J. Stewart Bryan III, Chair
Dear Mr. Bryan:
That the Tampa Tribune employs an editorial-page writer of such deficient writing skills as Ms. Rosemary Goudreau does not reassure this stockholder.
The Goudreau editorial output demonstrates haphazard organization, illogical thinking. and lack of objectivity. Worst: it is marginally literate.
I taught college English for twenty-eight years and can spot writing errors in my sleep of the primitive type that Ms. Goudreau commits. Here follow samples:
Ø 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: refers to singular antecedent. professional organizations?
Ø But unlike other professions, there are no tests to pass to prove the officials actually Redundant adverb that Strunk & White condemns; “Actually” makes the writer sound as if she were a
learned anything. If a certified public official makes a bad decision, you can't revoke their pronoun-antecedent agreement “Their” does not agree with “official.” certification - but you can vote them Pronoun-antecedent agreement: refers to “official.” out of office. Switch in point of view hinders reader understanding.
Ø Faulty logic: Praise for a school-board member’s eschewing certification contrasts with editorial endorsement of a “certified public accountant” and a “board [sic] hyphenated adjective before a noun] certified physician” in the first paragraph
I have worked in the women’s movement for forty-five years. You were probably a reporter at the old Tampa Times when we women made our failed try to ratify the ERA. Both the Tribune and the Times opposed it. Mr. Clendenin and Mr. Stickney proved obdurate. Newspapers have never occupied the forefront in promoting women’s rights. The New York Times opposed suffrage.
Women’s-rights advocates work to open doors for qualified women to jobs heretofore closed such as editorial-page editor.
Ms. Goudreau is not one of those qualified women we have in mind.
Apocryphal information says she came from up North with no editorial experience, having worked in the news side of journalism. Her editorial product makes this claim plausible.
A paranoid person could infer that some guy who wanted to show how unfit women are for editorial writing appointed Goudreau so as to cement that self-fulfilling prophecy.
The editorial from which the above excerpts come demonstrates a peculiar cast of mind that I call girlfriend loyalty. This odd fetish in adult women echoes the high-school ethos I observed in teenage campus cliques when my children went to Plant.
One suspects this trio’s cronyism comes from all three’s being in over their heads in their jobs.
Ms. Elia got her job thorough school-board politics, not ability. Ms. Faliera represents the constant that
So strong is Ms. Godreau’s allegiance to her chums that when a board member or disgruntled teachers challenge either Ms. Elia or Ms. Faliera, one finds Ms. Goudreau’s ill-thought-out, ill-structured, ill-written, grammatically flawed, badly punctuated riposte on the Tribune editorial page.
These Goudreau anti-teacher editorials to fight her buddies’ battles have embittered county teachers, who post such comments as this on their blog The Wall.blogspot:
Did you see that The Tampa Tribune has begun a smear campaign on the only two school board members sympathetic to teachers?
Even if Tribune management can tolerate editorials adorned with primitive writing errors, it should consider that, with dropping circulation, fifteen thousand teachers outnumber three girlfriends.
Rumor says that Ms. Goudreau recently fired a woman whose abilities you will remember from your Tampa Times days: Nancy Gordon. Ms. Gordon probably offended her boss by punctuating well.
This shareholder objects to the illiteracy and illogic of Goudreau editorials. They contrast negatively with the tradition set by Clendenin and Roberts.
Nor does Ms. Goudreau’s self-indulgent bias assist the Tribune in its circulation contest with the competitor across the bay. The editorials of the St. Petersburg Times are often soporific--but not illiterate and rarely illogical.
Media General should fire Ms. Goudreau and replace her with a qualified person, preferably a woman. She lacks skills and judgment for this important job.
lee drury de cesare
Red-pen analysis of Tribune’s Endorsement of School- Board Ignorance: (likely composed by School Superintendent
Voters Provide Elected Officials The Article “the” gets no capital in a title. Newspaper headlines ignore this rule from press ignorance or crochet. Only Certification They Need
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 it modifies. of skill to complete.
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 a singular verb. certified through their Pronoun-antecedent disagreement with “official” professional organizations? Not as much as you Shift in point of view confuses reader. - or they Pronoun-antecedent disagreement: “they” refers to “official.” - might think.
“Perk”*: “Perk” is off-the-mark informal diction. Look up “perquisite.” The editor means “training,” “education,” or “discipline.” “Aggressively” is one of those pumped-up adverbs against which Strunk & White inveigh.
Illogic: Approving a school-board member’s eschewing certification conflicts with editorial endorsement of a “certified public accountant” and a “board [sic] certified physician” in the first paragraph
Taxpayers Apostrophe for possessive before a gerund Shouldering The Costs
We took a close look Probably a cursory look, given the writer’s slipshod writing standards 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 in context. Compared to the money frittered away on administrative featherbedding jobs and bloated ROSSAC salaries—not to mention Elia’s obscene compensation that the Board augmented by lavishing on the comma-challenged superintendent $48,000 for teacher-generated rise in student achievement--this board-member certification outlay ranks small-change dip into taxpayer kitty.
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: See Strunk & White. anything. If a certified public official makes a bad decision, you can't revoke their This editor must repair for a long study-hall recess to master pronoun-antecedent agreement. certification - but you can vote them Refers to singular “official” out of office. Two switches in point of view from third to second person confuse.
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 editor mean “this situation” perhaps? goes to show you - the election is the certification that matters most.
There's nothing wrong with our elected officials Possessive before the gerund attending the occasional workshop to keep up to speed “Up to speed”? How recherché: just the kind of linguistic felicity over which the Pulitzer Committee smacks its lips on complicated issues. New board members, in particular, need courses to help them learn the complexities of some issues, Redundant comma cuts 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 to Dr. James-- “your-” and “you’re-” befuddled—
There seems to be little recognition among some board members about their obligation to be wise stewards of the public's money.
Anybody who stewards public money will leave it available for the administration to squander with no rebuke from the board.
Is this editor so benighted as not to see that this effort deserves praise, not condemnation? Is stupidity preferable to enlightenment in the Tribune editorial credo? In one workshop,
Training Could Have Been Free
Yet it didn't occur to
“Incredible” is one of those overwrought redundant modifiers against which Strunk & White warns. The editor overlooks that
More egregious example of money waste 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 Hamilton-designed job got no advertising despite ubiquitous “equal-employment-opportunity” mantra that the Board affixes to its Web page and stationery. “We are an equal-opportunity employer” probably adorned the board stationery page on which Dr. Lamb enlisted a ROSSAC clerical worker to write to
A school mole revealed that Elia affixed
Such weighty decisions are above
One must also observe that contracts, subcontracts, and vendor agreements yield delicious possibilities for graft.
And last year, when board member
This picayune editorial attack suggests the Tribune favors ignorance over knowledge. The illogic fits this formula: “The Tribune attacks Board members who pursue certification because Goudreau-buddy Jennifer Faliero is too lazy to do the same. Since La Jennifer is Elia acolyte, Tribune-Elia-girlfriend Goudreau must attack all other Board members for the sham charge of extravagance for certification to lay a blanket of virtue over the sloth of La Faliera.”
Now, local political activist and newspaper publisher Pat Ah, here resides nexus of this Tribune editorial Elia-girlfriend attack. It’s OK for Tribune-editor-Elia-girlfriend Goudreau to chide all other Board members except indolent Faliera to get at Valdes and
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” savvy this editorialist acclaims. On a board with no intellectual stars, Ms. Faliera ranks prettiest but dumbest of the gaggle.
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 flaccid specimens to the Board as now occupy it. An informed public would not allow the Board to shaft taxpayers by conducting a sham $35,000 “nationwide” search when board members know they mean to fall in with the political in-house power boll weevils 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.
Elia’s lacks requisite bona fides, both academic and psychological, so her reign has featured one disaster after another—culminating with the latest sneak bastinado at high-school teachers to take on an extra class for free to solve La Elia’s class-room-size budget problem. The superintendent has known about this problem for years and failed to prepare for it.
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.
If this editorial pitting certification board members against non-certification Jennifer stirs up some animosity, so much the better. Strife would be a nice contrast to the obsessive teamwork that defines what ails this board. They all chorus, “Yes, Ms. Elia; yes, Ms. Elia.” They never disagree with each other. Instead, they compliment each other to the point that teachers call them “The Mutual Admiration Society.”
No thinking betrays itself on the podium at board meetings. Thinking goes against the rules of the board’s “Be-Innocuous-for-Perpetual- Incumbency” road map.
Current board members wouldn’t dream of objecting to outrageous statements by other board members.
Here arrives the on-the-other-hand turnaround in Goudreau’s piece. She gives no clue about the change in direction to the reader, not even a “however.” This lack of transition for the reader is like riding a spavined horse. Both experiences cause a crick in the neck.
School boards are not unique in seeking certification.
No Substitute For 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. This would not be the first time in her years in public office that she misconstrues the scope of a situation.
The fact that Ms. Frank has been either running for or occupying public office since Pluto was a pup justifies her skipping certification training. If she were not savvy in the rituals of office with having been office seeker or holder since the Jurassic 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
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 other board-certified members’ profligacy.
This Goudreau editorial summarized says 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 all complaints about the piddling amount spent by all-but-Faliera board members to achieve certification is this: Elia $262,000 salary, which includes $48,000 rip-off from teachers’ work; lavish perquisites; golden-parachute, Riviera-bound retirement package with pension based on the salary for her last five years of work. That amount looks to be about $220,000 compared to teachers’ measly under fifty thousand dollars.
This comparison shows why in-house candidates ambitious for big money seek the superintendent job with such ardor.
The Cost Of Training: What School Board Members Have Spent Since 2004
Doretha Edgecomb $5,766.15; Jennifer Faliero $2,370.56;
Parthian advice to La Goudreau: Get out of the newspaper racket. You lack basic grammar-punctuation skills. You are logic bereft. Your rhetorical felicity shows meager. Your output won’t sell even for prose aimed at the people-who-move-their-lips-while-reading market.
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 of marginal literacy and minimal logic for editorial-page editor Rosemary Goudreau to prop up political girlfriends;
Ø Members of St. Petersburg Times, competitor across the bay, for schadenfruede;
Ø Reporters of Tampa Tribune on peripheral beats: from thence the young wear away youthful idealism in installation-of-traffic- lights accounts for neighborhood editions. Ms. Goudreau’s personal-pique editorial will show these youthful journalists how not to use an editorial page if a newspaper wants respect in the journalism world;
Ø Moralists at the Poynter Institute of Drive-by Press Ethics and Ms.
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 power principals of the county’s school system under Ms. Elia’s domination, which the board buttresses by its complicit knuckling under to her mistreatment of teachers;
Ø Newsrooms at Media General Richmond Times Dispatch and Winston-Salem Journal to give proletariat reporters there a chuckle over the girlfriend excesses of La
Ø Ray Kozakewicz for the beguiling ethnicity of his name and because he is the representative of the Florida Commutations Group of Media General;
Ø Gainesville Sun for more fun;
Ø Tallahassee Democrat for even more fun;
Ø All Members,
Ø Mounted on Grammargrinch@blogspot.com; and
Ø leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com for the delectation of the blog world.
Lee Drury De Cesare