The Sun-Sentinel's Sobering Centennial

gottliebclimbing.jpg
Wild Art: Jennifer Gottlieb, member of the embattled Broward School Board, is hanging in there.

​Slow news day, more reporting to do, but I want to update you on the School Board member who allegedly used a racial slur in front of several witnesses (and no, it's not JenJen).

I'm getting the records on it, and lo and behold, I'm stymied by the Broward County School Board, which, in line with its being a disgustlingly corrupt place, is expert at (A) withholding or delaying the release of public records and (B) charging exorbitant costs to citizens trying to obtain public records.  

Here's the latest thing they threw at me as I was getting the records on the board member who has been accused of using the n-word in a very derogatory way. It came right before they were going to

 give them to me: 

 

From: Requel L. Bell
To: bobcnorman1@yahoo.com 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Mr. Norman,


After reviewing the complaint file, pursuant to Florida Statute section 1012.31 (3) (a) No material derogatory to an employee shall be open to inspection until 10 days after the employee has been notified pursuant to (2) (c).

I had no idea that law exists -- and think it's a travesty that it does exist. It applies only to school personnel. And no I don't blame Bell, a spokeswoman who is just doing her job. In this case, it's a bad legislation.  

I've called this school board member, by the way, and have yet to hear from him or her.

Does that make that person both bigot and a coward? 

-- The Sun-Sentinel is celebrating its birthday in very public fashion, with articles and hoopla and the like. It's all fine and dandy, but John De Groot, the Sentinel's former writing coach and a 30-year staffer who is now an outspoken critic of the newspaper, is dedicated to the pointing out the dark side of the occasion. On his blog, De Groot writes:

Your South Florida Sun-Sentinel is celebrating its 100th birthday this month with an orgy of corporate narcissism and self-serving bullshit.

In tracing its print lineage back 100 years, the newspaper marks its beginning with the brief publication of The Daily Herald in 1911 - which consisted of four pages devoted to real estate prices for land speculators. 

"That early publication," the Sun-Sentinel Sunday self-hyped, "was the seed  that blossomed into a company whose reach ultimately spanned the full communications multi-verse of print, Internet, television and cell phone."

Which is about as close as you can get to Circle Jerk Journalism without getting busted for public indecency. Although, after a century, today's Sun-Sentinel remains steadfastly dedicated to hustling real estate. 

For the record, I spent some three decades as an employee of the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale News and its corporate survivor the Sun-Sentinel.

Thus, in a quixotic bid to counter the Sun-Sentinel's blizzard of birthday bullshit this month, I hope to dish out an occasional dollop of the truth regarding one of the nation's fastest-shrinking (but still highly profitable) newspapers.

His first fact: That the Sun-Sentinel's circulation has gone from 260,000 in 2005 to 150,000 in 2010.


Follow The Daily Pulp on Twitter: @TheDailyPulp.


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41 comments
Charlene Rebecca Blackwood
Charlene Rebecca Blackwood

Christy,

Eric Smith's address is Dr. Eric J. Smith, Office of the Commissioner, 325 Gaines Street, Suite 1514, Tallahassee, FL 32399. Re: Israel Rodriquez Soto, this project manager grabbed the waistband of the slacks of a female inspector during the course of her performing her inspections on the Boyd Anderson two story classroom project, pulled her to him and told her she was not allowed to issue any more failed inspections on this project. This incident was reported to EEO, the Associate Superintendent of Facilities and Construction Management and the Superintendent of Schools. He was never punished by suspension or firing. Just who was he working for?

Gatorfl
Gatorfl

Does anybody else want to see JenJen looking up at you like that? I sure do....

W_Trasher
W_Trasher

I hear that the DOE Inspector General will ask for "List of new employees transferred to the Building Department and copies of their Florida plans examiner, building inspector, architectural or professional engineer's licenses."

How about the fraud overtime taker Jim Kale, Gary Hines?? How about other cronies of the BTU-TSP units such Paul Giordano, Mike Marchetti and Isreal Rodriguez-Soto??

Stevens
Stevens

Has the internet played any part in the decline of SS's circulation?

Christy
Christy

5. How can I contact the Commissioner of Education? (Eric Smith) Your questions and comments are important to us. Please email us at: Commissioner@fldoe.org

Gimmesamore
Gimmesamore

Pulp - Send a return e mail that says basically....

This e mail shall confirm your receipt of my request on (date). Pursuant to your email wherein you confirm the target of the request is an "employee" and/or "personnel," this email shall confirm that you have notified the target of the request. In that regard, the school board shall request the information within 10 days of the date of your e mail. If this does not accurately reflect the school board's position on this matter, kindly advise me immediately---

jad
jad

I salute you Charlene Rebecca Blackwood. As you must know, there are many who appreciate your service and devotion to the cause of right winning over evil. You have indeed fought the good fight. It takes courage to go up against an entrenched monolithic beast like the machine that runs all things Broward County. What you have described sounds much like the story of David against Goliath (although, in what can be considered your success, the beast was not slain).

Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe the revelation of your steadfast action will show others that they too can put up a fight against this beast (even though it is a lop-sided battle, not meant to be in your favor). In the beginning, it was probably hard-going for you (as it would be for anyone struggling against the desires held by the beast’s overwhelming odds). So, you probably do not have many good thoughts about that which was used against you in the endeavor of the machine to put you in your proper place & come-out the winner, come H*LL or high-water. It is a shame that you had to experience such a battle in this land of laws, where you are supposed to be protected from those willing to perjure themselves or denigrate others in their all out effort to put one over innocent parties in an unmerciful trampling of the rights of individuals. It is an absurdity that we, the taxpayers, paid for the enemy of your battle. This should never have been allowed, since it should have been easy to document that your enemy was and continues to be an enemy of the people and should not have been supported by the (taxpaying) populace.

Even in war, there are articles of convention that must be abided. But, sadly, it seems there are no (proscriptive articles or governing) rules here, over the elite in Broward County (to guard against encroachment of the rights of the people, by this self-awarded, rewarded noble class of beings). And, there seem to be no laws either, that would apply to this aristocracy or nobility (made of elected or appointed officials, like judges, state attorneys, & commissioners, and certain officers of the court & other elevated members of the public servant class). It seems that all of the laws and rules have been made by certain well-oiled parts of the machine to keep us (common-taxpayers) in our place, and to use against us to exact more moneys from us (as fines, fees, costs, or other tribute), if caught unwittingly acting against an unknown law of the tens of thousands of laws on the books. In the meantime, these shiftless characters can violate any law or rule to their choosing -- sometimes openly.

That had to make your battle feel like such a challenging experience, where even the slightest mistake could eviscerate your reputation, denigrate your character, and make you appear to be a loser. Take heart though. There are so many of us trying to understand how such corruption has become so rooted and how we, the people, have become so indebted through bond-servitude (although the bonds being issued falsely do not carry that validity needed for the debt to be paid back).

Laid off PM -- can you give us any more details about your employment? Have you previously identified yourself as “already fired” or “Fact Sayer?” Is there any thing that you can contribute, to add to the information provided by Scorekeeper, Amazing Karnack, Hammerhead, Fly on the Wall, Billy Delions, or other in-the-know individuals? Information is the key to the removal of those that have corrupted that which is ours. Those committing an outright fraud on the people were not involved in mere parlor tricks or slight of hand. The activity in Broward County involved an ongoing enterprise of corrupted persons & entities willfully & wantonly committing criminal acts. If enough is known of this criminal activity and those that committed, facilitated, bankrolled, conspired, etc., a prosecution can be brought that will send everyone of them packing for a long stay in the hoosegow. Any more information that can detail the inner workings of the school board machinery and make us more aware of how the criminality became such an entrenched part of almost all areas controlled by the school board would be quite welcome.

jad
jad

Since when is a school board member considered an “employee?” WTF??? Clearly what we have representing us as school board members is in need of a quick demotion, but, seriously, would you want to situate the school board members with real honest-to-goodness, hard-working employees of the school board? That would not be a demotion, but these school board members would probably think so because of the loss in pay. (I don’t really want to say prestige, but I must bring that up, since the elitist school board members would hold a belief that their prestige would be injured if they had to be placed with the regular members of the working middle-class.)

Since when do civil service rules apply to the school board member in the same way that can be applied to a school board employee? I started writing my comment prior to reading the blog. Most certainly anonamous & others are more than correct when addressing the definitional section of that particular statute mysteriously used by Requel L. Bell, when making such an ill-informed excuse for not complying with a public records request and acting as though art. I, sec. 24 of the Declaration of Rights would not apply.

Did Requel L. Bell actually believe that a disciplinary procedure could be had against the miscreant school board member in the same exact fashion as against a teacher, cafeteria worker, bus driver, or custodian of that school board? Did the misguided public servant that answered a public records request think for one minute that an administrative hearing could be held for the dereliction of duty of a school board member, wherein the school board member could then simply be fired for cause? This plain lack of intelligence begs the question be asked -- What job qualifications put her in this position? Was she hand chosen, knowing she was not that bright or would mainly work for the benefit of those other servants she thought she served (the public being on the outs except for writing the check for such). WOW!!! No wonder those with the school board think of us, the common, ordinary taxpayer, as belonging to such a low position -- on the bottom of the scale.

Will there be an employee evaluation that would be considered confidential and exempt as a public record, per sec. 1012.31(3)(a)2? Do school board members have a complaint file that has been filed with a division run by Requel L. Bell? Is that what she has explained in her e-mail response for a public records request involving a school board member’s use of a racial slur? Is this where the bad stuff against school board members gets buried, never to see the light of day? If you did not know EXACTLY what you were looking for, could you ever be able to receive what had been requested (seeing that Requel L. Bell has been put in charge of guarding the files of a school board member, that would contain every charge & allegation made against that school board member)???? How does the law stand on the matter???

Chapter 1012, F.S., is titled “Personnel.” There are six different parts to this particular chapter. Sec. 1012, F.S., titled “Personnel Files,” is located in Part III. Part III is titled “Public Schools: Personnel.” There are seven separate subdivisions to Part III. The law relied on by school board employee Requel L. Bell is found in subdivision B, which subdivision is titled “Personnel Files, Qualifications, Contracts, Assessment For Public Schools.” Subdivision B is divided into six separate sections. These sections are individually titled “Personnel Files” “Disqualification From Employment,” “Qualifications Of Personnel,” “Exceptions For Certain Instructional Personnel From Background Screening Requirements,” “Contracts With Instructional Staff, Supervisors, And School Principals,” and “Assessment Procedures and Criteria.” There are four subsections (with numerous sub-subsections) to sec. 1012.31. This particular section of the law was created in 2002, as sec. 705 of ch. 2002-387 of the General Laws of Florida, and subsequently codified in the Florida Statutes at sec. 1012.31 F.S.

To understand how this law has been manipulated (to suit the desire of one Requel L. Bell), you have to read the entirety. There is a subsection (4) that is the very last wording of that specific law, which subsection (together with another quoted) is very helpful in understanding that Requel L. Bell either intentionally mislead a member of the public (to benefit the person being investigated) or has attained her position because the “Peter Principle” is in effect at the school board. The complete law of sec. 1012.31(4), F.S., reads as “The term “personnel file,” as used in this section, means all records, information, data, or materials maintained by a public school system, in any form or retrieval system whatsoever, with respect to any of its employees, which is uniquely applicable to that employee whether maintained in one or more locations.” A proviso contained in sec. 1012.31(3)(b) is “Notwithstanding other provisions of this subsection, all aspects of the personnel file of each employee shall be open to inspection at all times by district school board members, the district school superintendent, and the principal, or their respective designees, in the exercise of their respective duties.” I would say that the identification of a school board member as being able to unilaterally make an inspection at all times (no matter the rules) would definitely have removed the school board member from the thought of that school board member having some kind of recognition as an employee of the district.

I guess that you really have to be on your toes when approaching a school board employee for information that you can use in an investigation. In addition, you have to keep in mind that information can be sent off to any number of locations, making it almost impossible to know if you have received the information requested or if you would ever be able to know whether you have the complete information needed on a matter. The “K-20 Education Code” (where sec. 1012.31, F.S., is located) is contained in the fourteen chapters of Title XLVIII. Regardless of the information retrieval system provided by the rules for that last title of the Florida Statutes, Title X would address “Public Officers, Employees, And Records” (which would provide another route). (Information about bonds for educational facilities can be found in Title XVI, at ch. 238, F.S., & ch. 243, F.S. More information on bonds for public educational facilities & school construction are located in Title XI, at Parts VIII & IX of ch. 159, F.S.) The school board is not the only agency that charges an exorbitant price for public records -- records that should actually be delivered at little to no cost. However, if a newsweekly or news organization is willing to spend the money in research of the school board’s misdeeds, it should be in a review of the “who, how, what, where, & (most importantly, the unquestionably unanswerable) why” of the bond moneys. That is where the massive amounts of misspending originate, and that is where the majority of the fraud and criminal activity can be found.

Charlene Rebecca Blackwood
Charlene Rebecca Blackwood

This is really a joke. When I was removed from my position by an armed Special Investigative Unit at the Building Department,no one would tell me why I had been removed. I saw it in the newspaper the next day. Ten days later I was handed a pile of Interviews conducted without any representation on my behalf in the Building Department. The interviews were originally hand written and later typed but the handwritten notes from which the typed reports were taken had been destroyed. At least 3 individuals stated what was written was not what they had said. I was asked to respond to over 100 pages of allegations in 20 minutes, without any documentation. Afterwards, during my administrative trial 2 years later, I found out School Board Member Ben Williams' niece had filed 3 EEO complaints against me which had found I had done nothing wrong and 7 inspectors filed charges against me through Associate Superintendent Mike Garretson saying I harassed them so much, I made them ill and they had to go for medical care. One of those is the present Chief Building Official. SIU found I had done nothing wrong but no one told me about my being investigated. These harassment charges were used to remove me and the interviews were used to prepare my termination papers by Dr. Frank Till. When these inspectors were deposed, they refused to say what medical illnesses they had developed because of my supervising their work. They cited HIPPA laws and would never say what they were. The other allegations against me which were stated by Associate Superintendent Donnie Carter and Superintendent at the time, Frank Till and then James Notter were found, under deposition in an administrative hearing with a State of Florida Administrative Judge, to be false. None of the incidents happened as described by three employees, one again, School Board Member Ben Williams' niece, one a secretary and one complaint against my asking the Union Vice President if I could respond to a derogatory Letter to the Editor written about the Building Department by the then Chief Building Official Lee Martin against his own personnel. These individuals were never punished for their false allegations which forced me to sit in the Purchasing Department for 3 years making coffee 3 times a day and shredding paper. I was exonerated in a ruling by the Administrative Judge who instructed the School Board to put me back to work in my department but the School Board unanimously refused to do so and then footed the bill of $300,000 in legal fees for 2 more appeals which were denied. It's the same old, same old. The policies and procedures are in place but they can be used secretively and in retaliation whenever it meets the needs of the Board or upper administration including two Superintendents of Schools.

DR. LICKY
DR. LICKY

Governor Rick Scott should do all Floridians a favor, resign his office immediately and go work the control room at the Daiichi reactors at Fukushima in Japan. He can stop off at some of his pain clinics and load up before he goes.

therealyaz
therealyaz

If you want to find the REAL waste/corrurtion in the county. Look to the AIRPORT!!!!!!! What we see so far, is bull!!!! Everything is because of one corrupt dad and son. Where is the stuff we don't know about?

TwoCents
TwoCents

Sounds like Bell needs to go to Training!

TwoCents
TwoCents

10 days is just in time for the Inspector General.

therealyaz
therealyaz

Any arrests today? As I have stated before, I can not make comments at work any more! But i read every blog and comment. Some of you sound like assholes!!!!!!!!!!!! Any one that makes money off of my and your money should be in jail!!!

Guest
Guest

Keep up the great work. If we have to wait 10 days so be it... Keep on them. We'll wait until that worthless bigot is exposed and keep after them until they are removed. This is SERIOUS! I begining to think crime, corruption and bigotry is taken very lightly in our County! A a once avid reader and former employee(Years ago ..when De Groot and Buddy Nevins worked there) the paper has gone down hill. They used to have great photography and magaine suppliments. It was a wonderful paper. Now it's riddled with errors, a skeletonof it's former self and just scrathes the surface of what's important. I now only get thhe Sunday paper primarily for the TV section and even that has been scaled back. It was a much better paper then not now. Shame for on them for awarding Ilene with an honor. She is a disgrace and they should have a disclaimer along with that recognition!

Yousef Pharto
Yousef Pharto

For what it is worth, when I lived in the Keys in the 80s I'd buy both the Citizen and the SS just to see which organ had the worst spelling. Only the Herald could spell.

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

Pulp,

That picture on the main page of Ilene is hideous. It's just not fair to put her out there like that

Luther
Luther

Isn't a school board "member" an elected official and therefore not an employee protected by the statute that was used in a very devious manner by Bell?

These psychopaths will do anything to protect their fecal covered buttocks.

Push this matter Mr.Norman, these people do not deserve any respect, they are the worst type of criminal because they steal from CHILDREN!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This is the full section. Makes a little more sense here.

(3)(a) Public school system employee personnel files are subject to the provisions of s. 119.07(1), except as follows:1. Any complaint and any material relating to the investigation of a complaint against an employee shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) until the conclusion of the preliminary investigation or until such time as the preliminary investigation ceases to be active. If the preliminary investigation is concluded with the finding that there is no probable cause to proceed further and with no disciplinary action taken or charges filed, a statement to that effect signed by the responsible investigating official shall be attached to the complaint, and the complaint and all such materials shall be open thereafter to inspection pursuant to s. 119.07(1). If the preliminary investigation is concluded with the finding that there is probable cause to proceed further or with disciplinary action taken or charges filed, the complaint and all such materials shall be open thereafter to inspection pursuant to s. 119.07(1). If the preliminary investigation ceases to be active, the complaint and all such materials shall be open thereafter to inspection pursuant to s. 119.07(1). For the purpose of this subsection, a preliminary investigation shall be considered active as long as it is continuing with a reasonable, good faith anticipation that an administrative finding will be made in the foreseeable future. An investigation shall be presumed to be inactive if no finding relating to probable cause is made within 60 days after the complaint is made.2. An employee evaluation prepared pursuant to s. 1012.33, s. 1012.34, or s. 1012.56 or rules adopted by the State Board of Education or district school board under the authority of those sections shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) until the end of the school year immediately following the school year in which the evaluation was made. No evaluation prepared before July 1, 1983, shall be made public pursuant to this section.3. No material derogatory to an employee shall be open to inspection until 10 days after the employee has been notified pursuant to paragraph (2)(c).

anonamoose
anonamoose

Pulp,Board members are not "personnel" or "employees." Under the definitional section of the statute they are "school officers." This section CLEARLY was not meant to apply to members of the school board. Push back and call their bluff.

BrowardCleansweep
BrowardCleansweep

"Does that make that person both bigot and a coward?"Survey Says:"yes"

Christy
Christy

FYI

Last week I called a guidance Counselor from Florida Department of Education and he was quite taken back by all the Broward Shenanigans. He said that is what happens when the power gets into the hands of the wrong people.

Mas N. Gil
Mas N. Gil

Hey DeGroot.

Ever think you were one of the main reasons for the decline of that paper?

Your consistent menstrating attitude is enough to drive a man to drink.

BrowardVigilant
BrowardVigilant

You are 110% correct. BTU-TSP is being run by few people like racket. All these bad people you have mentioned above are being protected by the union (Broward Teachers Union). Majority of the union members are our hard working teachers. Do they know that their membership money is being spent for these corrupt and worthless TSP members of the union?

Any time anybody does something wrong, they take shelter within the TSP union. This practice is not right. All teachers should wake up and let Pat Santeramo know that their money is not for to protect people like Jim Kale, Gary Hines, Paul Giordano, Wayne Trasher, and Mike Marchetti.

Gimmesamore
Gimmesamore

The school should RELEASE the info not request. Sorry -

Nanniepanther
Nanniepanther

Just an FYI - Requel Bell is the Office Manager for Office of Government Relations. As always they send a Clerical to the front lines.

Laid off PM
Laid off PM

Ms. Blackwood,I never met you but heard alot about you when I worked at the Facilities & Construction Department as a Project Manager. These cocksuckers laid me off last year. What I heard was many conflicting stories about your work ethics: some good and some bad. Not having personaly met you or worked with you I will refrain from saying anything more. However, I must give you credit for standing up to the School Board Machine and in the end giving them the FINGER. You go girl!

Christy
Christy

Yaz,

You need to get a new job so you can comment during the day.

joe-6
joe-6

A scary mug indeed. Her face looks like a melting candle.

Gimmesamore
Gimmesamore

Further- "personnel" and "employee" are terms of art in the labor and employment law arena.

If the school board affords a board member protection, which it derives from it's own interpretation of the protected person's status within the organization....

Basically school board is saying this person is an employee and personnel.

The most obvious contradiction is that the board members are elected.

Next, I bet no board member would want to be considered personnel or employees of the institution they run.

Pulp - notice the letter you got simply stated the person is and employee or personnel, but left out the definition for each. Wonder what those definitions are and where same are memorialized.

anonymous
anonymous

You're wrong. That was not the case. He definitely raised the calibur of the paper. You douche!

Ftlaud44
Ftlaud44

Agreed. Anyone who thinks Requel Bell made this decision is an idiot. She is doing what she has been told to do.

therealyaz
therealyaz

I would love to, but life goes on! Good night, i miss you all.

Mccfisk
Mccfisk

I am thinking about doing something?

Christy
Christy

There should be some openings at the school board shortly. Speaking of ShortlyMr. Notters job may be available.

Guest
Guest

We'll just have to work nights and weekends for comments on Bob's blog. We're still here too.

therealyaz
therealyaz

Shit happens! But Bob is still here!

Guest
Guest

I'm in the same situation.

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