By VICTOR E. SASSON
The powers that be don't want you to vote in today's Hackensack Board of Education and school budget election.
First and foremost are former Mayor Jack Zisa; brother Ken, the disgraced former police chief; their cousin, former City Attorney Joseph Zisa; and Ken's son, high school teacher Anthony Zisa.
The Zisas ruled Hackensack for decades, and stigmatized the small city with the accursed name of "Zisaville."
Now, they are attempting a political comeback by backing three Board of Education candidates under the banner of Team Hackensack.
The world may be worrying about the Zika virus, but Hackensack fears the spread of the Zisa virus throughout the schools.
Three other candidates are believed to have the support of the political machine that propped up the Zisas for so many years before Citizens for Change, a slate of reformers, was elected to the City Council in May 2013.
|This campaign flier urges voters to pick candidates 1-4-6, but someone ordered removal of the numbers on today's school ballot, below.|
|The ballot in today's election lists nine candidates for three seats on the Board of Education, center, and a proposition on the school budget, right.|
Citizens for Change is supporting three other candidates, who call themselves Citizens for Better Schools:
Lawrence E. EISEN, Lancelot POWELL and Victor E. SASSON.
Their platform includes improving poor test scores and engaging parents in the education of their children.
Last week, the Zisas obtained the addresses of all of the members in the teachers union, and sent them an invitation to a Team Hackensack barbecue at Anthony Zisa's home, which was handed down from his grandfather, Frank C. Zisa, who was on the City Council for 16 years and mayor from 1977-81.
Teachers union President Michael DeOrio blasted the Zisas, and called for "sanctions and/or discipline" for those involved.
You need a PhD to figure out the ballot in today's school election.
Citizens for Better Schools is appealing to voters to pick candidates in positions 1-4-6, but someone ordered the numbers removed.
So, voters should look for candidates' last names in capital letters: EISEN, POWELL and SASSON.
Many residents also don't know they can vote on the school budget, which represents 44 percent of the property tax bill in Hackensack.
A tax levy of $79 million is up for a "yes" or "no" vote, but the total school budget is about $104 million.
The budget is bloated by administrators' salaries (some make nearly as much as or more than Governor Christie); legal fees and high rent for a Catholic school building.
A "no" vote would send the budget to the City Council, which has the power to trim it.
|Campaign signs on Main Street in Hackensack.|
The powers that be have long conspired to suppress the vote in school elections by holding them in April, and not opening the polls until 2 p.m.
Today, the polls will be open until 9 p.m.
Although Hackensack has about 20,000 registered voters, only about 1,300 cast ballots in the last school election.
That apathy is fed by Editor Deirdre Sykes of The Record, which moved out of Hackensack in 2009.
Sykes was elevated to editor this year after many years of running the paper's local-news section.
Her distaste for local elections is well-known, and a couple of decades ago, she streamlined coverage of Boards of Education by reporting only on contested elections.
Now, she is ignoring even the hotly contested Hackensack school election.
|At 2 this afternoon, when the polls opened, only a small sign indicated where voters should cast their ballots at Hackensack High School, above and below.|
|Most of the voters I saw between 2 and 2:30 this afternoon were seniors from the neighborhood, which includes many of the high-rises on Prospect Avenue.|
Three of the four major elements on Page 1 today are what editors call "process stories."
None of them are news, just endless descriptions of the process of repealing the estate tax in New Jersey, electing a president and how the Supreme Court will rule on a better deal for undocumented aliens (A-1).
The fourth major story is an incredible waste of space describing the legal pissing match between a millionaire with 30 Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, and The Plaza co-op high-rise in Fort Lee (A-1).