Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fassella and Prisco

It all could have been avoided back in 2000.
If the UFT had endorsed then teacher, and subsequently one of the founders of ICE, Gene Prisco when he ran for Congress against Vito Fassella.
But NO! You see, the Unity machine would rather sit on its hands and help put a right winger into office than support a critic of Unity even though his policies would be better for the union and workers everywhere.

Even the NY Times saw fit to endorse Gene and he received a respectable 37% of the vote in a Republican district, where he was outspent probably 100-1. Gene sure could have used some of those UFT Phone banks.

Gene, Paul Baizerman (another ICE co-founder) and myself through Education Notes raised hell about it all at the Delegate Assembly.
The entire affair - oops, maybe I shouldn't use that word – was such an embarrassment for Randi Weingarten, she took action. She apologized profusely. Acted like it was up to the Staten Island UFT and she had little role in it. (She did the same thing in absolving herself off responsibility for the red-baiting of Kit Wainer, her 2007 opponent.)
She even formed a committee (standard operating procedure in deflecting issues). Even put Paul on it.

At that time, we still had hopes Randi would take the union in a new direction.
Shame on us.
But we learned from this incident how she operates and didn't get fooled again.
(The affair - oops - was one of the ideas that led to ICE 3 years later.)
The committee even came up with some kind of resolution (lost to history) calling for reform of the way he UFT supports candidates. Good show, old girl.

Now, Gene, a grandfather, is off on some cruise with his wife Loretta, another ICE co-founder, and may not even be aware of the Fossella fiasco. When he comes home I'm sure he will be relieved. The very idea of a love child emerging out of the evils of Washington would scare even the most pristine candidates. Maybe it's the Potomac waters.

Thank you, Randi for saving Gene from temptation. It's been worth having an anti-labor, support-Bush-on-anything member of Congress like Fossella.
If Fossella runs again and if Gene were to oppose him in 2008, guess what? Unity would do like it did in 2000.

The Unity motto: Better lice than ICE.

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