I am the granny in the center with the pink shirt and mop of white hair.
At this march in Washington for choice, we had over a million people.
One of the anti-choice zealots who thronged the side of the roads to jeer us spat out at me: "Jezebel!"
I had never in my life been called a Jezebel. "Nicest girl in the neighborhood" always afflicted me. No wonder I never got any dates.
What a thrill at the age of 75 with ten grandchildren and married for 51 years to the same old guy to be called a Jezebel. The glamour of the Jezebel label just tickled me pink.
The others in line from the left are Tampa Angie Manteiga, April Manteiga, California Cathy Goodwin, one of the original members of NOW when we founded it in Tampa over forty years ago, and her daughter, the first baby born in the Tampa Women's Movement. She is now a gynecologist in California.
My husband and I attended her wedding last year. I can't give her name because the anti-abortion crazies might take it into their whacko heads to kill her. That's the world that we live in.
That's the way some people are who disagree with you--kill you for your opinions. Members of this tribe also gavel you down at the mike when you are complaining that committing adultery as a school-board member on school time and property is unacceptable and not what the voters had in mind when they unwisely voted the school-board chair into office. I suspect that will be the last time voters make that mistake.
I don't believe we should let crackpots and thugs that we run into overwhelm us. We should not cede civilization to the worst elements.
That's what I think has happened to the school system in Tampa. Thugs infest the administration, and the school board members--weak and pliable--allow these thugs to set the agenda and rape the taxpayer kitty while the administration potted plants just rubberstamp the wrongdoing.
Two new members of the board--Griffin and Valdes--are trying to make changes, but the administration thwarts them at every turn. Lamb, Ethridge, Kurdell, Olson, and Falliero oppose them and rubberstamp the administration's outrages such as the no-bid scams and the buddy-sycophant hires to jobs of over a hundred thousand dollars a year while beginning teachers get $34,000 and harassed by the Professional Standard thuggery of Linda Kipley, trained in home-ec, if they so much as utter a peep. Two board members--Kurdell and Olson-- jumped onto Griffin and labeled her "disloyal" for asking that a no-bid come off the consent agenda for discussion. They said her request for a discussion of an item offended against the the infalliable staff that wanted to hire a former administrator for a no-bid sweetheart deal who had nobody answering a business phone. Kurdell, Olson, Ethridge, Faliero, Lamb all voted to hire the no-phone former administrator while only Valdes and Griffin voted against it. The lawyer Gonzalez had delivered a pro-no-bid oration that gave legal cover to the galoots who voted for this outrage. And why wouldn't Gonzalez vote for the no-bid payolla? He has a fifteen-year-old no-bid contract himself. I figure that over those fifteen years his company has billed the taxpayers close to ten million dollars when you factor in the windfall he got for prosecuting Mr. Erwin for whistleblowing waste in the building department.
The answer to this coercion is for everybody not only to peep but to scream. Don't let these turkeys take away your Constitutional free-speech rights. Fight them. Make believe you are Paul Revere. I'm posing now as Wonder Woman. I look great in those Wonder Woman duds.
When I approach the altar at the board meetings, I embrace with exhilaration my little effort to keep the Constitution alive and well in the Hillsborough County political badlands. I am a teacher. I figure teaching the board ethics is like teaching college freshman dangling modifiers. You repeat the lesson until they learn it.
I got the message below today from an anonymous commenter. I am going to send it to the Florida Bar as addendum to the charge that I have filed against the Gonzalez firm. Nobody could have said it better than this anonymous commenter. I think he/she is right about the psycho-social pathology that affects the administration, school board, and its 15-year-no-bid lawyer.
We can't just lament the situation. We must fight it and not surrender the schools to these thugs. History will judge us ill if we don't resist.
The next board meeting is January 15, 2008. Come and go to the podium to speak up against this vile use that the administration, board, and attorney make of our tax-supported school system. We live in a democracy in which citizens can protest if they have the will to do so.
These puffed-up pooh-bahs of the administration and board are not as fierce as they want you to think they are. They are paper tigers. They get away with skullduggery because nobody challenges them.
Trust me. Would I lie? lee
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post " John T. Berry The Florida Bar 650 Apalachee Pa...":
People like Gonzalez and Faliero and probably many others will go to their graves believing they are good people while they rip off taxpayers and get rich doing it. They rationalize everything that they do and tell themselves they had no choice or shrug it off as not that big of a deal. I have noticed that no one I have ever met has the ego to really see what they do as wrong. I am glad you are shining a light on this behavior, but I am sure Gonzalez will never think he did anything wrong.
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