Sunday, June 06, 2010


Casting-Room Couch Election Diaries

I asked District 2's Hernandes opponent Emmet Negrete to drop out of the race soas not to dilute the vote against Candy Olson.

How could I do that? Chutzpah. I have a bushel of it. When anything pops into my head, I simply speak up. Try it. It's liberating. Your popularity may decrease, but your self-esteem will soar. And this penchant will lead you into many interesting adventures that you would never experience had you remained mute.

Emmet's a good-looking young fellow who gave a sharp speech at the board in his first appearance there. He apparently decided that he should drop out so that Hernandes has a better chance of defeating the toxic incumbent of 12 years, Candy Olson.

Emmet is wise beyond his years. This sacrifice means he values his community and puts it ahead of his ambition. Emmet will go far in politics I predict when he has finished his education. He is a freshman at USF, I believe, and has plenty of time to run for office when he gets his bachelor's degree. Then he will be able to quote Tacitus or Virgil if the audience is the sort to appreciate the reference. That would not be the tractor-pull voter contingent. You have to gauge your audience as a politician and speak its patois.

Two board members, April Griffin and Susan Valdes, have no college degree. It shows.

April's Web page features grammar-punctuation errors that 9th-grade teachers in the schools right now labor to remove from the writing of their students because that's what their parents expect them to do so that their children can gain admission to a good college or university. Parents know their offspring need an education for the job market of an increasingly global employment world. So the children have to be literate in English as well as in several foreign languages.

My other languages are French and Italian. If I were in school today, I would learn Arabic and Chinese. Those are the populations we will compete against in the coming years.

The Oregon school system has taken the government up on the offer of paying for teaching all its students Arabic. There are Arabic sign boards all throughout Oregon that children translate for their amazed parents. Ms. Elia is too obtuse to hustle for that program in the Hillsborough County schools. She is no scholar as the writing she does by herself shows. She beat the other, much better qualified people who applied by politics, not by academic qualifications and experience needed for the job. The board lowered the Ph.D. requirement to Elia's master's because they wanted Elia instead of a better-qualified candidate since they came to an understanding with her in some stairwell semiotics exchange that she would not mess with their incumbency and perquisites.

Were I April's opponent, I would copy representative errors off her Web site with corrections, post them on a Griffin Grammar flyer, and pass it out to parents.

People don't want illiterates in charge of their children's education. And parents will figure that if Griffin doesn't care about her own education, she won't care about their children's education.

For a while April was beating the drums for more technical education in the schools for children who won't go to college. That was just a misery-loves- company line I infer. Children should learn the academic subjects that make them a citizen of their world in the public schools. There are technical schools for them when they get out of high school and don't opt for college.

Besides, many people go to college later in life. I did when I dropped out of nursing and started back first at Columbia.

Susan Valdes' meager educational background shows in her comments on the board podium. She doesn't quote Virgil, Plato, Jefferson, Chaucer, or The Federalist Papers. She trots out clich├ęs. Her favorite political chestnut is "I will save every penny of taxpayer money," an unfortunate choice because Susan got press attention for spending over $50,000 in two years of gadding around the country for pseudo educational purposes but in fact engaging in a crash course in the intricacies of room service. One is sure she ordered the most fattening items on the menu to add to her already considerable embonpoint. Soon Susan will move on to "A stitch in time saves nine" and "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." She will not be beating the drums for Michelle Obama's weight-control programs in the schools. The board as a body is too fat to showcase that activity; its members don't want to call attention to their own need for a lose-the-fat program.

Candy's travel record shows she muck lucked up to Alaska to bask in the rich school board culture of the tundra. She shared none of the wisdom her tax-paid trip afforded her on return. Olson's favorite activity on the board is not discussing the benefits of her board travel schedule. It's boring the captive audience to death with assurances of how widely she reads. None of her remarks convince one that the wide reading she claims exists beyond the Winn Dixie check-out counter magazine rack, where she can peruse the scholarship of the National Inquirer and The Globe waiting in line.

Candy doesn't mind cheating the taxpayers with the low quality of the administrators who festoon the offices of the ROSSAC building. There is only one Ph.D. She passionately defends the adequacy of Linda Kipley's home-ec diploma to head up the Professional Standards office for $150,000 a year. I bet that degree came from a technical school into which Griffin is so keen to turn Hillsborough high schools.

Candy went ballistic at my suggestion that one of the degrees acceptable in a job like Kipley's that calls for a master's would be a philosophy degree.

The board also rubberstamped Elia's hiring Kipley's husband for an accounting job that required a degree and experience. Four applied for the job with those credentials. I checked their applications. Mr. Linda Kipley snagged this accounting job, however, with a high school diploma and not a whit of accounting experience. His credential was being the spouse of La Linda. Giving him the job with his total lack of cited credentials was payback to his spouse for all the dirty administration work she does carrying out Ms. Elia's orders to keep the teachers scared for their jobs from cooked-up professional standards transgressions so that they don't criticize the schools and blow Ms. Elia's tax-paid lies to the public about how great things are under Ms. Elia's and the current board's tutelage.

I do not believe that the board members learn a thing that benefits the schools or students in these tax-paid trips they take flying around the country with a hey nonny nonny. They are larking around on the taxpayers' dime to have a jolly good time as the board position allows them to do because nobody has yet put an end to this exploitation of their office is my analysis. Maybe it will occur to one of the candidates opposing these corrupt incuments to suggest a shutdown of the board travel festival. That perquisite is a big reason that they run for the school board. Meanwhile, I propose that each trip should produce a What-I-did-on-my-tax-paid-holiday essay telling what the peregrinating board member learned that benefits the schools. Grammar and punctuation count in the world outside schools. The schools' English departments can grade these board essays with traditional red pens and propose remedial English seminars when indicated.

Her opponent should know that Candy's Achilles heel is her insecure snootiness. She is a Republican because she somehow thinks Republicans are Country Club upper class and that Democrats are low-life blue-collar laborers, immigrants--especially Hispanics, or welfare recipients. She doesn't know what corporate welfare is but would approve of it if she did. It's only feeding poor children with the government's help that she thinks is evil. That money spent to feed poor children, she is sure, would be better spent on school-board respites during which board members can kick back and contemplate the room-service menus in fun cities across the country.

La Olson pretends that only corporate executives and their ritzy families live in South Tampa and that the immigrant, blue-collar, and food-stamp recipients who live in the poor areas of her district are not a part of her concern. So she never visits them and hasn't done so in her 12 years on the board.

What her opponent should do is get on the phone to all the evangelical ministers in those poor areas and tell them the problem--that Candy ignores the poor districts where their flocks live--and ask their advice on how to contact the people, get them to register, and get them to vote. Ask the question and then just let the pastor talk.

Pastors love to talk. I was born in a little Southern hamlet with a post office, a gas station, and twelve evangelical churches. I am familiar with the mores of the evangelical preacher breed. The candidate might ask the pastor if he could put him into contact with the ladies guild for its advice and help. Now that's a bunch of women that when they hear Candy is anti-poor and down on the downtrodden will advertise that fact in every nook and cranny of the community and roust the people to register and vote to get rid of its incumbent poor-people hater.

There's another aspect of the prejudice of Candy's purview of her district that bothers me.

Why is Ybor City not superimposed on the school board map as are Gibsonton, Wimauma, River View, Palm River, Brandon, and Gibsonton? Is this another piece of evidence for discrimination against Hispanics that has long festered in the area? I'm suspicious.

Candy hasn't noticed this absence of recognition of Ybor for the twelve years she has sat on the board. She has been too absorbed in mapping her travel schedule paid for by you and me.

Candy wants people to believe she is not part of hoi-polloi citizenry. She wants them to think that she represents only South Tampa's flossy constituents and is herself one of the flossiest of its residents. She has for her 12 useless years on the board pretended that her poorer constituents in Riverview, Gibsonton, Progress Village, and parts of Brandon are non-existent, which justifies her ignoring them.

There should be price for that kind of snobbery in a public official. The price should be getting kicked out of public office as psychologically unfit for the job.

Candy's idea of social service consists of being a member of the Junior League rolling bandages--junior to whom? I have always wondered about this Aunt Tom title for a woman's organization. She has also joined every vapid civic organization in town and gets elected 3rd vice president or social secretary to add to her curriculum vitae of ditz jobs. She belongs to a whole passel of these hot-air outfits and thinks this fact gives her upper-crust ├ęclat and proper experience to serve on the school board.

A minimum-wage job in Wal-Mart's checkout line or stocking groceries in Winn Dixie would do much to educate Candy on the realities of the poor's life.

Candy voted the board's salary raise so that the board pay exceeds that of beginning teachers. I challenged her and Dr. Lamb at a political meeting at the inappropriate board award to itself of more money than teachers make. Dr. Lamb screamed at me to go back to the beach as if I were a wetback who swam the bay to trespass on American soil.

Candy stood by and smirked her approval of the screaming board buddy. She is not brave enough to challenge a person herself but will stand by and smirk if somebody else does the job.

I want to do a forensics of Dr. Lamb's thesis before I grant him his claim to an Ed.D. My guess is that it's ghost written. I doubt that he has the stamina, the brains, the writing ability, and the grit to research and write one himself.

Our family lived in South Tampa for 20 years. Our four children went to Grady, Coleman, and Plant. The people are not all obdurately insecure snoots that Candy pretends they are to mesh with her insecurities. Most came from families who struggled from poverty to comfort and are grateful for the fact. Ours did. When I was young, I was one of those children in the poor districts that Candy sticks her nose up at.

I judge the South Tampa people educable about the school-board race and capable of being indignant about their member's offensive, un-American snobbery towards poor children.

I would pass out flyers in my old Beach Park neighborhood and ring doorbells to tell voters what a fright Candy is if Fernandes will give me a stack. I am just hell on wheels at that kind of chore. I have a knack for it. You just cannot beat a South Georgia girl when it comes to the charm and the political persiflage necessary for Black Belt door-knocking election behavior.

Not only will I distribute literature and jawbone the voters in my old Beach Park stomping ground, I will get my baby daughter, who still lives in our old Beach Park area, to distribute literature in her neighborhood; and I will enlist the two daughters of the late Democratic Party bigwig Mike Scionti. They grew up across the street from us. These girls are the beauteous Beth and Jane--they are now married matrons of prosperous husbands who built them posh digs near the Bay Shore and on Davis Island. I will nag them all to death until they distribute literature in their areas for Candy's opponent if I discover he is not a mega ninny who is actively hallucinating.

Winning is about such gestures as passing out literature to make contact with voters so that they are aware of how angelical you are and how Satanic the incumbent opponent is. Name ID is the big hurdle to overcome against a long-term incumbent such as Olson. It takes only one person to tell people about the defects of Candy. I will knock on people's doors and tell them the unsavory facts about Candy. They will listen and pass on the data. If there is one thing people like it's unsavory facts about office holders. You just have to make sure they get these data.

People care about their schools. What they need is information about them and how the current people on the board mess the schools up. The incumbent will praise the administration and board because he or she has been part of it; it's up to the opponent to get him- or herself known and puncture that fairy tale of the incumbent's soi-disant flawless board.

Candy has won 12 empty years as board member for District 2 because of name ID and voter apathy, including not knowing who Candy really is, her vile values, and her contempt for anybody whom she deems poor and unimportant.

Voters don't know the details of how Olson has wasted her years on the board by robotically punching the green button on the Consent Agenda that runs the school system by the inattentive board in an outrage to the state law that requires government

sunshine to implement the superintendent's Star Chamber agenda to keep her and the administration and complicit board members in power with all the perquisites that being in charge of a multi-million-dollar tax kitty implies. They use that tax money to manipulate, to impress, and to intimidate people so that the ones in power stay in power and use this status of their being big shots in charge of a bushel of public monies to benefit themselves and their chums.

Voters don't know that Olson joined Carol Kurdell, who has been on the board since the Paleolithic Period, in chiding another board member when she was new to the board and idealistic and wanted to do something to improve the schools.

That idealistic board member was April Griffin. She, alas, has since rolled over to become an Elia puppet who traveled to Alafia with the noxious Jennifer Falliero to talk Principal Smith into resigning with the promise that Elia would create her a job with the same principal salary and minimal duties in the Book Depository, the holding cell for administrator mess-ups who are so bad that the board and administration can't keep them in their jobs but create a shadow job with the same salary so that they can molder until retirement time, sucking tax money from the kitty but doing zilch.

In Alafia, the parents were obdurate in their determination to get rid of the unfit principal Smith. God bless them. I loved their tenacity and courage.

That set up the scenario in which April and Jennifer Falliero knowingly participated in a farce that created a show job for an incompetent administrator to get her to resign when the Alafia negative publicity became too hot for Elia to tolerate. Ms. Elia is not tough enough to stare down bad publicity, so she is not a first-class tyrant.

Griffin's opponents should nail her on that ugly bit of lack of public-servant ethics.

April has plummeted from initial idealism to collusion, woe betide. She lacks a strong character. She wanted to do what was right when she first came on the board but found she would have to fight the ensconced board members and the administration and did not have the stomach to take on that battle. No guts is the story of April, more's the pity.

Kurdell's and Olson's rebuke undid Griffin in her asking that the hiring without competition of an administration buddy for a contract come off the Consent Agenda for review. Candy's affirmation of Kurdell's attack on April was "You go, girl." That deathless quote from the South Tampa snobbette who claims to read so deeply stands illustrative of her shallow reading habits. She picked up the stale quote from the National Inquirer.

Candy's opponent might want to challenge her to dueling IQ tests held on Franklin Street at the lunch hour. Candy is bound land in the lower quartile.

Griffin did not have the stomach to fight such obscene use of public money as no-bid contracts one notes with sorrow. Gonzalez interpolated the opinion that no-bid contracts were legal. That was because his job came from a no-bid Lennard contract.

Gonzalez would declare homicide legal if the board needed that opinion to reinforce some one of the groups' committing the crime in the parking lot.

After the fracas in which Kurdell said that April was "being disloyal to the staff," and April did not have sense enough to shoot back, "My loyalty belongs to the voters, not the staff," the board voted to uphold the no-bid contract that April asked to come off the agenda for discussion five to two Only April and Valdes voted no, the rest of the board of collaborators' voting yea. We are talking ubiquitous board criminality here and contempt for the taxpayers in plain view on the board podium.

Subsequently, all the starch stripped out of her, April flipped to the point that she helped Elia to cover up the obscene situation in Alafia of a principal unfit for the job's being protected by the board and administration and provided a show job for a play-act quitting of her job. That ranks vile collusion by Griffin, scared or not. The voters should turn April out of office.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Griffin following on a leash behind Elia soon. Good doggy.

This principal would have continued to misadminister the Alafia school had not the parents been intrepid in insisting that she go. Neither Elia's two papal visits nor her promise to send both Ms. Smith and her assistant principal to Eckerd's for psychological makeovers at $4500 a pop with tax money impressed the parents.

Imagine a superintendent proffer to parents anxious for their children's well being of that malignant offer. And the board sat mute and did not object. The board condones kicking out teachers with no mercy or review based on a false Professional Standards charge but allows the superintendent to waste tax money on straightening out the psyches of a bizarrely behaving principal.

La Smith now molders in the Book Depository, probably inspecting her cuticles and doing crosswords on a principal's salary until she retires. Such abuse of tax money meant for the schools is what the district board members rubberstamp while claiming not to know what they are doing and pretending to represent voters. If you ask them about these outrages, they feign ignorance. Count on this pretense. If they are ignorant of how Ms. Elia et al run the schools, they aren't doing their jobs of scrutiny and correction of the superintendent.

The trouble is that the board members believe Ms. Elia is their boss, not they hers. They don't want responsibility for anything but pursuing their board perquisites. They want to play at being community big shots; they don't want to do the work and the background reading needed to ride herd on the administration.

To get Ms. Smith to leave the job, Ms. Elia had dispatched Pole Girl Falliero and April Betty Boop Griffin out to Alafia to convince principal Smith to resign with the assurance that she would get an empty job with the same principal's salary but no duties except throwing darts and eating jujubes on the taxpayers' dime. This scenario confirms that the board and administration policy is that no administrator gets the sack no matter the failure at a job. Anybody who doubts this policy should do what I did: ask for public information on clients of the Professional Standards office. I got a stack of teacher charges but not one administrator charge.

Moreover, when I requested the job description and duties of the manufactured Smith job, it took Mr. Valdez a couple of weeks to draft the phantom job's description. I then asked Community Affairs who occupied the job before Ms. Smith. No answer. Hence, the phantom job for Smith became extant when the need arose with her ousting by the parents from her Alafia principal job.

But nobody had the job before because it did not exist. Even administrative toadies won't perjure themselves in such cases.

Falliero and Griffith signed onto the voter-taxpayer scam of subsidizing the salaries of ghost administrators parked in the Book Depository dumping ground for failed administrators to wait out their time until retirement. Isn't that betrayal of the voters and students quite sickening?

Can't Griffin's opponents with any chutzpah make her face this betrayal of her duty as a board member to serve the taxpayers, not the administrative criminal code?

I don't know how the policy evolved that an administrator gets no punishment and in a case like the Alafia fiasco with Ms. Smith, the end solution came to be a fake tax-supported job in the Book Depository; but that's the situation that has evolved to a venerable practice it appears. If I were running against an incumbent, I would demand a list of administrative jobs parked in the Book Depository or elsewhere; their time of employment; job descriptions, and whom they replaced. And I would demand that April explain how her cooperating with Ms. Elia's creating a job for Smith showed April's contempt for the use of taxpayer money on such vile cover-ups that poison a school system supposed to be involved in students' education.

I would also demand that Griffin tell voters that she was fully aware of what she was doing when she helped Ms. Elia perpetuate this scam. April's not smart, but she is smart enough to know she volunteered for a despicable betrayal of the voters and schools.

I would also demand that Griffin confess to lying about the mole she manufactured to pay back a lower-level employee who criticized her on his Web page. She said the mole passed on information to herself, the vigilant April--probably in a pumpkin in the ROSSAC parking lot--about a school employee's working in the emigrant program's having a stepson who did the Web page for the emigrant program. And, April affirms, the emigrant-program employee had not reported this fact to personnel according to the informer and that his not doing so was a conflict of interest that violated the schools' employment rules. Are you following this elaborate retaliatory scam that Board Member Griffin cooked up?

So April got Camp Director Elia to have staff screen the man's employment files and voila! found that he had not reported his stepson's doing the Web site for the emigrant program because he--and apparently few others--did not know that such a Catch 22 existed.

Hence Elia at once demoted the guy and lowered his salary to April's apparent satisfaction.

Now why would Griffin make up such a vicious canard? The root reason Griffin ratted out the man with a false story is that he has a blog and said something negative about her. Even if he works for the schools, the man still has the First Amendment right to do so. Instead of blasting him back on his blog comment page, April got Elia to have the staff comb through his files to find a gnat with which to trap him, lower his salary, and reduce his job.

How do I know April lied about the phantom informant?

Intuition. Living a long and observant life. The wisdom of old age. Spotting the prevarications of four children and ten grandchildren from the play pen to high school graduation. A feeling in my up upper left quadrant. Mastery of the mysteries of the Ouija Board. And finally knowing that April has a history of lying.

Knowing that April lied about being an administrator in the boys' and girls' club when she ran for office, was caught, and had to say that she misspoke herself alerts me to her penchant for prevarication to make up for her lack of background.

April lies on her school Web autobiography in describing herself as a successful executive in her and her husband's business that she doesn't mention went bankrupt. That's like Jennifer's boasting to Mr. Marshall of the SPT that she is competent to handle the millions of dollars of the Gates grant money when she is herself over sixty thousand dollars in debt according to scuttlebutt.

Her opponents should ask Falliero about this debt rumor. Those opposing her should not wait for the supine press to pop the question just as it won't ask her about her school-property adultery career. Rarely is the press's conduct coincident with its faux self-promotion of being "crusading." Crusading, my foot. The print press has become even more puerile now that the Internet is mowing it down. It's a dying institution that people have not yet caught on is moribund. It won't print anything more controversial than the recipe for macaroni and cheese for fear of offending the lower-quartile readership it fosters in a last, desperate attempt to survive. This is the sad demise of the once great phenomenon of the print press. The blogs are drowning it.

A candidate opposing Ms. Olson could also challenge her illegal hiring of Tom Gonzalez with no advertising of the job: Dr. Lennard just handed it to him apparently because Gonzalez' office was in the same building as the previous 37-year attorney's, Crosby Few. Gonzalez and Few rode the elevator together. Now that elevator association was a solid reason for hiring Gonzalez to a cushy no-work part-time job for which the taxpayers cough up to Gonzalez $275,000 a year.

Hiring without advertising a job violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and violates as well the requirement that federal contractors such as the school board with education grants must practice equal employment opportunity and have an affirmative action plan for the physically impaired or lose their grants.

The board ignores these rules. They think their school-board perch renders them immune to federal laws. It also blasts to hell and beyond the board and administration's specious claim stamped everywhere of "We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer."

Such blatant lies are duplicitous coin of those who have control of the schools currently. They corrupt language to hide their sins.

If the challengers of such effrontery do not possess the moxie to nail the incumbent board members on such vile practices, they should return to the womb of private life and be heard from no more. How can we have a democracy if nobody--especially candidates for public office-- don't defend it from the flimflam that such current inhabitants of the Hillsborough County School Board practice?

Those who are too gutless to challenge offenses against democracy--especially those running for public office in a school system charged with educating the community's children about their civic duties- might as well relocate to the Gulag Archipelago and be done with it.

Candy Olson was on the board when this Gonzalez illegal hiring occurred. She approved it despite the board's robotic claim that "We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer." Her opponent should ask her about the violation of the federal statute in Gonzalez' hiring. People may be interested to know that when I questioned the hiring in the board-citizen comment time, Gonzalez denied that the federal laws applied to the schools. Any time a law is inconvenient for him, the board, and the administration, Gonzalez simply says it doesn't apply to the schools, sitting on his attorney bona fides since he apparently passed the state bar--
God knows how.

Another specimen of Gonzalez's rewriting the law to suit the board's case is that at Candy's urging Gonzalez declared the HB 669 bullying law does not apply to teachers and staff, only to students. Anybody moderately proficient in the English language can see the law does apply to those school populations as well as to students. The state union lawyer says the law covers teachers; other school systems' teachers have used the law.

Why would Olson want to deprive teachers and staff of the protection of the bullying law? The reason is that if HB 669 does not apply to teachers, they can't use it to shield themselves from the false Professional Standards charges now concocted by the administration with the board's collusion that keep teachers in fear for their jobs. The Draconian school law on hiring says that hiring and firing are a privilege of the administration. This is the shadow that hangs over teachers' jobs when an administration uses the state education law to keep teachers quiet about their complaints on how the administration and board run the schools so that the public stays ignorant of the facts of what goes on inside the schools. Instead of truth, the public has to settle for the Laundromat Community Affairs version. The public pays for itself being lied to.

The board and administration want to shut teachers up from negative comments on how the board and administration run the schools. Teachers'

having access to the HB 669 bullying law's protection would deprive the board and administration tyrants of using the Professional Standards office to short-circuit the teachers' use of the bullying law to evade the loss of their jobs if they speak out.

You think my analysis is paranoid? Welcome to the other side of the swinging door of the Alice-in-Wonderland reality of the ROSSAC bunker. We are talking about the determination of those in power not to lose that power and what they have done and will do to keep it. That fear of the loss of power explains April Griffin's getting Ms. Elia to trap with a trifle a low-level employee with a blog who criticized April.
April is afraid she wouldn't get elected again. So Elia did April's dirty work of retaliating against the employee for daring to think the First Amendment applied to him even though he worked for the Hillsborough County school system. This skullduggery showed the twin terror of the superintendent and Board Member
Griffin that the voters will evict them from their power positions.

This fear lay at the bottom of Griffin's retaliation against the school employee for criticizing her on his blog. Elia also strengthened her hold on April with this collusion of having the staff comb through the man's files for some speck with which to punish him.

Petty, you say? Yes, of course it is. But the people who run the schools and the three board members whom challengers face for the board seats are petty. Very petty.

Welcome to the grubby politics of the school board and administration. These characters will do anything to cling to their power.

Let's do a palate-cleanser interruption here to take the bad taste out of our mouths of the grungy reality that we have waded through in discussing the school board and administration. A scholarship respite always does the job for me. Does anybody know where the word "Draconian" comes from that I used previously? It comes from the Athenian law-giver Draco, who preceded Solon in 7th century B.C. Apparently Draco's laws were so tough that people thereafter said anything really stringent in law was "draconian."

Teacher departs. Political commentator re-emerges.

Not only did the board hire Gonzalez illegally, but it did not have the financial sense to sign a contract with him as other boards such as the Pinellas board has done with its attorney, a contract which I have published on my Web site. The Pinellas attorney works full-time for $100,000 less than Gonzalez, who suctions his part-time, self-awarded pay from the taxpayers with nobody in the administration policing his greedy claims.

He makes $275,000 tax dollars a year on a part-time hourly basis but has contracts with other entities such as USF. I have a copy of the USF contract.

A Web check shows Gonzalez' pay is the highest for any school-board attorney in the state. Why this is true is one of the mysteries of the slipshod administration of the schools by the board and administration. Gonzales did not graduate from either of the top two law schools--Yale or Harvard; he graduated from the law school ranked 58th on the list of U.S. law schools: Florida State. He is not a Perry Mason in the court room either: he and his colleagues lost the Whistleblower case against Mr. Erwin, awarded $165,000 for the administration and board's criminal treatment of him for reporting theft and graft in the administration and for the administration and board's punishing him and trying to shut him up for his revelations.

When the Gonzalez team complained about the size of the award to the judge, he told its members it would have been more had Mr. Erwin had a better attorney.

Despite losing, Gonzalez' team got $34,000 for its negligible performance. That is the odd thing about the attorney racket: win or lose, the legal practitioners get paid.

And here's the bombshell of incompetence and collusion that the board engaged in post Whistleblower-case loss. After the case the board fired not one of the criminals involved in the cover-up and their attempts to savage Mr. Erwin, fire him, and deprive him of his pension.

People still remember this case. Everybody liked Mr. Erwin, a popular principal before Earl the Pearl Lennard suckered him into taking an administrative job. Everybody recalls that the administration and board were crooks in the Whistleblower circumstances that the press tardily reported.

There is a penalty for Candy's longevity on the board if her opponent has the sense and the guts to exploit it. A good question for Candy is this: Why didn't you as a board member move to fire anybody for the crimes committed by the school administrative personnel in their savaging of a whistleblower?

Lennard, Hamilton, and White would be the first whom she should have moved to fire. But Candy sat silent. Candy only wants to punish teachers, never administrators, no matter the vile crimes the latter commit.

Anybody curious enough to want to read about the schools' board and administration's dark underbelly should ask the Community Affairs office's personnel for the boxes of files, including the court files, on the Erwin case. If you wade through them, murmuring "My God! My God!" you will have a vivid picture of the lack of ethics and sheer criminality of the psyches who run the Hillsborough County school system. This criminal administrative DNA still abides in the double helix of the board and administration. Many present then are still hunkered down in the ROSSAC bunker. Kurdell, Olson, and Lamb are still moldering in their board chairs.

The three main torturers bent on discrediting Mr. Erwin and firing him without his pension were Dr. Earl the Pearl Lennard, Dr. James Hamilton, and a Mr. White, with an early childhood degree whom Lennard installed as the head of technology so as, one infers, to have him close by for planning and enacting the campaign against Whistleblower Erwin.

Candy was particularly vicious to Mr. Erwin when he came to the board for help with his findings of administrative theft and graft. Before he got a chance to comment, she hissed that he had better have solid evidence to back up his accusations. If she had wanted to know what he had found that should concern the board, she would have asked him to tell his story. Instead, she attacked him.

I marvel at Erwin's courage and ability to function after everybody deserted him.

My favorite moment in the Erwin saga was when he gave up on the administration's investigating the crime he had uncovered and took the press up on top of a new school to show its members how water flowed from the new roof into the building's interior.

When you look at the campaign contributor list of the incumbent board members such as Carol Kurdell and Jack Lamb, you see columns of contractors of one type or another. These contributors are resonant of the graft that must have taken place during the Erwin debacle. Honest public servants would not take these contractor contributions. Voters should be suspicious when they do.

Mr. Gonzalez pitched in and did his part to stymie Mr. Erwin even before the trial began. When the administration and board cover-up attempt first began, Mr. Gonzalez hired an outside investigator firm for its show value of dealing with the problem. When this outside team found only plots to discredit Mr. Erwin, Gonzales fired the team. Gonzalez, you see, is a team player on the side not interested in justice but covering up what it did to Mr. Erwin for his whistleblowing.

I think the challenger would do well to pound Candy on the Gonzalez hiring irregularity, his bloated pay for part-time work--$275,000, his lack of contract, which makes possible his submitting unchecked money claims to the taxpayers, and his fecklessness as a school lawyer.

I sat during a board meeting in which a new school wall's falling down was the subject. The board members none had the brains or the nerve to challenge Gonzalez on his neglecting to read the contract and tell them to get better insurance, so the taxpayers paid for the whopping replacement bill for the fallen wall's reconstruction because the attorney was negligent. He as well does such slipshod things as get sheriff's reports mixed up. I doubt he reads those either. He argued with Times reporter Marshall, accusing him of getting the information wrong in the paper. When Gonzalez tardily got around to reading the reports, he scampered to redact his message to the Professional Standards office.

I bet he didn't apologize to the reporter. He lacks that professional grace. Even the baseball coach when he discovered his wrong call that cost a young pitcher a record of pitching the perfect game had the soul to apologize to the pitcher. My husband said the coach was crying. Tom Gonzalez' shriveled soul and greedy instincts would never be up to that standard of gracious behavior.

And get this: he's an attorney that can't write worth a diddlysquat. I have corrected one of his products on my Web site.

I don't suggest the challenger get into this area of Gonzalez' not deserving $275,000 a year for his shoddy work. An expert would have to do that job. That would be I. I would mop up the floor with Gonzalez on his shoddy writing. Put your money on the kid here in writing analysis. I'm your writing analysis horse who will win the derby.

An opponent can't cover the waterfront in challenging an incumbent. That would confuse the voter. He or she has to pick out a couple of things and pound them. I suggest considering Gonzalez's shoddy hiring and bloated salary. All voters can understand breaking the law and misusing money; Olson's mistreatment of Mr. Erwin during his agon of abuse when he reported the graft and theft in the administration; and Dr. Lennard and his goons' punishment of Erwin for interrupting their payoff protocols.

Emphasize Candy's not firing one person for the crime that cost voters Mr. Erwin's $165,000 settlement plus $34,000 for Gonzalez' legal team's losing the whistleblower case against the school board. Voters recall the Erwin case and revere Mr. Erwin. Show Candy up for her collusion with savaging a whistleblower and her not moving to fire anybody when the crime came out.

I close today's election diary with a bizarre tale that emerges from Candy's personal life. I think it sheds light on her reasons to continue her board career to the detriment of the schools. Here we enter Howdy Doody Land, so you must engage in a willing suspension of disbelief as Coleridge tells us is necessary when we enter any author's fantastic tale.

I still maintain a gossip pipeline to my old Beach Park neighborhood. It plugs into all of South Tampa.

Lo, some months back, I got the word one day that Candy Olson's husband, a bankruptcy judge practicing in Sarasota, I believe, had joined a gay choir, discovered his sexual orientation therein being in his sixties as not hetero but homo, and divorced his long-time wife, Candy. Not satisfied with the explosive nature of the deed, His Honor announced it as well to their Tampa social set. He said that he was glad that he had come out and had "had never been happier." I thought this must be a spoof, so I sat on the information.

But as time confirmed the data, I bethought myself and decided that this bizarre circumstance would have an effect on the incumbent of District 2's school board race.

I predict that this bizarre personal event will harden Candy's determination to remain on the board for the duration. The board perch will become an anchor in her shifting life. It must be befuddling to have your 60-years-plus spouse announce a new sexual orientation and declare himself entered into bliss as a result.

Candy has lost her house in the hallowed confines of South Tampa and has moved into a condo that I think is in the shopping section of Hyde Park. She must be the subject of jocular commentary among the very people whose status she most admires and yearns to be part of. Candy needs an anchor of identity and meaning. The social secretary slot or the third vice-president of one of the many clubs she belongs to aren't gravid enough in the status for Candy's psyche. She will conclude that the school board anchor is the best ballast to her careening existence that she has.

This state of affairs will make her opponent, Mr. Hernandes', task more difficult. But in running against her, he should not let pity make him go easy on his opponent for the charade her life has become. Her disastrous personal life must not deter him from unseating her because she is toxic on the board for the schools and for the community. And they are more important than she is.

Olson's opponent should double down and do his duty to evict La Candy. She has been a terrible board member. She will get worse if the voters give her an additional four-year term.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lee..are you OK? You haven't posted anything for a while.