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Thank You to the Party Hacks (Dolts)

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Thank You to the Party Hacks (Dolts)

May 21, 2009 - 02:51
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It's hard to imagine there could be a dumber class of citizens in this city. Much like the troll from a few weeks ago, everytime you attempt to string a coherent sentence together to rail against this site, you wind up providing more and more support for the site. In a simpleminded way you keep blaming Mr Cox for the voices of people who want to express a different point of view. Instead of blaming Mr Cox, maybe we should blame Al Gore for inventing the internet. The more you and your ilk open your mouths, the more importance you give to this site by showing the public just how sheepish and narrow minded some folks can be. That is why a site like this is so important. YOU are why this site exists. Joe Stalin and Ho Chi Min would be proud of you all. (hold up your little red book now). Everything posted on this site by Bob, and others has been, at the very least, as true as anything you read in the Journal News. In fact, there are stories here that the JN is afraid to print, or have been told not to print. Isn't that better for the community? (Oh , that's right, you have to check with someone before you answer). Anyhow, to jump up and down and brag how your "side" won shows the mentality of a gradeschooler who just won their first dodgeball game. It's not about who's side won, it's about what's right for the city and the kids and many people have different opinions about that. No one from the "dolt squad" has made one single point to their credit. What does THAT tell us? Like it or not this site, Mr Cox,NRCP, Warren, Peggy, Bruce,NRObjectivist, a host of others, and even yours truly, will be all around you, under your skin, shining the light on the truth while the sheep stay close to the herd, waiting for a dog to point the way for you. I truly feel sorry for you.
Change comes slowly, but it comes. Three of the underserved districts voted the budget down. More voters than in the previous year. More free thinking candidates than before. The board was forced to make the budget lower than they wanted, and had to lobby harder than ever before. Now THAT is change in the works.
So thank you dolt squad, you make the mission soooo easy everytime you babble on.(are you all products of the NR school system?)
"The death knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for it's interests, as oposed to the interests of others" Teddy Roosevelt
We'll be watching. 50,000 readers can't be wrong, right?

There are 15 Comments

Robert Cox's picture

It may well be that most New Rochelle residents approve of the way the administration and board run the school system. It may be that most residents want increases in the budget, expanded programs and more pay for teachers, administrators and staff. But we are never going to know when 3,600 people come to the polls.

District apparatchiks want to claim that not voting is the same as supporting the budget and the district leadership. You might convince me that people not voting is akin to abstaining but it is wishful thinking on their part of imagine that because a registered voter does not vote that means they support the budget. By that logic, it would mean if a budget is rejected then all the non-voters were against the budget. If THAT were true then there would be no reason to require a second budget vote since by this logic had the vote totals reversed it would mean the budget failed by 2,200 v. 37,800.

The solution is obvious.

If the school district really cares about voter turnout then they ought to spend a couple hundred dollars to place signs similar to those placed on all of the public school buildings all around town -- entrances to NR, busy intersections, public buildings like City Hall and places that people "must" go to like grocery stores, gas stations and public transportation points like bus stops and the train station.

If the school district does not do this then it will be up to concerned citizens to make this effort. I have no doubt that we could raise a bit of money for the purpose next spring.

Who would be dumb enough to vote 'no' for their own raises? I'm sure the 1,420 'no' voters don't have school district jobs; if they have jobs left at all they need to pay for their mortgages not for other peoples raises. If this bad economy is as 'temporary' as our newly-elected library trustee has portrayed it; then the increases could easily have been 'temporarily' put off until next year's budget.

Seven hundred and twenty votes doesn't sound like a landslide.

Glad someone else said it !
CJFNR

Robert Cox's picture

I am not aware of any way to find this out but it might be possible to determine how many of the 2,200 district employees live in New Rochelle; that would be a start. I would not assume that all employees who vote all vote to support the budget or the official candidates but it is likely a high percentage.

Ironically the head of the PTA could not vote because he lives in Yonkers.

The Superintendent did not vote because he lives in Westbury. None of the Assistant Superintendents voted because they don't live here either. The medical director did not vote here because she lives in Larchmont. So I guess you mean how many of the "rank and file" voted.

Look, there is no point in crying over spilled milk.

The only people who are actually organized on this issue are supporters of the school district - the schools themselves, the administration, the teachers union, the PTA which is controlled by the teachers union.

The entire voting process is stacked in favor of the district -- they select the polling places, they put almost all of the polling places in their own buildings and then hold concerts and other events at the schools/polling places on election day, they deal with the press, they put up the signs, etc. And then if they lose they get a do-over.

What we are voting on is shrouded in mystery. Millions of dollars is hidden behind the various line items in the budget. Discussion of union negotiations is supposedly illegal. Few people even understand that the only thing we actually vote on is the top line number in the budget. We do not vote on a tax increase; the figure provide is entirely fabricated based on various assumptions about the value of assessed property six months down the road.

The only way to really know what the voters think is for concerned citizens to develop their own organization capable of countering the District's ability to get their message out and take responsibility for raising awareness in the community that a vote is occurring.

You could, I suppose look up the payrolls to get the names of the employees (their names were published in the Journal News I believe) then cross check it against voter info (public records). You'll know who voted but not how they voted. You could draw a pretty accurate conclusion though.

Those three districts will in fact be the driving force that will propel this venue to reach and most likely surpass it's goals. Where can those districts turn to for 'sound talk'? They turn to 'Talk of the Sound'.

brilliantly put. what such people fail to realize is that critics of a flawed system are not, as a rule, mean spirited, selfish, self interested, or run by a contrary agenda. more often than not, they love the City, support premium education and are trying to be pragmatic, honest and above all, informed.

years ago a wise catholic monk told me on a retreat an old Yiddish proverb that fits this sitution. It went, "the meowing cat catches no mice." The quotation was put to a braggart of a priest who spend too much time in extolling the virtues of his parish and his personal skill and calling. In other words, boast little and look closely at what people are saying around you and make prudent and moral choices.

thank you for a great rejoinder on those who think that they have the "will of the people", right on their side, and that the community ought to feel blessed that they exist.

I am going to continue on perhaps in a less strident way and I think there is a chance that Jim Hastie can and will make his mark. Let us hope so

warren gross

Robert Cox's picture

Warren,

We generally agree but you continue to make statements which cannot possibly be based on personal experience. Have you really observed how the school board operates? Do you ever go to the school board meetings? Do you talk to these people? Do you really follow what is going on with them?

I do and your optimism is more wishful thinking than giving people the benefit of the doubt. There is no doubt that the school board seeks to operate in secret as much as they possibly can and that the "old guard" on the school board will quickly roll over a cream-puff like Jeff Hastie who now owes his board seat to the very people who are going to squash any discussion about transparency and openness.

If you got a closer look you would realize that Jeff (not Jim) Hastie has made all sources of campaign promises that sound nice but are absurd or ill-informed.

- He is going to "open up" the Top 10 District contracts and renegotiate them ( that would mean he is going to renegotiate the District's "contract" with Kehl, Katzive; I guess no one has told Jeff there is no contract)

- He is going to be the first board member appointed to the union negotiation team (apparently no one told him that the there will be only one such negotiation during his 5 year term and that will not come until 2012 or 2013.

- He is going to have board resolutions on the District web site in advance of meetings so residents can decided if they wish to attend (of course, that will not do much good if the resolutions are voted on BEFORE the public comment period but it would be a start)

- He is going to get the district to use the same video system used by the CIty Council to stream live video over the web and then archive easily searched copies of the video.

The list goes on and one. He is living in a fantasy world.

Being a regular at school board meetings, I know that Mr. Hastie only began to attend school board meetings when he came (or was put) forward as a candidate a few weeks ago. His lack of familiarity with the school board was evident during the LWV forum when he stated that one change he would seek to being about would be the way the board responds to questions from the public. He observed, correctly, that the board routinely tells people who ask questions that they will get an answer later and get back to them. Mr. Hastie said he was "sure" that the board does get back to people.

Why is he "sure" of this?

It is certainly not based on reality. It is not even what he himself witnesses at the handful of school board meetings he attended. The reason the board tells the public they will get back to them (or another fave, "seek counsel) is precisely because they do not want to answer the question in public -- or at all, for that matter.

For example, at the budget workshops which Hastie attended, Cindy Babcock-Deustsch told speakers that she would get back to them on questions about the legal basis for her claim that it was "illegal" for the board to answer any questions about the progress of union negotiations. I know most of the people who were asking about that and NONE of them got any call back from anyone.

At the last board meeting at NRHS I asked Mr. Organisciak whether he had any experience before taking the job in New Rochelle with a software program called "Fast ForWord" which had been discussed by Mr. Quinn at board meetings, community meetings and in the press. Mr. Organisciak's answer was that he had not expected that question and was not prepared to answer but that he would get back to me.

Why? The question was pretty simple. It was about his own personal experience. I just wanted a yes/no answer. You would think he could answer a question like that pretty easily, especially given that it had been discussed several times in his presence over the past month and extolled as one of the best things the District was doing under his watch as Superintendent. He did not answer nor did he ever get back to me with an answer.

I could cite many, many such examples. Yet, Mr. Hastie, a person with virtually no knowledge of what goes on at school board meetings, says he is "sure" that they board does get back to people.

No, they don't.

I would love to be wrong.

Mr. Hastie can prove me wrong by showing up at his first board meeting with resolutions in hand to bring about the sort of transparency he claimed to support. My guess is that they will throw him a bone like approving putting the resolutions up on the web but as for substantive changes to how the board operates, I doubt it.

Is he prepared to demand an end to the use of executive session to violate NYS open meeting laws?

Will he support ending District's stonewalling on FOIL requests?

Jeff is a perfectly nice person but he is no match for the sort of tactics that will be used against him to suppress his "exuberance". Look what happened to Chrisanne Petrone, a perfectly nice person who is about as animated as wooden post during board meetings. I think I can count on one hand the number of times she has even opened her mouth at board meetings.

For some reason the board has the idea that their job is to present a united front, always voting unanimously based on secret discussions that are lawfully to be hold before the public. If I could change one thing about the board it would be that -- stop using executive session to do public business.

bob we had this discussion before. You cannot micromanage peoples'ideas, hopes, views, or for that matter, their feelings that the human race is irredeemable and so, buy into your vision of what is right, wrong, fact, or fiction. You seem to be unhappy if anyone, and especially me in several instances mentions what you label as being an "optomist."

NO, I have not attended board meetings, but it is because I have a personal history that makes it better for me to handle things my way. If you needed me for anything, I would be there even if I had to appear with duct tape over my lips and valium in my system to calm down my sense of what is right and wrong. I am also sure that others, Mr Obj, Bruce N, many others who you have provided a forum for and a strong informational basis for seeing things in a new light, would be there as well. Try asking.

You mention Christine Petrone and how nice she is and I am sure she is. Why doesn't she act or resign? She has a strong financial background. What is her motivation? Is she so weak and needy that she remains silent under the steely gaze and will of her colleagues on the board? Maybe so, but I am going to continue to be optomistic counting on the fact that people can rise to the occasion and see issues; business, moral, ethical, whatever they are for what they are. So, you say jeff is spineless: I don't know him, but I hope he stands up and lives up to what he said he woudl support. Maybe he will?

You know, you got a little inconsistency going in logic in terms of the value of attending board meetings re: ones opinions or views on district performance and issues. What would you say if a board member challenged me with the same logic - have you attended board meetings, etc... it is a bit of a presumptive misnomer -- meaning I do not necessarily have to witness a murder to know that taking a life is bad.

So here it is Bob, you have my support, but I got to wonder why you prepare paragraphs of text around the fact that I am an "optomist" and wish Jeff Hastie well. Yes, I am an optomist on many issues, I do not know Jeff Hastie, and I do wish him well.

A number of us are wearing the same uniforms, and it would be a good idea to recognize that "the enemy is not us."

warren gross

Robert Cox's picture

Warren,

Fine, then let's not argue the point. Let's agree to disagree on Mr. Hastie. Time will tell, right?

You see some reasons for optimism. I do not. You think he might bring some change. I think he was the candidate of the status quo. You think he will accomplish something. I believe he will do little or nothing on the board and will be just one more empty suit.

I expect we will see Mr. Hastie be silent as resolutions are brought forward. I expect he will roll over when the union gives the command and will mumble "aye" with them rest of them. I expect we will hear nary a peep from him during the board meetings and certainly never a challenging question as school principals, assistant superintendents and department heads present to the board and speak in vague generalities about how all is well in New Rochelle. I believe his claims about re-opening contracts and forming committees and being tough with the union is a bunch of hooey. You think it means something. I do not.

If you are right and I am wrong I will not begrudge you. In fact, if he does even half of what he has promised I will be first in line to shake his hand. I will be overjoyed because it is precisely what I have been working for.

So, let's agree to circle back to this discussion next spring and see who was wrong about Mr. Hastie and who was right.

Bob, It is not a question of thinking, but hoping. He is new and therer is a chance even if a slim chance. To me it is not right versus wrong; you versus me. Our district and its managers and overseers are signficantly flawed; the problem goes far, far beyond the majority of thoughts you, I, and others have been discussing. We are part of a community that will suffer enormous financial harm in the near future with the pending funding issues. We have an administration in running the city that has barely echoed a word regarding their fears adn concerns; that is huge as they have apparently went full tilt into a residential business model and have violated urban planning 101, the need for a bibrant school board and district to attract and retain a strong residential community base. We have a tale of two cities with the most influential electorate base up in our more affluent areas who are part of a large segment of population that will almost be blind to school district issues (national issue -- read the Casey Report among other works). We have a powerful Union; entrenched in the system, able to turn out the vote, very likely in a "sweetheart contract arrangement" with the disrict (who, parenthethically we elect), the union has the power to contribute vast sums to political candidates, support "like us" people for PTA, board and governmental slots, an expense base (teachers) who counting all summmer, semester breaks, sicjk days, and other perks have a quarter or so of a year off without loss of direct/indirect comp and benefits who have not given one nickel back to the electorate on the bargaining table, you got 70% or so of a 228Million dollar budget supported largely by homeowners and shareholders plus whatever commecial enterprises remain in New Roc with a significant user population that pays no school taxes to speak of (renters), or may not in many cases even be residents of the distict, you got patronage in appointments, poor appointmens managing critical schools like Isaac, Jefferson, etal, a district that is scared to death of even taking a grievance from a FUSE member, a superintendent who is a walking cliche, lives out of the district, and whose idea of strategic planning is to hire a BOCES outlet in Suffolk County to performa a "demographic study" as an answer for some capacity and capital expansion issues. Far as I can remember, these boneheads in Suffolk had nothing to say.

I can go on and on, but my point is you bet I want Hastie to succeed; it is a HOPE, not anything else. I want Babcock-Deutsch to succeed but my hope here is non-exixtent. I want Petrone to resign if she has the gifts her resume suggests she has. I want Organisciak dismissed for a multitude of reasons.

The hurdles are enormous; this amount of chanage and community enligbtenment is enormous. Nine percent or so of eligible voters came out; a portrait in absurdity or more likely, a feeling of defeatism, or sheer pessimism. How do you attack these issues? Only way I know is by culling the personal from the factual and somehow getting people to think and act while challenging, as you so successfully do, any serious issue you find in the district or in its polcies and practices.

Let me give you my take on why Obama has been better received by the majority of people and press than Chaney on the issue of national security. On the face of it, Chaney may have made the most compelling point regarding "do whatever it takes to defend America and American Lives. Unfortunately in many eyes, that is exactly what he did but stripped of all hysteria, it is practically nothing in the scheme of things (3 guys waterboarded). You should see what goes on in Israel for example. Obama talks about our values and does so in a pleasant, confident way. But, I am pretty damn sure that he, too, will do whatever it takes to defend America; he justs positions it in a way that is, more palatable to our spirit and more acceptable to our sense of right and wrong. That is how America feels today; tomorrow, God forbid, some horror like September 11 occurs, many Americans will react according to their core feelings and values.

This all tells me that maybe we need to find a way to get the 9% thinking and talking about values and issues more appropriate to their family wellbeing than automatically equating school budget needs to their children's success. All of us who looked at this issue prior to election knew that a coningency budget would have had NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on children or the teachers. No one would have been harmed. Every election year the school district and board give us a Chaney message and every year they prevail despite logic, right, wrong, morality, values, it goes on. It seems to me that everytime you and others present meaningflul facts, findings, and truth, plain unvarnished truth, it makes a difference. When we get too shrill and become Chaney we lose; when we are more optimistic, yes more in tune with hope, we win.

I join you in putting this to rest for now, but I will not revisit it next year to see who was right or wrong. What matters is whether Hastie or anyone else is doing the will of the electorate, elevating a district in need of improvement, sponsoring a way to let us know what the hell the tab for capital growth will be in the future, taking on FUSE to make members pay their fair share of the bill like their brothers and sisters in other unions are doing, and getting rid of Richard Organisiciak and a number of incompentent principals, administrators, and exempt staff who are glutting and retarding the system.

warren gross

Robert Cox's picture

When Hastie simply falls in line with the rest of the clique running the school district then he WILL be doing the will of the electorate since the people who voted for him endorsed his candidacy precisely because he is the representative of the status quo. To me that is not the correct criteria.

During the 2010 school vote we will have something that did not exist before. An archived record of the discussions that took place during the previous vote. I believe it is critical that we look back to see what both Ms. Polow and Mr. Hastie said during the campaign and hold them accountable for failing to deliver what they promised. LIkewise for the budget. Come this fall we will know for sure whether the 1.41% decline in assessables or the 1.76% decline is assessables were bogus numbers (as I believe is the case) or whether those were realistic.

Now that we have a baseline it only makes sense to measure the district leadership against that baseline.

Accountability not just from Polow and Hastie but from all of the school district employees. I for one will be watching the administrators, teachers, custodians, security guards, and office staff more closely.As a tax payer and parent with children in this school system, I will be expecting more from all the teachers and support staff.

"The more he spoke of his virtue, the faster we counted our spoons"
CJFNR

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