Well well well. Leave it to Accountability Jim Sampson to zone out on the procedure button and send the whole "special board meeting" into a tailspin. I can't help but laugh thinking the same pompous ass who tried to shut down John Washington II when he didn't like JW II pointing out that Carl Paladino has made race based references to members of the school board screwed up - Royally. When Michael Ziolkowski complained a few weeks back about Sampson himself as CEO of Gateway enjoying memberships to social clubs to the tune of $64,000 on the taxpayer's dime, Sampson got away with shutting him down and having security toss the guy. Wednesday at Waterfront Sampson warned Mad Mike OBowen sounding like an ineffective daycare volunteer giving permission to the rowdy kid to act up one more time before he'd be tossed. The most absurd part of O'Bowen's trip to the mic was that Sampson reminded him he'd been contacted by Buffalo Police and told not to return to board meetings. To which OBowen responded by waving a sheet of paper and saying with a go to hell shrug "I'm on the agenda." Which he was. Apparently, unlike the rougher high schools a lot of us have plied our trade in, the Board doesn't know to publish a standard "Do Not Admit List." Funny, if any of those Majoritarians who are so sensitive to public input had ever worked at Burgard or South Park they'd know you put up a list to keep recidivists from crashing the gate. Ellicott Development and the Sabres apparently are not ideal training grounds for people who want to dabble in Edumacation.
That aside, Sampson flubbed the procedural maneuver. Carl went all Seneca Street for a bit with a real practicing lawyer then dissolved into a funk, playing Angry Birds on his phone for the remainder prompting some wags in the packed City Hall sweatbox to nickname him The Two Minute Reformer in reference to the way he petered out after such a brief but hysterical exchange. As we know from our dedicated friends and colleagues and a little help from Shane at DailyPublic.com. an oddball reversal of fortune followed with Ogilve's plan being dusted off and amended and finally agreed upon to the point that a unanimous vote sent it forward. This Hatfield/McCoy Board reached a unanimous vote? WTF? The slam dunk of the reformers was denied, the ball slapped clear up into the seats behind where Spike Lee sits. Nobody got charterized. Nobody got privatized. The Movement lives to fight another day. Unfortunately so does The Majority with a seething Carl Paladino skulking in its galley.
Which brings me to my point, yes friends, aside from recapping with Schadenfreudian glee, the Sampsonian screw up, the Paladinean melt down and the Ultimate Fighting Bitchslap Knockdown of 2015 as Sharon Belton Cottman turned and fixed Leisure Class Larry Quinn with dual eye daggers to explain that Ogilve was not going to do the Majority's bidding in the immortal words : He's not your boy and this aint a hockey game. (cue airhorns, Skrillex bass drop, buildings imploding, Snoop vibing, ICBMs launching and a group of 50 kids at a rap battle falling over backwards yelling Oooooooooooooooooohhhhh Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!) As I said, my point...
So far the meetings at someone's house and Spot have done the trick for the grassroots effort taking place in our midst. As usual some are pulling more than their weight and others like me are pulling as much as we can reasonably get a grip on but would like to do more. A friend on FB today made a comment that made me laugh out loud. Yes I actually LOLd friends. Isn't NYSUT supplying buses and the like to get people where they need to be? Well we really don't need a bus since everyone knows where they are going and we're willing to get there on our own. But the larger question remains. Just What the hell is NYSUT doing as Buffalo teeters on the brink of Ed Reform Nightmare Number One? Last I heard we were advised by our great clucking disoriented mother hen of a union to tweet and hashtag against the Andy/Albany Ed Reform machine. We were advised to sign up for "text blasts" I think they called it and wear fucking stickers too. Yes, from what I hear one of those NYSUT stickers works like ricin against the powers of corporate ed reform. Did they think because Sheriff Andy doesn't allow anyone to wear pro union badges, pins or stickers at his parties that these goddamned things have some kind of innate totemic hoodoo we can turn loose against Regentus Flatulentus Bennet and that Sociopathic shrew Madame Tisch? And when a NYSUT apologist hit me with the usual schtick about how hard they are all working and why don't I focus on the real enemy, my friend from downstate chimed in saying As an outsider, I think Buffalo people have every right to be pissed and disappointed with the lack of support they are getting. Hmmm, I had to wonder about this as nowhere in my most recent travels surrounded by the hard corest of the hard core have I heard any mention of NYSUT. It's like they have rendered themselves irrelevant and nobody with a brain is waiting for the white horse of Revive Party to come thundering to the rescue.
NYSUT chickened out from endorsing and getting behind Zephyr Teachout and they have failed consistently to stand up to Cuomo on any level until very very recently. I said here and elsewhere as these events unfolded "We're on our own, folks." I read the other day my colleague Arthur Goldstein in NYC describing how the real boss of NYSUT Mikey -- punch you in the face if you take my Common Core -- Mulgrew shot down a Test Refusal/Opt Out motion then sent in all of his loyalty oath bound apparatchiks to kill it. Later, Mulgrew sneered at M.O.R.E. guy Mike Schirzer's Anti Common Core motion calling him "one of those" as if a teacher being against CCSS is someone we all need to dismiss as a crackpot. I guess you can say the writing remains on the wall and it tells me the people we should be counting on to have our backs, like Dick Cheney dodging the draft in the 60's, have "other priorities." And really I am fine with that. NYSUT reportedly spent $360,000 getting Marc Pannepinto elected. What has he done to show us that money was well spent?More crickets... When the cliches used by union haters keep ringing up true -- they only care about themselves, they will work with our enemies against us, they have their own agenda, etc. etc. etc-- I think it's time we work for ourselves and deal with them later after the smoke clears and victory can be declared. When we have top union people working against the Opt Out movement and taking potshots at teachers who want to buck CCSS it tells me we have a serious problem within the union's elite ranks. But for now we have bigger, more pressing fish to fry. And once they're fried and served up with coleslaw and potato salad in the fine B-Lo tradition, we'll deal with our so called "leadership" in the same way we dealt with this board. For now, Solidarity and Strength to all who stand and fight.