Disgraced Park Ridge school board member, Dr. Dathan Paterno.
Park Ridge, where I taught for three decades, is having a school board election.
They can. Although the Illinois House is debating the issue as we speak, we Chicagoans still can’t elect our school board.
Why can’t we? I suspect it has something to do with the color of most of our citizens. As a loyal troll of this blog constantly reminds me, I tend to think race is a constant issue in Chicago.
Anyway, back to Park Ridge’s school board election. There are four open seats to be filled by the voters in April.
Park Ridge school board elections have small turnouts. That is why a white racist and misogynist like Dr. Dathan Paterno can get elected. Remember the good doctor? He was forced to resign from the Park Ridge board a few months ago after he tweeted that the millions of women who marched against Trump a day after the inauguration were 300 pound screeching vaginas.
The little town of Park Ridge, Illinois made it to the national press when the story broke.
The story about Paterno’s screeching vagina tweets broke in January. But Paterno has been tweeting stuff like that since way before he was elected to the board by a couple of thousand voters four years ago. I posted about his vile tweets way back when, trying to draw attention to the woman-hating racist on the school board.
One lesson here is that having the right to elect a school board is not enough. Then we have to elect good folks.
Nobody on the school board who sat next to him at meetings every two weeks seemed to care about the racist and male supremacist in their midst. For nearly four years. That is not my definition of good folks.
Like any community there are good and bad people in Park Ridge. Over the years I knew some really good members of the school board.
I also remember the school board member – Joe Baldi, I think his name was – who during one negotiating session, leaned across the table and told me, “Fred. What you need to know is that we see teachers as just another cost to be contained.”
I recall one year we were on strike in a cold November and community folks would bring donuts and hot coffee to the picket lines. On the other hand, the wife of a school board member physically threatened – literally chased after her while swearing at her – our former union president right out on the street in front of where we were bargaining.
It takes a village, but some in the village might be your looney aunt.
Now some locals are outraged because the husbands of three Park Ridge teachers are running for some of the open seats.
Because if you’re married to a teacher it’s a conflict of interest to be on a school board.
I don’t see the conflict. It seems like a good fit to me.
These watchdogs who object to a spouse of a teacher being on the board have no problem with the likes of Joe Baldi and Dr. Dathan Paterno.
See, I would have thought that being a racist and a misogynist was a conflict of interest for someone sitting on a school board.
Or someone who sees teachers only in terms of their cost.
But the voters will make that choice in April.
In Chicago we are forced to have a board with bankers, lawyers and those who run companies who do business with the board. No conflict of interest there.