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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Knives come out at School Board confab

Editor’s Notebook: Knives come out at School Board confab

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Whoa, whoa, whoa, that seemed to be a bit of an overkill from a number of Arlington School Board members against freshman (uh, “freshperson”? “first-year’er”?) Mary Kadera at last Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Kadera proposed holding off for a few months on approving a $174 million conceptual design for the Arlington Career Center site. Hers was a proposal that was going nowhere; supporters of the concept design had three votes in their pocket (Barbara Kanninen, Cristina Diaz-Torres and David Priddy) and the only possible board member who might have sided with Kadera (Reid Goldstein) was not at the meeting.

So if the “School Board Three,” as we’ll call them, had the votes [see coverage HERE], why did they seem so – sorry, we have to move into PG-13 territory here – pissed off that Kadera was on a largely symbolic campaign for delay? As Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (père et fils) would have advised, once you have the votes, just vote.

But Kanninen seemed to go out of her way to backhand Kadera, and Diaz-Torres, while less direct, certainly came off as uncharacteristically churlish. (Priddy may have, too, but frankly, I was diving in and out of the meeting and didn’t hear his comments.)


Let’s noodle this through.

Kanninen’s comments, in particular, suggest she’s grown tired of Kadera’s constant outreach to those who supported her in last year’s elections, not to mention Kadera’s occasional independent streak. (One would have hoped for more independence from the newbie, but more often than not she has fallen in line with the oligarchy. We’ll see if this vote, and the reaction to it, marks a change in course.)

Kanninen is departing the board in December, leaving a power vacuum, so it’s possible that Diaz-Torres and Kadera are already jockeying to fill it. (Priddy and Goldstein seem temperamentally disinclined to launch an effort to be the power players on the board.)

Anyhoo, as everyone who watches the kabuki theater that is Arlington governance knows, things are seldom as they appear. A little bit of the mask was torn away at the April 28 meeting to reveal some frayed nerves; we’ll have to wait and see how much more of a public rift emerges.

SARTORIAL SPLENDOR IT WAS NOT: Speaking of the aforementioned meeting, School Board member David Priddy continues to go with a duded-down look on the School Board dais. No jacket, no tie on April 28.

(Reid Goldstein’s absence gave Priddy the mantle of least impressively attired all to his own this time. Goldstein himself frequently shows up in a wardrobe selection most charitably described as disheveled.)

At this point it’s clear that the more kindly Uncle Scotty keeps bringing up the matter, the more the School Board gents will continue to show up looking worse and worse, apparently to prove they won’t be pushed around by an aging punk from the local press corps[e].

But eventually, it will reach a tipping point and their colleagues will finally have a little talk with them, and the suits and ties will then return. It’s inevitable.

I’m in no rush, fellas. Take your time.

– Scott McCaffrey

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