February 23rd, 2013

brutal!, bad bad bad bad

A pair of complaints

I have a pair of complaints, one of which, I promise you, is the silliest, most petty complaint you’ll read today, or possibly ever. I will it as an exercise for the reader to determine which is which.

Complaint the first: As I mentioned a couple of times earlier this week, there was a primary election held here in Madison last Tuesday. One of the three races on the ballot was for a Madison Metropolitan School District seat. Three people were running; the top two finishers would advance to the general election. Those two turned out to be Sarah Manski and T. J. Mertz.

On Thursday, Manski announced that she was dropping out of the race. She explained that her husband had been accepted into graduate school in California, and she would be moving there with him. Yesterday, she admitted that she had known even when she entered the race that there was a possibility that she might not be able to serve out her term; she had decided to run because her husband had applied to several schools within driving distance of Madison, giving her some hope that she would be able to remain in the area, and because, according to her, a school board member had assured her it was no big deal, because they could just appoint someone to the seat. (The school board member Manski named denies it.)

To my way of thinking, this was an incredibly dickish move on Manski's part. Not only did she essentially trick a bunch of Madisonians into supporting her candidacy, she also denied the third primary candidate, Ananda Mirilli, a chance to compete for the seat in the general, denied all Madison voters any real choice in the general election, and potentially kept us from being able to elect anyone. Under state law, Manski's name will remain on the ballot. One might think that there's enough time between now and the general for people to learn that Manski isn't competing for the seat despite being on the ballot, and know to cast their vote for Mertz, but I know a lot of people don't bother to pay much attention to school board races, so there's a possibility that Manski might end up winning the election. She would, of course, decline to be seated, but that doesn't mean Mertz automatically gets the seat. MMSD would probably appoint him to the seat, but they wouldn't be required to.

If she knew there was a chance she wouldn't be able to serve, she shouldn't have run. Maybe she didn't want to give her husband the impression that she thought he wasn't capable of getting into those nearby schools, but that doesn't strike me as a very good reason from a public-service perspective.

Complaint the second: I really hate it when newspapers aren't folded in the middle. This week's issue of the Capital Times, a free tabloid published here in Madison, is folded such that the first half of the paper is a good inch wider than the back half. This offends my sense of aesthetics. The fold should be exactly in the middle, so both halves of the paper are the same!

Sometimes I try to refold it, but my handmade crease is no match for the machine-made one, so I inevitably end up using the wrong crease, and a newspaper with two creases is even more aesthetically displeasing than one off-center crease.

I don't even get how this happens. What's the point of using machines if they can't make a perfect crease in the right place?