Here I was trying to take a moderate, calm stance on the Broward County School Board's new Puppy Dog Commission when I look up to see that one of the members, former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, took what looks very much like a veiled swipe at me during yesterday morning's dog and po-- er, I mean, news conference.
But after seeing five minutes worth of video from yesterday's news conference (which I put up at the end of this post), it's already looking very bleak. This doesn't look like a serious investigative body, more like a reunion of the three stooges. All in all, ladies and gentlemen, it's more than obvious we have a whitewash in the making. Sorry I was a little late to come to that conclusion.
I'm going to start with Butterworth, who is actually the best of the motley trio. During the news conference, Butterworth "commended" the press that was in attendance while saying he was disappointed that some of the School Board critics weren't there. Here's what he said:
I don't want to offend any of you here, and I don't think I will. The media has been pouncing on the School Board for a period of time. I commend those of you that are here. BECON is here, thank you. Where are the others that have been criticizing the bold stand you are taking here today? ... It's a tremendous move, it's a bold move as Jack has stated... I'm a little disappointed that some of the people that have been criticizing you [aren't here] -- not the people here, I'm very pleased they are here, and they can criticize you later, they have a right to, because they are here.
Well, I'm pretty sure I'm the alpha dog critic of this School Board, so I have to assume he's talking about your very own Pulp here, insinuating that because I wasn't at the news conference, I don't have a right to criticize the School Board. (And did Bobby B really bring up BECON? This is really getting weird.)
Now why is Butterworth trying to square off with me or any other critics? Shouldn't he be listening to us to understand the problems he's supposed to solve? What does this bit of asininity have to say about the man's mindset as he engages this seemingly monumental task?
But again, Butterworth wasn't nearly as bad as Seiler. Fellow New Times blogger Tom Francis first pointed out that Seiler had the nerve to
complain about lack of positive news coverage for the School Board at yesterday's news conference.
Jack obviously doesn't know jack. Here's a passage from this pandering politician's putrid little speech:
Let me give you an example of why this needs to be done. The School Board... received a national award, and none of the press was positive about winning the national award; it was all negative... That's when you know you've lost a little bit of the positive aspect of what needs to be around here. So my attitude is the focus ought to be on when they do something well, publicize what they do. Don't make every single story about the School Board a negative story. That was a case in point with the most recent award. This school system is the sixth largest in the country, and all in all, they do a pretty darned good job educating our children. If you look at the issues that have surfaced in the last month and a half, they don't involve the education of our children; they involved ancillary issues.
Taking bribes, having family members on lobbyists' and developers' payrolls, taking expensive gifts and failing to report them, overbuilding the school district by a projected 34,000 seats, ripping off hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers, driving the district into $2 billion debt. Here's a story about the ancillary issues that I hope the stooges have read. You know, it's a damn good thing the FBI is around to take care of the ancillary issues, or we'd be up shit creek.
This trio is proving that the worst assumptions about you aren't bad enough. The commission isn't about justice or puppy dogs, it's about propaganda. Don't look at the fact that the School Board has robbed you and driven your school system into near-bankruptcy on behalf of their ambition and greedy self-interest and the corrupt gravy train of lobbyists and contractors. Look instead at the Pulp, who didn't come to see the show and therefore doesn't have the right to criticize the board. Look at the rest of the media, which is following suit and isn't reporting feel-good stories about senseless industry awards (which the school board, just for the record, didn't win anyway -- it was a finalist).
And then you have Jennifer Gottlieb and Maureen Dinnen sitting there beside them. (Guess Stephanie Kraft and Bob Parks have been demoted.) Where were Gottlieb and Dinnen when the taxpayers were being looted? Pouring the money in sacks for the robbers, that's where. Where were they when the School Board auditors found that AshBritt had ripped us off of at least $765,000? Standing by Kraft and Parks as they heckled auditors for disclosing the information. The School Board still hasn't asked for that money back. What does that tell you?
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More importantly, what will it tell the three stooges? Probably nothing, because they're too busy doing the School Board's slapstick to pay attention.
Here's the YouTube video of news conference: