Tuesday, August 12, 2014

California Department of Education (CDE) refuses to take complaints about Child Nutrition Program

Does Director Sandip Kaur of the California Department of Education's Child Nutrition Program look the other way when her top administrators aid and abet retaliation against citizens who complain about irregularities in the handling of public money?

 Sandip Kaur, director of CDE's
Child Nutrition Services

The California Department of Education (CDE) handles huge amounts of USDA money that is supposed to end up feeding children in California.  CDE distributes these taxpayer dollars to local organizations such as Chicano Federation here in San Diego.

If you have reason to believe that a local organization isn't handling the public money properly, you're theoretically allowed to file a complaint with CDE.  But you might want to think twice before you do that.

I complained twice to CDE about Chicano Federation.

The first time, it wasn't so bad.  CDE simply ignored my complaint.  It was clear that they wanted to protect Chicano Federation.

But I had no idea how determined CDE is to protect the organizations to whom it gives large amounts of public funds.

I found out today that my second complaint didn't get ignored.  It was given through back channels to Chicano Federation without ever being acknowledged or accepted officially.

And Chicano Federation is now threatening to sue me for writing to CDE about them!

I got a letter today from Michael at Daly Law Firm in San Diego that states:

"You have also sent out a libelous email to representatives of the California Department of Education with the subject line "Clearly CDE has let Chicano Federation feel that it is free to administer the USDA regulations arbitrarily and abusively" that also defames Mr. Uzeta and the organization."

I wonder whether Mr. Uzeta is using tax dollars or donations to sue a citizen for complaining to the California Department of Education.

The representatives of the CDE who received my complaint were...[Update Aug. 15, 2014: I have removed these names because I believe that these individuals were doing what they were told to do, and they'd probably get fired if they did otherwise. It appears that Tom Torlakson thinks that the Child Nutrition Program should be run like a bad public school.]

I called Chris Kavooras at CDE at 11:09 this morning, but she hasn't returned my call.  I have the feeling that I will have to wait a very long time for her call. [Note/Update Aug 15, 2014: Chris Kavooras sent me a terse email. Also, the complaint I filed in June, which was ignored, has suddenly been activated by Shirley Rhodes. So far I have received no response to my complaint about intimidation and retaliation, but I expect something soon.]

But I'd be willing to bet that someone at CDE is already on the phone to Chicano Federation.

The head of the Child Nutrition Program is Sandip Kaur.  I'm going to try to get through to her.  Maybe Sandip can tell me if CDE has a policy of aiding and abetting retaliation against citizens who complain about irregularities in the handling of public money.

UPDATE: I called CDE again, and now the receptionist isn't answering at 916 445 0850.  That's interesting.  Rhonda has always answered previously.

But I did find the official email address of the associate director of CDE.  She's Carol Chase Huegli.  I wonder if I'll get sued for writing to her? 

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