As long-time readers of this blog are likely to know, I co-host the Forward Maryland podcast with the redoubtable Bill Woodcock.
Back on February 29 of this year, we interviewed Board of Education candidate (District 4), Sezin Palmer. That conversation can be found here:
It is important to note that we interview people who we believe have an interesting story to tell. They don’t necessarily have to be in alignment with Bill’s views or mine. Of course, this is not the only test to determine who receives an invitation. Matt Levine, for example, is not welcome on the show.
Back to Ms. Palmer. In February, her positioning seemed to be different than it is today. I knew she stood with the anti-redistricting folks. Perhaps it was her more polished communications style compared to the aforementioned Mr. Levine, or Larry Pretlow in District 2, that led me to believe that she deserved an opportunity to come on the podcast. Speaking for myself and myself alone, seeing where she has gone with her campaign and knowing what I know now, I would not have extended her an invitation. There are several reasons why, in no particular order:
I believe there is a false assumption that she is some kind of apolitical, technocratic moderate. The reality is that she actually holds rather extreme viewpoints. She received a failing grade from the Community Allies of Rainbow Youth (CARY)…even Mr. Levine received a D. She is a self-described “libertarian.” The national Libertarian Party has espoused. the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education. Moreover, if she is truly neither/nor on “Democratic or Republican” question, why is the Howard County Republican Club listing her as one of the candidates who “shares their conservative values?”
How can she square being a self-proclaimed “fiscal conservative” with a commitment to being a committed advocate for education funding? How would those values-in-action impact our teachers and students? What programs or jobs are at risk? Remember: there is no “waste, fraud, and abuse” line item to cut.
She was, and is, critical of the most recent redistricting. Her go-to solution, along the lines of “let’s study the problem more,” would have locked in overcrowding in many Howard County schools. How would that have furthered the cause of educational excellence?
Her response to the Alfeo situation, as I noted on my Facebook page, was “weak sauce.” How can she be an advocate for ALL of our students if her embrace of inclusion seems something less than complete?
Ms. Palmer also wrote that she and Matt “guns in schools” Levine agree on many issues. Need I say more?
The bottom line is either that Ms. Palmer has evolved (or devolved) on certain issues or she has revealed herself for the candidate she actually is. Either way, she seems a very poor fit for the Board of Education in general and District 4 in particular.