|Goodbye Rudy Crew, The Other Rudy &
Jesus; They've Stolen My Name
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
RUDY KAZOOTIE: Im not sure if
thats the spelling, but it is the phonetic name of a childhood character from the
50s. And, no disrespect is intended when Rudy Kazootie pops into my mind when I
think of Rudy Crew, chancellor of the NYC school system.
A POLITICAL REUNION. The team that first
brought you a Gary Ackerman political campaign more than 20 years ago, got together last
week at the Congressmans Holiday Party at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings
Point. (L. to R) Alan Gershuny, Michael Schenkler, Gary Ackerman, John Doyle; (inset)
Marsha Livson, Jedd Moskowitz.
Hes cherubic, he
impresses me as mischievous and, although I dont know him, Board of Ed insiders have
described him as a big baby.
I think hes done a reasonably good
job. Thats about the best just about anyone could do.
Now, I hear that as you read this, the game
will be over. Rudy Crew is on the way out. He and the Board of Ed didnt have a
meeting of the minds. His performance was okay. He wasnt thrilled; they werent
thrilled. He didnt go hat in hand asking for a new contract. They didnt beg.
He was a big baby, our sources tell us. However, the root of the problem is that the
school system is just no damn good. And Rudy Crew cant fix it. No one can.
The school system is beyond repair and
there is no way to bring it up to acceptable standards. The reasons are many. . .too many
to go into here and now. But the situation has been disastrous since McGeorge Bundy and
the Ford Foundation first came up with the idea of decentralization in the 60s.
No, its not their fault either.
Social conditions, poverty, poor contract negotiations, a fiscal crisis, a litigious
society and lots more have brought a system that was struggling in the 60s to beyond
repair in the 90s. Sadly, we have to see the same failing structure taken into the
No criticism of Crew, Giuliani or Terri
Thomson, the Queens school board member shes wonderful is intended or
deserved. They all have done admirably under the circumstances. As a matter of fact, I
believe they all know it is time to throw the system out. They just cant figure out
how to do it.
EDUCATION FLASHBACK: I remember
pretty clearly, an afternoon in the 60s. I was a student and at the home of my Uncle
Uncle Murray was the first Queens member of
the new decentralized Board of Education. He was its second president. Murray was bright
and concerned. He was knowledgeable and experienced in public education. Murray belonged
on the Board. He cared and was talented.
Well, he walked into his house, sat down in
the dining room and started to talk to me. We occasionally shared thoughts. He did more of
the talking; I listened.
I dont recall the exact words, but
the sentiment has remained with me for more than three decades. Murray shook his head and
sadly said: "Its no use. There is no solution. They should burn down 110
Livingston St. (Board of Education headquarters) and start over."
Some 30 years later, the mayor has
suggested that the Board be blown up.
Lets stop kidding ourselves. We all
know, our school system is failing.
Anyone have a match?
NOT FOR PUBLICATION. COM: Hey, they
stole my name!
No, Im still me. Its my column
name thats been ripped off.
Well, they had it first online.
You see, last week, I began writing a
column again, after a ten year hiatus. Lunching in Joe Francos lovely restaurant,
Caffé on the Green, at the foot of the Throggs Neck Bridge, I decide in a moment of
fancy, that when I renew my column of political and social commentary and fun, Id
call it "Not For Publication." Then later I modified it to "Not For
Publication.com." And if you were here last week same paper, same page
you saw it in print.
So one night last week, after returning
from Gary Ackermans holiday party at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point
nice place; read the column regularly and Ill get you an invite to next
years I logged on to the web to reserve the URL (web address)
NotForPuiblication.com. Some "veteran journalist" already owned it dry
media commentary site with terrible graphics. Im sure hes well intentioned,
but he has my name.
Sigh! What to do?
I didnt copy him; he didnt copy
me. You know, great minds . . .
Its sad. What if someone bought the
URL MichaelSchenkler.com? Would I still be me? These web addresses cost $35 per year
ridiculous. I could own your name for 35 bucks. Look out! And now someone in
Knoxville, Tennessee owns my column.
Alta Vista, the web search engine, spent
millions to buy theirs from some web name-registering entrepreneur. Its a whole new
industry. Its easier to buy back your name then litigate in this untested and
expensive world of cyberspace. Theres even a site set up to auction URLs.
Maybe Ill just go with
Not4Publication.com. Or should I look for an alternative? Feel free to suggest. You can
write to me here at the Tribune or at: MSchenkler@ QueensTribune.com.
Help me with this identity crisis.
BUNKER MAN: His name isnt
Archie and he doesnt live on Hauser Street but he is from Queens and he has a Bunker
of his own. John Miuta who lives on 66th Street in Glendale has turned his basement into a
"high-tech" hideaway where he plans to ride out the apocalypse.
After photos appeared in the pages of the New
York Post where he is wearing a gas mask this self-proclaimed
survivalist and collector of military memorabilia who says he is ready for the end of the
world became afraid to grant the Tribune a bunker tour and interview.
"Afraid of what?," we asked. What
could rattle the man who is ready for the apocalypse?
Miuta told us, he doesnt have his
RUDY V. JESUS: We are not anti-
Rudy. He has done a remarkable job improving the quality of life in our city. We applaud
However, we frequently dont agree
with his tactics.
In his latest crusade, Giuliani has taken
on the homeless demanding that they work for their shelter or they be tossed out
and their children put in foster care.
A coalition of homeless shelters has
refused to follow his orders. He has threatened to cut off their funding. And so goes the
typical Rudy war.
This time however, one brave soul, Sister
Barbara Lenninger, has fought back with powerful words. According to the New York Times
account, Sister Barbaras response to the mayors threat was, "if someone
says I have to choose between following Jesus Christ or Rudy Giuliani, Ill follow
The mayor intends to continue his plan.
The man is fearless. DAmato, Pataki,
Hillary, Jesus He aint backing down.
Pray for him.
OFF HIS ROCKER: Loudmouth John
Rocker, the Atlanta Brave relief pitcher who thought it was cool to challenge the Mets
during the National League playoffs with verbal abuse, continued his behavior in an
interview in the current Sports Illustrated.
According to Tuesdays Daily News,
Rocker smacks New York for its foreigners, gays and degenerate Met fans. Hes quoted
as saying, "Imagine having to take the 7 train to the ballpark, looking like
youre (riding through) Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer
with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right
next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. Its depressing."
His biggest complaint is about the
foreigners: "You can walk an entire block . . ." the News quotes him,
". . . and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and
Indians and Russians and Spanish people . . . How the hell did they get in this
country?" he asks.
And how did you, Mr. Rocker? Were you born
to a Native American tribe? And how about Andruw Jones, Jose Hernandez, Ozzie Guillem,
Eddie Perez, Andres Gallaraga and the rest of your "foreigner" teammates who
helped bring you a batch of National League pennants?"
Atlanta is a great city and should not be
tarnished by the words of this southern bigot. We expect Brave owner Ted Turner to
repudiate Rockers disgraceful conduct.
Rocker says he would retire before ever
playing for a New York team. This Met fan, for one, would love to see that happen.
Wed love the Met ownership to consider the trade to force the retirement. Rocker
deserves no better.
Because, in our judgement, John Rocker
should wear only one uniform the one with a mask and pointed hood.
See you next season.
CROWLEY: Freshman Congressman Joe
Crowley is the target of a triple threat. Assemblywoman Kathy Nolan and Councilmen Walter
McCaffrey and John Sabini have joined forces and agreed to decide which one of the three
of them shall oppose Crowley with their joint support. Crowley was handed the seat by his
predecessor Dem County chief Tom Manton who timed his retirement so that he could name
Crowley and avoid a primary.
So, the three Western Queens pols felt
offended and agreed to fight back.
Not so easy. Even freshman Congressmembers
from New York can be expected to raise and spend over $1 million in defense of their
seats. The DC network pours in the cash.
Nolan, an influential member of the State
Legislature, would have to risk a safe Assembly seat and will likely remain where she is.
Insiders do not believe that John Sabini,
who is term limited out of his seat, has the fundraising wherewithal to be in the race.
Everyone doubts that a Sabini candidacy would receive significant bucks from Nolan or
McCaffrey or anyone.
That leaves Walter McCaffrey. Also jobless
as a result of term limits, McCaffrey has been weighing his options. First he toyed with
and dismissed a run for Public Advocate. Then, considered a role leading New York forces
for Bill Bradley. Next and most recently pondered a race for Queens Borough President.
Now, it seems pretty clear that Walter has made up his mind. Look for McCaffrey to be the
troikas choice to take on Crowley.
McCaffrey has quietly begun to make himself
known in the South West Bronx, which comprises about a third of the district. McCaffrey is
bright. His influential Council committee chairmanship will enable him to raise
significant funds. He is a skilled campaign technician.
But has Walter McCaffrey made the necessary
friends to challenge the Democratic organization and an incumbent Congressmember?
McCaffrey has too often been a loner who steps on toes and speaks his mind. McCaffrey is
clearly the underdog.
The clearest difference between McCaffrey
and Crowley is in their positions on abortion. Crowley, a right-to-lifer has exposure from
pro-choice McCaffrey in this mainstream district, if McCaffrey can make the issue the
focal point of the campaign attracting national attention and big bucks. Otherwise,
McCaffrey will be facing a quick end to his political career.
TSK! Received an email entitled
"Tsk!" from Louis A. Lebovitz. He wrote, "SUPERSEDED: With an
S, Not with a C!" in reference to last weeks column
about the QC Prez: "Sessoms has been superceded by the City University."
Of course, Mr. Lebovitz is correct; we knew
that but double-checked anyway.
However, we wonder if Mr. Lebovitz was
aware that the verb supersede was first used in 1456 as superceden to postpone or
defer from the Scottish; borrowed from Middle French superceder to delay.
According to The Barnhart Dictionary of Entomology, the meaning of displace or
replace first appeared in English in 1642.
Now, does Bill Gates know all of that? If
he does, how come our Microsoft Word 97 spellchecker finds either spelling
acceptable, even though they arent? We run spellchecker before printing our words.
Were with Lebovitz on this one, not
Gates. Microsoft Word 7 is wrong. Hmmm!
PROOFREAD: Ultimately, the error at
our paper is the responsibility of the editor. She takes her job seriously and now has the
following over her desk: "Always proofread carefully to see if you any words
Column contributor: Stephen McGuire
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com