Friday, April 16, 2010
As if there was not already enough brouhaha preceding Tuesday's school board election, somebody called my attention to a flier from a New York-based union that endorses one of the four slates, while disclaiming any connection with the candidates or their supporters.
I had not really looked at the flier and had to fish it out of a wastebasket for a closer look. It was followed by another one today, both with the disclaimer in a box below the recipient's address. It says, "Paid for by Service Workers United, 330 West 42nd Street, Suite 900, New York, NY 10036. This expenditure was not made with the cooperation or prior consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or person or committee acting on behalf of a candidate."
The primary message to voters appears to be criticism of Gov. Chris Christie's tough stand on education costs. The cure is portrayed as sending Christie a message on election day by voting for the indicated slate.
At the LWV forum Wednesday, candidates were asked whether they had received contributions from any political organization or union and members of the slate in question said they were not. That may well be true, because Service Workers United put the wrong polling hours on the fliers and also told recipients to bring them to the polls, where campaign literature is not allowed.
A call to the union was not answered today, nor was an e-mail to the slate pictured on the fliers.
The only link Plaintalker could see here was that workers for the district food provider, Sodexo, are members of the union.
Whatever the union's intention, the net effect was to roil further the turbulent waters of this election.
This election has 14 candidates, with three slates and two independents. The level of accusations, name-calling, derisiveness and incivility is unprecedented in this writer's memory and echoes what seems to be a nationwide trend affecting discourse. Even the children are perplexed.
My post on the forum resulted in a flood of comments, only a couple of which called for moderation. I am letting them stand so far as a mirror of the situation, but plan to cut them off at some point over the weekend. The fray can continue on the Star-Ledger forum, if that's what people want.
I am hearing that people are having a hard time deciding who should get their vote among the 14 candidates. Three three-year terms and one unexpired term are up for election on the nine-member board. Whatever you decide, remember to go to your polling place between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday and cast your votes.