Monday, May 9, 2016

The Clarence School Board Election 2016

Our perennial opponents were leafleting mailboxes this past weekend with this:


I checked the records on Via Cimato and Northfield to try and find out which properties were being referenced. I could not find one with the exact tax figures represented on this sheet. 

As for the tax figures, note the very convenient date range. Had our intrepid propagandists taken this back 10 years, rather than 5, they'd have a much different conclusion. The tax rates were much higher in 2004 - 2007, before the stock market crash, and many homes are only now paying a similar dollar amount as they did back then. The net increase, therefore, for many homes in a 10-year range is negligible. Perhaps that's why they did it this way - to make it seem as if the district was just raising taxes for the heck of it. 

But let's, once and for all, rebut the lies and misinformation about enrollment. These charts are wrong and misleading. Kindergarten class numbers are already starting to recover. Corcoran's propagandistic use of these graphs just takes the decline and assumes it will continue and projects outward. 

Let's take a look at more recent figures, from the Superintendent's presentation in February 2016. Here is the nutshell version: 

Enrollment is already stabilizing. Although district enrollment will decline by about 1% per year for the next 5 years, elementary school enrollment is already poised to rise

Elementary Schools: Two methodologies were employed that both predicted that fewer than 300 kids would enroll in kindergarten for the 2016 - 2017 school year. As of right now, both projections were significantly off-the-mark, and it's possible that it was off by as many as 80 kids. 


Looking more broadly at elementary school enrollment, look at the class sizes based on the actual census so far, and the projected census based on trends: 


Or, more significantly, 


Now, if you look at the data from the task force's projections, you'll find that the rebound is expected to happen sooner rather than later: the current projection for 2018-19 is 1,848 vs. 1,800, and if you go back further to 2013, the revised 2020-2021 elementary enrollment projection would be a net loss of zero students. 


As for the remaining schools, here are the revised projections: 


But Ellie doesn't break it down district-wide. She only goes by elementary, middle school, and high school. Her document claims the following: 

  • Elementary schools will go from "2,300-1,500" students from 2010 - 2023; 
  • The middle school will supposedly go from, "1,200 - 900" students; and 
  • The high school will go from, "1,700 - 1,200" students in that timeframe. 


All are false. We don't have projections to 2023, only to 2020-2021. In that time: 

  • Elementary schools will go from 2,141 to 1,911; 
  • Middle School will go from 1,211 to 979; 
  • High School will go from 1,667 to 1,409

Corcoran's figures for elementary decline is 400 students off; for middle school it's 80 students off, and for the high school she overexaggerated by 200 kids. That's 680 students she just omits. 

Now, the chart above shows a net gain from 2015 - 2021 of almost 100 elementary school students. If you go back to 2010, K-5 enrollment was 2,141 - not, as Ellie claims, 2,300. No credible projections to 2023 exist, so if we go just by what we have - 1,911 - we see that Corcoran's claim of "1,500" is wildly off the mark. 

Here is the high school chart: 


Actual HS enrollment in 2010 was 1,667. It is anticipated to drop to about 1,409 by 2021. That is not, as Ellie Corcoran suggests, a drop from "1,700 - 1,200" students, but from 1,660 to 1,400; but a drop of about 258 students

And the middle school: 


Corcoran suggests a 2010 - 2023 enrollment decrease here of "1,200 - 900" students. Actual 6-8 enrollment in 2010 was 1,211 students. Here, it is projected by 2021 to be 979 students, a drop of 232 students.    

As for overall district enrollment, the actual number in 2010 was 5,019. The revised projection for 2020-2021 is 4,299. That is a drop of 720 students over the course of 11 years; about 65 students per year. But if elementary school enrollment trends continue to be wildly in excess of the projections, that districtwide decrease will be much smaller come 2021. 

But look at the way she presents the data: she makes it seem as if the district of 5,000 kids is poised to lose as many as 5,200 students.  

  • The reality is that enrollment declines are stabilizing sooner than expected. 
  • The reality is that we lost 50 teachers since 2010 already. 
  • The reality is that there are fewer elective choices for students. 
  • The reality is that enrollment figures aren't nearly as dire as Corcoran would have you believe. 
  • The reality is that teachers and students have been forced to do more with less. 
  • The reality is that the current budget takes an influx of state cash and allocates it justly and equitably; 
  • The reality is that class sizes are too big for elementary students especially; 
  • The reality is that, while we received "more in state funds than ever before", the district has not been made whole. The state still owes us $70 million, which local taxpayers have had to make up to properly and adequately fund our district and avoid educational bankruptcy.
  • The reality is that the decrease in gasoline and natural gas prices has put more money in people's pockets and acted as a de facto tax cut that far exceeds any increase in school taxes.
  • The reality is that the Gap Elimination Adjustment was ended, not "restored", and there are still $20 million that the GEA has taken from the district that have not yet been restored, and we have not been made whole.
  • The reality is that a 3.11% tax cap is positive - it's because of town growth and growth is good. The tax levy (not tax rate) is increasing by 2.76%, which is less than the tax cap, and this is the third consecutive below-cap levy increase.
  • The reality is that local taxes have had to make up the $70 million in state aid that would have been due and owing had it not been for the Gap Elimination Adjustment.


The reality is this: 


and this: 


and this: 


VOTE YES ON MAY 17th. 

POLLS ARE OPEN FROM 7am - 9pm at the HS Gymnasium, off Gunnville Rd. 

VOTE FOR JAMES BOGLIOLI AND JOHN FISGUS FOR SCHOOL BOARD








Saturday, April 23, 2016

Duty

Former Councilman Joseph Weiss' house caught fire Friday night. The Buffalo News reports $600,000 in damage - half to the structure, and half to its contents.  Thankfully, no one was hurt. Other reports indicated that the fire started in the chimney and spread to the rest of the house.

Four short years ago, Joe Weiss was kicked out of office, in part, due to his sanctimonious, disingenuous, and hateful criticism of Clarence's volunteer fire districts. There was more to it than that - his demeanor was Paladinoesque, he threatened to subject the town to a 1st amendment lawsuit over the denial of an annual 4th of July fireworks permit to a critic, but supporters of the fire districts went out of their way to secure his ouster. 

Just a few weeks ago, he raised his nasty head to vilify the school district and teachers in the pages of the Buffalo News - this site quite accurately called him a "cartoon villain". Last year, he threatened physical violence on a person leafleting outside the school budget vote. 

No fewer than four volunteer fire departments - District One, Harris Hill, Clarence Center, and Newstead - answered the call to put out the fire in Weiss' home. Volunteer firemen and women from four separate fire districts took time out of their Friday nights - and risked their lives - to go save the life and property of a man who had nothing but hatred for them. 

The members of four separate fire districts answered the call and save a man who called them a "gestapo". Evidently, opposing Joe Weiss makes our firefighters Nazis. 

He had called for the closing of Harris Hill - one of the companies that came out to save his home and life. 

He complained about tiny increases to budgets that cost taxpayers pennies, and denigrated the work that they did. 

He responded to politicos who called our volunteer departments a "taxpayer bargain", thusly:

Conversely, there are no three-alarm fires in Eden corn fields. Arson, a rarity in the ‘burbs, is more frequent in poverty-stricken urban areas. Abandoned homes inBuffalo, a common arson target, number close to 14,000. How many in Clarence,Elma, Alden? Yet our politicos compare Lackawanna to Amherst. 
Granted, paid firefighter companies present challenges. Salaries run high because former politicians granted wages and pensions that far exceed those in the private sector. But with smart planning and good management, a remodeled system using a combination of paid tem using a combination of paid firefighters and volunteer members could be markedly more efficient and cost effective. 
The idea that the all-volunteer force is a financial bargain is simply an illusion — the smoke and mirrors, a combination of defective logic and obfuscation. The truth is that a number of first ring suburban firefighter crews are vastly over-equipped. The truth is that more than 95 percent of the action is emergency medical calls, where metro ambulance companies are a viable option. Some would prefer that you believe differently. A number of them see it as an easy way for votes this November, and political suicide to question the status quo. I beg to differ.
The truth is that Weiss' home re-kindled Saturday morning (a common occurrence) and a second alarm was called. All that equipment being used at taxpayer expense to save the home of someone who didn't just call for town fire departments to be frugal, but heaped scorn, sarcasm, and derision upon them. 

When Weiss proposed arbitrary cuts of town funding to fire districts, other councilmembers refused, saying, “I’m not going to play with people’s safety.

Hopefully Mr. Weiss' home can be saved, and all are safe. Even cartoon villains don't deserve loss of life or property. 

But more importantly, I hope the firefighters who came to save Weiss' home stay safe as they put out the rekindled blaze Saturday morning. They risk their lives day in and day out to help others. 

As for Weiss, even though he wasn't there for them, they were there for him.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Joe Weiss: Cartoon Villain

Joe Weiss (via Facebook)
But the highlight of my day came as I was passing out palmcards as families were making their way from an elementary school track meet next to the polling place. I was chatting with two 15 year-old student volunteers when a taller man dressed like a fake lumberjack ambled his way right up to me. I asked him if he was on his way in to vote and he said that he wasn’t, and asked me what my name was.


I told him, and he came even closer — his body touching mine, ever so tenderly, and got right in my face. He declared that I had once told him to “go fuck [him]self” in an email a few years ago. I responded, “Did I?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Are you [former Clarence town councilmember] Joe Weiss?” He replied, “Yeah. and I want to tell you to go fuck yourself”. I thanked him, never backing down from where I stood, and as he skulked away I added, “nice language around the kids.”

He stopped, turned, and said, “You know, I really should kick the shit out of you right now”.

Weiss may indeed be a dangerous, belligerent man of whom people should be wary, but he is also a purveyor of facile regurgitation of half-truths and nonsense.
I just finished planting another money tree. Like the majority of my Clarence neighbors, my property assessment went way up. This new tax bite now requires residents to possess a money orchard.

Property assessments went "way up" in April and May of 2015 - a year ago. Yet for some reason this detestable oaf decides that 12 months later is the right time to whine about a town process that recognizes the fact that housing values in Clarence continue to rise. 
Joe Weiss' house is now assessed at $650,000, up from $556,000 in 2011 - 2015. Sounds like it was dramatically undervalued. He gets no STAR rebate. The only explanation for that is that his income exceeds the upper limit of eligibility for STAR; his household earns over $500,000 per year. 
Why, you ask? One reason is that even with declining enrollment, the Clarence teachers were given a 3 percent raise on top of their yearly step increases. And at the same meeting that the music department bemoaned their lack of funding, the superintendent himself claimed a nice plump raise.
A "yearly step increase". Here's what this means, as per the Clarence Bee: "Under the terms of the agreement, teachers on the top step of the salary schedule will receive raises of $1,500 in each of the three years. Teachers on the salary schedule will receive $175 in addition to their step increment for the first two years of the contract and $180 in addition to their step increment in the third year of the contract. Increment step increases are mandated by the state, and the total raises represent less than 1 percent more than that during the life of the contract."

Joe Weiss was demonstrably absent from the school board meeting where the music department expressed its need for increased funding - funding that the anti-tax geniuses like Joe Weiss took away in 2013
It’s not only the cost of Clarence schools. We have dozens of fire trucks for a handful of fires. These are housed in shiny, sprawling volunteer firefighter campuses that sport workout rooms, banquet halls, ball diamonds, spacious parking lots and impressive acreage, all which require maintenance and upkeep.
People in Clarence will recall that Weiss was hurled out of office thanks to his endless scapegoating of the volunteer fire departments and their members for taxes. "Spacious parking lots" for me, but not for thee. 
We in Clarence pay more for our trash collection – being the only major suburb that allows for several companies rather than one low bidder. That traffic adds to more wear and tear on our roads. We get nothing for our recyclables and enjoy a daily blizzard of paper and plastic blowing about our streets.
Yeah, I remember that. Anti-tax people like it that way because "no new taxes". Thanks to their "free market" nonsense, Clarence residents pay significantly more for trash pick-up than similarly situated towns that enjoy a townwide contract or municipal trash service. 
So, you may wonder, where is our government? Well, our town fathers know we are too lazy to get involved or bother to vote. Any official who criticizes the status quo is easily defeated thanks to big turnout by firefighters and teachers, because fewer than 20 percent of us show up for primary elections.
Sour grapes from a time long ago. 
So, what? We live in a third-ring suburb and by the time the abandoned homes, crime and poverty reach us, we’ll be settled in Florida or taking that long nap in the funeral home.
I smell a euphemism here. 
Everything is just ducky in Clarence, as long as your money tree stays green.
Yours is greener than most. Stop whining, loser. 
In 2007, Joe Weiss' school tax bill on his mansion was $8,315. In 2016, it's $9,324. If it had simply gone up by the rate of inflation since 2007, the bill would now stand at $9,509. 
Nice try. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

They'll Vote No. We Must Vote Yes.

That didn't take long. The coalition of "no" has decided - SURPRISE, SURPRISE - to vote "no" again this year. Let's take a look at their rationale, such as it is.

No one is against teachers and administrators getting an adequate salary; but these same professionals pay very little toward their health insurance, and have extremely profitable pensions, and when the stock market is in a decline, the taxpayers make must make up the difference. 
Pensions aren't "profitable". Profit is what you get when you run a private business and take in more money than you've spent. Schools aren't private, and they're not a business. They don't make things for private profit; they provide a public service. Schools are public entities chartered to educate children and prepare them for life and/or college. That's it, and in order to accomplish that task, school districts must follow the law and retain qualified professionals to undertake the role of educating children. In order to attract qualified, educated candidates, school districts must offer something to attract people who might otherwise go to the private sector, where profit is a thing and pay is higher. 

Public school teachers in New York State are qualified, educated, certified professionals who earn a salary, benefits, and a pension. The pension is administered and regulated by New York State, and neither the teachers nor the individual school districts have any say over how they're administered. To scapegoat public schoolteacher pensions to excuse your "no" vote is ludicrous. As for health insurance, teachers  have benefits that some - but not all - in the private sector might envy. Rather than use that as a justification to punish them - to fire them through budget rejection - ask yourself why you're not entitled to similar benefits. 

Teachers also have tenure which means that teachers, who are not up to speed, cannot lose their jobs; and to make it worse, they get yearly salary increments to boost. They also work only 9 months. Teachers claim they work hard, and most of them do, but that is also the case in most other segments of the work force.

A teacher might want to look at the punctuation in the preceding paragraph. Teachers only work 9 months? Tell that to the teachers. I'm sure they'll tell you otherwise. They prepare for their curricula, syllabi, and lesson plans months in advance. They have to now stay up-to-date on what is, for many of them, a completely new way of teaching core subjects, and they're now analyzed and graded based on how their pupils do on standardized tests. 

Tenure is built into the state Education Law. That is a statute that can only be changed by the legislature in Albany with Governor assent or a veto override. After a probationary period, tenured teachers are entitled to undergo what amounts to an arbitration process before they can be fired. To suggest that they "cannot lose their jobs" is false. They can. 

The problem is that this is not the case w/ the private sector. In the private sector, tenure is absurd. If you do not perform, you lose your job, and in most cases, employees do not get yearly increments equal to teachers. Employees also pay approximately 50% or more toward their health insurance, and work 12 months, with only a few weeks’ vacation.

This is simply untrue and completely insane. People who have employment contracts have "tenure" as set forth within the terms of that contract. At-will employees can be fired or quit at will, but employers will be required to uphold the terms set forth in an employee handbook. Private sector union workers may be entitled to "tenure" insofar as a dismissal arbitration process might have been bargained-for. 

Where is it true, as a blanket statement, that private sector employees "do not get yearly increments equal to teachers"? How much did the teachers get last year? What was the average for American workers? There are as many variables in answering that as there are employers in the United States, so what we're left with is averages and statistics. Some people get raises, others don't. Some people get raises much larger than the teachers, some don't. Some people make much more than teachers do in the first place, others don't. Many people with postgraduate degrees earn far, far more than teachers - even ones in the public sector. 

As for the "race to the bottom" for benefits and vacation time, not all employees pay that much towards their health insurance. In fact, I'd wager that very few of them do. Businesses need to attract and retain employees, and they hardly do so by treating them like garbage. The same goes for school districts, who want to attract and retain excellent teachers. 

Why am I comparing both? The private sector employee benefits depend on the profits and loss of the company. The teacher benefits are carved in stone, and taxpayers pay for these increases, many of whom are on fixed incomes.
They're not carved in stone. They're written in a binding legal contract, and tax payers pay for the teachers' salaries just like they pay for potholes to be filled, the town hall to be lit, and snow to be plowed. even people on fixed incomes. 

Administrators claim these increasing taxes are for the children; but that is not the case. A perfect example was when the Clarence music department gave a presentation of suffering children because the department was understaffed; yet within a half hour, the administration was voted a pretty sizeable raise.
3% per year is not "pretty sizeable" unless you think that the work that principals and other admin employees have to do with new, complicated state mandates and oversight are worthless. 3% per year is completely within the bounds of the nationwide average for pay increases, as School Trustee Jason Lahti made clear at that same meeting. 

Paying administrators and teachers - without whom you don't have a school district - is "for the children".  Paying them a good wage with good benefits and room to grow attracts and keeps good administrators and teachers, resulting in good students. 

What can we do about it? Unfortunately, we must keep voting “no” on the budget, until they get the picture that our taxes should “go for the children” first, and that the taxpayer cannot afford to keep paying for employee luxuries which are not in line w/ the private sector; and we must vote for impartial board members who do not rubberstamp these luxuries.
Define "luxury".  A 3% raise? A 3% raise is weak. Good health benefits? The district self-administers, saving thousands. There is a shortage of teachers, but they're attracted to New York districts because the pay and benefits are fair. We could be like Kansas, which treats its teachers like McDonald's employees and is having a very hard time attracting or keeping them in the state. 

You can't keep comparing the private sector to what teachers earn because it's like comparing apples to oranges; it's like comparing Pepsi-Cola to the US Army. They serve different purposes. The schools don't make widgets, nor do they turn a profit on any manufacturing or service they provide. They are a non-profit, government entity chartered by New York State and subject to its laws. 

If you want to vote "no" just be honest about why. You hate the teachers and their remuneration, so you don't really care about how a "no" vote might affect the children. You already know that it will - 2013 showed us. 

You can bleat on and on about how the music department needs more people, but it needs those people because of the people lost in 2013, when you succeeded in pushing a "no" vote. 

You can bleat on and on about how "employee luxuries" need to be rolled back so that the district can somehow magically hire three additional music staffers at, presumably, the low, fast-food pay and benefits you demand. Good luck with that. 

Clarence schools, as set forth in the image above, has lost almost $70 million in state aid that was owed to them thanks to the withholding of foundation aid and the added insult of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, whereby the state balanced its own budget on the backs of New York's students. Instead of targeting the real culprits - Albany politicians - the "no" coalition wants to target students and teachers and threaten palpable, genuine, irreparable harm year after year. 

Just be honest about it: no one believes that you care about the students. I've known this for a fact ever since 2013 when I and many others similarly situated went out-of-pocket to undo some of the harm you did. Stop pretending and just tell the truth: you will advocate for a no vote every year, and you'll manufacture an excuse for it around your conclusion. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Clarence School Budget 2016 - 2017

The School Budget process is well underway. If you have the time to check it out, you ought to review the video of the sessions held so far.

Here's January:


February:


and March:



The upshot of it all is that the tax cap this year is 3.11%, and the school board is proposing an increase in the tax levy of 2.99%, which is under the cap for the third consecutive year in a row.

Yet despite that fact, a tiny group of individuals manufactures controversy and crisis out of whole cloth when none exists. Last year, it was a letter from an angry teacher that fueled their campaign for a "no" vote on a budget that came in under the cap. In 2014, it was a hangover argument from the genuine crisis of 2013 and the fake issue of "sustainability".

But make no mistake. Every year since 2013 - this will now be their fourth attempt - a "no" vote on the budget is routinely demanded by the same core group of people, no matter what the circumstance. It is folly to imagine that any of it is principled. Whether it was the 2014 school board race involving a guy whose kids don't attend the district, or the simply incredible financial lecturing from a twice-bankrupted newcomer who doesn't own his home, the coalition of "no" seems to have run out of ideas and steam.

At the March meeting, shown above, part of the presentation was from the chairman of the music department, Louis Vitello. He explained how the department is short-staffed and could use one additional teacher each for choral, band, and orchestra. At that same meeting, a new contract for school administrators was approved unanimously.

Here is how the "no" people reacted:

At the board meeting on Monday, the music department gave a presentation on how they were still short staffed, and how the students were suffering from it. Within ½ an hour, the administration voted themselves a 2.95% raise for each of the next 3 years. The teachers got their raise a few months ago. Both teachers and administration contribute very little to their health insurance and their pensions are extremely profitable. Furthermore, besides a declining enrollment, taxes are still increasing. What is wrong with this picture?
Look at them. Look at them pretend to give a shit about the music department.

Do these people think we forget why the music department is short-staffed?

Let's take a look.


Right now, the music department is looking to increase its staff from 17 to 20. In 2013, staff was cut from 19, which was already low compared to previous years, to 16. Why? To save a few bucks - the same rationale that resulted in lead-contaminated water in Flint.  Who cares if it hurts some kids, right? Never mind the teachers out of work. 

So, in 2013 we lost three members of the music staff, and we're trying to claw our way back to 2011 staffing levels, because enrollment in our music programs is steady. 

You know why we lost those music teachers? The 2013 "no" vote. We got Mrs. Acee back last year, but Mr. Vertoske is gone and isn't coming back. 

And look at their twisted logic, blaming the teachers and administrators for asking for raises while the music department needs people. Their thinking is: why won't the teachers and admin staff simply take less pay or crappier benefits, and then the district might be able to find money in the budget to hire these teachers back...

...where they can make less money and crappier benefits than, presumably, in other districts. 

The whole thing is a laughably ridiculous race to the bottom mentality, based on the notion that teachers and administrative staff are wildly overpaid do-nothings. 

So, tell people to vote "no", then complain that things happened as a result of that "no" vote. 

Yet after four election cycles of their bleating about "sustainability" and "clean revenue" and other catchphrases meant to capture some sort of new ways of thinking about school budgets, we've come to realize that school boards are subject to state laws, regulations, and mandates. We've come to realize that, like it or not, inflation is a thing that exists, and the cost of things will continue to go up indefinitely, infinitely, because that is how economies grow. 

During that same March meeting, the BOE voted on a plan to spend a $2 million state technology grant. Free money. Use it or lose it. One of them tried to make it seem as if this was somehow proof of the district's financial weakness. But Clarence isn't anywhere near the state's list of districts under stress

This same crowd advocated a "no" vote for the statewide referendum that approved the funding for this technology buy. 

So, tell people to vote "no", and when you fail, just start making stuff up. 


Those are the facts. Despite the modest increases of the last few years, the school tax rate in Clarence remains low. But it's not just that.


Compare that to places like Village of East Aurora ($3,787 including a 40% equalization rate), Orchard Park ($3,810 including a 55% equalization rate), and the Village of Williamsville ($4,426 including a 97% equalization rate) for a home of that same $150,000 value. 

The Equalization Rate for a municipality is the assessed value of the real property in a town as determined by the local assessor divided by the state's appraised value of that same real property. This ratio is stated as a percentage. At an equalization rate of 100%, assessments are at full market value.

Clarence is one of only a handful of municipalities at a 100% equalization rate, yet its overall tax burden remains among the lowest in Erie County, and its school district is in the top three.

I don't know yet what sort of cockamamie rationale this crowd is going to use as the basis for its "no"
 vote this year, but let's not let them get away with disingenuous bleating about things like the music department that they single-handedly helped bring to its knees. 

The budget proposal for 2016 - 2017 would raise the levy by 2.99%, meaning the amount of money the district needs to raise overall. Your tax rate will be effected based on a number of variables. In the end, it'll cost the owner of a home worth $300,000 an extra $84/year. PER YEAR.

Here is what affected parents and students said in 2013 when the 9.8% levy increase was defeated:

It is a shame that voters took all of their National and State tax frustrations out on the local kids in Clarence with this vote. AND shame on you parents with kids that voted against the budget as well as those of you that have already benifitted from this great school system. I know that their was a lot of you. F…ing selfish and stupid! This is the saying… Be careful what you wish for. Wait until you see what happens to the kids and the school district now. I bet you wish you could do it all over again. For $300-$400 (tax deductible) a year was this worth it.

and,

As a student of Clarence High School I almost can’t stand to see the argument that has ripped this town apart. True, I wholeheartedly support the budget because it is my education and I have worked hard recently to try and get people educated on the actual facts of the budget. As an active member in the school’s music department and an avid participant in the electives and AP courses our school offers I am extremely worried about this budget because I know if this budget doesn’t pass these classes will be cut, my high school education will be highly deprived, the prestige of the Clarence community will go down and the number of colleges that will accept me will decrease. I know that it is now to late to change your minds but I’d like to thank those of you who voted yes and ask those of you who voted no what will happen over the next few years as with out a stabilizing budget this year how will taxes and the schools be affected. Staff cuts will run rampant and our schools will be reduced to teaching only the core concepts required by the state with high class sizes and an increasingly unstable budget so taxes will continue to need to increase.

The district was brought to its knees. The same people promise to do it over and over again, year after year.

Please attend the next meeting of the BOE on April 4th. We need informed, affected people to be there. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Clarence GOP sends out the LOLs

From this week's Clarence Bee,

The Clarence Republican Committee is pleased to announce the slate of candidates chosen by the members at their endorsement meeting held May 19.
They are Patrick Casilio for supervisor, Robert Geiger and Christopher Greene for councilmen, Nancy Metzger for town clerk and Robert Sillars for town justice. 
Casilio earned the committee’s endorsement for supervisor because of his integrity, work ethic, history of public service, and his commitment to always put the Town of Clarence first. 
Councilman Robert Geiger earned our endorsement for another term because of his sound judgment, his ethics, and his hard work on behalf of all of the town’s residents. 
Christopher Greene is a newcomer to the slate for councilman. His youth and enthusiasm to get things done will bring new energy to the board. 
Nancy Metzger and Robert Sillars are seeking re-election to their current positions. Their experience, leadership and sound judgment also earns our endorsement. 
Our committee believes in selecting candidates that put Clarence’s needs and best interests first. We want the best candidate for the job. We think that all of our endorsed candidates have the experience, integrity and dedication to the town that will guide us in the right direction for our future. We ask for your continuing support to elect the best candidates for the Town of Clarence.
Daniel A. Michnik
Chairman,
Clarence Republican Committee
What about current Supervisor Hartzell? You know, the guy who defeated former Supervisor (Democrat) Scott Bylewski?

The Republicans did not endorse Hartzell now - in 2015. What did they say about him in 2011?

As chairman of the Clarence Republican Committee, I am very proud that our committee unanimously endorsed David Hartzell for Clarence supervisor. His business experience, coupled with substantial volunteer work in the Clarence community, makes him uniquely qualified to serve the taxpayers and make decisions that will make our community a better place to work, live and raise a family.
His four children all graduated from Clarence High School, and one is now proudly serving our country overseas as a Navy Seal. As a fiscal conservative, he will hold the line on taxes and root out wasteful spending in town government.
As a successful businessman, he not only knows how to lead, but he knows how to listen also. His leadership is based on transparency and respect for others, and I fully expect Dave to continue these policies as Clarence supervisor. His record on the Clarence Industrial Development Agency is a pro-business, pro-growth agenda that seeks to make strategic investments in local businesses, with the ultimate goal of creating jobs. I would urge the taxpayers of Clarence to take a close look at Dave Hartzell’s private sector record and his platform and plan for Clarence. I know he will make a tremendous supervisor, creating jobs, growing local businesses and improving our quality of life. 
Dan Michnik 
Clarence Republican chairman

He was so tremendous that Michnik and his club kicked Hartzell to the curb literally the next chance they got.

It all goes to show you - don't pay attention to what Michnik tells you about his candidates. Chances are, it's all very fluid.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Clarence Tea Party Goose Prepares to Meet Gander



In Clarence, a woman from Boston
has hatred she seems to be lost in.
While insulting kids
or making up fibs
"projection's" the word that gets tossed in.

Ellie Corcoran is a member of the Buffalo area tea party. There are two distinct wings of that group - the libertarians and the Paladino/Palinists; she is aligned with the latter.

Please note that I will not use her name any longer on Facebook. She is not able to deal with criticism of her political behavior and is now lashing out.

The Paladinoists are the worse of the two wings - completely without scruples or ideology, they are united in their fanatical and unquestioning loyalty and devotion to pretty much whatever the majority thinks in every day's WBEN online listener poll.

Regurgitated Breitbartisms rule their day.

Back in May, on the day of the school budget vote, a group of Clarence High School kids joined together to rally for a "yes" vote near the corner of Main Street and Gunnville. One older person in a car pulled up at the light and yelled at a 14 year old girl and a 15 year old boy that they were "brainwashed scumbags".

Imagine that for a second - that you are so full of hatred and bile that you would take it upon yourself as a supposedly responsible adult to yell vicious things at schoolkids who are doing little more than using political speech to fight for their education.

Under normal circumstances, the malevolent tea party types would applaud kids who are involved in civic affairs and stand up for what they believe. That all gets chucked out the window when the involvement and stand runs counter to tea party ideology, and it makes it ok in their pathetic minds to hurl drive-by insults at kids.

Two posts to the Watchdog Facebook Page were recently pulled as allegedly being violative of Facebook's community standards. The first one, from May right after the election, was a direct response to a picture Corcoran posted to her Facebook page that directly called me out. Here it is:



Unfortunately, I don't recall what my response was, but it was made directly to her and called her out for leading a group of school opponents who casually hurl insults at students. I called her out especially because that accusation - that adjective of "brainwashed" is not some random phrase. It's been carefully and specifically cultivated by the local Clarence school destroyers to characterize anyone who disagrees with them.

Corcoran reported my response to Facebook, and Facebook deleted it.

I also posted an item to my personal page and also to the Watchdog page that read as follows:




In the preceding image, I blocked out Corcoran's name, to avoid it being deleted as "harassment" or "bullying". I think, quite frankly, that it's not "bullying" to react online to real-life bullying, and laying blame on the leader of the group that condones it.

On Tuesday, Corcoran sent me a direct message on Facebook, complaining about an image someone else had posted to the Watchdog page, and you can see my response.



Here is the missing image. It was a screen cap of one of Corcoran's own posts, and urged people to "share".



All of this was brought up back in May because Corcoran denied ever using "gluttony":



Hey! There's that word "brainwashing" again!

That post received a comment on the Watchdog site, and I replied, as follows:


Shortly thereafter, I received another notice from Facebook deleting my post - and that on Watchdog - which explained that someone had insulted two high school kids using words that Corcoran has popularized when dealing with people who disagree with her.

So, I was banned from Facebook for a 24 hours. A small price to pay for protecting Clarence schools.

Apparently, Corcoran also DM'd the person who posted the screen capture, who responded,

"I'm sorry, are you serious? These are your own words. If you think they are "inappropriate" perhaps you shouldn't have posted them in the first place. I also find it quite ironic that you are asking me to take down an image of words you posted on your PUBLIC Facebook page, yet you took a PRIVATE email correspondence from a teacher, made several hundred copies, and (illegally) stuffed them into mailboxes all around town. I'm not sure why you have decided to spend so much time and energy trying to damage the Clarence school system, but you have done real harm to my children and until you find a hobby that doesn't hurt my kids, I will continue to fight for them - using your own words, if necessary. Have a good day."

Here is Corcoran's reply:




Class!

Now, I have urged the recipient of Corcoran's vile insult to report it to Facebook, and I have reported two instances where Corcoran directly insulted me to Facebook, as well. I had contacted Facebook to appeal their banning of me and the deletions. After all, it's not like Ellie Corcoran is some random little old lady whom I was "bullying" or "harassing". On the contrary, I am engaging in political speech in direct opposition to the lies and distortion that she has to use on a regular basis in order to advance her cause.

Any suggestion that she is some innocent victim is absolutely laughable. Remember this exchange?








Here is, ultimately, Ellie Corcoran in all her glory:



I have never once published a false word about Corcoran or her cohorts. I don't frankly care what she thinks about me or anyone else. I can tell you, however, that I would never stoop so low as to call a student relation of hers "brainwashed", nor would I call her "stupid", "fat", or "ugly". That's what she does, because she cannot argue her way out of a paper bag. Her political activism as a tea partier in WNY - such as it is - is pockmarked with failure. Sergio Rodriguez. Kathy Weppner. Joe Lombardo. Jacob Kerksiek. Rich Worling. Clarence school budgets 2014 & 2015. Lenny Roberto. Why anyone takes her seriously is beyond me.

But she cries victim and whines to Facebook when people react to her own bullying tactics. She's the one who calls kids "brainwashed". She's the one who calls people "fat", "ugly", and "stupid". She's the one who distorts and lies about the school budget in Clarence, and she engaged voluntarily in a political battle, but can't even remotely stand the heat. She purposefully published a private correspondence without permission and used it as a campaign tool. These are people who appear at candidate forums with pictures of the candidates they oppose crossed out in red marker, but then whine to Facebook when they receive blowback.

They tell you it's about the "taxpayer", but it's not.

It's about demonizing and vilifying teachers and students. I told you this as early as March, when they started battling a budget that didn't even exist.

What this all boils down to is sore losers being crybabies. We'll see how consistent Facebook is in enforcing its standards.