Sunday, December 22, 2013

Matt Vaz in The Brooklyn Rail (With an Old Quote From Moi)

Then he gets on the train, everybody in the train car has to lie face-down on the floor with their hands behind their head. Then the train goes 150 yards, and then stops in between two stations, and then Bloomberg exits through a private tunnel, and then gets back in his helicopter and flies to Bermuda to get a manicure and pedicure. He goes to Bermuda every day. He loves that spot. He bought a house down there because he wanted someplace to practice his Spanish. See, he thought they speak Spanish in Bermuda. It sounds like a Spanish name right. And nobody even told him. He just goes around talkin’ to everybody in Spanish, and they just nod, mumble some bullshit, and keep on wit’ his manicure. But see, he couldn’t even find somebody to tell him they speak English down in Bermuda. Everybody just tells ’im what he wants to hear.  ... Matt Vaz quoting Efrain Irizarry, The Brooklyn Rail

While I remember the rally we (GEM, Class Size Matters, etc) held at Bloomberg's home, I don't remember much about my conversation with Matt. And look at what I said -- actually makes sense and is sort of literate -- something I am not capable of doing today. Matt, thanks for reminding me I used to have a brain. And that I was once energetic.

Here is the quote:
On the evening of January 21, 2010 a group of protestors has assembled outside of the Mayor’s mansion on 79th Street in Manhattan. “We’re here to protest school closings,” explains Norm Scott, a retired teacher and an energetic activist. “We’re here to stop the privatization of the public school system. People are here from all over the city,” he says pointing to the crowd of 350 people. “We have young teachers, old teachers. We have parents out here, we have elementary school kids out here. They want to keep their schools open. They want to be treated fairly. They can see what’s going on. This mayor and his friends want to privatize the schools. And in order to do that they need to break the organic connection between neighborhood and school. They make some money on Wall Street and in the banking sector, and they feel that makes them experts in educational policy. They have an ideology that puts private over public. They would privatize the air we breathe if we gave them the chance. If nobody stands up to this man we’ll be breathing corporate air and attending Halliburton schools.”
And this note from Matt, who used to be a teacher in Brooklyn - congrats on your escape from the madhouse.

Hi Norm,

My name is Matthew Vaz. I am a professor in the History department at City College. I did a little slapdash interview with you about four years ago, on the day you organized that wonderful protest outside of Bloomberg's mansion.

I was going to use the material for a piece in the Brooklyn Rail...but for some reason I stuffed it in a drawer. Yet the Politics Editor at the Rail is stepping down, so I decided to squeeze in one last piece while he is till over there...also I wanted to get in some final thoughts on Bloomberg. So I dusted off the piece, updated it a bit and ran it...

You are quoted at length...I think you may find the whole thing amusing.

...I am a former Public School Teacher (PS 305 in the old District 13) and I was raised by a Public School teacher (PS 85 in Queens)...and I love and admire what you (and those who roll with you...Julie Cavanagh etc.) are doing and have been doing...

Keep up the fight for real reform

feel free to share the link or the text of the piece...

Best Regards
Matt Vaz

 And the link to Matt's article.

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