Friday, April 08, 2011


We refuse to quit. Thanks to the energy of Senator Tony Avella, Jamaica will be out there again rallying to show the world our school that is scheduled for phase out is still alive. This time it is the alumni leading the way. Alumni include musical group the Cleftones, who will be performing at Sunday's rally, Councilman Leroy Comrie, State Assemblyman David Weprin, Councilman Mark Weprin, CBS Sunday Morning's Nancy Giles and plenty more. Hopefully, they all will all be there on Sunday and you are invited too.

Jamaica is located at 167-01 Gothic Drive in Jamaica. Take the F Train to 169th street, go to the back of the station and walk two blocks up the hill on 168th to the school. See you on Sunday at noon.

Michael Fiorillo Warns Not to Celebrate Black's Departure; Leonie Haimson Gets it Right in the NY Times

Hello All,

This is not a good development. Every day that Black was Chancellor, she further undermined Bloomberg and revealed his contempt for students, parents and teachers. Walcott will follow the same smash-and-grab agenda, but will be far more adept at it, and his being black will provide a partial shield from criticism.

After all, if people are motivated by power and greed, better for the rest of us if they are incompetent and the butt of jokes. Black was a gift from the Gods of Absurdity, which they have sadly taken back from us.

Let's all hope that this comes too late to revive people's view of Bloomberg, but it makes our job harder, not easier.


Michael Fiorillo

She Inherited a Mess

Leonie Haimson, a New York City public school parent, is the executive director of Class Size Matters, a citywide advocacy group.

New York City has the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students. Unfortunately, as the experience of Cathie Black shows, having a good record in business is not enough to be a successful chancellor.

Cathie Black inherited a huge mess from Joel Klein, who made one mistake after another.

You have to understand something about teaching and learning, how to listen to stakeholders, and how to work collaboratively with communities to move their schools forward. Joel Klein came in with an attitude that he knew best, that the schools were his fiefdom to control, that parents had nothing of importance to communicate, and proceeded to make one disastrous policy mistake after another.

He coasted for many years on effective public relations, increased budgets and test score inflation. When he started cutting school budgets and the test score bubble burst, he had nothing left to rely upon and departed for greener pastures.

Cathie Black came in and inherited a huge mess. One-fourth of all elementary schools have waiting lists for kindergarten because of overdevelopment and incompetent planning. One-tenth of eighth graders were not admitted to any of their high school choices. In a system supposedly based on expanding choice, this administration has taken away the most basic choice of all: to be able to send your child to a neighborhood school.

Class sizes are larger in the early grades than they have been in more than a decade, schools have lost art, music and science, and are forced to focus on test prep; and parents’ desire that their schools be helped to improve, rather than threatened with closure or lose precious space to a charter school is routinely ignored.

Dennis Walcott has a big job ahead of him. He clearly has more experience and political skills than Ms. Black. But what he needs to do is convince parents that he cares about their priorities for their children, show teachers that he knows something about the challenges they face every day, and demonstrate to all New Yorkers that he is ready to take the school system in a new direction. Whether that will happen is unlikely; but one can always hope.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


I'm scheduled to be on with Mimi and Ken from the vigil on Monday between 7 and 8 pm. Hope to see some of you there or at least know you are listening on WBAI (99.5 FM).

WBAI’s Radio Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report
Produced by Mimi Rosenberg and Ken Nash
Monday, April 4, 2011, 7 – 8 pm EST, over 99.5 FM
or streaming live at
Martin Luther King’s Economic Justice Agenda
From Memphis To Wisconsin
Forty three years ago, a struggle by 1,300 sanitation workers for economic justice
brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis. On the eve of his death, hours after
marching with the AFSCME sanitation workers, being denied the right of collective
bargaining & facing down the armed forces of a city & state, Martin Luther King, Jr.
declared: “work that serves humanity…It has dignity and it has worth.”
Today in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and more than a dozen other states,
well-funded, corporatist politicians are trying to take away the union rights Dr. King
gave his life for. This year, to commemorate his sacrifice, the AFL-CIO has called
for nationwide events and actions to link the struggle of 1968 to the challenges we
face today, We Are One. And, Building Bridges will be there to bring you the
April 4th protests and continue the legacy of Dr. King.
Carrying On The Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. Vincent Harding,
an associate of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, has written
numerous books, including "Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero". On this
43rd year since the death of Dr. King, speechwriter, confidante Dr. Harding
discusses Dr. King’s economic justice activism and its relevance for us today as
workers battle for the survival of their labor organizations, against give backs,
stagnating wages and unemployment
From Ground Zero Of the War on the Workers: Reports from
Wisconsin and Ohio
Peter Rickman, Teaching Asst., LaFollette Law School , Univ. of Wisconsin,
& member of the Teaching Assistants’ Assn., AFT Local 3220
Joseph Rugola, Exec. Dir., Ohio Assn. of Public School Employees, AFSCME

The Ohio legislature just passed Gov. Kasich’s union busting bill which nullifies public
employee rights. Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walkers’ rush to cut public sector worker
benefits, and bust their unions in Wisconsin has been stymied by court action. But
the workers in both states aren’t taking the assaults lying down, we’ll find out how
they’re carrying on the legacy of Dr. King and attend the We are One demonstration
in Madison Wisconsin.
Carrying It On: They Stay Get Back, But Workers Rally For A Living Wage
On Anniversary of Dr. King’s Death

We'll go live from the Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn where a community/labor
coalition is demanding passage of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, to address
the plight of the working poor in New York City. More than $2 billion of our tax dollars
is being spent annually in the name of economic development and job creation, but
is actually creating poverty wage jobs, rather than living wage jobs.
Workers' Rights Are Civil Rights - NYC Teachers Fightback on April 4
with James Eterno, Chapter Chair, UFT, Jamaica High School

The UFT is drawing inspiration from Dr. King and will stand in solidarity with workers
under attack across the country with a vigil at Battery Park. We’ll join this protest live
where the UFT with labor and community activists protest Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to
lay off thousands of NYC teachers, shred their seniority and pension rights and close
26 public schools while expanding charter schools.
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Friday, April 01, 2011

Mayor Laguardia vs. Mayor Bloomberg, Unions and The Rest

By David Pambianchi

The Mark of Greatness - The Mark of Infamous
Prelude: As New York City's Bloomberg Administration exposes itself, at last the people see. At last they know as corporate America reveals itself, not as the provider of opportunity, progress, free enterprise and the promise of the American Dream, but a warped entity of human failing and degradation, a corruption so contrary to the fabric of the American conscience and the vision of the founding fathers that it sickens the body and soul and makes a mockery of everything wholesome and good.

Dollar after dollar flows into the media and into politics, drummed into the ears of our citizens attempting to deafen hope, brainwash and convince the people that we must distrust our neighbors, question our friends, keep our place, and obey those who usurped our financial security. We shall not. All the golden lies spread across the land by billionaires cannot make the people believe in their hearts that teachers fundamentally do not care about children or that police and fireman fundamentally do not care to protect us and prefer to make a buck.

The people begin to sense the truth, see the truth and understand that our children will pay for the corruption and greed of the few. The children of the middle class will watch the birthright left to them by generations of working ancestors crumble, and the children of the poor will pay with thicker chains of poverty. And while they pull the wool over our eyes, the audacious position of the Bloomberg Administration that pounds at our doors, inundates us with messages from a Yellow Press with hate, threats and fear, is that the wealthy must save us from ourselves.

Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg vs. War Hero Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia
Illustration: Ekaterina "Katie" Aksenova
Since Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg fancies himself the greatest mayor of all time, a brief comparison is in order between him and who many "thought" was the greatest mayor, War Hero Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.


LaGuardia lived modestly in East Harlem with his family, had no major campaign contributions for his election and after his death left only his legacy.
Bloomberg bought and coerced a third mayoral term and "somehow" managed to triple his billions, while the country went through one of the greatest market crashes since The Great Depression.

Where LaGuardia and Bloomberg stand on Unions

Who is the Union?
The union is the police, fireman, teachers, sanitation, transit, communications, garments, electricians, painters and carpenters, auto workers, teamsters and represents every other trade in New York. Workers and their families, for the people, by the people, this is the Union. And the Union delegates have a basic responsibility: to collective bargain for fair wages and hiring practices, health benefits and workplace safety, pension after years of faithful service and the like.

LaGuardia supported the people and as Dr. Martin Luther King later understood, Unions were one of the best ways to fight racism and nepotism in the work place. The Norris-LaGuardia Act outlawed yellow-dog contracts that prevented workers from joining unions. While LaGuardia promoted Unions in the private sector, he feared the striking power of Public Unions, however (for better or worse depending on your point of view); this concern is moot as the Taylor Law of 1967 paralyzed Public Unions by making it illegal for municipal employees to strike. In out-of-time context, the NY Post still quoted LaGuardia concerning, "keeping young teachers during a layoff," for a false comparison with Bloomberg. They would never print what LaGuardia also professed, "...let all the money of the taxpayers go into schools instead of politicians." Then, he opened and modernized schools.

"I think the reporter should get his facts straight before he distorts them." - Fiorello LaGuardia

Bloomberg diverts funds to strangle and close schools. First the Puritans, then Thomas Jefferson, and then Benjamin Franklin gave America the concepts of free education. When the Bloomberg administration has exhausted all funding, Elementary and Secondary school will no longer be free. Likewise, Freedom of the Press has become a farce and an anathema with the majority of the media already under Bloomberg influence and control.

Day after day, the papers still mock public intelligence and knowledge, relentless in their attack on the "Bad" Union Teachers. History repeatedly teaches the imperative need for unionization. March 25th 2011 marks the Centennial Memorial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history with 146 workers that burned, asphyxiated or jumped to their deaths. (No one was found guilty of negligence, but a later lawsuit won compensation in the amount of $75 for each deceased person.) New York was full of low-wage sweatshops with horrendous working conditions and still the corporate powers stymied safety laws and kept employers safe from punishment. It took this tragic disaster to bring about the expansion of the International Ladies' Garment Union (Now, a merger of unions called UNITE HERE).

But like today's teachers, the laborers are still under fire from Corporate America, and still there is no punishment for destroying livelihoods or the economy by stealing and defrauding the American people. One name is recognizable, Bernie Madoff, punished for stealing from the rich. Senior company partners continue to collect billions in bonus checks, which included the public's "Bailout" money under the concept we cannot tamper with "Contracts," and in the next breath demand an end to Union Collective Bargaining Contracts lest a laborer needs to go to the dentist. We must continue to fight for community and solidarity, the decency of job security, medical insurance and something other than a "gold watch" as we are "sent out to pasture," or the "glue factory."

Nonsense in newspapers continues to blame unions for any industry's failure, negating factors such as a company's poor judgments and direction and lack of vision concerning foreign competition. A Television commercial pressures the public to become anti-union because union members get paid more and have medical benefits over non-union workers. The Robber Barons think people are so shallow that this logic will upset the segment of the American people they already hold down into turning against unions when many will think, "We need more unionization." One hack writer for the N.Y. Post stooped so low as to do the unthinkable: refer to the coal mining union as an example of "siphoning wealth" from businesses. The old mining industry conjures the quintessential images of horror that includes horrendous and dangerous working conditions, The Company Store, cave-ins, Black Lung disease, long work hours, child labor and death. In essence, the writer then comes to the "unique" conclusion that since government employees are paid from tax dollars rather than private, the taxpayers are providing them with a "Free Lunch."

"We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike"
- Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933

Bloomberg despises anyone or anything he cannot control, the teachers' union in particular. He would spend a hundred trillion tax dollars of an education budget on consultants, private contractors and cronies' programs (and privatization that would eventually bring profits back to him), before he let an extra nickel of "good" slip into a classroom, all the while professing that the Union and its members greedily seek benefits like medical insurance, job security, modest pensions, and non-hostile work environments. We watch as Wisconsin and Rhode Island teeter on the brink of descending back to the turn of the century coal mining days and the Bloomberg "Company Store." Something out of Star Wars's Intergalactic Empire "for a more safe and secure society," Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has started the process to toss away Democracy and the U.S. Constitution altogether dissolving laws, elections, contracts and unions under the guise of "Emergency Management" based upon his "discretionary" budget predictions.
Compromise year after year, take piece by piece until nothing is left. New York is next. Bloomberg first stuck the STOP Last In First Out bull-ring in Long Island's Senator John Flanagan's nose who is pulling the "Band Wagon" trying to make a name for himself. Since Governor Cuomo hopped onto the cart, Union members fear another Union compromise will be the "Final Sellout."

"In Washington DC, former Chancellor Michelle Rhee, announced a budget crisis, laid off vets and then "unannounced" a budget crisis and hired newbie TFAers....It is interesting to note, that despite a lingering recession, budget crises and widespread teacher hiring slowdown, TFA teachers are being hired at a steady pace. The growth is often times coming at the expense of veteran teachers who are losing their jobs- in some cases to make room for TFA teachers who typically are hired at much lower salary levels. Remember the 266 mostly veteran teachers who were laid off in 2009 subsequent to the hiring of hundreds of TFA'ers? A recent study from the Education and the Public Interest Center report titled: "Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence" found that the learning curve and turnover rate of TFA teachers does harm to vulnerable students who are in need of highly trained and highly skilled teachers."

Bloomberg future quote:
"Ask not what your mayor can do for you, but what you can do for your mayor."

The time has come for Federal Investigators and Prosecutors to take an interest in the Intentional Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Deceit of the above and the likewise dealings of the Bloomberg Administration to include his Patronage and the accountability of Federal, State and City funds in the public and private sectors.

In Vision and Character
LaGuardia denounced Germany's Nazi Party and warned America of impending danger.
As Bloomberg decimates the school system and irrevocably mars the teaching profession, his education representative Chancellor Cathie Black compares her "decisions" to the movie "Sophie's Choice," where a woman is forced to choose which of her children is carried off to a Nazi death camp. Bloomberg emphasizes, "It's just a joke. Let's move on."

On Bias
Mayor LaGuardia championed Women's Suffrage.
Mayor Bloomberg settled many sexual harassment lawsuits.

Parks and Recreation
LaGuardia read the comics to children over the radio, built playgrounds, opened the 1939 Worlds Fair and renovated the Zoo.
At the Zoo, Bloomberg gets bit by Chuck the Groundhog and calls him a "Son of a bitch."

Combat Record
During World War I, LaGuardia insists on flying dangerous bomber missions through enemy cross-fire. He becomes Unit Commander.
During the Vietnam War draft, Bloomberg receives multiple Student Deferments and years later at the Zoo, gets bit by Chuck the Groundhog and calls him a "Son of a bitch."

LaGuardia worked for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and campaigned against Child Labor. He fought organized crime and government corruption.
Bloomberg makes charitable donations to hedge his reputation, reminiscent of the Robber Barons of the early 1900s, except they did not use public funding to make amends the way the mayor plans to renovate the Manhattan shoreline.


LaGuardia built 2 airports, Floyd Bennett Field and the other named after him, bridges, tunnels, highways and much of the infrastructure we know today.
Bloomberg puts in bike lanes doubling traffic and auto exhaust pollution. Perhaps a dozen bicycles used the Bronx bike lanes since September and during the infamous snow storm a few lay buried tied to trees at the Prospect Avenue unemployment center. So that Elites can sit along Broadway sidewalks sipping tea, traffic and truck deliveries are backed up and down the streets along with angry cab drivers who must buy and maintain a GPS system they cannot use. Bloomberg calls it an improvement in the quality of life.

(A NY Post spin claims park crime is up because people are not watching their belongings. As if it is your fault that criminals rob you and not the Bloomberg administration's fault for not hiring enough police. New Yorkers should be pleased to know that so far in 2011, crime is down, "except" for a rise in murder, rape, robbery and felony assaults. The number of parking and traffic violation tickets has skyrocketed.)

LaGuardia opened fire houses.
Bloomberg closes them or shrinks crews endangering the public.
LaGuardia opened hospitals and medical centers.
Bloomberg closes them.
LaGuardia unified the transit system and reorganized the Police department.
Bloomberg demoralizes every agency in New York.

LaGuardia brought NY out of the great depression, revitalized the city, provided quality low-rent housing and restored the faith of the people. Bloomberg brings us back into depression, destroying the people's faith in just government and the press.

We can surmise that Bloomberg "profits" not merely in monetary terms. He and his cronies have spent enough funds on a slander campaign against educators that by now could have quadrupled the number of city teachers. The most likely explanation is that Bloomberg believes someone with 20 Billion dollars must be 20 Billion dollars happier. Bloomberg and his type cannot tolerate the idea that a bus driver at the beach watching his children play in the sand or a cab driver working the family grill on a summer day can be more satisfied with life than he. So he must make them suffer, reduce their wages and insurance benefits and make their families beholding to his majesty, never understanding that these actions cannot lift the shadow of his miserable existence and the reality that like us all, he cannot escape his mortality.

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, ALWAYS." - Mahatma Gandhi

There is no happy ending to any comparison for our Greatest Mayor is from a time gone bye. LaGuardia will forever be cherished and remembered as "The Little Flower." Bloomberg will forever be despised and referred to as, "The Little Despot."

Illustration by Ekaterina "Katie" Aksenova
Visit David's Website: "Writer's Edge"