LETTER: Dr. Marie Volpe sad to see ‘corrupt administration’ win on Nov. 4

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Former West New York Board of Education candidate Dr. Marie Volpe, who ran with the Kids First ticket for the November 4 election, slammed the Children First slate – which won all four seats up for grabs in the election – and Mayor Felix Roque for, in her eyes, making this election political. 

Dr. Marie Volpe

Hi Dear Friends,

We didn’t win on November 4th – sad part is the entrenched corrupt administration spent $100,000 on mailers and flooded the town with flyers and paid a lot of people to work for them – while we spent #6,000 and had only volunteers helping us.

What they also did was on front of their mailers they had the Democratic candidates for Senate (Cory Booker,etc.) and on the back they had the Mayor’s candidates for the Board of Ed. listed so since people in this town are largely democratic and they just voted the blue ticket.

We ran as independents because we believe that the Board of Education should be independent, autonomous and not aligned politically.  But, alas, the 19 year old who the mayor appointed last year ran and was elected along with the other candidates picked by the Mayor – all of whom work have town jobs.

What really saddens me is not that we or I lost, it is that there is this massive machine right here in this town, like a bulldozer, tied to the county machine and the state and it seems unbeatable, unstoppable and it doesn’t make one proud.

And yet, I met so many people and had the most wonderfully touching conversations on an individual level and I heard over and over how people wanted the best for their children and they know something is wrong in this town, with the administration and with the school system but they can’t articulate exactly how or what needs to be changed, maybe they don’t have time to become more informed, maybe they don’t know how, many are not educated and there are still more struggling with English.

There used to be adult continuing education programs for adults in the local high school – for years, that is gone now – so how can parents help their kids with homework; how do they encourage their children to dream, what dreams do they have for themselves – how can they develop skills to improve their own station in life?  For them, it just becomes a matter of surviving every day, getting thru the day, getting food on the table.

And you see this one block west of our beautiful boulevard, the whole world changes and you see the struggling single parent, the immigrants (legal or not), the small bodegas – they are the working poor that represent the majority in this predominately Hispanic (85-90%) community.  So what saddens me is that even when you want to try to make a contribution – they wont let you.  So we will just have to find other ways to try to make a difference; when one door closes, another opens.

Thank you for always believing in me, thank you for your incredible support.

Sincerely,

Marie Volpe

p.s.  My colleagues at Columbia University were so interested in helping us to improve the educational system in town, now we will seek informal ways to help our people.  Your thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated.

 

17 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful letter, Marie. It was an honor and pleasure running with you and Myrli. Joel Campos Alvis did well as a nominally independent candidate who nominally joined us in the home stretch. The non-corrupt slates earned more votes than the machine slate. Moving forward, may our two good slates bring influence to bear on Misters Wiley, Betancourt, and Munoz to do the right thing and Come Together to wrest our WNY from the clutches of corruption.
    ESCELSIOR.
    Patrick Cullen

  2. Dr. Volpe, this was a victory and a defeat for the administration, when u start analyzing the numbers of votes 8,543 voted which is unprecedented, the most that the administration team was able to obtain was 1,259 which means over 7,000 voted against the administration.
    our team The Future is Now Juanespinalformayor.com supported your team and Campos Alvis for the simple fact that u were the best team for WNY. Lets hope that in the May 2015 elections the voters will send a loud and clear message, that Corruption will Not continue / be tolerated.

  3. Dr. Volpe let me start by letting you know that I do not mean any disrespect whatsoever in this reply but your letter is not very factual.From your resume that I have seen you definitely are a very smart woman and very accomplished as well.What I find disturbing about your letter is that its filled with false accusations.You state these candidates that won are employed by the town and that is completely false,As a matter of fact only one of these individuals works for the town.I might be off but I’m 90% certain that only Damarys Gonzalez works for the town and as yourself she is also a very educated woman with a great resume and like yourself very qualified to be on that board.Denise does not work for the town nor does Steven and Adam,im pretty positive but ill find out 100%,so the statement that all work for the town is false.Yes the WNY Democratic Committee did spend a lot of money but that is not out of the norm either.The money they spent did not set any records again its pretty normal to spend that kind of money on a school board election in many NJ cities.In your letter you state your campaign spent only $6000 but I believe you did one or two mailers and one mailer to WNY runs an easy $10,000,Jose might have lied to you there,be careful.I think you a really educated person but maybe you have been told some lies here and there,I’m just assuming on this part.But I have been on that side and now on this one and many accusations of this administration weren’t that black and white as I had been told and they are not as bad as some will have you think.They are trying to do the right thing by our town and slowly but surely I think many will see that with their own eyes but for some you can do everything but their personal hate will never let them see any good being done.The other part that I must mention and I might be wrong on this but I been to most BOE Meetings in the last 2 years but I have never seen you at one and these candidates that won mainly Steven and Adam have been heavily involved with the school activities and after school activities and Damarys and Denise knocked on endless doors for 2 months introducing themselves to voters so they are very deserving of their win and not a great look from such an educated person as yourself to be spreading lies of them,its just not right.Also you cannot claim that they where the only ones backed by politicians when you where backed by Jose Munoz,Count Wiley and Matthew Cheng the politician on the rise…lol…Thats 3 politicians that backed you and contributed monies,time and help.The other team as well was backed by a politician.So its really not accurate information as well.Now as far as the 19 year old Adam Parkinson this kid is so heavily involved in WNY School Education and has such Tiger Pride that he goes to every game,every event,every musical,play well maybe not everyone but pretty close to it.he is heavily involved with the students and many students look to him as their representative and the board needs this young representation.He was in my eyes a no brainer from any side of the fence your on and I have said that even in the past when I was on the other side of the fence.Lastly I will finish off with recommending that you please try to meet these board members and see for yourself if they are these evil people that you may be led to believe that they are,I strongly feel you will quickly realize their passion,dedication,heart and qualifications. I will also add that bringing your Columbia friends and your expertise forward to help our school system would be a great idea and maybe by talking to the board and offering that help might be more welcomed than what you perceive.These are very smart individuals that I doubt would turn down any opportunities to bring great ideas to the table.Again I did not mean to be offensive in any way just wanted to point out the actual facts and the best of luck to you and hope to see you at some of the boe meetings as a part of the solution.

    P.S I pretty positive their is still a free adult ESL courses in Memorial,I recall reading it somewhere just like a day or two ago.

  4. Your sour grapes commentary spin needs a bit of correction. Please let me help you. First of all, there was no blue ticket on the ballot. The candidates were all listed in column H in random order. You did not run as individuals as you claim; you ran as a team with the hushed support of Commissioner Wiley. There is nothing wrong with anyone endorsing you, but at the very least be truthful about it.

    Adam Parkinson, “the 19 year old” as you and your team like to refer to him, was the MHS Class of 2013 Valedictorian who also was honored at his college a couple of months ago having obtained the highest GPA in the freshman class. You are also erroneous when you say he was “appointed by the mayor last year.” He was voted unanimously by the board of education against 9 other candidates. Perusing the election results, he rightfully obtained the highest percentage of votes for 2 year candidates.

    You are also mistaken when you state “all of whom work have town jobs” about the elected Board of Education Trustees because in fact only one of the four candidates actually works for the town.

    What saddens me, Marie, is that in the many I have been involved with the WNY school system, I have never seen you prior to this election. I have not seen you in attendance of any meeting or school function making you clearly out of touch with the population you wanted to represent.

    Lastly, it is most unfortunate that your ” colleagues at Columbia University were so interested in helping us to improve the educational system in town” were only willing to help if you won this election. That is truly very sad. However, I am very hopeful to see your many contributions to helping our schools from this day forward

  5. Joan D, your spin needs a bit of correction, too.

    Where does it say her colleagues only wanted to help if she won? She said they will now look for
    informal ways to help and even asked for suggestions. Too bad you didn’t offer any – only criticism.

    And there may not have been a blue ticket “on the ballot”, but the Roque candidates who won certainly campaigned as part of a political ticket, with all their flyers showing them along with Booker, Sires and Rodriguez, and “Vote Democratic”. Are you seriously suggesting that wasn’t political?

    And while Parkinson may not have been appointed directly by the mayor, he and Rodas, and the latest woman who was just appointed were all voted in by the Roque people on the board, who were led by Acosta and now Rodas.

    And does it sadden you that three of the candidates who won never showed any interest in the schools or attended any meetings before they became candidates – whether by appointment to fill a vacancy, as Rodas was, or in the current election, as the two women were? I left out Parkinson because, until a few months before his appointment to the board, he was a student himself.

    As the parent of children in the WNY schools I have attended meetings regularly for many years and have never seen those candidates, yet their lack of interest prior to being asked to run on the Roque ticket doesn’t seem to phase, or sadden you.

    So is it only Dr. Volpe whom you hold to a higher standard?

    Try not to be so sad, Joan D. Have a nice day.

  6. Your sour grapes commentary spin needs a bit of correction. Please let me help you. First of all, there was no blue ticket on the ballot. The candidates were all listed in column H in random order. You did not run as individuals as you claim; you ran as a team with the hushed support of Commissioner Wiley. There is nothing wrong with anyone endorsing you, but at the very least be truthful about it.

    Adam Parkinson, “the 19 year old” as you and your team like to refer to him, was the MHS Class of 2013 Valedictorian who also was honored at his college a couple of months ago having obtained the highest GPA in the freshman class. You are also erroneous when you say he was “appointed by the mayor last year.” He was voted unanimously by the board of education against 9 other candidates. Perusing the election results, he rightfully obtained the highest percentage of votes for 2 year candidates.

    You are also mistaken when you state “all of whom work have town jobs” about the elected Board of Education Trustees because in fact only one of the four candidates actually works for the town.

    What saddens me, Marie, is that in the many I have been involved with the WNY school system, I have never seen you prior to this election. I have not seen you in attendance of any meeting or school function making you clearly out of touch with the population you wanted to represent.

    Lastly, it is most unfortunate that your ” colleagues at Columbia University were so interested in helping us to improve the educational system in town” were only willing to help if you won this election. That is truly very sad. However, I am very hopeful to see your many contributions to helping our schools from this day forward

  7. Its been decades since I lived in town…but I will always love West New York. I have no easy answers to offer. I just came across this as a result of a link in a face-book entry. I know none of the candidates personally and have no involvement in WNY politics. What follows are some thoughts for your consideration.

    Given that these numbers are correct….>>>”…8,543 voted which is unprecedented, the most that the administration team was able to obtain was 1,259 which means over 7,000 voted against the administration….” <<< …it seems that the overall turnout for a school board election was quite large!
    (I bet the potential universe of voters in WNY is at least three maybe four times the number that turned out…the question of why most folks don't register or turnout to vote at all is a larger question/issue.)

    It's quite telling indeed that the vast majority of the voters came out against the status quo. But so long as the majority is divided, it shall always be conquered. In a town of over 52,000 people…a bit over 1200 is a landslide that determines the fate of it's children and the fate of all the taxpayer dollars spent on education.

    Imagine governance and school administration conducted from a purely honest perspective with the best interests of the students, parents and townspeople/taxpayers being he ONLY factors involved.

    Imagine governance and school administration with no patronage of ANY kind, no nepotism, no sweetheart deals, no pay to play, no cronyism/favoritism and no power tripping petty politics. That's the world most of the voters would wish to live in……..but so long as the machine can crank out the turnout of loyalists (who may often have a personal financial stake in the outcome) and the opposition remains divided and conquered, nothing will ever change. And that's the abbreviated version of the NJ politics in general and Hudson County/WNY politics in particular.

    So long as it's just about the money and the power and the connections that allow the people in power to steer cash/favors in the direction of this or that vendor/contractor/employee the best interests of he people will always be shortchanged. These patterns are endemic to politics locally, statewide and nationally…it's not just in WNY. What's needed is genuinely progressive governance and good people willing to make sacrifices to serve the best interests of the whole community, not just of themselves.

    How can we manifest the ideal world alluded to above? Can we truly envision and hold as part of that vision what it would feel like to live in such a world? Do we wish to? Have we become so hard boiled and cynical that any talk of ideals is seen as unrealistic, naive and the realm of "losers" and "fools"?

    Congratulations to the winners of this, and all, elections, I pray you find it in your hearts and consciences to take it upon yourselves to buck the machinery to which you may have felt obligated and will use your own intelligence and common human decency to simply do right by the children.

    • Dear Mr. Lento,
      I agree with everything you said. If you ever made it back to WNY, you would see that the politically connected developers have been given the keys to the city. It is politics as usual in WNY.

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