Political Tidbits: School Board Edition


One School Board candidate wants nothing to do with veteran political consultant and lobbyist Barbara Miller.

Shelly Solomon Heller considered using Miller to manage her campaign. 

She decided against it after advice from several School Board activists.

“Barbara is radioactive, said one activist, who talked to Heller. 

When Heller broke the news to Miller, the two had “words, according to several sources.

Heller would only say: “I’m not using Barbara Miller.

Heller, who is running for outgoing Stephanie Kraft‘s northwest Broward seat, made a smart move.

Miller is a registered lobbyist at the School Board.  The influence of lobbyists — in particular Miller and her sometimes partner Neil Sterling, who do much of the lobbying at the Board — are under fire.

There are federal investigations swirling around the actions of lobbyists at the Board, according to numerous printed reports.

There are even suggestions to the School Board ethics commission that lobbyists be forbidden from acting as campaign managers for School Board campaigns. 

To use Miller would have just handed an issue to Heller’s opponents.


Jen Gottlieb is giving political donors a break.


Although running for re-election, the Broward School Board chair hasn’t asked for campaign contributions in six months.  Her last contribution was June 23, 2009.

“I don’t have an opponent so in these economic times I’m not soliciting money.  People are having a hard enough time, Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said she had a “good base of campaign money — $25,758 — before she stopped accepting donations.  The money was collected from Feb. 5 to June 23, 2009.

“If I get an opponent, I’ll start (collecting) money right away, she said.


My favorite idea given to the Broward Schools ethics panel comes from Roland Foulkes. 

Foulkes made public comments a few years ago that were homophobic, hurtful and just downright wrong.  That doesn’t make the idea that he floated at a recent meeting of the School’s ethics panel any less valid.  

Foulkes, a long-time member of the school and county diversity committee, wants to require the School Board to put the picture of every lobbyist on their website. He also wants lobbyists to list their fees for their school board work.

“Then we would know who they are, Foulkes said.

Right you are, Mr. Foulkes.

Today lobbyists add millions to the cost of School Board purchases.  By revealing their fees, taxpayers would know how much they are paying in the “lobbying tax.

Foulkes gallery of pictures would be great. If you have to have a photo ID for driving a car and entering most hospitals, why not for lobbying at the School Board?

Today lobbyists lurk in the corridors of the School Board building. Most don’t know who they are or why they are there.

By publishing the pictures on the Internet, we could see who these lobbyists are.  We would know what they look like before their police mug shots appear in the paper.


“Commission on Education Excellence Through Integrity, Public Ethics and Transparency.”  Wants your ideas on how to fix the School Board.  You can be anonymous.

Go to their website and put in your two cents.

24 Responses to “Political Tidbits: School Board Edition”

  1. Right Wing Reactionary says:

    Roland Foulkes. Could this be the very same Roland Foulkes who characterized gays as “disease carriers” at a Diversity Committee hearing during the Sponge Bob affair? The same Roland Foulkes attached at the hip with Joe Eggletion? This guy gives advice that you like?

    FROM BUDDY: Whatever he allegedly did doesn’t change the validity of his idea. The idea was lauded by many in the audience at the public hearing of the school ethics commission.

  2. Out with the old says:

    Isn’t Barbara Miller the campaign manager for Sue Gunzburger? Isn’t there rampant corruption and waste on the county comission? Yet another reason to vote Sue Gunzburger out of office.

  3. Out with the old says:

    And isn’t Barbara Miller the campaign manager for Jennifer Gottlieb? And who is Phyllis Hope’s campaign manager? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Hate Homophobia says:


    I am a fan, but Roland Folkes is a homophobe. He compared gays to the Manson cult and slandered Wilton manors because of its gay citizens. This guy is bad news. You should know better.

    FROM BUDDY: I never said I liked Roland Foulkes. I don’t even know him. I surely don’t approve of any homophobic comments and never have.

    Because of you and several other e-mailed comments, I have added to my post that Foulkes made hurtful homophobic comments.

    That does not mean his idea is bad about requiring pictures of lobbyists on the School Board website or requiring them to reveal their fees. And they were widely accepted by the members of the audience at the ethics meeting.

    You should direct your anger at School Board Member Ben Williams, who appointed Foulkes to the diversity committee and stood by him after his comments. Remember that at election time.

  5. Educator says:

    If Out With the Old is right, Phyliss Hope and Jennifer Gottlieb have no business being reelected. Using the chief lobbyist for the school board as their campaign manager means that every decision they make can be questioned.
    Here is a list of Miller’s clients right from the school board website: Riverdeep-The Learning Company; Recreational Design & Construction;Klewin Construction;
    Zyscovich, Inc.; Weiss & Woolrich
    Vista Health Care.

    Gottlieb and Hope should be ashamed.

  6. Right Wing Reactionary says:

    Next question – Buddy, do you know for a fact that Miller is being circled by the FBI or is this only guilt by association with Sterling?

  7. joker says:

    Who the Hell cares what Folkes wants, he has NO voice after his commits about the gay’s what a BIGOT!!!!!!!!!! LOSSER
    Not just the gay remarks just check him out, more to come

  8. Symptoms Not Causes says:

    You will never get rid of lobbyists in any free democracy and there is no need to even try. This ongoing issue with lobbyists makes for great copy but there is no substance. Lobbyists have a job to do for their clients. Elected office holders have a job to do for their residents.

    Lobbyists cannot force officials to vote in any particular way. It is the official that votes of their own accord. All that lobbyists do is pressure officials to vote in a certain way. And they use campaign contributions to apply that pressure. Those of you that haven’t figured this out yet are not paying attention. Campaign finance is the mother’s milk of politics. It is a root cause, not a symptom of what plagues our system.

    It is not that we should be fans of lobbyists. It is simply a matter of not wasting time on things that cannot be changed. Let’s instead concentrate on where change for the better is possible. Again, you cannot get rid of lobbyists in a free society. But you can govern campaign finance rules.

    Broward residents that want more honest government need to start caring about campaign finance.

    We can publicly finance campaigns and take lobbyists out of the campaign financing business altogether. That would free weak public officials from their self-imposed servitude to lobbyists. It would greatly eliminate unspoken forms of quid pro quo between official and lobbyist.

    Under this system each resident puts up a few bucks per person every year. It goes into a fund that is only distributed to candidates that present enough signatures to show that residents are actually interested in electing them. Officials won’t like this because it requires WORK on their part but residents should like it because it offers them much greater accountability from office holders.


    No more lobbyists raising cash for candidates and most, if not all incumbents should expect to have a serious challenger everytime they run. That system sounds sounds a hell of a lot better than the one we have now.

    More presto.

    Candidates including incumbents will be forced to get signatures from voters, meaning they will have to go door knocking or figure some other way of actually meeting with voters every so often. Good policy. They might learn something about what neighborhoods and voters actually need from them.

    For those that dismiss this is a “new tax” let me explain some facts to you.

    Right now, there is an invisible tax called the “campaign tax.” We all pay it but you won’t see it on your tax bill. It is passed along in the price of goods and services that government consumes. It covers the cost of those firms paying for campaign finance related costs. We as residents pay it anyway.

    You are going to pay it either way. The way we do it now offers you status quo. The other offers a new chance at more honest government. Pick your poison.

    FROM BUDDY: Good ideas here. Short of public financing, there should be full transparency.
    School Board lobbyists should have to disclose immediately their fees for lobbying the members, any gifts they give the member (that includes tickets to charity dinners and weekend trips) and any other items of value (campaign work) that they give.
    The School Board members personal business calenders should be on the Internet for all to see, along with the sign up sheet revealing visitors to their offices. And it should be required to be accurate.
    There should be strong penalties, such as preventing lobbying for a year, for violations. An auditor general would enforce this.
    The School Board should also cut the size of the allowable donation and forbid taking money from registered lobbyists, their families and their clients. The law should be patterned after the one in the City of Fort Lauderdale.
    In addition, the Board should put their financial disclosure forms on their Internet site. The Internet site should also contain easily searchable campaign financial disclosures and Board candidates to file campaign financial disclosures. The Board sponsor legislation which would require the campaign financial disclosures to be filed more often.

  9. Reform is Necessary says:

    As to lobbyists, 4:43 is correct. Advocacy through lobbying is age old. The abuse is where they act as campaign managers on one side, collect the large contributions for the candidate, and then after the election press the contributor position (for extra money) to the candidate under guise of a honest discussion. Look at Hope’s contributors — in 60 days she raised from a long list of contractors. Look at virtually any big city elections filing and see the same problem.

    Lobbyists as campaing managers has become the norm because they KNOW where the money is to raise. Candidates may never even meet the contributor, but you can bet the lobbyist does.

    Lobbyists in the campaign process is the problem because either the perceived or real need to bend to the lobbyists’ interests post election.

    So, lobbyists do not need to go, just need to be excluded from the campaign process.

    Now, as 4:43 raises, the rushing sound of money fleeing campaigns is what disturbs those entrenched. So, first step, School Board should ban lobbyists as campaign managers. Done. Solved?

    No, because these are smart people — there will be a new cottage industry established of non-lobbysits campaign managers closely aligned with lobbyists in ways we can not even think.

    Until there is a true campaign finance reform, 4:43 is correct … the system can not change. But, how long have such proposals been bantered about? Seems like forever. Either no political will or no electorate momentum.

  10. truthinpress says:

    I am not sure many read this blog but, I feel compelled to point out a few things.

    Mr. Nevins, you note that “The influence of lobbyists . . . are [sic] under fire.” Yet you provide no corroborated FACTS to support your statement. You even admitted that Ms. Heller would not confirm the gossip provided to you about her relationship with the highly respected campaign manager, Barbara Miller.

    You go on to say that federal investigations are swirling around lobbyists’ actions at the Board “according to numerous printed reports.” Again, I would like to point out that the print reports you rely on as support for your statement also rely on the same gossip and speculation provided by these “activists” who have an ax to grind. I have never heard this information from the people who would actually know: i.e., the federal investigators.

    I am not a journalist, only an attorney, but I learned that journalists are ethically required to write only truthful facts that they are able to support with credible and corroborated sources. You certainly have not done that in this case.

    Because your sources seemed so one-sided, I thought, in the interests of a balanced piece, I would provide my assessment of Barbara Miller. First of all, I have worked on three Presidential elections and several local elections here and in other states. Consequently, I believe I have a basis for comparison. I can tell you that from my personal experience, I have never met anyone who was more knowledgeable or ethical than Barbara Miller. In addition, I was quite amazed at the extent of her grasp of the election laws in her determination to follow them to the letter. And above all, she is a woman of great integrity.

    So you see, printing gossip from so-called “activists” who can say whatever they like without challenge does a great disservice to the reputation of one of the most honest, sought-after, and effective political workers in the history of Broward County.

    I would hope, in the future, you would seek the truth rather than merely using gossip and inuendo. But then again, you are not a journalist, just a blogger. I guess you do not have to be held to the same ethical standards.

  11. Therealtruth says:

    Truthinpress obviously doesn’t know that those who are first will be last. Truthinpress doesn’t say anything about the School Board having been plundered and looted.
    The world at the School Board is changing. The world in Broward County is changing.
    More heads will fall and more ties will be broken. It will be learned that those praised as ethical were never ethical

  12. Blah Blah Blah says:

    Hey, TRUTHINPRESS, come down from your ivory tower and join the people. Then, and only then, will you understand why lobbyists (even if otherwise good people) should not be involved in the election process in such a dominant way. No one attacked BMiller as a person, just the obvious perception problem. Let her choose — be a campaign manager or a lobbyist, but not both.

  13. Karnack and Scorekeeper says:

    @ Truthinpress,

    What rock have you been hiding under? The comments by Mr. Nevins that you question are cooberated by the Eggellation guilty plea, the Gallagher indictment, the Salesman charges, etc…

    Moreover, if you believe that the current system is fair and/or free of corrupt influence of “some” dirty lobbyists then the real question is, where are you getting your information? Have you checked your sources?

    The “Broward Culture of Corruption” is being rocked to the core and there are many “old school” believers just like you who are equally in denial. That is only a problem for you. In fact, if you are a proponent for fair and transparent government then what are your suggestions? More of the same? That would lead me to believe that you somehow benefit from the currently corrupted system.

    Collateral damage has occurred during the reign of corruption in Broward County. Look at the inflated contracts that have been handed out to the detriment of the taxpayers. Look at the no-bid contracts that have been handed out to the detriment of legitimate vendors. Look at the pet projects that were far less a priority in Broward that only served to get incumbents re-elected rather than serve the most critical needs of the Broward citizens.

    Perhaps once the dust settles and the corrupt lobbyists, corrupted officials and staffers are removed from the process, you will look back and consider that you were wrong. Cronyism, nepotism and fraud are all symptoms of the real problem and that is unethical, pseudo-leaders stealing from the people and bankrupting our county due to their morally bankrupt agendas.

    Truthinpress, you have been served, burned and duly warned. Now what can you do to affect positive change???

  14. Hattan and CO says:

    Caryl Hattan hired Barbara Miller as a campaign consultant. How stupid is that?
    Caryl hired Amy Rose as a campaign manager. It is like hiring dumb and dumber.
    Caryl late filed a campaign report. She filed it 4 months late.
    Caryl is facing a $5000 fine for this violation.
    Caryl certified her report was complete and it wasn’t. Caryl is facing a more serious fine for this violation.
    Caryl accepted 6 counts of illegal contributions. Caryl is facing a $3000 fine for this violation.
    Caryl violated rules 7,8,9, & 10 of the Broward County Campaign Ethical Practics Act. Caryl is facing public criticism and censorship for these violations.
    AND the list goes on and on and on.

    FROM BUDDY: Hattan is a candidate for Davie Town Council District 2, which currently is Michael Crowley’s seat. Crowley is not running for re-election.
    Hattan’s opponent is Freda Stevens.
    Hattan is a teacher. Stevens is a consultant.
    I have no idea if any of the above comment is accurate. I would love to see proof.

  15. Hattan and CO says:

    1) Caryl Hattan Q2 campaign report shows 6 counts illegal contributions. Florida Elections Commission is investigating.


    2) Q3 Late filing Campaign report & Certification of an Incomplete report (two separate violations). Florida Elections Commission is investigating.

    3) Fair Campaign Practices Committe of Broward County, Inc.
    Violations of rules 7-10. Complaint filed.


    FROM BUDDY: Browardbeat@hotmail.com

  16. Hattan and Co. says:

    Okay I just posted proof. Why did you take it down?

    Again here is the proof.


    Council Elections
    Caryl Casey-Hattan
    Q2 report shows 6 counts of illegal contributions. FEC is investigating.
    Q3 report certified complete but it was not. FEC is investigating.
    Q3 report filed 4 months late (must be complete to be considered filed timely). FEC is investigating.
    Fair Practices is investigating her for violating rules 7, 8, 9, and 10.

    What is your email address or fax number? Do you really want proof? If so then do not delete this post like you did the last one. The last post had links to the reports.

    Thank you.

  17. Give Me a Break says:

    Give me a break!

    Barbara Miller has so much good for the people of Broward County! Al this political witch-hunting is doing is tearing us apart! People should stop fabricating things to push their own political agenda. Sounds to me like somepeople are just eating “Sour Grapes”!

  18. Just One says:

    If the comment is not sarcastic, can Give Me A Break name JUST ONE THING Barbar Miller has done “good for the people of Broward County.”

  19. Give Me a Break says:

    Just One,

    No it isn’t sarcasim…. How about being honest and ethical? In these times of uncertainty in County one would think that’s enough? Now Just One, if you can contradict that; please by all means do tell

  20. Dumb and Dumber says:

    If Caryl Hattan is stupid enough to spend the illegal contributions then she would be guilty of a felony.

  21. Just One says:

    Give Me A Break.
    I refer you to Karnack & Scorekeeper’s comments above.
    Miller and company is the problem.

  22. Give Me a Break says:

    Just One,

    The Karnack blog says what again about “Miller and Company”? Man, what planet are you on?

  23. Barbara...Is That YOU? says:

    @ Give me a break

    This is either Barbara Miller herself or a paid endorsement.

    Barbara Miller is all done in this county.

    She has moved on to corrupting here new venue: Italy.

  24. PLAIN TRUTH says:


    “joker says: January 15th, 2010 at 8:02 pm Who the Hell cares what Folkes wants, he has NO voice after his commits about the gay’s what a BIGOT!!!!!!!!!! LOSSER
    Not just the gay remarks just check him out, more to come”

    A TRIBUTE – „THANK YOU, MICHAEL GARRETSON‟” 6/3/10 -Revised: 6/8/10 PAGE 1 OF 10

    Roland Alexander Foulkes
    Freshman, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Fort Lauderdale, 1970 – 1971
    Chair, Diversity Committee, School Board of Broward County, 2001 – present
    Post Office Box 101492, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33310-1492, (954) 584-1824, RolandAFoulkes@usa.com and onebroward@usa.com
    REVISED EDITION: June 8, 2010


    No doubt, BEYOND the Garretson Family, some who read this recollection of, and “Thank You” note to, Michael Garretson (M.G.), as written for his family and friends, will believe I am boasting, bragging, tooting my own horn by what I share here. Though ALL OF ANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS I achieve are done through the power and might of my Jewish Rabbi, Jesus the Christ, my Lord and Savior; and, done to glorify Almighty GOD (ELOHIM) — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-Israel. Accordingly, I believe, and am convinced, that GOD sends special people into our lives to guide us gently and quietly along this short journey called life. Similarly I believe, and am convinced, that Michael Garretson was one of those GOD-sent angels! So, truth be told, I AM bragging, boasting and tooting my own horn in the words that follow: Because without having had Michael Garretson in my life, physically (in 1970-1971 and between 2003 and 2010) and spiritually (from 1970 into the future), there would be little of relevance to this particular story to “brag, boast and toot horns” about! The experiences and accomplishments highlighted — and highlights they are — are a testament to the long-reach, the shadow, of the man, the teacher, the advisor, the professional, the master builder, the friend, the confidante that Michael Garretson was, and will forever be. To those who promote, peddle in, and profit from, scandal (whether truthful or fully false) will be disappointed with this THANK YOU note. A note thanking each member of the Garretson family for sharing him with hundreds of students (in and beyond St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s classrooms at the beginning of his career) and the hundreds of thousands of students who learned, thanks to him, inside and outside of classrooms, on roughly 250 school campuses districtwide, over which Michael Garretson managed the building, re-furbishing, and replacement in the latter part of his robust and productive career and life. Last, this is a “Thank You” note to Michael Garretson. Though over the past seven years I did have, and took those, opportunities to share with him all that is said in this tribute.

    Those of us who grew up in the era of Hanna-Barbera’s animated television sitcom, The Flintstones, broadcast by the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) from 1960 to 1966 are familiar with the “Barney Rubble” character as Fred Flintstone‟s trusted colleague, next door neighbor, and best friend! Following four years of re-runs, in 1970, a few new students, among whom I was one, playfully and endearingly gave Michael Garretson two (2) nicknames: “Barney Rubble” and M.G. Why? First, because of his similar “Barney Rubble” countenance, and his light-hearted, comical, and common-sense self. Second, and, last, M.G. reflected the hip, cool cat, persona for which he was also known on campus. That was 40 years ago: I was 14; he was 24. I was Southern / Missionary Baptist; He was Roman / Irish Catholic. I was a student, a Freshman, recent graduate of the racially de-segregrated Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Elementary & Middle Catholic School (O.L.Q.M.), located across the street from the equally racially de-segregated Saint Thomas Aquinas High School; M.G. was a St. Thomas alum and was one of its Social Sciences teachers and club advisers. (Photos below from page 106 of our 1970-1971 Veritas Year Book shows M.G. the teacher at work, both inside, and beyond, the classroom: Fully engaged; Smoothly persuasive; Actively listening; ALWAYS teaching!

    For the remainder of my recollection, I will refer to Michael Garretson as M.G. ) (Note: I began and spent the first four years of my education in public school, from 1962 – 1966, at the 100% Black North Fork Elementary School, on Broward Boulevard, in Fort Lauderdale. My mother was a teacher there from 1962 to 1970. )

    Though I was not a formal student enrolled in his Junior / Senior Level courses in BLACK HISTORY, SPEECH, AND WORLD CULTURES, I knew of M.G. early in 1970, and got to know him, personally in the middle, and throughout the remainder, of the 1970-1971 academic year. Thanks to my own involvements in various school clubs and activities (e.g., the Inter-Club Council, etc.). M.G. was young, knowledgeable, involved, funny, funny-looking with an easy smile, cool, and hip! After all, this White man taught Black History! This during the height of the post-Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Brown Civil Rights „Say it loud; I‟m Black and I‟m Proud‟ Revolution and the Tie-dyed psychadelic T-shirt wearing Hippie-led Free Loving Love Fests, the anti-Vietnam War protests, and the Urban Civil Unrest and Race Riots across the nation. (As a photograph from Veritas reveals, he had the T-shirt with a bold Black Power fist and the words “Brother” emblazoned on it, an Afro (wig) on his head and a pick (Afro) In his hand and a slanted Jive Cat cap atop the „fro to prove it.) Through this activities-interaction with M.G., outside the formal classroom, both knowingly and unknowingly, I learned much from him: He opened my eyes about the world and my place in it!

    M.G. was the FIRST Social Scientist I had had the privilege and good fortune to know personally. He would become the first of hundreds, if not thousands, of social scientists with whom I interacted in university classrooms, read classic social science books and critiqued / debated seminal articles, researched and wrote policy reports for various named and un-named institutes, agencies and other public and private entities, participated in professional meetings, served on panels and task forces since our initial meeting in 1970. That interaction with M.G. shaped the rest of my life; namely, my avocational choices and professional journies. He shaped my future interests and pursuit of advanced training in Black History in the United States and across the global Black Diaspora and the history of all World Cultures. These interests were nurtured further, beyond that one year on my move to the All-White Pine Crest Preparatory School, also in Fort Lauderdale, to continue and complete my high school career.
    Because of my discussions with M.G., brief though they were, and with my father, grandfathers, and other family members and community elders, racially segregated from
    Whites by law, I was prepared to embark on a new journey into a new world, a new culture, one in which I would be Pine Crest‟s FIRST and ONLY Black student (Fall, 1971).

    In M.G., I knew one White person who studied, understood, and cared about advancing Black History.
    But, in my first year — as a Sophomore — at Pine Crest, I learned and saw a whole lot of White people (1,200 students – plus teachers, staff, and administrators) with no obvious academic or personal interest in my Black History. (If most did know, or care, anything about Blacks, it was not about our History, our contributions to World History, but about how well those Black folk amongst us entertained or served them — from dribbling balls down hardwood courts as basketball players, to pummeling one another into mummifying stupors as boxers, from performing clownish monologues as comedians, to belting silly love ballads as singers, to shaking, rattling and rolling their butts as dancers. ALL were — and, remain — stereotypical images of my Black people held and advanced by many to the core of their being, to the very marrow of their bones! Regrettably, these stereotypes are held by some School Board members and their appointees to the Diversity Committee.) This was NOT M.G.!

    So, over the course of my remaining years at Pine Crest this lone advocate for Black History courses wrote news articles for a school paper, sent letters to school administrators and teachers with proposed reading lists and curricula, made Black History month visual displays on wall boards in various areas of campus, and proposed, researched, and typed (no PCs back then) a full 20-plus page term paper (note cards, footnotes, and bibliographies/references cited, etc.), entitled “Negro Poets in America: 1770 – 1970 (From Phyllis Wheatley to Nikki Giovanni),” for my 10th grade Honors English Class (and for a teacher who preferred not to have me in her class). Additionally, I was active in the North American Model United Nations (NAIMUN) at Georgetown University through Pine Crest‟s International Relations Club. As delegates to NAIMUN, we represented the countries of Democratic Yemen and the Socialist Republic of Tanzania over the course of two years. (Years later, through the United Nations, I worked in both countries.) And, when selected to give my 1974 Pine Crest graduation speech, “No Easy Way to Success,” I found my inspiration, my thoughts, and my insights in Dr. Booker T. Washington‟s autobiography, Up From Slavery (1901), Dr. W.E.B. DuBois‟ The Souls of Black Folk (1903), European Missionary to Africa Reverend Dr. Albert Schweitzer‟s Reverence for Life (1915), Novelist Richard Wright‟s Native Son (1940), Novelist Ralph Ellison‟s Invisible Man (1953), and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s‟ Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1967). These were authors to whom and these books to which I had been re-introduced years earlier through brief discussions with M.G. and his students at St. Thomas. (In February 2009, I was invited to return to Pine Crest by its Diversity Director ( A Black American Woman) and its Black Students Association to speak about my Pine Crest experience. I commented that when I was on campus I WAS the Black Student Association: That unlike St. Thomas‟ SOUL CLUB of which I was a member as a Freshman; I was Pine Crest‟s SOLE Club! With great satisfaction, as a Math-Science Major there, I met a Black Physics teacher, amongst others: Simply, I witnessed more diversity on that campus, on that day, than I had during my entire 36 months affiliation with it nearly 40 years earlier. I knew I had not “messed-it up” (i.e., shut the door) for future generations of Black students: But opened doors for many of them! (See page 20 of: http://issuu.com/pinecrestschool/docs/pcs_magfall09?viewMode=magazine).

    At Cornell University, these interests in Black History and World Cultures continued in my independent study of, and major in, Medical Anthropology (A combined curriculum of Biology, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, and African Studies). Clearly, M.G.‟s influence with respect to Social Science, Black History and Public Speaking was present. Not only was it present but was profound in that I inserted myself into every opportunity that required speaking publicly, from work as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in Psychology, to de-segregating the all-White Sigma Chi Fraternity (Alpha Phi Chapter) while living in its Cayuga Heights Grey Stone Mansion, from serving as an elected three-term Senator on the Cornell University Senate which controlled a $24 million Campus Life budget, to a Cornell Ambassadorship speaking to various alumni groups and potential students across the country, from studying and lecturing on the British National Health Service (N.H.S.) through the University of London‟s Bedford College Social Research Unit and the Guys & Charing Cross Hospitals and Thamesmead Clinic, to serving as the FIRST Black Student Trustee on the Cornell University Corporation‟s Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee. And, when selected, in 1978, as one of four “Outstanding Seniors” (in a class of roughly 3,000) and one of two recipient‟s of Cornell‟s John F. Kennedy Prize for Public Service. (Thanks to a letter / call of support to Washington, D.C., by M.G. , together with a letter of support from School Board member Ben Williams, I received my second “John F. Kennedy Memorial Prize for Public Service” from the United States Peace Corps in March 2006, at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.)

    From Cornell, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work briefly for then Senator Lawton Chiles and, later, for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (The Executive Office of the Secretary and the Office of Health Legislation). Both positions required me to engage in Public Speaking: To the Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretaries; To Senators; to Congressional Representatives in the House; to White House Officials; to the media; to lobbyists; and, to their staffs. Yes, M.G.‟s influence was evident throughout that work!
    The United Nation‟s World Health Organization (WHO) was my next stop. The world-city of Geneva, in Switzerland, Europe, became my home and my base for travel and work assignments across the globe. Unknown to me, at the time, M.G.‟s World Cultures lessons were guiding influences in my life. For example, one of many projects with which I was involved and for which I was responsible, at WHO was the research and compilation of the publication, Traditional Medicine and Health Care Coverage: A Global Assessment. Geneva (WHO: 1983). Also, beyond WHO, M.G.‟s influence was evident when I accepted a position at the Holy Family Catholic Hospital in Techiman, Ghana, West Africa as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer coordinating the Primary Health Care Training for Indigenous Healers (PRHTIH) Project. (I would learn some 20 years later that he had also been a Peace Corps Volunteer — in India!)

    In graduate school, at the University of California at Berkeley, as a National Science Foundation Scholar and Fulbright Fellow, I continued my Medical Anthropology studies and training with a focus on “Local Level Politics and Health Services Delivery in Maun, Botswana: 1900 – 2000.” Yes, M.G.‟s Black History and World Cultures discussions, during 1970 and 1971, introduced me to what was, formerly, the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana today), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia today), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe today), Basutoland (Lesotho today), and South Africa. At Berkeley, one of my three completed Ph.D. dissertation studies Field Statements was “Peoples and Cultures of Africa” (and, the other two of three: “Religion and Ritual” and “Medical Anthropology, Ethno-medicine, Professionalism and Medical Ethics”). M.G.‟s Public Speaking and Black History influences emerged twice more during this period. First, in my conceiving, founding and leading the National Association of Student Anthropologists (N.A.S.A.) and serving as the FIRST Black student member on the American Anthropological Association‟s (A.A.A.) Board of Directors (https://sites.google.com/site/studentanthropologists/nasahistory). Second, and last, through my service as a Berkeley Graduate Student Instructor and receipt of the school‟s “Outstanding Graduate Student instructor” Award!
    COPYRIGHT © 2010.And, from Berkeley, prior to completing my dissertation, I returned to Florida, to an Assistant Professorship at the University of Florida in Gainesville. One of my signature classes taught was “Peoples and Cultures of Africa.” In my second year on the faculty, I received my college‟s and university‟s “Outstanding Teacher” award. Yes, M.G. and his voice were there. (My other courses were: “Medical Anthropology and Ethno-Medicine, “Ethno-Psychiatry,” and “Astro-Anthropology and Futuristics”.)

    Fast forward some ten years later, through a variety of diversity training / consulting, health and environmental business ventures and investments, ALL of which required speaking to a variety of publics, when, in 2003, I was re-introduced to M.G. This occurred in my capacity as School Board member Ben Williams‟ appointee to the School Board‟s Diversity Committee and in his capacity as Deputy Superintendent for Facilities and Construction Management. (I could not help but think of that image of Barney Rubble working at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company quarry alongside Fred Flintstone; but, M.G. was actually overseeing and managing the re-configuration and use of such quarried / mined stone materials for the construction of buildings in reality.)

    Through M.G. and his staff, the Diversity Committee received periodic updates related to the Citizens Concerned About Our Children / CCC vs. School Board of Broward County Lawsuit Settlement Agreement Condition 8 (“The Five year Capital Plan”). He kept the committee informed about building projects, about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance of our schools and other buildings, and, in 2005, provided the group with a Safety Department Report on “Hurricane Wilma Expense Reporting Departments.” This was a thorough listing of damages to district properties, the costs of those damages, and the agency covering the costs of damages (e.g., F.E.M.A., Lloyds of London, etc.). M.G. was thorough and generous with his time, his knowledge, and expertise. He was ALWAYS a teacher: One with a smile!
    Between 2004 and 2005, M.G. informed me — perhaps reminded me — that he was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (R.P.C.V.) and had served in India. He made this known to me during one of several planning sessions in which we were involved for the roll-out in Broward of the Paul Coverdell World Wise School‟s Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understanding curriculum. Because Broward was the first district in the nation to adopt this curriculum, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta-based Senior Peace Corps officials flew to Fort Lauderdale for the official launch in September 2004 in the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Building. M.G. was on the program for that unique event!

    At my request, and on my invitation, M.G. agreed to join me, and one other RPCV who had served in Nigeria, on a “Peace Corps Experience” panel during a Broward Education Foundation IMPACT II Idea Expo &Teacher Summit at Nova Southeastern University (February 2005). As a token of gratitude I prepared and presented a special Letter of Thanks and Certificate of Appreciation to him and the other panelist as well as to the Hollywood Hills High School students who videotaped the session and questioned panelists. Following that energizing and informative session, he said to me that he had heard and understood my commitment to the Diversity Committee and Broward‟s public schools given my Christian and non-Faith-based private school education: To give EVERY student throughout Broward County‟s public schools the same elite world class education St. Thomas and Pine Crest offer their students!
    From 2005 to 2008, M.G. accepted and honored Diversity Committee invitations to provide additional post-Wilma updates on specific school-based capital projects. As usual, he was GREAT about providing detailed yet clear and transparent materials prior to, and in support of, his presentations. The last significant document he presented was a near-200 -page assessment of the status of the district‟s A.D.A. compliance in projects across Broward. Throughout this period, M.G. and his staff did everything within their power to restore buildings across the district damaged by Hurricane Wilma. One of the most impressive and visually convincing transformations was that of the Kathleen C. Wright Adminstration Building. Hurricane Wilma left that building in shambles in October 2005. Today, it looks like a masterpiece of re-construction. That restoration, that transformation, is the product of M.G.‟s vision, management and leadership and which Dr. Kathleen C. Wright, for whom the building is named, would approve and love. I know because Dr. Wright and her immediate and extended families were friends of my father and all were members of Fort Lauderdale‟s St. Christopher‟s Episcopal Church of which my grandfather, Arthur Alexander Foulkes, Sr., is a founding, charter, member. (See photos of the Wright building below, in 2005 following Hurricane Wilma and 2010, following full restoration.)

    In my first year as Diversity Committee Chair, my seventh as an appointee, M.G. personally met with the Site Visitation Sub-Committee about the predominantly Black Boyd Anderson High School on at least ten times over six months both on Boyd Anderson‟s campus and in the Kathleen C. Wright building. He, his district staff, and school-based administrators and their staffs, took our concerns seriously and set about addressing each of the roughly 80 item punch list of facilities concerns identified by the Diversity Committee in February 2008. (This was the Committee‟s last site visit prior to the Diversity Committee‟s adopted and School Board approved hiatus from future school visits so as to review, revise, and update its Site Visitation Instrument. The new instrument was adopted in February 2010 for pilot testing; pilot tests in four schools — Nova Middle School, Whispering Pines Center, Blanche Ely High School, and Dillard Elementary School — were conducted in April and May, 2010 and completed in May 2010.) M.G.‟s team worked through Spring and Summer 2008 — on Boyd Anderson — until all work was completed. He did apologize later, however, that budget cuts prevented the building, completion and opening of Boyd Anderson‟s proposed new Media Center in December 2009 ($7.8 million) as promised. Nonetheless, M.G. did locate approximately $1.5 million to re-furbish / upgrade the school‟s existing Media Center.
    During my second year as Diversity Committee Chair, M.G. offered to convene the first ever Joint Meeting of the Diversity Committee and Facitilities Task Force in May, 2009. He wanted input from both bodies on how to prioritize, select, and complete proposed facilities with the $200,000,000.00 remaining in his capital budget following an abrupt $600,000,000.00 loss from that budget. M.G. and Omar Shim (District Capital Budget Director) left this meeting with 6 key recommendations. Most, to my knowledge, were implemented. Between that historic May 2009 meeting and the last time we talked face-to-face — on the 10th floor of the Kathleen C. Wright Building in November 2009 – M.G. was doing all he could do to deliver to Haiti the district‟s donated relocatables (portable classrooms). Throughout that period, it was evident to me that, like me, he never lost his love, concern and compassion for Black History and World Cultures. Both are intertwined powerfully and wrapped tightly in that half of Hispaniola called Haiti. He was living the Peace Corp‟s Third Goal: “Educate Americans about other nations and cultures.”
    On that day last Fall, M.G. told me that he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Pat, their daughters, and their families in St. Augustine, and that he was retiring from the district effective at the end of December (2009). With great excitement, he began to remind me that St. Augustine was “the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and the oldest port in the continental United States” and had a long history of Black settlements (e.g., Fort Mose`: “Birthplace of Freedom”). I told him that St. Augustine was one of my favorite cities thanks to much vacation time there throughout the 1960s as a child with my parents, visits
    with extended family affiliated with the historically Black Florida Memorial College, and to witness and participate in Civil Rights community forums, protests and marches. I told him that this fact that St. Augustine was one of my favorite cities was significant given that I had seen and explored many in the over 70 countries on 5 continents in which I had lived, worked, researched and taught since 1970. He then handed me a card with his daughter‟s Bed and
    Breakfast / Inn contact information and invited me to visit. That exchange was our last: From Teacher to Student!
    In the end, and through four decades of life, living, traveling, working, growing and learning across the Earth, the greatest lesson Michael Garretson M.G. taught me was to “THINK GLOBALLY; ACT LOCALLY! — long before the 1980s New Agers made that phrase their movement‟s mantra. On Tuesday, June 3, 2010, he was 64 and I was then, as I am today, 54. A decade apart, over forty years, he remained Catholic and I, remain Baptist, yet the two of us remain so close! Thank you Michael Garretson for that true life lesson. Thank you for being my friend! According to our faith tradition, I look forward to that day when we will crack jokes and laugh again…. for an Eternity! May GOD / ELOHIM — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-Israel — offer you the “Facilities and Construction Management” job to oversee those many rooms in His Father‟s house that Jesus said He was preparing for us (John 14:2, New Testament, The Holy Bible). There, you won‟t be bothered by the pests (e.g., lobbyiists, politicians, bureaucrats, etc.) with whom you had to deal here.

    Last, I thank you for your encouragement throughout 2005, in 2008 and, recently, during well-documented vicious, hate-filled White Racists attacks against me!

    And, I thank you for teaching and reminding me of the many life lessons learned in our St. Thomas Religion classes such as believing and walking these words of the Prophet Isaiah: “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me, declares the LORD.” ( Isaiah 54:17, Old Testament, The Holy Bible).

    Above all, thank you for teaching and reminding me of the many life lessons learned in our St. Thomas Religion classes such as living these words of our Rabbi, our Jewish Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ, Yeshua Hamashia: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.” (Jesus the Christ, Matthew 6:44, New Testament, The Holy Bible).

    Keep on Smiling my big-hearted “Soul Brother.” You are indeed resting in peace; YOU have earned that Eternal Rest!