Friday, February 08, 2008

Annual Dinner on the Grounds at the Drury Family Cemetery in Burnt Fort, Georgia. The kinswomen between whom I stand are in their nineties.

Sequel to the Board Meeting of January 8

Message to Board Lawyer Tom Gonzalez:

Tom, your fusillade of lawyer speak Thursday night contained circumlocutions, evasions, stonewalling, equivocating, prevaricating, shucking and jiving, and just flat-out lying.

You did the ambulance-chasing arm of the legal brotherhood proud.

I wish you would stop huffing and puffing about your alienation from me because I said unkind things about friends of yours. I have said unkind things about a lot of people. You are going to have to be less delicate and name this person whom I have injured with my scorpion tongue. Don’t expect me to apologize. I will, however, try to think up a wittier insult.

If your injured buddy were that wretched Linda Saul Sena from the City Council, forget my going easy on her. As soon as I can conjure another zinger for La Linda, I will put in on the airwaves. Saul-Sena’s fault for which I zap her is that she skipped not once but twice her promise to meet with a rape victim mistreated by the Tampa police.

Saul Sena promised rape victim Bobbie Joyce Ward to meet with her from the podium of Tiger Bay once and another time in Saul Sena’s backyard on Davis Islands, at a reception for Phyllis Busansky when she ran against dauphin Bilirakis for the legislature.

One sees on the Web that you gave a whopping contribution to Bilirakis along with largesse to others of the villainous party that works to strip abortion rights from women and have them return to barefoot-and-pregnant status so that they can't go to law school, etc.

Any woman in office who lies to a rape victim mistreated by the police and stands her up twice gets my vitriol. Such elected officials exacerbate the trauma of the victim’s rape. So to hell with Linda Saul if that’s whom you refer to. Saul Sena in my judgment is a blight on womankind. If that torques your sense of chivalry to our lying, cruel, rape-victim-abusing Linda, that’s tough.

I don’t believe your asseveration that you don’t read my blog. It’s first on your reading list is my guess. It beats out the National Inquirer with you. You vilified two blogs in your board tirade. I suspect you read both. The other possibilities are Suzy Creamsheese’s Wall, Sisyphus, The Rock That Keeps on Rolling, and Goader.

We are the only blogs that speak truth to power in Tampa, so we must be the blogs that get your splenetic anti-blog outbursts but to which you are addicted.

One is amazed that a lawyer who was hip deep in the legal crucifixion of Doug Erwin would demonstrate such prissy ethics about who gets excoriated on a local blog. One has the right to suspect (a) duplicity and/or (b) schizophrenia.

You won’t send me the Erwin files as you should according to the Florida sunshine law so that I can satisfy myself whether it was you who pressed the dopey board and even dopier Superintendent Lennard to crucify that poor man in the courtroom for revealing waste in the building racket that the school system runs. They should have given him a medal.

I strongly suspect that you did the deed of helping to maul Erwin. I also infer that you have the selective ethics to have done that dirty job and will now prettify it up with legal linguistic deodorant while having the fantods about unkind remarks about the likes of Saul Sena.

Your participation in suckering Bart Birdsall into thinking that you would get Abu-Ghraib Kipley to produce a letter setting his mind at rest about the ordeal of the false charges Elia and Kipley cooked up against him demonstrates your duplicitous cruelty toward somebody at the bottom of the food chain. That pyramid of power starts with ROSSAC at the top and ends with personnel who labor at the lower reaches of the hierarchy in the schools. In the ROSSAC book of sicko ethics, nobody is important in the school system—not teachers, not students, not staff—except the denizens of ROSSAC. All the other people who labor in the school system are but the slaves doing the grunt work to build the pyramid of ROSSAC's and the board’s narcissistic self-importance.

In the fourteen years that you have adorned you seat in the half-moon circle of power in the board room, you have been slack in your performance. You haven’t even taught the board such simple civilities of parliamentary language as not to say “I want to make a motion” instead of “I move that.” This gaucherie makes the board members sound like the Beverly Hillbillies of parliamentary language.

Worse, you have never bothered to instruct the board on its members' patriotic obligation to foster free speech so that when such as adulterous chair Falliero gavels a speaker down for an anticipated slander to herself, a more patriotic board member will call point of order and remind the chair of free speech.

Free speech includes the right to slander. The one who considers him- or herself maligned can sue but can't shut up free speech. This obligation to foster free speech applies especially to board members, who took an oath of office to protect the Constitution. The First Amendment is an absolute right. Nobody can abridge it. Not once have I observed you as an officer of the court defend it and check the ignorance of the board in its members' abridging the First Amendment in blunders of protocol.

I have never got an answer to my public-information question to the public-affairs office of whether you warned the board in writing after reviewing the contracts that one infers Valdez presented you for review of the school that had several sections collapse.

I suspect you didn’t write this warning for the board. I suspect that you have grown weary of the duties of board attorney and let such picayune annoyances slide.

If you didn’t warn the board in writing of the dangers that required catastrophic insurance, that’s an immediate reason for your firing. If you did write the warning that the board needed catastrophic insurance and if its members ignored the warning, then they should hang their heads in shame and issue a formal apology to the snookered taxpayers. La Belle Dame sans Merci Falliero had a hissy about how angry she was about the situation, but I didn’t hear her or anyone on the board ask you about a warning in writing outlining the danger.

I have heard you leap to defend the highly problematic no-bid gravy-train awards that the board has allowed the administration to indulge in all the days of your service to the board. I also infer the reason for your energetic defense of these taxpayer-cheating no bids is that you got your job with a no bid cupcake from Dr. Lennard, unchecked by the board, of course. You have kept it for fourteen years without your legal colleagues’ having had the chance to bid on it. I judge that you should quit this ill-gotten job however tardily now and give the board a chance to advertise the lawyer job coincident with its assertion that it practices equal opportunity.

Then all the area lawyers will have the 14-year-delayed opportunity to apply for the board-lawyer job and compete for it belatedly. Belated is better than no competition at all, which is what you got and walked away with like a Cheshire cat without acknowledging your snagging the job without competition was unfair and probably violated Title VII.

In your verbal avalanche, I was able to rescue this precious phrase from the legal logorrhea: Of the promised pamphlet to protect themselves for teachers’ going into the Professional Standards gauntlet, you said these magic words: “In fact, it [the pamphlet for teachers] is done.”

Don’t try to wiggle out of the fact that you said this sentence. It’s on the magic tape.

So produce that pamphlet that you promised me and Bart, Tom. The teachers need it. They needed it three years ago when you promised it. I want this product in my hands. You said you “don’t work for Ms. De Cesare.” Yes you do. You work for me and all the citizens who pay taxes. For our money, we expect you to uphold the law in your board position and to protect us citizens’ rights. The board’s rights are subsumed under citizens' rights and the board's rights must harmonize with citizens' rights.

Citizens come first in a democracy, not bureaucrats, although the board’s and Ms. Elia’s behavior would say otherwise.

So let me have your pamphlet masterpiece: the long-awaited pamphlet outlining teachers’ self-protection maneuvers if they land in Professional Standards—probably on another of Ms. Elia’s cooked-up charges because they have sinned against the holy ghost of her amour propre by suggesting that things are not right in ROSSACland.

Where and when will you be having your book signing for the pamphlet? I will be there to get your autograph.

I presently read a new publication of Dante’s Inferno A bunch of poets got together—none of whom I know—and have translated a stanza each. I am meeting old friends of literature in hell again and have been on the lookout for a slot in a circle of hell that fits your crimes and misdemeanors.

I plan to consult Cerberus on this matter. Dante has that big bowser talking up a storm. He can be heard from one circle of hell to another. I shall say, "Stop that yapping for God's sake, Cerberus, and let me tell you about this Tom fellow. I want you to tell me where we should put him."

I deliver a Parthian call for you firing or resignation. As one of my role models Lady Macbeth says, “Stand not on the order of your going. / But go at once.”

lee drury de cesare


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dear reader:

We must look beyond the venality of the present Hillsborough County School board and its creature Ms. Elia.

We must look to eternity. The older I get, the more I realize that one of my heroes Gandhi was right when he said what I quote on my picture below. We work not just for now but for the future. Our efforts speak to future, to our children's and grand-children's world and beyond. Unless good people outnumber bad people at any time in history, evil triumphs. Sometimes it does. The Third Reich is an example. But in the end evil does not win. That is the story of civilization.

If evil wins, we have no civilization. But we still do. So evil or even the sophomoric wrongdoing of Ms. Elia and the Hillsborough County School Board does not in the end prevail.

Elizabeth Cady Stantan was right--the second quote on my picture-- when she implied the abiding timidity of people. Few will step out in front and challenge wrongdoing. They see things are wrong, but for some reason they don't challenge the wrongdoing. They think that someone else will do this job, that some other super person will rescue them. There are no super people. There are only ordinary people who rufuse to take it any more.

The best super person to rescue you is you yourself. It's not impossible to do. You just have to take a deep breath and speak up and refuse to go along to get along. That's what the Americans did who rebelled against King George's tyranny and began our country.

Changing things for the better is as simple and as revolutionary as that: just say no. We can do it at the school board or at the national level or even in the world. We just have to dare to oppose wrongdoing. lee

From: Anonymous []
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 3:15 PM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on I am righ....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post " I am righ...":

What is sad is that Elia and the board members will never understand how corrupt they are to allow all this corruption in the system to go on. They have done studies in which even serial murderers justify and twist and rationalize that they are actually good people. Same with these people. Elia rationalizes everything she has done. Each school board member does too. They believe they are good people who are doing their best for the school district. When they hear about something that is corrupt or wrong they look the other way and let it happen, but they justify or rationalize it. They never learn. Yet I believe what you are doing is right, and you are right that one day the truth or justice wins out, but it takes a while, and they may all be long gone before justice finally comes about. They will have retired and passed away naturally before the truth of their corruption is exposed.

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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 12:14 PM

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I am right. Justice will prevail.

Gandhi always said that if we look back at all the tyrants in the world that history shows that they never prevailed.

Keep that view firmly in mind. You can bank on justice winning in the end.

To help justice triumph in the case of Ms. Elia and her complicit board, write to Governor Crist and tell him what you think of the superintendent of the Hillsborough County schools. Be specific about the problems you have because of Ms. Elia's greed and power hunger and the board's indifference to the teachers and the students.

Get your friends and family to write. It's better to sign you name is always my motto; but if you are afraid of retaliation from Elia--and there is a good reason for that fear--tell the governor you are not signing your name because Ms. Elia uses the Professional Standards office as a mechanism for cooking up false charges against people who criticize her and trying to find ways to fire them.

My husband, who was the mayor of our little town for a dozen years, says a snail-mail paper letter has more impact than email. So write a letter, stamp it, and send it to the governor. lee

A fellow named Bart Birdsall will be at the board meeting Thursday to tell how Elia and Linda Kipley tried to fire him on a cooked-up charge. He fought them and won. There is nothing as effective as fighting the Powers of Darkness. It will win in the end. lee

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Gloria Steinem, Lee De Cesare: 1970's fight for th...":

I hope you are right. So far justice does not prevail in the school district, when Elia gets tons of taxpayer dollars while the schools suffer. She embodies the whole problem in education.

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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 2:32 PM

Gloria Steinem, Lee De Cesare: 1970's fight for the failed ERA. We worked out hearts out, and we failed to get the Equal Rights Amendment for Women.

The first time you try for something does not always end in victory. This ERA experience taught me that you don't always succeed on the first, the second, or even the third go. Every failure means you start over again. You don't give up. You never give up. Revolution is forged one grain of sand at a time chipped off the rock of prejudice. If we don't succeed, our successors will. Somehow, somewhere, justice will triumph. lee

Monday, February 04, 2008

I have a fancy hit counter that tells you where your hits come from. It has a world map with dots on it for your contacts. My world map has little dots in the oddest places. I wonder who in the world cares about how ratty the Hillsborough County School Board is. But here are some of the points of origination. Does someone know somebody who has a teacher friend in Tampa who come in from Bucharest? Bucharest is reading us, for heaven's sake. lee

United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesValrico, Florida
United StatesNorwalk, Connecticut
United States
United StatesWesley Chapel, Florida
United StatesZephyrhills, Florida
United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesNew York
United StatesLynn Haven, Florida
United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesPensacola, Florida
United StatesOdessa, Florida
United StatesLakeland, Florida
United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesFort Lauderdale, Florida
United StatesIowa City, Iowa
United StatesFort Wayne, Indiana
United StatesAndover, Massachusetts
United StatesBowling Green, Kentucky
United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesTroy, Michigan
United StatesBrandon, Florida
United StatesPompton Lakes, New Jersey
United StatesNew York
United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesValrico, Florida
United StatesMarion, New York
United StatesPalm Harbor, Florida
United StatesSarasota, Florida
AustriaVienna, Wien
RomaniaBucharest, Vaslui
United StatesSafety Harbor, Florida
GermanyUnna, Nordrhein-Westfalen
IsraelBene Beraq, Tel Aviv
United StatesLakeland, Florida
United StatesBiloxi, Mississippi
United StatesOdessa, Florida
United StatesTampa, Florida
United StatesValrico, Florida
United StatesLakeland, Florida

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tampa Tribune: 1970 meeting with Mayor Dick Greco--with whom I graduated from HHS-- to discuss equal opportunity for women in the city's employ. We emphasized jobs such as police officer that women were shut out of. NOW, under my committee of equal-employment-opportunity, filed charges with the US Justice Department and the EEOC that opened the police and sheriff's departments to women.

Women who now serve in those positions are so young that they don't know how a few women opened those doors for them in the '70's. Dick Greco takes credit, of course. He was a jerk in high school and is still a jerk. lee

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Hooper, imagine my surprise to run across your Times bio and discover you are a black guy.

I have been sending all my spare money to the black guy running for president. He's prettier than you, has great teeth, a wonderful wife, and two enchanting little girls.

but I see you are big. That's a plus. It beats pretty and shiny teeth in moments of peril.

A big guy like you could face down the Hillsborough board attorney, Tom Gonzalez, who got the job 14 years ago without competition from that ass Earl the Pearl Lennard. I want you to ask Tom how he has the nerve to refuse to send me the public information I have requested from him repeatedly about his relationship with the board. The sunshine law says he should. Tom thinks he does not have to because he passed the bar exam, however ingloriously.

I bet every lawyer in HIllsborough County is mad at Tom and his greedy firm for snatching that cushy board job without competition that the equal-opportunity laws demand. Tom knows about the equal-opportunity laws. His firm of Sizemore etc. is labor lawyers the specialty of which is ripping off workers for Simon-Legree employers.

I see you are married. Don't think I am not capable of enlightening Mrs. Hooper about the seductions of La Belle Dame sans Merci Board Chair Faliero whom you wrote a gushing puff piece about. Never underestimate the power of wives and mothers to straighten out the world. Our heads up probably saved you from ending up on the slag heap of La Belle Dame Faleiro's discarded admirers. We would have found you in the wilds of Lutz or Seffner bewildered and palely loitering in some sedge patch like the ones such as Keats describes for us.

I once wrote the CEO of Xerox's wife to tell her about the local Xerox satyrs' demanding sex from the female reps the company hired to coincide with Title's VII's requirements. I told Mrs. CEO Xerox what was going on down here in Tampa. All of a sudden, a team of Xerox headquarters lawyers descended on the local inflamed Xerox sexist louts, fired half dozen, and sent as many to Coventry.

We women don't follow the rules the fellows devised. Why should we? We had nothing to do with making the rules, so we feel no compunction in evading them. Not long ago, I met the mother of one of these Xerox young women relieved of solicitation for sex from the office louts who thanked me on her daughter's behalf. She said the young woman had gone on and made a successful career in the company. I told her if her daughter had any more guff from the local Xerox sexists to write Mrs. CEO Xerox for help. The sisterhood is powerful and exists in odd milieus.

I do not try to blackmail you with the following request, Hooper. I merely point out for your information the breadth and height of my ethical confines. If I didn't sign off on it, I don't have any allegiance to it. I feel the same way about the Council of Trent. We need to renegotiate it with at least half women at the table to balance the liturgical sexists.

Big as you are, you can without fear approach Tom Rip-off-Workers Gonzalez and ask him how he justifies defying the public-records law. Also ask board members. I asked them all to tell their employee Tom to obey the law. They pretended they didn't hear me. In particular, ask Ms. Edgecomb why she ignores the equal-opportunity laws that aim to give women and minorities a level playing field in employment and the public-record law that makes possible citizens' knowing what is going on behind closed doors in their government so that they can holler about political skullduggery.

Ms. Edgecomb is black. She is the board token Aunt Tom. I thought, by the way, that Mr. Maxwell was the token black at the SPTimes until I saw your picture. I had inferred that a token black was all the SPTimes would tolerate under its venerable Affirmative Action Plan for dumb white men.

Write an above-the-fold ditty on Tom's disobeying both the equal-opportunity laws and the public-records laws. You will delight every lawyer in the area--all of whom are too gutless to challenge Tom on his lack of ethics while they simmer about its results of shutting them out from applying for the cushy job of school-board attorney. What contemptible legal puppies they are.

As well as I can tell without the financial data about which I have asked Tom and about which he has stonewalled, his firm of Sizemore and the legal cormorants that comprise the firm have made--with adding in the court-room crucifixion of Doug Erwin for whistle-blowing waste of money in the school-building department--about ten million dollars in their fourteen years at the public trough. That's enough feeding there for those rapacious Sizemore et al greedy guts. I have repeatedly told the board that it should fire Tom et al, advertise the job, and give other attorneys a whack at applying for it.

lee drury de cesare