A Wild Ride Into Schenectady Politics

August 14, 2009

It’s amazing how your view of things can change with just a little inside information. That’s true with national politics and it’s also true with something as mundane as a local school board election.

My wife is very active in our school’s PTO and as a result she became friends with the PTO president, Denise DellaVilla.  When Denise decided to run for the school board my wife said she’d help out any way she could.

Then along came a neighborhood activist (No!  Not THAT one) named Joyce Wachala.  She made quite a name for herself by spreading false rumors about the school district closing an area school.  She had the whole area stirred up with this false rumor, even organizing a petition drive over an issue that just wasn’t true.

Then lo and behold Joyce Wachala decided to run against my wife’s friend Denise Della Villa.  To make matters worse the local fish wrapper, (aka The Daily Gazette) endorsed Wachala and made Denise the villain!  (What the flaming fruitcake!)

You might think a letter to the editor would be called for at this point.  I tried that along with a few others.  The paper responded by sending us harassing phone calls!  (I kid you not!)

With only the “Drive By Media” to go on,  you can guess who won the election.  However the story doesn’t end there.

Just this week Joyce Wachala announced she is stepping down from the school board citing family health reasons.

Chances are she has her own behind the scenes story she could share.  At this point the best thing we can do is pray for Ms. Wachala that all goes well for her and her family.

But how ironic!  The very person we were trying so hard to keep off the board winds up resigning after attending only two meetings as a member.

Of course the real lesson here is with the media.  I now know more than ever how easy it is for public opinion to be swayed by the media’s bias.  In reporting her resignation The Daily Fish Wrapper couldn’t resist yet another chance to demean Della Villa and elevate Wachala to sainthood.

Perhaps The Capital District needs it’s own version of “The No Spin Zone”.  Or how about someone calling out the area’s “WORST PERSON in the worrrrrld!”

Some internet gurus have predicted that a well organized agregate area based web site could eventualy render  local newspapers obsolete.  That time for the people in my city couldn’t come fast enough.

One things for sure.  This has been one wild ride into local Schenectady politics.

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