Sunday, May 02, 2010
Let's Talk to the Flossy Law School Deans and Professors, and Let's Not Pull Punches
425 West Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301-1609
Florida State Law School Gentlepeople:
One sees that Florida State Law School earns the US News and World Report rank of 54th nationwide. Even so, people expect the law school to produce graduates who can write English and punctuate it.
Measured against this expectation, Florida State law school faculty should review the below specimen of one of its graduate's writing. Your alumnus is school board attorney for Hillsborough County's school board.
Mr. Thomas Gonzalez is also a partner in one of the Bay Area's flossiest law firms. I believe the firm's main business is scarifying workers for bosses. The school board qualifies as client because it has piles of tax money to squander with a hey nonny nonny.
Mr. Gonzalez makes $275,000 a year as school board attorney while moonlighting at the University of South Florida and probably other venues.
I understand that Attorney Gonzalez got the job on a good ol' boy handshake from the previous school superintendent, Dr. Earl Lennard, Governor Crist appointee to supervisor of elections job despite his dicey past while school superintendent. The slogan "We-are-an-equal-employment-opportunity-employer stamped everywhere by the board goes athwart this Gonzalez hire and others. The board cedes as perquisite a jobs program to the superintendent that gives the lie to equal opportunity and invites favoritism.
Mr. Gonzalez does all he can to convince the board and even himself that the no-bid contracts the board hands out to former administrators and buddies are fine since he himself has a no-bid contract, not in writing but in whispered exchanges in halls and stairwells.
Once when I said at a board meeting that I would ask the federal government for a compliance review of school contracts if the board and administration didn't stop hiring kin. buddies, and other incompetents to bloated-pay jobs and start obeying the equal-employment-opportunity laws, Mr. Gonzalez hinted that he could sue me for extortion. He knew that he elided free speech and the SLAPP law but made the veiled threat hoping I was dumb and scared.
When I wrote the bar ethics people to complain about this coercion of a citizen, Mr. Gonzalez launched into a hundred billable hours of refutation, assuring the ethics legal brotherhood that he had not threatened a citizen with an extortion law suit for exercising free speech.
The legal priesthood found for the one belonging to the brotherhood.
Mr. Gonzalez's legal team's failure in former administrator Doug Erwin's Whistleblower suit against the board must have prompted Dr. Lennard's hiring a mediocre legal practitioner as board attorney to match his own mediocrity in the education racket.
Dr. Lennard instead of investigating the crime that administrator Erwin had reported to him tried to prove Mr. Erwin crazy, hence unworthy of credence. Board and administrator thugs assisted Dr. Lennard in this vile campaign. Three still sit on the board: Jack Lamb, Carol Kurdell, and Candy Olson.
Mr. Gonzalez pitched into the dirty work of savaging a whistleblower to save board and administration power retention after Dr. Lennard and supporters' "he's-crazy" campaign fizzled when the press got wise. The Lennard team then plotted ways to fire Mr. Erwin and deprive him of his pension. Mr. Gonzalez's contribution to the cover-up phase involved hiring an outside investigating firm but shutting it down when its reports revealed plots to condemn Mr. Erwin.
Dispirited with the Lennard gang's savagery, Mr. Erwin filed a whistleblower lawsuit and won $165,000 before a jury that didn't believe board-and-administration lies. Gonzalez and team lost the case but made $34.000 tax money in fees for their court flop.
That's the thing about being a lawyer: win or lose, you get paid.
A person cynical about ethics of public officials would infer that graft discovered by Mr. Erwin had gone to top administration and board, the reason both fought so hard to maintain it. I espouse this inference.
The caught-in-the-act thieves who tried to blacken Mr. Erwin's name and fire him without a pension today won't give Mr. Erwin two references he needs to get a principal job in Georgia, to which he fled after the court case. This board-administration gang runs C's and D's in academics but makes A+ in payback.
Mr. Gonzalez's bloated $275,000 annual salary puzzles because an online survey of state school lawyers shows his pay way over what others make: in fact, Mr. Gonzalez ranks highest paid school attorney cited on the Web. So unconcerned with this disparity are board and superintendent that they never asked the personnel department to do a salary study to gauge Gonzalez's salary compared to other board attorneys.
Three unsuitable board members are up for re-election this year in Districts 2, 4, and 6. They are intellectually and ethically unequipped to serve as overseers of the schools: Olson, Griffin, and Falliero. This election allows voters to ask them in public forums to provide specifics of their "We save every penny of tax money." Voters can ask why they don't fire Counselor Gonzales, advertise the job, and hire new blood if they want to save tax money.
A contract has never burdened Mr. Gonzalez's job in pay or performance. For the new attorney, the board can a use as model contract that of the Pinellas County full-time attorney. He is in his office all day, not bopping around the Bay Area hustling new clients. The full-time Pinellas board attorney makes $175,000 a year, $100,000 less than Mr. Gonzalez. I have a copy of the Pinellas attorney's contract.
I infer that the Hillsborough County board ceded all of Mr. Gonzalez's salary procedures to him. I infer as well that he tallies his work up in billable hours and multiplies that by whatever exorbitant fee pops into his head. The letter I correct below must have clocked in as pricey. A moderately skilled writer could have dashed it off in a half hour tops. I suspect Mr. Gonzalez spent or said he spent three hours in deep lucubration and rhetorical strain over the piece and still produced a lousy letter.
One cannot account for Mr. Gonzalez's bloated salary because of diligence and ability. When a newly built school's wall collapsed, taxpayers footed the replacement bill because Mr. Gonzalez had not advised the board to get insurance adequate for such exigency. I don't believe he had read the contract's fine print. Sitting on the board dais, he chewed through his comment on the situation by rambling about his uncle's contracting business. Not one board member had sense or nerve enough to pin him down. Acting chair Jennifer Falliero, not apt to thrust into the upper reaches of the Stanford Binet, kept keening about how mad she was at the contractor.
Nor do I believe that Mr. Gonzalez read the recent sheriff's report on charges against a teacher and an administrator because Le Gonzalez incorrectly called the reports dissimilar when they were identical. He even argued with a SPTimes reporter, claiming that the reporter had made a mistake in the paper's story that correctly said the sheriff's reports on teacher and administrator were identical.
When Mr. Gonzalez tardily discovered his error, he hustled to zip a redaction of his erroneous statement to the Professional Standards Office. I bet he didn't apologize to the reporter. Such grace exceeds Mr. Gonzalez's bloated ego and lack of public-relations skills.
Professional Standards head Linda Kipley doctored the file. Mutual cover-ups rank standard for board and administration. Teachers get sent to the Professional Standards office for minor or cooked-up charges because they have slipped up and used their free-speech rights to comment about what's wrong with the board and administration's running of the schools. These charges mean terror because they threaten teachers' jobs. The board and administration use the Professional Standards office to shut down teachers' free speech to keep the community ignorant of out-of-the-sunshine mess-ups. Administrators, however, enjoy mutual cover-up protection. The Professional Standards office's files feature many teacher charges but lack administrator charges.
Le Gonzalez's latest foible involves misinterpreting HB 669 bullying law to exclude teachers and staff. Teachers in other counties use the law; the state union attorney says it covers teachers.
Mr. Gonzalez ruled HB 669 does not cover staff and teachers to propitiate Board Member Candy Olson. Her dislike of teachers made her want to exclude them from the protection of HB 669, a protection that would neutralize Professional Standards to intimidate teachers into silence.
Gonzalez made his SB 669 fumble in plain view on the dais. After what one infers was a hurried hall order from La Olson, Mr. Gonzalez hastened to his board perch to scan the bill she had, one suspects, handed him minutes before. I was a teacher for twenty-eight years. I can spot the kinesthetics of a student's hurried review of the material five minutes before the test. Mr. Gonzalez displayed that syndrome.
The result of this Katzenjammer routine was that Gonzalez misinterpreted the bill to exclude teachers. But I believe that even had he studied the bill, he would have distorted it to coincide with board member Olson's prejudice. My guess is that such explication-de-texte flexibility does a great deal to explain Gonzalez salary bloat.
My impression says that the reason the board and superintendent retain Mr. Gonzalez and overpay him is that he will twist the law to give credence to their prejudices and poor management. Nobody has questioned this routine in the past, the union's being cozily in bed with the administration most times.
Citizens are reluctant to comment by the froideur of the board when they come to speak at a meeting. So the administration and board thugs have gotten away with all kinds of distortions of their jobs and the rules because nobody said, "Hey, wait a minute!"
His attached letter reveals that the $275,000-a-year-tax-paid-school-board attorney Mr. Gonzalez displays the same writing errors that college remedial-English students demonstrate when entering freshman English unable to write a paragraph much less an essay. In the this specimen, Mr. Gonzalez has comma splices and comma errors. He shows lack of knowledge of basic mechanics. He gives the reader a crick in the neck by jumping from third- to first-person point of view with no transition. He leaves out words needed for sentence sense. Passive verbs swamp his output to make him sound tentative.
Mr. Gonzalez's style ranks abysmal. He suffers word bloat. His entry construction is 45 words: a bolus, not a sentence. He later indulges in a 60-word construction the syntax of which makes the reader feel as if he were riding a spavined horse. Mr. Gonzalez's chronic retreat to pussyfooting passive voice gives his writing flabby flavor. His archaic lawyerese diction is redolent of moth balls. It invokes a bygone era of mildewed courthouses in rural fastnesses at the edge of the civilized world. His product smells of the lamp.
And there's his deportment: Mr. Gonzalez chomps chips washed down by canned soda during board business. I saw him have a tantrum in the lobby during a board session that surpassed anything my youngest grandchild could produce. My Southern mother would have declared that Mr. Gonzalez was raised in a barn.
The law school does not bear responsibility for this graduate's ethics. It could require complete memorization of Nichamachan Ethics as price for graduation, and some of those who achieved the feat would still enter the legal world to cut corners. The law school does, however bear responsibility for graduating a candidate who is bereft of basic writing skills and a civilized style. You should not loose candidates who don't know how to punctuate and write a clear sentence on the state.
I suggest citizens who support the university have the right to expect that standard from a student exiting Florida State Law School. I suggest the writing faculty should double down.
(Ms.) Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
all members of Florida State law-school writing faculty
all deans of Florida State law school
all members Hillsborough County School Board
all members Tampa City Council
Hillsborough County Bar
Legal Department Hillsborough County Commission
Legal Department City of Tampa
All candidates of Districts 2, 4, and 6 for School Board
Herdman & Sakellarides
29605 US Highway 19 North Suite 110
Clearwater, Florida 33761-1538
Re: Steve Kemp
Dear Mr. Herdman:
After the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) of The superfluous capital School Board 3 superfluous commas of Hillsborough County completed its investigation of an incident involving the referenced classroom teacher which occurred at East Bay High School on No reason for apostrophe 'June 26, 2008, it was the Superintendent's intention to recommend Mr. Kemp's termination, 45 words Period, not comma: Comma splice That recommendation was not made passive voice because through your representation and as a result of negotiations, Mr. Kemp agreed that Sentence sense: "he" omitted would accept a five day "Five-day" hyphenated adjective before noun suspension and transfer from East Bay High School to a school which the Superintendent deemed appropriate. Following public statements by Mr. Kemp contending that he was treated passive verb unequally in comparison to a managerial employee of the Board, Superfluous capital the Superintendent offered Mr. Kemp the opportunity to withdraw his consent to the settlement so that he could have the benefit of a hearing under the 'Hillsborough County Teacher Tenure Act, at which hearing he could be heard Passive verb on his allegations of disparate treatment. [Mr. Kemp's Board-meeting claim was that his punishment compared invidiously with that of administrative Toe Cracker at King High. He ordered pubescent boys into his office, demanded they take off their shoes, and then fondled their feet. The superintendent and board's reaction to this administrative foot fetishist was, "Oh, isn't he a card?" For Kemp's questionable offense that the sheriff threw out the day Supervisor Smiley filed it got, in contrast, an initial dismissal response came from Ms. Elia. I believe Teacher Kemp was on the radar of the Professional Standards watch list for having an education blog; the board and administration does not like blogs. They want to keep how they run the schools away from taxpayers. Mr. Kemp decided to keep to Superintendent Elia's decision.]
I am informed Passive verb that Mr. Kemp has declined that invitation and confirms his acceptance of the settlement described above.
The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) Should accompany first use in top paragraph completed its investigation Steve Kemp's 6/26/08 charge. Superintendent Elia revised her determination to fire Mr. Kemp. She offers to re-instate him with five days of suspension.
Because this matter was referred Passive verb to me following the conclusion of the UPS Error: OPS investigation and the onset of negotiations, OPS did not prepare its normal letter concluding the matter, I have been asked Passive verb to write that conclusion and now do so.
On June 26, 2008, you Sentence Sense: Sudden change of point of view from third to second to third bewilders reader. were working as an ESE (Parenthetical explanation of acronym) aide at East Bay High School, working in a summer program. Although your permanent assignment was as a History Capital wrong teacher, you had ESE (acronym explanation) experience. On the referenced day, an ESE supervisor observed an ESE student who to had been secured passive verb a chair through the use of the harness used to transport the student and coaxial cable [Sentence accuracy: inflammatory term "coaxial cable" has a malignant hold on Mr. Gonzalez's mind: he refers to an old TV cord.] The supervisor reported the incident Comma: compound sentence and it was thereafter investigated Passive verb by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, OPS Comma in Standard English for items in a series; the writer writes for an educational client supposed to use Standard English punctuation. and Child Protection Investigators.
I-lerdman & Sakellarides August 24, 2009
The Hillsborough County Sheriffs Possessive apostrophe Office, after consulting with the State Attorney, Redundant commas cut off a restrictive prepositional phrase with gerund object determined that there was insufficient evidence of criminal child neglect although it was noted Passive verb "it Two "it's" in close succession confusing was not in good judgment to use a tool (coaxial cable) [old television rope] not designed and approved to restrain students." [Mr. Gonzalez conveniently omits that the student wore a bus restraint left on by the staff for convenience; it violated state restraint laws too, but Supervisor Smiley did not cite it in his child-abuse complaint against Mr. Kemp.] The HCSO also noted that OPS was investigating the matter Comma needed for compound sentence and "this incident should be handled Passive verb administratively," Period needed; Comma splice The OPS investigation followed.
The CPl Acronym explanation investigation was concluded Passive verb with a finding of verified indicators of abuse, neglect Comma in Standard English for items in a series or abandonment. This direct quote from the Sheriff's report should get quotation marks.
Based on the CP1 conclusion, OPS investigation Standard English comma and settlement described above, the Superintendent will recommend to the Board that Mr. Kemp be suspended Passive verb without pay for five days. He already has been reassigned to Passive
verb to another high school position.
If Mr. Kemp desires to do so, he may submit a written statement of his disagreement with any of the contents of this letter, which will be maintained Passive verb in his investigatory file,
Very truly yours,
cc: Deputy Superintendent Dan Valdez Ms. Linda Kipley, OPS
NOV-03-2009 11:50 From:ISC
Pray allow this former English teacher to do what English teachers in schools do daily: correct bad writing.
Mr. Herdman :
School superintendent Elia asked me to write the file summary for Mr. Kemp's investigation for child abuse. The Professional Standards Office houses this file.
Ms. Elia's first response was to dismiss Mr. Kemp. After review of our negotiations, she decided to offer your client retention with a move to a new school and five days unpaid suspension. Mr. Kemp accepted that offer.
Your client then appeared at a school-board meeting to complain about what he believed to be invidious treatment of his and an administrator's charge. Ms. Elia told Mr. Kemp he could withdraw acceptance of the reinstatement offer and go to a Teacher Tenure Hearing instead. Mr. Kemp then reconfirmed acceptance of Ms. Elia's first offer of retention with conditions.
If Mr. Kemp wishes to contest anything in this summary, he may enter his comments into his file in the Professional Standards office.
Gonzalez Original: 445 words; my edit: 139 words
I will post the Pinellas County attorney contract when I can figure out how to get its geegaws fixed. lee
Posted by twinkobie at 11:47 AM