LINDEN — Jorge Alvarez is a local politician doing a Texas two-step.
After Alvarez was elected to the school board, he stepped down so his 24-year old son could be hired by the Linden Board of Education.
Now, Alvarez is running for the same Linden Board of Education seat he vacated to skirt the district’s nepotism law. In the interim, Shannon Spaziani, 24, a former county employee who is engaged to Alvarez’s son, was also hired by the Linden Board of Education.
Alvarez ran for city council in 2010, as the regular political organization designee but he lost the Democratic primary to Third Ward Councilman Peter Brown, whose success as a “Democrats for Change” candidate reflected strength behind Fourth Ward Councilman Derek Armstead’s bid for the party’s mayoral nomination.
While many city voters have traditionally shown disdain for mixing politics and education, Alvarez now seems to think he can advance his chances by picking a fight with Armstead. Observers say the school board election is less likely to become a referendum on the Fourth Ward Democrat than a rejection of the East Curtis Street resident’s tactics.
Alvarez used soccer league resources to distribute an email advancing his campaign agenda, despite rules that forbid using a non-profit organization for political purposes. In an email to parents, the politician identified himself as a candidate and asked for political support while trying to make an issue of city funds dedicated to another sport.
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