A Very Crucial Election

 

John-Telford

Telford’s Telescope

October 21, 2014

A Very Crucial Election

Detroit and Michigan, this is the most crucial election day (non-presidential) in my 79 years on this planet.  We’ve got to get Snyder out of there and Schauer and the other Democrats in–and the Detroit school board election is one of the most significant in memory.  Vote LaMar Lemmons, Ida Short, Reverend David Murray, and Victor Gibson for DPS board.  All four have worked tirelessly to rid DPS of the ineffective and detractive emergency managers.  Also, I support Vicki Dobbins for River Rouge school board and Margaret Weertz for Grosse Point school board.  Spread the word.

P.S. Hear Sen. Coleman Young and Rev. David Bullock on my show this coming Sunday.
P.P.S. – Check out my column this week (Oct. 19 – 25) in the Michigan Citizen on a Lansing judge’s oppressive and illegal ruling on DPS.

Also, with permission from my good friend and colleague Russ Bellant, I would like to add his excellent comments about what is at stake for all of us in November.

On November 4 on the nonpartisan ballot will be four at-large seats for the Detroit Board of Education. There are 16 candidates. Eleven of those candidates have not attended any school board meetings.

One has a felony record.

Two represent Excellent Schools Detroit, which formed to create a network of high schools outside of DPS, but with the stated intention of taking over DPS buildings.

Twelve of the sixteen were asked to stand with the school board at a press conference when they called for the removal of the “emergency” manager. Remember, DPS has been under “emergency” management for over 67 months and under Lansing control for 12 of the last 15 years. The law says after 18 months an elected body can remove the “emergency” manager, but that language is not adhered to when it comes to our school district. Apparently these 12 board wannabes do not  care either.

The same twelve have not been active or visible in standing against school closings, even the closings of Kettering West Wing, the School for the Deaf, Oakman Orthopedic and other irreplaceable schools for special needs children. They have not spoken out against the blatant corruption and abuses of power by “emergency” managers. They have no demonstrated interest in the future of the Detroit Public School system yet want voters to hand them the keys to the district.

The only four that are not included in this narrative are three incumbents, LaMar Lemmons, David Murray and Ida Short and also a retired teacher, Victor Gibson. They have attended meetings regularly, called special meetings and worked aggressively to tell the world what was happening at DPS. Even though their legal power was usurped by Gov. Snyder they worked within the severe limitations of the law to try and help preserve DPS and fought in court battles over principled issues. The commercial media generally ignored the Board’s efforts and the EM abuses.

The four are working together in this campaign and have literature for those who want to help. You can meet with Keep The Vote president Helen Moore for literature tomorrow at 6 pm at Dexter-Elmhurst Community Center, 11825 Dexter.

There will be four elected to these seats. Please ensure that those seats go to people who will not collaborate with Rick Snyder’s emasculation of voter control and dismantlement of our district.

DPS sands are shifting like quicksand

 

John-Telford

 

Telford’s Telescope

October 17, 2014

DPS sands are shifting like quicksand

For one recent hopeful, glorious moment, it appeared that Detroit Public Schools’ long and unjust nightmare of state control and mismanagement would finally be over.  In a special Board meeting at Renaissance High School on Monday, September 29, 2014, the seven Board members who were present and one member who called in voted unanimously to remove the emergency manager, and they invited me to the table to sit with them as Superintendent again.  After one tumultuous year as Superintendent, I had been fired by the then-emergency manager on March 29, 2013, the day after the unconstitutional Public Act 436 became law and enabled him to remove me and disempower this good, duly-elected board.  In attendance at that September 29 meeting were Board members LaMar Lemmons, Herman Davis, Ida Short, Juvette Hawkins, Elena Herrada, Rev. David Murray, and Tawana Simpkins.  Voting affirmatively with them by telephone was Wanda Redmond.  Members Annie Carter, Judy Summers, and EM appointee Jonathan Kinloch did not attend.

However, two days later, a corporate-collusive ruling by Ingham County District Judge Joyce Draganchuk illegally dismissed the Detroit Public School Board’s motion seeking the removal of DPS emergency management.  Emergency managers appointed by Governor Rick Snyder have been in place since May, 2011, following 26 months of unwarranted gubernatorially imposed emergency financial management, and following nearly twelve years of state control of the Detroit Public Schools.   The current EM came in July, 2013.  In the Ingham County Courthouse on October 1, the DPS Board vainly pointed out to Judge Draganchuk that the language in Public Act 436—the replacement law for the EM law that the citizens of Michigan had voted to have rescinded—clearly specifies that after eighteen months an elected local unit can opt by a 2/3 vote to dismiss emergency management and return the district to the rule of the elected board and its appointed Superintendent.  The current DPS EM’s eighteen months were up on September 29.

This has been far from the first time that a judge has turned a blind eye to the law in motions by the DPS Board— but being so late in the game now, it may prove to be the most destructive time.    The rule of law is obviously dead in Michigan.  The deck has been stacked against Detroit’s public schoolchildren ever since Gov. John Engler unfairly took over DPS in 1999 when the schools enjoyed a $100 million surplus under well-regarded Superintendent Eddie Green and DPS students’ test scores were at the state midpoint and rising.  At that time, Detroit voters had approved a $1.5 billion bond to renovate old buildings and construct new ones, and people close to the governor were hungrily eyeing the lucrative contracts to be let.  Ten years later, EM Robert Bobb departed and left behind a $327 million deficit and a school district with test scores which had plummeted so far under state control that they had become the worst in America.

SPORTS HALL OVERSIGHTS; A FAMILY WEDDING

John-Telford

Telford’s Telescope

October 2, 2014

SPORTS HALL OVERSIGHTS; A FAMILY WEDDING

I had meant today’s Telford’s Telescope column to be entirely about my son Steven Telford’s September 20 marriage and the multiethnic heritage of the wedding guests.  However, before I write about Steve’s wedding, I need to say that in my last column about the Detroit Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame dinner at Bert’s Marketplace Restaurant a week earlier wherein I was inducted with Miller High School’s Jocko Hughes, King High’s George “the Iceman” Gervin, Southeastern High’s Marchel McGehee (my former student), and other old-time PSL stars, I listed some track sprinters who should have been inducted with me—and a few of them before me.  Now three readers have reminded me that in that list I overlooked Mackenzie’s Charlie Robinson, Northwestern’s Stan McConnor, Mumford’s James Grace, Kettering’s Deon Hogan, Ford’s Mike Holt, Osborn’s Don Robinson,  and old Eastern’s Willie Atterberry—my 1950s rival with whom I traded wins.   Since I’ve now included them, I should also add Cass Tech’s Paris (Sandy) Whittington, plus Andre Broadnax, Elliott Haskins, and Tom “Outlaw” Jones—all three luminaries whom I coached at Pershing in the 1960s.

Those oversights having been duly noted, let me tell you now about my son’s wonderful wedding at the little White Wedding Chapel in Fraser.  At the advanced age of 48, Steve married Patty LaDuke, a pretty young lady who now adds Scots and English to her Irish/Polish heritage, my father having been born in Scotland—and Steve’s mother, the former Corinna Ditta, being of old Kentucky-English stock.  At the reception at the Fraser Lions’ Club, my first wife Lynn, an Irish girl to whom I was married for 28 philandering years, and Judith—my longtime lady throughout those years—sat at our table with their escorts.  Also seated with us were my Danish/French/Native-American godson Rick and his lady Janice and my Scottish cousin Jeff and his Scottish wife Betsy.  My Russian Jewish wife Adrienne sat on my right, with the Balkan/Polish Judith on my left.  My son’s mother, who had happened to be married to someone other than me when Steve was conceived, also attended with her former Italian in-laws.   My second wife Gina had been close to my son, but she wasn’t invited for fear it would upset Adrienne, a retired DPS principal.   Had Gina attended, she would have been the crowning ornament of multiculturalism around the table, being of African/Irish descent.

When Lynn surveyed the reception seating, she joked to me, “If Gina had been invited, you’d have nearly your entire harem sitting around this table!”  For a moment I feared her edgy observation that two of my former lovers and one former wife were present at the festivities—and that my second wife Gina’s presence would have made my ‘harem’ nearly complete—might anger Adrienne.  If it did, she didn’t show it—and a good time was had by all (except for my 40-year-year-old daughter Katherine, who attended the wedding but not the reception).  Nor did Katherine bring my granddaughter Tori or my grandson RJ, because her relationship with me remains semi-inexplicably strained.

All of this drama brings to mind my 1998 poem entitled ‘On Philandering’:

Unfaithfully meandering / Toward practicing philandering / Has four extremely hurtful sides / That will not sit well with your brides: / One of them portends, of course, / The chance that you may well divorce; / Two’s the gladless, gloomy badness / That there’ll be some tears and sadness; / Three’s the chance that your friends’ wives / Might decide they want to ‘pound’ you; / Four’s the fact that during their lives, / They won’t want their spouse around you. / (These are wives who think the practice / Hooks their husbands like a cactus.)  

Be all that as it may, Steve and Patty’s wedding proved itself a truly joyous affair.  Also, I’m sure that Steve will be a far more faithful husband than for many years was his father.

 

An NCAA All-American quarter-miler in 1957, Dr. John Telford is also a recent DPS Superintendent. Four of his explosive books are available on Amazon, including Poetic Prancings, which features hundreds of his poems, including the one in this column.  His website is www.AlifeontheRUN.com.  Contact him at (313)460-8272 or at DrJohnTelfordEdD@aol.com  to invite him to speak  or to sponsor or appear on his Sunday afternoon show at 4:30 on NewsTalk1200.