Saturday, August 15, 2009

Probably Just an Oversight

Unfortunately, when it comes to actually reporting on Mike Bloomberg's school governance regime, the NY Post continues to have some serious blinders-and its latest story on the school oversight panel demonstrates this very clearly: "Mayor Bloomberg announced his eight appointments to the 13-member Panel for Educational Policy yesterday -- a board whose composition was at the heart of the debate over renewing mayoral control of the schools system. The panel is charged with approving school budgets, construction, contracts and other public-school issues. The mayor's proposal this week to abolish the social promotion of students in the fourth and sixth grades, for example, must go before the panel for a vote."

Straight forward so far-but who are these board members? "Newly appointed members were: public-school mom Linda Bryant, director of a family services nonprofit; public-school dad Joe Chan, an urban planner and former teacher; Tomas Morales, president of the College of Staten Island; and Gitte Peng, a former City Hall education policy adviser." So, did they get this gig from the NY Times?

You'd never know by reading the Post-and it's only by going over to the NY Daily News that certain biographical facts are made known: "With school control back in his hands, Mayor Bloomberg reappointed the Panel for Educational Policy, which critics charged will rubber-stamp his policies. State lawmakers required the mayor to appoint two parents to the panel, and the mayor picked those heading organizations with financial ties to his philanthropy or the city.
"The idea they would serve in a serious oversight capacity ... verges on the laughable," said Council for Education Council 15's Jim Devor, who favors curbing mayoral control."

How close are the ties to Bloombucks? "One of the new representatives, Brooklyn parent Linda Lausell Bryant, is head of the Inwood House, which has a $255,0000 competitively bid contract with the city Department of Education and received donations from Bloomberg, by way of the Carnegie Corporation. The other parent, Joe Chan, heads the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which has millions of dollars in city contracts."

So, while the two tabloids are both engaged in attacking the alleged corrupt nepotism at the state senate-they let the greater felon get off scot-free; because the subornation of government is-at least with New York's richest man-a two-way street. And if we're gonna be real worried about Pedro Espada's son getting a $120,000 state job, than let's start to really worry about how Mike Bloomberg is spending $235 milllion in so-called charitable giving.

In our view, this is the kind of charity that begins at home on 79th Street; and the citizens of New York would really benefit from an aggressive journalistic effort-a true media barium enema-to uncover where all the Bloomberg money is going. Mort, Rupert, no double standards.

Democracy is more substantively corrupted when a leader has the kind of money that can be used to manufacture front groups and faux leaders-and stifle any kind of genuine debate as a result; Bloomberg has managed to create a stealth astroturf operation that has largely gone unreported. Just follow the money. Sunlight please!