Parents United supporters Mike Holmes (left) and Eduardo Gonzales (right) watch Parents United operative Matt Calicchio aim flashlight in the eyes of Forward Together candidate Jennifer Evans. Evans complained that she was "blinded."
|Parents United Treasurer Peter Biancamano and Joe Branco with Parents United's Matt Calicchio. Calicchio aims his 'flashlight' in the eyes of Forward Together candidates to distract during their answers to questions asked by moderator Bob Bowden.|
|Holmes and Gonzales walk off as GA turns to photograph the harassment. Parents United operative Matt Calicchio turns his camera toward me before he ducks behind the curtain.|
|Evans and Sobolov soldier on after harassment by Parents United's Matt Calicchio.|
Applause after debate. Parents United Matt Calicchio with his crew: Parents United Treasurer Peter Biancamano, John Madigan, Mike Holmes.
Last night, a new generation of activist Hoboken district moms got a taste of the thuggery that dogged School board meetings in the aftermath of 2009's Reform takeover. The intimidation campaign tapered off once Reform gained a super-majority on the BoE.
GA remembers those days.
Meetings were a shitshow.
Thuggish, ape-like goons would line up against the back wall. Sometimes they arrived late with former BoE Trustee Frank Raia. The bloated galoomphs would call out during meetings, gesture, harass audience members, and otherwise do anything to disrupt the proceedings.
Sometimes the harassment would continue after the meeting as happened once to GA. BoE members were even assaulted.
And who could forget 2012's The State of NJ v Matt Calicchio?
The complaint was filed by BoE Trustee Theresa Minutillo after Calicchio harassed her in front of her 6 year-old daughter at Wallace School. The court believed Minutillo. However, Judge Sixto Macias ruled that the remarks did not constitute a criminal charge of harassment because Minutillo is a public figure.
From the transcript:
THE COURT: I -- I also believe that the whole testimony of Ms. -- Ms. Garcia and Mr. Calicchio -- Calicchio were fabricated... How many 23-year-old individuals go to monthly board of education meetings? That is your job to go to the board of education meeting.
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It was interesting to hear the reaction of some 'new generation' district parents to the Parents United thugs' behavior.
They were horrified.
One told GA that the thugs came early and stood up in the rear for the whole 90 minutes, though plenty of seats were available. Instead, they stood to be seen from the dais where they could distract Forward Together (1-2-4) to maximum effect.
One mom angrily complained she heard the goons making noise every time Evans, Dallara and Sobolov spoke.
One noted how Parents United candidates sat unfazed by the goon shining a flashlight into the eyes of their opponents, 1-2-4. Of course, the Parents United candidates were on board with the Dirty Tricks by their ape with the flashlight.
The nastiness was not limited to 'Thug Row' as one of the Parents United team attacked the 14 year-old son of Irene Sobolov.
GA will address the stunning ignorance of Parents United candidates Jessica Nelson, 'Chipper' Benway and Jennifer Rossini at the debate later.
In short, these three candidates have no idea WHAT is going on inside of the schools. Zip. None have ever gone to a BoE meeting. Virtually every comment or criticism was met by Forward Together responding with "Oh, we already have that program" or "we've have that program for years."
These three Parents United candidates are CLUELESS about the variety and multitude of programs instituted in the Hoboken district since Reform took the majority in 2009. They are clueless that Reform put a stop to the stealing from the classrooms and redirected the money into programs, materials and training. Clearly, Parents United's thug row at the back of the room are dying to 'wet their beaks' in our education funds- AGAIN.
Indeed, Parents United talking points were straight outta Austin, and a certain $144K hack fired by the Reform majority in 2009. Like Parents United, the Austin hack has no idea of what is really going on in the schools, doesn't have a clue about all of the new programs and challenges for kids. (GA's daughter worked on the JSHS aquaponics garden, was on the Harvard Model Congress debate club, and in Johns Hopkins Advanced Math- all wonderful after-school activities of the many JSHS offers.)
Parents United knew nothing about any of this. They trashed and insulted the schools, ans spouted cherry-picked data to force wrong, misguided and UNFAIR conclusions. They have no idea how far the district has come and where we are going. More than a few parents in the audience that have kids in the High School were disturbed at Parents United broad brush ignorance and arrogance, particularly from candidates Jessica Nelson and Jennifer Rossini.
GA took copious notes. I will correct their misinformation- stay tuned.
G-d help the Hoboken District if these the Clueless Three win. From the goon squad turn-out, I would say they are feeling quite confident.
Please people, GA implores you to vote for these honest, dedicated, committed gals so they may CONTINUE THE PROGRESS: