FROM THE OFFICE OF
JUMAANE D. WILLIAMS
Council Member- 45th District, Brooklyn, NY
Chair, Committee on Oversight and Investigations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2011
Council Member Williams Respond to Mayor Bloomberg's Shameless Statement To Parents After Thursday's PEP Vote On School Closings
"Let me say this, I like Michael Bloomberg. Whenever I've spoken to him, he's personable and forth coming. Still, as Mayor, it now seems clear that he is almost completely disjointed with the realities of 99% of New Yorkers. Mayor Bloomberg had the unmitigated gall and shamelessness to say the parents protesting at Thursday's PEP (which he controls) vote were an embarrassment to America.
I suggest that the Mayor re-take civics class like the one I received during my public school education. It's so hard to even begin to put in words the audacity and hypocrisy his statement showed. Just on this topic alone, with all else aside, the mayor's remarks are mind-boggling.
The parents were only responding to the situation he autocratically created. He installed Ms. Cathie Black against the wishes of most parents and teachers and an amazingly diverse body of elected officials. Many of who have sided with the Mayor for years. He even went against the advice of a panel of his own people when they suggested the law should not be "waivered" for her. Yet in his dictatorial way, he rammed her down our throats.
Yes, I was the one who introduced a resolution in the City Council to prevent her from becoming Chancellor. Yet, I asked that we tone it down if she actually made it because her success would mean the success of our children. Unfortunately, her first month has provided nothing that would suggest she knows how to be successful in this job. She still hasn't publicly discussed her visions and goals for the DOE and every time she does open her mouth you need the Jaws of Life to get her foot out.
As the Mayor proceeds with an educational policy that divides parents, allows options for some, and in the words of Chancellor Black, amounts to Sophie's choice, it is the parents who are "un-American". The policies he has instituted at the DOE have been a slap in the face of the vast majority for parents, teachers and elected officials. It has now reached the boiling point from heat he created. Mayoral Control is a failure and Municipal Control is what is needed.
I ask anyone who questions the actions of the parents to give a better solution for them to express their frustration. Parents who knew that regardless of what they did or said the panel would shut down their schools anyway. Should parents and teachers have remained quiet when they saw their ability to provide the best for their children being taken away without their input?
Before you answer, ask yourself this -- what social change happened quietly? Name one. From Women's Suffrage to the Civil Rights Movement, from South Africa to Egypt, from common sense ideas like Child Labor Laws or Brown v. the Board of Ed, as Frederick Douglass said, "without struggle there is no progress." Thursday was a part of a struggle for progress.
Even the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr, who is lauded throughout the world, tried to push the most common sense reforms of equality as peacefully as could be requested. Yet, when he was alive he was called everything but a child of G-d and violently murdered. So, I don't think the problem was the protest. The Mayor's response was just a page from any other struggle against power. Power doesn't like dissent and strikes back. Combine that power with being a billionaire and well...
Perhaps the Mayor should worry about the embarrassment of an un-managed storm response. To this day, there has been no public reprimand, demotion or firing of someone who had control or power to correct what needed to be corrected. This is the same Mayor who fired someone for playing Solitaire on their computer during work hours. Yet, when there was a storm where people died and his employees admitted their huge errors and missteps, no punitive measures were taken. That is disrespectful to the value of life of every New York City resident and in the words Mayor Bloomberg: "It's embarrassing for New York City, for New York State, for America. This is not democracy..." Please stay focused Mr. Mayor and in reality.