Friday, April 03, 2009

An Award, My Foot; a Sharp Kick in the Rear Is More Like It

From La Gaceta:

Former Hillsborough County School Superintendent Earl J. Lennard will receive the Ellsworth G. Simmons Good Government Award from the county commission on Wednesday, April 15, at 9am. He's being honored for 41 years spent improving government through leadership and vision.

To all county commissioners:

I protest the inappropriateness of the award to Dr. Lennard. He did not enhance good government. He degraded it.

Dr. Lennard conducted the savage campagain against former school administrator Erwin in the early 90's after Erwin unearthed graft, rigged bids, substandard school construction rubberstamped by the administration and board, and outright stealing of county money.

Erwin asked Dr. Lennard and the board to do something about the crime.

Dr. Lennard and his cohorts launched into cover-up mode. They tried to shut Mr. Erwin up by calling him crazy and conducting a campaign of savage harassment against him to convince him that he was wrong, that there was no problem with graft, rigged bids, substandard school construction, and stealing of school funds.

After two years of taking this punishment with board and administration in league against him, Mr. Erwin filed a whistleblower law suit.

He won it in a jury trial with the board and administration defended by Thomas Gonzalez, board attorney. His firm has held the board-attorney sinecure for 37 years via good ol' boy collusion. The firm did an inept job of defense. Mr. Erwin's attorney did a thorough job of bringing all the evidence of harassment against the board and administration.

Mr. Erwin got a $165,000 settlement for the school board's and administration's criminal conduct and left the hell hole of the Hillsborough County administration for retirement in Georgia.

The taxpayers funded the criminal behavior of the board and administration. The board and administration closed ranks. After they had crucified Mr. Erwin, they hunkered down and punished nobody involved in the crime, not even the guy named McClelland, head of the grounds department, who bragged he got rich on the taxpayer. The only person the board and administration punished was Mr. Erwin in his crucifixion for exposing the crime.

Dr. Lennard does not deserve an award. He deserves a kick in the pants for disgracing the schools with his collusion and likely profit from graft that he presided over and defended against the man who unearthed it: Mr. Erwin.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida USA


Oh, sure

Ms. Cobbe: I understand that Dr. Hamilton is paid $96,000 for his job as lobbyist--up from the $65,000 for his first job of lobbyist. I want as public information the ad used to advertise this job; the applicants' applications, the job description, the day Dr. Hamilton was hired for the new job, whether the job was approved by the board in such difficult financial times when its members are furloughing teachers. lee drury de cesare

We Have Some Mayberry Machiavelli Maneuvering on Dr. Hamilton's Part

Thank you for your breezy response to my formal public-information request.

I would like to have this public information as well: 1. the ad when you advertised for a lobbyist and the dates and names of the venues; 2. a copy of each applicant's submission in response to the ads; 3. The date you hired Dr. Hamilton for $96,000 (I heard that was his salary); I also want the the date(s) you added each school system listed in your client list and whether Dr. Hamilton brought these clients into your firm. 4. I would like as well the date that you hired Dr. Hamilton out of all the applicants for the job.

This hiring procedure and its motives appear to be an evasion of revealing information about double-dipping pensioners of the school system.

Your list of school clients suggests that you are getting a lot of public money from the schools in this transaction, so I would appreciate your obeying the Florida Public-records law in providing me these data.

Select Type: Select View: 2009 Legislative Lobbyist The "Industry Code" listed below each principal address states the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that most accurately describes the principal’s main business. You may view the full list of codes and titles on the site: M. Juhan Mixon Mailing Address: Mixon & Associates 119 E Park Ave Tallahassee, FL 32301 Phone Number: 850/222-2591 Principals: Bay District Schools 1311 Balboa Ave Panama City, FL 32401 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Brevard County Schools 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way Viera, FL 32940-6699 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida Academy of Physician Assistants PO Box 150127 Altamonte Springs, FL 32715-0127 Industry Code: 813910 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida Association of Instructional Materials Administrators 1250 Reed Canal Rd Port Orange, FL 32129 Industry Code: 813920 Effective: 01/12/2009 Florida Association of Kennel Clubs 401 Cardinal Ct Lake Mary, FL 32746 Industry Code: 813910 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida Association of School Administrators 206-B S Monroe St Tallahassee, FL 32301 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida High School Athletic Association 515 N Main St Gainesville, FL 32602-1173 Industry Code: 611710 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida Mental Health Counselors Association 7357 W Sand Lake Rd Orlando, FL 32819 Industry Code: 813920 Effective: 03/10/2009 Florida Perfusionist Society 17080 Safety St Ste 108 Ft Myers, FL 33908 Industry Code: 813920 Effective: 03/02/2009 Florida Rental Dealers Association 6608 Adams Dr Tampa, FL 33619 Industry Code: 813910 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida State Oriental Medical Association PO Box 331097 Atlantic Beach, FL 32233 Industry Code: 813920 Effective: 01/05/2009 Florida Veterinary Medical Association 7131 Lake Ellenor Dr Orlando, FL 32809 Industry Code: 813920 Effective: 01/05/2009 Heartland Education Consortium 1096 US Hwy 27 N Lake Placid, FL 33852 Industry Code: 611710 Effective: 01/05/2009 Independent Funeral Directors of Florida 119 E Park Ave Tallahassee, FL 32301 Industry Code: 813910 Effective: 01/05/2009 Manatee County Schools 215 Manatee Ave W Bradenton, FL 34206-9069 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Marion County Schools 512 SE 3rd St Ocala, FL 34471 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Osceola County School Board 817 Bill Beck Blvd Kissimmee, FL 34744-4495 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Photo Marketing Association International 3000 Picture Place Jackson, MI 49201 Industry Code: 541922 Effective: 01/05/2009 Sarasota County Schools 1960 Landings Blvd Sarasota, FL 34231-3331 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 School District of Indian River County 1990 25th St Vero Beach, FL 32960 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 Schoool Board of Lake County, The 201 W Burleigh Blvd Tavares, FL 32778 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/12/2009 St. Johns County School District 40 Orange St St Augustine, FL 32084 Industry Code: 611110 Effective: 01/05/2009 c: Commiossioner Smith Governor Crist From:

Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 8:58 PM To: lee DeCesare Subject: Re: Public Information request Mr. Hamilton is not our lobbyist. He is a consultant with Mixon and Associates, who represent us in Tallahassee. We do not employ him.

Sincerely, Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T ________________________________________ From: "lee DeCesare" Date: Thu, 02 Apr 2009 20:51:31 -0400 To: ; Bev Slough
Subject: Public Information request

Ms. Soughby: I have a public-information request.

I understand Dr. James Hamilton is your lobbyist.

Under the Public Information privilege of citizens, please send me copies of the (a) advertisement for the job and the venues in which it was advertised. Please send me also copies of the other applicants' submissions for the jobs.

Tell me as well what date Dr. James Hamilton became a consultant and tell me as well if he brought a list of school-board clients that now have disappeared from his own Web lobbying site and relocated to yours. I ask these questions under the public-information law.

Lee Drury De Cesare

15215 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Be vigilant on openness

Published Friday, March 13, 2009
Gov. Charlie Crist deserves high marks for renewing Florida's commitment to government in the sunshine. Just in the past year, his open government office has trained 2,000 state employees on responding to public information requests.

And his open government commission has recommended ways to refresh Florida's commitment in the digital age. But assuring sunshine in government requires constant vigilance, particularly during a legislative session.

That is why the news media in Florida and across the country have established Sunshine Week from March 15-21, organized by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Florida law requires public notice of any meetings where decisions are made by elected officials, and government records are presumed open to the public unless there is a specific exemption in state law. But even in Florida, where voters enshrined government in the sunshine in the state Constitution in 1992, there are new assaults annually on open government.

Among the bad ideas circulating in the Legislature this year:

• Bar public education institutions from releasing identifying information of current and former employees. The measure offered by Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, SB 1260, and Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, HB 409, would prevent public schools and colleges from providing the names, addresses, phone numbers and employment status of teachers, administrators and school board members.

The exemption would make it extremely difficult for parents to investigate their children's public schools. And the proposed law would have hindered a recent series by the St. Petersburg Times about government employees who earn both a paycheck and a state pension — so-called double-dippers. The legislation would have made it impossible to see how many educators were double-dipping.

• Hide the names, addresses and phone numbers of stalking victims in voter registration records. State law already allows stalking victims to have their addresses exempted from all public records. But it is not okay to have anonymous voters on the rolls as SB 2144, sponsored by Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, would allow. You can't protect the integrity of an election process when some of the voters are named John and Jane Doe.

• Prohibit disclosure without a court order — except to a victim's family — of any crime scene photos and videos that include a severe injury or deceased person. The measure, HB 277 and SB 636, sponsored by Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, would make it harder to examine the integrity of police investigations and unearth mistakes or cover-ups.

But for all the possible assaults on open government this session, there is also a chance to improve it. Lawmakers should approve the following:

• "The Florida Budget Openness Act" would give Floridians online access to state and local government expenditures and revenues. It follows one of the key recommendations of the open government commission, which would give citizens electronic access to see how their government spends tax dollars. The proposal, HB 971 and SB 1972, sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, would direct that a Web site be created to track the fiscal details of every government entity in the state including local governments, the courts, the Legislature, school districts, state colleges, etc.

Interested in how much a city's parks department is paying in salaries? Call up the Web site. Want to know how much bond debt your county is carrying? It would be there. The Web site would give taxpayers the power to understand just how their money is being spent. It would be a tremendous boon to civic activism and engagement.

• Allow foster parents and people considering adoption access to certain parts of a child's case files. The Department of Children and Families is supporting SB 126, sponsored by Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, which would make it easier for the adults caring for a child who has been removed from a home due to abuse or neglect to have access to that child's history. The child would also have access to their own file at no cost. Right now it takes a court order — an expensive and cumbersome process — to open these records.

There are a host of other good ideas available for elected officials to embrace in the report by the open government commission. State lawmakers and local government leaders interested in proving their commitment to the public should take them up, such as a proposal to bar public officials from using electronic communications devices during public meetings.

To his credit, Crist has made open government a priority for his administration. So should Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul. They should persuade lawmakers to reject dangerous new exemptions to public records law and promote those measures that would lead to more citizen access. Each elected official bears the constitutional responsibility to keep Florida in the sunshine.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Commissioner Smith Finally Comes Through with a Little Nudging

In a long-standing commitment to the Women's Movement, I have found that if you can't get a person in an official capacity to do his or her job, you move up the food chain and write his or her boss. Or you see what bow-wow committees the culprit serves on, and you write the bow-wow committee's chair and ask that all members of the board be provided a copy of your communication about the subject culprit's derelictions.

Dr. Smith didn't answer two letters from asking him to tell Broward County to send me the data I asked on the hiring of Dr. Jim Hamilton as their lobbyist. One supposes he was engaged in throwing spitballs in his wastebasket instead of doing his job.

So I sent a letter to him with copies to the governor and the big-time members of the committee called the Board of Governors that oversees the state universities in Florida. Fortunately, Dr. Smith is on that committee. Those are the names cc'd below his letter to me.

Now I have to see if Broward obeys the commissioner. If not, I will use this letter to pressure its recalcitrants to send me the data on Hamilton's hiring that I asked for two times with silence as the result.

Broward is obdurate, I go back to Dr. Smith and the Board of Governors and the governor for another round.

You just keep that routine up as long as it takes. Civil rights requires patience and persistence. It's like training a child to go potty. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.



Dear Governor Crist:

I see that Commissioner Smith is also a member of the Board of Governors in addition to his commissioner job. I hope he is more conscientious about that assignment than he is about doing the job you appointed him to do as commissioner.

I request that you prod Dr. Smith to do his primary job: see that the schools in Florida obey the law.

I have mailed two requests to Dr. Smith to help me to get Broward County to obey the Public Records law and send me data I have requested. Broward has not answered my identical requests. Neither has Dr. Smith answered my two requests to him to get Broward School Board to obey the law.

Will you expedite this request for public information from the Broward School Board by instructing Dr. Smith to do his job?

Thank you.


Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708


Dr. Eric J. Smith Commissioner of Education

T. WILLARD FAIR, Chairman Members

Maureen Dinnen, Chair Broward County School Board 600 S. E. Third Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

On March 23, 2009, Commissioner Smith received the attached complaint from Lee Drury De Cesare who alleges that the Broward County School Board has failed to comply with the public records law.

EdW. Jo~an
325 W. GAINES STREET SUITE 1201• TALLAHASSEE, FL 32399-0400• (850) 245-0403•


Created by <span class=DPE, Copyright IRIS 2005" shapes="_x0000_i1025" width="97" height="95">

Dr. Eric J. Smith Commissioner of Education





Created by <span class=DPE, Copyright IRIS 2005" shapes="_x0000_i1026" width="91" height="38">

Maureen Dinnen, Chair Broward County School Board 600 S. E. Third Avenue

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

On March 23, 2009,

Commissioner Smith received the attached complaint from Lee Drury De Cesare who alleges that the Broward County School Board has failed to comply with the public records law.


EdW. Jo~an



325 W. GAINES STREET SUITE 1201· TALLAHASSEE, FL 32399-0400· (850) 245-0403·

Another Problem Extant: my being cut out of the tapes of the educational channel's showing of the board meeting. I couldn't find myself on the three most recent tapes in which I had appeared.

Here's where you have to be prepared to expect a new assault on your sanity. Anybody who challenges authority must expect to be labeled crazy.

This is where you settle down to a long campaign waged mostly with the written word. My winning suit is that I can write and can punctuate what I write correctly most of the time. I sometimes nod off, but I am usually on the beam.

Persistence is everything in this hustle for fairness. And Florida schools are notorious for not ceding public information. They can be brought to heel if only you have the energy. lee

Ms. Griggs: I am going to call Brighthouse Networks and see if there is some technical reason why I don't receive the files intact if you all have not changed them. I have a new computer so that I know I was missing in the tapes both on my old computer and on my new one.

The puzzle that stumps me is that when Bart Birdsall and I appeared to defend Steve Kemp, my part was not there; his was when he followed me to the podium.

I would like to think this is a technology problem. I won't stand for a publicly supported institution to tamper with democracy's First Amendment. If citizens put up with that, we will soon be out of the democracy business. I will let you know what Bright House says.

lee de cesare

From: Lucy Griggs []
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 11:12 AM

To: lee DeCesare
Cc: William Birdsall
Subject: Re: RE: Fwd:

Every time I have received a call or email from you expressing a concern about a School Board Meeting, Ms. DeCesare, I immediately checked the file, and found the meeting to be there in its entirety. We have not replaced anything in a School Board Meeting, because there was never anything cut out of one.

Logs on our encoding computer prove that the files have not been modified since their creation. Once again, I invite you to come over and view the files and the logs. I feel certain this will satisfy your concerns.

Lucy Griggs

Program Director

Tampa Educational Cable Consortium

703 N. Willow Avenue

Tampa, FL 33606

Phone: 813-254-2253

Fax: 813-253-3267


"TV That's Good for Your Mind"

On Apr 1, 2009, at 6:10 PM, lee DeCesare wrote:

What does an undoctored view of the three dates in

question of your files show, Ms. Griggs? For days, I could not find my appearance on the educational channel's programs for the three dates in which I appeared.

Somebody, I inferred, had cut those files out.

Am I to understand that you have replaced the omitted portions in which I appeared on the two other previous dates previous to the March 24th one, in which you omitted my appearance?

I would be happy to be wrong but believe that I am not.

Have you now replaced my appearance on all three occasions in which you cut me out since I filed a complaint with the FCC?

lee drury de cesare

Lucy, Public-education channel:

I have just spoken to Gordon in the Technical Department of Roadrunner, Bright House's email service which I have on my computer.

He says that he can't account for these glitches that omitted me three times from the school-board tapes, that we get the same signals on the beach and people get in Tampa.

This is a mystery. Particularly strange is that when Bart Birdsall and I appeared on the board show to protest the mistreatment of teacher Steve Kemp by the School Board, I was cut out but Bart, who followed me, was on the tape.

I will come to the station on the day I go to the next board meeting: April 21. I should get there from the beach at about one:thirty p.m.

Tell me again the station's street address, please.

Thank you.

lee drury de cesare