Sunday, August 9, 2015

How Carl Brought Kriner Ca$h to B-Lo Without Even Trying

Isn't irony ironic? Who'd have ever imagined that Carl Paladino's ceaseless bullying and strong arm tactics could ever blow up in his face with such spectacle as it appears they are doing now in B-Lo? Three times now Carl has been behind a run up the gut attempt to install the Superintendent. His first attempt was only successful inasmuch as he had the votes to put Donald Ogilve in office. Ogie then crawfished and betrayed Carl by insisting on making some of his own decisions apart from the scripted ones Carl believed Ogilve owed him in exchange for getting him hired. We all know this ended with more whimper than bang as Ogie used his option and slid out the side door on the last day of June after withstanding Carl's calls for his head, attacks on his character the rest of the usual "Carl as Victim" schtick.

Next it was James Weimer, Principal of Emerson High whom Carl had unilaterally decided should be put in charge of the schools. Among other issues that came out in this wash was the fact that Weimer's wife had once been employed by Paladino as a lawyer. Conflict of interest questions were raised and Weimer decided he might be willing to take a punch or two but he was not going to hang around waiting to see if Carl could pull the trigger on the deal while people continued to ask about his wife's work relationship in a Paladino owned business. Weimer removed his name from consideration with a thanks but no thanks. Which I imagine was followed by a "what the hell was I thinking?" 

Carl was pissed. Again he was the victim of all the usual nefarious forces, mostly in his view it was union henchmen operating under the cover of activist parents who'd been forced to start an actual parent teacher group since Sam's Club is not open to people not on Sam's short list of approved people. Some of us saw it as an actual democratic moment where a public outcry made it as far as one of the parties involved and that party said listen folks, I was willing to take the job but I'm not having my wife dragged through any of this. In my calls and one on ones with various other old timers I'd never really heard anything hard against Weimer and I think I heard the word "decent" more than once. It was likely his decency that caused him to run not walk away from Carl's scheme to install him. An administrator friend of many years who is also cool with Weimer told me philosophically "Jim probably would have done a pretty good job. The problem was Paladino being so heavily involved. It became about Paladino, not Weimer."

Back to the Ellicott Development drawing board again but not for long before Carl emerged with yet another slam dunk, can't miss, no brainer of a Super. This time it was Kevin Eberle who, even moreso than Weimer, came with the approval of a certain body of people including an energized group of teachers who went as far as buying and posting election signs on his behalf. And again, instead of presenting the guy in an even handed fashion saying I'd like you to consider this guy I think he's got a lot to offer, Carl went for the jugular and turned it into another power play that he planned to ram down everyone's throat whether they liked it or not. Just like last time, people balked, including one Board President Gateway Jim Sampson of the recently shaggy visage. Eberle's supporters in my experience took much the same angle as Carl calling anyone out who didn't go along with them and getting rather nasty about it. The mentality seemed to be Kevin is the man for the job. I worked with him. I know. You don't so you should just shut up. One Eberlean went so far as to announce his willingness to "take a bullet" for the guy. I really wanted to follow up and ask what size bullet, would it include those armor piercing rounds and where exactly would you welcome this bullet into your person? Gutshot? Wingshot? One to the dome? C'mon people, we all have our friends we'd stand with through thick and thin but this kind of bullshit rhetoric among teachers, most of whom have never been within 500 feet of a bullet unless they were deer hunting with their brother in law, does us no good. 

Carl's resolution to install Dr. Eberle was sent to the circular file when he didn't even show up at the meeting to introduce it. A lot of sound and fury and another failed coup put Carl right back to square one or actually somewhere behind it since he's now lost Sampson's allegiance and they have degenerated into public and open sparring. This included calling for Sampson's removal as President and the installation of Lars Quinn in his stead. Now that another of Carl's palace shakeups has gone the way of The Bay of Pigs it's safe to assume his board mates aside from Sampson and the minority block are growing weary of his nonsense. Just when the fumes of the most recent Paladino power play have subsided or are at least dissipating, we get word from MaryAnn Doubtfire that she has a great idea for B-Lo in the form of a fellow carpetbagger who spent some time in Miami Dade so why don't we just hire Kriner Ca$h to save the city? 

Think of the dynamics in play here: people are Carl-wearied up to their eyeballs. Mott and Kereztes are looking about like the girls you took to the prom after all the girls you wanted to take turned you down. Eberle has a big Carl stain on his CV. The process drags and it begins to feel like a cross between the Ancient Mariner and Life of Pi as the board drifts and starts feeling thirsty, starts feeling hunger pangs, they start imagining each other smothered in onions and butter when BOOM! Out of the clear oceanic sky comes a new name, an other, a someone from somewhere else -- which in this city is always the first sign of the Second Coming. Mayor Brown faxxes T.O. to ask for that key to the city back only to learn that it went for a case of Genny Cream on EBay. The minority block women sit up straight and check their makeup. Larry Quinn imagines stepping into Chris Jacobs' role as the new white privileged BFF of this southern black man who's come to break the back of the union. McCarthy looks up a new word -- parochial --  in his phone app and uses it correctly in a Buffalo News story. Suddenly everyone has something to live for again. Sampson can't say enough about the guy, turning the knife in Carl's back with every approbation he spews for the Ca$h man.

Where does this put Carl right now? Well he's made himself the odd man out with all of his carrying on and now all he can is try to save face and claim that he likes Ca$h's abrasive manner that it speaks well of him. I think he called him a fighter. Or Carl can always stick to plan A and remain the prophet in the wilderness, the poor little rich guy who shoots straight and tells it like it is as all of his ass kissing free drinking constituents claim he does. Carl has said that he wants to see if Ca$h is going to go along with his Board Vision statement.  But that really doesn't matter now. Carl's vote will be nullified by the yes votes of the Board Minority who are busily primping and picking out new outfits for the occasion. The fact that Kriner Ca$h stands for most of what this minority block has been fighting since they became the minority does not seem to have occurred to any of them. I think Sharon Belton Cottman summed up their collective giddiness when she told the Buffalo News "We are lucky he'd even consider coming to Buffalo..." Quinn and Sampson get something they want, minority block sure seems tickled to be getting what they want, whatever the hell it is I can't say and Pierce and McCarthy are standing by waiting to be told what to do as usual. Kriner Ca$h should send Carl a big thank you card for doing more than anyone else to get him the job. 

In one of the most textbook displays you'll ever see of a bully who's bullying comes back to bite him in the ass, Carl Paladino is now a backseat driver whose 2 cents are probably not worth even that when the votes are counted. I wonder what Carl and his Majority members would say about a teacher who chalked up as many failures as Carl the Developer. Ironic too, isn't it, that a shit score on the rubric leads to you being rated as "developing." Ironic and apropos in this case. 

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