Monday, August 09, 2010

The SDUT Watchdog needs to do a few minutes research about Lowell Billings and Patrick Judd

See all posts about Patrick Judd.
See all posts about Lowell Billings.
See all posts about Francisco Escobedo.
See also: Who will be the new executive director of The Accelerated School?

I sent the following email to San Diego Union-Tribune reporters in an effort to get them to report the truth about Chula Vista Elementary School District officials' past practices regarding hiring school superintendents:

Dear Mr. Jeff McDonald and Ms. Ashly McGlone:

...The Watchdog is pretending that CVESD's recent superintendent search was more, not less, politically contrived than previous superintendent searches. Good heavens, the Watchdog didn't even report that there was NO search when Lowell Billings was chosen. I remember that the SDUT covered the story when Libia Gil supposedly voluntarily resigned as CVESD superintendent in 2002 to take a job in Virginia (but never moved to Virginia). What kind of reporter fails to mention past practice in a given situation that the reporter is presenting as if it were less proper than usual? Any reader who didn't know the truth would assume that superintendent searches had been conducted in an impartial manner in the past.

And the Watchdog quotes Lowell Billings without mentioning that he hired his boss, Pat Judd, as CEO of the Accelerated School. You need to give readers the very important truth about Lowell Billings own history on the very subject he's talking about in your quotes.

When CVESD trustee Patrick Judd retired as superintendent of Mountain Empire Unified School District (after several months on leave, without ever saying why he was on leave except that it was not sick leave), he looked for a job for quite a while. School districts all over the state did searches for him for a long time. I know this because I saw the visits to my site on my web logs. I imagine they did this because he applied for jobs. Apparently he couldn’t find a job, so his pal Lowell Billings got him a job at the Accelerated School, where Billings is a board member.

Here is a link to the TAS board of trustees web page. You see Lowell Billings is clearly listed:

You will perhaps want to look at the TAS board minutes Here are my quotes from and links to the board minutes:

What's more important than whether a person was personally known to a board member before he was hired as superintendent is whether the candidate is actually qualified for the job. It appears that Patrick Judd may not have been. If you read the agenda items at TAS
(see this link:
you will see that they got rid of Judd without even having a new CEO.

You also might want to read regarding this issue:

Here is a legal document about how and why one superintendent candidate at CVESD was ruled out:

After refusing my political ad in 2004, even when the ad was limited to the same type of phrases used in a Steve Francis ad, SDUT's credibility regarding CVESD and Patrick Judd and Lowell Billings is tenuous. As I said, I have the emails refusing my ad. The women in the ad department were clearly surprised that the ad wasn't approved. And, of course, Don Sevrens' extensive coverage of and enthusiastic opposition to the transfer of the out-of-control "Castle Park Five" teachers--while failing to mention the $100,000s the district had spent to defend them in court or to follow up regarding their connection to the $20,000 PTA embezzlement--is another chink in the SDUT's credibility.

If you lead your readers to believe that the process for choosing superintendents at CVESD was previously more open and honest than the current process, you are misleading them. You're not a real Watchdog, at least not one that operates on behalf of truth and openness about government. You are, instead, working against truth and openness in government.

Maura Larkins

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