Sunday, April 25, 2010

BoE election aftermath: winners and losers

Since MSV had the most comprehensive coverage leading in to the BoE election, it's only right to follow up in the election aftermath. Here's the official MSV scorecard:

Winners

Kids First - the victors can savor the sweep as the voters who pay heed to a BoE election are the most involved voters in town. Typically BoE elections generate only 10% of eligible voters but not even a nasty mean spirited internet blogging campaign could suppress voter interest enough to take the moms (or the budget) down. Kids First and its supporters celebrate a huge victory over two competing slates but it faces greater responsibility now to reach out to the Hoboken community while continuing their battle of reducing waste, administrative overhead and past BoE misdeeds while ensuring student quality standards in a challenging economic climate. Leon Gold was eloquent in recognizing this responsibility even in the midst of victory. A very large win and endorsement from the voters to continue that platform.

Theresa Minutillo - people won't say it, but this race was as much about the personal ambition of unseating the real "Goddess of Reform" on the BoE as competing ideologies. Battle hardened from years of skirmishes in the trenches while the minority, Minutillo embraced an internal challenge putting it on the line from the very beginning offering to find common ground on claimed "spending differences" with former slate member Maureen Sullivan and then when spurned agreed to a comprehensive interview answering every single question MSV could throw at her. That interview lasted almost two hours! MSV only wishes it could have published it so voters could have heard her take on Maureen Sullivan's 'false' claims and predicting Kids First would "kick their" you know what. In the end, she lived up to that too.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer - she too laid it on the line again, endorsing a group that initiated the groundswell for her November victory in the mayoral election last year. Proving true to form employing yet another successful grass roots effort, no one can argue with the real results. Her "critics" six months into her true term, re: haters can't decide who they hate more now, her or Kids First. The voters again rejected a brand of pettiness, grandstanding and hollow criticisms without a positive agenda voters can envision working. Mayor Zimmer stood tall again in the face of it. Her belief in the Hoboken voter seeing through the muck proved out yet again. There's no time to enjoy the moment though. Rumblings over the November 4th ward council election have already begun for the critical swing vote on the City Council even as the town yet eyes its sovereignty from State financial control.

Rose Marie Markle - targeted by Real Results in the campaign as a BNR aligned with "the machine" an online campaign attacking her personally in the end proved a failure. Online political operatives for Real Results failed to duplicate the success that ended Dr. Romano finalizing a contract with the Hoboken BoE. The personal attacks were never returned in kind but won't be forgotten by her and close BoE observers. She showed restraint and dignity in handling the gavel as BoE President and facing down her opponents smears. She gets to hand over the gavel to a colleague while relishing another three year term.

Irene Sobolov - attacked similarly by the same political operatives for Real Results, her skill in speaking to the issues in a relaxed, comfortable manner remaining positive all the while impressed observers on all sides. Demonstrated quiet resolve and her elevation in the election as top vote getter is the best sign of the positive elements in the electorate coming together - both old and new Hoboken. A long time proponent working tirelessly on behalf of the schools, her next challenge is how much leadership to exert within a strong voting majority.

Liz Mulholland - Kids First campaign manager, she tirelessly embraces the job of promoting good governance at the BoE while serving on point to the public as KF's community outreach - a year round full time job. One of only a handful you will find attending BoE meetings year round, she disproved the notion of Hoboken moms lacking the professionalism and "education" to run a campaign. She's not in it for any glory but she earns kudos just the same.

Ken Howitt - although he claimed to be an independent early on before being rolled into a late Frank "Pupie" Raia slate, there was no other candidate who presented their positions better. Demonstrated a strong knowledge of education issues and conveyed an emotional connection to those concerns in his appearance at the candidates' forum. Hoboken would be well served by his participation in the town's BoE issues in the future.

Kyelia Colon - she failed to win a seat but earned accolades and more than a thousand votes for voicing concerns overlooked by most. Her vote only begins to reflect the respect and esteem she is held by many. She joined Da Horsey during the second half of the forum and made a very favorable impression sitting on our left (more on this at a later date.) Should play a major role working with the new majority representing an important voice for the community. It would be a great benefit to Hoboken in her doing so. She also was featured before the election as a "Guest of the Stable."

Interim Superintendent Carter and Business Administrator Davis - their efforts on behalf of the Hoboken residents and children were the basis for the underlying election cycle's battle lines. They remained officially neutral but were constantly correcting misinformation by Real Results at recent BoE meetings. Hoboken is rewarded by their continued service not to mention patience. The best example was their humorous and detailed explanations on the theater program not being under threat by the BoE as Real Results literature claimed. While doing so Maureen Sullivan was repeatedly seen nervously staring at the ceiling hoping the issue would pass before more damage would be done to her slate. Is she going to provide her list of hundreds of out of district students to Mr. Carter now?

Michael Lenz - Hoboken's all powerful bogeyman or reformer depending on who you talk to, he retains some luster for his effort toward the Kids First latest victory. Does it carry over to his run in November for the 4th ward city council seat? Much of that still depends on who the opposition is and how unified it emerges. That effort may be divided or sit out until the following May when the 4th ward will do it all over again.


Losers:

Maureen Sullivan - the family effort to derail the finalization of Dr. Romano's contract emboldened her ambitions leading to her forming the Real Results slate. Although she denied doing exactly that in her Kids First "resignation" letter to the Hudson Reporter, ethics questions remain with rampant evidence online available should anyone request an inquiry. But with her isolation on the BoE, is it even necessary? Maureen went from being in the front of the room at then City Council President Dawn Zimmer's mayoral inauguration last summer to attacking the very people who propelled her to a seat in less than a year. Thought victory in a small town could be had while refusing to answer any questions leading in to and during the race from both the Hoboken Journal and MSV. But that's all old hat and now so too is Maureen First.

Hoboken411 - once again proving a barometer of Hoboken elections, as in whatever he touches turns into a turd. His self-proclaimed kingmaker status has been utterly repudiated by the voters in a series of elections. (Should we give him a W for Cammarano last spring?) The uptown smear merchant falls below even the old National Enquirer standards and his fellow minions have only each other to share in their vindictive toxic consolation of hatred. Now a slow motion trainwreck, Hoboken voters have figured out they can pass through to see about store openings and closings while ignoring the absolute worst variety of yellow journalism. Expect his bitter invective to continue as his once lively website dwindles in public comments under the brutal hand of his censorship and toxic ghostwriter(s). The spiral down the toilet and the bitter vitriol he's become famous for with even more inanity and excuses for his predictions proving to be absolutely useless will no doubt continue.

Beth Mason - she claimed neutrality in the BoE race in an interview with MSV then later saw her husband Ricky days before the vote endorsing Real Results in a letter to the Hudson Reporter. The veneer of plausible deniability is fooling no one. MSV's interview with the Councilwoman after a City Council meeting concerning her position tied her up in so many contradictions, she may have even confused herself. Notwithstanding her claim of restarting taping at the BoE this year "for transparency," another political internet ad may have been forestalled by merely asking the question. Tellingly she appeared to throw in the towel, not sending anyone to film the final BoE meeting before the voters concluded the matter, perhaps deciding it wasn't worth the cost of even dinner to pay a cameraman to do so. Give her credit though, she does at least answer questions as a public official if you push her to do so. And she'll move on to bigger and better things. Some voices suggest she's laying the groundwork to get behind a candidate for the 4th ward November city council race. His name closely rhymes with a famous Van Halen song from their first album. And any success there could undo plans the mayor has of moving an agenda forward.

Frank "Pupie" Raia - people don't discuss it publicly but MSV will. When is there going to be something done about the self-described "King of Absentee Ballots?" His machine operation generated hundreds of the 400 plus total absentee votes. This in an election that is in ridiculous disproportion to not only the victor's total tallies but the final vote itself. John Fund's recent visit on voter fraud has made no impression whatsoever and this absentee ballot operation shows an utter lack of respect for democratic values and the vote in Hoboken - and in the 21st century no less. Frank may be on the official loser list as a result, but he's officially a winner with MSV for not adding John Madigan to his slate, officially or not. So thanks Frank!

Nathan Brinkman - sincere and idealistic but still misguided in how nonpartisan elections are won in Hoboken. He signed on to the Maureen Sullivan family bandwagon without doing his homework embracing ideology over character (again). The refrain referencing just that, "Lonegan, Lonegan, Lonegan" fell on deaf ears as he again embraced a top down approach to winning a local election. You build exposure and roots of support from the ground up in Hoboken not the other way around as evidenced by the last two elections. That concept hasn't gotten through yet. Worse he's now seen by Hoboken voters as having embraced Hobo411 and a nasty online operation. It may be unfair but that may be a lasting voter impression. After his positive campaign in November for mayor where he added real value in the debates, it's most unfortunate.

John Madigan - even though he came within a hundred votes of landing the third three year seat on the Board, Hoboken showed how close it really is to returning to total disaster should he have won a seat on the BoE. Anger directed at Kids First was turned to Frank "Pupie" Raia for not including him in the absentee ballot operation. Reports of Madigan's behavior arrived on election day and it wasn't pretty. One day, there's a law enforcement story coming and it won't be about the complaint for bad language targeting a BoE member with her child on the street.

Real Results - for a new slate some members performed fine but couldn't escape the association with the nasty online work of political operatives on their behalf. It may have hurt their cause more than anything else other than Maureen Sullivan herself. Although to a member, they conducted themselves well and were not visibly part of that online ghastliness, both elements handicapped them right out of the gate. Running on no clear winning issue, the focus of all criticism was singularly pointed at Kids First made worse by the mean spiritedness of their online "supporters." Worse, they advocated positions that added up to no significant difference in a budget of tens of millions of dollars. How you can say you are for budget reform and not spell out significant reform on that point proved insurmountable. Other public positions revealed a lack of knowledge about the BoE, sometimes advocating ideas not remotely possible under NJ law. Who shoulders the blame? Her way or the highway Maureen Sullivan - not campaign manager in name only Nathan Brinkman.
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Rainout won't stop Mile Square Theater's ball game today


Friend of Hoboken Dean Kemph sent in this last minute notice on one fine alternative to enjoy the day and baseball regardless of the rain:

Today, kids, is your last chance to see this terrific play at the Monroe Space Theater at 8th & Monroe Streets at 3:00 PM.  We had one of those rare "whole family" outings last night and caught it so I wouldn't have to hide from Chris O'Connor the next time I saw him.  Really great stuff. Very funny. For those with kids -- mild and brief sexual innuendo, but Emory at 11 has seen far worse I'm sure and it will go right by young ones.  It was particularly revelatory for me as a kids' coach and I think it should be mandatory for all coaches.  If you don't see at least a slice of yourself, you're not looking.  Also not to be missed by anyone with an endemic love for the national pastime.  For everybody else, it's merely wonderful. The Mile Square Theater has been doing fantastic work and this is a chance to see an amazing, professional performance just a few blocks away on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Just do it. 

PS - If you're one of my team, we are NOT yet rained out today -- stay tuned.

More Info: 
Mile Square Theatre
Chris O'Connor, Artistic Director
Presents

A comedy about baseball, Little League, and what it means to win the game.

ROUNDING THIRD
by Richard Dresser

What does it mean to be a success? Is winning the only thing that matters, or is it how you play the game? For Michael and Don, two coaches of the same Little League baseball team, their answers are clear – and completely opposite. Richard Dresser’s ROUNDING THIRD is a hilarious look at how our culture is teaching our kids— and our parents— to deal with competition and success.

Starring Liam Joynt and Matthew Lawler
Directed by Marc Stuart Weitz

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