Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Public Participation - 9/28/2021

Three speakers addressed the board last night. You can hear them right here. Go to Select the Sept. 28, 2021 meeting and fast-forward to 1:23:58 to hear the first speaker, Larry Small.

He told the board, with great passion, that HE is responsible for his children, not the superintendent or the board. HE is. Take a moment now and listen to his remarks.

At 1:27:44 the second speaker was Gary Ginn. He informed the board that the health of his children is the responsibility of his wife and him. 

The third speaker was Gus Philpott. (You recognize that name; right?) My three minutes started at 1:30:37.

I read to the board an email that I received from Teresa Holmes. She emailed it to me at 10:57PM on 9/15/21, about five hours after I had emailed the public relations department at Richland 2 to ask that they update her online bio. A reporter at The State newspaper had relied on online information about her job title and didn't know that she had quit early in August.

You might be interested in what Holmes had to say to me that night. There is a reason that I read it to the board and for the Richland 2 public to hear. Here it is, exactly as I received it:

"Gus, I have often tolerated you hateful remarks and email. However, this time you have gone too far.  I lost my husband Rev. Dr. Jacob A. Holmes Jr. 4 years ago which, I know you are fully aware of.  I will no longer tolerate nor concern myself with your continuous diatribe of falsehoods and insults.  After this message you are officially blocked from any further contact   with me.  Go spout your hate on those who care  about you and what your deceitful lying  mouth has to say.....Do not contact  me again or include me in your racist, hateful. lying  remarks or emails.  It is sad that someone of your advanced age is not concerned about your mortality and relationship with God.  I will pray that God will forgive your outright evilness and have mercy for your pitiful soul.  It has to be hard working on being so evil.  
Dr. Teresa Holmes 

The fourth speaker was Renee Lucida. Her remarks begin at 1:34:15. She referred to the last two board meetings as "dysfunctional". She mentioned an email she had sent to the board chair, and she received no answers to her questions. She described the reply that she did receive from the board chair as a "perceived veiled attack on my character."

Take a few minutes and watch this week's school board meeting Public Participation.

Is Gus Philpott intimidating?

When I arrived at R2i2 yesterday about 5:20PM and while I was chatting with another member of the public, a security officer and a deputy, the superintendent approached. 

He told the other man and me that one of the female trustees had reported that she felt intimidated by us. I had noticed last week that one trustee had requested a deputy to escort her to her car in the parking lot, and I recall saying to someone that I wondered whether she had received threats.

I was pretty sure the other man had not acted in an intimidating manner toward that trustee, and I KNEW that I had not. 

The question for me now is how to resolve it with that trustee. I find myself reluctant to approach her to discuss what caused her to feel intimidated and whether, in fact, she had even told the superintendent that she was intimidated by me. I certainly would not open the discussion without a female trustee as a witness.

As many know, I have complained for 2½ years that Holmes and McKie are not legitimate board members and now cannot serve as board officers. I told the board in March 2019 that the issue was not going away. When will the issue go away? When they take the oath of office legally and become legal members of the board!

I know the laws, and I know that I have avoided any words or actions that could be considered criminal. That didn't keep Holmes from filing a harassment claim against me with the Richland County Sheriff's Department in March 2019. I met with an Investigator Sergeant and the Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations. The Chief quickly determined that no crime had occurred.

I have a copy of the deputy's report of Holmes' complaint. It is 100% lies. I pointed that out while I was at RCSD. 

It is my intention to see that Holmes and McKie are removed from the board. In fact, they aren't even legally ON the board, so it's not a question of "removing" them. All Holmes and McKie have to do to become legal board members is take the oath of office - legally. Both became eligible to take it on December 4, 2018. 

I have no idea why the rest of the board, the school district's attorney and the superintendent don't persuade Holmes and McKie to do so. It has been suggested to me that one reason is that the District will have to review every vote by the board, starting with the November 13, 2018, and take out the votes of Holmes and McKie. Many decisions will change. 

Votes that were 4-3 (with Holmes and McKie counted in the four) will become 3-2, meaning the votes failed, not passed. The longer the District waits to correct this, the farther they will have to go back. 

There are board meetings since November 13, 2018 that won't have quorums, once Holmes' and McKie's names are removed from those attending. Any one of the five legal trustees who missed a meeting in 2½ years will cause a meeting to miss the quorum requirement.

Perhaps I'm intimidating because I can count. That could be it.

Were you inspired last night?

It appears the Inspiration Moment of board meetings has dissolved into a reading lesson by trustee-elect Amelia McKie.

Are you inspired?

Some time back the District arranged speakers who actually provided inspiration. What happened to inviting community members in for a brief Inspirational Moment?

Are you inspired by a board member who drones on and on, or sometimes reads like she is auditioning for Toastmasters? 

Let's hear some success stories from others. 

An "Inspirational Moment" should be a moment, defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as "a minute portion ... of time". In another reference, as "an indefinitely short period of time" ( In other words, short. 

And inspirational!

And the introduction of the speaker for the Insprration Moment should be very brief; say, 30 seconds or less. An example of a good introduction is, "Tonight's speaker for the inspirational moment will be _______." It's not necessary to deliver a pedigree that is longer than the inspiration moment ought to be.

9/28/21 Board Meeting - could you hear?

Before last night's board meeting began, I asked if the volume in the room could be increased, as trustees cannot be heard in the meeting room. Volume is very good on the Live recording, but it's low in the room.

I was offered a hearing-assistance device. I'll acknowledge some degree of hearing loss. I'm growing accustomed to "soft" Southern voices but, when they speak clearly and don't mumble, I hear and understand them.

As I looked around the room during the meeting, I noticed that quite a few others in the audience were showing signs that they couldn't hear, either. You know, shaking their heads; leaning their heads toward the speakers; holding hands up to ears. Or just ignoring the speaker.

How simple it would be to instruct the sound engineer to increase the volume in the room.

Or instruct the trustees to remove their masks and speak directly into the microphones.

Or for the trustees to pull the microphones closer to their mouths.

A-ha! This morning I began listening to the replay of last night's meeting. When the session reconvened at 1:13:10 on the recording, Trustee Manning clearly asked the board members to pull their microphones closer and to speak up, so the public could hear.

Interesting. His voice was loud and clear on the recording, but I did not hear those words in the meeting.

Did you?

Could you hear last night, if you were in the room? Comments below, please.

If you were in the room and could not hear, please email the board and Mrs. Roof at