Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Efficacy of Nagging

From: Longitudinal Observer []

Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 10:58 PM

To: lee de cesare

Subject: Re: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Protest, Protest, Protest.

There is little doubt that the arrogance and unchecked power of our school administrators and their legal council is the most abusive arena of fraud in our county. The rumor mill of "promotions by affairs" or "financial gain by wrong doing" has been rampant and frequently proven as truth. I know of a few myself.

Do you know Scott Deitche, the man who wrote "Cigar City Mafia"? I would love to see a book written in his style about the Hillsborough County School system. It would be a best seller, I am sure.

I personally believe that the school system is run by others that pull the strings of the "potted plants", as you call them. As you have written about before, the administrative positions are more about personal financial gain than professional education, in my humble opinion.

Richard Hancock

On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 1:42 PM, lee de cesare <> wrote:

I have just featured the neglect of these children in a post on my blog today. The trick is to keep complaining. It eventually pays off. I started protesting the arrest of prostitutes but not customers 40 years ago to City Council. The council members thought I was crazy. Anybody who protests villainy is crazy. They finally formed a prostitution committee to shut me up.

The rabbi on it got arrested for solicitation and fled with his wife to Miami. He has now come back to the area to retire. Meanwhile, I read the gladsome tidings that two of the legal priesthood have been arrested on Lois for solicitation. One is the son-in-law of Cile Essrig, former board member. We lived in the same neighborhood before my husband and I relocated to the beach after our children left home.

Cile's daughter, wife of this, lecher, is a judge. Poor Cile. First her husband went to jail for bank fraud; now this. She never did a thing on the school board but make eyes at Shelton, whose idea of reform was to put all the children in uniforms, not introduces Greek and Latin. ldd

Same Old Same Old Contrition 101

A Tribune October 1 report by one Richard Danielson limns the repeat pattern of the Elia regime when caught out running the schools as if they are part of the ROSSAC alternative universe.

Elia and her lieutenants say they know there is a problem when somebody points it out, They admit that they know that they have not been up to par but that they mean to do better in the future with whatever problem they have been caught out on--much better than they have done in the past they assure one and all. In this contrition act, they declare that they just need a little more time to effect the changes and blah, blah, blah.

This is the predictable leitmotif of Elia when she is caught out: she says with the contrite tone she manufactured when she downloaded a class period on teachers without forewarning them that she knows she has been remiss at whatever is in the spotlight, that she swears to do better; she then crosses and recrosses her heart that she will make things better in the future. The trouble is that she has her fingers crossed behind her back. Things go on just as they have before. The board dozes back off into lala land and travel to Las Vegas and Alaska on the taskpayers' dime. The ROSSAC mess-ups inevitably resume, and the Alternate Universe good times roll on as usual.

The new mess-up is that under Elia's regime students with emotional and behavioral disabilities have been ignored, mistreated, or ejected.

These children are mainlined into the regular school population until their problems become so disruptive that the schools must do something. What they have done under Elia's leadership and the board's usual supine, obtuse cooperation with the superintendent is set forth in the extant complaint of the three civil rights groups--the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities--to the state education authorities. Ms Elia et al have either ignored these emotionally or behaviorally disabled children or mistreated them says the complaint. Now watch them fall back on the default "we-will-do-better" stance for such situations.

Thank God for this complaint. Let's see if Elia can lie her we-will-do-better way out of it by her usual defense of "We know we have a problem, and we are working on it and working on it and working on it."

Noted for the record is that although a disproportionate number of these abused children are probably black, Ms. Edgecombe has not departed from her blend-in-with whitey agenda. Her predecessor black board member did speak up for minorities, but not Ms. Edgecombe.

One notes that Steve Hegerty, head of Public Affairs, is now pulling down $101,000, a bump up of $10,000 from his beginning salary when he got the job about a year ago.

I reviewed the applicants' paperwork for the job that the administration kicked Marc Hart out of to save Jennifer Falliera's "reputation" from the charge of on-site adultery with the besotted Hart. Hegarty was one of the least qualified of the applicants. He had no administrative experience and couldn't punctuate. Elia hired him under the assumption that as a former SPT reporter he could get her the good press she craves.

Hegarty had also written puff pieces on the Hillsborough County schools when he covered that beat for the Times. Those considerations got him the job, not skill. As a matter of record, Ms. Cobbe of that department applied for the job and was better qualified than Hegarty: she had administrative experience and can punctuate on most days. But Elia's lust for good press clinched the job for Hegarty, whose punctuation has improved since his hiring but whose ethics have morphed into ROSSAC Down-and-Dirty..

Worth noting is fhat Hegarty's raise equates to over ten percent while the teachers get a measly 2 percent with a be-grateful-for-small-favors sneer from La Elia. That's how raises go in the alternative universe of ROSSAC. The administration bump-ups continue apace while the teachers' raises rank minuscule and accompanied by assurances from Elia that she has done her best but will do better in the future, etc., etc. The same old same old. Lee

Notes from the front:

From: Anonymous []

Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 6:49 PM


Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Same Old Same Old.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Same Old Same Old":

Of course Elia gives her top people big raises. She wants their loyalty, so she buys it. She could care less about the peons' loyalty. She steps all over teachers, because she knows she can find more of those. She can't find many people who will let her romp around spending taxpayer dollars on her own agenda and who will ignore her unethical forays into conflicts of interest. So she has to pay them big time. It is hush money. She pays anyone who might spill the beans on her unethical behavior hush money. I bet the school board members that she likes get some money under the table. It is the only explanation for their ridiculous loyalty to her, when the rest of the people (teachers, students, and parents) hate Elia.

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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 3:48 PM

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Shame on the School Board Dilletantes

School Board members Faliera, Edgecombe, Griffin, Valdes, Lamb, Kurdell, Olson:

If you would mount a blog, each one of you could be getting unexpurgated information from the taxpayers such as the two following comments to my blog leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch.blogspot.

You don't want to hear from the public. You give public commentators only three minutes at the mike and gavel them down mid-clause if they have not finished a sentence.

I have repeatedly asked the board to give teachers and students a slot on the agenda. I personally addressed a request to board members April Griffin and Susan Valdes to work for a slot for teachers and students on the board agenda. They didn't even bother to answer me. I had been both's supporters when they ran for the board, encouraging them and giving them considerable money donations. If this is the way they treat a supporter, one can only imagine how they treat other taxpayers. I would support neither again. The board needs members who instead of jumping when Elia gives them an order jumps when a taxpayer makes a request.

You will not allot teachers and students a time slot on the agenda so that they can comment on such things as Elia's loading another class on teachers with no warning, forcing teachers to dummy down grades so that Elia will be eligible for yet another "bonus," and allowing Elia to buy a 30-million-dollar Spring Romper Room gimmick without alerting the district teachers, who will have to implement it or, apparently,not alerting the board as well since Griffin offered the inane suggestion that there be a workshop on Spring when teachers finally found out about the Spring purchase and raised Cain about it.

What good would a Workshop be after Elia had signed the Spring contract and made the board legally liable for it?

The board lacks information.I don't believe it wants information. I doesn't do its homework and read the board agenda's back-up material.That's plain from the board performance. The board meetings at which the board chews the fat about trifles is a sleazy cover-up for its not knowing about, caring about, or discussing the real issues that whiz by on the consent agenda.

This is a shameful betrayal of the board's promises to the citizens to work to make the schools better for their children. The board's spending thousands of dollars on gaudy trips to such places as Las Vegas and Alaska while legions of children in the district can't afford supplies to participate in class projects defines the board's ethics. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

I encourage all my readers that they, instead of writing to me, mount a blog and give the board hell for the lousy job it does to make the schools of the county vehicles for excellence in education, not money pits for the administration and board to fiddle faddle away taxpayers' education dollars to the children's detriment. And they should send copies to press to make sure that it knows the situation from another angle: that of the teachers and the students.

Lee Drury De Cesare

From: Anonymous []

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 8:50 PM


Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Protest, Protest, Protest.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Protest, Protest, Protest":

The school district is constantly saying it has to cut the budget, but there is no hesitation in spending taxpayer dollars when the Superintendent wants to retaliate against someone.

Money for children or teachers? Hell no!

Money to burn and waste on a court case to retaliate against a teacher? Yes, as much as they have to spend all the way up to the Supreme Court.

What a bunch of hypocrites the school board members and the Superintendent are!

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 4:09 AM

From: Anonymous []

Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2008 6:32 AM


Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on It's Only Taxpayers' Money.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's Only Taxpayers' Money":

We don't have to rehash how Elia gets more money for every child going into AP/advanced classes, and Spring Board is just a college prep type curriculum. So she is prepping ALL students to go into AP courses, so her bonus money goes sky high. Most CEOs would be fired for such conflict of interest.

Someone should also look in to see if Elia has invested in the SpringBoard. If so, she is making a profit that way too.

The school board is too ignorant to realize that this is a conflict of interest. They go along with it all, and they think they are doing a great job. In reality they have no financial management experience and they oversee millions of dollars. They should have a background in finance. But if you look at all the financial institutions in the U.S. right now, you see how they can't even manage their finances. I bet all of the head of these financial institutions are Republicans. They are greedy as hell and in the end they get theirs, but they take EVERYONE down with them too....that is the bad part.

It would be interesting to know what party each board member belongs to, since it is run so badly. Probably the majority are Republicans. Democrats would be making decisions for the children's sake.

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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 3:31 AM

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Only Taxpayers' Money

From: Anonymous []

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 8:50 PM


Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Protest, Protest, Protest.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Protest, Protest, Protest":

The school district is constantly saying it has to cut the budget, but there is no hesitation in spending taxpayer dollars when the Superintendent wants to retaliate against someone.

Money for children or teachers? Hell no!

Money to burn and waste on a court case to retaliate against a teacher? Yes, as much as they have to spend all the way up to the Supreme Court.

What a bunch of hypocrites the school board members and the Superintendent are!

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 4:09 AM

The Erwin case cost the board hundreds of thousands of dollars. It never blinked. It wanted to defeat Mr. Erwin and fire him with no pension because he pointed out theft, waste, and malfeasance in the system. His chief tormentors were Lennard, Hamilton, and Davis.

When it comes to tormenting teachers and staff with legal annoyance, money is no object.

Erwin won his case, thank God, and got a settlement. He and his wife fled to Georgia because the ROSSAC fiends and board members had made him and his family suffer so badly. I got a letter from his wife saying they thanked those of us who protest the board's and administration's skullduggery.

I think that as long as we have life and limb and can drive our car into the ROSSAC parking lot, we should continue this mission.

Note that when it comes to blowing money on its frivolous travel that the board never thinks of the budget; nor does it consider the budget when raising Elia's bloated salary or signing off on things such as the $30- million-dollar Spring do-dad that the teachers did not know about even though they had to use it.

The board evidently didn't know about Ms. Elia's splurge either since April Griffin suggested a workshop when the teachers learned about the purchase and raised cain. If she had known about the purchase, she would have had sense enough to know a workshop after the fact would not help at all. The board members were too gutless to call Elia on this arrogance. After, all it's only taxpayers' money. lee

Monday, September 29, 2008

Protest, Protest, Protest

monkey biz

Monday, September 29, 2008

10:06 PM


monkey biz


lee de cesare




Monday, September 29, 2008 9:40 PM

I happened to see that you read my blog.

I am interested to know if you got into reviewing the school board and administration because of your special child you mention. Is he or she disabled in some way? I know that I heard that parents won a case against the school board for its lax attention to a disabled child. I recall—and about this I am not sure---that these parents won the Courage Award from the County for their achievement. No member of the board attended the ceremony, of course.

I am encouraged at how many anti-thugs-who-run-the-schools blogs. The newspapers are too scared to put in plain English what these parasites are doing to ruin education. I think the blogs will remedy this situation in the long run. I cheer any new blog that turns up. What the newspapers won’t do, the blogs can. May we have a hundred soon that zeroes in on education.

I taught college English for 28 years. The students who entered my freshman English classes from the county schools couldn’t write. I don’t mean essays. I mean a correctly punctuated sentence. I am waiting for some indignant parent of one such parent to sue the school board for malpractice. I will be an expert witness with great pleasure. lee

Response to above:


The Special Ed Concierge said...

Lee, the short answer is yes, I became interested in learning about the school board and administration because of my deaf/blind son.

The long answer would be to read my blogs as they have provided a catharsis for me to address my thoughts and feelings of the events that had happened since 1990.

Dr. Kieth and Nikole Whitehead were the couple that both won the case against the HCPS and also the Moral Courage Award.

There were several twists and turns in the Whitehead case. The final decision in their favor was based on proving in federal court that the HCPS retaliated against the parents for advocating for their son.

Later I can provide links about their first case but I don't have time right now.

Richard L. Hancock

The key word in Mr. Hancock's comment above is "retaliated." The administration backed up by the board retaliates against anybody that intrudes in their little ROSSAC kingdom.

In a top down from the hierarchy, the superintendent makes the rules, and the rest of the school system obeys them no matter how senseless they are. If anybody declines to follow the regimen, the administration and board collude to smite the opposition to their hegemony. It doesn't matter if the person making the complaint is right--as were Mr. Erwin in reporting theft, bid-rigging, and sub par construction in the schools or the Whiteheads protesting the lack of attention to their child--ROSSAC's goal is to annihilate the person.

This points to the main activity of the Professional Standards office: to gather data on the offending people who protest the system and to fire them (in Erwin's case, sans his pension)--extirpate them from the system that the superintendent and her acolytes have constructed.

Thank God both Mr. Erwin and the Whiteheads sued and won. Of course, the taxpayers paid for the indulgence of ROSSAC's myrmidons of their spite. What citizens must do is protest, protest, protest. Mount blogs and complain. Go to board and complain. Tell friends and neighbors and the person in the supermarket next to you at the meat counter. Shine a light on this perversion of a public institution. lee

Clothes as Politics (from today's Washington Post)

I have always been interested in the way people dress for what it says about the person. I read fashion magazines as a child.

Clothes have a long psychological and political history that this columnist for the DCPost continues, and she does it well.

I would love to write a column about the Bay Area’s political dress. I would go to political events and check out the leading pols’ clothes and write about them in painful detail. I would be mean if it made the comment more satirical.

Every politician in the Bay Area and the political types would read this column first thing. I guarantee it.

My old publisher boss Patrick would never have such a column even though it would add many readers to La Gaceta. He is at heart chivalric and loathe to hurt people’s feelings. With all the damage they do to a community, politicians’ feelings should be hurt-- and often.

I would do a first column on the dress of the school board. Its fashion display is a hoot. Maybe I should blog about this aspect of the board’s persona. I must include Ms. Elia. For all the money she pulls out of the taxpayers, she is a fashion wreck and wears a mullet hair style to boot.

I judge Palin’s dress to be one of her best aspects. And I think her retro hair style invokes an old-fashioned sense of style that is to her advantage. It suggests she is an old-fashioned girl with old-fashioned values. This is a false signal, but it is there in her dress. She has a knockout figure, but she does not emphasize it in her dress, which shows eminent good sense.

The positive reaction of the men to her that exceeds that of the women comes from this wonderful figure of hers, and the women’s less positive reaction to her shows their inchoate knowledge that she represents a dangerous competitive element in the political environment.

Now if she only had more brains about the world, she could be a winner.

I can’t wait to see what Palin wears for the debate Thursday night.

I thought Hillary’s pant suits in vivid colors were perfect for her. They hid her fire-hydrant legs and emphasized her pretty face. Those pant suits were tailored and used elegant fabrics--most often wool gaberdine--and cost a fortune. They were not Wal-Mart. They were high-fashion in origin. I would love to know the designer of those Hillary pant suits for I am sure a designer did them. lee

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Mysteries of Life

The first baby in Tampa NOW is a gynecologist now in California. She is taller than her tall mother and so beautiful that it makes your heart hurt.

My lord, this reader is right. That guy has his hand on Juliet's statue's breast. I wish that I had noted his sexism. I would have descended upon him and beat the living daylights out of the cur. lee

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "You Never Run Out of Cess Pools to Clean Up at the...":

It is funny how you like that picture of Juliet with the guy in the background grabbing her breast!

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Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 3:50 AM

Today I had a kerfuffle with my only son--a NASA engineer who used to help the slow students in our South Tampa neighborhood of Beach Park by coaching them in physics. I always wanted at least one other son, but this one is all I got in the y-chromosome child department.

And, listen to this, he is a Republican. Lord, lord what did this Democrat mother do wrong? His father is a Republican, but even he did not vote for Bush and is now an ardent fan of Obama.

After we had discussed what new my two grandsons are doing (my son's darling wife is Phillippine, so my two grandsons look like Keanu Reeves), my son held forth on his resistance to the $7 billion-dollar bailout of the financial industry. Most citizens are against it, but unless we want the financial markets to melt and there be no lending to small business and citizens, then we have to accept this ugly deal.

But my son was having nothing of this approach. I said there would be 20 percent unemployment if we did not rescue the financial industry from the Republican turd bank presidents who brought this on us (I read a piece in the NYT that says that the AIG arm in London had sold labyrinthine financial instruments that nobody understands and was billions in arrears as a result; not only that, but all the employees made at least a million dollars a year in salary), and the government has already bailed out AIG; I pointed out that the bank presidents with their bloated salaries lent money to people who they knew didn't qualify. I made the best case I could for the bail-out because I said Warren Buffet said this morning that we had to bail out the shits who got us into this mess to keep the country from imploding.

My engineer, physics-savvy son stood firm. "No, ma," he said. "You are wrong. You don't understand the long-term consequences of this." And thusly the conversation continued as we sat in the back-yard patio of my youngest child's house in Beach Park with my grandchildren's splashing in the pool and the chocolate Lab dog that my daughter bought for her husband for his birthday diving into the pool with a gigantic splash to chase a ball the children taunted her with and coming back to shake water all over the company.

I don't know how this financial situation will turn out for our country, but I know I will be down at the school board the next meeting to harrangue the incompetent colluders on the board about the fact that they sat like idols as Elia passed by them on the consent ask-no-questions agenda conveyor belt her creation of two featherbedding jobs for her buddy Dr. James Hamilton (doesn't know the difference between "your" and "you're") at $140,000 and $65,000--the second a sinecure of lobbyist gadabout in Tallahassee after retirement so that he is a double dipper in the tax payers' money pot as is Dr. Lamb and Ms. Edgecomb).

We can't solve the conundrum of how un-regulated Walstreet and banking cowboys wrecked the credit markets or, indeed, What is the meaning of life?

But we can show up at the local school board to harrangue the county board villains who said on the stump when they were running for the board that they would improve the schools, not collude with the greedy administrators who feed off them. lee