by Steve Buel
Oregon's children, and particularly Beaverton's children, lost a friend this last weekend when John Burns died of a heart attack.
Very few people have a combined commitment to both schools and good government and understand how it should all fit together. John was one of those people. His death will have a negative impact on the Beaverton School District for years to come. For he was committed to making changes to the embattled district which truly would benefit children. He was running for the Beaverton School Board with a contingent of candidates who he called "my people". "My people" in the sense that they understood education and the importance of spending money and time where it would directly benefit children, while at the same time supporting sensible things like teachers and parent input and fighting against backroom deals and illegal actions by government entities. He was terrific at finding out what was really going on in government and constantly emphasized the importance of getting "the facts". His best strategy was using shoddy governments' own words as the basis for his protests. "Use their own words against them," he preached.
John was not just a candidate for the Beaverton School Board but one of the leaders in Oregon Save Our Schools. Hopefully, the contingent of candidates he was working with can carry on the fight they have begun. It would be incredibly sad if they didn't honor his legacy by continuing their fine work. It would break his heart.
I met John a few months ago when I talked to him about joining with Oregon SOS. We had since become good friends though it was one of those friendships where you gave each other a bad time -- but those are often the best friendships. I looked forward to working on his campaign, and then on helping him make Beaverton a better school district. We were also working on a sensible legislative agenda for OSOS. Lots of good stuff for kids.
I will miss him. But I won't forget him.
The last time I talked to him he had sent me a photo of the Beaverton contingent all wearing red at the last school board meeting. He was really proud of what they were doing. I hope he will still be proud years from now. He deserves to be.