Oct 20, 2008

Rightwing anti-union blogger may get more ammo to attack Howell teachers

Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Stanley Latreille ruled that an estimated 5,500 e-mails written by Howell Education Association (HEA), the union representing the teachers, on school computers are public record and can be released at the discretion of Howell Public Schools administrators, according to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

You may recall that rightwing Republican blogger and anti-union activist Chetly Zarko filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get copies of the emails written by union leaders on school computers. The district released the emails he was not supposed to receive without regard to student confidentially or attorney-client privilege. The HEA filed suit to stop the illegal release of the emails in May 2007.

Zarko used the information to claim the union was using school property illegally and other baseless attacks, but that was quickly debunked because the distinct has a “recognized right” to use the computers.

Zarko has come up with a new charge, and according to the P & A:

“Zarko said he expects to find communications about a small percentage of teachers who wanted to accept an additional 1 percent pay increase on top of what was offered instead of the union-affiliated health benefits, which was a sticking point during negotiations and resulted in HEA protests at school board meetings. This is a matter facing many school districts in Michigan, he said.”

Who cares? There is nothing more democratic in the workplace than a labor union. The union leaders who negotiate the contract are elected by the union membership and the actual contract must be ratified by a vote of the membership. What does it really matter what a “small percentage of teachers” said or think; other than to other HEA members?

What is even funnier is how the newspaper describes Zarko. It calls him “an Oakland County researcher.” His two main goals are to get ink and to bust unions. When he does get mainstream media coverage, they all fail to mention his anti-union ties and his ties to the racist “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.” He runs a Facebook group pushing the union busting so-called “right to work” law.


Anonymous said...

There you go again. You disagree with someone so you call him racist.

What do you think about Tom Jefferson? He was for liberty as long as it was limited to white males. He owned slaves. He raped at least one of them. And your beloved Democratic Party adores him and names their annual dinner after him. (Actually, old Tom has to share the billing with Andrew Jackson, who appreciates the light side of stealing Indian land and forcing them on a deadly relocation trip...hey, Oklahoma is great this time of year...really!)

With all your quick-on-the-trigger racist claims, how about growing some balls and explaining the racist past of Jackson and Jefferson...and explain why the Dems don't distance themselves from these slaveholders and Indian killers.

Oh, that's right. They are Dems and they do no wrong. Maybe next year it can be the Jeff-Jack-Spitzer dinner.

Communications guru said...

The anti-affirmative push was racist. To me it’s cut and dried.

I think Thomas Jefferson was a great man with plenty of flaws, and his biggest was his slaveholding past. I hold the same view for Andrew Jackson. The fact is that 12 of the first 18 U.S. Presidents were slaveholders, including George Washington and Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln’s VP.

As for Indian killers, my hometown of Monroe just held Custer Week this month to honor its most famous resident. I think George Armstrong Custer might fit your description.

Anonymous said...

No argument on Custer, but what's your point?

It's all right to own slaves and steal land and lives from Indians as long as you do enough good things?

You just avoid the issue. Jefferson was flawed, so why honor him with the state Democrats most prestigious dinner? Isn't it racist to honor a slaveholder?

Here's a fact about Mr. Jefferson. He knew what he was doing was morally wrong. Not only did slaveholding violate his writings, but he agreed the ones he owned should be freed...but not until he and his wife were both dead. Seems he couldn't quite give up the lifestyle afforded by owning slaves. But, hey, he's a Democrat, so we can overlook a little thing like OWNING OTHER HUMANS.

Maybe owning slaves was a sign of the times then, but it's certainly not forgiveable now. And I'm not quite sure when genocide was acceptable So why do the Dems still honor those two guys so prominently?

If it were someone not so politically correct, you would be screaming for reparations, screaming racism, demanding changes. But it's the Dems, so slaveholding is just a "flaw." When parents were separated from their children, when men were flogged because of the color of their skin, maybe you should have been there to comfort them and tell them it was only a flaw.

See, what you don't understand is that even though Jefferson wrote great things, his life told a different story. The big reason that southern leaders wanted independence from England had nothing to do with individual liberty. The plantation owners needed more land...to the west...to support their slaveholding way of life. England was giving that land to folks back on the other side of the Atlantic. This pissed off Jefferson, Washington, et al, which is one of the main reasons they supported the Revolution. Liberty be dammned, they needed more land and more slaves.

Communications guru said...

Just about everything you said about Thomas Jefferson can be said about George Washington. He was a slave-owner and freed his slaves after he ad his wife died, too. So your answer is to rename the nation’s capitol, take his image off of the dollar bill and tear down the Washington Monument? Why does the nation honor him so prominently?

Sorry, I disagree with your reason for the American Revolution. It’s not based in fact.

I’m also not sure what any of this has to do with the Howell Teacher’s Union.

Anonymous said...

Actually it is based on fact. You can look it up. The way Virginia farmers in particular raised tobacco was extremely labor- and land-inefficient...but they did it because they had slaves. The tradeoff was that they didn't use land very wisely and so they always needed more. They were the original land-poor Americans. They were gentry but they were up to their eyebrows in debt. And they always needed to acquire more land. The English were taking the land west of the settled coast and Washington, Jefferson and company didn't like it. It was not the sole reason for the war, just as no reason is the sole reason, but it was a critical issue for the southern decision-makers. The fact that you don't know that doesn't make it any less true.

The northern guys were also in it for the business. But their money came from the shipping industry and then from manufacturing. They also didn't want to give up their profits to the British monopolies. Tariffs and all that.

The founding fathers were great men, but they weren't saints. Business drove the revolution as much as a desire for liberty did. Even so they were brave men and accomplished something remarkable. But when you blind yourself to reality, you fail to understand the big picture.

Which is why it's easy for you to scream racist when you oppose something...but to ignore obvious and worse racism when it accurately defines someone or something you support.

So tell me again: You think that owning another human being is merely a "flaw?"

Anonymous said...

"there is nothing more democratic than a labor union.

Oh, please.

Communications guru said...

Sorry, it’s your opinion; it may be one reason, but certainly not the main one. I never, ever said the Founding Fathers were saints. So tell me again: should we rename the nation’s capitol, take Washington’s image off of the dollar bill and tear down the Washington Monument? Why does the nation honor him so prominently? Also, what does any of this has to do with the Howell Teacher’s Union?

When you answer one of my questions I’ll answer yours.

Communications guru said...

You, of course, took the quote out of context. The full quote is, “There is nothing more democratic in the workplace than a labor union.” That is 100 percent correct.
If you disagree then tell what is more democratic in the workplace than a labor union.

Anonymous said...

You won't answer my questions because you are a coward. I answered yours. You brought up racism in your post. You said the guy seeking the emails is tied to the racist (your words) Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. As for ripping Washington from the nation? I wouldn't do that. But I don't call everyone racist either.

So I answered yours. Grow some balls and answer mine:

1. Dems like yourself call people racist. You demanded that a private university not rescind an invitation to Ann Coulter. Why, then, not demand that your party quit naming its biggest dinner after a slaveowner? Why not name it after Martin Luther King? Or are Democrats too racist to honor a black man?

2. Do you considers voters to be racist if they voted for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative? (By the way, the Free Press reported today that despite that iniative, minority enrollment is up at University of Michigan. Imagine that.)

3. There is a state law called the Freedom of Information Act. A judge says those emails are subject to it. Do you think the teachers union should obey the law, or are they above it because you like them?

Communications guru said...

You can call me all the names you want, but you didn’t answer my questions. The guy “seeking the emails” is tied to the racist Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Why wouldn’t you rip “Washington from the nation?” You want me to do it for Jefferson, but you don’t think we should do it for Washington. There are very similar. I don’t call everyone racist either.

Even though you ducked my questions, I’ll answer yours. Thomas Jefferson, like the Founding Fathers, is a great man, but he’s not a saint.

1. Why not name it after George Washington?

2. For the majority, yes. I notice you didn’t give a link to that AP story, you never do, to prove your claims. You also failed to mention that enrolment among Hispanics and Native Americans dropped this year. Affirmative Action is not just for African-American students.
"Underrepresented minority student enrollment has plummeted at several major public universities operating under similar laws in other states," said Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts. "We have worked hard to reach out aggressively to prospective students, to be sure they are aware of U-M's ongoing commitment to diversity."

3. I am well aware of what the FOIA is, and I have used many times. The teachers union has never violated the law, and they have never said they would.

Anonymous said...

The teachers union has never violated the law? What about teacher strikes. Those are against the law.

Anonymous said...

Little known fact: Martin Luther King Jr. was a registered Republican. He must be a racist too.

Communications guru said...

We were not talking about teachers unions in general. We were talking abut the Howell teacher's union, and they have never broken the law. As for teacher strikes, I don't see how any strike, other than for police and fire unions that have PA 312, can be illegal.

Anonymous said...

It's called "THE LAW".

Communications guru said...

That is true he had registered as a Republican in 1956, but that changed in 1960 when he endorsed JFK. He was also adamantly against the so-called "right to work" way back in the 1960s.