Saturday, February 26, 2011

My function to put these at the bottom off the blog is on the fritiz, so I'm putting them here. lee

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Egypt's Crooks in Government Are Not the Only Loo...":

It is good for these crooks on the school board to know that even some people are onto their shenanigans. In the end they could care less, because they are shameless. Already everything you have reported about Tom Gonzalez, the entire school board, and MaryEllen Elia shows that these people are absolutely shameless and have not ethical compass. They probably don't care what others know or don't know. Still it has to be good for the world that they know that a few people know about their bad behavior, and you can bet that God knows. The entire ROSSAC building is probably going to hell one day!

Posted by Anonymous to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 10:51 AM

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Egypt's Crooks in Government Are Not the Only Loo...":

From: Anonymous []
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2011 3:30 PM
Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Going up the Ladder for Help.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Going up the Ladder for Help":

To the poster above:
Let me start by saying I do not personally know April Griffin’s son, or any of the other individuals that were commenting on the forum in which his tirade was spewed. It was publicly posted and I stumbled upon it by accident. This “Zac” could be a serial killer for all I know or care. That wasn’t the purpose of sharing the posts. Chase either did not have enough common sense to know that posting on other people’s FB wall (not marked private) may result in other unintended people reading it, or he didn’t care. That was poor judgment on his part. I assure you that my intent for reposting his rants was not to highlight some immature feud which people could care less about, but to bring light to the type of individual April Griffin has raised. I consider myself very well qualified to assess the values and character of others, as my line of work gives me daily contact with both parents and their children. I have found over my many years of working with young people that their words and actions do most often reflect the character of their parents. (This barring the few with PTS, personality disorders, and organic/biological conditions.) The posts by Chase do reveal an arrogant and spoiled child, who feels entitled to put down and bully others. He also seems extremely desperate for attention, and most likely suffers from some major insecurity in which he feels the strong need to overcompensate by either attacking or acting superior to others. It's not a huge leap to assume this is a result of either poor accountablity at home or faulty modeling. Keep in mind that this forum is for shedding the light on the dark side of the school system. By being a public figure on the school board, April Griffin opens herself up for close examination. This includes family. If Chase is too ignorant to understand the responsibility that brings, then he is either excessively self-centered, or seriously misguided.
April would be wise to either cancel or closely monitor his account from this point on. He might not have the self-restraint needed to make the right choices, and she doesn't need another layer of hypocrisy revealed.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Egypt's Crooks in Government Are Not the Only Looters of Public Money

NYT story below on Cuomo's lowering superintendents' sky-high salaries reminds us of the situation in Hillsborough County.

Elia's salary is a bloated $300,000, The board lowered the Ph.D. to her master's to hire her; it turned down candidates with the requisite terminal PH.D. and plentiful, varied experience.

Elia's experience was in the only supervisory jobs she had in the Hillsborough County school system. This supervisory job revealed Elia's having overbuilt classrooms and letting a real-estate scam operate under her nose that a SPT reporter walked in off the street, spotted, and wrote about.

I have asked for Ms. Elia's hiring record and that of Tom Gonzalez. whose $275,000 salary is the highest among the state board attorneys. Gonzalez has no contract: he apparently submits billable hours, and the money comes pouring out of tax coffers with no question. It's like the $5o million a day pouring into Mubarak and his thugs' hands.

The SP School Board's attorney makes $175,000 a year, he has a definitive contract of duties, and works an 8-hour day. Gonzalez's having no contract means that he can and does contract other work such as South Florida business.

I requested the Elia-Gonzalez hiring information three times of the Public Affairs office. Absolute silence. Finally, I wrote to the attorney general of Florida to complain. The answer to the AG's inquiry from Ms Cobbe was that she had never received the requests for public information from me when they sit right now in my computer's files, showing I sent them to her.

Ms. Cobbe had sent me public information before--sometimes with a little snippiness on her part and nudging on mine. So this behavior puzzled.

My inference for this lie about the Public Information office's not receiving my requests is that Ms. Cobbe is scared to mess with the Elia and Gonzalez employment files because she might get fired for doing so. Firing for ticking off Elia is a regular ritual in ROSSAC. People walk on eggs.

I infer Ms. Cobbe was scared to mess with the Elia or Gonzalez files for fear of losing her job. The law said she should fulfill a citizen's request for information, but her ROSSAC experience told her she would be on dangerous ground when she delved into Elia's and Gonzalez's job files. That's how jobs are lost in ROSSAC: Ms. Elia throws a lightning bolt at the culprit, and it's curtains.

The board knows about this ongoing obscenity of vicious treatment of employees and does nothing to rein in Ms. Elia as the public believes the board members do. I further believe that the reason the board looks the other way at termination-of-employees times is that the quid pro quo that Elia and the board worked out at Elia's hiring said that Elia wouldn't mess with board perquisites or incumbency and that the board members wouldn't mess with how Elia ran the schools and treated its personnel. No Ph.D. from Columbia, having read and believing Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, would sign off on such thuggish exchange of favors. The ritual is a little like a Mafia practice except that Ms. Elia doesn't tell some ROSSAC thug to make the offender sleep with the fishes but instead tells the employee victim to see Mr. Otero for termination of employment. The Mafia's ritual is more elegant and venerable. Unfortunately, Florida state law makes the administration and board masters in the employment area.

This note reminds everybody that there are resources to ensure that you get public information requested. When you have done your best to cooperate with ROSSAC and if its minions dig in their heels, squawk. Tattle. Rat out. Go up the chain of command for help.

This is America. That is what public officials are for: to help us citizens see that bureaucrats obey the law.

Note the NYT article below about Cuomo's lowering superintendents' salaries. Elia's is $125,000 over Cuomo's limit. I bet the whole ROSSAC gang has bloated salaries. Yet the complicit board keeps upping these ROSSAC payoffs no matter if the economy is on its last legs, especially Elia's: she gets the "bonus" that Earl the Pearl Lennard set up for his greedy little self for teachers' upping students test scores. God forbid that teachers get a raise. Naturally, the board continued that bonus-for-teachers' work obscenity for La Elia.

The money has bought no elegance for Elia. There's a limit to what a St. John knit can do for you. Eliae continues to look like a squat, dumpy Russian peasant woman coming off a barley field after a hard day of shucking--or whatever peasants do to barley.

Let's see if one board member has the courage to call for a review of ROSSAC's across-the-board loot and make it harmonize with the crippled economy and also demand a review of the reputed order to bus drivers and other low-level employees that a reader wrote me about, which, she says, had their salaries lowered but their work load remained the same.

Information like that makes me want to have somebody sleep with the fishes.




Cuomo, Pushing School Cuts, Offers a Target: Superintendent Salaries

Carole G. Hankin, the schools superintendent in Syosset on Long Island, made an unexpected cameo appearance in Albany last week: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cast her salary as a prime example of wasteful spending by school districts.

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo suggested that school superintendent salaries were too high.


Mr. Cuomo did not mention Dr. Hankin by name in his budget address, but he did offer her salary: $386,868, more than the pay of any other superintendent in the state. “I applied for that job,” the governor joked, adding that he had decided to run for governor, which pays $179,000, only after he had been rejected.

Mr. Cuomo’s remarks came as he presented a budget calling for a $2.85 billion reduction in local school aid, a proposal that has already drawn fierce criticism from educators. But the governor offered some criticism of his own for school officials.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said that school districts had enough means to withstand the decline in state financing, and pointedly suggested that they look at whether they are spending too much on their own bureaucracy.

More than 40 percent of New York State’s superintendents earn at least $200,000 each year in salary and benefits, Mr. Cuomo said.

“I understand that they sometimes have to manage budgets, and sometimes the budgets are difficult,” he said. “But why they get paid more than the governor of the state I really don’t understand.”

Mr. Cuomo repeated his joke about coveting Dr. Hankin’s job in encore presentations of his budget plan in Purchase, in Westchester County, and in Amherst, near Buffalo.

“We have $500,000 school superintendents,” he told reporters after his appearance in Purchase. “We can’t pay those kinds of salaries.”

Mr. Cuomo is not the only governor grappling with deep financial problems who has singled out school district leaders.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is imposing a cap of $175,000 on most superintendents’ salaries, depending on district enrollment, and Mr. Cuomo’s criticism raised the specter that he might pursue a similar path.

A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, John Milgrim, declined to discuss whether the governor was considering a cap of his own. Mr. Milgrim would say only that despite the proposed school-aid cut, Mr. Cuomo believed that layoffs “are not inevitable and that school districts have numerous ways they can bring down costs and be more efficient, including a reining in of salaries of superintendents and other administrative personnel.”

As attorney general, Mr. Cuomo investigated cases of school administrators who earned salaries and pensions simultaneously, a practice known as double dipping. Aides to Mr. Cuomo suggested that the governor viewed superintendent salaries as another example of government spending that is far beyond the state’s means given the fiscal conditions.

But the issue of school administrators’ salaries also offers an alternate villain to parents angry about the governor’s proposed cuts to school aid.

Whatever Mr. Cuomo’s motivation, his comments upset some school superintendents.

“The state and the schools are facing difficult times that ultimately require strong leadership,” said Robert N. Lowry Jr., the deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. “Superintendents are trying to provide that leadership, and in many districts, they have passed up raises or made other concessions to save money for their districts and also to set an example.”

Mr. Lowry noted that the average salary for a superintendent — about $163,000 last year — was far from the figures Mr. Cuomo has been citing. (The national average is about $160,000, according to the Educational Research Service.)

Mr. Lowry added that the dollar savings from reducing superintendent pay would amount to an insignificant sum in comparison with Mr. Cuomo’s cut to local school aid. Billy Easton, the executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, which opposes the school-aid cut, sounded a similar note.

“There is a huge disconnect,” Mr. Easton said, “between the governor focusing on the top 1 percent of superintendent salaries and offering a fiscally irrational tax cut to people making the same amount of money, or 10 times that.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going up the Ladder for Help

Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
the Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

Dear General Bondi:

I enclose an open-records request to the Hillsborough county school board’ public affairs director, Linda Cobbe, who is supposed to fulfill these requests.

I asked for this information first three months ago and have asked for it three times subsequently. Ms. Cobbe has not acknowledged my requests.

Could your office intervene and get the Hillsborough County schools to render the material I have requested?

Thank you.


Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

January 12, 2011

Ms. Cobbe:

Please provide me with the following public information. This is my 3rd request for these data according to my records:

The hiring history of Ms. Elia, including the applications of her competitors as well as the application of Ms. Elia; copies of the advertising done and in what national organs and at what cost to the taxpayers; a copy of the stenographic notes of the board’s exhanges on the hiring of Ms. Elia, especially the conversation about lowering the Ph.D. requirement to a master’s, Ms. Elia’s terminal degree;

The hiring history of Mr. Tom Gonzalez, including the advertising of the job and the cost to taxpayers of that required advertising; the applications of Mr. Gonzalez and of other attorneys for the job; any discussion recorded stenographically of the board’s remarks during the attorney’s hiring conference(s); This is my second request for this material;

The school’s court records of the Renee Anderson case;
this is my second request for these data.

Thank you. When you have assembled these documents, please email me, and I will come in from the beach to review them.

Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom De Cesare []
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 6:39 PM
To: ''
Subject: FW:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Behind Closed Doors

Student Renee Anderson, victim of vicious board expulsion process

Deadly triplets of sadism: Doretha Edgcomb, board chair; Robert Heilman, Riverview principal; Kenvin Massena, Riverview vice principal

Administration Literacy on Web Display

Heilmann's resume on the school Web site:

Mr. Robert Heilmann: Remedial Englilsh Candidate (from his Web blurb)

Mr. Robert Heilmann became an educator in 1972, no comma: splits compound verb and has taught Elementary no cap PE, Social Studies, No caps and English. After earning a Masters’ lowercase; singular possessive: apostrophe “s” Degree lower case in Counselor Education lower case and in Educational Leadership lower case; double introductory prepositional phrases- comma: he served as a Guidance Counselor lower case and was an Assistant Principal lower case for Student Affairs lower case at East Bay High School.

When the opportunity to help launch a brand new hyphenated adjective high school arose, Mr. Heilmann was instrumental in opening stilted diction: use “helped begin” our new Riverview High School as the Assistant Principal lower case for Curriculum. lower case After the retirement of Riverview’s first principal comma: nonrestrictive appositive J. Vince Thompson, Mr. Heilmann became principal in January 2001. During his educational career, he has coached baseball, hockey, cross country, and track. He has also officiated high school and college soccer games for 34 years. Mr. Heilmann had the distinction of serving on the U.S. international panel of referees capitalize panel's name for the sport of soccer from 1991-1994 (each country possessive before gerund having only seven officials).

Guess what subject Heilmann taught once? Would you believe English? Presently, there is a somber ongoing study {courtesy of a misuse of the million-dollar Gates Grant} to examine and codify teachers' pedalogical maneuvers to diagnose good teachers and bad teachers. The administrators conducting the study are the same ones who hired Heilmann to teach English.

Heilmann should never teach English. He should take English. He should enroll at once in one of Riverview's 9th-grade English classes. The English faculty must take him in hand and teach him basic literacy.

My hope is that the Riverview English faculty will trap Mr. Heilmann in study hall and teach him basic grammar and punctuation.

The Riverview physical ed scholars with an assist from the ROTC specialists should cuff Massena around a bit and tell him to stop whining when a female student brushes past him to go home from school.

These teachers must not leave any petechiae or purpura on Le Massena's extensive person, however. If purpura or petechiae turn up, Tom Gonzalez will run, not walk, to the court house to file charges against the inflicters of these harmless lesions.

The charge will be aggravated assault meriting, Tom wil aver, triple damages. Taxpayers will pony up for these suits and any pain-and-suffering extra-goodies charges that Gonzalez can get a jury to buy. Luckily, his court record shows that jurors don't like Le Gonzalez. Only when he has a complicit judge as in the Renee Anderson appeal does he win.

I do not discourage homilies to both of these two reluctant scholars, Heilmann and Massena, in Standard English. Latin adepts may employ the classical tongue to deliver their homilies while the rest of us stand around and look proud that we have such giants of scholarship in our ranks. If somebody could deliver a lecture in classical Greek, I would faint with pleasure.

No brothel locutions are allowed, no exceptions. One knows that the brothel clients were mostly aristocrats, but that doesn't matter. Stick to the rule.

We teachers have a tradition of erudition to maintain. And there'll be . So I want to hear of no language stronger than that employed in the alleys and docks of Elizabethan England; one does not have to be prissy but does not indulge in crude locutions, period. Offenders against these rules will see me in my office after class, bringing their linguistics textbooks. We will cover the chapter on correct use of the demotic as punishment for defections from scholarly English.

Lee, Professor at HCC for 28 years, a long time to serve in the hills and dales of the comma splice, the run-on sentence, and the dreaded dangling modifier. And, oh, the terror of the nominative absolute.

We teachers must never forget that John Adams said that "a teacher affects eternity. Adams didn't say an administrator affects eternity or that a board member affects eternity. He said that teachers affect eternity. He also said, "One never knows when a teacher's influence stops." Not recorded but Adams as well said, "Don't let Heilmann get away with trashing language and abusing students black or white. Don let Massena get away with crybaby charges against a female student whom he was trying to pen up in his office" with his 240 pounds of administrative authority.


Doretha Edgecomb, Principal Robert Heilmann, and Kenneth Massena all played roles in the savage suspension of student Renee Anderson, ignoring the handbook suspension rules. I believe that all students suffer in the expulsion gauntlet. But black children suffer expulsion one and one-half times as frequently as do white children. That's racism.

Sadistic, Unthinking Student

Ponder student Renee Anderson’s mistreatment during her expulsion. Here follow highlights of her ordeal

--Renee saw a fight between two friends and tried to break it up; she was assumed engaged in the fight without checking with her. Vice Principal Massena took her to his office, where he kept her. He barred her exit by standing in the door. Mr. Heilmann had told him to “keep her there so that I can come and suspend her”
--The ovrlords gave Renee no chance to defend herself.

--Principal Hellmann instead chased Renee across the parking lot of Riverview High School, yelling at her, “Get off my school grounds! Get off my school grounds!’

--The 240=pound Vice Principal Massena immured Renee in his office, barring the door by standing in it, and told the cops that Renee had committed “aggravated assault” on him when she brushed past to go home as her mother had told her to do in a cell-phone call; The claim is ridiculous.;

--Hellmann had called the cops before he left his office, presupposing Renee’s guilt;

--That Principal Heilmann, supposed to monitor arrests so that the police don’t abuse the student, stood by while the cops arrested Renee and cuffed her;

---Renee spent the night in lock-up without anybody’s bothering to hear her side of the story still;

--- Mr. Kenneth Otero claimed he was unable to deliver a notice of the board hearing of Renee’s case to Renee’s parents because it did not occur to him that the Waltons had left their forwarding address at the post office when they moved to another city so that Renee could have a more wholesome environment in which to finish her high school degree;

--The board did not bother to ensure that the Waltons and Renee would appear at a hearing that expulsion procedure guarantees a student and did not do a follow-up inquiry on their absence;

-- Ms. Edgecomb, the board’s only black member and resident Aunt Tom, is especially guilty of the abuse of a black child whom she especially should ensure gets fair treatment because she knew that black children are one and one-half times more likely to be suspended than white children.

--The board treated Renee’s tragedy as just one more ho-hum consent-agenda item for which to punch the green button during the board meeting with no board member’s--especially Ms. Edgecomb‘s--bothering to ask where Renee and her parents were for the hearing and instructing Mr. Otero to renew his efforts to get a notice to them.

Overheard Patter of Who’s Minding the Store


Author lee outside Florence on her way to see David and get Machiavelli’s autograph on her copy of The Prince. She will also to ask Machiavelli which chapter in The Prince covers abuse of students and denial their Constitutional Rights by school boards.

Hillsborough County School Board Jobs Racket

The below comment by a Casting-room Couch reader adds another dimension to the discussion of board performance.

Edgecomb has one goal and that is to not make trouble for her daughter who is an Assistant Principal or maybe now a Principal. Whenever someone does or doesn't do something it is usually for personal gain. In this case she is protecting her daughter. Supposedly, her daughter worked under a principal who got arrested for drugs on campus. Word on the street is that Edgecomb's daughter knew about this and should have reported it but didn't. Corruption lives on!

This information suggests that the major reason Ms. Edgecomb ran for the board was to protect her daughter’s career. It certainly wasn’t her goal to help black children as the Renee Anderson case and Ms. Edgecomb‘s record of silence on the protection of black children in the schools well demonstrate.

Edgecomb should have protested the Gates grant‘s use for scrutiny of teachers’ classroom performance as if pedagogical style were quantifiable. The data from this exercise will find use as another of the administration’s weapons against teachers--as another way to threaten their jobs if they don’t shut up and never criticize the administration and board. It will not help teachers be better in the classroom but will assist the board and administration’s joint efforts to shut them up and make them ciphers in the system.

Had Edgecomb cared that black children in the schools are suspended at higher rates than white children, are more likely to be labelled retarded, are less likely to earn honors, and less likely to graduate on time
one and one half times less likely than white students, she would have insisted that the Gates grant go to investigating this pathology. But Ms. Edgecomb is content to be the board resident Aunt Tom, never mentioning that minority children need her attention and sponsorship.

Jack Lamb also has a daughter in the school system administration whom he hedges round with his board status, I believe. Candy Olson is reputed to arrange jobs for people. I heard that one job Candy engineered was for an exotic dancer who intervened with the police (one dares not speculate why an exotic dancer would have clout with police) in a DUI of one of Olson’s children. Olson was supposed to have gotten this exotic dancer a job as teacher in the system thereafter. If this story is in error, I would like to hear Olson deny it. The board and administration hides and doctors information so assiduously that you have to listen to scuttlebutt to get an idea of what is really going on.

Mr. Lamb sits in morose composure on the board dais. The only time he came alive in my memory was when I spoke against his using school board secretarial help and board stationery to ask the mayor to lower his condo‘s water bill. He came off his seat and would have vaulted the desk to throttle me had he not been too fat for the maneuver. He had to content himself with telling me to “Stay across the bay [my husband and I live on Madeira Beach] and don’t come over here any more.” Le Jack made it sound as if as if I were a wet back swimming to the US from South America.

Hiring scams rank a major perquisite of the board and superintendent job: it consists of hiring no-talent relatives, buddies, and assorted dindongs usually for pricey administrative perches for which they they have not a scintilla of preparation or education.

A reader points out how the money bled to hire people as a favor, not as an employment necessity hurts the marginal workers in the system. They are too frightened and too unsophisticated to protect themselves:

Governor Scott has invited Supt. Elia from Hillsborough County to be his advisor so to speak about education as the SDHC has been so succcessful! What has been kept quiet is that all support personnel such as paraprofessionals, bus drivers, etc. must take a mandatory 3 day pay cut and still work them because the coffers have run dry. Talk about mismanagement! The union is doing nothing about it of course. Because of the economy, no one dares stand up! They always go after the weakest.

And then there is the scam of creating jobs at taxpayer expense. Elia hired the former assistant superintendent Jim Hamilton after he retired to rev up his consulting firm to milk schools he had been in contact with in his years of mooching off the taxpayers as a high-level administrator despite never having learned the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

The marginally literate Hamilton got his Hillsborough County schools lobbying slot without Elia’s justifying it with a needs study. God forbid that the board cared enough to demand a needs study for one of these superfluous buddy jobs that soak taxpayers. But a few respirations past their coming into office, they roll over and assume board group think. Elia’s word is law to these board layabouts.

I heard “you’re” “your” Hamilton’s pay clocked in at between $64,000 and $94,000 a year. That’s buddy pay. It didn’t come out of Ms. Elia’s pocket but the pockets of the taxpayers. So why should she care?

The board never thinks to ask for a needs study for any of Ms. Elia’s jobs-program positions.

Hamilton’s wife divorced him because he pushed through then-doxie Connie Mileto’s candidacy for the Tallahassee position despite her being a kindergarten teacher. This was one of those baleful There’s-no-fool-like-an-old-fool sagas, with Ms. Mileto having in addition to her kindergarten certificate a PH.D. in fooling an old fool to climb the ladder to a job for which she lacked credentials.

A candidate with a political degree or a history degree should have gotten that job. Now, thanks to Ms. Elia’s hiring him with no competition for the unneeded extra lobbying job which Mileto’s job is supposed to encompass, Hamilton and Mileto are back in Tallahassee as lobbying pas de deux. I guess this means his poor wife, who had remarried the old goat incredibly enough, will now have to divorce him again.

Ms. Elia’s job-creation lockdown recently resulted in a job created for the principal Smith in the Alafia brouhaha. The parents refused to have Smith principal any more, and even Elia’s promising them that she would send both Smith and her vice principal to Eckerd for a personality makeover at $4500 a pop of tax money if they would keep Smith did not propitiate them.

So because the administration and board couldn’t stand the bad Alafia publicity’s being printed by the usually somnolent press, Elia sent Lie-about-educational credentials GED Griffin and former board member Motel-breath Jennifer Falliero out to Alafia to a secret rendezvous with Smith to lure her to resign her job with the understanding that Elia would create an empty job but at full principal pay and benefits as compensation.

GED Griffin suffers the delusion that she is a superior diplomat and that this diplomatic mission to Smith was just one more illustration of how Bismarck should roll over in his grave in envy of her diplomatic acumen. What Griffin engaged in was sneaking, lying, and sticking the taxpayers whom she is supposed to serve with another manufactured, empty job to solve a political problem.

The SPT interviewed La Griffin over the Christmas holiday. Not only did it report that she lied to the SPT but also had cheated the state out of the fees she left on the books when she exited several years ago.
Stealing money from the taxpayers that pay her a bloated salary for sitting on the dais during monthly meetings is bad enough. But stiffing a community college that runs on tax funds is out-and-out theft. So if GED Griffin does not want to have “thief” added to her resume “liar,” she must pay this tax money to HCC.

Griffin should get her degree. With two universities and a community college available, she could do it if she buckled down and stopped blaming her mother’s multiple marriages for her failure to have to have the get up and go to earn her degree. When you are over 40, you must stop blaming your parents for your adult failures. Grown-ups don’t blame their parent for not getting a degree or anything else the person is responsible for.

Harsh reader comments on the SPT article in Tampa Bay Online blog on Griffin’s lying about her meager education show this scam did not please the public. Some wrote to say they it shocked them that a school board member lacked a college degree. There are many things one without a college education can do, but board member of a school system is not one of them. Griffin’s true history shows she should not be on a school board because if she does not value her own education, she doesn’t value that of the county’s students.

April’s case is worse than not having a college degree. She dropped out of high school and took a GED. Is it good for students that Griffin, who should be a role model for them, dropped out of high school, that she did not bestir herself to go parttime and get her degree, that she lied to the press about her education when she ran for office, and that she stiffed a state-supported junior college at which she attended briefly? No and no and no and no.

Then when Griffin lies her way onto the board, she pitches in to help Elia pull off a covert scam that soaks taxpayers and diminishes bad publicity for Elia and board members so that they can keep the public in the dark and retain their power over tax money that pours into ROSSAC and retain such perks as handing out jobs to unqualified relatives, best buds, and peripatetic n’er do wells so that unqualified, lackadaisical people bestrew ROSSAC who, when they can’t do their jobs (recall bus crisis) because of lack of smarts and/or lack of education, must have pricey consultants fly in and teach them their jobs with flash cards. Taxpayers fund this on-the-job training for the unfit in positions with bloated pay without the skills to justify it.

The false job offer that GED Griffin and Motel Breath Falliero peddled to Alafia Smith worked. Smith got the pretend job that Elia pulled out of the dirty-tricks hat and is probably sitting somewhere in the book depository now paring her nails.

I asked for the job’s description as public information. After about two weeks had given personnel honcho Valdez the time to fake one, I got a copy of the job description; then I asked who inhabited the job before Smith: no answer. QED: it’s an out-of-thin-air job devised by Elia at taxpayer expense to solve a bad-publicity problem. The board has endowed Elia with this create-jobs perquisite as part of the superintendent’s benefits. Board members don’t care enough about taxpayers to stop the Board Consent Agenda rolling belt, lift off the job, and ask for a needs study and other justification for the job. Any board member who did would get the pounding that GED Griffin got from Carol Kurdell and Candy Olson when Griffin, in the first throes of idealism after she joined the board, asked that a non-bid contract come off the Consent Agenda for scrutiny. This request raised he hackles of the board’s two ancient crones who guard the ancient methods of wrongdoing that comprises what Ms. Edgecomb in a rhetorical flight into the nut region of the stratosphere calls “institutional memory.” They gave Griffin a tongue lashing, accusing her of “being disloyal to the staff.” Griffin, not the brightest crayon in the box, lacked the wit and spunk to tell Olson and Kurdell that she served the public, not the staff. So distressed did this Kurdell-Olson make Griffin that she curled up into a protective ball and has never emerged except to do Ms. Elia’s bidding. This roll over apparently occurs in every new board member and the public bedamned.

We’re talking about what those in charge of taxpayer money considering it play money that the board and administration use to make up jobs and pass them out to relatives, hangers-on, and sycophants to preen their power by abusing their control of tax monies. For them, tax money is play money.

One would say this behavior is unethical and perhaps criminal. But the unspoken rule is that administrators never get punished no matter what they do; but if a teacher had been discovered to know about drug activities of another school employee as was the case alleged about Ms. Etherege’s daughter and if a teacher had failed to report the situation--even it were apocryphal as Edgecomb‘s daughter’s case perhaps was, that teacher would be the object of a lightening-fast Professional Standards Gestapo shake down and would be out the door on unemployment compensation before you could say “administrative perks.”

The Edgecomb offspring had not only the tradition of never punishing administrators to rely on in the drug situation but also enjoyed the protection of being a child of a board member. Board attorney Tom Gonzalez would have temporarily ceased slurping soda and chomping chips on the podium and rushed to dip into his mouthpiece bag of tricks to construct a footnote to a footnote to make Elia’s daughter not only guiltless for covering up a dangerous drug situation but also being beatified to boot along with a first Nobel recommendation signed by all the board and administration who have only recently learned what a Nobel

One significant way that the board and administration keep teachers oppressed is this tactic of job threats via the Professional Standards gauntlet. I asked for files on teachers’ Professional Standards charges: I got a stack. I asked for administrator files with Professional Standards charged lodged against them: zilch. Thus the board and administration have the power to keep teachers silent with a targeted program of Professional Standards charges making them fear losing their jobs. This sicko sadistic power gives the board and administration the control of teachers’ ability to earn a livelihood. This power renders teachers quiet.

The heads of Professional Standards is Linda Kipley, whom I have observed wearing see-through plastic baby dolls on the job. She was principal at Hillsborough High, but she was so bad that teachers refused to go into a conference with her unless equipped with a recorder so likely is Kiplely to lie and manufacture things that have not occurred in an interview.

So bad the situation got at Hillsborough that the superintendent and her thugs switched Kipley into the head of Professional Standards. Kipley has a home-ec degree that sunsetted in the Pleistocene Age in the academic world yet Kipley occupies a vital, extravagantly paid position that should require a psychology or criminal justice degree or at least some degree with more academic heft that a home ec certificate. The job description did say it requires a master’s-degree job, but Ms. Elia ignored the formula for a creature she could manipulate to file empty charges against teachers to keep them mum. That was the maneuver Kipley pulled off in my friend Bart Birdsall’s case. He spoke out in the community against the strictures put on gays’ use of the county libraries passed by the Hillsborough County Commission under the urging of Rhonda Storms. Besides, Ms. Elia can overrule any education prerequisite. People crawl out on all fours when leaving her office so powerful is the position she has of not only telling the school employees what to do but also telling her putative pusillanimous board bosses where to get off. So shallow is the board’s mental capacity that it does not know what degrees signify and thus avoid the subject at all costs, going by the instructions of a Ouija board behind the board dais.

The Professional Standards head job got no advertising despite the ubiquitous assurance from the board that it is “an equal-employment-opportunity employer.” This lack of competition for job hires violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and violates as well the federal contracts that the school has that all require affirmative action plans for disabled people and equal-opportunity protocols.

But what are federal laws when pitted against the fulsome powers of the Hillsborough County School Board and administration quidnuncs?

Delusions of grandeur burgeon a side affliction that the board and administration rapidly acquire. We are talking about little people who acquire a little power and don’t know how to handle it.

It’s Alice in Wonderland big time in the ROSSAC country on the other side of the looking glass. The superintendent creates buddy jobs ad lib. Not one board member has ever asked for a needs study to prove these empty jobs are needed. Not one has ever suggested that the superintendent can one of these unneeded buddy jobs. Not one board member has ever rebuked Ms. Elia for this money-eating practice either publicly on the board podium or in her yearly evaluation. So the board is complicit in funding bogus jobs that strain the budget and could find use in not reducing the pay of bus drivers and other marginal workers; or it cound find use in supplying student needs.


Email from Doris Raskin, appeal attorney for Renee Anderson:

From: Doris Landis Raskin []
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 11:16 AM

Renee's case is concluded unjustly and unfairly. The appellate court found a completely new fact, i.e., that the board had offered Renee an alternative placement. If that were true, we would never have filed a case. When a case is decided at the appellate level, the only thing left is an appeal to the Supreme Court. There is no jurisdictional issue for the Supreme Court. The appellate court tanked it by finding a fact not in evidence.

Thank you for your kind words. I am not proud of the writing, but I am proud of the content. Cases are not decided on how well the brief is written, but the legal issues, the application of the facts to the issues, and the rule of law. In Renee's case, I believe it was decided on personalities. Susan Bucklew, a favorite of the appellate court, and a former high school English teacher in the defendant school system who had to know all of the good old boys involved, should have recused herself, but didn't. I didn't know about her until I read her wild hair of a decision and did some research.

Doris Landis Raskin

January 12, 2011

Ms. Cobbe:

Please provide me with the following public information. This is my 3rd request for these data according to my records:

The hiring history of Ms. Elia, including the applications of her competitors as well as the application of Ms. Elia; copies of the advertising done and in what national organs and at what cost to the taxpayers; a copy of the stenographic notes of the board’s exhanges on the hiring of Ms. Elia, especially the conversation about lowering the Ph.D. requirement to a master’s, Ms. Elia’s terminal degree;

The hiring history of Mr. Tom Gonzalez, including the advertising of the job and the cost to taxpayers of that required advertising; the applications of Mr. Gonzalez and of other attorneys for the job; any discussion recorded stenographically of the board’s remarks during the attorney’s hiring conference(s); This is my second request for this material;

The school’s court records of the Renee Anderson case;
this is my second request for these data.

Thank you. When you have assembled these documents, please email me, and I will come in from the beach to review them.

Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom De Cesare []
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 6:39 PM
To: ''
Subject: FW: