ship of fools outings – St. Francis of Assisi, The Lone Ranger harmonica in Carnegie Hall, Key West to Tallahassee walk to raise awareness of child molestation, Florida Keys school district strategic plan community meeting slightly under reported by Key West Citizen, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman Eugene Robinson comes to The Studios of Key West, Mystic River ain’t necessarily what it appears to beTuesday, March 19th, 2013
March 19th, 2013
Subject: Maybe you can publicize
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:34:52 -0700
I know the issue is important to you.
http://laurenskids.org/ She is having a kick off rally before she begins her 1500 mile walk to Tallahassee, tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at the Publix in Key Plaza.
Yes, it is of interest to me. I imagine sexual child abuse lies at the root of much of America’s child sex trafficking.
I know you are right, at least in large part. My recollection is that statistics indicate that 70% or so of child trafficking victims had undergone child sexual abuse. It will be interesting to hear what she has to say. We have discussed before the difficulty of eliminating child abuse but I am sure it is important that those who have been abused get healing. If they do come forward and can get healing that might eliminate further involvement. No easy solution but doesn’t mean we should not try.
Sloan, I know in my deepest soul that you are a good and very perceptive person. Not to say I agree with you on everything. Remember the Ed Koch quote? “If you agree with me on 70% of my issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on all my issues, see a psychiatrist.” Someone once said Koch was the last Mayor of NYC with a sense of humor.
Tim, then sent this:
Lots of good info here re the link
Hi again, Tim -
During a nap dream today, my father and I had a conversation with it ending with my telling him that he might like some of my friends in town, and he said he was going to town with me tomorrow. I took that to mean I would publicize what you sent this morning.
However, it looks to me, the people most able and likely to notice signs of child abuse of any kind, including mental and emotional abuse, are k-12 school teachers, pediatricians and family doctors. That’s where I would put my efforts, were I Keys Coalition and/or Lauren Book.
Although, I imagine there would be resistance from the school district, and from pediatricians and family doctors, just as I have seen resistance in you and Connie Gilbert to trying to shut down the Duval Street child sex trafficking magnet.
Not that you have a snowball’s chance in August in Key West of shutting down that sex magnet, you should still try since it is in the town where you live.
My sense is, people agree with me slightly less than 70 percent of the time .
Keys Coalition is dedicated to trying to eradicate child sex trafficking, and sex trafficking generally. I often have told them that they should put their efforts into getting rid of the sex-trafficking magnet Duval Street is in Key West, and to educating and rescuing Florida Keys children from child abuse, including sexual child abuse. They send me lots of stuff that has nothing to do with the Keys.
the school district part of yesterday’s post led to quite a bit more Larry Murray-sponsored revelation. Translated: The Key West Citizen let the superintendent of schools and members of the school board spin-doctor to their liking the Bahama Village 5-year strategic plan community meeting article in yesterday’s Citizen. Here is the verbatim text of what Larry responded to, followed by his response, followed by more back and forth:
This next Public Announcement seems to me to be directly contrary to how unwelcome public input clearly is at school board meetings.
Porter wants public input
Superintendent wants to engage people in the district process
BY TERRY SCHMIDA Citizen Staff
Schools Superintendent Mark Porter is asking for help from community members in formulating a five-year strategic plan of action for the school district.
In a recent email from Porter to The Citizen, he outlined the process he intends to initiate in order to seek input from residents on the direction in which they’d like to see the district heading.
“…I will be conducting six to seven community engagement sessions. … I will briefly outline some of the current strengths and challenges of the Monroe County Schools, but will spend the majority of time listening to you, our community members, on what you want to see in your Monroe County Schools.”
One such event took place Thursday at the Martin Luther King Center in Bahama Village. The next one will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, at the Marathon Fire Station, and will be hosted by Mike Puto.
As part of the process, Porter said he is looking for 25 individuals to pair with 25 district employees on a “Strategic Planning Team” that will meet to develop “four to six large strategic objectives” to implement over the next five years.
May I suggest the strategic objective of having high school seniors ready to go to work and earn a living, even if they intend to go to college? I wish everyone in the Keys had heard former superintendent of schools John Padget speak at the recent school board meeting in Key West. He understands that going to college is a red herring, a diversion, if students are not prepared go to work. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that, and it doesn’t take community meetings and committees to know that. This is a decision that should be made by Mark Porter and the school board, regardless of how the community feels about it.
The initiative bears some resemblance to one Porter conceived while superintendent of the South Washington County Schools district in Minnesota.
“I had gone through a very similar process back there,” Porter said. “We called it ‘Igniting a Passion for Learning’ and we’re kind of using it as a template, because it worked very well there, and I think it could work very well in our community.”
School Board Chairman Andy Griffiths welcomed the move, saying “This is the beginning of what we all agree is required for us to chart a course for the future. If the community has their input taken into consideration, then you get buy-in from the community. Superintendent Porter could do it in-house. He could do it in-house with the board. Or he could do it with involvement from the community. This last option really is the most difficult way to proceed, so he should be applauded for doing it this way.”
Andy, you can suck up to the community all you like, but it won’t change one iota what the community feels about how you and the rest of the school board and superintendents, now and in the past, have run the financial side of the school district. It will not change what caused The Key West Citizen Editorial Board to call for a state takeover of the school district’s finances.
The superintendent’s methodology at the engagements is three-fold: A short presentation followed by community participation, with a clicker system; then a question and answer portion.
At Thursday’s session in Bahama Village, Porter said, demand for clickers during the participation segment outstripped supply, “which is a good problem to have,” he said.
About 30 people, including some district personnel, showed up.
“We learned a few things,” Porter said. “We had some great questions about alternative pathways, and there were some concerns raised about the [recent Florida Auditor General] audit, which is understandable. Overall I thought it went well, and it was nice to see so many people engaged in the process.”
School Board member robin Smith-Martin said he was pleased with the recent session.
“The community attendees are asking tough questions, good questions,” he said. “The more public engagement, the stronger our strategic plan. We have many challenges, but are making real progress.”
Might have been helpful for this article to have included some of those tough citizen questions, instead of giving all the air time to the superintendent and school board members. I’m left wondering if Tom Tuell and The Citizen are trying to sooth ruffled feathers, instead of continuing to keep the school board and the superintendent’s feet in the fire.
Porter also suggested that at some point, a focus on community priorities might necessitate coming up with additional revenue, to meet the wishes of county citizens.
“It would be premature to see what form that might take, but I do think that at some point we will need to come back to the citizens, through the board, of course, to find ways to finance some of the priorities they have identified. These meetings are also important to find out what we should stop doing, as well, because they don’t really fit our objectives.”
Ah, now we get to the meat of the coconut. They want to raise school taxes. There is no way this school district will right its financial ship, and heal its low teacher morale problem caused by the district reneging the collective bargaining agreement, without raising school taxes. And, there is no way the public will go along with raising school taxes without the school district’s financial house first being on order.
Larry Murray wrote to me:
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 08:12:29 -0700
Subject: Re: FlaKey strategic maneuvers, 3 regions
As for the first community meeting on the District’s Strategic Plan, it does not appear that Terry Schmida of the Citizen attended the first meeting in Bahama Village. It seems, as you point out, that Schmida relied on the Superintendent and Board members as to what occurred.
Sean Kinney of the Keynoter did attend. His article about the Bahama Village meeting appeared in the Saturday edition and his rendering is significantly different. That is to say, the meeting was contentious and the audience of 20, according to Kinney, was highly critical of the School District, especially its financial affairs. I assume that Porter and Griffiths not surprisingly “spun” things in their rendering to Schmida.
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.comSubject:
RE: FlaKey strategic maneuvers, 3 regions
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 11:45:24 -0400
Morning, Larry – thanks for your supplemental reporting and thoughts, which certainly does shed very different light on the Bahama Village community meeting with Mark Porter, as reported today in The Citizen. Thanks also to Sean Kinney and the Keynoter for not letting Porter and The Citizen get away with it.
The Citizen owes its readers and Bahama Village a monumental apology via a sequel article setting the record straight. To assist The Citizen in that endeavor, I include Sean Kinney’s article below, as a base point, and I am copying Terry Schmida and Tom Tuell with this correspondence. My apology for not being on top of Sean Kinney’s article before you told me about it. Perhaps, though, it works better this way.
First community forum gives low grades
By SEAN KINNEY
Posted – Saturday, March 16, 2013 11:01 AM EDT
Attendees at the first of six community engagement session designed to help shape a long term strategic plan for the Monroe County School District gave Superintendent Mark Porter largely critical feedback on Thursday night.
After brief introductory remarks, Porter led the 20 participants at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Key West’s Bahama Village through a series of 25 multiple choice and yes or no questions about the district’s overall performance.
Answers were submitted anonymously via a series of remote control-like clickers; then responses were tallied on a projector screen. Using a traditional letter grade system, the majority of participants gave the district overall a “C” while giving teachers an overall mark of “B.”
The district leadership received a “C,” Porter himself received a “B,” while the five-member School Board tied with five people each grading “B” and “D.”
Perhaps most telling, when asked to rate the school systems financial stability eight people gave a “D” grade, while seven marked “F.”Porter multiple times acknowledged that the grades reflected numerous “opportunities for improvement.”
“It’s your school system,” he told the group, “and we’d like to know what you think we should do.”
Following the formal presentation, Porter opened the floor up to an open question and answer period, which did not disappoint.
The first questioner opened with: “You didn’t mention the accounting stuff. Your presentation was all positive instead of mentioning the negative. That’s what we came here to hear about.”
In recent weeks the district received its fourth consecutive critical preliminary audit from the Florida Auditor General’s Office, prompting Porter to notify three of his top administrators that their contracts would not be renewed.
Porter said that was an “internal problem we’re trying to address. We know we can do better.”
Porter is also fielding applications for a planned 50-member strategic planning committee, which will meet twice in April. The goal is to have a finished plan delivered to the School Board on June 25. More information about the strategic planning process, and online applications, are available through www.keysschools.com.
District 3 School Board member Ed Davidson called the engagement sessions “a new flavor for community outreach. I think it’s going to be very involving for community members and a very effective way to establish a whole new sense of community involvement, which will pay dividends.”
I then sent this P.S.
From: sloan bashinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Larry Murray <email@example.com>
Cc: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>; “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>; “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 11:49 AM
Subject: P.S. RE: FlaKey strategic maneuvers, 3 regions
The ever cheerful Nashville J wrote this today re the Bahama Village meeting:
Let me get this straight. So Porter wants to have the community meetings for a five year plan, yet does not want citizen questions at work shops and limited at School Board meetings concerning topics that are important and need attention TODAY!
Same crap – we’ll have these meetings and then tell everyone it was the citizens who came up with the five year plan in order to cover our ass. We’ll tell them the citizens wanted a tax increase to make our schools the best in the country. How did that HOT LINE work out ? LOOKIE LOOKIE – we want citizen input while at the same time trying to do as much as they can in the dark about current problems.
Larry replied just to me:
Well put! The contradiction screams!
Then, this came from Larry:
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:27:14 -0700
Subject: Re: FlaKey strategic maneuvers, 3 regions
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
As you assess and analyze Porter’s Strategic Plan initiative, I would look closely at the individuals that the superintendent has selected to “host” the meetings. I will have more to say on that subject later, but would appreciate how others view Porter’s “host” selections.
I went to the school district website and found this:
To Excellence in the Monroe County Schools
Community Engagement Sessions
Thursday, March 14th, 6:00-7:15PM
Location: MLK Center – Bahama Village, Key West
Event Host: Clayton Lopez, City Commissioner
Tuesday, March 19th, 6:00-7:15PM
Marathon Fire Station, Marathon
Event Host: Mr. Mike Puto, Community Leader
Thursday, March 21st, 6:00-7:15PM
Poinciana School – Cafeteria, Key West
Event Host: Dr. A.J. “Bookie” Henriquez, Former MCSD Superintendent
Monday, April 1st, 6:00-7:15PM
Ministries United, 1417 Overseas Highway, Marathon
Event Host: Mr. Louis Gonzalez, Community Leader
Wednesday, April 3rd, 6:00-7:15PM
Coral Shores High School, Media Center
Event Host: Ms. Debra Walker, Former MCSD School Board Member
Monday, April 8th, 6:00-7:15PM
Key Largo Public Library, Key Largo
Event Host: Ms. Margie Smith, President-United Way of the Florida Keys
I called Larry and said I didn’t think anyone who’d ever had anything to do with the school district should host those meetings, including Mike Puto, who was chairman of the superintendent search committee. Larry said he agreed. Then, he sent this:
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 13:56:39 -0700
Subject: Host Choices
I lean toward political sagacity after seeing who really wrote the Porter Wants Public Input article in The Citizen, dissected earlier in this post.
There is a big article in The Citizen today about Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman Eugene Robinson (above) being at Studios of Key West, 6 p.m. this Friday, admission is free but seating is limited; and his views on newspapers and journalism today.
Robinson, 59, certainly has embraced several of the online journalism tools, such as a regular blog called PostPartisan and Twitter.
“You reach exponentially more people,” Robinson said. “And there is an engagement there. People can respond or vent.”
He has been a defender of the ubiquitous anonymous comment forums that follow news stories posted on outlets’ websites, forums that rarely prompt civil discussion and most often seem bent on venting anger with name calling.
“I figure it’s good to let people react,” Robinson said. “It is getting a little weird there.”
Eventually, two days ago actually, I was moved to drop a few thermonuclear mystic devices into the fun conversation, which seemed to dry up the fun conversation. I dropped the thermonuclear mystic device below into the group today, but to get the full context you’d have to go there and read the lead up under the long thread started with an older fellow in a California college getting suspended for writing a creative writing assignment to his teacher about how much he liked looking at her panties.
Some years ago, I sporadically started getting ear aches. I learned the cause of the ear aches was demons screaming at me, because of work I was doing on this world. If the left ear ached, it was work I was doing, which involved a woman, or women. If the right ear ached, it was work about a man, or men. After the work was done, the ear ache went away.
About the time new Pope Francis was coronated and I wrote the first time about that, my right ear began to ache. About the time I started writing about my wife in Boulder and Dora Kalff and Nessie Baylee, my left ear started aching. That was the first time I recalled having ear aches in both ears at the same time.
Yesterday, the right ear ache was gone, and the left ear ache was almost gone. Today, the left ear ache is gone. I take that to mean I wrote what I needed to write on both topics, including this on being a mystic, most of which was written yesterday.
What I wrote into the group about both work assignments was rough. Being a mystic is rough. The spirit terrain is rough. And it is dangerous. There is much interest in mystics, but there is little understanding of them, or what they experience.
When I first understood I was becoming a mystic, which was when I lived in Boulder, there was an ego rush; a sense of being cut out of the herd, being special, important. As time passed, the glamor receded and stark reality started setting in; realization that my life was no longer my own, and I was not in control. Nor had I ever been in control, but now I knew it.
What else can I say? I have written of this many times, and spoken of it many times, in many forums. I am writing of it again, in this forum.
Maybe six weeks ago, Gloria dreamt one night that I was writing a book, it was in progress. The same night I dreamt I would write a book, and on waking, my sense was I was writing the book already.
Perhaps the title of the book is Mystics, Madmen & Muses. Perhaps this group is part of that book. Perhaps that’s why this in an open group. Perhaps not.
I told the angels yesterday, what I have stored in me needs to be downloaded into public view. Wide public view. World wide. Otherwise, there was no reason to put in into me.
I told the angels maybe that needs to happen after I’m dead, to take me, the person, out of the equation. But why was it put into me, if not for public view now?
The species is in peril. That is obvious from just one night of watching the evening news on CNN, which the right wing considers a liberal, if not a communist, front. The news is just as grim on FOX.
We can have our nice conversations. We can go to our churches. We can do our spiritual rituals. We can ponder the stars and the planets. We can read runes and the tarot. We can talk about what’s wrong. We can use magic to manipulate. But it changes nothing.
The only thing worth being changed is ourselves. To do that, we need a whole lot of help beyond our family, friends, work associates, church relations, spiritual groups, and our own thinking and wills. It will take the supernatural to do that for us. But who wants that? Who wants no longer to be in charge?
That is the dilemma every human being faces, who is not a mystic. And, it is no guaranteed salvation for mystics. For it is very easy for them to get lost, taken over, by Evil.
The terrain is incomprehensible to non-mystics, regardless of how smart they are, how psychic they are, how much they have read, under whom they have studied.
I suppose this discourse is off-putting, comes across as egotistical. As I said, the terrain is incomprehensible to non-mystics.
Any initiated mystic who read this would nod agreement; there would be no argument, nor any need for this discussion.
In a dream, I was put in charge of humor in this group. When to use it, when not to use it.
From time to time when I was with my Boulder wife, I would drop this on people:
“What do you call a whore with a runny nose?”
They never could say.
I would say:
Way it looked to me, my Boulder wife became the highest paid whore in Colorado. Maybe that’s why she moved back to Pennsylvania.
Maybe I should tell that joke more often down here in the Florida Keys.