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A Fight Over Private School in Brooklyn
August 12th, 2009

This in from our Douglas A. Hinnant.

Brad Lander says he’s the only candidate in the District 39 race for City Council with children in public school. His opponent Josh Skaller says to leave his son out of politics.

On July 8, Kelly Skaller, Josh’s wife, sent out a campaign email entitled, “Protecting Our Son Wolf,” accusing Lander of exploiting their son’s enrollment in a private school, the result of a difficult decision she and her husband made because of Wolf’s special needs. But Lander claims he is merely distinguishing himself as the only public school parent in the race, which he calls relevant, and he is not attacking or criticizing the Skallers in any way.

Apparently it all began back on April 20. As Candace Carponter, a local attorney and Skaller campaign contributor, recalls it, she was handing out leaflets for the Skaller campaign early one morning outside a public elementary school in Park Slope. After 30 minutes or so, Lander “came rushing up” to her and, without a hello, asked if the flier mentioned that Skaller’s son goes to private school.

According to another local resident, an admitted Skaller volunteer and also a contributor, who did not want to be named, Lander offered the information without solicitation in an effort to get this resident’s signature during the petition phase of the race.

Lander admits he may have occasionally mentioned the Skallers’ education choice in response to direct questions from constituents, but he says, “I’ve never proactively said anything about them.” Instead, Lander explains, he talks about his own qualifications, and tries to avoid talking about the other contenders in the race.

But the Skaller campaign maintains that Lander is spreading this information on the campaign trail. According to Steven Stites, Skaller’s press secretary, Skaller has encountered numerous constituents on his door-to-door walks who say that Lander has told them about Wolf’s enrollment in private school.

As of now, no one without ties to the Skaller campaign is confirming that Lander is proffering information about Wolf’s education. “Erik from the Slope” has published a blog on Politicker to this effect, but his actual identity is unknown.

By on August 12, 2009, 11:00 am
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