Free Speech Prevails At School Board…For Now

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Free speech remains alive and well at the School Board…for now.

An attempt to get an Internet blogger tossed off a School Board committee for his views failed last week.

The hero of this story is School Board member Katie Leach, who reappointed web scribe Tom Lauder to the Diversity Committee despite pressure to dump him.

The problem for some is that Lauder founded RedBroward.com. That’s a website that frequently attacks Democratic dogma and candidates.

Subtleties are not Lauder’s strong suit when writing for RedBroward.  He tends to be all sharp elbows and pyrotechnic prose.

A 43-yer-old Florida State University poly sci major with a University of Miami law degree, Lauder has mostly moved on to Florida.MediaTracker.org, which pays him. But it is RedBroward that has stuck in the craw of some. These Lauder haters have been quietly trying to pressure Leach, a Republican, to remove Lauder.

At one point earlier this month, recently-elected Democratic member Abby Freedman joined the move against Lauder.  Then Freedman met with Lauder and found he was not a monster.  She found he was a pretty reasonable guy.

She backed away from trying to block his appointment so it was routinely approved.

Despite that,  the pressure on Freedman continues:

 

Dear Abby Freedman:

 It ‘s a shame that School Board Member Katie Leach continues to retain an appointment of hers that harasses and bullies others.  She equates “bullying” with diversity….

Diversity committee appointee Tom Lauder is continually bullying many people each day on his website and Facebook page,  RedBroward.  It’s usually the same people he incessantly bullies.

For months it was even you.

Listen,  I don’t mind if he writes a news article discussing issues that affects us, even disagrees with people politically, but what he does is so much worse;  It is bullying and harassment, and many of us have witnessed him in action.

The sad thing is….Katie Leach seems to think that this makes him a diverse representative of the Broward County diversity committee!

I hope that you can address this issue again, while I understand for whatever political reasons she may have appointed him are hers, this does not reflect well on her as a representative as a School Board member in District 3.

Surprisingly enough, this message came from the author of a Broward website that also dabbles in politics!  This is a woman, who will remain unnamed, makes money because of free speech.

Whether Freedman and the rest of the School Board can continue to stand up to the pressure is anybody’s guess.  After all, this is the School Board.  It has a history of buckling to the squeakiest wheels.

We can only hope this new School Board will be different.

All this fear of Lauder’s negative influence on the Diversity Committee is misplaced.

The committee is far from political. It was formed as part of a federal court settlement.  It is responsible for monitoring the availability to all students of the best text books, modern media centers, up-to-date facilities. They also see if there is discrimination in student assignments and disciplinary actions.

Not a lot of partisan politics in that.

Just ask Lauder:

“I don’t think there is any room for Republican versus Democrat, on the Diversity Committee.  It is not a partisan issue.”

And that statement should end the debate about Lauder’s appointment.

But will it?



14 Responses to “Free Speech Prevails At School Board…For Now”

  1. DeeDee says:

    Nevins, you always were a flunky for the Republicans. Lauder is a evil person who lies and distorts the truth. I dare you to print that.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> Lauder has mostly moved on to Florida.MediaTracker.org, which pays him.

    According to some court records, Lauder was recently tossed from his house.

    Seems that his paid opinions aren’t really bringing in the big bucks.

  3. Jeanne says:

    I have not found him to be a disruptive influence on the Diversity Committee.

  4. Sam The Sham says:

    Gee, I hope the subtle pressure that Katie Leach is getting is not coming from other Skool Bored members because that would be illegal, out of the sunshine activity. Surely the Dems would not do that, right?

    Buddy, the correspondence that Abby Freedman received is a public record because it is addressed to her and discusses public business. You should publish this person’s name.

    FROM BUDDY:

    I know its a public record. I’m being a nice guy because the author of the e-mail requested I leave her name out of the story.

  5. If I had to speculate says:

    That email reminds me of a blind item I read on Sharon Aron Baron’s Tamarac Talk over the summer.

    http://tamaractalk.com/broward-blind-items-bet-youll-never-guess-who-they-are-2-6760

    “Sources tell me that school board member Stacy Teachy has appointed Timmy Loudmouth to the Diversity Committee as her representative. Stacy, aren’t you supposed to do a bit of a background check to make sure these appointees are….well….. tolerant of others? Seems as though Loudmouth is a blog writer who makes his living cyber-bullying women in political office. The Diversity Committee promotes and encourages respect for ethnic and cultural diversity. I don’t believe for one minute that Stacy Teachy would knowingly appoint a hater and berater who not only stalks political women at meetings, but does awful things online by photo-chopping their faces. If this is true, I would be seeing RED if I were in her Broward District!”

  6. Broward Dem says:

    YGTBFKM.
    Tom Lauder is a miscreant troll who publishes slander and lies in lame political tilts at windmills. He is a professional hack. To put him on a board that chooses votes on textbooks or diversity issues is a joke considering right wing viewpoints on both of these issues.
    Happy to troll his blog and point out some of his more unsavory posts that would discredit him from this position, but don’t want to give him the rush of a webhit. Why don’t you do your own homework.
    Katie Leach should be ashamed of appointing such an ass.

  7. Yo Chaz says:

    Cmon Chaz the guy had a landlord tenant dispute 2 years ago. Didnt you have a little court thing a while back that you said was overblown.

    Interesting that you would be against Lauder on this. Whether you agree with his views or not, dont you do the same thing? Blog on issues you wish to discuss? I am sure if you were appointed to a civic board there would be uproar about it but it wouldnt be fair to keep you off either.

    By the way did you friend Abby invite you to lunch yet or does she only show respect to Red Broward.

  8. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    As mentioned, Abby is free to take me to lunch.

    She just needs to travel to N. Cali.

    ***

    I am a corruption fighter… There’s really only two of us in S. Florida.

    Fane Lozman and myself.

    When you, or Chunky Monkey gets a CV like mine, Fane and I will take YOU out to lunch.

    * 2010 New Times Activist of the Year
    * 2010 The Chaz
    * 2012 Florida First Amendment Foundation Brigade

    Press and Media:

    * May 2012: Boca Magazine “Faces”
    * June 2012: Tampa Bay Times – The Buzz
    * June 2012: National Journal – Hotline On Call
    * June 2012: Roll Call – Heard on the Hill
    * June 2012: Naples News
    * June 2012: Tampa Bay Times – The Buzz
    * June 2012: SaintPetersBlog – Sunburn

    TV Coverage:

    * June 2012: NBC-2 Fort Myers
    * June 2012: ABC-7 Fort Myers
    * June 2012: CBS12 West Palm Beach

    Politicians:

    * Arrests: 3
    * Removed from office: 3
    * Convicted: 2
    * Pending trial: 1
    * Pending appeal: 2
    * Facing jail time: 1

    Investigations:

    * US Department of Justice OIG: 1
    * US Department Housing and Urban Development OIG: 2
    * US Department Housing and Urban Development: 1
    * Federal Election Commission: 1
    * Florida Department of Law Enforcement: 1
    * Broward County SAO: lots and lots
    * Broward County OIG: 1
    * Palm Beach County SAO: n (?)
    * Palm Beach County OIG: n (?)
    * Florida Commission on Ethics: 2
    * Florida Bar: 1

    Legal:

    * Cease and desist letters received: 7
    * Number of times we’ve told them to “eat me”: 7
    * Sued: 1
    * Lawsuits that lasted more than three business hours: 0
    * Threatened to be sued: lost count

  9. Ignorance is bliss says:

    “To put him on a board that chooses votes on textbooks or diversity issues is a joke considering right wing viewpoints on both of these issues.”

    Has everyone lost sight of the fact that we are talking about membership on the DIVERSITY Committee. The point is creating an enviorment where opposing points of view do not have to be liked but at least respect be shown to a person for having a differing point of view.

    There are over 20 members of this Committee. I see one member commented here that Lauder has been a good member. Anyone else on the Committee had anything negative to say?

    I dont like the fact that the Chair of Redistricting Committee, Michael Rajner, was outing Ellyn Bogdanoff’s son at the Wilton Manors polling place, but I respect his right to freedom of speech and expression. While his actions were crass, it would never cross my mind to think he should be removed for a Committee for his actions.

    If someone wanted to put Bob Norman on the Diversity Committee would he be excluded because he called out Stacy Ritter for years?

    The problem is the same one that has been that has been around since the inception of the Constitution, if it becomes accepted to exclude one group or person the door is then opened to go further, further and further.

    If Ms. Baron did send the email, a public record, then asked Buddy to not divulge her name, she is nothing more than a COWARD and a BULLY herself.

    If one is going to call someone out and ask for their removal from a Committee, she should not try and hide her identity.

  10. John Fusaro says:

    It is Funny that people calling for the release of names off of letters do not use their real name when posting here!

  11. Ignorance is bliss says:

    Quite the opposite, what is funny is a “journalist” pens an open letter in her own name to the schoolboard which is open to the public for viewing then when called on it begs to hide in the shadows. Coward.

    I did not sign an open letter to the School Board in my own name and then try to become anonymous. I wrote on this blog which gives me the choice to remain anonymous. That is the difference between her and I… I may be a phoney for not writing my name but I am not a hypocrite and a coward.

  12. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Ignorance is a blissful pussy

    >> I [write] on this blog [anonymously]. I am not a coward.

    Really? Ha…

    Yeah, you go with that.

  13. christine says:

    @#7 Yo Chaz,

    “I am sure if you were appointed to a civic board there would be uproar about it but it wouldnt be fair to keep you off either”

    Actually Mayor Peggy did in fact appoint said individual to DBHA. That didn’t last too long.

  14. Fort Myers SEO says:

    Wish politics stayed out of Education…

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