Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cathie Black's Stealth Visit Today to District 14 (Williamsburg) With a bit of Skulduggery Thrown In

Like - where the hell is the 2PM meeting going to take place?

Reports surfaced yesterday afternoon of Cathie Black's attempt to reach out to the CEC 14 after her disastrous appearance at the Feb. 28th meeting (Cathie Black District 14 Town Hall: No Sex, but Pl...).

Black is supposed to do drop-ins at a bunch of schools, including we are told, the old Eastern District HS Campus on Grand Ave.

I put up only a brief video of the principal with the Teddy Bear telling Black he supports LIFO and that competent principals do have the ability to remove tenured teachers. (Brooklyn Principal Challenges Cathie Black).  (I am processing more video to go up later today.)

Diana Reyna, Feb. 28
Apparently Tweed reached out to local City Councilwoman Diana Reyna and CEC 14 President Tessa Wilson to set up a meeting today at 2PM at the Green School located at the IS 49 campus on Graham Ave. Calls supposedly went out to round up "safe" parents to attend. Meg Barbosa, one of Tweed's CEC managers (very telling title), made the connections.

When I heard that I did a double take since there is a mass meeting to organize teachers in another school in that building scheduled for 4:30 today. I figured I'd just go in early and kill two Black birds with one stone. But, alas twas not to be.

Changing the meeting location
Later in the afternoon a notice went out that the location of the meeting was being changed to Conselyea Prep School, 208 North 5th Street in the more toney West Williamsburg. "The meeting starts at 2PM sharp," was the message from Meg Barbosa, a tone that insulted some community people - we know, Black needs to get in and out and say as little as possible as soon as possible.

The reason was not given but we suspect it is considered a more secure location. Reports surfaced that the Tweedles were so disturbed at a heckler at the Feb. 28 meeting, one of them made a "suggestion" to some local to throw the heckler out.

I was going to be there but I have to wash my hair. However, some press I tipped off might just show up - unless they move the meeting again. Just think: shell game.

Video of the Feb. 28 meeting will be posted in this space later in the afternoon. But for now here are a few stills I culled from the video.

Social Note
Yesterday we completed a pretty much final edit of our film, pending a few more shots I need of charter school parents who have left those schools (we have current parents but they fear retaliation against their kids so we are not using that footage). After we finished, Lisa Donlan and went into the city to attend the going away party for Gotham Schools' Maura Walz who is moving to Atlanta to cover education for NPR as part of an 8 city consortium. There were a bunch of familiar faces there - no Tweedies (I told Maura she's not needed anymore by them) - including lots of press people. It is always nice to mingle socially with the press though you want to make sure not to drink so much you start giving away sources. Elizabeth Green offered free shots at the end of the evening but I wasn't buying that ploy - I figure she was trying to find out what Joel Klein whispered in my ear when he hugged me.

I had a long conversation with the always charming Anna Philips, who I've known since almost her first day on the beat after she had just graduated from Columbia almost 2 years ago. Boy, has she learned a lot. Name any ed issue and she's got a handle on it.

It is funny but last night was the first time I really to know Maura and she's leaving already. A Richmond native, she is all excited over Richmond Commonwealth being in the Final Four and will actually be in Richmond Saturday night to celebrate. She gave me an excuse to have a rooting interest.
As a young woman, she's already lived in so many different cities. What a wealth of experience. One thing all have noticed is how the depth and quality of her reporting expanded as she got to know the beat, one of the toughest for a reporter to cover. I'm looking forward to follow her career.

Gotham has not hired her replacement yet but is interviewing people. I was going to apply but only if they guarantee LIFO. Wait a minute. That means Anna stays and I go if there are layoffs even though she is over 40 years younger than me. You see, you can have your LIFO and youthful enthusiasm in one basket.

Read Maura's farewell:  Goodbye, dear readers. It’s been one heck of a ride.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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