Monday, March 25, 2013

Why I can No Longer Support Julie Cavanagh of MORE for President of the UFT

Checking the comments from a post on the MORE blog, you might see that Unity members are jumping all over Julie Cavanagh, the MORE candidate for UFT president (whom I was supporting), for not  speaking at a UFT Delegate Assembly. This comment, from some dude named Stuart, is a good example of what I'm talking about.
Where’s Julie???
Has Julie been to any of the Delegate Assemblies? I’ve never heard her ask a question or speak for or against a motion to the agenda, or a resolution on the floor.
I’ve heard her MORE Comrades, but never Julie. Why is that?
... Mulgrew speaks to the entire delegation which ... Isn’t Julie a Chapter Leader? If she is then isn’t she at Delegate Assemblies? When was the last time she spoke. We have heard Peter speak, we have heard Gloria, where’s Julie? 
At first I thought "oh, these guys are full of it. How dare they?" But then I started thinking. I haven't seen Julie Cavanagh speaking at a great many places lately. Then I began to wonder myself: Is she really serious about being president of MY union?

So I drove home from Pennsylvania today with this thought in my mind and decided to put this new concern  to the test.

  • I stopped in to get a cup of coffee at the local Quickmart before my trip began. I didn't see Julie Cavanagh anywhere! "Where's Julie?" I wondered.  
  • Along the way, I had to stop in New Jersey to fill up the tank. I said to the gas attendant, "$45 of regular please, and I'd like to speak with Julie Cavanagh". He just sort of  looked at me in a sad way like I was crazy. (And, again, there was no Julie).
  • When I got back to my house, I had to stop at my local Starbucks for some real coffee. I looked high and low in that place for a teacher speaking about teaching and what real education is. Alas, no Julie. 
  • I came home, unpacked and put the luggage in my shed out back. No Julie there. 
  • Ran to the supermarket to pick up some groceries  No Julie at the local Stop N Shop.
  • Then I stopped at he hardware store to pick up a glue gun. No Julie (either in the store OR the parking lot!)

So after careful consideration, and an empirical experiment, I've come to the conclusion that the Unity guys are right: Julie Cavanagh must NOT be serious about being the UFT presidency. Why? because:
  • She's not speaking at a gas station or a Starbucks out on Long Island 
  • Or at a QuickMart out in Pennsylvania 
  • Or at my local hardware store in Suffolk County ....
  • ... Or at a Delegate Assembly in a different universe. 

They're all right, And I can no longer support Julie's bid to become UFT President this year. Sorry, MORE. The Unity guys are just making too much sense. It's just not gonna happen.


Now maybe you may think along the same lines that NYCEducator when he says that her speaking at the DA is of little significance:
it's beyond absurd to maintain that the few minutes Julie Cavanagh may or may not get to speak at the DA is a substitute for debate.  In fact, her opponent presides over the DA. Perhaps some Unity members believe democracy entails your opponent moderating and controlling the debate.
Or what one commenter said on the ICEUFTBlog about exactly how important the Delegate Assemblies are in the first place:
After going to many nonsensical, windy DAs and witnessing not very much happen, ever, I've taken to reading your sharp reports. It takes much less time than driving to Manhattan, and saves me over 20 bucks on parking each month.

I want to thank you, James Eterno, from the bottom of my heart, for attending these things and giving such a clear picture of what happens, so that I don't have to.

Or maybe you're a Julie apologist. Maybe you buy the excuse that the blogger from EdnotesOnline gives for why she's really being attacked by these brave Unity people:
"So after the Unity Caucus slugs turned down a resolution at the UFT delegate assembly calling for a debate between the only 2 presidential candidates ...the slugs started showing up on the ICE blog attacking Julie, who was home with a sick child, for not attending the DA."

Or, like this commenter, John Yanno,  are one of the people who have been helped by Julie:
In 2010, the NYC DOE proposed housing Millennium Brooklyn in the John Jay High School campus where I teach. While Millennium Brooklyn is not a charter school, many of us at the John Jay campus were opposed to the co-location because of the scarce space in the building. There was also the problem of the DOE failing to release promised funds to the school (outrageously, they told us that allowing Millennium Brooklyn in would release those much-needed funds for our crumbling building). I knew Julie from the Grassroots Education Movement (this was way before MORE) and her fight at PS15. After telling her about what was happening at my school, Julie attended a joint parent and teacher meeting at my campus to help explain what would happen next after the proposal and what steps we could take to prepare for the hearing and the PEP. Julie also attended the hearing at my school and spoke powerfully both to the DOE from the microphone but also privately to at least one CEC member about the failure of the DOE to fund the schools at John Jay. Again, this was before there was any MORE, before Julie was running for any office. Julie, a true activist dedicated to education justice, came and said what the UFT leadership didn’t.

Or maybe you believe her earnest attempt to set the record straight on the MORE Blog and published on the ICEUFT blog.

But I just don't buy it.

And I suppose, you may want to talk about the things she's done in the name of protecting education and say that I'm just plain stupid for pulling my support. Sure, I've seen her defending teachers and teaching here and here and here and here (ok, and then there's here and here and here), but so what? I mean, honestly, is that supposed to make up for the fact that she wasn't at the Quickmart in PA when I was ready to listen to her speak?

Because the bottom line is if she's not willing to standing and talk for 35 seconds at a DA, while the president of the union looms over here and speaks for the rest of the session, then she must not ready.

You see, it all makes perfect sense! And that is why I can no longer support MORE's presidential candidate.

1 comment:

  1. You convinced me. In almost 5 weeks of reconstruction going on at my house, she hasn't shown up once to put up sheetrock.