NEWARK – Last night’s 5-4 victory for Eliana Pintor Marin hinged on the aye vote of Schools Advisory Board Member Nakia White, who was promptly showered with charges of sell-out.
Pintor Marin was backed by North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato, Sr. and won last week despite most African American leaders backing an opposition slate of candidates.
White today told PolitickerNJ.com, “I don’t have to explain my vote to anyone. It was my vote. If no one respected me for having my own decision, they would not respect me regardless, so for those folks, I have no concern. No one controls my votes. I voted closest to those people who share my vision of reform. I voted for colocation and new schools. I held up the class size waivers. The entire board, with the exception of a few people, voted in opposition to those measures.”
Following a press conference in which Gov. Chris Christie today named Cami Anderson as Newark’s new schools superintendent, White said, “I hope that for our children it works out for the best. She strikes me as tough, focused, determined and goal-oriented.”
The school board contest developed as a Latino versus Black drama, a dvision White decried.
“The fundamental reason we’re all here is for children, sometimes that gets lost,” she said.
White won a seat on the school board in 2009 a year after her unsuccessful 2008 bid for the Central Ward council seat. At that time she ran with the support of At-Large Councilwoman Mildred Crump. During this divisive school board race, White did not join one side or the other, while Crump affirmed a ticket supported by South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka, former Mayor Sharpe James and other Black leaders.
The battle for board leadership split four members who backed Adubato’s canddiate, Pintor Marin, and four who supported new board member Alturrick Kenney, who ran on the Baraka slate. Former Chairman, Shavar Jeffries sided with Kenney. White’s decision to support Pintor Marin incensed other African American leaders, but again, she maintained that her support is based not on race or power politics but solely on ideology.