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.
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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