Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Billionaires Love Yang and Adams---Stringer? Not So Much

First, candidates Yang and Adams ought not to be ranked at all on your ballot. They're funded by super PACS that hate us and everything we stand for. They're huge supporters of charter schools. In case you aren't clear about what they represent, the fact is charters became a big thing after vouchers failed in public elections nationwide. They became the next best thing in the march to weaken and/ or obliterate public education.

Those who support charters shed crocodile tears for the poor children who attend public schools. However, when you read about where their kids go, it's usually to elite private schools that would be unaffordable to regular folk even with vouchers. Our problem is a system in which the uber-rich can self-segregate and then ignore public schools. Does anyone seriously believe public schools would look the way they do if Mike Bloomberg's kid had to attend?

Let's take a look at the sort of people who back Yang and Adams:

Kenneth Griffin, a hedge fund manager mostly based in Chicago, stunned the city with his 2019 purchase of a $240 million Manhattan penthouse — still the most expensive home ever bought in the five boroughs.

He’s joined in backing the Adams and Yang independent expenditure groups by investor and charter school backer Daniel Loeb, who gave half a million dollars to each. Loeb has gained local notoriety for racially charged public statements.

Just regular folk, huh? Regular folk who live in places you or I can barely imagine, regular folk who make "racially charged public statements" and still continue to buy politicians who support their pet causes. And hey, maybe you think charter schools are okay, and you think the uber-wealthy aren't buying elections to encourage their proliferation and undermine public schools and union. You're wrong, of course, but if that ain't enough for you, the fact is candidate Yang actively supports vouchers

Sure, he's got a different and more trendy name for them. But hey, he'll give out cards, and people will be able to buy their way into schools Rudy Giuliani's kids wouldn't attend on a bet. Where will that money come from? Of course it will come from money that could go into public schools. New private schools will spring up, a product of the eternal quest to Make More Money. And public schools, already overcrowded and neglected, will suffer. 

Not only that, but the teachers in these private schools will be non-union and work under inferior conditions, just as charter school teachers do now. They will not get tenure, they will not last, and will become gig workers, just as intended. 

Make no mistake, despite all the nonsense about being "for the children," our children will grow up with fewer opportunities to get middle class jobs. I say that as a teacher who's watched students become teachers, who's watched them be the first in their family to go to college, and the first in their family to not need to work 200 hours a week to support themselves.

I support Scott Stringer. Yes, I know. He's been accused by one person of inappropriate behavior, at precisely the time when the billionaires were trying to take back City Hall. Oddly, the most viable candidate standing against them is tarred by a scandal. What a coincidence. And who would've thunk it,he's accused by a Yang supporter. (Now I understand, just because Yang himself goes out in public and tells outrageous lies about us doesn't mean all his supporters do too.)

I'd also consider the fact that there is one single, solitary unsubstantiated accusation against Stringer. These accusations usually follow a pattern, as does the pathological behavior that causes them. It wasn't a single accusation against Trump or Cuomo. I don't trust the gazillionaires who bankroll Yang and Adams as far as I can throw them. There's also contradictory evidence against Stringer's accuser. 

I remember, when Bloomberg controlled the PEP, our fake school board totally manipulated by the mayor, that Stringer put up Patrick J. Sullivan to rep Manhattan. I went to multiple meetings and watched Patrick speak truth to Bloomberg, even though he was invariably outvoted by Bloomberg's goons. Stringer has been our friend through thick and thin. We ought not to toss him away and throw him to the dogs. 

We lost Al Franken for no good reason. Until and unless there's good reason, let's not lose Stringer too. There are great reasons why the billionaires conspire against him, and many of them have to do with the health and welfare of ordinary people and public education, both of which, despite their words, they oppose absolutely. 

Ted Cruz and Stephen Miller are backing Yang too, and what they stand for is pretty clear. Let's stand firmly against them, and elect someone who will stand with us and fight for us. History, and a long career, says that's Scott Stringer, and we need to take positive lessons from history.

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