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Emails show depth of passion on Gilzean appointment to Pinellas board



You may have read this morning in your Tampa Bay Times about a series of passionate emails between leaders in St. Petersburg's African-American community regarding Gov. Rick Scott's appointment of Glen Gilzean to the Pinellas County school board in the wake of Lew Williams' death. Click below to see the emails that the Times was able to obtain from various sources. (Please note that we redacted any email addresses and phone numbers for those individuals involved in the exchange who aren't public officials.) The emails are, as best as we could determine, in reverse chronological order, with the originating email from Jason Mims last.

Subject: Fwd: Re: "Hearts of this Community"
From: rene robinson

To: Jason D. Mims; Manuel Sykes; Ray Tampa; Lou Brown III; Pye N. Young; Pastor Wayne Thompson; Reginald Davis; Gypsy C. Gallardo; Askia Muhammad Aquil; Kelvin George; [email protected]

Cc: [email protected]; Glinton Gilzean [email protected]

Subject: Re: “Hearts of this Community”

Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 14:05:43 -0800 (PST)

Mr. Mims:

Please remove my email from your data base. I have three children, one daughter and two sons. In my years of parenting nor in my professional career,  I do not allow the back and forth conversation when our points have been made clear one to another.

Our sentiments remain the same as do yours.

I wish you and Mr. Gilzean God's speed.


Rene Flowers


From: Askia Muhammad Aquil

Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:23 PM

To: Ray Tampa; 'Lou Brown III'; 'Jason D. Mims'; 'Rouson, Darryl'; 'Pastor Wayne Thompson'; Pye N. Young; 'Manuel Sykes'; 'Gypsy Gallardo'; Rene Robinson; 'Reginald Davis'; 'Kelvin George'

Cc: 'Glinton Gilzean'

Subject: RE: "Hearts of this Community"

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren (brothers and sisters) to dwell together in unity!..."

"Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace..."

"And hold fast all together by the rope which The Lord Almighty stretches out to you, and do not be divided among yourselves.  And remember with gratitude the favor bestowed upon you by The Lord Almighty, for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, you became brethren (brothers and sisters).  And you were on the brink of the pit of fire, and The Lord Almighty saved you from it. Thus does The Lord make His signs clear to you that you may be guided aright. Let their arise from among you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones that will achieve great success and happiness..."

Peace and blessings be upon each one of you, and especially to new Pinellas County School Board member Gilzean and retired Lt. Col. Mims, neither of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting to date. I genuinely look forward to both occasions.

We are one people -- as African Americans -- as well as citizens of the same state and country.  Most of our issues and challenges are shared in common, though experienced in varying degrees, viewed through different prisms, from differing vantage points.  We realize that the Tampa Bay area is one metropolitan region. However, the cities and communities that comprise this region have their distinguishing histories, characteristics, perspectives, personalities and sensitivities. What intelligent person would ignore this obvious fact?

I think Gov. Scott is smart enough to recognize this, but the arrogance of power and wealth caused him and his advisors to ignore it. Had Gov. Scott  announced that he was making an interim "place-holder" appointment of an individual with good credentials who represented his philosophy -- Gov. Scott has already said that he would only appoint people who agreed with him -- and who was unencumbered by local political loyalties, it would have shown more honesty on his part.  For him and his spokesperson to deceptively state otherwise, then kick sand in our faces by stating that he was appointing "the most qualified person" to fill this School Board vacancy, rendered an ill-advised move unforgivable.  If you openly insult the intelligence or affront the dignity of a person or a people with integrity, isn't it only right and natural to expect a swift and sharp reaction?

My advice to young Mr. Gilzean is to do the best he can during the next few months, but don't swallow the koolaid,... don't inhale the smoke that was blown in his face,... don't go for the okeydoke.  And whereas his votes may be important during his brief term, the reality is that he and anyone else in that seat represents a glaring minority of one on a body that oversees a district that has been in turmoil and steady decline for years,... a district that was recently ranked 37th or 38th in Florida on one scale. Another troubling indicator: the elementary school attended by my daughters has had five different principals during their years at their school.  How many principals has Gibbs High School had in the last 10 - 20 years?

In my opinion, the system needs to be shaken out of its complacency, starting with the school board as a whole. What viable company or organization would tolerate declining performance and subpar outcomes and outputs year after year without sounding the alarm and initiating a major overhaul?  How long will we continue to validate a system that admittedly feeds the "school-to-prison" complex for so many of our boys and young men -- a system that is failing to graduate and adequately prepare students by the thousands by their own admission? Dissatisfied parents and courageous honest advocates should be leading this charge, rather than currying favor.

President Lincoln stated during his Gettysburg Address that “... this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Some of the people involved in this email exchange consider ourselves to be part of this modern era "new birth of freedom," and have demonstrated the courage to speak truth to power. Our "representatives" in 2012 who occupy various governmental and leadership positions should expect to hear from fed up people throughout our community, and should not be surprised when we loudly disagree with them and their positions that adversely impact our lives and future.Stephen Douglas, American Democratic politician from Illinois who debated with Abraham Lincoln stated: “In my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis.  It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men, in such a manner as they should determine.” When political leaders and their allies make decisions and take actions that benefit them and their interests rather than benefitting our interests, it is only right that they should be prepared for the reaction that is sure to come.  



Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil

----- Forwarded Message -----

From: Jason D. Mims

To: "Rouson, Darryl"; 'Gypsy Gallardo'; 'Manuel Sykes'; 'Ray Tampa'; 'Lou Brown III'; Pye N. Young; 'Pastor Wayne Thompson'; 'Reginald Davis'; 'Askia Muhammad Aquil'; 'Kelvin George'

Cc: 'Glinton Gilzean' <[email protected]>

Sent: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 6:39 PM

Subject: Re: "Hearts of this Community"

Representative Rouson, Greetings!

Point 1:  Glen did not ask me to put anything out to anyone.  Your legislative update is what prompted me to share my thoughts.  The phrase you offer in your response offers more hope.

Point 2:  Your email and Gypsy’s provide me sufficient feedback to suggest that Glen will get some level of positive insight and momentum from the constituents he is serving.

Point 3:  Correct, I do not know St. Pete well and the dynamics in play there.  Nor do I know how to make a watch.

Point 4:  Politics is not my area of expertise—opportunity is.  The American Flag waves (if the wind is blowing) no matter what the political label is of the person standing under it.

Point 5:  My desire is to see people in urban ZIP codes gather information from local school boards and other primary sources about academic opportunities, have them share that info with students in the neighborhood, and have residents connect students to local and national resources that nurture Enthusiasm for Learning.

Point 6:  I like the “strength-based” approach in dealing with community issues.  In this particular instance, I was longing for identified strengths that the community recognized it received from the appointment. 

Point 7:  I appreciate the civil nature of this dialogue.

Point 8:  I appreciate the opportunity to attend the February 23 session, however, I will be in San Antonio, TX.  My brother is in a convalescent center there and I have the opportunity to add to his quality of life by taking him so many times a month out for “WhataBurger Fellowships.” 

Point 9 (okay, final one):  “What we have seen in the last 10 years is increasing concern among successful black men in terms of trying to help other African American men succeed.”

Dr. Courtland Lee  Being A Black Man at the Corner of Progress and Peril, 

I cherish the blessing of being a foot soldier in this campaign. 

 In His Service,


Jason D. Mims

Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Retired


The MIMS Institute

Promoting academic excellence in key urban zip codes

 ...The fruit of LOVE is SERVICE. The fruit of SERVICE is PEACE.

Mother Teresa's Business Card


From: Ray Tampa

Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 8:04 PM

To: 'Lou Brown III'; 'Jason D. Mims'; Rouson, Darryl; 'Pastor Wayne Thompson'; Pye N. Young; 'Askia Muhammad Aquil'; 'Manuel Sykes'; 'Gypsy Gallardo'; Rene Robinson; 'Reginald Davis'; 'Kelvin George'

Cc: 'Glinton Gilzean'

Subject: RE: "Hearts of this Community"

Mr. Mims, 

I am not sure if we have ever met. If this is the case, I look forward to meeting you in the very near future.

I love the thrust of your message. Yes, Governor Scott did disrespect our community in a huge way by appointing Mr. Gilzean to that board seat. Yes, Mr. Gilzean participated in the sham by applying for the seat when he knew that the only qualification of any real value was that of having an (R) beside his name. However, there were other names on that list that would have caused a great deal of anguish too. Therefore, as you have said, lets try and take this lemon and make some cool, refreshing lemonade. Mr. Gilzean is in a postion to cast some very important votes, irregardless of the length of his tenure.

As far as certain community figures trying to suggest that closing the achievement gap is a big concern of theirs, I suggest you ask them what did they DO or SAY prior to Mr. Gilzean's appointment. This will let you know where the "Hearts of the Community" rest.

Ray Tampa

---- "Rouson wrote:

> dear Mr. Mims,


> Thank you for caring enough to respond and participate in the political process. In the passion of your email, I offer that maybe I should have said, IT WILL BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for Mr. Gilzean to win the hearts of the community; A community that by and large is still suffering the pain of loss of a beloved long time warrior. We are not indifferent to process, in this case the political process of his acension / anointment to the Board, nor the right of any member of this community to run challenge him so that the COMMUNITY actually chooses their representative.


> I love the quote of scripture but no one seeks, not even me, to "crucify" him. In fact, in good faith we do seek to INFORM him. He thrust himself into this school board candidacy and last I checked, was not DRAFTED against his will nor imprisoned to the board by chains. Thus, any qualified individual of the community can exercise their right to challenge his candidacy. The group Gypsy is pulling together is obviously acting in good faith or they would not attend. Does not sound like a boycott to me. Thank you Gypsy.

> There is enough scripture to fit every situation, even the guardsman that seeks to warn about wolf in sheep clothing. Just ask African American Republicans how they have fared in Pinellas County.  And according to your website and your phone number, you operate in the Blue Zone of Hillsborough County and I am not sure what you even know about our Pinellas Community. This is a Pinellas County issue and OUR community, as Gypsy says is not monolithic nor enslaved to anyone but we are a Democratic performing people who will not be told who to accept, not even if told by Darryl Rouson. You give me and some of us way too much influence.

> And for the record, I am not angry. I am disappointed and I do feel like the community has spoken FIVE times and I do feel the community was disrespected. Sorry.  It's just my opinion. I am not always right. But I am always fond of it.

> I also hope you are not threatening that MR. Gilzean will "remember" only those who support or assist him? I have learned in this politics that today's adversary is tomorrows ally. I have learned like the Bible says, vengeance is the Lord's.

> Out of respect for you and because I have never included the press on responses to my positions, I have not done like you and copied the weekly challenger and I am not sure why you didn't go further and copy Power Broker Magazine, the St. Petersburg Bulletin, Orlando Sentinel or the Tampa Bay Times and all other local media for a "family" issue. If Mr. Gilzean approved your words or asked you to defend him and copy the press, it does not look good.

> God Bless You,


> Darryl Rouson


> From: Gypsy Gallardo

> Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 4:30 PM

> To: 'Jason D. Mims'; 'Manuel Sykes'; 'Ray Tampa'; Rene Robinson; 'Lou Brown III'; Pye N. Young; 'Pastor Wayne Thompson'; 'Reginald Davis'; 'Askia Muhammad Aquil'; 'Kelvin George'; Rouson, Darryl

> Cc: [email protected]; 'Glinton Gilzean'

> Subject: RE: "Hearts of this Community"

> Importance: High


> Hello Mr. Mims - Good to hear from you. You misunderstand the dynamics of the African American community in St. Petersburg. We are much different than what you and others have described about the Tampa "black leadership," though I cannot validate the assertions I've heard.

> There is a strong group - being supported by the very folks you quote below - who are being professional about their politics with the meeting described below to brief Glenton.

> There is nothing in the Holy Scripture that I know of that instructs us not to speak truth to power. The reality is that a) the Governor's appointment was a sham, b) Glenton and others should reflect on how they pushed and lobbied for that position (WITHOUT picking up the phone to consult African Americans here about the needs of OUR community), c) Pastor Sykes, Rouson and others absolutely should speak out about the way this decision was made and I among others support their voice wholeheartedly, and d) NEVERTHELESS, I don't know of anyone who intends to boycott Glenton or deny him a shot to be effective. Afterall, there are many who have labored for years to push certain initiatives that have only recently seen the light of victory. We will not turn back at this point and succumb to petty politics.

> We do not have a community of blind and dumb followers in St. Petersburg, and we have many leaders who routinely disagree, but continue to work together in stride. Despite the oft-spoken misperception, this is not a "crabs in the barrel" victim-community.

> I personally invite you to the meeting described in the following paragraphs, and than you for your passion:

> Three groups will co-host a serious sit-down briefing with our newly appointed School Board Member for District 7 - Mr. Glenton Gilzean on the morning of Thursday, February 23rd 2012 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.; and you are cordially invited to be one of approximately 15 people whose expertise, history and work can help give Glenton the background he needs to focus on our shared priorities for closing the achievement gap.

> You are well aware of the controversy surrounding Glenton's appointment; the objectives of this meeting are to not only equip him, but to set his standard for what our advocacy organizations have been fighting for; and to assess his capabilities to carry our torch. He needs to firmly understand where we stand on key issues and initiatives such as the Bradley Court Case, Crowley, the new Ford Foundation Career Academies, funding to after-school academic enrichment programs, and more.

> Please RSVP if you can be present, or send regrets if you are unable to attend. Your voice and knowledge are needed.


> In Service -


> Gwen Reese & Gypsy Gallardo, Co-Chairs, The PACT

> Watson Haynes Co-Chair, COQEBS

> Rev. Edward Leftwich, Chairman, Center for Community & Economic Justice


> For more details or with questions, please call Rev. Ed Leftwich at XXX-XXX-XXX.>

> Gypsy C. Gallardo | Publisher

> The Power Broker magazine, e-zine & on-line

> T: 727-XXX-XXX

> W:<>

> "Open the Network. Unleash the Power."

> ___

> From: Jason D. Mims

> Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 2:58 PM

> To: Manuel Sykes; Ray Tampa; Rene Robinson; Lou Brown III; Pye N. Young; Pastor Wayne Thompson; Reginald Davis; Gypsy C. Gallardo; Askia Muhammad Aquil; Kelvin George; [email protected]

> Cc: [email protected]; Glinton Gilzean

> Subject: "Hearts of this Community"


> Leaders in South St. Petersburg, Greetings!


> The Obedience Memo I received prompts me to share some thoughts about the challenge that black community leaders are offering up to the newest member of the Pinellas County School Board, Glen Gilzean.

> In State Representative Darryl Rouson's first Legislative Update (February 7, 2012) to constituents in Florida House District 55, he labels Gilzean as "someone who ... cannot win the hearts of this community."

> The leadership in South St. Petersburg finds itself in an unsolicited situation.   For the most part, the leaders are Christians.  They, individually, are descent people.  Yet, when an unpopular governor appoints someone they do not know to fill the remaining term of a deceased school board member, they find justification for ignoring the principal themes outlined in the Good Book.

> It only takes a couple of leaders to shout, "Crucify him!"  The masses follow.  Glen will spend nearly a year representing a group of people who have a wide variety of leadership talents and other positive gifts.  The leaders could choose to deny extending those talents and strengths to the new board member for almost a whole year.

> Glen is 29 and has a few decades of "service to others" ahead of him.  He will reflect back years from now on his first opportunity to benefit from the strengths of a constituent community.  Certain individual names will spring to mind.   He might even link his first full month as a state constitutional officer to Black History Month 2012.

> Heads shake at the thought that Governor Scott would disrespect voters in South St. Petersburg by appointing an outsider to represent them on a seven-member school board with only one black member.

> The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" (From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Favorite Quotes)

> Glen may not be in a position to "win the hearts of this community."  He does sit on a dais where the subject of black male academic achievement can-for the first time-be a routine item on the board's agenda.  He does have the ability to seek answers to questions that concern the community.  He does have access to colleagues who can help change outcomes for individual minority students-including some in South St. Petersburg.  Any degree of support from the black leadership in South St. Petersburg will go a long way toward writing a positive script for a his time on the board.  In essence, the leadership in South St. Petersburg can remain angry about the "lemon" that the governor threw into the community-or it can turn lemon into lemonade for the children in Pinellas County.


> In His Service,

> Jason

> Jason D. Mims

> Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Retired

> CELL: (813) XXX-XXXX

> The MIMS Institute<>

> Promoting academic excellence in key urban zip codes

> ...The fruit of LOVE is SERVICE. The fruit of SERVICE is PEACE.

> Mother Teresa's Business Card

[Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:44am]


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