Dave Paxton

This opinion column is actually pretty easy for me to write.

For one, I am about to lash out at the NBA and Nike brand products and, as far as I know, I have no advertisers selling Nike.

Secondly, I’m going to urge people to vote to extend the penny sales tax for school improvement because it has served as a godsend for rural districts throughout the state with the financial pain negligible. It also doesn’t raise property taxes. In my mind, this is a no-brainer, but still worth talking about.

The NBA, which we now understand as being completely driven by the monolithic shoe company, Nike, of Portland, Oregon fame, has caved to Communist China over a four-word tweet from the Houston Rockets general manager, supporting freedom for people living in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, long a capitalist and quasi democratic enclave of Communist China, is chafing at the continued presence of China and its hatred of all things free. Courageous Hong Kong citizens are spending weekends marching and throwing rocks at Communist police, while keeping their bustling economy going during the week. The Rockets GM simply said “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” You’d have thought GM Morey called for the overthrow of the Communist government (actually something that would be largely positive for the world). You’ve got people like LeBron James, Nuggets Coach Steve Kerr and the completely unhinged San Antonio Coach Greg Popovich on a non-stop anti Donald Trump slur campaign. Their hatred of Donald Trump is almost hysterical in nature and their criticism unrelenting.

And here they are now, either remaining mute or outright critical of GM Morey because he dares speak the truth about oppression in Communist China. I don’t care if they are huge trading partners with the U.S. and propping up U.S. farmers and giant retailers like Wal Mart. They are a despotic regime that allows zero freedoms for the Chinese people.

If James, Popovich and Kerr dared speak out against Chinese rulers like they do against Trump, they would be jailed, beaten and likely killed. Guess who gets millions from keeping quiet about brutality in China? Well, Nike for one. And Kerr, James and Popovich for being part of the Nike/NBA brand.

Nike, as a corporation, is a traitor to freedom loving people. They have placed money over all else. And the people they pay off with endorsements, James, Popovich, Kerr and the like are not only traitors, they are hypocrites to the core.

When Nike started allowing the nitwit Colin Kapernick to dictate its branding, I started distancing myself from a shoe company that produces some really good products. I was wearing Nikes when I captured an Iowa Games racquetball title.

No more. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with the Nikes I do own that still have wear in them. I don’t like book burning, nor do I think shoe burning is a particularly positive thing to do. They might just go into the trash, or I might start wearing them out working around my tiny farm.

I would suggest high schools, as soon as possible, get the swoosh off uniforms. To promote Nike is to promote Communist Chinese brutality, that not only includes denying freedom to the people of Hong Kong, but persecuting Christians, Muslims, homosexuals and people wanting to have more than one child to name just a few of their crimes against humanity.

It is no longer a happy, positive thing to have pasted on a junior high or high school kid’s school uniform.

It frustrates me that public schools (government in general) uses acrostics for everything. In the joint city/school election in November people will be asked to vote on RSP, that would be Revenue Purpose Statement Extension for SAVE, that would be Secure an Advanced Vision for Education.” It’s the penny sales tax for schools, introduced in 1998 and voted on in a county-by-county basis through the early 2000s.

The referendum asks voters to extend the penny sales tax for schools from 2029 (when it currently expires) on for another 25 years to 2051.

The penny tax, once called SILO (School Infrastructure Local Option) is dear to my heart. Former Superintendent Dave Sextro, a brute of a man, military veteran, former football player and farmer, went to war against Valley of West Des Moines and other urban districts who were attempting to pass local option sales taxes to build beautiful football stadiums, bragging that outside shoppers would pay for most of the tax.

I’m not sure I’ve seen anybody madder than Dave Sextro, whose career in education was all in rural districts. He took the fight into the state legislature and as the local newspaper guy, dragged me along. It was a beautiful thing to watch as rural administrator after rural administrator joined the cause led by Sextro and it was even more beautiful when the Iowa legislature passed the statewide penny tax for the improvement of school infrastructure, transportation and technology.

I’ll never forget his rallying cry. “A country kid is worth just as much as a city kid born near a shopping center.”

The way the legislation was written, wise school boards and superintendents across the state were able to sometimes pay in cash, sometimes leverage future sales tax income to start repairing buildings, upgrading technology and insure kids were safe riding to school.

It has cost every Iowan something. Property owners, renters, everyone except a person who never buys anything (which is their right not to participate in commerce). It hasn’t raised property taxes via general obligation bond issues, it hasn’t burdened farmers and it has, in many ways, created an even playing field for rural kids and urban kids.

The vote is coming up Nov. 5. When you check the box next to your favored school board candidate, mayor and city council candidate, mark the YES box for the continuation of the penny sales tax.

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