--Meg Heaton, Hudson Star Observer There always seems to be some drama when it comes to deciding things in Hudson. Maybe that’s OK if it gets people interested, but only if we don’t let it distract from the real issue at hand. When it comes to the referendum, the only thing that matters is how we as a community feel about the education of our kids and what we are willing to invest in them. Based on everything I know about the referendum, about the way the school board has arrived at the proposal and about how the district is run and funded, I will be voting yes to both questions on Tuesday. Like most people I don’t like to see my taxes go up, and it won’t be just for schools if the road referendums pass in St. Joe and the town of Hudson. But it is simply the cost of living in a community like Hudson, the place the majority of us moved to over the past 20-40 years because we have good schools and good services and roads and generally good government. We have needed more secondary space for more than a decade. The price for that isn’t going to go down if we wait, but the negative impact of not building a new high school will have on our kids and the community will go up. It would be nice if the debate about the referendum had been confined to the facts about the need, the plan, the location and the cost. There is plenty that people could have had civil debate over, but people who have lived in Hudson longer than me said that isn’t the way things get done here. We moved to Hudson in late 1989 and when I began covering the school board in spring of 1990, people told me I had just missed a real Hudson “have-at-it” over sex education. It remained a hot topic for quite a while, and to this day when the subject of debate in Hudson comes up, the sex ed firestorm still comes up. And so it is no surprise that the debate over the referendum would derail into some pretty murky territory. But I have to say that when I first checked out “Vote-the-Facts,” I had to laugh. First thing that hit me was the photo of a Vikings’ style football stadium complete with a roof. I have been to every school board meeting for the past two years and I have never heard about a roof over any athletic field in Hudson. Couple that with all the so-call facts and figures presented there that never cite where they come from or who wrote them, or that just plain change the numbers about enrollment and taxes. I think we all need to realize the “facts” on the site are suspect. Contrast that with the hard numbers calculated by professionals like Baird Financial that have based all their numbers, including the most recent ones in this week’s Star-Observer, on the markets, the interest rate and their considerable years of experience with school bond funding. I don’t think it is hard to figure out who created the website, but they went the extra mile to cover their tracks. Well, more than a mile – try Russia. (Maybe that’s the problem with their numbers. Those outrageously high taxes they claim the referendum will mean might be in rubles, not dollars.) The district critics have made their case week after week in the letters to the editor and we welcome them. But I find it interesting, no disingenuous, that when they are contacted about the site, they play dumb. When our editor contacted some of these critics last week in an effort to find out about the site and where they got their information, no comment, or no response at all, was what we got. They claim they are afraid of retaliation. I think it is more a case of taking pot shots from deep cover. They can dish it out but they sure can’t take it. I find it interesting that the same people who regularly accuse the district of not being transparent with information and not informing the public, don’t seem to think that applies to this website, a resource they regularly refer voters to as legitimate, but that fails to say where or how they got their so-called facts. The problem is that anyone can put up a web page or send a mailer, and if it looks good, some people just assume it must be true. But as we hear every day on the news or from our doctors or even our kids, you can’t believe it just because it is on the Internet. Nobody fact checks sites like Vote the Facts and there is no contact information on the site or any reference at all to where the information comes from. I’m sure the people who are behind the site are true-believers, but that doesn’t make it fact. If wishing made it so, I might make a website of my own, slap a head-shot of me onto the body of Cindy Crawford and post it as my picture. Some people, those who don’t know me obviously, might buy it. But it wouldn’t change the facts about this 62-year-old overweight small town reporter. As challenging as it may seem with all the non-referendum controversy swirling around the Nov. 4 vote, as members of this community we need to put that all aside and decide if we are willing to take the steps necessary to keep this a great school district. Cindy Crawford and I would like you to vote yes.   

 --Meg Heaton, Hudson Star ObserverThere always seems to be some drama when it comes to deciding things in Hudson. Maybe that’s OK if it gets people interested, but only if we don’t let it distract from the real issue at hand. When it comes to the referendum, the only thing that matters is how we as a community feel about the education of our kids and what we are willing to invest in them.Based on everything I know about the referendum, about the way the school board has arrived at the proposal and about how the district is run and funded, I will be voting yes to both questions on Tuesday.Like most people I don’t like to see my taxes go up, and it won’t be just for schools if the road referendums pass in St. Joe and the town of Hudson. But it is simply the cost of living in a community like Hudson, the place the majority of us moved to over the past 20-40 years because we have good schools and good services and roads and generally good government.We have needed more secondary space for more than a decade. The price for that isn’t going to go down if we wait, but the negative impact of not building a new high school will have on our kids and the community will go up.It would be nice if the debate about the referendum had been confined to the facts about the need, the plan, the location and the cost. There is plenty that people could have had civil debate over, but people who have lived in Hudson longer than me said that isn’t the way things get done here.We moved to Hudson in late 1989 and when I began covering the school board in spring of 1990, people told me I had just missed a real Hudson “have-at-it” over sex education. It remained a hot topic for quite a while, and to this day when the subject of debate in Hudson comes up, the sex ed firestorm still comes up.And so it is no surprise that the debate over the referendum would derail into some pretty murky territory. But I have to say that when I first checked out “Vote-the-Facts,” I had to laugh. First thing that hit me was the photo of a Vikings’ style football stadium complete with a roof. I have been to every school board meeting for the past two years and I have never heard about a roof over any athletic field in Hudson. Couple that with all the so-call facts and figures presented there that never cite where they come from or who wrote them, or that just plain change the numbers about enrollment and taxes. I think we all need to realize the “facts” on the site are suspect.Contrast that with the hard numbers calculated by professionals like Baird Financial that have based all their numbers, including the most recent ones in this week’s Star-Observer, on the markets, the interest rate and their considerable years of experience with school bond funding.I don’t think it is hard to figure out who created the website, but they went the extra mile to cover their tracks. Well, more than a mile – try Russia. (Maybe that’s the problem with their numbers. Those outrageously high taxes they claim the referendum will mean might be in rubles, not dollars.)The district critics have made their case week after week in the letters to the editor and we welcome them. But I find it interesting, no disingenuous, that when they are contacted about the site, they play dumb. When our editor contacted some of these critics last week in an effort to find out about the site and where they got their information, no comment, or no response at all, was what we got. They claim they are afraid of retaliation. I think it is more a case of taking pot shots from deep cover. They can dish it out but they sure can’t take it.I find it interesting that the same people who regularly accuse the district of not being transparent with information and not informing the public, don’t seem to think that applies to this website, a resource they regularly refer voters to as legitimate, but that fails to say where or how they got their so-called facts.The problem is that anyone can put up a web page or send a mailer, and if it looks good, some people just assume it must be true. But as we hear every day on the news or from our doctors or even our kids, you can’t believe it just because it is on the Internet. Nobody fact checks sites like Vote the Facts and there is no contact information on the site or any reference at all to where the information comes from.I’m sure the people who are behind the site are true-believers, but that doesn’t make it fact. If wishing made it so, I might make a website of my own, slap a head-shot of me onto the body of Cindy Crawford and post it as my picture. Some people, those who don’t know me obviously, might buy it. But it wouldn’t change the facts about this 62-year-old overweight small town reporter.As challenging as it may seem with all the non-referendum controversy swirling around the Nov. 4 vote, as members of this community we need to put that all aside and decide if we are willing to take the steps necessary to keep this a great school district.Cindy Crawford and I would like you to vote yes. 

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