Similar to dozens of others in thought and scope that I've seen and received the past two years in that they put the lie to Peter Deutsch's contention that he is not trying to go after the religious schools.
He is, he just realizes that he doesn't have to actually say it himself, since the parents will come to this realization by themselves, when they see something education-wise they can live with.
Just think how very different the tenor would be here now if Deutsch, rather than adopt the bullying, scorched earth approach he's used here, where he openly castigates and maligns HB citizens and publicly dares the city's elected officials to stop him, he'd come to the community 2 years ago and said simply,
"What would YOU like to see in Hallandale Beach in the way of educational alternatives to help HB kids?
In an area that could use an economic jolt?"
But that's not his style or personality, either now or while he was in Congress.
After all, he once famously hired a Harvard college student as his Chief of Staff for his Washington office.
Not a Harvard graduate, a Harvard student.
(That this fact has been completely forgotten by the South Florida news media bringing up Allen West's here-and-gone choice for Chief-of-Staff this week, surprises me... not at all.)
His move really riled Floridians living and working up in D.C. -esp. on the Hill, at the law firms and at Think Tanks- like someone taking a baseball bat to a bee hive, and then standing around to admire what they did, knowing that someone would notice.
That it was a dumb move hardly mattered.
I know this because I was living and working in Washington at the time, and not surprisingly, knew lots of people from all parts of Florida with all sorts of positions in town, high and low, Democratic and Republican.
You won't be shocked to hear that they all thought this hiring of his did nothing to improve his longstanding rep for stand-offishness and grandstanding of a sort that embarrasses, yes, even other pols.
Deutsch didn't care what others thought, not even his own constituents.
Then as now, Deutsch dares and he bluffs and calculates that nobody will call him on it , or put real resources or money into the fight, whatever the fight happens to be about.
That's how he's gotten to this point.
And from his p.o.v., why should he change now for the sensibilities of Hallandale Beach residents who, rightly, feel angry, dis-respected and ignored even BEFORE a final decision is made by the City Commission?
I've said what seems like a million times before, here in emails and on my blog, that Peter Deutsch doesn't care what you think or feel or say.
Now, people actually see that's true.
He thinks, quite naturally, that this Ben Gamla plan of his is a ridiculous franchise idea whose time has finally come, just like McDonald's.
(Except he and his colleagues own all the franchises.)
Keep your costs low and give enough people whaty they want that you can laugh at all the others.
Laugh all the way to the bank.
Like Henry Ford and his 'Model T' -he'd give you any color you wanted as long as you wanted black- Deutsch realizes that he genuinely DOESN'T have to be either reasonable or fair-minded, he just has to be determined to be stubborn, which, in his case, comes naturally.
Peter Deutsch fully expects the HB City Commission to cave-in to his demands, and really, given what everyone here has seen of them, why shouldn't he think this?
Profiles in Courage they aren't.
Backbones are, indeed, at a premium.
That's our community's collective tragedy, but Peter Deutsch's business opportunity.
Charter Schools Can Reinvigorate the Movement
by Rabbi Paul Plotkin
There is a joke that asks what is the most effective form of birth control in the observant Jewish world.
The answer? Day school tuition.
The cost of raising a family seriously committed to a Jewish life is becoming prohibitive. Jewish day schools report declining enrollments and increased requests for financial assistance; in some communities three children in grammar school can cost more than $60,000 a year. Then there are synagogue dues, JCC dues, tzedakah donations, and Jewish summer camp fees. We are in danger of allowing Judaism to become available only to the wealthy.
Read the rest at:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Proposed charter school divides the community
By Sergy Odiduro, Forum Publishing Group
November 13, 2010
More traffic, more noise, more pollution in a small neighborhood with an already-strained infrastructure.
Some Hallandale Beach residents say that's exactly what they are expecting if the city approves Ben Gamla, a proposed Hebrew-English charter school.
They voiced their opinions at a recent community meeting at the city's Cultural Community Center to discuss the project, alongside others who think the school would be a welcome addition.
Margaret Schorr said there are limited educational opportunities in the city.
"A school like this in the area can only enhance Hallandale," she said.
The school, slated to serve 600 students in grades 7-12, would operate out of the Hallandale Jewish Center, 416 NE Eighth Ave.
Peter Deutsch, a former U.S. congressman, founded the first Ben Gamla site in 2007 amid controversy over whether it would be a religious school.
School district officials approved the courses, and Deutsch has moved on with expansion plans that include locations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Deutsch said city staff has concluded that there is capacity on Eighth Avenue for this project, and traffic should not be a concern.
Some residents were skeptical, however.
"This is a rainy afternoon," Cynthia Cabrera said as she held up a large photo of a flooded street. "Why are you pushing so hard to have a school on a street where the infrastructure is so poor?"
Some at the meeting questioned whether those who spoke out in favor were actually from the neighborhood.
"How many parents are receiving volunteer hours for attending this meeting?" asked Josephine Alongi, who smiled when several people raised their hands.
Sharon Miller, principal at the school's Hollywood location, confirmed that some parents will receive volunteer hours for attending.
"Meetings that parents can earn volunteer hours include PTO, student advisory committee and monthly parent workshops," she said. "If there are meetings that pertain to our school, and the high school pertains to the growth of our organization, parents will receive volunteer hours for their attendance."
Mitchel Levin, who supports the school, said it could be a boon to the area.
"Don't close your mind to this," he said. "Six-hundred families will be spending their money here."
Barbara Southwick, who serves on the city's education advisory board, was opposed.
"The nature of Ben Gamla will not draw our most financially, educationally and environmentally deprived, which was the original concept of charter schools," she said. "Since schools are paid through your taxes per pupil, our public schools suffer when we fund such a specialized school."
Catherine Kim Owens, who also serves on the board, cited the small percentage of black students at Ben Gamla's Hollywood location.
"Obviously, this is not an inclusive school for all of the community," she said.
Deutsch refuted that categorization.
"We make an effort to recruit [a diverse student body]," he said. "We reach out to political leaders and church leaders. We advertise in Creole and Spanish. We make an effort, but we can't make someone come to our school."
Owens said residents would continue to fight the proposal.
"They told me the Diplomat [hotel expansion proposal] was a done deal, but this community showed those powerful lobbyists and politicians what grassroots movement voters can do," she said. "This Ben Gamla school is another example of a powerful ex-politician and well-heeled friends trying to shoehorn into a tiny area an over-the-top development at the expense of 10- to 50-year residents."