Sunday, October 31, 2010
Things to remember at the polls
Re: Jim Redovian -
According to the AJC, "Board members Eugene Walker, Zepora Roberts, Sarah Copelin-Wood and Jim Redovian said they are looking at raising the millage rate by amounts varying between half a mill and 2 mills." At two recent forums, Redovian would not publicly agree to holding the millage rate.
Redovian voted to take away teachers’ Board of Education TSAs (the retirement legs that replaced their Social Security), increase their class sizes and furlough them.
He was the swing vote (Cunningham, Walker, Copelin-Wood, Roberts, Redovian) to give a contract for legal service to Alexander & Associates - in addition to the contract given to the very diverse Sutherland firm. This was a blatant waste of taxpayers’ money - nearly a gift to Alexander. With the special projects, outside the scope of their contractual fees, Alexander bills DeKalb along with our lawyers from Sutherland; so we are essentially charged twice for the same work.
In response to questions at Tuesday night’s DHA Candidate Forum, he stated that “Things aren’t that bad in DeKalb. We’re doing pretty well.” At the Thursday DCPC Forum, upon being presented with the AYP data again, he stated, “He didn’t believe it.” The data was pulled from the Georgia DOE website!
When asked if he favored moving the magnet programs to a “central” location (meaning Avondale in all likelihood) he said “YES!” He said this with no knowledge of a mapping of the location of those students within the county.
Redovian gave a TV interview and decried nepotism in the same week he voted (the board voted unanimously) to approve the new promotion of a cabinet member’s daughter to principal at a struggling high school in need of strong, experienced leadership.
Redovian stated at a DHA Board meeting that you could visit his website at, “I suck dot com.”
Re: Gene Walker -
(Regarding State Rep. Kevin Lavitas' ethics bill) "There’s much more important things [Levitas] should be working on."
“I am a very, very race-conscious person,” Walker said in October 2009. “I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color. But judge me by my actions.”
One of his actions, while on the Development Authority, was to accept $20,000 from a developer, Sembler Corp, for his school board campaign. We later find out that he is pushing for a tax break for the Sembler Corp's development near Brookhaven Marta. This involves sacrificing the collection over $50 million - in school tax! And then of course, there are those ethical conflicts regarding the Sembler Company's campaign contributions and sexual harassment complaints (one resulting in a $190,000 settlement by the state.)
Re: Jay Cunningham -
As reported in the AJC - Documents show that Cunningham’s restaurants collected $3,077 from schools in the five years before he joined the school board, compared to at least $22,655 in the three and a half years after. That doesn't seem as important to me as the fact that Jay has a previously undisclosed criminal history for theft from McDonald's, where he worked as manager and more recently for three alleged accusations of violence.
Additionally, he led the insistence to retain the Alexander law firm - costing the school system an additional million and he led the charge to continue to spend millions on the magnet transportation hubs while voting to cut school staff such as parapros, media clerks and CTSS technicians at regular schools. Jay continues to carve and support a racial divide on the school board.
Re: Sarah Copelin-Wood -
The second board member to be reprimanded in less than a month (for insulting comments she made about the interim superintendent and another school employee), earlier, Sarah oddly interfered in the Citizen's Task Force, committed to studying attendance and recommending school consolidations.
According to the AJC, Wood made phone calls and pitted one school against the other in her own district. I think that’s very wrong,” Coward said Saturday. “She’s supposed to represent all of the schools in her district.”
Reached at her home on Saturday, Copelin-Wood denied the allegations and refused to answer some questions.
“This is a lie,” said Copelin-Wood, who represents District 3. “The person who would do that was mad they didn’t get their way. I don’t have to answer to them.”
“As a board member, she [Copelin-Wood] has the responsibility to stay neutral and not make this a racial issue because it was not a racial issue,” Coward said. “But she kept making comments about black and white task force members.”
Re: Zepora Roberts - (in her own words)
“I will not vote in favor of this item, not only AT&T – but for any other businesses that’s doing business with AT&T and is part of this eduKalb to erase the board.”
“I don’t trust the people that’s going to be drawing the school board members,” Roberts said (referring to the state). “If we approve this, we’re doomed.”
“Now the only thing that he [David Schutten - president of ODE] does is fly all over the country, spending your hard-earned dues trying to be a high roller, hobnobbing with important people.”
“Your president [David Schutten] keeps getting bolder and bolder with his nasty antics and disrespect.”
In response to a parent's question regarding SPLOST spending:
"You once again missed the whole thing! As a matter of fact, you added points to your lopsided way of thinking that were not even said by me nor Ms. Copelin Wood. You once again used this opportunity to spread your poison."
"Although I am an elected official, I am not obligated to respond to you in any form or fashion."
"Even though you have access to a lot of data, you still have it all wrong."
"I feel sorry for you, so take your lopsided, twisted thoughts where they belong, to the trash bin. Thank you."
And finally, to a news reporter asking Zepora about her family members employed by the school system: "I have no more comments to say to you and don't you come near me or I am going to slug you."
Below is my never-ending, over-arching comment for us all to keep in mind during our discussions and decisions:
DCSS maintains a "scarcity" mentality, meaning there isn't enough basic supply of ANYTHING to go around, so everyone ends up pitting against each other to demand morsels and crumbs - while noticing that many of the favorites seem never to want for anything. I will make a personal pledge not to fall into the trap. I will look beyond the petty squabbles, and only focus on the big budgets, the big bloat and the big waste - which by and large is found in the Central Office and not really in schools.
We have to stick together and not let them divide us or we'll look like third world people lined up at the back of the truck fighting over the free rice delivery, while the leaders feast on fine food and wine. It's a trap to throw attention away from the real problem -- waste and bloat - and I'm not biting anymore.
Please consider this when voting for the person you will entrust with our annual billion dollar budget.
This is a very important decision. Character counts!