|Two Down and Another Promising "More Harmony"|
Sadly for his co-conspirators of the former board majority, letting Carl be Carl doesn't seem to reap the same rosy benefits as "letting Reagan be Reagan" did once upon a time. It's hard to say exactly if any one thing or maybe the entire "Carl Experience" taken as a whole did more to wreck the chances of Sampson and McCarthy hanging on for another term. Jay Mccarthy told the Buffalo News people hate him because he's aligned with Paladino. Yes he actually said that attempting to paint himself in a martyr's light as one mocked and jeered for his beliefs or some such crap. He might be right.
James Sampson walked away without so much as a fine or wristslap after his scandalous abuse and misuse of public funds at Gateway-Longview. Thanks in part to his connections and his clout as a member of the Fiscal Stability Board Sampson simply went abut his business pretending NY State Comptroller DiNapoli was talking abut someone else when he mentioned people who'd "taken advantage of lax oversight to game the system, rip off children and taxpayers, and line their own pockets.” The high rolling CEO act at Gateway earned Sampson some serious negative attention in the community and he only made it worse when he ejected a taxpayer who called him out for it at a board meeting. Sampson pissed people off and projected the image of a wealthy old white man protected by privilege from the kind of justice the rest of us know we'd get if we were handing out contracts to cronies and ripping through $600+ taxpayer dollars a month in car expenses and another $64K in social club memberships. Lacking Sampson's level of juice we'd be oranging the new black down at 10 Delaware. Yes Sampson had some karmic debt wracked up.
But what befell Jason McCarthy? Other than behaving as something of a willing bobblehead to the whims of Quinn, Carl and Diamond Jim I am not aware of any specific grievances held against him. Correct me please if I'm wrong as I am mostly writing about perception here. We know Quinn has the social graces of a Chevy Chase movie character evidenced by his noodling on his phone during a board meeting while a student was admonishing him and his fellow majority members for their indifference during board meetings! We know Lars had BTF guy Gibson thrown out of another meeting as he was about to speak simply because he could and he didn't feel like listening to any more talk from union people. He actually admitted as much. Quinn's said and done some obnoxious things and can't even hide the contempt he feels for teachers. It will not be a mystery or a surprise when Larry Quinn joins James Sampson and Jay McCarthy on the former board members Trivial Pursuit Card deck after the next election. Maybe McCarthy is correct and his association with Paladino was all it took to engineer his undoing. Either way it's undone now.
I've said elsewhere -- and it's not an original thought but more of a truth of the universe-- that the Ed Reform class hates them some democracy. Any time the playing field is leveled and the fight is made fair you can always count on the Ed Reform Class to stomp, snivel, spit, curse and cast aspersions when things fail to go their way. Recall the outrage and indignation the majority members expressed when Superintendent Ogilve failed to follow their directions and actually found some merit in ideas expressed by non majority members? Oh the humanity, the betrayal, the cheek of that hand picked minion to stray from the majority approved list of opinions they'd supplied him with. Before we knew it Carl was demanding Ogie's resignation. And being no dummy, Ogie complied, not on Carl's time table but not long after the high noon deadline Carl had imposed. Next up Carl was demanding the installation of Mr. Weimer Principal of Emerson as his choice of Superintendent. Whaddya know it was revealed Mrs. Weimer had once worked for Paladino's law firm. When Weimer saw the kind of grief that was coming his way he quietly stepped aside with a thanks but no thanks. An admin friend who's tight with Weimer tells me the guy probably would've been pretty good in the job. Being tied to Carl was too much of a negative to overcome though. Likewise with the next attempted force feeding of a Superintendent in one Dr. Kevin Eberle. Paladino called it a no brainer and apparently thought that should settle the matter. It didn't. In fact, the same scenario appeared to play itself out in an eerily de ja vus-like fashion with nothing coming of Carl's insistence but a lot of resistance and a lot of sound and fury in the end signifying nothing. Eberle joined Weimer in the Cursed by Carl division. Carl as usual blamed the union and characterized the parents who'd objected to his undemocratic, my way or the highway tactics as stooges of the union. CEO's have a hard time playing nice in this environment when they are used to snapping a finger and getting their way. And as always, any time you don't get your way blame the union.
So it's no surprise that when Sampson, Elliott, and McCarthy had their signatures scrutinized and only McCarthy's stood up to the challenge that Carl would blame the union for checking on it not the candidates for trying to slide by with signatures from their spouses and people who live in Amherst. In Reform Land you don't take responsibility for getting caught trying to bullshit the electoral process. You blame the people who caught you bullshitting. And when you outspend the so called union candidates and still lose control of the board you accuse the union of buying the election. In all this has been a breath of fresh air for anyone who needed evidence that democracy is alive in this country no matter how many spoiled millionaires and billionaires are pouting and sulking and getting their way at the expense of the rest of us. I think the best summary statement goes to the lady who put the smackdown on Sampson in the West District:
“Community can take a stand against money, against greed, against power,” said Jennifer L. Mecozzi, who handily ousted School Board President James P. Sampson from his seat representing the West District. “We got our own power.”
Amen to that Sister.