Daily Archives: May 30, 2013

Busing round up

1. Greenwich should sue to invalidate the state law that mandates “racially balanced schools”, and here’s why:

The statute is unconstitutional. In the 2007 case, Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle, * the United States Supreme Court ruled (reiterated, actually) that assigning school children on the basis of race to achieve racial balance is unconstitutional and illegal in the absence of a past history of deliberate segregation. No such history exists here. And, as our BOE admitted tonight, this racial balance mandate is exactly that: it has no provision/requirement for achievement levels, economic balance, or anything except race. Exclusively. White skins counted vs. other colors, period. Unconstitutional on its face, so to speak.

The school board cites “an expert constitutional and school law lawyer” who has advised five other districts not to challenge the law. One lawyer’s opinion? Balderdash. And one lawyer advising six (those five and us)? I’m not persuaded by one opinion, and I’ll take a plain reading of the relevant case over that “expert” or, worse, Democrat Dick Blumenthal’s opinion. Besides, why not challenge? What’s the worst that can happen? We lose. How would that place us in a worse position than we are now?

2. If the town doesn’t sue, we should just tell Hartford to piss up a rope (legal term). BOE chief Moriarty says the state could chop our school aid by $8 million (from a budget of $180 million). I doubt it; that money goes to special education, which by the state’s own laws, must be provided to such students. Can’t punish children for the sins of their fathers. Our superintendent worried that the RTM barely approved restoration of $300,000 to his budget. As one speaker, an RTM member said, the RTM would jump at the chance to come up with an additional $8 million to avoid busing. Or we could bag the Music Palace and devote its $80 million cost to building new schools and writing off the lost state aid. Big deal.

Second threat, according to Moriarty, is that the state could revoke our teachers’ certifications. Oh come on.

3. We either sue now or the state will, sooner rather than later, sue us. Our superintendent said that he barely persuaded the state to extend its deadline for action from September, 2013 to September 2014. He later said that, if we weren’t satisfied with any solution, we would put off a decision until we were. How long will the state permit us to defer action before it sues us to demand compliance? And even assuming we achieve something that satisfies them, Greenwich unlike, say, New Canaan or Darien, will always have disparate economic classes and will always have a population of people of diverse colors, so whatever “solution” we devise will have to be readdressed, again and again, as racial balances ebb and flow along the borders of our neighborhoods. We’ll be committing to a program of constant disruption of our school districts, with the state chasing us every step of the way. Let’s get on with it and settle this once and for all.

4. This issue is tailor made for the Republicans to mop the floor with the Democrats. It was not by accident that no Democrat “leaders” were present in this audience comprised 100% of angry parents. Democrats can’t oppose busing – their base won’t allow it. As such, they are totally out of touch with the citizens of Greenwich. Worse still, for them, was that it was Democrat policies and the Democrats’s law that was being crammed down citizens’ throats at that meeting. No wonder they hid- even a stalwart like Ed Krummeich didn’t dare show up with a “Kiss me, I’m a Democrat” T shirt draped over his ample girth. Unlike my pet issue of Second Amendment rights, this issue hits almost everyone in town. Property values will plummet in whatever neighborhood the black ball lands in, and it could, the BOE threatened, land anywhere. Furthermore, as discussed above, having done one redistricting, there’s no guarantee that the process will stop there – quite the opposite, in fact. And parents, in every district, are rabidly attached to the idea of sending their children to a local school. So what the Republicans should do is (a) field a slate of candidates who all promise to challenge the law and (b) assist an independent party to run its own candidates. Because of our charter and state law governing the makeup of school boards, no one party can hold all the seats on a school board, but there is no requirement that one of the parties be the Democrat party. The Republicans and a new independent party can take all the positions and Fudrucker, Dollar Bill, and their ilk will be left mumbling about the merits of busting up neighborhood schools – they will never be heard of again.

I’m sure there’s more to say on this subject, but it’s late. Good night.

* For non-lawyers, a summary.

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Busing forum

Parking lots at Central overflowing.
Super promises that maps showing bi-secting Riverside is no longer under consideration
School age population up 12%, Riverside experienced much larger increases in this cohort”
So how much of an increase? Doesn’t say. Claim that Riverside’s enrollment “will decrease significantly”. Again, no expiation for this conclusion except that “the experts who figured this out are really, really good”. That’s reassuring.
My three points: the legal basis for Blumenthal’s opinion that supports the state law requiring busing is suspect.
Second, no data supports the theory that busting up neighborhood schools improves academic performance,
Third, breaking up Riverside school will cut real estate values in half
Question: what happens if we tell state to piss off? Ans: loss of $8 million in funds. This is probably not true- state owes the money to individual “special needs” kids- sue.
Teachers will lose state certification. Laughable.
Moriarty answering question about challenging state law:”what lesson would it teach our kids if we defied the state?”
Some rude audience member (ahem) yelled that it would teach the children history: this country was founded on rebellion. The audience member was suitably chastised by the superintendent
Two residents demand that any decision on this be deferred until at least the upcoming election when 3 board members will be replaced..
Q: BOE says all this planning for redistricting is caused by two problems, race imbalance and over crowding, but the pressure for speed comes from deadline to address race. Facility usage is a bogus excuse.
How is there growth in western side of town when no new housing?
Q- there will always be racial economic disparity – how do you propose to address that next year , the year after that, and in perpetuity?
Q- Riverside school, according to you, will have excess capacity going forward, and is racially balanced. If there’s plenty of room and no racial problem to address, why are you even considering breaking it up?
Answer from Super; Ah, good question.
Former BOE whatshername is reading some lengthy question re: student population, public vs. private school. I didn’t follow it.
Cos Cob resident, NY lawyer asks if Board has made a decision to challenge the law. They have not. Urges board to make a decision to aid the parents in challenging this unconstitutional law by allowing us to have standing to sue them.
Super says, legal counsel has advised districts not to challenge the law.
Questioner reads the holding of the Parent’s case: may a school district reassign children solely because of racial demographic changes? NO!
Disappointed that of the 15-20 speakers, all but 2 are from Riverside. Every taxpayer in town has a stake in the BOE’s plans- Riverside is not the only potential target here- in fact, we probably are less likely to be screwed by the BOE now than other less vocal neighborhoods. June 6th is the next meeting – oops! Riverside resident just asked where the residents from areas are and a large number of audience members said, “we’re here”! Good.
Q- why is board making this decision being rushed through in 4 months?
Leslie Moriarty says “I’ll take that as a rhetorical question”. Audience disagrees. (Super does attempt an answer)
Cos Cob resident asks about 20 NYC license plates at New Lebanon School (total enrollment 200). Residents must prove residency every year to obtain a beach card, students are asked for proof of residency only twice, kindergarten and 9th grade. Why?
Second question: with limited funds how much will busing cost?
Super-22 license plates all traced back to Greenwich residents.
Also doesn’t rule out busing, by the way.

Central Middle has lousy wireless, delaying regular updates.

Parkway parent wants more input from parents- what about non-parents?

Maria pons Cohen back for a second bite of the apple, this time without notes. Much better. Concurs with previous speaker: board must decide, one way or the other, whether to challenge the state law. If they challenge, fine; if they decide not to challenge, that decision will give parents legal standing to sue on their own.

Q: what are you planning for middle schools? Answer, “we will look at that issue but haven’t yet”. Why don’t I believe him?

Q: 4 options all involve redistricting. When are you going forward to pick one to meet state’s demand we have a racial ly based plan?
Ans.Maybe more options, maybe not. June 20 is not our deadline..

I’m done here. Main impression I’m taking away? We have an incredibly articulate group of parents in this town. Having suffered through many public hearings in other towns when I was lawyering, the intelligence of parents here is astonishing.
Summary, until I get back to a real keyboard, the BOE is going to be forced by citizens to challenge this law. I think we’ll win, we might lose, but the political pressure will make that challenge inevitable. I was chatting with Peter Tesei in the hall afterwards (where were the Democrats?) and while I certainly wouldn’t put words in his mouth, Peter’s a politician, and he was impressed , I think, by the passion and intensity displayed in that auditorium, from parents from all areas of town: New Lebanon to Parkway, North Street to Old Greenwich. This is the hottest issue to hit the town in my memory – 50 years or so- and it won’t go away. Too much money in the form of property values, and the huge attachment to neighborhood schools to let this go away.

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On the other hand…AJ?

Question of the day: Why did the FBI shoot an unarmed suspect in the Boston bombing case and then clam up?

What led an FBI agent, or some other law enforcement official, to shoot and kill an unarmed man in Orlando, Florida? The man, Ibragim Todashev, was being questioned about the Boston bombing, as well as an unsolved 2011 triple murder that he may or may not have confessed to committing. Does that sound sketchy? Don’t blame me. Once he died, law enforcement started releasing anonymous, conflicting explanations so dubious that they warrant an inquiry all by themselves.

Did the dead man have a knife? A gun? A sword? None of those? Let’s run through a timeline of what we’ve been told, and then assess all the information that the FBI hasn’t released about the killing.

Of course, this could be as simple as the Alex Mengel killing.  Mengel was the sweetheart who killed a cop at a traffic stop in New York state, then kidnapped a woman, raped her, scalped her and fled to Canada wearing her hair as a disguise. On his way back to the city to face his crimes, he was “shot while trying to escape”. Word was that the detectives who shot him would have let him live for the killing of their fellow officer, it was what he did to the young woman that pushed them over the edge. Maybe someone in Florida didn’t like bombers who blew the legs off six-year-old little girls?

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Well then let him go!

Boston bomber tells his mommy he’s innocent. I’ll bet you that at least 25% of the American public (65% of the Democrats) believe him. And that’s not counting AJ.

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Take a bus to Central Middle School tonight, 7:00 PM

School Board public forum, May 30, 2013. 7 PM

School Board public forum, May 30, 2013. 7 PM

The school board will conduct a “public forum” on redistricting (busing) school children around town. They deny they have any intention of acting on the 2007 map that shows half of Riverside being bused to New Lebanon School in Byram but so far, haven’t explained why it was included in the package of documents sent out now to publicize tonight’s meeting. Let’s give them an opportunity to do so.

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See you at the polling booth

Imigrant cardDemocrats whoop through driver licenses for illegal aliens. “This is the day we’ve been waiting for”, crowed Francis Fudrucker, Chairman of A Greenwich Swarm of Democrats. “All that hard work getting rid of voter ID laws, now this: our new friends can act just like real citizens and of course, they are now free to show their appreciation in a tangible way.”

Notice, by the way, Greenwich Time’s careful use of the term “immigrant”, as in “Conn. Senate approves immigrant driver’s [sic, unless it’s a bill for just one driver] licenses.” and “The state Senate approved legislation early Thursday that would allow immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses regardless of their legal statuses.”
Of course, the law has nothing to do with all immigrants “regardless of legal status”, it is intended to address  illegal aliens alone. Dressing it up as the AP and GT do makes it seems more palatable, to some.  The press, even little moth eaten, dying rags like Greenwich Time, works from one set of game plans.

Legal citizens of Connecticut must still show proof of citizenship, a birth certificate or passport, and give up a liter of blood to obtain a license but because these aren’t “real” licenses, Pedro and Manuel need only swear allegiance to their local Democrat party boss. Seems fair to me – these people have suffered!

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Accepted offer

3 marks rdBusy dealing with FEMA issues all morning, which I’ll post on later, but I see that one house, 3 Marks Road, Riverside, has an accepted offer. Asking price, $2.895. The owners lived here for years, did a great job modernizing it and now it’s someone else turn to raise a family here. I’m sure they’ll love it.

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