For the record, I voted for Janice Kerekes for Clay County school board. All of the candidates for that office are intelligent and qualified people, but Mrs. Kerekes is the one I feel has the perfect temperment, perspective, and experience to benefit our schools. Most importantly, she was the single candidate for D1 that didn't send up any red flags.
I do not say this out of disrespect for the other three candidates; as I have said, they are all intelligent and qualified people, they are just not right for the job. Lynn Martin has had little contact with Clay schools and looks like someone making their first foray into politics by running for school board, just as current State Senator John Thrasher began his political career on the Clay County School Board. Alesia Ford-Burse seems like more of a social activist than a school board member, and I think her platform is unrealistic and would distract from the real business of educating our children and keeping our schools within budget.
And then there is Eric Jaffe. He has sent up several red flags. Intelligent and qualified, but a little bit scary and getting scarier all the time.
The first red flag was very minor. He has emerged as the realtor/developer candidate of this election. Nothing wrong with building houses and nothing wrong with selling houses, but I am tired of these special interests having such influence on our local elections. I feel that there is an undercutting of representative government when so many elected officials are beholden to the same campaign contributors. I am also suspicious that development interests would have such an interest in our schools. They are for-profit industries, what would they have to gain from electing someone to the school board?
The next red flag was also over a minor issue. Mr. Jaffe has much in common with a past poltical candidate who in the past has made statements I consider extremely prejudicial to citizen representation by their local government. Citizens can petition when the county commission refuses to listen, but you can't do that to the school board. I have some qualms about someone with an "imperial" state of mind serving on the school board because they might not realize they are our servant and could instead just implement their own agenda. I believe an elected official needs to be a leader, but they also need to listen to those they represent.
What alarms me most about Mr. Jaffe is the recent mudslinging from him and his surrogate Tom Platt, directed at Mrs. Kerekes. It makes me sick because it is so vicious and such tranparently poltical.
We will get to the mud; first let's see what actually happened.
Mrs. Kerekes sent out a campaign mailer which included several photographs of her with elected officials. One of these elected officials was Rep. Jennifer Caroll. Apparently Rep. Caroll objected to this and sent a letter to Mrs. Kerekes asking in the future that permission be granted prior to using her image, the reason being that this could be misconstrued as an endorsement
This isn't that big a deal. I've seen the letter, Rep. Caroll did not in my opinion seem all that upset. It is also common practice for political candidates to post pictures of themselves with elected officials. County commissioner Doug Conkey has several pictures of his collegues on his campaign website, and Mr. Jaffe has a picture of himself with Green Cove Sheriff Musco on his campaign Facebook page.
Jaffe has done basically the same thing as Kerekes, but this is what he posted on Facebook:
Dear friends: I have attempted to be as silent as possible with regards to my opponent and her campaign but some things have happened that really need to be addressed and shared because integrity is at stake.
Let's think about this. Jaffe has a picture of Sheriff Musco on his Facebook page, how is that any different? Now this phrase, "I have attempted to be as silent as possible." Baloney! You know how long he sat on this? Rep. Caroll penned her letter to Mrs. Kerekes on Aug 10, Mr. Jaffe made his post the very next day. Not much of an attempt to remain silent, he probably ran to the computer as soon as he heard. Call it what it is: seizing a pretense to sling mud at an opponent while early voting is underway.
If Mr. Jaffe was really concerned about other candidates and endorsements he had an opportunity weeks ago to address Mrs. Ford-Burse when she publically claimed many times to be endorsed by a current school board member. This appears to be untrue as that school board member has endorsed Mrs. Kerekes. Why make a big deal about Kerekes, but speak not a word about Ford-Burse who actually claimed an endorsement? It is because Mrs. Kerekes is seen as a front runner in the election, while Mrs. Ford-Burse is not.