See comments below responding to first two readers. Further on comments follow to Readers Three and Four. lee
Lee Drury De Cesare
See comments below from readers. I have already responded to Reader One. Now let me respond to Reader Two on the transportation issue.
The first time I heard of the transportation fiasco, a former school-bus driver headed the division. I have nothing against upward mobility but oppose upward stupidity when it involves tax money and schools' well being. The key to climbing the job ladder in the school system is to demonstrate belly-up loyalty to Ms. Elia and the Keystone Kops board. If I mistake not, an administrator named
The pricey consulting firm that the School Board brings in when there pops up a problem that exceeds the unqualified, meagerly credentialed coterie of dumb-cluck buddies, sycophants, and no-talent family members that the administration and board have hired in their jobs racket with bloated salaries in inverse proportion to their IQ. This choreograph trips ROSSAC's and not-a-clue board members' bringing in the
The transportation-meltdown consultants rode in on their jetliner steeds at taxpayer expense, toured the disaster area of transportation, and composed a recommendation summary that said, in effect, 1. get scheduling software and 2. have more convenient places to park the buses.
These shallow insights were not deep stuff. The head of transportation, had she read industry journals, could have discovered this solution herself.
The price of this consultant Romper-room analysis in an report filled with grammar-punctuation errors cost a bundle: I have forgotten how much, but rest assured it was substantial.
Ignorant taxpayers coughed up funds that subsidized endemic ROSSAC and board stupidity.
Word circulated that the power brokers in ROSSAC advertised--an epochal act--and got a professional guy in the job to head transportation.
I hoped that he was doing ok. Evidently not. He must not have shown sufficient humility to Ms. Elia.
April Griffin claimed to be responsible for insisting on the outside hire, but only whimpered when Ms. Elia claimed credit and said this was an example of how ROSSAC and the board advertised jobs to coincide with its faux equal-opportunity claims.
I thought that buses were running on time after the new guy took over, but your email says that there has been a Saturday Night massacre for some reason that has escaped the somnolent press's attention as usual. I would like to know details if you can provide them.
You are wrong to say that I endorsed the guy you cite for the School Board. I think I asked him to answer a candidate questionnaire, for which I asked all the candidates. The challengers answered. The incumbents did not.
I learned my lesson tardily when I endorsed and gave money to Susan Valdes and April Griffin in their School Board races. That gesture was my own pissing-in-the-wind mistake, which I rue. I won't repeat it.
Susan Valdez signaled the real reason--partying on the taxpayer's dime--why she had run for school board by spending $50,000 in one year flying around the country probably in First Class to pick up the Cracker Jack awards the school national bureaucracies shovel out to each other to signify how swell and important the civic and intellectual pygmies are who bungle the running of schools across the country.
Instead of "cleaning up the schools" as Susan promised, she instead treated herself to $50,000 tax money subsidized travel larks, one trip of which I heard was to
Meanwhile, La Susan holds forth on the board dais no matter the topic on "saving every penny of taxpayer money" and any other irrelevant, moldy cliché she can dredge up from the shallow store of her understanding.
April Griffin started out with a brave request to have an item's involving no-bid hiring of a former administrator as consultant for some school project. She took the unprecedented step of asking that it be pulled off the agenda for discussion. This pulling off the board and administration conveyor belt the narrative of secretly arrived-at decisions that whiz by on the Consent Agenda on board nights with all the secrets of the gauche deals that board and administration hammer out in secret Star Chamber confabs represented an unprecedented chance for taxpayers to have a smidge of open government for a change and see and hear how their money funnels into the crooked power game that the board and administration play with public tax money.
April's request to see the behind-the-scenes product of board and administration misuse of tax money brought from Carol Kurdell, who has hunkered on the board since the Cretaceous Epoch and who rarely speaks except during election time, a rebuke for April's being "disloyal to the staff."
Ms. Candy Olson, who had savaged Mr. Erwin eighteen years before when he came to the board for help with his discovery of theft and graft in the schools, echoed La Kurdell. La Candy had told Erwin that he had "better have solid proof of his accusations," not that she was concerned about his discovery and move with all deliberate speed to investigate it. She evinced no curiosity about his charges--perhaps because she knew the circumstances first hand. La Olson joined Ms. Kurdell in her condemnation of Griffin's asking for an item to come off the agenda as lese majeste against the power structure in a rare instance of open government in the public choreographed and disguised agenda show biz of the board.
Ms. Olson is noted in the gossip mill for stories about her getting jobs for such people as an exotic dancer for convincing cops to pass up a traffic ticket on one of her family for drunk driving and who struggles for public-servant dignity weighed down by the piteous story of her judge or lawyer husband's email to the Ye Mystic Krewe dingdongs that announced his coming out and "never being happier" before their divorce, consummated in Sarasota, as I recall.
If Ms. Olson were not such a rabid supporter and participant in the corruption that goes on in the crooked purlieus of ROSSAC, one might feel sorry for her.
Griffin has the guts of a butterfly, hence shrank back in terror from these attacks by collaborators Kurdell and Olson, morphed into board Valkyries to protect the corruption corporation they help run. So Griffin slunk away, subdued by two of the dumbest women to pull frocks over their heads in Hillsborough County, to subsequently morph into a roll-over team player that very night. To help protect the corruption franchise, La April later went with Motel 8 Jennifer Falliero on a secret piney-woods diplomatic mission without portfolio to Ms. Smith, of the Alafia principal's debacle's getting bad board-and-administration publicity from an unusually alert press.
These two Disrelis manqué convinced Smith to resign the job with the apparent promise that the board and administration would take care of her. These two savants should take over Indo-China's diplomatic bog to clean things up over there.
Administrators never get fired unless they violate Ms. Elia's lust for constant praise; they just get moved around. Teachers' formula for this racket is "Mess up to move up" in ROSSAC.
I heard Griffin at a board meeting that the Alafia parents attended en masse--about 12 by my count; they gave me one of their Alafia tee-shirts-- sitting in the back of the auditorium waiting to speak out only to have Griffin come from the board dais to the back of the auditorium where they sat to convince these Alafia parents to call off their mike comments before the board to complain about the situation after La Elia's papal visits to Alafia to harangue PTA parents to keep Smith as principal. Griffin said it would injure the schools. La Elia had failed to budge these PTA hearties from their goal of getting rid of Smith, even when Elia pledged to send Smith and her assistant principal to Eckerd for make-over seminars on how to be human beings at $4500 a pop.
Compare that solicitude to the Professional Standards crucifixion of teachers on manufactured or peripheral charges to keep them mute about school affairs' board and administration mess-ups.
Board and Elia ate it up and knew they were home free. These are the kind of ga-ga citizens they want at the board during citizen comment time.
I have pledged since April and Susan made a fool of me never to endorse or support school board candidates. They speak bravely about reform on the hustings at campaign events, get elected, and then embrace the ancient patterns of corruption that characterize the board's and administration's running of the schools. April and Susan have done so with a bang.
Lawyer Gonzalez requested to speak and weighed in with a resounding endorsement of no-bid contracts. Demosthenes could not have topped his echoing praise of no-bid buddy-family-collaborator chits. That chance for this member of the bar's chance to endorse the procedure that violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights act comes from Dr. Lennard's giving Le Gonzalez the board-attorney job with a wink and a nod and no advertising six years ago in a no-bid maneuver due to the retiring long-serving attorney's worn-out synapses in the service of writing briefs that provided Jesuitical justifications of board malefactions.
Keep me apprised of the transportation tumult. I think it is representative of the way the board and administration solve their problems with Saturday Night Massacres a la Richard Nixon mode.
My fervent wish is to see the day that people trashed in such explosions of administrative and board cruel and unethical petulance will slough off their fear and come forward to hold press conferences in the lobby of the ROSSAC building and to harangue the board in the three meager minutes the administration and board allow citizens to speak to the public past the board and administration to the Public TV cameras.
Ms. Kurdell has shut down my free-speech rights to comment on agenda items tagged as audience participation. She confiscates my sign-ups. The board and administration don't like what I say, so I must be doing something right.
You are a good writer, a rarity in the ROSSAC panoply of marginal literacy. Best of all would be for you to start an anonymous blog on this area of transportation corruption and lay it all out on a non-stop basis. Suzy Creamcheese, the ur school blogger, is anonymous because she, like most teachers, fears for her job. Teachers note how Steve Kemp was crucified for having a blog. He was the most recent poster boy for the wages of exercising his free-speech rights.
Steve Kemp just survived the Professional Standards gauntlet that included a false charge of child abuse that the Sheriff threw out the day Special-ed Area 5 supervisor Ron Smiley filed it. This false charge gave pretext to the administration's keeping Steve on suspension for over a year. The board and administration have gotten away with such outrages for years, so both were quite nonplussed that somebody challenged their corrupt behavior. They don't have a script for that.
What Hamlet said he was reading when Polonius questioned him--Words, words, words--makes revolutions. If a person can write--and you can--he or she possesses the power to impact the kind of crime and incompetence that characterizes this board and administration.
I am just one little old granny of ten with deficient upper-body strength who ekes out what gains she can effect against the avalanche of corruption that infests the school board and administration.
Blog anonymous revolution is as easy as pie. Go to Blogspot.com and join us slender crew who fight corruption with words and use all the energy we partisan bloggers have while living ordinary lives that include all the things that average people engage in besides revolution.
I bet you want to know what happened to Ms. Smith, the Alafia malignant principal rejected by the school's parents.
Ms. Elia produced her a make-work job in an economic downturn with some gimcrack title and convoluted rationale.
La Smith makes about $60,000 a year for her featherbedding nest, equivalent to her principal's salary and twice that of beginning teachers.
Professional Standards would have crucified and put the ravaged body on display of a teacher in the lobby of ROSSAC for the kind of malfeasance Ms. Smith engaged in had she not enjoyed immunity to punishment that the board and superintendent assured because of her administrative status.
Once more into the breach,
Lee Drury De Cesare
I have not been sitting on my hands. Today I wrote a state legislator who grew up with my children to pittypat over to the FBI office and urge the boys to investigate our case against the school board. I told him to go in person and to be masterful and persuasive. Do the same with your state legislator. If you are afraid of retaliation from the ROSSAC Gang, get your mother to do the job. Mothers will kill to help their children. Helping their children is what mothers live for. lee
Response to reader 3: you are just jealous because I am so smart and cute. Your referring to my drinking cocktails insults a Georgia girl. We drink only from gallon jugs of moonshine until we are pissy pants drunk. It's de riguer in the Georgia outback from whence I emerged. I may have written the quote you attribute to me about voting for Brand X because "anybody was better than April." I changed my mind after I heard Brand X had close ties to Ms. Elia. It's every woman's right to change her mind. And don't try to change the eternal rules of gender privilege or I shall send you bed without your dinner.
Comment to Reader 4. Candy Olson is a puzzle. I have a feeling she has a lot of pain behind her mask and clings to the school board job and its connection to the administration as some kind of life line. That attachment is even more firm now that she is divorced, had to sell her South Tampa Beach Park house, and move into a condo down near the Hyde Park shopping area according to my Beach Park buddies.