Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chula Vista candidate forum for CVESD and SUHSD

Sponsored by South Bay Forum and
Castle Park High School student government
October 1, 2008



David Bejarano

David Bejarano
Appointed governing board member

While children were being humbled for not having lunch money, Mr. Bejarano was spending tax dollars on lawyers for the sole purpose of maintaining the power of the small group, led by Patrick Judd, that has controlled the district for many years. Bejarano paid public lawyers to fight community efforts to create trustee districts.

Archie McAllister put an end to humiliating children at lunchtime.

Archie McAllister,
Retired Navy and educator

Mr. McAllister is the best candidate for seat #2 in my opinion. He has mainstream, pro-community attitudes, and is smart and well-organized. He brought an end to the policy of humiliating children who didn't have lunch money by giving them the dreaded cheese sandwich. (Cheese sandwiches are terrific, it's just that kids came to associate them with punishment.)

Norberto Salazar, right, fanning himself.

Norberto Salazar,
teacher (and spoiler?)

Norberto fell all over himself during the forum to tell David Bejarano (on two different occasions) how great he is. So why is he running against him? Clearly, Norberto is a Bejarano supporter, and is running once again for CVESD board for the sole apparent purpose of splitting the anti-incumbent vote. He read prepared statements, and constantly fanned himself while the other candidates on the stage sat calmly.

Diego Vargas, parent

Willard "Doc" Howard, program assistant analyst


Russell Coronado is the candidate of those who hope to pry Patrick Judd's fingers from the chair he has held for over twenty years.

Russell Coronado
Educator, parent and administrator

Mr. Coronado has a perfect combination of ability, experience and passion for helping children. Coronado came close to winning against Pamela Smith in 2006, and should win handily this time against Patrick Judd. Mr. Coronado is open about his work experience, while Judd refuses to comment on his recent departure from Mountain Empire School District.

Patrick Judd

Patrick Judd,
incumbent and retired superintendent

Patrick Judd has ruled the district with an iron hand for over twenty years, covering up problems by forcing employees to commit perjury and paying $100,000s to lawyers. He has succeeded in keeping the truth about CVESD out of the mainstream media.

Mr. Judd was a no-show at this forum, much like he was during his mysterious absence the last months of his job at Mountain Empire School District. He finally retired without coming back to work, and announced that he had not been on sick-leave. One suspects that there were some serious problems at the district, and Judd was part of the problem. Judd is now up in Los Angeles.

Aurora Murillo-Clark
community volunteer

I have no idea what Ms. Murillo-Clark's agenda is. I can't help wondering if she was recruited by Bertha Lopez and Norberto Salazar to run as a spoiler to protect incumbent Patrick Judd.

[Update: It seems I was correct in guessing that Murillo-Clark and Bertha Lopez were connected. The list of CABE board members (below) includes both of them.]

California Association for Bilingual Education, Board of Directors 2010 conference edition of The Multilingual Educator, see page 3

Oscar Medina ~ President
Karling Aguilera-Fort ~ Immediate Past President
Pilar Mejía ~ Vice President
Lauri Burnham Massey ~ Director of Legislative Affairs
Aurora Clark ~ Director of Community Affairs
Jeff Penichet ~ Director of Financial Affairs
Rosa Armstrong ~ Director of Para-Professional Affairs
Barbara Flores, Ph.D. ~ Director of Secondary & IHE Affairs
Maricela Parga ~ Director of Parent Relations
Ramón Zavala ~ Region I Representative
Peggy Morrison ~ Region II Representative
Robbie Wedeen ~ Region III Representative
Bertha López ~ Region IV Representative
Irma G. Villanueva ~ Region V Representative
Herman Sillas ~ Legal Counsel

Aurora Clark
Age: 39
Community involvement:
South Bay Forum;
district English Learners Advisory
Committee; Latino Summit Steering Committee;
California Association for Bilingual Education board;
Chula Vista City/Schools Community Task Force.
Occupation: Community volunteer
Education: Attended Southwestern College

Update March 2016 on Aurora Clark:

Did citizens lose when Councilman McCann won?

Aurora Clark, a community advocate, has been ordered to pay Chula Vista councilman John McCann $99,918 to cover legal bills in connection with a 2014 election challenge. According to a recent U-T article, San Diego Superior Court judge Eddie C. Sturgeon ordered the decision on March 11.
Aurora Clark

In 2014 McCann won by two votes the city council seat contested between him and former Chula Vista mayor Steve Padilla: McCann had 18,448 to Padilla’s 18,446. With the assistance of attorney John Moot, Clark sued the County Registrar of Voters and McCann in an effort to ensure provisional votes were counted.
In a March 21 interview, Clark said, “I have been a seasonal poll worker for years. I was trying to be a hundred percent sure to honor the people's vote, and if the registrar could not honor them at least they could notify them. This was not about McCann. The way the votes were going he might have won. It was about honoring the votes people cast.

“As poll workers we learned about people who lost their homes or jobs during the financial crisis. We were trained that those people had rights, too…. During our training, each time we [poll workers] asked about provisional ballots they said the only way that a provisional ballot would not be counted was if someone voted twice....

“A citizen is supposed to have a right to challenge anything that might be unjust. Federal rulings say if a citizen sues on behalf of the public, they are protected as long as they don’t seek personal gain. With this new decision people are told, ‘Don’t exercise your right or you’re going to be penalized.’ The judge said his main concern was if he didn’t rule against me, pretty much, he was afraid that people who ran for political office would be intimidated. He was more concerned about those seeking political office than citizens and taxpayers….

“When I went to the hearing, I went hoping that the judge would listen to the true statement of my financial status; he said he would let me speak if I wanted to say something, but he was not going to consider any corrections to the…information that McCann’s lawyer gave him. I feel like I didn’t even get my day in court….

“I’ve got three children that are in college. I negotiated in my alimony to better care for my boys. I have a second home; that was the agreement. That house is my sole income and the only way that I can pay my mortgage.”

While McCann did not respond to an email or phone call from the Reader, he told the Star News, “We won the election, the election audit, the election recount, the election lawsuit, unanimously won the appeal with the three-judge Fourth District Court of Appeals and now we won our children’s college money back.”

Clark’s attorney Moot was surprised by the judge’s decision: “There’s no legal precedent for the ruling. No one in [Clark’s] position has ever been responsible for attorney fees before, of any case I can find anywhere.

“I don’t know what was going through the judge’s mind. He issued a four-line opinion. He didn’t provide legal analysis. His only real comment at the hearing was he was concerned about the chilling effect it had on the candidates, to which I said — there’s nothing in the law that says you should take into consideration the chilling effect of the defendant….

“At no time did this case involve Mr. McCann or anything he did. It was testing how the Registrar of Voters was counting votes; McCann was only named because the election code says you have to name the person who won the election because if the votes get counted and it changes the result then the court has to be able to issue an order.

“These same votes would be counted in the Orange County Registrar, but the San Diego Registrar did not count them. The registrar has discretion…."...



My pick here is Pearl Quinones.

Lorenzo Provencio, retired educator

Pearl Quiñones, president of the governing board
[Note to Pearl: What's up with the Bonny Garcia legal bills? What were you thinking?]

Gabriel Rodriguez, finance representative


Jaime Mercado and Pearl Quinones

Jaime Mercado
Incumbent, former teacher and principal

Jaime Mercado is clearly interested in his work for the board, and is not just interested in his own advancement. I can't say the same for Bertha Lopez (see below).

Stephanie Alcaraz and Bertha Lopez

Bertha Lopez
Chula Vista school board member

Bertha Lopez is trying to extend the control of the Judd group to Sweetwater district. This group has stood in the way of educational reform, choosing instead to protect cronies at the expense of children and taxpayers. Members of the group are both Democrats (Lopez, Norberto Salazar) and Republicans (Judd, Bejarano), and only one thing is required for group membership: members must protect other members at any cost, and be silent if the group takes action that conflicts with any principles one might have.

Stephanie Alcaraz, nurse

Trina Lopez, retired instructional aide

Mary Kay Rosinski for Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District board

NOVEMBER 5, 2008

Mary Kay Rosinski has unseated Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District trustee Tim Caruthers. This is a victory for the faculty, but I wonder if Ms. Rosinski will challenge the corrupt attorneys who have caused so much trouble in GCCCD. Even if she doesn't have the courage to speak out against wrongdoing, at least there will be more of a balance of power between the faculty and the board.

Precincts Reporting: 100.0%
MARY KAY ROSINSKI - 68.37% (79828)
TIMOTHY L. CARUTHERS - 31.63% (36923)

Sadly, the president of what is widely considered to be a deeply corrupt board has retained his seat:

Precincts Reporting: 100.0%
BILL GARRETT - 81.40% (90872)
MOE BAKEER - 18.60% (20769)

My ballot recommendation:
Mary Kay Rosinski
Candidate for Board Member; Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District; Seat 4
November 4, 2008 Election

I'm voting for Mary Kay Rosinski because the people in office are nauseatingly corrupt, and she will provide some checks and balances. Then I'll do my best to push her away from the "politics-is-more-important-students" attitude that seems to afflict just about everybody who attains a position of power in the educational system.

More information about Rosinski, including her views about how much the district is paying to its lawyers (Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz) can be found HERE.

Rosinski herself, ironically, has worked with these very same corrupt lawyers. So she probably won't insist that Stutz law firm be fired as GCCCD's lawyers. But she is likely to be more employee-friendly, and work for a better relationship between employees and the board.

Mary Kay Rosinski's experience:

1. Teacher, National School District, 27 years
2. President, National City Teachers Assoc., 2 terms
3. SD County Service Center Council Officer, 6 years

[#4 above is the position from which Rosinski helped GCCCD's current lawyers, Stutz, Artiano Shinoff and Holtz, cover up illegal actions at Chula Vista Elementary School District during the period of June 2000 to June 2006. Rosinski was the boss of SCTU executive director Tim O'Neill, who directed Chula Vista Educators' illegal actions in this case.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mike Simpson: Another message for Arnold regarding AB 2115 (regulating charter schools)

Mike Simpson writes:

Governor 's Workload

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once again showed his long-term commitment to charter schools in California by signing Senate Bill (SB) 658, which contains around $100 million of public funds for privately operated charter schools.

It has been a very busy summer for the governor with the budget crisis and all. Getting caught up with his tremendous backlog of legislative bills that require his signature, he may have missed the financial meltdown on Wall Street. This meltdown has been attributed to deregulation and lack of transparency and oversight.

I say that the Governor may have missed the meltdown because at the same time that he pitched his charter school cohorts a cool 100 million of tax payer funds, he vetoed AB 2115 (Mullin) that would have required members of charter school governing boards to comply with the same conflict of interest laws as other public officials, including school board members.

The bill would have also established minimum eligibility criteria for charter school board members. The bill would prohibit charter school employees from serving on their governing boards.

In vetoing AB 2115, Governor Schwarzenegger stated “Not only would this bill create state mandated costs for charter schools to comply with its provisions, the measure runs counter to the intent of charter schools, which were created to be free from many of the laws governing school districts. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill”.

So let’s see if I got this right, transparency and oversight is good for our public schools but “runs counter to the intent” of the laws that govern privately operated charter schools because it cost too much. This is exactly the philosophy that may cost the country $700-billion taxpayer dollars in the current deregulation SNAFU.

Locally the “dark shadow of doubt” that befalls the leading proponent of charter schools in Sacramento is a prime example of the need for regulation, transparency and oversight in the private charter school industry.

When financial institutions fail, it cost us money, when schools fail, the cost is far beyond financial.

Governor Schwarzenegger, if AB 2115 is not the right way to provide transparency and oversight to charter schools, would you please assure us that in 5-6 years we will not be reading in The BEE about the “meltdown in the private charter school industry”.

Mike Simpson, Parent

Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes bill to regulate charter schools

Sometimes I get information from commenters that I missed in the news media. (I have an excuse this time: I've been out of the country for most of the last three weeks.)

Here is an open letter from Anonymous to Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was posted as a comment on the Mike Hazelton article:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841

RE: AB 2115

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,
Yesterday I read on the news and reported on the net that you vetoed AB 2115 authored by Assembly Member Gene Mullin (D-South San Francisco). A bill that would requires a charter school to adopt and comply with a conflict-of-interest policy applicable to public agencies in the state of California.

The Net article says that the bill would have forced every charter school to reconstitute their governing boards…you are quoted as saying:

"Not only would this bill create state mandated costs for charter schools to comply with its provisions," said the Governor in his veto letter, "the measure runs counter to the intent of charter schools, which were created to be free from many of the laws governing school districts."

Governor Schwarzenegger perhaps you should have been more informed about what goes on in our state than simply rubber stamping advise from charter school lobbyists. I wonder if the facts about charter schools would have made a difference or if you are just as twisted as the Charter School Association and SIATech/Guajome Park Academy the only two opponents to AB 2115 bill.

Yesterday on my way home from San Diego I noticed that our tax dollars were paying for security for First Lady Maria Shriver who came to San Diego to promote “family day.”

The First Lady first stopped at Ramona, where she marked the start of construction on a playground at Camp Hope, which serves at-risk, abused and neglected children.

Now Governor, isn’t this a bite too hypocritical because if you, the first lady and your administrative staff truly cared about and wanted to prevent abuse and neglect in our American children you would take measures to prevent abuse and neglect in PUBLIC charter schools. So reasonably and logically you would take steeps to create policies and regulations to PROTECT the HEALTH and SAFETY of ALL of California students.

Yet you placed lobbyists interest ahead of the HEALTH and SAFETY of CALIFORNIA’S CHILDREN.

Perhaps I can assist you in finding your interests or a conscience if you have one.

Look up SIATech, the only charter school who opposed AB 2115, in the IRS form 990’s of 2005 filed 2006 and 2006 filed 2007.

Both state contributions of $ 55,599 for the year 2005 and $ 55, 467 for 2006 were political contributions paid with PUBLIC FUNDS. So Governor Schwarzenegger who got paid from PUBLIC FUNDS to sit in your office and convinced you to oppose AB 2115? That people of the State of California are entitled to know this much, but there is much more.

We finally have a well written a report by a gutsy reporter Emily Alpert who is not afraid to research, chase the stories and write about the facts as they are.
In the Voice of San Diego Reporter Emily Alphert is correct Mr. Hazelton was very successful starting up flout charter schools up and down the state of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida….and they were all started under the Charter that was granted and sanctioned by Vista Unified School District “VUSD,” Guajome Park Academy. Would you believe that VUSD claims to be ignorant about the illegal operations of Guajome Park Academy?

The Drop out recovery program is alive and well at both Guajome Park and SIATech. The New Education for the Workforce is doing well too so much that SIATech top executive salaries for former employees of Guajome Park Academy cap the California Governor and the California Superintendent of Education salaries with only about 5,000 enrolled students. Yes, Hazelton was very successful in popping these charter schools all over the country.

These fellows left Guajome Park Academy to go off into SIATech [division of Guajome Park] to collect their high roller salaries and continued their clandestine practices with unregulated federal fund from the United States Department of Labor.

SIATech is another VUSD charter school 100% funded by the United States Department of Labor (Job Corps).

The CA state scores showed rankings 904 in 2007 and 858 in 2008. Now these scores are impressive at a glance! When you look closer at the numbers you will find that the SIATech student composition on the tests include only 3% of students, and no students with disabilities. According to the federal regulations under the NCLB and also state regs schools are supposed to test over 90 or 95% of students.


SIATch tested a total of 135 students out of almost five thousand-student enrollments according to their own numbers in the form 990’s and state stats.

Now based on the salaries for SIATech Board of Directors and employees one can see that there is some real serious scamming of PUBLIC FUNDS:

LINDA DOWSON President of the Board of Directors and Operations Manager $ 220,461.

ED BROWN Director and Operations Manager $ 124,878.

LINDA MILLER Director of Educational Services $172,860.

DAVID JENKINS Assistant Supervisor $ 169,81.

KRISTIN MALLORY Assistant Supervisor $ 168, 896.

DIANE FAIRCHILD Director of Special Education $ 161,348

MANOUCHEHR HADJIAGHAI Director of Administrative Services $ 160, 210.


Link to jobcorps.

Maybe you can contact the United States Department of Labor and ask them to see a copy of SIATech/Guajome Park Audit? He! They don’t have one try the Director of Job Corps Esther Johnson at 202-693-3000 or Chris Convoy at 202-693-3093. Maybe they have some answers as to how money can be handed out with no accountability no IRS tax forms and no audits. Thank the Vista Unified School District for failing to monitor them and have looked the other way while SIATech continues to pop satellites all over the states.

Like VUSD Board Member David Hubbard says, he doesn’t care about organizations doing ILLEGAL businesses under VUSD’s roof as long as they can get an insurance company to cover them it is perfectly OK.

By the way Stephen Halfaker and SIATech high-ranking employees come from Poway Unified School District just like VUSD and SDCOE preferred Attorney Daniel Shinoff.

Halfaker is a Board Member at SIATech and his brother is an administrator some of their board members are high salaried administrators who pad their wallets with unregulated PUBLIC FUNDS. That is ok! Guajome Park incestuous relationships also extend to the majority of their 23 employee run and operated Board of Directors and their families who are also sitting as Board of Directors and sit on all of Guajome Park Committees. Unreliable the VUSD claims to have no knowledge of Guajome Park and SIATech’s clandestine endeavors. Hazelton continued his practices from Guajome Park and SIATech on to TIP Academy. However Guajome and SIATech make TIP, Las Banderas, El Cortez and all of the other satellites looks like alter boys in comparison to the criminal activity-taking place at Guajome Park.

You can rest assure that the Hazelton’s recommendations were true and correct however those closely associated with the Hazelton’s are trying to distance themselves from them.

Roy Adams, president of Adams and Associates, Inc. is just bluffing. Hazelton was very much involved in developing new charters and pushing the curriculum for alternative high school programs through out the state and other states as well.

Yes, Hazelton was and can be tracked as co-founder and board president of the award-winning School for Integrated Academics and Technologies “SIATech” headquartered in Vista between 2001 and 2002. It is virtually impossible to believe unanimous spokespersons for SIATech and Guajome Park Academy since they have a track record of double-dipping, incestuous relationships, deceitfulness, fraud, lack of reporting and accountability and theft of public funds.

Oh, yes the so-called award winning elite International Baccalaureate program is alive and not doing so well at Guajome Park Academy but no one seems to care around here and certainly not the Vista Unified School District, the San Diego County Office of Education, and the California Department of Education Charter School Division. After all according to CDE’s Kathleen Seaborne it’s a federal program and CDE has no oversight over charter schools (not true).

Here is the well kept San Diego County cover up: The SDCOE, VUSD and Guajome Park Academy all belong to the same JPA where SDCOE Diane Crosier is the Director and represents the SD JPA’s with SELF.
Crosier reports back to SELF where the other JPA’s come together to form what it is called a “super pool.”

Three insurance brokers namely Driver Alliant, Keenan and Associates and Marsh & McLennan manage these super pools. These insurance brokers are being sued in Alameda County where the allegations are for unlawful business practices, in violation of California Business and Profession Code section 17200 et. seq. false and misleading advertisement where they cream millions of dollars in public funds in violation of Business and Profession Government Code Section 17500 et. seq., breach of fiduciary duty, illegal and secret kickbacks, steering premium dollars and getting public agencies to purchase services at high rates.

San Diego County Office of Education, “SDCOE” refers to their JPA’s as the “The Authority.”

Keenan and Associates has a “HYBRID SELF-INSURANCE and REINSURANCE” [SDCOE has SELF-JPA where Keenan is also a member of this “Super Pool”] pooling program for nearly 400 schools and community colleges.

Keenan advertised for its Super Pool’s conference at Lake Tahoe as, “The Pudding is in the Pooling,” in their invitations. Yes, the pudding is good, they are raking in Millions of PUBLIC FUNDS through their billable hours and their preferred attorney Daniel Shinoff is rolling in the CASH $$$.

Daniel Shinoff and his SASH firm takes the cream of the Southern District billable hours for BOTH Keenan and SELF which are brokered by Marsh & McLennan. The premium billable hours are steered to his firm with the blessing of Keenan, SELF and Diane Crosier.

Keenan and Marsh and McLennan as the agents of California’s public entities have a fiduciary duty to recommend the best coverage at the best price for its clients. They are to provide independent, objective advice, and to put ‘their clients best interests’ ahead of their own. Keenan and Driver and Marsh and McLennan are hired to act as consulting, billing/premium administration, and claims administration. Their duty is to provide full disclosure, candor, and loyalty. Disclose the amounts of income; Contingent Commissions Agreements and remuneration they receive form all transactions to the public agencies they represent. Keenan has a policy where every employee, associate and partner has to belong to several churches, golf clubs, non-profit organizations and civic groups. This is how they create friendships with judges, political figures, churches and organizations who look the other way. While attorneys like Daniel Shinoff bully public boards into contractual agreements and decisions that are not in the best interest of PUBLIC AGENCIES but bring in a lot of billable hours to his firm and bigger premiums for insurance Brokers and JPA’s.

The agreements that the PUBLIC AGENCIES get pressured into signing with the JPA’s have different names like: “Contingent Income Agreements” “Production Service Agreements” “Volume Based Commission Agreements” “Profit-Sharing Commission Agreements” “Commission Override Agreements” Premium Value Contingent Commission Agreements” “Preferred Agency Agreements” and “Platinum Profit Sharing Agreements.”

These commissions create a blatant CONFLICT of INTEREST and a direct financial interest for these brokers, JPA’s and preferred law firms. These commission and preferred agreements cause CONFLICT of INTEREST, along with premium prices in many cases with lower benefits. The insurance companies recoup the kickbacks paid to marsh & Marsh and McLennan, Keenan and Driver by higher insurance prices passed on to the public agencies. Whereby, suppressing competition in the market of insurance.

This is the reason why the PUBLIC AGENCIES in San Diego cannot get insurance apart from the JPA’s. No insurance company can do business in California without belonging to one of the three “insurance brokers.” The insurance brokers have contractual agreements with certain JPA’s; like SDCOE SELF and these JPA use the same law firms they have contractual agreements with like Best Best and Krieger, Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff and Holtz “SASH” and Winet.

Daniel Shinoff also has complaints with the Bar Association by elected officials. The Bar Association up to now has failed to investigate him. I wonder why--isn’t San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis a member of the Board in the Bar Association? Isn’t Leslie Devaney a friend of Bonnie Dumanis and a registered lobbyist?

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis claims to be investigating his involvement in the Palmgate MiraCosta Community College scandal. Many elected officials have given up on her investigation and have seen the light and the intertwined corruption that extends to the highest levels of government.

Back to the charter schools, how can the Vista Unified School District, the SDCOE investigate Guajome Park Academy and SIATech if they all belong to the same buddy pool? How Can Daniel Shinoff investigate these charter schools if he works to protect them through their contractual agreement with the JPA’s? It is like investigating yourself or a member in your immediate family. Talk about “CONFLICT of INTERESTS.”

So Governor Schwarzenegger is your job as a Governor to protect white-collar criminal activity taking place in the state of California or to protect the constitutes in your state? Your veto sends a message loud and clear.

Governor Schwarzenegger you have no interest in protecting the health and safety of students because the civil right violations in these charter schools are acquiesced and enabled by these tumultuous incestuous relationships that you just rubberstamped.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Michael Hazelton and the charter schools that suffered devastation while under his leadership

See all Mike Hazelton posts here.

The following story from Voice of San Diego is so good, I can't think of anything to add to it:

The School Guru Who Promised Rescue and Brought Ruin
Part one of a two-part series. Read part two.
Sept. 24, 2008

"...Michael R. Hazelton sold himself as an expert who could help. He was soothing. Gray-haired. Nice. A Harvard University seminar topped his resume, loaded with impressive work at a national company and a school that had once aided Cortez Hill. The school hired him as its executive director to reverse its fortunes.

"Instead its deficit ballooned from $16,559 to $188,187 in the single year that it employed Hazelton. When an audit revealed that he gave himself an $18,350 raise without the blessing of the Cortez Hill board, boosting the six-figure salary that had already dwarfed what his predecessor had earned, Hazelton was already gone..."

Read the whole story HERE.

Photo of Mike Hazelton (above) is from the TIP Academy yearbook.

Rose Urdahl's hoax: she's not really a teacher or a nurse, and she has no business degree

College instructor and SDCOE board candidate Mark Anderson must be scratching his head. Who exactly is he running against? A teacher? A nurse? A woman with a business degree? Or none of the above?

Chris Moran at the San Diego Union Tribune reports on the SDCOE board race between Mark Anderson and Larry Urdahl's wife:

"This month, a court ordered the registrar to remove the words “teacher” and “nurse” as occupation listings under Rose Urdahl's name on the November ballot and to strike from her statement of candidacy a business degree earned at Kansas State University. Urdahl acknowledged that she did not have a teaching credential, a nurse's license, nor the degree."

The Urdahls recently declared bankruptcy, but they seem to have a lot of cash on hand. Rose is being investigated by the District Attorney regarding a $10,000 loan to her campaign from husband Larry.

The SDUT report continues:

"Bankruptcy documents show the Urdahls have more than $3 million in liabilities, including an Alpine home they bought less than two years ago for $1.1 million. The five-member county school board has oversight of the county Office of Education's annual budget of $647 million."

How does one manage to acquire almost $2 million in debt in addition to one's mortgage? What on earth have the Urdahls been spending money on?

Fortunately, college instructor Mark Anderson of Santee is running for the same board seat as the bumbling Ms. Urdahl.


In another race, Rose's husband Larry Urdahl is running with Priscilla Schreiber against Carroll Boone in Grossmont Union High School District.

Carroll Boone
Age: 66
Residence: La Mesa
Community involvement: La Mesa First United Methodist Church, San Diego County Community Coalition
Occupation: mediator, retired lawyer and manager
Education: juris doctorate from University of Pugent Sound; master of social work from University of Washington, bachelor's degree from University of Alaska

Also in the race are two candidates who seem to be very close to Jim Kelly, the dethroned former master of the GUHSD board.

The SDUT reports:

"The county Republican Party, which dominates the political landscape in East County, endorsed Jedynak, a freelance journalist, and Woods, a seminary teacher. Trustees Jim Kelly and Rob Shield have also endorsed them.

"Priscilla Schreiber and Urdahl have been endorsed by other Republican leaders, including U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, state Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth and county Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

"Schreiber and Urdahl said they believe they are running against candidates who were picked by Kelly so he can regain control of the school board. Kelly was president of the board from 2002 to 2006..."

Friday, September 26, 2008

SDUSD consultants help design rule to silence dissenting board members

How do the people running schools stay in power year after year, while continuing to fail our students? Here's how:

New School Board Policy Forbids Criticism
Sept. 25, 2008

A new San Diego Unified rule bans school board members from publicly criticizing the superintendent or his staff.

The controversial restriction is part of a new set of governance policies passed earlier this month by the San Diego Unified school board to define its powers and responsibilities. Board members hammered out the policies this summer with the help of paid consultants, hoping to stop their squabbling and the criticized practice of meddling in everyday school decisions...

[Blogger's note: I have come to believe that lawyers and the consultants they approve, not elected officials, are the puppeteers that control virtually all school board members. Even the best board members seem to bow to lawyers' wishes when the issue is money and power.]

School board members "will not publicly express individual negative judgments about superintendent and staff performance," the rule reads. "Any such judgments of superintendent or staff performance will be expressed in executive session." They must also "respect decisions of the board and ... not undermine those decisions" when speaking publicly.

Willfully violating that or any other rule can lead to penalties from a private scolding to public censure and removal from leadership positions or committees, the policies state.

[Blogger's note: Why should the opposition be silenced? School boards make lots of bad decisions, and they SHOULD be discussed publicly. Wrongdoing by schools should not be kept secret. When a board member knows of wrongdoing, he or she should speak out. Sadly, board members are threatened into silence. The same thing happens in the teachers union, where board members who are aware of wrongdoing are threatened into silence by California Teachers Association lawyers.]

...For example, Gompers Middle School Principal Vince Riveroll faced public criticism and was abruptly pulled from his position in 2005 when the school was seeking to become a charter school operated independently from the school district; Riveroll was later reinstated without explanation...

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and the California First Amendment Coalition derided the rule, saying it flouts the First Amendment and cannot be enforced.

"I'm flabbergasted," said David Blair-Loy, legal director of the regional ACLU chapter. "This is so outrageous. ... It's a complete violation of speech. It undermines democracy."

Consultant Randy Quinn said similar rules limiting public criticism "are generally in place in almost all the districts we've worked with." San Diego Unified signed a $69,000 contract in April with Quinn's company, Aspen Group International, LLC, to train the board on its role and operations. Aspen lists dozens of school boards on its website as clients, including the Guilford County school district where San Diego Unified Superintendent Terry Grier last worked.

[Blogger's note: Just because schools have these rules does not mean the rules are legal. They are merely a tool for hiding dissent, and keeping voters ignorant of problems, including violations of the law.]

Legal experts from the American Civil Liberties Union and the California First Amendment Coalition disagreed. Blair-Loy of the ACLU said the rules are "clear violations of the First Amendment" that undercut citizens' ability to hear the views of their elected officials. His views were echoed by California First Amendment Coalition attorney Terry Francke.

Did Bonnie Dumanis and Patrick O'Toole simply create a new PIU?

Bonnie Dumanis recently moved controversial Public Integrity Unit chief Patrick O'Toole out of the unit. But what is he doing now?

He continues to be absent from the District Attorney's office flow chart. But perhaps that is because he doesn't want to be seen as subordinate to Bonnie. He'd rather not be seen at all.

I guess Bonnie and Pat want to leave the matter of O'Toole's current assignment up to our imaginations.

Here are some possibilities I've come up with:

1. A new PIU has been formed, known as the "public intimidation unit" or, alternatively, the "political impact unit." It will continue to investigate political enemies, but in a secretive manner.

2. O'Toole's new job will continue to involve the tipster(s) who initiated the investigations of the Chula Vista city employee who took 2 hours off work to spy on mayor and former CVESD school board member Cheryl Cox's yacht party with David Malcolm, and councilman Steve Castaneda's claim that he never planned to buy a condo which he never bought.

3. O'Toole will ask for and receive assistance from his friends in the Bush Justice Department, an office which has proven to be expert in political prosecutions (Don Seligman), and hiring and firing based on ideology and politics (Anthony Gonzalez and Monica Goodling and the eight fired US attorneys).

4. O'Toole will prove to be an invaluable aid to Dumanis' political ambitions, or, alternatively, the two of them will go down in flames together when their secret shenanigans are exposed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A new study says parents are right to worry about their sons

Struggling School-Age Boys
By Peg Tyre
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Sep 8, 2008

Every other week it seems a new study comes out that adds to our already-formidable arsenal of parental worries. But even by those escalating standards, the report issued last week by the federal government's National Center for Health Statistics contained a jaw-dropper: the parents of nearly one of every five boys in the United States were concerned enough about what they saw as their sons' emotional or behavioral problems that they consulted a doctor or a health-care professional. By comparison, about one out of 10 parents of girls reported these kinds of problems. (See the study here.)

The report confirms what many of us have been observing for some time now: that lots of school-age boys are struggling. And, parents are intensely worried about them.

What is ailing our sons? Some experts suggest we are witnessing an epidemic of ADHD and say boys need more medication. Others say that environmental pollutants found in plastics, among other things, may be eroding their attention spans and their ability to regulate their emotions.

Those experts may be right but I have another suggestion. Let's examine the way our child rearing and our schools have evolved in the last 10 years. Then ask ourselves this challenging question: could some of those changes we have embraced in our families, our communities and our schools be driving our sons crazy?

Instead of unstructured free play, parents now schedule their kids' time from dawn till dusk (and sometimes beyond.)...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Teacher of the year Guillermo Gomez takes a second cut in pay to teach at Lincoln High

See all Guillermo Gomez posts.

California School Districts lay off teachers in order to pressure the state to restore funds cut from school budgets, but then they always hire the teachers back, right? Yes, in most districts. But not in San Diego Unified School District.

Budget games have harmed several teachers at SDUSD's Lincoln High School, but Guillermo Gomez is one teacher whose students are not suffering along with him.

He is working as a long-term substitute at 9th-Grade Center for Social Justice, at a big cut in pay. What's up with that, Superintendent Terry Grier? Pay the man, for heaven's sake.

In April 2008, Voice of San Diego wrote about Mr. Gomez, asking, "How do you lay off a teacher of the year?"

Social activist is big on possibilities
By Chris Moran
San Diego Union Tribune STAFF WRITER
October 12, 2005

...His parents fled El Salvador 22 years ago, fearful their son would be conscripted to fight in the country's civil war.

They brought him to Los Angeles without knowing English, but they had emphasized reading at home, so Gómez arrived with a solid grasp of his first language, Spanish.

Bilingual education helped him master his subjects while he was learning English, Gómez said.

The teachers who helped him most, he said, weren't those who stressed subject matter, he said. He doesn't play piano or speak French, yet his piano and French teachers were the most influential ones he had in high school because they talked with him, encouraging him to attend college...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

SIATech test scores don't correlate with staff salaries

The salaries of SIATech Charter School staff in San Diego have skyrocketed, unlike student test scores. A reader sent me the 2006 990 IRS forms for SIATch, which lists wages. The salaries for SIATech Board of Directors and employees:

LINDA DOWSON President of the Board of Directors and Operations Manager $ 220,461.

ED BROWN Director and Operations Manager $ 124,878.

LINDA MILLER Director of Educational Services $172,860.

DAVID JENKINS Assistant Supervisor $ 169,81.

KRISTIN MALLORY Assistant Supervisor $ 168, 896.

DIANE FAIRCHILD Director of Special Education $ 161,348

MANOUCHEHR HADJIAGHAI Director of Administrative Services $ 160, 210.

SIAtech scores went down 45 points from 2007 to 2008. Of course, the children tested in one year are not the same group of children that are tested the next year. Some kids graduate, others move away and new kids take their places.

SIATech tested 135 students. SIATech is 100% funded by the United States Department of Labor (Job Corps), and is not regulated. SIAtech operates the education for about seven Job Corps in California.

SIATech student composition is: African American--15 students; Hispanic: 39 students; White--4 students; English Language Learners 3 students; socioecomomically disadvantaged--67 students; American Indian or Alaska Native--2 students; Filipino--1 student; and no students with disabilities.

Guajome Park Academy improved from 753 in 2007 to 768 in 2008. This charter school averages 21 students per classroom and the staff is highly paid.

More about North County test scores can be found at the North County Times.

Is Sarah Palin striving to become a high-latitude Victoria Richart?

2008 Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska

Alaska's current "Troopergate" sounds a lot like the "MiraCosta Mess" to me. I wonder who the Daniel Shinoff alter ego is in this story. I'm not saying that Palin's ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Wooten, is an angel, but I doubt that it was part of Palin's job description to make personnel decisions regarding individual troopers. Just because you have power doesn't mean your personal agenda must be fulfilled by your subordinates.

CBS News
by Laura Strickler and Kim Lengle
WASILLA, Alaska, Sept. 3, 2008

Alaskans refer to it as “troopergate” but the McCain campaign is convinced the investigation into Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s attempts to fire her ex-brother-in-law, state Trooper Mike Wooten, will show no wrongdoing. Palin allegedly demanded that Wooten be fired from his job while Wooten was in the midst of a bitter divorce with her sister. The results of the investigation will be released a few days before the November election.

The focus of the investigation will surround whether Palin abused her power as governor by pressuring Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, to fire Wooten. After Monegan declined to fire Wooten, Palin asked him to step down. Investigators will try and figure out if the two incidents are related, Palin says they are not...


Anchorage Daily News
August 30th, 2008

Alaska's former commissioner of public safety says Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's pick to be vice president, personally talked with him on two occasions about a state trooper who was locked in a bitter custody battle with the governor's sister...

No one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him to vet Palin as a candidate, Monegan said.

Who did they contact? "We don't talk about the vetting process," said Maria Comella, Palin's vice president campaign press secretary...

Palin's replacement for Monegan, Chuck Kopp, was forced to resign just two weeks after he was appointed because of a sexual harassment complaint that had been filed against him when he was the chief of police in Kenai.

Palin, in a news conference announcing Kopp's resignation July 24, said she was unaware that the Kenai city council had reprimanded Kopp as a result of the complaint and would not discuss how her staff had vetted Kopp before naming him to replace Monegan three days after Monegan was fired...

NOTE: Anchorage attorney Thomas V. Van Flein seems to be the Daniel Shinoff alter ego in this case.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why was a gentle essay about Patrick Judd (CVESD trustee) removed from the web?

Patrick Judd has a lot of control over the media. He succeeded in keeping the story of my lawsuit against CVESD out of the Chula Vista Star-News (above) and the San Diego Union Tribune.


I have long wondered how sentences, paragraphs and entire pages have suddenly disappeared from my Yahoo website from time to time. Attorney Ljubisa Kostic told me recently (when he was deposing me) that all someone has to do to get something removed is to complain to Yahoo. My guess is that the "someone" has to be a lawyer threatening a lawsuit for defamation. Yahoo hasn't admitted this to me, but Mr. Kostic could be right.

So the question becomes: Why did a particular paragraph or page disappear? Was it offensive? Illegal? Defamatory?

No, apparently that's not necessary. Take for example the following passage that disappeared from my "Seven Happy Clowns" page recently:

Judd says that having even one member
on the board who supports teacher unions
would destroy the board’s “collegiality.”

But what does “collegiality” mean?

In this case, it means that the current
board has agreed to hide its conflicts
from the voters. Important
differences exist between Judd and
the two board members who respect
teachers, Cheryl Cox and Bertha
Lopez. Judd's opponent, Jill Galvez,
would bring MORE collegiality to the
board because she shares the
positive attitudes of the board’s two
most forward-thinking members, Cox
and López.

[Blogger's note: Cheryl Cox and
Bertha Lopez, as it turned out, joined
Judd, Pamela Smith and Larry Cunningham
in a long series of unanimous and
irrespnsible decisions. They were not
as forward-thinking as I had imagined.]

School boards who keep secrets DO
NOT benefit taxpayers or children;
they only benefit incumbents.

They conduct trade-off diplomacy: I'll
vote for yours if you'll vote for mine,
and the public will never know what
our disagreements were.

Why not do the RIGHT THING EVERY

Probably Mr. Judd genuinely believes
in what he is doing, but his rigidity is
an obstacle to progress in Chula Vista
Elementary School District.

The five-member school board is not
smarter than all the people of Chula
Vista put together.

The decision-making process needs
to become open to all. Does
disagreement result in worse
decisions? No! It results
in BETTER decisions because more
ideas are considered. We need to
hear from educators who DON’T

I honestly can't figure out how anybody could convince Yahoo to remove this mild opinion piece.

So I'm back to wondering if friends of Patrick Judd have been hacking my website.

P.S. A few months ago, part of my California Teachers Association webpage was blacked out, as opposed to being blanked out.

A note to Patrick Judd: Teachers play politics with education just like you do. They need leadership to learn collaboration. I suggest you read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team."

Monday, September 01, 2008

If they win an award, they must be good--right?

Here are two stories about awards.

The first award is for a school district, and the second is for a restaurant. I learned a few years ago that awards are very often based on political connections rather than merit.

But there is another way of choosing winners: awards are sometimes based simply on what the applicants claim about themselves.

The award in story #2 below may have been a result of a combination of these two strategies. Maybe there was a deadlock regarding the real restaurants, so the secretly fake one was chosen because the judges wanted to escape a difficult choice.



Apparently CVESD didn't tell the NSBA about the millions the board has spent covering up wrongdoing. Or maybe they did--and NSBA, which is connected to the Council for School Attorneys--thought it was a terrific accomplishment.

From CVESD's website:
"...National School Boards Association to honor District as a role model for excellence in Board governance

"The National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has named Chula Vista as one of three finalists for the association's Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

"The Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas, and the School District of Omaha in Nebraska are each candidates for CUBE’s prestigious annual award. The prize honors urban school districts that demonstrate progress in educating children and that serve as role models in school board governance...

“These finalists illustrate how essential successful board governance is for urban achievement, and we are proud to recognize these districts for their exemplary leadership,” said Anne. L Bryant, executive director of NSBA...

"A panel of judges selected finalists based on the school districts’ submissions and independent research..."(emphasis added).

[Blogger's note: CVESD got (or gave to itself?) an NSBA/CUBE award in 2004.]



By Stanley Fish
August 31, 2008
Fooled Again

Last week the New York Post’s Page Six picked up on a story that had been widely circulated on the blogosphere. The magazine Wine Spectator was the victim of a hoax when it came out that its “award of excellence” had been given to a restaurant that did not exist. Robin Goldstein, a wine critic who said that he wanted to expose the lack of any foundation for many food and wine awards, had submitted an application that included the menu and wine list of a fictitious restaurant he named Osteria L’Intrepido. Goldstein revealed the hoax within a week or so of the announced award and declared that what he had done proved that “the level of scrutiny” that accompanies such awards is “insufficient.”