Governor Cuomo uttered the words "public school monopoly" to the Daily News editorial board. This is an extremist statement, and I usually hear it from fanatical ideologues who care little or nothing about how important public education is. The thing these people have in common is a desire to dismantle it.
Of course, monopoly applies to businesses, not public services. You will never hear Scott Walker complain about a police monopoly because when the people rise up against him with torches and pitchforks he depends on the police to protect him. That's why, when a demagogue like Walker eviscerates collective bargaining and union for teachers, he leaves it in place for police. After all, if you're Scott Walker, you don't want some disgruntled police officer to say, oops, I'm sorry governor that the peasants have climbed over the fence and dragged you to justice.
AFT President Randi Weingarten dismisses it as campaign rhetoric, and has apparently taken the extreme step of responding with a strongly worded letter. Actually, we have no idea whether it's really strongly worded since the letter is not public. Nonetheless, a letter was written, a stamp was affixed to it, and an official government representative is likely dispatching it to our esteemed governor even as we speak.
Rob Astorino, Triborough Amendment opponent, supporter of vouchers and tax incentives that would weaken if not erase public education, opponent of abortion and marriage rights, saw fit to write a hollow and insincere letter saying he supported teachers. After all, as I frequently hear from Astorino supporters, his wife is a teacher. That's like saying Cuomo is sincere in his women's party line because his mother is a woman. In fact, if you want to go all the way on that, his ex-wife is a woman, and his girlfriend Sandra Lee is a woman too (even though she cooks things that women and other humans ought not to eat).
Astorino supporters I know offer vague anecdotes. Rob is a swell guy, they say. He would never do bad things. Even though he writes about dismantling protections and benefits for public employees, he probably doesn't mean it. Hey, people can change, and I don't need any stinking evidence they have. And just because Scott Walker does fundraisers for Rob doesn't mean they have anything in common. So what if Rob thinks Andrew Cuomo's crippling tax cap doesn't go far enough? For all we know he doesn't even mean it. After all, politicians lie all the time.
Randi appears to take a similar message from Cuomo's you can all go to hell sentiment. She says it's campaign rhetoric. When Cuomo says he knows teachers don't like being judged by junk science but he's going to make things even worse it's probably just loose talk. So what if he takes suitcases from cash from DFER and eviscerates mayoral control by more or less giving carte blanche to Eva Moskowitz? So what if he not only participates in but also helps initiate Eva's Albany demonstration?
Randi is absolutely right when she says Astorino is a poor alternative. But it's clear she will not use the same terms to condemn Cuomo. It's also a very good bet Cuomo will win a second term. After all, our union leadership pretty much made sure the most effective challenger who was not insane, Zephyr Teachout, did not win the Working Families line.
Randi says NYSUT will go after Cuomo if he follows through. That's fine, but the time for NYSUT to go after Cuomo was at the Working Families Convention. Unfortunately NYSUT is entirely a subsidiary of the loyalty-oath-loving UFT Unity Caucus and would not dream of opposing Cuomo without their OK, even though Revive NYSUT explicitly promised they opposed him when campaigning.
So here's my open request to Randi Weingarten. Let's stop kowtowing to faux-Democrats who are bought and paid for by our enemies. Cuomo ran for his first term by saying he'd go after unions. That was when I decided, for the very first time, to vote Green. After all, who needs a Democrat who will go after unions? Isn't that what Republicans are for?
I will not vote for any more anti-public education candidates again, ever. Sorry Andy. Sorry, second-term Barack. And if Hillary spouts such bilge, then a pox on her house too. Let's stop pretending these people are our friends. In fact, let's work to see them unemployed as fervently as they work to see us unemployed.
I'm voting for public education supporter Howie Hawkins for Governor on Tuesday. I urge you to join me. And Randi, if you still vote in New York, I urge you to join me too.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.