Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Despicable Performances by Public Servants Saul-Sena and Dingfelder, Who Think They Have Risen Above Mere Service to the Constituents That They Promised on the Hustings to Support Because Post Election They Have Moved into the Empyrean of Hillsborough County Sleaze-ball Politics, Which Operates Beyond Voter Control and in Concert with Tampa Bay Elected Officialdom Royalty, the Denizens of Which Have More Ego Than Sense
''; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; Andrea Brunais (; Angie (; art Maynor (; Baldwin, Marc (; Barbara (; Beth McClain (; Doug & Cathy SCW (; Edith A Tobul (; Edward Stein (; joan gentry (; (; Margie Jean (; montolino (; Patrick (; (; Sue Compton (; terry hamiltn Wollin (; Tiger Bay Club of Tampa (; Warren Rachels (; Wolfe, Alvin (; 'Patrick'; 'Angie'; 'schoolrecipient9'; 'schoolrecipient1'; 'schoolrecipient2'; 'school recipient3'; 'schoolrecipient4'; 'schoolrecipient5'; 'schoolrecipient6'; 'school recipient7'; 'schoolrecipient7'; 'schoolrecipient8'

Ms. Saul-Sena
: You are exactly the kind of society-matron specimen who does not belong in public office. You get there and sit in ceremonial splendor, doing nothing. You have twice promised to get the police chief to sit down with Bobbie Ward to discuss the dreadful way the police department has treated her in her rape investigation. She is a South Tampa resident, probably one of your constituents, whom a man--probably a coworker whom the police won't interview--crawled through her window and raped with a gun to her head. Yet you feel justified in breaking two promises to help this raped constituent and citizen. How vile, ma'am; how lacking in feelings for a fellow creature in distress.

This victims votes post rape, too, don't forget. Maybe that fact will cut into your mindless amour propre.

Your behavior is irresponsible, inhumane, and shameful, and you are probably so ethically bereft that you do not know this fact. How dare you present yourself as a public servant? You are an example of what we don't need in public office.

Mr. Dingfelder: I hear you wrote to one of Candy Olson's School Board opponents to wish him well but to say that you would support La Olson because you and La Candy "go way back." Now that models fence-sitting, obtuse wishy-washiness of the kind we need in public office.
The reason for your Candy support's logic stinks. Would you support Jack the Ripper because you had known him a long time? Good going, Dingfelder. This teacher gives you an F in Logic 101.

I suggest you talk to your wife, the brains of the family. She headed the Democratic Committee, didn't she? And you are a Democrat? Or are you in transition as Dick Greco perpetually is, tacking always to join what appears to be the current winning party?

La Candy is a carpet-bagger Republican. One hears that she has bragged about being a Republican from Massachusetts, as if that exhibited some kind of panache on her part when everyone knows the Democratic state of Massachusetts is one of the most civilized parts of the country and not known for beating up Republicans within its borders and even letting gays marry, God save the mark.

If you are such a long-time buddy of La Candy, perhaps you can extract from her why she has sat during her entire tenure on the School Board as a society-matron potted plant dabbling in politics and not doing anything to justify her incumbency. Ask why she voted to raise her salary for two meetings a month to the level of a veteran teacher with a master's degree.

Ask her why she didn't do her homework by reading school documents and asking questions of the incompetent, sleazy, cabalistic administration while it participated in the real-estate-scam outrage in Elia's former department or looked the other way in laissez-faire disinterest.

Ask her why she doesn't call a halt to the degrading, often sadistic treatment Linda Kipley of the Professional Standards Abu Gharib metes out to teachers who get set up and referred to Kipley's perverse ministrations without any intervention by the Board, the administration, or the CTA, which is so terrified of and sycophantic to the administration that it sat twenty years bleeding $500 a year from teachers making a measley $31,000 without demanding a raise to at least Georgia levels teacher compensation and for cleaning up such outrages as the Professional Standards teacher mistreatment in the cell block.

Ask her why she rubber-stamped the no-adverting job for Kipley, a home-ec scholar who now makes $120,000 in the bloated tax rip-off administration salary schedule, in violation of Title VII while stamping her Board web page with "We are an equal-opportunity employer." Ask her if she has requested the EEOC to review that hiring process. Test your friendship, and ask her to call on the expertise of the EEOC in the Board hiring badlands.

Ask why she didn't rebuke Elia's sneaky attempted extorting of La Gazeta to shut up the paper's publishing criticism of the hiring practices of the School Board in an affront to the First Amendment, which La Candy took an oath of office to protect. The board on which La Candy sits has for years twisted fair hiring practices routinely with the most egregious being the faux $35,000 "nation-wide" searches, complete with job ads tailored to Lennard's and Elia's credentials manque. Neither of these specimens can punctuate. Their web pages illustrate the truth of this statement.

Candy participated in the show search for a qualified superintendent while all the while participating in the set-up to hire the cabal's inside candidate so it can continue to exercise the power of a jobs-program scam in violation of Title VII and to dole out contracts with tax money such as the real-estate scam to make its members look like power players in Hillsborough County seedy political culture.

Talk to your Democratic wife, Linda. She needs give you curtain lectures on a few political realities about which I shall ask you when you run for re-election on your record of blind support of the bad political performance of somebody in public office simply because you know her. Boo, Mr. Dingfelder, double boo.

lee drury de cesare This blog has a copy of the recent Florida Bar ethics complaint by Lee Drury De Cesare, HHS Class of ’51, against Richard Dulcimer Mulholland, HHS Class of ’51.
This blog deals with the bad jobs done by the administration and Board in the Hillsborough County School system, protests teachers' mistreatment, and advocates firing the deadwood that make a bazillion tax dollars a year and sit on their illiterate asses. I critique their grammar and punctuation. The superintendent, MaryEllen Elia, who got the job from the buddy system, not from her skills, makes a quarter of million dollars a year and can't punctuate.
This blog tears into the grammar-punctuation-style and sometimes political errors of the NYTimes. Washington Post, Boston Globe, and LA Times. I don't pick on the little papers--just the big, important ones and the big, important columnists. Oddly enough, the site has a steady stream of hits from the people who work at these papers. They do want to write well, and most of them do not have training in grammar and punctuation and want to learn those skills.


An Ad in the Paper That the School Superintendent Threatened to Shut Down from the Re-election Campaign of One of the Board’s Plumpest Potted Plants: La Candy Olson

Candy Olson, the ne plus ultra of the potted plants of the gaggle of the breed on the School Board, has an ad for the 4th of July in La Gaceta. Ironically, this is the little newspaper whose free-press rights her boss, La Elia, tried to squelch by insinuating that the School Board would sue it if Manteiga didn’t shut me up.

I didn’t hear that Candy objected to Elia’s using tax money to suppress free speech. She applauded in behind the scenes bien sure. But then Candy has not murmured a peep about anything on the School Board for the twelve years, where she has occupied her potted-plant place on the dais. Any public utterance she makes is inane and off the mark.

The only time I have seen La Candy demonstrate any flicker of energy was when she joined Dr. Jack Lamb—all three hundred pounds of that adorable old bloviating charmer—in attacking me when I approached them at Tampa Tiger Bay to say that their raising their Board salaries for two meetings a month to as high as a full-time veteran teacher makes with a master’s degree offended me.

Le Jack screamed like a stuck pig. He rumbled that my making that observation offended him while Candy nodded in agreement. They don’t believe citizens should do anything but kiss their rings.

Candy and dear old butterball Lamb come only alive when a citizen cites with disapproval their unearned perquisite as potted plants. They both are against introducing student education about the national obesity epidemic imperiling children. I am a registered nurse. I can tell you from a professional standpoint that fat children grow up to be fat adults with much more diabetes, kidney problems, neuropathy, etc. than normal-weight children do. Fat people also have higher and earlier mortality rates.

If you look at this pair of porkers, you can see that they don’t want to call the attention of the students to their own examples of ignoring the rules of good nutrition and exercise. Some role models for the students’ pursuit of a normal weight this pair is. Elia also resides in the overweight group that resists educating the children on the obesity problem so as not to call attention to their own unhealthy weight.

Le Jack and La Candy have both sat on the School Board doing zilch except rubberstamping administration chicanery and incompetence for so long that moss has grown on both of their considerable bottoms. Did anybody ever hear either of this Twiddle-Dee Twiddle-dump pair ask a question of the new superintendent about her presiding over the real-estate scam in the department she led before moving via the buddy system into the unearned perch she now holds and from which she threatens the free speech of the newspaper that dared print her misdoings?

Candy is about as interested in the welfare of the schools as my four-year-old youngest grandson is interested in reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire instead of Winnie the Pooh. This insecure noveau snoot, who cited her kick-off party’s being catered by Mise en Place, for God’s sake, represents the baleful tradition of the ding-dong society matron who dabbles in politics to pass the time of her heretofore tedious day whilst munching bonbons.

She has shown signs of life now that she has earned two opponents in her race: Bart Birdsall and a kid with the portentous name of Logan. Logan hasn’t graduated from high school yet. I love that kid. I would like to live long enough to see him win his first Senate Race. Then he’s on to President, of course. Candy has inspired a lad not long out of his cradle to fight back against criminally negligent society-matron office place holders.

Olson’s ad cites this quote: "Liberty without learning is always in peril, and learning without liberty is always in vain." -John F. Kennedy

In the first place, La Candy is a Republican, so why is she quoting a Democratic president? She should quote George Bush’s “Is our children learning, ” given her support of a superintendent who riddles her Web-pages with punctuation errors’ violating the simplest rules that even the slow learners in classes under her regime have mastered.

And Candy would pick the one quote from President Kennedy that doesn’t make a lick of sense. The Camelot president must have been coming off a toot when he uttered those words. None of Bush’s makes sense, but Candy homed in on the only dopey quote that the sharp Kenney uttered in public. She’s not smart enough to have played Machiavellian linguistic politics in this maneuver. She’s one of those obtuse critters who think that if something is not clear that it must be profound.

Ms. Stein:

What would have given your article context was not only to compare the salaries of Hillsborough County teachers to those of Pinellas and Pasco but also to compare Florida's teachers' salaries to those of Georgia and Alabama, two states that have made concerted efforts to raise teacher salaries. Georgia's national ranking, for example, is 16th; Florida's is 29th, a major reason for Georgia's bleeding teachers across the line from Florida.

You could also have shown keener interview skills with Ms. Clements of CTA by asking her why the union did not fight to keep work hours the same without the concessions on time that cost the teachers. And an alert reporter would have inquired why CTA did not bargain about the Professional Standards unfair, even sadistic in some cases, treatment of teachers. The school attorney is now investigating the head of Professional Standards to see whether her conduct strips teachers of their dignity and inflicts sadistic, unchecked punishment on them. This action came from a citizen's drumbeat of inquiries about Kipley's conduct, not from any move made by the CTA, which the teachers pay $500 yearly in dues from their meagre salaries so that the officers get bloated salaries even if their allegiance is not to the teachers but to the administration.

The reporter could also have asked how many administrators the Professional Standards division has investigated and why it has not investigated a charge against Dr. James Hamilton for abuse of the school email system by circulating vulgar, illiterate emails.

The poor teacher morale in Pinellas county involves more than pay--as important as that is to teacher satisfaction. It also involves working conditions. Due to the protection of a vigilant union during my twenty-eight-year community-college teaching career, my morale was high because I could give the administration hell in Standard English every time I felt like doing so. In contrast, during one teacher's recent punishment by Linda Kipley, head of Professional Standards, Kipley told the teacher that she couldn't tell anybody about what her punishment was or discuss her case with anyone. That suppression of free speech did not earn opposition from either the administration or the Board. One waits to see if the lawyer's review of Kipley's behavior will be cover-up as usual. One also wonders why the CTA gives teachers no support in their Professional Standards ordeals and does not insist on a manual that outlines the process and what recourse the teachers have to appeal Ms. Kipley’s conduct.

Ms. Kipley, a home ec teacher originally, got the Professional Standards job with no advertising in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I believe the administration transferred her into the job to solve the administrative problem of her being an unsatisfactory principal at Hillsborough High School. This administration seems to follow exotic hiring practices often with no checks from the Board.

It seems to me that the main-stream press's acting more stenographer than inquiring reporter for the School Board and administration does the students, teachers, and the rest of the school family no good. It certainly does the tax-paying public no service and gives the lie to press pretensions of serving the public’s right to know. In fact, this lack of reportorial curiosity supports an administration capable of such incompetence as that explored by the St. Pete Times's series on the real-estate scam in the area Elia headed before she got the superintendent job because the Board lowered the qualifications to meet her no-doctorate status after a faux $35,000 "nation-wide" search. Elia’s recruitment and hiring present still more evidence for the school system’s manipulated hiring practices.

And is there any journalism rule that says a reporter could not point out that the raise to $35,000 for Hillsborough County beginning teachers is only 14 percent of what beginning Superintendent Elia gets in salary and perquisites despite her failure to detect and check the real-estate scam in her area before she became supintendent? I don't think a single reporter quizzed the Board about why its members have been so strangely tranquil about that evidence of Elia's mismanagement in the waste of thousands of tax dollars and why the Board has no qualms about how her past performance bespeaking what she is capable of doing in her present job.

A clever and inventive reporter could have ranged afield, done a bit of research, and suggested that the nation-wide cartel of administrative deadwood minions has systematically bloated administrative salaries and then cited each other’s uncalled-for pay as the going rate for administration jobs, into which every person who has spent a little time inside the field knows attracts the academic weaklings of the education world.

Lee Drury De Cesare

Dr. Johnson said, “Let me hear the man speak so that I may know his mind.” I say, “Let me examine the man or woman’s writing so that we may know his or her abilities. Years in the academic world taught me that nothing compares to a sustained piece of writing to tell us the extent of a person’s intelligence and abilities. It ranks nonpareil diagnostic marker for both.

In reviewing Ms. Elia’s writing below, citations refer to Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar Communication in Action Gold Level: current English text for (one infers) the district 12th-grade English classes. I had difficulty finding out this information about textbook choice just as one has difficulty finding out any information about the Hillsborough County school district. This administration and Board are as secretive as the Bush White House in sharing information with the public. They hem and haw, shuck and jive, bob and weave, evade, prevaricate and stonewall to keep information secret despite the Sunshine law. They don’t know much, but they know that knowledge is power.

If you want to keep people on the outside powerless, keep them ignorant.

The ad for the public-relations office top job that Hegarty now holds does not even mention the function of supplying information to citizens. This ranks Freudian slip: it suggests that the administration and School Board don’t want to share information with the public and will ignore this Sunshine duty if it can.

Anyone can see that cover-up Munchkins have scrubbed the personnel folders you finally extract from Le Steve. They contain nothing but the blandest information. The insertion of a kindergarten teacher into a $120,000 lobbying job and a home ec teacher into a $120,000 top professional-standards job leaves no data in their files to suggest how these irregular hirings took place. One wonders what happened to all the notes and records that must have accompanied these moves: the pieces of paper-trail data that would reveal the chain of evidence for irregular hiring practices that flies in the face of the equal-opportunity mantra of the board and administration. ROSSAC must have a giant shredding machine humming in an undisclosed location.

I do not believe Ms. Elia wrote this piece below, posted on her Web page, whichI analyze for punctuation errors. It does not coincide with her writing style, which she displayed in the blowsy outpouring she authored after she and the majority of the Board wimped out and succumbed to the bigots’ attack on the Constitutional rights of “the towel heads.” "Towel heads" is the term with which specimens from the fens and bogs of society labeled Muslim-American students.

Ms. Elia, followed by most of the potted-plant board, rescinded the holiday schedule that the appointed committee had worked out over a year’s time to ensure religious inclusion of all students. Elia huffed and puffed about anyone’s thinking that she would buckle under pressure's not knowing her. That’s exactly what she did: buckled under to pressure. Elia is one of those people who get into a mindless bureaucracy and do the easiest thing to get by; only if there is a controlling agency to keep her under scrutiny will she hear her better angels. The Board is not that agency. Most of its members--if not all--are too timid, too lazy, or too complicit in this current cheapening of American education to check Elia. The Board doesn't want to make education better; its members just want of sit on the Board dais and look important.

The only two Board members who voted against the rescinding the protection of Muslim students were Ethridge and Bricklemeyer. These two votes I respect. The other Board members were cowards voting for hypocrisy instead of religious inclusion. Ms. Elia led the wussies and then had the nerve to write a bad essay insisting that she never bowed to pressure because she was a stalwart character who wouldn’t let herself be pushed around, etc., etc.: pure piffle.

The insinuating style La Elia used to coerce Patrick Manteiga into shutting down free speech by shutting me up in my column’s critique of the school administration’s corruption is the signature sneaky Elia method: she hinted she would cut off his ad revenue and have Kipley and Connie Femme Fatale sue the paper for the fugitive sexual reference in my column of “casting-room couch” that tax-paid attorneys had eked out of my past columns.

That threat was sheer bluster. Elia is not smart, but she is not dumb enough to sue an institution as beloved as La Gaceta. Even a feckless Board would have stopped her from enraging the Hispanic community.

I will always regret that law suit’s dying aborning. The ACLU would have romped ecstatic at the chance to take on the Hillsborough County School Board over free speech. It would have joined Ronda Storms's anti-free-speech shutdown for gays in the library. Elia's slimy threat was the classic ACLU case of the government’s using the power of tax money to stifle a newspaper’s free speech.

I would give anything to read the law-suit "slander" depositions of everyone involved in Connie Mileto’s acquiring her plum job, vaulting from kindergarten teacher to $120,000 lobbyist: Mr. and poor Mrs. Hamilton’s statements especially; the secretaries’ apercus; the ubiquitous gofers’ insights—they who had seen it all, knew the tale from beginning to end, had dissected in the halls and johns their bosses' seedy maneuvers ; the janitor's conclusions as he stood by his mop and bucket and watched the "powerful" cavort on taxpayer dollar; the dog that didn’t bark; and, of course, La Connie’s no doubt sprightly spiel that would have taxed her feeble lobbyist spin ability to the edge and probably over the line of perjury.

These depositions would have been riveting testimony—the stuff of gaudy office scandal unfolding As The World Turns. One could use the saga for the plot of a bureaucratic bodice-ripper called Casting-Room Couch Meets Low Stanfort-Binet Ding Dong Dell Dingdongs.

I would also love to review the depositions of how a failed home-ec-trained principal of a high school moved from pots and pans through the labyrinth of administrative mediocrity and mendacity to get the $120,000 head job in professional standards that got no advertising in defiance of Title VII athwart the Board’s lying drumbeat of equal opportunity, equal opportunity, equal opportunity.

These two women were the ones whom Ms. Elia insinuated she would sic on Patrick Manteiga and La Gaceta in the courts to shut him and the First Amendment down. This obtuse lady’s insidious warnings demonstrated forlorn bluff. I wish Patrick had sat on Elia in response. He is big enough to have left nothing of her but a greasy spot.

Ms. Elia is not up to the superintendent job. Her tolerating the real-estate scam right under her nose shows her lack of preparation to lead a department much less a school system. The rumor extant is that the Westchase parents say there are schools with brand-new wings that were not needed, and now Elia, abetted by the Board except Faliero and Valdez, shifts kids to those schools and tears up neighborhoods and children’s lives to cover up her own bad management. One infers these enraged parents meant that Elia shifted boundaries and shuffled frightened children around to cover up that she had presided before she became superintendent over the building of new wings that the district hadn't needed.

Another rumor I heard was that Rasputin Hamilton hung over Elia’s shoulder during her building-supervisor tenure and didn’t let her make a solo decision without his imprimatur. My response to this rumor is that if she had any guts or requisite leadership qualities, she would have told this illiterate buffoon to get lost.

Ms. Elia also can’t write well enough to be a superintendent. She leads a school system the object of which is to teach children to be competent, literate writers, and she is not up to that task herself. When she discovered, after getting the job unfairly as the inside pre-picked candidate, the necessity of being able to write, she turned to Steve Hegarty. Hegarty got the head PR job not from his ability, of course—anything that pays over $91,000 a year wouldn’t go to the best candidate but to the best buddy--- but from his tapping into the administration influence system.

Heggarty alone of the finalists did not have the supervisory requirement cited in the ad. What he did have was in-house contacts in the administration. He cites in his application letter “three people from the district” whom he stayed in touch with during hiatus from reporting the Board’s and administration’s business. I have asked for the names of these contacts three times. Le Steve says, “No.” The Sunshine law says a refusal of public records to a citizen must have an explanation. He gives none. The Board looks the other way at this refusal to obey the Sunshine law. The Board spends most of its time looking the other way.

The problem is that Steve can’t punctuate or write much better than Ms. Elia, although he was a reporter for a bazillion years. So it’s a case of the blind’s leading the blind. Keep in mind that the taxpayers pay Elia $250,000 with perquisites yearly; Steve gets $91,000 and God knows what else. So the taxpayers pay about $350,000 a year for the services of two people who put their heads together to compose essays but can’t even punctuate. They certainly can’t punctuate to the level outlined in the Prentice Hall Gold book that the students use.

I got the Prentice Hall books on eBay when nobody at school would answer my emails asking where I could get the schools’ English texts. These books are pricey. I know something about English textbooks, and these Prentice Hall textbooks cost way too much when better, cheaper ones from other publishers are for sale.

The point is that neither Elia nor her ghost writer Hegarty reaches the level of proficiency in punctuation that the Hillsborough County seniors must reach to pass their English courses.

What does the School Board do about administrative ubiquitous illiteracy--about which I have filed a professional-standards charge in Dr. Hamilton's case? This boor Hamilton is beyond the pale in illiteracy, not knowing the difference between "your" and "you're." The Board does the same thing about administrative illiteracy as it did when Ms. Elia was presiding over the real-estate rip- off: nothing.

I once asked Dr. Lamb at Tiger Bay if he considered literacy a prerequisite for a superintendent of schools. The old fraud said that it was “only one of the things to be considered.” The other thing in Dr. Lamb’s criteria, one hazards, for a candidate to get the superintendent job over better-qualified candidates would be for her to be the failed supervisor of the department over which she presides, oblivious to or complicit in a major real-estate scam costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars. This scam the Board and administration acknowledged only when the St. Petersburg Times did an expose of the taxpayer rip-off and forced the matter into the public eye. God forbid that the potted-plant board do its homework and maintain scrutiny of the administration’s lax performance and waste of public monies. The Board colludes with the administration; it does not serve the public.

I infer that Steve Hegarty either hacked into or slipped into my Grammargrinch blog when I didn’t sign out and removed the critique I had of his writing and grammar deficiencies when he first got the job. I have this fellow spotted as a sneaky little rascal, just the sort the administration would pick to spin-doctor information and twist truth out of shape.

Below I flag errors in one of Ms. Elia’s Web lucubrations and cite the page of Prentice Hall Gold that gives the rule these errors violate.

Implementing the Joint Task Force Recommendations

By MaryEllen Elia

In an effort to keep parents, teachers comma: page 660 The tip-off that this is Steve’s writing is that this omitted comma is an affectation of newspaper writing, not Standard English writing that schools are supposed to practice and to teach students. informed of our efforts to implement the Joint Task Force on School Capacity, Funding comma, page 660 and the Planning of
Growth recommendations, in this issue of the County Council “County Council” gets italics: grammarians would consider it a newspaper, and newspaper titles warrant italics according to italics rules. Prentice Hall Gold does not have this rule. newsletter I’m going to focus on maximizing existing school capacity.
This is a painful exercise that will affect the lives of students, teachers comma, page 660 and parents in every corner of Hillsborough County.
The reality is, One can omit the subordinating conjunction “that” when it is not the subject of the subordinate clause; but the writer does not replace “that” with a comma. The Prentice Gold comma chapter gives no sanction to this superfluous comma; nor does any reputable grammar book. some schools in our county are crowded and some have empty Comma after “crowded” for the compound-sentence rule Prentice Gold --page 658.
seats. The obvious two-pronged solution to crowded schools is to build more classroom space and to make the best use of the space we have. We cannot ask the community to pay for new schools if we aren’t fully using the schools we have. We have taken the first step toward accomplishing that task. In mid-March, we announced plans to change attendance boundaries affecting 20 schools and about 1,600 students in the Town ‘N Country and Westchase areas. The parents of the uprooted students were vehement in insisting that Elia did not listen to them, that she changed hearing dates at the last minute without adequate notification. We understand and empathize with the concerns we are hearing, and we hope you understand that we have a duty to look at the big picture and do what is best for the entire school district. This kind of condescension galls the parents.

That’s not to say that we won’t listen to your views or take them into
consideration. Before the school board votes on any proposal to change school attendance boundaries Comma: introductory adverbial clause, Prentice Hall Gold-- page 663 we will hold community meetings. At those meetings, staff will present the rationale for each proposal, take public comment, and report back to me.

I will consider their reports before going forward and asking the school board to vote.

By the time you read this, we will have completed the first round of public
meetings regarding changes for the upcoming school year. I can’t predict the outcome at this time, but I assure you, another error of substituting a comma for the omitted subordinating conjunction “that” when the “that” is not the subject of the subordinate clause: See same error cited above. we are not taking any of this lightly. Prentice Gold does not discuss vague pronoun reference, but “this” is an instance of the problem. For $350,000, one does not believe unreasonable to require that that the limping punctution team of Hegarty and Elia know this writing rule. They both graduated from college. God knows how.

As I’ve said in the past, solving the school hyphen: hyphenated adjective before a noun--Prentice Hall Gold--page 706 capacity problems associated with growth and the Class Size Amendment is going to take a community effort. We will do our best to balance the needs of individual schools and families with our fiduciary responsibility to make the best use of taxpayer dollars.

We hope you will do your best to understand our position and work with us for the best of all students.

MaryEllen Elia is superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools.
April 2006

Before we advance to style, Ms. Elia and Le Steve must learn to punctuate. But I label this tepid template of Elia bureaucratese as bland, banal, and boring. Duplicity peeps through its graceless, insincere facade. This superintendent production is rhetorical monkey vomit.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Department of EducationContact Email:

Dear Customer,

I want to thank you for giving the Department of Education the opportunity to serve you. I am committed to continuously assessing and improving the level and quality of services provided by the Florida Department of Education. To assist me in this commitment, please take a couple of minutes to tell me about the quality of service that you received and your satisfaction with it.

John L. Winn, Commissioner

I am a: - select -StudentParentInterested FloridianState LegislatorLegislative StaffLobbyist with Education ClientGovernor’s Office StaffBusiness PartnerCommunity PartnerMediaEducation AdvocateK-12 Public School TeacherK-12 Private School TeacherK-12 School AdministratorK-12 District AdministratorCommunity College StudentCommunity College FacultyCommunity College AdministratorUniversity StudentUniversity FacultyUniversity AdministratorVocational Rehabilitation ClientBlind Services ClientDepartment of Education EmployeeState Agency Employee (not DOE)Other

Please mark your level of satisfaction on the following matters: VERY HIGH (5) ---------- NEUTRAL (3) --------- VERY LOW (1)
1. Courtesy and professionalism:
5 4 3 2 1
2. Quality:
5 4 3 2 1
3. Timeliness:
5 4 3 2 1
4. Accuracy:
5 4 3 2 1
5. Were you provided the information committed to you?
Yes No NA

If no, please explain.3 emails for Mr. Winn's educational credentials have had no response.

6. Overall, how would you rate your satisfaction?
5 4 3 2 1

7. Your comments are important; they can tell us specifically what you like about our service and how we can improve our service to better serve you.

This form is nothing but flim-flam. It's a disgrace to treat citizens this way: no response to three emails. Is there nobody in school administration that can punctuate? The period goes inside the quotation marks in the message from the Department of Education on the previous page.

Thank you for your feedback. I sincerely appreciate your honest opinions and will take them into consideration as the Department provides services in the future.

Ms. Edgecomb:

Several days ago you said you would see that the media people would correct the superintendent's punctuation errors online. This has not happened as you can see below from today's current posting that the superintendent has not corrected her biography essay's online errors.

Did you ask her to make the corrections? Do you hesitate because you are friends with the superintendent or what? You are her boss. That's a fact. If she does not listen to your in the matter of correcting her online illiteracy, what makes you think she listens to you or the Board on other matters? The administration’s holding the Board’s request in contempt is not a good sign of the Board’s effectiveness.

Please don't tell me that you have not told Ms. Elia directly to correct the errors that are an embarrassment to any one concerned with education. For a quarter of a million dollars a year, the superintendent should be able to punctuate. Since she can’t, she should sign up for an English class in the school closest to ROSSAC and take the course so that she can stop embarrassing the district.

This is the same problem that Dr. Lennard, the previous vo-tech superintendent, had. The gentleman couldn’t punctuate either. Why does the School Board keep hiring people to head the school system who can't punctuate? I noted candidates with Ph.D.s among the finalists for the job who punctuate beautifully. I would be curious to know why a School Board does not consider superintendent literacy important. If evidence of literacy in the highest school administrator is not important, what is?

I am disappointed, ma’am, that you have not persuaded the superintendent, who acts like a reluctant pupil in this matter, to amend her Web errors because the whole WWW can now see that Hillsborough County has a superintendent who can't punctuate and hence gives the message to students of not only this county but to those all over the world that literacy is not important in American education.

Bio for MaryEllen Elia

MaryEllen Elia received her B.A. degree from Daeman College and her M.Ed. degree from the University of Buffalo. In 1983, she added Masters of Professional Studies in Reading from State University of New York at Buffalo, and received certification in Educational Leadership in 1989.
MaryEllen worked as a social studies teacher in the state of New York from September 1970 through June 1986. In August 1986, she was employed by the School District of Hillsborough County in Tampa, Florida as a reading resource specialist at Plant High School. She served as the county's secondary reading supervisor from 1989 through 1991. With the advent of magnet schools in 1991, MaryEllen became the county's first magnet school supervisor. From January 1997 through September 2002, she served as Director of Non-Traditional Programs which included magnet schools as well the ESOL program, alternative schools and dropout prevention programs.

On September 4, 2002, MaryEllen was appointed to the General Director of Secondary Education, and on June 3, 2003, she was appointed the Hillsborough County School District's Chief Facilities Officer where she was responsible for all new construction for over 200 schools/educational facilities and district maintenance and custodial operations. On May 19, 2005, MaryEllen was appointed Superintendent of Schools. Her tenure began July 1, 2005.
MaryEllen is married to Albert Elia and has two children, a son Albert and a daughter Tara.
More information about Hillsborough County Public Schools is available through the District Information web page.

Ms. Gentry, below is an excerpt from an article on the Web about national drop-out rates.

I read another piece that says school systems have been slipshod in keeping records of drop-outs and have used questionable methodology in tallying the graduation rates. For instance, one practice cited was to count as graduates those who merely promised to take the GED.

The rate for Hillsborough County is supposedly 70 percent. Are those students who actually crossed the stage and received their diplomas from school officials, or are there other ways that Hillsborough County counts students as graduates?

In other words, what is the methodology used to count graduates? Who sets it? Do you have a policy statement on it? Is it broken down ethnically? In Hillsborough County, is the breakdown by schools etc. ? Are there loopholes that allow students to be counted as graduates if they don't actually get their diplomas on stage?

What department handles this graduation count? Give me the data you have on calculation of graduation rates for Hillsborough County, please, that answers the above questions.

What does it mean when 7,000 students are dropping out of school every day? Here are some of our favorite responses that we didn't get to read on air:

· The dumbing down of America is in full swing. Destruction of our public school system is essential in creating a low-wage underclass. An educated populous capable of critical analysis, independent thought and mental acuity wouldn't tolerate what we have for government in this country today.-- Steve, Charlotte, North Carolina

· How would you like to sit all day in a classroom learning things you're not interested in and will never use? Kids are no different than us. They have the basics by 4th grade, then give them computers and help them pursue their own creativity.-- Elaine, Cleveland, Ohio

· This scale of attrition points in only one direction: the United States is quickly becoming a third-world nation and will soon drop out of super power status. If the schools can teach anything at all, Chinese might be in order.-- Gypsy

District 2 School Board Race

Gentle Reader:

Below I append letter to the president of the Athena Society. Candy Olson—and Ms. Edgecomb—are members. The late Nancy Ford, a South Tampa woman, formed this group about 35 years ago. I became acquainted with Nancy when she met me at the airport when I arrived from New York City with my four children and old cat to settle in the house we had bought in Beach Park. My husband’s company had transferred him here. Nancy presented me with the Gasparilla cook book as a new-family welcome present from the bank at which she worked.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act had recently passed, and the lummoxes who ran the bank figured they ought to get a woman in upper management to look as if the bank were in compliance with the equal opportunity law’s provisions, so they hired Nancy. The fellows couldn’t figure out what to do with a woman, so they made her a vice president who passed out cook books to the families of executives moving to Tampa, hence Nancy’s showing up at the airport to greet me, our children, and our old cat, Twink.

Nancy wanted to be involved in women’s rights, but she shrank back from the real women’s movement as not coincident with her assumptions of ladylike refinement and social elevation. (I founded Tampa NOW, the blood-and-guts women’s movement shortly after I moved to Tampa.) Athena’s purported purpose was to advance women’s rights, especially the Equal Rights Amendment that was then going through the ratification process. It never achieved ratification, of course.

Athena didn’t do much to help ERA ratification, which involved taking to the streets, because Athena’s policy was to admit only women who would not make unladylike waves. These I refer to as indigenous Aunt Toms by habit and temperament. My God, they are everywhere in every era. They joined the male sexists in calling Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony “hyenas in petticoats.” Most of these local Aunt Toms who transitioned to Nancy’s Athena had emerged from the Junior League, one infers, where they rolled bandages, did other prissy ladies’ stuff, and were contentedly junior to men. I suspect that second-banana status explains the Junior League's name. Real women’s rights work says goodbye to all that and to hell with anybody who objects to women’s equality. Just lock and load and full steam ahead are bona-fide women’s rights attitude.

Nancy’s group gingerly undertook the impossible chore of co-opting the women’s rights revolution into a Bay Area nicey-nicey parochial outfit that was too insecure to be anything but conformist snobs. The mix is impossible.

Nancy asked me to speak to Athena on the ERA shortly after the organization formed. I was teaching then and looked like the poor teacher that I was when I spoke. True, I was a college professor, but one of those doesn’t make much more than a beginning teacher in the Hillsborough County school system. So I wore my usual Sears Roebuck and Walmart couture and shoes not made in Italy and not made of leather. I got the impression that the Athena members were pricing out my outfit instead of listening to my comments on how to pass the ERA.

This plan for a society-matron crossover to the tough work of women’s right hasn’t worked for Athena because women’s rights revolution is a radically democratic movement in which snobs get laughed at. A woman has to be confident and indifferent to the disapproval of up-tight society to dare do women’s-right’s real work, which dictates fighting on different levels and ignoring the prim rules that have heretofore controlled women. But the terror of looking unladylike and historical ignorance of the struggle for women’s suffrage so imbued Athena members that they couldn’t gird up their loins to make the cut for the rough work of hacking away at sexism to get women equal status in our society. I infer the Athena Society has dwindled and over the years to a ladies-who-lunch outfit since Nancy’s death, but I keep hoping some of the younger members will rise up and reorient the outfit to doing something that its charter cites: advancing women’s rights.

If you can’t shuck that ladylike, nose-in-the-air pose, you can’t be a feminist. You will find the environs inhospitable to you. You have to be willing to get down in the trenches or mount the ramparts of rebellion and shout, “Hell, no, we won’t take it any more!”

Athena sprang from the head of Jove and was goddess of war, so Athena is the wrong symbol for this supine Bay Area outfit. The reason classical Greeks chose Athena as patron goddess of Athens instead of her competition male gods is that she was a fighter and didn’t dither about her social status. She knew she was first class. Athena’s giant effigy dominated the ancient Parthenon and should have done for she was grand and intrepid. Kitty-Kat La Foo Foo with a pink bow around her neck and whiskers dyed purple would represent a more symbolic fit for Athena Society minions.

Never despairing completely about women’s capacity to rise up and act, I thought I would tap into any latent feminist feelings that might exist in the group and recently wrote the current Athena president, one Linda Devine, the below letter about women’s right to chose’s being endangered in Florida since both Crist and Gallagher say they want to pass a law like that in North Dakota that makes women’s abortion rights illegal.

La Linda did not have the courtesy to answer. My Georgia mother-- who practiced a brand of Southern exclusivity indigenous to Georgia women, who know how to can peaches (they call it “putting up” peaches), make field peas with fatback, conjure home-made biscuits, and quell any socially insecure snoots who cross their paths with a flick of the wrist-- would have said La Linda was raised in a barn and probably didn’t come from a “good” family if one of my genealogy-nut aunts laid bare the poor wretch’s genealogy forensics,

The previous introduction leads into comment on one Athena member’s just-announced run for the School Board. La Candy Olson will compete again for the umpteenth time for District 2, South Tampa’s district. She emerges from the tradition of the society matron’s tiring of rolling bandages in the Junior League, looking about for something to fill her empty hours, and discovering dabbling in politics. The School Board is home to these types. In fact, in many communities school-board volunteerism exists as community service and performed gratis.
La Candy represents incumbent political dabbler who has occupied her seat so long that she is stuck to the chair on the School Board podium, from which she gazes out at the cameras with the fixed stare of complacency that assures the viewer that she is not going to do one damn thing except sit as a ceremonial potted-plant on her considerable –in Candy’s case— potted-plant ass.

Being a ceremonial School Board member, not doing anything but simply sitting in the seat of power, is all that La Candy cares about. Hence, when one of her current two opponents asked her a couple of years ago as his Board representative to help him diminish the savaging of gay students in the schools, where he had been, first, a teacher and now a library media specialist, La Candy told him through a third party that abating gay students’ agonies must wait for another election cycle for her to address the problem. In other words, Candy’s perpetual seat on the board was the important datum for her. She declined to rock the boat and risk her incumbency and to hell with suffering gay kids in the school system.

This fellow, Bart Birdsall, decided to run for Candy’s seat when the school Professional Standards Abu Gharib department tried to frame him at the behest of Ms. Elia after Birdsall had participated in the gay protest of Ronda Storms’s shutting down gays’ First Amendment rights in the public library. Ms. Elia, apparently helping Ms. Bean’s gay library director, Joe Stines, local Roy Cohen, get back at Birdsall for criticizing Stines’s enthusiastic participation in trashing the Constitutional rights of gays. Terrorizing school employees who dare let out a peep of protest to administration oppression by threatening their jobs constitutes administration SOP. The administration also doesn't like publicity, and Birdsall had offended against that prejudice as well. Publicity draws the public's attention to the Board and adminisistration's ripping off the taxpayer with bloated administrative salaries and incompetence such as the recent real-estate scam unearthed by the St. Petersburg Times's vigilance, not the School Board's.

The administration with a complicit School Board had come to the wrong lemonade stand with Birdsall. Using the same venerable Gestapo tactics that the administration has perfected to shut people up by threatening their jobs for decades, Elia et al expected to quell Birdsall. But, lo, Birdsall fought back, and one of his final rejection-of-abuse tactics was to run for the School Board in his District 2 because he believed the schools needed the reform of an active Board member interested in teachers’ and students’ rights for a change, not a Board member like La Olson, who rubberstamps everything the administration puts under her potted-plant nose whilst she stares into the camera.

A third contender has entered the race named Logan. Logan has not graduated from high school yet. I love this kid. I wish I could live long enough to see what he does with his life. His daring at this age shows great promise. Napoleon came from a provincial outback too. Let us pray for Logan and wish the lad godspeed.

Now faites attention, all you gauche plebeians. La Candy has sent out a campaign kick-off soiree announcement that says a political high tea will take place at some faux flossy venue and that—now get this—will feature d’oeuvres provided from Mise en Place. Well, la de da. Isn’t that an appropriate gesture from a wanna-be polyester aristocracy dingdong to let the unwashed voters know that she has deigned to sit as a potted plant for yet another term, stare into the camera, and do nothing for teachers, students, or schools in general but continue, instead, to rubberstamp administration buddy job hiring and raises for already bloated administrative salaries till the sun sinks into the east over Tampa Bay?

I would love to hear what my Jeff-Davis-County, Georgia, mother would comment on the Mise en Place touted gourmet grub for the launch of a School Board race. Mama could be devastatingly cruel about social pretensions of carpet baggers—Ms. Olson’s official status since she’s not a local but comes from the North, which waged the War of Oppression on us Southerners.

From my citizen’s observation post, here’s La Candy track record in her Board tenure besides turning back any efforts to help gay children avoid savaging in the schools:

1. La Candy recently joined other Board members in raising their own salaries to that of veteran-teacher level with a master’s degree for Board members’ attending two meetings a month compared to the teacher’s working full time. When I approached her and Dr. Lamb at Tiger Bay to tell them that this greedy gesture offended me as a citizen, La Candy joined Dr. Lamb is spitting out Exorcist style that they were offended that I, a mere citizen, had the effrontery to mention their greed to them despite the First Amendment's saying a citizen has a right to tell public officials what is on his or her mind for redress of grievances. Dr. Lamb and La Candy sneer at the First Amendment, although they took an oath of office to defend it. They endorse, instead, their ersatz regal status, which the Constitution does not endorse, and are impervious to voter input. Next, they will stake out condos on Mt. Olympus.

2. La Candy doesn’t answer citizen emails; she spams them from an undisclosed ROSSAC location. She doesn’t want to hear from constituents with questions and suggestions or problems. Below is Candy's brush-off of citizen input. Note that she does not say to get back to her if you don't get the answer you need from the electronic squawk boxes. She does not care if you get your data or not. District 2 needs a member who cares about citizen concerns. Candy is not that person. I once heard her at Tiger Bay joke that she could not remember her district's designation. Maybe that comment was not a joke but a Freudian slip.
Thank you for your email. This is an automated response. Your concerns will be referred to the appropriate school or district personnel for reply. If this is a school-based issue, please make sure that you have contacted the school principal or the area director. For general information about district policy or guidelines, you may visit our website at Thank you.All correspondences including email sent to School Board members or School District staff are considered public records per Fl. Statute 119.

3. La Candy looks the other way when Linda Kipley—former home-ec teacher-- of the Professional Standards Cell Block tortures teachers and consents by her silence to this mistreatment of teachers, not even providing teachers with a manual of their rights when they enter the Professional Standards gauntlet for punishment.

4. An observer saw Candy at a Board meeting be dismissive of students when they appeared before the panel.

5. Olson rubberstamps board and favorite hiring that violates Title VII.

6. La Candy doesn't do her homework and lets outrages like the real-estate scam slide past her lazy ignorance.

And now we have notice from La Candirina that she will announce her campaign at a snoot reception with food provided from Mise en Place. La sucrerie est un imbécile pour sûr mes amis. Je vous assure.

Either Bart or the kid Logan would be infinitely preferable to this “public” servant who thinks the public is her servant and who cares not a whit about students, teachers, or schools as long as she can occupy the dais in potted-plant splendor, say inane things when pressed for comment, and stare into the camera that the Board shut down in the past during citizen question time because it was jealous of possible opponents’ using it to advance their candidacy.

For the good of the schools, Candy should go back to rolling bandages.

lee drury decesare

former teacher, union president, and education critic

Linda Devine, President Athena Society
P.O. Box 19813
Tampa, FL 33679
March 10, 2006

Ms. Devine:

I found your name and address online.

Reading in The New York Times this morning about the vote to ban all abortions in South Dakota catalyzed my belief that I should write to a community woman’s organization to act in the Bay Area to protect women’s right to choose.

My mind alit on the memory of the late Nancy Ford, one of your founding mothers.

I met Nancy at the airport forty years ago. She was ambassador for a local bank and greeted me, my four children, and our old sedated cat by placing a Gasparilla cookbook in my hands. We had picked a house to buy from pictures in a realtor’s book in Beach Park close to my husband’s office and close to my HCC teaching job. Nancy knew the neighborhood thoroughly and gave excellent advice in addition to the cookbook.

Typical of the thinking of that time of women’s struggle toward equality was Nancy’s passing out cook books to relocating families because the male Neanderthals of the banking world had learned that there was such a thing as Title VII that required non-discrimination in hiring; hence they hired Nancy and then didn’t know what to do with their first woman vp. Cooking and women have deep embedment in male reptilian brain, so they assigned Nancy the vice-presidential job of passing out cookbooks.

I founded Tampa NOW shortly after moving to Tampa. Women were in the midst of the fight for the ERA then, and I had come from picketing in NYC with Freidan and Steinem for the ERA and wanted to continue the work in the Bay Area. Nancy knew she wanted to work for the ERA but shrank from the radical women’s movement. We radical women are progeny of Alice Paul, who chained herself to the White House gate to embarrass President Wilson into supporting suffrage more vigorously during WWI.

President Wilson threw Paul in jail, force-fed her, and tried to get the prison doctor to declare her insane and ripe for commitment to an institution to shut up her effective protests. That wonderful doctor examined Ms. Paul and reported thusly to the president: “Ms. Paul is not insane. Women who show courage are often accused of being crazy.” I love that fellow and blow his memory kisses back over the years that have elapsed since for that brave, gallant statement. That’s what I call a real man not sweating out performance anxiety. My mother voted in Georgia for the first time since she then was twenty-one.

Since Nancy was not the chaining-oneself-to-a-fence type, she formed Athena. Y’all are the ladylike arm of the women’s movement and the exact group who can serve or daughters and granddaughters now with your polished persona.

I met a vile young man running for the state House of Representatives yesterday at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He told me with smiling effrontery that he did not believe in abortion period and, in effect, had Martin Luther’s attitude toward women. You will recall that old sexist fart said, “Women were born to suffer in pregnancy; so let them.” Of course, this belief had no practical results for the prospective legislature—or Martin Luther. He can’t get pregnant no matter how much he larks about in Tallahassee after hours. The matter is theoretical for him, not blood-and-guts real as it is for women. As the late Flo Kennedy said, abortion would be a sacrament if men got pregnant. I asked him if he would be a part of the effort in Tallahassee to replicate South Dakota’s total ban of abortion. He said he would. I could have boxed his ears.

History will judge ill the women of this generation if we sit by and do nothing to combat the misogyny of the total abortion ban that the radical right wants to impose of the young women of this nation despite the majority of the country’s wanting to keep abortion legal. I don’t want my three granddaughters or my seven grandsons’ wives and girlfriends to have to go to back-alley abortions again as the women of my generation had to do. So I will do all I can to combat the creeping ban on abortion in our country.

Athena is the perfect group to host a women’s-organizations colloquy with prospective legislators—local and national candidates—to discuss their legislative plans for choice if they win office. Women’s right to choose is something the candidates need to go on record about before they enter office because after they win office, they become imperial and won’t give a voter the time of day.

So review this suggestion with your board and members; then pray devise a way to implement it in the Bay Area. The candidates must state their positions on choice and answer questions from real women in real time about those positions. Then Bay-Area women can cast their votes with eyes wide open on the issue that trumps all others for the sex who bears the world’s young: the right to control their own bodies.

The radical women’s movement can’t protect choice on its own without other women’s troubling themselves about this fundamental problem for women: All women must address it, or all women lose it.

I know that Nancy’s benign spirit will be shining down on the progeny in Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who told Odysseus what to do. Nancy’s spirit, I am sure, will bless Athena’s leading this timely project for womankind.


lee drury de cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708