BY C.B. MILLER
Jennifer Mecozzi has announced her intention to seek the Board of Education’s West District seat currently held by James Sampson, a member of Carl Paladino’s majority bloc. The education activist Adrian Fitzgerald Harris, who is not aligned with either faction, is also running.
Observers say that Mecozzi runs with a group of labor activists that regularly hijack Board of Education meetings for the express purpose of bringing the district to a halting standstill. One parent who regularly attends the meetings called their group, known as the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO) and bankrolled by the Buffalo Teachers Federation, brute and intimidating.
Mecozzi and her cadre of union organizers have terrorized board members to prevent the implementation of neighborhood schools, to stop contract negotiations, and to grandstand against proposed governance reforms. Observers call the group gruff, angry, and ideological.
“They aren’t sophisticated enough to have a discussion about the issues, so they try to monopolize the bully pulpit and threaten violence against board members,” says one Riverside mother who wants neighborhood schools, referencing an incident last year in which one activist, Keith Jones, threatened to “show up” at Paladino’s house. Jones later said it was only a threat to protest at Paladino’s house, not to inflict harm.
“All they are interested in is obstruction,” the mother of two concludes.
Mecozzi graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1990 and does not list any additional degrees on her LinkedIn profile. She is a coordinator with PUSH Buffalo.