Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

School Board Tenure Ends with a Whimper

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

School Board Tenure Ends with a Whimper

Article excerpt

There's nothing wrong with deciding 16 years on the Sarasota County School Board is enough.

I wish Frank Kovach had just said that.

It is good that he announced now that he will not seek re- election in 2016, thereby giving lots of notice to potential candidates, which Kovach says was his intent.

Maybe I should appreciate that when he said so, he also said he is much bothered by the corrupting influence of big money from wealthy donors -- many of whom use PACS to hide their identities -- that has strongly influenced some local elections lately.

No argument here.

But it is really unimpressive that Kovach also gave the strong impression he was not seeking re-election largely because he believes he would have been on the downhill end of that unlevel financial playing field this time when facing expected challenger Eric Robinson.

Robinson, a former Sarasota County Republican Party chairman and statewide player, is an experienced master at seeking and using political action committee money to help others win elections. He will be trying to work the same tricks to win that School Board seat for himself, it much appears.

But Kovach acted as if that, and the expected dirty fighting that goes with it, made things all but hopeless for him. Or maybe just too depressing to deal with.

"I really don't want to be involved in the process because I have such a negative feeling," Kovach told me.

Folding like a house of cards is one thing, but did he really need to say that?

Sure, with his political connections and savvy, Robinson could be a tough challenger. I get that after having little to no opposition in his last three re-elections, Kovach was having trouble gearing up for a fight to keep a job he wasn't so sure he still wanted.

So fine, he bowed out. But in no way was it necessary or helpful to imply to everyone in Sarasota County that when the money players move in, everyone else -- even well-established incumbents from the majority party -- might as well limply throw in the towel because the deck is so stacked. …

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