Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cannon campaign takes on school-board incumbents with write-in challengers

Here’s an interesting development in the race for school board. James Cannon’s campaign announced that, in addition to Mr. Cannon himself, they now have enough write-in candidates to run for every open seat on the school board. There are five seats up for election, and now there are five people running on Cannon’s platform of reform.

According to a letter that the campaign is distributing, here are the write-in candidates:
Paula Bongiorno. Has been a Mt. Lebanon Resident for 35 years and has served on numerous school district committees since she began attending school board meetings in 1994. These include Ad-hoc Budget Committees, Budget Process Committee, Educational Specifications Committee for high school project (DeJong), 2008 High School Design Advisory Committee and the 2005 Constituent-Driven Strategic Plan (lead community focus groups at the request of the Superintendent). She is the current president of Keynotes of Music for Mt. Lebanon with five years on that Board.

Rudy Bies. He believes that elected officials should only be permitted to serve one term and that government, at all levels, must live within its means. Rudy believes “school board members are guardians of children, have a duty to manage teachers, and always function with the knowledge that all money spent by the school district comes from the taxpayers.” Accordingly, expenditures must be challenged and justified and made based upon the will of the people and not the self-serving will of a school board.

Charlotte Stephenson. Has been a dedicated member of our community since 1985. She is currently a Board Director of Sojourner House, an Ordained Elder Serving on Session and the Moderator of Presbyterian Women of Southminster Church. She has served as President of the Mt. Lebanon Extended Day Program, PTA volunteer for twelve years, Jefferson Middle School Newsletter Editor and taught lunchtime enrichment in robotics to Washington Elementary School students. She holds an MBA and taught at the college level for eleven years.

Joseph Wertheim. Is a 25-year resident and recently retired as a Financial Advisor with A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. He is highly involved in the Mt. Lebanon Library having served as President and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. Joe is currently President of the Friends of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library.
As I wrote after analyzing the results of the primary, Cannon has good odds of winning a seat. Some of his strong showing in the primary is probably because of dissatisfaction with the current school board, in general. Will that general sentiment be enough to make an old-fashioned write-in campaign successful? Only time will tell.

But one thing’s for sure: things are getting interesting.
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Anonymous David Brown said...

It's pretty obvious from watching Mr. Cannon interact with his sister, School Board President Jo Posti, that there is baggage there well beyond our arguably important school issues. With big decisions looming, I don't think our community will benefit from being in their cross-fire. So, regardless of any qualifications Mr. Cannon may have, my feeling is that it would probably be better for everyone if the Board only ever has one of them on it at a time, even for people who might otherwise lean toward Mr. Cannon's way of thinking.

Regarding the write-ins, it's pretty silly actually. If someone doesn't want to use all four of their votes on party candidates, they can just vote for fewer candidates. A write-in is the same as an undervote. Anyone who would vote for one of these write-ins wouldn't have voted for someone already on the ticket anyway. So, I don't see their presence changing any of the final results at all.

Yes, silly is the best that can be said, the opposite of serious.

November 02, 2011 11:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...


Whether the write-ins will make much difference depends on how much the community wants reform. If a majority of residents do, they now have a reason to show up and vote: they can win enough seats to get actual reform. Without the write-ins, they could elect only one reformer, and that's not enough to change the board's direction. But now, with five reform candidates, people who want a big change can vote for it.

And that might cause a lot of disaffected residents who would have stayed at home to show up and vote.


November 03, 2011 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't really decided who to vote for in the SB race.  However, I'm inclined to think that all of the "write in" candidates realize that they don't have a chance of winning. I think this is merely a strategy that the Cannon campaign has developed merely to improve his overall chances.  After all, a vote for one of these four is one less vote for someone actually on the ballot.    Even the flyer itself seems to imply that the ultimate benefactor is Mr. Cannon. 

I just have to think that if this were a legitimate effort to get elected these folks would have started weeks/months ago with some real campaigning, yard signs, door to doors etc.  After all, people have been upset with the current SB and the slate for a long time.  Why not start earlier if you really wanted to effect change?  For example, I'm a registered Republican living across the street from one of the "write in" candidates, but no one has knocked on my door.  In an election that we all concur will be decided by a couple hundred votes I would have thought that would have been a pretty good place to start.  Lastly, if we are to accept this is a legitimate effort, I truly hope that any voter that is so inclined will try to learn more information about each candidate before Tues. The brief bios didn't tell us much. 

Dave Franklin

November 03, 2011 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Pam Scott said...

Tom's right.

Relatedly, wasn't a November 1999 Lebo Commissioner's race won by two votes (1,093 to 1,091)?

November 04, 2011 10:35 AM  

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