The most important thing to remember about puppets is that is that they rarely know they're puppets, as evidenced by the Wake County School Board Sideshow, now on stage at the N&O.
Art Pope the architect
A newly released e-mail message from an official of the Wake County Republican Party to school board chairman Ron Margiotta gives credit to longtime state Republican power broker Art Pope for strong performances by GOP-backed school board candidates. Handed over by Margiotta after a public records request, the message was sent Oct.7, the day after the first round of voting for the panel in October. Another round of voting in November clinched control of the board by a new, Republican-backed majority that is promising major changes for North Carolina's largest school district.
A millionaire Raleigh businessman and former state representative, Pope has for decades backed Republican candidates and several right-leaning institutions, including the John Locke Foundation, a Raleigh-based conservative think tank.
"I am fairly pleased with the elections yesterday - especially with the school board," GOP county finance chairman Marc Scruggs wrote to Margiotta. "Art Pope's plan [that] the GOP implemented worked very well - and THANK YOU for your help and service."
In the e-mail, Scruggs also tells Margiotta that the party will raise money to aid the run-off election efforts of school board candidate John Tedesco, a member of what would become the panel's new majority. Tedesco fell just short in October voting of gaining the majority that would have avoided a runoff; he won the seat in November.
"We don't have a solid game plan yet, but Art will be the architect," Scruggs wrote.
Repeated efforts to reach Scruggs and Pope by phone were unsuccessful. Margiotta said Friday that he barely recalled the e-mail and knows Pope only slightly.
"My involvement with the county party was extremely minimal, if at all," Margiotta said. "How much impact they had, I don't know how you measure that."
What could be more inspiring to the kids in Wake County than having a duplicitous puppet chairing their school board?