The blog picture function is on the fritz, so I can't publish these four guys' pictures. You will have to go to the Dover Baptist Church site to see them. lee
3223 North Gallagher Rd
Dover, Fl 33527 813-719-2273 (office) 813-717-PRAY (prayer line) 813-659-0698 (fax)
Senior Pastor Benny Keck,
Bro. Benny hails from Tennessee. His wife Melody and youngest son live in Dover, His daughter and oldest son live in Tennessee. Bro. Benny became pastor at Dover in 2001.
Luis Ramirez, Hispanic Mission
Bro. Luis came to Dover in 1996. He is married to Ivonne. Bro. Luis has a daughter, Lorna and 2 sons Luis and Miguel Ramirez with his late wife, Yadira. He still has family in Nicaragua.
Ken Caffey Minister of Music
firstname.lastname@example.org Bro. Ken is from Springfield, MO. He is married to Jana and his daughters are Amanda and Colleen. His ministry at Dover started in 2003.
Billy Bellott Minister of Students
email@example.com Bro. Billy is married to Nadine, has a daughter Corie, and son Derek. Bro. Billy has been on staff here since 2002 and was active in the student ministry here as a youth.
PASTOR BENNY KECK AND BROTHERS LUIS, KEN, AND BILLY:
I am Episcopal but familiar with the rituals of the Baptist Church through experience with my family's church's history in South Georgia. My family, the Drurys, emigrated from England in the 1800s. The family built an Episcopal church with a cemetery in White Oak, Georgia, close to Burnt Fort--burnt by the wicked Yankees, of course. There every year I go for the family reunion and dinner on the grounds.
The family's religious orientation of Episcopal did not last long in White Oak. The evangelicals were active and soon won over most of the family's young people, who produced bumper crops of offspring, leaving the family high-church sexually phlegmatic in the dust.
The evangelicals' music caused apostasies, I infer. The Baptists in particular had songs you could sing while it's near impossible to sing leaden Episcopal church music. My daddy, the family wit, always said that if a church were going to succeed, its music must be singable by common folk. He read Greek history and played the violin, which he called "the fiddle." So my daddy qualified as a music expert in his little home town. His taste in history reading made people pronounce him strange for always "having his head in a book." He passed this addiction on to me.
Daddy observed that Episcopal church ditties such as "Come, Thou Long Expected" or "When Morning Guilds the Skies" could not hold a candle to "Just as I Am" or "When the Roll is called up Yonder." Hence, enough Drury Episcopal congregation peeled off to become Baptists so that they converted the family church by the cemetery into Baptist by force of numbers and bivouacked there permanently. The holdout disgruntled Episcopalians such as most of my family were had thus to go all the way to St. Mary's for Episcopal service on Sundays.
The grumbling has not let up since. I myself represent the split in my family with my being able to bridge the two family religious orientations and bellow out with gusto "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" and "Amazing Grace" at the family reunions every year. In fact, the piano player on the church's ancient out-of-tune piano never plays a song that I cannot sing with confidence.
I took my Catholic husband to a family reunion one year, and his trauma after hearing the peripatetic Baptist minister assure us at high decibels that we were all going to hell in a hand basket, routine information we veterans of Baptist-preacher harangues take as standard fare, traumatized him so much that I left him at home from then on. I decided that Catholics were not tough enough to withstand basic Baptist undiluted liturgy that we veterans of Baptist-preacher invective had all imbibed with our mother's milk. The popes may have abused the Catholic congregations, but abuse in Latin is not as powerful as hollering insults in Southern Baptist patois.
I write to introduce you to the topic of the school board races in your county, Hillsborough. The church should take an interest in those because, although we know our country came into being to separate church and state, nothing in the Constitution says church people aren't citizens and cannot take an interest in the election of public officials, especially those to the school board responsible for the academic and moral wellbeing of the county's children, including those of Baptists. Churches should ask no official's permission on this civic right: they should just quiz those who want to be public servants on anything that concerns the church as citizens. Your church's responsibilities comprise Districts 4 and 6. The church, fortunately, has the framework in which to grill school board candidates on their views and especially the incumbents on what they have or have not done while on the school board. It has meeting halls and means of communication to let members know that an institution of good citizens as well as good Christians will question candidates for the board in their district 4 and at-large district 6 to make sure that decent people get elected to the school board.
Despite having moved to my vacation condo in Madeira Beach when I retired from a 28-year teaching professorship at HCC, I take a continuing interest in the Hillsborough County schools, where my four children attended Beach Park's Grady, Coleman, and Plant. I still have one grandchild at Plant.
I urge, Reverend Keck, that you and your all-male team lead your congregation in concerning itself with the quality of the District 4 incumbent, Jennifer Falliero, whose board conduct in her two terms, cries out for a decent replacement. Ms. Falliero expects inattentive voters to re-elect her in spite of her adultery on the job and ignorance of and hostility to the First Amendment. You will find on my education blog leedrurydecesarescastingroomcouch.blogspot.com the data that La Falliero initiated adultery with administrator Marc Hart, thus helping to break up his marriage and hurting his two young children in addition to breaking up her own marriage and injuring her two teenage daughters.
This adultery continued thorough the administration of Dr. Earl Lennard, now supervisor of elections, and into the administration of the present school superintendent, Ms. Maryellen Elia. The Falliero-Hart adultery was well known throughout the school community, with the janitors discussing it in the privacy of the mop closets and the cafeteria staff dissecting it over the noise of the pots and pans.
This vile situation resulted in concomitant debasement of the atmosphere of the schools. The newspaper reporters for the school board also knew about this adultery but were too cowardly to report it in the pages of their papers. Or their puisne editors wouldn't let reporters report the adultery saga. Newspapers claim to be crusaders for truth, but they quake at a story about illicit sex. The online Web news blogs don't suffer from this cowardice, one reason that they are rapidly driving the print press out of business for being prissy.
The school board and administration did not object to Ms. Falliero's adultery; they objected only to the community's finding out about it and holding their feet to the fire for allowing fornication in their midst on school property that housed the community's children without the board and administration's having the moral courage to intervene. What school people in charge feared was not the onus of the board members' and administrator's tolerating school-site adultery but the public's finding out about it and holding them accountable. In fact, so trivial did the other board members consider Ms. Fallario's adultery that they treated it as a mere contretemps that did not prevent their all voting her in as board chair. That gesture shows their contempt for their office and the citizens and students whom they say they serve.
Superintendent Elia finally fired Mr. Hart on the cooked-up charge of drunkenness for fear that bad press would finally catch up with the board and administration; but Ms. Elia supported the Jezebel board member Falliero because this despicable collaborator rubberstamped every decree Elia handed down to keep herself and the current administration lackeys in power, free to use the multi-million-dollar school budget to impress people with their importance, to reward their buddies with no-bid contracts, to hire chums and no-talent friends for high-paying administrative jobs of $150,000 a year, and also to pay board attorney Tom Gonzalez $275,000 a year for his part-time job.
The Gonzalez board-attorney job is, in addition to being the highest-paid for a board attorney billet in Florida, one that Dr. Lennard handed Gonzalez without advertising the job, violating the equal-employment-opportunity laws and spitting on the ritual School Board mantra "We are an equal-employment-opportunity-employer." Dr. Leonard's Web self-advertisement says he has a "doctor of philosophy" degree that he advertises on his Supervisor of Elections site. I believe he had a ghost writer for his thesis and isn't bright enough to pass one of the county's or city's civil service exams.
Such specimens fill school administrations. The smart college graduates go into teaching; the dumb ones scamper to administrative jobs because that's where the money is.
The moral morass that exists within the C and D students of the school board and administration is one that says, "You cover my defections from right conduct, and I'll do the same for you."
Hillsborough County's ROSSAC administration building houses one gigantic self-protection racket. The board, including La Falliero, your district's incumbent, rubberstamped this overpaid, illegal hiring of an attorney who graduated from a law school ranking 58th in country rankings, who can't write himself out of a paper bag, making grammar-punctuation errors and producing a bloated brand of lawyerese that never uses one word when he can dig up four or five.
Mr. Gonzalez also does not pay attention to the schools' business because he does not have a contract to rein him in that cites his responsibilities but instead submits his bills to the taxpayers directly without board mediation and administration oversight.
When the incumbent Falliero says she protects "every penny of taxpayer money," you Dover denizens should say, "Oh, yeah? What about the Gonzalez ripoff that you tolerate and have done nothing about in your four years on the board?" Other institutions such as USF have business sense enough to require a contract with Gonzalez, but the Hillsborough County board and administration are not administratively savvy enough for such a sensible measure and are too careless of tax money to bother to require that the board attorney have a contract with Hillsborough schools for his part-time job.
The Pinellas school board has a contract for its lawyer. He is fulltime. The contract spells out his duties. I have a copy of it on my Web site. The Pinellas school board pays this full-time guy a hundred thousand dollars less than Gonzalez's part-time racket, allowed by the dummies of the Hillsborough County School Board, who don't mind throwing away tax money for shoddy legal performance so contemptuous are they of the taxpayers.
I witnessed Gonzalez's feckless conduct of his job in a public board discussion of a new school's wall's collapsing and the taxpayers' having to pay for its replacement because Gonzalez had not read the fine print. Why should he? Nobody checks up on him. So he missed the contract's bottom line and had not alerted the board to buy better insurance. Not one of the board members had the sense and chutzpah to challenge Gonzalez about his negligence. Ms. Fornication Falliero was board chair; she huffed and puffed at how mad she was at the contractor. La Falliera is dumb as well as immoral.
Recently Gonzalez's misreading of two sheriff's reports on a teacher and a administrator and his saying they were different when they were identical caused Gonzalez to attack the credibility of a SPT reporter for the reporter's writing in the paper that the reports were identical while Gonzalez, who apparently had not read the reports, claimed that they were not. Then when Gonzalez tardily discovered the Times reporter was right, he scrambled to overlay his erroneous report to Professional Standards with a redacted copy. I bet he didn't apologize to the reporter. He lacks that sort of professional grace.
There is also the matter of Gonzalez's saying that the bullying law HB 669 applies only to students because board member Ms. Candy Olson (another incumbent up for re-election in my old South Tampa district who needs kicking out of office) wanted the bill not to apply to teachers so that the administration could continue to cook up charges against teachers to threaten their jobs. The purpose of these threats is to keep teachers quiet about how the administration and board misrun things and how the board members condone this administrative and superintendent mismanagement so that the administrative juggernaut and its board collaborators can hang on to the power of mismanaging the multimillion-dollar school budget with all the perquisites that insures.
The above adumbrates moral questions of offensive conduct by elected officials whom some community entity with moral stature such as your church should inquire into by holding a public seminar for voters to question these scofflaws in office who have the effrontery and contempt for voters as to demand re-election based on their sorry records.
Not only should your congregation ask the incumbent board members in whose elections you will vote-- Griffin and Falliero-- if they are guilty of supporting such violations of the public trust as those I cite but also invite opponents of these two incumbent board members and inquire what they plan to do if they beat the incumbents to cure these ills.
The Dover churches should as a religious community concerned for its civic surroundings hold seminars and have incumbents and challengers of District 4 and District 6 put their promises in writing.
Somehow candidates forget promises made on the stump when they win office. I don't know if you and your associate male leaders will have the chutzpah to do anything about these data I give you. My experience has been that people--including church people--betray their stated beliefs by moral cowardice and fear of retaliation. This situation is not as bad as Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Christ, but it's hypocrisy that ill becomes any church. Religious betrayal of Christian ideals by not demanding right conduct of public officials happens far too often for churches to be immune from questioning on this front. Look at how the Catholic pope played ball with the Nazis in WWII in the destruction of the Jews in gas ovens. Look how it is still playing ball with the child molesters in its midst. I am not blaming the Baptists for Jerry Falwell's depredations. But he was born-again, self-identified member of the tribe. By the way, Ms. Falliero claims to be born again and opposes sex education in the schools and the teaching of Darwin in science classes: odd phobias given her adulterous conduct.
The Baptist church is not immune from these malignant tendencies. Look how the male hierarchy downgrades women in its midst and look how the women still put up with this situation. Look at the pictures of all-male leaders on your Web site. The site features not one woman's face while Christ's mother and Mary Magdalene--not guys--were the ones brave enough to trudge to the tomb to find Him gone after His crucifixion.
Listen to the sexist comments on women from the national Baptist leadership. I would like to box those sexist church leaders' chauvinist, unChrisian ears.
My advice would be for you to turn this situation over to the women in the congregation if you top guys don't have the courage to deal with its nastiness. After 45 years in the women's movement, I have a belief that the sisterhood sodality will find a way despite such outrages as not one woman's getting listed in your leadership roles online.
Women are braver than men because they have had to exist in the perils of the slavery of the Second Sex from Day One. When it comes to the welfare of children, as is at issue in this school board election, the sisterhood in your church or anywhere will be intrepid. I suggest that you turn the school-board race problem over to the ladies' group of your church. These are the ones who make the tubs of potato salad and deviled eggs for the church events. They can do other things besides cook, pastor. If you don't call on the church women, shame on you, reverend, and face the music for your gutlessness if the adulteress incumbent gets re-elected.
Let Ms. Jezebel Falliero face the intrepid women in your congregation: they will put this school-board floozy on the defensive in a second. She may be able to charm the men because she is pretty and has bottle-yellow hair and wears Motel 8 attire; but the women she can't fool or buffalo. If you don't discover a way to have Ms. Falliero and her two opponents plus the at-large District 6 candidates appear in a seminar providing information for the community, then you don't deserve your leadership roles. Leaders don't falter when the going gets tough. If you lack the courage for this task, pass the buck to one of the community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or the Kiwanis. Twist their arms. Cite Jesus. Jesus would have this seminar. Jesus was not a wussie when faced with evil.
Drop down on one knee and pray for any recalcitrants you arm-twist to have the seminar. That's the killer tactic of my Georgia born-again relatives. Any poor wretch who dares to say something in their presence that offends against their moral guidelines and Christian doxology will have the horror of seeing them drop down anywhere on their knees, even in the middle of Main Street, and pray over the sinner with not the slightest sense of this being engaged in inappropriate behavior. Then they will gather in their houses to congratulate each other on their intrepidity in snatching a soul from the grip of Satan. They will have cake and ice cream during this jubilation. Homemade cake: these are the best cooks in the world.
I am grateful for the fearless execution of my uncivilized Baptist relatives' example. They don't care what a citified Emily Post says. They know they are right in religious matters and will do anything to promote their conviction. What do they care that my fiddle-playing Daddy called these displays the "behavior of the town's Didos." Daddy read Greek and Roman classical literature and could drop these references about which nobody in the town knew what he was talking about except the Episcopal minister, who had to relocate to St. Mary's. Were it not for the mind-boggling example of such White Oak Baptists, who think nothing of dropping to their knees to pray over stubborn Christian apostates, I probably wouldn't be writing to y'all today. They are fearsome. Even the town's male filling-station culture is scared to death of them.
I trust the four handsome and brilliant caballeros whose pictures appear on the Home Page of your Web site are equal to the situation of the school-board race's vagaries.
If not, when the roll is called up yonder, your transcripts will show F's in the Moral Courage course. Try getting in the gate with that grade record. I hope Reverend Benny and Brothers Luis, Ken, and Billy realize that this epistle on the Hillsborough County School Board race is my version of Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians. Paul was the intellectual of the apostles; he was always going about with his tent-making business from town to town to proselytyze. When he left, he wrote letters back to the congregations he formed. Like Paul, I have given you data that you need to take a corrective interest in the school board races to elect people who will be in charge of the county's children's destinies. I still have not commented to you on your at-large District 6 incumbent's behavior on the board that makes her unacceptable for re-election. April Griffin's flaws are not as colorful as those of Jennifer Falliero, but her doings while on the board for two years make her unfit to continue along with Sister Falliero.
I hope that my data catalyze your taking a role in this election by educating Dover residents with a public forum for the District 4 and District 6 candidates. If not, I may have to resort to calling a bunch of my relatives down from our family church who drop to their knees and pray over recalcitrants at the slightest provocation. You don't want these fearless, unorthodox Christian fighters to board a Grey Hound bus (they are too poor to fly) and journey down to your parking lot to drop to their knees at the church's portico to pray over your church's apostasy from its Christian duty to expose evil in school-board incumbents' performance so that Dover citizens will know how to vote in the school board races on the next ballot.
Please let me know if I can provide more information. I have learned a considerable amount of startling data during my two-plus years monitoring of the board. Let me know especially if you sponsor a community seminar on the school board candidates of District 4 and 6. I need to be there to bear witness to the conduct of the community and to have a chance during Question Time to pose a telling query to Incumbent Falliero and her two opponents.
Pax vobiscum, Preacher Benny and Brothers Luis, Ken, and Billy.
With prayerful and hopeful adieux,
Lee Drury De Cesare 15316 Gulf Boulevard 802 Madeira Beach, FL 33708 firstname.lastname@example.org leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com