Dec. 31, 2003. Most of the errors are due to Mr. Taylor’s
characteristic vitriol and sloppiness, as when he calls me names,
or attributes things to my Oct. 17 column that actually were
written in my Oct. 24 column.
Mr. Dennis Taylor is wrong in several points in his column of Dec. 31, 2003. Most of the errors are due to Mr. Taylor’s characteristic vitriol and sloppiness, as when he calls me names, or attributes things to my Oct. 17 column that actually were written in my Oct. 24 column.
But in at least one place, he lies. He says that I wanted Dispatch readers to believe that Kim Lemos was fired. On the contrary, in my column of Oct. 17th, I said that Kim Lemos was “laid off.” I said she “received her pink slip.” I said she was not rehired.
I also said “a teacher cannot be fired for anything she does outside the classroom.” (She can, however, be laid off, for any reason or none during her probationary period, which is apparently what happened to Kim. I think she should have been rehired … but I digress.)
So, I tried to make it crystal clear to any reader that Kim Lemos was laid off, not fired. I do not know how I could have made it any clearer. It did not occur to me to ask my editor to make the typeface for “laid off,” “pink slip” and “not rehired” flaming pink.
What changes a simple mistake on Mr. Taylor’s part to a lie is the following. Kim was rather upset to read in Mr. Taylor’s column that she had been fired. She e-mailed him about his error. He e-mailed back, on Tuesday Nov. 25, that he had gleaned the word fired from my column.
Kim e-mailed him a note of explanation with my column to illustrate that I had never said she was fired. And Mr. Taylor, with my column in front of him, again accused me of saying that she was fired. Twice. There is no excuse for that kind of deceit. That is an out-and-out lie.
Mr. Taylor tells one undeniable truth in his column, when he admits he dislikes me. He says that it is not because I am conservative, why, some of his best friends are … He actually says he admires his mom, Sen. John McCain, and several city councilmen.
I have no idea what Mr. Taylor’s mother’s politics are like, but Sen. McCain is no conservative. (We conservatives call politicians such as McCain RINOs, Republicans In Name Only.)
Nor are there any across-the-board conservatives on city council. Some of them are conservative on some issues, but overall, they are a thoroughly moderate bunch. Bob Dillon, for example, is pro-law-and-order, but fairly liberal on social issues.
So: Mr. Taylor tolerates some moderates, even admires some. He dislikes me, and calls me names, and invents sins to accuse me of. He says, for example, “she has taken the problems of a young high school girl and used them … to embarrass the high school administration, which she loathes.”
Wrong on several counts. Before I agreed to write Kim Lemos’s story, I had no strong feelings against the GUSD administration. I thought the test scores and textbook selected were abysmal, but I had high hopes for Bob Bravo.
I still do not loathe them, though I find their behavior since my two columns came out appalling, especially their continued harassment of Alexandra Williams, and their inability to admit, “Yeah, that’s what happened. We made some mistakes. We won’t let it happen again.”
Lastly, I definitely “have the conviction to state clearly who at the high school violated this girl’s rights.” I am convinced that names need to be named. What I have not had, up till now, is permission.
I try to be scrupulously careful of my source’s rights to privacy. When I interview a minor, I ask the parent’s permission first. I make every effort to let the interviewee read my column before I send it to my editor.
Mrs. Shairon Williams, Alex’s mother, wants some very simple things from GUSD. She wants acknowledgement that certain incidents took place. She wants an apology for the most egregious incident. And, being a human resources specialist, she thinks some training is in order, to prevent future incidents.
She is being ignored.
Mrs. Williams has graciously agreed to let me name one name: Manny Corzo took the vests.