attended in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx right over the Yonkers line. I had been at the time, on the DTOE steering committee and was truly gung-ho about the future of DTOE and what it could accomplish.
But something that night did not feel right and I don't mean the dude who came dressed as Jean-Luc Picard and smelled like a Klingon.
With what I saw it was more like a revival meeting and seemed to be centered around a "leader" and only that "leader's" agenda. Forgive me if I am wrong, but should not an agenda for such a meeting go through a steering committee? Is not the job of such a committee is to steer?
Too much of the agenda was how to be reactive to the crap we as teachers go through. How to FOIL, how to write a grievance, how to record a principal, stuff like that. There was nothing about how to be proactive. Nothing to do with how to get through being targeted emotionally.
Now mind you I am all for fighting the fight and holding feet to the fire but that is just me. I can't force my beliefs on someone else nor, and much more importantly, not everyone is like me. Not everyone else can or wants to fight back like me. Some just want someone to talk to. Some just want a shoulder to cry on. Some just want support.
Something clicked that night for me. It reminded me of the family that lived across the street from me when I was a kid. They seemed perfect from the outside--like from central casting for a 1950's family TV show--but they were truly dysfunctional. The screaming fights we heard from outside truly made sense when we all found out dad was a raging alcoholic. And things started to make sense that night in the Bronx.
Back in April, DTOE had decided to align itself with New Action in several protests across the city. I was bothered by that. Why, should DTOE be aligned with New Action when NA is not only sleeping with the enemy but making Unity's breakfast as well?
Yeah, right. And Donald Trump will become president.
"Oh, it doesn't hurt to work with others. Besides, NA might leave it's alliance with Unity."
I questioned this publicly in DTOE FB page and elsewhere. Not just the alignment but more important was the subjugation of democracy. The DTOE steering committee was not notified. One person made the decision.
I then inquired as to the by-laws of DTOE. I was told;
"We don't need by-laws."Really? I was perplexed. What was to be done?
The same thing the leader of any country that is ruled despotically and for the purpose of enriching a leader when factions from it's puppet legislature or cabinet speak up. Call for new elections.
Yes, new elections for the DTOE steering committee were immediately called for without any input from the current steering committee or any by-laws. Care to guess who called for these elections?
I got the hint. But fittingly no one else ran so in a way I think I might be still be on the steering committee.
Remember this? The teacher Carmen Fariña harangued at PS 123 in Harlem during a visit? The "leader" sent this email to the Principal of this school (Just to allay any concerns this was publicly displayed in one of the "leaders" many Facebook pages");
Good evening Principal Hernandez,I was reading the below article and couldn't help but wonder who the teacher you had concerns about was. Chancellor Fariña recommended you "observe them many, more times a day."I'm curious in not only their identity, but if they are probationary/non tenured or veteran? Even more important to me is what support have they been given in the last year, two years, three years etc.I will be making a Freedom of Information Law request today to obtain documentation on the support this teacher was given. Please expect communication from the Records Office soon. I don't agree with the chancellor's "counseling" methods and intend to follow up on the number of observations this teacher has from now until the end of school in June.
Women, children, and those with weak constitutions please avert your eyes for a second while some choice words are used to express opinion of this email.
WHAT THE F**K?????
What right does the leader have to do this. Yes, we know, you have the right to FOIL anyone, anytime, but do you have the moral and ethical right to file a FOIL request on a teacher who you do not even know, who did not ask you, who does not know you?
How do we know if this teacher is nontenured, on probation and because of this FOIL (Which was also CC'd to Farina and Aimee Horowitz) led to this teacher's discontinuance? Or if this teacher is tenured led to the teacher facing a 3020-a hearing? Or even more harassment?
What right does the "leader" have to play God? Or has the "leader" started thinking of itself as a deity?
That was it for me. But there is more that one can question the judgement of the "leader."
Why is a clown, borderline disbarred (In my opinion and almost all of Earth's) attorney like Joy Hochstadt given a voice in DTOE? What is her role now with Solidarity?
Why when after all your love-ins with New Action did they repay the love when an UFT Executive Committee voted down the rights of ATR to have their own chapter with only one New Action member voting on the proposal (A retiree) with 2 abstentions and the rest voting no?
Why does the "leader" label himself as a "Union Boss" when the "leader" as yet to achieve such a lofty position? One also can ask where are the photos of the "leader" with the words so big saying, "UNION BOSS" imprinted prominently?
Why at the ICE meeting last week in which the "leader" asked for a joint slate was the "leader" either unable or unwilling to answer this simple question from myself?
"If there were to be a joint slate would you be willing to step down as nominee for UFT president and let a joint committee decide and will let where the chips fall where they may?"
The leader as been unable or unwilling to answer the question.
Why did the "leader" take credit for creating the Facebook group ATR Alliance and why did the "leader" turn a FB group originally used for support into a political tool of the "leader's"? What accomplishments as the ATR Alliance endeavored to?
What truly happened at the lunch meeting with Randi Weingarten? Has she asked the "leader" to form another caucus to split the anti-Mulgrew vote?
As UFT President one should wonder what the "leader" will do to those who dare to those that dare to question or contradict the "leader" president.
And lastly, one can reasonably ask, whether or not the "leader" is in this for the "leader" or for THE CAUSE as the "leader" likes to say. If this is for THE CAUSE than the "leader" should remove the rose colored glasses and look around and do what is right for THE CAUSE.
Why all of the sudden come to ICE for a joint slate? Because Solidarity does not have the numbers to run nor to sign the petitions is what The Crack Team as ascertained.
What is one to make of comments such as this from this James Eterno posting?
"When I'm up at the podium one day, don't worry, no hard feelings, I'll still call on you at the DA"
"You will see me up at podium one day and despite the fact that you've discarded our work together, know that you had a part in that success, whether you like it or not. MORE running a separate campaign would be a extremely irresponsible."
"Because I'm going to be leading something called the "United" Federation of Teachers."
Humility goes a long way. Try it.