The needler in the haystack.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Candidate Campbell's coyness causes questions..



Wilma Campbell, candidate in tomorrow's Board of Ed election, took me to task at Mayor Al McWilliams' funeral at Shiloh Baptist Church last Thursday.

Why?

She is of the opinion that I said she is being financially backed by Assemblyman Jerry Green, which she says is not so. Fair enough.

But candidate Campbell's coyness only raises questions in PT's mind.

What did PT actually say?

On April 2 ("Sign faeries on the loose"), PT tagged the team as the Assemblyman's --
"Like those fable faerie rings that spring up overnight, signs for Jerry Green's school board candidates Jeanette Criscione and Wilma Campbell sprang up around the community overnight Saturday."

In the post of Tuesday, April 10 ("Board of Ed candidate forum tomorrow"), PT said --
"Incumbent Campbell and newcomer Criscione are running as a team, backed by Assemblyman Jerry Green."
There is no mention of FINANCIAL backing. But PT does still maintain that the Assemblyman is supporting Ms. Campbell as he did when she first ran three years ago. Whether or not financially.

Matter of fact, Assemblyman Green was at work soliciting in the community to put together a three-member team including Campbell for a united run for all three vacant seats.

The Assemblyman personally recruited Ms. Campbell's partner, Ms. Criscione -- who picked up her petitions, PT is told, at lunchtime on deadline day and submitted them completed with signatures before the deadline. Oh! that all candidates could be so fortunate in signature-gathering!


If Assemblyman Green was for Ms. Campbell three years ago, why be COY about whether or not he is supportive of her candidacy this time around? Either he's fer you or agin' you, but no such clear statement is forthcoming.

However, for those who understand how to read between the lines, Dottie and Joe Gutenkauf's letter in support of Campbell and Criscione which appeared in the Courier on Wednesday, April 11, only serves to confirm the Gutenkauf's bellwether** role and the Assemblyman's support.


ATTACKING THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS?

As curious as the candidate's coyness about the Assemblyman's support has been, her relationship to the League of Women Voters is more troubling.

Seems someone called the state LWV office on candidate Campbell's behalf -- complaining about Herb Green's letter in the Courier on April 8th in support of candidates Cox, Estevez and Graves -- and asking that the forum be cancelled.

The League's guidelines are that there are only TWO people who may NOT publicly endorse a candidate: the president of a chapter and the voter services chairperson, who is in charge of the forum.

Herb Green, while a member of the League, holds neither of those positions and is not bound by that restriction.

The League of Women Voters has an 87-year record of bipartisan involvement in support of building an informed electorate and encouraging voter participation at the polls. These are at the heart of the democratic enterprise and attempting to shut the League down strikes PT as a very dangerous move indeed.

(In fact, it is the second recent attempt to undermine the League's historic role -- the first being during the general election of 2005 in which Mayor Robinson-Briggs won office. In that instance, the League's forum was subverted by another, spurious forum organized by a made-for-the-moment group called 'Women Across The City'. See Bernice's three posts at that time, "Second Forum Splits Voter, Candidate Choice", "Two Candidate Forums Tonight" and "Clashing Forums Mark Finale of 2005 Campaign".)

It strikes PT as unseemly at the least to try to subvert this venerable organization. I hope it doesn't happen in the future.


SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT?

Meanwhile, who says people can't learn from their mistakes?

Especially if it might cost them thousands of dollars.

That first PT post on signage pointed out that ELEC takes a dim view of not following the rules regarding disclosure requirements.

There are solo signs for Campbell out there with no committee identification. There are signs for Campbell and Criscione that do not identify a joint committee or any committee for Criscione.

Treasurer? Who needs to show there's a treasurer?

Both of these signs could cause dyspepsia for the team if anyone were to complain to ELEC. (Don't worry, team, PT is not going to turn you in.)

But, in a sign that SOMEONE is at least paying attention, if not actually reading the ELEC manual, which is downloadable, the mailing piece which arrived over the weekend at least included Campbell's treasurer's name.

So far, so good. But we still don't know if Criscione has NO committee and has raised
NO money and is merely riding on Campbell's financial coattails, or whether she has a committee and is just not in compliance.

And we're expected to turn over a budget TWICE the size of the city's -- as well as the welfare of our 7000+ students -- to people who stumble out of the gate on such simple things as RTFM?

Why would I? Why would you?



**Bellwether: "The wether, a ram or sheep that walks at the head of a shepherd's flock. The distinctive tone of the bell around the wether's neck signals the flock's position."

-- Dan Damon

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Corey Storch is financially backed and supported by Jerry Green. Vote for Rucker! The independent candidate running in the primary. He will represent the people rather than the political powerbrokers. I am sure you agree.

V. Sheppard said...

Dan,
You are so right on with your editorial today. I hope you keep up the good reporting because Plainfield needs to hear the truth. Unfortunately when people do Forums they can't be corrected, for example: I thought I was the "voice of reason" a name bestowed upon me during one of our Board meetings. Nevertheless, keep reporting the facts Dan, we need someone who will STAND TALL!

Anonymous said...

How can Campbell run for School Boards? Has anyone seen her record? She abstains on everything that deals with educating children and only votes on personnell. Is there a conflict here, especially since the union rents space in her building?

Anonymous said...

Why is Campbell even running for the board? She abstains on everything except personnell matters. Is there a conflict here, espcially since the union rents space from her building?

Dottie Gutenkauf said...

Dan, once again you are leaping to an unwarranted conclusion. Joe and I have not discussed this year's school board election with Jerry Green. At all. Period. I have no idea who he is supporting, if anyone; in fact, another person told me a month ago that Jerry was supporting Cox and Estevez. I hope that individual was wrong, but I simply don't know. While you cite our letter as "evidence" for your assumption, I'm not surprised that you don't mention what we actually said--I suppose readers can refer back to your "clippings" for that--but apparently you prefer innuendo to substantive issues.

As for your charactization of us as "bellwethers," you may have forgotten the 2000 congressional primary, in which I ran Maryanne Connolly's campaign in Plainfield, while Jerry supported her opponent. Perhaps Joe and I should be flattered--after all, one definition of "bellwether" is "a person or thing that takes the lead" (that's from Random House). In any event, Dan, better a bellwether than a Judas goat.