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Who’s got Hempstead?
The much-awaited report on the Hempstead school district from Jack Bierwirth was released Monday afternoon by the state Education Department, which appointed him to the job of “distinguished educator.”
Its findings include such on-the-mark assessments as “governance is the single most significant barrier” to the district’s success, and that Hempstead’s financial problems are the result of “chronic mismanagement.”
State officials confirm that they sent the report shortly before its official release to the two principal state lawmakers whose districts include Hempstead — Sen. Kemp Hannon and Assembly Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper.
Was including the state lawmakers in the loop just pro forma to make sure no feathers got ruffled? Will they respond or get involved in the process to make sure Bierwirth’s recommendations are implemented? After all, they represent the taxpayers in one of the most troubled school districts in the state.
The sound of the fury
President Donald Trump has prompted plenty of bold writing, now including from a media chief executive.
John Sargent, chief executive of Macmillan publishing, sent a letter to employees at 9:45 a.m. Monday in defense of “Fire and Fury,” its subsidiary Henry Holt and Co.’s bombshell account of the Trump White House by columnist Michael Wolff.
Responding to Thursday’s unprecedented cease-and-desist letter to a book publisher from a lawyer of a sitting U.S. president, Sargent wrote: “Our response is firm, as it has to be.” He called the letter “flagrantly unconstitutional.”
The letter says the publishing house’s legal response to the Trump demands would be sent later Monday.
“There is no ambiguity here,” Sargent concludes in his letter. “We cannot stand silent . . . We need to respond strongly for Michael Wolff and his book, but also for all authors and all their books, now and in the future.”
The muscular prose echoes that of another similar instant cult classic, the 2016 letter written by a New York Times lawyer in response to another unheeded Trump legal request — to retract an article alleging Trump’s sexual misconduct.
As usual in such cases, Trump’s legal bark turns out to be greater than his bite. Macmillan has not been cowed by the threat. Instead, it moved up the book’s release by four days.
And it can’t print enough copies. Trump weighed in again on Sunday with a tweet about the “Fake Book.” Later in the day, WikiLeaks tweeted a purported link to the full text online, yet “Fire and Fury” remains No. 1 on the Amazon bestseller list and many bookstores quickly sold out.
Once again, Trump excels at marketing.
- Hempstead Town’s new Democratic supervisor, Laura Gillen, picked Republican town board member Bruce Blakeman as her deputy supervisor in what she called a “bipartisan” overture. Actually, anybody she picked on the town board would have been a bipartisan overture since the other board member from her party, Dorothy Goosby, has voted with Republicans and did not endorse Gillen.
- News flash: With the first phase of his massive Heartland Town Square project nearly ready to go, developer Jerry Wolkoff is now seeking a $25 million fee reduction for a sewer connection. No one throws a monkey wrench like Jerry Wolkoff.
- What does President Donald Trump have in common with Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainers Lucien Laurin, D. Wayne Lukas and LeRoy Jolley? Apparently, each is a very stable genius.
- Fatigue makes cowards of us all, said Gen. George S. Patton. Which is a decent explanation for the apology issued by a battered Steve Bannon for his quotes in “Fire and Fury.”
- After the success of its fee on plastic bags at stores, Britain is considering a 34-cent “latte levy” on cups at coffee shops to reduce waste. See what you can get done when there’s no Simcha Felder around.