As a rule, Niagara Times has tried to avoid discussing Lewiston-Porter School Board politics. We, after all, have learned the lesson of post-Vietnam geopolitics: don’t wade into a quagmire.
However, we’re also getting sick of one school district’s constant ability to embarrass Niagara County (and we’re not talking about the Niagara Falls School District, where they’re unfamiliar with the term “nepotism”). For every good, positive thing that folks in this county do, it seems that the Lew-Port district has always been ready to steal the headlines with its latest embarrassing antics.
And so it is again now that School Board President Robert J. Weller’s penchant for forwarding less-than-politically-correct emails to colleagues has come to light. Of course, it only came to light because, following the latest school board election, there is a desire by Weller’s union-backed opponents to force him out as president of the school board at the re-organization meeting that’s coming real soon.
Let’s be honest: Weller is a moron. He probably should resign. He may even be a racist, a sexist, and everything else that’s said about him.
And yet, this morning, we’re finding him more and more a sympathetic figure.
Because the Rev. Darius G. Pridgen of Buffalo has vowed to bring his entire congregation to Lew-Port’s next board meeting to raise holy hell if Weller doesn’t meet with him and grovel beforehand.
These tactics sound eerily familiar to us. Okay, they actually sound like a page right out of the playbooks of America’s two favorite shakedown artists: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
And we’d prefer to see such nonsense kept out of our community.
Moreover, though, we got a laugh this morning when we googled the Rev. Pridgen’s name and found his biography at his church. The first line of that bio is great: “Pastor Darius G. Pridgen is a man that has been chosen by God to lead and change a generation.” Nothing like a little humility.
But we decided to press on with our Google search. And, sure enough, strings including Rev. Pridgen’s name and Niagara Fall Councilman Steve Fournier produced not even one hit.
So, let’s get this straight: The president of a fairly conservative school board way out in the sticks, practically in Canada, forwarding stupid jokes to his colleagues elicits loud, chest-thumping outrage from Rev. Pridgen. A Democrat Niagara Falls councilman screaming racial epithets in a bar at 3 a.m.? Never heard of him. Gotta love that selective outrage!
Weller probably should resign. But Darius Pridgen and his traveling roadshow really should stay the hell out of Niagara County. Especially when it’s so clear that Pridgen is little more than an overinflated windbag who wants, so desperately, to be the next Al Sharpton.
Go back to Buffalo, Darius.