The case of Adrain Bonner gets curiouser and curiouser. In the last week, the cost of the embattled former Dunbar High School band director’s fight to get his job back (“Looking for an Encore,” Dec.28, 2005) has risen by $86,540.
That’s the astonishing amount school officials are asking before they will cough up the district’s filthy pictures files (requested by Bonner’s attorney Mike Ware because one of the charges against his client was having porn on his school computer – sent to him unsolicited by other employees, as the district concedes.) Ware filed an open records request for info on the district’s investigations into workers who have used school computers to gratify their sexual fantasies at taxpayer expense.
Parents who hoped that such a group would be small would be wrong. In a letter to Ware, paralegal Lisa Silvia wrote that during the past five years “computer forensic investigations … have garnered over 100 CDs of evidence” of pornographic activity, with each c.d. holding “675 megabytes of data … equivalent to 4,333 pages of printed e-mails, excluding graphics.” (That’s a lot of T&A. The Kama Sutra’s only 176 pages.)
Getting those records to Ware will be expensive, Silvia wrote, because the material must be combed for non-releasable information, such as e-mail addresses. She figured it would take employees 2,400 hours – for about $36,000 (just below the salary for a first-year teacher). Overhead charges add another $7,200.
But then a funny thing happened: On a subsequent billing page, Silvia’s numbers suddenly swelled from 4,333 pages of printouts to an astonishing 433,400 pages. At 10 cents a page, the cost rose to $43,340 – enough to hire a really good math teacher with enough left over to send Silvia to a remedial math course.
Even if the paralegal’s numbers are off by a factor of 100, Ware said, the quoted cost for the data is “just one more outrage by a district determined to keep the public in the dark about the public’s business.”
And maybe hide the secret that there are more than a few people acting in loco parentis who are sending around nasty pics on the taxpayers’ dimes.
Bring Back Mickey
The smooth lyricism of Fort Worth Star-Telegram classical music critic Wayne Lee Gay reached its finale just before Christmas. In other words, he was unceremoniously dumped. (S-T management refused comment.)
A former Star-T writer who is close to many current staffers described a general feeling of newsroom panic, as the question of a new owner looms and tenured (read: “more highly paid”) writers, like tv writer Ken Parish Perkins and court reporter Toni Heinzl, get axed. (Recall that Heinzl’s better half, Dallas Morning News reporter Tanya Eiserer, quit the Star-T several years ago after the paper hesitated to publish her story that was critical of Dillard’s, one of the paper’s biggest advertisers.)
One company that has allegedly come a-courtin to buy S-T parent company Knight Ridder is Gannett, known for its bottom-line management, catering to advertisers, and monopolistic media style, all at the expense of quality journalism. “People are afraid to pass gas in the hallway,” the source said. “It’s a very anti-creative environment. You’re not going to get good journalism out of people who are afraid to make mistakes and who are not going to put anything controversial in the paper.”