Horse Sense: Can you see the clouds through the trees?
With Hoboken resident Frank Raia opting to choose his commitment to the Hola Charter School and dropping out of the race, Patricia Waiters has joined with Kylie Colon and Ken “I’m independent” Howitt to form an X slate leading into tonight’s debate. That is about as low key as any of the significant events leading into next week’s BoE election on April 20th.
A lot of heat has been generated leading into tonight’s debate. The most recent hot winds were blowing around the high school’s theatre program and its artistic director who has been reclassified as a teacher. The Real Results Maureen First slate circulated a flyer stating this was under threat by the current BoE. No person or group is identified but we’re sure they are not referring to BoE member Maureen Sullivan. Ironically, MSV heard when there was a vote on the theater program, Maureen Sullivan stood alone in voting against it. We’d ask the question but no answers come from this particular elected official and so why bother to go through that all over again. Among the town’s elected people, Maureen truly does stand alone: Maureen First and only.
Even with a 7% budget reduction and the interim superintendent Carter announcing again publicly he will announce a re-registration of students in the town’s schools, there has been a great deal of misinformation being pumped out. Tonight it will be interesting to see how this plays out in front of an audience and to the Hoboken voters.
Nathan Brinkman who is a de facto campaign manager in one sense or another is a fine debater but how that translates into the issues tonight should be interesting. There’s been a real problem with the Real Results team trying to make hay on this or that issue only to discover it’s not going to gain traction as others point out a problem of one sort or another. One example is Nike sponsorship of teams for state schools. Apparently, state public schools are not allowed to accept such and the idea proposed soon found itself squashed before it got out of the gate. This eerily parallels many of the criticisms of Maureen Sullivan who insists her ideas should be acted on but then finds herself alone when her fellow BoE members point out the problems that would result, pardon the pun. Hoboken is practically infamous for bringing on lawsuits by breaking contractual agreements and the former allies of Kids First have demonstrated a more measured patient approach to reductions and corrections in past Board of Ed practices. This has left Maureen Sullivan sitting on a ton of ambition but less than practical issues to present and catch fire with the public.
The results of this should be interesting. There’s been a lot of anger about how issues have been mischaracterized or out and out distorted. Hopefully tonight’s questions will allow a clearing of the air to some extent. Then again, if the Maureen First strategy continues, maybe obfuscation is what will be presented in the homestretch.
The parallels are notable on the city government side. Councilwoman Beth Mason claimed taxes were increased by 8% even when Councilman Mike Lenz who heads the Finance Committee questioned the veracity of such a statement. The Councilwoman was stumped on the evidence of it but refused to disavow the claim. (For the record, the first and second quarter tax estimates show an increase, but it’s due to tax appeals won by residents, not any increase initiated at City Hall.)
Da Horsey has to wonder if the voters will be able to see the clouds through the obfuscation. Perhaps like kitty below, they will. And if they do, the vote will be punishing for this political attitude toward the electorate. Maybe some folks will get the message once and for all. Kitty here seems to have found a line of sight through the trees. Here’s to hoping so will the Hoboken voters.
Graphic: Courtesy of the Grafix Avenger