Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Have Faxes to Send and Miles to Go Before I Sleep, Miles To Go Before I Sleep


Office of the Commissioner
Turlington Building, Suite 1514
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Phone: (850) 245-0505
Fax: (850) 245-9667

Dr. Eric Smith, Secretary of Education:

The below one-sentence carbon-copy came from you after two requests for help to combat refusal of a school board to obey the open-records law. When you didn’t answer the first, I sent a second letter with copies to the governor and Florida Board of governors, of which you are a member. That one yielded the cc’d letter.

Your foot-dragging in insuring open government goes athwart Governor Crist’s support of government in the sunshine (see news story below). It makes this citizen wonder why a person accepts your job unless he or she wants to help citizens. In a democracy, a government person must honor citizens’ appeals for help or surrender the job to somebody who will.

School Board Association told me that Dr. Hamilton, a top administrator of the Hillsborough County school system before retirement, has become consultant for Mixon and Associates in Tallahassee. Dr. Hamilton listed school-board clients on his original lobbyist Web page that dated hiring 1/5/09; Mixon and Associates dates the same clients since 1/06/09. That’s a one-day turn-around.

One suspects Dr. Hamilton, double-dipper with both pension and school-board consulting jobs, is trying to evade the exposure of flouting equal-opportunity in his hiring. “We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer” appears on these school-board Web pages. One infers that the school-board clients listed on Hamilton’s Web site switched to the Mixon Company, knowing that they were further evading equal opportunity in hiring.

When Dr. Hamilton retired from the Hillsborough school system in 2008, Superintendent Elia created him a bridge job with a fancy title and $140,000 salary so that he could sit in Dr. Otero’s, his replacement’s, office and cold-call school-board clients for his double-dipping lobbying enterprise. Testimony to this arrangement was retiree Hamilton’s name crudely inserted in pencil above Otero’s on the schools’ Web site.

Ms. Elia shut down the boutique Hamilton job when seven or eight months later Dr. Hamilton took off to his new lobbying adventure. The board condoned such misuse of taxpayer money, not letting out a peep of protest.

I will expect you to back me up, sir, when I demand the data on these earlier Hamilton and later Mixon hires by school boards in this incestuous K12 bureaucracies’ exploitation of taxpayers.

I will add to my subsequent public-information requests a list of federal grants the schools have. Federal grants have equal-employment-opportunity riders on them. I will ask that the federal government do a compliance review if school boards have been lying about practicing equal-employment-opportunity hiring in the Hamilton case.
I have asked the Mixon people with no answer yet about equal opportunity practiced in the Dr. Hamilton hiring when he brought his tax-subsidized school boards with him on 1/6/09.

Mixon blazons on its Web site:


Tax money should not go to undermining equal-employment-opportunity laws with duplicitous declarations of compliance but extant practices of evading the laws. That’s un-American. It seals in the affirmative-action plans for good old mediocre white boys in perpetuity. No advertising of jobs ensures the jobs stay inside the K12 bureaucracy.

Dr. Hamilton presents a text-book case of mediocre administrators who infest the K12 bureaucracy in Florida. Incestuous K12 hiring clogs K12’s ranks with refugees from the lower reaches of the Stanford Binet. Their degrees almost uniformly represent academic piffle. The results for public education rank baleful as these scholars manqué stream into K12 bureaucracies via the old-boy K12 network and appropriate them.

These word-of-mouth hires lack interest in excellence in education but rather exhibit obsession with lining their pockets with tax money for bloated salaries at variance with their thin credentials. They strut around pretending they are important people because they dole out government money to developers and run a jobs program for K12 bureaucrats.

Especially in education, it is better to have "A" students who majored in weighty subjects lead schools than C students lead who such as those that occupy the Florida F12 bureaucracies eked out degrees in academically weak areas.

These deficient K12 scholars draw salaries five or six times greater than those of teachers. School boards interested only in political la gloire and perquisites of board membership as is Hillsborough County’s case collude with this corrupt system. Hillsborough County school board voted itself salaries ten thousand dollars higher for a part-time, ceremonial job than the salaries of beginning full-time teachers.
In many communities across the country, school-board service is community service. Were we to get that kind of system in Florida, there would be a revolution in school-board membership from exploiters to people interested in education.

Last year a school-board member who campaigned on an “I-will-clean-up-the-schools" ticket spent $50,000 on board-travel larks around the country. I understand that her mission was to pick up the multiple Cracker Jack awards that school boards give each other for imaginary achievements. Since the boards don't do anything but potted-plant duty on the dais on board days, they need assurance that they are pivotal to the wellbeing of schools.

Meanwhile while the Hillsborough County board member bought airline and hotel tickets with tax money, thousands of poor children in Hillsborough County can’t participate in class projects because they lack money for supplies.

Hillsborough County supervisor Elia makes $300,000 a year; about $50,000 of this is “bonus” money for work teachers do in raising student scores. Dr. Earl Lennard introduced this teacher-work rip-off. Ms. Elia continues it with board approval. Dr. Lennard was superintendent during the Sam Erwin crucifixion for revealing crime in ROSSAC.

The board had handed Ms. Elia the job, waiving a Ph.D. because she didn’t have one. She was not best candidate (I reviewed the applicant files) but the worst. She got the slot because she was the inside candidate who would not disturb the board’s incumbency perquisites. To cover their collusion, board members billed taxpayers $35,000 for an equal-opportunity, nation-wide show ad for the job. This constitutes flouting equal-opportunity laws and billing the taxpayers for board chicanery.

In private industry these K12 specimens who batten off tax money in Florida K12 bureaucracies could not squeeze into even middle management much less top ranks. Only in public education subsidized by oblivious taxpayers does their incestuous ascendancy occur. Florida K12 bureaucracies feature scholastically weak college graduates’ occupying peak of the employee pyramid. The results are negative for students.

Your biography says that that you emerged from the Florida K12 bureaucracy yourself, Dr. Smith. It also says that you got your terminal degree in “curriculum and instruction.” I never heard of that degree. Could you put your terminal thesis online, sir, so that we taxpayers can read it? We could get a better view of your theory of education from reviewing that thesis.

I am conservative about educational credential especially for schools’ higher ups. I would have a secretary of education with a doctorate in heavy-weight credentials as come from a study of disciplines such as physics, language, or the classics. Those degrees produce people with well-furnished minds and lofty standards if they get through the ordeal of acquiring respectable bona fides that a solid education requires.

Incestuous K12 bureaucrats’ alerting buddies to job openings remind me of stromtolite accretions of bacteria from the Precambrian Era that are still found in Australia. The bacteria slowly pile one on another until they form a solid block. Florida K12 bureaucracies are like these stromtolite blocks because neither the bacteria nor the K12 bureaucrats have competition and flourish unchecked.

Massachusetts, the country’s number-one school system, has thinned ranks of administrator numbskulls by requiring that administrators pass the same language test as teachers must pass. Grammar and punctuation disability cuts out some of the worst administration-wannabe specimens.

While at Hillsborough, Mixon-and-Associates consultant Hamilton displayed in email that he did not know the difference between “you’re” and “your.” His sustained writing that I saw lacked structure, featured slovenly grammar and punctuation, and displayed not a shred of rhetorical felicity. I suspect his long career of siphoning top salaries from the education tax kitty involved the assistance of a literate stenographer who got minimum wage to edit his error-filled lucubrations.

Concern about Dr. Hamilton’s deficiency with language prompted me to write the University of Florida’s Dr. Machen and tell him that he should see to it that Ph.D.s loosed from Florida’s flagship university should not have evaded scholarship requirements by buying their theses and foisting these off on sluggard theses committees.

These deficient scholars shoot out the university’s door and head straight for K12 administrations to form the leaden lump at the top that weighs down academic horizons of children over whose school lives these addle-pated specimens preside.

Language inability does not exhaust Dr. Hamilton’s deficiencies for a job in schools. He lacks minimal ethical standards. Schools are supposed to model pristine ethics for children.

Dr. Hamilton gained his ascendancy in the Hillsborough county administrative hierarchy by acting chief ghoul in Superintendent Earl Lennard’s effort to fire and deprive of his pension Mr. Sam Erwin in the early Nineties. Mr. Erwin had discovered theft, bid rigging, and substandard building of schools for which the board paid top dollar. Mr. Erwin insisted that the superintendent and board do something about the crimes. What they did was to try shut Mr. Erwin up and to fire him stripped of his pension.

Superintendent Dr. Lennard and his goons set about to prove Mr. Erwin crazy and hallucinatory. So flagrant was the goons’ behavior that Mr. Erwin gave up on convincing the board and administration to intervene in the school crimes. The board evidenced no interest in crime in the schools. Then-incumbent Candy Olson spat at Mr. Erwin that he would have to prove that the crimes existed. She didn’t bestir herself to poke around herself to see what the scoflaws were doing in ROSSAC.

Mr. Erwin gave up on convincing the board and administration to deal with the school crimes. He filed and won a whistleblower lawsuit against the board and administration. That settlement cost taxpayers a $165,000 settlement. Taxpayers, the usual chumps, picked up the tab for administration-and-board crime.

The board fired not a single person involved in this on-site crime wave. To this day, it avoids the topic. When people ask board or administration about the Erwin disgrace, the canned response is that they do not want to discuss it; that they “want to move on.” Three of the Erwin-era incumbent administrators still sit on the board: Olson, Lamb, and Kurdell.

Today, Erwin-era ethics continue in such things as the superintendent’s with board collusion faking Professional Standards charges against teachers or taking a trifle and blowing it up to a firing charge against them. Ms. Elia excels in this savage protocol. She, administration, and board aim to keep teachers from critiquing the administration and board’s mismanagement of the schools from fear that teachers will lose their jobs on cooked-up charges. Terror shuts teachers up.

A teacher’s having a blog panics the board and administration. The administration and board don’t want any news to come out of the schools that has not passed through the Public Affairs Laundromat’s spin cycle. Public money subsidizes this information-laundering system. Thus, taxpayers subsidize their own bamboozling. The public picks up the bill for prettifying thuggish administrative-and-board behavior before it reaches the public’s eyes and ears.

Ms. Elia targets certain teachers to terrify with the threat of firing. She speaks with bombastic expletives herself, one hears. Rampant rumors say she uses the “f” word in putdowns of personnel in her office confrontations with them. I have asked several times for her to deny or confirm this rumor. She had done neither.

Superintendent Elia and Mr. Dan Valdez, the Lucco Brazzi chair of La Elia's behind-the-scenes terror committee, have kept special-ed teacher Steve Kemp on suspension for eight months for a false charge of child-abuse that the sheriff threw out. They want to terrify him and for his crucifixion to act as warning to other teachers.

The real reason the ROSSAC sadists torture Teacher Kemp is that he has a blog. They try to keep him in a state of agonized tension about losing his job because administration and board want him to give up his blog and his free-speech rights. An administration machine apparachick called him while he is still under this bogus suspension to warn him that a certain subject was off limits in his blog. The board condones such outrages against teachers’ integrity and free speech with silence although for public consumption board members set up a clamor about how devoted they are to the First Amendment and to teachers.

Not surprisingly, few teachers speak out. The administration can make their lives miserable and deprive them of the job they need and love.
Alerted to such outrages as these against education, a forceful Secretary of Education would send down an investigative committee to plumb the causes for teacher torture in the Hillsborough County schools.

A second ethics marker during Dr. Hamilton’s administrative tenure that bespeaks unsuitability for connection with the schools that set the moral tone for the community’s children occurred when he intervened while at Hillsborough to pass over qualified applicants in order to hire a favorite, one Ms. Connie Mileto, to the job of government-representative in Tallahassee. Ms. Mileto’s education comprises kindergarten teacher. She, however, supplements her kindergarten credentials with a Ph.D. in the venerable protocol of There’s No Fool Like an Old Fool to fast-track her leap up the administrative ladder despite meager qualifications.

This appointment approved by a complicit Ms. Elia and a torpid board bespeaks the moral tone that surrounds Dr. Hamiltion’s career in public education and in the Hillsborough County administration. Now post-retirement, he manipulates hiring to allow him to continue his school-related career.

A man of Dr. Hamilton’s’ soi-disant allure for the female sex—especially those thirty years younger than he—should not languish in K12 lobbying treadmills that lack glamour and panache. Le Hamilton should go straight to Hollywood to pinch-hit for Brad Pitt. Or Mixon and Associates should tap into Le Hamilton’s bloated charisma by featuring him full figure on a giant billboard as near to the capitol as possible. This capitol billboard will display his full majesty of face and figure and feature the school boards’ names that he has suborned engraved at his feet in flowery font.

Mayhap Dr. Hamilton’s lobbying adventures that have now located him in Tallahassee defines fate’s way of uniting him with There’s-no-fool-like-an-old-fool Mileto. This star-crossed pair models objective correlative of Florida K12 Heloise-and-Abelard.

I have concern about punctuation in your own one-sentence essay. I am a retired English teacher. Your performance reminds me of freshman remedial-English classes coming from Hillsborough County schools. Most couldn’t write a paragraph with coherent structure, correct grammar, and standard punctuation much less an essay. Hamlet waited off stage while I reviewed comma lore that students should have learned in the ninth grade and certainly by high-school graduation.

Little wonder that relative illiteracy afflicts high-school graduates when the Florida Secretary of Education signals its lack of importance by his inability to punctuate a one-sentence essay.

A comma goes after "complaint": the adjectival prepositional phrase following it is nonrestrictive. A comma follows “De Cesare”: the adjective clause following it is nonrestrictive. Conventional commas go passim in the paragraphs of names you append.

The Florida education apparatus would also do well to be solicitous enough of the psyches of its female students and workers by using gender-neutral "chair" or "chairperson" in its communications instead of male-centric, chest-beating, testosterone-drenched “chairman."

Words not only reflect reality but perpetuate it.

Citizens expect the commissioner of education to stay abreast of the plethora of linguistic studies that show male-centric diction harms the psyches of girls. Perhaps you don’t read university linguistic studies. Perhaps the literature of the curriculum-and-instruction field does not concern itself with the wellbeing of women and girls. I suggest you start reading these studies for female students’ and board-of-education female employees’ benefit.

I shall continue to question Dr. Hamilton’s double-dipping career as pension recipient and lobbyist-consultant that bleeds tax money that could go to student needs and needs of qualified employees not trying to milk the tax system for even more money than a pension provides.
If the Hamilton saga models the kind of chicanery that K12 administrators engage in to keep top jobs with undeserved, bloated salaries in the hands of low-talent people and shut out better candidates who would raise performance levels in such things as basic grammar and punctuation. I suggest that you do what a secretary of education should do to deal with this problem.

Begin with getting the legislature to pass a law making obligatory K12 administrators’ language tests as modeled by Massachusetts. Count it your responsibility also the insuring that county school boards observe federal equal-employment-opportunity hiring laws as well as state public-information laws.

A citizen should not have to engage in these K12 bureaucratic personnel equal-opportunity compliance and open-records struggles that rightly belong to the secretary of education.

Your job, sir, should include weeding out nefarious schemes such as that demonstrated by Dr. Hamilton’s dishonoring of the equal-opportunity laws to continue his occupation of the K12 bureaucracy at one remove. Your doing so would augment the quality of Florida k12 administrations that blight it now.

I can’t endorse citizens of Florida’s paying your bloated salary of $200.000 when you dawdle in helping citizens get reluctant school officials to comply with the Florida public-records and federal equal-employment-opportunity laws; when you abuse commas; and when you condone androcentric diction that diminishes women and girls’ self-esteem.

You should make it your goal to stop the evading of equal-opportunity and public-information laws by school boards. Your current laissez-faire attitude corroborates a corrupt system that cheats taxpayers, students, and teachers. This attitude says it’s OK for local boards to condone the unfair ol’ boy hiring system that shuts out outside talented applicants and embraces inside k12 exploiters of Dr. Hamilton’s ilk.

Cleaning up this abuse is properly the job of the secretary of education. Would that we had one or will soon get one with the grit and stomach for this task, one who has enough concern for education to wade into the fens and bogs of this educational corruption now extant.


Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708



Dr. Eric J. Smith Commissioner of Education

T. WILLARD FAIR, Chairman comma Members

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

cc: T. WILLARD FAIR, Chairman Members

Governor Crist
ED W. JORDAN, CIG, CFE, CIA comma INSPECTOR GENERAL comma 325 W. GAINES STREET comma SUITE 1201• TALLAHASSEE, FL 32399-0400• (850) 245-0403•


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.


First Lady Carole Crist
Pl-05 The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Ms. Crist:

I was delighted to see your picture on the governor’s Web site. What a beautiful couple you make for the citizens of Florida to admire. We have always marveled at your husband’s good looks. Now we have a pair of beauties to charm us.

I have copied the governor a communication to the current secretary of education, one Dr. Smith. I fear Dr. Smith does not share the governor’s enthusiasm for open government, and I think the governor should know this fact and take him to the woodshed.

I see you have had a lively business career. Good. I always quote to my daughters and granddaughters Flo Kennedy’s maxim about women’s need to get an education for work because “Every woman is one man away from welfare.”

I often write public officials about public business. I think citizens should. I wrote UF President Dr. Machen and his wife a letter recently about the problem of fake theses. I enclose a copy of both for your information.

I believe First Ladies influence their husbands. Curtain lectures have worked for me for almost 53 years. I am sure Ms. Obama influences the president. She should: she is his intellectual equal. I supported Mr. Obama from the day he announced. I knew in my bones he would be good for the country. So far, I believe that I am right.

The reason Governor Crist has the voters’ affection in my opinion is that his stands on issues are often more aligned with Democratic than Republican philosophy.

I believe if he had been married to you when Senator McCain was shopping for a vice president that he may have beat out the disastrous choice he made. The vice-presidential choice was beautiful, but her policies are so right-wing that they dismayed most of the public. She even forbade abortion in the case of rape.

I believe the way Ms. Palin got the vice-presidential slot was the one hour of private conversation at the McCain ranch that she and the senator engaged in. The silliest girl can make a fool of the smartest man. That’s why one sees “Men are dopes” written on powder-room walls. Darwin explains this phenomenon in The Descent of Man. Evolution insures that men chase women because of natural selection’s genetic imperative that makes men determined to spread their seed with a hey nonny nonny to continue their existence in their offspring. I don’t know when that unfortunate genetic code is going to wear out and see replacement with a monogamy gene. I will not live to see it. Meanwhile, I feel sorry for the men when they make fools of themselves, particularly in public life.

I see you are a New Yorker. So is my husband. I met him when I was an airline stewardess in the days when airline travel was so rare that the airlines accepted only registered nurses (I am one) and women with bachelor’s degrees. They also required that candidates display their legs to above the knees in the employment interview. We women would never put up with that now, thank goodness. We have gone beyond showing our legs to get a job.

When I wearied of nursing, I went back first to Columbia, then to Stony Brook and got my degrees in literature. I graduated summa cum laude with four little children under five clinging to my skirts. Women then and still work against greater odds than do men, who are born with a y-chromosome affirmative action plan all arranged for them from the first breath that they draw.

This last observation explains my working in the Women’s Movement for forty-five years and doing something for womankind every day of my life as our beautiful Gloria Steinem tells us to do. My letter to you today is my day’s fulfillment of that pledge.

Welcome to your job of First Lady. We women are all rooting for you. Fair-minded men will root for you as well. But faites attention. Watch out for the guys. Whoever gave up power with grace since the Paleolithic emergence of the mammals that evolved into us?

Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Governor Charlie Crist
Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
the Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Attorney General Bill McCollum
Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-105
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Superintendent Earl Lennard
Superintendent Maryellen Elia;
Mr. Matthew Bouck;
Ms. Deborah Ayers;
E-Mail: ; ;
: ;;
Mixon and Associates
Hillsborough County School Board, County Administration, and City Council
Dr. James Hamilton;
• Sheila M.;
• Ava L.;,
• John;
• ; Ann W.;
• Charles B.;
• J. Stanley;
• Frank;
• Arthur "AJ";
• Tico;
• Carolyn K.;
• Judith;
• Gus;
• John;
• Norman D.;;

850.644.3612 Kirby. Kemper;

• Ann W. Duncan
• Charles B. Edwards ;
• J. Stanley Marshall Frank Martin (term 2/7/2006 - 1/6/2012)
• Arthur "AJ" Meyer (term 5/1/2008 - 4/30/2009)
• Tico Perez (term 1/20/2006 - 1/6/2013)
• Carolyn K. Roberts (term 1/7/2003 - 1/6/2010)
• Judith Solano (term 8/1/2008 - 7/31/2009)
• Eric J. Smith (Education Commissioner)
• Gus A. Stavros (term 1/26/2007 - 1/6/2013)
• John W. Temple (term 1/20/2006 - 1/6/2013)
• Norman D. Tripp (term 4/1/2008 - 1/6/2013)
• Zachariah P. Zachariah (term 1/7/2003 - 1/6/2010);;;;
:Fax: ;
E-Mail: ; ; ; ;
: ;;;
Sheila M.;
Ava L.;John Dasburg;
Ann W.;
Charles B.;;
J. Stanley;
Arthur "AJ";
Carolyn K.;
John W.;
Norman D.;
Zachariah P.;;;
850.644.0172 John R. Carnaghi;
850.644.3612 Kirby W. Kemper;
• Contact a member of the Board of Governors:
Board of Governors
State University System of Florida
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1614
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400;

Robert B. Bradley;
Lee F. Hinkle;
Betty J. Steffens;:
Mr. Pablo Diaz
850 / 921-0733 (fax;)

Pat Gleason,
Diana Sawaya-Crane
850 / 488-9578 (fax)
Ms. JoAnn Carin 850/922-9002 (fax)
DianeEagle fax 8509224292
Bobsparks fax 850 9224992
Carolyntimmann fax 850922422
Kathynmears fax 8509224202
Shanastrum fax 850224292
Lorisellers fax 8509224292
ErickEilanberg fax 8509224292

Dr. J. Bernard Machen
President, University of Florida
2151 West University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32603

Ms. Charlie Crist


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Conversation With Readers

From: Anonymous []
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:34 PM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Stomping on the First Amendment.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Stomping on the First Amendment": "Why are we wasting our valuable time discussing the abuse of a mere teacher? I am interested only in things that involve me, me, me, me."

You are so right in the above statements. That is exactly how the board members think, but they don't think they do. They believe they are doing the right thing at all time, but the fact that they have to pat each other on the back and constantly bring up the cracker jack awards the board and district win shows that they know deep down inside that they are not doing what is right. Bragging about cracker jack awards is an attempt to cover up.

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 4:36 AM

My husband was mayor of our little beach town for a dozen years. I used to have to go to those wretched state political conferences with him as a Family Values barbie-doll wife. (My husband is Republican, God help me.)

I have never encountered a more narcissistic bunch of people than the politicians who congregate at those meetings. You would expect them to talk about projects for their cities and ways to improve their governments.

Not a chance. They talk about themselves. The only departure from discussing themselves is their discussing who is running for what office and who doesn't have a chance to win and blah blah blah.

Carol Kurdell was at a conference I particularly remember. She and a school-board member from another school district (these were state conferences given by the League of Cities) were up on the dais touting how great the schools are. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears.

At question time, I asked Kurdell why the county school board hired a guy as superintendent from ROSSAC's basement department of vo tech instead of a qualified person. That's where Lennard emerged from to become superintendent: the basement. And I asked why the board hired him when he had trouble writing. Kurdell practically turned herself inside out proclaiming how wonderful Lennard was. If she could have laid hold of some pom poms, she would have brandished them and caroled, "Sis Boom Bah!"

At the reception following, La Kurdell traveled from group to group exclaiming how astonishing it was that Lee De Cesare thought superintendents had to write and spell.

I got so tired of these hoedowns and the hip-deep narcissism that I took myself some books on these trips, stayed in my room, and got acquainted with the maids.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Stomping on the First Amendment":

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 4:36 AM

It's my understanding that the way Susan Valdez ran up $50,000 in tax-paid travel money was going around the country picking up these Crackerjack awards that school boards give each other constantly to prove how wonderful they are. Valdez can't have much sense to do that. I am ashamed to say I gave her over $500 in donations for her campaign. Somebody should kick me for that. lee

A reader asked me which board members collaborated in the crucifixion of Mr. Erwin. Answer: all of them. Three of these are still on the board, where they have sat for years and years. Kurdell, Lamb, and Olson. Olson even scolded Mr. Erwin for bringing out in the open the crimes against school property and warned him that he would have to prove his charges. Bricklemeyer, whom Mr. Erwin mistook for an honest board member, took him to Tom Gonzalez, the two pumped him for information, and then turned him back to twist in the wind with no protection from them so that Lennard, Hamilton, and Davis could continue their torture of the poor man. Tom Gonazlez, I believe, was hip deep in the crucifixion of Mr. Erwin. His firm does all the laber law in the Bay Area for fat cats and upper management to screw over the little people, the workers. Teachers are workers. His firm lost the Whistleblower suit in court however. Tra la la and zippety de do dah.

The board didn't fire Lennard as it should have. In fact, those spineless dorks didn't fire a single person for the crimes that took place. lee

Doing One Thing a Day for Womankind

Aw, c'mon with the "Excellence in Education" hooey. Try "Excellence in flapdoodle of ROSSAC crooks."

Beautiful Gloria says to do one thing a day to advance womankind. Here's my daily duty. lee

From: lee DeCesare []

Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:31 PM
To: 'Chandra Tracy'
Cc: ''; ''; 'Gene Siudut'; ''; ''; ''; ffoy (; 'Lisa Esposito'; 'William Birdsall'; 'Thomas Vaughan'; ''; Doug & Cathy SCW; ''
Subject: RE: Tiger Bay Program Reminder

Response to Tiger Bay Program Reminder

Chandra, did you write this?

Avoid clichés that insult more than they conceal: not "certain age" but " elderly." Eschew "everything old is new again" and "take to the bank"; both have moss growing on them. If you can't invent a striking bon mot, it's better to use plain English.

Grammar and punctuation: comma after "Great "for compound sentence; "who's" should be "whose"; "long term" should be "long-term" for two words acting as a single adjective before a noun; "grandparents' admonition" instead of "grandparents admonition."

And sexism: "Chairman," you say. My Lord, Chandra, after all the work feminists have done in linguistic discrimination--even bullying the Weather Bureau into alternating male-and-female names for hurricanes that before bore only female names because women are so "tempestuous"--are you still so oblivious or so sure that those unladylike libber feminists will take care of all discrimination problems so that you of the Aunt Tom genus can just coast along, loved by guys for your enabling them to continue Lords of the Universe, approved by you and other Aunt Toms because y'all are so "ladylike" and never expect much less demand equality?

Don't you have even the gumption to use "Chair" or "Chairperson" in your Tiger Bay and other communications? University linguistic studies show that male-centric diction injures the psyches of little girls. Don't you care about the psyches of our daughters and granddaughters? "Chairman" doesn’t do my septuagenarian psyche any good either--or any woman's not as oblivious as you appear to be.

Language not only reflects reality; it perpetuates it.

Swear off using male-centric, y-chromosome, testosterone-drenched, Viagra propped-up diction. And learn grammar and punctuation. And do something for womankind. Don't just sit there and luxuriate in the few gains activist women have eked out.

For the speaker person: Invite Dr. James Hamilton of Mixon and Associates to jabber on post-retirement employment, otherwise known as double dipping. This is the scandalous practice of drawing a pension and employment pay as well after retirement, usually in a school-related job. Superintendent Elia of Hillsborough County has given Hamilton the lobbying job for $65,000 without advertising it; rumor says she has just upped Hamilton's double-dipping loot to $96,000 in an economic downturn when the board talks of furloughing teachers.

Ms. Dorothy Ethridge and Dr. Jack Lamb are double dippers on Hillsborough County's School Board. I don't know about Pinellas County. Ask the SPT reporter who covers Pinellas School Board if he's awake.

lee drury de cesare

From: Chandra Tracy []
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:58 AM
To: Chandra Tracy
Subject: Tiger Bay Program Reminder

e-Fang Greetings from the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club!

Tom James will be stepping into the Tigers’ Den on Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Mr. James is the Chairman & CEO of Raymond James.

Those of a "certain age" will still recall their grandparents admonitions to eat every bite on your plate, avoid waste of anything, save every penny and above all--avoid excess. These were the words of folks who lived through what the world came to call the Depression" "Great and the event, broken only by the launch of war spending, left an indelible mark on a generation. As they say, everything old is new again. Please join your fellow tigers as Raymond James Financials’ outgoing Chairman & CEO, Tom James, enters the Den. Who's fault is the current crisis: real estate investors, greedy financial institutions, individual investors seeking quarterly returns over long term stock strength? Through the recent downturn, Raymond James has performed above average and basked in the recent glow of a Tampa Super Bowl in a stadium bearing its name. But will RJ survive a prolonged downturn? Why is the CEO leaving now? What does he think of Obama-nomics? Here's a sure-fire tip you can take to the bank: don't miss what will surely be a revealing program on the economics of today and tomorrow.

The luncheon program is 12:00 to 1:15 pm and will be held at Feather Sound Country Club located at 2201 Feather Sound Drive in Clearwater.
Members $20, Guests $25.

Please RSVP via the website –, via e-mail to or via phone at (727) 822-1001, and please be sure to indicate if you would like a special meal. The deadline to RSVP DEADLINE: FRIDAY, APRIL 24th.

Please check out the NEW Tiger Bay website – While there RSVP for upcoming programs.

Hope to see you in the Tigers’ Den!