I've known BOE Chairman Jack Chiaramonte a long time.
It is unfortunate that his
offhand comment and usage of the world shekel is being used as a sign of anti-Semitism.
The Hour reported that; "Apparently the union doesn't care about the kids," Chiaramonte
told The Hour on Tuesday.
The union just cares about a few extra shekels in the pockets of its teachers."
Of all things Jack Chiaramonte
is, anti-semetic is not one of them.
is anti- many things.
is anti-fair wage.
Those are positions he
should be challenged on.
But to attack Jack
for how he
phrases issues, detracts from the issues at hand.
In 2007, here is Jack
speaking against the fair-labor ordinance:
Mr. Jack Chiaramonte
stated that he
was a local Norwalk businessman and gave his
stated that he
had read about the Living Wage that was before the Council.
As a businessman, Mr. Chiaramonte
stated that he
was disturbed by the proposal.
stated that he
did not feel it was the role of the government to impose on any business what they should be paying.
stated that it shouldn't be a union or organization that should dictate what someone should be paid.
asked if an impact study had been done on the amendment.
did not believe that this was the case.
commented that the last time something similar was done was during the DROP
program and it has cost the City greatly.
did not understand how the administration could announce they would pass this without knowing all the facts.
stated that it was important to check out all the facts first before making the decision rather than the other way around.
If a company that is doing business with the City is told that the wages he
workers must be a specific sum, then the contractor will raise his
Ultimately, the person who pays for this is the taxpayer.
As a Norwalk taxpayer, Mr. Chiaramonte
stated that this was not right.
then asked why it was that when the City requested bids, they chose the best bid, but at the same time require the contractor to pay a set wage.
While it is a good and noble idea that everyone makes a living, no one requires someone to take a job.
stated that this was in effect another tax on the residents of Norwalk.
suggested that this proposal should be sent to France rather than remain in our free market.
position on fair wages is a much bigger issue, one based on economics, not anti-Semitism.
On the other hand, if Jack
has instead said something along the lines that the 'Teachers' Union was acting niggardly,' we'd all be praising his
correct usage of language, right?
may not have intended his
comment to come off the way it did, I actually take more offense at the derogatory way he
treated the union and therefore the teachers of Norwalk.
If I was a teacher of one of his children and they asked me to write a recommendation I'd probably do it, but kick myself twice for spending the extra uncompensated time for doing so.
There is a lot to not like about Chiaramonte
and this insensitive use of the word shekels is, or should be, a long way down on the list.
That doesn't make it it less offensive, but we may be making too much of it.
excuse, that he
is from New York and his
use of the language is acceptable there, is not an excuse.
was angry at the union president.
The union president is Jewish.
talked about the union putting "shekels" in their pockets rather than worrying about the kids.
It's got feathers like an anti-semitic duck, it's quacking like an anti-semitic duck and so chances are . . . .
And I suppose if Chiaramonte
said that Teachers' Union
wanted to put 'cabbage' in their pockets, you would be saying that because Mellion is Jewish and of Eastern European descent that 'cabbage' was anti-Semetic too?
looked at the facts before shooting off his
might find the DROP
program was started as a money saving device and has accomplished the goal nicely.
While there are many times I agree with Jack
, this does not happen to be one of them.
I don't think Jack
is antisemitic or a bigot (I've only talked to him a couple of times, but I don't think he's
a tough read).
comment was picked up by the AP and ran in lots of newspapers, which kind of suggets that it was probably odd for a school board to something so potentially offsensive.
But, let's not worry what people in Denver or LA or Boston are reading in their papers about our schools.
So let's say we cut off the argument as to whether or not his
comment was intemperate, inarticulate or just insensitive.
We can cut off the bluster about being angry at union leadership and the bluster by the union leadership that they are angry at the BOE chair.
What do you have?
You still have a flawed school department (the COO said the accounting system was broken), a BOE
that typically votes 7-2 for most everything this superintendent wants (so far, only two members challenge her
on anything) and a bunch of do-nothing third administrators making over $100 grand.
Plus, you have one guy that Jack
voted to give LIFETIME life insurance to and who got a nice raise (which added to his
pension even though he
got to take furlough days).
Now, look at the "hard zero" that Jack wants to give to the teachers- no lifetime life insurance, no raises (not even on paper) and no furlough days even for giving up contract rights- basically, the deal that was good enough for his
friend isn't good enough for the folks teaching our kids.
Right on, Jack!
I don't know, Jack
I still agree with Jack
on other issues.