Last week, Gambit Weekly endorsed Mark Morgan for Jefferson Parish School Board, District 1. This week, we re-affirm our endorsement -- amid new information about his opponent's deceptive campaign tactics. (See "Bouquets & Brickbats," p. 12).
In last week's endorsement, Gambit Weekly regrettably made an error by substituting opponent John Roberts' last name for Morgan's in one sentence. We began our endorsement by correctly identifying Morgan by name, but then wrote: "An attorney with experience in both construction and education (he is a partner in a residential construction company and is an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School), Roberts (sic) knows the importance of building a public school system ... ." In fact, Morgan is an attorney and educator, and we believe he best understands the importance of public schools.
It should have been clear to John Roberts and his campaign that the sentence in question was in error. Roberts is neither an attorney nor an educator, and he has no experience in construction. He is a businessman who owns a number of gas stations. But last week, Gambit Weekly received a copy of Roberts' campaign literature, in which he repeats Gambit Weekly's error to his own advantage -- and strips out the identifying passage about having experience in construction and education. The passage in the flyer begins, "Roberts knows the importance of building a quality public school system ... ." In the flyer, Roberts also attaches another complimentary sentence that Gambit Weekly had written for Morgan, in an effort to make it appear that Gambit Weekly had intended those words for Roberts.
After seeing Roberts' handiwork, Gambit Weekly has grave doubts that he would serve the school district with honor. When we received the campaign literature, we called Roberts' home and campaign office for an explanation. Those calls were not returned by press time.
The following is Gambit Weekly's complete endorsement of Mark Morgan, as it should have appeared in our March 2 issue:
"Also on Tuesday, Jefferson Parish voters will elect a school board member to fill the 1st District seat that was vacated when Chris Roberts won his bid for Jefferson Parish Council last fall. We endorse Mark Morgan, who we believe will bring a wealth of experience and informed opinion to the task.
"An attorney with experience in both construction and education (he is a partner in a residential construction company and is an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School), Morgan knows the importance of building a quality public school system that will draw in resource-rich parents who might otherwise opt for private or parochial schools. He supports the planned magnet school, yet is aware that the ultimate goal is to improve schools throughout the district. A former assistant district attorney for Jefferson Parish, he argues convincingly for coordinating the juvenile justice and school discipline systems."
More than ever, Gambit Weekly encourages our readers to go to the polls on Tuesday, March 9.