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NYT: Recalling a Union Brother Who Is Kagans Brother

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:44 PM
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Published: June 29, 2010

The wall behind the desk on the sixth floor of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 headquarters in Manhattan is pocked by dozens of scattershot tacks, as if someone fired them out of a shotgun at the guy in the chair, which is a lot like how it can feel working there.

Ten years ago, a subway car worker named Marc Kagan sat in the desk in a little office in the interior side of the hallway, a room without windows, like where you want to be in a tornado strike. He was the assistant to the former Local 100 president, Roger Toussaint. They were close friends, but they had a falling-out in 2002, and Mr. Kagan left the union job and the subway system soon after. He is remembered for his strong work ethic and otherworldly powers of organization amid dunes of paperwork.

But his legacy in the transit system may expand further. As far as anyone can recall, no subway hardhat has ever had a sister go on to become a United States Supreme Court justice.

Never, said Arthur Z. Schwartz, a lawyer with the union, who once shared this little office with the brother of Elena Kagan, who is having her confirmation hearings this week and is expected to be appointed to the high court. But it depends where you pull people from.

The desk is his now. He and Mr. Kagan, now a Bronx schoolteacher, are still friendly, but this was a surprise. I didnt even know he had a sister, Mr. Schwartz said on Tuesday.

He said Mr. Kagan unfailingly visited Hunter College High School every afternoon to pick up his daughter and bring her home before returning to the office. That was Mr. Schwartzs first clue. When they announced her nomination and they said her family was very involved in Hunter High School, I said, Its got to be. Then I looked at her picture, and said, Thats Marc.

FULL story at link.

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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 08:59 PM
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1. Interesting constellation, the Kagan crew.
Both Kagan borthers, Irving and Marc, are NYC public school teachers ... Marc having taken a most circuitous route there: via Ivy League and a first career as a transit worker and union activist.

Marc has also written critically of the Obama-Duncan-Bloomberg "opposite of education reform" movement:
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