Madison BOE elections 2007: Voters 2, MTI 1

The Isthmus article Blame for the media illustrates a long-obvious truth: John Matthews is Madison’s Mayor Daley, a ward boss of our very own, and he gets very angry when his political control slips.
Matthews wanted to control the selection of Board members for three seats in 2007. Odd-year elections are especially important to Madison Teachers Inc. because odd years are the years in which the 2-year MTI-MMSD contracts are negotiated.
This time Mr. Matthews failed. He couldn’t find a suitable candidate to run against Johnny Winston, Jr., so he labeled and publicly berated him for not being Bill Keys. In Mr. Matthews’ mind that failure left only two seats in play. He won with Beth Moss and lost with Marj Passman.

Net score? For the first time since the early 1980’s a majority of the Board of Education are not his endorsees. Endorsed by MTI are Carol Carstensen, Arlene Silveira and Beth Moss. Not endorsed are Maya Cole, Lucy Mathiak, Lawrie Kobza and Johnny Winston Jr.
“Don’t make no waves, don’t back no losers” was the slogan of the Daley machine. Mr. Matthews says it this way: “don’t make no waves, unless you want to be called anti-education and anti-union”. This time he failed. I can only hope that all of the local elected officials who towed the MTI endorsement line watched the results carefully.
I welcome Isthmus’ taking initiative to analyze Madison School issues and politics. Voters need to know the extent to which the MTI dollars and get-out-the-vote political machine suppress participation by good people in Board elections as well as in helping address the very real problems facing MMSD.