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Monday, December 31, 2012

Following Up on 2012

Over at Friend of our Blog, Seattle Education, Dora Taylor has a great thread about the expose by FireDogLake about Cory Booker and the $100M gift to Newark Public Schools from Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

Apparently the ACLU had to sue Cory "Superman" Booker for release of e-mails between him and Facebook executives.

It started on Oprah.

Facebook founder and Winklevii nemesis Mark Zuckerberg announced a $100 million donation to Newark schools to blunt PR damage from the release of The Social Network help school children. The money would not be going into the struggling city’s budget but would be privately controlled with Newark Mayor Cory Booker providing guidance.

Yes, money used to transform Newark public schools would be administered privately and, until recently, in secret from the people of Newark.

Booker said there were no e-mails.  The story shows that to be a bald-faced lie.  (And the next anonymous person who gets huffy here over anytime we publish public e-mails should remember that it's your tax dollars and we all have a right to know what is going on in government.)

Also:

The city also argued Newark Mayor Cory Booker was not acting in his official capacity as mayor when he accepted Zuckerberg’s pledge on the Oprah Winfrey show. 

Judge Rachel N. Davidson rejected all those arguments, noting for instance that a press release on the City of Newark’s own website touts Booker’s involvement in the donation as mayor and that all of the emails in dispute are maintained by Booker’s executive assistant in Newark City Hall. The judge also noted that Booker’s role as mayor is repeated in statements about the donation that are mentioned on his campaign website, as well as in some of the emails that are being sought.

And the money spent to woo parents and community?

A week before the September 2010 donation was public, Sandberg asked Booker in an email about spending plans for the first 100 days and details of how the mayor planned to obtain support from residents.

Booker wrote: “This is one of our biggest concerns right now as we must be ahead of the game on community organizing by next week.” A mayoral adviser outlined a rough plan to spend $315,000 on efforts such as polling, focus groups, mailing and consultants. The foundation has spent at least $2 million on such efforts since.

Two million to persuade parents and community that Cory Booker and Facebook know what is best for public education in Newark.  

What did I just say in my previous thread about wealthy people and their influence over the course of public education in the U.S.?  And all this while Booker positions himself for higher office?

Yes, attention must be paid.

6 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Where's Jon Stewart when you need him. He needs to get "private citizen" Booker on his show to talk about this!

Violet Borghesi said...

Sounds like a bit of a witch hunt against a strong Mayor that is making a name for himself.

Melissa Westbrook said...

A witch hunt? How is it a witch hunt to want to understand how a $100M gift to public education in Newark is to be spent?

No one is saying he's a bad guy; I think he's a good guy. But this is evidence of someone who is not being straight with voters and taxpayers.

And "Violet" your comment is exactly what I am talking about in terms of people pushing back against public disclosure. Out of sight, out of mind? That makes it very easy for elected official to do what THEY want and not what they are elected to do by voters.

Melissa Westbrook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

If that's a witch hunt, call me Elphaba Thropp (insane cackling sounds)

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