Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ms. Edgecomb: As I recall, when your incumbency began, Bart Birdsall and I gave you a book to read by a guy whom the school administration had trashed with the board's complicity. His story was not as bad as Doug Irwin's, but it gave another unlovely picture of how the administration savages anybody who disturbs the cushy system it has constructed for itself with tax dollars.

Please return it. I want to give it to one of the people who will oppose incumbents. Thank the Lord, I hear that both Dr. Lamb and Under-the-Radar Falliera will both have opponents.

I wondered when the Harvey daughter spoke last night for a school named for her father if you had done anything to assist the Black citizens who had come not so long ago to recommend a Black scholar to have a school named after him. Now I wonder if you will do anything to help the Harveys get a school named after their father. He contributed to his community and put seven children through college, a significant achievement for any father, black or white.

And you don't need to tell me as you did once before when I asked you about some Black children's needs in the school system what a paragon you are and what a star of the Black community. I am talking about deeds, not self-serving propaganda.

I don't see how it helps Blacks and minorities for a Black woman to sit on the school board unless, when she gets there, she does something to augment the status of the Black community. Having some schools named after outstanding Black citizens would be a way to achieve more status for them. You and Susan Valdes have a special duty in this area. You must go to bat from your board position for Blacks and Hispanics.

You also have a duty to the teachers and students of the district to see that they get a permanent slot on the board agenda. You would be the perfect person to balance your unkind reception of teachers when they came in numbers to protest Ms. Elia's surprising them and most board members with her "solution" to her class-size budget problem by dumping the extra day on the teachers without the courtesy of giving them a chance to know her plans ahead of time so as to comment and make suggestions. Nor, according to the newspapers, did the board members all know of her unpleasant surprise. She had let only two of her potted-plant board favorites in on the bombshell ahead of time.

What appalls me is that it seems that not one board member rebuked Ms. Elia for her precipitous, dictatorial behavior. I think the board should have fired her, not sat mute and cowed as if she were the board's boss, not the other way around-- unless the board had given her its blessing to carry out such policies without letting them and those affected--teachers and students--in on her bombshell.

Ms. Olson should join you. She told the teachers they were lazy, that their laziness was the reason they didn't want to teach an extra class without having had input into the decision. And Dr. Lamb commented that the teachers' applauding their colleagues when they went to the mike to protest Elia's secret decision that the teachers' applause may have violated decorum.

You three would be the ideal trilogy to tell Ms. Elia to put on the agenda the motion to award teachers and students the dignity of a permanent board spot. Don't ask her: tell her. You are her boss, not vice versa. Also keep in mind that open government requires that this motion get debate and a vote on the podium so that citizens can see how board members honor teachers and students. Star Chamber workshops don't cut it in decisions such as this. The public has a right to see its elected officials in action.

It appears to me as if the board and administration are envious of teachers' centrality to education. The board and administration seem to want to shut teachers out of any decisions that affect the schools and let them function only as the basis for the tax cash cow that gives the administration and board financial éclat to strut about as big Pooh-Bah patrons of education while teachers and students serve as mere ciphers. The board and administration are Big Daddy in the Big House on the plantation; teachers and students are the field hands.

The board and administration have this equation backwards. The teachers and students are the important ones--the heart of education. The administration and board are peripheral at best, parasites at worst.

My address for book return:
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Monday, October 15, 2007

Steve, this is the fifth (5th) request I have made for how much extant 11th- and 12-th grade Prentice Hall English books cost the district, how long the district keeps these books, and what happens to them when superannuated.

The taxpayers fork over $100,000 to you each year for providing this kind of information to those who ask for it. If you can't handle the job, make way for Ms. Cobbe. She can do stuff like this with one hand behind her back. Ms. Elia hired you because she thought a former SPT reporter would guarantee her good press.
Reporters in both papers now regard you as enemy since you deserted the newsroom and get twice their salaries.

That bad guess of hiring you sans credentials shows how poorly Ms. Elia understands publicity and psychology, especially since she alienated La Gaceta as well, on which the Hispanic community dotes, by threatening to sue it and cut off its ad revenues if her publicity were not rosy and the bizarre patronage hiring practices of the district not mentioned. Threatening the press's First Amendment lifeline is not the kind of thing to generate positive feelings from it toward the person doing the threatening.

That was just one of the bad calculations Elia has made on her superintendent watch. Since your hiring as head of the public-affairs department without your possessing the major listed credential while your competitors did, Ms. Elia has gotten some of the worst publicity possible. . She badly miscalculated on your magic with the press.

Request # 1 for these data: I want to know how much the college pays Mr. Gonzalez and the legal staff yearly and how many lawsuits he has going on the district's behalf. Pinellas has four or five in the law section and is a smaller school district. It has a pile of lawsuits going on. How many does Hillsboro ugh County's school district have in the works now and with whom? This is public information. Send it to me.

To summarize, here's what I want: 1. Prentice-Hall book costs; 2. how long books kept; 3. what happens to them when they wear out; 4. How much the district pays Gonzalez yearly, 5. number of his paid staff and its cost, 6. how many law suits going on now and with whom; 7. How much the legal bills were for the district last year.

You make a hundred thousand dollars a year for a job you didn't have the major credential for, managerial experience, while your rivals did because Ms. Elia mistakenly thought you would get her golden publicity with the local press from your inside contacts.

Besides burnishing her image, you are supposed to fulfill the promise of the public records law and give a citizen public information requested. Do it. I await these data.

lee drury de cesare

Tampa Bay Grammargrinch Issue 3

People who don't get their essays pasted on the frig for excellence:

Bill Maxwell, Brian Ries, Keith Morelli, Tom Germond,Thomus Huang, Paul Guzzo, and Tom Tobin.

lee drury de cesare

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: lee decesare <>
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 10:00:08 PM

Tampa Bay Grammargrinch Issue 3

People who don't get their essays pasted on the frig for excellence:

Bill Maxwell, Brian Ries, Keith Morelli, Tom Germond,Thomus Huang, Paul Guzzo, and Tom Tobin.

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lee drury de cesare