Board of Ed candidates announced
Barbara Claveria drops out
The Board of Education election will be a three-on-three showdown after independent Barbara Claveria dropped out of the race. No word yet on who Claveria will be throwing her support to. Board secretary David Anthony says the Hudson County Board of Elections has approved Claveria’s withdrawal. Since she was picked as the last candidate in the ballot lottery in the #7 spot there will be no need to change the remaining candidates’ ballot positions. The all-moms ticket of Maureen Sullivan, Ruthy McAllister and Theresa Minutillo will face the all-dads ticket of Frank Raia, Hector Irrizary, and Anthony Oland on April 21.
BoE Ballot Lottery
Board of Education Secretary David Anthony held his annual ballot draw yesterday to determine where the candidates will be located on Election Day. All three Kids First Candidates where there along with Independent Barbara Claveria. Frank Raia was joined by much of his “Pupie Posse” (including Theresa Burns, who drop out of the race) but his slate mates were absent.
Board of Ed candidates do not automatically run on a line together. Names are drawn from a barrel to determine who goes where in what order. There is a theory that in a close election ballot location can make a difference because people start at the top to make their choices. Others say it doesn’t mean that much in the end, especially in a race where absentee ballots may make the difference.
Still, the candidate with the #1 position often comes away with a win, as Theresa Minutillo did from the top spot in 2006. She was picked first again yesterday, followed by Hector Irrizary, Raia, Maureen Sullivan, Ruth McAllister, Anthony Oland, and Claveria.
With the ballot positions set watch for a lot of “1+4=5” talk for Minutillo/Sullivan/McAllister, “2×3=6” for Irizarry/Raia/Oland and perhaps “Punch Lucky #7” for Claveria.
Two Board of Ed candidates drop out of the race
First they’re out, then they’re in, and now they’re out again. Theresa Burns and Barbara Martinez have taken their names out of contention for a Board of Education seat in the April election. Burns and Martinez didn’t make the original Monday deadline for petitions, but did get in after Governor Corzine extended the deadline due to Wednesday after the snowstorm. Martinez got out first followed by Burns. That leaves Frank “Pupie” Raia back with his original all-male slate of Anthony Oland and Hector Irrizary. Barbara Claveria remains an independent without a ticket while Maureen Sullivan and Ruth McCallister have joined forces with incumbent Theresa Minutillo for the new look “Kids First”.
Big changes have also been made to the Kids First infrastructure, with dedicated and active mothers like Liz Mulholland, Kai Rebane, Irene Korman Sobolov and Felicia Rubino Drasheff now leading the effort behind the scenes. This is a breath of fresh air after last year’s Kids First debacle masterminded by the HCDO-connected Mike Lenz and Carol Marsh, who disastrously approached the Board of Ed races as battles in their broader attempt to gain favor with the county machine bosses. This year education-focused active moms – both newcomers and born-and-raised – have stepped up to right the KF ship.
So what’s next?
The deadline for withdrawing from the School Board race without a court order is 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 11th. That will be followed by the drawing of ballot positions on Friday (also postponed by the snowstorm and Executive Order). Will Barbara Claveria stay in the race? Could she replace Irrizary on to bring some estrogen to Pupie Raia’s Testosterone Ticket? Could this end up as a straight up ticket vs. ticket race or will Claveria remain to take votes away from the Kids First Moms (or will Carmelo Garcia tell his supporters to cut Raia for Claveria?)
More candidates file!
With the snow on Monday Governor Jon Corzine extended the deadline to file petitions for the school board race until yesterday afternoon. Wouldn’t you know that more candidates would file to run? Look deeper in this post to find the original post where it was predicted that former trustee Theresa Burns and HoLa! supporter Barbara Martinez could be in the race. They didn’t file on Monday, but it was overheard they filed by the new deadline.
What does this mean?
It’s hard to determine now how this is going to shake out. If you look at Monday’s update (after the break) – Frank Raia and Carmelo Garcia could end up running separate tickets.
Then the Monday deadline passed and Barbara Clevaria was the only person who filed without a ticket. Now there are 9 candidates in the running for 3 seats, which means 3 separate tickets is mathematically possible. How the tickets would ultimately look is unclear. Garcia could run an all-hispanic Irrizary/Clevaria/Martinez ticket while Raia adds Theresa Burns to make his ticket more female friendly. Then again, Anthony Oland has been seen practically chest bumping with Carmelo, which could mean he could be moving from Raia to be on a Garcia-run Irrizary/Oland/Claveria ticket leaving Pupie to run with Burns and Martinez.
The other possibility is Pupie and Carmelo simply realized running three men against Maureen Sullivan, Ruth McAllister, and Theresa Minutillo didn’t make sense. If that’s the case Hector Irrizary and/or Anthony Oland could drop out of the race to make way for Burns and Martinez on Pupie’s ticket. Martinez is a Wall Street Journal reporter who supported HoLa!
It seems more likely that there will still be only one Pupie/Carmelo fusion ticket to face Kids First, but three tickets would make the race a lot more interesting. Stay tuned!
Seven enter battle, three will be victorious
The petitions are in, with seven candidates seeking three seats on the Hoboken Board of Education. Incumbents Frank Raia and Theresa Minutillo will each seek another term.
Last year’s top independent candidate Maureen Sullivan is also running. So is former board member Maggie Porrata’s husband Hector Irrizary. Pro-HoLa! parent Anthony Oland faces anti-HoLa! parent Ruth McAllister.
Barbara Claveria also tossed her hat into the ring.
A Fusion Ticket vs. Active Moms
The two slates are very different. First, one is all men and the other all women. Raia will run with Irrizary and Oland on a ticket that represents three voting blocs: born and raised Italians, politically active Puerto Ricans, and yuppies who want HoLa! Sullivan and McAllister will be joined by Minutillo on an opposing slate. All three are mothers who often find themselves at odds with Superintendent Jack Raslowsky and aren’t shy about it.
Then there is Barbara Claveria
This born and raised Latina mom’s name may be familiar after her husband Hector was appointed to the Hoboken Housing Authority board in a coup crafted by Mike Russo and Dawn Zimmer to replace Angel Alicea. One could make a case that Mrs. Claveria would strengthen either ticket. Raia’s team is overloaded with testosterone and could use a female touch. The Sullivan/McAllister/Minutillo ticket has no representation from the Hispanic voting blocks, which has been a key weakness of “Kids First” tickets. It’s an issue because Hispanic students are the majority in Hoboken classrooms.
Petitions due 4pm
We’ll find out later this afternoon which candidates got their petitions together to run for Board of Education next month. The deadline to turn petitions in is 4pm.
Three seats are up for grabs, each with a three year term. Incumbents Frank Raia and Theresa Minutillo must decide whether or not to make another run while the third seat was left vacant by newly elected Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.
The board decided to leave the seat open ahead of the election after the majority failed to come to a consensus.
More political intrigue
Several people interviewed for the Romano seat but an old schism reopened when Raia attempted to get former board member Theresa Burns appointed to fill it. Sources tell us Burns had support from Raia, Frances Rhodes-Kearns, Phil DeFalco and James Farina. Raia needed one more vote to get Burns appointed, but Carmelo Garcia refused to go along with the plan. When Burns was a trustee she brought Garcia up on ethics charges for voting to benefit his brother (a school employee) and on a PR contract for former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons, who he was working for at the time.
Are Carmelo and Pupie feuding again?
The on-again, off-again feud between Raia and Garcia includes tales of “vote cutting” and “bullet voting.” These games led to a near defeat of Raia three years ago and the failed re-election bid of Burns two years ago, as well as the retaliatory losses of Garcia allies Wanda Santana-Alicea and Maggie Porrata that same year. Raia was looking to bump off Garcia’s pals while Garcia wanted to bump off Burns even though they were all supposedly supporting the same ticket. They both succeeded (or they both failed) when their split opened the door to a win for three of four candidates who ran under the Kids First Banner in 2006.
Last year Raia and Garcia patched up their differences and worked together to secure their majority status. They were successful, winning all three seats by a wide margin. Now Pupie’s failure to get Burns appointed is spurring talk he may field his own slate against a group supported by Carmelo. Raia’s slate could include himself, Burns and someone like former trustee Ron Rosenberg, who lost an independent campaign last year. Garcia may build a ticket around former trustee Wanda Santana-Alicea and one or more supporters of the HoLa program who are still steaming after being defeated. Anthony Oland and Barbara Martinez are two HoLa! supporters who are rumored to be considering a run and could find a home with Carmelo and Superintendent Jack Raslowsky.
New challengers revving up for the fight
Meanwhile the moms who worked to defeat HoLa! and put the spotlight on fixing the district’s failing middle and high schools are working on a ticket as well. Maureen Sullivan – who ran an independent campaign that garnered almost 900 votes last year – is gearing up to lead a ticket that is likely to include frequent board critic Ruthie McAllister. What Sullivan and McAllister need to get them over the top is a popular born-and-raised parent with similar reform views to join them on their ticket. Board watchers say if Irene Sobolov or Felicia Rubino-Drasheff agree to sign on with Sullivan and McAllister that their ticket could be a serious challenge to the Raia and Garcia factions.
So where does that leave Theresa Minutillo?
Minutillo was elected to the board three years ago as the only one of three candidates on the Kids First slate to make the cut. This was due in part to Carmelo Garcia’s group throwing votes to Minutillo in an effort to bump off Raia. The plot backfired when Raia’s people withheld votes from Garcia’s ally Wanda Santana-Alicea. Raia continued his feud with Garcia a year later by throwing his votes for a one-year seat to Kids First candidate Tricia Snyder, who defeated Garcia’s ally Maggie Porratta. A year later Garcia and Raia reunited and Snyder was gone not only from the school board, but from Hoboken as well. Last year’s Kids First ticket of Snyder, Brian Assadourian, and Phil Campbell was such a fractured disappointment that some wonder whether Minutillo will run for reelection or stand down to make way for new blood.
Kids First: Damaged goods?
Since the last election, the only former Kids First candidate who occasionally shows up at board meetings is Assadourian. Snyder moved to Glen Ridge and Campbell went back to wherever he was before he popped up to run last year. With Kids First taking a big hit in 2008 – and Minutillo’s alliance with former Michael Lenz continuing to alienate her from anti-HCDO machine reformers like Beth Mason – the outlook for Minutillo may be grim. Also, with so much money and effort being dedicated to the Mayoral race in May, she may find her allies are otherwise engaged.
Does the school board race predict the Mayoral race?
No, it doesn’t. That line of baloney is written in the newspaper political columns every four years and the opposite is true. The last time we had a Mayoral contest in 2005 there was no real opposition to the Mayor’s ticket of trustees. Four years before that in 2001 Dave Roberts didn’t bother to field a school board slate against Mayor Anthony Russo’s choices because he was focused instead on winning City Hall. That was a year after Roberts and his HCDO allies lost a head-to-head battle to Russo’s school board slate in April 2000.
The bottom line is if Carmelo and Pupie are divided again and the Sullivan/McAllister team can sign on a Sobolov or Drasheff, this could be a very interesting race. If Minutillo decides to run, but leads a Kids First ticket with unknowns like last year she could be headed for defeat. There is also the outside longshot scenario that Minutillo could make a deal with either Raia or Garcia to run on one of their tickets. They don’t often agree on the issues, but Garcia helped Minutillo in 2006 and Raia helped Kids First in 2007, so stranger things have happened.
Who’s running? We’ll have a better idea at the petition deadline at 4pm today. Watch this space later for an update!