Week of March 25

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This week's news and discussions.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2001


Steady... steady... Let's think and talk this through before we make ANY responses to today's Freeman lead article on the upcoming vote on the US Commission on Civil Rights.

My immediate thoughts on this are that Marty and his gang have already made up their minds and made it abundantly clear in this article that even if the Commission comes squarely down against the mascot, they will keep their position, unless there are teeth in the provision that have the power to materially affect the district -- and from what Charles has said, there aren't.

It's my feeling that anything we say locally will endanger the chances of the board members we are trying to elect, who will be toast if the mascot becomes an issue that is hung around their necks once more.

Should we then sit this one out and be real quiet for the sake of the district, and concentrate on trying to influence the Civil Rights Commission, and hope that there will be a trickle-down effect?


"Onteora board president unfazed by possible fed stance on 'Indian' names" -- William Kemble, Daily Freeman, 3/25/01

BOICEVILLE - Onteora school board President Martin Millman expects the controversial Indian mascot issue to surface again locally if the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights votes next month to adopt a position against the use of "Native American images and team names by non- native schools."

But Millman does not expect the school board to reverse its current position that calling Onteora athletic teams the Indians is acceptable. Under the commission's proposed position, the use of Native American nicknames and symbols by non-native schools would be considered a possible violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964. This would work in tandem with U.S. Department of Education instructions that prohibit discrimination in schools on the basis of race, color or national origin.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed position on April 13.

Millman said any new federal position would be evaluated by the district's legal advisers. But he does not expect the current school board, which voted 5-2 last year in favor of Onteora's athletic teams being called the Indians, to change its stance.

The previous Onteora school board voted to do away with all Indian references, but the current board reversed that position upon taking office last spring. Millman was one of the five trustees who voted in favor of using the name Indians.

"I thought this issue was gone. ... But it looks like it's going to resurface," Millman said.

"I respect the statement and positions that are coming from this group (the Commission on Civil Rights), but I also have to respect the very people that elected me to this position - and the majority still feel strongly about the Indian symbol," he said. "We'll have to see what the commission statement means to our district."

School board member Marino D'Orazio wondered whether defying the commission would affect subsidies that the district receives.

"I want to know how it will affect federal funding and aid for programs," he said.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is made up of presidential and congressional appointees, and though the body has no enforcement power and no penalties are associated with the proposed Indian rules, courts have been known to take the commission's opinions into consideration when rendering decisions.

Commissioners wrote in their draft that the "use of American Indian mascots is not a trivial matter. The commission has a firm understanding of the problems of poverty, education, housing and health care that face Native Americans."

The statement further states that using Native American references in team names is "not (an) accurate representation of Native Americans. Even those that appear to be positive are romantic stereotypes that give a distorted view of the past. These false portrayals prevent non- Native Americans from understanding the true historical and cultural experiences of American Indians."

"Sadly," the statement continues, "they also encourage biases and prejudices that have a negative effect on contemporary Indian people. These references may encourage interest in mythical Indians created by the dominant culture, but they block genuine understanding of contemporary Native people as fellow Americans."

Commissioners also said they were saddened by the need for the position statement.

"Our educational institutions have failed in their primary mission if, as a nation, we must resort to the civil rights laws for the elimination of culturally insensitive practices in our schools," they wrote.

Onteora board members were advised last year by state Civil Rights Bureau Chief Andrew Celli to review the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 carefully before voting to rescind the April 2000 policy, which prohibited "a race of people or its symbols or artifacts" from being used as district symbols.

"It is the view of the (state Attorney General's Office) that these considerations - as well as others - should be borne in mind when a decision about the Onteora Indian and related imagery is made," Celli wrote.

State officials could not be reached for comment about the proposal being made by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, nor is there an official state policy on the issue.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2001

If Barbara Clare's online response is any guideline, KARE doesn't want to go there either, just wants to "move on."

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2001

Quiet quiet quiet...no need to respond... Tobe

We already know that they intend to push the mascot as a platform plank again. They should be seen as the divisive ones...us, we're just trying to focus on education. This is NOT an article that we stirred up...don't know where Bill Kemble got his info...will have to ask him when next we see him.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2001

Of course, we should not comment on it at all. When the issue comes up in the campaign, we stress it is an issue that has been addressed locally and the voters have made their position clear. Why bring it up again for political purposes? If the Feds mandate it, then Onteora will respond and do the right thing to preserve it's Federal funding.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2001

I don't believe KARE doesn't want to go there...I think they believe it's in their interest to keep the us vs them thing going. T.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2001

Gods, I can't believe it -- I managed to mess up the hot links tutorial I made available at Saturday's meeting. When doing the HTML for the link there should be an equal sign = between the href and the quotes. Jim, destroy the leftover ones, I'll make up new ones.

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001

President Bush poked fun at perceptions that he is a little short of intelligence and that his vice president is in control as he made his first appearance in the Gridiron Club's 116th annual spoof Saturday night.

"These stories about my intellectual capacity do get under my skin a little bit," Bush told the white-tie gathering.

He said it appeared to him that even his staff doubted his brain power because every day he got an "intelligence briefing." And he said he was heeding some advice he got from longtime Democratic power Robert Strauss: "You can fool some of the people all of the time -- and those are the people you need to concentrate on."

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001


Towards the end of the Michael Goodman interview at the SOS meeting, Sat am, a phone call came in for me, from Cinnamon, my wife . Maybe some of you noticed when I took the call, and maybe I seemed a little shook up when I returned.

Well, guess what? Fred Perry is suing me for $550,000 for libel, because of the letter I wrote to the Ulster Townsman right after Onajeís trial, saying that FP lied under oath, committed perjury, and should be removed from the BOE. Onaje, by the way, lost his job as a result of this trial: Donnaís family has been hurt very badly.

How timely to be able to revisit this isuue just before the election. I was upset and angry when I wrote the letter, but had almost forgotten about the whole sordid matter......thanks, Fred, you scumbag, for reminding me that you lied under oath, thatís itís extremely well documented, and you havnít yet been punished....

Of course, itís a little scary, but Rob Ricken said I have little to worry about because the absolute defense for libel and slander is the truth!! Iím waiting to hear from my Homeownerís Insurance that they will defend me under my umbrella policy, I hope, I hope, but meanwhile: Iím going public with this news as of right now, and I want to publicize just what happened to the greatest possible extent. Iím getting transcripts of the trial, would like to get copies to all the libraries, on a website, distribute excerpts by mail and ads, and generally nail this horrible person to the wall.

Any ideas of how I should handle the media? And, please, somebody sit next to me at the BOE meeting tomorrow night.....

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001

Curry, I'm so sorry to hear about this. [big hug]

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001

Can he sue you selectively, or doesn't that mean he has to sue the Townsman as well for choosing to print it? Did you have it printed by the Freeman or the Woodstock Times as well?

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001

I'm going to do a little grooming of the archives tonight, Ted points out the possibility of subpoenas. I talked with the person I mentioned earlier, he is going to look further into what corroborating evidence might still be extant. Maybe any more discussion of this and other legal matters should be strictly email round-robin, between those who want to take it up? (count me in!)

As a public official, and thus a public figure, does Fred have any standing for a libel case regarding his performance as a public official, and more tham Clinton did against the outpouring of cries of "perjury" toward him? For background into his status as a representative of the NY State government, check out the NYSSBA site

on the left- hand menu, click on "About NYSSBA," then "Introduction to NYSSBA." Click the "School board members" link within the text, and then read the sections available.

" The New York State School Boards Association serves as the statewide voice of more than 700 school boards of education. The collective influence of some 5,000 school board members, who constitute half the elected officials in the state, enables the Association to work toward the benefit of the elementary and secondary public school system in New York State. School board members are the educational leaders of their communities; they determine policies that govern the operation of their local public school system."

" A school board member in New York State serves as a state official. Most board members, except for those in the very largest cities, receive no pay for their service except the satisfaction that comes from rendering an indispensable public service"

Can we get a group discount with Ricken? I still haven't been able to get a call back from him yet regarding my concerns. [pout]

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001

yes..I always felt pruning was good...in fact i would delete everything excpet recent (very recent posts that are safe)

Do i think we're being monitored? Well, I wouldn't be surprised...would you? Tobe

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001

Rondout board will be voting tonight about not sponsoring Boy Scouts due to their exclusionary policies. Not that we'll see our board giving a damn.

-- Anonymous, March 27, 2001

At the SOS meeting today there was broad agreement on our campaign slogans and scope. 1. Focus on Education 2. Good schools build a strong community. 3. Support students and help them with needed academic services. 4. The Board of Education needs broad community support to return to an agenda for school improvement. 5. Get out the vote for Tom and Meg.

Others will chime in with language corrections and additions so by this week's end we'll be ready for our firsat print and advertising pieces. Signs are coming, too.

It's not too early to get donations flowing to support the outreach we need to get people to the polls on election day.


-- Anonymous, March 31, 2001

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