Friday, December 15, 2006

From: []
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2006 8:33 PM
Subject: Faliero

Ms. Goudreau: I send this via the city desk since your email kicks my messages back. So does Ms. Brown's.

I protest the slovenly use of the English language first of all in Brown's school-board article. The Tribune promotes Faliero to "Board leader" when she is, in fact, a voice for the right-wing minority community whose views she represents on the Board. Homophobia is, according to all polls, a minority view amongst voters even in Hillsborough County. The advocates reside mostly in the fens and bogs of such redoubts of brutal bigotry as Seffner and Wimauma. Plant City festers with the breed too.

I think this is another example of your paper's Girlfriend Publishing Politics: your reporter puts herself squarely in Elia's, your girlfriend's, camp. Brown's is supposed to be a news story with pretensions of objectivity. "Leader" in the title is a tendentious piece of diction that blows that pretension to hell and back. Matt Drudge could slant the story no more decidedly than that word choice signals.

It's too bad that Tampa has only one newspaper and that that newspaper gets its first female editor who is not a professional in doing her job. I had high hopes for you, ma'am. Now I see that you are from the Phyllis Schlafley branch of the x-chromosome population. This is not what I worked 45 years in the Women's Movement to see: The Aunt Tom Girlfriend Sorority getting power slots that feminists worked to open up to women.

Brown doesn't ask Faliero if she used her school computer and supplies to send out this homophobic call to her homophobic supporters.You must have coached Ms. Brown in her slant,I infer--perhaps even intimidated her. I hope Ms. Brown is not another Tribune Aunt Tom like her editor but merely a lowly reporter kowtowing to her boss's prejudices to keep her job.

Tell us: Did she get her marching orders from you, or did she know without formal coaching that her job would be in jeopardy if she were even handed like ethical reporters are supposed to be? I wonder what Poynter's journalistic ethics drive-by would say of this piece's ethics?

And why didn't Brown ask Faliera what group she referred to when she spat out the "special-interest-group" reference and her sneer at "ideological" politics? Why didn't Reporter Brown ask Faliera if she referred to the ideology of savaging gay children by blowing the whistle on them in a parental-notification scam to alert any homophobic parents who would savage their gay kids by kicking them out onto the streets in the middle of the night? A modicum of journalistic curiosity would have beseemed Ms. Brown.

Why didn't Ms. Brown ask Ms. Faliero what she was an "advocate" for when she quotes her as saying, "I'm doing my job as an 'advocate'"? In Faliera's dais screed, delivered in zeig-heil cadences, she asserted that she knew that there were those in the audience who had an "agenda." She meant the gay kids protesting the permission slips, of course. She didn't seem to comprehend that the homophobes had the unlovely agenda of alerting homophobic parents to their child's being gay in the vile hope that the sicko parents would kick that child out in the middle of the night for this "sin" against parental bigotry.

And there is the issue of proportion in Brown's piece: Faliera and her her homophobe campaign hogs most of the article; the last sentence seems to show that people favored the kids' stand, but it would take a determined parser to eke out its import.

The fact is that of the twenty people who spoke, most were against notification. Brown doesn't say so. And there were impressive people against notification that she could have named instead of giving Faliera a piece of the Tribune for her propaganda: ACLU sent a spokesperson; a psychologist from USF warned against the permission slips; Nadine Smith of Florida Equality gave a powerful endorsement of the gay students' pleas. There were a lot of gay kids in the audience. There weren't any pro-notice kids that I could discern. The main speaker of the scanty homophobe contingent wore one of those ghastly red Santa Claus sweaters with the legend of Santa's ride stitched in garish green relief. I never trust the mental stability of one who has no better sense than to wear one of those Night of the Santy Body Snatchers god-awful sweaters.

You've shown your Elia girlfriend colors again, Ms. Gourdreau, and ripped off the purported High Purpose of journalism. You have let down womankind's effort to get jobs in high places by showing you aren't ready for one. Your paper has published a distorted account that ill serves your readership. You have ensured that you will not get a condo in H.L. Mencken's corner of eternity for solid journalists. I send this rat-out to the Columbia Journalism Review, although it probably doesn't pay a shred of attention to outback publications with girlfriend editors.

Shame, ma'am, shame. Redeem yourself and your paper by finding out about Faliera's possible use of a school-bought computer for advocating bigotry. If she claims she sent it from her own computer, not the school's, dispatch a factotum for ocular proof, including the sent messages on her hard drive.

And put the story above the fold in repentance of deeds ill done in the objectivity boast of the news racket.

lee drury de cesare

15316 Gulf Blvd. 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708


Board Leader Solicits Supporters For Change In School Clubs Rule

Published: Dec 12, 2006

TAMPA - A battle over whether to require parental permission for Hillsborough County students to enroll in school clubs was reignited this week with a mushrooming e-mail campaign.

On Monday, one day before a school board vote on new club guidelines, board Vice Chairwoman Jennifer Faliero sent a mass e-mail asking for support in requiring signed parental permission forms before students can participate in school clubs, including nonsanctioned athletic clubs.

Faliero said she sent her plea to "hundreds" of Hillsborough residents in hopes they will unleash their own resources to lobby the board.

"I'm doing my job as an advocate," said Faliero, who predicts a divided board on the subject.

Faliero said she was responding to dozens of identical e-mail received by board members Monday decrying the "unnecessary obstacle of permission slips."

"Changing the current policy will have a stifling affect on students and on the clubs and will require even more time and effort be spent on non-educational programs by already overburdened school employees who volunteer as club advisors," the form e-mail said.

Faliero's e-mail response warns that a large contingency organized by Equality Florida and members of the American Civil Liberties Union are opposing the new guidelines. "I believe a parent has the right to know and decide what is best for their child," Faliero wrote.

School clubs ignited a bitter debate a year ago after a parent group from Newsome High in Lithia protested a new Gay-Straight Alliance Club there.

The issue was put on hold as a committee of district personnel and citizens reviewed club policies and procedures. The committee recommended requiring permission slips as well as a disclaimer for participants in sports club activities. The disclaimer protects the school district from liability.

Cathy James, a Riverview parent of a first-grader, said she plans to speak against the new policy even though "it doesn't affect me yet."

"My concern is some members of this committee may be a little short-sighted on how some families work," James said. "I think we need to allow students to find their own ideas, find their own way. Permission slips are something you need when you go off campus, when you have a liability."

The school board meets at 5 p.m. today at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.

Find this article at:
Bart Birdsall
2309 W. Bristol Ave.
Tampa, FL 33609
home (813) 258-8817
cell (813) 362-7937

It is galling that Linda Kipley the head of Professional Standards with the School District of Hillsborough County lied to a teacher during an investigation into his emails. I am willing to take a lie detector concerning this. No one should be lied to in that office.

In a message dated 12/14/2006 6:03:55 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
I noticed that neither you nor Lee spoke either. Could it have been that it was not politically wise for the two of you to speak given the bias it may have caused on the Board?

You and Lee have made some very serious allegations about certain school board members and district staff, so you were probably very smart to stay out of the fray, so to speak.

My decision not to speak had nothing to do with what you say above. I have emailed all the school board members and MaryEllen Elia about my views on the permission form matter and many other issues. I emailed them after the meeting.

They know me, they know how I feel, and it would have been redundant for me to speak. They would have yawned and thought, "I know exactly what he's going to say" and I wanted others to shine in the light.

In contrast for CTA's executive director to speak on this issue would have held a lot of weight with the board members. Some of the people who spoke at Tuesday's board meeting have been influenced by me and were emailing me constantly before the meeting.

You express concern about my obsession with Linda Kipley. I am obsessed with making sure no other teacher is caught in her abuse of power. This personality trait is the trait that all whistleblowers have. They experience something personal that is outrageous, and they want to tell the world, so that this type of behavior does not keep going on.

I have spoken to a teacher today who I think will finally call Tom Gonzalez, so there is another solid story. Her story is horrendous. It shows how Linda Kipley is a menace to every teacher in the county.

I have not changed. I have simply discovered wrongdoing and received no help in getting it exposed. That frustrates anyone, especially when you receive no help from those that you trusted and believed would help you.

Lee has been the only person who has helped me during and after the investigation into my emails, in my opinion.
You find it strange that I enjoy the discomfort that someone faces during a confrontation. Why shouldn't someone be glad that Linda Kipley has to be uncomfortable when she has made others uncomfortable in a sadistic way or through lies?

Why should I be respectful and nice to someone who has lied to my face about the reason she was investigating me? That would be ludicrous.

The teacher I spoke to who was mistreated by Linda Kipley in an extreme manner was thrilled to death to hear that Lee confronted her. When people have been wronged, they are HAPPY when the shoe is on the other foot. Surely you understand that elementary concept of human emotions.

I'd like to see you mistreated by Linda Kipley (if you were a teacher) and see if you don't find some happiness in her discomfort when Lee confronts her. It is normal and human. Watch court cases. Families who have a relative who was killed scream for joy when a murderer is put behind bars.

I do not know what it is like to experience a murdered relative and go through a trial, but it appears to be quite common that people find happiness in the murderer being convicted, even though it does not bring their relative back. They delight in the murderer being punished. That is an extreme example, but I am sure you understand my point.

I am still the same sweet, soft spoken Bart that I have always been, but when I feel something is wrong, I will not "drop it" as CTA suggested. How can I drop it? I have never dropped my support of gay youth. I have never stopped loving opera. I have never stopped Pilates and yoga. When I get involved in something I do not stop and do not give up. It becomes a part of my life and being, and I am driven to expose Linda Kipley as an unprofessional head of Professional Standards, because I believe her to be despicable, and I can not live with myself, if I don't continue to tell anyone who will listen that this woman abuses her power.

I will take a lie detector or sign an avadavit or whatever I have to do. I will testify in court, if I have to, but I will go to my grave talking about the unprofessional head of Professional Standards in the School District of Hillsborough County.

When I first brought Kipley's behavior up to Jean, I told her I thought Kipley should be investigated. She said, "'Investigate' is a harsh word....." Well, Kipley had no qualms about investigating me or many others. Why is she too good to experience investigations? Why would CTA uphold a double standard for teachers and district officials?

Like I said, I am still the same Bart, except that I am sick and tired of the obstacles gay students have faced in starting their clubs (I received many calls about students not being able to start them and even called Plant High years ago to question the AP and that got it started).

I am sick and tired of the nonsense that goes on in the district and how people give excuse after excuse to avoid doing anything about injustice.

Jane Boles of PFLAG was sick of the district runaround about the gay club issue way before I was, and I told her that we have to be patient, etc. etc. Finally, I got sick too.

Michael Freincle is sick too, and he's a lot younger and newer at this than I am.
Come to Greco and interview the staff. I guarantee that the majority will praise me and say that I am a nice and respectful person, but when I feel I have been wronged I do not hesitate to say something.

I was always respectful to Candy Olson, and then she yelled at me in a public place, when she thought I was down and in trouble. She saw the moment to kick someone while he was down. What's funny is that you don't seem to care about how others have treated me, but I am supposed to remain sweet, nice, and respectful while they treat me incredibly disrespectfully. That's a double standard. Why is it that they have every right to treat me any way that they feel, yet the minute I do the same, suddenly, I am supposed to be "respectful" ?

I have been amazed at the people I counted as friends who have literally avoided helping me. I believe this is because people avoid confrontation at all costs, and what I ask people to do is confront people who I feel have done the wrong thing. Since people, who should check into this, don't like conflict, they begin to avoid me.

From your email I feel you are trying to say I am crazy or something ("obsession" and I have changed). This is a tactic to avoid dealing with hard issues that may require confrontation. Tom Gonzalez told me there was nothing that would have happened to me. He basically implied the whole email investigation was nothing more than a bluff by Linda Kipley.

I would like to know how you would feel if your son or daughter were treated the way I was or the way Shawnree Miller or Pat Barton were treated.

When you have been on the receiving end of lies or sadism, then see how it feels for someone to tell you to "drop the whole thing" or to tell you to be more respectful.
This district's civility policy and concept of "respectful" is thrown in our faces when we speak up. Meanwhile, the district people can act ridiculous and mean-spirited and nothing happens.

I know you will say, "That's the way of the world," and maybe I am charging at windmills, but I think my reactions have been human.
I had a horrible year 2005-2006.....I loved my job and working with my co-workers, but I was angry about my email investigation, and I was angry CTA kept telling me to drop it, and I was angry that other teachers have experienced what I experienced and much worse.

It's hard to work for an organization (school district) that you feel is totally corrupt.

Bart Bart Birdsall 2309 W. Bristol Ave. Tampa, FL 33609 home (813) 258-8817 cell (813) 362-7937

It is galling that Linda Kipley the head of Professional Standards with the School District of Hillsborough County lied to a teacher during an investigation into his emails. I am willing to take a lie detector concerning this. No one should be lied to in that office.

La Gaceta called me. It was too late to find out how to get in.

I wish that I could have been there and exposed Elia's illiteracy and how she got the job through the back door of inside political machinations, not from merit. The Board was complicit in hiring this ill-prepared, marginally literate superintendent because its members were too parochial to hire one of the better credentialed and more highly experienced outside candidates.

The Board allows itself to be cozened and flattered by the administration operators into doing the administration's bidding. Every election of a Board member from now on should focus on this poisonous situation. The Board has not led; it has followed the worst, greediest, and most power-hungry of the manipulators in the administration. These were behind both Lennard's and Elia's slipping into the job of superintendent.

I would have also got in the fact that the Board does not advertise top jobs that pay over $100,000 of tax money to people with kindergarten and home-ec credentials when these jobs advertised could attract top talent from across the country.

Schools are no better than their leadership, and the administrative leadership of the local school system is shoddy. It allows administrative courtships that break up marriages to fester in the halls and offices of ROSSAC as a way to get a job promotion, setting the whole building abuzz, and yet savages a teacher by producing a gimcrack case against her for taking students to see a university with parental permission and referring her to Linda Kipley's Abu Gharib cell block for degrading treatment for this manufactured offense.
The Board is the gateway to better schools and better leadership. Elia makes mistake after mistake, but the Board does not rebuke her or, better, fire her.

The Board must explain itself to the voters in the next election cycle.

Lee's response to union featherbedder Jean Clements' excuse for not speaking at the petition-slip Board meeting:

Clements's view is limited. That teachers' relationship with their students encompasses their ability to relate to students without the intrusion of gender into the equation is a work-related issue. The explosive consequences of some of these admission slips' going to parents who discover their gay children's orientation and then the parents' flailing about and pressuring teachers because of their homophobia are a quite possible outcome of the sequelae to passing this sadistically honed disguised issue to trap gay students into admitting their gayness to hostile parents.

That was the elephant in the room that I did not hear articulated in any of the remarks. People talked all around it but didn't lay it out in plain English.
We must deal with ethical environment of the workplace for teachers. Right now the ethics of the school-system environment is that people are scared to death to say anything critical of the administration for fear of firing. That is a highly relevant work-environment issue that the union's being in bed with the administration keeps in the closet, but everybody knows about it nonetheless.

That La Jean is unconcerned about ethics does not surprise. Any union leader who allows tacky administration home-ec trained ghoul Linda Kipley to savage teachers as she does in the Professional Standards Abu Gharib with no written guidelines in teachers' hands when they enter the gauntlet is not much of a friend to teachers. Any union that discourages teachers from filing grievances against lies and mistreatment is not much of a union. Any union that sucks up to the administration is not teachers' friend. Any union that plays politics sans ethics is not teachers' best advocate.

Finally and especially, any union whose overpaid staff refuses to put its salaries on the Web is greedy and disingenuous.

I know what a union should be from the inside: I was union president at HCC and fought the administration when it tried to stifle teachers. Nobody backed me down on teachers' rights and protections. I did not cozy up to the administration; I opposed it when it harmed teachers--or when it even looked like it wanted to harm teachers.

When I speak publicly or write for public consumption, I speak from conviction in plain American English. I practice a higher politics than Bay Area you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours. I went to the Board meeting observe the spectacle of community action on an issue that the School Board and administration has evaded with unethical cowardice for a long time. I thought the kids and the grown-up supporters did a pretty good job of making their case and didn't need me.

I never hesitate to speak up, to confront, to harass, to holler, to jump up and down, and to fulminate if I think the situation calls for it. That is more than Jean or her timid collaborators can say in their speaking up for teachers' wellbeing. They are administration toadies and bootlickers. Gutlessness, not political astuteness explains their sitting out the meeting.

lee drury de cesare

From: Lyons, Yvonne []
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2006 6:04 PM
Cc: Clements, Jean;; Ford, Andy;; Roney, Jim
Subject: RE: Permission forms


I am weeks behind in my emails and am unable to respond to each and every one in a timely manner. I would appreciate it if you would call me whenever there is an issue for which you want an immediate response.

The only reason for this lie of "weeks behind my emails" is to excuse her from not answering Bart's request for the union to speak against notification and thus oppose the gay-student-bashing maneuver that Elia cooperated with the homophobes to craft to make gay students' life miserable. The first committee recommended no notification. When the homophobes pressured Elia, she buckled as she did in the religious-holiday issue, reformed a second committee with the homophobes on it, and got a "Let's-notify-the-parents-so-they-will-kick-their-gay children-out-of-the-house-at-2 a.m.-second decision that satisfied the homophobes' ugly desire to punish gay kids by outing them to their parents. Thank goodness, four members of the Board didn't buy the sadistic notification gambit. The union members are in bed with the administration and don't oppose it from gutlessness, not from "being weeks behind" in their emails.

I really don't feel comfortable commenting on Missy's conversation as I was not privy to it, however, I have been advised that the person who called was a total stranger from another county asking for union action. If she said what you claim was said, it was incorrect.

A single member's request does not drive the organization, nor does it compel me or any officer to act. Your request seemed a simple one from your perspective, I'm sure, however, you know that the agenda item at Tuesday's school board meeting had very little to do with paperwork. A Board member who might have been caught in a perceived moral dilemma may have been able to use "paperwork" as their excuse to vote down the proposal, but the real issue was inclusion for gay and lesbian students and should not have been disguised by anyone as a paperwork issue.

I believe it was you who informed me in a previous email that the paperwork burden was not an important issue and that you handled unwanted paperwork by throwing it in the trash. You went on to say that teachers at your school were more concerned about losing their planning period due to the lack of substitutes.

I took your comments as one member's opinion, but did not change Rep Council's direction to me regarding excessive paperwork as a result of that opinion. We on CTA staff have been meeting with School Board members, district staff, teachers and the superintendent concerning the unnecessary paperwork that gets in the way of teachers doing their jobs. In fact, Jean and I met with Candy Olson, Ken Otero, and Mary Ellen Elia for two hours one morning discussing paperwork issues and planning a focus
group which met and made proposals to the superintendent. Candy actually participated in the focus group activities.

There is no district administrator or elected school board member that is in the dark about CTA's position on paperwork, nor can I believe there are any CTA members in the dark either.

Sometimes it is not politically wise for the union to be in the forefront of a parent/district battle, even one that affects teachers tangentially.

I noticed that neither you nor Lee spoke either. Could it have been that it was not politically wise for the two of you to speak given the bias it may have caused on the Board? You and Lee have made some very serious allegations about certain school board members and district staff, so you were probably very smart to stay out of the fray, so to speak.

At least they were forced to deal with the real issue instead of how they may have felt about you two personally. On the other hand, Jean and I were there and could easily have risen to speak had it been necessary. From our conversations prior to the Board meeting, it was apparent that the vote would go the way it did.
Bart, I have to tell you that I am concerned about your apparent obsession with Linda Kipley, but even more than that, I am disturbed at your delight in watching her discomfort at being approached by you and Lee.

When I first met you while serving on the committee to make recommendations for the student handbook, I was struck by your gentle manner, your advocacy for all students, your reasoned intellect and patience. To compare the Bart Birdsall I first met with the one who enjoys the intimidation of another human being and one who promotes his opinions as the only "right" opinions, and know he is the same person, is almost incomprehensible to me.

Standing up for what you believe in a respectful manner is far more influential than trashing those who disagree or disappoint. Those individuals who spoke at the Board Meeting, regardless of which side they were on, were impassioned, respectful and articulate. They made a difference.
Please call me if there are other issues we should discuss.

From: []
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 11:05 PM
To: Lyons, Yvonne
Cc: Clements, Jean;; Ford, Andy;; Roney, Jim
Subject: Permission forms


Steve Kornell told me last week that he spoke to Missy from CTA, and she said all she needed was a CTA member to request that CTA get involved on the permission form issue that the Superintendent wanted the board to pass.

So I called Missy and asked that CTA get involved. She didn't think the permission forms were going to be brought up. I told her that it is listed on the online agenda. At that point, she told me I had to contact you for you to make the final call, so I emailed you as a CTA member and asked you to take a stance on the burden this would put on teachers.

I did not hear back from you, and I noticed you and Jean showed up to the meeting tonight and did not speak on the issue.

Once again I felt I was getting the runaround from CTA. I followed the directions that Steve Kornell gave me and then what Missy gave me and nothing.....

I am happy to get info for teachers at my school from CTA and will continue to do so, but I am disturbed that I never feel like CTA wants to act on anything that goes counter to the school administration.

I really do feel like CTA helps you unless it means aggravating the big wigs. It shouldn't be that way. I am in the awkward position of telling teachers at my school to join CTA and singing your praises at my school so that teachers are somewhat protected, but then my own personal experience has not been great. Tom Gonzalez told me nothing would have ever happened to me. He seemed to think that Chuck's comments about working really, really hard on getting me out of any punishment was odd. He said I was never in any real trouble to begin with and the district could not have done a thing to me about the things I did.

I have asked for 2 things in my 10 years as a CTA member:

1) that Linda Kipley be investigated for her lie to me and for her sadistic treatment of teachers, according to some teachers.....something that Tom Gonzalez is looking into after I met with him recently, and
2) that you speak tonight opposing permission forms for clubs.

Neither of these things ask you to climb Mount Everest, and one of them makes the district safer for ALL teachers, and the other goes hand in hand with your goal to eliminate unnecessary paperwork for teachers. I do not understand why you would not work on either of these two things. I would love to have an explanation.

I keep wanting to believe you are trying to keep teachers safer, but I do not understand your response or "no response" to the two issues named above.

I am beginning to believe that Candy Olson would do a better job of running CTA after watching her tonight. She has become braver and is finally showing true leadership and questioning everything district officials are doing including questioning Elia. Maybe Candy should just do CTA's work instead. When she retires from the school board, maybe she can run CTA. Her performance was terrific tonight, and I emailed her that opinion.

I am very disappointed you did not speak on the permission forms issue.

By the way, Lee tried to talk to Linda Kipley, and she ran away to avoid talking. When someone has a defense, they plant their feet and fight or argue when someone confronts. When they have no defense for their horrible behavior they run, run, run to avoid discussing the issue. She ran like the wind. This was priceless to see.

I finally saw her experience the feelings she causes in teachers in Hillsborough County. I have talked to teachers who literally start to tear up about how Kipley treated them.

You should be looking into this and questioning, questioning, questioning for the sake of every teacher of Hillsborough County. I am shocked that CTA does not want to do anything about a liar who sits as head of Professional Standards. Now I find out tonight that she's not just a liar but a coward to boot. She can dish out chastisements, but she sure doesn't want to take them.

CTA should be outraged and horrified that the head of Professional Standards lies to a teacher during an investigation. This woman is a menace to every teacher in the county. If she is willing to lie once to a teacher during an investigation, what else is she capable of doing? Why should any of us put up with that? It is obscene and makes a mockery of the Office of Professional Standards as well as the school district.
Bart Birdsall 2309 W. Bristol Ave. Tampa, FL 33609 home (813) 258-8817 cell (813) 362-7937 It is galling that Linda Kipley the head of Professional Standards with the School District of Hillsborough County lied to a teacher during an investigation into his emails. I am willing to take a lie detector concerning this. No one should be lied to in that office.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Board Club Notification Follies

The performances of Elia, Faliero, Valdez, Olson, Edgecomb, Griffin, and Lamb at the club-notification blowout last evening were epiphanies for students of the Board.

The power is shifting from administration to Board members.

Olson’s performance was significant. She is intelligent. But she has not always been brave. She was remarkably forthcoming in a stream-of-consciousness outpouring on the notification debate and admitted that her own daughter had belonged to GSA. So does my granddaughter at Plant. The kids don’t have a problem with gays; older prejudiced people do.

Ms. Edgecomb waxed philosophical and pondered the epistemological implications of “aware,” in parental awareness of their children’s lives. Ms. Edgecomb looks to be coming into her own as an independent voice on the Board.

I have requested a copy of the Board minutes so that I could examine especially Ms. Olson’s and Ms. Edgecomb’s thinking.

There was Board consensus in condemnation of parental indifference to children’s school lives, with Plant’s parent night’s nearly empty auditorium as summary of this sad fact. So Elia’s and Falliero’s threnodies on the primary importance of parental rights got refutation in this citing parental indifference except when the administration and their Board followers use it to punish gay kids. A remark that appeared several times from Board members was that, if parents were concerned about their children, they would see to the situation themselves without sky-high-paper notification protocol to load more work on teachers, the aim of which notification not being to notify parents except those who would kick out their gay children from home if they found out they wanted to belong to the GSA club. This notification rigmarole festered with cruelty at its core.

Ms. Valdez’s voice has ramped up since I saw her a little while after her election. She is more poised and emphatic. She has grown.

New member Ms. Griffin preserved a delicate balance between humble ingénue and insistent new voice. She negotiated her desire to re-examine the contract for the elementary school that started at an offer of over $600,000 and plummeted to $300,000 as negotiated by the Keystone Kops of the administration—the same ones, we infer, that supervised the crooks who ripped off the taxpayers in the real-estate scandal that Ms. Elia et al claimed not to know about. The administration has forfeited all rights to trust in its real-estate fiascos.

But the astonishing revelation of Board-member psyche came from Falliero. Falliero is an authority junkie. She reminded me of Goebbel’s wife, who gave her seven beautiful children cyanide in the bunker and joined her husband in being set afire as final tribute to the ultimate authority figure: the fuehrer. Such psyches are obedience driven to worship whatever or whoever is in power. To them, as Pope says, Whatever is, is right. She replicated the administration’s drumbeat of propaganda that the most important thing in the notification issue was parental rights.

One hears Elia attended Falliera’s victory party after election. Elia is the symbol of authority, blowsy though she be in the symbol department, so Falliero followed her lead. A blowsy authority figure is better than no authority figure at all to authority junkies. If Billy Bob Thornton were in charge of the administration, power-junkie Falliero would follow Angelino Joli's ex.

In her statement after audience comment on club notification, Falliero spat contempt at people attending the meeting who had “agendas,” meaning the kids and their supporters who opposed allowing the right-wing homophobes’ using notification to alert any parents who didn’t know to their children’s sexual orientation as a way to animate nutty parents to kick out their poor children and make their lives more miserable than those lives presently be with societal squeamishness about gayness. Falliero didn’t acknowledge that the homophobes had an agenda too—an unlovely one aimed at savaging gay children through any homophobic parents they could flush out with the notification ruse.

Ms. Elia came off as insecure, mentally and physically disheveled, and ineffective. She delivered her rationale for notification in strident monotone that hammered “parental notification” as the holy of holies—one to which the administration owed long-time allegiance. Significant from back-of-the-room vantage appeared the body language of the tableaux: Board members used to turn for guidance to Elia but now faced the audience and danced their own solos without checking in with Elia.

Objective analysis observes that Ms. Elia is an unsteady administrator who buckles under pressure from bigots. This club-notification pas-de-deux reminded me of her staggering performance on the religious-holiday issue. She first accepted the committee recommendation to begin to reach out to other religions in the changing face of America’s religious population. Then bigots showed up at the Board meeting, hollered, and Elia flip-flopped. In the Club scenario, the first committee recommended no notification. The homophobes pressured Elia into forming another committee with bigots as members. It came out with the bigot club-notification resolution that Elia endorsed and that the Board considered last night. This Elia flip-flop of Elia her somersault on the religious-holiday issue. I record a tardy salute to Ms. Edgecombe’s having the guts to stand alone in opposition to that cave-in to bigots.

Dr. Lamb chaired the meeting in a dither of parliamentary dishabille. He was in perfect Uriah Heep humble mode, garnishing his deportment with fawning amiability. Dr. Lamb’s disguise hid his obeisance to the administration agenda, no matter its being despicable.

Board-attorney Mr. Gonzalez does not sound like a Gonzalez. There’re no Cervantes or Lorca accents in his delivery. He’s generic country cadences. Mr. Gonzalez features the identical corn-pone country-speak of the boys who hang out at the filling station in my birth hamlet of White Oak, Georgia. These are the town layabouts who maintain our area’s venerable garage culture. President Carter’s brother Billy was one of this ancient fraternity. Mr. Gonzalez’s country accent is a great disguise for mental acuteness. There is a stock character in Greek classical comedy called the Eiron, who fools people by pretending to be dumb. Mr. Gonzalez’s accent gives him Eiron credibility.

Unlike White Oak’s garage-culture yokels, Mr. Gonzalez is hell on wheels with Robert’s Rules. He split a question three ways to fit the convoluted expression of Olson’s formula for discussing the club issue. He squared it. He threw it up in the air. He hung it out to dry. It is reassuring to find an island of competence in the center of any Board Perfect Storm. Peace, peace: be calm: let us hear what the attorney says according to the liturgy of Roberts.

The use of the English language in such community gatherings as the Board meeting last evening astonishes. A person from another planet familiar with Standard English would have a tough time figuring what everybody is talking about. Circumlocutions were rampant. Lofty allegiance to high principals was constant theme. Nobody got to the hard nut of meaning at the center of all the oblique verbiage: a dirty little story of hate-filled prejudice.

The issue was bigotry: the homophobic bigots had secured Ms. Elia’s cooperation in perpetuating their ugly attempt to punish gay students. They had found out that the law didn’t allow them to abolish GSA clubs. So they found a niche way to punish gay kids whose insecure parents might savage them and kick them out of their homes in the middle of the night for being gay. Ms. Elia attached the authority of the school district to this foul scheme.

I am in the middle of the last of three of Dr. Peter Gay’s books on the Victorian era. He is current star history-of-ideas star with a flossy endowed chair at Yale. Dr. Gay’s third book explores the use of cruelty in social organization.

The morphology of bigotry is that in-groups must have an out-group to scapegoat and onto which to project their fears of their own repressed flaws. Jews have functioned template scapegoat for the world. But in boutique pockets of prejudice, gays are current scapegoat. Homophobes are afraid that they themselves may be gay, so they project this fear onto gays—even gay children in Hillsborough County classrooms—so as to eradicate them from the group. The club issue is not Auschwitz; but it’s in that vile area of human vice.

Darwin’s epochal work Origin of the Species came emerged the Victorian century. The bigots jumped on Darwin’s survival of the fittest and extrapolated it to excuse exploitation of the poor and helpless; they used it to go to war against what they chose to consider inferior peoples—a phenomenon that continues in Bush’s Iraq war. Dr. Gay says Americans were particularly taken with social Darwinism and applied it with zest. De Tocqueville echoes this observation.

The homophobes with which Ms. Elia allied the school administration—joined by two concurring Board members Falliero and Lamb—aim to use societal cruelty to scapegoat gays and drive them out of the clan.t
Prejudice is seductive. Freud says that prejudice is hard to kick because it gives the prejudiced the pleasure of feeling superior to others, and pleasure is hard to give up. This phenomenon explains the Republicans’ co-opting the solid Democratic South by conducting a campaign of slogans that signaled Republican willingness to continue states’ rights so that the segregated South could continue to scapegoat Blacks. Thus even poor Southern whites could experience the pleasure of feeling superior to Blacks.
Now when I go back to my home state of Georgia for family events, I see poor white Southerners-- who depend to survive on liberal-generated-Republican-opposed Social Security and Medicare--driving pickup trucks with Bush bumper stickers above the gun racks. That situation is what intellectuals call cognitive dissonance. Southerners are into it big time.

Cognitive dissonance is alive too at the Hillsborough County ROSSAC building of the administration. But, thanks be to the maker, be it Jesus, Allah, or Buddha, only two Board members joined in the ugly phenomenon of homophobia to punish gay kids in the school system.

This can’t but be good news for the children in the schools and the voters in the communities who depend on the Board to aim for the highest and the best for the children, not the lowest and the ugliest.

lee drury de cesare

Monday, December 11, 2006

From: Lee De Cesare []
Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 6:28 PM
To: 'Jack Lamb'
Subject: RE:

Dr. Lamb: Please vote against the recommendation of the second student-club committee to notify parents of club membership. Ms. Elia rejected the first committee's recommendation not to notify parents and succumbed to the homophobes' pressure to reject the first committee's recommendations and form a second committee with the complaining bigots as members.

The sadism of the second committee contaminates its recommendation: the homophobes want the parents of gay children to know that they are gay. All parents don't know. If they do, they kick out their children of the house into the streets. That is a most unlovely reason to ratify this second committee's suggestion.

Poor Bart Birdsall ran for the School Board against an incumbent simply to bring attention to the suffering of the gay children in the public schools. His parents--who, dear people, accepted his gayness--paid his filing fee. God bless the boy for doing this deed for the cause of gay humanity.

The School Board has ignored this problem for years. Helping Bart and Jane Boles, the mother of a gay son at my old alma mater, HHS, was what brought the School Board to my attention. I personally ran Dr. Lennard down in the hall after Tiger Bay to commit him to addressing the savaging of gay students. He promised he would. Then he didn't.

The Board doesn't appoint ethical people as superintendent. They appoint the worst motivated of the in-house power seekers. The School Board is as bad at the Board at HCC when I taught there for 28 years. The president before the present one, Ambrose Garner, chased secretaries around the desk. I was ostracized because I helped one of the women get an attorney to oppose Garner's harassment of her.

What ails a Board--either at HCC or in the public schools--that it lets the administration flatter it into acquiescence with hideous policies like this situation that Ms. Elia has maneuvered to propitiate the homophobes by punishing gay children by outing them to their often hostile parents? This phenomenon is simply sicko.

Don't support this cruelty, Dr. Lamb. It is un-Christian. I mean that accusation. Jesus would not approve of savaging gay children. He said, "suffer little children"; he didn't say "suffer little heterosexual children."

Vote against Ms. Elia's recommendation on the club issue and see that the people who want to comment on it get a chance to do so. If the administration refutes your request, call on the Board attorney for precedent. He is the Board's attorney, not the administration; and a clever one can always find a footnote in legal lore to justify doing what's right.

Don't let your long-term incumbency render you inhumane. Do what's right and protect the gay children from more punishment.

lee drury de cesare

From: Jack Lamb []
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 1:12 PM
Subject: Re:

Sorry--Don't remember nor have copy of the e mail.

Jack R. Lamb, Ed.D.
School Board Member
District 3
Hillsborough County Public Schools

All correspondences including email sent to School Board members or School District staff are considered public records, per Florida Statute 119.