Main Street WIRE Tops Itself In Incompetence

Mindless Street WIRE Attacks Free Speech, Spineless Officials Follow

David Stone

Memo to: Susan Rosenthal, Ben Kallos, Jeffrey Escobar and Briana Warsing

Subject: Despite Best Efforts of Trump and the Politically Correct Crowd, Free Speech Remains Legal Here

Mindless Street WIRE Attacks Free Speech, Spineless Officials Follow

After aligning with racist trolls, elder neglect and rat colonies, the former Main Street WIRE still found it possible to get worse, but who would've thought they'd do it in support of crushing free speech, probably the most honored American privilege and the very one that makes newspapers possible?

And it's another utter disgrace to the community that RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal, Council Member Ben Kallos, Editor/Publisher Briana Warsing and Common Council President Jeffrey Escobar, all of them lawyers, hunkered like spineless creatures behind an effort to characterize public expressions of free speech as criminal.

With so-called progressive public servants such as these, who needs Trump to stomp on rights?

Effort to Get Mandana Beckman to Leave

As we reported earlier, a group opposed to Mandana Beckman's continuing as Principal at PS/IS 217 made their feelings known by putting up posters around Roosevelt Island.

Mindless Street WIRE Attacks Free Speech, Spineless Officials Follow

Let's pause for just a moment to cover what the former Main Street WIRE persistently fails to. Full disclosure, according to the American Press Institute, is necessary when there are "Personal connections to sources, organizations or events mentioned in reporting."

The alleged "independent" newspaper won't do it, so we'll do it for them.

Both Briana Warsing and Managing Editor Kelly Turner have children enrolled at the school. Turner is an officer of the school's Queens-based PTA that has fully supported Beckman's mishandling of rat infestations at the school.

Now, as for Beckman, the group has good cause to ask her to leave:

  • In spite of intense public pressure to act, Beckman never made any effort to deal with the burgeoning rat colony that eventually grew to what the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene called a "severe crisis," largely from carelessly discarded food waste.
  • While the colony grew so large it expanded into Manhattan Park, Beckman's allies on the Roosevelt Island Parents' Network aggressively attacked other parents who worried about the rats as "morons" and worse.
  • The Main Street WIRE, much as it did with convicted felon Rema Townsend, gave Beckman a free hand to excuse herself from all responsibility, but astute reporting by Frank Farance on the Roosevelt Islander blog got the attention of off island journalists that brought enough pressure on City officials that corrective action was taken - with no help from Beckman.
  • Beckman endangered children in her care at the same time as she invited the pummeling of Roosevelt Island's reputation in the local, national and international news. Our children were equated with rats on Matt Drudge's Twitter feed, thanks to Beckman's negligence.
  • Attracting less attention but probably of even greater danger, Beckman encouraged school staff to park their vehicles in the emergency access lane meant to protect the school and Manhattan Park's adjacent high rise. While the Principal moped about trip hazards from tree roots, she encouraged and joined in with dangerous, illegal parking until Public Safety was goaded into stopping it - over her protests.
  • Free parkers with illegal permits signed by Beckman nearly destroyed a memorial plaque placed in honor of Roosevelt Island's African-American literary pioneer Alice Childress, on the lawn, before RIOC rescued and relocated it in a secure place near the Meditation Steps.
  • The worst part, of course, is that Beckman never apologized, never took the least responsibility and linked arms with the Main Street WIRE to blame Manhattan Park, the Island in general and the Department of Sanitation for the disaster over which she presided.
If these things don't show the principal to be of dubious fitness to be in charge of children, not to mention the school's mediocre and racially questionable academic performance, what does?

Free Speech Is an American Right

"The Supreme Court has generally taken the approach that any conduct with an 'expressive element"—anything that communicates a thought or opinion—is a form of speech and is protected." Macmillan Social Science Library

"Freedom of speech is the right to express opinions and ideas openly, without fear of punishment. This freedom covers more than the spoken word. 'Speech' has been interpreted to include all printed material, signs, broadcasts, and electronic communications—even clothing." Gale Group

Let's put it in terms even Rosenthal, Kallos, Escobar and Warsing can understand: RIOC, the City Council, the Parents' Network and the WIRE have no goddamn business attempting to muzzle free speech.

While we don't expect much from the WIRE, Rosenthal, Kallos and Escobar ought to be ashamed of themselves, and each owe the community an apology for violating the most essential rules of a free society.

Mindless Street WIRE Attacks Free Speech, Spineless Officials Follow

So, Who Are the Bullies Here?

The dictionary definition of bullying is to "...use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants."

Is anyone idiot enough to suggest that residents who, after being trashed on the Parents' Network and in the WIRE, take the last resort of anonymously putting up posters are using "superior strength or influence?"

I have some better examples that fit the description:

  • RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal who is quoted, "We have instructed staff to remove all of these from inappropriate public spaces," while leaving up numerous other political posters as RIOC always has in the past.
  • City Council Member Ben Kallos, who is politically supported by Beckman and, illegally, the PTA: "I'm urging anyone who sees who is doing this to report it to public safety and our office." Is there anything more chilling than a public official telling the public to report protected free speech to the authorities?
  • PTA President Erin Olavesen, who calls those who disagree with her protection of Beckman "frighteningly aggressive individuals" and disingenuously tries to reframe the conversation by claiming they "want to attack our school" when the reality, as she knows, is that they want to protect it from more of Mandana Beckman.
  • Briana Warsing, author of this graphic exercise in un-American activity, who caps it by referring to those who put up posters with which she disagrees as "perpetrators," that is, criminals, a heavy-handed insult to working journalists everywhere.
  • And, of course, there's Beckman herself, who seeing Frank Farance documenting her rat metropolis, reached out to Public Safety to make a false report of an unidentified stranger lurking in the school parking lot, one who might be a danger to children - as if RIOC's officers have nothing better to do than join Beckman in harassing a critic. 
Rosenthal, Kallos, Escobar - where is hell is your decency and respect for our rights as Americans?