Who Is John Draper?
(And who Is Backing Him?)By
Excuse my French, but who is this a_ _ _ _ _ _ anyway? I have lived in Prattville since 1988 and never heard of him until six weeks ago. Who is funding his campaign?
John Draper is the opponent of stalwart conservative Member of the State School Board Stephanie Bell. In an earlier newsletter I have discussed his bizarre candidacy, and the pursuit of my correspondent's question makes it seem even more bizarre.
Draper is no conservative, and certainly no Republican. From his position as Executive Director of CLAS,Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, he was one of the strongest pro-tax advocates in the recent tax fight, and worked hard to convert the Education Establishment into a gigantic state-wide political machine working to pass the largest tax increase ever proposed in the State's history.
He certainly is not running because Stephanie Bell has not been conservative enough. For all her years on the Board she has stood like a rock against the liberals, even when she was the lone voice raised in opposition. Conclusion: Draper is the stealth liberal trying to punish Stephanie for her opposition to his tax hike.
Further, his conflicts (plural) of interest are monumental. Even the Montgomery Advertiser admits this. In an editorial on Friday endorsing Stephanie Bell, they pointed out that Draper represents most of the school administrators in the state, and that "there is obvious potential for conflict" of interest in this situation should he be elected to the Board.
But there are many other conflicts. Draper has a legion of "corporate partners" with whom he is associated, and each of which pays to join his organization. Presumably some of this money is used to pay his salary. See the partial list of Draper's partners at right. Textbook publishers, academic software suppliers, playground equipment suppliers-- the list goes on.
Partners usually back partners. Are these partners backing John Draper? And is it so much as remotely possible, do you suppose, that they are hoping that he will win and be able to throw them a little business from his position on the School Board?
It's unlikely that many Republicans who knew these facts would vote for John Draper. The problem is they may not know. I hope that readers will help to inform them.
29 May 04