July 03, 2003
First Tobacco...

The Seattle Times reports that the lawyers behind the tobacco lawsuits are girding for battle over soft drink contracts in the local schools.

Currently, Coca-Cola has an exclusive contract with the Seattle School board which allows them to sell their product in the district's schools. The school district receives almost $400,000 per year from this contract. The district is one of about 10 percent of all school districts which have an exclusive contract; about 90 percent of all schools allow carbonated beverages to be sold on school grounds.

This is not a quixotic one-man campaign; in addition to the letter from Washington University's Jon Banzhaf III, the school board has been warned by Seattle Attorney Dwight van Winkle, and the leader of a local anti-corporate pressure group is seeking to replace the current School Board president.

I am not a big fan of most of the corporate-sponsored school programs, but I have no objection to selling soda in school. Seeing a Coke machine is not the same thing as corporate PR masquerading as educational supplements. The people at CCCS need to get a grip and realize that the schools have more pressing issues than whether or not soda is available on campus. Be eliminating the contract, they will be punching a $400,000 hole in the schools budget, in a state that cannot afford any more budget issues.

UPDATE: I just took a look at the CCCS supporters list. It is, not surprisingly, comprised almost exclusively of extreme-left social agitation, environmental, and educational establishment groups. A little further digging in their site reveals that Dwight van Winkle (the local attorney mentioned in the Times article) was the CCCS candidate for School Board in 1999 (he apparently was defeated). I wonder if the reporter was even aware of the connection between Van Winkle and CCCS.

posted on July 03, 2003 03:33 PM


My favorite line in the article was from the attorney Jon Banzhaf

"We have a term in the English language for people doing something they know is wrong for money. We call it prostituting themselves," he said.
That's a bit like the shovel calling the rake a "gardening tool".

posted by Stefan Sharkansky on July 6, 2003 05:37 PM

Or dare I say it's like the hoe calling the other hoe a hoe.

posted by Stefan Sharkansky on July 6, 2003 05:39 PM

Hello. I'm Dwight Van Winkle. Thank you for your interest in my little life.

Yes, I'm connected with Citizens Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools. No, I wasn't the "CCCS candidate" for the school board. I dived into the school board race at whim and without consulting anyone but myself. After I dived in, mny of my friends in CCCS supported me in the race, but I was not put up by CCCS.

I told a Washington Times reporter yesterday that I ran for the school board in 1999, and sensed that she found this interesting as apparently you do as well. I understand why you find this interesting, but I never tried to hide this. I am who I am, and my actions are consistent with my beliefs.

It is true I received an e-mail from Professor Banzhaf because of my affiliation with CCCS. I have been inactive in CCCS for years, mostly because I am trying to make a living but also because I moved on to concerns about the obvious lies of Clinton and Bush used to justify war in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. I had given up on the Coke contract, though I had sent the school board an e-mail telling them they had no right to sell students to Coca-Cola. Then I got the e-mail from Banzhaf.

I thought Banzhaf raised compelling legal arguments about the fiduciary duty of schools to protect their students, so I wrote to the school board in support of Banzhaf's arguments. I believed and continue to believe Banzhaf is right, and wrote a letter to the school board saying so. I didn't foresee the press coverage, and am not seeking money from any possible lawsuit.

I don't think Banzhaf is after money either, so calling him a "hoe" seems off-base. I don't care if I am wrong about Banzhaf --- I know my motives are pure and not driven by filthy lucre. I may be wrong, but that is different.

Reality is that the school district sold my kids to Coca-Cola. Read the request for bids and the contract -- that's what the school district did. My kids are not a cash crop, and nobody sells my kids without a word from me.

You characterize CCCS as "extreme-left social agitation, environmental, and educational establishment groups."

I am not extreme left. I am left-leaning, but I also am a fan of libertarians like Lew Rockwell and Thomas Szasz. Yes, I'm concerned about the "environment"; anyone not concerns about resource constraints is a blind fool. No, I do not like the education establishment. Like any thinking citizen, I have concerns about both government and corporate power.

Finally, I think the Seattle Times reporter was aware of my connection with CCCS, and could have written about it if he thought it was relevant. Perhaps it was relevant, but I think you are exaggerating the importance of my connection with CCCS. Instead of caricaturing me and CCCS, why not criticize our ideas with specifics rather than labels?

I won't "get a grip" or "get over it." I think selling kids to a corporation is wrong, and I think the school district needs to stop encouraging unhealthy behavior in the students it is charged with protecting. I did what I think I can to stop this.

If this was a quixotic campaign, it won't be the last one for me. If you have something better to say on this or any other subject, go for it. Stick yourself on the line and take your punches.

Dwight Van Winkle

posted by Dwight Van Winkle on July 20, 2003 02:54 AM

I ran against Dwight Van Winkle in the 1999 Seattle School Board campaign, and I'm currently running against the head of CCCS, Brita Butler-Wall. I just discovered this website, and I haven't yet researched it, but the comments about "extreme-left social" groups leads me to suspect it's a conservative site.

I consider myself an extreme independent with generally liberal attitudes - but I'm no friend of the Democratic Party, the Green Party of Seattle, or CCCS. Now that you have a rough idea where I'm coming from, I have lots to say about this thread.

First, Dwight Van Winkle struck me as a very nice guy, and we didn't attack each other during campaign 1999. However, I have to say that I'm extremely angry that he ran.

I've devoted a major portion of my life to fighting Seattle's "Education Mafia." I know the issues inside and out, and nothing prevents me from spitting out the truth. I was probably the first candidate in Seattle history to make derelict principals a campaign issue. It was during my campaign that Principal Al Jones - a borderline pedophile - was exposed.

I encouraged the other challengers to adopt some solid issues and educate the public. All of us rallied around an independent audit, but that's about as far as it goes.

Dwight Van Winkle was essentially a one-issue candidate, focusing primarily on advertising in schools - the tip of the corporate iceberg. His campaign was a major insult to me and - more important - an enormous disservice to the thousands of children who are screwed by Seattle's Education Mafia daily.

I've researched CCCS in some depth, and my beef isn't necessarily that its membership is extremely liberal but that it's extremely STUPID at best and corrupt at worst. Here's how it works:

By endlessly harping about advertising in schools - or narrowing the issue further to Coca Cola - they divert the public's attention from the bigger picture, a complete corporate takeover of public education. Why doesn't the CCCS criticize Bill Gates, who has played an enormous role in the ruin of Seattle's public schools? Why don't they speak out against the Alliance for Education. They're actually ALLIED with the Seattle Education Association, my corrupt, back-stabbing union for sixteen years until I finally lost my job - officially because of funding problems loosely connected the to the Attack on America.

Which brings up another sore point. Brita Butler-Wall - the head of CCCS - never even supported an independent audit of the Seattle School District. I asked her to lend her voice to this cause directly, and she just brushed me off (with the lamest excuses you can imagine).

Then a miracle occurred: The Seattle School Board lost $35 million, and Brita suddenly discovered the gospel of "fiscal accountability" after she filed as a candidate. Brita has been endorsed by the Seattle Education Association, the teachers union I characterized as part of Seattle's Axis of Evil in a statement in the Voters Pamphlet.

BRITA BUTLER-WALL IS CORRUPT, AND SO IS CCCS. Whether Dwight Van Winkle is also corrupt or was merely an unwitting dupe of CCCS, I don't know, but I do NOT appreciate people who don't have a clue about education issues interfering with my efforts to reform the system.

I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, and I continued to defend him from Democrats' mindless attacks. However, I was disgusted by Nader's education statement, which might have been written by a Democrat. His pitch was basically to throw more money at education, without a word about holding the corrupt elements that waste or embezzle money as fast as we give it to them.

Anyway, Nader is involved with the national anti-commercialism campaign and has some connections to CCCS. When I discovered that Nader is the head of a group that gave an award to the Seattle School Board, my eyes were opened. I did some more research and concluded that Ralph Nader is in fact in bed with the Education Mafia.

Another individual I'd like to mention is Geov Parrish. Parrish has long been associated with Eat The State and served as a columnist with The Stranger before migrating to the Seattle Weekly. He has now gained a national audience, frequently appearing in several major publications.

Parrish is left-wing, and I used to be his biggest fan - until he stabbed me in the back during Campaign 1999. I began scrutinizing his columns more closely and looking for other evidence of corruption, and I found it.

Geov Parrish is a left-wing media whore, and he's very closely associated with CCCS. He once told me he has no interest in education issues - before he began writing typically clueless education columns. He practically swoons over Brita Butler-Wall, who the Seattle Weekly will almost certainly endorse.

In fact, Brita has been getting lots of press in all of Seattle's major newspapers for years, especially for the last year. This is my third political campaign, and just ONE newspaper has mentioned me on just ONE occasion, and that was a superficial reference.

One final word - CCCS may be generally liberal, but it's essentially Republican when you consider its true nature. Just as Democrats and Republicans serve the same corporate God, so is CCCS committed not to reforming anything but to snowing the public with propaganda and manipulation.

On second thought, THIS is my final word. Check out CCCS' website. They claim to have hundreds of members, yet they've never been able or willing to put together a credible website - similar to the Green Party of Seattle. Given the Internet's value as an educational tool, I do not trust "activists" who don't even have a respectable online presence.

My campaign site is at http://www.seaschools.org , and I have two other political sites, with several more on the way. And I don't hide behind Coca Cola.

Screw Brita Butler-Wall, Geov Parrish and their fellow corporate pedophiles.

posted by David Blomstrom on September 3, 2003 08:35 PM

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