Well folks, it's official: so far there are (3) applicants to replace NHSA Commissioner Tony Soares, whose term expires in January 2017.
From left to right (refer to above graphic) the applicants are: BoE Trustee Leon Gold, former NHSA Commissioner Frank 'Pupie' Raia, and New Guy, Paul Blanos. Paul has never run for nor held elected office in Hoboken, and is a private citizen (so far).
About Leon Gold:
Leon's a 40-year resident of Hoboken and an adjunct professor at Columbia University 's School of Engineering & Applied Science. Leon loves cleaning up sewage. He is really good at it. In 2010, when Leon was elected to the Hoboken Board of Education, the place was a cesspool. Reform Board allies had already begun the clean-up, but still, messes were everywhere!
Leon inherited a Hoboken district enrollment bloated by an estimated 20% non-resident students here illegally! Bloated enrollment allowed prior BoEs to use the district as a jobs bank; under BoE President (and NHSA applicant) Frank Raia, an audit of the 2005-2006 BoE found 1,050 persons on the payroll, many without basic identifying information.
Leon 's 6 years on the Hoboken BoE serving as board president and chair of both finance and curriculum committee, have seen a return to financial solvency, exciting new programs, and an increase in community support for district schools. In short, he cleaned up.*
*GA note: Leon was UNFAIRLY pilloried for his 2014 Salon interview where he blasted Christie administration's property tax cap as "starving public schools" and charter-expansions as "increasing the segregatory effect." In fact, GA's recent posts of NJDOE Performance Report demographic data support Leon's statements to Salon.
About Frank Raia:
Here's a thousand words:
About the New Guy
Paul would be a newbie to Hoboken public service. On his application he wrote "I have many years of experience in creating and fulfilling governmental and private contracts, as well as a very tech-heavy background." Sounds good to me!
GA embraces the idea of new people stepping up to serve the community, and Paul does not seem to be involved in local politics- another plus.
Coincidentally, he and his family live across the street from GA, further up the block. I've met him but really don't know him. However, I do know his family was flooded out by Sandy. Like many others on this block, they were hit hard. They renovated and moved back in 2014.
|Willow Terrace North post-Sandy|
So... that is the status of NHSA applicants to date, to fill Soares' seat.
Of course, there is still plenty of time for folks to apply, and may the BEST MAN/WOMAN win!