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Saturday, February 4, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionEditorial: ‘The absolute worst job in politics’

Editorial: ‘The absolute worst job in politics’

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We had an editorial a month or so ago, wondering aloud if there would come a time when Democrats could find no takers willing to run for School Board in Arlington.

Their field for the upcoming caucus is actually two – Mary Kadera and Miranda Turner, who will face off in May – but whispers are that Democratic insiders are terrified, nonetheless.

Turner is a back-in-class activist, so she’s no fan of the current Democratic oligarchy that runs (or maybe “runs” in quotation marks is appropriate) the School Board and, at least theoretically, the school system.


And even Kadera, the more establishment of the two, has Democratic leaders nervous that she’s got far too much of an independent streak, as well as some scores to settle with incumbent board members and staff.

(Those are just rumors, not facts, but a score-settling candidate is our kind of candidate, indeed!)

Speaking of whispers, it appears that leaders within the party tried and failed to convince others who might be more in tune with the status quo to make a run, and got turned down all over town.

And who can blame those who said “no”? School Board is, in the recent words of an incumbent elected official in Arlington (no hints to his/her identity from us), “the absolute worst job in politics.” The pay stinks; the hours stink; administrators feel emboldened and entitled to ignore your direction; the public loathes you most of the time; the County Board looks down on you as an annoyance to be endured; the local media craps on you for the sheer joy of it (we plead guilty!); and these days, there’s almost no chance to use the seats as a springboard for political advancement, as Barbara Kanninen and her former colleague James Lander can attest.

And that’s why three of the five people who were on the board just a few years ago have either left or are leaving (Van Doren, Talento and O’Grady); a fourth has tried to get out (Kanninen, who attempted to win a County Board seat but failed and may now be salivating for the Biden administration to come a-calling); and a fifth (Goldstein) started out with an independent streak but found himself flogged into mostly docile submission.

Kind of tells the tale, doesn’t it?

More power to Kadera and Turner, and to anyone who plans on running as a full-fledged independent in the November general School Board election. And thanks for taking the plunge. It’s not a job we’d wish on anybody.

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