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Just between you guys and me ...

I'll grant you one thing: you've got a hell of a lot more patience than I do.

I just got home from Rocky Hill (it's 9:20 PM as I start this note) - a ninety minute drive thanks to the one lane narrowing of I-91 to the south because of the endless road repairs. For all I know, you are still up there at headquarters reviewing meticulously how each and every member of the state legislature acted upon each and every piece of proposed legislation this year -- and then deciding whether or not their actions met the terms and principles which the Hartford teachers evidently have set for the entire CFEPE. What seems to be lost in all of this is the fact that CFEPE is a statewide organization with a pretty diverse membership, who may (or may not) support the specific aims and needs of the Hartford teachers, and that the members of our Executive Committee (at least in my understanding) are advocates for the whole, not just one of the parts.

I find it astonishing that folks would just sit there and listen to the argument by Cheryl Daniels that someone recommended by the COPE selection committee should be repudiated because, in her view, he appeared arrogant and had kept her waiting "for more than an hour" before meeting with her. Talk about arrogance!

Also, for much of the first two hours of tonight's meeting, Cheryl was sitting out in the little food anteroom drinking soda and chatting with some pals even as the items on the agenda were occupying most the other members of the Executive Comminttee. There are other things too, but I won't bore you ... suffice it to say that I had just gotten to the point where I knew that if I didn't leave I would probably say things I would later regret.

In any case, if ever I saw a crying need for better "communication," this was it. By that I mean there has got to be a better procedure than handing around a list of names for endorsement at the end of a meeting, names which the EC members had not seen earlier (unless they were a part of the selection process), which just invites the sort of scene we had tonight. I would suggest that there might be some sort of form letter sent out by the selection sub-committee, rather like the questionnaire for the legislators, wherein we invite all members of the EC to tell us, in writing, of candidates deemed worthy and those deemed reprehensible -- and why. In writing, and for distribution. In particular cases, if there are no written complaints about a candidate, and if the selection sub-committee endorses him or her, then I suggest that we could invoke the Roman law concept that silence is the equivalent of consent, a concept alive and well in French law, for example, which is what got those paparazzi into difficulty, i.e., for standing by and doing nothing after that celebrated auto crash in Paris last year. A more American notion of the same thing is that "if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" or, more recently, " ... if you're not part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem."

On communication more generally, I found it interesting to read that some of the interests of the "brainstorming" folks had to do with interests of mine, to wit --

10. Website ... wherein I read that one "can be up and running in 30 days." Errr, one has been up and running for more than six months already, evidently unknown to those who think we should have one of them. I try, you know, but I can't get no satisfaction with regard to just telling people looking for something that it already exists, right here.

17. Technology for small locals ... in terms of hardware, all it takes is a computer, a modem and a telephone line. That's easy. The harder part is getting people to learn how to use them and to appreciate what they can do. Since I was sitting right next to her tonight, I chatted about this with Carol Flynn a little, mentioning that there already is a possible CFEPE site "up and running." Told her too that if she thought it might be a good idea to have a page there related to health care concerns that I would help her. While hers is not what might be termed a "small local," I did learn that they already have a computer, a FAX, a modem, and an email address. I learned because I asked. If we don't ask, we will never know. So why don't we just ask these locals what they have, and what they might need. That seems pretty basic to me.

All of this "brainstorming" about technology makes about as much sense as "brainstorming" about bicycle riding. You can "brainstorm" about it from now until the end of time, you can read volume after volume, you can seek the expertise of skilled masters of the art -- but you'll never learn to ride unless you mount up and try it for yourself. That to me is a self-evident truth.

Dennis