Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dr. Leonard Hernandez continues CVESD's policy of hiding Castle Park Elementary secrets

On May 27, 2008 Dr. Leonard Hernandez from the CVESD office asked a group of about fifty Castle Park Elementary parents what kind of person they wanted as their twelfth principal in under fifteen years, and then told them that the district would make a decision within about two weeks.

He told parents he didn't want to discuss why yet another principal is leaving Castle Park.

He also didn't want to discuss the group of teachers that holds power at the school. Of the five teachers that the district transferred from the school in 2004, one has returned (Nikki Perez), and others exert great influence from outside the school, particularly from the teachers union office (Chula Vista Educators).

The teachers who control the school call themselves the "Castle Park Family," and they have been able to call the shots at the district office for seven years now.

After the district and its lawyers (Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz) made the serious mistake in 2001 of covering up crimes committed by some of these teachers, the district ended up paying $100,000s of dollars to the lawyers.

Then the district found, to its surprise, that the teachers were not grateful at all. Instead, the teachers were determined to keep calling the shots, making it impossible for the district to transfer trouble-making teachers out of Castle Park Elementary.

I believe that Castle Park Elementary (which I attended in the fifties, and worked at from 1997-2001) will never return to normal function until the district engages in some open and honest discussion, modeled on South Africa's "truth and reconciliation" committees.

The district and Castle Park Elementary teachers should quit hiding the crimes and other wrongdoing, say they're sorry for the harm done, and start some honest discussions about human decency and appropriate professional behavior for teachers. Then instead of worrying about how to keep their secrets hidden (as Dr. Leonard Hernandez demanded at the meeting), they could put all that energy into helping children become healthy, strong, honest, law-abiding, well-educated citizens.

Felicia Starr, former school board candidate, involved once again in Castle Park Elementary principal attack

Felicia Starr (in pink sweatshirt), former CVESD board candidate, Chula Vista ethics committee member, Castle Park Elementary PTA president and site council chairperson who worked closely with Kim Simmons to attack previous principal Ollie Matos in 2004, showed up at the meeting on May 27, 2008 at which parents discussed the traits they wished to find in their next principal.

Many of the approximately 50 parents at the meeting told district representative Dr. Leonard Hernandez that they want someone just like Carlos Ulloa, the current principal (who will be leaving next month).

But Felicia Starr and the "Castle Park Family" (a group of teachers and union honchos who have chewed up and spit out one principal after another for the past fifteen years, and forced many excellent teachers to leave, as well) made it impossible for Carlos Ulloa to stay.

CVESD tries to keep Castle Park Elementary Parents off-balance

On May 27, 2008 Castle Park Elementary parents spoke of their frustration with CVESD's plans to lay off low seniority teachers while protecting hostile veteran teachers who were causing problems for children.

I listened as two different groups of parents announced concern to district representative Leonard Hernandez. (Each of five tables in the Castle Park auditorium served approximately ten parents who formed a group; one member of each group announced the group's conclusions.)

I wondered why it was that Dr. Leonard Hernandez kept listening to these worries without telling parents the truth: the layoffs had been ruled out 5 days earlier.

I had read the news in Voice of San Diego:

"Chula Vista Teachers Saved"
May 22, 2008
"Chula Vista Elementary School District plans to cancel layoffs of all 274 educators who were slated to be terminated due to state budget cuts...the district faces a $7.5 million cut -- $3.5 million smaller than originally expected, said district spokesman Anthony Millican."

I began to wonder if the pink slips were a way to intimidate teachers and take parents' minds off their other concerns about school performance in Chula Vista.

I raised my hand and told Dr. Hernandez that the parents apparently didn't know that the pink slips were a thing of the past.

Hernandez immediately developed an urge to share the good news with the crowd. The parents applauded vigorously.

I wonder what the district won't do to keep parents from knowing what is really going on at some schools?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Who's going to tell you what Lowell Billings is really up to?

The media will tell you that Superintendent Lowell Billings gave pink slips to hundreds of teachers in Chula Vista Elementary School District.

But it is your fellow readers who will tell you the story behind the story, which is why I'm willing to wade through the bizarre gibberish in the comments section of news stories.

Today I came across this gem:
"April Jehnssen Chula Vista, CA"
"Lowell Billings just came back from a safari in Africa! Did you shoot us any jobs to bring back home Lowell?"

I'm guessing that the commenter didn't use his or her real name, but he/she raises an interesting question. Did Lowell Billings just get back from a safari in Africa? How about it, San Diego media? Why don't you ask him?

In court last December during the Danielle Cozaihr case, Billings pretty much admitted that all he does is walk around and smile. I think this man needs a pay cut.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ethics Complaints Against CTA-affiliate Presidents and Directors Forbidden

Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) directors really had no choice but to file suit against CTA to get their union back because CTA lawyers have a policy of silencing complaints against the presidents and executive directors of local affiliates, no matter how illegal their behavior is.

When the CTA-chosen executive director of the Teachers Association of Long Beach, Scott McVarish, misused funds in 2007, CTA wouldn't let the TALB board of directors fire him. Instead, CTA paid for a lawyer to defend him when he slandered one of the directors.

Finally CTA realized too much money was being lost, but instead of turning over power to the directors, it took over the union itself and gave control to ex-CTA president Barbara Kerr.

The directors have filed suit to get their union back.

This is all familiar to those of us who know about the actions of Barbara Kerr and CTA head counsel Beverly Tucker in Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Tim O'Neill, the executive director chosen by CTA for South County Teachers United (CTA), informed Chula Vista Educators member Maura Larkins in December 2002 that she was forbidden from making a complaint to her union affiliate Board of Directors or Representative Council about unethical behavior on the part of the president. Why was she forbidden? Because president Gina Boyd herself refused to allow a complaint to be made about her.

You can't expect much in the way of ethics from an organization like this.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Will Barbara Kerr change Long Beach, or will it change her?

Former CTA president Barbara Kerr has taken over as trustee of TALB. Achieving some of the goals on the TALB website will require a change in Barbara's behavior.


1. "Promote teachers' legal rights"(when crimes committed)--
2. "Promote (law-abiding) teachers' legal rights" --
2. "Protect our members" who commit crimes--
3. "Protect..." honest, high-performing teachers--
4. "Organize its membership for influence & power"--

Covering up teacher misconduct? That's right up Barbara Kerr and Beverly Tucker's alley.

Ah! Now it's clear what the problem is in Long Beach: the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB)directors take their job seriously.

In this they are polar opposites of the Chula Vista Educators directors, one of whom told me that she didn't know the facts about the lawsuit that she and the rest of the board refused to settle, and that she hadn't seen the lawsuit.

She made it clear that she wanted CVE presidents Gina Boyd and Jim Groth to make authoritative decisions without consulting the rest of the board.

But in Long Beach, according the the (2/7/2008),

" June 2007...several TALB board members voted to fire McVarish, accusing him of misusing union funds and making authoritative decisions without consulting the rest of the board. Several days after the vote, the union's Representative Council met and voted to reinstate McVarish.

If he had worked for Chula Vista Educators, McVarish would still have a job. Down here most union affiliate board members appreciate a president who will protect teachers who violate the law and keep Barbara Kerr and Beverly Tucker happy, no matter how much union money is lost in the process.

CTA's Terrifying Twosome (Barbara Kerr/Beverly Tucker) strikes again

Press Telegram Long Beach, California
By Kevin Butler, Staff Writer
Click here for original article.

"Teachers Association of Long Beach trustee Barbara Kerr Friday denounced a lawsuit filed by members of the teachers union over a takeover by the union's parent organization."

Kerr is good at denouncing. I'll bet her eyes were spitting fire when she did this.]

"Twenty-two members of the Long Beach teachers union are asking a state court to invalidate the takeover of the local chapter by its state parent union last October.

"The California Teachers Association took over the Teachers Association of Long Beach, then embroiled in an internal leadership struggle, with the aim of restoring "the democratic process" and investigating allegations of financial mismanagement, CTA officials said at the time..."

Since when is a recall not part of the democratic process? Democracy is about leadership struggles. CTA stopped democracy in its tracks.

"TALB is a chapter of CTA, and CTA has the right to impose a trusteeship," she said.

So why didn't Kerr take over Chula Vista Educators in 2001-2002? She and her lawyer, Beverly Tucker, were informed of criminal actions taken by local union leaders. Instead, she and CTA's head counsel spent teacher dues and obstructed justice to cover up the original misdemeanors and keep the wrongdoers in power.]

"The 22 TALB union members on Feb. 25 filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court alleging that the takeover violated California corporations code...

"The union members in the lawsuit also argue that they were denied a fair hearing before the CTA Board of Directors on Oct. 18 placed TALB in "trusteeship" under the leadership of former CTA president Kerr..."

Of course they were denied a fair hearing. The board of directors, including Barbara Kerr when she was President, simply does what head legal counsel Beverly Tucker and executive director Carolyn Doggett tells it to do.]

"The lawsuit also asks the court to require to move forward an internal election to recall one TALB board member. Kerr halted the recall process when she took over the union.

"Two of the plaintiffs - Carrie Jones-Brown and Treva Kelly - were vying to replace TALB board member Patria Daliva, who was the target of the recall

Ah, yes. Protecting people who are in power is a guiding principle for Beverly Tucker and Barbara Kerr (also known as "Barbarly Kerrtuck").]

"Also at issue in the lawsuit is the upcoming April 8 school board election in
which TALB has endorsed two candidates - Paul Crost and Rosa Diaz - who
each are challenging an incumbent.

"The members in the lawsuit claim that Kerr has refused to implement the union's "political action program" supporting the two candidates..."

My guess is that these candidates were too independent; Kerr and Tucker and Doggett suspected them of having divided loyalties. In other words, they might put the good of students ahead of the power of the union.]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An open letter to CTA head counsel Beverly Tucker's subordinate

Hi Mike:
I just noticed that someone hacked my CTA webpage that had the quote of you saying that you and the rest of the public don't care if my due process rights were violated.

You shouldn't be any more ashamed of your attitude than Beverly Tucker or Carolyn Doggett or the officers of CTA should be ashamed of their attitudes. I hope they aren't making you feel bad about it. They should be nothing but grateful to you for doing what they paid you to do.

Ironically, your hostility was actually a measure of your humanity.

You couldn't have done the job that you were assigned to do if you hadn't dehumanized me. You had to believe that I didn't deserve the protection of the law or my union. You had to believe this, or it would have been impossible for you to help your clients get away with their multiple crimes against me. So hold your head up high when you are in the presence of CTA bigwigs--or 90% of lawyers. You might, however, want to bow your head in the presence of children.

Maura Larkins

P.S. You shouldn't be any more ashamed than Chula Vista Educators (CVE) officers Gina Boyd, Tim O'Neill, Jim Groth, or Peggie (Peg) Myers.


Someone sent the following information to me:


Is your child's disability affecting his/her education? Then this seminar is tailored for your family. The La Jolla Learning Foundation is hosting a FREE Special Education seminar with guest speaker Attorney Thomas S. Nelson.

Thomas Nelson is a Special Education Attorney with over 22 years of experience in litigation and advocacy in special education. He has helped many families advocate for an appropriate education for their Children with Special Needs, allowing students to reach their full potential and make meaningful contributions to society.

In this seminar Mr. Nelson will cover:

• Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA 2004).
• IEP’s, eligibility, reimbursements, placements and discipline.
• Empower families through education and enforcement of their child’s special education rights.

For information please contact Jennifer Stephan at (619) 607-0950.
Date: June 12, 2008
Time: 5:00 P.M.
Place: The Encinitas Library at 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas
California 92024

Coming South On the I-5 Directions:
Take the ENCINITAS BLVD exit toward ENCINITAS.
Turn LEFT onto E D ST.
End at 540 Cornish Dr Encinitas, CA 92024-4511

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Karen Horwitz, author of "White Chalk Crime"

The founder of the National Association for the Prevention of Teachers Abuse (NAPTA) has written a new book called White Chalk Crime. More about the book can be found HERE.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yet another lawsuit trying to silence a voice for students

Danielle Grijalva of Oceanside was trying to protect foreign exchange students when she started her website.

Exchange programs are trying to silence her.

Friday, May 09, 2008

MiraCosta demonstrates how California's education system thwarts voters and their elected officials

This is how you end up with a Victoria Richart in charge of your school.

MiraCosta College's bizarre search for a president demonstrates how schools are run--by powerful committees behind the scenes, not by board members.

Most board members simply rubberstamp the decisions made for them by lawyers and committees.

Good for Judy Stratton and Greg Post for objecting to a system where many excellent candidates--very likely including the best candidates--are eliminated for political reasons.

Who exactly was on the MiraCosta committe that eliminated 36 candidates and expected the board to choose between only two candidates? Was there a lawyer on the committee, by any chance? Daniel Shinoff, maybe?

OCEANSIDE: MiraCosta College trustees want details on search
May 6, 2008

...Though the board did not make any firm decisions Tuesday, the trustees expressed concern that they did not receive enough information on the pool of candidates interviewed by MiraCosta's presidential search committee earlier this year.

Trustee Judy Strattan noted that each participant in the college's previous 21-member search committee signed a confidentiality agreement prior to beginning its work, which produced only two candidates from a pool of 38 applicants. Strattan said committee members refused to divulge anything about the candidate pool before selecting the two candidates, and added that she found so little information unacceptable.

"This is definitely a board decision," Stratton said.

Trustees Greg Post and Jacqueline Simon agreed.

Simon said the board should not be in the dark about how many candidates applied, what types of general qualifications they possess, and perhaps a bit about the pool's ethnic diversity and ratio of male and female applicants.

"It seems to me there are still things you can tell us without breaking confidentiality," Simon said.

Post said the board received similar information during its search for Richart.

"We had all that information," Post said. "I too was taken somewhat aback when we couldn't even have how many applicants there were..."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Greg Cox fails to address question of how the Steve Castaneda case was initiated--and why the investigation of Cheryl Cox wasn't.

Bob Castaneda, the brother of Chula Vista Councilman Steve Castaneda (see all posts re Steve Castaneda), raised important questions about the two prosecutions carried out by the San Diego District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit.

Bonnie Dumanis appointed Peter O'Toole to bring in two political opponents of Chula Vista mayor Cheryl Cox for questioning. Both of them were charged with lying during these odd investigations. How did these investigations get initiated? Why were two men prosecuted for felony perjury even though the investigations uncovered no crimes?

Why has a complaint about Cheryl Cox and her agents at Chula Vista Elementary School District been ignored by this "Public Integrity Unit"?

Supervisor Greg Cox has written a letter that does absolutely nothing to answer the questions that have been raised. Of course Cox protests that he has done nothing wrong. But how will he restore the credibility of the District Attorney's office? He makes no effort to do so.

My website has a comparison of the letters by Bob Castaneda and Greg Cox.

The question remains: was the PIU tipster a friend of Cheryl and Greg Cox?

The answer seems sort of obvious, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Attorney Ira Rothken's Shinoffesque tactics fail; TorrentSpy must pay $100 million

May 7, 2008
Studios win $100 million judgment against TorrentSpy
Posted by Stefanie Olsen

In a major win for Hollywood studios, a California federal judge has ordered TorrentSpy to pay some $110 million in damages for infringing the copyright of thousands of films and TV shows through its BitTorrent search engine.

The Los Angeles judge, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, also issued a permanent injunction against TorrentSpy, which was once one of the most popular indexes of BitTorrent files before it shut down in March after a two-year copyright battle with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The company closed its site on March 24, citing financial hardship and a desire to protect the privacy of its users...

The judge ordered TorrentSpy to pay $30,000 per copyright infringement--for 3,699 films and shows. That works out to be worth $110,970,000...

The studios originally sued TorrentSpy in February 2006, alleging that the site promoted and contributed to online copyright infringement by helping people locate illegally copied films and television shows on the Internet. Last December, a federal judge sided with the MPAA by saying that TorrentSpy had destroyed evidence that would make a fair trial possible.

According to the court, TorrentSpy operators had intentionally modified or deleted directory headings naming copyrighted titles and forum posts that explained how to find specific copyrighted works; concealed IP addresses of users; and withheld the names and addresses of forum moderators. The company had previously been fined $30,000 for violations of discovery orders and were warned of severe sanctions if they continued to ignore the orders.

TorrentSpy's attorney, Ira Rothken, called that ruling "draconian in nature and unfair." He said he did not believe any data was intentionally destroyed, and that some actions were taken to protect the privacy of TorrentSpy users...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Literary agent sues for defamation--is she one of the 20 worst?

Harvard University's Citizen Media Law Project regularly posts new threats against free speech. This literary agent was categorized as among the "20 Worst." I suppose that all she has to do is to prove that there are 20 agents who are worse than she is. But isn't it all a matter of opinion? And isn't opinion protected speech?

Bauer v. Wikimedia

In January 2008, literary agent Barbara Bauer and her company Barbara Bauer Literary Agency, Inc. filed a lawsuit in New Jersey State court against twenty-two defendants, including the Wikimedia Foundation. The complaint includes claims for defamation, tortious interference with prospective business advantage, and conspiracy.

According to court documents, the dispute revolves around statements made on a large number of websites and blogs describing Bauer as being among the "20 Worst Literary Agents" and claiming that she has "no . . . significant track record of sales to commercial (advance paying) publishers."

The complaint also alleges that various defendants posted altered photographs of Bauer on the Internet and created YouTube videos, including "Crouching Snark, Hidden Draggon" and "Miss Snark's Happy Hooker Crapstravaganza," that allegedly defamed and belittle her.

With regard to Wikimedia, the complaint alleges that Wikipedia published false statements indicating that Bauer was "The Dumbest of the Twenty Worst" literary agents and that she has "no documented sales at all."

...On May 1, 2008, Wikimedia moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230), the federal law that shields providers and users of "interactive computer service[s]" from liability for defamation and other torts for publishing the statements of third parties, bars Bauer's claims as a matter of law. Wikimedia's memorandum in support of its motion also argued that, even if CDA 230 did not bar Bauer's claim, the underlying statements are protected opinion under the New Jersey Constitution and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Why can't some people apologize when they make a mistake?

"I don't think there's anything to apologize for at this time."

Botched 911 Call Cited in Slaying
AOL News

MADISON, Wis. (May 2) - A college student apparently called 911 from her cell phone shortly before she was killed but a dispatcher hung up, failed to call back and never sent police to investigate, authorities said Thursday.

University of Wisconsin-Madison student Brittany Sue Zimmermann called 911 before being killed but got no response, police said Thursday. The 21-year-old student's fiance found her dead in her apartment on April 2. The coroner said she died of "a complexity of traumatic injuries."

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray said it was too early to know whether a better response could have prevented the April 2 slaying of Wisconsin-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann or helped police capture her killer.

Authorities refused to release the content of the phone call, but Wray said it should have been enough for the Dane County 911 Center to take it seriously.

"It would be accurate to state that there is evidence contained in the call which should have resulted in a Madison police officer being dispatched," Wray said at a news conference. "The 911 center did not call back to the telephone number, Madison police were not notified and no officer was sent."

Zimmermann, 21, was found slain in her apartment in an apparently random crime. Police believe someone broke into her apartment before killing her. They have not identified a suspect but have ruled out her fiance, who found her body in the apartment they shared.

Dane County Public Safety Communications Director Joseph Norwick said the dispatcher who received the call from Zimmermann's cell phone inquired several times to determine whether an emergency existed. The dispatcher hung up after receiving no answer and then answered another 911 call that was waiting, he said.

The dispatcher failed to call the number back as required under the department's policy, Norwick said.

Norwick said he was investigating the incident and reviewing whether policies should be changed and employees should be disciplined. But he also said, "I don't think there's anything to apologize for at this time."