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Not for lack of trying

On Thursday, Theresa Harris-Tigg mustered only three votes from Board of Ed members for the East District seat, which went to retired administrator Rosalyn Taylor.

But it certainly wasn't for a lack of effort that Harris-Tigg lost.

Taylor and Tigg In the days prior to the board vote Thursday night, Harris-Tigg (wearing the black beret, congratulating Taylor, in the picture at left) was quick to point out that she was the only one of the five candidates vying for the East District seat this month who ran for that seat in May. She waged a low-budget but scrappy campaign back then against incumbent Vivian O. Evans. Evans outspent her more than 10 to 1, but Harris-Tigg still lost by only about 7 percent of the vote.

(During that spring campaign, Taylor joined a group of longtime district employees and others to support Evans at a fundraiser. Among the others who turned out to support Evans that day: board member Florence Johnson and her husband and son; Grassroots leader Maurice Garner; former interim superintendent Yvonne Hargrave; chief of staff Jim Kane; former general counsel Mike Looby; and former board member Jack Coyle.)

When Evans finally announced her resignation in December, Harris-Tigg was the first to throw her hat in the ring.

She was the first to submit letters of support to board members.

Behind-the-scenes efforts from Unity -- the anti-Grassroots East Side political group -- got some big guns like Common Council President Dave Franczyk and Councilman Rich Fontana, among others, putting in calls to some board members, trying to lobby support for Harris-Tigg.

And at the eleventh hour, on Wednesday night, East District resident Debra Clinkscales sent board members copies of a petition with about 100 residents' signatures, in support of Harris-Tigg.

But in the end, only three board members voted for her: Cahill, a personal friend of Harris-Tigg; Jason McCarthy; and Chris Jacobs, who spoke to the strengths of both candidates.

"I fall on the side of supporting Theresa Harris-Tigg for one determinant reason and that is because she ran for the seat," Jacobs said. "She put herself out as a candidate. She went door to door to talk to voters. I believe nothing puts one in touch with real pulse of the needs and desires of those you serve like campaigning."

- Mary Pasciak

E-mail me at mpasciak@buffnews.com or follow me on Follow  SchoolZoneBlog on Twitter Twitter. Check out the Buffalo News' education page at www.buffalonews.com/schools.

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