Tick tock, tick tock.
Less than two weeks until the April 2 general municipal elections, and we have ourselves some interesting races developing in Camdenton and Lake Ozark. Gotta love Lake of the Ozarks politics. It’s reality TV at its best.
Taking center stage is the brouhaha within the Camdenton School District. There’s dissention among the troops, and it’s making headlines. Two administrators have resigned reportedly because they are tired of micromanaging by the board of education. There is apparently deep division among the board. There are charges the Camdenton School District lacks adequate transparency. And now, a board candidate was caught plagiarizing stuff from the Internet for use in his campaign. He said it was unintentional and he had the best interests of the school district in mind.
Remember the adage, the bigger they are the harder they fall?
The Camdenton School District has long considered itself the Jewel of the Lake. The district has enjoyed success in the classroom and on the football field. Hopefully, when all of the personal agendas and politics are buried, the district can regain its lofty position.
Let me remind you of one of my favorite sayings: In perception there is reality.
There are five board members running for two open positions on the Camdenton Board of Education. Two are incumbents.
It’s a bit quieter up the road at School of the Osage. But the natives must be a little restless as well because, as in Camdenton, there are five candidates running for two open seats on the board. If there’s dissent, it hasn’t hit the media as yet.
I attend every School of the Osage board meeting, and the monthly meetings are business as usual. Yes, there’s discussion, but it’s always civil and respectful. Most of the meetings are consumed with updates on state and federal policies. They’re actually rather boring from the public’s perspective.
The big issue in the Osage district is the bond issue to renovate and expand the existing Heritage Building for lower elementary classrooms and administrative offices. Mills Elementary is overcrowded and not conducive to quality education, we’re told, and the board wants taxpayers to help foot the $22 million cost.
Remember, boys and girls, it took the Lake Ozark Fire District twice to get its bond issue passed. Organizers pushed it harder and smarter the second time around, and people listened.
School of the Osage’s campaign committee has held one public meeting. We’ll see if their low-key approach works better than the LOPD’s.
Page 2 of 2 - The other highly anticipated race is for Lake Ozark mayor. Incumbent Johnnie Franzeskos is being challenged by former mayor Paul Sale. Sale rode herd on a cantankerous bunch of aldermen who always made for interesting reading in the early 2000s.
I covered Lake Ozark then, and I cover it now. There is a vast difference between today’s board and yesterday’s board. I do think today’s board and administration have more vision and more of an interest in creating a retail-friendly environment.
Lake Ozark, Osage Beach, Camdenton and the Westside are competing for new businesses and more people. The community that has the best vision and the best tools will take the lead.
There are a couple of side races on the ballot as well.
In Osage Beach, W.W. (Bill) Stone is challenging incumbent John Olivarri for Ward III alderman. Stone challenged Mayor Penny Lyons last year and got his fanny kicked.
In Lake Ozark, incumbent Todd Painter is being challenged by Betsey Browning, a business owner. Browning had a issue with the board last year over an event her business hosted below the dam.
Watch The Focus, Lake Sun and WestSide Star for detailed pre-election coverage. And don’t forget www.lakenewsonline.com.