Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We've Heard That One Before

Joel Nunneley, one of the Cowbirds wanting to sell off Fayetteville High School to the highest bidder and build a new one in the burbs, claims that his position is shared by the Silent Majority. Yesterday, Fayetteville school administrators provided his group free meeting space at McNair Middle School, and he was only able to draw 35 people interested in his scheme. Laurie Taylor, the last person claiming to be speaking for the silent majority, was able to turn out twice that many for her book banning crusade.

Let's take a look at these people who are trying to tell us they are the Silent Majority. They call their little group Students First, but it is little more than a Chamber front group. Republican businessman Jeff Koenig is in the middle of it. Judy McDonald was there yesterday. She voted to remodel the high school when she was on the school board, but now favors the Chamber's plan to sell it and build a new one. Her husband's medical clinic is a member of the Chamber of Cowbirds.

Laura Orsak Underwood was there, too. She is a former junior high rodeo queen who works part-time at Underwood's Fine Jewelers, a family business that is a member of the Chamber of Cowbirds. She is also a former school board member, but her judgment has been suspect ever since she ignored the legal advice of the school's attorney and joined Howard Hamilton in voting with the book banners. Underwood said last year that the current high school campus, appraised at $62 million, should be sold off, even if we can only get $40 million for it. Desperation? No, Bill Ramsey says he thinks it could be sold to developers.

Then there's Joel Nunneley, Mr. Silent Majority, who is Executive Vice President of the multi-million dollar Medical Consulting Group, a Foreign Limited Liability Company chartered and paying franchise taxes out of state. Yes, the consulting group is a member of the Chamber of Cowbirds. Mr. Nunneley's past political involvement includes supporting Republican Faye Boozman against Senator Blanche Lincoln in 1998; it was during that election when Eye Doctor Boozman proclaimed a new theory that rape victims could not get pregnant due to a magic shield of fear, or some such nonsense.

At least Mr. Nunneley is upfront that he favors building a new
Mega High School on Deane Solomon Road, seven miles from the present central location. Some of the other members pretend that they are considering other undisclosed locations. His mind has long been made up on the issue. Last July he said, "there comes a time when the debate should end and a decision should be made. Our 'new-versus-old-high-school' debate needs to end now." His position against improving and expanding the high school near the University and the Walton Arts Center? Simple. He declares that increasing property tax millage for that purpose "is inherently unfair to taxpayers as well and would most likely fail."

He thinks there will be a groundswell of public support for increasing taxes to build the Cowbirds' project on the outskirts of town?

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