Found scattered at the LA School report | http://bit.ly/YdmgdD
smf: “Martin Eden” is the name of a commenter on the LA School Report who has introduced a parallel John Deasy and crew in a parallel LAUSD that malfunctions in a parallel literary universe. Martin’s posts appear uninvited but welcome among the other posts, hardboiled and noir.
But first: A joke, found on my daughter’s Facebook page, to set the tone – and surely to offend someone:
- Q: How many male novelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
- A: He lit a cigarette. His glass of whiskey lit a cigarette too. “I can only truly love my best friend,” he said, “but not in a gay way. Women wouldn’t understand it. They’re too gay.” Both of the cigarettes agreed.
Thank you Karen for finding Martin, and thank you Chiara for reading him to me to make sure I got it! That’s what friends are for.
ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN I
It hadn’t been the weekend John Deasy had planned.
Too many phone calls, too much time away from his family.
Now, as the Superintendent looked out at the bright Hollywood Hills from the spectacular vantage of his 24th Floor office, Deasy resisted the urge to go on the computer to see what else was being said about him or if any new bombshell had just exploded. The school chief knew the on-line comments wouldn’t be sympathetic–they never were–but was there some new SOB saboteur out there leaking something else in order to discredit him or make him look foolish?
Deasy’s brain raced.
His cranium was used to that, but this weekend it was flailing with how best staunch the latest IPad bidding revelations.The chief felt pretty confident in his discussions with the folks at Broad–and hadn’t Bill Gates promised to do whatever he could to tidy this over? Deasy took some comfort in the knowledge that Arne Duncan had been alerted to his situation. He had both Big Business and DC working hard on his side.
I shouldn’t be concerned, he thought. I always left these matters to these guys and they had never let me down yet.
But as he gazed at those hills, the Superintendent’s big worry ate through his calm demeanor: What if I TOO am just a mere cog in THEIR game?
Although these people had already invested millions and millions of dollars in his career and success, Deasy had a sick notion that he himself was merely a tax write off for billionaires. It still shocked him that after all the things he had done in his life and all the press clippings, how could he not have his own Wikipedia entry? So many lesser people had one–why not he? How indispensable am I really?
Looking back on his big career, Deasy had always appreciated that some “foundation” was there to boost him up the ladder of life. All those short spells leading school districts. bouncing back and forth into the bosom of the robber barons of private philanthropy. Knowing these right people had provided the Superintendent a really interesting life. He got to travel a lot, eat some amazing food and gained access to people and places mere mortals only read about in newspapers.
But it was always for the kids. That was his mantra. For the kids.
And whatever he did on his way was for the kids.
Couldn’t his critics see that?
He had a number of LAUSD legal questions in his mind, but he certainly wasn’t going to discuss them directly with his General Counsel, David Holmquist. Holmquist had been great for getting rid of lots of LAUSD teachers under the Great Purge, but he could never trust him with matters that require this amount of delicacy. Maybe Bill has a third party front lawyer who will get the info.
Deasy wanted this behind him fast. He still had Big Plans. He glanced at the signed picture of President Obama and him that hung in his office and winced. Perhaps if Hilary wins the White House he could be Education Secretary. “It was a big disappointment that Ted Mitchell got the Undersecretary vacancy,” the chief thought, “but I have to go somewhere further up, don’t I? I’ve been groomed my entire life to shape national education policy and it can’t just end here in LA.”
There were many times when Deasy missed the cool, fall colors of Rhode Island. “How do they stand this constant dry heat out here in California?” he grumbled to no one.
A buzz from one of the Superintendent’s cell phones suddenly snapped his mind from the Atlantic breezes back to the present annoyance at hand.
“It’s all for the kids,” Deasy thought to himself.
Gotta keep reminding myself of that and make sure everyone knows it
Martin Eden on August 26, 2014 3:34 pm said:
ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN II
The Board was meeting in a half hour, but Deasy had plenty of last minute prepping to consider.
He tried to take assurance from The Boys who said, “Everything is gonna be fine, John. Relax. You put out some bland, milquetoast statement of how the iPad Third Wave is going to be changed. Now at the Board meeting, apologize only for the ‘appearance’ of impropriety, but don’t forget to act indignant at the pettiness of the accusation. Your critics are merely people who don’t believe in Civil Rights for the kids. We all have your back, John. Go back to work for the kids.”
Deasy looked at himself in the mirror.
He hoped he could count on Dick Vladovic. He sometimes amused himself by lifting up the jar in his office that contained the Board President’s manhood and then tinkling it when one of the Boys’ representatives stopped by to chat. That was always good for a laugh.
Ching Ching went the jar.
Dick will control the proceedings to make sure it is “fair” and no one loses their head. Deasy thought, maybe one of my opponents in the gallery will make a fool of themselves. I can then point to how ridiculous my…
“Sleazy Deasy” someone will call out from the pews. See how immature they are? Third graders I am always having to deal with.
Combing his hair, Deasy reminded himself, I need to keep dignified and present “the facts” as the lawyer told me to. Do not lose control. Do not give my opponents the opportunity to take the narrative away from “the kids’ best interest.” I work for them, not you, I will remind everyone.
For the kids.
We can never let the petty complaints of adults be foisted on the youngsters so eager to hope we do the right thing. I can quote Mayor Garcetti on that. Maybe that will shut them up and get Dick to maintain control of the meeting.
Will Monica Ratliff or Steve Zimmer speak out? They probably will, but in some roundabout “let’s-be-fair-to-all-sides” way and that is exactly what I need. Good Democrats. Let’s rally around the best interests for all. Let’s not make some silly mistakes of the past cloud our judgment for the Greater Good and Purpose for all our LAUSD family.
Deasy took one more glance at himself in the mirror.
Martin Eden on August 27, 2014 9:37 said:
ALL THE SUPERINTEDENT’S MEN III
It was like balancing a chemistry equation.
The law of conservation of mass states that no atoms can be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction, so it all has to equal out, Deasy surmised. While reading the morning’s LA TIMES, the Superintendent thought back to his days teaching the subject at the military academy on Long Island. I just have to re-calibrate and make it work.
It’s just a matter of re-branding as the marketers realize. If Rand Paul can reinvent himself and be considered Presidential material even when confronted by his past statements and positions using Peter-like denials, so can I.
Deasy’s pale blue eyes focused on the articles.
Okay. I lost Steve Lopez.
Why couldn’t they all be like Barbara Jones when she was at the Daily News? He so wished Tamar hadn’t snatched her away. He could use her cheerleading now.
Turning to the Times’ edit page, he read the latest.
As long as he had their support, his job was secure. Deasy had always been grateful for Karin Klein’s steadfast support. Even when she scolded him–like on this iPad thing–it was always in that tone of admonishing an ambitious and precocious child.
“Oh that scamp John! Slow down for Pete’s sake!”
She even threw him a bone in the paper today. “Yet Deasy has been right about one thing: L.A. Unified’s students should have access to the same technology that more advantaged students in other school districts enjoy. If there were inappropriate aspects to the procurement process, they must be addressed and those involved held accountable. But it is equally vital for the board to continue its commitment to finding the right technology at the right price. Any political fallout should not interfere with the educational goal.”
Thankfully, the paper hadn’t called for smaller class sizes, more electives, access to enrichment experiences, music, drama, arts…things that would cost real money and that the Boys never challenged in their court proceedings to improve education for impoverished kids. The kind of things that are taken for granted in Laguna Beach and if the kids didn’t have them, the parents would be screaming bloody murder.
That’s why the iPads are so vital. They enrich so many under the guise of Civil Rights. The more important Civil Rights stuff can be papered over.
Deasy put down the paper.
Could big money, political and economic connections negate the public outrage?
Sometimes, a powerful hand on the scale could help balance out any difficult equation.
Martin Eden on August 29, 2014 9:42 am said:
ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN IV
Illegitimi non carborundum
That was the message of encouragement he received from Michelle Rhee. Although he hadn’t wanted to get too close to her in the last year or so, the Superintendent appreciated ANY show of support.
It had already been a long week and he was running on fumes. Every day was worse than the day before and the newspaper columns circled him like tentative hyenas. Who is this Annie Gilbertson and why is she pushing this so much? Does anyone even listen to KPCC?
John Deasy’s flushed anxiety stemmed from the fact that things weren’t snapping orderly into place like they used to. Monica Garcia had always said this was the start of a ten year relationship with the District, but he had imagined he would have been safely planted heading a department in Washington certainly by that time frame.
His whole life plan was being rattled. So many people had made a great deal of effort to get him to California. Lord. At the very least he should have been able to count on a safe Sacramento option. That was his fallback.
He never wanted to end up like Michelle’s ex, Kevin Huffman, running a state like Tennessee. It was hard enough trying to find decent clam chowder in Westchester—imagine trying to find it out in those boondocks.
But Deasy saw what happened to Rhee and how toxic she had become. No one in public government was ever gonna touch her with a ten foot pole. It bewildered him how he could share her fate as well.
Sure it would be easy to land a cushy paycheck with some vulture capitalist funded non-profit like Jaime did, but legacy was far more important to the Chief than money.
How had the landscape changed so much, so rapidly? His fellow education compatriots running the Red States were also starting to be on shaky ground. Damn crazy Tea Party nutjobs shooting down Common Core and opting out of testing. He was grateful to be in a “sane” Democratic state like California, but he remembered only two years ago, Michelle Rhee referred to the Golden State as Ground Zero for Education Reform. Those were heady times for us all. When Vergara won, I felt our mission was almost accomplished.
He smiled recalling the time that he was the ONLY name put forth to the BOE by Antonio.
His Eli boasted at the time, “We actually recommended him. We thought of all the people in America and thought that John would probably be the most effective.”
ME. Out of ALL the people in America!
That’s a helluva lot.
And the Boys had the most faith in me to do right by them in the district.
Wonder what they are saying now.
Do they now look at me like they look at Michelle?
What are they saying to each other out of my earshot?
Where is everyone now? Why isn’t Antonio declaring his support publicly? Where is Bill? Where is Arne? Sure they have called with their private “Give ‘em hell” back slaps, but I need someone to go out there and explain to everyone that I really have the best interests of all the kids at heart.
The Superintendent knew history. He always loved it in school and stressed its importance.
He knew that earlier in the month, the fortieth anniversary of the end of a Presidency was observed. He was old enough to recall how fast, furious and intense that final week in August had been. The entire country held its breath to see what would happen.
Fortunately, he wouldn’t have to go into permanent exile like the other.
Surely no Grand Jury was anxious to hear this insipid story.
Don’t let the bastards get you down, he told himself. The Superintendent liked it better in faux Latin.
Where was his Henry Kissinger to pray with him?
Monica Garcia was going to be a piss poor substitute.
Martin Eden on September 2, 2014 4:08 pm said:
ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN V
Damn Jerry Brown.
Was he busting me personally or doesn’t he even care about the Democratic Party? Sure—he’s old. This is his last hurrah. But what about me?
When do I get my turn?
Antonio Villaraigosa still had a number of things he had to get done for his work with Herbalife, but, as always, was taking his own political pulse.
So, Brown was appealing Vergara. Brown was siding with the teacher’s union.
He was reading that $114K was contributed to them so far in his re-election coffers, and CTA another $54K. Of course none of those figures was daunting, especially considering the amount was less than his old pal Michael Bloomberg contributed to a single LAUSD School Board race. And Brown was hardly losing one wink of monk-light sleep from his what’s-his-name GOP challenger.
Who hasn’t seen HOUSE OF CARDS? No one likes them.
Child molester defenders. And I can say that because I’m an old UTLA rep.
The Mayor tried to make a name for himself by reforming education in LA. He personally brought in the Big Hitters to set aside money from LAUSD itself, funneling it directly to the discretion of his…
That man was John Deasy. The one he backed to whip the district into shape.
He was now disturbed by all the trouble Deasy had gotten into and how it would reflect on his future political ambitions.
In California, you can survive failing the bar four times. You can survive a few affairs. You can survive Photo-Op travel. What you can’t survive is the failure of your signature political issue.
Villaraigosa’s plan had been pretty simple. He would follow the well-worn neo-liberal track of being a big supporter of lefty social issues but suck up to Wall Street to prove his worth to the financiers who would bankroll his future.
Education reform was going to do it.
It was his own personal Sister Souljah moment. Villaraigosa recalled that when Bill Clinton told black people how they should act and what their proper response should be, he got elected President. Of course Bill wasn’t really talking to black people—I mean who else were they supposed to vote for? Bush? It was Bill’s whistle to the white population that the Dems understood THEIR concerns and fears that the GOP so adroitly exploited since Nixon. “I have your back,” Bill winked at them.
Back in July, mused Villaraigos, when I wrote my WALL STREET JOURNAL Op-Ed for Vergara and for the need of Teacher Reform, that was strategic product placement.
It was the identical path trod by Rahm Emanuel and Andrew Cuomo.
So far, it’s Hillary’s route too and he had aligned his fortunes with hers. Now watch the liberals all carp about her like they do about Rahm and Cuomo. Look at how these good Dems are being challenged in their own parties by the Occupy loons for embracing of Goldman Sachs’ values.
And they-like me-groused the mayor, are bitterly despised by the teacher’s unions.
You aren’t going to get very far in politics if you ignore the interests of the business class. Hadn’t the Democrats learned that lesson enough?
That weekend, Villaraigosa talked with Bruce Reed, the current director of the Broad Foundation’s Education wing. He was distressed about the Broad brand being poisoned. It was their crowning glory that they placed both Deasy and Jaime Aquino at LAUSD’s epicenter, but now both were under intense scrutiny for well-everyone knows now. It ticked Reed off that no one was listing their time in the Broad Academy on their resumes anymore.
Search that long extensive bio of Aquino now over at New Teacher Center. Any Broad mention after all the hundreds of thousands of dollars we poured into his career?
And if John Deasy went down, so do I.
Tony Villar learned the hard way that the world is unforgiving. He recalled, when the Catholic schools wouldn’t have me anymore, who took me in? The public schools. They were my inspiration. They gave me hope. They put me on a path that brought me to heights I could never have imagined back as a lost teenager.
Villaraigosa wondered if his time had already passed. Maybe the torch would be passed to Kamala Harris.
How had education reform become such a divisive issue that I, a former ACLU chapter president, would find myself on the other side of my liberal base?
What does such a smart, astute, learned and thoughtful politician as Jerry Brown know that I don’t know?
He calculated the paltry teacher union contributions to the Brown campaign.
Villaraigosa cheered himself up. Sacramento has lousy food and fiestas compared to any place in LA.
Martin Eden on September 3, 2014 5:26 pm said:
ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN VI
This urgent appeal was sent out today from somewhere in the bowels of Beaudry.
LETTER FROM THE TEACHER JAIL
Life is so cruel and unfair.
Is justice to be found anywhere?
The inmates here in LAUSD Teacher Jail read with sorrowful outrage John Deasy’s plaintive lament over his recent woes. “It feels like a witch hunt and people are feeding this.”
How could others make another human being feel like this?
Where was their sense of decency?
The inmates of Teacher Jail recognized one of their own in the miserable torment of John Deasy.
When will the political persecution of educators cease?
There was a UTLA rally earlier in the day calling for Deasy himself to be put in Teacher Jail and removed from his duties until the sordid mess could be sorted out. Would there be any hope of due process for him? Deasy rightly called the union’s rally “a terribly misguided effort to score political points.”
John Deasy is above politics. He is a humble educator trying to do what is best FOR THE KIDS. He has no intent to hurt or abuse them with his education policies—and politics.
BECAUSE of his POLITICAL beliefs of education, Deasy…
Deasy was admitted into the exclusive world of Eli Broad’s Academy BECAUSE of his POLITICAL beliefs. He was installed as Superintendent by the Mayor BECAUSE of his POLITICAL beliefs of education. And now, look how all these critics of his were trying to make education political.
It demeaned the whole process.
We hear John Deasy’s pitiful cry that he is being unjustly maligned. Why didn’t people just take his word for it? Why would people assume he had bad intentions? Why should he have to pay for a lawyer? Why should he have his reputation impugned? Why should he have his entire life’s career put on the line for mere innuendo?
We the teachers in the same predicament rally for John Deasy and hope that he gets a fair shake and doesn’t have to be treated like a criminal. Hope he is not forced to resign instead of have some long dragged out process of trying to get rid of him.
Sure,we have all heard the rhetoric: Do you know how expensive it is to try to get rid of one ineffective, failing, abusive Superintendent? It cost a fortune! How much money does it take to buy him out to avoid some lengthy litigation? Why should the taxpayers be burdened with such cases?
Let us hope the BOE does not simply rubber stamp the public’s verdict of this fine man and toss him on the ash heap of history. They need to investigate fully the case and release all their findings. They need to be thorough and examine this case as thoroughly and thoughtfully as they do every teacher case that comes before them.
Justice demands it.
Hang in there, John Deasy, our brother in the universal struggle.
Teacher Jail, LA Division
P.S. John Deasy, take heart, comrade.
Have faith in the extraordinary tenacity of Richard Vladovic in seeing that you will get a fair shake. He has been relentless in working with Project Innocence in uncovering politically motivated firings and dismissals. Look at all the unjustly accused teachers Dr. Vladovic has fought for and helped out of their terrible plights.
His record speaks for itself.
The rest of the Board has always been anxious to make sure no teacher was unfairly dismissed and their track record will show how hard they examine each case individually to make sure there was no malfeasance in the process. So many teachers have been reinstated because of their commitment to the teaching profession and Vladovic has been instrumental in making sure politics never came into play with a dismissal.
If they were guilty, they were guilty. All the innocent teachers he fought tirelessly for who are now back in the classrooms sing his intellectual praises.
Teacher after teacher after teacher owes their current good fortune to him and his Truth-Seeking fight for justice.
Rest assured, you are in safe hands with this tenacious Board, good sir.