Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ms. Faliera:

That you tell another board member to quit is diagnostic of your character: it’s Swiss cheese.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory would light up like a Christmas tree if you were the testing subject. You are not smart enough to demonstrate symptoms of pathology on the test—real pathology takes talent and imagination; but you would catapult into the upper quartile in the I-don’t-know-when-to-keep-my-mouth-shut part.

You, who just tried to sneak “under the radar” in moving into South Tampa when you should stay within your district to obey the law, should resign yourself from the disgrace of your discovered attempt to cheat and hope to get away with it. You have lost the right to tell anybody else how to behave. I bet you were the kind of kid who wrote the answers on your hand for a test and hoped the teacher wouldn’t catch you.

Is your behavior what students should use as a role model? Should you say, “Now kiddies, do like Board Member Jennifer does. Cheat on the test, and if you get caught by a member of the press, blubber, ‘Poor little me.” I am not responsible for my behavior, so give me a pass.”

That behavior does women a disservice and serves poor role model for your two daughters. What about saying, “I did it. I shot the sheriff. Clap on the handcuffs.” Women will never get respect until they take responsibility for themselves. “Poor little helpless me” is the out-of-date ditz model, not the modern grown-up woman model.

Such events as your failed “under the radar” attempted coup reveal character, Jennifer. They turn over the rock, and out scurry all those little deficiencies of soul that afflict a person. This under-the-radar attempt to cheat shows you don’t have the right stuff to be a community leader, especially on the school board. Your ethics corrupt the children and frighten the horses. Your conduct puts you outside the privilege of telling another board member how to behave.

Brandon is cheaper to live in than South Tampa. Why didn’t you find a place in your girls’ school district and move there? They didn’t want to move away from their school and friends to South Tampa. You did. You could have relocated to Plant City. That’s in your district, and its ethos is coincident with your hillbilly mindset: down on gays, down on sex education, sucking-up to whoever’s in charge.

Why everybody thinks that South Tampa is paradise escapes me. The people there are as flawed human beings as those elsewhere. Most of them who put on airs of being aristocrats are only a few generations away from share cropping. I’m from Georgia. In Georgia we know old families and we know parvenus. The latter fills South Tampa. Living in a South Tampa McMansion with a big vase of plastic flowers in the foyer does not elevate a person’s character—not when the person has demonstrated what that character is by trying to sneak past the state law that she can’t live in another district and serve that district on the school board. You will be the same cheater wherever you live, Jennifer. Geography does not solve a person’s lack of character. As Shakespeare says (everybody knows he lived in South Tampa): “Time hath, my lord, a wallet on its back in which it keeps alms for eternity.”

You have not been an ornament on the school board. If anybody should resign, you should. You say nothing intelligent. You propose nothing new and useful. You just rubberstamp Ms. Elia’s outrages and call that teamwork.

Get a job--or get two if needed--to support your girls. That’s your main purpose now. Your stupidity in excusing your husband from child support is exceeded only by your fatuous advice to Ms. Elia on her evaluation: “Get some rest.” I ask you this: Did you trade that privilege of no child support for your children’s father’s agreeing to suppress some data that would curtail your public career? Why did you agree to such a disadvantage for your children? One would think you know that divorce records are public information. But it’s well not to over-estimate your intelligence.

And Dr. Lamb, a word with you, sir: your saying that “it’s hard to build a team when one member’s not there” shows how obtuse you are. Is being a potted plant your idea of being a team player? The team the board member’s allegiance goes to is the public. A board member has a right and a duty to say what s/he thinks, to object, to propose, to animadvert. That’s why people elected him/her.

I’m sorry Ms. Griffin exited the room. She could have shown team spirit better by sticking her tongue out at Little-Ms.-Sneak-into-South-Tampa, shooting her a bird, and declaring, “Ok, Jennifer start the ball rolling by giving us one of your customary stupid remarks.”

I diagnose Jennifer’s telling Griffin to resign is the official kick-off of the team of five potted plants that now will pile on Griffin and hope to rattle her. She should stay cool and not let the potted-plant team deter her from the job taxpayers elected her to do. Challenge administration malpractice, long entrenched by a gutless board scared of its own shadow. A leader must have the strength of character to resist a bevy of potted plants that chorus complaints about her. Ask Napoleon. That’s how he became first the Little General, then the emperor of France.

Lee Drury De Cesare