If you were thinking maybe I had left school district issues behind, I did not do that. There seems to be plenty brewing, but right now this below seems ready for public skewering: ====================
I was pleased this morning to have confirmation at last. That is, your comment to Bill Becker that the “Board was using it (Fund Balance) to pay raises” confirmed what many of us have long believed. It is unfortunate that the Board used onetime money to fund a continuing expense. We are paying the price today, both in the Fund Balance and the Operations Account.
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate ========================
I replied: What’s this about? Was there a context for John’s comment?
Not particularly. You can listen on the website. John was just repeating his standard spiel about the teacher contract. I had heard him say this before, whispering in Ron Martin’s ear at a Board meeting at CSHS. This is the first that I have heard John publicly say this. He also claimed to Becker that he voted against the raises at the time, though he did not explain why he voted as he did. I expect that a review of the pertinent meetings would be quite interesting. I recall John voting against budgets in their entirety, but I do not recall him ever speaking directly against teacher raises. To the contrary, he likes to brag that we have the highest paid teachers in the state. You can’t have that unless you give them raises. Phrased differently, you can’t have it both ways. More and more, especially on Becker, I am finding John saying what is convenient at the moment regardless of what he may have said previously. This is the same John Dick who, two weeks ago, announced [on US 1 Radio] that the Reserve Fund was “dangerously low” after routinely defending it as adequate.
Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate
New school soard member Ed Davidson receives my daily ravings. I look forward to seeing his him sink his watchdog teeth into the reserve fund balance hocus pocus and explain it to the public at next Tuesday’s school board meeting in Key West.
Also down Key West way, so far, The Key West Citizen did not publish a report of the Hidden In Plain View opening reception this past Thursday evening. To get more of a sense of easily the most important arts event in Key West, ever, go to Hidden In Plain View’s page on Facebook, some of which I cut and pasted below.
Wonderful Erika I’m excited as a hog at slop time by the turn out that happened. What a statement of success that was. Everyone, absolutely everyone was touched, awakened, surprised, shocked, amused, blessed and/or dumbfounded by what they saw and who they met. I honestly hope (and do believe) some of the fear relaxed for some folks last night on both sides. Those photo’s are breathtaking. Although I don’t have lots of cash, I would pay darn good money to have those in a wee little photo album. I watched people dressed in their best staring into the eyes in those photo’s, as if trying to get a sense of the real person portrayed there. Folks that could never dare to meet eye to eye with the flesh and blood women & men who exist, day to day being passed by as invisible in our town.
I knicked this excerpt from Sloan Bashinsky’s daily blog, regarding last night’s Hidden In Plain View exhibition at The Studios of Key West and the state of homelessness. If you will, take time to read it:
Totally agree with the problem of the actively addicted, and what/where/how do we deal with their problems! A real conundrum. Having worked with this population for years, I have some grasp of he enormity of the problem, and I DO know of homeless people who won’t stay at KOTS because of fear of MERSA, infectious disease, bedbugs, and drunk/drugged, or otherwise disturbed people. Sheel’s foto of Julie [aka Julia] was most moving, disturbing/sad/real, as I’ve worked with her in the past, - and with others in his mesmerizing collection.I was so glad to see several homeless people there, and as you say, who knows about those who are living in their cars, under porches, in abandoned buildings, etc. and CHILDREN… the children. THANK YOU ERIKA!
received a poem inspired after yesterday’s exhibition at TSKW Hidden in plain view Mirror of our fears Reflection of our demons
What happens to you Vagabonds of this world Grazers of the unknown Emotion, tears, screams of shame Wishes that never existed Hopes, trust to tame. Never again the same look Never again shadow of ghosts Never again somnolence in our soul signed Coco
got down there today…there was a soundcheck going on in there as i was checking everything out…kinda poignant, i think….erika, you should be so damn proud! what you have pulled together from our sweet community of real lovers is such true beauty i am proud of you and your vision.i love you and so appreciate being a part of this exceptional project
Erika thank you so much for all your hard work to give the community this Exhibition. Thank you Sheelman for those very moving Photos. It opened the eyes of many who attended that the homeless are real people just like all of us. So many of us could be homeless if certain things in out life would have turned out different. I was very happy to see the turn out you had and I believe as a community we can and will do more to help the less fortunate.
Erica and Sheel, and all those involved with last night’s event, thank you for shining the light. The exhibit was beautifully set up with outstanding photos and multimedia exposing the truth about our society. May we all take in the message and find ways to help out in any way we can
I told Erika yesterday morning, while the black and white photos stole the show, the wooden book, made out of an old lobster trap, is the nuclear core. I intend to go back and spend whatever time I need to absorb each page, and all the pages collectively.
In answer to a question today, I imagine if all of the Key West area homeless are counted, which might be really tough to do, you might get around 500 who live on the street, at KOTS (men dorms and one women dorm), in their vehicles, or on couches in people’s homes. Then, there are the homeless living in local residential shelters, FKOC (men and women programs) and Samuel House (women and women with children programs). There also is a residential program for mentally-handicapped adults. Father Steven Braddock probably has a better handle, or guestimate, on the numbers.
While on the subject of poor people, from the indomitable Sancho Panza yesterday:
Check this out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20243493 (sent by Yahoo! Toolbar) My kind of Politician/Leader… too bad that this new generation of unenlightened talking peacocks(Obamaromnies) can’t see past the preening of their golden plumage on their way to extinction! Enjoy, Sancho
My God, Sancho, this hombre is a Communist! I can’t possibly share this information with my Republican, Tea Party and Democrat friends! After they dropped dead from cardiac arrest, I would be arrested and charged with pre-meditated mass murder! Don Q
Jose Mujica: The world’s ‘poorest’ president
By Vladimir Hernandez BBC Mundo, Montevideo
It’s a common grumble that politicians’ lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president – who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.
Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside. This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders. President Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife’s farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo. The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers. This austere lifestyle – and the fact that Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000 (£7,500), to charity – has led him to be labelled the poorest president in the world.
“I may appear to be an eccentric old man… But this is a free choice. “I’ve lived like this most of my life,” he says, sitting on an old chair in his garden, using a cushion favoured by Manuela the dog. “I can live well with what I have.” His charitable donations – which benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs – mean his salary is roughly in line with the average Uruguayan income of $775 (£485) a month.
All the president’s wealth – a 1987 VW Beetle
In 2010, his annual personal wealth declaration – mandatory for officials in Uruguay – was $1,800 (£1,100), the value of his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle. This year, he added half of his wife’s assets – land, tractors and a house – reaching $215,000 (£135,000). That’s still only about two-thirds of Vice-President Danilo Astori’s declared wealth, and a third of the figure declared by Mujica’s predecessor as president, Tabare Vasquez. Elected in 2009, Mujica spent the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Uruguayan guerrilla Tupamaros, a leftist armed group inspired by the Cuban revolution. He was shot six times and spent 14 years in jail. Most of his detention was spent in harsh conditions and isolation, until he was freed in 1985 when Uruguay returned to democracy. Those years in jail, Mujica says, helped shape his outlook on life.
Tupamaros: Guerrillas to government
Left-wing guerrilla group formed initially from poor sugar cane workers and students
Named after Inca king Tupac Amaru
Key tactic was political kidnapping – UK ambassador Geoffrey Jackson held for eight months in 1971
Crushed after 1973 coup led by President Juan Maria Bordaberry
Mujica was one of many rebels jailed, spending 14 years behind bars – until constitutional government returned in 1985
He played key role in transforming Tupamaros into a legitimate political party, which joined the Frente Amplio (broad front) coalition
“I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more,” he says.
“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself,” he says. “I may appear to be an eccentric old man… But this is a free choice.” The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty. “But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left? “Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet.” Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”.
Mujica could have followed his predecessors into a grand official residence
But however large the gulf between the vegetarian Mujica and these other leaders, he is no more immune than they are to the ups and downs of political life. “Many sympathise with President Mujica because of how he lives. But this does not stop him for being criticised for how the government is doing,” says Ignacio Zuasnabar, a Uruguayan pollster. The Uruguayan opposition says the country’s recent economic prosperity has not resulted in better public services in health and education, and for the first time since Mujica’s election in 2009 his popularity has fallen below 50%. This year he has also been under fire because of two controversial moves. Uruguay’s Congress recently passed a bill which legalised abortions for pregnancies up to 12 weeks. Unlike his predecessor, Mujica did not veto it.
Instead, he chose to stay on his wife’s farm
He is also supporting a debate on the legalisation of the consumption of cannabis, in a bill that would also give the state the monopoly over its trade. “Consumption of cannabis is not the most worrying thing, drug-dealing is the real problem,” he says. However, he doesn’t have to worry too much about his popularity rating - Uruguayan law means he is not allowed to seek re-election in 2014. Also, at 77, he is likely to retire from politics altogether before long. When he does, he will be eligible for a state pension – and unlike some other former presidents, he may not find the drop in income too hard to get used to.
Perhaps a future Jose Mujica USA president was at Hidden In Plain View’s grand opening night before last? The exposition runs through December 14 at Studios of Key West, open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mon-Sat, not sure about Sun., at the corner of White and Southard Streets.