In a video published on his Facebook page, Bayonne Board of Education Trustee Michael Alonso, who faced multiple calls for his resignation after controversial social media posts, says he intended to start a conversation about how to keep the city “safe and protected.”
The two-minute and 43-second video begins with comments from last week’s special meeting of the Bayonne BOE with trustees and members of the public calling for Alonso to step down.
Alonso came under fire after posting on Facebook Sunday night asking “Where will the Bayonne Riot Start? Walmart — QuickChek — ShopRite?” — in response to the nation-wide protests sparked by the murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
Another showed a caricature of presidential candidate Joe Biden (D) changing the “Black Lives Matter” logo to “Black Votes Matter,” with Biden saying he “fixed it.”
The video, which only highlights the first post, then shows Alonso going to the local Walmart and Shop Rite thanking workers for their efforts during the pandemic.
“I think we’re gonna be safe,” one apparent Shop Rite employee says.
“Alright, that’s very good. Just keep the peace, right, ya know? Alright, God bless,” Alonso says before walking away.
He continued that his post questioning a potential riot was supposed to be a conversation starter about how to keep the Peninsula City safe.
“Nothing was ever meant to hurt anybody, it was about to start the conversation and a dialogue about what could happen – about how to keep Bayonne safe and protected. So I’m here to say thank you to workers trying to keep us safe the best they can,” Alonso stated.
The embattled trustee, a Republican seeking re-election in a non-partisan race in November, wasn’t done though, calling the June 2nd emergency meeting – which he did not attend – “ridiculous … spending thousands of dollars.”
The only agenda item for that meeting was one denouncing Alonso’s Facebook posts and the board therefore did not vote on any expenditures.
“Some people do need to be reeducated: the trustees need to practice what they preach. Kids look for a role model, kids look for a leader, they follow examples: and that’s what we should do – we should lead by example. We should practice tolerance and we should teach them that.”
Alonso ends by stating that people should accept each other’s differences and welcome varying opinions for the sake of a better Bayonne.
The final still on the video is a quote from George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Needless to say, it is quite clear that Alonso has no plans of leaving his elected post and the June 29th BOE meeting should be an interesting one if he ends up attending.