Election Day Guests of the Stable

It’s election day in Hoboken for the school board race.  Some late submissions have arrived and accordingly we’ll give them the Guest of the Stable treatment.  The first is from Greg Lincoln, the next Hoboken friend Dean Kemph, and last Councilman Ravi Bhalla.  The only message MSV endorses today though is get out and vote.

Dear Hoboken Friends and Neighbors,

On Tuesday is an important election for the Hoboken Board of Education. I would like to ask you to do three small things that will not take a lot of your time:

1) Make some time to vote on Tuesday. The polls are open from 2 pm until 9 pm.
2) Pass this message along to any/all of your Hoboken friends and neighbors.
3) Do a little research to help yourself make an informed decision.

My intent here is not to write at length to persuade, but to offer some information that may help with your decision.

Here is a questionnaire many of the candidates responded to.
Here is the 
website of the slate I favor, Kids First.
Here is a 
letter to the editor I wrote to the Hudson Reporter.

My own personal belief is this: that Kids First has shown they can cut the budget in ways that are sensible and responsible (over $4.1 million last year), and that they are in the best position to continue doing quality work on the behalf of both the students and the taxpayers of Hoboken.

I hope you will agree, but more importantly, I hope you will go and vote. Thanks for your time.

Greg Lincoln

 School days, school days, dear old golden rule days.  Don’t forget to vote TOMORROW, kids, in your local school board election.  Just when Kids First was running out of visible enemies, they managed to fracture and start shooting at each other.  The buds are on the trees and the blogs are ripe with venom.  Is there a more beautiful time than Spring in Hoboken?

I don’t have time to provide the type of in-depth analysis you’ve come to love, hate, laugh at, or scoff at since the voting machines are going to start failing within hours, so I’m just going to give you a couple of recommendations for your voting pleasure.  Independent Ken Howitt (and yes, Smarty Jones, he is independent, despite falling for the cajoling wanna-be power brokers’ claims that he was doomed if he didn’t run with a slate) is otherwise one of the most astute observers of the Hoboken political scene, and the educational scene in particular, that I know.  Moreover, unlike some candidates on opposing slates, he hasn’t lost touch with his overarching educational vision.  Smart, honest, articulate, and he gets along with virtually everybody in every camp. With his two older kids now pursuing successful collegiate careers after Hoboken public school educations and a third at Hoboken High, he has a peerless 20 year history of perspective on what works and what doesn’t.  Please consider a vote for Ken Howitt.
The second endorsement goes to community activist Leon Gold, who is running on the Kids First slate but is savvy enough to recognize where they are wrong and will never devolve into a toe-the-line schill.  I honestly think that his agenda is limited to the betterment of your fair City.  Leon doesn’t have kids and some interpret that as a negative; for me, it says more that he cares enough about the future of Hoboken’s kids to devote his time to this effort.  I hope you’ll give Leon Gold an opportunity.
Beyond that, questions abound.  Is Maureen Sullivan, co-architect of the Real Results slate, a gutsy rebel who threw off the shackles of an arrogant, exclusionary Kids First coalition; or a Masonesque I’ll-Stamp-My-Foot-If-I-Don’t-Get-What-I-Want rabble-rouser whose slash-and-burn lineage finally oozed to the surface, kids be damned?  Are Theresa Minitullo and Ro Markle valiantly attempting to hold together the accountability principles of a once-successful platform; or are they damaged and politicized shells of their former selves, employing the same sort of secretive, vindictive back-door dealing they once decried?  Will Old Hoboken and new anti-administration factions merge in a perfect storm to rumble the odd, Pupie-less conglomeration of independents through the clouded landscape to ultimate victory?  Is Interim Superintendent “Welcome Back” Carter a knowledgeable, efficient, and tough-minded orchestrator of the Board majority’s noble goals; or a narcissistic grandstanding bully who decidedly prefers the fearful tunes of his hickory stick to fairness and truth?  Answers to these questions, and more, on the next episode of Citizen Dean.
As always, best of luck, Hoboken!

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Dear Friends & Neighbors, 
I write to remind you that today is the School Board Election, and ask that you cast your vote for the entire KIDS FIRST slate of Jean Marie Mitchell (1B), Leon Gold (1A), Irene Sobolov (2A) and Rose Marie Markle (4A).  Polls are open from 2 pm to 9 pm today.

In less than one year, the Kids First team has made substantial progress in restoring fiscal responsibility to our school district.  If you are still undecided between Kids First and the other slates, please consider the following accomplishments of the Kids First team in this year alone:

Eliminated positions totaling more than $1 million; 

·         Uncovered misappropriations of $1.6 million;

·         Cut $68,000 from athletic supplies;
·         Reduction of two principal positions and one vice principal position;
·         Decreased the budget by $4 million or 7 percent;

·         Implemented new residency procedures for next year along with     ongoing investigations of out-of-district students, and a planned district re-registration to ensure our school dollars go to Hoboken residents.
About one-third of property taxes goes towards the school budget, so even if you do not have children in the public schools, the proper management of these tax dollars will impact your property tax rate.  The quality of education our children receive also impacts school rankings, property values and so many other aspects of our society.

In my first year as a City Council Member, one of the lessons I have learned is that you will not accomplish all the changes that need to be made overnight.  Both city government and our school district are facing the challenge of undoing years – perhaps decades – of mismanagement and waste.  I sincerely believe that in their first year serving as a majority of the school board, Kids First has made substantial progress in changing the direction of our school district.  But it will not happen in one year alone.  Kids First needs your continued support to keep the momentum going and to bring further improvements to our school district. 

Thank you and please cast your vote for the entire Kids First slate.  The polls are open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Ravi S. Bhalla

Ravi Bhalla for Hoboken City Council

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