One proposal was to rename the ice rink for Tara Lipinski, an Olympic figure skater from Bayonne, “so as to ensure that the Bayonne ice facility is always thought of as a scandal-free sports arena,” Alonso wrote in the resolution.
Alonso told The Bayonne Community News that the rink is scandalous because of its association with a recent incident in which a hockey coach allegedly pointed a handgun, belonging to an off-duty police officer working part time as a coach, at a student and another teacher.
“God bless Tara Lipinski and her family and her talents,” said Trustee Mary Jane Desmond at her turn to vote. “I am very fond of them, but no.”
“Those tennis courts are aptly named,” said Trustee Ava Finnerty. “No.”
Another was to rename the tennis courts, currently named for well-known and beloved Bayonne High School tennis coach Bill Broderick. Alonso’s resolution calls for them to be named for Dick Savitt, a Bayonne native who won both the Australian and Wimbledon singles championships in 1951, but who attended high school in El Paso, Texas.
Bill Broderick is the brother of Bayonne Board of Education President Joseph Broderick and was memorialized before his brother became a trustee in 2013. Alonso noted in the resolution, “Any hint of nepotism and/or political collusion sends the wrong message to students, parents and taxpayers.”
“Absolutely not,” said Trustee Christopher Munoz during the vote. “Bill Broderick has done so much for the city of Bayonne. Those courts will forever be named after him as far as I’m concerned.”
“Mr. Broderick is Bayonne’s hero, and that court will be named the Broderick courts for as long as Bayonne is in existence,” said Trustee Dennis Wilbeck.
“I happen to know the guy,” said Board President Joseph Broderick. “I think I better abstain from this whole situation, but I am very proud of him, by the way.”
The last of Alonso’s resolutions was to hire his former, unofficial campaign manager, John “Jack” Butchko as a salaried grant writer. When the board voted unanimously against the resolution, Butchko spoke at the podium, offering to work for free and deriding the board for choosing not to rename the ice rink and tennis courts.
Though Alonso was at the meeting, it was Butchko who responded. “I came here wanting to help my community,” he said. “I thought a nominal fee would be best. Perhaps it’s not. I would be willing to do the grant work for the Bayonne school district in gratis. I am willing to bring in millions of dollars for free to the school system.”
“At this point, I don’t think we need that [a grant writer],” said Broderick. “I think we need the governor on March 13 to say that we’re adequately funded. I think that is the big hope we need.”
“It’s a bulletproof backpack. She’s six years old. And you’re up here trying to change names of ice rinks and tennis courts.”—Jamie Lynn
At the first meeting since the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, shooting, parents with safety on their minds expressed frustration with the relatively trivial issue of renaming sports facilities.
“After all that had transpired, here we are discussing renaming the ice rink and tennis courts for people who have done nothing, contributed nothing to our community,” said Michelle Halsey at the meeting. “Yet, you cry nepotism with regard to Mr. Broderick’s name on those courts, which he deserved because he earned it.” Speaking to Alonso, who remained mostly silent during the meeting, she continued, “Stop wasting that seat you sit in.”
“I bought my daughter a new book bag the other day,” said resident Jamie Lynn. “She didn’t like it because it didn’t have shimmer and shine. It’s a bulletproof backpack. She’s six years old. And you’re up here trying to change names of ice rinks and tennis courts.”
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at email@example.com.