find out who is telling the truth. Or who tries to ban books she hasn’t read. Well, I guess since no one is running against you it doesn’t really matter what you say, does it?]

Thank you for allowing me to make this statement.

[No problem. We’re like BFFs. Call me. We should talk. Get to the bottom of this. Exchange sloppy kisses.]

Sandra Nicholson, member Hernando County School Board District 5


Oh, Sandra. You naughty little ferret. How you vex me!

A naughty ferret

In any case, this is a good time to mention that September 23-30th is the American Library Association’s BANNED BOOKS WEEK! (Doesn’t it seem odd that in the United States we should have such a big problem with banned books? Doesn’t this go against just about everything we are supposed to stand for?)

What can you do? (And you can SO do something about this. Believe me.)

Here are a few quick suggestions:

1. Have a look at this list of the 100 most challenged books and read one or two of them.

2. Write an editorial to your local paper, explaining your feelings on this subject. Most papers, especially community ones, will take letters that come from teenagers very seriously. Blog about it. Blogs get read, too.

3. If a book is challenged in your area, make sure the author knows about it! (Provided, of course, that the author is alive. That’s a major part of it. No use telling Mark Twain that some bonehead has a problem with Huck Finn again. He’s heard it. He would say something smart and funny about it, if he could.) Many of us have websites and can be reached, and we like to know if this sort of thing is going on.

4. If, like in Hernando County, the school board is trying to remove any books—GO TO THE PUBLIC MEETINGS! Bring friends. Make sure people know what you think.

5. Unsure if any books are challenged in your school? Ask the librarian.

Now, I have to finish my book and get ready.

And Devilish is coming soon and fast. September 7th. Are you with me?