To fight back (in an ultimately futile attempt) newly elected Board member Andrea Merida went to Denver District Court Monday afternoon, had the November 3rd election results certified and forced the Board to seat her before the reform votes were taken.
The Post's story portrarys the reformers as the victims,
"We have had a really disappointing situation transpiring today," board President Theresa Peña said in the boardroom that was filled to capacity. "One of our new colleagues was sworn in today at noon. She is now a sitting board member. Michelle Moss will not be able to finish out her term. Michelle, I am incredibly sorry."
Moss tearfully left the dais.
"I find it to be one of the most disrespectful, underhanded political maneuvers that I have ever seen in my life," Moss said in the hallway as Merida voted. "Denver is in serious trouble. It's a clear indication that they will stop reform and do whatever it takes. It's a sad day in Denver."
This is, of course, utter nonsense. The voters of Denver clearly spoke on November 3rd and they spoke out against the present board and their reform agenda. The sitting board members have chosen to ignore this clear voter mandate and continue with their reforms up until the very end of their terms - lame duck status be damned. Their actions can fairly be described as hardball politics.
Merida's actions were perfectly legal and simply a tit-for-tat hardball response.What choice was she left with? The school board had decided to forge ahead with an agenda of school closures, charter granting and school moves despite the clear vote of no confidence that the board had received from voters just 4 weeks ago and, likely, contrary to state law.
Merida has an obligation to the constituents who elected her, once the board chose to take the course that they did Merida had little choice. It would have been irresponsible to sit idly by while lame duck board members flaunted the clear will of Denver voters and possibly skirted state law.
The lame duck members of the Denver School Board chose the path of legally suspect political hardball They don't then get to cry foul when the political tables are turned on them.