Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trust in the "blue code of silence"

in essence, according to the Wikipedia, link,

The Blue Code of Silence (also known as the Blue Shield[1] or Blue Wall[2]) is the idea of an unwritten rule that exists among police officers not to report on a colleague's errors, misconducts, or crimes.

If questioned about an incident of misconduct involving another officer (e.g. during the course of an official inquiry), while following the code, the officer being questioned would claim ignorance of another officer's wrongdoing.
If you asked;
Is a blue code of silence part of the culture of the Albuquerque Police Department?
you would likely get different answers.

Alb Mayor Richard Berry
In particular, you would get a different answer from the Chief of Police and his boss the Mayor, than you will get from the police themselves.  That's why they will never be asked.

The press, those who the mayor chooses to "credential", will not ask the mayor about the blue code of silence.

Nor will they ask his Chief.

According to the Eye on Albuquerque, link;
Not too long ago, the City, APD and Chief Schultz were sued by (APD police officer)Sam Costales. In his suit, Costales claimed that Schultz and the department created an atmosphere where Costales feared for his life and was forced to leave APD.
The Federal suit resulted in a jury trial. In the end, the jury awarded Costales $662,000.00 plus an additional $200,000.00 in attorney’s fees.
Everyone gets why people in gunfights need to be able trust the people fighting next to them.

What at least some people don't get;
Why is the measure of that trustworthiness the willingness to overlook errors, misconducts and even crimes?
If the rules apply to anybody at all, they first have to apply to
the people who establish and enforce the rules.

And the very first rule is and must be;
1.  everybody has to obey the rules.
Rules apply to everybody or they apply to nobody.

There is an actual Pandora's Box, wikilink, opened when "some" people are allowed to except themselves from accountability to the rules;
If it's alright for anybody to break the rules,
it's alright for everybody to break the rules.
Apologists for rule benders will argue;
the privilege of bending the rules applies only to those of us who are smart enough, well educated enough, experienced enough, and just basically good people enough to be trusted to write their own rules.
And they will be distinguished from the rest of us how, exactly?

The practical result of enabling anybody to adjust the line between right and wrong, is that everybody will adjust the lines according to their own values; however good or bad.

The abundantly manifest result of blue codes of silence among police officers is; some number of them will then take advantage of the protection it offers to escape the consequences of their violation people's civil rights.  There are some "bad" cops; they are enabled by the blue code of silence.

If you've been reading Diogenes' six for very long, you know I am fond of pointing out oxymora.  One such;
Trust in a code of silence.
People by their nature, do not handle temptation well.
The opportunity to self-except oneself from the rules is too great a temptation to resist.  You're asking for nothing but trouble.

You can't trust the people who say they are immune to temptation.

It's nonsense on its face.

Renounce the blue code of silence and then, we can talk trust.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Esquivel and APS lawyer's dishonesty profoundly disturbing.

It isn't so much that drowning men grasp at straws, nor that APS school board member and Defendant Marty Esquivel has found lawyers willing to help him,
as it is that,
the utterly unjustifiable amounts of money he is willing to spend and they are willing to pocket, are operational funds.

Operational funds are tax dollars that, if Esquivel wasn't squandering them, would actually end up in classrooms being used to educate children.

How much is his ego worth, really?
Esquivel and his lawyers have filed the 135th document in a case in which nearly three quarters of a million dollars have been spent; diverted from classrooms to courtrooms; their RE-BRIEFING OF THEIR MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ...

Within and though out the document, link, are examples of their willingness to deliberately mislead a federal court judge by creating beliefs or leaving impressions that are untrue or misleading.  I could list them all, but who is going to read a 29 page long post?

I will cite two examples; one each of individual and overall efforts to mislead the judge.

On page 9, top of the page;
47.  On two occasions after issuance of the September 1, 2010 letter, APS police officers caught plaintiff trying to sneak through a side door at 6400 Uptown Blvd.
It is a complete fabrication.  It is unsupported by any evidence whatsoever including videotape from the densest security camera coverage anywhere in the APS.

It is unsupported by any testimony whatsoever except from former APS Police Chief Steve Tellez, whose case now languishes in the hands of District Attorney Kari Brandenburg.   His entire testimony on any issue, lacks credibility even in its smallest measure.

On a more "though out" level; part of the lawsuit has to do with the fact that they would not let me attend a gubernatorial debate at Eldorado High School.  The debate was not just a debate, it was a public meeting, to which I was denied access.  Because it was a scheduled meeting of APS District and Community Relations Committee, the Open Meetings Act applies.

I challenge anyone to find anywhere in their 29 page pleading where they admit that the debate was part and parcel of a meeting as is subject to the Open Meetings Act.  Their hope is that the judge won't notice.

Their behavior is "legal", probably. 
The law represents the lowest standard of conduct,
It is the standard that every higher standard, is higher than.

While it may be "legal", is is not the way the people would have their power wielded and their resources spent.

Their hope is that the people won't notice the squandering of their trust and treasure.  In particular they hope the people won't notice before the school board election.

They will continue to receive in that endeavor;
the cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS,
the aid and abet of the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV, and now apparently, Duke City Fix.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Duke City Fix dumps Diogenes' six

For quite awhile, my posts were showing up on Duke City Fix, link, in the form of the headlines, upon which readers could click, and then land on Diogenes' six.  Many did, indicating the headlines at least, were of interest to DCF readers.

The publishers are revamping and have decided that Diogenes' six no longer qualifies for their attention based on "no specific criteria". 

"Too critical" of incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the APS would be my guess.

We are disappointed of course, but not surprised.

Esquivel responds during public forum; by turning on his mike and coughing!

The videotape of the October 15, 2014 regular school board meeting is finally posted on APS' award winning website.  APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez is yet to explain why the video was not posted in a timely manner.
You can if you'd like, click on the video, link,, and FF to 30:53.  You will see my presentation at public forum.

... cough, cough, ... cough, cough, cough
You will hear School Board Member Defendant Marty Esquivel coughing through his mysteriously open mike during the good parts; like where I was challenging the board to actually look at the records they are spending so much money to hide.

Two weeks from now; APS school board members will find themselves in a position where they will have to;
1.  admit the record is of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators. Or,

2, admit to remaining willfully ignorant of the truth about that cover up.
The same can be said for the Journal, KRQE, KOAT and KOB TV.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taxpayers buy 18 seat boardroom for Convention Center

In the Journal Business Outlook this morning, link, we read;

The remodel (of the Convention Center) also introduced an 18-seat boardroom in the northwest corner and a roomy stairway landing that Garcia expects will become a gathering place in its own right.
The Journal's investigation and report did not include;
Which boards if any, will meet there.
If they are government boards, 18 seats is an insult to the people who paid for it.

If they private sector boards,
How many of them are really looking for a
board room to rent and a stairway landing
in which they can hang out?

The Journal chose to not report to taxpayers, the actual cost of the board room.

Just as they choose to not report still, to taxpayers, the actual cost of APS' John Milne Community Boardroom.  The still to be justified new board room was built;
over budget, link, and
  1. while inadequate financial standards were in place, and
  2. while there was inadequate accountability to such standards as there were, and
  3. while inadequate records were being kept;
the trifecta of public corruption and embezzlement.
All this equipment and 3 techs, and still no timely record of school board meetings?

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, October 19, 2014

APS misleads KOAT; KOAT misleads viewers re: lawsuits against Brooks

I stumbled upon an MSN report, link, to a KOAT report on the most recent settlements of lawsuits against APS and former Supt Winston Brooks.  I cannot find a link to the report on KOAT's own site.

At the end of the report, about two minutes in, the reporter said;

"APS says there is at least one other ongoing lawsuit involving Brooks."
I am aware of at least three.

If the reporter, Megan Cruz, is telling truth about what "APS" said, then " APS" misled her in order that she would mislead KOAT viewers.

Who knows, who "APS" is.  It could have been APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.  It could be APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez.

It is important to know who, because whomever it was, was being less than candid, forthright and honest with KOAT and by extension, with all stake and interest holders.

I will forward a link of this post to KOAT.  I will challenge them to follow up on this issue;
  1. report on the exact number of outstanding law suits (and complaints in other venues) there are involving Winston Brooks and have yet to be settled, and,
  2. report on the number of dollars still on the table; dollars that will not be used to educate nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.
We will see what we will see.

It would be nice to know in time for the school board member elections and the hiring of the new superintendent.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

APS settles a quarter of a million dollars on two complainants

The leadership of the APS has leaked to their Journal friends, link, the amounts of both settlements in case brought by two administrators against then APS Supt Winston Brooks; $245,000.  The figure represents a $70K settlement on one complainant and a $175K settlement on the other.

The Journal headline;

Total to settle two APS claims is $245,000
is misleading at best.

The money paid to the plaintiffs, is the smallest part of the cost to APS' operational fund and to taxpayers trying keep the fund solvent.  Still secret, the amount APS spent on lawyers in these cases, in Brooks' effort to escape the consequences of retaliating against people who filed complaints against him.

The plaintiff's lawyers' fees are also part of the cost to the district and taxpayers, of settlement and is not part of Journal coverage.  An honest headline would read;
Total to settle two APS claims is more than $500,000.
More settlements to come.
But then we know better than to expect candor, forthrightness and honesty from the Journal in their coverage of their cronies in the leadership of the APS; don't we.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The truth about the fourth camera and a broken promise

I have dug for awhile, into the mystery of the fourth(?) camera being used to record school board meetings.  I far as I can tell there is a camera on the speakers podium, on the board and on the superintendents desk.  The new camera is most distant from the action.

The story I'm getting is that the new footage is going to be folded into the streamed recording.

Editing four streams at once should be a snap in a room full of equipment purchased at a time when the administrators who were signing the purchase orders were (according to the Meyners & Co audit) spending up to $50K at a whack "... without involving purchasing."  This during a time when the same auditors found;

  1. inadequate financial standards and
  2. inadequate accountability to such standards as there were, and
  3. inadequate record keeping
the trifecta of public corruption and embezzlement.

The board promised stake and interest holders who cannot attend the meetings, they can download the video the Friday after the meeting.

This is not the first time the video has not been posted by the deadline.  A quick check on their award winning website, link, will give you an idea of the number of regular meeting video records still to be posted.

Videotaping of regular meetings is the only videotaping they do of meetings;  They don't videotape any of their committee meetings.  They don't post the audio tapes; if you want one, you have to make a public records request and buy a disc for $5 or $10 that might be unreadable or copied in a format nobody ever heard of.

These are the same people who, when I asked them for a copy of the videotape of the meeting where then School Board President Paula Maes announced that she would never agree to any audit that named the names of incompetent and corrupt administrators, apparently played their record on a TV and videotaped the TV to make my copy.  You can imagine the quality of the image and audio.  They to the same thing with public records they don't want you to read; a copy of a copy of a copy ... until it's unreadable.

Despite three guys and all this equipment, the video of Wednesday's meeting,
 which was supposed to be posted on their award winning website today is still
 not posted.

APS Exec Director of Communications
Monica Armenta
APS' million dollar a year public relations and calendar publishing effort has yet to explain why it takes two days for three technicians sitting in a digital electronic toy chest, to post a video that has already been streamed

If I had the software and the inclination, I could have a video record up on YouTube or somewhere, before the echo of "meeting adjourned" died.

In the 8 years that I have been speaking at public forums at school board meetings, an opportunity to watch videotapes of meetings has been a commitment by the board to the community members they serve.

It has been my personal experience that the record broadcast to the community has been manipulated by APS.  In particular, if I stood up at public forum and asked;
As the senior most role models in the entire APS, is there a single one of you; school board member or senior administrator, who is willing to hold yourself honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct you establish and enforce upon students?

Is there one of you who will role model honest and actual accountability to APS student standards of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct?
They would not answer, they were embarrassed, and they removed that part of public forum from the broadcast record.

When I asked APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez about the fact that the broadcast record was being altered, he assured me it was alright because the broadcast videotapes are not the actual "minutes" of the meeting.

The actual "minutes" are notes taken by a specialist and then approved by the board.  An incident like the one I described, if it was noted in the minutes at all, would read, a man talked about Character Counts!

At one point, they actually moved public forum off their meeting agendas in order that it would not show up on a broadcast record.

When I asked a senior APS administrator for an answer to a simple question, as one of the senior most administrative role models of student standards of conduct, he was obliged to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly.  See for yourself;
I wrote;
I am wondering, what is the purpose of the APS camera in the "meeting administration" alcove in the far west end of the John Milne Community Board Room?
He responded
The camera is used to film the APS Board of Education meeting.
I asked
What is the intended use of the public record it creates?
Why is a different camera necessary?
He responded
Not sure what you mean by your first question. If you want to call me and explain, I'll try to answer.
With regard to your second question, the camera provides a different recording angle from the other cameras in the room.

I responded;
... With respect to my first question;

What is the intended use of the public record it creates?
I mean; what does the person who decided to make the recording intend to do with the recording?
Who is that person, by the way? Who asked to have it set up?
He responded;
Like I said before the camera you are talking about provides a different angle than the other cameras in the room. The video from the different cameras is edited into a video of the meeting.
As for who decided to locate the camera there, I assume it was the folks in Information Technology who put together the video. The change was made when the room was reconfigured and the podium moved from the center to the side.
I asked;
Please identify "the folks" in IT in order that I might ask questions of them directly.
Who ordered the room to be reconfigured?
Why does any of this make any difference?

It makes a difference because somebody re-purposed the alcove and in so doing moved "the media" to a place where they can no longer photograph the faces of speakers at the podium.  And, they created a genuine trip and safety hazard as demonstrated when Chavez himself moved in to replace videographer and his tripod.

There should have at least some justification for doing it.

I am afraid what they're really about to do, is to use one camera with a Google Earth view of the room every time they want to make something, or someone, really hard to see in the video record.

School board enforcer and defendant Marty Esquivel says this isn't about Character Counts!  He says he didn't try to ban me for life because I keep pointing to the lack of character and courage manifest in their abandonment of their obligations as the senior most role models of student standards of conduct.

But it is.  If it wasn't about role modeling of student standards of conduct, Esquivel wouldn't be afraid to talk about it.  Nor would board members Analee Maestas, David Peercy, Steven Michael Quezada, Kathy Korte, Donald Duran and, Lorenzo Garcia.  Nor would interim Supt Brad Winter.

If it is important to us that students grow into adults who
embrace character and courage and honor,
someone is going to have to show them what they look like.

Character is taught by example.
Example has more followers than reason.  Bovee
Character is taught only by personal example.

If Esquivel and board aren't up to honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law, maybe they shouldn't be role models; maybe they shouldn't be board members or senior administrators.

photo Mark Bralley

$175K APS Brooks settlement a tenth of taxpayer liability

In the Journal this morning, link, the settlement with the other of two administrators in a federal lawsuit against former APS Supt Winston Brooks.

The amount of the other settlement is still secret from the people whose money it used to be.

I am willing to guess; if we knew the number of dollars at stake in yet to be settled lawsuits against the Brooks administration, it will be ten times or more, the number settled on these two.

And, the settlement number the Journal published, I am willing to guess; does not include inordinate numbers of dollars funneled to law firms friendly to the leadership of the APS.

All of these dollars are "operational dollars".  Operational dollars are dollars that could be spent in classrooms instead of being spent on cost is no object legal defenses for school board members and superintendents.

Some, may be covered by insurance.  Taxpayers premiums for that insurance have already been raised at least once (that I know of personally) as a direct result of the amount of money APS board members and superintendents spend on litigation.  It is worth noting; they spent without any real oversight.  Self oversight and subordinate oversight are not oversight.  They are oxymora.

"I am willing to guess" because without any data, what else can you do?

Why do stake and interest holders not know, and why cannot they find out, how public funds are being spent?  Why the big secret?

Obviously they have something to hide.

Obviously, the Journal is ready, willing and able to help them hide it.  Journal reporter Jon Swedien writes once again, link;

In (the) other cases involving Brooks, a judge in 2013 dismissed a suit made by three APS principals who claimed they were unfairly demoted.

There is also an ongoing case involving Ruby Ethridge, a former APS associate superintendent. Ethridge filed a civil rights suit against APS and Brooks, arguing she was demoted after complaining that Brooks “treated woman with disdain.”
I added the (the) obviously.  If Swedien had written it, it would be an outright lie.  Without it, the statement is simply misleading.  If it were first time he had done it, it might be inadvertent.  At this point it is a pattern.

If the intention of those paragraphs is not to mislead readers into thinking those are the only ongoing lawsuits against Winston Brooks and taxpayers,  then I,
(as my father used to say) am a Chinese sea cook.