Monday, September 06, 2010

The Election Saga of April Griffith

The financial reports of District 4's school board run-off candidates, April Griffin and Sally Harris, show an advantage for Griffin in contributions: $46,000 versus $14,000. Griffin has more commercial donations than does Harris, the usual attraction to an incumbent of the business community. A member of the board approves contracts and controls other business opportunities on the school board. The Erwin case testifies that the board and administration are vulnerable to payoffs and under-the-table remunerations.

I believe the Erwin case has left its DNA in the board and administration conduct. Erwin's whistle blower lawsuit taught them to be careful not to put anything incriminating in print: the off-the-record business that involves unorthodox maneuvers to keep themselves in power, which includes, of course, bribes and graft. does not appear in the records. If you want to get a flavor of how this system works, ask for some personnel files: you will find them stripped to the bone. Anything in writing is public information, and a taxpayer who requests it must get a copy. So to evade this stricture, dicey maneuvers don't appear in writing.

This defensive system means that anyone interested in what is really going on in the administration and board must listen to rumors and whiffs of information that circulate about this hidden agenda.

If you want to see what a long incumbency on the board garners in commercial donations, you should go to the Carol Kurdell financial report on the Supervisor-of-Elections site. You will see that the corporate donations are lavish and frequent.

Ms. Kurdell sat on the board when the Erwin case unfolded; so did Jack Lamb and Candy Olson. These three and other then board members did everything to discourage Mr. Erwin's complaints about crime in the schools and nothing to encourage him to keep up the good work. This pillorying of Erwin by the board and administration points to cover-up of something illegal: I infer it was bribes and under-the-table payouts. The sadism toward Erwin emanated from Lennard headquarters. That says to me that he and other administrators and board members were on the take.

The April Griffin Web biography does not cite her education credentials: I thought her having only a high school education was bad enough for a person purporting to sponsor education of the community's children. Now I hear she has a mere G.E.D. An email to Griffin to confirm or deny the GED information got no response, so the GED story must be true.

A board member's having only a GED represents an ad for high schoolers' dropping out. One marvels that April, dares to run on that diminished credential. If she didn't think a diploma was worth her own efforts, how can she convince students that it is as a board member? Hers must be a "Do as I say do, not as I do" approach.

The reason that the school administration and board get away with the skulduggery they use to run the schools is that nobody asks them about it or probes to find out. The open records law makes possible getting information if you are persistent, but the problem is that the real business of the board and administration does not get committed to paper. Only sanitized show files are kept. The things that do not lend themselves to public exposure are unwritten and remain whispers amongst the insiders.

Griffin's opponent, Ms. Sally Harris, does not cite her education on her Web site. She says in a phone interview that she graduated from Robinson, and we take her word for it. Her online biography mentions that she was an occupational specialist in a Florida school system. But she concedes that she does not have a bachelor's degree. She has taken enough credits sporadically to equal a two-year degree she thinks. Ms. Harris has a business called Circle C Ranch Academy. It's a fancy child-care facility is my inference. She says it is worth a million dollars. That has to be hyperbole.

Ms. Griffin claims in her board bio to have been an administrator in a successful business. That claim turns out to be bogus since she refers to a business she and her husband launched which went bankrupt. I don't know whether it is still in bankruptcy.

I early discovered April's penchant for lying when I supported her in her first run for the board. When she first ran, she claimed
to be a Boys and Girls club executive. The press caught this lie. I advised that she never to lie to the press, that it would remember and never forgive her. But she has continued to handle the truth loosely in her board career. I infer this represents a life-long habit. Not being able to trust what Griffin says diminishes her value in a public office. People who lie to make themselves look better suffer from low self-esteem or some kind of personality disorder. I infer that April falls into that untrustworthy category.

Not surprisingly, Ms. Griffin in office has not been the paragon she promised voters to be when she ran for the job four years ago.

If you seek them out, featured in her record are serial anti-voter, anti-taxpayer behaviors after she rapidly succumbed to pressure and became a board round heels who obeyed every Elia command,

Griffin had one shining moment of pro-voter behavior when she first came on the board. She asked that the no-bid contract awarded a former school administrator come off the agenda for discussion.

Instantly Carol Kurdell and Candy Olson, two of the board's double-double-boil-and-trouble witch copies from Macbeth's heath scene, jumped on Griffin for being "disloyal" to the staff, which was responsible for putting forward a former administrator for the job.

Since he had himself a no-bid contract, board attorney Tom Gonzalez joined in to say that handing out no-bid contracts to buddies--or by extension, one infers, graft contributors-- was a perfectly legal thing for the school board to endorse. Gonzalez fits his legal opinions not to the law but to the fool-the-taxpayer desires of the board and administration.

At the let's-hire-the-former-administrator-buddy board meeting, Griffin crumpled before the board's let's-do-illegal-business-as-usual board stalwarts Olson and Kurdell. She slumped under her desk and henceforth hewed to the party line of ignore-the-law-if-it-disagrees-with-our-practices.

April lacked the guts to tell Les Griffin and Olson that she worked for the voters, not for the school-board staff.

Besides lying, another of April' character flaws is lack of courage, for which she substitutes lies or capitulation. The vote to retain the no-bid contract for the former administrator was 2 to 5, with only Griffin's and Valdes's voting no. Yet April's election Web site says she is responsible for doing away with this practice. I judge that to be another lie. I doubt that statement's accuracy. After that board-meeting meltdown of April, Ms. Elia hired former administrator Dr. Jim Hamilton as lobbyist at $65,000 a year without advertising the job. Somebody told me the salary has increased to $95,000.

Since that initial painful public roll-over. April has become a faithful party member of the ROSSAC reischteig. La Elia has only to snap her fingers for April to come running like a faithful board pooch. Woof! Woof!

After promising voters in her oath of office to uphold the national and state laws, Griffin has since broken them with a hey nonny nonny. Elia directed her and RIP Falliero to go out to Alafia and soothe Principal Smith into resigning her position since PTA parents would not accept the toxic Smith as principal at the school. Elia had conducted several papal visits to harangue the Alafia parents into keeping Smith principal, even promising parents to send Smith and her vice principal to Eckerd's for a personality make-over seminar at $4,500 a pop if Akafia's parents would consent for Smith to continue principal The parents said no way. Elia's voice is powerful only inside the schools, where she can fire anybody who disagrees with her. Parents can't be fired.

Griffith's and RIP Falliero's under-cover-of-darkness task was to wheedle Smith into resigning and taking an Elia-manufactured job with the same salary that she made as principal so that the negative publicity trained on the schools from the usually somnolent press would die down.

RIP Falliero and Griffin did their task behind closed doors: they convinced Smith to take a job made up by Elia to seat Smith somewhere in the school system with no duties but full salary and benefits at principal level. I understand that Smith is ensconced in the book depository, probably paring her nails on a principal's salary coughed up malgre lui by the unsuspecting taxpayers.

None of this skulduggery appeared in writing; I would not have guessed it myself had not one of Griffin's admirers wrote me a sassy email saying I would have to withdraw my critical comments on Griffin after she and RIP Falliero had pulled off the Alafia Smith coup.

But I figured that there had to be a job description of a job that the accountants paid out of tax funds, so I asked for a job description from the Public Affairs office. After about two weeks to give Personnel viceroy Mr. Valdez time to manufacture a job description, I received it. Then I asked the Public Affairs office who had held the job before. No answer. Hence, we know the job was the Elia invention to house Ms. Smith on the public dime with no duties or only ones for show.

It says something about April's character that she would team up with Motel Breath Falliero for this task. Not only did Falliero tell Griffin in a staff meeting shortly after April came onto the board that she should quit if she couldn't get with the program the others obeyed without question. This admonition sent April stomping out of the room, slamming the door behind her. April doesn't fight. She runs.

In a later hostile gesture toward Griffin, Chair Falliero waved the gavel and screamed at April that she would kick her out of the board room because Griffin said something Falliero didn't like.

The board had voted Falliero chair despite knowing of her long-term on-site adultery with Marc Hart, head of Public Information, conducted over two administrations with their complicity. Marc Hart showed me the deposition that confirmed the adultery.

The aggressor, Ms. Motel Breath, practically lived in Mr. Hart's office, claiming she was there for his "mentoring."

Mr. Valdez later fired Hart on a trumped-up charge when Ms. Elia wanted to remove Hart as a temptation to Motel Breath Falliero to evade disclosure and bad publicity. The official reason for Hart's being run out on a rail was alcoholism.

Let's look more closely at the behavior that brought about that "victory" in the Alafia Mission Impossible caper. April's conduct in this venture violated laws that April swore to uphold when she took office. I don't doubt that April did not understand the laws she violated. That's one penalty for not going to school and settling for a GED. You don't learn history and civil data to teach you what a citizen does and the rules of law for which an elected official stands responsible.

The Alafia Smith case is testimony to the board and administration's refusal to fire an administrator or even rebuke him or her with a Professional Standards charge. A professional-standards charge simply is not done in case of administrator misconduct. This weird protection of administrators' misdeeds is a peculiar feature of the board and administration. Its origin lies buried in the bowels of time.

The unspoken code demands that teachers get nailed by Professional Standards with a marginal or made-up charge that threatens their job if they speak out against the board and administration. Administrators go free no matter what they do.

Teacher Steve Kemp's and the King administrator Toecracker's simultaneous cases set the paradigm of invidious punishment of administrators versus teachers. Mr. Smiley, head of special-ed, cooked up a case against Steve Kemp when the latter was substituting in the special-needs class. My read is that the little administrator twerp Smiley thought nailing a teacher on the Professional Standards watch list for having an education blog would advance his climb up the ladder to the nirvana of ROSSAC, the Mt. Olympus of the board and administration gods.

If you are wondering if Dr. Lamb, with the girth of a whale, is the board Jove lookalike, he would pass without close inspection. Kurdell, of course, is Hera. Jove seduced her in the guise of a cuckoo bird. That sounds like something Le Lamb would do. He often poses as a cuckoo bird.

Candy Olson, who on her triumphant election post statement said she wanted to be the institutional advisor of new board members plays board Tiresias.

Candy is type cast as Tiresias, tattle tale of the realm of the dead. If Candy wants to play this Tiresias eminence grise, however, she is going to have to do something about the improbable Dolly Parton tint of her hair. Tiresias's is lank and grey. She will also have to memorize without Cliff notes T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland," the poem that explores the land of the nether regions. Susan Valdes, April Griffin, and Doretha Ethridge are the three Eyrinyes. of course. These are the mythic harpies that track down and punish sinners. They are connoisseurs of sin, steeped in it themselves.

A picture of the junk room that served as classroom for the special-ed children appears at the head of this message. I sent it to the Poverty Law Center, to which I am a contributor and which I understand has a special-ed case instituted by the local Hillsborough County NAACP against the schools.

Le Smiley pranced down to the sheriff's office and filed a child abuse charge against Steve in line with Smiley's hidden agenda. He filed the de rigueur Professional Standards charge as well. Steve stayed on suspension while Ms. Kipley, home-ec degreed head of Professional Standards. dragged the investigation out for a year to make sure Steve squirmed sufficiently about losing his job to the maximum of his squirming abilities; Kipley et al also made sure that the case got wide circulation in the schools to serve as a warning to other teachers who might think of challenging the administration and place their job in jeopardy. Rumor circulated that the board was thinking of purchasing a medieval torture rack to extract whatever confessions from the poor pedagogic wretches the administration fancied.

Steve's lackadaisical union-furnished attorney and Gonzalez finally reached a settlement in which Steve was to go on unpaid punitive leave for three days (in addition to the year's suspension that he had already served) as the price for resuming his job. Corrective note from Steve says the suspension was five days.

Then Steve, offended at the disproportionate punishment allotted to him as compared to no punishment to the King High administrative Toe Cracker foot fetishist, complained publicly to the board of the invidious treatment of him as compared to that of the King High administrator Toe Cracker. Over a period of time with no interference from his supervisors, this administrator sicko had been ordering pubescent boys into his office; ordering them to close the door; ordering the boys to take off their shoes and socks; then ordering them to present him their feet to fondle and crack their toes. His superiors did not intervene. Their attitude was, "Isn't he a card?"

As coercion to Steve for questioning the invidious treatment of him and the Toe Cracker, Hired Gun Gonzalez threatened Steve with taking away his settlement.

Meanwhile, the board, whose every other sentence concerns "the safety of the students," ignored the pathology of the administrator guy's preying on pubescent boys at King and did not have an outside psychiatrist examine him for the pathology of this habit. Then a parent whose representative called me alerted the press.

When it won't report on a new cure for cancer, the antic print press will catalogue toe-cracking and its delicious sexual aura. So the story hit the papers. An indignant parent visited the King principal and told him that if the board did not have the Toe Cracker examined by a psychiatrist, he was going to sue the schools for failure to protect the students.

The way the administration got around having the Toe Cracker undergo a valid examination by an outside state-qualified psychologist or psychiatrist was to have somebody on staff with some psychology credits interview the Toe Cracker and pronounce him sound and no danger to the students. By that time the press's short attention span had run out, so the public never knew of this scam.

Such evasive flimflam is what the board and administration consider adept politics in administering the schools. The board, which did not intervene and did not pause in its perpetual salute to the safety of the children, sat mute.
Ms. April Griffin was fully involved in ripping off the children's safety in the schools in this ugly incident to nail teacher Steve Kemp with a manufactured child-abuse charge because he had an education blog and since the board and administration fear blogs because they may tell the truth about how they run the schools. La Griffin did not bother to visit the junk-choked classroom (picture at the top of these comments) despite her anthem of safety for the children and did not insist on an outside psychiatrist to examine the Toecracker for pathology that threatened the boys he preyed on. I personally challenged La Elia in a board meeting about this lack of an outside psychiatrist to examine the King administrator sicko. She remained tranquil on her board throne of power and ignored me. I am sure she whispered to Steve Gonzalez, who sits by her, that I was crazy. If you question the standard criminal behavior of public officials, you get the label of crazy. It was ever thus. Ask Galileo.

For the sake of exposing Griffin's attitude toward the laws that she is supposed to carry out and not subvert as board member, let's look more closely at the offenses against her position as one elected to uphold the laws and the taxpayers' right to expect a public servant to perform this duty that April evaded in the Smith foray.

A pair of school-board agents' creeping over to Alafia to hold an an out-of-the-sunshine rendezvous in a closed office with an errant principal to offer her a secret manufactured job so that this principal would fade away and not talk publicly made Ms. Elia, Griffin, and Motel Breath Falliero believe that the controversy would come to an end. RIP Falliero and Griffin's conduct violated the state's government-in-the- sunshine law. Of course, the Elia administration constantly violates the government-in-the-sunshine law by deciding everything in closed meetings in La Elia's Star Chamber and plopping the decisions on the rolling Consent Calender for the board to rubberstamp.

Had April been serving the public instead of the board-and-administration juggernaut that insured they ruled everything and kept the power that goes with managing the millions of tax dollars poured into this large school district, she would have continued to call for items to come off the agenda for discussion. Susan Valdes would have given Griffin a second, and Roberts Rules says the two could have discussed the hidden items to a fare-the-well and let the public in on the board-and-administration. campaign against the public's right to know.

Since the board surrendered to her the non-equal-opportunity hiring racket, Elia has hired untrained buddies and sycophants to go on the public-education dole with frail credentials and few talents. This scam insures that the taxpayers don't get their money's worth. April and Susan could have brought up in a public board meeting the situation in which an accounting job had emerged and which Linda Kipley's husband got despite his not having the accounting degree and experience it called for. This Kipley-husband employment despite lack of credentials was payback to Kipley for all her dirty work in Professional Standards to gouge teachers and keep them servile and quiet or face the loss of their jobs.

La Kipley's husband has a high school diploma and no accounting experience. I examined the application files for the job under government-in-the-sunshine rules. Four applicants had accounting degrees and requisite experience in accounting. One woman had a handicap that placed her under the protection of the federal requirement that any entity that receives government funds must have an affirmative-action plan for the handicapped. I checked. The school board does not have an affirmative-action plan for the handicapped.

I tried to get the handicapped woman whose application the school turned down to file a charge with the federal government for discrimination, but she declined. Very few people will fight discrimination. I know this for a fact since I founded the local chapter of NOW forty-five years ago and worked as its employment discrimination chair. I did not have luck with getting women who had suffered terrible discrimination to file charges with the EEOC and the federal offices that supervised various types of discrimination. These people are like the teachers in the Hillsborough County school system who won't file bullying charges against the administration or speak out about the invidious treatment of teachers.

In my NOW work,
I was able to get a black woman, Thelma, to file charges against the police department for constantly "losing" her application to be a police officer, and I convinced another woman, Marsha, to file charges against the sheriff's department for giving her the runaround when she applied to be a sheriff's deputy.

The EEOC processed Thelma's complaint and made the police department hire her. She was the first female police officer in Tampa. My husband and I went to her graduation at the police academy.

I filed charges with the Justice Department to make Sheriff Malcolm Beard hire women deputies or lose his government grants. Marsha got her deputy job and proceeded to smash her patrol car into telephone poles on a regular basis, hence was let go on legitimate grounds. But Marsha's entrance into the deputy ranks opened that job for many other local women. When I see women officers on the street today, I feel like a proud mother whose child has won a Nobel laureate.

I am now revving up to file with the federal government for the school board's history of allowing Ms. Elia to hire incompetent buddies at sky-high salaries subsidzed by taxpayers, who are not getting their money's worth.

If April had enough education to know the requirements of the federal statutes she swore to uphold in office and if she cared about the financial and ethical interests of the taxpayers that this corrupt hiring system the local board has allowed Ms. Elia to carry on, she would have in the interest of community open government insisted that all jobs and their descriptions appear on the Board Web site along with hyperlinks to the job seekers' applications for these jobs. Then citizens could see whether Ms. Elia were hiring the best qualified person or awarding the job to her buddies or hangers on.

Citizens are entitled to know about their publicly supported institutions' business such as hiring. The board and administration assisted by two of the board's renegade members April Griffin and RIP Jennifer Falliero did an unethical, illegal deed by wheedling Principal Smith into resigning with the lure of an Elia-created job. This behind-the-scenes use of tax money and job selling violated the state law and federal law. The administration and board covered it up, so they participated in the secret process as well. If April and RIP Jennifer had obeyed the state law that they swore to uphold when they took office, they would have held these proceedings in the board room at a regular meeting so that the public would know that the board and Ms. Elia abuse their positions to control their image so that they can continue in power.

The board, if it had respect for the citizens that elected it, would also provide on the Board Web site citizen information listing job descriptions with applicants' biographies so that citizens can read online whether the board and administration follow the state and federal laws that the board members take an oath to uphold when they are sworn into office.

April Griffin has not honored her oath of office. She should not get another term to break the law she swore to uphold.

RIP Falliero, one of the culprits, got the sack from voters this election. I hope my informing the churches in her district of her adultery unchecked on school grounds during two administrations contributed to that happy eventuality at the polls. Voters don't have to be quiet. They can blab to their heart's content with the blessing of the First Amendment. Anybody can. This is America.

Other laws that April broke in skulking over to cut a deal with Ms. Smith were Title VI and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The board did not advertise the job Ms. Elia created for Principal Smith so that all interested applicants could apply for it. The board thus shut out all these prospective applicants.

April seems to believe that she is an adept in diplomacy and apparently believed this illegal pas-de-deux she executed with Jennifer Falliero qualified as high diplomacy. Wrong. Tallyrand's reputation is safe. April and Jennifer's sneaking quest to evade the state sunshine law and the national equal-employment laws did not demonstrate diplomacy. It illustrated stupidity and culpability for evasion of the laws these two board members swore to uphold.

Anybody who learns about this scam pulled off by elected officials and the superintendent can claim he or she would have liked to have had the chance to apply for this ghost principal job and can file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and ask the federal government to cut off funds to the school for discrimination.

And they should pay no attention to board attorney, Tom Gonzalez; he gives out wrong legal information to cover up his own case's violation of the equal-employment-opportunity laws.

Yet the board stamps on everything not nailed down "We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer." This constant lie by the board represents contempt for the job it holds and disregard for the people who voted the board members into office. This behavior is hypocrisy in public office that defies belief. April is knee-deep in the deception and fools herself that she is a diplomat because she thinks she is a slick liar. She not only lies to others; she also lies to herself.

April represents herself as a paragon of fiscal responsibility. Colluding with Ms. Elia to pull off a voter scam that awards a phantom job, its, pay, and its perquisites from public money to a failed principal who should be fired is not fiscally responsible. Nor is the overpayment of the board lawyer, Tom Gonzalez.

Mr. Gonzalez makes $275,000 a year, the highest among state school lawyers. He does not deserve this bloated salary. First, he got his job from Earl the Pearl Lennard with a good-ol'-boy wink and a nod, not from a competitive process that would have ensued had the board insisted that it wanted to advertise the job to comply with Title VII and to get a competitive process that gave the board a chance to select the best-qualified person for the post.

The board considered Dr. Lennard the ultimate in superintendent quality. He in fact had emerged from the basement as school administrative apparatich. In the basement, he engaged in the academic mysteries of vo tech. That vo tech occupation was the sum of his administrative experience. He, when superintendent, became the head of the ROSSAC gang savaging Mr. Erwin for outing crime in the schools; so you have to infer Lennard and his administration thugs were on the receiving end of the bribes and graft under the table.

I would like to do a forensics exam of Dr. Lennard's USF thesis. I am sure it is ghosted and that the thesis committee was asleep at the switch or on the take. Dr. Lennard could not write a university-level thesis if his life depended on it.

Not only did the board evade Title VII when it hired Gonzalez, but it did not require him to have a contract, so he has over the years of his employment submitted whatever figure comes to his mind each month to the tax kitty. The money comes rolling out without anyone's checking his loot's legitimacy. The Pinellas County attorney has a contract. He works full time for the board for a hundred thousand dollars a year less than Gonzalez. I have the contract online in one of my posts. You can get it yourself from the Pinellas School Board.

And the Pinellas County attorney not only has his duties spelled out on paper in his contract, he works full-time on this job while Gonzalez flits in and out of the board room and has business with other entities in the area. He has, for example, a contract with USF. I wrote to USF and got a copy. A Dempsey dumpster must back up to Gonzalez's office every month to unload his loot from all these tax-supported clients.

Tom Gonzalez does not deserve the highest pay to a school attorney in the state. He did not attend Yale, the Number One law school in the country's ranking; he attended Florida State's law school, Number 56 in the country's ranking of law schools. He writes so badly--grammar-punctuation errors abounding and a style of fusty, flatulent legalese that is almost impenetrable--that I wrote the Florida State Law writing faculty to rebuke its members for graduating him. Taxpayers deserve an attorney who can write plain English without remedial-English grammar-punctuation errors. Gonzalez should enroll in one of the 9th-grade English classes in the schools.

Le Gonzalez pays no attention to the board's business. So contemptuous is he of his job that he swills soda and munches chips on the board dais during session. No board member rebukes him for this unprofessional behavior. My Southern mother would say he was raised in a barn.

I once observed Gonzalez's response to the board's questions about why it (the taxpayers) had to pay for the replacement of a fallen wall in a new school. Gonzalez hemmed and hawed, shucked and jived, recounted incidents in the professional life of his uncle contractor, and finally confessed that the school--i.e. the taxpayers--must pay for the wall replacement because he, in effect, didn't have the professional sense to tell the board to get the right amount of insurance for the project. In other words, he didn't read the fine print of the contract. Why should he? Nobody checks up on him. The board members are too intimidated by his third-rate law degree and his bluster to nail him down.

RIP Falliero was chair then. She kept caterwauling about how mad she was at the contractor. It did not occur to her to be mad at the attorney and quiz him on his dereliction. The voters are right to have turned out Falliero on other grounds than adultery on the job--stupidity, for example.

Not only does Gonzalez not pay attention to contracts, he can't even master simple things like getting the reading of sheriff's reports right. Teacher Steve Kemp and the King High administrative Toecracker got identical notices from the sheriff. Gonzalez filed his assessment with Professional Standards saying their notices were different--only to discover that the SPT reporter had published in the paper that the sheriff's reports on the two were identical. Gonzalez confronted the reporter and called him wrong.

The reporter stood his ground and repeated the story in the paper. Gonzalez tardily read the reports and raced to file a redaction of his submission to the Professional Standards office. I don't know how he justified it, but Linda Kipley would have joined in the cover-up with her customary participation in covering up administration error.

One is not surprised. You know that a woman like Kipley who wears see-through plastic baby-doll stilettoes to work is ready for criminal sprees that involve falsifying documents.

I witnessed Gonzalez misrepresent the bullying law as not including teachers at the behest of Candy Olson, who does not like teachers and does not want them to have the protection of the bullying law as a buttress against false Professional Standards office charges to threaten their jobs if they speak out. Gonzalez twisted the law to say that it excluded teachers while at other school districts teachers were already using the bullying law. Everything is ad hoc in the administrative methods of the board, and Gonzalez buttresses this unorthodox, slap-dash conduct by ignoring or twisting of the law.

With her hustings concern for economy in the schools, has April ever asked Mr. Valdez to do a survey of board attorney salaries in the state? Has she asked him to collect a representative sampling of contracts of board attorneys? Has she asked for a review of the hiring procedure that produced Mr. Gonzalez as attorney? No. No. And No. April tells political lies easily. She, in fact, lies when something inconvenient disturbs her. She would lie if one asked her these questions about the Gonzalez scam on the public.

Griffin's worst lie is unproven but so resonant of her habit of lying that I put it in April's lies category.

A guy named, I think, Dave Schmidt has a blog on which he criticized April. She says she believes in free speech, so if she were displeased, she should have blasted him back in his comment section. Instead, she got Elia to have her staff sift through his personnel file to find a gnat with which to trap him. With customary mendacity, she claimed that a handy elf had turned up and whispered Dave's sin in her ear. Oh, sure. The old elf scam. We know it well.

The gnat turned out to be that Schmidt's stepson had constructed the Web page for the language-for-emigrants program that Mr. Dave worked in; somewhere in the small print, there is a proviso that one must report any employment by a relative in the schools or be charged with a conflict of interest. Dave was so charged. Rewarding her faithful board pooch Griffin, Ms. Elia demoted Mr. Dave and reduced his salary. This retaliation against free speech summarizes Griffin's pathology: a meanness of spirit and a flaw in her character. Fortunately, this story made the paper.

This trap is a standard terror tactic to cow employees into being drones for the board and administration. I suggest April should be ashamed of herself. She's not tough enough for public office and acts like a big, spoiled baby when criticized.

Ms. Elia is so steeped in corruption that she has long passed the boundary of shame into the wilderness of blasted souls such as trod the wasted moors where Macbeth's three witches hold court. I believe she is growing warts with hairs sticking out of them as we speak. Her latest caper that a reader wrote me about is that she threatens to apply for some superintendent job in Nevado, or some western state where the buffaloes roam. The read on this gesture is that she is using it to bump up her salary in Hillsborough County and that the board is dumb enough to go along,

Now as to April's claim that she loves teachers: Let's look at her record.
When Steve Kemp had been on suspension for a year on the child-abuse charge that the supervisor of the special-needs children, an insidious viper named Smiley, lodged against him with the Sheriff's office, I suggested that Steve make an appointment with April Griffin to see if there were anything she could do to make things right. April met with him. That's to her credit. But at the end of the conversation she told him not to tell anyone that they had met and to be patient "because good things are happening behind the scenes."

Question: why should Kemp have to keep things quiet about meeting with a board member? Are teachers toxic or what? Don't they deserve the attention of board members? And why should things be happening "behind the scenes"? Why aren't they happening on the board dais so that the public can review the situation? April is addicted to out-of-the-sunshine board monkey business so that nobody but the board and Ms. Elia's Star Chamber cohorts know what's really going on. This behavior violates government in the sunshine and violates April's claim to foster free speech.

And if Griffin values teachers so much, why does she not ask for a blanket review of the Professional Standards charges on file? I asked for teacher charges from Professional Standards; I got a whole stack. I asked for administrator charges: not one did I get. We are talking shameless invidious enforcement here despite the State Education Web site's saying both teachers and administrators are liable for professional standards charges. No administrator ever gets a Professional Standards charge. That was the invidious situation with Steve Kemp and the administrator Toecracker foot fetishist whom the administration tolerated until a parent finally complained to the press.

So why, if she respects teachers, hasn't Griffin asked for a review of the charges over, say, a five-year period for professional standards violations to check for parity between teachers and administrators? Because Griffin is totally in tune with the administration's aim to use the Professional Standards office as a trap for teachers that threatens their jobs to shut them up. Griffin knows this ugly fact. She does nothing about it. She endorses it.

To tie the ribbon on this truth of Griffin anti-teacher bias, there's this: I wrote her and Susan Valdes asking for a settled place on the agenda for teachers and students to speak. Neither answered me.

Another Griffin First Amendment suppression occurred when I heard her in the back of the board room where the Alafia mothers had gathered to speak to the board about the Alafia situation. I overheard Griffin tell these Alafia mothers who came to confront the board about their refusal to accept Ms. Smith as the principal of their children's schools that they would be "injuring the schools" if they testified before the board on the Alafia case.

Why wouldn't instead these mothers exemplify the best tradition of the freedom of citizens to address the elected members that represent them in a public forum? The Constitution calls the process appealing for redress of grievances. When I went up to blast some other evil practiced by the board and administration, I said that the mothers had a perfect right to address the board, that their doing so was in the best tradition of democracy.

The mothers had given me one of their defiant t-shirt rebukes to the board, and I wore it draped around my shoulders when I addressed the board.

Unhappily, the mothers succumbed to April's anti-free-speech lie that their addressing board about Alafia's vile principal would harm the schools while it, in fact, would harm only the indifferent board and administration and make them more responsive to the public that they purport to serve.

A young man came up as spokesperson for the Alafia parents and made an ass of himself by sucking up to the board. That is the wrong approach. This attitude of citizens is what inflates naive board members self-regard and causes them to be contemptuous of voters. The equation should be the other way around. Parents should keep in mind that board members such as April, who has a GED and a penchant for lying as credentials, are public servants. They should keep in mind that public servants such as board members should serve the public, not the other way around.

If I knew what April's church was, I would send its women's sodality a record of her deficient service on the board. Not knowing her church affiliation, I might send a message to all the churches in Seminole Heights, where she has her home. It would be the Christian thing to do. Maybe the church activists could call on her serially and give her ethics lectures. I, by the way, am Episcopal. Turn me in to the hierarchy at any time. I will fight back with leafleting the major Episcopal church in the district.

I see the Web has eight or nine pages of churches in Hillsborogh County. Maybe all of these should get information on April's louche performance as board member during her incumbency. Churches are the locales where a community's morals are under concentrated attention. I doubt that April's board performance would merit their approval. I have left out the synagogues and Muslim religious. I don't know if there are any Buddhists in Hillsborough County. We must include them too.
They all need to know what a vile, unethical board member Le Griffin has been.

The time has come to give another candidate a chance at a board slot. I suggest that Sally Harris should replace Griffin. I have talked to Sally. I sense she is a person who may have the chutzpah not to cave in to the evils of the board and administration. I even see her bringing up issues under Roberts Rules on the dais in board time with which the other members will have to wrestle in the public eye.

We can hope that Salyt will pipe up on the dais and say, "Madam Chair, I move that we discuss the disparate numbers of teachers as compared to administrators charged by the Professional Standards office so that we can suggest a remedy to this unfair situation."

To see if this motion gets a second so that the discussion can begin will be delicious. I think there's hope that Susan will second the motion and immediately go on the revenge list of Ms.Elia's Star Chamber retaliation brigade. I would not be surprised if Ms. Ethridge seconded the motion. There must be some shred of rebellion in the psyche of a woman whose race has suffered centuries of savaging in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Or Board Member Sally could say, "Madam Chair, I move that we request Mr. Valdez and his personnel apparatus to review Board Attorney Tom Gonzalez's pay, contract obligations, and work product and then compare them to those of similarly situated board attorneys across the state."

We can then judge whether Sally serves taxpayers by tackling some of the evils that I have pointed out that Griffin has ignored or participate in or whether citizens have to tough out Sally's incumbency of four years before moving on to another prospect.

Meanwhile, I am clicking through the lists of churches in Hillsborough County. I shall also see if there are temples and any mosques. The religious community is the repository of ethics and morality in any community. Maybe it needs to hear that a board member in charge of the community's children is ripping off the First Amendment, telling lies by the bushel, and cheating the tax payers of money by giving it to a former principal for a manufactured job who should have been fired.

Not only religious ethics but secular ethics also condemn April's lying to the public that she ran for office saying she would protect. From Aristotle's
Nichomachean Ethics to Dear Abbey, all moral commentary on Ms. Griffin's behavior in public office would feature condemnation.


Anonymous said...

Has Falliero contacted you to say anything? You are probably the reason she didn't get re-elected. Most incumbents stay in. Your exposure of her antics became gossip everywhere, so I am sure her entire district knew about it due to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for exposing corruption (HCSB and HCC). Both those organizations are headed by greedy, unethical crooks.

Anonymous said...

Lee: Thank your for your kind words.

Do you have a fax number. I have some documents that might interest you about April Griffin.

Dave Schmidt

Vox Populi said...

Sally Harris' signs hang in the wrong places (w//bondi, rick what's his face the bald thief running for governor and etc..) but she herself does not seem like a bad person. I ran into her in a place she was conducing business and would have waited had it not been personal business and myself in a hurry. She was polite, humble and listening. If she will treat the voters in the same fashion she treats "the help", we'd be ok. Sadly she might just unbalance the board. THE ONE THING I see that april has was she gave maryEllen elia married to puerto rican gangster Albert Elia and a farmer's daughter the LOWEST score on the evaluation.

I think that maryEllen keeps her cauldron in that tin roof shack she built on her faux estate on Jetton/Himes... did you see where her husband ALBERT INSURES GAMBLING???? Yes, a regular married to the mob supe of schools. WOW. Good old Hillsborough.
At any rate ... I think that the bats were flying about her house and she entrapped them all under the hot tin roof she built on.
Everyone be sure to toot your horn at maryEllen as you go by Jetton aned Himes. Farmer's daughters like to sit on the porch, churn stuff and watch the wagons pass by.

Steve (a.k.a. Goader) said...

Here is a small correction of the facts. My settlement called for five (5) unpaid suspended days, not three as the commentary says. Even though I was suspended without pay, I went to work as usual on an unpaid basis. I took one of the days off, but continued working the other days.

Anonymous said...

It figures Elia has a tin roof on that tacky house on Jetton. You would think she could buy a nicer house with the money she makes, but she has no taste. She may have fixed her fence. It used to look like it was about to fall down.

Candy Olson used to have a nice house until she turned her husband gay and she had to move into some condo behind the old AMC movie theatre. That is where people with no taste move to. True Old South Tampa people do not live north of Swann.

These are trashy people parading around like high class socialites with their noses in the air, but they are nothing but white trash. Elia wears a mullet as you have pointed out. That is proof of her white trash status. Candy puts on airs like she is high society, and that wins the South Tampa crowd over, because they can not spot a fake when they meet one. They are all fakes. That is why they think Candy is the real thing.

Anonymous said...

Steve worked on his unpaid days. Isn't that sad how they mistreat a dedicated teacher?

Anonymous said...

good for you, steve, That's a mark of your character.

Anonymous said...

yeah it was rotted and creaky like her insides. Lee, please remind your readers to tootle their horns at maryEllen the fatness EVERY time they pass her lovely abode at himes and JETTON. I believe with all the additions she must be considering taking in renters.

Vox Populi said...

Lee for god's sake where AREYA

Anonymous said...

Lee probably has to take a break from all these criminals parading around like school board members and employees. It must get so tiring to have them lie to your face all the time. Anyone would need a break from that horseshit.