Friday, January 24, 2020

Bernie takes hits from left and right for Apology to Biden on Corruption

The fallout over the Zepher Teachout piece in The Guardian saying Biden is corrupt ('Middle Class' Joe Biden has a corruption problem) ...continues even after Bernie apologized, saying he doesn't believe Biden is corrupt.
Bernie is both right and wrong. Is Biden corrupt - or rather more corrupt than most other politicians? I think Biden is a normally corrupt politician  and I don't blame Bernie for playing politics to try to keep a coalition together to beat Trump. But the left and Fox commentators (of course) criticize Bernie for saying he's sorry for the Teachout article. But she makes some very important points.

I watched some comments on Tucker Carlson and others on Fox who wanted Bernie to slam Warren and - of course they would -- but some of what they said had some truth - Bernie does not have killer instinct - they felt if he went all Trump he could be a massive force. Remember this is how Trump took over the Republican Party. Bernie will not be able to do the same to the Dem party because this is not Bernie personality. If it was Hillary would never have taken that recent hit at Bernie. But I prefer Bernie as he is and not as a Trump clone. 

But we do get that there are many people who do not love the Dem party and lean toward Bernie the more the attacks come. (I saw some doozies on The View the other day.)

Here is some commentary on the issue.

Churchill: Zephyr Teachout is right about Joe Biden


2 days ago - ALBANY — Earlier this week, Zephyr Teachout called out the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. Nothing new there. The fight ...

Sanders Apologizes to Biden for Surrogate's Critique - The ...


3 days ago - Senator Bernie Sanders apologized to Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday after a Sanders campaign surrogate wrote an opinion article accusing the former vice president of having “a big corruption problem.” Mr. Sanders distanced himself from the piece by Zephyr Teachout, an associate ...
3 days ago - Teachout detailed three major areas of concern: Biden's prioritization of the financial industry over working Americans, his ties to the healthcare ...

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fred Smith: Meet the New Rudy, Same as the Old Rudy? 1993 Study Exposed Vulnerabilities Now on View

What the vulnerability study reveals is how many of these “issues” were apparent before Giuliani became mayor—and well before he became counsel to the 45th president of the United States. The study was opposition research Giuliani ordered to be done on himself. It was prepared for his 1993 mayoral campaign, a rematch of the race he lost narrowly to David Dinkins in 1989. The aim was to “inoculate” him against all potential attacks from his opponent. The result is a roadmap to the traits that have placed Giuliani at the center of our nation’s political crisis... Fred Smith, Jarrett Murphy, City Limits
I ran into Fred last night at house party in Brooklyn for good guy former principal Jamaal Bowman who is running for Congress in the primary against Eliot Engel in the Bronx/Westchester, hoping to pull an AOC like upset.

Fred asked me to post this piece he co-wrote for City Limits on Giuliani. It argues that Rudy has not changed (as does the recent Sunday Times piece - The Fog of Rudy).
The Rudolph W. Giuliani Vulnerability Study (posted in full below) was so incisive that, according to Giuliani biographer Wayne Barrett, the candidate ordered all copies destroyed once it had been absorbed by his closest aides. This compilation might fall into the wrong hands and give enemies the intelligence needed to dismantle him. (Apparently, at least one copy survived.)
Fred worked for the city and had access to an internal report commissioned by Giuliani and then ordered all copies destroyed - which apparently didn't happen.
Fred Smith, a NYC-based data analyst, was working with Barrett to deconstruct Mayor Giuliani’s crime reduction stats—his most highly-touted achievement prior to September 11. Barrett told Smith he received the study from a source at the side of a state highway in the dead of night and asked Smith to make a copy of this report. In recent months, as the scope of Giuliani’s role President Trump’s Ukraine scandal became clear, Smith’s memory of this tome was stirred. It had been gathering dust at the bottom of a closet for 20 years. Upon rediscovery and review, it wasn’t surprising that the man with a “weirdness factor” (per the report) wanted all copies of it destroyed.

Read the Study

Intro & “Political Vulnerabilities: Reagan Republican”
Political Vulnerabilities: “Racist”
Political Vulnerabilities: “Sexist,” “Anti-Gay,” “Ethnic Vulnerabilities,” “Flip-Flops”
“Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities” (Operation Tailwind, Haiti and more)
Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities: “Cases Lost”
Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities: “War on Drugs,” “Tax Evaders,” “Overzealousness”
Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities: “Ruthlessness,” “Publicity Seeker”
Section C: “Private Practice Vulnerabilities”
Section D: “Personal Vulnerabilities”
Section E: “Accusations and Accolades”
Section F: Appendix


Meet the New Rudy, Same as the Old Rudy? 1993 Study Exposed Vulnerabilities Now on View

Date

Nothing swirling around Rudolph Giuliani now is out of step with the person depicted 26 years ago in a 464-page vulnerability study, a report that he commissioned for his second run for mayor.

If Richard Nixon’s deep paranoia and Bill Clinton’s insatiable sexual appetite drove earlier impeachment episodes, Giuliani’s apparent fall from grace is central to the Trump-Ukraine psychodrama. A crusading prosecutor, mayor/savior of a crime-ridden Metropolis, and sudden hero on America’s darkest day might go down in history as the ringleader of a transnational scheme trading military aid for political dirt. Many a media report in recent months has cast Giuliani’s demise as some sort of Greek tragedy.

Except, that’s nonsense. Little in the current allegations against the mayor is a surprise to anyone who remembers a few of the darker, more bizarre moments when Giuliani was Emperor of the City: the public humiliation of his second wife; the unapologetic rush to smear Patrick Dorismond, slain by an undercover cop; the ouster of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who had become Gotham’s crime-reduction cover boy; and, yes, the personal attack he unleashed on a ferret-friendly caller to his radio show.

What the vulnerability study reveals is how many of these “issues” were apparent before Giuliani became mayor—and well before he became counsel to the 45th president of the United States.

The study was opposition research Giuliani ordered to be done on himself. It was prepared for his 1993 mayoral campaign, a rematch of the race he lost narrowly to David Dinkins in 1989. The aim was to “inoculate” him against all potential attacks from his opponent. The result is a roadmap to the traits that have placed Giuliani at the center of our nation’s political crisis.

An Internal Report
The Rudolph W. Giuliani Vulnerability Study (posted in full below) was so incisive that, according to Giuliani biographer Wayne Barrett, the candidate ordered all copies destroyed once it had been absorbed by his closest aides. This compilation might fall into the wrong hands and give enemies the intelligence needed to dismantle him. (Apparently, at least one copy survived.)

Sun Tzu is quoted on the cover page: The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

Produced by Republican consultant Christopher Lyon and a lawyer named Ronald Giller, the report catalogues the chinks in Giuliani’s behavior and professional record. It is a thick ledger consisting of clippings from newspapers, periodicals and interviews along with letters and memos that inventory Giuliani’s exposure in four areas: Political, Department of Justice, Private Practice and Personal.

No weakness is left unturned. Questions are raised about a “weirdness factor” in Giuliani’s 12-year (or was it 14-year?) marriage to a second cousin, about his temperament and soundness of judgment, and about the bold tactics he used in vaulting to Associate AG in Ronald Reagan’s DOJ and appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Each section is a trove that presents the “charges” Giuliani might face in his bid for office. Anticipating the attacks, the report offers rebuttal strategies to refute a criticism, ignore it or re-spin it into a credit. For example, “You say Rudy is overzealous, I say he hates criminals.” And the “ruthless” rap pinned on him should be parried by pointing to his accomplishments: “Rudy is a no-holes-barred crime fighter who shook things up and achieved unprecedented success.”

Unrestrained Aggression
Reading the scrupulous research into Giuliani’s entire public-service career back then—the posts he held in two stints with the DOJ (1970-1976 and 1981-1989)-—it’s easy to draw parallels between problems he faced in 1993, the issues that cropped up during and beyond his terms in office, and those that persist in his service to the Trump administration.

It’s not new, for instance, for Giuliani to be accused of involvement in “dirty tricks” described as “nefarious.” Today the accusation is that he coordinated a whispering campaign against a U.S. ambassador and dangled military aid to squeeze the Ukrainian government into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden. In the 1993 report, however, a less spectacular allegation was seen as potentially threatening to Giuliani’s chances to become mayor.

During his teeth-cutting years in the DOJ, Giuliani took over Project Haven, a probe into illegal use by U.S. taxpayers of offshore tax havens. It was one of a handful of IRS investigations that became the focus of later Congressional hearings concerning law-enforcement overreach. One Haven operation involved a confidential informant arranging for “female entertainment” to distract a Bahamian bank official visiting Miami, while the informant entered the man’s hotel room, stole his briefcase and returned it after IRS agents photographed the contents. When IRS commissioner Donald Alexander had concerns about such tactics and suspended the operation, Giuliani “reportedly attempted to convene a grand jury to investigate the impeccable IRS commissioner,” wrote Vanity Fair in 1989 and “nearly ruined Alexander.”

The study also mentioned Giuliani’s firing of DOJ officials because of party affiliation, but that didn’t draw much attention because it fell within the rules of hardball. Of greater worry was the need to address the charge that he was known for making deals with major wrongdoers in order to score wins, whether it was cutting defense contractor McDonnell-Douglas executives a break by absolving them of personal responsibility for paying $1.6 million in bribes to Pakistan, or writing a letter to support legendary drug pusher Nicky Barnes’s request for lighter sentencing.

Giuliani’s apparent insatiable need for the limelight, which comes at the cost of topping each incautious statement he makes on cable news these days, was visible a generation ago. He was seen as a shameless publicity seeker, whose hunger for headlines may have led to bad prosecutorial strategy.

There was, for instance, the choice of having a daughter gather information and testify against her mother, a co-defendant in the 1988 trial of former Miss America and one-time city commissioner Bess Myerson. The move failed, the case fell apart, and Giuliani’s team was accused of using “gutter” tactics.

It wasn’t his only time down there. In prosecuting disgraced Bronx Democratic boss Stanley Friedman, Giuliani wiretapped the opposing counsel’s pre-trial preparations. While Giuliani certainly won his share of white-collar crime convictions, he also perp-walked and humiliated Wall Street figures against whom no case ever materialized. A master at using the RICO statutes, he squeezed one small securities firm so hard it busted a few months before its conviction was overturned. “Cooperate or be destroyed” was the goal, according to the study.

From Haiti to the steps of City Hall
Giuliani’s performance in high-profile cases was not the only arena that left him open to potential problems. He also accrued liabilities in the DOJ as a policy maker/implementer/enforcer, and as a private attorney and mayoral wannabe between 1989 and 1993.

As #3 man in Reagan’s DOJ in charge of Immigration and Naturalization Services, Giuliani shaped and defended the administration’s racist policy toward the country being run by dictator Baby Doc Duvalier. He uttered blatant mistruths, claiming that political repression “simply does not exist now” in Haiti and falsely asserting that the Vatican’s man in Port au Prince, the papal nuncio, had told him as much. Giuliani’s argument was that the Haitian boat people were not granted asylum because they were not refugees fleeing persecution. They were portrayed as a threat to national security who should be deported.

Inhumane treatment followed: placement of thousands in detention camps; incarceration of women and children; splitting up family members. And Giuliani, seen as the architect of a racially motivated policy, “vigorously defended [it as] necessary to prevent Miami from being overwhelmed by crime and disease,” according to one UPI article quoted in the study.The report devotes 32 pages to recount the angry 1992 protest against Dinkins’ proposed all-civilian police complaint review board that Giuliani helped stoke into a City Hall rampage. The study headlined the serious liabilities triggered by the affair: “Rudy Giuliani’s performance at the police rally demonstrates that he is temperamentally unfit to be mayor of the City of New York. His inflammatory profanity-laced screeching before thousands of gun-toting, off-duty New York City cops turned an overtly racist police rally into a dangerous police riot.”
The authors suggest that Giuliani try to limit the damage to his mayoral bid by citing instances when he went after corrupt cops—but they acknowledge the big problem was his unwillingness to rebuke those taking vicious “pot-shots at the mayor.” Mike McAlary described him as “The Human Scream Machine” in the Post, Sept. 18, 1992). And the New York Times opined that in berating the mayor, Giuliani was “apparently betting—irresponsibly—that divisiveness will win votes.”

Private practice and lucre
Giuliani left the DOJ on Jan. 1, 1989 after serving more than five years as U.S. Attorney. He was getting ready to run for mayor.
He joined White and Case, a white-shoe law firm. The study raises two red flags about this association. First, W&C, “represented a long list of politically unsavory clients, including [Panamanian dictator and drug lord] Manuel Noriega…” Second, “Giuliani’s extraordinarily high salary for so little work raises the question: What did White & Case expect from Giuliani if elected mayor?” He received $16,250 per week, which came to $260,000 over four months, before taking a leave of absence. On a yearly basis, he was making ten times what he did as U.S. attorney. According to the report, his pay was much higher than what other partners earned.
It was far from the last time Giuliani cashed in. After leaving office in 2001, he parlayed 9/11 into large advances for books, millions in speaking fees and several enriching business ventures, like the consultancy Giuliani Partners, where he sold his self-proclaimed ability to fight terrorism and provide cyber security systems. Recent estimates of his net worth range from $45 million to $60 million.
Giuliani left a law firm where he made $4 million to $6 million in 2018 to become Donald Trump’s pro bono attorney, a point that he emphasizes. But this noble sacrifice does not take away his calling card as a power broker, as the man with direct access to the Oval Office and the levers of government.

Rudy and Donald
The only reference to Donald Trump in the report comes from a New York Post article (Nov. 21, 1987) in which Trump foresees Giuliani running for election. “If Rudy decides to run for public office, I hold Rudy in very high esteem and I would be very helpful to Rudy.”
He offered further praise: “The development community should love Rudy because he’s gone after organized crime and other things that adversely affect the development community.” In this coherent statement, it is clear that Trump appreciated how Giuliani’s major courtroom wins benefited builders and opened the door to opportune deals.

A recent New York Times article speaks of their relationship. “They had known each other for nearly 40 years. Mr. Trump was the gaudy, gold-veneered developer who somehow navigated the shoals of organized crime, labor racketeering and official corruption in the New York real estate market of the 1980s, even as Mr. Giuliani was becoming so well known as a federal prosecutor.” The article supplies the fact that Trump was co-chairman of Giuliani’s first campaign fund-raiser in 1989.
And suddenly, when impossible presidential long-shot Trump emerged, Giuliani became his most daring advocate, and arguably giving him the narrow margin of votes needed to snatch victory from Hillary’s grasp by promoting a last-minute FBI probe of her emails.
As a reward for his extreme loyalty, there was talk that world traveler Giuliani wanted to be Trump’s Secretary of State. That didn’t happen. Instead, he’s become the president’s lawyer, conspiracy theorist and political fixer.
Yet the Vulnerability Study reveals a fundamental contrast between the mayor and the president. Trump would never allow for such a self-doubting dossier. Giuliani knew he had flaws and had to anticipate criticisms. Unlike the president, he also has a history of articulating high-minded ideals—words that now seem tinged by irony.
“The cases I get the most emotional about are the political corruption cases,” he professed in 1987. “There’s something extra-aggravating when a person who holds political power violates his oath of office, because it has a tendency to unhinge public confidence in government.”

* * * *

Read the Study

Intro & “Political Vulnerabilities: Reagan Republican”
Political Vulnerabilities: “Racist”
Political Vulnerabilities: “Sexist,” “Anti-Gay,” “Ethnic Vulnerabilities,” “Flip-Flops”
“Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities” (Operation Tailwind, Haiti and more)
Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities: “Cases Lost”
Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities: “War on Drugs,” “Tax Evaders,” “Overzealousness”
Dept. of Justice Vulnerabilities: “Ruthlessness,” “Publicity Seeker”
Section C: “Private Practice Vulnerabilities”
Section D: “Personal Vulnerabilities”
Section E: “Accusations and Accolades”
Section F: Appendix

* * * *

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Video of Appellate court arguments in class size lawsuit - January 13, 2020

I reported on the Class Size Lawsuit: A Trip to Albany WIth Leonie
Here is the video direct from the courtroom with Wendy Lecker's presentation and also the state and DOE response. As I pointed out - no presence from the UFT despite being asked to join the suit.
Like I said, "That's like someone who is convicted of a crime and sentenced to 5 years but goes on the lam for those years and then comes back claiming his sentence expired so he doesn't have to serve time."


Video of Appellate court arguments in our class size lawsuit including strong points made by terrific attorney @wlecker and weak claims made by city & state in response.

Really worth viewing.

http://wowza.nycourts.gov/vod/WowzaPlayer.php?source=ad3/CourtSession&video=527579

 And note:

Please join us to rally for smaller classes at noon on Jan. 29 at City Hall


Please join Class Size Matters and NYC Kids Pac rallying for smaller classes on Wed. January 29 in front of City Hall at noon; with City Council hearings focused on the class size issue to follow, starting at 1 PM.
The rally and hearings are an ideal opportunity for parents and teachers let the Mayor and the Council know that there can be no equity or excellence for NYC kids until the city lowers class sizes, which are 15-30% larger in our public schools than in the rest of the state.
We will be urging them to provide dedicated funding in next year's budget specifically to hire extra teachers to reduce class size, starting first in the lower grades and in struggling schools.
Class sizes have risen sharply since 2007 in every part of the city, and this year there were more than 275,000 students in classes of 30 or more.
Please come to our rally and stay for the hearings afterwards to show your support. If you'd like to testify and would like talking points, we have posted them here.
We also have more information about class size trends citywide, as well as data specific to your district here.
If you think you may be able to testify, please let me know by replying to this message. Email us info@classsizematters.org if you'd like to speak at the rally or testify at the hearings.
And please forward this message to others who care,  

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Ravitch Turn Was a Key in the Battle Against Ed Deform, Robert Jackson Has always been there

After reading a review of the Ravitch book - Gayle Lakin Reviews Ravitch New Book, Slaying Goliath, I remembered just how important her conversion c. 2007 was to the movement opposing ed deform. Leonie played some role in that as did Deb Meier who began a blog with Diane. Since then Diane has moved steadily to the left/progressive wing, even being critical of the unions. I think in the early days c. 2007-10 she was not taking as hard a stance against charters.

Her support for our film (The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman) criticizing charters and the testing and the anti-teacher moves of the deformers, was critical in its success.

I was reminiscing with Leonie Haimson the other day on our trip to Albany (Class Size Lawsuit: A Trip to Albany WIth Leonie) about the big anti-BloomKlein rally at St. Vartan church on February 28, 2007, I believe an early turning point of sorts when Diane Ravitch with her presence at that event made it clear she was joining the education wars -- and quickly rose to lead the battle. Diane's rep had been as a long time supporter for the pre-ed deform agenda. She has commented that as a policy person she was looking at system from the sky and once she touched based with people on the ground she saw things from a different perspective.

The UFT played a major role in organizing the rally, pulling out the Unity Caucus machine and filling an overflow crowd of over a thousand people ---- but it became clear that this was just a tactic to bring Klein to the table for a compromise deal not to go after ed deform.

If the UFT had built on the Feb. 28 event and held the May 1 massive rally, the story of the Bloomberg years in education may have been different. I believe UFT complicity and weakness in the face of the charter school movement played a major role.

If we are turning the tide on ed deformers, the role Ravitch (and Leonie) have played have been major and more important than our tepid union.

 Here was a report of I posted not long after the rally:
.....the famous anti BloomKlein rally at St. Vartan's church on Feb. 28, 2007 (see videos here and here) where every anti-BloomKlein activist in the city gathered, including some leaders of the CPACs.

It was the first time I met Patrick Sullivan and Diane Ravitch. Leonie Haimson and her listserve played an extremely active role in getting people out. After pressing Leonie to start a blog for quite some time, she informed me that night the NYC Parent blog was a "go"- see Leonie's report in one of her first blog posts: Rally to Put the Public Back into Public Education. The idea that came out of that event was to organize a massive rally on May 1, 2007 to show the world, which had been praising BloomKlein, there was serious opposition.

But the UFT organized the Feb 28 event, which could have turned into a major springboard to oppose the mayor. The threat the May 1 rally threat brought Tweed to the table. But both Tweed and the UFT are never to be trusted and the rally was cancelled in exchange for crumbs and even these agreements were violated.

Video: Robert Jackson at the Feb. 28 (2007) Rally


I took footage of City Councilman Robert Jackson's speech at the rally organized by the UFT at St. Vartan Church on Feb. 28. He lays a whole bunch of truth on BloomKlein.
(I had to do a lot of ducking around the crowds so excuse the shaky video.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbcwNOQMbwI

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Gayle Lakin Reviews Ravitch New Book, Slaying Goliath

Ravitch explains myriad ways that charter school operators have earned extraordinary salaries at tax payer expense!     Gayle Lakin 
I'm really looking forward to reading Diane's new book. Here Gayle gives us lots of reasons to do so. Instead of the misleading "ed reform" even when put in quotes, Diane uses "Education disrupters". Just look at how Bloomberg/Klein disrupted and deformed (my preferred term) education here in NYC.
ADDITION: Also Read Gary Rubinstein review: The Life And Death Of The Terrible Education Reform Movement

Gayle Lakin Review
Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools.
Amended Jan. 18:
No words can possibly convey the degree of spin, erroneous data and persistent support of outright fabrications that became “truths” under a relentless “ed reform” mantra; say it enough, spin it enough, publish it enough, work the system enough and it will become “true” enough. But “enough is enough”! Ravitch heroically and successfully wades through this complicated decades-long haze in her book, Slaying Goliath with her trademark attention to detail. She brings clarity as to how “ed reform” (she prefers “ed disrupters”) birthed charter schools with the intention of privatizing our national education system and how and why this “grand scheme” is currently and fortunately starting to burn out!

What might a reader’s first reaction be? There isn’t a rock big enough for “ed disrupters” to crawl under to escape the raw truths exposed in this book. Ravitch names people and companies (and there are many). She thoroughly explains the tactics of those ultra-wealthy hedge-fund managers, philanthropists, CEO’s, big businesses, politicians and the likes playing into and profiting by the “ed disruption” takeover of our national education system via a “Trojan horse” also known as the charter school (which is assuredly not a public school even though it receives public school funding). The current charter school concept is totally foreign to the original idea put forth by Al Shanker who originally intended for a charter school to be a public school within a public school to serve the needs of outlier learners. Ravitch details Shanker’s actual vision. Who would know better as he spoke to her directly about his vision which she describes in her book!

With equal clarity, she explains in detail how the corporate world co-opted the term “charter school”, and turned it into a highly profitable and parasitic entity able to take public tax payer money as well as corporate money while being beholden to nobody except those making enormous profit. Ravitch explains myriad ways that charter school operators have earned extraordinary salaries at tax payer expense! Here are just a few key words and phrases that come to mind - nepotism, real estate wheeling and dealing, forced student attrition and inflated student enrollment figures. The tides are changing due to an ever-increasing Resistance. The Resistance is led by academics in higher education like Ravitch as well as public school educators and angry parents who have been activists for years and have had enough with the “ed disruption” invasion. A few politicians are finally starting to awaken at a snail’s pace, but perhaps this will be addressed in a future book?

One major take-away is that the majority of charter schools at best have fared no better than public schools. More often than not they have either fared worse or have gone to great lengths to create the illusion of performing “better”. The net result – the majority of charter schools drain critical funding away from public schools. Ravitch exhaustively explains this money drain and how it destroys public schools. She exposes the rampant fraud leading to under-enrolled charters, charters led by non- educators and unqualified teachers, charters that close nearly as soon as they open with no accountability as to where the public funds went and no concern for displaced students.

The facts are there in her book to read. There has been some accountability and it has ironically lead to the realization that public funds were spent on overinflated salaries, lavish cars, homes bought by heads of defunct charter schools etc... Ravitch cites several examples (including cases that have been through the courts and involve criminal convictions)! Meanwhile, public schools perpetually accept displaced charter school students without getting additional funding even when students transfer from the charters who received money for them. It is outrageous that charter schools who no longer have a particular student, keep the federal money they received for that student!

The public at-large needs to read this book to get fighting mad at “ed disruption” over decades of abusive and failed education policy forced upon our nation’s children; to get fighting mad at “ed dispruption” for tearing up communities with public school closures; to get fighting mad at “ed disruption” for the denigration and counter-intuitive policies forced upon the teaching profession; to get fighting mad at “ed disruption” for making learning all about gaming high stakes tests; to get fighting mad at “ed disruption” for the incredible waste of hard-earned taxpayer money that went straight into the pockets of “ed disruption” profiteers.

In this book, all bases are covered as to how “ed dispruption” systematically strategized to destroy public schools. The playbook for “ed disruption” takeover is thoroughly exposed. Critically needed federal school funding was purposefully linked to States’ adoption of Common Core standards and high stakes testing accountability (both of which were created by “ed disruption”). The reader will learn the role of disruptive innovation strategies, on-line personalized learning, skewed data, high stakes testing “miracles”, charter school proliferation, public school closings and more. If any of this is unfamiliar, it won’t be by the time you finish reading this book.

I am a veteran public school teacher (art) and highly recommend this book because knowledge is power. Ravitch often mentions the word Resistance in her book. Many teachers and angered parents who will rush out to get her book will surely learn a lot, but must get the “Resistance ball” rolling. I implore you to forward your own read copy of this book to someone or to buy a second one. Give her book to that person you encounter who has taken in all the “ed disruption” Kool Aid. You know them. The “proverbial” person who might vilify those “lazy” public school teachers who are always angry about their good salaries with pensions… and with all those vacations and summers off! The individuals who still believe that charter schools are going to save our education because they saw Michelle Rhee on the cover of Time Magazine. Perhaps they read the US News & World Report with its annual high school rankings (and many of the “best schools” are charters) and believe it. Ravitch will enlighten them about these myths and any other “ed disruption” truths they’ve taken for gospel!

Ordinary taxpayers (We The People) need to know NOW just who is wasting taxpayer money along with the how and why. It is time to restore public education and bring joy to the learning process for our nation’s youth. With an election upcoming, it is essential for presidential candidates and citizens alike to understand what has happened to public education and how this nation can begin to implement effective education policy via our democratic cornerstone – public schools. The current generation and future generations of our nation’s children deserve nothing less! The Goliaths (“ed disrupters”) have been exposed. The David’s (“We The People”) are gaining steam and not backing down! But Slaying Goliath is not the full title of this Ravitch book. The full title is Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools. The call to arms in this Resistance is a book – Diane Ravitch is the author! Read it! Pass it on to someone who needs to learn from it!



Class Size Lawsuit: A Trip to Albany WIth Leonie

Monday morning I met up with Leonie Haimson at Penn Station to take Amtrak to Albany for a hearing in Appellate Court on the class size lawsuit. It was a short hearing at 1 PM in front of 5 judges - maybe 20 minutes to a half hour. Lawyer Wendy Lecker presented our side and was opposed by a state lawyer from Attorney General Leticia James' office and a lawyer from the city corp council. Yes Virginia, our city and state government leaders don't give a shit about class size.

Then again, the UFT refused to join in the suit so what does that tell you?

We were joined at the hearing by State Senator Robert Jackson, a hero of education in this city and state to many activists, an original initiator of the CFE lawsuit over a dozen years ago joined by some of the parents involved in the current suit. After the hearing Jackson invited us up to his office to chat and snack and I did some video interview with all the participants (will have that available in a few days if my old cranky computers don't break down.)

I learned a lot about the case and let me do a quick summary before Leonie explains it in more detail below.

The judges ruled in the original CFE from 2007 that the Bloomberg-Klein admin had 5 years - till 2012 - to come up with a class size reduction plan. They ignored that provision and now have the nerve to claim that the mandate expired when they didn't come up with the plan in 2012 and now they don't have to. That's like someone who is convicted of a crime and sentenced to 5 years but goes on the lam for those years and then comes back claiming his sentence expired so he doesn't have to serve time.

Here's Leonie with more details on her blog: https://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2020/01/our-class-size-lawsuit-argued-in.html

Our class size lawsuit argued in the Appellate Court yesterday!

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit along with Sen. Robert Jackson and attorney Wendy Lecker
Yesterday, the class size lawsuit against the city and the state that we filed more than a year ago, along with nine NYC parents from every borough and the Alliance for Quality Education, was heard in the Appellate court in Albany.
Our pro bono attorney, Wendy Lecker of the Education Law Center, did a fabulous job, those of us in the courtroom agreed, which included two of the parent plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Litza Stark of Queens and Johanna Garcia of Manhattan, along with Johanna’s daughter Hailey, back from her first semester in college. NY Senator Robert Jackson, who spearheaded the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, was also there to support us, as well as retired teacher Norm Scott.

A panel of five judges listened intently as Wendy related how the NYC Department of Education had violated the state Contracts for Excellence law passed in 2007, which specifically mandates that the city lower average class sizes in all grades over five years – but instead, class sizes had sharply increased so that they are now far larger than they were when the law was first passed.  In response, the attorneys for the city and state tried to argue that since the five years outlined in the original law had lapsed, there was no longer any requirement for the DOE to lower class size.

Yet as Wendy pointed out,  the state legislature renews and reauthorizes the C4E law every year, including its class size mandate, with no specific end point for when the city’s obligations would cease;  thus this is indeed a continuing requirement on the part of the DOE.
The attorneys for the city and state also claimed that the court has no jurisdiction over this matter, but that the Commissioner of Education has the sole power to determine whether the city had adequately complied with the law.  Yet as Wendy counter-argued, the court indeed has the authority to decide whether the Commissioner has accurately interpreted the language of the statute, and the court's authority to do so in regards the C4E law was specifically re-confirmed in 2011 by the Appellate judges in 2011. By essentially nullifying the city’s class size obligation under the law, Wendy said, the Commissioner had essentially usurped the legislature’s role.

Though one cannot predict how the court will rule, those of us in the room felt that Wendy’s arguments were far stronger than those of the city or state attorneys, who did not even try to dispute the facts in the case: that class sizes had increased sharply since 2007, and this had unfairly deprived NYC students of an quality education. 

In any event, the Appellate Court will likely not issue any decision until this summer at least, and we are not content to sit back and wait for this to occur.  Instead, we are urging the Mayor and the Council to put a down payment on the quality of our children’s education by allocating specific funding for class size reduction, starting next year in the early grades and in struggling schools.  More on how you can help with this soon.
 
 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NYCDOENUTS on Portelos Case WIth My Commentary

The Department of Education of the City of New York had one of its pedagogues arrested for practicing free speech in the form an obviously humorous article. That really actually happened.... NYCDOENUTS
UFT Ex Bd Meeting, Jan. 13, 2020 as reported by Arthur at NYCEducator:
Mike Schirtzer—Proud to have worked defending union rights with so many members. Many have been asking me about an email they received from PERB about a member. What should we tell them about this email?

Barr—Sometimes you have a situation where DOE needs to be held responsible. We try to do that every day. In this case, this member was found to have been harassed and targeted after identifying financial irregularities. DOE lost case, In settlement, DOE was supposed to notify people in 2017. PERB sued DOE and won. Went to Supreme Court. Because they were resistant, court said it had to be sent to 120,000 people. Kudos to PERB. Tell members what happened.

Schirtzer—New contract has protection against harassment and retaliation. What should members do?

Barr—First, contact CL, who can work with DR. Must keep those responsible involved and informed. It’s case by case.
I posted the Portelos story the other day with documentation:

Below is a must read by DOENUTS, one of my buddies who faced the same kind of personal attack by the vicious dogs at the DOE for practicing free speech outside his school activities, just like Portelos. I never really heard the full story before because he was closed mouth about it but to me its even scarier than Portelos' case because this is a fairly not in your face guy while Portelos attracted enormous attention. So that it can happen to anyone is very scary.

If Mike Schirtzer hadn't brought it up the other day, would the UFT had made any comment at all? I don't think you will be reading about the Portelos story in the NY Teacher.

Now I will say that as an advisor to Portelos at the time, after having attended over a dozen of his hearings, I urged him to be quiet until the hearing officer came through with a decision because I came out of the hearing thinking he wouldn't be fired despite the 42 charges against him. The HO seemed somewhat sympathetic, he had a great NYSUT lawyer and the DOE lawyer was a vicious unlikable dog.

When he published his piece claiming to have hacked the DOE payroll I was not happy because I thought it might affect the ulitmate decision of the HO. And maybe it did - he was given a heavy fine.

I still think he didn't need to do it for a joke. There are more serious things to write about to fight the DOE over. But to be arrested was so far over the top.
One thing to note is the absence of mention of the union that supposedly protects people --- but these are iffy grounds. In fact we (Portelos, DOENUTS, and some other bloggers) all met at the home of a teacher who had made a very bad joke on facebook and was persecuted around that time - I think 2012-13. The lesson learned but not by everyone - scrub your social media of any negative references to students. Or maybe any references because who knows how the people at the DOE will slant things?

I don't know if free speech exists for teachers or anyone employed anywhere. Maybe it's a myth -  the first amendment.

Now it's important that Portelos kept asking for a remedy and never stopped. I admit that at times when I was on the other side of him I found that he never let go like a dog with a bone was annoying and I know from insiders at the DOE and the UFT he drove them nuts and the word "hate" was used more than once. But they are people in power and there should be limits and the union's job is to enforce these limits no matter what they think of you.

NYCDOENUTS
http://nycdoenuts.blogspot.com/2020/01/about-portelos.html

About Portelos

Well it's happened. It took a long time and it followed a windy path but the DoE was finally forced, through yet another court order, to send notice to every one of it's employees that Francesco Portelos will no longer be a target for any of his actions.
It is somehow impossible for these folks to inform every single employee in the system that their paystub is ready for viewing, but it sure as heck notified all of us that Portelos will no longer be a target.

I've seen much confusion and one or two rolling eyes at this notice. By in large, folks feel like they should not have to be seeing this kind of notification at their workplace.  They don't. In fact, I would wager that, if you asked Francesco, he would say those folks are right! They shouldn't!! In fact, he would probably say that was the whole point. Department resources should not have to be spent on things like this notice precisely because department resources should not have been spent on straying from the law to go retaliate against an employee in the first place.

Among other things, Francesco sued for a letter of acknowledgement from the department that he had, in fact, been a target of their reprisals and for an attestation -a simple statement- saying that he would and should no longer be targeted by them or by their subordinates. When some people sue, they sue for money (and I hope he did that as well). This guy sued for a letter -a letter- and he brought that old Captain America I can do this all day attitude to his lawsuits and stayed with them through their conclusion -eight years.

And for those folks who may be reading and rolling their eyes (or thinking about some crap he may have done to them somewhere along the line), Stop. And read this story I have to share:

My story isn't quick. It happened almost eight years ago. and it requires a lot of context. I was being put through a 3020 by the DoE for a harmless article I wrote for a blog I was connected with at the time. I had never been in trouble in my entire career up until that very point. I had thirteen letters of commendation in my file from various supervisors across various schools. I was well liked by colleagues, by parents and by my students and was, by almost every measure, a model pedagogue. I even wore a jacket and tie to work every day!  And yet, there I was, having my entire career, and life, turned upside down because I had published something to a blog and had worked with folks to help mitigate and work against Bloomberg and his wildly destructive education policies.

It was a clear retaliatory attack, but what could I do? I'm just a doofy little teacher and you can't fight city hall. At that time, the real City Hall influenced all of the newspapers.  The DoE didn't like the blogs so, at some point, it was decided to find them (us) and go after them. Another blogger was just starting a similar very long, and very painful, process of his own during this time and although the DoE swore it had nothing to do his blog, we knew it was retribution for writing. Writers who didn't have important friends to protect them were all a focus of *that* DoE. We had to just weather the storm as best we could.

And we each weathered that storm in our own way. I have a mortgage and children, and had a principal who was very confused about being "told" to sign off on a 3020. He, as a matter of consequence, had decided to help me get past the ordeal. So I did what he suggested and I kept my mouth shut throughout the entire process. I eventually got off with a slap on the wrist and was allowed -permitted, I believe, was the actual term from the attorney- to go back and serve the children of New York. (He was right. It is a privilege to do what I do. I shrugged it off as best as I could and got back to work). My other friend fought back. His struggle was long and painful but he would eventually go on to uncover evidence that there had, in fact, been a conspiracy against him. This helped him fight off the lawyers and save his job.

And it was within this political climate that Francesco decided to publish his now famous humor piece about how to hack the DoE!. I have to admit, when I first read it, I put my head down and asked "Why Francesco. Why?". But then I quickly realized something: None of this should have been happening to any of us anyway. We, and many more of us, were all caught up in some bizarre totalitarian-like retaliation policy -and none of us had important friends to help protect us. We were, what you might call, low hanging fruit for the machine -and that machine was hungry.

You see, during the last few years of the Bloomberg administration, the unwritten rules in the DoE were very very clear: If you spoke out, you were retaliated against. If you spoke out in your school, your school retaliated against you. If you had the testicoli to speak out beyond your school, then the part or the whole system came after you -and it is a very, very big system. Hell, different people in that system might trip over themselves in hopes of being the first to come after you if you were able to draw an audience wider than your school.

So clear were these rules that, once I was charged, a friend in my school renamed me "the dead man walking" -and everybody knew what he meant.

That was the world -the DoE world anyway- in which we all worked and lived. Thank goodness it is a different world from today. THAT world was like a Kafka novel -a poorly written and very predictable Kafka novel -and none of it should ever have happened-but it was what it was.

Public resources -resources that had been intended to teach children- had been used to silence any voice that spoke against any arm of its more sinister policies in any biting or meaningful way. Bloomberg folks defend this, by the way, even to this day (not folks from legal or any other area but Bloomberg folks generally). They'll say that public approval was a requirement for their policies and some of the voices may have threatened that a bit.

Which brings me to why Francesco dropped that humor piece!. In hindsight, it seemed that he was daring them to do the wrong thing and go after him for nothing.

And, well, they did. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

In the middle of my ordeal, I got a call from Francesco. It was just one night, out of many, where I was at home -afraid about what might happen to me in my trial. Apparently, a detective wanted him to "come in" so they "could talk" about the humorous piece he had published. Earlier in the day, Francesco had learned that this was NYPD code for "Look, I'm going to arrest you but I don't feel like driving to you. So why don't you just come in like a good guy instead, Okay?" As it so happens, a DoE official had gotten creative, tripped over some other DoE official's attempt to retaliate and just filed a complaint with the police.  Francesco -a teacher- was set to be arrested for practicing free speech.

I need to write that again, don't I? That's OK. It sounds crazy just typing it!

The Department of Education of the City of New York had one of its pedagogues arrested for practicing free speech in the form an obviously humorous article. That really actually happened.

We spent about 2 1/2 hours on the phone that night, both of us perplexed about how they had been enabled to go so far.  I remember hearing the fear in his voice as we spoke (I also remember hearing the fear in my own voice that night. These experiences back then were pretty scary!!). But I also remember -clearly- hearing a tone of resolve from him. And it was a strong resolve. At one point, I heard him say "look. I'm probably have to go through this. It is what it is. But this shouldn't be happened and, you know me so you know this isn't going to be the end it. It just isn't". As best as I could tell, he was resolute the night before he was arrested, as well as scared, as well as perplexed at a DoE that would do this. But resolution was the feeling I remember sensing from him the most. (This is his rendition of what happened to him during hiss 33 hours in jail. You should read it. You should be taken aback about how a DoE employee could make this happen over a harmless, funny little article). And now, eight years later, that resolution has found its way to reality in the form a section three of the letter that we have all received.

But just know, he was scared that night, as any of us would be.

And just to be clear, there is a hero in this story.  It isn't any of the guys or girls who took to blogging or protesting during the Bloomberg Administration. It certainly isn't me. It's the guy who never ever stopped trying to get things set right for himself.  I mean, I'm proud to be the guy who shut up and tried his best to not upset my employer again (...as instructed, Madam Hearing Officer! As instructed... ). But I'm also the guy who will now enjoy the remainder of my career free -completely free- from that type of viciousness and retaliations which we all witnessed and which some of us experienced. And, I have to say, Portelos is why I'll enjoy that freedom.

And, unless I'm advertising his robotics club or program he's running at his new school, that is ALL I'll have to write about Francesco Portelos!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Fairway bankruptcy due to private equity dumb expansion - shades of toys r us

Struggling Fairway Market again prepares bankruptcy filing
January 2, 2020, nypost.com, by Lisa Fickenscher
Known for its quality produce, prepared foods, cheeses and smoked fishes, Fairway is now preparing to seek bankruptcy protection this month after failing to find a buyer for its 14 stores, multiple sources tell The Post...Fairway’s downturn started in 2007 when the Glickberg family sold an 80% stake to private equity firm Sterling Investment for $140 million. Four generations of the family had owned and operated a handful of Fairways in NYC, starting with a fruit-and-vegetable stand that opened in 1933. Fairway quickly fell victim to Sterling’s aggressive expansion plan...which only served to burden the company with a crushing $300 million in debt. Sterling took Fairway public in 2013...Three years later, in May 2016, it filed for Chapter 11 protection after losing money in every quarter of its life as a publicly held company. It was bought out of bankruptcy by an investment arm of Blackstone, GSO Capital, which recently sold its stake. Now owned by lead shareholders Brigade Capital Management and Goldman Sachs Group, Fairway is quietly closing stores



Hey is sterling equity the ny Mets Stirling? If so it figures 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Does Pelosi Impeachment and Delay Help Biden? Hell Yes - But Was it intentional?

My little suspicious mind started working overtime over the possibility that the entire time-table of the impeachment process, led by smart people who full well understand the nomination timetable, were playing internal Democratic Party politics, knowing full-well the leading left wing candidates - Warren and Bernie - would be put out of commission for weeks in the crucial January weeks? What about centrist Senator Klobuchar? She's so far back she becomes collateral damage.

What did Pelosi gain by the delay? And the initial timetable could have been sped up. After all, we know the Senate will not remove Trump and the best chance to get rid of him is to beat him in the election. My guess is that that is less likely than it was in September.

For three years the Dems have talked about Russia and Ukraine but not very much on the disastrous climate issues or housing or education or any of the crap the Trump team has perpetrated on this country. Just the attack on Obama care alone should have been front and center. At least Bloomberg ads are doing some of that work.

The Hill: Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie will break the establishment?

Krystal is a true commentator of the left - The Hill

https://youtu.be/ycd6bIe5wCI

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Porty Beats DOE: NY Post

The DOE defied the order to make the notification for nearly three years.... NY Post

Over the years I've had my disagreements with Portelos but in the beginning I was a supporter and adviser and attended a dozen of his 3020a hearings where the hearing officer herself and the NYSUT lawyer became believers in his story that he was being set up for daring to disagree with the principal who turned on him on a dime - and the DOE followed suit. For not firing him the hearing officer was dropped - and I thought she was really good.

Check your schools to make sure this notice is posted. James did a post on this with lots of comments: http://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/2020/01/has-your-school-posted-this-perb-ruling.html


The NY Post - Sue Edelman - who did some early stories on Portelos - has a good summary below. The Post on the other hand, sent a reporter and photographer to the first day of his hearing to do a hit job on him. They taketh and they givith.

See Ed Notes from Sept. 2013.
Someone tell me this is journalism where I highlighted hackisms in pink:

A Staten Island teacher who taunted the Department of Education by live-streaming video of his time in a “rubber room” continued to hog the spotlight at his termination hearing Thursday by inviting the media to watch. Francesco Portelos, accused of rampant insubordination at IS 49, opened the normally closed disciplinary procedure in hopes of extending his 15 minutes of fame. But the move blew up in his face, when he was not allowed to speak because it was the department’s turn to present its case.
I loved this line:
Unlike a normal trial, Portelos’ side will make its case at a later hearing.

Portelos Hearing: NY Post Reporter Reuven Fenton Commits Journalistic Malpractice

Ex-rubber room teacher wins fight against ‘rampant’ DOE retaliation 

https://nypost.com/2020/01/11/rubber-room-teacher-wins-fight-against-rampant-doe-retaliation/
By Susan Edelman

A Staten Island teacher who once live-streamed himself in a rubber room has forced the city Department of Education to publicly admit it wrongly retaliated against him.

Francesco Portelos won a long battle to make the DOE notify about 120,000 fellow union members — on bulletin boards in every building and emails to each employee — that it must rescind actions against him for asking questions about his school budget and helping colleagues who alleged workplace bullying.

The DOE defied the order to make the notification for nearly three years.
Portelos was formerly a teacher at IS 49 Berta A. Dreyfus in 2012, when he sparred with then-principal Linda Hill over financial matters, including his accusation — later confirmed by the DOE — that she paid herself for undeserved overtime.

Hill had Portelos tossed in the rubber room, a holding area for teachers under investigation, where he live-streamed his idleness. He then won election as a union chapter leader, but Hill barred him from meetings and launched further probes against him.
In May 2012, Portelos filed a complaint with the state Public Employee Relations Board. In April 2017, the PERB ruled in his favor, ordering the DOE to remove all disciplinary letters and negative observations it found “in retaliation for his engaging in protected activity.”
But PERB had to sue the DOE last year after the city simply buried the notice on its website, where it would be hard to find.
On Nov 26, an Albany Supreme Court judge ordered the city to fully comply.
After The Post asked about the notices on Friday, the DOE said it sent out all the emails that day, blaming a “technical error” for the delay.
Portelos, who now teaches at IS 27, coached a team of students who won second place in a citywide hack-a-thon contest last April, when he shook hands with Chancellor Richard Carranza.
“It’s bigger than just me and Principal Hill,” Portelos said of his battle. “The system is so rampant with retaliation, the DOE and its supervisors will have to think twice before going after someone who is active in the union or speaks up about school issues.”
A DOE spokeswoman would not explain why it defied the initial order, but said, “NYC is a union town and we are proud to have strong unions representing school employees. The DOE is complying with the current court order by instructing that the PERB notice be posted for 30 days, and by emailing this notice to all teachers.”
 

CNN to Pay $76 Million to Union Cameramen - Did Trump Admin do a Hit?

The board said the settlement was the largest monetary remedy in its 84-year history and more than the amount the agency collects in a typical year. The agreement ends a long-running dispute that erupted in 2003, when CNN terminated a contract with Team Video Services, which had provided audio and video services to the cable company’s New York and Washington bureaus. CNN then hired new employees to perform the same work without recognizing or bargaining with the two unions that had represented the Team Video Services employees, the board said Friday.... NYT - https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/10/business/cnn-labor-dispute-settlement.html
Oh that old neo-liberal media. And we know how Trump who packed the NLRB loves unions. But he hates CNN even more.

The Communications Workers threatened to picket the CNN sponsored Democratic debate this week. NLRB which has been pretty anti-union but especially under Trump came through just in time. But it make me wonder since Trump hates CNN so much did the NLRB jump at the chance to embarrass CNN and also hit it hard financially even if giving the unions a win?

Oh the delicious irony. And best of all, my fellow videographer at the Rockaway Theatre Company was one of the cameramen. Maybe I can get him to take me to lunch. But he just emailed "show me the money." Bet lawyers get most of it.

CNN Agrees to Pay $76 Million to Settle Allegations It Violated Federal Labor Law

The National Labor Relations Board said the settlement with unionized broadcast technicians was the largest monetary remedy in its 84-year history.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Compare the Power of the UFT to Hotel Trades Council

In recent years, it [Hotel Trades Council] has helped scuttle an attempt to rezone a swath of Midtown Manhattan, halted the conversion of hotels into condominiums and pressured city officials to spend millions of dollars combating Airbnb — a company that the union views as a threat to hotels and hotel jobs. Its most recent victory came last month in New Jersey, across the river from Manhattan, when the union won a multimillion-dollar showdown with Airbnb in Jersey City over a referendum on restrictions to home sharing.... NYT - article below.
There was a fascinating piece in the NYT about the Hotel Trades Council union and its leader, Peter Ward and how he responded to the threat of  Airbnb to union hotel jobs. The subheadline says it all:

The hotel workers’ union has become one of the most feared political forces in New York.

Is the UFT a feared political force?

Compare Ward's response to that of the UFT over the assault on union jobs by charter schools, which I would estimate has taken over 10,000 potential UFT jobs away here in the city. The UFT strategy has been to accept those losses (it has been incredibly weak in organizing charter school teachers - compare that to the Chicago Teacher Union which has been very successful and has organized charter teachers into their union to the point that they were able to pull of a charter strike) but has managed to hold the line on the expansion of charters - so far.

From almost Day 1 (I was an initial supporter of the original Shanker idea of charters if they were run by teachers and were unionized) I and others urged the UFT to take a strong stand but instead Randi played her little games - by even opening our own charter which has not gotten good reviews.

Now we every day here about the evils of charters:
Why Democrats must choose between teachers and charter schools

The latest outrage is so-called Democratic candidate for president Mike Bloomberg with this arrogant in your face All-In on charters:
Bloomberg education plan to promote charter school expansion

How can someone hope to win the Democratic nomination by promoting an anti-union idea? Well, Obama did it - twice. With no pushback from the teacher unions, possibly the key people in a campaign to win the presidency. That lack of pushback has emboldened Bloomberg.

What would Peter Ward do? I think he would fire a shot across Bloomberg's bow - you will never get the nomination on our watch. That is what both the NEA and AFT should be saying today. But they won't.

Here is the NYT article:
The hotel workers’ union has become one of the most feared political forces in New York.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/02/nyregion/hotel-union-nyc-airbnb.html