This week, Josh Skaller, a candidate to succeed Bill DeBlasio to represent Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Carroll Gardens and neighboring areas in the City Council, trotted out his nine-plus-months pregnant wife, Kelly, to complain about “attacks” by rival office-seeker Brad Lander over the Skallers’ decision to send their special-needs son, Wolf, to a private school in Park Slope.
The “attacks,” as it turned out, amounted to little more than Lander talking about the public-private school issue when asked about it on the campaign trail.
And we think that’s good. Certainly, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a candidate who sends his child to private school, but voters are fully entitled to scrutinize every choice the candidates make — as parents, as neighbors, as business owners, as human beings.
And in the rough-and-tumble of a Brooklyn campaign, candidates shouldn’t complain when the personal becomes political — especially when they take advantage of it themselves.
Indeed, back in July, when The Brooklyn Paper asked all five hopefuls for the 39th Council District if candidates can truly “understand our troubled schools if they send their kids to private schools,” Skaller answered that they could.
Then he, not Lander, played the Wolf card.
“The selection of our child’s school was a serious, difficult and personal issue, and we chose to send our son, Wolf, to a neighborhood private school based on his unique needs,” he said.
Clearly, Skaller thought it was worthy to discuss his choices as a parent, so he should not be crying foul that others in the race — and, indeed, every single public school parent in the district — are discussing it, too.
But that’s good for democracy. Once they know the facts, some voters will indeed feel that they have a stronger advocate in a City Councilman who has to deal with the myriad frustrations of our public school system from inside.
But other voters will sympathize with the Skallers, who have dealt with personal adversity and made the decision to put their child’s education ahead of whatever political benefit Josh Skaller might have gotten from sending Wolf to a public school.
Make no mistake: This is not an endorsement of either Lander or Skaller or the other three qualified men running to succeed DeBlasio. It is merely a reminder that voters deserve to hear everything — the facts, the position papers and, yes, truth-based mud-slinging — before reaching their decisions.