Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting in a Lick for the Sisterhood

Mr. Beamguard of the Tribune Editorial Board:

Aren't you editorial guys ashamed of yourselves?--not one woman amongst you four. What does your daughter think, Editor Beamgard, about her father's being a sexist scribbler?

I went to school in your home state, North Carolina. I thought the tarheel boys were extra ignorant in Charlotte. Your editorial bevy of y-chromosome quidnuncs reinforces that belief.

Do I have this right: y'all fired Ms. Goudreau from her job and put you into it with three other guys? And you did this in the 20th century?

When do you editorialize in favor of burkas for the Bay Area Second Sex?

Lee Drury De Cesare

Sexism is like a snake. You cut off one head, and two grow back. I have been on the job for 45 years and never cease to be astonished.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Now See Here, Counselor

-----Original Message-----
From: Anonymous []
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 12:11 AM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on ACLU Wants to Write Bart's Story.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "ACLU Wants to Write Bart's Story":

Okay, why don't you state your name and where you work. You are traitor to your fellow educators.

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 4:01 PM

Stop picking on my readers. You hide behind the safety of "Anonymous" yet browbeat others who must do the same. Why is doing so ok for you but not for other people? Some who work at HCC are anoymous like the French underground was when those helping Jews escape murder by the Nazis had to assume disguises.

I think you are that snotty kid at UF who has deserted his blog because nobody reads it. Go stand in the corner. lee

9/10/2009 Mr. Gonzalez: Loath though I am to commend you, let me do so. I was pleased when in the last board meeting at which I blasted you on several fronts-- lying, incompetence, and inability to control your temper on the job --that you upheld the First Amendment in response to Chair Kurdell's request after I spoke to, in effect, give her the right as chair to muzzle a citizen at the mike during comment time. You did so in an overlong response, but there is no doubt that scrutiny of your words showed you defended the First Amendment for a citizen, even for one not given to saying kind things about you. I call that honorable lawyering.

I have been following the Supreme Court rehearing of the corporate free-speech issue involving a corporation's movie blasting Hillary Clinton's unfitness for office. Theodore Wilson is arguing for the company, not surprisingly; he wins everything but flunked the ability to protect his late wife from the hijackers who blew up her plane over the Pentagon.

The way lawyers use language to propel their case at the Supreme Court always interests me. Mr. Wilson excels in this skill, although he is usually against the side I am for. But I am torn in this case because the government wants to curtail free speech, and the Republicans want to protect it. I am also sick and tired of those narcissistic Clintons.

I have been in a free-speech standoff with Ms. Kurdell for several months. I used to sign up to comment on anything that had to do with employment and demand that the board put all jobs, their descriptions, and their candidates on the Board Web site with hyperlinks to credentials of the candidates. One can see these in Ms. Cobbe's office in person, but they should be on the Web for people who can't or don't want to go to Ms. Cobbe's office.

Every time I have reviewed folders of job candidates my judgment says ability was not the winning criterion and that the board-administration patronage choices mock taxpayers' wishes to get the best-qualified person for the job.
It's my opinion that the board and administration run a jobs program not based on ability but based on sycophancy and buddy credentials. I cite your job acquisition and Ms. Kipley's husband's getting an accounting job with a high school diploma and no experience while three or four losing candidates had accounting degrees and experience. One was a woman handicapped, the kind of candidate that schools' government grants and contracts say must get special consideration.

This requirement also obliges schools' having an Affirmative Action Plan for grant-funded projects.
I have heard you in the past deny this federal equal-opportunity obligation for jobs for the recipient's retention of federal contracts and grants with most's requiring Affirmative Action plan. You are wrong. I don't know why you maintain this stance unless it is to cover your non-equal-opportunity hiring as board attorney.

I have discovered that your firm has not held the board cynosure for forty years as I said in my board comments on you on the August llth but that Mr. Cosby Few's outfit had the position for years before you got it six years ago.
I want to offer you my condolences for your having made only three million measly dollars or so thus far with your $276,000 more or less yearly take from the tax kitty. You almost equal Ms. Elia's loot.

My suspicion is that Mr. Few handed the job off to you with his coaching Dr. Lennard to make you Few's dauphin. I don't know what kind of hold you had on Few, but that hunch is my guess about the succession. He may have downloaded on you the Erwin case because he sensed it was unwinnable, a loser for the schools, and a blot on his record. Mr. Few, I wager, didn't want his Swan Song to be a spectacular loss of a whistleblower case with a whopping settlement, making it as redolent of board-and-administration thuggery as Erwin's was.

All the which prefaces my inquiry of whether you know that Ms. Kurdell has maneuvered me into silence on agenda items. I always want to get up and harangue about jobs not advertised, etc.

Ms. Kurdell's first tactic in my shutdown on the age agenda items was to talk over me and toward the end of this exercise to say even if I uttered only a definite or indefinite article that I was not discussing the topic or some such chair piffle intoned in Ms. Kurdell's inimitable bovine style.

The final maneuver to prevent my comments on agenda items was having that twit Steve Hegarty come to me in the auditorium to deliver a maladroit explanation that I couldn't speak on the agenda items because I was forgetful. got mixed up, and said, in effect, that the chair and perhaps the board believed I suffered from Alzheimer's. Mr. Hegarty is head of Public Outreach and should know that such inelegant comments about an elderly citizen's mental status is not the best public policy to encourage the breed to continue its whopping contributions to taxes that fund the schools.

The third or fourth time Le Hegarty brought me this Alzheimer's message for squelching my free speech, I told him to get away from me and to approach me no more or that I would ask the black guy who wears those great floppy Fifties pants and acts as sergeant at arms to protect me from the twit's harassment.

I have asked the ACLU to address the board on this issue. If it does not, I go next to the attorney general. He is a Republican running against Sink for governor and has said recently that Obama's desire to give all Americans access to health care is "socialism." He's a sharp cookie to demonstrate such talent such a new slogan never uttered before in political history. These grab the attention of the lower quartile.

I know your political party from reading your political contributions on line. You have contributed to every Republican running for office in the area, including the Water Board.

So is Ted Thorenson a Republican, the one arguing the case before the Supreme Court for the free speech of a corporation, all of whose principals are doubtless also Republicans who want to use the First Amendment to paint Ms. Clinton as the Democratic Medusa.

My point is that I infer you don't know what Ms. Kurdell is doing with the First Amendment to keep my from addressing agenda items. I suggest that you talk to her and determine whether she is shutting up my free speech, which I am convinced she is. Either tell her to stop it, or I will ask her for a ruling from you in citizens' comment time. The former would save the board the black eye of shutting down free speech and smearing your lawyer status with the tint of bad practice for condoning it.

Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708 Justices Are Pressed for a Broad Ruling in Campaign Case By ADAM LIPTAK Published: September 9, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Courage: the Rarest of Virtues

Bart Birdsall and Steve Kemp are my two heroes in this struggle to get the board and administration to treat teachers with the dignity they deserve. They stepped up front to take the bullets for all teachers.

I think there a fifteen thousand teachers in the Hillsborough system. Two out of fifteen thousand are rare people indeed, especially when teachers know their Constitutional rights and could defy this board, invoke these rights, and get

I can't remove this frame. lee

attention to the issues involved. A massive teacher revolt against the board and administration would alert the somnolent press and rally the community to work for teachers' rights. People always love teachers and rallies to their support.

Why teachers don't push back is a mystery. I think their training in obedience is too strong as was that of people who bowed down to the evil followers of Hitler. These were not only Germans; in every country that the Nazis invaded, collaborators emerged to do the dirty work the Germans assigned them. Poland is the premier example.

Why do teachers put up with oppression is the puzzle.
The administration and board know they have a captive population and take full advantage of that knowledge. They keep the teachers cowed with the threat of Professional Standards cooked-up charges.

The ROSSAC power resides, I submit, in teacher psychology. Teachers are the people who teach children to obey the rules and color within the lines. So they have almost a visceral revulsion to disobeying authority. That's the route the German people took who did not fight the Nazis except a brave few in the underground resistance. The populace could not bring itself to defy Hitler's evil authority. They were authority addicts.

I am an aberration. If there is authority and if it hurts people, I would defy it no matter what. I would have taken a bullet the first day of my existence in Nazi Germany. I think this trait lodges in my double helix. Somewhere along the line, I had a forebear who had this fighting gene. I got it from that person.

I fought the HCC administration from Day One of my employment there. The college paid janitors more than cleaning women. When I asked why, get this: "The janitors have to climb up on step ladders."

I sent a blizzard of emails to the president of the college, Morton Shanberg, a man greatly feared, with cc's to everything that moved on the campuses. I invoked fairness and Title VII.

The administration buckled and made the maids' pay equal to the janitors'.

A philosophy professor's wife was pregnant on his hiring, and the administration denied her health-care coverage because it was "a pre-existing condition." The professor was too abject to confront the bullies even though he had read ever document on ethics published since Pluto was a pup.

I screamed and screamed and screamed and sent memo after memo to the president. The administration caved and covered the philosophy professor's wife for her pregnancy. The philosophy guy avoided me thereafter because he thought I was toxic and was afraid to even speak to me or to acknowledge my existence. Fear of authority still paralyzed him even after I got his wife health-care coverage for her pregnancy. I think he also felt unmanned because he had stood behind the skirts of a mere woman, member of the so-called weaker sex.

I thought that phenomenon was a sad diminution display of the human spirit. But I was used to this phenomenon, having founded the Tampa chapter of the National Organization of Women and fought in the women's rights in the trenches in NYC and afterwards in Tampa. I knew what opposition comes from a person's espousing an unpopular cause such as fair treatment for women.

More recently after I retired to the celebration of the HCC administration thugs, in order to increase the chances for graft, the administration crooks proposed to switch the bookstore women in a sub-contractor flimflam from being college employees to being at the mercy of the subcontractor outfit that runs the bookstores at USF--Doubleday, I think.

The bookstore women would have lost their benefits including health care and the whole package of the protections of being a state employee. They would have gone on minimum wage with probably not a cent of health care. One of the women had just had an operation on her brain for a balance problem. This pre-existing condition would have kept her from getting any health care coverage anywhere even if she could have paid for it. This woman's husband had been an HCC professor but said that it was useless to fight the administration. I told him he was a wimp.

I had worked with these bookstore women for years; I was their favorite faculty pest. They had assured me I was the biggest faculty pest about book acquisition that they had ever seen. They became fond of me for this trait. I gave them something to complain about.

Confronted with being subcontracted, the women called me, and two or three of them and I marched on the board. We turned up at every meeting to harangue on the unfairness and barbarity of this move.

The HCC board is a bunch of prominent citizens involved in politics up to their unethical eyeballs. They are worse than the school board or at least as bad. My assessment says they are smarter than their ROSSAC counterparts. Nearly everybody is.

But the bookstore women and I appeared at every board meeting and harangued the board members; I even dragged my husband to a Plant City board meeting. And I sent a blizzard of emails around the state as well as to Gwen Stevenson, the college president. I wrote the board attorney almost daily. We won simply because we protested and kept on protesting and wouldn't shut up.

The old book-store women are still there in the campus bookstores, employees of the state with the job protection that status gives them. And by the way, I couldn't get a single faculty member to join us, although I had been faculty-union president. These cowardly, brilliant shits were too scared to move a finger, and I was not on campus to chase them down, quote Paine, Jefferson, and Samuel Gompers to shame them into action.

I worry how long democracy would survive without a few of us rebellious, risk-taking specimens. Recall that Thomas Paine, who posted rebellious squibs on barns throughout New England was one of the great clan of rebels to which I proudly belong.

The opposition automatically starts its campaign against us from Day One when they become aware that we are protesters of its skulduggery. The first stage consists of labeling us crazy. Carol Kurdell let me know via that twit Steve Hegarty, who got his job over better-qualified applicants for his buttering up the board and ROSSAC denizens when he was a SPT reporter covering the schools, that she believes I have Alzheimer's.

Kurdell's IQ drops below that of any Alzheimer's patient in the last stages of the disease. La Kurdell is a 20-year board-member dummy.

Last board meeting after I had attacked Tom Gonzalez coming and going, La Kurdell asked him, in effect, for an opinion on whether there is any way she could shut me up and end my Constitutional rights to free speech and the right to approach elected officials for redress of grievances. To his credit, Gonzales, said no in a rambling, sorrowful discourse that upheld the Constitution. Had he not, he knew he would be toast in the legal community. Even the worst judge will not issue an anti-free-speech opinion. It's toxic for lawyers to disdain the First Amendment.

Now I must see if the ACLU will come to address the board in response to my request. If not, I move up the ladder to the attorney general. Fortunately, he is running against Alex Sink for the governor's chair. I will ask both him and Ms. Sink if they would allow a school board to shut up a citizen's comment on the board agenda's labeled citizen-comment items. I will point out that Kurdell first talked over me when I tried to address the board-agenda items to drown out my words because she didn't want to hear that the board should advertise jobs on its site with hyperlinks to the candidates' resume. Finally Steve Hegarty tears up the requests I submit to comment at all. All in good timel, all in good time, this issue shall be fodder for board comment.

We will see what one old-lady citizen can do to thwart this subversion of the Constitution at the hands of the Hillsborough board chair and the complicit, unethical, cowardly board members, all of whom took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution.

I go on September 30th on a 24-hour turn-around flight to NYC and Broadway to see Jude Law's Hamlet. Hamlet is up against an uncle who murdered his brother for his wife and kingdom.

Even Hamlet's school friends except Horatio--remember those twits Ronsenkrantz and Guildenstern?-- have turned against young Hamlet and joined other court sycophants to suck up to Claudius, the murderous usurper. Gertrude is a girl who just wants to have fun and has the morals of a amoeba. Surely all of these suck-ups a know what Claudius has done, but they go along to get along.

I used to teach this play to my Freshman II students, believing it was the one piece of literature they could take through their life as touchstone. We would read the play, students' taking the parts. After each speech, I would say, "Now what did so-and-so say in today's English?'

A wonderful Black kid who took my course a second time to bring up his grade from a C to higher because he wanted to go to Gainesville would say things such as, "Claudius just said he was pissed, Ms. De Cesare." I know this boy will make a mark on the world. I hope I live to see it.

After the laughter had died down, we would go on line by line, translating that exquisite play into today's English. I believe that if you have Hamlet down cold, it's the one piece of literature that lasts you for life. You never run out of quotes from the play at cocktail parties or wherever. There is nothing that happens to you for which you can't find a behavior guide and quote in Hamlet.

When Hamlet shows beginning signs of rebellion in the play, guess what Claudius and his team do? They call Hamlet crazy, of course. That's the standard response of thugs.

But Hamlet wins in the end. He dies after triumphing over his uncle and all the court sycophants.

Tragic heroes must die, fulfilling what Aristotle calls in The Poetics, the need for the audience's purgation. Tragic heroes don't live happily ever afterward ever. Their inevitable death is part of the ritual of tragedy. a blood expiation for evil in the world. Jesus, of course, is the quintessential tragic hero.

I will return the same night after I see the play. My husband if 53 years is not well and gets nervous if I am gone too long. But I will have refreshed my spirit with the greatest paradigm in all of Western literature of right's quelling wrong.

I sent copy of the my letter to Priscella and Bill to all faculty at King High School yesterday. Not one has had the nerve to respond. Poor things.

But there are Bart and Steve. They fight ROSSAC evil despite danger to themselves. I don't know where that resolve comes from in these these young men. That secret resides in the the mystery of their DNA and their souls. Thank God for the courage of these two boys; it defines my benediction on the intrepid fellows. lee

-----Original Message-----
From: Anonymous []
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2009 7:09 AM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on ACLU Wants to Write Bart's Story.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "ACLU Wants to Write Bart's Story":

To the person who said, "There's nothing darker than remaining anonymous, is there?":

Hey, dummy! Read the blog. You obviously do not get what Lee has been reporting. It only takes a reading of the Erwin files or what the district has done to Steve Kemp to know that you have to stay anonymous or you will be punished or fired.

Get a clue! There are a few people like Steve Kemp and Bart Birdsall who will put their name out in the public, but the vast majority want to keep their jobs and don't want to be sent down to Professional Standards. Why is that so hard for you to understand, Dummy?

You are part of administration probably and hate that people can post anonymously, but if you got our names you would send us all to Professional Standards for punishment.

Publish this comment.

Reject this comment.

Moderate comments for this blog.

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 4:08 AM

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Eking Out the Data

Generic Granny: Always doing needle work or eking out information from the school board

Today I intend to send the Melinda-and-Bill email to the faculty at King High School, Lair of the Toe-cracker Foot Fetishist.

Linda, what I ask for is a copy of Gonzalez's contract. Is there one? If so, I would like to see it.

I also await the Gates Foundation proposal for the grant and a copy of the page that Ms. Kipley superimposed on the Sheriff's child-abuse report. ldd

-----Original Message-----
From: Linda Cobbe []
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 3:19 PM
To: lee
Subject: Re: public information
Lee, Mr. Gonzalez was appointed school board attorney effective October 6, 2004. The Erwin case was in late 2001 through 2002.
Regarding Gonzalez's participation in the Erwin case, following is the explanation I sent to you on May 29, 2009 at 8:40 a.m.:
... Tom didn't have a contract with the school board at that time; Few was the board attorney. Mr. Few referred the case to the Gonzalez firm. There would not be a "contract" with the attorney who tried the case.
Hlllsborougb: Ex-administrator suing schools testifies

Ex-administrators uing schools testifies

Doug Erwin says he was forced to retire after exposing and trying to halt theft, waste and mismanagement.

TAMPA - When Doug Erwin began his job as head of school maintenance and operations, he said, he found that many employees were free]y, taking school equipment, long lunches, extended breaks and overtime.

"It was worse than I had envisioned., Erwin testified Wednesday in U.S. District Court in his lawsuit against the Hillsborough County school district. "They felt it was institutionalized and they had that right.

Erwin a former Hillsborough school administrator and principal of the year, said he cracked down and tried to correct the problems. "We had some battles." he said during the trial's third"day.

Erwin's suit accused his former bosses of violating his First Amendment free speech rights, breaching his employment contract and failing to protect him under the state's whistle-blower law.

A 33-Year school employee, Elwin says he was forced to retire in 2002 after making allegations of theft, waste and mismanagement in the maintenance, grounds and construction depar1ments.

Erwin said he reported the problems to his supervisors on numerous occasions before finally meeting with superintendent Earl Lennard. He said Lennard told him he was making serious allegations about important people and his job was in jeopardy.

Lennard told him. "You're going to have to defend yourself." Erwin recalled during questioning by his attorney, Priscilla Ryan.

Erwin said he became increasingly concerned about the misuse of taxpayers’ property and money and took his concerns to former School Board chairwoman Carolyn Bricklemyer. He asked her to seek the help of the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“I had concerns about personal liability, being sued, Erwin said. I had some concerns about retaliation. I some concerns about losing my job.”

Eventually, Erwin said, he wrote a summary of his allegations at the request of Bricklemeyer and School Board attorney Tom Gonzalez, who assured him he would be protected as a whistle-blower if he documented the problems.

"I felt I had no choice but to comply with their request", Erwin said.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip and Hamlet

South Tampa Council of Trent gathers at the Garden Club to gossip.

Gentle reader: I got this email below from a current South Tampa resident as analysis of the Crosby Few--Tom Gallagher hand-off of the schools' attorney job. This situation gets curiouser and curiouser.

My baby daughter came to visit her parents (she has a home in Beach Park South Tampa close to our old home, where our children grew up and went to Coleman and Plant.)

Our baby came to teach me how to use my new digital camera and how to use my bonus points on my Suncoast credit card. I have enough points to fly to and from LA next year for my tenth Wagner Ring Cycle and also to go to NY in a few weeks or months to see the new Hamlet with Jude Law on Broadway. I have attended all the Broadway Hamlets and don't intend to miss this one.

Jude is now performing the play at the probable site of Elsinore on the coast between Denmark and Norway. My husband and I toured the castle when we traveled the Scandinavian countries in our globe-trotting years.

Jude Law gets raves from London reviewers for his Hamlet. London reviewers are tough. Law used to be a stage actor before he became a Hollywood star. He has three children by his divorced wife and has fathered another one on a one-night stand recently. It seems that even he if looks at a woman, she becomes pregnant. He should get his tubes tied if he can't control his erotic urges. He may be a great Hamlet, but he is not a great father. The latter is the more important role. Too few men star in it, and their children suffer all their lives from a sense of abandonment.

My daughter told me that everybody in South Tampa has known about Candy Olson's husband's coming-out for ages, so my news on the event via my reader to y'all was stale. It is strange how the small community of South Tampa is so intertwined and how people know what other South Tampans are doing down to what they eat for dinner. It's like the small hometown in Georgia in which I was born.

Gossip suffices because there are no intellectuals in South Tampa. Their obsessions concern less elevated areas. Gossip: yes. Drunks: plenty. Aristocratic wannabes: wall to wall. Yet Plant and Coleman administrators and teachers bow low to these South Tampa flawed denizens. Plant parents treat the school administration like servants who don't dare defy them. Ms. Elia falls into this gutless category. A gutsy administrator would tell them, "Kiss my ass. I am trying to educate your neglected children."

I spotted what I thought was the current Plant principal at a recent board meeting and had a lobby conference with him. It seems he is no longer a Plant principal but the director of the two-and-a-half-million-dollar grant to the schools from I-don't-know-whom.

Plant has a new principal.

I asked the former principal if the counseling department could assign a mentor to my grandson for his guidance when he arrives in Plant next year who will check in with my grandson every couple of weeks if his mother requests that service. I said super-smart children were not necessarily super smart emotionally and needed attention. My grandson is super smart like his dear granny. Genes, genes! Girls in the South when I was growing up got punished for being smart; so we learned to play dumb.

People always know that children who struggle with a variety of problems because of low IQs and miserable social status need counseling attention; what they don't consider is that super-smart children need attention too. Nobody is smart emotionally.

I passed on this information to my baby daughter, the mother of my brilliant grandson, while she was cleaning her father's bathroom because he has broken his ribs. I make it a point of honor not to clean anyone's bathroom but my own, broken ribs be damned. She said, "Mother, you are out of the time loop. These measures [of smart-kid counseling] are not needed now." To the which I responded, "Well, don't get Plant counseling attention for Christophe, and then you will have him when he is 30 blaming you for neglecting his psyche during his formative years." Her response: the usual, "Oh, mom."

If Ms. Elia were smart, and I don't vouch for that status, she would pick up on this situation and appoint smart-kids' counseling partners in every school. But I doubt that Ms. Elia is smart enough to act on this insight. Her mind runs in the well-worn groves of tradition, many of which are unethical and some criminal.

This baby daughter is an insurance-assistant VP and makes two and a half times what her mother made as a full college professor. Like any fond mother, I am so proud that she does, although I regret teachers' low financial worth in our society while C-level administrators walk away with tax-paid bundles with no one's murmuring a demur.

When our youngest child left after cleaning her father's bathroom, my spouse and I say to each other after we bid her goodbye at the elevator door,

"We couldn't have asked for a better daughter."

Raising children to avoid incarcerations in federal institutions is the supreme test of parental character. So if you are a parent, know that one former mother's and now grandmother's heart is with you and that if you manage to keep them out of federal institutions until they go out in the world to seek their fortune that you too will have an insurance executive VP come clean your bathroom when you break your ribs in your dotage. lee

ACLU Wants to Write Bart's Story


This is the way (below) the blogs will shine a light on the dark doings of the mini-thugs who run the schools in Hillsborough County.

Letter to Melissa and Bill Gates is my previous post. Write them yourselves. They are great people who try to do good with their bazillions of dollars. lee

-----Original Message-----
From: William Birdsall []
Sent: Monday, September 07, 2009 8:28 AM
To: lee De Cesare
Subject: ACLU


The ACLU lgbt project in NY has contacted me and wanted the details

of my story, because they are planning to push for a federal law that

prohibits workplace discrimination. I was surprised they found me and

knew about my story! I spoke with the woman who called me, and she

wants me to write up what happened to me.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dear Melinda and Bill

Att'n Grant Division

Bill and Melinda Gates

PO Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102


Dear Bill and Melinda:

I feel I know you both because I have followed your eleemosynary projects from their beginning. I especially approve of your health work for African children.

I also use Microsoft. I took courses so that I could use computers in my college classroom of English composition before I retired. I now use these skills to blog about the insufficiencies of the Hillsborough County school system.

I read one time that you thought that leaving a pile of money to your children was not good for them. You are right. Just look at what the "old money" parasites do when their foolishly fond parents die. The answer: nothing. They lollygag on the Riviera and have minds as vacuous as a formatted disk.

That you give grants to education is right. I know that the money you pass to education will reap rewards for students if it goes to the right projects overseen by ethical boards and administrations with input from teachers and students and oversight by savvy accountants.

A slickly written grant, however, should not beguile you to skip research into institutions getting such windfalls. I concentrate on the one that the Hillsborough County School System expects to get for a hundred million dollars. Both my children and grandchildren have attended Hillsborough County schools. So I know a bit about how this school system works.

Before bestowing grants of such magnitude, be leery that a hundred million dollars can turn souls from beatific to larcenous. Your grant people must cast a cold eye on the ethos of prospective recipients.

Something tells me you haven't.

I want to see the Hillsborough County schools get this grant. But there should be conditions that improve the whole school system as the price. You should set your grant team to learn enough about the administration and board ethics to gauge the caliber of the souls of the administrative-and-board bureaucrats who will administer the grant.

Hillsborough County's problem concerns the administration abetted by the school board fosters a passel of incompetent administrators. They are addicted to unethical practices, excel in those, and get away with it because so far voters have not caught on.

These date back at least to the early '90s, when administrator Doug Erwin discovered crime on the campuses and tried to get the board and administration to do something about it. Instead, Superintendent Dr. Earl Lennard and his administrative goons with board cheerleading tried to shut Mr. Erwin up, saying at first he was crazy and then plotting to fire him and cancel his pension.

The board wiggled out of doing an investigation of Mr. Erwin's charges and endorsed by silence the actions of the superintendent and his goons.

Nobody in the whole school system volunteered any help to the poor man. It must have been the loneliest feeling.

Mr. Erwin finally gave up on the board and administration, both of which probably had members on the take from this crimes. He sued under the Whistleblower Act and won.

On the losing defense team was the current board attorney, Tom Gonzalez, who earns over a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars yearly as board mouthpiece. This loot from taxpayer coffers pays him to sanitize or disguise in legal cotton wadding the board's and administration's missteps and misdeeds. My theory is that he got the job even though he lost the Erwin case because the board and administration sensed they had in Gonzalez an attorney to hand with elastic habits of mind that would wrap their skullduggeries in legal tissue paper.

Mr. Gonzalez, alas. is the kind of lawyer that thrives in Hillsborough County. I have filed and lost a Florida Board ethics charge against him with the state legal priesthood for, among other things, his hinting to me during citizens' comment time that he could file an extortion lawsuit against me for my saying that if the board did not stop its jobs programs for relatives, hangers-on, sycophants, and no-talent kin of the powerful and start fulfilling the we-are-an-equal-employment-opportunity-employer promise stamped on every piece of board stationery I would ask the Federal government to conduct a compliance review of its grants.

Mr. Gonzalez knows the state SLAPP law forbids such lawsuits against citizens who approach their government and its representatives for redress of grievances. He just didn't know I knew.

The Erwin jury didn't believe the administrators' lying cover-up. Hence, justice triumphed. The poor fellow, disillusioned and beaten down by the hostility of the people with whom he had worked thirty years, won. Florida paid him $165,000 for the criminal activity of the administration and board. Someone close to the trial claims that when the school defense lawyers complained to the judge that the award was too high, the judge told them that it would have been higher had Mr. Erwin had a competent lawyer.

The board fired not one person for this outrage. It should at a minimum have fired Dr. Lennard, the lead sadist.

The administration and board crooks got away with the Erwin outrage by dumping the cost on the taxpayers and hunkering down until the public forgot the dirty deed. Since doing evil, illegal things turned out to be cost free, the DNA of this crime continues. Three of the board members in office during the Erwin agon--Dr. Lamb, Ms. Kurdell, and Ms. Olson--still sit on the board.

Bright college graduate with degrees in valid subjects from good universities go into teaching. Not so mediocre students. In Hillsborough County as well as countrywide, school administrations feature C students too often from second-tier universities with degrees in academic folderol. In Hillsborough County, the head of Professional Standards, a powerful office that decides the fate of teachers when the administration frames them for professional lapses, has as head a woman with a home-ec degree and a talent for sadism and sycophancy.

The superintendent recently hired this woman's husband for the accounting department with only a high school diploma and no experience in preference to four applicants with accounting degrees from respectable universities plus experience. One was a handicapped woman whom the school government grants say should garner special consideration.

The head of government liaison in the capital of Tallahassee is a young woman with a kindergarten degree who got her job from her protégée status of a much older top male administrator, Dr. James Don Juan Hamilton. The resident ladies' man's wife resigned her principal job in the schools, divorced, and then remarried the old roué when the liaison appeared to dissolve. Now Superintendent Elia has rehired the old goat at a whopping salary in an economic downturn as lobbyist in Tallahassee after his retirement, reuniting patron and beneficiary. One does not know the wife's status yet.

Both the Professional Standards home-ec head and the kindergarten government liaison make about $150,000 a year compared with beginning teachers' $33,000. The superintendent makes about $300,000 a year, $40,000 of which is her "bonus" for teachers', not her, raising students' performance levels.

This in-house superintendent got the job without the required Ph.D. and experience first posited. The incumbency-obsessed board lowered credentials to fit hers because it wanted a known quantity that would not mess with members' perquisites, one of which being unlimited travel money.

Susan Valdez, one board profligate, spent $50,000 in a single year flying around the country to pick up gimcrack awards administrative bureaucracies pass around by the Dempsey Dumpster to make these insecure scholars manqué feel important. Valdez's squandered travel money could have helped the county's many poor children buy supplies for school activities they can't engage in for lack of them.

The ceremonial school board makes ten thousand dollars more than beginning teachers merely for lolling on the board dais during board meetings nattering about tremendous trifles. They spent an entire board meeting whining about how hard it was to make up the holiday schedule instead of dealing with the unfairness of the holiday calendar that shut out Jews, Muslims, and any other religion that was not born again and engaged in foot washing. When not thus preoccupied, board members flock to the county's many political-trough eat-outs funded by unknowing taxpayers.

The result of these nonstop tax-funded pigouts, of course, is that board members have waxed fat. This board-member heft explains why they won't mount a program to stress to students the importance of keeping their weight within normal bounds for health.

Only one member of the board, La Jennifer Falliero, is not fat. Ethics is her Achilles heel. A woman in her forties, she affects Delta Dawn attire and sweeping teeny-bopper tresses dyed an improbable shade of blonde. I have labeled her "Pole Girl" for her stalking the former Community Affairs head in his office for what she claimed was "mentoring" until she seduced the dummy, got him to divorce his wife, and made his two young children suffer. The little boy's grades plummeted; the little girl's chronic illness exacerbated. The fellow lost his school job for "drunkenness" in an administration cover-up of the affair to save Delta Dawn Falliero's "reputation." The board named the femme fatale, whom I call Pole Girl. as its chair. Appointing Pole Girl as board chair lays bare the board's moral compass.

The Professional Standards Office under the tutelage of Ms. Elia cooks up charges against teachers whole cloth or takes a trifle and blows it up to the point that faux accusations result in a manufactured professional-standards charge against any teacher who even whispers a negative comment about the way the board and administration run the schools. The Professional Standards head, home-ec Linda Kipley, puts the poor wretch on indefinite suspension, keeping the teacher on tenterhooks about retaining his or her job. This blackmail works. Teachers are terrified to say anything about the vile behavior of the board and administration.

One Steve Kemp under a cooked-up charge recently spent a year on probation out of the classroom for behavior that the Sheriff's Child-protective service dismissed the day administrator Mr. Smiley, bucking for a promotion, filed it. The administration banned the suspended teacher out of the classroom for a year because it wanted to put the squeeze on the guy to discontinue his teacher blog. The board and administration hate blogs because they go athwart their campaign to fool the voters with the Public Affairs Laundromat sanitizing of all information about the schools.

For two years I have observed the schools because Professional Standards falsely charged a teacher friend with use of the school mails for personal messages. The real reason I believe for the cooked-up charge was he's gay. The superintendent did not want the schools' reputation contaminated with knowledge that a gay guy was a teacher because it would inflame the bigots in political fens and bogs on the edge of the county so that they would lock and load to march on the board. The same cowardly mentality shaped the board and administration's evasion of an inclusive religious holiday calendar.

In time spent observing the board, I have learned what a wretched position teachers have in a system of administrative and board lust for éclat, power, and control of tax money to augment their sense of being Masters of the Universe. I think they also like to trample on the A students who become teachers because they are jealous of their brains.

A hundred million dollars from your foundation will be dangerously seductive to the Dark Side of the greedy administrative C students handling such Microsoft loot. You must have your grant accountants do due diligence. Otherwise, it's Katy, bar the door.

If teachers let out a murmur of protest about the conditions in the schools or make a suggestion on how to cure evils that they see, these teachers have a Professional Standards charge in their mail the next day. Most teachers dare not say anything even when an administrative outrage affects their ability to teach.

Such was the case when Ms. Elia downloaded on teachers an extra class period sans compensation and even without a heads up and invitation to express their views. She also has bought without consulting teachers who will have to implement it a multimillion-dollar program called The Spring. It has failed in other venues. It is a flop in Hillsborough County I have heard.

Ms. Elia also forced teachers to practice grade inflation so that her numbers will look better to the state school bureaucratic and political world. She has not only allowed but also I believe encouraged the Professional Standards office to continue its campaign against teachers by cooking up or exacerbating charges about their professional behavior so that they dare not speak out about such conditions that she imposes that negatively impact their teaching.

The same coercive rules don't apply to administrators. An administrator at King High School summoned pubescent boys into his office for several years, ordered them to take off their shoes, fondled their feet, and cracked their toes (!). Administration and board labeled this foot fetishists' psychosexual acting-out as an innocuous ha-ha example of administrative antic sense of humor. It merited, said an administration lying in wait to pounce on teachers with a Professional-Standards' charge, a belly laugh and the gloss "Isn't he a card?"--not a Professional Standards charge with referral to psychiatric evaluation.

Home-ec Kipley also doctored the sheriff's report of the charge with a redaction dictated by Attorney Gonzalez that exonerates the toe cracker, although labyrinthine explanations that such is not the case have been presented.

I asked for the count of professional-standards violations of both teachers and administrators for the past several years under the Public Information law. I got those of teachers; I got none for administrators. I believe that the reason for the absence of administrators targeted by Professional Standards for infractions is that they never get punished for anything they do no matter how dastardly. Only teachers suffer invidious punishment to keep them scared of losing their jobs if they don't remain quiet.

The board does its part to diminish and humiliate teachers by not ceding them and their students a settled place in the board agenda. So if the administration cooks up some cockamamie schemes with which to squander the Microsoft grant money, the teachers and their students must remain mute.

If a teacher has a problem, it's useless to go to a board member. All ran on platforms to "clean up the schools"; then they get on the board only to strike ceremonial poses, deferring everything to Superintendent Elia, in order to commence their rounds of banquet hopping and chowing down. These board members will blow off any teacher unsophisticated enough to ask for succor. That was what happened to Steve Kemp, accused of child abuse and exonerated by the sheriff of the charge on the first day of its filing. He asked for a board member's help; she, who claims to be a teacher's particular friend, chickened out big time.

Board members strike a pretence of ignorance in any case of teacher retaliation. They can't be bothered with the trivia of teacher torture. They are somewhere in the county eating.

These cited outrages of the Hillsborough County school system are not comprehensive. Were I to catalogue them all, this communication would burgeon to the size of Curt Gentry's biography of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover's vicious behavior perpetrated in fifty-five years as head of the bureau.

One bright spot is citizen blogs. With blogs the administrative and board crooks have run up against the bulwark of the First Amendment. And in Florida we have the open-records and SLAPP law added to the First Amendment that prevents boards from hiding public information from citizens and prevents compliant attorneys such as Mr. Gonzales from filing suits against citizens who complain about the unethical and often criminal conduct of school boards and administrations determined to maintain their financial power and prestige with whatever methods with which they can get away.

When I started attending the school board to observe its mores, the first time I spoke in the 3 meager minutes grudgingly allotted citizens, the chair at the time made clear that she did not welcome my comments or anybody's but those of flatterers.

The current chair, Carol Kurdell, board member since the Precambrian period, has maneuvered a shutdown of my comments on agenda items. She began by interrupting me repeatedly when I tried to speak on agenda items and, in effect, shut out my comments at the podium by talking over me. She has gradually worked up to confiscating my right to comment on agenda items altogether.

La Kurdell and Steve Hegarty, a former St. Pete Times reporter who has moved from pro-First Amendment rights when he was working for a newspaper because his boss was for the First Amendment to the position anti-First-Amendment rights now that his bosses are against the First Amendment.

Hegarty's current bosses don't like the First Amendment although they took an oath of office to uphold it. They do everything they can get away with to undermine citizens' First Amendment rights. Attorney Gonzalez sits in shut-down mode when the board is trashing the First Amendment. I believe he isn't fond of the First Amendment--an unusual aberration for an attorney.

Administrative and board members have not read the Constitution or much else. They do not sleep with the Federalist Papers under their pillows. They could live quite comfortably in any dictatorship provided they were among the in-crowd and got plenty of money to squander extorted from the peasants and allowed to attend a plethora of eating opportunities.

Ms. Kurdell is now at the stage in her First Amendment shutdown of me that she has had errand boy Hegarty deliver me in clumsily oblique language the board's belief that I suffer from Alzheimer's because I am an elderly citizen; hence the board must confiscate my requests to comment on agenda items.

My response to that is even were I in the throes of terminal Alzheimer's I could outthink and outtalk these board-and-administration dummies and deliver my objections to their nutty policies in Standard English.

If anybody has trouble with coherence in comments, it's board members. They have had shabby educations. Two board members have not even a debased college degree. Two have degrees from a university that PBK has repeatedly turned down for membership. One has a suspect "doctorate" the which I would love to get my hands on to review for grammar-and-punctuation mess-ups, thin logic, and even thinner research. I would conduct as well a forensics analysis to determine if it were ghosted.

My husband, former mayor of our little beach town for more than ten years, says the chair of the schools' board does wrong to prevent a citizen's commenting on agenda items. He says the board, if it follows Roberts Rules much less democracy, must let citizens speak.

My old man's comment will get no support from the Roberts Rules and democracy thugs who run the school board.

The conditions in Hillsborough county schools are not unique unfortunately. They replicate themselves around the country. School bureaucratic parasites pad their numbers and cite higher and higher salaries as the going rate, adding

more with each superintendent and administrator hire in a never-ending cycle of greed. Teachers pay continues to be peanuts, making a second job mandatory for too many.

School boards lack both the sophistication and also the ethics to recognize this racket, given their education and intelligence deficit. Because it's not their money, but Microsoft's, board members could rubberstamp a hundred million dollars as just the right salary to give the latest county superintendent. They would as well, under Microsoft's umbrella of legitimacy, continue their jobs program to hire the C and D students, the sycophants, and the out-of-work, no-talent relatives of the board and superintendent.

So unless you are on the qui vivre, don't be surprised if Microsoft's hundred-million-dollar grant funds the first superintendent salary in the country for a hundred million dollars even though he or she has trouble putting commas in the right place.

If you blindly download a hundred million dollars on the likes of the administration and board in Hillsborough County, you merely feed the beast and perpetuate its abuses unless you put some riders on the money and have your foundation accountants on the q.v.

Here is my suggestion: Have your grant team do a review of the board-and- administration practices. Talk to some teachers; some lunchroom workers; some janitors. Convinced that you are on the right track as I wager you will be, attach riders to the grant that say to receive this pile of money the salivating recipients must do the following:

1. Appoint a standing citizens' committee of school-children's parents to conduct a review of the Professional Standards office and its sadistic treatment of teachers and to ride herd on it with periodic reports. And by all means insist on a head for this office whose degree exceeds that of home ec major.

2. Insist that the board have a standing entry for teachers and students' comments on the board agenda plus the assurance in writing by the lawyer such as he is that they can take their harassment complaints to a peace officer with clout if the administration tries to tag them with a Professional Standards Scarlet Letter for exercising their Constitutional rights to express their opinions.

3, Sign up all board members but the skinny Delta Dawn home wrecker for Weight Watchers and dock their salaries for fees. Have the Weight Watchers Dean of Students send the Gates grant people the board's attendance records and weight history. Make losing weight until board members are normal human beings a contingency of the grant. Require Delta Dawn Pole Girl home wrecker to read Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and write a humongous term paper on the difference between Aristotle's and Galileo's theories of motion and how each affects the stability of the rotunda arc in the board room on which board members and administration stars sit when all are in attendance so as to adorn the structure.

4. Require that Ms. Elia furlough Dr. James Hamilton, the school's moldy Don Juan, from his Tallahassee lobbying job so that his wife can get some sleep.

5. Have some citizens with accounting savvy and a steely-eyed view of the board and administration volunteer to do oversight on the way the schools spend the grant money. There are lots of citizens on to the board-and-administration power racket who would exult in that job.

Count yourselves lucky that I have not added my ten grandchildren's many virtues and accomplishments to this missive. We grandmothers have been known to flag down cars in the street to regale the startled motorists with these precious data.

On another matter: I am not having a good time with my new computer's Vista innards. The one before Vista was better in my amateur opinion. If you are collecting customer Vista data, add my input.


(Ms.) Lee Drury De Cesare

15316 Gulf Boulevard 802

Madeira Beach, FL 33708