posted on June 07, 2006 13:51
My despair deepens over the Wake County school bonds.
I see no sign that county leaders understand the public-opinion mountain they have to climb to pass a $1 billion bond issue this fall.
In fact, the signs are bad. Starting with the big announcement that two big names will head the campaign: Bill Atkinson, president of WakeMed hospital, and Ann Goodnight, who runs the “education and arts-minded” Goodnight Educational Foundation and is the wife of SAS software gazillionaire Jim Goodnight.
Nothing wrong with Atkinson and Goodnight. They’re fine folks.
But 30 years in politics taught me to worry when a candidate spent more time worrying about which big names would be his campaign chairs – instead of what he was going to say to the voters.
Few voters care what Bill Atkinson or Ann Goodnight say about the schools. In fact, if I was a mean-minded opponent, I would point out that the Goodnights started their own costly private academy in Cary.
Voters care about how the bonds will affect their kids and their pocketbooks. And not necessarily in that order.
The best thing Atkinson and Goodnight can do is raise several million dollars to run a professional campaign.
And that campaign better start with some serious public opinion research.
That means focus groups and polls.
That means listening to people before you start preaching to them.
God gave you two ears and one mouth for a good reason. Use them that way.
Otherwise, these bonds – as I have said before on this site – are going down, down, down.
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