Well, the story about the Miramar boy who was expelled for bringing a toy gun to school was picked up by CNN today, adding national disrepute on top of all the local disrepute that is falling on the the Broward County School Board.
Isn't it enough that we've had two School Board members removed for corruption, that the board was virtually run by lobbyist Neil Sterling, that it has kowtowed to lobbyists and special interests and squandered hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money?
Nope. Now it's about an injustice perpetrated against 8-year-old Samuel Burgos, who was just 7 when he committed the cardinal offense of bringing a toy gun to school (he hid the gun from his brother in his school bag and forgot about it). Samuel has been expelled more than a year now, causing him to fall behind his peers and putting an undue burden on his family. "No child should be disciplined in this manner," Samuel's father told CNN. "He made an honest mistake, OK. And he's paying dear life for it, and it just isn't fair."
No, it isn't. Anybody can see that, including a national cable news outlet based in Atlanta. And to find the blame, look no further than Superintendent Jim Notter. It was jive-talking Jim himself who signed off on the expulsion. Notter ducked CNN. From the story:
According to school records, school district Superintendent James Notter recommended the boy be expelled. Samuel was not charged criminally.
Notter did not consent to CNN's request for an interview. However, a school board spokeswoman e-mailed this statement to CNN.
"A hearing officer ruled in favor of the School Board of Broward County to uphold [its] recommendation of expulsion... Students have the right to personal privacy and the District is exercising responsibility of respecting this right."
Thanks, Jim Notter, for protecting this little boy's privacy. Now let him go to school.
After the jump: Do we have an heir apparent to Marc Nurik as the most ridiculous lawyer in Broward County?
We all remember Marc Nurik making crazy claims in the face of TV cameras about his client Scott Rothstein on an almost daily basis, promising that he wasn't cooperating with the feds and spreading other basic untruths.
Now let's look at Kevin Kulik and the case against Stephanie and Mitch Kraft.
Kulik, who is representing Mitch Kraft in the corruption case, hasn't just given the standard "my clients will be vindicated" line. Stephanie Kraft's attorney, Ken Padowitz, another former RRA lawyer, has given that one over and over again. He's also attacked the developers Bruce and Shawn Chait as criminals and unreliable witnesses.
Fine. He's doing his job and the Chaits are undeniable scumbags. But Kulik has gone beyond the pale in Nurik-like fashion. In TV appearances, he called the arrest of the Kraft "unconscionable" and claimed on another TV news program that State Attorney Mike Satz should have protected the Krafts, "good people," from the terrible Chaits.
Unconscionable. It implies that the arrest isn't just wrong or that the Krafts aren't guilty, but that Satz is somehow unscrupulous or devious for going forward with what is undeniably a solid corruption case. And as for idea of Satz protecting the Krafts, maybe they should have protected themselves from the dirty developers rather than rush to do their bidding for a bit of lucre.
It's outlandish stuff coming from Kulik, UPDATED: whom I spoke with this afternoon. But he seems like a true believer. He says the entire case is based on the Chaits' testimony and that it will be a "slam dunk" for him in court. Listening to him it's hard not to hope for a trial -- you just want to see how good Kulik is at turning black into white and up into down.
Remember it was Kulik who successfully defended the Sunshine Law case filed against two Coral Springs commissioners. But this isn't a misdemeanor case involving a couple of C-level players. This is a major felony case involving an A-lister in Broward politics.
Maybe the Coral Springs win has swelled Kulik's head to make him believe that people will eat up whatever nonsense he might tell them. He may also have another motive for hitting the airwaves with such abandon: Kulik has hinted that he is running against Satz in 2012. "Mr. Satz will face serious political opposition for his position as State Attorney for the first time in his career in 2012," Kulik wrote in a piece that appeared on JAABlog. "The people of Broward County deserve to have a choice.
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Maybe Kulik's strategy is to secure a political base among the corrupt elite that runs this town, to become a kind of reverse Robin Hood for the lobbyists and special interests that have their hands in the taxpayers' coffers. He'll defend the culture of corruption to make sure it not only survives, but becomes stronger.
Whatever the case, Kulik has arrived on the Broward Town stage and it will be interesting to see what he does next.
-- Finally, a reason to vote for Jim Lewis.
-- And if you think the Sun-Sentinel seems really screwed up, read this New York Times piece on the jackasses who run it from Chicago at bankrupt Tribune central. It helps to explain a lot. But it leaves one question unanswered: Did the waitress show them or not?