Monday, March 10, 2014

The Evil Empire strikes back: Mayor De Blasio, New York charter schools, Eva Moskowitz, and the million dollar anti-De Blasio smear campaign

There's something behind the current
TV smear campaign against New York's
 Mayor Bill De Blasio – and concern for
    kids isn't it, despite what the hate ads say.

It was during the televised debates for the last New York mayoral campaign when Joe Lhota, the candidate of the moneyed interests, grumbled that Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio was guilty of “class warfare.”

Lhota did more than lose with that kind of thinking. The outraged city’s voters all but clubbed him to death, with de Blasio taking 73 percent of the vote

We New Yorkers had our say. De Blasio promised, and we wanted an end to outrageously ubiquitous stop-and-frisk policies. We wanted a pre-K program funded by a tax on the very wealthy that would cost the one percenters an average of $973, the equivalent of a small soy latte a day. And although New York’s voters in general had no objection to charter schools per se, we didn’t want these schools operating at the expense of the city’s public school system

Lattes, gelato, and revenge

De Blasio set to work fulfilling his campaign promises. And now, like the Evil Empire’s death star in space, the one percent is striking back. Hey, tax a guy the price of a latte he sips in his limo, and the next thing you know the government will be coming after him for the price of a gelato, too. No wonder the rich are furious.

The vengeful counterattack started with Eva Moskowitz, a one-time city council member, whose current $450,000 salary puts her squarely among the one percent

Moskowitz makes her $450,000 as the head of a charter school corporation that now is benefiting from an onslaught of attack adds that have their death rays aimed at the mayor. More than a million bucks of media spending is reportedly behind the ad campaign. All of that money is getting spent in New York television.

You can’t turn on the TV in the morning, or go to bed a night, without being exposed to the hate commercials launched by De Blasio’s enemies in the charter school establishment. The TV spots are not only relentless, they’re also designed to toy with New Yorkers’ emotions. Who could fail to feel heartbroken for the nicely dressed little kid, a minority kid at that, who looks into the camera and says, “Mayor De Blasio, don’t take away my school?”

There are only, a small handful of problems with this appeal. For openers, most of the public school kids are minority kids, too. And the mayor isn’t trying to close down charter schools. He’s trying to accommodate most of them – even though charter schools currently teach  only a total of 70,000 kids in a school system responsible for 1,100,000 of them. Moreover, the charter schools are using space in the public schools free of charge.  

In order to help a few kids
screw the helpless ones

You can bet the free space is a problem, says Mayor De Blasio. In order to accommodate these charter schools in public school spaces, the mayor says  [warning: lengthy video clip] he has been been forced, in various cases… 
  • To deprive public school students of a science lab
  • To take away the public school kids’ gym
  • To hold lunch hour at 9 a.m. so that the lunch space could be used at noon by a charter school.

In particular contention is P.S. 811, a special needs school, serving severely disabled kids. Eva Moskowitz wants to steal space from those disabled kids for 194 students taught by Moskowitz’s corporation, which, let me remind you again, pays no rent to the city. And she has been pushing for this for quite some time.

A secret motivation? 
Follow the Koch money.

In all probability, Moscowitz’s corporation could take the millions they’re spending to attack De Blasio and use it to rent commercial space for their school. The fact that they don’t do so could make you wonder. Is this really an attempt to get a relative handful of kids educated at a charter school?

Or is it really the campaign for the next election gearing up more than three years too early – all in hope of slamming De Blasio for having the gall to demand the rich ante up the price of a soy latte for pre-schools? And wouldn’t you imagine the education-minded charter school folks would favor pre-schools?

Given that there was big Koch Brothers money backing the trounced Joe Lhota during the last mayoral election, you’d have every right to suspect that this whole charter school fuss has nothing to do with educating a few charter school kids, and has everything to do with getting even with Bill De Blasio for having the temerity to win the election and propose a tax hike that would cost millionaires some of their loose change.

1 comment:

WHackwhacker said...

They never stop pushing, and neither should we.