Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some one of them is going to be the first.

Some one of the mayoral candidates is going to be the first
candidate to raise their right hand and say;

About my public service,
I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth.

(So help me God.)


Every other one of the candidates will be among the last.

Gwyneth Doland on Janice Arnold-Jones on Richard Berry

Gwyneth Doland, NM Independent, link, chatted with
NM State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones,
after the ASCME Mayoral Forum, and wrote well about it. link

Marty Chavez no-shows ASCME mayoral forum

.



Wanted


for STRAIGHT ANSWERS



Mayor Marty Chavez was a no-show at the
ASCME Mayoral Forum.


Chavez chose not stand in front of voters,
look them in the eyes, and then answer their questions.

He says, it's because he is not an "official" candidate.

I say. it's because he didn't want to stand in front of voters,
look them in the eyes, and then answer their questions.




photo Mark Bralley

Winston Brooks/Celebrating the 8!

Winston Brooks will be addressing stakeholders this evening.
link

The agenda promises that stakeholders will be allowed to ask
questions by means of an "Open mic" format.

By reasonable extension; I am allowed to ask a question
by means of my blog, and a cc.

My question;

Will you tell the truth about administrative and executive
role modeling of the Student Standards of Conduct?


Will Winston Brooks look in the eyes
of stakeholders and use the phrases;

  • role modeling
  • Character Counts! and
  • Student Standards of Conduct.

Winston Brooks will either tell the truth
to stakeholders tonight, or he will not.




end note; I tried to find "the 8" goals in order to link to them.
I could not find them anywhere. Not even on APS' website.
They may be on the APS website, but I couldn't find them, and
the site cannot be searched.


I am fairly certain that one of them read;
... regain the trust of the community.


cc Winston Brooks
at superintendent.edu
The following email was sent at 8:5 am

Superintendent Brooks,
I would like to ask a question at the forum this evening, and
I would rather not have to ask it by means of the "open mic".

http://ched-macquigg.blogspot.com/2009/04/winston-brookscelebrating-8.html

I am grateful for your time and attention,

ched macquigg


UPDATE; Winston Brooks
chose not to tell the truth about
administrative and executive role modeling of the student
standards of conduct.




photo
Mark Bralley

"It grows as it goes"

In the Journal this morning, link, Jim Scarantino, looks at
our state motto; crescit eundo, which translates to;
"it grows as it goes".

Scarantino points out that the political corruption surrounding state investments is not new. He outlines corruption cases dating back to the 1980s, and points out that little has changed except the amounts of the payoffs which are now ten times as large as they once were.

Scarantino concludes that our motto makes no sense, except in terms of "political rot".

He has a point.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last email from Sgt. Joseph Gonzales

I have received my last email from the President of the
Character Counts! Leadership Council.

He talked a bunch of smack, and then made nonspecific threats
about what he would do if I emailed him back with any manner
of rebuttal.

He did, however, write two things of interest.

In the first, he claimed to have been in touch with the national
Character Counts! office. He claims that they told him that both
that office and Michael Josephson personally, had told me not
to contact them again (about the massive fraud being perpetrated
using his beloved Character Counts! as its engine.)

Honestly, I have no specific recollection of either the office
or Josephson asking me not to contact them again.

I would not be surprised though. I have been riding them
pretty hard trying to get them to do something in the APS
besides selling them Character Counts! link link

If I had, I would be no more ashamed of it than I am ashamed of any of the other abuses that have been perpetrated upon me by people who don't want to talk about administrative and executive role modeling of the student standards of conduct.

I am unashamed of anything that I have done in my effort to bring standards and accountability to the table for open and honest discussion. I would do it all again, in front of any of my former students.

The second interesting thing that Gonzales wrote; he represented that he had not met Carole Smith.

Carole Smith is the ranking APS administrator of APS' Character Counts! program.

I would be very surprised if she were not a member of the council that the sergeant "leads".

Why, if Gonzales were "researching" an allegation that the leadership of the APS is only pretending to be role models of the student standards of conduct, would he not talk to APS senior administrator of Character Counts!

Bottom line; don't expect to see the President of the
Character Counts! Leadership Council,
Sgt. Joseph Gonzales
at a board meeting, insisting
that the leadership of the APS step up as role models of
the Pillars of Character Counts!

Role modeling is an overt act

There is no such thing as an inconspicuous role model.

If we really want students in the APS to grow up to embrace
character, and courage, and honor,
someone has to show them what character and courage
and honor look like.

Somebody has to stand up some where, some time, and
show students what moral courage looks like.

Somebody has to stand up some where, some time, and
show students what honest accountability to meaningful
standards of conduct and competence, looks like.

Somebody has to stand up some where, some time, and
show students what telling the truth looks like.

"If we want our children to possess the traits of character we most admire, we need to teach them what those traits are and why they deserve both admiration and allegiance. Children must learn to identify the forms and content of those traits."

"The formation of character in young people is educationally a different task from and a prior task to, the discussion of the great, difficult ethical controversies of the day."
William J. Bennett, author and former U.S. Secretary of Education (b. 1943)

"Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike."
Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and 26th president (1858-1919)

"Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character."
Albert Einstein, Swiss-American mathematician, physicist and public philosopher (1879-1955)

“Example has more followers than reason.”
Christian Nevell Bovee, American author and lawyer (1820-1904)

"The proper time to influence the character of a child is about a hundred years before he’s born."
William R. Inge, American playwright (1913-1973)

We should not be so worried that our children never listen to us, as we should be worried that they are always watching us.
-Upton Sinclair




Every generation expects the following generation
to be the first generation to hold themselves honestly
accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

It is time for an open and honest discussion of standards and accountability in the leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools.

It makes no difference who points that out.

Or why.

It is time for an open and honest discussion of standards and accountability in the leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools.

There is only one reason that the leadership of the APS will not tell the truth about their standards and accountability. It would cost them their jobs.

Some of them might even go to jail.

The leadership of the APS will not hold itself accountable
to any standard of conduct that requires them to tell the truth.

It is easily demonstrated that they are not even accountable to
the law.

Meanwhile, in their class rooms, students are told that
this kind of conduct is engaged in,
at the forfeit of their good character.

How can anyone that truly believes in the ethical principles
manifest in the Pillars of Character Counts! link.
stand by and do nothing while this goes on?

Is there really not a single member of the leadership of the APS
who is willing to stand up and say;
I will hold myself honestly
accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts!,
for at least those few hours each day,
when that is my demand of students.
Is there really not a single member of the leadership of the APS
who will stand up as a role model of the student standards of
conduct for even 6 and 1/2 hours a day?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So, I've had a little dust up with the President of the Character Counts! Leadership Council

I had contacted him through the Character Counts! website
link that had been furnished me by the NMPED. link

It was the second time that I have communicated with him;
the first was a phone call to a number given me by the APS.

In the first phone call, I asked him to stand up in support of
the APS Student Standards of Conduct; the Pillars of
Character
Counts!.

In between the phone call and the email, Sgt. Joseph Gonzales,
did some "research" on me. He reports that members of the
Leadership Council feel as though I am "harassing" them, by
insisting that they step up as leadership of Character Counts!.

He allowed me no opportunity to rebut any of the claims made
about or against me.

He says that having the leadership of the APS step up as
role models of the Pillars of Character Counts! is my agenda.
And further, that the Council will not be pushing my agenda.

As far as I know, he has never attended a board meeting.

He claims not to know whether my claims are legitimate.

I claim the leadership of the APS will not stand up as role
models of the Student Standards of Conduct.

They will not. Case closed.



There are more than a few people who are in positions of
leadership in Character Counts!, who have no idea what
the Pillars of Character Counts! actually require. link

Sgt. Joseph Gonzales for example, apparently has no idea
that the Pillars of Character Counts! require students to;
stand up for what they believe in
even if they are standing alone. link
If he understood that, he would understand that standing up
at board meetings, while my agenda, is not my agenda.

And it is, in fact, his responsibility as well.


In reply to his email, I denied allegations that I had harassed
anyone in the Character Counts! Leadership Council.link

The Council membership is still secret. What kind of
leadership group, in this context, has a secret membership?

And then I burned any bridge there may have been
between me and Character Counts! New Mexico,
and its "Leadership" Council.

And I feel cleaner for it.

APS Student Behavior Handbook

The APS Policy Committee has revisions to the APS
Student Behavior Handbook on its agenda as a discussion
action item. link

I am always afraid when I find out that the Student Behavior
Handbook is being revised.

It is in that book, where the APS Student Standards of Conduct
are written. It reads;

"... students are expected to model and promote
the Pillars of Character Counts! ..."
In other words; students are expected to actually hold
themselves honestly accountable to the standards of respect,
responsibility,
citizenship, caring and fairness.
But most of all, students are expected to hold themselves
honestly accountable to standards of trustworthiness;
truth telling.


I am afraid that, that language will mysteriously disappear
one day, kind of like the time it went from
students are "required", to students are "expected".

"Expectations" being so much easier for administrators and
board members to weasel out of in court, than "requirements".

Speaking of "weasel", it is in the Student Behavior Handbook
where you can find a phrase that teachers call the "weasel clause".

Teachers depend upon administrators for help in controlling
(chronically) disruptive students. It is in the Handbook where
minimum mandatory consequences are found.
A significant number of teachers do not feel like they are getting
the administrative support that they need. They believe that
the minimum mandatory consequences are not mandatory
at all. They believe that some of the most chronic trouble
makers often receive no consequences at all.

The mechanism by which administrators can skirt their
responsibilities without consequence, is provided in the
weasel clause;
"Nothing in the following is intended to prevent a staff
member, teacher, principal or other administrator from
using his/her best judgment with respect to a particular
situation.
("in the following" refers to the entire Handbook)
If you think that staff members, or teachers can except
themselves from "the following"*, and then rest upon a defense
of having used their own "best judgment", you are delusional.
The exception applies in effect, only to administrators.

"Best judgment" is "best judgment". It requires neither defense
nor explanation. It is not subject to review.

The Student Standards of Conduct are found unfortunately
in "the following" part of the student handbook.
The part that falls under the umbrella of the weasel clause.
The part that the leadership of the APS can weasel out of.

It is apparently the "best judgment" of the leadership of the
APS, that their obligations as role models do not include
actual, honest accountability to the standards that they
are promoting and modeling.

Their position requires no defense or explanation.
It is not subject to review.

Do you suppose that there is a school district anywhere

where the adults are honestly accountable as role models
of the standards that they set for students?

I'm beginning to seriously doubt it.

I would like to find one.
It would be interesting to see how they did it.

The inconvenient truth at Jimmy Carter Middle School

This is the week that stakeholders were promised the results
of a school climate survey done two months ago.

A school climate survey is as close as the leadership of the APS
will come to gathering hard data on the conduct and
competence of site level administrators.

A few thing are all but certain;

  • the whole truth will not be told this week, it is likely that instead,the results will be kept under wraps until the school year has ended; thereby making it more difficult for stakeholders to organize any sort of response. Any teacher or parent who chooses to pursue the issue, will do so individually.
  • there was a real problem; a problem so great as to need hiding.
  • the problem will or will not have been resolved.
If it has not been resolved, the data, now outdated, cannot be
used to substantiate any allegations of current administrative
corruption or incompetence.

If the problem has been resolved, it will have been resolved
without any administrator having to acknowledge that there
ever was a problem in the first place.

The district will have
"... learned from the experience and will now
be focused on the future ..."
No consequence will befall the administrator responsible for
the problem.

Whatever teachers stood up on the issue of the problem
will not be vindicated. But their names and faces will be
remembered in APS'
"... culture of fear of retribution and retaliation ..."


All of this is strictly, explicitly, and expressly prohibited by the code of conduct that administrators enforce upon students.

Did NM Secretary of Education, Veronica Garcia lie?

It was reported by newsman and blogger Peter St. Cyr link,
that PED Secretary Veronica Garcia said that there were a
number of school districts in New Mexico where both adults
and students were accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts!

My repeated requests of her office, to identify those districts
have been ignored.

I don't know why they would be
ignored, except that Garcia was
talking out of her ass,
and doesn't want to admit it.




photo Mark Bralley





update: following the post, I received an email
from the NNPED.

Thank you for your inquiry. The organization that is focused on
the Character Counts! Program can be reached at the following
link: http://www.charactercountsnm.com/contact.php.
The Public Education Department no longer tracks the specific
schools that adopt this program.
I believe the contacts via the link will be able to assist you.

Some decisions are fundamental

APS Policy Committee Chair
David Peercy
says that he wants
to review all APS Policies at once.

On its face, the intention and logic
seem sound. A change in one policy
could have both intended and
unintended effects on other policies.
It seems prudent to examine them
together.


But what if a particular policy change would clearly have an effect on all other policies; what if the change was fundamental? Wouldn't it make sense to iron out that policy statement first? There is a reason that buildings begin with their foundation.

The fundamental change that Peercy is trying to avoid discussing is the standards of conduct that apply not only to the enforcement of other policies, but to the formulation and review of those policies.

When Peercy reviews all other policies, will the review be
a review from a perspective that requires the least from all
other policies; the law, or will it be a review from a perspective
that requires the most from all other policies, ethics.

According to Character Counts! founding
father, Michael Josephson, adherence to
a higher standard than the law;
a code of ethics for example; often requires
more than the law requires,
and less than the law allows.



How can Peercy evaluate policy statements without first
establishing the basic, fundamental, standards against which
policy statements will be evaluated?

What makes Peercy's position so indefensible, is that the
discussion he is trying to avoid, is the one where the leadership
of the APS actually declares the standards against which
policies will be evaluated and under which they will be enforced.

The discussion that he is trying to avoid, is the one where the
leadership of the APS finally admits the truth, that they have
no intention whatsoever of being accountable to any standard
of conduct higher that the lowest standard of conduct that they
can find.




Peercy photo Mark Bralley
Josephson photo from his website

Monday, April 27, 2009

STANDARDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY; the mother of all third rails.

It turns out that there are a lot of third rails, wikilink.

I defy anyone to name an issue in government that is more
important than the issue of standards and accountability.

Davie Peercy's Policy Committee is responsible for district
policy writing. It is the responsibility of that committee to
establish standards and to ensure their enforcement.

David Peercy refuses to conduct an open and honest discussion
of standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

It is fair to ask, why?

Why are standards and accountability not on the agenda
for the policy committee meeting tomorrow morning?

Why are standards and accountability not even on the list
of future topics?


Why is there no mention anywhere, of standards and
accountability in the leadership of the APS,
except to hide them from public knowledge?

Is it because the leadership of the APS is proud of their
standards and accountability, or
because they are ashamed?

Is it because the APS has robust standards of conduct and
competence, or because they do not?

Is it because there is honest accountability to meaningful
standards of conduct and competence, or
because there is not?

Is it because anyone in the leadership of the APS can defend
their standards and accountability, or
because they can not?



David Peercy

has point in the
conspiracy to hide
the truth about
(the lack of)
standards and honest
accountability in the
leadership of the APS.

David Peercy says,
no way,
will he
allow stakeholders
to learn the truth.



He will get away with it
for as long as we let him.





photo Mark Bralley

APS Policy Chair David Peercy, clueless or corrupt?

APS' Policy and Instruction
Committee
meets tomorrow.

David Peercy continues to
refuse to allow the open and
honest discussion of
administrative and executive
role modeling of the student
standards of conduct.

His refusal is based on his belief
that the leadership of the APS
is actually accountable to the law,
and that the law is a higher
standard of conduct than the
student standards of conduct;
a nationally recognized, accepted, and respected code of ethics.

Peercy suffers from at least three boggles;

1. He would have us believe that the leadership of the APS is actually accountable to the law, despite their incontrovertible record of litigating for themselves; exception to the law.

2. He fails to comprehend the dishonorable and dishonest and unethical conduct that even real accountability to the law allows, and

3. He fails to comprehend the honorable, honest and ethical conduct that codes of ethics require.

His position is indefensible by any means except hiding it;
stonewalling.

His actions are

cowardly, unethical, dishonorable, and seemingly, corrupt.
And not much different from the actions of the rest of the
leadership of the APS;
cowardly, unethical, dishonorable, and seemingly, corrupt.





photo
Mark Bralley

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Sounds exactly like the community input for choosing the new superintendent!"

This comment was left on a post about APS' decision making
model.

It deserves some attention.

APS' decision making model is; lead stakeholders into believing
that their part in the decision making process is meaningful,
despite the fact that;

  • final decisions are the prerogative of "leadership" and
  • are not subject to review.
I understand at least part of their argument.
There is a reason why we pay Winston Brooks hundreds of
thousands of dollars a year; it is to make final decisions.

The parts that don't fly are the parts where stakeholders have
no meaningful part in the decision making process, and the part
where his decisions are "not subject to review".

His decisions cannot be held against any standard for
measurement. There is no place where a complaint can be
filed that he has failed to meet any standard.

There is no good and
ethical reason why
Winston Brooks
is not
honestly accountable to
meaningful standards of
conduct and competence;
standards like the APS
student standards of conduct.

He is not accountable because
  • you can't make him, and because
  • he is unable to resist that temptation.


Winston Brooks cannot summon the character and the courage to hold himself honestly accountable as a role model of the student standards of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!

And you can't make him.


It is not power that corrupts;

it is the opportunity to abuse power without consequence that
corrupts. Absolutely.

The reasons that the leadership of the APS will not hold
themselves honestly accountable to meaningful standards
of conduct and competence are unethical.

All of them.




photo Mark Bralley

Rio Grande High School parents, still justifiably upset.

The Journal covered a meeting of the Rio Grande High School
Parent Teacher Organization. link. For reasons known only to
Journal editors, the story was reported only in the west side
edition.

The parents are justifiably upset over Winston Brooks'
decision to leave them out of the decision making process.

The method he used is tried and true. Involve parents early
and meaninglessly in the process, and then later in the process
subject their input to unilateral review and approval by the
people who the district wants to make the decision in the first
place. According to the Journal report;

"APS formed three working groups, a committee and a redesign team to come up with the plan. The working groups were one of parents, one of students and another of staff. The committee had a mixture of staff, APS administrators and parents and was responsible for compiling and organizing all the information submitted by the work groups. The redesign — or core team — was responsible for coming up with the draft plan."
There were no parents involved in the final step; the only step
that really "made decisions".

Brooks' justification;
"... the core redesign team needed to consist of education
professionals"
I have not seen the redesign plan. I suspect that you will find
that the output of the "core team" is not rocket science, and
did not require "education professionals" to create it.
"..., teachers would undergo 30 hours of training this
summer. Students would have more choices in the
classes they take and assignments they complete,
teachers would work in teams, and more emphasis
would be placed on school projects."
Further, you will find that there really is no reason that parents
could not have joined the core team, along with the education
professionals.

No mention was made of the issue of (chronically) disruptive
students, nor of the administration's specific responsibilities in
addressing the issue.

Final note; the final plan is apparently a good one, at least
according to APS spokeswoman Johanna King.
"King said several parents at the meeting indicated
they are happy with the plan but frustrated with the process."
APS officials apparently tried to white wash their decision to
exclude parents from the process, by claiming that parents were
in fact, involved. That claim was soundly rejected by the parents.
Again, from the Journal report;
Rio Grande parents are angry because they say APS'
claims about parental involvement in the redesign process
are false.

"I challenge you to show me one parent," (PTO VP)
Rivera
said. "One parent who participated at all in this
process."

At least three parents whose names were listed on the
plan as contributors, including Rivera, asked that their
names be removed from the document. David Rogers,
one of those parents, said he attended one of the two
parent meetings that APS said they used to gather input
for the document.
"Nothing that was discussed is in this document," he said.
"There were a lot of concerns voiced about the process.
I did not give APS permission to use my name.
I do not agree with this document.
I want my name taken off this document."
All in all, another black eye for APS leadership. A black eye
suffered for no reason except their indulgence of their own
arrogance.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

School board non-feasance

There is a sub committee of the APS Board of Education
called the Audit Committee. According to board policy, link,
the Audit Committee is obligated to;

... review and recommend approval or action(s)
associated with the District’s Annual Audit, any internal
audit(s), audits associated with the Capital Outlay and
Technology, and any whistleblower complaints.
As I have written, Audit Committee
Chair David Robbins
has refused
to place on an audit committee
agenda, the "review and approval"
of the two complaints that I filed
with APS' SilentWhistle
whistleblower program.

The complaints will not see "review
and approval" because somewhere
during the process of review and
approval, Winston Brooks,
who has been accused of acting
unethically, will have to argue that
he is not really accountable to any
ethical
standards of conduct in the first place.

Rather than admit to the inconvenient truth, the complaints
were denied due process.

Interestingly, APS Director of Internal Audit, reported to the
board, that APS' SilentWhistle program had handled about
80 whistleblower complaints since it was instituted.

Not one of those complaints has been reviewed or approved
by the Audit Committee; not one.

So how can the Audit Committee simply refuse to fulfill the
obligations so clearly stated in board policy? It is simple,
where are you going to file a complaint that they have not?
With them?

Failing to do one's job is nonfeasance;
the failure or omission to do something that should be done or esp. something that one is under a duty or obligation to do.
Refusing to do one's job to deliberately, in order to deny
due process for complaints, in order to hide the truth is
malfeasance;
the commission (as by a public official) of a wrongful or unlawful act involving or affecting the performance of one's duties.
Policy Committee Chair David Peercy says he wants to see
the district involved in less litigation. So is the audit committee
going to have the hearings that are required by their own
policy, or will they pay Modrall lawyers to litigate against the
public interests, and against a Writ of Mandamus, link,
from the State Court, made necessary only by their refusal
to follow their own policies?

cc David Robbins upon posting.




photo Mark Bralley

Complaint filed with the State Auditor is now about 11 weeks old

I filed a complaint with the State Auditor, alleging a fraud
attached to the most recent Moss Adams Audit of the APS.
link

It has now been about three months, and I have heard nothing
from the Auditors Office. It has not even been acknowledged
that they have received the complaint.

It is frustrating that apparently, a citizen cannot count on the
government for help when trying to hold public servants
accountable for public corruption.

APS Policy Committee Meeting agenda posted, and shame on David Peercy.

The agenda for the next policy committee meeting has been
posted on the APS website, link.

I am disappointed, but not surprised to find that the subject of
administrative and executive role modeling of the student
standards of conduct is not only not the agenda for the
next meeting, but it has dropped off the agenda completely;
it is no longer even a future topic.

Policy Committee Chair
David Peercy, has done this,
in my opinion, because he
is a coward, corrupt, or both.

He has declined my invitation to
offer a third reason for denying
an open and honest discussion
of role modeling.

He cannot offer any good and ethical
excuse for his apparently
corrupt and/or cowardly conduct.

He cannot offer one for the simple
reason that there isn't one.

His only response to date;
the current standards of conduct for adults "far exceed" the
standards for students, and he will not be a party to
"lowering" standards of conduct for adults.

What bullshit! The Student Standards of Conduct, require
truth telling; explicitly and expressly. The adult standards
of conduct make no such demand.

To suggest that "truth telling" is a lower standard of conduct
than "not lying" is nonsense; it is completely indefensible.

Because the only defense of an indefensible position is to hide
it, Peercy will hide his nonsensical argument from scrutiny
by denying an open and honest discussion of role modeling.

There is no good and ethical reason to hide the truth
about administrative and executive role modeling of the
student standards of conduct.

It is manifest moral cowardice. It is manifest corruption.
It is as simple as that.

cc David Peercy upon posting.




photo Mark Bralley

Friday, April 24, 2009

Who owns the truth; an illustrative example.

Bird strikes. Every year, birds and planes collide.

Sometimes, planes crash; people die. link

The FAA keeps statistics on bird strikes. They can tell you how
likely it is that you will be injured or killed. There are airports
that are considerably more dangerous than others.

Some people might want to consider the danger when they
fly. But the truth has not been told to stakeholders.

Some government bureaucrat decided not to tell the truth,
"because it might alarm people".

Travelers have a right to the truth. It is their decision whether
to become alarmed or not. It their choice whether to fly or not
based on their alarm.

The FAA refused to release these records and it took a great
deal of pressure in order to see non-exempt public records.link

You shouldn't have to fight your government, for the truth.

You shouldn't have to prove your right to the truth in order to
see it, the government should have to prove that you have no
right to it, before they can refuse to tell it to you.

Tax day "tea party" was practice.

A blogger friend wants to write about the tax day tea party,
but is struggling to figure out what it really was; what were
they protesting? Obama, the stimulus package, taxes, what?

An editorial in the Las Cruces Sun-News link, proceeded on
the assumption that the tea party was a rally against excessive
taxes, and then went on to wonder, where were the tax
protesters when a meeting was held five days later, to decide
whether or not to raise taxes in Las Cruces even higher.

I would offer that the tea party was practice. We are practicing
an end run around a system which is unresponsive to traditional
methods of stakeholder input; largely limited to voting for or
against people or plans, every few years or so.

I have often argued that the systemic ills will not be remedied
through election. If the process of election had the power to
end corruption and incompetence in government, both would
have ended centuries ago, the first time people voted to retain
or replace the incumbents.

The simple truth is that the system cannot be repaired by
using the system. The system has fine tuned itself over time,
to be responsive only to the heavy hitters that are part of the
system. And if they have different agendas than the people,
it is their agendas which prevail; and they really cannot be
voted out at the next election.

We have no choice but to work around the system to fix the
system. And we practiced that on tax day. Tens of thousands,
perhaps hundreds of thousands of folks turned up on city
sidewalks to practice taking back control over power and
resources that are fundamentally their own.

They were unsuccessful, and will continue to be unsuccessful,
because they have no leaders. They have no one to tell them
what to do next. No one told them to show up at the meeting
where the agenda included a discussion of raising taxes.

Typically, the newspaper editors didn't step up to lead.
There was no editorial before the tax hearing, encouraging
attendance and participation in the meeting. The editors only
stepped up after it was too late to influence the outcome of the
meeting. They only stepped up to criticizing those who did not
attend.

"All newspaper editorial writers ever do is to
come down from the hills after the battle is over
and shoot the wounded." unk
If leaders don't step up soon, it will be too late.
It might well be too late, already.

Was the tea party a flash in the pan? Could be.
I wouldn't be surprised if it were the last tea party
that we will ever see.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The coward David Peercy

Policy Committee Chair,
David Peercy,

has the authority to put
standards and accountability
on the table at the next
Policy Committee Meeting,

Tuesday April 28, 7:30 am.

He has the authority to enable
an open and honest discussion
of administrative and executive
role modeling of the student
standards of conduct.


He will not.


Because he is a coward; at the absolute least.
Perhaps he is corrupt as well.

There are only two reasons not to step up to honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence;

  • lack of character, and
  • lack of courage.

If there is a third reason, I cannot imagine it.
And no one else can articulate it.

No one else. No one in the entire leadership of the APS,
can offer a good and ethical reason for refusing to allow an
open and honest discussion of standards and accountability.

They cannot, because there is none.

There is no reason to refuse to tell the truth about standards
and accountability in the leadership of the APS except
  • a lack of courage,
  • a lack of character, or
  • both.



cc David Percy, of course.




photo
Mark Bralley

UPDATE;
as of 5/25/11, administrative and executive role modeling of the student standards of conduct still has not been put on the table for open and honest public discussion. David Peercy is still a coward.

APS graduation rates are falling; or, they are rising; or, maybe they're not changing at all.

In the Journal this morning, link, education reporter
Andrea Schoellkopf reports that a recent study called;
"Cities in Crisis 2009: Closing the Graduation Gap"
places APS 45th of 50 large city school districts in high school
graduation rates (somewhere on the order of 50% or fewer
students actually graduating from high school).

APS' Rose-Ann McKernan, Executive Director of APS
Research, Data and Accountability,
is reported to have
said that the numbers are misleading because they don't
account for APS' increasing numbers of students that are on
five-year plans instead of the usual four-year stint in high school.

She said the APS data differ from the study because the district
tracks individual students from ninth grade to graduation to
come up with its rate, whereas the study used "enrollment
trends from grade to grade".

APS' own figures put graduation rates as low as 44%.

School Board President Marty Esquivel reportedly
offered as a mitigating circumstance; ".

.. the way graduation rates are counted is "just extremely
misleading, ..."
Why? After more than a century of practice, why can't the
APS come up with useful and reliable statistics?

Adding to the problem, the numbers that everyone is using
are no more recent than the 2005 school year. In an age of
super high speed computers, one has to wonder why more
recent data is not being used.

The bottom line; on yet another issue,
APS stakeholders don't know the whole truth,
and
can't hold anyone accountable, even if they wanted to.

Worth noting;
the APS Research, Data and Accountability Division,
by their own free admission, has never formally surveyed staff
or students on the issues that stand between students and an
on time graduation.

All of this is entirely consistent with APS' long standing policy
of "gather no data" that can be used to actually hold anybody
accountable for anything.

A policy that so far,
has held the leadership of the APS in good stead.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How much is a Governor worth?

Or a university president? Or a head football coach?

More importantly, whose call is it?

Right now, the annual compensation for membership in the
privileged class is determined by other members of
the privileged class; and they are very impressed with
each others' work.

Who defends in these negotiations, the interests of the folks
who pay the greater taxes and higher tuitions that underwrite
this largess?

It is at the top of a very slippery slope that you expect
government to protect the interests of car buyers against
the interests of car builders' CEOs, CAOs, CFOs, and C?Os?

But in public service, where our taxes are paying the bills, it
would seem a little more reasonable to expect government to
involve itself more directly in protecting our interests.

Government can do that in in two acts; telling the truth, and
providing honest accountability to that truth.

It is preposterous that, in order to file a complaint against
a corrupt or incompetent public servant, we find ourselves
pitted against our own government (lawyers) and its unlimited
public resources.

Government must tell us the truth about what we are paying
our public servants (and their cronies), and then they must be
accountable to our outrage, when we finally learn that truth.

"Ethics" and a newspaper full of scandals, again.

"Ethics" is a word that means nothing, because it means
too many things.

I went to a talk yesterday evening entitled,
"Ethics reform, What is Happening in Albuquerque?"

It wasn't about ethics reform at all, it was about election reform.
The word really means nothing anymore.

I have been deeply involved in "ethics" training in the APS for
more than a decade. I have the training and the experience to
offer, if not an "expert" opinion, at least a very "informed" opinion.

I submit; if the word "ethics" has any honest meaning at all,
it means telling the truth.

Yet, no one who is talking about "ethics" reform, is talking about
telling the truth. No one is talking about telling the truth, at all.

I defy anyone to point to a "problem" in government that would
not be alleviated if the entire truth were on the public record.

I defy anyone to point to a legitimate agenda that does not move
forward on the day that we know the whole truth about
the spending of our trust and treasure.

The difference between ethics and laws, centers on ownership
of the truth.

Under "ethics", the truth belongs to stakeholders,
all of it*.

Under "the law", the truth belongs to its custodian,
and will be shared with stakeholders according to the law.
And the law allows the truth to be hidden from stakeholders
by means of loopholes, technicalities, and other forms of legal
weaselry.

It is time to abandon the use of the word "ethics" entirely,
and instead, start using the phrase "truth telling".

Ask any public servant if they are ethical, and their answer
will be, "Of course I am."

Ask them if they are telling the whole truth, limited only by
the spirit of the law, and they will say, "No comment".

I rest my case.


*There are a very few exceptions, they are defined according
to the "spirit" of open government laws.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Ethics Reform: What is Happening in Albuquerque?"

is the title of a talk tonight at the Erna Ferguson Library.
The talk will begin at 6pm,

According to a little snippet in the Journal,
the League of Women Voters is sponsoring a talk by
David S Campbell (which could be this guy, link)


I wonder if he knows anything about;

Ethics Reform: What is Happening in the
leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools?
The truth is that there is no ethics reform in the APS at all.
It is being obfuscated by APS' senior most role models of
the student standards of ethical conduct,
Winston Brooks and Marty Esquivel.
Obfuscation which they will neither explain, defend, nor
even acknowledge.



cc just for the heck of it; David S Campell

Prize winning calendars, or prize winning students?

It is a matter of simple priorities;
you can only spend a dollar once.

It is fair to ask where the priorities are.

When classrooms are starved for resources and staff,
why we are dedicating so much energy and so many resources
to publish a calendar?

A job easily and adequately done
by any high school graphic arts program.

Freeing up a whole bunch of people and resources that could
be used to erect and maintain an adequate website.

A job which a high school computer geeks could not do either,
apparently.




APS Executive Director of
Communications,
Monica Armenta, says the
calendar is their "biggest project."

Why?

Where are the priorities
of the leadership of the APS?


photo Mark Bralley

Monday, April 20, 2009

APS' World Class calendar

What exactly does the APS Communications Department do?

According to the minutes from the last District Relations
Committee meeting, link, they put out a world class calendar.

Update on Communication Effort –

Ms. Monica Armenta updated the Committee on some
of her department’s projects which include the following:
  • APS Calendars – biggest project - The theme of the calendars this year is “APS graduates who have gone on to teach”.
  • Parent Resource Guide – dedicating a full page to free and reduced lunch. Mr. Robert Lucero wants Board member information where parents can find it.
  • APS Perspective – Published every single month – great way to communicate with staff.
  • Parentlink – Hosting full day retreat on April 13th.
  • Selfless Seniors - Response has been phenomenal from participating seniors.
  • Web – Ongoing and will continue work.
Nowhere on the list of important things that APS' communication
workers do, is; provide candid, forthright, and honest answers
to legitimate questions.

Questions like;
  • How much does it cost to publish a world class calendar?
  • And, the Communications Department's "biggest" project benefits students and teachers how, exactly?


I would not be surprised if there comes a day, when teachers
will be told that there is no money left for copy paper.
Teachers who need copies for their students,
will then have to pay for their own paper.


They should mark that day on their world class calendar.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dear everyone in the leadership of the APS,

by which it is meant; everyone above the rank of student;
but beginning with the President of the School Board,
and the Superintendent.

Marty Esquivel in the senior most
executive role model of the
Student Standards of conduct.

So far, he steadfastly refuses to
acknowledge on the record, even one of his
obligations or intentions as one of the
senior most role models for staff and students.




Winston Brooks is the senior most
administrative role model of the
Student Standards of Conduct.

So far, he steadfastly refuses to
acknowledge on the record, even one
of his obligations or intentions as
one of the senior most role models for
staff and students.



There are two standards of conduct in the APS;
one high, one low. One requires truth telling, the other, not.
One for kids, one for adults.

Unless they are prepared to speak in defense of this
circumstance, they must concede that, hypocrisy
this egregious, is as intolerable, as it is indefensible.


There are two choices; they can either raise their own standards
of conduct to the level of the standards they establish and
enforce upon students; either they can walk their talk, or,

they can lower the standards of conduct for students to
a level that is more comfortable for them;
one that does not require telling the truth.


This is it. This is the battle between good and evil.

And, you pick a side, when you don't pick a side.




photo Mark Bralley

Friday, April 17, 2009

Off to the dark side?

What happens that makes an apparently decent man turn
his back on his beliefs?

Marty Esquivel, one night at a policy
committee meeting, built a compelling
argument on the need for an independent
audit of the administration of the APS.

Paula Maes said, no swingin' way.

And the words accountability audit
have not slipped past his lips since.




David Robbins, one night at
a policy committee meeting,
laid administrative and
executive role modeling of
the student standards of
conduct
on the table for
open and honest discussion.

And the words,
rolemodeling of the Student Standards of Conduct
have not slipped past his lips since.

David Robbins ran for office on the promise of a honest
independent administrative audit.

And the words, administrative standards and accountability
audit, have not slipped past his lips since.

What makes an apparently decent man turn his back on his principles?

If you stand up to the leadership of the APS, at some point
you will come toe to toe, nose to nose, eyeball to eyeball,
with some really powerful people ('s lawyers),
people who can do some real damage to your life,
people every bit capable of creating "a culture of fear of
retribution and retaliation",

who tell you to, back off or else.


And then most people do.
The good ol' boys that run the APS
depend upon it.




photos Mark Bralley

Is it time to lower expectations for APS students?

APS students live and work under a set of high expectations;
they are expected to "... model and promote the Pillars of
Character Counts! link.

The highest among those standards is, the expectation that
students are to tell the truth. (Note please, the huge
difference between the student standard; telling the truth,
and the would be adult standard; not lying.

I say "would be" because, if one believes in the requirements
and obligations of role modeling, then the adult standards are
the student standards (at the very least).

That is the whole point of the role modeling clause which reads;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
The adults don't want to tell the truth.

The hypocrisy in holding students accountable to higher
standards of conduct than adults can only be resolved by
making one or the other, of two choices;
  • raise the adult standards of conduct, or
  • lower the student standards of conduct.

It is clear that the adults are not going to raise the standards
of conduct to which they are willing to be held honestly
accountable. They will never be held accountable, voluntarily,
to any standard of conduct which does not allow them to hide
the inconvenient truth.

Therefore, the only other option is to lower the standards of
conduct for students.

How low should they be lowered?

They need to be low enough that adults are willing to be held
honestly accountable to them.

The record shows that the leadership of the APS is not willing
to be held accountable even to the law; they pay lawyers to
litigate their exception to the law. I am not making this up,
the allegation is proven in the public record. That proof is
the reason that APS will not surrender the record of the
litigation by Modrall lawyers that has excepted senior APS
administrators and board members from accountability to
the law.

It would appear then that the student standards of conduct
must be lower even, than accountability to the law.

The problem is that there really is no standard of conduct
lower than the law.

The only choice left to Winston Brooks and the board then,
is to avoid the open and honest discussion of either student
standards of conduct, or adult standards of conduct.

One can get away with just about anything if one can but
keep it all a secret.

What is Winston Brooks willing to do to reach Goal 2?

Winston Brooks has eight goals; link, the second reads;

Goal 2
... develop and implement a plan to change the perception
and build the confidence (in the leadership of the) APS ...
The perception is that APS lacks standards and accountability.
  • Governor Richardson pointed to APS' statewide earned reputation for its lack of accountability.
  • Mayor Marty Chavez at one point was advocating for mayoral appointments to the APS School Board, as the only solution to the accountability issues in the APS.
  • Bond and mill levy issues pass by smaller and smaller margins each time they come up.
At the same time, Winston Brooks is doing everything he can to keep standards and accountability from being openly and honestly discussed in public. Witness his ongoing refusal to discuss the Student Standards of Conduct, and his honest accountability to them.

Most important among the Student Standards, the Pillar of Trustworthiness and its requirement to tell the truth in response to legitimate questions.

Winston Brooks steadfastly refuses to point to a time, a day, and a place, where he, or any of his subordinates, will simply sit and answer legitimate questions.

If Winston Brooks is not willing to tell stakeholders the truth, and if he is not willing to publicly discuss standards which would require him to tell the truth, what is he doing to improve the public perception of the leadership of the APS?

Apparently, all he is willing to do is to not talk about, any issue which might hurt APS' reputation.

According to the Student Standards of Conduct, Brooks is
specifically and explicitly denied this choice; link,
Sincerity.

Sincerity is genuineness, being without trickery or duplicity.
It precludes all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context
statements, and even silence, that are intended to create
beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading.
It is clear that Winston Brooks will not only allow beliefs and
impressions that are untrue or misleading,
he is deliberately cultivating them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The culture of fear of retaliation is real.

The Council of the Great City Schools did an audit of the
administration of the APS.

In the report on that audit, they wrote that there is a culture
of fear of retaliation and retribution in the APS for anyone
who stands against an administrator or board member.

Culture is their word, not mine, and it is a powerful word;

The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular
group. The sum total of ways of living built up by a group
of human beings and transmitted from one generation
to another. The totality of socially transmitted behavior
patterns. The predominating attitudes and behavior that
characterize the functioning of a group or organization.
My recent post, link, on APS' culture of fear of retribution and
retaliation has drawn a greater number of comments than most,
and they all agree with the premise.

The latest ended their comment with;
Fear of retaliation permeates the entire culture of APS.


The leadership of the APS will not comment on the issue.
They will stonewall the issue. They will pretend that the
issue does not exist.

And it will never get any better, it will never go away.
And there will never be a principled resolution of any
complaint filed against any administrator or board member.

Smoke and mirrors, but mostly smoke.

Try to get David Peercy to talk about role modeling of the
APS Student Standards of Conduct, or role modeling of
the Pillars of Character Counts!, and you will get smoke;
vague references to existing policies and procedures,
which he claims already surpass anything that accountability to
the Student Standards of Conduct would add.

Ask him to point to even one; you get nothing.

The APS Student Standards of Conduct require truth telling.

I defy anyone to find the concepts of truth telling or honesty
even mentioned anywhere in any policy or procedure
that applies to adults.

I defy anyone to point any place in the APS where a legitimate
complaint can be filed against an administrator, and where
that complaint is guaranteed a principled resolution.

They do not exist.

There are no standards of conduct anywhere in the entire
APS that are as high as the standards we set for students.

If there were, someone could point to them.

If you could get anyone in the leadership of the APS to actually
tell the truth, the truth is; students are accountable to
higher standards of conduct than adults.

And that truth is utterly indefensible, except by hiding it
behind screens of smoke and bullshit.

I double dog dare, anyone in the leadership of the APS

to use the phrase "Character Counts!", or
the "Pillars of Character Counts!" or even,
"APS Student Standards of Conduct",
in the same sentence with the words; "I" and "role model".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

David Peercy is at a fork in the road.

At the school board meeting tonight,
Policy Committee Chair David Peercy,
will find himself at a fork in the road.


He will have three paths from which to choose.






Following one path, he will honor the commitment that has
been made to put administrative and executive standards and
accountability on the table for open and honest discussion.

Following a different path, David Peercy will tell the truth
about why he will not honor the commitment to put
standards and accountability on the table for honest and
open discussion.

And by the third path, David Peercy will stonewall the issue.

According to the APS Student Standards of Conduct,
stonewalling is specifically and explicitly identified as a
dishonest path.

Because stonewalling is dishonest, students are taught,
it is unethical, and therefore done at the expense of their
good character.


So here he is, at his moment of truth.

David Peercy will put standards and accountability on the table
for open and honest discussion.

or

David Peercy will tell the truth about why he will not put
role modeling of the Student Standards of Conduct
on the agenda for open and honest discussion.

or

Or David Peercy show students what dishonesty looks like.

Dishonesty followed by, shirking accountability for dishonesty.

A far different story than the one students hear at school
about George Washington and a cherry tree.




photo Mark Bralley

APS to give update on Goals.

According to an (unlinkable) article in the Journal this morning,
School Board President Marty Esquivel has asked the
administration to update the board on their progress in reaching
the eight goals that had been established for the district, by
APS Superintendent Winston Brooks last summer.

By way of review, the goals are;

1. Three-year academic plan - Brooks wants to develop the plan with measurable targets by the end of the 2010-11 school year. He wants to focus on improving student achievement, narrowing achievement gaps, increasing graduation rates and improving attendance. Administrators will work out the plan and present it by the end of September.

2. Build confidence in APS - Brooks wants the administration to improve relations between the school district and the community, media, other organizations, business and government. The plan for that is due by mid-October.

3 (tie). Create a communication plan - Brooks wants the administration to develop a communication and evaluation plan between the district and the community, media, school board and others. The plan for that is due by mid-October.

3 (tie). Schedule board training workshops - Brooks wants to train the school board on the role and responsibilities of a school board, creating a more student-focused organization. The first workshop is due for mid-November.

5. Review and enhance facility upgrades - Brooks wants plans for facility upgrades to be completed and publicized by mid-October.

6. Improve the district's money management - Brooks wants a "transparent, sound and effective financial stewardship plan" with well-documented processes in place, with reports due every quarter starting with the 2008-09 school year.

7. Transition APS from site-based management to district-based management - Brooks wants the plan to include fair distribution of resources. The plan is due in the spring.

8. Enhance school crisis plans - Brooks wants a template for crisis management provided to all school and non-school sites, and wants those sites' administrators to create and file a crisis plan based on that to the district offices.


I would like to focus on three; goals 2, 3a, 6.

6. Financial transparency.
Winston Brooks
still will not tell stakeholders the truth about
spending at the Uptown Administrative Complex.

Honest grade; F

2. Build confidence in the APS.
Winston Brooks
traveled all around the district, schmoozing
stakeholders. He is a very affable guy. Confidence in the APS
has probably improved.

However, if the Journal were reporting the truth to
stakeholders, and they knew that there was still secrecy
surrounding the spending of tax dollars, and if they knew that
the leadership of the APS has abdicated as role models of the
Student Standards of Conduct, and is currently refusing
to lay administrative and executive standards and accountability
on the table for an open and honest discussion, the public
perception of the APS would not have improved one iota.

Apparent grade; A
Honest grade; F

3a. APS' "communication" plan.
APS is as inaccessible as it ever was. Their website is as useless
and user unfriendly as it ever was. And, there is still no one in
the entire leadership of the APS who will point to a time, a day,
and a place, where they will sit still and answer legitimate
questions, candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Apparent grade; who knows?
Honest grade; F

The administration is scheduled to begin their defense of their
progress on the goals at the board meeting this evening.

The Journal is suing the NMDOT over public records.

According to the Journal, link, the Journal has filed a
lawsuit against the NM Department of Transportation
over their failure to surrender public records as required under
the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

According the the Journal, their complaint alleges;

"The department has violated the IPRA in order to derail and obstruct an investigation into potential corrupt practices and incompetent management of public funds by high-ranking public officials in the employ of NMDOT," the complaint states."

"The complaint claims the defendants engaged in a pattern and practice of secretly withholding public records, falsely denying the existence of public records that had been requested and violating the records inspection act by failing to explain their decision to withhold documents that had been requested"
Noteworthy if you are a taxpayer;
  • You will be paying the salary of the lawyers who defend your public servants against charges that they were acting against your interests.
  • In the unlikely event that they are fined, you will pay the fine, not the public servants who tried to hide public records from public knowledge.
  • In the likely event that the Journal insists that their legal fees and court costsbe paid by the NMDOT, the money will come out of your pocket, not the pockets of anyone who deliberately hid documents.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why in the world would you believe Winston Brooks?

Winston Brooks has a monthly column
in the Journal.

The Journal offers no opportunity for
anyone to rebut anything that Brooks
writes. Brooks has free license to claim
whatever he wants to, without having
to explain, defend, or acknowledge
that there are questions about what
he has written.



In this morning's column; Take a little time to do things right
Winston Brooks informs stakeholders that there is a boat load
of stimulus money on its way to the APS.

Winston Brooks promises stakeholders that the funds will
be spent "transparently".

Yet, if you ask him how many tax dollars were spent on the new
and completely unjustifiable Board room, he will not respond
by telling the truth.

If Winston Brooks will not be transparent about the past,
why would you believe he will be transparent in the future?

Never, ever forget;
Winston Brooks
steadfastly refuses to be held accountable as
a role model of the Student Standards of Conduct,
primarily because those standards require truth telling
specifically, explicitly, and unequivocally.




photo Mark Bralley

Just so you know it's not just me.

I have often written about APS' culture of fear of retribution
and retaliation; first openly acknowledged in an audit of the
APS by the Council of the Great City Schools.

Now a local teacher and blogger, Scot Key, link, acknowledges
same;

"Right now we have a situation where a large majority of
those practicing public education oppose something,
but are afraid to really say anything for fear of retribution."

How important are role models?

In the following post, you will find a reposting of a compilation
of quotes by author Ayn Rand. One bears closer focus, and is
the one that comes to my mind when people turn their backs on
their obligations as role models.

It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men
when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and
from condemning men's vices.
When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that

neither the good nor the evil may expect anything
from you


- whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?
When we abstain from praising students who manifest
courage and character, and when we abstain from providing
consequences to those who do not, which of those students
do we encourage, and which do we betray?

Ayn Rand Revisited

Revisiting a compilation of Ayn Rand quotes, first published
in January, 2007.


The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.

Thought does not bow to authority.

The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and from condemning men's vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you - whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see.

The precept: Judge not, that ye be not judged ... is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself.

There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims.

To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Ethical" means what, exactly?

One cannot read about government or laws without coming
across the word "ethical". "Ethical" reform was a big topic
during the last legislative session.

"Ethical" behavior is expected of public officials; the title of
NM State Statute 10-16-3 reads;

Ethical Principles of Public Service.
Within the Act, it is written;
Legislators, public officers and employees shall conduct
themselves in a manner that justifies the confidence
placed in them by the people, at all times maintaining
the integrity and discharging ethically the high
responsibilities of public service.
So what does "ethical" mean. I have asked everywhere;
nobody knows.

I finally got a response from the Legislative Council Service.
They should know; they are the folks who do the research and
actually write the bills that legislators then pass or defeat.

They wrote;
New Mexico is a plain language state, and in the case of
10-16-3, no definition of "ethical" or "ethically" is given.

As stated in the statutes:

12-2A-2. Common and technical usage. (1997)
Unless a word or phrase is defined in the statute or rule
being construed, its meaning is determined by its context,
the rules of grammar and common usage. A word or
phrase that has acquired a technical or particular meaning
in a particular context has that meaning if it is used in that
context.
Now, imagine that you are trying to enforce this statute upon
a public official. That public official will be defended by a bevy
of lawyers who are paid handsomely to litigate in defense of the
corrupt and the incompetent, against the public interests.
What will those lawyers do with loose language?

To whose advantage does the confusion work; the average
citizen, or the corrupt public official?

Submitted as proof; although this particular statute is at
least as old 1978, and perhaps even older, there has never
been a single prosecution under that law; to the delight of
public servants without ethics, and to the dismay of the
average citizen who is getting screwed on a daily basis.

What ever ethical means overall,
at the very least, perhaps we can all agree that it means;
telling the truth about the spending of our power and
our resources.