Saturday, February 21, 2009

Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock

Party Before March for Choice in D.C. We had One Million Marchers

Dr. Smith: I have asked for public information from Marion County and have had no reply in over two weeks. I sent you copies of my two requests to this county school board. Will you please instruct its members to obey the Florida state law and give me the public information I requested? Thank you.

lee drury de cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708


From: lee de cesare []
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 6:21 PM
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Site Meter

School Board Members, Marion County:

I asked twice for your ad for the lobbyist-for-the-county job. I asked as well for the applications for the job that you gave to Dr. Jim Hamilton. I asked for a copy of his contract. I asked for the secretary’s notes on the board discussion of the job. I have received none of these.

A public-information request is not optional. Public entities by law must give this information to a citizen who asks for it. I look forward to your response to this second request for public information.

I am including Commissioner Smith on the cc list to let him know that a citizen is asking for public information from the Marion County School Board and administration and has not received acknowledgement of the request or the information in the two weeks since I asked for the data.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

District 1

District 2

District 3

District 4


1 comment from Casting-Couch Blog:

Anonymous said...

Besides, if Hamilton is representing various counties, hypothetically he is working for competing "companies." Each competing county wants as big of a slice of the pie (tax dollars from the state) as possible. If Hamilton gets Hillsborough the biggest share, he is making sure they get some of the dollars that other counties could have gotten. So the districts who hire him better make sure they know where his loyalties lie. He could hypothetically take another district's money with a smile and claim to work for their best interests, but then turn around and lobby for more money for Hillsborough. He will probably work harder for the districts that pay him the most, so the poorer districts that could use more would get less. Same ol' stuff.....good ol' boy stuff.....this whole deal exposes him as nothing more than a common crook.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Treading Water on Goader's Case

I send out the last of the blog entries today that describes the crucifixion of Steve Kemp, aka as the blogger Goader, by the Professional Standards office at the behest of Ms. Elia.

The board and administrators don’t like teachers. They are jealous of teachers and students’ being the heart of the schools.

The board and administration want to believe that the school system is all about them. They wait like spiders for the state to send tax money to them that the head count of the teachers and their students produces. The loot comes over the transom into ROSSAC’s bunker, sealed airtight against all outsiders and subject to the vagaries of the board and administrations whims.

The board-and- administration parasites use state money do such things as fund the board’s spending $150,000 in a single year to gad about the country on frivolous junkets while teachers have to use their own money to buy supplies for poor children so that these tots can participate in class activities.

Or, using the logic that administrators can do no wrong, Ms. Elia sends out a memo to administrators to support all administrators caught in a contretemps and authorizes a “mentor” service at $340 a day for the disastrous principal of Alafia, Ms. Smith. In addition Ms. Elia tacks on a plan for $4500 each for La Smith and her vice principal to go to Eckerd for a psychological seminar to learn how a human being should treat another human being. Who pays for this personality-adjustment services? The taxpayer, of course, out of the funds that come from the teacher-pupil headcount.

Forced to remove Ms. Smith because of intrepid resistance from Alafia mothers to put up with her no longer, Ms. Elia now has the this specimen of administrator failure on life-support at headquarters. The superintendent ensconced Smith in ROSSAC, where she examines her cuticles while Ms. Elia searches for her a job with more pay and prestige or creates Ms. Smith one as she did for Dr. Hamilton, Connie Mileto’s mentor, to tide him over until he lined up the state suckers for his lobbying racket.

Ms. Smith’s case illustrates the venerable protocol of ROSSAC that if you mess up, you move up. Dr. Hamilton’s case is sui generis. Dr. Hamilton used the $150,000 job Ms. Elia created for him and that the board rubberstamped as it rolled by on the Consent Agenda to sit in his replacement Otero’s office and cold-call dopes of the state school system to hire him as lobbyist.

Ms. Elia gave the rumpled, hygienically challenged former assistant superintendent Hillsborough’s account for $65,000 with no advertising the job in spite of the board’s mantra of “We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer.” The board remained oblivious to this as to other issues. The board gives new meaning to sleeping on the job.

Ms. Elia and her ROSSAC myrmidons have revved up to destroy teacher Goader’s job and his career because he has a blog that is sometimes mildly critical of the board and administration. They are paranoid about anybody’s pointing out what they do to degrade the schools. They have cooked up a case against Goader for child abuse of special-ed children and let him agonize for seven months, suspended and fretting that he will lose his job and never again get another job in education because of the stigma of being a child abuser. They calculate this threat will bring Goader to his knees and make him give up his blog.

This is sadism ROSSAC style.

Ms. Elia prompted Mr. Dan Valdez, the vice-superintendent Lucco Brazzi of the Professional Standards Torture Committee, to pressure Goader until he folds and gives up blogging as the price for keeping the job he loves.

Please, Jesus, don’t let Goader capitulate. Please, all you seraphim and cherubim, stand by Goader in his hour of need. Let him stand tall and not give in to these ROSSAC administrative thugs.

Teacher Thomas Vaughn called me some time in the past when his principal attempted to tag him as a child-abuse practitioner.

Thomas asked me what to do.

“Fight,” I advised. “Don’t succumb to administration job blackmail. Jump up and down. Make noise. Never acquiesce. Invoke every state official you can think of to whom you will rat out the torturer.

Say that you will write the president. Why not? Didn’t he say he wanted to hear from us? Write the bishops of the churches in the state--Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Born-again, and Imam persuasions; and in addition write the national, state, and local PTAs, etc., etc.

Say you will stand in the parking lot of the Tribune and leaflet reporters as they report for work.

These craven administrators can’t stand bad publicity. “They’re not so tough,” I advised Goader.

Warming to the subject, I advised Thomas to go for broke. I told Thomas that subtlety does not work with these barbarians when they rev up to squash a bug teacher to keep their power and control over state money intact.

“Push back, Thomas,” I urged. “Keep in mind that they all reside in the lower quartile of the Stanford Binet. They could not have passed my English 101 course if their lives depended on it.”

Thomas caught on quickly. He squawked loudly. He railed constantly. The reward: He saved his job. Thomas, himself saved his own grits just as Bart Birdsall had saved his with the same strategy when he fought and won against the charge that he was using school emails for political purposes.

To memorialize the experience, Thomas now signs his name to everything that comes across his desk as a way to confirm his rebirth as a citizen. That’s a big step, signing your name instead of signing “ANONYMOUS.”

Any teacher can do what Thomas did. Teachers can fight back when the administration tries to intimidate them. They can do what the people who founded the country did: they can rebel against tyranny. Teachers are educated people. They do not lack the intellectual resources to save themselves from administrative thuggery, all of whom are no better than C students in undistinguished majors garnered in some forlorn third-tier college or university.

The reward of opposing sadism will be extrication from the clutches of the ROSSAC Gestapo. These unspeakables will go on to lie in wait for and scoop up a more docile victim. Your resistance will cause you to be on a list of people they call crazy.

Let’s see who else is on that crazy list:

1. Galileo for saying the the sun was the center of the universe, not the earth, as the church insisted. The church thugs put Galileo on house arrest for the rest of his life. But he still had his telescope and could observe the heavens. And today, who is our hero: Galileo or those ignorant clerics?

2. Samuel Gompers, who fought child labor and didn’t give up till he changed the vile practice of greedy industrialists’ making little children work long hours in dark, dank factories. Look who leaves a legacy of protection of children from sweat shops.

3. Van Gogh, yes, Van Gogh, whom the establishment art dealers called crazy because of his revolutionary art and who would have starved to death had his brother Theo not fed him. Van Gogh sold three pictures in his lifetime. Today Japanese industrialists pay millions of dollars for a Van Gogh to hang in their board rooms.

So be crazy; it makes you invulnerable to intimidation. Grasp the crazy label to your breast as if it were a Nobel Laureate from future generations who will not be as dumb as those who now call you crazy. Do the right thing or the bold thing or the enlightened thing. Let the insults roll off your back with a “Ta, ta, to you, my obtuse buckoes.”

History will vindicate you. Today’s crazies are tomorrow’s savants and heroes. History will bless you as it did Galileo, Gompers, and Van Gogh.

All progress comes from some person’s willingness to challenge authority and rebel against the dead hand of tradition.

Were there no crazy, visionary people to lead the way for us to a new standard of behavior and to fields of dreams that solace the human spirit, we would all still be huddling around open fires in caves, picking fleas off each other.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eking Out Public Information: If at First, You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again

Ms. Cobbe: I mean the money that the Tribune article below says was expended or would be expended to rehabilitate Principal Ms. Smith. I would like to see a copy of the contracts 1. with Ms. Ippolito for her services of mentoring Ms. Smith and teaching her how to act with people and 2. with Eckerd for the $4500 seminars for Ms. Smith and her vice-principal that were scheduled for for personality analysis and revision.

I would like also to have a tally of the money spent on the teacher Steve Kemp in his case of alleged child abuse to sustain and rehabilitate him.

I would also like to see any affirmative action plan the personnel department has on file; if it does not have one, please say so.

lee de cesare

From: Linda Cobbe []
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 8:38 AM
To: lee de cesare
Subject: Re: public information

I don't know what you mean by the "administration's defense of Alafia's Ms. Smith."

A list of 2008 federal grants is attached.

Linda E. Cobbe

External Communications Manager

Hillsborough County Public Schools

901 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Tampa, FL 33602

813-272-4602 (O)

813-493-6964 (C)

813-272-4510 (F)

Our mission is to provide an education that enables each student to excel as a successful and responsible citizen.

"lee de cesare" <> writes:

Ms. Cobbe: Has the total for the administration's defense of Alafia's Ms. Smith been talliled yet? If so, I would like to have it.

I also want a list, please, of all the federal grants and the agencies that give them to this school system. Thank you.

Schools having federal grants are supposed to have affirmative action plans for disabled workers. Could you get a copy of that for me as well? Thank you.

lee drury de cesare

Coaching Alafia Principal Could Cost District Thousands

Published: December 8, 2008

Mending fences at Alafia Elementary School won't come cheap.

Depending on how long Grace Ippolito is assigned to shadow Alafia Elementary Principal Ellyn Smith, the fix could run in the thousands of dollars.

Now retired, the longtime educator is serving as a mentor and coach for Smith at the suggestion of a 16-member school effectiveness assessment team sent to review the school after Alafia parents complained about Smith's leadership skills. Ippolito was the first principal of Alafia when the school opened 21 years ago.

Ippolito is working under an open-ended contract at $340 a day with the school district. District spokesman Steve Hegarty said the length of the contract has not been determined. Ippolito began working with Smith Nov. 21. Her duties include helping Smith improve her personal interactions with teachers and parents.

Smith and her assistant principal also will receive leadership training at Eckerd College at a cost of $4,500 each.

Hegarty said this expense isn't unusual.

"We send dozens of administrators, often principals, through the training each year," he said. Depending on the expense, the funds come out of either the general operating budget or the staff development budget, he said.

Other costs were more difficult to get a handle on.

Hegarty said there was no way he could extract the cost of the school assessment team's three-day visit to Alafia, followed by the time it took the team to put together a report with recommendations for the superintendent.

"The team was made up of school district employees," he said. "Working with schools is part of their job."

Nor could he assign a cost to the current FOCUS team charged with taking an overall look at the school's woes for the same reason.

He added that the district's staff development department, which routinely provides training for staff, will provide the conflict-resolution, team dynamics, disability awareness, behavior management, professional and ethics training for the teachers, staff and administrators at Alafia that was recommended by the assessment team.

This isn't the first time problems with school administration have prompted school Superintendent MaryEllen Elia to send in an assessment team into a school to get a handle on problems. In recent years, Elia has sent teams to McLane, Madison and Van Buren middle schools and Carrollwood Elementary School, said Hegarty.

While the middle schools required less drastic fixes, in the case of Carrollwood Elementary School, both Principal Jan King and Assistant Principal Jamie Whitlow were removed from their duties at the recommendation of the assessment team.

Many Alafia parents are wondering why that wasn't done in this case. They say the fact that 33 teachers have left since Smith arrived at the school in 2005 should indicate that something is drastically wrong at Alafia, that the problems are as severe, if not more severe than those experienced at Carrollwood.

PTA board member Beverly Harbord points to the 2007-08 Whole School Effectiveness Survey results for Alafia as further evidence.

Harbord said the survey results showed the principal had difficulties with communications, professionalism, motivating and rewarding teachers, school safety and teamwork.

Of particular concern to her was the fact that 91 percent of the teachers "strongly disagree" that the principal treats them fairly and empathetically, and 85 percent "strongly disagree" that the principal recognizes and rewards staff when appropriate.

Nevertheless, Smith has consistently received glowing evaluations from her supervisors, and some co-workers have come to her defense.

The maintenance supervisor at Alafia since the school opened in 1987, Rachel Driggers found herself in the center of the maelstrom when parents complained to Elia at a meeting at Alafia Nov. 20 that portables to be used as temporary classrooms while part of the school was renovated were filthy when teachers attempted to move in. One parent said she had to clean out a nest of wasps. Driggers disputed the state of the portables.

"My crew went in and cleaned all those portables," said Driggers. "And there were no wasps. I looked. There was one mud dauber."

She also said the publicity, blogs and a group of outspoken parents make it appear as if everyone feels Smith should go.

"Mrs. Smith has a lot of supporters," she said. "She's a very good principal."

Armed with petitions containing the names of hundreds of frustrated parents, a group of Alafia parents plan to attend the Tuesday school board meeting to request that the school board overrule Elia and have Smith removed as principal. The board meets at 3 p.m. at the school district administration building, 901 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa.

Reporter D'Ann Lawrence White can be reached at (813) 657-4524.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blogging to Pierce the Veil of Silence

Juliet's Balcony in Parma

Mr. Otero: The spontaneous outburst chiefly involving you and Mr. Gonzalez at the last board meeting after Bart and I had made our cases against the mistreatment of Goader aka Steve Kemp opened my eyes to some political realities behind the wall of deliberate political silence that the administration maintains. It shuts out the board from vital information it needs to make decisions.

The administration has made the board a puppet of which Ms. Elia and her
ROSSAC myrmidons pull the strings. The board allows this condition because its members have no serious intentions of fulfilling the promise of "cleaning up the schools" they all made on the stump. That would require intellectual and political work, not the board's forte.

I wish Board Member Griffin had had the savvy to ask you to deliver to the board a summary of the child-abuse case's accusations against Steve Kemp, a summary of the witnesses' testimony, and a list of other witnesses you have to interview.

And also a board member needs to ask for the date of the hearing to wind-up of the case.

I know this interrupts the Professional Standards' torture committee's plan to squeeze
Goader as long as possible until he throws up his hands and stops his blog. Blogs are the bete noire of the administration and board. Blogs print things that the board and administration have had washed, disinfected, and dried in Community Relations office before allowing the information out the door.

I pray Goader never does capitulate.

Meanwhile, the administration and board are babying former
Alafia Principal Smith, who is a real insult to Professional Standards. She lacks the talent of treating other people like human beings. But she is an administrator, and administrators get wrapped in cotton wadding when they mess up while teachers are treated like toads. So Ms. Smith resides in ROSSAC until Ms. Elia can find or create her a better-paying job than that of principal.

It's sadistic for the torture committee of which you apparently act
Lucco Brazzi to keep Steve in suspension for 6 1/2 months and counting. Losing his job for child-abuse would mean he could never get another job in a school system. You torture addicts know this sad truth and are counting on that fear to bring him to his knees. You want to to break the fellow, his then being so emasculated that he will abandon his blog even though it only occasionally does but a mild piece on the skulduggery in the schools. You do a dirty piece of work simply to keep teachers from using their First Amendment rights.

This torture ritual is so ghoulish that I am considering getting a local minister, priest, imam, and born-again man of God to all visit the board and administration for counseling and expiation. The
ROSSAC chambers must be hosed down as moral Augean stables and then besprinkled with holy water.

Ms. Elia's office needs an extra dousing with holy water since that is site of her putative cursing out of lower-level personnel with imprecations larded with the f-word. I can write the holy men and let them know the godless activities that go on in the sinful precincts of the School Board; the spiritual leaders of this community need to know of these devilish activities of the board and its administration minions on civic ground.

I am well
qualified to do this task. I am a child of Episcopal parents, the church of whom in the little Georgia town where I was born turned Hard Shell Baptist about forty years ago. The apostates of the family joined the Baptists and outbred the sluggish Episcopal original members of the little family church on the grounds of the cemetery.

Now the church's sermons come from
itinerant born-again, bloviating ministers. These pulpit-pounding preachers prey on the ignorance that infests all the little Southern towns of my home state and even my family, alas. Ignorance has suborned my family along with the other dopes in town.

But the point is that I can talk high church and low church. I am fluent in both episcopal doxology and also born-again patois. The born-
agains in my family have cooked up an individual buck and wing that is the envy of all the other born-agains. They will drop down to the ground and pray over you in a heartbeat if they think you have done anything wicked like not going to church on Sunday and prayer meeting on Wednesday.

If my kin visited
ROSSAC, its members would stay on their knees all the time. You, Mr. Otero, sir, would get a special prayer session for your wickedness as the head of Professional Standards Torture Committee. This ceremony would halve your red blood-cell count and diminish the potency of your bone marrow's defense against deadly infections. Don't say I haven't warned you.

My Catholic husband is still in shock over observing the didoes of the preacher at the annual dinner on the grounds last year, at which the preacher preached himself into near apoplexy at how wicked we all were and how we didn't have a snowball's chance of making it through the pearly gates.

I talk that language. I learned from my cousins. We used to play-act preaching sermons to each other about everybody's going to hell. True, I will have to bone up on imam language, but I can do that. I have a talent for linguistics of all flavors.

So expect the religious community of the Bay Area to hear about what is going on in the schools from the kid here. Think I am just prattling at your peril.
The more outre an activity is, the more it attracts me.

Meanwhile, in order to part the curtain of secrecy that the board and administration have kept closed, confirm or deny for me the following rumors:
  • Your daughter got a principal's job two weeks after hiring. That surprised me that you might have a daughter. Luco Brazzi would never have daughters; he would father all sons.
  • Dr. Lamb's daughter, who alas is said to resemble her pops, holds an administrative position in the schools;
  • Ditto for Ms. Ethridge's daughter;
  • The Smiths are Dr. Lamb's bosom friends, and hence Ms. Smith got extra-special coddling for her treating the Alafia parents, children, and teachers like slaves.
The administration and board's using the schools as a hiring program for children and relatives not to mention buddies, most of whom are not inhabitants of the upper reaches of the Stanford Binet, needs closer scrutiny. I promise to provide it.

Ms. Elia has not yet confirmed or denied that she showers employees in her office with the f-word. Ms. Olson has not denied or confirmed that she no longer lives in her district after divorce.
The public wants to know the answers to these questions.

not answering questions is a signal to me that I need to keep repeating and adding to them.

drury de cesare

Ms. Cobbe:
Has the total for the administration's defense of Alafia's Ms. Smith been tallied yet? If so, I would like to have it.

I also want a list, please, of all the federal grants and the agencies that give them to this school system. Thank you.

Schools having federal grants are supposed to have affirmative action plans for disabled workers. Could you get a copy of that for me as well? Thank you.

lee drury de cesare