Monday, May 14, 2007


Mr. Bill Maxwell of The St. Petersburg Times:

uMy husband, your fan, handed me the first of your three articles on your disenchantment in two years at Stillman College. I feared that would be the case when I read that you were returning to academic life.

I labored in the gullies of the comma splice for twenty-eight years. I didn’t get to lecture much on Shakespeare or Yeats for having to teach entering freshmen who made A’s in English in county high schools basic grammar and punctuation, not to mention paragraph and essay structure. Most of these marginally literate students were furious with me for pointing out that they couldn’t write the English language with acceptable literacy since heretofore teachers passed them despite their not knowing where to put a comma, what an apostrophe was for, or when to use a semicolon.

You may or may not find comfort in my observation that black kids were no lazier than white kids. In the area of sloth, we have reached equality. And black students were just as lazy and just as indifferent to the ecstasy of learning as white kids. They were both sorry specimens of Yeats’s “honey of generation” of the kind which affrighted your sight when you approached Stillman’s gates.

My best students were Asians immigrants. They could catch you if you nodded off and bungled a grammar rule that you had taught the previous class. They waited until the end of class to come up with deep respect and ask, “Teacher, is it possible that I have misunderstood your comment on such and such a point?” The white and black kids—if they by some miracle knew enough to catch your making an error—would yell across the classroom, “Hey, teach, you’ve’ messed up big time!”

The best teacher evaluation I got from these full-of-a-sense-of-entitlement students was this one: “Off the wall but knows her stuff.”

I have a kindred sorrow about my forty-five years of work in Women’s-Rights Movement. Women who walk through the doors that we feminists have broken down have proved that power corrupts them as it corrupts men. Lord Acton’s formula has dismal equal application.

Not only that, but women go ill prepared into employment opened for them in recent years. They make all women look bad by mangling grammar and punctuation in such jobs as editorial-page editor as my dissection of Ms. Rosemary Goudreau’s biased essay below demonstrates. She, in addition, trivializes the high purpose of editorials by using the Tribune’s editorial forum to carry water for her marginally literate girlfriend Superintendent MaryEllen Elia of the Hillsborough County school system. Elia got her job through the malignant Hillsborough County tradition of internal political chicanery and Board collusion, not from “equal-opportunity-employer” lying mantra the Board plasters on the Web.

How this young woman achieved the Tribune editorial-page job exceeds my comprehension. She would have never escaped my Freshman English I class with such lousy writing and illogical thinking. Future editorial-page editors should never get social promotions as Goudreau did without doubt.

For what comfort it gives you, you reign best writer at the St. Petersburg Times. You sometimes use a comma in an arguable way, but you rank solid meat-and-potatoes writer whose prose is a clear as daylight. Your cachectic ectomorph WASP boss Paul Tash should feel honor for having you on his staff but probably preens himself in the recesses of his desiccated soul for racial tolerance for his accepting the superior services of a Black man who can write rings around run-of-the-mill honkey reporters. I believe Tash’s attitude replicates that of the pompous jerk Howell Raines’s condescending tolerance for corrupt reporting of that young black man at the New York Times before C-student dauphin Sulzberger kicked Raines out because of staff pressure, not because Sulzberger comprehended the situation. How those learning-disabled Sulzbergers manage to keep a good newspaper going exceeds the reach of one’s imagination. I predict the phenomenon will remain one of the great historical mysteries of the newspaper racket.

Lee Drury De Cesare

Red-pen analysis of Tribune’s Endorsement of School- Board Ignorance: (likely composed by School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia girlfriend Editorial- Page EditorRosemary Goudreau, who uses the editorial page of the Tampa Tribune to air her personal pique because teachers at the 13th School-Board meeting called Susan Valdes and April Griffin “heroes” for suggesting that cozened ROSSAC administrators share some of the financial pain of in Elia’s extra-class attack of teachers)

Lee Drury De Cesare

*********

Voters Provide Elected Officials The For the literate, article “the” gets no capital in a title. Only Certification They Need

Assignment: Review standard capitalization of titles.

Bottom of Form

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

We know that having a certified public accountant handle your books is a smart business move. And if you have a serious health problem, it's advisable to seek out a board Hyphenated adjective before a noun certified physician to treat you. And board Hyphenated adjective before a noun certified teachers go through a rigorous program that requires a high-degree No hyphen: There is only one adjective before the noun that it modifies. of skill to complete.

Editor Assignment: Review hyphenated adjectives before nouns.

So what does it mean when an elected official - like a school board member, county commissioner or elections supervisor – become Subject-verb agreement error; “Becomes,” not “become”: singular subject (“official”) gets singular verb. certified through their Pronoun-antecedent disagreement professional organizations? Not as much as you - or they - might think.

Editor Assignment: Review subject-verb agreement.

Editor Review pronoun-antecedent agreement.

At the Hillsborough County School Board, the certification issue has been used Pussyfooting passive verb: “has been used by whom”? Don’t go flabby in this excoriation. Assign responsibility. Do you mean--but lack guts to spit out what you hide behind a sneaky passive verb—the following up-front accusation? “Patrick Manteiga, publisher of La Gaceta, has questioned the professionalism of La Faliera, pitting the professionalism of other board members’ seeking certification against Ms. Faliera’s not seeking it. She finds the perk * unnecessary.” to question the professionalism of some board members, pitting some who are aggressively seeking certification against one who finds the perk unnecessary.


*“Perk”: Does this slapdash editor mean “perquisite”? “Perk” is not only vulgar but also slovenly diction. The editor means “training,” “education,” or perhaps “discipline.” One notes the disparity between commendatory editorial attitude toward a school-board member’s eschewing certification in contrast with editorial endorsement of a “certified public accountant” and a “board [sic] certified physician” in the first paragraph. Not only does this editorial scribbler lack diction acuity, but she—for one believes the writer to be Ms. Elia’s Tribune editorial girlfriend-- also shows woeful lack of logic as well.


Editorial assignment: Look up “perquisite” in OED to review its evolution; then write five sentences that show an understanding of the word’s meaning.


Review “informal language” in your grammar primer.

Master Aristotle, Descartes, Newton, and Euclid to cure lack of editorial logic. Or at least pore over a Logic for Dummies.

Taxpayers Apostrophe for possessive before a gerund Shouldering The Costs

We took a close look I bet it was “close.” I infer cursory. at these certification programs and found that while some good training goes on, it's costing taxpayers mightily.


Strunk & White pleads against redundant adverbs as blemish to decisive style. Besides, “mightily” is inaccurate. Compared to money pissed away on decorative administrative featherbedding buddy jobs and bloated ROSSAC salaries—not to mention Elia’s obscene compensation that the Board augmented by lavishing on the comma-challenged superintendent a $48,000 “bonus” for teacher-generated rise in student achievement--this board-member certification outlay ranks small-change dip into taxpayer kitty.


Editorial homework: Review possessive-before-gerund rule.


Haul out Strunk & White and ponder comments on redundant modifiers as blemish to style.


In these programs, board members can attend workshops on school financing; construction and even the public Will this editor never grasp hyphenated-adjective-before-a noun refinement? records law. But unlike other professions, there are no tests to pass to prove the officials actually Redundant adverb learned anything. If a certified public official makes a bad decision, you can't revoke their I am afraid that you must repair for a long study-hall recess until you learn pronoun-antecedent agreement. certification - but you can vote them out of office.


Study Hall: REVIEW PRONOUN-ANTECEDENT AGREEMENT AND EXPECT A POP QUIZ.


Which To what does this relative pronoun refer? The editor forces the reader to plow up through the preceding paragraph only to discover that “which” has no antecedent, so the reader must provide it. Does this editor mean “this situation” perhaps? goes to show you - the election is the certification that matters most.

Editorial homework: Review the function of adjective clauses, for God’s sake.


Go back over pronoun-antecedent agreement.


There's nothing wrong with our elected officials Possessive before the gerund attending the occasional workshop to keep up to speedUp to speed”? How recherché: just the kind of linguistic felicity that the Pulitzer Committee smacks its lips over on complicated issues. New board members, in particular, need courses to help them learn the complexities of some issues, Redundant comma cutting off a restrictive adjectival prepositional phrase like school funding.


But a full certification requires a flurry of travel and classes. In the past two years, the seven members of the school board have spent at least $26,500 on travel and registration fees on certification programs alone.


Imagine such extravagance! It compares invidiously to Dr. James—who is “your” and “you’re” befuddled—Hamilton’s wasting $235,000 to summon above-the-Mason-Dixon-Line consulting quidnuncs to tell him how to make the school buses run on time when a seven-year-old could have come up with the solution of 1. buying new buses to replace the wrecks; 2. hiring sufficient mechanics to keep buses on the roads; and 3. paying drivers better than Third-World wages.


There seems to be little recognition among some board members about their obligation to be wise stewards of the public's money.


Priority: Schedule forensics Minnesota Multiphasic for this editor with clinical analysis of results rendered by experts in the field, the which usually hunker in the psychology department of the nearest university spiffy enough to have a PBK chapter.


Board member April Griffin has only “Only” is a misplaced modifier: it goes before “since.” been in office since November, but already she's attended at least 11 "training events" Now what is the purpose of these sarcastic quotation marks around “training events”? Why doesn’t this editorial poltroon possess courage sufficient to come out from behind these catty quotation marks and say this? “April Griffin, board baby member, has wasted time and taxpayer money since her November induction to gallivant to eleven of these trifling board-certification festivities.” to earn certification from the Florida School Board Association, amounting to more than 50 hours of training and more than $2,200 in expenses.


And is this editorial Yahoo so benighted as not to see that this certification effort deserves praise, not condemnation? Is stupidity preferable in the Tribune editorial credo to knowledge? In one workshop, Griffin actually Only California Valley girls use this locution that S & W condemns. sat through a presentation conducted by Hillsborough's own chief business officer, she recounted. Is this the same “business officer” who routed fake enrollment figures to the county government to milk more cash from it for school inepts to waste? Maybe Griffin was checking out the fellow’s ability to put two and two together to see whether he possessed the competence for the weighty title of “chief business officer.” The lack of mental agility on this editorial writer’s part does not reinforce faith in Tribune editorial acuity either.


Training Could Have Been Free

Yet it didn't occur to Griffin what an incredible waste of money it is to have a board member travel to a workshop and pay tuition to hear a presentation that should have been available back home for free.


“Incredible” is one of those overwrought, redundant modifiers against which Strunk & White inveighs. But the big flaw in this statement is that the editorial quidnunc overlooks Griffin’s likely attending other seminars besides the one Hillsborough County schools’ “chief business officer” presented.


A more egregious example of wasted money is the boutique job that Elia created for Dr. James Hamilton with Board acquiescence soon after Ms. Elia’s boundary-scramble debacle in West Chase to cover up her overbuilding of classrooms when she was buildings boss. This job got no advertising despite ubiquitous “equal-employment-opportunity” mantra that the Board affixes to its Web page and any other vacant space on which to stamp the lie. In fact, a school mole revealed that Elia inserted Hamilton’s name for the job before its description went on the books. Dr. Hamilton’s boutique perch costs taxpayers $132,000 plus perquisites. The subcontracting stream he generates must amount to hundreds of thousands. His first move in his boutique perch was to subcontract to an out-of-state outfit the brain-bursting decision of how to make the school buses run on time.


Such weighty ratiocination as fixing the bus-schedule mix-up was above Hamilton’s pay grade and intellectual fire power. Chronic Hamilton subcontracting represents the sort of waste of tax money one would expect from a man who does not know the difference between “your” and “you’re” and who couldn’t write, if his life depended on it, a literate piece of one page length as his recent lucubration on advice for new board members demonstrated. It wasn’t a 50-minute extemporaneous essay. Le Hamilton had a year in which to complete that assignment. The result was illiterate, illogical, and condescending to the Board.


And last year, when board member Susan Valdes' excessive “Excessive” is excessive adjective here. Editorial commentator needs to give us some comparables such the salaries of over $100,000 for twenty administrators in ROSSAC featherbedding nooks and crannies who do God knows what. They got these tax-paid gravy-train slots because they were Elia’s buddies or sychophants, not because they merited the jobs, which got no advertising as usual despite the “equal-employment opportunity” flimflam the Board puts out. travel was called Another sneaky passive verb appears to disguise the actor. An active verb gives us an honest sentence like this: “Last year when this Tribune editor called Susan Valdes’s excessive travel into question…”into question, she explained most trips were needed Flabby passive verb: Valdez explained that certification required most trips. Records show that she has spent the most of any board member on certification, more than $11,600 since her election in 2004.

What’s clear in this picayune attack is that the Tribune favors ignorance over knowledge and condemns Board members who pursue certification to dispel their ignorance. This hooray-for-ignorance editorial ventilating could have gone into this formula: “This Tribune editor attacks Board members who pursue certification because Jennifer Faliero has been too lazy to get hers and luxuriates in ignorance that detracts from her Board performance. But La Jennifer is Elia acolyte, so Tribune Elia girlfriend editorial writer Goudreau must attack all other Board members for the sham charge of their extravagance of certification fees to lay a blanket of virtue over the sloth of La Faliera.

Now, local political activist and newspaper publisher Pat Ah, here resides the nexus of this Tribune editorial attack. Tribune editor and Elia girlfriend blasts all Board members except girlfriend Faliera to get at Valdes and Griffin because they enjoy friendship with Patrick Manteiga, “political activist.” An observer would say political activist ranks better status than routine Tribune glutei kisser of anybody in power plus the special perversion here of Ms. Goudreau’s concocting a cross-eyed case against all the School Board’s working for certification with the exception of editor’s slothful girlfriend Faliera. This logic is not Jesuitical. It’s whacko. has used the certification to bash board member Jennifer Faliero, who sees no urgency in pursuing certification now that she's in a second term and has plenty of on-the-job training.

La Jennifer’s laziness gets no salute from people who believe that education beats ignorance. And her second term shows no fruits of the “on-the-job experience” this editorialist touts. On a board with no intellectual stars, Ms. Faliera ranks the prettiest but the dumbest of the bunch.

School board Chairman Would it kill this editorial writer to use the linguistically neutral “Chair,” “Chairperson,” or “Chairone” in concession to all the university studies that show that generic male titles injure the psyches of little girls—or is this Tribune editorial savant down on little girls as well as learning, Valdez, Griffin, and Manteiga? Jack Lamb, the past president of the Florida School Boards Association, says he's been encouraging certification because he believes it makes for a skilled board. "Otherwise you could have someone just off the street become a board member if they pull enough votes," Lamb noted. This is the sole savvy thing I have heard Chair Lamb say. I resist the urge to vitiate backhanded compliment further.


Heaven forbid a member of the public might presume to know something about education. He or she must first be "certified" by those already in the system.


As a matter of fact, the public does not know much about education. If its members did, they would not elect such sorry specimens to the Board as now occupy it and allow the Board to conduct a sham $35,000 “nationwide” search to find the best candidate for superintendent when board members know they mean to fall in with the political machinations of the in-house power Mafia to put Elia and before her Earl the Pearl Lennard at the head of the school system when the job cries out for an outside candidate with real credentials and first-class skills to improve the school system. Elia’s doesn’t have requisite bona fides, so her reign features a C-level mind that has produced one disaster after another—culminating with the latest ukase to teachers to take on an extra class free to solve a budget problem that Elia has known was coming for several years.


Lamb says the board is currently working toward its "master board" certification at an additional cost of $3,000 to taxpayers. One of the things it is supposed to teach is teamwork - clearly a lesson that didn't quite stick with all. This editorial doesn’t help teamwork of the board. It aims to divide its members by making those who pursue certification defensive and by papering over Faliera’s intellectual laziness.

School boards are not unique in seeking certification. Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson last year became certified through a multi-year program taught by Auburn University. He says the program helped him understand the complicated technical and legal issues of his office. The three-year program cost taxpayers about $9,000 in tuition and travel, he says. Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Jim Norman, though, says he's seen no reason to pursue a lengthy certification process that takes time from serving his constituents. "That's my education," Norman adds.


The above paragraph shows no editorial skill in marshalling data to support its argument that ignorance is the best policy for the school board and that getting certification is a Board-member plot to soak the taxpayers. Buddy Johnson, of all people, endorses education. Mr. Norman’s pro-dumb stand confirms my impression that the man is an ignoramus who wears his stupidity with the ignorant-and-proud-of-it bravado of a Neanderthal. Isn’t he the huckleberry who’s attempted to build yet another stadium at taxpayer expense for the burgeoning gladiatorial culture that specimens like he boost as an antidote to too much brains around town?


No Substitute For In title, short prepositions get lower case. Experience


Hillsborough Clerk of Court Pat Frank is passing up a $2,000 annual bonus by declining to participate in a 240-hour certification course. She prefers to keep herself up to speed on court issues and new legislation by attending annual information sessions. Frank said the certification program seemed like a poor use of public money and was redundant given her years of government experience.


Mrs. Frank speaks for her own special situation. The fact that she has been running for public office or occupying public office for what seems like forever justifies her skipping certification training. If she were not savvy in the rituals of office with having been in public office since the Pre-Cambrian Era, one would wonder why in the world she were not.


"I didn't think it warranted my taking time off from work when I was taking over a brand Hyphenated adjective before a noun new office with a lot of changes," Frank said.


School board members, too, could learn plenty without ever leaving town, considering the association holds its two big conferences in Tampa each year. If some weren't so fixated on a certificate, they could become well versed on the issues without taking taxpayers to the cleaners.


An editorial writer who resorts to hoary cliché of “taking to the cleaners” does not reassure a reader that a fresh and vigorous mind purveys advice. By an extension of this logic, a Board member or anyone could just stay put, stay ignorant, and stay in accord with this Tribune editorial apologist for Jennifer Faliera’s laziness and all other board-certified members’ profligacy. The editorial summarized is this: “Let’s hear it for ignorance and especially Jennifer Faleira’s ignorance because she’s mine and Elia’s girlfriend and the rest of the board members are not.”


Answer to complaints about piddling amount spent by all-but-Faliera board members to achieve certification is this: Elia $262,000 salary; $48,000 rip-off for teachers’ work; lavish perquisites; golden-parachute Riviera-bound retirement package.


The Cost Of A short preposition gets no capital in English-rules-certified writing Training: What School Board Members Have Spent Since 2004

Advice: Get out of the newspaper racket—especially editorial writing. You lack the basic grammar-punctuation skills to write literate prose. You also don’t have the rhetorical felicity to merit your continuing in this area—even for prose aimed at the people-who-move-their-lips-while-reading market. You lack objectivity sufficient to separate your school administration and Board girlfriends’ interests—I refer to MaryEllen Elia and Jennifer Faliero-- from your editorial duty to write from a disinterested, not personal, perspective. As a result, you distort the logic of your editorial to fit your friendships to the point that your conclusions rank ridiculous.


Question: Do your Media General bosses know you pervert your job this way?

Doretha Edgecomb

$5,766.15

Jennifer Faliero

$2,370.56

April Griffin (elected 2006)

$2,273.63

Carol Kurdell

$1,568.60

Jack Lamb

$528.31

Candy Olson

$2,423.91

Susan Valdes

$11,603.19

MaryEllen Elia $262,000 salary; $48,000 purloined from teachers as “bonus”; God-knows-what perquisites; opulent retirement package.

Copies:

Ø Columbia Journalism Review to show big-city journalism sophisticates how a local newspaper in the Tampa Bay press badlands reduces the purpose of its editorial page to an attack organ for the editorial-page editor Rosemary Goudreau to soft-soap the bad behavior of her girlfriend the Hillsborough County school superintendent;

Ø Members of St. Petersburg Times, competitor across the bay for their delectation;

Ø Reporters of Tampa Tribune, particularly the young on peripheral beats’ reporting installation of traffic lights to show them how not to use an editorial page if a newspaper wants respect in the journalism world and that people are not always disinterested at the top;

Ø Functionaries at the Poynter Institute of Drive-by Press Ethics Ms. Manners Lore;

Ø Hillsborough County high school teachers to confirm their belief that the Tampa Tribune holds teachers’ and students’ needs at a lower level than that of the local power principals of the county’s school system under Ms. Elia’s incompetent and tyrannical rule and that the Board provides complicit cooperation with her administration;

Ø Newsrooms at Richmond Times Dispatch and Winston-Salem Journal to give proletariat reporters a chuckle over the girlfriend excesses of La R. Goudreau that are redolent of Proustian relationships in Sodom and Gomorra, novel in the sequence of six that makes up A La Recherche du Temps Perdu;.

Ø Unknown quantities Janet Weaver and Denise Palmer, professional suicides if they ally themselves with Goudreau’s girlfriend editorial ethos;

Ø Media Contact:
Ray Kozakewicz
(804)
649-6748 for Florida Commutations Group of Media Genera;

Ø All Members, Hillsborough County School Board, may God watch over their obtuse souls, the survival of the Hillsborough County school system’s being jeopardized with its enmeshed children and teachers under the board’s inept, bungling, awkward, incompetent, clumsy, obtuse, silly, cockamamie, and have-mercy-on-us-Jesus leadership.

Lee Drury De Cesare

3 comments:

dk said...

If you want to have a good time with SDHC records then request all emails on a topic. They can't provide them as they have no way of archiving them.

deepcover said...

Not officially but IF someone HAS an email saved in their inbox it is available - something "Captain Kirk" surely regrets.

I would assume that certain individuals are bound by statute to maintain an archive of ALL communications.

It would be enlightening to know for sure if there is a data warehouse or not.

Anonymous said...

There probably is a data warehouse. At least one board member is trying to get direct access to LAWSON (the district's main computer system) and is getting stiff-armed.

Good luck getting access to the data warehouse as a pesky private citizen. After all, we're just the ones who pay the bills.