Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Couldn't the Alb Journal cover even one allegation concerning the leadership of the APS?


Perhaps a story the size of “an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS” is too big for the Journal to undertake, even in the face of school board member elections, a mill levy and a bond issue worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

So here is a smaller bite; well within the capabilities and responsibilities of a newspaper like the Alb Journal.
Investigate and report upon the money the leadership of the APS has spent on lawyers, litigation and legal weaselry in the past two decades.
It’s all a public record. The Journal has only to get their hands on the records and read them. Else, report to stake and interest holders that the leadership of the APS will not produce the requested public records.

The investigation and report will reveal at the very least;
  • excessive and unjustifiable spending on what amounts to cost-is-no-object legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators accused of corruption and or incompetence. The spending is so excessive, the district (taxpayers) are paying higher insurance premiums than comparable districts.
  • the funds being squandered are “operational funds”; money which should, could and would be spent in classrooms was it and the public trusted not being squandered in courtrooms instead.
  • inappropriate connections between the school board and the law firms that have profited so greatly from the unlimited spending, Ok’d by the school board in meetings in secret, of which no recordings are made, and without oversight. Subordinate oversight is not oversight, it is an oxymoron.
What could be easier?

Having cut their teeth on the tip of the iceberg, perhaps they could be persuaded (compelled?) to investigate and report upon the entire allegation.
There is a full blown ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
Or there is not; newsworthy either way; in particular on the eve of elections.

If the Journal continues to refuse to print the truth, taxpayers can still take control. Simply stop giving them money. Stop giving them money until they resign or finally get around to holding themselves honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

No accountability
No more money.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Unenforceable standards worse than no standards at all


What is the point in having a Code of Ethics if it cannot be enforced; except to create a false and misleading impression of accountability that does not exist?

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education has a Code of Ethics. They wrote it themselves. They freely admit that it is utterly unenforceable. So why do they have one; why did they write it?

The leadership of the APS would like stake and interest holders to believe that they are accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law; ethics. It makes it easier for them to win bond issue and mill levy elections. It makes it easier for them to convince voters that they are qualified stewards of the public trust and treasure.

To deliberately create a false and misleading impression is dishonest. The egregious lack of candor, forthrightness and honesty is characteristic of the leadership of the APS. It disqualifies them as guardians of trust.
Every time APS school bond and or mill levy issues come up, two things happen;

  1. A widespread consensus develops; there are accountability issues in the leadership of the APS and,
  2. An argument is made that; the needs of students outweigh the need to hold APS school board members and senior administrators honest to God accountable for their incompetence and or corruption.
It never changes. It never will; unless and until the leadership of the APS is finally held individually and collectively accountable for their conduct and competence.

It will not end until the leadership of the APS can be held honest to God accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

High standards and due process will end corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS. High enough standards and ruthless accountability are fatal to corruption and incompetence.

... fatal at once and
for all.

Gov. Bill Richardson Backs APS Bond Issue

This post amounts to a re-post from December 2015.  Links that no longer work have been removed and parts rewritten.


 It was fall, 2006.

William Blaine Richardson was governor.

APS was heading into an important bond issue election and according to a Journal poll 40% of voters were less than thrilled with the leadership of the leadership of  the APS.

The leadership was under fire for the usual;

  • wasting tax dollars and
  • students choking on standardized tests.
Same as today, except that in those days the Journal was still making an honest effort to inform the democracy about the incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the APS.  The Journal even reported on the felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS police force, link; a publicly funded private police force; a Praetorian Guard if ever there was.  Today, they steadfastly refuse to report on APS' cover up of those felonies.

Today, the Journal is to their eyeballs in the cover up, of the cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
  • inadequate ethics (higher standards than the law)
  • inadequate standards of conduct and competence and
  • inadequate accountability to such ethics and standards as there are.
Richardson wrote an op-ed for the Journal.  Unclear, who wrote the headline; APS Bond Buys Buildings, Not Bureaucracy 

It read in significant part;
In a few short weeks, Albuquerque voters will be asked to support a bond package ... and I urge voters to support this bond package.
The money will be used ... to build and modernize schools, not on administration. Voters can be confident that money from these bonds will not be wasted on bureaucratic red tape.

(There are those) who argue persuasively that Albuquerque Public Schools has a long history of dodging accountability when it comes to managing its finances and modernizing schools.

(APS is) a district that has generated ill will across the state ... 

I am endorsing this bond package ... (despite) ... critics who are skeptical of the way APS manages taxpayer money ...
Voters were told that despite a long record of APS' lack of accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence, they should be given stewardship over another third of a billion dollars.

Trust them, Richardson told us, to spend the money in the best interests of students.

So how did that work out for voters?   According the Journal, link;
“(an APS senior administrator) (recently) spent over $850,000.00 on a remodel and furniture for his own suite of offices.”*
*Confusion exists over where the money was actually spent in just Moya's suite.  The confusion stems from APS lack of record keeping, and from the Journal's apparent disinterest in clearing it all up.

Richardson also wrote that day;
Following the school election, I welcome a debate on potential solutions aimed at requiring more accountability in our schools.
That debate never took place.

To this day, the leadership of the APS refuses to engage in any public discussion at all, of their ethics, their standards, and their honest to God accountability to any of them, even the law.

And it isn't because they are so damned proud of it all.




photo Mark Bralley


What was true in 2006, and was true in 2015, is still true today.  Voters are being told to forget the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, and give them a bunch of money anyway.

No standards and accountability audit
no more money

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Journal Editors endorse APS bond issue and mill levy

In their editorial this morning, Journal editors asked voters to support

"...right-sized ... crucial maintenance and construction bond funding requests " on November 5th.

The request comes framed in the usual way; forget about the relentless lack of accountability in the APS and trust them with more hundreds of millions of tax dollars.  Their actual words were;
It would be truly unfortunate if voters could not look past her silence and big pay hike when it’s time to vote for essential school maintenance and construction projects.
... begging at least one question;
how many times will voters follow the Journal's advice and keep underwriting corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS by continuing to pass bond issues and mill levies in the name of "students" while disregarding the abject lack of honest to God accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within public service in the leadership of the APS?

How can Journal editors, year after year, election after election, continue to ask voters to "look past" the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, instead of doing what they should be doing; exposing the scandal and enabling voters to hold them accountable at the polls?

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Why won’t the Journal do its job?

On November 5th of this year, there will be an election over whether the leadership of the APS should be trusted with another few hundred million tax dollars.

Questions around their capacity for stewardship are to be expected.

That the Journal would ask these questions is to be expected.  That the Journal would report upon the questions and responses in order to inform the democracy is to be expected.  It is vital to the process.

How else will voters know whether to place their trust and treasure in the hands of the leadership of the APS?

Two questions are of supreme importance;

  1. Are there executive and administrative standards in place which are high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools?

  2. Are school board members and senior administrators actually accountable to those standards by some due process?
The leadership of the APS refuses to discuss their standards and accountability.

Ayn Rand argued; "To fear to face an issue is to believe that the worst is true.”

The leadership of the APS has good reason to fear an impartial examination and review of their standards and accountability.

The Albuquerque Journal’s reason to eschew an investigation and report to stake and interest holders is less clear;
  1. Do they want not to expose an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, or

  2. Do they want not to expose the leadership of the APS for being honest to God accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service?
It is clear that voters need to know either way.

It is equally clear that, either way, the Journal wants no part of informing voters about standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

One wonders;
why not?

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

"Blame voters" for APS maintenance issues

The APS is experiencing some maintenance issues; they can't get swamp coolers running in time to cool classrooms before school starts.

They are building brand new buildings while they cannot even maintain the buildings they already have.

Some who wrote letters to the Journal editors this morning, argue that the maintenance issues are the result, not of poor management, but rather of voter's lack of financial support.  Nonsense.

The funds that are being managed so badly in this case, are called operational funds.  Capital funds are used to build buildings; operational funds are used to maintain them.  Operational funds are used for other things as well.

One of the things the leadership of the APS chooses to spend money on, beside maintaining swamp coolers, is cost-is-no-object legal defenses for school board members and senior administrators.

Is it a bad voter then, who argues; I don't want to give another dime to people who cannot be trusted to spend that dime in the interests of students?

There is no way to get the attention of the leadership of the APS except to cut off their money.  It's the only thing that has ever worked and the only thing that ever will.

There is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

Were there not, someone in the leadership could and would complete this declaration;
There is not and ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.  It is not possible because; ...

The answer; ... there are standards and accountability in place that make corruption and incompetence impossible to hide.  The leadership of the APS cannot offer that answer.

There is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS because the leadership of the APS does not have ethics and standards that are high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools, and or, the leadership of the APS is not actually, honest to God accountable to those ethics and standards.

  1. The APS Board of Education has a Code of Ethics.  By their own free admission, it is utterly unenforceable.  
  2. The New Mexico School Boards Association has a Code of Ethics to which the APS board claims accountability.  The NM SBA admits to no process under which a complaint can be filed.
  3. APS unlimited spending on litigation and legal weaselry affords school board members and senior administrators an opportunity to admit "no guilt" in settlements over their guilt.  They are arguably unaccountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.

    And so on ...

And it's a "bad voter" who is unwilling to financially underwrite more of the same?

Before the leadership of the APS is given stewardship over another dime, they must first prove that they are actually, honestly accountable to high enough standards of conduct and competence within their public service.  There must be an independent audit of executive and administrative standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.  The results must be made public.

No audit;
No new taxes.

Good voter.












Friday, August 16, 2019

APS says it "does not comment on pending lawsuits".

In what is perhaps the greatest understatement of all time, KRQE covering a lawsuit filed against APS, reported; "APS said it does not comment on pending lawsuits."


Unless a comment lends credence to the positive image that APS spends nearly a million dollars a year trying to create; the leadership of the APS does not comment on lawsuits pending or even long settled.

They will "not comment" on the millions and millions of operational dollars they spend on litigation and legal weaselry in order to arrive at settlements in which school board members and senior administrators get to admit “no guilt” regardless of actual guilt.

Not only will they “not comment”, they will spend even more tax dollars on even more litigation in efforts to forestall the production of public records; in order to avoid candor, forthrightness and honesty with stake and interest holders.

The decisions regarding the operational funds they spend on cost-is-no-object legal defenses continue to be made in meetings in secret, of which no recordings are made, and without oversight.

They will “not comment” on the fact that APS (taxpayers are) paying higher insurance premiums because the leadership of the APS spends so much money on litigation.

They will "not comment" on the ongoing ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

No ethics, standards and accountability audit,
no new taxes.



Tuesday, August 06, 2019

There will be no APS graduates on any Red Flag List for gun purchases


Hopefully, one of the consequences of renewed attention to the accessibility of high power semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines, will be that closer attention is paid to the criminal records of those who choose to possess them; including public school records.

The hope is that someone with a record of compiling lists of people to kill or rape, will be asked a few questions about those interests before they are allowed to carry, much less purchase such a weapon.

There will be a problem when anyone goes looking for the records of APS students who have behaved in ways that would prevent them from carrying guns. APS keeps no such records.

The simple proof; if the leadership of the APS is asked (by a Journal reporter, for example) to produce a longitudinal record of students who “misbehave” even criminally, they will not for at least two reasons,
1. they cannot because those records were not kept, and
2. they will not produce what records they did keep, because they will tarnish the image that APS spends a million dollars a year trying to create.

School board members and senior administrators would rather that stake and interest holders believe that APS students are under control at school. This though, an impartial audit of the leadership of APS revealed that principals routinely falsified records of criminal activity at their schools in order to protect their image.

The leadership of the APS maintains a publicly funded private police force that are under orders to surrender (some) students who have committed criminal acts over to administrators for an “administrative” rather than criminal solution. The APS police force is certified by no one, certificated by no one, and accountable to no one except the leadership of the APS. And, no records are kept.

Additionally, perhaps more importantly, there are those in the leadership of the APS who believe that creating any kind of a record of students’ (even chronic) misbehavior puts them on a path to prison, and who are making deliberate decisions to thwart data gathering. They are threatening the efficacy Red Flag efforts no matter how otherwise justifiable they might be.

Either the leadership of the APS is maintaining control over students in schools and classrooms or they are not. It is newsworthy either way.

Either the leadership of the APS is keeping records that will be useful in creating Red Flag Lists or they are not. It is newsworthy either way.