In a letter to the editor, Hoboken residents Paul Presinzano and Pavel Sokolov give their take on why board of education trustees should not be “bullying citizens” that have differing opinions.
We cannot have executive members of the Hoboken Board of Education bullying citizens who attend meetings or participate in public discourse.
At the July 12, 2022, HBOE meeting Vice President Malani Cademartori walked off the stage and into the audience and approached Kevin Davis, a resident sitting in the crowd, about his recent letter to the editor.
The meeting was minutes from starting, and this member still felt the need to come off the stage to criticize Mr. Davis. The President of the HBOE came off stage to remind this member that the meeting was about to start.
The conversation was far from cordial. It was filled with demands and accusations. Mr. Davis was told he was spreading “misinformation.”
Ironically the alleged “misinformation” was a direct quote from a BoE member. The Vice-President stated that if he wanted to write a letter, he must go through her to get what they perceived as “the correct information.”
He was calm, listened, and stated facts that the member had zero interest in hearing. After a few minutes, I (Paul) stepped in and said, “You are attacking him, you have no right, and it’s the wrong place for this. He is a citizen, and he is entitled to his opinion.”
This exchange was not professional from a person in a leadership position.
No citizen should be dressed down at a public meeting by an elected official. This kind of behavior from elected officials is never warranted and represents the worst of what we have seen from elected officials over the past few years.
While the HBOE will remind you that they are elected volunteers, they must adhere to what they preach.
This interaction is just another in their long line of disregard for what residents think, as exemplified by their unanimous support of the 2-1 failed bond referendum.
Every HBOE YouTube video begins with these ideals: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Courtesy, Citizenship, and Integrity. Does the board believe in them? The board of education members set the tone at the top of our school district.
Is this the kind of behavior we want our kids to learn and emulate?
This culture of exclusion has no place in Hoboken and must end. It’s time for a change. It’s time for inclusion and unity. We need new leadership.
Paul Presinzano & Pavel Sokolov
Editor’s note: This letter was submitted before Pavel Sokolov was announced as a member of the “Kids First” board of education slate.