Sometimes We Are Best Defined By WHO Our Opponents ARE The WINNER of Merit Matters’ Essay Contest!

We offer the sole entry, to date (and it’s been over two years), in our Merit Matters’ Essay Contest, 1st Prize, although it’s a piece, riddled with gross inaccuracies and deliberate distortions by the anonymous author who goes by the nom de plume “Social_Justice NYC69.” Now, Social_Justice NYC69 didn’t begin his/her essay as requested with, “Merit Matters is wrong because...” but with this being the ONLY entry to our contest, we’ve declared it to be the “winner!” Although the cash prize was not on the table at this time, we do want to award it, BUT in order to do that we need to know who “Social_Justice NYC69” is, and call upon them to identify themselves as we do for all of our communications. Anonymity is clearly a coward’s tactic. Not only do we sign onto every statement and post we make, Chief Mannix attaches his cell phone number to every one of his communications, with nary a challenge yet to be made, we might add.

Here is the winning essay, with some necessary corrections made in red within the body of the original text and a response of our own following;

Is Merit Matters' Advocacy Justifying White Supremacist Ideology as FDNY Policy?
Social_Justice NYC69

Merit Matters is a self-proclaimed advocacy organization established for the sole purpose of denying African-Americans, and other non-white ethnic groups, a fair chance of employment within the FDNY. (Merit Matters has been a stalwart supporter of true equal opportunity (EVERYONE judged on the SAME high standards with preference for NONE). Merit Matters is almost certainly the most ethnically diverse group within the FDNY and Merit Matters has worked with Asian-American firefighters seeking to set up their own Fraternal Organization within the FDNY. Those who argue against the high standards that Merit Matters supports, by claiming (as both the Vulcan Society leadership and the CCR do) that such standards “discriminate against

black applicants,” are making a claim that’s rooted in the premise of black inferiority – Merit Matters rejects such premises. Tests that merely require the most elementary (grammar school level) reading comprehension) hardly seem like “barriers to ANY ethnic group’s “fair chance” at employment. Merit Matters has chosen to make the issue of FDNY testing a battle cry for their group. However, the major problem is the FDNY civil service exams for 1999 and 2002 were proven to be ineffective at determining which applicants would become the best firefighters. (It IS correct that Merit Matters insists that reading comprehension and other cognitive skills are vital to firefighting, we should know, since we ARE firefighters, not lawyers who’ve merely “read about” firefighting.) The only value those exams had were significantly lessening hiring from non-white ethnic groups. This in fact makes the 1999 and 2002 exams illegal under the legal designation of “disparate impact”; which is a clear violation of 1964 Civil Rights Act. This rulings have not deterred Merit Matters Deputy Chief Paul Mannix's from engaging in a relentless propaganda campaign against Judge Garaufis, the Vulcan Society, and non-white firefighter applicants previously refused employment due to the FDNY's corrupt and nepotistic hiring practices. Now the previous statements may seem like heavy accusations to those with only a vague familiarity of this issue, but I will provide clear evidence as to

the legitimacy of Merit Matters' ongoing role in attempting to undermine the necessary changes within the FDNY hiring process. (It must be noted here that he two most recent FDNY Entrance Exams ( 6019 & 2000) have amounted to veritable “opinion surveys.”) Merit Matters members' statements clearly shows intolerance towards non-white ethnic groups to the extreme extant of suppressing both professionalism and common sense. “Firefighters are together in close contact with fellow firefighters and supervisors for a far greater percentage of their time at work than Police Officers. This reality increases the trust and comity required for efficient operations, as well as increasing the possibility of tension and conflict with all the negative consequences presented by such a situation if incompetent personnel, or those who did not earn their position on the merits, are introduced”. There is one major flaw in this statement of Mr. Mannix; any African-American or Hispanic Firefighter hired as a part of the judgment of this lawsuit must attend and successfully complete the FDNY firefighter Academy. There's no way any one not cognitively able or physically fit is going to simply be passed through the academy and given a job in the FDNY. (That hasn’t been so. In fact, there’s a history of the FDNY doing just that, when it was forced to hire a number of females who’d failed the physical exam connected with the 1977 entrance exam. Moreover, we believe we’ve made the case

that minimally or basically qualified is NOT the same as “most qualified” and such exams are intended to discern the “minimally qualified” from the “most qualified.”) How are Merit Matters' members & supporters willing to express outrage over their perception of “tension and conflict with all the negative consequences” because of these appointments? Are Merit Matters' members willing to sabotage or tamper with the gear of priority-hire African-American & Hispanic firefighters? Are Merit Matters' members willing to alter their response time in the presence of an priority-hire AfricanAmerican or Hispanic Firefighters in order to make them appear to be out of sync with their fire company? Are Merit Matters' members willing to allow property on fire to become severely damaged, or even completely destroyed to later blame a priority-hire African-American or Hispanic firefighter? These are legitimate questions based on previous statements from Merit Matters about current firefighters' promise about refusing to work with any incoming priority-hire African-American & Hispanic firefighters; recruited through the Department of Justice & Vulcan Society lawsuit settlement. (Merit Matters has made NO SUCH statements. Our Executive Board alone speaks for Merit Matters) I share a selection from a objection letter sample from FDNY company 28 and 11, based in Manhattan's Lower East Side, for those individuals whom think I'm overreacting and asking outrageous questions, or those whom believe such events can't ever happen. “I do not

want to work with these applicants because I know they have not been held to as high a standard as other members. Nothing will do more to foster racial animus in our ranks”. Does that statement from FDNY company 28 and 11's objection letter come off as remotely logical? (That (above opinion) is an individual one and Merit Matters supports every person’s right to their opinion – male firefighters black & white expressed the SAME sentiments about working with female recruits who’d failed the entrance exams in 1977.) Can someone explain the logic of such a statement considering any priority-hire firefighter will still have to successfully complete the FDNY Fire Academy. Recognize that quote is simply a thinly-veiled threat against any incoming priority-hire African-American or Hispanic firefighters. It's no stretch of the imagination to understand how this kind of thinking on behalf of Merit Matters' and their supporters can easily lead to unnecessary destruction of property, injuries, and even loss of life. The potential loss of life due to racial intolerance brings us to the next point of “disparate impact”. Mr. Mannix has grossly misrepresented “disparate impact” as simply a means of instituting “racial quotas”. “Disparate impact” may seem like an abstract legal term, but it is actually explains discriminatory behavior that happens within the real world. The death of Jamel Sears while at the FDNY Fire Academy in 2008 was a result of

similar bigoted ideology that can be classified under the legal term of “disparate impact”. The details of Mr. Sears' death can be found doing a simple Google search, so there's no need for me to recount the entire horrific incident. However, I will focus on the order given by the FDNY Academy Instructor 'not to assist Mr. Sears'; when he requested help removing his gear after he collapsed. Would such an order been given if Jamel was named Philip, Peter, or Patrick and he looked like one of the members of the the FDNY Emerald Society? (There was neither ANY disparate treatment NOR bigotry associated with the tragic death of Jamel Sears. An autopsy showed that Mr. Sears suffered from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, an ailment, caused by plaque buildup in the arteries and that can cause heart attacks and sudden death, according to the American Heart Association. Any instructors who may have been slandered by such accusations may well have cause for legal action. I'm sure it's also a coincidence the same year the FDNY inducted the largest number of nonwhite 'probys' into the Fire Academy at Randal's Island is also the same year the training intensity was cranked up to extreme levels, resulting in Mr. Sears Death. (No...that’s simply NOT true, the Vulcan Society had been advocating an increased emphasis on physical ability during that time. Physical training at

the Fire Academy was ramped up in that environment.) Also recall two former NYPD officers that killed African Immigrant Amadou Diallo were ruled fit to serve within the FDNY, and they would be firefighters had not the media reported those former police officers appointment (CORRECTION: those two police officers ARE indeed firefighters TODAY! They could not be denied assignment based on a “criminal background check” because they were NOT convicted of any crimes.). Merit Matters and their supporters are unable and unwilling understand the legitimate reasons for legal intervention despite these incident and numerous other discriminatory events within the FDNY. Merit Matters instead tries to excuse the ongoing racial discrimination by having an Asian-American Firefighter state to the local media that ethnicity is a non-issue within the FDNY. (Merit Matters has NEVER made a single racial argument, its sole focus is on merit and standards...while the Vulcan Society’s EVERY argument has been a racial one) While I won't argue with Mr. Chan's belief, because he is certainly entitled to them. However, the doors of opportunity were opened decades before by African-American firefighters and their contributions have continued to open the proverbial doors for any and all non-white ethnic groups. We have only to answer some very simple questions to verify the previous statement. Did the first Asian-American join the FDNY before or after the first African-American joined that civil service organization? Did the

first Asian-American firefighter join the FDNY before or after the passage on the 1964 Civil Rights Act? (An immaterial non-sequitor, as Asian-Americans owe nothing to non-Latino blacks who’ve fought for preferences. Such preferences have been used AGAINST Asian-Americans more so than any other ethnic group! Blacks did NOT “open any doors” for Asians and other minorities, in fact, racial preferences have actually harmed such groups. Merit Matters has been assisting in the formation of an AsianAmerican firefighters group, as that group should have a voice that speaks for themselves) The history of African-Americans serving as firefighters throughout the United States has followed a similar course of events. Beginning with outright refusal of employment, grudging acceptance, and finally realization that African-Americans & other ethnic groups are just as capable members of their fire departments. Today, nationwide African-Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups proudly serve in major metropolitan fire departments, and their cities have not burned to the ground! However, Merit Matters will have the people of NYC believe such a ghastly fate awaits NYC; if it's firefighting department becomes diversified. Once again ignoring the simple fact any priority-hire firefighter must successfully complete the Fire Academy training to become a entry level firefighter! (This ignores the fact that the quota firefighters will get to “jump the line,” passing over more qualified candidates, to get into the Fire Academy.)

The FDNY and it's Fire Academy are both financed by NYC taxpayers. Taxpayers whom belong to diverse ethnic groups, including AfricanAmericans. Merit Matters and their supporters are perfectly satisfied to have AfricanAmericans taxed to finance their salaries, but they believe African-American residents of NYC are somehow not worthy enough to serve as firefighters. “If minority applicants were really discriminated against, then mail them checks. Let the taxpayers subsidize this childish game, and let those responsible feel their contempt”. (It must be noted that rather than having faced any “hiring discrimination” within New York City’s Municipal workforce, nonLatino blacks are the MOST OVER-represented ethnic group in NYC’s Municipal workforce – 23% of New York City’s population and 36% of its Municipal workforce, and the primary reason why Asians and Hispanics are so UNDER-represented) The contempt is clear in this objection letter, and it's fueled by both willful ignorance about the FDNY long history of employment discrimination targeted towards non-whites applicants and the inflammatory rhetoric continuously put forth by Merit Matters. This rhetric coming from Merit Matters is both morally reprehensible and it is also completely disingenuous. Mr. Mannix claims his organization is about holding the FDNY to the highest standards possible. However, Mr. Mannix sent a group of men to disrupt the Vulcan Society FDNY exam preparation course. This isn't slander because Mr. Mannix has admitted to this action,

“Mannix, president of Merit Matters, a group that opposes affirmative action in the FDNY, said he'd forwarded the Vulcans' invitation to his distribution list because he believed their classes were better than the city's”. Why would an organization that claims to stress working hard to earn employment within the FDNY send a group of young men to disrupt Exam preparation classes? Does that action reflect the philosophical ethos of this organization which claims the candidates whom work the hardest deserve to be hired? (As “Social_Justice NYC69” cites, Merit Matters endorsed the Vulcan Society prep courses because they’d been proven better than the city’s in being the ONLY such classes to offer the exact and unprecedented (opinion-type) questions that first appeared on Exam #6019, and NOT to disrupt those classes.) Mr. Mannix has also stated in writing the FDNY should not be penalized because there are other civil service agencies not representative of New York City's demographics. On the very surface this seems a valid argument, but once critical thinking is applied to that statement it's quickly revealed to be another example of Mr. Mannix's flawed logic; which is meant to justify discriminatory hiring practices within the FDNY. Where is the evidence that white males or females are being denied employment in those NYC civil service agencies? (What evidence exists that hiring throughout New York City’s Municipal workforce is imbalanced due to “hiring discrimination?” Interestingly enough, the VERY SAME and ONLY evidence that exists for “FDNY

hiring discrimination” - “disparate impact.” The VERY SAME “disparate impact” (disparity in results/outcomes) exists within the Corrections Dept and 6 other NYC Agencies with the SAME claim that the ethnically imbalanced workforces of those agencies makes Asians, Hispanics and whites all feel unwelcome...Merit Matters supports the SAME targeted recruitment efforts for those agencies as exist for the FDNY. The Vulcan Society and the CCR’s principle argument has been “New York City’s agencies should look like New York.” We ALL appear to lament the dearth of Asian and Hispanic workers in New York City’s Municipal workforce and that’s directly tied to the gross OVER-representation by nonLatino blacks – the ONLY ethnic group to be over-represented by more than 10% their numbers in New York City’s population!) All people are protected under the same 1964 Civil Rights Act, and any discriminated group can sue their City, State, Federal government, or Private Companies to correct illegal hiring practices. At this point I'm more than justified to 'stop walking on eggshells' and allowed to call this so-called Advocacy group what it truly are and not what they pretend to be. Merit Matters is a mob of angry white males whom are adamant about maintaining “white privilege” and “overwhelming white male majority” within a taxpayer funded civil service agency. This effectively designates Merit Matters as the de facto 'white supremacist group' operating within the FDNY. Furthermore, Mr. Manix has stated, “I have been contacted many times by firefighters expressing

their frustration with this plan. This resentment has the potential to create a divisive, toxic atmosphere and thwart the team building required for optimal performance at fires and emergencies”. A valid case can also be made there are active duty firefighters conspiring to hinder, and maybe even sabotage, FDNY operations if any priority-hire AfricanAmericans and Hispanic applicants are allowed to join this city agency; based on examination of previous statements. Especially, when comparing Mr. Mannix's statements with the objection letter from FDNY companies 28and11. Judge Garaufis ruling isn't merely about monetary damages to African-American and Hispanic applicants with potential jobs offers. Judge Garaufis completely understands the FDNY's discriminatory employment practices go beyond testing, and the entire hiring process is in fact corrupted. Judge Garaufis wisely ordered a court monitor to oversee the entire FDNY recruitment & hiring process, because the evidence is overwhelming the FDNY and NYC officials can not be trusted to adhered to Federal regulations. A disposition from Patricia Kavaler a former assistant commissioner for personnel was submitted which prove that white candidates were being allowed into the FDNY with criminal records and other questionable concerns, because their family and friends within the FDNY 'pulled strings' to get them hired. (The standards for the background investigations are the SAME for all – a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Military or

a felony conviction bars employment to all, to date NO example of a white applicant with either of those being hired has materialized, or Merit Matters would oppose and seek to rectify that. Further, Ms Kavaler stated under oath that, “race has never been an issue” in decisions of the Personnel Review Board, as detailed in our Press Release dated 8/11/11.) Even the local firefighter union, UFA 94, recognizes the history of FDNY discrimination, “Some firefighters in the New York City Fire Department are actively opposing a federal judge’s order to reform the department’s long history of bad employment practices”. UFA 94 printed this as apart of a editorial in the New York Times in January of 2012 and also posted that notice of their website. (First, the UFA’s posting of an outside editorial is NOT indicative of its endorsing those views. Secondly, apparently Social_Justice NYC69 is unaware of UFA President Steve Cassidy’s recent Op-Ed piece titled “Fighting Fires With Less Than the Best,” in which Mr. Cassidy says, “So the city is moving ahead to hire off the results of the latest firefighter exam, after federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis decided the test had been watered down enough to meet his demands to emphasize “diversity” over ability to do the job.” SEE: sts/fighting_fires_with_less_than_the_c1n1upyIce ls84BsBglMBI

Mr. Cassidy’s above statement is strictly inline with Merit Matters primary mission to defend merit and standards within the FDNY.) I do have parting advice for any active duty FDNY firefighters who agrees with Merit Matters. On behalf of the people of NYC please feel free to resign or retire. This isn't an insult, but sound advice that firefighters agreeing with Merit Matters should seriously consider. Your mentality threatens the safety of the people of NYC, members of your fire company, and also yourself; especially if you are unable to accept that you may soon be working within a more diversified agency. New York City is a Cosmopolitan Metropolis composed of diverse Ethnic Groups and Nationalities in case you haven't noticed. Do not insult my fellow residents by thinking you are tolerating us because you have some kind of twisted messiahcomplex going on inside your mind. Either have the Courage to serve with your fellow firefighters regardless of their ethnicity or have the Courage to leave and Allow another Deserving and Willing individual to Serve in your place. . . .

1st, we vehemently disagree with “Social_Justice NYC69’s” apparent claim that non-Latino blacks are less capable of competing with whites and Asians on basic, standardized written exams.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Vulcan Society of the FDNY has indeed argued just that, given that the FDNY’s Entrance Exams (even before the two most recent virtual “opinion survey exams” #6019 & #2000) have been calibrated to, at best, grammar school grade reading levels, there is no other possible way to interpret that. We also reject the equally inane notions that cultural factors (ie. as claimed by some members of the Vulcan Society, that blacks are far more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana as opposed to the DUI’s that many whites are arrested over) and a disparity in Volunteerism (for some reason even the Volunteer Fire Departments in predominantly black areas like Wyandanch & Hempstead are virtually all white) account for the disparity in the FDNY’s hiring results. ALL of those explanations/excuses amount to endorsing a “black inferiority” viewpoint, which Merit Matters completely and outrightly rejects. Moreover, since Merit Matters is at this time, almost certainly the most ethnically diverse group within the FDNY, “Social_Justice NYC69’s” claims of our “endorsing white supremacy” is a direct insult to the scores of black and Hispanic supporters of Merit Matters, though what can you expect from a man who’s right here endorsed a viewpoint embracing black inferiority?

Even Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights acknowledged the wide demographic disparity between Merit Matters ethnically diverse group (with many Hispanic, some women and a number of black firefighters and applicants, as well) and that of the monolithic Vulcan Society group in noting, “The demographics of the protestors today really serve to highlight the inequality in the department. There are a few people trying to stir up hostility in the firehouses...” We weren’t going to bring that up until Darius Charney made note of it. Yes there was a distinct demographic imbalance between the TWO groups who showed up to the Fairness Hearings. In their defense, I’d note that the Vulcan Society of the FDNY is a black fraternal organization, whereas Merit Matters is a diverse group open to all (firefighters and concerned citizens of all backgrounds) and it showed with our numerous Hispanic supporters (including Rich Solero MADD FD tee shirt designer and Lt. George Rodriguez our Sgt at Arms) and numerous female and black supporters, as well. Merit Matters’ stand on this issue has NOT been overly nuanced, so it troubles us when people like “Social_Justice NYC69” seem to have trouble understanding it. That makes it appear as though such people are deliberately “misunderstanding” our positions, in order to re-state them erroneously so they might be better able to argue AGAINST true equality of opportunity

(EVERYONE being judged on the SAME standards with preferences for NONE). Our position from the start of this organization three years ago, has been that the Vulcan Society/CCR lawsuit while legally allowable, is deeply flawed and very misguided. To be sure, the law (and the U.S. courts) HAVE had to protect the rights to fair treatment for all U.S. citizens. The problem (what went WRONG, in our view) is how the "remedies" have been misused and abused over time. The “Griggs Decision” (Griggs v Duke Power & Light, 1971) unfortunately initiated "disparate impact" claims by deciding that Duke Power & Light's decision to begin requiring a high school diploma and a basic reading comprehension (IQ) exam for even its most low-level positions had a "disparate and negative impact on AfricanAmericans, given that 28% of white applicants met such standards, as opposed to only 12% of black applicants. We believe that portion of that decision was wrong-headed and inappropriate, given that (A) any employer should have the right to control the parameters for hiring at every level and (B) disparate outcomes DO NOT, in ANY way evince actual or even implied “discrimination.” We’ve often observed that ANY ethnic group who found itself historically and intransigently under-represented might find themselves inclined to question whether “the fix was in” against

that group, BUT here we have the most OVERrepresented ethnic group in the NYC Municipal workforce (non-Latino blacks are just 23% of NYC’s population and 36% of its Municipal workforce), inanely claiming discrimination by a city that has wrongly and apparently thoughtlessly allowed that group’s gross overrepresentation to result in a gross UNDERrepresentation of Asians and Hispanics and keeping NYC’s workforce from looking anything like NYC. WE SUPPORT “diversity,” so long as it DOES NOT trump merit and standards. We SUPPORT outreach and recruitment for all UNDERrepresented ethnic groups in every NYC agency in which various groups (Asians, blacks, Hispanics, whites) are under-represented. It’s important to note that we ARE NOT and have never been a “white group” defending solely the interests of white applicants. Our primary, even SOLE purpose is and always has been defending merit and higher standards (written & physical) for the FDNY. Our issue isn’t with the Vulcan Society/CCR lawsuit (they had a legal right to challenge the disparate results of the FDNY’s Entrance Exams), our issue with what we see as one judge’s grotesque overreach (claiming the City of NY “deliberately discriminated”) and instituting a “remedy” that amounts to illicit quota hiring. BUT we also see this lawsuit as an opportunity – an opportunity to allow the judicial system to modify, by limiting the scope and breadth of such “disparate impact” claims going forward.

Right now, the law (due to old and outdated court decisions like Griggs) is NOT at all will have to be clarified and disparate impact modified for us to prevail. We believe that process has begun and is still ongoing.

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