Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, March 25, 2011

On the Board of Ed race

At last, Plainfielders are becoming aware of salient information for the Board of Education race.

Olddoc posts a comment from Alex Edache about his relationship with John Campbell (see here), which had previously gone unmentioned in posts on the candidate by various bloggers.

In a community like Plainfield, with so many political operatives, prowling about, it is of course germane to know the connections of candidates to various of the political heavyweights -- if there are any.

Hence it strikes me as a little disingenuous for Mr. Edache to express surprise at the interest. As for being limited by a word count, one decides first what MUST be included and works from there -- as any editor will tell you.

Ever since Assemblyman Jerry Green put up a slate that first brought Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and current BOE president Lisa Logan Leach to public office, knowing where the political powers-that-be stood has been a touchstone for understanding the campaigns and what (money, and jobs) was at stake.

I was first introduced to Mr. Edache a number of years ago at a social event, as a business associate of John Campbell, so it has certainly not been a 'hidden' fact, though unremarked until now in the current BOE campaign.

It is also known that Ellen Carter-Haygood, who dropped out of the race, is BOE member Wilma Campbell's sister. In fact, someone pointed out to me that she is memorialized in the BOE minutes for having congratulated her sister Wilma at the Board's reorganization meeting in 2007.

If Ms. Surgeon or Mr. Hurtt have connections with the Campbells, it would probably be just as well if these were put out in the open.

That having been said, I am far less of the opinion that there is some nefarious plot by John and  Wilma Campbell to 'take over' the Board of Ed, than by the sad realization that there is no burning interest among the public to serve on the Board of Ed this time around.

Which is surprising, given the intense public interest during the struggle over removing Dr. Steve Gallon as superintendent. Then, we had multiple candidacies and slates, and a robust debate over the
direction in which the Board should go.

This time around there is barely a yawn.

Assemblyman Green has publicly stated he is staying out of the Board of Ed race 'one way or the other'. This is good all around as the Assemblyman's name is 'box office poison', as they say.

Which is something that Tony Rucker will want to weigh in considering a run for the Ward 2 council seat.

An endorsement by Jerry would be the kiss of death, which causes one to wonder why John Campbell was so busy at last summer's Hillside Area street party/picnic trying to persuade Owen Fletcher, then presumed to be Jerry's choice to run as the Democratic machine candidate, to step aside in favor of Rucker.

There will be plenty to watch during the coming political season.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Dan – the image you use regularly to depict your BOE commentary is very insightful when it comes to how you feel about the education and the students in this community.
It doesn’t even rate humanizing it with faces. How utterly sad that is, but you are sad so it is fitting I suppose.

Where are your candidates for education, city council, anything, anyone at all positively positioning themselves to improve Plainfield? I keep waiting for such a post. I guess your reporter bosses also advised you to stay disconnected and derisive. They would be proud of you as you have that mastered.

You are a warped man, with a warped lifestyle and a warped sense of humanity. To think you ever attempt to serve in any religious capacity is heresy.

Anonymous said...

The row of empty seats is very clear to me- there are seats to fill in this election, but no one knows who is going to fill them yet. There is another take I have on the empty seats picture. Even if every seat was filled, most voters in Plainfield would know nothing about the occupants. As far as most residents are concerned- as indicated by their voter turn-out- the seats might as well be empty. The lack of community interest is the sad part. Even Councilman Reid commented on the low number of residents who attend the BOE meetigs.

I appreciate the informative news and intelligent commentary I find in Dan's blog. He has a talent for explaining what's going on in Plainfield today. Not all his "editorializing" pictures hit the mark, but at least he is out there pitching.

dr. e=mc2 said...

I wish that people truly understood the motives of political hacks. They do not care about ideology, principles or ethics. In fact, "political hacks" are concerned with power and power only. Mr. Green and his "hacks" will do anything to be in office! We need to keep the "light" on this board of education election because there is too much at stake. Which is why Lenny Cathcart must be removed. His "sideshow" needs to be taken on the road....anywhere but the Plainfield Board of Education. It is critical to not be fooled by political operatives who seek to take the focus off the issues and make it personal. This election is about moving forward and not Dan Damon......he knows it and so do all of you who only seek to use these banal attacks for personal gain!

Anonymous said...

@ 1:34 - tell us how you really feel.

Anonymous said...

Come on fellow Plainfielders!!! Why can't we all get along?

I know the Campbells and I know Ellen Carter. If there is any concern about where their interest is, in regards to the students in the Plainfield School system, I sincerely feel it is in the right place. I have had numerous conversations regarding the Plainfield School system with Wilma Campbell and it is always about the future of the children of Plainfield. I refused to put my children in the Plainfield School system after elementary school and Wilma always believed this school system could be saved. I was a candidate last year and I did not run with Wilma on the Grand Slam ticket. This year Wilma called me and asked me if I was interested in running for Board of Education this year. I had to turn down the offer because I am now extremely involved and busy in my little one's school council.

If Wilma was looking for rubberstamps, SHE would NOT have asked me to run. And -she never asked me to support any candidate. However, I was disappointed that Ellen pulled out. I feel Wilma isn't looking for rubberstamps, she is only looking for candidates who strongly believe in the future of the children of Plainfield.

I agree that last year there was a mad dash to be a candidate in the race to be a member of the Board of Education. And I do believe that it was all about getting rid of Gallon. I will say while Gallon was in charge he DID do some good to the school system -HOWEVER, his arrogance got in the way and he WAS wrong in deceiving Plainfield with the two employees he brought on.

Hey! I look forward to reading Dan's blog every day and I enjoy reading Dan's blog. Dan calls it as he sees it . . . and . . . I am calling it as I see it.


Dan said...

Thanks 8:51 AM!
@ 1:34 PM -- it's just a picture of the BOE table at Jefferson, taken one night during the Gallon D-R-A-M-A when we waited hours for an executive session to come to an end so the public meeting could begin.

There's no big message except that there are empty seats to be filled.

As for getting faces of the BOE members at the table, you must never have taken a photograph in your life. They are spread as far apart as the continents are in the oceans, which is about what a group photo looks like, not to mention that their faces are in shadow from the way the lighting is set up in the PHS auditorium.

And if you try to shoot from one end down the row, the nearest person is recognizable and the one at the other end is a pinhead.

It's better, but not by much, when the Board takes its road show to Emerson, where at least the lighting is decent.

Tell you what, you can email me a picture of the Board that you think is better. Send it to plaindan at gmail dot com. Deal?

Dan said...

CP -- Thanks for your comment.

I had two points -- first (which you cover) that there is much thinner interest this year than last, sadly.

Second, this is such a small town and everyone knows everyone that it IS important to let folks know the connections between people.

Doesn't mean anybody is anybody's rubber stamp, but at least it won't be embarrassing somewhere down the road and the question is asked.

Wilma and John have done a lot of good in the community, and I have been fortunate to be on good terms with them both.

But when it comes to the public's business, transparency is important.

Anonymous said...

Yes Dan -

I most definitely agree with allowing the voters to know your relationship with the existing board members.

Let me know NOW not later and please let me hear it straight from the horses mouth. That is a MUST! Because then I will think you ARE trying to HIDE something.