LETTER: Vote for the ‘Kids First’ Hoboken BOE slate to have checks and balances


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken resident Ian Rintel explains why he feels supporting the “Kids First” board of education slate will add checks and balances to the board.

The Kids First Hoboken Board of Education slate, from left to right: Donna Magen, Pavel Sokolov, and Cindy Wiegand. Photo courtesy of the Kids First campaign.

Dear Editor,

January 25th proves one thing to all Hoboken residents: Those who serve on our school board are very important. Nearly nine months after the school referendum failed, I still can’t wrap my head around the process, the design and the neglect for academics.

Hoboken residents are owed an apology for the way the school board hid the referendum from the public until the last possible moment. An earlier announcement may have even changed the outcome of our city council election!

Thankfully the referendum failed by 2-1, even with the school board sneaking it onto the ballot for an unusual January 25th vote.

We need a new school board. On November 8th, I ask all Hoboken residents to

1) Vote in the school board election.

2) Vote for Pavel Sokolov, Cindy Wiegand and Donna Magen, a slate calling themselves most appropriately, Kids First.

Their ballot positions are 6, 7 and 8.

I asked all eight candidates individually to meet me for coffee, everyone deserves a voice and as I promised to endorse relatively early, I wanted to speak to everyone if possible. Aside from Pavel, Cindy and Donna, only Leslie Norwood chose to meet me.

Leslie is a fine active parent and I hope she’ll remain involved. However, I do not believe she would oppose other trustees when they make bad decisions.

She is part of a slate that represents the status quo, with the only incumbent trustee and the other candidate that was the leader of the group that supported the referendum passing.

The name of their slate is exactly the opposite of how our board of education has functioned, and is a slap in the face to Hoboken residents!

There are eight candidates, including two independent candidates, running for school board this November, more choices than any recent school board election. The many choices gives me hope that more residents will vote in this election.

Running for office is difficult and while there are only three candidates I’m endorsing today, I thank all candidates and hope they stay involved.

Join me in voting for Kids First candidates Pavel Sokolov, Cindy Wiegand and Donna Magen, ballot positions are 6, 7 and 8.

Ian Rintel
Hoboken resident

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  1. Thanks Ian for pointing out that the other slate is the Vote Yes Team. For some reason they try to hide their leadership on the HHS debacle, if they still haven’t learned that lying by omission is still lying, than there is no hope for them. Lets all elect Kids First so we can finally have a BoE that actually cares about Hoboken and not just a few political appointees. We need good government professionals, not those looking to hand out contracts and favors.

    • Ask Antonio if he earned and money on his lobbying efforts for the massive gateway project at the Hoboken Business Center. For some reason he was at many meetings and shopping the plans around and setting up meetings with the developers

      Now he tries to cover by voting no on a coffee stand

    • Weigand’s “Kids First” bio omits that her 3 kids that attend Hoboken Charter School.

      Weigand’s “Kids First” bio omits her current board position (Secretary) on “Friends of Hoboken Charter.”

      NOT very TRANSPARENT, Pavel. That’s right, LIE by omission to voters.

      How many school boards does Wiegand think she should sit on? Why won’t Pavel tell the truth about his slate?

      • Please show HOBOKEN where on your lit that you guys were the 241mil HS Team and that GRANA WAS PRESIDENT OF THE HHS REFERENDUM VOTE YES TEAM. IF IT WAS SUCH A GOOD IDEA WHY NOT ADVERTISE YOUR STANCE. Also does GRANA believe women without kids can vote? He was very much against that during his VOTE YES push that failed 2-1.

  2. Respectfully, what does Kids First want to do? What’s their platform?

    I see them doing lots of (justified) finger pointing at the current Board, who I agree were wrong in proposing the new high school (I voted no). But what does Kids First bring to the table beside scolding the current Board about past actions?

    • https://www.tapinto.net/towns/hoboken/sections/elections/articles/kids-first-slate-for-hoboken-boe-outlines-policy-platform

      Basically, move public education through partnership with stakeholders throughout the community. Get the people who aren’t involved or who don’t care excited about giving back to the school district, and forge relationships with other government organizations, non-profits, other educational institutions. Expand the bubble in which the BoE operate.

      • Bubble? Board meetings are open to the public. The public may comment on specific agenda items and make general comment, the public is welcome. City Council and BoE subcommittees are not public. DUH. WAKE UP, Pavel!

        Partnership with private educational institutions? How come Pavel doesn’t know about HHS partnerships with Stevens and Seton Hall, and students taking college courses, including pre-med? Or Johns Hopkins extracurricular advanced math/english courses? Pavel doesn’t know diddly about the opportunities that currently exist for district kids. His uninformed campaign is a litany of grievances, just like his national party, the QOP.

        LTL’s idea to live stream meetings is excellent! Maybe that penetrate Pavel’s bubble!

  3. “Pavel Sokolov was leader of the Hudson County Young Republicans, he’s been trying to get into local politics for a little while now. You couldn’t pay me enough to vote for a republican in this climate. The GOP have made it a national mission to get goons on school boards across the country with the pronounced and specific intent to utterly destroy public education in America, I won’t help them do that, no matter how mad I might be about the HS proposal roll out. So, unless you want to have to argue over sex ed, or teaching about slavery, or Christ’s editing of the Declaration of Independence, every 20 minutes, you’d do best not to vote for him as well.

    Also, I couldn’t care less about who Ian Rintel endorses, and I question why he would think anyone would.”

    -Hoboken voter

    • Right, the same person who advocated for voter enfranchisement, support for the housing authority, did refugee work, and stopped the referendum is suddenly evil. Politically hackery at its finest. Wasn’t it Dem Councilwoman Jabbour who literally tried to stop voter engagement though….

      • Pavel is a partisan activist- it’s no secret: the GOPs master plan is to take over local school boards where they can implement book banning, revised textbooks, religious practices in schools. Pavel is a phony, knows nothing about our schools except for advancing his own political ambitions.

        At least one of his slate mates vocally opposed mask wearing, voiced support for extremist group “Moms for Liberty”. Which is all good, except their hands don’t belong on the levers of power for Hoboken Schools.

        BTW, Pavel posts here and on Reddit using fake screen names. That tells you all you need to know about him. #fakenews

        • Hes a threat because he advocates for voter enfranchisement, transparency in government and saved the town from Mayoral Candidate Jabors 241 mil HS? Maybe try taking off the tinfoil hat.

          • Pavel non-transparently repurposed his “Vote No” Facebook page to “Kids First” Facebook account, hijacking 280+ “likes” that were already there. Real TRANSPARENCY. Is it possible those “likes” he hijacked do ‘t want to support his BoE slate? YES.

            More: Pavel’s “TRANSPARENT” candidate, Cindy Wiegand. Wiegand omits that she is a Charter School parent– all 3 of her kids attend Hoboken Charter School AND that she is Board Secretary for “Friends of Hoboken Charter School”. Why was those RELEVANT biographical facts omitted? Let the VOTERS DECIDE. Isn’t Cindy already serving on her Charter School’s Board? Can she serve on two boards at once?

            NOT “transparent”.

            Pavel is an ambitious GOP mole who will say, do anything to get on the BoE. Look what’s happening around America with like-minded GOP moles taking over local school boards, harassing educators, censoring texts, banning books, inserting religious practices, criminalizing the word “gay”. Pavel will say ANYTHING to win, he LIES by omission while claiming his platform is “transparency” Let’s see what other relevant facts Pavel and his slate are hiding. To be continued.

          • Wasn’t he the one who hosted Hoboken’s only LGBTQ event, and the only candidate to attend Hoboken’s painting of the crosswalks. I worry where the BoE slate stands on LGBTQ and Women’s Rights, Antonio Grana was quoted as saying “Women without Kids shouldnt have an opinion on education” at a BoE HHS roundtable

    • When Vote Yes/ Leadership that “Listens” leader and support Mr Clark questioned a woman’s IV, Adoption and family size, the LTL crowd lead by Grana cheered!
      You betcha! APPLAUDED.

      No apology, no boos, nothing.
      Yes Paval is a Republican. Just 1.
      How about all the current BOE members who are now I’s and their conservative Republican spouse
      Or How about the APPLAUSE for Chris Clark’s Attack on Tiffany Fisher’s reproductive and family planning choices?

  4. If the Hoboken Board Of Education had just one independent member willing to disclose their plans for a bloated $300,000,000 sports complex with a high school attached and the massive tax increase it would cause before it was presented as a rushed take it or leave it January referendum to the public and the students of Hoboken would have been much better served.

    There is great benefit the the community at large in having even one independent voice on any board that does fall in lock step with the rest.

  5. Ian writes a moderate thoughtful letter and the rabid, vicious attack dogs of Leadership that Listens ( still laugh every time at that ) and he gets ripped apart.

    8, 4 and 2 years ago they were on their knees asking for his support

  6. Ian writes a moderate thoughtful letter and the rabid, vicious attack dogs of Leadership that Listens ( still laugh every time at that ) and he gets ripped apart.

    8, 4 and 2 years ago they were on their knees asking for his support

    • Reading is fundamental. I don’t see attacks on Ian here. Disagreement with the views he expressed are not attacks in a free society.

      I like Ian personally. I don’t agree with his POV. I do know that his council campaign was endorsed by Cindy Wiegand, who also ran for council, so it’s natural that he would return the favor. Isn’t it? I am not sure that his endorsement carries the weight he seems to infer that is does, but any endorsement is nice to have– with a few exceptions.

  7. Why omit Cindy Wiegand’s Charter School Board position from her Kids First Bio? (Board Secretary)

    Why omit that she sends her 3 kids to Hoboken Charter? Why does Wiegand want to serve on TWO separate School Boards?

    KF’s Donna Magen’s Bio mentions that she will send her two kids to Brandt… what about Wiegand?

    Why did KF omit Wiegand’s Hoboken Charter credentials?