Friday, September 03, 2010

Latino Literature

Susan, in the Labor section of La Gaceta this week, there is an announcement that Norton has just published a Latino literature anthology.

Higher education widely uses Norton anthologies.

You and all the board can get an examination copy from the local salesperson of Norton.

Then you can talk to the English department heads about introducing an introductory course in Latino literature for talented 12-grade students as an elective.

I will help nag La Gaceta to publish some of the students' essays. lee de cesare

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run-off Candidates

The run-0ff candidates in RIP Falliera's district are White 37 percent and Bartels 30 percent.

In the run-off for this RIP Jennifer Falliero seat, there are Stacy White 37 percent and Bartels 30 percent.

Mr. Bartels appears on Facebook. He says that he is "tanned, rested, and ready." One is happy to hear this benign condition. Pharmacist White has a Website: therein a picture shows him to be spruce in white uniform of his calling as a de riguer pharmacist should be. Ms. Manners says so.

Dr. White gets off to a bad start with his banner of "Honesty, Integrity, and Accessibility." That is a fusty logo of ancient political vintage. It takes most candidates a little time before they revert to such threatbare rubrics of politics-as-usual.

An apparent political adept, Dr. White jumps into the political melee with his standard spiel all ready. He trumpets that his is a candidacy of "accessibility, honesty, and integrity." Such political shibboleth should make voters' hairs on the back of their necks stand up in a Darwinian response to danger.

First, Le White is not accessible. I called him directly after his announcement and asked him to call me back so that I could quiz him on his platform. He didn't return my call.

There goes the claim of "accessibility" down the chute. Moreover, it's dishonesty to claim accessibility and not be accessible. So Dr. White's has killed two birds with one stone: accessibility and honesty. He also claims to have "integrity." I doubt if this connoisseur of scripts and pills could define the word. It means "adherence to moral principles; soundness of character, honesty."

Dr. White has already blown "honesty" and "accessibility," so by default he cannot claim integrity. In fact, were I his client, I might feel the need to count my pills for one of Dr. White's prescriptions.

Dr. White goes from bad to worse in continuing his spiel on his Web site. It is gaseous hokum of the type that a person presents when he is too unsophisticated and too dishonest and too contemptuous of voters to say in plain English what he would do on the school board. We must watch the gentleman with a jaundiced eye.

In his favor is Dr. White's handsome family: Barbie, his pretty wife, two adorable little girls, and one precious little boy. How fortunate is this school-board obfuscator to have such a family if not accessibilty, honesty, and integrity.

I don't think Dr. White knows anything at all about the immoral running of the schools by the current board despite his having served his local schools in various capacities. My guess is that he does not want to know. He shows all the signs of being a congenital round heels. If he gets on the board, going along to get along and obeying Ms. Elia's edicts without blinking an eye will be his trademark.

I bet Le White doesn't know that the board pays the board attorney, Tom Gonzalez. $275,000 a year, highest in the state.

Le Gonzalez does not deserve this astronomical pay from taxpayers; he is mediocre at best. He did not graduate from the Number One school in the country, Yale; he graduated from the 56th: Florida State. His writing is so bad--grammar-punctuation errors that would flunk a ninth grader, not to mention a style of flatulent lawyerese featuring fusty diction: Gonzalez never uses one word when he can cram in ten: the more words, the higher taxpayer shakedown. So badly does the board attorney write that I rebuked the Florida State law school's writing faculty for graduating him to prey on the Florida populace.

All three board members during Gonzalez's hiring still hunker on the board--Olson, Lamb, and Kurdell. They rubber stamped Gonzalez's employment by Earl the Pearl Lennard. Earl the Pearl hired this third-rate legal specimen with no competition. The board did not advertise the job. The Pearl simply handed the board-attorney plum to Gonzalez with a wink and a nod in good-ol-boy fashion.

Yet board members piously opine on every piece of paper that circulates in the whirlwind of memos churned out in ROSSAC that it is "an equal-employment-opportunity employer." Maryellen Elia, who is running an F in Ethics 101, has continued Gonzalez's employment. My judgement says La Mary Ellen is not only unethical but lazy and so pusillanimous under her bluster that she fears challenging a past mess-up in hiring by her predecessor, Earl the Pearl. She probably calls Earl the Pearl at the Supervisor of Election sinecure to which Crist appointed the rascal to get permission to go to the bathroom.

Three board members who were original rubber stampers of this legal C student's employment --Olson, Lamb, and Kurdell--have never questioned Gonzalez's bloated pay. Nor have the four others, who have since joined the board and continued this outrageous misuse of public funds: Griffin, Valdes, RIP Falliera, and Ethridge. Not one has demanded a review of Gonzalez's employment because they suspected the board was overpaying him and wanted an accounting of the situation plus an accounting for the violation of the equal-employment opportunity laws in his hiring that they aver they follow. No board member has asked Mr. Valdez to do a salary study of state board attorneys to compare what Gonzales gets to what other school board attorneys get.

Etheridge was a principal in the schools so well knows what is going on from viewing it close up for years. She and Dr. Lamb are also double dippers in the retirement system and think it's just swell to rape the tax kitty for fun and profit whether for themselves or in overpaying the attorney. This behavior does not bespeak a high level of ethics. Ethridge is the only black on the board. She has not used that position to do diddly for black children. She's bucking to be an honorary whitey.

I have observed Mr. Gonzalez's performance for over two years. I recall a case's dealing with a wall's falling down in a newly built school. Apparent was that Gonzalez did not read the fine print of the contract so did not advise the board to get sufficient insurance. Who paid for that piece of legal carelessness? the taxpayers, of course.

RIP Falliera was board chair then, voted in by a board all of whom knew of her long-running adultery on school grounds and considered this background suitable for a school board chair. The dimwitted Falliera raged about how mad she was at the builder for the fallen wall. It did not occur to her to demand of Le Gonzalez: "And why didn't you advise us about this insurance situation, sir?"

It's not just whopping tax payouts for his louche legal advice with which taxpayers get stuck. Mr. Gonzalez messes up smaller things as well. Teacher Steve Kemp's job was on the line via a false Professional Standards charge for "child abuse," filed with the sheriff's office. At the same time, an administrator at King High who called pubescent boys into his office, ordered them to take off their shoes and socks, and demanded that they present him their feet to fondle would have got away with this outrage but for some fortuitous circumstances. The ToeCracker--probably because of a newspaper story-- had a sheriff's charge filed against him too.

If the administration could have gotten away with not filing any charge against the administrator ToeCracker with the sheriff , it would have. But a parent complained. So the board had to mime a virtue though its members had it not. The board and administration have an unspoken policy that no Professional Standards charge is ever filed against an administrator--only against teachers to shut them up from complaining about the vile ways the administration and board run the schools. The board and superintendent don't want the bad publicity this information's leaking out to the citizens might cause.

When the charges--one with a professional-standards charge against teacher Kemp, one without a professional-standards charge against the administrative Toe Cracker came back from the sheriff, the sheriff's recommendation was identical for both the Toe Cracker Fetishist and Teacher Kemp. But Mr. Gonzalez's not reading even these brief pieces of school-business prose resulted in his maintaining they were different. This outback mouthpiece got into an argument with the SPT reporter who had written that the Kemp and Toe Cracker charges were identical.

Then Mr. Gonzalez found out the reporter was right and rushed to file a redaction with the Professional Standards office. What makes me think that
OOp Gonzalez did not apologize to the reporter?

The administration refused to have the Foot Fetishist
Administrator get a valid psychological examination until a parent told the King principal he would file a lawsuit against the schools for negligence of children's safety if the administration did not have such an examination of the ToeCracker.

The ruse the board and administration pulled off to circumvent a valid examination by an outside psychiatrist was to have an in-house cipher with a some psychology credits conduct the examination. The result said the Toe Cracker had no foot-fetishism pathology. Had the in-house psychology factotum said otherwise, the wretch would have lost his or her job pronto. Hence, another board-administration rip-off of probity against the taxpayers and disinterest in the children's safety.

The Pinellas County school board attorney makes $175,00 a year and has a contract that outlines his duties. He is a full-time employee. Gonzalez does his work on the hourly plan whose rate he sets himself and then feeds into the tax-money machine the bloated amount he claims he has earned with no board supervision. Gonzalez has a written contract with USF and lord knows whom else. But the Hillsborough County school system is too naive and too indifferent to wasting tax money to require a lawyer contract to protect itself and citizens' money. And the board lets this legal leech suck money from the taxpayers without oversight.

I don't believe Gonzalez reads the board-related work on which he should to render valid opinions. Why should he? Nobody checks. I have been trying to get the folder under public information to read his opinions and work record for the schools. So far the excuse is that it does not exist, that he does everything orally. Does that make sense to the average citizen? Aren't taxpayers entitled to a written record to catalog this guy's claim of $275,000 per annum for his "work"? I will pursue this situation further under public information. Thank God for the public-records laws.

If the Hillsborough County board discharged Mr. Gonzalez, advertised the job as Title VII requires, and picked the best candidate, there is no reason why the taxpayers would not save at least $100,000 a year and get better legal representation. So much for the board's chorus of "saving every penny of taxpayer money."

I wonder if any of the board run-off candidates have the courage, the information, and the care for taxpayer rights to insist on this revelation in their election campaign? I heard that the board members and opponents discussed piffle at the Tiger Bay board program. Piffle is their milieu, not serious board business.

It seems that the only people who run for the school board are a bevy of mediocre wannabes who lust to occupy a public office for its social eclat and will go along to get along if elected. The educational backgrounds of board members are not impressive. Valdes and Griffin have no college degree at all; the rest have vapid degrees from outback institutions of no distinction whatsoever.

The board members make more than beginning teachers while claiming that they want teachers to get adequate compensation. Many school districts throughout the United States have school-board members serve as a community service. Try that protocol in Hillsborough County, and you will have a board ruckus explode about how they deserve to make more than teachers. The only time the late RIP Falliero exploded publicly occurred when a Tallahassee legislator threatened to lower school-board salaries.

I once confronted Jack Lamb, backed up by Candy Olson, at Tiger Bay to say that I objected to the recent board salary hike that put board members above teachers in pay. While Candy stood by and smirked--too gutless to pitch in herself--, Jack Lamb told me, in effect, to go back across the bay to the beach, where I now live, as if I were a wetback, intruding on Tampa Good Ol' Boy politics. Candy stood by and beamed approval of Lamb's blasting me. She doesn't have the guts to fight herself.

Between White and Bartels, I would choose Bartels. Go to the Bartels biography online to see what success he had as principal of Freedom High School. Here is a partial excerpt:


For over 100 years the nation, the city of New York, and the state of Florida have all benefited from my family’s long and rich tradition of public service. My Grandfather was a NYC firefighter; my Uncle and Cousin were veterans of the NYPD. My father, a veteran of three wars, served this nation for over twenty-three years while another uncle served his country as a Special Agent for the FBI.

I decided to enter this School Board race in order to make a difference and to serve the community in which I have lived since 1966. I offer a proven record of accomplishment and service as an instructional leader. In 2006 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Quality Assurance review team said of my leadership at Freedom High School, Mr. Bartels is a highly qualified, strong and decisive individual with a vision for academic excellence.

I am a native of Brooklyn New York; the son of a career serviceman, I lived in the Far East for five years. I attended military dependent schools in Japan and Okinawa, as well as public schools in Pennsylvania and Texas.

I earned my bachelors (BA) degree from the University of Tampa and my masters (MA) degree from the University of South Florida. I did additional graduate work at USF earning certification in Educational Leadership.

For nearly fourteen years I taught a myriad of Social Studies courses in the Hillsborough County Schools. In 1984 I was appointed Dean of Students at East Bay High School. Three years later, I was selected to become the first Assistant Principal for Curriculum at Bloomingdale High School. The then Superintendent, Dr. Earl Lennard, asked me to transfer to King High School, where I was appointed to the principalship.

During the 1,000 days that I served as Principal, King High School accomplished the following:

1) Newsweek ranked King as one of the top 100 schools in the nation.

2) Our school grade improved from a “C” to an “A” in 2001.

3) Additional Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment courses were added and the curriculum was strengthened.

4) Daily student attendance improved from 86% to 93%.

5) A Naval JROTC program was established

6) Enrollment in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program increased with 78% of IB graduates earning an IB diploma.

In 2002 I was selected to become the charter principal of Freedom High School. During my tenure Freedom accomplished the following:

1) Newsweek ranked us as one of the top schools in the Nation.

2) Our school grade improved from a “B” to an “A” in 2008.

3) Twenty Advanced Placement (AP) courses were offered.

4) A Naval JROTC program was established.

5) Freedom’s school newspaper was selected as the best HS paper in the Southeast.

6) 10 Million dollars in academic, athletic, and Performing Arts scholarships were awarded in 2008.

The only problem I see with the Bartels candidacy is that he was part of the school system while the board and Dr. Earl the Pearl were savaging Mr. Erwin for asking them to do something about the crime he had discovered emanating from ROSSAC. Mr. Erwin got no support from anybody in the schools. Members of the school family were scared to utter a peep of protest or to contact Mr. Erwin and at least give him verbal support. Courage is the least prominent virtue of the human race. After spending my professional life in colleges and universities, I can attest that high intelligence does not equate to high courage. The good news, however, is that without any inside support, Mr. Erwin won his whistleblower law suit against the schools, got $165,000 for the board's and the Pearl's crimes against him--paid by the taxpayers, of course, and escaped to the arcadian fields of bliss in South Georgia.

Tiger Bay kicked me out for asking harsh questions of the pols who showed up and for being "unladylike." lee

I will discuss the April Griffin run-off next. Lord help us if she gets re-elected. lee