I have had time to reflect on this year's school board and municipal elections and here is my take on the winners and losers of the BOE first. I will follow up with the municipal elections later this week :
Winner- Carmelo Garcia and his so called "Independents":
Bottom Line: Carmelo Garcia and crew got out their vote and the reformers didn't. Such is the reality in Hoboken politics. The "old guard" always gets out their vote and for the reformers it is hit or miss. If 5,500 people had voted in this election the result would have been different. But under a 4,000 vote total is like a death sentence to reform regardless of candidates. Carmelo "Wheeling and Dealing" Garcia and his hangers on of flip-flopping Peter "What are my Orders Pupie, Kiss Beth Mason's Ring and Up Mike Russo's Corrupt Butt" Biancamano and Frances Rhodes "I want my Junket" Kearns pretty much got out their maximum vote 2,250 this election which is on par for previous "old Guard" performances in one-on-one matchups.
Thus, to the victor go the spoils and we are talking about a potential $59 million budget in which he can place many political friends in low-show jobs as a reward for their electioneering efforts. Alas, they will have to wait until next year before they have a chance to take back the majority. Taxpayers: your wallets are safe this year from the graft of a Carmelo Garcia led school board. Curious that Maureen Sullivan voted for him as president this year which most assuredly conflicts with her ideological stance on cutting expenses.
Loser- Fair Elections and Following BOE Policy:
Carmelo Garcia and his team of independents have several key items missing from their ELEC reports. Things like campaign literature, money for campaign "workers" if you can even call them that are still conspicuously absent from them at last check. This disregard for the ELEC rules spills over into BOE policy as well. Take Paula Ohaus for example. Carmello Garcia's political activity on that issue this last month has made a mockery of the Hoboken School Board and his oath to uphold policy. His has been caught red-handed in the past with his fiscal shenanigans and if he should regain the majority next year watch the disregard for rules to go into full swing. The kind of reckless disregard that will get this School in a major multi-million dollar lawsuit one day. Mark my words.
Loser- Kids First:
This may be an arresting development to some but it is time to face facts people. Not enough affluent parents could give a crap about Hoboken's District Public Schools. Sure, a variety of factors led to the poor turnout in this year's school board election including a holiday, no majority really at stake this year, no headliners on the Kids First ticket but the number one killer for this slate was voter apathy. When less than 4,000 people vote in a City Wide election for School Board out of a population of 50,000 the reformers/good governance slates will lose every time. The Slate didn't matter much or did it? Kind of a chicken and egg argument but the result is the same: setback.
Push- "Marauding" Maureen Sullivan:
Anti public school Public School Board member Maureen Sullivan didn't run a slate this year and chose to sit this one out. Her turn is up next year. In Vegas parlance when there is no winner it is called a push. Reformers will get a chance next year to ensure that Maureen Sullivan's slate consisting of her, Liz Markevitch and one other and Kids First compete for votes and give back the voting majority to whoever the "old guard" is sponsoring. Which brings me to my final point: Why bother?
Loser- My interest in School Board Issues:
If enough taxpaying parents in the middle class who can't afford private schools don't exist or care about "District" Public Schools in Hoboken, then why in the hell should I? After all I don't have kids. I did for the right reasons support the continued improvement of Hoboken Schools for the sake of community. Better "District" Public schools to me always meant a better community. However, not enough parents are educated on the issues that face the School Board. Even more importantly, not enough care. As long as that is the case why bother? As long as there is a pop-up school like HOLA where affluent or connected parents can send their children to segregate them from the rest of the students, district schools don't really have a real chance for improvement. How is that for some unreal results? PJ O'Rourke and Maureen Sullivan will be happy campers.
In order to make Public Schools better in Hoboken the kids who are not performing well need to do better and that over time will possibly attract more affluent parents to consider sending their kids to public schools in Hoboken. However that is just a long term possibility and not the most likely of outcomes. Why waste my time? There is always the 2013 Mayoral race to gear up for. My personal time is too valuable to try and help parents that will sell out their children's education for $40 a vote or don't care at all for public schools. Besides the occaisional post on BOE topics I am done here.
That's right, I am done. Finished with the BOE on any kind of substantive basis. Hope that with Carmelo and Crew, should they get the majority back, that the budget goes to $80 million for all I care and test scores plummet. If that doesn't wake anybody up I don't know what will. At least Hoboken will get its money out of the County with the increased jail services.
My comment: By making my last point I am not encouraging people to not be involved in Hoboken BOE matters, I simply saying I have given what I can to public educational causes and refuse to give any more substantial chunks of my time on this area.