Sean Paige, Mike Kazmierski and High School Confidential!

Tue, Aug 31, 2010


Remember high school? Remember the cliques, the jealousies, the maneuvering to become one of the popular kids, the incredible nastiness over trivia? Remember how distressing it was when two or three of your friends got into a particularly nasty fight, and all of them demanded that you take their side? Remember wishing that your parents would move, so you could say goodbye to the whole mess?

I thought that I’d said goodbye to the angry rivalries of adolescence a long time ago – but apparently not.

Local politics = high school.

Consider the ongoing dust-up between councilmember Sean Paige, Economic Development Corp. chief Mike Kazmierski, and council members Bernie Herpin and Jan Martin.

They’re on my Facebook page and I hang out with all of them. I wish that they’d just shut up, make nice and stop fighting.

To make the quarrel more understandable, let’s put it in the context of high school.

Sean is editor of the yearbook, Mike edits the newspaper, Jan is head cheerleader and Bernie is captain of the football team. They’re all really popular kids – in fact Sean, Bernie, and Jan are all on student council! But Sean is mad at Mike, Jan and Bernie because he’s had to cut back the yearbook staff for lack of funds. He blames Mike, who keeps putting out a 16-page student paper every week, even though he can’t seem to sell any ads to support the paper. Sean’s taken it to student council, and the other kids on council seem to agree with him…but Bernie and Jan are scheming with Mike to overturn the decision! Everyone is really, really upset!

Me, I’m just another kid trying to stay friends with the popular kids. But I dunno – Larry’s my big cool friend on the student council, and I could ask him to smooth things over, but I don’t want him to be mad at me  – and Lionel, the student council president, really, really doesn’t like me, so I try to stay away from him.

I don’t know what to do! I know…I’ll just get sick for a few days! No, I can’t – I‘ll miss finals!

Last week, I had a couple of glasses of wine at the Sunbird with four lovely women with whom I had attended Colorado Springs High School so many years ago. We teased one of our company, Jean Knight, because she had always been the peacemaker, everyone’s friend, the pretty girl who didn’t act like a pretty girl, wise and gracious beyond her years. That was Jean then, and that’s Jean now.

So here’s my suggestion: Mike, Sean, Jan, Bernie – I’ll send you Jean’s number and you can all get together in a conference call. She’ll solve it for you, and you can go back to being friends!

And I won’t miss finals.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Rick Wehner Says:

    This would be mildly amusing were it not for the 18,000 to 20,000 local people out of work and a city/county and the appearance in this same Journal of an article concerning this region’s inability to afford the cost to host major companies considering the region as a site for their company! Companies who can bring jobs, homebuyers and sales tax revenue from their non-exempt purchases.

    This should be a wake-up call for the business community to consider funding a ‘group-psychologist’ to work with the city/county and regional entities to find ways to end the petty bickering, posturing and turf protection and begin working as a community.

    Maybe we need another trip to Austin. Take Sean along. With a notebook.

  2. Sean Paige Says:

    John Hazlehurst is an entertaining read, most of the time, but his High School food fight analogy doesn’t quite hit the mark, and it trivializes a serious issue. Here’s a version that more accurately explains the situation concerning the EDC audit.

    Jan, Bernie and Sean serve on Student Council. One of their responsibilities is managing the Student Activity Fee Account, which has been shrinking because many students are on the federal lunch program, so they can’t contribute as much, and the other half just had their allowances cut, because their parents are out of work. A shrinking fund has meant sacrifice: dances have been cancelled, after-school sports programs eliminated, the size of the Safety Patrol reduced.

    Mike is president of a student club – let’s call it The Economic Magicians’ Club – that promises to help replenish the student activity account by holding bake sales, raffles and other fundraisers. But to do this, Mike needs a little “seed money” from Student Council, since it takes money to make money (or so we’ve been told). Student Council must decide whether to expend limited funds to support the level of activities that remain, or give some of the money to Mike in the hope that he can work his magic.

    Sean is relatively new to school government, so he’s a little skeptical about whether continued donations to the Magicians’ Club are the best use of student money, under the circumstances. Jan and Bernie have been around a while — they trust in the club, even though no one ever asked Mike to account for his expenditures or checked at the end of the school year to see if the coffers were replenished.

    When Sean suggests that the school principal take a closer look at the club’s records, and check on whether the activity fund has really grown as a result of its activities, Jan and Bernie object, maybe because the idea never occurred to them before, maybe because they really believe Mike can perform magic. Sean just wants to be sure this is a wise use of student money, at a time when dollars are scarce. Jan and Bernie are happy to take Mike’s word for what he does with the money.

    Maybe the funniest part of our story, though, is the smart aleck writing for the student newspaper – let’s call him “John” – who thinks he’s clever but doesn’t really understand what the story is about.

  3. Rick Wehner Says:

    Always good to have a strong sense of humor when the lid is being slammed on the casket!