It’s time to hang them up!

Posted: October 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

When it’s time, it’s time and you know it! For me it is time. I have been leaning towards this decision all summer long. I started with the intention of lasting the whole school year with my kids. I have come to the realization that physically, mentally and emotionally I can’t or won’t be able to make it. So this week, I officially announced my retirement from the Broward County School System. I have been working since I was 17 years old and at 65 I have outlasted many of my peers who entered the work force at approximately the same time. To those who may not know the whole story, I will try and recapture some highlights and thank some people along the way.

At 17 years old, I worked for the Youth Services Agency in New York City. They provided jobs to inner city students. One year I worked as a counselor in my neighborhood and that was most fun overseeing Elementary school kids in a school environment. The following summer, I worked at a community center office in the Chelsea area of New York. That’s where I got my first lessons in working a political campaign. Now that I think about it…was that legal? Whatever, I enjoyed that.
At 19, just after getting married, I worked at WCBS-TV in New York. I worked in the sports department working for Jim Bouton, former Yankee pitcher and writer of “Ball Four” , a classic baseball book. His inscription reads, “ To Pete Muniz, My main man a hard worker and hellava guy”. This is how I was described early in life and those that I have worked with and for over the years, I have tried very hard to keep up with the inscription. I THINK I’M GOING TO NEED MORE THAN ONE HANKY IN ORDER TO DO THIS!
I worked at CBS until 1974 where CBS reporter, Vic Miles assisted me in getting a job at WBMJ-San Juan, Puerto Rico. I worked as a News writer and Reporter until I got the gig of a lifetime working as a DJ at the age of 21. The top English language station WRAI came a calling and I moved to the midnight to 6am shift. I loved every second of it and made family and friends proud, especially my father. Young men are always seeking their father’s approval!
In 1975 I moved to the top radio station in Puerto Rico “ Radio Rock” where I met the best disc jockey in the world. Raymond Broussard aka “Moonshadow”, who would go on to lead the top morning show in New York after Howard Stern. All of that and in Spanish too.
In 1976, after learning that Lily was pregnant we returned to New York where I was unable to land a job. Felipe Luciano and Gil de la Madrid were my biggest competition. They landed the plum job at CBS and WNEW.
After two long months I landed a job at Irving Trust Company handling payments of dividend checks and reviewing for lost checks. To this very day I thank the lady who hired me because she kept saying I was over qualified for this position. I told her I had a child on the way and any job would be appreciated. I stayed there 10 years working as an Assistant Treasurer and then Assistant Vice-President. I left for the Bank of New York where I made 5k more.
I later moved on to Bankers Trust Co., across the street from the World Trade Center.
I headed the American Depositary Receipts department( ADR) where my staff and I created the ADR Universe and could not take credit when trying to copyright it because the bank had intellectual property to all ideas while someone was employed there.
Then, the stock market crashed and all middle management personnel were let go.
I was without work for almost 10 months where after a 25k hit, I started working at Liberty Travel. Started as travel agent and within 90 days I was the manager of the store at 81st and 3rd ave.
In 1994 we relocated to Florida and I transferred to the Pompano Beach branch. There I took another 10k hit because I was not allowed to make more than the manager.
After 6 months, I got jealous of my wife coming home by 3pm after working her day as a teacher at Riverland Elementary, she worked for Olivia Vega. (Mrs. Vega has been a great mentor and friend over the years.)
I went back to school and completed enough credits to sub and eventually teach and enough credits to be certified in History 6-12. I went to school 3 nights a week and Saturdays. The things you can do when you are hard pressed!
I subbed Mondays and Fridays because teachers don’t like to work those days and I added Sundays to my Liberty Travel job. I was working 7 days a week.
At Crystal Lake Middle School, I loved Cheryl Bonner. She was the office secretary and the person who kept calling me daily to sub. I was later named as a pool sub. I went home one afternoon and told my wife that I didn’t want to work at Liberty Travel anymore and that I wanted to teach. On the day that I put that out to the Universe, I had a work everyday for the rest of the year. Thank You John Civittini for taking a chance on me. Andrew Luciani took over for Mr. Civitini as Principal at Crystal Lake and told me that when I finished all of my schooling, I would have a full time job at Crystal Lake. He was true to his word and in October 2001, I was officially a teacher.
There were so many blessings their at “The Lake” . I was mentored by Rose Marie Lavoie, Lauren Brown, worked with Sylvia Knight, Stuart Bacon and Christine Donovan. Part of this crew would later reconvene in my future. I was honored by being named Teacher of the Year in 2002. My license plate to this day reads         “TOY 02”.

I then moved to Attucks Middle with Mr. Luciani and about 6 others who left Crystal Lake. I was blessed during my tenure there by becoming an Assistant Principal. After becoming an Assistant Principal, I embarked in a journey of paying back. I organized a group of school leaders all over Broward County who also wanted to become Assistant Principals. In those 10 years, 23 Assistant Principals and 2 Principals came out of this cohort. Watching them grow and succeed was an unbelievable reward. I stayed with Mr. Luciani through our years at Attucks Middle School and went on to serve 5 years at Arthur Ashe Middle. Tough School! I Loved what we did there.
We truly had an impact. Cynthia Park, you will be forever loved.

I finally landed at my last stop, Indian Ridge Middle School. I was placed there, so the Principal, Mr. Zagari did not have much of a choice. I’m sure he was hoping that this guy was not dead wood! The school was trending towards Hispanics 25% when I got there, 38% today. Mr. Zagari gave me the opportunity to start a Debate Club, a Chess Club and with the cooperation of the Mujeres Latinas Organization led by Ana Valladares, we created a mentorship program for at risk Hispanic girls. Over time, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County, led by Esmeralda Faroh, joined us in this endeavor. During the last 5 years we have mentored over 150 girls.
In 2014, I was blessed to be a finalist for Assistant Principal of the Year in Broward County. At Indian Ridge, I had an opportunity to also bring back some of the old gang. Stuart Bacon, Christine Donovan, Lauren Brown and Judith Wynter. It feels good to work with people that you trust and work hard. I am proud of my accomplishments over the years.

NOW HERE COMES THE HARD PART!

There are a lot of people, I hope to get to most of you.

Cheryl Bonner, Rose Marie Lavoie, Elonie Gough, Lauren Brown, Aida Santana, Stuart Bacon, Ron Hoyt, Ernie Charles, Derek Hall, Sylvia Knight, Kanika Frazier, Susan Kincaid, Brenda Villalobos, Michael Dembin, Judith Wynter, Lisa Bastos, Marta Garcia, Jackie Jones, James Harrell, Sherry Hogg, Charlene Read, Maddy Benacquisto, Liz Bowers and Chris Bravate. I know I have left many names off this list, I apologize but please know that I am thankful for everything you have done.

Special thanks to Rose Edith Morgan and to Andrea Tower . Andrea who has been my strength for these many years. A.T., you won’t have to carry me anymore, I can take it from here.

THE NEXT PART OF THE JOURNEY NOW STARTS!

The Change Lyrics rev

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More Angels in the Outfield!

Posted: September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

The following is a takeoff of the movie Angels in the Outfield.
Early this year I added two new people to my list of angels. People who do things for you with nothing to gain and asking for nothing in return. Today, I have added four new Angels to my Hall of Fame. As many of you already know, Hurricane Irma is barreling down on Florida. This week I had to work until Wednesday and so I just have Thursday and Friday to get ready. The lines at Lowes and Home Depot are still 30 bodies deep even if you find plywood to place on your windows. In come Mike and Carla Rossano, who are the parents of one my other Angels, Colleen Rossano. They offered to give me boards that they have had in their garage for over 20 years, hell, Colleen used to play with the boards when she was a youngster!
My buddy Kevin Roper and his wife Jannine, provided the truck that we used to visit Southwest Ranches and the beautiful homes where we picked up the boards. As I was driving home (thinking about the manual labor that awaits me) I’m thinking how blessed we are that these people would do this for us.
If you have ever been to our home you know that we have 10 windows plus the front area and sliding doors. We had enough boards to cover every single window. Well, it took Kevin and me four hours to get all the windows done. I needed to stop twice as I was on the verge of passing out (all that hard work) I’m not used to that. As I thanked everybody, somebody said, that’s for all the favors you do for others.
We are truly blessed and angels just keep coming our way in times of need.
Mike, Kevin, Carla and Jannine welcome to my Angels Hall of Fame.

To all my Floridian friends and family, stay safe. Irma looks dangerous!

Let me start by saying this is a politics blog, so if you need to turn away feel free.

I am going to blame Al Gore, yes, former Vice-President Gore!

Decisions in life that we make can impact history. Mr. Gore decided that President Bill Clinton was too much baggage for him to carry. He told him so and proceeded to exclude him and his (their) accomplishments over 8 years. Maybe Bill Clinton represented too much sleaze but then again sleaze in the White House started way before Clinton. Just ask friends of JFK.

Bill Clinton won in 1992 in his race against George Herbert Walker Bush, 370 electoral votes to 168. He lost Florida but won Tennessee.  In 1996, Clinton beat Robert Dole 379 to 159. This time he won Florida and Tennessee.

So we get to 2000 and Al Gore says he doesn’t need Bill Clinton. Don’t campaign for me, don’t do speeches for me, don’t even look at me because it might rub off and the voters will make me pay for your behavior. Hold on, didn’t he end up divorcing his wife of 40 years in 2010. But, who am I to throw stones?

Election night 2000 extends to 2am before the networks reverse themselves on Florida and call it for George W. Bush. The final Electoral College breakdown is Bush 271, Gore 266. Yes, Gore lost Florida but that aside what if he would have won his own state of Tennessee? The score would have been Gore 277, Bush 260.

I always claim that during those 26 days where we weren’t sure who was going to be given the election Gore laid low and displayed no conviction of the heart. He was too tired or passive to push for the win. You run for President and can’t even win your own State? What the hell!

 History could have been changed; climate change would have been a priority.              Yes, 911 would have still happened but the people making the foreign policy decisions would have been a much different crew than the Cheney, Rumsfeld group that presented the Axis of Evil.

Not even his 2007 Nobel Prize or the important film “An Inconvenient Truth” could save Al Gore’s place in history. Heck, Jimmy Carter has made the greatest contributions to society since leaving the White House than any other West Wing occupant.

So what is the point of this history lesson? Do things with a conviction of the heart?  Work harder? Know your opponents better? Don’t get divorced? Stand by a friend in good times and in bad?

No, I think before you jump into a Presidential campaign you need to make sure you’ve got your home court covered. The phrase ” Protect our house” has to jump out at you.

Advice is meant for Deval Patrick, Cory Booker, Amy Klobushar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chris Murphy and Kamala Harris. Take care of the home court!

Are You Crying?

Posted: July 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

Are you Crying?
What? Who me? Yes, of course.
So, in order to put this into context…..
My summer is almost over and I am now reflecting on how great the summer was and I now have to get ready to return to school. Assistant Principal’s report back about a month prior to the return of teachers and students. This summer I started the 20th viewing of “The West Wing”. I am now at season 4 episode 15. I have introduced Brenda to Sam Seaborn, Joshua Lyman and the rest of the West Wing staff. I think she is enjoying her journey. At some point during the summer Lily convinces me to open up to a new show, she tells me “You’re gonna love it”. As many of you know, I’m resistant to new things. So she got me to commit to Season 1 of “This is Us”. We committed to viewing 3 episodes per night. So as someone who had never seen a single minute of the show I got caught up in the family interactions. The relationship of the husband and wife. Their conflicts and how they interact with their three children. Problem solving skills of each parent and family member. The show moves us from present day to their past, it teases us by telling us very early in the show that the “Dad” character died. The suspense is trying to figure out how and when. As I got hooked on the show, I got hooked on the characters. After watching season 1, I can’t wait for the start of the new season.
My favorite episode is “Memphis”. A son brings his dad to his birthplace conceding his last wish. You know that the dad is dying but it still chokes you up. The show reinforces Love, Family, Trust, relationships between brothers and sisters, parents and children, and of course life choices. It teaches empathy, sympathy and how to survive life. The writing is excellent. These are the same writers who gave us “Thirty Something”. The show has received 12 Emmy nominations. Worthy of each one.
So as I prepare for the new school year I’ve shed all my tears during the summer. It is now time to return to “The West Wing”.   thisisus_heroJosh, wait for me I’ll be right there!

All the President’s Men

Posted: July 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

“This Russia story is fake news, there is nothing there.”
My Republican friends, it’s time to look away again. Fresh from my summer hiatus I am well read and versed on the president’s shenanigans. Even after meeting recently with president Putin there is still no acceptance of the information provided by the intelligence community. So he claims to have pressed Putin but according to Putin he accepted that Russia did not participate in any attempt to discredit the elections of 2016. “There is no collusion between me or my campaign and any Russians.” LIAR
Michael Flynn, met with the Russians at least 3 times after sitting with Putin for a paid speech. Failed to register as a foreign agent for Turkey after receiving money to promote the countries regime. Finally, misled the Vice-President who claimed that no one in the administration has had contact with the Russians. LIAR! Flynn was dismissed with 24 days of lying to the V.P. LIAR! Oops need me a lawyer.
Michael Pence, as head of the transition team he was informed that Michael Flynn had been compromised by his communications with the Russian Ambassador. He had also been informed by CIA and FBI. Claimed that he never heard anything about that during the transition and had only been made aware in late January that there might be an issue. LIAR! Oops need me a lawyer.
Jeff Sessions, testified in his confirmation hearing before the Senate that he had never met with any Russians during the campaign. LIAR! Forced to amend his disclosure form twice after having been found out that he not only had one meeting with Russians but two the last one with the Russian Ambassador. Oops, think I might need a lawyer.
Jared Kushner, original disclosure form claimed no meetings with Russian dignitaries. LIAR! Since January he has had to adjust disclosure forms 3 times. Met with Russian lawyer. Met with Russian bank CEO. Met with Russian ambassador. His excuse was that I forgot that meeting. Oops, I need 2 lawyers.
Carter Page, never a member of the official campaign but flew to Russia to meet with Russian officials and later claimed he did it on his own. LIAR! Right after the Republican convention he was identified by the nominee as someone he speaks to regarding Russia policy. Oops, I have me a lawyer.
Paul Manifort, campaign manager. Claimed that no one in the Trump campaign had any contact with any Russians. LIAR! Had to change his disclosure form twice. Implicated in possible money laundering scheme. Oops, I think 2 lawyers might not be enough.
Donald Trump,Jr., took a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have information on Hillary Clinton, took Kushner and Manifort with him to the meeting. Originally claimed that the meeting was about adopting children. After being confronted with the truth he adjusted his wording to say it was an opposition meeting but that nothing turned up! LIAR! Oops, I think I might need 2 lawyers but I’m going to keep tweeting just like dad.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway and Sam Clovis were part of the Trump team looking to get information from Russians to derail the Clinton campaign. More details to follow.

Collusion? Naiveté? Ignorance? What I find amazing is that none of the guys even remember meeting with a Russian. Shit if I met a true Russian I guarantee you I would always remember that.

The truth will eventually come out. Robert Muller, you are already the man of the year and you haven’t said a damn thing. Keep on on truckin!

 

IT’S A WRAP!

Posted: June 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

        Another school year is almost complete. Kids are gone and we are doing clean up of student files making sure they have all been promoted.
Teacher Handbook and Security Duty Posts for next year almost done.
Disaggregating individual student scores and it’s time for summer vacation.
After last year’s debacle, I am looking forward to a full summer vacation.
I have taken an appraisal of my 7th grade year. My students were very successful in all major categories. Math, ELA, Civics, Algebra. These kids are unbelievably bright.
My debate students excelled in each area, then again they were bright to begin with.
       All of my Chess students met the State criteria for success. All in all, a pretty good year. Health wise it was on and off. I finally got that knee surgery that I’ve needed for many years. Still have occasional pain but nowhere near where it was.
Now of course my other knee is acting up…this one I think was diagnosed with arthritis already so I may have to live with it. My diabetes is still up and down.
I’m driving my unofficial doctor crazy, she can’t figure out why I wont follow the rules.
      PSA numbers have come back down to a reasonable level. August will be an indicator  as to what is the next step.  So onto a vacation we go. This year it’s Hilton Head and Savannah. St. Augustine and the Mouse House for a few days. Key West for a week. A summer of local travel. Looking forward to next near…big plans.
Can’t wait to get away and sing to my wife for hours at a time. If you hear a loud shrill that would be her. Traveling with your best friend is always a great time to look forward to.

Yes, you won the Popular Vote count in spite of losing the Electoral College vote.
Yes, the Russians interfered with the election.
Yes, the information put forth by Wiki-leaks damaged your reputation and the Democratic Party’s reputation.
Yes, DJT’s people colluded with the Russians to impact the election.
Yes, FBI Director Comey violated all previous election protocols by getting involved
in the middle of a contested election.
All of that being said, I need you to STOP re playing the election.
There will be no do-overs.
There will not be a re-vote in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.
You need to accept responsibility for not getting it done!

You are, have been, and forever will be, the most qualified person never to serve as President of the United States. You would have made a great POTUS.
Let’s put that under dreams deferred.

You need to step off the stage and allow us to look forward. As long as you refuse to “exit stage left”, you stop the party from finding their next leader. Too many people are holding their breath waiting to see if you will commit to running again. That must stop. I will say what others wont; you will be too old to effectively perform the duties of the office. The current person who lives in the White House will find that out very soon. Standing on the sideline and telling the world “I told you so” is beneath you and will not win you a single vote that you did not already have. To the world it shows a sore loser who can’t let go. The same way DJT always gets defensive when people question the validity or credibility of his win whenever they talk Russia or collusion.

As a lifelong Democrat the stage should now belong to Amy Klobuchar, Corey Booker, Deval Patrick, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Murphy, Tammy Duckworth, or even Democratic Party leader Tom Perez. There has got to be a fresh face and hopefully new ideas. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren will produce the same results if that’s where we go next time around.

Nothing happens until Hillary releases the purse strings of the Party big wigs that owe her for her years of service. Hillary, if you want to play king or queen maker you need to do it from behind the scenes.

Hillary, I love you, always have and always will, but it’s time for exit stage left!