Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back in the Saddle: Griffin Candidate Commentary

Gentle Readers: I have been AWOL.

First, I went to LA for my tenth Ring Cycle. That took two weeks. Then my computer conked out when I returned, and I had to get another and hook it up with the help of Bright House tech knights, who also resuscitated my printer.

Bart Birdsall came with me to his first Ring, my tenth. We had a grand time. We went to the Getty museum for a happy review of the Da Vinci Collection and the illuminated manuscripts. The former is an obsession of my husband, so I got him a bunch of Da Vinci books for his 78th birthday. Bart is a fan of the illuminated manuscripts; thus we spent time there. It is a splendid museum, not the Metropolitan, but impressive nonetheless.

We also went to the Hollywood Forever cemetery. It is wonderful. We got a map at the gate of all the dead luminaries' graves and spent several happy hours yelling at each other, "Come over here! I've found Cecil B. DeMille!"

The mausoleum was an exhilarating experience. Bart found Rudolph Valentino's crypt there: it had lipstick marks where women had kissed the marble enclosure and also sported fresh flowers. Some sappy woman has left a perpetual endowment of fresh flowers in her will for Le Valentino, who died at 31. Thanks to this beautiful fellow's fan, he has a vase of fresh flowers on either side in perpetuity. The last sight we enjoyed at Hollywood Forever was the old Rolls Royce hearse parked at the entrance. A Rolls Royce hearse is what I call class. I want my family to borrow it for my funeral.

We stayed in a cheap hotel that I had booked a year ago before they all sold out for the opera. It was in a Mexican section, so we ate a lot of Mexican food. I have come home eating tostitos and salsa for breakfast.

I wasn't sad to part with Le Bart at the LA airport. The lad snores, and I had to share my king-sized bed with him because the staff was too incompetent to furnish the cot promised. He was good to fetch and tote for me, however, and to keep me from falling off the curbs in my opera shoes. Next year Bart, his partner, Tim, and I will go to the San Fransisco Ring. I am girding my loins for a fight over the SF opera's shoddy treatment of women's need for adequate toilets and locating Bart's sleeping spot as far away from mine as possible.

On my agenda is writing the swells on the LA opera's board to complain about the lack of toilets for women in its opera house. I will send copies to all the LA opera sisterhood: the Valkyries, Brunhilde, Fricka, the norns, etc. I will send a copy to Placido Domingo, who sang his last Sigmund in this opera. I had heard him sing Sigmund at the Met 25 years ago. He is the best, still outsinging an LA competent cast. This was his last stage appearance. He said he was tired of singing at 70. I can understand that. I am glad I was there for his swan song.

Back to my crusade on toilets: The men flit in and out, but the women have to stand in lines, shamed at their need for potties, keeping modestly downcast eyes. The lines snake out into the lobby. Too few toilets for women is nothing but sexism.

George Bernard Shaw established the sanitation committee in London to get public johns for women for the first time. No public toilets had been a good way for sexists to keep women penned up at home. If there are no public potties, women have to stay put.

I am proud to say that I have a toilets-for-women crusade with opera companies all over the country and even Canada. I got into a toilet fight with Spight Jenkins, head of the Seattle opera, at its last Ring. I caterwauled over the new opera house's lack of toilets for women due to the sexism of the architects and Board of Directors, comprised of the y-chromosome corporate Masters of the Universe and a sprinkling of society Aunt Toms. Jenkins sent me an email by mistake in which he called me a pest. I sent it to the Board and demanded an apology. Jenkins yielded one accompanied with an invitation to have a drink when I next attended the Seattle opera. That's one drink I shall never imbibe.

I also shall tell the LA board what I thought of its production. That will be a fun essay to write and will not please the board; I will share it with you and the online Wagner Society.

First on the list of my chores is an analysis appearing below of April Griffin's school board candidacy.

La Griffin had the nerve to send out a press release recently which appeared in La Gaceta's "As We Heard It" to alert people that she was having a reception in some Tampa greasy spoon and suggested $50 as the contribution. That's a sign of how these third-rate pols'
egos grow to Hindenburg proportions. Let them sit on a dais for a spell, and they think they are Bismark if they know who Bismark is.

If I had been able to convince myself to make the trip over to Tampa from the beach to the Griffin political hoedown, I would have refused to pay a penny in contribution at the door and would have hogged the question time to ask April embarrassing questions about her disastrous board tenure. Let's put it this way: I would not have been nice and would have threatened to summon the gendarmes of the Elder Abuse Council to deal with anyone who crossed me. I would then have stomped out and put a flyer on all the car windows in the parking lot to reveal what a dreadful specimen April had been in her two years on the board.

Somebody needs to tell vacuous board member Griffin what a mess she has made of her board service so far--if it deserves the dignity of that term. There have to be better candidates opposing La Mendacious April. I want to give these opponents a script and will send my comments county wide. What citizens need is information about what a mess-up April has been as a board member. Then they will turn April out.

I forgot to mention that my husband had hip surgery when I got back from LA; I had to strap on my Lee De Cesare, R.N., badge and take care of him. He is doing great, gimping around without his walker. I am proud of him. lee

Analysis of Board Member April Griffin's Fitness for Office: Character Is Everything

After plopping into my seat before take-off from LA to my Atlanta connection for Tampa, to help me pass the four hours, I opened a book on Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, who beat Napoleon at Waterloo. It was a scholar's study of the two's character.

Character is everything. Napoleon's and Wellington's jump off the page at you. A good definition of character is how you act when nobody is looking.

Less stellar subjects' characters such as the Hillsborough County school board's take more time to limn. Scrutinizing school board members' podium conduct from the back of the board room for over two years allows me to grasp the elements of their characters.

A close look at the character of April Griffin, incumbent asking voters to re-elect her based on what she touts as her stellar record, does not confirm her claim of being ideal for the job. This claim, in fact, is an example of her most salient character trait: mendacity.

April fibs, prevaricates, and flat-out lies to cover up her deficiencies to make people think she is example of the kind of integrity they want on the school board to guard their children's well being. Insecurity is the root of this trait. Everybody knows somebody with April's sad affliction.

April worked for the board before she became a board member. The scuttlebutt says that she got fired for pretending to be an administrator at one of the schools. That's a typical April lie. It partners the next.

During her first election run, April claimed that she had been an administrator of the Girls and Boys Clubs. She had a job with that agency but was not an administrator. The press caught her out in this lie during her election campaign. The revelation did not sit well with the Fourth Estate. One desirous of public office should never lie to the press. It remembers and never forgives.

I was a supporter of April when she first ran, ignoramus that I was: I gave her money and encouragement. I thought this Girls and Boys administrator lie atypical of her. It was typical.

After being elected, April has continued to fabricate ad lib. On her board Web page, she claims to have been a successful company executive. She doesn't say that the company was hers and her husband's firm that went bankrupt, leaving behind a whopping debt. Such partial truths are signature of liars such as April.

Here is April's worst lie of all so far: When a guy who worked in the emigrant language program made a negative comment on April on his blog, instead of blasting him back on her blog or in the comment section of his, April slunk to Superintendent Elia's office to get her to direct the staff to minutely examine the guy's employment record to find a gnat with which to terrify him. Ms. Elia fell in with this request. Skulduggery is the Elia forte: it was the way she got the superintendent job despite other candidates' having superior credentials. This dirty deed for April would nail down Griffin's allegiance to Elia. Ms. Elia wants a compliant board that doesn't question her dictats. With this dirty deed, April fell into line as an Elia acolyte.

Lord knows how many tax-paid staff hours went into this gnat search; but it produced the spec of data that said the guy had not notified the staff that his stepson did the Web page for the emigrant language program, and had hence committed a conflict of interest.

Nobody had heard of this requirement. But Ms. Elia said it was sufficient to threaten his job. The state rules say administrations have unquestioned power over hiring and firing. So Ms. Elia demoted the guy and reduced his salary to satisfy April's anemic ego and willingness not to play fair by using underhanded tactics to injure a man for exercising his Constitutional right to free speech.

April claims to believe in free speech. This dirty trick shows she doesn't. She believes in cowardly, underhanded lies to get back at someone whom she is not brave enough to challenge in the open.

This grungy tale of the insecurity and sour ethics of a "public servant" shows April will tell not only little lies but vicious whoppers as well to protect her fragile ego and board job.

April's cover story saying that "somebody" called her and let her know about this situation sounds phony. If April got such a deep-throat call, she can produce the phone record that confirms that there was an elusive snitch. Better yet, she can identify the character to give the object of this malice, the emigrant-language-department guy, another Constitutional right ignored by her and Ms. Elia: the opportunity to confront one's accuser.

April's second character flaw, bragging about her phony goals as a board member, involves teachers.

La April claims to be teachers' advocate on the board. She pretends that she is bent on protecting their interests. That's hooey. April's behavior shows her willing to throw teachers under the bus to propitiate Ms. Elia and all the collaborators against teachers on the board. My judgment is that teachers have no friend of the board at all.

The Professional Standards Office is supposed to be for correcting lapses in professional standards of teachers and administrators. So says the State Board of Education.

But the Professional Standards office in Hillsborough County's schools acts a front for trapping teachers into job-threatening situations if they have not stumbled into a tiny mistake on their own. Because the board and administration don't want the public to know how badly they run the schools. the Professional Standards office, run by Linda Kipley, who got the job without advertising and with a home-ec diploma, acts as in-house terror machine to quell the teachers who want to comment on the conduct of the schools. La Kipley gets $150,000 for this crackdown on teachers despite her ludicrously inappropriate background to head up this office. She also got the job without its being advertised after she messed up as principal of Hillsborough High, where rumor said she was so disingenuous that teachers wouldn't go into a conference with her without a tape recorder.

La Kipley's home-ec credentials did not bar her from heading up the Professional Standards racket because she is slave of Ms. Elia and the board in their planting charges--marginal or false--on teachers to scare them into silence about what goes on in the schools or lose their jobs. In other words, the Professional Standards office is the superintendent's and board's gulag crack-the-whip device for wiping out teachers' free speech.

The board and Ms. Elia don't want voters to know what really goes on in the schools to prevent their dirty behavior from seeping out to the public. Both will do anything to hold on to the power of a board perch or the superintendency. Board and administration want all school news to go through the Community Affairs office's laundromat to sanitize any negative data so as to make the public believe that the board and administration run a swell school system.

State regulations say that the professional-standards rules apply to both teachers and administrators. They don't in Hillsborough County. I asked for open-government information on how the Professional Standards office handles the charges against teachers and administrators. I asked for teacher and administrator charges. I got a batch for teachers; I got not one for administrators.

The board pretends not to know the seedy function of the Professional Standards office. But its members not only know about it but approve it.

The question for candidate April Griffin that the public needs to ask is this: "Why do you let Ms. Elia and her administrative thugs deprive teachers of their free-speech rights by making up charges against them if they speak out about the schools? What have you done to correct this problem?

Griffin will claim to be ignorant of the situation. This pretense will be a lie.

Steve Kemp, a teacher who substituted in a special-needs class got nailed with a Professional Standards charge filed by Special-Needs supervisor Smiley with the sheriff's office. The charge against teacher Kemp was child abuse of the special-needs children: a cooked-up felony charge. Kemp had a blog that examined the schools occasionally. That put him on a watch list for a Professional Standards charge.

A major problem with this punitive racket is that once a teacher gets nailed with a Professional Standards charge, the other teachers shrink back in horror from the accused teacher as if he or she had leprosy. This does not speak highly of a bunch of educated people who know their rights and exercise them. It's a wonder that democracy survives with so few people to protect it--even those who know the Constitution and have read Milton's Areopagitica.

I hammered the unfairness of the Kemp charge at board meetings to make the outrage known outside the ROSSAC gulag administration. I suggested that Steve ask April Griffin for a meeting to review his charge.

April did consent to meet with Kemp. Her advice to him was to lie low, that "good things are happening behind the scenes," and that he should tell no one about their meeting.

Questions: Why did a meeting between a board member and a teacher have to be secret? Answer: April is scared to death of Elia and the other board members who may ostracize her for betraying the omerta racket they run in the schools with tax dollars. Question: Why didn't April tour the special-needs classroom that was held in a junk room with dangerous objects pushed up against the walls that students could pull down and hurt themselves? (Kemp took a picture of this room. I put it on the Web.) Answer: April wasn't interested in the conditions that obtained for special-needs children. She doesn't dare tour anything in the schools not rubber stamped by Camp Director Elia. April doesn't care about the vile conditions that the special-needs children endure. She cares about covering her backside and not making any fuss that annoys La Elia and the collaborator board members. April's behavior is the apotheosis of going along to get along.

Question: Why would April not bring up the issue at an open board meeting and ask for a discussion of the status of Kemp's case, which had at that time had kept him on suspension for a year with no apparent progress in his case, although the CTA had helped him get a lawyer--a feckless one to be sure, but a lawyer nonetheless? Why wouldn't April demand a review of the special-needs children's classroom conditions? Answer: gutlessness. April has the guts of a butterfly.

Question: What does this request for secrecy from Steve say about April's allegiance to teachers' welfare? What is wrong with a board member's meeting with teachers out in the open? Why must a board membe be silent on the administrator party line of sadism towards teachers who, with their students, are the heart of education and provide the tax-money from which the bloated-pay C and D students in administration flex their power muscles around town and beat their chests in the glory of their supreme importance. We know that administrators and board are dumb; but are they so dumb that they don't know that without teachers and their students, administrators would not be sitting on top of the world in their manufactured positions of community eclat and glory at bloated salaries?

Comment: April showed another of her salient character traits connected with this Steve Kemp meeting: she is a coward.

Griffin had shown this shabby trait of gutlessness early in her incumbency when the press reported a meeting blow-up that involved April's disagreement with the administration's party line. Jennifer Falliero, an administration venerable toady, told her if she couldn't fall in step that she should resign.

Instead of riposting to Falliero, "I don't need any advice from you, Ms. Adultery Breath; I can protest anything I think disenfranchises my voters," April rose, stalked to the door, and slammed it after her. Desertion of the field of battle, defeat and dishonor were the results of this spoiled-baby behavior of a woman in her forties.

Cowards flee the scene of combat. They throw down their weapons and run like rabbits. A stand-up board member who was not a rabbit would have stood her ground and fought for her views. That's why people elected Griffin: they didn't vote her into office to wilt before the squawk of the Falliera Motel-Adultery Breath on the board.

But April does not have the guts to fight for her voters' interests when opposed by the in-house administrative thugs that comprise the Elia gang and collaborators such as La Falliero Adultery Breath. Not to fight when attacked but to flee is cowardly behavior on April's part. I would have riposted, "You should resign yourself, Ms. Motel Breath. You have disgraced your office by your affair with administrator Marc Hart tolerated by two administrations." Turning to Elia, whose boss she is supposed to be, I would ask sweetly,. "Am I not correct, Superintendent Elia?" Politicians don't punch each other out. They must fight with words. If you can't join linguistic battle with your enemies, it's best to find another calling.

I witnessed a painful scene of April's cowardice shortly after she came onto the board. She had initial high goals of board reform, but board collaborators Carol Kurdell and Candy Olson knocked the wind out of her before she could say "boo."

April committed the lese majeste of asking the rolling agenda merry-go-round to stop so that the board could review an item on the agenda. April did not realize that she committed a grave sin against the venerable power system that Elia and previous superintendents has erected with flaccid boards' cooperation and the public's lack of attention: Elia et al decide everything in the secret cul-de-sac of her Star Chamber office, engrave it on the Consent Agenda, and send it merrily rolling past the board and the public in board meetings, expecting, nay demanding that the board rubberstamp the unexamined items. If not, there will be hell to pay for the apostate.

This system keeps the voters ignorant and violates government in the sunshine. Presently, the laws, both federal and state, are not something for the administration and board to carry out; they are something for them to evade for their convenience.

Question: Why doesn't April move in a board meeting with the public watching that the board agenda be put on the board's Web site with a hyperlink to a question-and-answer section for the public to pose their questions about the agenda to board members with the questions and answers publicized on the site? Why isn't such dialogue mounted on the board Web site since the board is responsible for answering the public's questions about the way it runs the schools? Why hasn't incumbent candidate Griffin insisted on this open-government system by hammering the issue of hyperlinking the board's agenda and its citizen questions and board answers in public view on the board's Web site before board meetings?

The board attorney, Tom Gonzalez, goes along with illegal board customs by interpreting the laws to coincide with the board's and administration's evasions.

This flexible attorney work is why the board pays Le Gonzalez $275,000 a year, the highest for any board attorney in Florida. This sky-high salary that is off the charts in the compensation of state schools board attorneys represents a looting of the public treasury. Nor is Gonzalez bothered with a contract, which is why he does such a lousy job for the citizens paying whatever exorbitant amount he pushes into the taxpayer money slot himself with no board or administration oversight.

The Pinellas County attorney gets $175,000 a year for a full-time job and has a contract that cites his duties with specificity. I have published that contract on my blog. He makes a hundred thousand less than does Gonzalez and must fulfill the terms of his contract. You can get a copy from the Pinellas board if you email it for one. So could April if she were interested in saving taxpayers' money.

Gonzalez got his job in the good-ol-boy protocol of a wink and a nod from Dr. Lennard. That evasion violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the obligation of federal contractors who get money from the federal government to practice equal opportunity. The board lies about its obeying the equal-opportunity laws with its sly mendacity of stamping "We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer" on every piece of paper not nailed down. This empty slogan is a lie by elected board officials who know what they are doing; it's a poor example of how democracy does not work if people don't insist that arrogant, criminal public officials obey the laws they were elected to uphold.

Gonzalez does not deserve the highest salary of any school board attorney in the Florida school system. His credentials are shoddy, not stellar. He did not graduate from Yale, the country's number-one law school; he graduated from Florida State, 56th on the list. His writing is so bad that I wrote the Florida State law school writing faculty and complained about its turning out such candidates on the public. Gonzalez doesn't do his homework. I watched him stumble and stutter about having not advised the board to get proper insurance when a new school's wall collapsed. My impression was that he had not read the fine print of the contract, which is his job that nobody checks up on.

The taxpayers had to pay for Gonzalez's lazy incompetence. Motel-adultery Breath Falliero, elected board chair after all the board members and the world at large knew about her on-site adultery that assisted the divorce of the head of Community Relations Marc Hart and deprived his two little children of a father with the result of his daughter's illnes exacerbating and his son's grades plummeting. Motel-breath's own two teenage daughters' suffered as well from their mother's divorce by losing their father because of her adulterous activity. The board members thought no better of the board's ethical status than to vote in this ethically rancid specimen as chair.

Board member Motel Breath Falliero is not only unethical but dumb as a stump. During discussion of the collapsing wall that she chaired, she railed about how wicked the contractor was, never once asking the apposite question, "Mr. Gonzalez, why didn't you warn us of this need for more insurance?"

I can tell why: He didn't read the contract. Who would read one of those small-font contracts that we all shrink back in horror from when a Web purchase cites three pages of dense data that we are responsible for reading? I wouldn't. I would rather be flogged than read the fine print. That's why we pay lawyers to read that stuff.

Nobody ever checked up on Gonzalez, and no contract burdened his evasion, so Gonzalez didn't read the school collapsing-wall contract. That's plain. None of the other board members pinned Gonzalez down either. He is oddly immune from such questions about his job performance. April sat on the board then. A good question from an opponent to her was why she didn't nail the attorney on his neglect of his duties in the fracas which cost the taxpayers a bundle.

Gonzalez routinely ignores doing the reading that board business should require. He hadn't read the sheriff's identical reports on the recent teacher Steve Kemp case and the administrative King High Toe Cracker and wrongly called the sheriff's recommendation different when they were identical. This Toe Cracker creep summoned pubescent boys into his office, made them remove their shoes and socks, and demanded that they present him their feet to fondle. Gonzalez did not suggest that the board refer this creature to a psychiatrist to determine whether he were a foot fetishist loosed by an indifferent board and administration on teenage boys to satisfy his fetish.

April didn't ask that question on the board either. She is for evading disapproval of other board members and Ms. Elia, not for protecting the students from administrators with psychosexual disorders.

After a parent complained to the King High principal and threatened to sue, the board and administration had an unequipped in-house psychology person--maybe a teacher or a counselor-- do an interview with the Toe-Cracker to gloss over the matter by getting the in-house psychology factotum to say the Toe Cracker was mentally as sound as a dollar. Any in-house wretch who suggested the administrative Toe Cracker was a menace to pubescent boys would be out the door pronto. The only way to get a valid reading on the Toe Cracker's foot fetishism would be to refer Mr. Toe Cracker to an outside psychiatrist or an outside psychologist licensed by the state to conduct this procedure.

April needs to tell us why she voted for an adulteress for board chair and why she didn't demand an outside psychiatrist to examine the Toe Cracker.

The attitude of the board and administration to such pathology was, "Oh, isn't the Toe Cracker a card?" Meanwhile, they kept teacher Steve Kemp, who got a sheriff's report identical to the Toe Crackers, on suspension for a year on a trumped-up charge to fire him. The cause of his suspension was not child-abuse, a felony, but having a blog that discussed school business that the board and Ms. Elia wanted to keep out of the public eye.

Gonzalez got into a fight with the SPT reporter who discussed the two cases in a story on the situation, accusing him of inaccuracy. Then Gonzalez belatedly hurried a redaction of his first summary of the two cases to the Professional Standards office when he belatedly discovered that the reporter was right.

And did Board Member April Griffin during this fracas to ensure open government? Did she demand open discussion of the two cases on the dais? No. She did nothing. April never does anything but chirp in her Betty Boop voice on the dais about tremendous trifles. She doesn't read the back-up material for the meetings. She doesn't do her homework. None of the board members do the reading necessary to comment intelligently on the superintendent's unexamined rolling consent agenda. They are too lazy and too itellectually feeble to do so.

Jack Lamb once complained to Bart Birdsall about the amount of reading that board members were supposed to do. They don't any reading. They have done the easy thing: they don't read the school data that should undergird their "yes" or "no" or request for further explanation of an item on the rolling consent agenda. They don't know enough to ask valid questions or make cogent comments without mastering the back-up data. They have not done their homework. That's what the voters elected them to do.

I stood at the head of the room for 28 years as a teacher. I can tell as can all teachers whether the class has read the material. The Board Class has not done its homework and read the back-up material. That explains their inane nattering during what goes for board discussion. Not knowing the background of the agenda, the board makes inane comments or chirps non sequiturs.

April Griffin exposed this lack of care for the business of the voters by suggesting in Betty Boop bewilderment that a workshop be held after teachers raised a ruckus about Ms. Elia's having purchased the multi-million-dollar Spring program without consulting teachers, who would have to implement it. Spring was a Romper Room rip-off of tax money that Elia was either too dumb to recognize as a gimmick or who got a gift under the table to buy it for the Hillsborough County schools. She did so, I infer, without consulting either the board or the teachers. I bet she slipped in Spring backup reading in the data the board members were supposed to read. She knew they never did their job and read backup material. So she could claim she had informed them of the background of the purchase since the Spring particulars was in their reading assignment.

The above lays bare another of April's character traits. She is lazy.

April assured me that she intended to go to college and get her degree during her first run for the board. There are two universities in the area. She could go parttime to one. She has only a high school diploma. Even Ms. Kipley got a home ec diploma, so she outranks April's anemic academic credentials.

April's lack of education shows in the grammar-punctuation errors that festoon her blog. These are the ones that county 9th-grade English teachers struggle to rid their students writing of. Nor on her blog does Griffin write anything about what is going on in the schools: she sticks to ditzy half-baked philosophical discussions of airy twaddle that make little sense. Aristotle's reputation is safe.

Griffin's opponents should copy a dozen grammar-punctuation errors with corrections from Griffin's blog and mount them on a handout for parents. Parents want their children to be literate so that they can get jobs in an increasingly global job market. They don't want illiterate board members such as April who beats the drum for more technical education in the schools because misery loves company, so she wants the students to be as uneducated as she is.

The public schools shouldn't emphasize shop in the curriculum; they should emphasize history language, science, literature, math, and other academic subjects to help their students be literate, knowledgeable members of society. If a student wants to be an auto mechanic, that student can go to auto mechanic school after graduation. In public school, all students should take the academic subjects that will make them citizens in their world.

Not only is April too lazy to take college courses for the eventual acquisition of her bachelor's degree, she denies the children a program in nutrition to combat the empidemic of childhood obesity that the First Lady now fights to put on the front burner.

I am a registered nurse who canged mid career to become a college professor. I know that obesity not only makes us look bad, it has more harmful sequelae. It negatively impacts every organ in our body and raises the health-care costs of the nation. Everybody has to pay the doctors' and hospital bills of the fat folk.

April and the other board members are overweight but too vain to admit it or call attention to their fat status by having a childhood anti-obesity program in the schools. The only exception is Motel-breath Falliero. She has, however, other moral problems that damn her service on the board. This preponderance of fat board members explains why they evade a childhood obesity program for the schools. This program would shine a light on their own obesity.

April has a pretty face attached to a fat body, alas. She is a bad role model for the students not only in her other character deficiencies but also in the visible one of obesity. She should lead a board move to show up at lunch time at the schools to lead the students in a walkathon on the sports tracks. I think Jack Lamb will need a first-aid technician in event of coronary problems. He is so fat that he is a walking CVA. He once tried to vault the board desk to oppose my rebuke for his using board stationery and clerical help for a letter to Mayor Iorio asking that his condo get exemption from water bills. He screamed at me that I should stay at the beach and not venture over to Tampa to comment on board business. He implied that I was a wetback who swam the bay from Madeira Beach to Tampa and that, as an illegal, should have no right to confront elected officials about how they misrun the government. Le Lamb couldn't mount the desk because he was too fat. Otherwise, I might not be here to tell the tale if he sat on me.

We are responsible for what we put in our mouths. That include Hillsborough County board members who should be role models forthe students in keeping their weight normal.

The board has ceded to Ms. Elila the perquisite of hiring buddies who are not qualified for the high-level, high-pay administrative jobs she in which she seats them. She conducts this jobs-program racket despite the equal opportunity laws and the board's robotic signature promise that "We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer."

Hence we have therecent saga of the hiring of La Kipley's husband, Mr. Linda Kipley, for an accountant job when he has a high school education and not a whiff of accounting experience. Three other candidates were accountants with requisite experience, one being a handicapped woman whose status the equal-opportunity laws protect and because of whom the federal folks granting federal monies to the school require not only equal opportunity but an affirmative action plan on file. I asked for it. The schools have none.

Guess who got the job? Mr. Kipley, of course in recompense for all the dirty work Linda Kipley does for Ms. Elia and the board by trapping teachers into Professional Standards charges that menace their jobs.

Susan Valdes, whom I also supported with money and encouragement when she ran during my dumb-as-a-stump period, had the transient chutspah to ask Mr. Valdes, head of personnel and Kipley's cohort in the trapping-teachers racket, if Kiply were the best qualified person.

In his most unctuous tones, Mr. Valdes solemnly intoned that Mr. Linda Kipley was.

Mr. Valdes has only one positive in his favor. He has a valid degree in a non-Romper-room area while early childhood degrees abound in the administration at bloated salaries. The sine qua non for administrators in the ROSSAC halls of power is a reflexive sychophancy in dealing with the autocrat on the superintendent throne. Lacking this skill, they are out the door.

In response to Susan's question about Mr. Linda Kipley's superior credentials, Mr. Valdes intoned in unctuous assurance that they were indeed topnotch.

Mr. Valdes' Uriah Heep sycophancy reminds me of one of those papal hangers-on following the papal retinue in the 14th to 18th centuries when the Florentine Medicis put four popes on the papal throne. These named all their nephews to bishoprics along with the same benefice for their illegitimate sons. The Medici had the grace at the same time to support the arts, making Florence the most beautiful city in Europe. They also supported all artists who turned up in Florence and had the likes of Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, and Donatello on their dole and protection list. The Medicis confirm the truism that all evil is laced with good and vice versa.

Susan didn't have the nerve to follow up and demand of Mr. Valdes a copy of the applicants' credentials for the job for all board members. This initial timid request had drained her courage quotient, and she got no support from Betty Boop April, the poltroon.

I think April and Susan are both D students, but Susan follows April because April masquerades as a savant. Put "idiot" in front of that "savant," and I would agree.

If the two teamed up and attacked projects to improve the schools, they could be formidable even without brains. We change the world with persistence. Just keep picking away at the rock of igorance and prejudice is what we should be about. Never mind that people will call reformers crazy. You can shoot back that they are lazy dumbasses and keep on picking away at the rock of prejudice and ignorance.

To give you some idea of how dumb April is, there are these data: After Jennifer Motel Breath Falliera had told April to quit the board if she couldn't fall in line, and after Ms. Motel Breath had tried to evict April from the board room because April disagreed with Chair Adultery Breath, April agreed apparently at an Elia behest to journey out to Alafia grammar school to convince Principal Smith to resign with Elia's promise of an identical job with the same salary for the failed principal. The administration and board rule is that an administrator never gets fired no matter how bad the infraction. This is the situation that teachers refer to when they say of administrators, "If you mess up, you move up."

April cheerfully accepted and went with Board Chair Ms. Adultery Breath on the mission of getting Smith to resign with the promise of a substitute job pulled out of Elia hat because Elia couldn't stand the negative publicity attending the parents' rebellion against Smith as principal in their tots' school any longer. Rebellious parents had also not fallen for Elia's assurance that if they would keep the toxic Smith as principal that she would sent both Smith and her vice-principal to Eckerd's school for how to be a human being at $4500 each. Teachers get kicked out at a whiff of wrongdoing--made-up or real. But an administrator can commit a string of felonies and still never be fired but, instead, provided with a manufactured job at the taxpayers' expense.

April didn't appear to understand that hers and Motel Breath Jennifer's mission violated the open-government provisos of state law, the equal-employment-opportunity laws, and ripped off the taxpayers with a manufactured job slipped into the book depository with hey nonny nonny business-as-usual aplomb.

I asked Mr. Medici-era hanger on Valdez for a job description of the manufactured perch. It took him about two weeks to compose one. Then I asked the Public Affairs office who held this job previously. No answer. The silence confirmed my suspeicion that this was one of the famous manufactured jobs for a mess-up administrator because administrators never get punished for not doing their jobs but only for ticking off Ms. Elia.

If April were serious about protecting the rights of taxpayers in the employment-and-cover-up racket that the superintendent and board run in tandem, she--along with Susan if she can gird up her loins to the sticking point--would have demanded that all jobs appear on the board site and all candidates' applications be scanned in as well so that the public could read them and make comments if wanted to. This jobs racket is like the consent agenda: all data are kept from the taxpayers with decisions made out of the sunshine in Ms. Elia's Star Chamber. April, if she wanted to improve the school system, could put a stop to this malignant, out-of-the-sunshine practice by hammering the necessity of putting the job data on the board Web site.

I have provided enough data in this piece for those opposing the incumbent candidates to ask pointed questions instead of wandering in off the street murmuring nonsense about "cleaning up the schools." The problem with candidates is that they don't observe the board in action and see what a reformer needs to do to better the schools. They should be at every board meeting to see how things work in the board Mafia and address reforms to what they infer is wrong. There is plenty to work in the reform area as my comments above show.

Board oppents ofincumbents should acquaint themselves with the Times and Tribune reporters who cover the schools; they should bully their way into seeing the editors; they should talk to the guy named Wayne at the Creative Loafing, who writes political commentary weekly whose last name I can recall; they should send messages to all the divisions listed for TBO online on the Web. They should challenge their opponent to a colloquy in the citizens' comment period and say that it is to be held after the meeting. They should send a press release to education reporters of the Times and Tribune. They will attend, being bored out of their skulls at the soporific drone that the school board produces.

A serious candidate must find ways to make the public aware of their existence and the deficiencies of their incumbent opponents in the job, some of which leads I have provided in the articles on the three's conduct office, Griffin's being the last.

They should get over the wistful thinking that they have only to declare their candidacy for the public to beat a path to their door to discover their virtues and beg them to take the job. The candidates rather must beat a path to the public's door.

Candidates should get over the conviction that the press will rescue them and tout their virtues. The press is lazy, lacks curiosity, and will sit around in the newsroom chewing the fat until Doom's Day unless the candidate interrupts iyd on-the-job leisure activities of pursuing tremendous trifles. Don't be suckered by the self-promotional legend of the Crusading Press. Crusading, my foot. Lazy with no curiosity is more like it. The press pays attention when it can't afford to ignore an element on its beat. To be that element, you have to make noise--as much as you can. Forget about civility when entering politics. To the loudest and the most vulgar goes the prize. lee


Anonymous said...

Lee, I am glad to see you back online! I have gone on a Wagner binge since returning to Gainesville from LA. I have watched Parsifal, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. I have cd recordings of all these but rented the opera dvds from Netflix. I also rewatched the Met's traditional Ring on dvd. So I have been busy.

I am not sure Tim wants to go to the SF Ring. I will let you know. He was mad that I just got back from seeing the Ring in LA, and I was already planning to go to see another Ring. I am also considering seeing Lohengrin in Chicago in February, although I can not really stomach Chicago in February. We'll see.

I am reading The Iliad! Aren't you proud of me?

I also bought a Pilates Reformer. Pilates classes are more expensive in Gainesville for some reason, so I decided to buy a studio reformer to exercise on. It cost me over $3,000 for this thing, and it comes next week. I can't wait! I haven't been doing any Pilates since coming to Gainesville! All my friends think it looks like a torture device, but it will look beautiful in my new home with all these french doors and windows looking out onto a backyard. I will do Pilates till the cows come home, and next time you see me I will be back in shape!

Vox Populi said...

bart, don't forget to run or something cardop to get your heart rate up and then the lovely pilates. I love pilates. Lee, you HAVE to tarry over to stogie's website and explain to the small and narrow-minded that April is a class D idiot. Despite her professed love for the GBLT. THAT is what she intends to ride into office despite the fact that she has done nothing for anyone but herself.
Read this.

Anonymous said... glad you are back in the saddle with sooo much energy. Congrats!

Dave Schmidt

Anonymous said...

My knee is bothering me (ever since the move), so I am holding off on cardio, although I do walk my dog multiple times per day, so I think I am getting some cardio that way.
The Pilates reformer can act as a physical therapy thing too. I am loving it! I have always wanted my own, but I just went to Pilates classes in Tampa. Now I have my own reformer and can do it for free.
I am probably going to work on a PhD in literature while up here in Gainesville. I will continue to read Lee's blog though. I just saw a show about CEOs and how boards use inflated CEO salaries around the nation as proof that they need to pay their CEO the same amount. Lee says this too. The show showed how most people's salaries increased very little (25%) since 1979 whereas CEOs increased by 180% since 1979. So the people earning the very top salaries have become totally buffered from any dip in the economy. No one quite knows why boards give these CEOs such dream packages. You could offer anyone half or a third and get the person to work like a maniac, because even a third or a fourth of a CEO's salary is an incredible sum of money. So why give them so much? Why don't boards vote to donate that amount to bonuses for all employees or to a homeless shelter if they want to just throw money around?
I am one of the lucky few in life who will probably never have to worry about being on the street or broke, but my parents taught me to care for the poor and to strive to help those who have it worse than I do. I don't see how anybody can live life any other way! Why on earth would you want to be a greedy hog if you have enough to live comfortably? Why would you need more? In Tampa I lived in Parkland Estates and you should have heard how the neighbors complained about taxes talking as if they were being killed by taxes, yet they lived better than 80% of the population in Tampa. I pay my taxes gladly, because I know it goes toward much needed services. What is their problem? Greedy pigs!!

Anonymous said...

Lee, I find it fitting that you have toilet first and April Griffin second in your column today.
Google April Griffin school board. You will see a frightening trend of April Griffins running for school board all over Florida. She HAS gotten quite chubby. Is she lunching with Tom Gonzalez?

Stogie said...

Thanks For The Education Ms. De Cesare And Vox.

Vox Populi said...

Lee, I forgot to say before: Hope your beloved husband is doing well. Hard surgery. Lucky him to have such a great nurse. The best to him ...
Okay and the SPT endorsed Nasty Ol April Griffin. Go have your say.
Here's the article no one signed it of course. no guts.

Anonymous said...

This is very,very interesting stuff.I always knew they were all lazy morons but not dishonest ones.That IS where I draw the line.

Can you make a version for politicians and school board members because this is way more than 5 minutes of reading.
I'm doubting that these positions should even be held by elected officials.
We need professionalism and competence as well as transparency.

Vox Populi said...

I LOVE pilates !!!! Bart, don't forget the bottled water water water and that crazy vitamin water. When your hinge parts hurt you need to irrigate yourself. (sorry ask the RN lee to confirm) I am JEALOUS. I would love my own pilates stuff and such. Also ... tell yourself ... I am ready for this knee to be better. I love the way your mind works.