Shajan Kuriakose recently mailed a campaign piece on education that is so bad it’s almost laughable.
On one side, a full-page photo of a shattered room with cracked, damaged, unpainted masonry walls, a filthy floor, and old furniture, the chair tossed on the floor, is apparently supposed to represent a classroom. The mess is ascribed to Ald. Silverstein’s vote against using more property tax money to fund schools. Or, as the screaming copy in bright yellow capital letters puts it, “..SILVERSTEIN VOTED AGAINST GIVING…” property tax money, thereby “…DENYING OUR CHILDREN the resources needed for a first class [sic] education.”
The reverse side assures us that “As a successful Business Professional, SHAJAN KNOWS…” the importance of education, and goes on to give him credit for having “…MADE IT A PRIORITY TO KEEP OUR SCHOOLS FUNDED, even looking for grants and other funding opportunities.”
Then it tells us that “SHAJAN WILL WORK WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES to offer our high school students internships and apprenticeships so they can learn the skills they will need to find quality jobs.”
Supporting education is great. So is proper punctuation and capitalization. But these are minor quibbles.
Where does he get off saying he’s “made it a priority to keep our schools funded?” What has he ever done that supports such a claim? What money has he raised for schools? When? He wants credit for “even looking for grants and other funding….” Every school principal knows how to do this. Every LSC knows how to do this. Parents and teachers and school advocacy groups do this on a routine basis. And if he finds such funding, what will he do with it? Donate it to schools in the 50th Ward or in the ward where he really lives?
And in what neighborhood businesses will he find these “internships and apprenticeships”? The convenience stores? The groceries? The discount stores? The hybrid shops that sell phone cards, lottery tickets, and pots and pans?
Kuriakose is an admitted carpetbagger and political opportunist who concedes that he moved to the 50th Ward solely to become alderman. He’s never even voted in the 50th ward yet feels qualified to lead it. He’s funded largely by interests from outside the community and by Indo-American business leaders who want their own alderman. He is a practitioner of ethnic politics in a multicultural ward struggling to find a place in a global village. Such political cynicism doesn’t make for much of a role model for our children.
Even his campaign slogan has it backwards “Many Communities, One 50th Ward.” He couldn’t be more wrong.
We are many ethnicities, one community. Or at least that’s the goal. It’s hard to see how we’d achieve that with him as alderman.