Follow the Roaches

Have you ever lived with cockroaches?

I have.

When I lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn my first floor apartment was next to the trash chute, above the basement.  The fact the place was infested was a secret kept by the landlord, who rented it to me on-sight one August afternoon.  The place looked nice, clean and was a convenient commute to the East Village where I was attending college, Cooper Union.  Picture perfect.

Until the lights went out.

Then the roaches took over. Crept from dark crevices, beneath appliances, cracks in the wall, hidden interiors, to assert ownership of my domain.  They scampered about- an army of them, seeking bits of food as roaches do- their mouths searching for sweet crumbs and sticky spills- running up walls, over  cabinets, on the floor...

How do I know this?

Because I turned on the lights.  Roaches can't stand it.


As soon as the lights came on, the insects scattered, running back to their dark crevices.  Blech.

The problem was so bad in fact, that one day I cam home to find a note on my bed: my room mate had moved out.  The roaches had won.

In Hoboken, we have our own kind of roach problem.

They buy elections, invade our institutions of government to gobble public resources for themselves and their friends, scamper through the City's computer network,  trash Hoboken small business community in the mainstream media, and on and on... now they've got a new target.

This Tuesday a swarm descended on the Board of Education monthly meeting.

They signaled an intention to replace several Board members with some of their kind.

This switcharoo labeled a 'recall', was announced by one of the junior crawlers who apparantly hopped over a long waiting list to get an apartment in the HHA. Carmelo Garcia, a BoE member whom he advocates for,  is the Executive Director of the HHA.  (And did you know this same creepy crawler had served as a legislative aide to Assemblyman Ruben Ramos?)

No less than the Queen Mother of the entire town's infestation got up to rail against those whom her species wishes to 'recall',  Leon Gold, Irene Sobolov and Rose Marie Markle, and the rest of the Kids First majority, Theresa Minutillo and Ruthy McAllister (absent).

Among the Queen Mother's grievances, that Kids First had spent "too much" by hiring a replacement athletic trainer at 53K, neglecting to mention the hiree replaced a person making 103K- that's a teacher's salary plus a stipend- although that person never actually taught.  The Queen Mother did not thank the Board majority for the 80K taxpayer savings.

Nor did she congratulate Kids First for hiring a gifted young theatre arts treacher-- a former television actress,  who has the proper certification, and a background of working on professional productions, has put on productions in elementary schools, is a dancer and dance instructor... no this Queen Mother came to deride her for lack of experience, as HHS would be her first year of teaching.

Hmmm.... I understand the Queen Mother is under consideration for a County job as the 'Head of Housekeeping' for Hudson County Plaza which begs the question (to her): how many years experience do you have as a "Head Housekeeper"?  None?  Should that disqualify you?  And if you are hired, does that mean you'll do a crappy job because you're not 'experienced'?

One wonders WHY this swarm scampered with its leader to a meeting where nary a one of them has a child in enrolled in Hoboken's public school system, and who rarely ever appear at BoE meetings.

One GA reader and regular BoE meeting attendee, likewise amazed at the 6-legged invasion, posited this:
BA Davis stated at the last meeting that there was a 1,016,000. surplus, placing us inline for another flat tax levy next year and possible 2013/2014  year. That money could be used for anything.

However he cautioned: 913k of that money should be used to replace the (rolling) 913k surplus we currently have OR tax levy would have to be raised to match (rolling) surplus.

The Russo's would like to get their claws on the money to give away jobs and get that budget bloated once again. After all, not one of them pay taxes NOR attend public schools.  But, they do need jobs with benefits.....

The thought that GA had was that with the FBI investigation's seeming focus on City Hall, the brightness over there has caused these roaches to flee.


What municipal entity has the second largest budget next to the City's?

The BoE, of course. Where prior Boards were infested with those same roaches that awarded jobs and contracts to friends... until Kids First brought in the exterminator... um, I mean the "auditor' in 2009.

Anyone remember THIS   (, Nov. 20, 2009):

Auditors released a scathing audit of the Hoboken Board of Education Tuesday that cited more than two dozen irregularities, including the misuse of candy-sale funds, incorrect approval of overtime and the payment of administrators out of funds meant for instructors.

“It was just shocking,” said Board of Education trustee Maureen Sullivan.

In a random sampling, auditors found two cases in which funds raised by students through candy sales and other activities were used to reimburse teachers for stolen iPods – to the tune of $400 each.

In addition, overtime was being improperly approved by consultants,
instead of employees, auditor Dieter Lerch said at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Auditors also found that stipends to several employees were either not approved by the board or did not have other necessary documentation.

Sullivan said in most of those cases the work was likely being done, despite the lack of documentation, but that interim Superintendent Peter E. Carter said he would conduct a thorough investigation to make sure.

Parents at Tuesday’s board meeting reacted with horror.

“I am absolutely shocked by this audit. This is unacceptable. Stipends given for people who are not working -- this is our children’s education,” said parent Liz Muholland.

Asked about the report, Carter said, “All I can say is it’s BC – Before Carter. It is beyond my comprehension how such a thing can occur and we will fix it and no such thing will occur again,” said Carter who was named interim superintendent in July, replacing Jack Raslowsky, who resigned in June to head Xavier High School in Manhattan.

That audit showed what happens when roaches take over our Board of Education.

The crawlers were in charge in the years prior to and including that audit of 2008 operations. Prior to Kids First takeover.

Kids First brought in the auditor in 2009, and have since worked to undo damage and run the district properly in accordance with the rule of law, with certified licensed teachers paid for teaching, and in the best interest of the CHILDREN.  Including mine, who attends public school.

People, we cannot let the roaches have our schools back.  We've got to focus the light on what's  happening down there.

Or as the saying goes:  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.


  1. The only Roaches I like are the sisters who compose & sing.

    As for the insects, they have existed for eons, mostly unchanged. (Like GA, they were my unwelcome roommates in a college apartment complex. The only recourse was to keep the light on all night.)

    Hoboken cockroaches ("HC's") are an unusually tenacious, destructive sub-species. They have demonstrated a remarkable endurance/ adaptability, involving highly-developed, albeit intensely primitive behaviors that ensure survival.
    It is not uncommon for HC's to be unusually skilled in mimickry---of other vermin, for example. This allows for easy adaptation to environments that may only appear dissimilar, but are fundamentally not unlike Hudson Co. For example, southern NJ (Camden & Ocean Cos.), central NJ (Trenton), certain parts of the American South (Washington, DC), etc.
    It should also be noted that unlike their less-"evolved" relatives (colloquially known as "Reformers"), HC's do not tend to eat their young.
    From time to time, a few HC's may be "quarantined," even by some closely-related vermin or vermin perceived to be of a higher evolutionary order. Historically, this has proved a highly ineffective extermination technique.
    Exposure to continuous bright light is critical. Even then, it is nearly impossible to stymie rampant reproduction/adaptation & habitat-acquisition/expansion.

  2. We know what is bugging the Old Guard. You don't have to be a fly on the wall at a secret midnight Old Guard Clan meeting to know that their plan to run another Russo for Mayor has been exterminated. So, Plan B, return to the Housing Authority and re-group, the 4th Ward is where things seem to go their way. And inordinate accesses to HHA favors is a biggie. Sounds like Mr Garcia is pivotal in both forums. Jobs for the brethren? Lets see - 4th Ward, Garcia, Housing Authority, Garcia, um, Garcia, um Garcia - Board of Ed! Looks like a strongarming of the Board of Ed is the best gambit for a toehold at this point. Stir in one recently ticked-off Ms Russo doing a featured solo on her rattling saber, graciously complemented by our host, Mr Raia. But no one is actually getting recalled, it's just that living with the Old Guard is like trying to sleep in a room with a mosquito. A fevered, fitfully dying mosquito, sadly learning that it is not immortal, desperate to take it out on everyone else.

    Along with all this, expect an underwhelming Cheshire cat smiling Ramos for Mayor, his handlers looking for the West to rise again like a butterfly. At this point, this is about the best foot Old Guard Clan can hope to put forward. Go where the, um, "understanding" voters swarm. And, as luck would have it, the West is where the most undeveloped property is - fancy that!

    Thanks for shining a light, GA.

  3. Reading this post was almost surreal. I'm almost desensitized to politics on a national level by this point, but reading about local politicians trying their hardest to misuse public education funding...

    It's like being kicked in the face!

  4. MBB honey, when are you going to write that book?

    How true about Reform eating its young but not the HC's.

    No, the HC's move like a single-minded organism and keep their differences out-of-sight. They're also MUCH better at 'handling' the media and getting their message out in print or online. It seems we have to work harder with fewer resources.

    But I'll take my humanity any day over life on 6 legs.


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