Saturday, October 8, 2011

Perception management

My father--who was for years the public relations director for a major state agency in CA--often said, "It doesn't matter what IS....It matters what people THINK things are."  Obviously, that can be used cynically or constructively.  He being my father, I liked to think that his candor reflected that he was trying to open, honest, etc.  His truism also reflects on our penchant for conspiracy.  It is all too easy to think something, even if that something ISN'T!

It would be tempting, for instance, to see a public agency post notice of a fairly unusual idea/plan after close of business on a Friday (as the Tacoma school district did with its unusual Deputy to Elect to Interim--to beyond??--Superintendent plan) and think they did so with the intent of minimizing the prospect of questions or blowback.

(Just as tempting, by the way, as when I kept asking the Tacoma Education Association why they had not interviewed me as part of the endorsement process during the campaign last summer and they finally responded to my 4 phone calls and one in-person visit by calling me Friday--the last day before they would be closed for a week--at 5:15 PM.)

It would be tempting to look at that Deputy Interim Elect Super plan and think it is a back-door mechanism by which to give Carla Santorno the job, since they seemed eager to do so in September.

It would be tempting to look at the idea for the current Superintendent to represent the district in Olympia as a way for him to sharpen up his lobbying credentials while drawing a big salary and move into an attractive career after he finally leaves Tacoma.

These--and many more--tempt one to conspiratorial thinking.  I'm working hard to resist that inclination...but I'm just saying.

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