One of the major ironies of the referendum for an elected Board of Education in Montclair is the awkward fact that the group that is fighting most doggedly against giving township residents the right to vote for their local school board is the League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area, the regional branch of the national organization whose mission is summarized as “Empowering voters. Defending democracy.”
In addition to an undisclosed level of paid advertising and leafleting—possibly by paid campaign workers, rather than local volunteers—one of the LWV’s primary tactics in rally support against an elected BOE has been a spirited letter-writing campaign aimed at the Montclair Local. This has resulted in more than a dozen such letters, most of which are largely repetitive in argument and tone.
Now it turns out that not only are the letters repetitive, but at least one of their authors has been caught engaging in “sock puppetry,” the disguising of one’s identity to deceive others during online discussions. In a letter entitled “Do we really want partisan, nasty BOE races in Montclair?” the author was initially identified as “Betsy Saron.” But it turns out that “Betsy Saron” is just a pseudonym for none other than League President Elizabeth Milner, leading the Local to issue the above clarification. We’d be keen to hear how this blatant deception furthers the cause of empowering voters or defending democracy, and isn’t itself a perfect example of partisan, nasty politics.
Update: We don’t want to beat a dead horse, but it is also worth noting that pro-appointed campaign (and former LWV president) Susan Mack this morning encouraged out-of-town members of the League to come to Montclair for the final leg of their campaign to prevent Montclair voters from having the same voting rights as these other members.
So much for an appointed BOE guarding against out-of-town influence!