Thursday, March 1, 2007

Say It Ain't So Martine

Martine Guerrier has been appointed "chief family engagement officer" at Tweed

(I'll give a report on last night's raucous anti-Klein meeting later in the day.)

I read recently that BloomKlein, upon taking over the DOE bought off every potential parent who could emerge to oppose them in local areas with parent coordinator and other jobs. We basically heard the sounds of silence for quite a while. Certainly there was little or no parental presence at PEP meetings (except for special occasions), the one place where voices of protest could be raised publicly.

As a coalition of parent and community voices began to be heard again (and I give an enormous amount of credit to Leonie Haimson and her list for helping to bring some of these voices together) BloomKlein seems to be trying another round of the "buy them off" tactic.

I like and respect Martine Guerrier and I'm sure she feels she can do more on the inside, a classic error people make. She has (had) been the one voice on the PEP that seemed to question (gently) some of the actions of BloomKlein. She was often one of the only ones to question Klein on a number of issues. I haven't attended PEP meetings regularly but some of Martine's votes on controversial issues increasingly were tied to the politics of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, an ally of Bloomberg. I used to like Markowitz since his student activist days at Brooklyn College, but not after his sell-out so Ratner City and total suck-up to Bloomberg. (Hey Marty, fuh-ged-about-it!)

Naturally, one would expect this since Martine owed her position on the PEP to Markowitz' appointment. Her one big vote against the promotion policy when Bloomberg fired the PEP who opposed him ( he couldn't fire Martine because she was a borough appointment) was the highlight. Markowitz apparently gave her free reign on this, while the Staten Island borough Pres, fired the SI rep at that time.

I don't remember all of her votes, but I do remember an unsettling pattern of support for Klein's policies seemed to be emerging. And Klein always bent over backwards towards her. She does command a great deal of respect with her demeanor and intelligence.

But Martine is not the first person of this ilk to be co-opted and will now be drawn into the maw of the DOE, joining people who had a rep for integrity like James Leibman, forced to sit in as an acolyte at Klein press conferences, in the midst of buzzing Blackberries, never to utter her own thoughts again without filtering through hordes of press agents. In other words, the sounds of silence.

See original post from Leonie Haimson to her listserve and email from DOE here.

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