Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I Met a New Buddy at the School Board

Picture of a Rocket Poised for Take-off That My NASA Engineer Son Sent Me and his Dad

From: lee de cesare [mailto:tdecesar@taMPAbay.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 12:35 AM
To: 'jrobin19@tampabay.rr.com'
Cc: 'Patrickmanteiga@lagacetanewspaper.com'
Subject: hoorah for john!

John, I just watched a re-run of your performance at the school board on the Educational Channel.

You were terrific. I wish that I had thought of the term "corruption" to throw at the board. Had I had your big, booming baritone and spirited delivery all my years in civil rights, I could have been somebody.

I suggest you use your officer position at the NAACP to get the organization to file for contract compliance review with the federal contract suppliers in the area in which you complained about to the board.

Your Congressman can tell you exactly where to send it. Then you can enlist him to check on its progress. Federal departments are more active in answering a Congressman's inquiry than a citizen's. Congress votes lawmakers' budgets.

All contract recipients of federal contracts are supposed to observe equal-opportunity laws. I would think that in construction projects, they would have to observe equal opportunity in bids as well as in employment, especially for minorities.

The School Board has a policy of no-bid contracts so that board members and administrators can give contracts to buddies without bidding them out. Tom Gonzalez, of course, claims this is legal because he got his job without its being advertised.

Your situation sounds like a no-bid contract if I understood you correctly that the firm's CEO and her husband are white and lack credentials.

People without credentials are exactly the kind of people the board and administration like to give contracts to. Then the taxpayers have to pay for these incompetents' botched jobs.

Ask to see all the contracts submitted for the project you didn't get that went to the whites. Ask for these data as public information. The schools have to show these data to you. Send the request to Linda Cobbe of the Public Affairs office. Knowledge is power.

Appealing to the feds can have positive results. Forty-five years ago (I have been at this work a long time), I opened the police and sheriff's departments to women police officers in the city and women deputies in the county by reporting the job sexism of both to the EEOC and the Justice Department.

My charging party for the police was a young black single mother who couldn't make enough money to support her children as a nurse's aide. Her name was Thelma. I have forgotten her last name. The EEOC said the Police Department had to hire her. My husband and I went to Thelma's graduation at the Police Academy, the first woman who got a police officer job ever.

The Justice Department told the sheriff that he had to give up his federal grants or hire women. The first woman deputy slammed her patrol car into a phone pole, and the sheriff had a heck of a time getting rid of her because she was under the Justice Department's protection.

Sheriff Beard hates me so badly that he won't stay in the same room with me. He and I both graduated from Hillsborough High. I saw him about a year ago there at some alumni event. He was in the foyer shaking hands as if he were still running for office. He didn't shake my hand. He pretended not to see me.

You have your battles; I have mine. Right now I have to get going on finding out what was the legislative intent of the legislators who wrote the bullying law. Lawyer Tom Gonzalez says the law applies only to children, not adults, although the law cites adults too. You were right when you said the board shouldn't trust Gonzalez's opinions. He always finds what he thinks the board wants him to find in the law.

The board and the administration don't want the bullying law to apply to adults so that teachers can't file charges against the board members and administrators who bully them.

These crooks keep you busy.

Sylvia Carly's husband used to be NAACP head. She and I both worked at HCC when he had that position. Sylvia was an administrator; I was a teacher. Ask Sylvia for a character reference for me.

lee drury de cesare

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