And the Boss worship isn’t even close to the hottest thing about this story, as told by the St. Petersburg Times’ Letitia Stein :
the Hillsborough School Board made a spur-of-the-moment decision Tuesday night to christen in his honor the George Steinbrenner High School in Lutz.
The baseball titan was on their minds after the recent Christmas concert that he sponsors annually for Hillsborough students at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
Board member Candy Olson, who brought up the namesake idea, called it just one example of Steinbrenner’s generosity. She didn’t mention his World Series wins or controversial management style.
She wanted to honor the Steinbrenner who helped to launch middle school athletics in Hillsborough, the philanthropist with a winning record in Tampa Bay.
“You don’t often find someone who can be hard-nosed and also that compassionate in giving,” said Olson, calling him a great role model.
School officials seemed swayed by recent reports that the 77-year-old Tampa resident’s health is failing. Board member Susan Valdes observed, “There’s a saying: Bring flowers today, when I can enjoy them.”
In an unusual encounter, a School Board critic confronted chairwoman Jennifer Faliero during the public comment section of the board meeting.
The question came from Lee Drury De Cesare, who lives in Madeira Beach but has set her sights on the Hillsborough school system in a blog that spares few officials in its criticism.
De Cesare said she wanted to bring up a rumor that surfaced recently on local blogs where teachers post anonymously. Faliero stopped her twice, warning that this forum was for school business, not rumors. De Cesare challenged that this was free speech.
“Did you have an affair in the school environment?” asked De Cesare, who previously made news by asking then-Attorney General Charlie Crist if he is gay.
Faliero slammed her gavel.
“You’re out of order, step away from the microphone. Right now,” she said. “Your remarks are insulting, they’re slanderous and they’re untruthful.”