Is teachers union boss John Matthews behind the Manski-gate conspiracy?

The Madison Machine has put the fix in to elect a school board wholly beholden to the teachers union. No one suffers more than the poorly served minority community in Madison. Its candidates are being undermined for the benefit of the insider power structure that has allowed the minority achievement gap to grow to alarming levels.

Madison School Board member Mary Burke supports my suspicions. She says Madison Teachers Inc. president John Matthews is the brains behind Sarah Manski’s Trojan horse candidacy. Whoever is its author, the gambit succeeded in blocking a freethinking minority candidate, Ananda Mirilli, from surviving the front-end-loaded primary, so precipitously concluded.

For the record, John Matthews responded with a monosyllabic “no” mid-Sunday afternoon to my inquiry: “Is Mary Burke correct? Are you the brains behind the Sarah Manski bait and switch?” 

So far, School Board member Marj Passman, the union’s most vociferous defender, and a longtime water carrier for the union, is left holding the bag. Matthew DeFour’s fine reportage in Saturday’s Wisconsin State Journal reports this:

Manski said she didn't plan to run for School Board, but entered the race because Passman and a few other people [my italics] very strongly encouraged her to run. She declined to say who the other people were.

As Vito Corleone would have said, ‘It was Mathews all along’

Here is Madison school board member Mary Burke’s online comment Saturday afternoon at, which Matthews denies to Blaska’s Bring It!:

Do we really think Sarah Manski looked to Marj Passman to decide to run and then to stay in the race through Tuesday even though she knew she was going to drop out? Marj is a clever woman but who is really behind this? Facebook postings indicated John Matthews recruited Sarah to run. This is a travesty of justice. It smacks of dirty politics. I hope the Madison community stands up for what is right.

People of Madison, we have our smoking gun. Remember that Madison Teachers Inc. endorsed Ben Manski for state Assembly, even though Manski did not live in the west-side Madison district he sought to represent.

With Sarah’s ability to tap into Ben’s political machine, MTI was assured of getting its union lackey. Her online appeals for cash were always a little too polished for a supposed grass-roots campaign.

Sarah Manski has always claimed that (a) school board member(s) asked her to run. Sarah Manski obviously knew that Ben might leave town, given that he had applied to out-of-state doctoral programs. It is not difficult to believe her story that Marj Passman said not to worry, we’ll appoint “someone good.”

The news media conspiracy

Here are the three candidates Madison’s Tammany Hall is trying to defeat (or have defeated):

Left to right: Wayne Strong, Ananda Mirilli, James Howard; candidates for Madison School Board opposed by the Madison Machine.

Few sycophants are more pro-union than the Manskis, Progressive Dane, the Dane County Democratic Party, and John Nichols of the non-union Capital Times.

Comrade John has been promoting the Manskis for several years now and for good reason. He is their employer. John is president of Liberty Tree Foundation, a fact he does not disclose. Sarah and Ben are officers of that the proto-Marxist, Green Party-line organization.

It is an insider game. The Dane County Dem Party endorses a professional Democrat, the unheralded Greg Packnett, vs. board president James Howard, who had the temerity to vote for Madison Prep.

Watch also the campaign behind Dean Loumos, who employs Mike Basford, who chairs the Dane County Dems, a majority of whose members voted to endorse Loumos, who is running against retired Madison cop and south side community builder Wayne Strong.

Dean Loumos would ‘deny another candidate of color’

I said this Madison School Board race is one interconnected, insider-controlled conspiracy between school board insiders, the Dane County Democrat Party, and MTI (the teachers union). That’s the Madison Machine. School Board member Ed Hughes is no Tea Partier. But he seems to agree. Hughes ventured into the leftist snake pit known as TheDailyPage to make this observation about Democrat(ic) Party-backed candidate Loumos:

by Ed Hughes » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:17 pm

… The way things appear is that Loumos is just another candidate whose qualifications are measured more by opposition to Walker rather than actual involvement in our schools, who is pushed by John Matthews and Paul Soglin to run for School Board and whose success would end up denying another candidate of color.

Loumos isn’t helped by pages like this  [An appeal to build the national Green Party via Sarah Manski]

Or by his pre-primary financial disclosure form … which shows a donation from none other than Sarah Manski, plus other persons of interest. [including such Rads as Bert Zipperer, Austin King, Ald. Brian Solomon, Marj Passman’s husband, Bill Keys, Nan Brien, and (yes), John Matthews.]

Or his campaign website … which makes no mention of the achievement gap and evidences far more concern for the welfare of the adults employed by the school district rather than the welfare of the students the district serves.

Loumos may well be a nice guy, but as both an actual candidate and as a symbol he falls short for many reasons, not the least of which is that Wayne Strong is better qualified for the Board.

And as a current School Board member, I get pretty incensed at candidates who are running to further their own career – or, God help me, to advance the agenda of the national Green Party – or to express their opposition to Scott Walker or anything other than to help us address the substantial challenges we face in preparing all our students for the world they’ll inherit.

Loumos is endorsed by virtually the same cabal that backed Sarah Manski: Madison Teachers, Inc., UW teaching assistants union, South Central Federation of Labor, the Green Party, Progressive Dane, Bill Keys, Nan Brien, Anne Arnesen, Paul Soglin, and Terese Berceau.


Ego tripping with the Progs and Greens

Let’s face it: The Manskis got off on being countercultural heroes. A bullhorn and an angry crowd are powerful aphrodisiacs. They were on a power trip, with a commitment to the community that was not even skin deep.

Here is the interesting thing about Sarah Manski’s campaign haul of $2,677: only $475 came from Madison donors, including Madison Prep opponent Barbara Arneson. The rest came from out of the district, including Massachusetts; Democrat Senate minority leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee; Assembly Democrat leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha; and a $1,572 loan from the candidate herself.

Their commitment was to the collectivist impulse – of which the powerful Madison teachers union was its purest expression – not to the rightful goal: our children’s education.

Passman is right about one thing: “It’s sad to believe that this kind of a person came close to being elected to one of the most important offices in our city,” Passman wrote in a possibly face-saving email to colleagues, as reported by The State Journal.

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