Paulette Woods:

An Experienced Candidate for the Central School District

    BETTY JEAN GRANT

    BETTY JEAN GRANT

Ok, disclaimer number one: I am the campaign manager for Paulette Woods so I may be a little biased here. Secondly, I am a former school board member so I do knowa lot about the subject matter.

First off, I want to clear up a few inaccurate or misinformed statements. Paulette Woods was not recruited by the unions to run for the Central District seat. She was recruited by me. When Mrs. Eva M. Doyle declined to run due to personal reasons, I called Ms. Woods and requested that she consider running for the seat that will be vacant come July 1st, due to the retirement of Mary Ruth Kapsiak. After thinking about it for a few days, Paulette called me and told me that she would consider it only if I would became her campaign manager.

The thing that has encouraged me to write this letter is the negativity that has come from certain camps regarding this campaign. When Ms. Woods' campaign team was lobbied to challenge her opponent's petition of signatures, we refused. We wanted to give the voters the opportunity to engage both candidates and judge, based on history, qualifications, experience, and dedication, who they wanted to vote for. Even though other factions attempted to challenge the other candidates, that was not the desire of the Woods team.

I want to get one thing clear: Paulette Woods is no stooge or puppet of any union, banking official, political organization or of the 'Carl Paladino Show.' Her 32 years employment as an Erie county senior budget examiner has prepared her to ask the hard questions regarding the school's almost $800 million dollar budget.  Thatknowledge will also help her and the other board members identify resources to reduce class size, hire more teachers with diverse backgrounds, fund community after school programs and to reinvest in art, music, activate the NYS-approved African History Infusion program, physical education and local as well as national field trips.

Ms. Woods has assembled a group of hard working community minded women, many of them her fellow Women Warriors, to manage, assist and run her campaign. While she is sympathetic to the unfair andsometime racist treatment leveled at the all African American women minority bloc, her upmost priority is to work with all school board members to overcome the bickering and to devote 100% of her school board time to finding ways to make our children education experiences adequate and positive.

Paulette implored me to make it known that she is in no political organization or union camp and that if one wants to label her position, then call it, " A Children's Camp," where the educational needs of the student comes first.

Paulette is endorsed by formerCouncil President George K. Arthur, retired teachers Eva M. Doyle and Mary Ruth Kapsiak, former Deputy Superintendent Eugene Pierce, B.U.I.L.D. President Charley H. Fisher, former Parole Commissioner Ted Kirkland, UNITY and this writer (Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant).

On May 3rd, please go to your regular polling place and vote. The polls are open from 6 A.M.  to 9 P.M.. If you live in the Ellicott /Central School District and need a ride to the polls, please call Betty Jean Grant, (716) 602-5877.

Why I Am Supporting Bernie Sanders in the April 19th Democratic Presidential Primary.

When I found out that there was more than one candidate running for president in the Democratic Presidential Primary, I was surprised because it seemed that Mrs. Hillary Clinton had a lock on the nomination. She has been campaigning for the position since way before she lost the nomination to then Senator Barack Obama, in 2008. I knew that she would be the choice of the Erie County Democratic Party and when I was asked to endorse her, I told the Chairman that I was not ready to endorse anyone at that time. I had heard some troubling information about comments made by her during her husband’s term regarding the crack epidemic of the 1990’s.

I am glad I waited because we all know now that words like ‘Super Predators’ and phases like, “Bringing them to heel” were uttered by her in supporting President Clinton’s anti crime Bill of 1994. To be fair, I will note that although Bernie Sanders signed for that same Bill that spearheaded the movement of mass incarceration of millions of Black youths across this country (they were the ones selling the Crack in inner city neighborhoods), he did not use negative terms and the language reserved for dogs to dehumanize our kids.  And, he correctly recognized, at the time, that the bill or law will be found to be a bad one. I make no excuses for the lawbreakers regarding the harm and loss of lives and families Crack has destroyed over the past generations. But we, the community, along with the drug dealers, must share some of the blame. When we do nothing to create jobs nor elect to offices, those who do; when we support President Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act without proving training programs or a living wage job to those who find themselves jobless and without the safety nets of food stamps, HEAP, WIC, Medicaid and Section 8; we must share some of the blame when these individuals turn to the streets to survive.

As a store owner on East Ferry Street since 1980, I was there when the steel plants closed in the mid 80’s; when all the deli stores owned by African Americans were sold or closed down; and I was there, in 1984, when they talked about this bad drug called Crack that was destroying New York City and was on its way to Buffalo. I was still there when those same boys and young men who used to work at those 125 plus Deli stores, found themselves jobless, no training and evicted, out on the streets, when they could not bring money home to help feed their families.

Not all of them turned to dealing Crack along with the Marijuana but too many of them did. The country was in the fast growing business of privatizing prisons and those young, Black men provided a ready andavailable market to fill those ‘cash-generating’ Hellholes. And then it was reported that the Powers That Be, were tracking the academic failure of 3rd grade level black boys in present day classrooms and were using that data to design and build more prisons for these future generations of inmates.

Bernie Sanders is running on a progressive platform of free college tuition for all (sort of like our ‘Say, Yes’ program for the Buffalo Public Schools). He is supporting the end of Mass Incarceration as it disproportionally incarcerates Black and Brown youths. Mr. Sanders supports raising the Federal Living Wage and the introduction of adequate job training programs in technology and construction trades to ensure our youth are trained and educated to take advantage of the economic opportunitiesthat will lift them out of poverty.

When Bernie Sanders is no longer in consideration for the nomination to be the presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, I shall then support and work for the election of Hillary Clinton for the presidency. The other candidates running for the position are candidates I could never support. To me, there is little difference among the three Republican candidates still in the race.

Their stance on immigrants, women issues, the Affordable Care Act and their continuous demonization of the Obama Presidency, over the past 7 years, have put them in positions that their ascension to the presidency will be counterproductive to the forward progress of this great country we live in.

On Tuesday, April 19th, please go to your regular polling place and vote for the candidate of your choice. I know I shall.