Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, November 22, 2010

Senator Eric Adams: Waiver Panel Member Didn't Disclose Bloomberg Ties, Should Be Removed

The attacks on the coziness between many of the members of the "expert" panel NYSED commissioner David Steiner put together to look into the Cathie Black waiver matter and Mayor Bloomberg and/or Tweed continue:

State Senator Eric Adams on Monday called for the removal of a member of the education panel evaluating Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s choice for the next city schools chancellor.

Mr. Adams, a Democrat, called on the panel member, Louise Mirrer, to recuse herself from the deliberations because of her many close ties to Mr. Bloomberg, which she did not appear to have disclosed.

“She should not sit on the panel,” said Mr. Adams, who represents Brooklyn. “The mayor has great influence on her vote.”

Ms. Mirrer did not immediately respond to an e-mail message on Monday seeking comment.

Ms. Mirrer was appointed last week to an eight-member panel that will weigh whether the mayor’s nominee for chancellor, Cathleen P. Black, should be exempted from a state law requiring that the leader of the city’s school system have certain educational credentials. Ms. Black, a magazine executive, lacks those credentials.

However, Ms. Mirrer has close ties to Mr. Bloomberg, who is lobbying for Ms. Black to obtain the exemption. Among other things, she runs the New-York Historical Society, a museum to which Mr. Bloomberg has personally donated nearly $500,000, and she has lobbied the Bloomberg administration on behalf of the museum. She also won an award from Mr. Bloomberg two years ago and was honored at Gracie Mansion.

Mr. Adams is a longtime critic of mayoral control of schools in New York City —and at times a mayoral foe — but he said his worries about Ms. Mirrer are unrelated to those objections.

He faulted Ms. Mirrer for not disclosing her close ties to Mr. Bloomberg, and the state’s education commissioner, David M. Steiner, for not asking about them.

Adams has introduced legislation in the State Senate that would allow the Legislature to reject any mayoral pick for chancellor who does not have education experience.

Adams says he has 10 others interested in being co-sponsors of the bill.

I'm going to go out on a limb here (all right, not really) and say this bill doesn't pass because Moneybags will have enough paid shills in Albany to kill it and the Little Andy Cuomo, the paid Bloomberg shill most recently elected as governor, certainly won't sign it. Not unless his DFER masters tell him it's okay.

Nonetheless, there is some political hay to made here by beginning to oppose Bloomberg on these school matters.

In the beginning, I think many people supported mayoral control, thinking it would be a decent, if imperfect, alternative to the nightmare that was the old BOE.

But eight years of autocratic control by Bloomberg has exposed this fantasy to be false.

Now we have one man who makes all the calls on schools and education policy and tells people who don't like it, "Hey, you can register your displeasure the next time there's an election!"

The arrogance Bloomberg has displayed as he has run the schools hasn't hurt him terribly in the polls.

Most people in the last poll I saw on this issue were still in favor of mayoral control.

But most also said the school system had NOT improved under Bloomberg.

That's interesting, because if opponents to mayoral control can ever link the two things together - mayoral control and no improvement in the system - in people's minds, Bloomberg or some future mayor will have his/her autocratic control over the system severely diminished.

I think that may happen the next time the law comes up for re-authorization. It's a long way off, of course, but the stories about the plummeting test scores and phony grad rates, along with all the chaos and arrogance the mayor and his cronies have displayed in the last year or so over school closures, the publishing of teacher ratings and now the Black appointment, have damaged the mayoral control brand.

Let's keep hammering away at this thing.

I don't think we'll be able to do away with it altogether next time around, but I do think we can take some of the mayoral juice out of it and make the mayor more responsive to the electorate.

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