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Louisville’s Coming Unglued Over Sheldon Berman

November 24th, 2010 by jake · 29 Comments

Will any of these super-wealthy and prominent folks show up to support Dare to Care this evening? Or are we just holding our breath? It’s the 41st anniversary of the death of Bobby Ellis, a nine-year-old boy who died of hunger. [The 'Ville Voice]

Metro United Way will wrap up its 2010 fundraising season with an event at the Salvation Army Male campus on December 1. Greg Fischer will speak at the event. [MUW]

A memorial service for Andrew Compton has been planned for next Monday in Indiana. His family has returned to their home. So flipping sad. So frustrating not to know where Andrew’s body is.  [FOX 59 & His Brother's Site]

The simple fact that Jerry Abramson and Greg Fischer had to pledge to say out of the search for a new superintendent is hilarious. [WFPL]

Just because it’s way too hilarious/insane, go watch the latest interview with Sylvia Lovely interview again. Our crazy-o-meter is going off as we watch the former ringleader of the Kentucky League of Cities downfall rant on and on about hookers and blow or whatever. [Page One]

The search for a new Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent is getting started. Who will it be? [WHAS11]

No one in their right mind thinks there needs to be a CVS on the property of Twig & Leaf. But should Twig & Leaf become a local (official) landmark? [WAVE3]

Imagine having new hands attached to your body… only to have your body reject them! Heart palps just thinking about it! [FOX 41]

LG&E and Kentucky Utilities are suing over faulty thermostats. The suit alleges Comverge energy-saving thermostats are a fire hazard. Everybody panic. [H-L]

Tags: Bad Behavior · Charity · Education · Greg Fischer · Health Care · Highlands · JCPS · Jerry Abramson · Landmark · LG&E

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 blowin' in the wind // Nov 24, 2010 at 8:10 am

    The A Kentucky Newspaper [EDITED] story on Iroquois was well done; today’s editorial is a disgrace. It was imperative to get SB out of here before the schools slid further down the slope of inadequate education for our kids. Finally, the Board put the children–and the economic future of our community first. No one person is ever not replaceable; there is no silver bullet or superman/woman. The appointment was a mistake from the beginning; there was no need to add to the problems.

  • 2 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 8:31 am

    When the A Kentucky Newspaper’s [EDITED] hegemony over this third world country (Louisv & Kentucky) is challenged (effectively) it becomes unglued. I can remember many times in the past when this occurred. How about their hatred for Hollenbach, then the love of McConnell who beat him!!! All forgotten about, because they hate McConnell now. When you don’t do what they want and take the positions they seek — a cataclysm arrives. We’re in another one. In the end, they will win, because there isn’t enough energy, locally, to accept and win the challenge for hegemony over Louisville. Really unfortunate.

  • 3 Bill // Nov 24, 2010 at 8:34 am

    The problem is “blowin” that who are they going to replace him with. Let’s face it that Daeschner was no better than Berman and this whole farce of an education system has been going on for a few decades. I know some people who graduated from the JCPS who can barely read and write. I would suspect that everyone knows at least someone personally that has those issues. Not to fault the person for their lack of education but to really expose a system that has been failing the local population since probably the 1980s.

    I look at the writing of many young people between the ages of 18 to 30 and you have to wonder what school they went to. I don’t know if it is laziness or even bad education and poor instruction but I have to question when someone can’t at least put a coherent sentence together.

    That’s a major impediment to getting quality jobs in Louisville when you have people with HS Diplomas that can’t even put together their ideas and thoughts. Imagine trying to hire people such as that for jobs that require intellect or skill. Not a good sign and a lot of those people are going to be relegated to the low wage service economy jobs that exist here. In fact, we have way too many college graduates and others here working in lower wage service jobs until they can figure out how to leave and at least find a way to prosper. The same could be said for U of L and having kids 20 to 30k in debt and not be able to find quality jobs that will allow them to live independently without being back at their parent’s homes. Something like 85 percent of recent college graduates are going back home because they can’t find jobs to pay their debts and everyday living expenses. That’s a sad commentary on our current society that we can’t produce enough jobs that will pay for this educational system yet allow for advancement and progress. Just sit back here in Louisville and see how many of these boomerang kids there truly are. Unfortunately,the powers that be are running things to the point that this is more and more common. Do you blame the kids and youth? Or do you blame the people in charge of the educational and economic systems that aren’t interested in getting people up to their full potential and waste so much talent. The JCPS is no exception to this nonsense.

  • 4 Bill // Nov 24, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Maybe its time for the local people to start challenging the aristocracy that pretty much runs this area. Now maybe we don’t have the financial clout to do this, but we do have the free press and that in itself can be a start to fight these people. The A Kentucky Newspaper [EDITED - seriously, fucking stop naming it here] has long been part of the problem for glossing over things and of course they have huge clout here. However, with their power weakened by the alternative media and an economy that is very poor at this point, this would be a perfect opportunity to get out the word and start organizing people and its going to take a lot of work and desire to change things. Complacency and apathy isn’t going to get things done. That’s the main problem in Louisville versus other cities in the region. They actually at least are proactive enough to try to get something done. I’m not sure why Louisvillians are so apathetic but maybe some of the other writers on here can talk about that. I’m relatively new to living here having moved here in 2005 so perhaps someone more educated on local culture and ideas can clue me in on that.

  • 5 blowin' in the wind // Nov 24, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Bill, I agree with your concerns. One of the big problems is that we have had two failed searches for superintendent in a row–both for Daeschner and for Berman. This Board has a habit of “falling in love” with new superintendents and then “falling out of love” rather quickly. A root problem is with essentially no criteria for the position and a “district” representation system within the larger system. There needs to be a combination of stronger requirements and at least three board members who represent the whole district, not an artificial set of contrived board districts.

  • 6 citizen // Nov 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

    What has failed to be mentioned is the one constant to these failed superintendents – Brent McKim. Linda Duncan’s statement that leads off the article in A Kentucky Newspaper tells it all: “I thought he had four of us who supported him.” (herself, Steve Imhoff, Diane Porter, and Larry Hujo) The common link amongst those four – Brent McKim’s mafia like financial backing. Linda has her head so far up Brent’s rear end that she took his word that his money was buying protection for Shelley. But other forces were at play this time, generated by McKim’s own stupidity. The Toborowski debacle sealed support from local power brokers to make sure Wesslund was re-elected and cast a huge shadow over McKim’s judgment. Hardesty saw Berman’s lack of management skills for what they are being the smartest person on the board. Haddad was incensed by the first day of school debacle while Berman sat calmly during it all with her at a meeting at JCTC and didn’t bother to mention a word to her about it. Hujo unexpectedly flipped (did his neighbors Marty Bell and Steve Neal put a horse head in his bed?) and Porter played her cards very well as her motive to be a school board member from the start was to put Berman in his place for treating her and her non-Hudson colleagues with disrespect. The opportunity to fire him was icing on the cake.

    This is not about the right of teachers to have a strong union that supports them. I am all for that. This is about a union leader who has lost his moral compass, who saw a smart but oh-so-lacking in the common sense department Harvard grad he knew he could manipulate and convinced the city leaders to bless hiring.

    The only person I want far removed from the search process is Brent McKim. And if the teachers don’t wake up and elect a new leader for their union, then they only have themselves to blame.

  • 7 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Actually, what fails to get mentioned is the lot of you who put WAY too much power in the hands of Brent McKim and JCTA by constantly foaming at the mouth about them.

    You’re delusional if you think the man has any power.

    Sure, he’s the big dog at JCTA and they have a fuckton of sway. But quit pretending they’re the only obstacle.

  • 8 dimi // Nov 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Bill, let me clue you in. I have two kids. One is 27 went to a local public highschool in the highlands (was supposed to be really good). After she got out of school she had to take basic pre-college classes at JCTCS for 1 year to get into the regular college program. She now has a 2 year degree and is finishing out her bachelors at a local college. It has taken her almost 10 years because she is working too. So, after seeing this debacle I promptly put my son (now age 23) into one of the local boys catholic schools. He excelled. He went full scholarship to U of L. Graduated last year. No debt. The difference in the quality of education was unbelievable.

  • 9 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    It’s not a question of ‘delusions’ that McKim has any power. He doesn’t have any, cause IF he did Jim King would have been the mayor, now. What McKim has is PURSE STRING CONTROL and he’s been protected by his ‘close’ relationship with Berman — so that the rank-and-file teachers are afraid to ‘speak up.’ Jake: if you aren’t aware of this then I suggest you need to do some re-thinking on the issue.
    The time’s come for the local teacher’s union membership to stand tall. McKim’s got no business spending their union dues on school elections in other counties. He has no business trying to kill other education concepts, like charter schools, that LEGITIMATELY HAVE proven to be effective in other places — AND PARTICULARLY WHEN Arne Duncan (who is in a ‘player’ in the distribution of huge federal financial help) is IN FAVOR OF charter schools AS WELL AS ALL OTHER ‘NEW’ AND ‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ IDEAS.
    Louisville needs to wake up ‘across the board’ — and this includes the teachers in this community. Let’s show some 60′s spirit around here and get BIG INTO QUESTIONING THE AUTHORITY (PARTICULARLY WHEN IT’S GENERALLY AN ABYSMAL FAILURE).

  • 10 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I’m well aware of the McKim negatives and I know the horseshit JCTA regularly pulls.

    But you people need to get a goddamn grip. You build this man up in your mind as some powerful being and he’s NOT. People actually put him there as the front man.

  • 11 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    P.S. Brent had nothing to do with the King camp.

    That’d be Larry Hujo.

    But don’t let reality bog you down.

  • 12 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Jake: If you want edification of the McKimHugo connection, ask Dr. Ben Foster, PhD in UL’s Business School about his campaign for the JCPSBoard. You’ll find out that Hugo received McKim’s endorsement + $100k from the Union and the h.school grad, Hugo, defeated Foster w/a PhD degree and 1,000 innovative ideas about improving public education around here.
    McKim may have been put where he is by somebody or some group (as you intimate), but he DOES control the union’s pursestrings. Additionally, King got McKim’s endorsement in the primary AS WELL AS Hugo’s. All facts, my friend.

  • 13 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Getting an endorsement from someone doesn’t mean they’re intimately involved in their campaign.

  • 14 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Jake: Why is it that you’re so defensive of McKim. I never said he was ‘intimately’ involved in King’s campaign. You did this before when I offered a reasonably knowledgeable opinion of Poynter — and all of a sudden you become ‘protective.’ I don’t get it — particularly when reality says, the McKim has to go and Poynter’s involvement with Fish is a direct tie to Happy Pants’ mess of an administration.

  • 15 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I’m hardly defensive of Brent McKim. I’ll repeat it for the millionth time: YOU trump him up into something he’s not and that lets tons upon tons of others off the hook. I think that’s fucking stupid.

    You intimated that he was directly involved in King’s campaign.

    Chris Poynter isn’t an elected official and you were attacking him directly and personally without any justification – anonymously. That’s horseshit. Have the guts to use your name, as I told you at the time.

  • 16 Steve Magruder // Nov 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Highlander, you continue to be a bit deluded about charter schools, as if they are a panacea. They are not. Again, the problem is that with public schools, _all_ children have to be taught. When you try to shove all the public school kids into private or semi-private institutions, you’re merely transferring the problems, not solving them. Further, charter schools have as varied a track record as do regular public schools. Trying something new may be useful with respect to smart phones, but not with respect to the education of children.

    Also, while I think McKim deserves criticism, I think we should also be very critical of people like Teddy Gordon, who seems to be way more interested in defunding public education than improving it.

    Sure, there’s waste in JCPS and they need to be audited, but even after that, if we really want to have quality public education, we’re going to have to pay for it, and stop letting people like Gordon scare us out of discussions about funding. Gordon doesn’t own or run our system.

  • 17 Steve Magruder // Nov 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I meant to say: “Trying something new usually makes more sense with respect to the purchase of smart phones than it does with the education of children. New doesn’t mean better.”

    We need to do whatever enhances teachers’ ability to focus on educating the children in their classrooms.

  • 18 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Steve: Be careful, Teddy Gordon’s isn’t an “elected official” — if you critique his actions too vocally, you’re liable to gain the wrath of the guy who owns this cite.
    Jake: Name a few of the ‘tons upon tons of others’ I’m letting off the hook by briefly commenting on McKim.
    Another question: Why is it necessary to use profanity in response to my efforts to conduct a reasoned conversation?

  • 19 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Most of the Abramson Administration, all of JCTA’s leadership, all the JCPS execs, the entire Board of Education, several other local union leaders, some folks at Metro Council, state legislators.

    I use profanity in daily conversation. Don’t like it? Don’t read it.

  • 20 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I agree about Abramson himself (plus he’s an elected official), but his Admin isn’t, nor are the JCTA leadership or the JCPS execs or the other local union leaders. According to my understanding, here, it’s not kosher to critique these non-elected folks unless they run for office.
    This is really getting complicated.

  • 21 Steve Magruder // Nov 24, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Teddy Gordon is clearly a public figure. It seems to me that all public figures, including myself, have to be available for public scrutiny.

  • 22 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    How is that complicated? You don’t get to attack people unless they’re really out there… as in a candidate for public office.

    And, yes, all of those people and groups I mentioned are deeeeeeeeply involved.

  • 23 The Highlander // Nov 24, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I give up. It’s not OK to challenge the actions of Poynter, because he’s not an elected official but “really out there”, but it’s OK to challenge or discredit Teddy Gordon, because he’s a public official and Jakc thinks that you can’t attack people unless they’re really “out there.” What it seems like to me is that it’s NOT OK to challenge the actions of anyone that you guys like, but OK to challenge the actions of anyone you don’t like. This has become a little to petty for a 60′s activist to understand.

  • 24 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    This is bullshit. If you don’t like it? Leave.

    I never said you couldn’t challenge Poynter’s actions. I said you couldn’t needlessly and anonymously attack him personally. Which you did. Repeatedly.

    You shouldn’t be attacking anyone unless they’re taking the initiative to put themselves out there as a candidate or elected official. If you hadn’t noticed, this site and Page One focus on media and… dun dun dun… politics. It’s what we do.

    Challenging someone and discussing issues or dissecting their position is NOT the same as personally attacking them (which is fine, in my opinion, if they’re a candidate in the midst of a campaign, for instance). It’s not. No matter how you cut it. So stop with the spin.

    I don’t like Chris Poynter. That’s pretty clear. Ask him. Ask his friends. Ask his ex. I think he’s a hack. But you will not attack him personally here on this website.

  • 25 jake // Nov 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Magruder: Hate to burst your bubble, but, you’re not a public figure. No matter how much you want to be. No one knows who you are.

    All of a handful of people know who I am and they’re all in politics or the press and I’m still an absolute nobody.

    And Teddy Gordon puts himself out there quite well as an activist. I’d say he’s pretty public. Not sure where I ever said he wasn’t.

    To reiterate my point: discussing issues does not involve attacking someone personally and anonymously, as a few continually try to do. But it’s not happening here.

  • 26 blowin' in the wind // Nov 25, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I agree with your principles here, Jake, the distinctions you make are very important. Let’s just give thanks today that we have the opportunity to find the needed new leadership for our schools.

  • 27 GtownReader // Nov 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Is it not an indictment of JCPS when we can’t find anyone “educated” there who is capable of leading the school system?

  • 28 JTT // Nov 25, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    G- don’t think it is an issue of capable, more likely an issue of finding anyone willing to continue with the farce of forced bussing for “diversity.” When they learn they are stuck with it, because the school board supports it, they run screaming.

  • 29 Rob Mattheu // Nov 28, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Ben Foster loss to Larry Hujo might have been due to money (which was insane, no doubt), but could have been because he had no children in the system (his were in private schools) and seemed to base his campaign on bashing Hujo’s vote to protect gays and lesbian teachers and not on issues that I think matter to most parents.

    I’m not necessarily fan of Hujo, but I’m not sure Foster was a better alternative.

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