Teachers union has second thoughts on endorsement
Once upon a time, the political action committee for the Pinellas teachers union endorsed School Board member Janet Clark (right) for re-election. And why not? She's a former middle school teacher and a reliable supporter of teacher causes. Now the PAC has rescinded its support.
The union didn't like it when Clark joined a 4-3 vote recently to hire Miami educator Alberto Carvalho as superintendent, passing over interim superintendent Julie Janssen. Clark might have redeemed herself in the union's eyes when Carvalho declined the offer and she became the swing vote that made Janssen the superintendent. But the union didn't take kindly to her words in an interview with the Times in which Clark pushed back against the union's aggressive campaign on behalf of Janssen.
"I'm tired of the bullying," she said in the interview, adding that the union could "keep their filthy lucre. I'm not bought."
The PAC took back its endorsement in a three-sentence letter that Clark received in the mail over the weekend. "I don't know that I'm going to spend any time worrying about it," said Clark, who won election in 2004 without the PAC's support."It bothers me that for four years I have been an advocate to teachers and support staff."
She added: "They were using the political endorsement to force me to take a vote. I don't want anybody living in this county to think I am beholden to anybody."
Jade Moore, executive director of the union, said the PAC will stay out of the District 1 race, where Clark faces a challenge from Jennifer Crockett.