Fields’ Random Thoughts: Wisconsin, the School Superintendent and West Side Story

Guest Columnist


Among the guarantees of the First Amendment is “..the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

There is nothing in the Constitution or the Federalist Papers that says this right does not apply to government workers who want to join together to bitch about their pay and work conditions–a.k.a. collective bargaining.

Beginning with Wisconsin, that right is now under attack in a number of states.

It will be interesting to see if the same “strict constructionist majority of the Supreme Court–which, based on the First Amendment overturned a 100-year-old law prohibiting corporate political contributions–will protect the “One A rights of public employees.


I will not defend the misconduct of the Broward School Board.

Nevertheless, I am dumfounded to think there is any merit to the Grand Jury’s Number 12 idea to let the voters make the Superintendent of Schools elective.

Apparently the Grand Jurors think it’s a swell idea to set up a system where the top dog in education doesn’t even need a G.E.D.

I suspect they also think the best way to keep him honest is to have him spend his time soliciting campaign contributions from everyone–including whose who do business with the school system.

I can’t imagine how this idea can have any downside.


Mentally divide the country into families above and below $100,000.

Then ask these folks their solutions for the deficit problem.

* Folks earning under 100K-a-year will point to higher taxes for the rich, ending things like the wars, corporate subsidies and ferreting out the Wall Street fat cats who cheat on their taxes.

* Folks earning over 100k-a-year will point to welfare, foreign aid, wasteful government spending, Social Security and Medicare.

The only thing certain is that no one thinks that the solution to our deficit requires their side to sacrifice anything.


If you ever thought the Pentagon gives a shit out your money forget about it.  Using it’s muscle, Pentagon lobbyists convinced the House to reject a cost saving amendment that would have ended U.S. Army sponsorship of NASCAR.

Currently taxpayers spend upwards of $10,000,000 a year to have U.S.Army printed on the hood of  Ryan Newman’s car and other NASCAR related activities.

I guess those Teabaggers have to draw the line somewhere and messing with their NASCAR is just going to far.


On Sunday, my main squeeze took me to the Broward Performing Arts Center for my birthday–66 if you must know.

It was the road show of the Broadway revival of West Side Story and it was great.  Notwithstanding that I am straight, I know all the songs to this play and a dozen other Broadway shows.

What was a bit of a surprise was that The Sharks, the Puerto Rican gang, mostly spoke in Spanish and not English.

That was not part of the original show or the movie.  And West Side Story not a German or Italian opera. This was some sort of political correctness. Fortunately I was familiar enough with the play so I knew what they were saying.

Gratefully it was not A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  My Latin is even weaker than my Spanish.



What Sam obviously doesn’t realize is that the Fort Lauderdale production of West Side Story is the road show of the 2009 Broadway revival. It is not a road show from the original West Side Story production, although obviously the book and songs are the same.

A lot has changed in society since the 1950s, when a theater and movie audience wouldn’t have tolerated Spanish being spoken.

The use of Spanish has nothing to do with political correctness.  Producers had to figure out a way to pull an audience in to an old play that everybody had seen already.  Spanish was a way of offering the audiences a different experience, refreshing the play and giving folks a new reason to buy tickets. Theater is, above all, a business!

Spanish was also used to create more authenticity for the role of the Sharks.  After all, the Sharks would have spoken Spanish to each other in real life.

The New York Times said the use of Spanish “underscores the sense of cultural estrangement” which is part of the plot.  The Times, however, said the use of Spanish in the songs was not necessary because music transcends any particular language.

Perhaps the producers should have put a screen with subtitles above the stage, so that the non-Spanish speaking audience could understand the dialogue.  This device is used in the opera.

8 Responses to “Fields’ Random Thoughts: Wisconsin, the School Superintendent and West Side Story”

  1. But Buddy says:

    I believe that the revival on Broadway had more Spanish, but they had to change it back to English because of complaints from many theater-goers who wanted to see the show they grew up with and loved.

    And sorry for the pun by using the name “But Buddy” on a post about Broadway shows.

  2. Another resident says:

    You are wrong in your vast assumptions of how people would solve the deficit based on income.

    I do not make $100,000 a year.

    I know that Gates, Jobs, Walton etc. have certainly provided a lot more jobs to our country than I have. I know that if we tax their corporations too highly they will simply move to Bermuda or built the next factory in China.

    If solving the deficit were left to me…. tomorrow no one would get welfare or food stamps; foreign aid to EVERY foreign country would cease; people would be given the choice whether to opt in/out of social security and people too young to collect at the moment would have the additional option of a lump sum payment to relinquish future benefits.

    Whether you make $1 or $1 million I expect you to pay your fair share. So tomorrow I will abolish the IRS and start a national sales tax excluding food and meds. The millionaire will buy his Rolls, I’ll buy my used Kia, but we both will pay tax equivalent to our ability.

  3. Kevin says:

    The other thing abut electing county school superintendents….. due to a quirk in the state constitution, School Boards are elected in non-partisan elections, and supers are elected in partisan ones! So if we had an elected super in Broward, chances are it would be some recycled Democratic pol.


  4. SAM FIELDS says:

    In the futures please don’t write about “The Sharks” its “Los Tiborones”

  5. Floridan says:

    @Another Resident: As someone making more than $100K, thank you for looking out for me and other people better off than you.

    It’s always gratifying to see someone go against their own interests.

  6. S.O.B. says:

    agree with Kevin, the Super would be a lifetime position without a removal mechanism, appointed , the Board could, yes, could remove them for cause or ??? lousy idea to elect a chief operating officer of a local public corporation, with the politics involved and the $$$ to be collected, and lobbists it would take

  7. Mister Courthouse says:

    What no attacks on religion?
    You are a sad individual who needs to pontificate on every subject. Don’t you have a life? “Main squeeze.” What a joke, likeeverybody thinks at the courthouse.
    Take a rest, Sam.

  8. Kevin says:

    Yeah, actually most counties in Florida DO have elected (partisan) School Superintendents. But none of the larger counties do except for (I think) Escambia — Pensacola.

    Can you imagine who would be elected Super in a huge one party county like Broward….. I’m thinking it would be some recycled state senator or County Commissioner or — even worse — former school board member.