PATERSON, N.J. - Despite a crowd that came last night to voice support for taking politics out of the school board elections, the symbolic measure was shot down by a vote of 4-4-1, Councilwoman Ruby Cotton and Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres did not attend the meeting or vote.
Council President Bill McKoy who was in favor of moving the elections back said "at least we know where our interest lie" after the vote. He also criticized councilman Alex Mendez for voting no last night, but having a record of voting yes while on the school board. A move that political insiders say is Mendez pivoting towards his mayoral campaign against Torres. Mendez has yet to officially announce but did say so on a Dominican Republic TV show "Fuera de Record".
Education activist and board of education candidate in the most recent election, Corey Teague has voiced many concerns about the outside influence on Paterson's School Board. Back in December when reports surfaced that over $25,000 was spent by incumbent Chris Irving, which included BET and CNN commercials for essentially a volunteer position, Teague said “I want to know who those investors are. What are they looking for in return?".
Teague himself Tuesday reminded voters that when he was on the board in 2013 he voted to move the elections to November and he called his decision "misguided" and the "end to my political career". Since then Teague said he has noticed a difference in how the campaigns are run, and last night local parents backed up his claims about the democratic party being intertwined with the board of ed when a mother recalled board of ed advertisement cards having Hillary Clinton on one side, and Irving on another, a claim Teague has brought up. Those cards allegedly also did not follow election rules which call for stating the name of the organization who paid for ads on the ad itself, said cards did not contain such statements.
The four council members who were opposed were Maritza Davila, Shahin Khalique, Alex Mendez and Andre Sayegh. Teague took to social media to voice concerns about the conflicts of interest the council had on the vote saying "Davila and Sayegh both have jobs at Passaic County Community College, while a school bus business operated by Khalique’s family has contracts with the school district".