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 Election Could Yield Us the 'Alfred Packer Cafeteria'

We just went through a town council election about four months ago and heard a lot of people talking about making changes and making a difference.

Now we are in the midst of a primary election for the presidency and we are hearing a lot of talk about people making changes and making a difference.

Soon, we’ll be smack dab in the middle of a school board election, where we will hear yet more people talk about making a difference and bringing about positive changes.

It’s in the air. It’s in the water. Change is finally being talked about by enough people that it might actually happen, and that change might be for the better.

Personally, I love elections. I love them for all of the reasons other people do, but I really like the “wagging the dog” mentality that comes with every election. Sometimes it’s fun to watch the politicians focus on problems that have nothing to do with the real issues in an effort to confuse voters and cloud the process. That happens every year.

On a national level, instead of the economy, the housing depression, illegal aliens or the war in Iraq, the primary issues become things like gay marriage.

A year ago, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said there is no way this country elects a black man or a woman president because we just aren’t ready for that. Two years ago I would have told you we wouldn’t see any opposition in the local school board election. Both are further proof that contrary to overwhelming popular opinion, I don’t know very much.

We have a new town council, a new police chief, and I believe soon we’ll have some new school board members. They all have a tough job ahead of them, and they are all going to need our help if they are to bring about just some of the changes they are promising.

With all that’s happening around us, there’s probably never been a better time to propose some changes. Why not start right here in this community?

Here’s one suggestion: change our decorative street lights

Yes, the posts holding up the streetlights in Knightstown are dangerous. So are the pillars in front of Jeff’s Pizza.

While taking a short break from duties at The Banner, I was standing outside when I saw two teenaged girls walking along the Town Square. Both were texting on cell phones. One walked directly into one of the decorative lampposts. Although not seriously injured, she was nonetheless shaken up and the collision caused her to send an incorrect text message.

The very next day I was driving on Main Street when I noticed a teenaged boy texting on his phone, and he walked right into one of the pillars in front of Jeff’s Pizza Shop. The impact caused him to drop his phone and it shattered all over the sidewalk.

This could be a really big issue in the upcoming school board election. I think the candidate who speaks up on this problem and demands that padding be placed on all of the streetlight poles and similar hazards along downtown roads should be the candidate we send into office as the newest CAB school board member.

After all, the biggest issue facing the school corporation is, in fact, dangerous lampposts in downtown Knightstown.

OK, maybe not.

But many times when it comes to politics that seems to be the way things turn out. The real issues get lost because everyone’s attention is pulled somewhere else.

I was recently looking through some old KHS yearbooks and boxes of memorabilia when I stumbled upon an old paper I did in high school for Mike Byrnes’ economics class.

I wrote about Agriculture Secretary Robert Bergland, who shook the political boat when he declared the Washington cafeteria to be substandard. The food service operation, staff and security personnel were awful, but because of politics, Bergland couldn’t find a way out of those contracts.

So in 1977, the United States Department of Agriculture renamed the Washington (D.C.) cafeteria “The Alfred Packer Memorial Dining Facility,” after the nineteenth-century Colorado pioneer, Alfred Packer. Bergland said, “Alfred Packer exemplifies the spirit and fare that this agriculture department cafeteria will provide.”

Several months later, the General Services Administration removed the dedicatory plaque, renamed the cafeteria, and accused the Department of Agriculture of “bad taste.” Packer had apparently been hung in 1874 after murdering and eating the five prospectors who had hired him to guide them along the Mormon Trail into Colorado.

Bergland got his new contracts.

Sometimes, changing the status quo in politics requires desperate measures.

So if you don’t like my idea of installing padding on all of the Knightstown street lampposts, which I think could potentially lead to a solution of all of CAB’s problems, then I have another suggestion.

As we approach the upcoming election, we’ll all soon be discussing the current status and future of CAB. I believe, all things considered, that we’re due for some serious change on that front.

How about we all listen to KHS senior and top student Diana Trautmann, who weighed in on the matter during an unrelated interview published in last week’s paper.

Said Diana, “I think they (the administration and community) are spending too much time on everything else and not enough time on the education of the children.”

Let’s throw that issue into this year’s election and listen for the proposed solutions.

Either that or we could always rename the high school cafeteria.


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