With the success in Tuesday’s election of one of our two stated government reform efforts—letting Montclair’s voters rather than its mayors choose who sits on the local Board of Education—a number of our supporters and others have asked what’s next.
As for the BOE, a special election will be held for the two new members needed to bring it to the nine members required for an elected board. This election would likely take place in either January or March of 2022, after which three seats will be contested in November and each November thereafter. (More on this here.)
Regarding the future of Vote Montclair, going forward here are some of the things we hope to do, to not do, and aren’t sure about (and could use your opinion on):
What we know we’re doing. Despite the Township Attorney’s blocking of our petition for a referendum on our second key municipal reform priority—moving our council and mayoral elections from May to November, to increase turnout—we remain firmly committed to this goal. We likewise will continue to do whatever we can to encourage voters and other residents to be as or more engaged with local government as they are with national politics. We are also going to strive to be a model of transparency when it comes to raising and spending money (you can read new details on what and how we raised and spent money for this campaign by clicking here).
What we know we’re not doing. Insurgent grassroots political movements like Vote Montclair are often quickly co-opted by the very political establishments they were created to be a check on, or overwhelmed by the pull of unrelated (but often worthy) causes. We’re going to try to avoid both of these pitfalls, by staying focused on advocating for transparency, accountability and responsiveness in our local public institutions. We are also not going to be barraging you all the time with requests and announcements.
What we’re not sure we’re doing. One of the most often-heard, and legitimate, objections to an elected Board of Education was that the people who might make the best BOE members might not be good at or comfortable with the mechanics of electoral politics. So Vote Montclair might help such candidates with all the “donkey work” of electioneering—creating campaign materials, raising and managing small donations, regulatory filings—allowing such individuals to focus more on the issues, and on spending time in the community they hope to serve.
What we want your advice on. Below is a brief survey with which you can help us figure out where we should go next. You can also (and always) let us know what you’re thinking by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.