Letter – IWCS critics speak the ‘truth’

Published 8:35 pm Monday, December 5, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I commend the Times for reporting on school board campaign finance over the past few weeks. However, the headlines of these stories and the paper’s recent insistence to paint this as a personal vendetta by Heidi Swartz against Renee Dial is a distortion of reality.

The first story (“Wooster, Maresh outspend opponents in School Board race,” Nov. 2) about how much Mark Wooster and Jason Maresh were outspending their opponents was misleading. The real story was not how much they were spending but how Mrs.Dial and Mr. Michael Vines blatantly ignored campaign finance reporting requirements.

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Another article (“School Board’s Dial revises campaign finance reports,” Nov. 30) detailed the fines assessed to Mr. Vines for his lack of reporting but glossed over the inconsistencies between Mrs. Dial’s reporting and the obvious unreported expenditures such as political signage.

Finally, rather than pointing out the glaring deceit of Mrs. Dial’s previous reporting, in last week’s article the Times states Mrs. Dial has amended her reporting and casts the situation as a feud between Mrs. Dial and Mrs. Swartz. Anyone following the various issues and scandals with IWCS and the School Board over the past two years is familiar with Mrs. Swartz. She and other “conservatives” have had the gall to speak truth to power regarding lack of transparency, hypocrisy and a level of incompetence that reeks of corruption. Unfortunately, their reward has been relentless attacks, even being referred to in an online reader poll as “malcontents” by this very paper.

But I ask you, would we be better off as a county not knowing what they have uncovered? Would the registrar have magically started enforcing campaign finance rules without Mrs.

Swartz repeatedly forcing them to fulfill their responsibilities? Would the registrar miraculously start informing candidates they were not following the regulations required to qualify for the ballot? Would the school system have undergone some divine revelation and stopped unwittingly peddling sexually explicit material to our children?

Let’s focus on those who refuse to follow the rules and betray public trust instead of the “malcontents” brave enough to call them out.


Jennifer Rawls

Mandeville, Louisiana

Editor’s note: The online poll that the letter writer characterizes as an “attack” also included the following among several possible answers: “”Potent force who should be taken more seriously by IWCS.”