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Paladino won’t resign: “No, I'm not leaving the school board”

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WBFO News file photo
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Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino said he won’t resign from his Park District seat. Paladino issued a written statement in response to disparaging comments he made about President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama that appeared in a published Artvoice survey last week.

In the written statement, Paladino explains how he responded to the Artvoice ‘wish list’ survey for 2017.

In Tuesday’s statement Paladino offers an apology to the minority community.

“I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize. I thought about them every day as I fought against unqualified and incompetent superintendents, administrators, teachers and School Board members, unfair union contracts, broken homes and children who can't get the education they need to break that cycle of poverty because our school system is a failure, for reasons that needn't be. I have shown those who chose not to watch but to enter the arena how to fight the demons. Nevertheless, I won't be judged by those timid souls who sit uninvolved in the gallery always prepared to criticize.  Nor do I have any respect or regrets for the insane education activists who hover over and defend the dysfunction of the BPS,” wrote Paladino.

Since the story broke last Friday, there has been a massive outcry from the community. Thousands of people have signed online petitions calling for him to resign from the school board.  A number of local lawmakers have also condemned Paladino’s statements.

Response to Artvoice survey

Paladino tried to explain his reasoning for issuing his survey questions to Artvoice.

“I received Jamie Moses’ emailed survey at an emotional moment after I had just listened to Obama's statement that he regretted the slaughter in Aleppo that, in fact, resulted from his failed and cowardly foreign policy. His policy is to look the other way while innocent people were murdered and starved.  I view Barack Obama as a traitor to American values. We don't stand down and leave soldiers to die on a battlefield when we can send help. We don't lie to the American people and the parents of our fallen to get re-elected. Obama has not led America to a better place by disregarding the rule of law and standing with his elitist brethren as above the law; nor has his wife Michele Obama who told our children and the world after the election that now there is no hope for America,” stated Paladino.

Paladino stated he is taking ‘responsibility’ for what he said and confirmed those were his answers. But then claiming he did not intend to send the answers to Artvoice.

“Not that it makes any difference because what I wrote was inappropriate under any circumstance. I filled out the survey to send to a couple friends and forwarded it to them not realizing that I didn't hit “forward” I hit “reply.” All men make mistakes,” stated Paladino.

Paladino also wrote about hurting his teen age daughter with his remarks.

“What is horrible is explaining to my 17 year old daughter how her hero could be so stupid,” wrote Paladino.

Public outcry

But many throughout the community remain outraged at Paladino’s statements. State Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo is calling on State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to ‘remove’ Paladino from the city school board. Ryan issued a letter to Elia dated December 27, 2017 decrying Paladino’s words.

“The comments Mr. Paladino made are not just disrespectful and repulsive, they are an impediment to the proper functioning of the board. The board will be unable to carry out its duties to oversee the education of more than 34,000 students, with a member of the board causing constant chaos with his actions. Protestors are already planning to disrupt future board meetings, and will be holding rallies demanding the removal of Mr. Paladino. So long as he continues to serve as a member of the board, his presence will be a distraction. This distraction will force the board to devote time to addressing the fallout from Mr. Paladino’s comments, and they will be unable to carry out their duties as intended. The controversy over his comments is continuing to grow by the day, and I fear that with Mr. Paladino on the board, the focus will not be on the children of Buffalo, but on the reprehensible words of one man. Commissioner Elia should remove Mr. Paladino as a member of the board, so that we can return the focus to educating the students of the City of Buffalo,” stated Ryan.

In their Tuesday afternoon session, the Buffalo Common Council joined the outcry, voting unanimously to ask Elia to investigate Paladino.

"It's so important for us to send a clear message that this is not something we're not going to stand for and that the state should intervene as the laws permit to take an appropriate stand,” said University District Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt. “As a lawmaker, we understand our First Amendments are very important to use so we certainly don't want to turn around and try to change the First Amendment. But, certainly for someone in the position Mr. Paladino is in, there should be consequences and I hope the state will find a way to make certain that his consequence is something that speaks to we as a community, what we as a country believe in, and it's certainly not to disrespect the President of the United States and his wife."

Meanwhile, the Partnership for the Public Good called for a boycott of all businesses that have ties to Paladino. Also, the former long-time president of the regional NAACP said he has doubts about an assertion made by Paladino's son that the elder Paladino has not had daily involvement in Ellicott Development "for many years." Frank Mesiah previously led an unsuccessful effort to block tax incentives for a housing project the company launched. Until recently, Mesiah sat on the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

Here is the full statement issued by Paladino:

"I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize. I thought about them every day as I fought against unqualified and incompetent superintendents, administrators, teachers and School Board members, unfair union contracts, broken homes and children who can't get the education they need to break that cycle of poverty because our school system is a failure, for reasons that needn't be. I have shown those who chose not to watch but to enter the arena how to fight the demons. Nevertheless, I won't be judged by those timid souls who sit uninvolved in the gallery always prepared to criticize.  Nor do I have any respect or regrets for the insane education activists who hover over and defend the dysfunction of the BPS.

I received Jamie Moses’ emailed survey at an emotional moment after I had just listened to Obama's statement that he regretted the slaughter in Aleppo that, in fact, resulted from his failed and cowardly foreign policy. His policy is to look the other way while innocent people were murdered and starved.  I view Barack Obama as a traitor to American values. We don't stand down and leave soldiers to die on a battlefield when we can send help. We don't lie to the American people and the parents of our fallen to get re-elected.  Obama has not led America to a better place by disregarding the rule of law and standing with his elitist brethren as above the law; nor has his wife Michele Obama who told our children and the world after the election that now there is no hope for America.

Those survey questions provided me with the spark to vent and write deprecating humor about a bad President for whom the main stream media continues to seek an undeserved legacy. I wanted to say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people who are totally responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others. I was wired up, primed to be human and I made a mistake. I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings.
 
It's all too easy to make mistakes when you're emotional about the rigged teachers’ contract by an incompetent Board of Education majority who sold out the school district as payback to teacher's union leader Phil Rumore for his election support. They couldn't care less about the children of Buffalo. I'm bewildered about the Supreme Court Judge who tried to dismiss a lawsuit to recover $450 million fleeced from the children of Buffalo by LP Ciminelli during the $1.4 billion schools building project.

I publicly took responsibility for what I said and confirmed those were my answers, but believe it or not, I did not mean to send those answers to Artvoice.  Not that it makes any difference because what I wrote was inappropriate under any circumstance.  I filled out the survey to send to a couple friends and forwarded it to them not realizing that I didn't hit “forward” I hit “reply.” All men make mistakes. 

What is horrible is explaining to my 17 year old daughter how her hero could be so stupid. 

What is horrible is watching my family and friends react to the rabid hordes of attacking parasites we now call activist progressives. 

It's been a sick, combative year for America. We changed the direction of our country and beat back the demons for a few decades. I am proud to have been a part of the making of history.

As for the vanquished progressive haters out there spewing their venom at anything that is a reminder of their humiliating defeat, irrelevance is tough to chew on. 

For the mean-spirited, disoriented press trying to find grounding and recover legitimacy on my back, pray that you still have a job next year because you have lost all credibility with the people. 
 
No, I'm not leaving the school board, not when it's time to help implement the real choice elements of Trump's plan for education reform.  I've spent years dedicated to the mission to defeat the thought that the liberal progressive elitist establishment can continue to hold our minority children captive in the cycle of poverty simply to provide their voting base. I don't intend to yield to the fanatics among my adversaries.  I certainly am not a racist.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."

The following is the letter Assemblyman Ryan issued to NYSED Commissioner Elia: 

December 27, 2016
MaryEllen Elia
Commissioner of Education
New York State Education Department
State Education Building
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234

Dear Commissioner Elia:

I write today regarding the Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education, and the recent actions of one of the members of the board, Carl Paladino. Mr. Paladino recently made comments to Artvoice magazine, which were incredibly disturbing, and call into question his ability to effectively continue to serve as a member of the board. When asked by the magazine what he hopes to see happen in 2017, Mr. Paladino says he wishes President Barack Obama would die of ‘mad cow disease’. Mr. Paladino then questions the gender of First Lady Michelle Obama, and compares her to a gorilla. These inflammatory and racist comments show a profound lack of respect for the office of the Presidency, and an animosity toward African Americans. Mr. Paladino is well-known for making racist and derogatory comments, and his latest tirade demonstrates he is unable to contribute to the proper functioning of the Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education. I urge you to use your authority to remove Mr. Paladino as a member of the board immediately.

The comments Mr. Paladino made are not just disrespectful and repulsive, they are an impediment to the proper functioning of the board. The board will be unable to carry out its duties to oversee the education of more than 34,000 students, with a member of the board causing constant chaos with his actions. Protestors are already planning to disrupt future board meetings, and will be holding rallies demanding the removal of Mr. Paladino. So long as he continues to serve as a member of the board, his presence will be a distraction. This distraction will force the board to devote time to addressing the fallout from Mr. Paladino’s comments, and they will be unable to carry out their duties as intended. The controversy over his comments is continuing to grow by the day, and I fear that with Mr. Paladino on the board, the focus will not be on the children of Buffalo, but on the reprehensible words of one man.

I again urge you to use your authority to remove Carl Paladino as a member of the Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education. State law gives you the power to remove Mr. Paladino if his actions interfere with the functioning of the board. This is a prime example of when this authority should be exercised. I look forward to hearing from you regarding this important matter.

Sincerely,

Sean M. Ryan                       

Member of Assembly

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