Tales from the Mark Side: The Conservative Voice of Manatee County

By Mark Young

There’s been a lot of noise made since I publicly opposed the Manatee County School District’s Nov. 2 special election to extend their extra one mill tax.

Let me clarify some of the things that have been said because first and foremost, I think the additional 30 minutes of education on critical programs the district offers is a great idea. As expected when it comes to the left where facts don’t matter, I’m being told that I oppose those programs. All I said was that the district needs to act like responsible adults and learn how to budget within their means and stop creating scandals. I mean, my goodness, if anyone is supposed to set an ethical standard for our children outside of us, it should be the district. Instead, too many at the district are the playground bullies who intimidate you and want your milk money.

I’m the guy who sees the bully and takes his milk money. I don’t play that game.

The money they collected from the 2018 special election did indeed fund the programs of which they speak, but it also conveniently left room in the district’s budget to give raises to already overpaid district executives. If they had the money originally to do that, then why weren’t those dollars put toward education, instead of once again putting their financial mismanagement on the backs of hard-working Manatee County families?

The district is now telling us that Superintendent Cynthia Saunders did nothing wrong in a rebuttal to my claims that Saunders possibly violated election law when she sent out an email to district employees. I will respectfully disagree with the district’s notion that Saunders did nothing wrong. We can debate whether it was legally wrong, but you won’t convince me that it wasn’t morally wrong. To use a district email to “inform” employees about the necessity to succeed in the Nov. 2 special election is absolutely using her position of power to influence employees into voting the way she wants them to, and she did so using a district email.

I’ll let the lawyers settle the legal side, particularly the part about using a district email, but let’s take a quick look at why it’s wrong regardless.

You, dear reader, are already seeing Saunders supporters within the district speaking out in favor of the special election. Oh, you’ll hear a lot of noise from them because it’s an opportunity to get noticed by Saunders and others in the internal clique who wine and dine on your hard-earned dime. Yes, the interal liberals will be loud and forceful and try to guilt you into voting yes on Nov. 2, because, “It’s about the children.”

Again, the district is a $1 billion taxing entity now. Is that not enough to be about the children? It’s a monstrous, obscene amount of money, but again, look at the millions of dollars they’ve wasted over the years.

It amazes me how these executives who know they have a never-ending source of taxpayer dollars view millions of dollars as no big deal. No, because they know they can break the piggy bank that are your pockets whenever they want to make up for their wasteful spending. Sorry, millions of dollars means something to me, and it should to every taxpayer who paid it. That’s a lot of money.

What you won’t hear, however, are the many teachers who don’t support it. Not because the programs aren’t good to have, but because they agree that the district needs to be more responsible with taxpayer dollars. They are Manatee County families, too. Those teachers see how much their executives get paid while they fund a lot of their own classroom needs out of pocket. They see how this district squanders taxpayer dollars and how those wasted dollars could actually “be in the best interest” of Manatee County students.

You won’t hear from those teachers, however, because of the internal fear within the district, which is nothing new for a school district, whose unions typically support management over its own members if it’s a liberal agenda being pushed.

Now I can only go by what I’m told, but I’ve heard it so many times from district employees who want to speak out about wrongdoings, but cannot for fear of losing their jobs. From what I’ve been told by sources in the past is district leadership uses fear tactics to suppress any information that sheds the district in a negative light and threatens employees who speak out against anything the district is trying to accomplish.

I will acknowledge, that this is a place for opinion, but I have been told too many times by fearful employees that is the environment within the district. I have no reason to doubt them. I also will acknowledge that while this is a space for opinion, it is not a liberal safe space, as I have said. This is not a place where liberal noise and tax-and-spend Democrats will be able to make enough noise to hide the truth.

Facts matter and the truth matters.

For example, in my prior piece about how the brain works differently in conservatives and liberals, a hearty debate erupted in the comments. I actually saw someone say that “white southern Democrats abolished slavery.” Someone actually believes that.

Just to be clear, yet again, the Republicans passed the 13th Amendment and a Republican president called an end to slavery in 1863. Republicans (with six Democrats, four of which were northern Democrats) officially abolished it in 1864. Just because CNN did an online piece saying that the Abraham Lincoln Republicans aren’t today’s Republicans doesn’t make it true. That piece actually tried to convince readers that today’s Democrats are yesteryear’s Republicans.

What a crock. Consider the source, after all.

Today’s Republicans are exactly Lincoln’s Republicans, something slave-owning, school-segregation supporting Democrats should remember because the 1860s Democrats are, indeed, today’s Democrats. Certainly, not all and I’m not putting a label on anyone here, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … well, it’s a liberal.

Democrats became closer aligned to Republicans over the next century and into the 1960s and partially into the 1970s. Jimmy Carter came along and became the poster child of what has become today’s Democratic Party.

And Democrats know it. That’s why so many of them have either become Independents or have been drawn to the Republican Party because they still retain their largely conservative beliefs. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met in the past few years that said, “I used to be a Democrat,” and, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.”

Some moderates remain, but they are getting rare. You can tell the difference. If they call themselves a Democrat, you’ll probably have a respectful debate and agree to disagree on some topics.

If they call themselves a liberal, you’ll get baseless arguments without facts and you’ll just hear a lot, and I do mean a lot, of useless noise.

If they call themselves a progressive … Lord, just save yourself the frustration and avoid having to listen to the triggered nonsense.

Republicans have remained steady in our conservative beliefs. Lincoln’s Republican Party is alive and well. And we are growing again. For too many years, Americans got complacent with their politicians, and just avoided politics like the sickness it can be at times.

As more Americans pay attention, they have discovered the truth about how long they have been lied to and manipulated. President Trump’s greatest achievement will always be the creation of the great awakening movement and waking up the Republican in most of us.

Make all the noise you want, but you can no longer hide the truth from us. We are awake. We are listening. We are watching. We are aware of what the left has been doing. To liberals, progressives, and tax-and-spend Democrats in Manatee County and beyond, we will no longer be silent.


By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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