I have a question for Doug Perkins and Rick Shea, candidates for San Diego County Office of Education District 5
Will you work to make sure that top administrators Diane Crosier and Dan Puplava of SDCOE report ALL the gifts they receive from companies doing business with SDCOE--and require them to explain who paid for their cross-county trips to be wined-and-dined by those companies?Voice of San Diego education reporter Emily Alpert reported in 2010:
In response to questions from voiceofsandiego.org, the County Office wrote in an email that it believed Crosier had followed the gift rules. But despite repeated questions, it would not specifically explain why the trips could be legally left off the forms. In an email, Crosier said only that the trips were not included “due to discussion with legal counsel.”I have personal experience with one of the companies visited by Crosier and Puplava, as recounted in the above article by Emily Alpert. The company was Life Insurance of the Southwest. I was signed up for an insurance policy with this company against my will. The name of the company was written in below, after I crossed it out. I was told the agent did not have an extra form so I would have to use the form you can see HERE. Note the scribbles. The agent also took $12,000 of my money and put it into an account where it would be locked in for years. I was fortunate enough to figure out the ruse before the lock-in date.
I expect that county officials--and union officials--get sweet deals from financial institutions in return for access to employees. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, "Incredibly, Superintendent Randolph Ward himself bought an annuity from Puplava shortly after Ward began work in 2006."
And how about the teachers unions? Are they any better? Dan Puplava used to work for teachers unions, as he told Forbes magazine.
Who is more shameless in taking advantage of teachers, the school officials or the teachers unions? That's a hard question. I haven't figured out the answer yet.
FROM THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE?
Convicted trustees out; SDCOE trustees in
SDCOE administrators and board members have assumed positions at Sweetwater: left to right in photo: SDCOE administrator Lora Duzyk, SDCOE Superintendent Randy War, SDCOE board members Susan Hartley, Mark Anderson, Sharon Jones, Lyn Neylon, Gregg Robinson. For some reason Sweetwater board member John McCann has been replaced, although he was NOT charged or convicted of crimes as his four colleagues were.
Bizarrely, the four convicted trustees of Sweetwater Union High School District--as well as trustee John McCann and Sweetwater administrators--had their seats taken over at the most recent board meeting by the five members of the current SDCOE board and top administrators at SDCOE. SDCOE got permission from the Superior Court to implement the takeover.
NOTE ON DOUG PERKINS AND RICK SHEA
Both of these candidates are insiders at SDCOE.
Before retiring, Rick Shea was Special Assistant to the County Superintendent of Schools.
Del Mar School District trustee Doug Perkins was involved in this shameful case. I attended the trial. The judge was amazed that the district thought it could play politics instead of fulfilling legal obligations. Perkins had been on the board since 2008. He supported and worked with SDCOE JPA attorney Dan Shinoff.
CANDIDATES ALICIA MUNOZ AND KATIE DEXTER ARE ALSO SILENT ON SECRECY AT SDCOE
I'd also like candidates Alicia Munoz and Katie Dexter (District 3) to answer the question at the top of this post.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION May 24, 2014:
I apologize to the La Mesa/Mt Helix Patch. It did NOT censor my comments.
Patch news websites
I now believe that the reason my comments seemed to disappear from a story by Helen and Jack Ofield was that Katie Dexter supporters decided to distract attention from the La Mesa Patch story and direct attention to the Lemon Grove Patch version of the same story. In fact, Tom Clabby erased his own comment from the La Mesa Patch and posted it on the Lemon Grove Patch. He apparently preferred to have his comment appear in better company.
It makes me wonder if perhaps some of Katie Dexter's supporters are opposed to seeing, hearing or speaking about problems at SDCOE.
When I wrote my comments I had no preference for either candidate in the Katie Dexter/Alicia Munoz race for SDCOE board. I didn't think that either one of them would be able to do anything about the secrecy and financial shenanigans at SDCOE. And I still don't have any preference.
Here's what made me reverse my unfair criticism of the La Mesa Patch: I just found a link to the article in the Town Square column on the home page.
ORIGINAL POST MAY 24,2014:
I made comments the other day on this La Mesa/Mt Helix Patch story about the race for a seat on the San Diego County Office of Education.
Then I discovered that the original La Mesa Patch story can not be found in the Patch archives and seems to have been erased from the Patch Facebook page. Google search results don't include the story.
But clearly the plan wasn't to get rid of the story itself. The exact same article has been published by the Lemon Grove Patch (without my comments, of course). Google readily produces a link to the Lemon Grove Patch article. It turns out that the La Mesa Patch story still exists; the link on my blog still works.
So I'm doing an experiment. I posted some new comments on the Lemon Grove Patch this morning, and we'll see what happens. Here are my new comments:
[Comments by] Maura Larkins May 24, 2014:
...The entire story seems to have disappeared, along with two comments I made regarding San Diego County Office of Education. This reminds me of the local Clear Channel billboards that were taken down after two days because they correctly stated that Carla Keehn is the only candidate for Judge of the Superior Court Office 20 who has not been convicted of a crime. Of course, I didn't pay $14,000 to publish my statements.
Maura Larkins May 24, 2014 at 09:27 amThe most common problem in public entities is not blatant corruption such as the outrageous salaries ($560,000 for the assistant City Manager) of officials in Bell, California, but the money that gets channeled behind the scenes. Millions of dollars get moved around, and the public doesn't know about the connections and motivations that are guiding the transfers. Voice of San Diego reporter Emily Alpert was investigating SDCOE when she suddenly went silent, and then got fired. SDCOE exempts Diane Crosier (the director of Risk Management; also, Dan Puplava's boss) from having to disclose the gifts she receives. Why don't we have transparency in government at SDCOE?
CORRECTION AND APOLOGY TO THE PATCH: I believe that the La Mesa/Mt Helix Patch did NOT try to censor my comments. Instead, I think that Katie Dexter supporters worked to remove attention from the La Mesa Patch story that carried my comments and direct attention to the Lemon Grove Patch version of the same story. In fact, Tom Clabby erased his own comment from the La Mesa Patch and posted it on the Lemon Grove Patch. He apparently preferred to have his comment appear in better company. It makes me wonder if perhaps some of Katie Dexter's supporters are opposed to seeing, hearing or speaking about problems at SDCOE. When I wrote my comments I had no preference for either candidate in the Katie Dexter/Alicia Munoz race for SDCOE board. I didn't think that either one of them would be able to do anything about the secrecy and financial shenanigans at SDCOE. And I still don't have any preference.
SDCOE Risk Management Director Diane Crosier and her close associate Dan Puplava work with AIG
SDCOE has silenced its critics.
When Scott Dauenhauer revealed that SDCOE fringe benefits manager Dan Puplava [who is still employed by SDCOE] was getting at least $355,000 in commissions from AIG while working for the taxpayers, Dauenhauer was sued by Diane Crosier and Dan Puplava.
I went down to the courthouse and read the pleadings in the case.
The SDCOE managers claimed that Dauenhauer didn't know that what he said was true. I'm not kidding. They didn't claim he said something false. They claimed that he didn't actually know that what he said was true. Since he couldn't afford to keep paying an attorney to fight the case, he settled. SDCOE has also tried very hard to silence me. SDCOE lawyers had more success with Grossmont student representative Rick Walker, who obligingly shut down his website.
My other comment was about the MiraCosta College scandal, in which SDCOE's favorite law firm got paid $1.3 million to investigate $305 of water stolen and used to water palm trees. (After investing all that taxpayer money, MiraCosta let the palm trees die. It was never about water or palm trees. It was all about power and politics.) Sounds a little bit like Bell, California, doesn't it? And if our media silences discussions about things like this, how can the taxpayers protect themselves?
[Comment by} Helen Ofield May 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Maura - I was hunting around for the coverage and thought it was "just me" when I couldn't find a comment I'd sent to you. I think the Clabbys had a little difficulty posting and, like them, I wouldn't know how to erase something if I tried. Really, there is no conspiracy here, just well-meaning people trying to navigate the Internet.
Maura Larkins May 24, 2014 at 04:30 pm
If you look at the line below your post you will see the words "Recommend...Reply...Delete". Just click on the word "delete". It looks like Tom Clabby found it. I got an automatic notice telling me about his new comment soon after I posted my comments. Then I got another automatic notice saying his comment was a blank.
I wonder what Katie Dexter and Alicia Munoz think of all the Dan Puplava shenanigans as well as the other SDCOE cases and the secrecy surrounding gifts to Diane Crosier. It seems that all we get from either candidate is political posturing and platitudes. Wouldn't this be a good time for one or both of them to address problems inside SDCOE?