Last night, the curtain fell on a brief, sordid episode in Hoboken political history.
- A BoE member accidently forwarded a private text to public officials; the text contained a slang phrase ("butt buddies") which either means (1) a gay slur or (2) a platonic term for close friends.
- Along with that phrase, the text contained the photo of openly gay Councilman Mike Defusco with openly straight Brian Murray.
- Add to the mix, (2) School Board Trustees who received the text: John Madigan and Peter Biancamano. Both are bitter, political adversaries of the Trustee who sent the text, Irene Sobolov.
- The backdrop: a mayoral election that is, at least online, as hot as I can remember. Mike DeFusco, subject of the text, has been running a stealth mayoral campaign although he has yet to announce he's running.
Well, last night this combustible mixture exploded... BOOM!
But not how Madigan and Biancamano, planners of a dirty political stunt, intended.
The stunt: John Madigan and Peter Bianacamano sponsored a resolution to force Sobolov to resign from the School Board, AND had shopped the story to numerous media outlets. Media outlets appeared to have been informed about their resolution before the public was.
Yes, numerous media outlets, including NBC- Biancamano's employer, were notified; GA heard that "5 or 6" were coming to Last night's meeting.
The apparent "plan"was for the cameras to roll while Madigan and Biancamano self-righteously denounced Irene with prepared remarks describing her as a homophobe and/or bully. They wanted Sobolov to melt under media spotlights, humiliate her, destroy her reputation. That's what John Madigan and Peter Bianacamano, two political operatives disguised as Hoboken School Board Trustees, intended.
That's not what happened.
Hoboken turned out for Irene.
Speakers included public school parents, teachers, friends, her spouse Ivan, and two prominent, highly respected, openly gay Hoboken residents: Paul Somerville and his husband Allen Kratz.
Paul and Allen, who praised Sobolov, are longtime LGBT rights activists; Paul was the head of the now-defunct Gay Alliance of Hudson County (GAAHC) and Allen was the head of the statewide New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition (NJLGC).
And so, the shallowness and stupidity of the Madigan-Biancamano scripted character assassination stood in stark contrast to the many heartfelt tributes about Sobolov and her years of quiet dedication to Hoboken's public school community.
Speaker after speaker eloquently described personal experiences with Irene- shaming the two political operatives who DO NOT DESERVE THEIR BOARD SEATS.
There were only (2) speakers who sided with Madigan and Biancamano's resolution: Patty Waiters and some HoLa-witch who flew in on her broomstick.
Said witch is a nasty HoLa parent who has periodically attended district BoE meetings to insult the district children and Board members; she also ran unsuccessfully for a Board Seat. In 2014, she was on the "Parents for Change" BoE ticket with runningmates Brian Murray and Patty Waiters - and finished in LAST place with the lowest number of votes of all candidates running that year. SAD.
So, last night's audience politely listened as this embittered failed-candidate hissed a litany of insults against Irene, including lambasting her about the pending "ethics complaint" allegedly filed by an HoLa Parent against board members who donated to the district's legal fund.
And so, this witch ended her vomitous diatribe with a threat: "you wait and see..." that community opposition against Sobolov would grow. With torches and pitchforks? Maybe district parents should make a scene at her next school board meeting, and scream about HoLa idiots who file frivolous ethics complaints against our board?
I imagine district peeps have too much class for that.
Finally, the VOTE. After an explanation from the Board Attorney that Madigan's resolution was not legally enforceable- that the Board could not tell one of its member to "resign," the toothless vote proceeded.
Votes split along political factions.
"For" Sobolov's resignation, Madigan, Biancamano and the largely-mute Montgomery.
Everybody else, against.
Here is video-from the introduction of the resolution through the vote- which I took last night. The acoustics in the auditorium suck. (Is it possible to change BoE meeting location?)
In two parts:
Props to Mike DeFusco on how he comported himself in the NBC 4 NewYork interview.
That is the Mike I remember.