Update: School Board’s Only Black Threatened

BY BUDDY NEVINS

The Broward School Board’s only black could be redistricted out of her seat this week, leaving thousands of African Americans without a neighborhood Board member.

Dr. Rosalind Osgood, who was elected just a month ago,  is a victim of the Board’s Redistricting Committee.

All four of the committee’s recommended districting maps cut Osgood out of her district and leaves the Board’s only majority black district unrepresented by its own district member until the November 2014 elections.

The proposals place Osgood in a white district already represented by member Katie Leach.

Preferring to talk about the effect of the redistricting on the neighborhood rather then herself, Osgood criticized the committee for separating representation of various schools that were working together on programs to improve performance.

“The committee worked really hard,” Osgood said. “Unfortunately, its focus was on the numbers and not on the kids. They weren’t paying attending to what we are trying to do for the future in the district.”

Touching on politics, she said, “I love the people of District 5 and I’m hoping I won’t have to move to continue representing them…I’ve heard from several constituents that they want me to continue.”

The School Board considers the redistricting committee recommendations this week.

Osgood won her District 5 Central Broward seat by a landslide in November – 69.72 to 30.28 percent for Torey Alston.

So she was not in office to help plan the School Board’s botched redistricting process.

First, Board members in 2011 decided they had too much to do to handle redistricting before the 2012 election.

So instead, they appointed a redistricting committee which didn’t meet until 2012.

Then the committee led by Democratic activist Michael Rajner refused to draw its own district maps.  Instead, the group accepted maps from community organizations and others.  It forwarded four of the submitted maps to the School Board.

The committee had roughly 19 meetings.

A $200-an-hour special attorney was hired for the group. The School Board’s had its own attorney also attend some meetings.

School staff, school secretaries and school clerks spent time working for the committee.

For what?

To waste tens of thousands of dollars and push the School Board’s only black out of her seat?

What a colossal waste of time and money!

Rajner should be ashamed to have brushed aside pleas from members Phil Busey and Mary Fertig to move the district lines a few blocks to include Osgood (Since this was before the election, they also wanted to include Alston, who lived just outside the district, too.).

Rajner said at the time that the committee wasn’t supposed to help an incumbent.  He misread the text of the School Board’s guiding redistricting principals (Browardbeat.com’s underlining):

“No apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice; and, shall consist of contiguous territory.”

The committee was clearly disfavoring Osgood and the residents of District 5 when it refused to move the district lines. She hadn’t even won the election, yet.

The School Board now needs to correct the committee’s mistake and give Osgood back her district.

This unnecessary problem is just what I would expect from a committee that was absolutely, 100 percent meaningless.

The School Board itself should have accepted new district maps and testimony from the community.  The School Board should have done its job. That would have saved thousands frittered away on an unnecessary committee.

Then again, this is the School Board we are talking about. What else would you expect from a Board that cried it was too busy to redistrict before the 2012 election?

Just be thankful that redistricting will be over soon.  And the Board will have one less thing to bungle for another 10 years.

 



26 Responses to “Update: School Board’s Only Black Threatened”

  1. Just Say No! says:

    This is a shame…all current members should at least be drawn in their district to begin the process. The bigger point is the committee was full of democrats and it tried to screw a fellow democrat. You gotta love politics

  2. Just Beachy says:

    And here we had high hopes this new era would bring substantial positive changes!

  3. GOPapa says:

    Democrats really shouldn’t chide Republicans about “diversity” until they clean their own stall.

  4. Big Laugh says:

    They are not only screwing Osgood. They are screwing Leach by giving her an opponent.

  5. ted says:

    Didn’t we hear just the opposite screaming when the county redistricting moved their lines a little to put Martin Kiar into his district.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  6. School Board Watcher says:

    We didn’t have any of these problems til Abby Friedman was elected. Is she behind this too. We will not allow Abby to start screwing over any more people. She runs around the building like a tyrant already.

  7. Wayne Arnold says:

    Mr. Nevins, you are absolutely correct.

  8. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Just when you think you’ve heard it all.

    I forgot. This is Broweird.

  9. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> We didn’t have any of these problems til Abby Friedman was elected

    Let’s work the math, shall we?

    The election was about a month ago.

    The redistricting maps have been worked out through a series of 19 meetings.

    Are we to infer they’ve had 19 meetings in the last month?

    Busy little beavers.

    Speaking of beavers with too much time on their hands, should you be out teaching tennis, or something?

  10. What? says:

    Michael Rajner? Chair of the committee? Nothing about that effort can possibly end up well.

  11. Father Knows Best says:

    I am sorry but this story must be missing some information and facts. Mr Rajner is an activist and a good one. What does he usually spend his days fighting for? Equality. Yes, equality. Do you really feel that he would let his Committee cut out an African American school board member from her district? I see him fighting for this NOT to happen, there must be a good reason it happened. He wouldn’t purposely make a decision like this without a good reason. Something is missing here? Get the facts straight Buddy, I think you need to investigate this a little more. Have you contacted Mr Rajner?

  12. Open Question to Mr.Rajner says:

    Mr Rajner

    Is it true that as of the first meeting or shortly thereafter you had moved out of Nora Ruppert’s District which would have rednered you ineligible to sit on the Committee and be Chair? Is it true only upon discovery by third parties and not by your own admission that was later swept under the rug when Runcie switched you to his appointment from being Ruppert;s?

    Mr. Rajner if you cant follow the rules, how can you expect others to respect the Committee and its objectives?

  13. Who is Rajner says:

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-emanuel-rajner/6/66/125

    It appears that this guy has no real job outside of appointments to volunteer boards. The School Board needs to review who gets to serve on this board. This guy has no children in the system, does not own a home so he pays no taxes towards the school system. Why does who is not a stakeholder in the system have such power?

    This is the same guy who publically railed against Mayor Jack Seiler because he chose to keep his promise to attend her Indian Princess event out of the area instead of attending PrideFest.

    It is sad that someone who is not a stakeholder in the system and obviously has no appreciation for family holds such a place of influence over the familes of the Broward School District.

  14. Gimme a break says:

    Saw this from Rajner about the DEC elections. Lots of hot air from such a true DEM who will be putting forth 4 maps tomorrow that disenfranchise black voters from Dr. Osgood’s District. How can this guy keep his bullshit straight. Read the last sentence, it sums up how full of crap this guy is compared to what he is pushing as Chair of the Redistricting Committee.

    “Michael Emanuel Rajner posted to Wanda Francis
    Sunday, December 9 at 8:13pm
    Wanda, you did a wonderful job today and I’m sorry that a fringe element in our party doubted your ability without having the slightest understanding of your commitment and leadership.

    I do NOT agree, however, that I have been “sniping in a non-constructive manner,” even if others may insist that I have- and Sean’s comment got “likes” on it from Ethan and from John. It is exasperating to see some individuals continually holding cards close to the vest, wearing white gloves and playing politics all the time about everything. I personally prefer to know precisely where anybody stands, and I think that anyone should be able to engage in discussions about the political reputations of others that have been demonstrated for dozens of years.

    Certainly we can choose not to vote for a candidate because of whatever has been said, but to assert or to imply that we should say nothing about what’s been said is actually unhelpful. It’s not WHAT people say, because I’m very forgiving of people being misunderstood or letting their passions get to them for a moment here and there. It’s what MOTIVATES them to say what they’ve said.

    I object vociferously to Mitch Ceasar and his minions continually asserting that those who disagree with anything or who EXPECT A CHOICE in an election are only fostering unnecessary dissension and not falling in line.

    Belonging to a political party does NOT mean unity on everything all the time. Once a vote is taken and the majority has won, we should proceed with unity, but an election and efforts to provide choices in direction are not disloyal nor divisive efforts. It’s all part of democracy. Personally, I feel pretty certain that’s what Diane Glasser has been objecting to.

    Surely, we will move on, but I don’t agree that anybody can say anything and we should just ignore it. We should always be attuned to recognizing when the democratic process is being engendered and when it is being subdued or subverted.”

  15. What? says:

    You can’t blame Rajner for wanting to create a school board district in which a gay candidate had a better chance to win than a black one. Many pull for their own group. But that is precisely why “advocates” should not be put on committees. They lack the required objectivity. By definition. That’s what makes them advocates. Horrible choice leads to predictable results.

  16. LHP Resident says:

    I am very troubled that my School Board Member Nora Ruppert would appoint someone of such flawed character to such an important Committee. Worse, it appears she tried to cover up the fact this person did not meet the residency requirements for the Committee and in typical School Board fashion Ruppert switched her pick to Runice to cover it up. Seems like a reward for rule breaking to me. This is not what I teach my kids and we need our School Board Members to lead by example. I hear Ruppert is making sure her pal Rajner is making sure LHP is out of her District, what are you afraid of Nora?

  17. Kevin says:

    Buddy,

    is the district still majority black at approximately the same percentage that it was before? If so, there’s no legal problem with it.

    Obviously there are politics going on here, but I can’t imagine a Section 2 Voting Rights Act lawsuit would succeed here.

  18. To Kevin says:

    Illegality is not the issue. District 5 is a Community of Interest with feeder patterns that have been worked out for years. It is not illegal to divide them. It is wrong.

  19. Broward lover says:

    Re: 9th paragraph, who’s Oswald?

    FROM BUDDY:

    I must have been thinking of the Texas Book Depository or grassy knoll or maybe David Ferrie and Clay Shaw.

  20. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    John Sims Survivalist Nut job

    Therefore a keen interest is preparing my home to survive in for a length of time. I am particularly interested in the pro’s & con’s of staying put or bugging out, the logistics and the methods that really work…

    http://www.meetup.com/Southfloridapreppers/members/14834621/

  21. Michael Waaaaaa Rajner says:

    Oh poor Mike Rajner thinks Buddy is a big meanie.

    See Michael here is how it works. Just as you have the right to run around the wilton manors polling place outing Sen. Bogdanoff’s son. Buddy has the same right to express his opinion as to the Committee you Chair. FYI it is called the right to free speech.

  22. getagrip says:

    When this process started there were six candidates for district five. One did not qualify. The final School Board Member was not decided until the redistricting process was almost at a conclusion. So were maps to be made for all six candidates, just in case? Just a question.

  23. LifesABeach says:

    Everyone had the ability to submit their own plan for redistricting. Rajner, as chair of the committee, is not allowed to voice his own opinion. He ran the committee the only way he is legally allowed. If you don’t like the outcome, blame yourselves for not getting involved during the months of hearings that Rajner held looking for input. I attended one of these meetings and only a handful of people showed. It’s easy to complain and cry foul when you ignore the process.

  24. Sound of Silence says:

    Interesting that Rajner referenced many of the comments on this blog but still will not come clean about the fact that he never stated his change of residence to remain as Chair and Runice had to make him a county wide appointment.

    Sorry, if one cannot play by the rules they should not be trusted with such an important position.

    Any response Rajner?

  25. Andrew Markoff says:

    The comment by Rajner to Wanda Francis was only one paragraph. All of the rest of the paragraphs were from my own comment. I had pasted in Rajner’s comment to Wanda Francis to demonstrate that he had congratulated her for her efforts while referring to Busch’s supporters as a “fringe element.” The rest of what is pasted in Gimme a Break’s comment here are my own words, not Rajner’s.

  26. Andrew Markoff says:

    Buddy-

    Please delete comment 15, or at the very least please delete all the commentary under:

    “Michael Emanuel Rajner posted to Wanda Francis
    Sunday, December 9 at 8:13pm
    Wanda, you did a wonderful job today and I’m sorry that a fringe element in our party doubted your ability without having the slightest understanding of your commitment and leadership.”

    None of the rest of what is posted there was written by Micheal Rajner. All of the rest of that had been written by me on another subject, but whomever had posted that here has assumed that Michael Rajner wrote that.

    FROM BUDDY: Can’t do that. Contact me at Browardbeat@hotmail.com for details.

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