Urgent: December 17

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Messages which absolutely need to be seen today due to time constraints or breaking news. Remember to check the"new answers" link for the most active topics. This topic will run for a week, and then we will start a new dated "urgent" file.

-- Anonymous, December 17, 2000


Here's the Derrico letter...

To the editor: Ms. Ferrante (Woodstock Times Dec. 7, 2000) only mentions Mr. Benjamin's upcoming court case as stemming from the 2000 Onteora School Board election. She fails to mention why "They are back in court again." Mr. Benjamin, boyfriend of defeated board candidate Donna Boundy attacked Mr. Perry, the winning candidate, in a rage, after Mr. Perry allegedly said something to Ms. Boundy. (Mr. Perry was across the hall with his family and mine, and what happened that night was that Mr. Perry was assualted.)

Will Ms. Ferrante solicit support for Maureen Millar now that she has also been arrested? These are the people who are friends of our Superintendent, Hal Rowe, who openly campaigned for Ms. Milar and Mr. Rosato on the Woodstock Green, which violated school policy. He is also the man who my husband and I went to for help when our daughter was sexually assaulted on an Onteora school bus (three times in 3rd grade by a 6th grade boy). He did nothing as did his friends, Maureen Millar, Tom Rosato, Mr. D'Orazio and Meg Carey. Not one of them made an effort to look into the matter. I would like to thank Mr. Millman, Mr. Walters, Mr. Joe Doan, Mr. Perry and Mr. Vanacore for caring and trying to put a stop to the bad things that are going on in our schools and on our buses. I would also like to thank the community, C.A.R.E.,OCS, and our Weslyan Church for their support.

It seems to me, it's time to clean house. On the other hand, I have to applaud Ms. Ferrante for so bravely and publicly soliciting support for her friend's court appearance, since this is the third arrest this year by either members members of C.O.L.O.R. and/or S.T.A.N.D. Yes indeed,they need all the support they can muster. Good luck and may justice prevail.

Patricia D'Errico Shokan

-- Anonymous, December 17, 2000

Did we note that CNN.com carried a Nov. 6 Associated Press story by Don Babwin that mentioned Onteora's mascot (blessing's on Google's cache feature). This article was featured in the Boston Globe, the Bergen Record (influential suburban NJ paper), a Detroit paper and a Chicago paper, so thousands of people will have seen this one article alone.

I just went through a Google search on "Onteora Indian" and tabulated the results: I found 144 mentions of the Onteora Indian mascot in a negative context. The only mentions that were unequivocably positive about the mascot were the CARE page and the 3 white racist pages we know of (two FC plus whiteracist.com).

That Barbara Clare. In her 9/28 letter to the Woodstock Times she printed the letter from George D. Heron of the Salamanca Reservation supporting the Indian mascot. Then she goes on to say that she believes that the letter speaks for other NA nations also, including the Muhheakunnuk Nation and the Powhatan Indian Nation. But I just did a check on that, and while I cannot find a site for Muhheakunnuk Nation , the < a href="http://www.powhatan.org/racism.html">Powhatan Nation chief shreds that notion to pieces, and firmly states that the chief is against racist mascot names.

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2000

Has the board done anything with their diversity "committee"?

Charles Cyow@Yowlaw.com

(BTW I have more than one e-mail address personal/business, any address is good as they are threaded and checked at the same time)

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2000

Charles: We have actually gathered a lot of materials, but it needs to be finalized and collated, a summary chapter written and the appropriate forum for presentation decided upon. I'm sure it's not perfect, nor is it all-inclusive, but I also think it's time to get it out there. I personally would like to see it followed by a "forum" where folks can react to the 'community' feelings around issues of race and diversity. I feel we've laid back long enough. This is our area to act in, and we don't need to be all things to all people, just true to our area of "expertise."

No one seems to be able to do much until after New Year's, so I'm hoping we'll jump on it then. Before january ends...celebrating the first anniversary of the vote to retire the mascot..jan 24th??? Any suggestions are welcome. Tobe

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2000

I was hesitating about how to include this in my accounting last night, this posting about Onteora in the Foxnews Tongue tied column. I finally decided to lump it in with the negatives about Onteora, since he reports the AP wire story pretty straight, with none of the rest of the snotty, smarmy comments he makes about other "PC" issues. But what was a little creepy is the link back to the front page/national news, which they chose to call here and on other features "NATIONAL FRONT." A peculiar choice for a homepage link title under the circumstances, do you think we ought to point this out to the ADL? The columnist, Scott Norvell, ends his website bio with "He's not working on any books, but is making a sincere effort to sample every aged rum currently in production." Er, yes, we see.

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2000

A few thoughts...I don't know if the Freedom of Information request will yield that much but it may be worth pursuing. But let's keep in mind that CARE calls itself a 'not for profit' which is not a problem if they don't claim to be tax deductible. If people claim charitible deductions on their taxes than that is improper because CARE supports candidates for election as clearly stated in their promotional material. I'm not sure if this can be easily pursued. Another interesting point is the article of Patti MacCullum in the CARE newsletter (sic) which berates schools for not allowing prayer. I think it might be a point to raise this issue with them. Or at least something to keep in mind. The other interesting thing in the CARE newsletter is that they have published donations from various individuals and business's including the Tongore Deli in Olivebridge, Stock Excavating, Buck's and Cintone's Auto Supply, the Boiceville Market and RJW School Bus transit. How can we address this?

-- Anonymous, December 19, 2000

I had a LONG discussion with Office of Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education today, the investigation is going forward, and has been re-directed and focused on Onteora because "Onteora appears to be the most significant issue" (duh!), I have a conference call the second week of January, a meeting will be scheduled during or following the conference call.


-- Anonymous, December 20, 2000

I've hit a bunch of error messages from this site and others recently, don't know why the sudden spate. And I don't know why Tobe couldn't get into the google cache of the cnn.com link either (above).

"Stories Differ at Onnteora Harassment Trial" by Cynthia Werthamer.

SHOKAN - Onaje Benjamin maintained Tuesday on the witness stand that he grabbed Fred Perry's shirt collar because he felt Perry had threatened him and his family by making a crude remark to his wife in front of his children. Perry, who had just won election to the Onteora school board on the night in question, testified he did not say anything to Donna Boundy and said Benjamin "had his hand on my neck" before he knew what was happening.

The discordant report of events from the night of May 16 came out during nearly five hours of testimony at Benjamin's trial in Olive Town Court for second-degree harassment, a violation. Town Justice Vincent Barringer said he would decide the case within 30 days.

Perry and two other winning candidates favored retaining Onteora's Indian mascot, which the former board had abolished. Boundy, one of the unsuccessful candidates, opposed the symbol after several people complained it was insensitive to Native Americans.

Waiting for results on election night at Onteora High School, the atmosphere was "highly charged," several witnesses testified. People on both sides of the issue set themselves into groups, with cheers erupting from the pro-Indian side when the results were tallied.

Boundy and others said that after the vote, Perry "charged" at Boundy and shouted: "Take your mascot and shove it up your ass!" Boundy's sons George, then 12, and Kofi, 8, were beside her at the time, several said.

"His face was rageful," Boundy said. "I started to cry and Kofi cried like I've never seen him cry before, with terror on his face."

Her husband, who was not present at the incident but came over moments later, said he went over to Perry "to tell him not to do anything like that again, and to try to make sure it didn't escalate."

Perry told Ulster County Assistant District Attorney Ray Tomaselli that he had not spoken to Boundy "at all" that night.

After the vote, Perry said, "a lot of my supporters surrounded me, shaking my hand and hugging me. As I turned to hug someone else, I felt this big thud on my neck and realized Mr. Benjamin had his hand on my collar and on my neck, with his other hand back as if to strike me. ... I tried to defend myself, and people immediately tried to take him away."

Defense attorney Robert Ricken said Barringer should find Benjamin not guilty, either because the prosecution did not prove the defendant intended to "harass, annoy or alarm," as the law states, or because Benjamin was justified in defending his family. Tomaselli said Benjamin did not act reasonably and was "not in imminent danger."


Barbara Clare: "Once again the Indian Mascot is brought in the story by another Freeman reporter. This was an assult case, ten people testified, I was one of them and no mentioned of other witnesses testimony was reported but emphasise agin on the Indian issue is brought up by your paper, The reporter failed to mention the difference in the height and weight of the alleged attacker compared to the alleged victum. Bad coveraged once again by another reporter."

Curry Rinzler: "The testimony was extensive and clear that Mr.Perry did indeed approach Ms.Boundy and shout obscenities in her face. What this shows is that Mr. Perry lied under oath: he committed perjury! Mr. Perry should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for his disgraceful behavior, and removed from his seat on the Onteora school board for setting such a miserable example for our children."


-- Anonymous, December 21, 2000

This just in from the anti-mascot list-serve...what a hoot, indeed.

In the "now that the shoe's on the other foot" category comes this stinging article from D.C.'s most highly read and respected sports writer. Ho! Ho! Ho! What a hoot! And what a positive bit of support for the position we advocate. If team owner Dan Snyder doesn't take a hint from this then he's proven himself beyond the shadow of a doubt to be far less intelligent than people give him credit for.



Hard to Cope With Latest Embarrassment

By Thomas Boswell Wednesday, December 20, 2000; Page D01

In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, here's a suggestion for Redskins management: Try to go just one full week without putting on those clown masks and floppy shoes.

Many old-school phrases apply to the Redskins' current mortifying situation. Keep your head down. Take a low profile. Don't make a bad situation worse.

But the Redskins' self-inflicted pies in the face just keep coming.

On Saturday, the Redskins, who are quickly squandering the franchise's 30-year reputation as a class act, had the gall to try to get Steelers radio broadcaster Myron Cope to stop referring to the team as the Washington "Redfaces."

Somebody in Redskins management took offense at the phrase, not realizing that Cope has routinely coined nicknames -- like the Cincinnati "Bungles" -- for Steelers foes for 31 years. Unfortunately, some Redskins brass is so green you need to stake and prune them. How would they know? So Redskins president Steve Baldacci sent a team rep to the radio booth where Cope's producer was asked to get Cope to knock it off.

At that point, Cope unleashed an ad lib that, for spontaneous inspiration, easily surpassed, "The Giants win the pennant" and "Havlicek stole the ball."

"If that boy billionaire [Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder] thinks he can shut me up," said Cope, "he should stick his head in a can of paint."

We pause here so that, if you sprayed your morning coffee or choked on your scrambled eggs as you laughed, you can obtain medical assistance.

This is so perfect I can only say to the Redskins: Spend the off-season grasping why Cope is right and you're wrong. It'll help every aspect of the organization.

So far this season, the Redskins have broken new ground in bad taste and poor sportsmanship toward visitors to FedEx Field. It's the Redskins' PA announcer, not the Steelers', who said, "Ravens fans suck." It's the Redskins who were fined $20,000 by the NFL for using the scoreboard as a cheerleading device and signaling fans to make noise on third-down plays. What awaits the Cardinals on Sunday? Pour tar on 'em as they run down the tunnel, then blow chicken feathers on them?

Above all, it's the Redskins who continue to use, and profit from, what is by far the most offensive nickname in sports. Defending the name "Redskins" on any grounds -- except that it rakes in a bundle of marketing bucks -- is farcical. So if you spend $800 million for a team with such a nickname, just tell your people to clam up on the subject and hope nobody notices. By all means, don't get worked up at being called Redfaces -- a wisecrack that connotes nothing except that they should blush with embarrassment at their performance.

Talk about not knowing how to pick your fights.

If Dan Snyder didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. But he's bringing plenty of it on himself. If he's not initiating these gaffes, then he needs to get a better handle on his people. "Memo to staff: Before doing anything that would make the Redskins look greedy, boorish, bullying, immature or petty, please check with me."

The Redskins say Snyder wasn't aware of the Steelers broadcast or Baldacci's action. Unfortunately, the Redskins didn't stop there. They just had to explain their side of it. This is a bad tactic when you have no side.

According to a spokesman Baldacci objected to the "Redfaces" reference on grounds of taste and trademark rights.

"We've been sensitized this year to game operations and club-controlled [radio] annou ncers fall under those guidelines," said the spokesman, Karl Swanson.

Gimme a break. The Redskins are as "sensitized" as a suit of armor. "We also have a sensitivity to our trademarks and our appropriate name," Swanson added.


The last thing Snyder needs is to fuss about the "trademark" rights to a nickname that insults countless Native Americans -- and plenty of others, too.

As I've said before, the Redskins and Snyder are getting a semi-bad rap around the country. In an age when people love to stereotype public figures, then take a thousand pile-on cheap shots, Snyder has become one of the easiest people in America to ridicule unfairly. He's not uptight, just driven. He's not a spoiled tyrant. He earned his billion. He's not calling the plays. He wants desperately to be a good owner. He just doesn't know how yet.

Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. For the time being. But when the Redskins pull stunts like this pratfall with Cope, they simply beg for mockery. And they reinforce the stereotypes that make them everybody's favorite team to beat.

The Redskins do indeed need to be "sensitized." But not in the way they think. They need to realize that far too much of their behavior under Snyder has made fans all over the country want to tell them to go stick their head in a can of paint.

Like it or not, Myron Cope was speaking for America. And the Redskins should listen

-- Anonymous, December 21, 2000

Been thinking of new mascot alternatives. We exterminated the indigenous wolf here like we did the indigenous people, maybe that's not so good a choice.

But there is the coy-dog to consider. One set of parents (the coyotes) are not native ("outsiders"), parents don't entirely share the same ecological niches ("they're different from us"), but the two strains get together for the pups...

-- Anonymous, December 21, 2000

Today's Freeman followup online by Werthamer (remember to use their "search" box every week to see what is online that didn't make the main menu!)

Their December 13 story is online too.

I hope you all had a rich and deep solstice.

-- Anonymous, December 21, 2000

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