Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"The agenda for this meeting will be released 24 hours before the meeting."

The APS School Board has scheduled a special meeting for April 5th, link.

There is a note posted in place of the agenda. It reads;

The agenda for this meeting will be released 24 hours
before the meeting.
... the absolute minimum notification required by the law. One minute less and they would be in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

The advantage they seek is, negligible attendance, which is also why the meeting starts before anyone who works 9 to 5, can get there.

According to the APS Student Standards of Conduct;
a person of character must often do more than the law requires, and less than the law allows.
Students are told that if they don't make every reasonable
effort to include stakeholders in decision making that affects
their interests, they do so at the forfeit of their good character.

The leadership of the APS is not accountable to that standard by their own deliberate choice.

They removed from their code of conduct, the phrase;
in no case shall the standard of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standard of conduct for students.
Therefore, they are "accountable" only to the law, and
unaccountable to any standard of ethical conduct.

And 24 hours notice to a meeting no one can attend,
in a room no one can justify,
works just fine.

Denish dropped the ball.

Jim Scarantino reports, link;
in 2007, Lt Governor Diane Denish traded around 25,000 tax dollars for a report that corroborated the widespread conviction that state government was too big and, bad for the state's economy.

According to Scarantino, she never made the report public, nor did she act on the advice she paid for.

Scarantino suggests that,
the explanation for her failure to act,
was as simple as the need to
not upset public sector supporters.

In other words; "for votes".

I think he may be right.





You will remember, that when he asked Denish to surrender any public records that proved she had acted on any concerns about any of the many scandals in their administration, and about the culture of corruption in Santa Fe, link,

she could not produce even one.




photo Mark Bralley

Half of APS' budget deficit due to $20M "accounting errors".

APS is projecting a budget shortfall of $43M next year.
Half of the deficit is due to accounting errors.

In the Journal this morning, link, the accounting error aspect was downplayed. APS' Chief Financial Officer Dupuy Bateman was allowed to explain it all away with;

"It was some very smart people who made an honest error and did it the same way the following year."
Within the last two years, an audit by Meyners + Co. revealed that APS' Financial Department did not have;
  • adequate standards, or
  • adequate accountability to the standards it did have, and
  • was not keeping adequate records.
And that, they never did have them, link.

Likely, millions of dollars have been either lost or stolen. APS has refused several requests to estimate the losses due to the administrative failures. They also refuse to respond when asked if the auditors found any criminal misconduct.

During the last two years, one CFO resigned under the cloud of a cover up, link, and her replacement was fired a couple of months later because he was spending his days in porn shops and casinos rather than tracking down the accounting errors that have cost the district nearly $20M in this case alone, link.

Through this all, the leadership of the APS steadfastly refuses to allow an independent review of administrative standards and accountability.

School Board President
Marty Esquivel
once not only
admitted to the need for an
independent review, but
argued publicly, in favor of it.

He argued in favor until
Board Member Paula Maes
informed him that she would
never agree to any audit that
individually identifies corrupt
and/or incompetent administrators or board members.

Now, he won't talk about it at all.

Nor, will he allow anyone else to talk openly and honestly about APS administrative standards and accountability, link.

The Journal; Andrea Schoellkopf, was offered a DVD record of Maes' boast, and offered that while she might be willing to add it to her file, she had no interest in investigating the story or reporting upon it.

The Journal also has zero interest in following up on their own story about felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators, link, or the fact that three years later, long after statutes of limitation have expired, APS is still has not surrendered to the District Attorney, the evidence of that criminal misconduct.

Nor will they report upon the abdication of the entire leadership of the APS, as role models of the APS Student Standards of Conduct.

Nor will they report upon APS' refusal to surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Nor will they investigate and report upon the fraud in APS' Fraud, Waste and Abuse whistleblower hotline.

The Journal has denied voters the truth about a widespread and deeply rooted ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, even through school board elections, mill levy elections, and bond issue elections.

At best, it is journalistic malpractice. The Journal is supposed to be a newspaper of record. That implies that they will furnish voters with the truth they need to participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their interests.

The Journal has betrayed the trust that has been placed in them.

The final victims; 89,000 of this community's sons and
daughters who are students in the APS who will see their good
teachers laid off, class sizes increase, and supply budgets dwindle.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Janice Arnold-Jones is one of us, unfortunately.

There is widespread agreement
Rep Janice Arnold-Jones is the
candidate best qualified to be Governor.

They is also widespread agreement
she doesn't have enough money to win.

No one has ever, or can ever, point to
any aspect of her candidacy that falls
short of any other candidate.


She has proven competence, proven character, and
proven courage.

She has everything except "their" support.
She isn't one of them.

"They" are the aristocracy;

a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, esp. the hereditary nobility, a privileged upper class. a group considered to be superior as through wealth, social prestige, or political power.
"They" have been running this state for generations. "They" have been deciding for generations, who will represent the interests of power and privilege in the Roundhouse.

Arnold-Jones is not one of them. She is one of us.

She has never sat around a bar getting drunk and divvying up
the spoils of politics and public service. Nor will she ever;
so she isn't one of them. They aren't going to support her candidacy.

Consequently, she doesn't have enough money to buy her election.

She is one of us, and her support will have to come from us, link.

Else, one of "theirs" is going to be elected Governor,
even though "ours" is the best qualified candidate.




photo Mark Bralley

Teachers going the way of railroad brakemen.

There was a time when trains were stopped by having a brakeman move from car to car applying the brakes, link.
With the invention of remotely controlled braking systems,
brakemen became superfluous.

There was a time, when teachers (and textbooks) were the sole repository of information available to students. That time has passed. Teachers and textbooks cannot compete with the limitless wealth of information easily obtained from the "internet". The future is one of e schools.

The average student no longer needs a "teacher". Nor do they need "textbooks". They will become independent learners using the "internet" as their main resource, and need an adult, for the most, only to help them stay on task. The average student doesn't need someone with a college degree in "education".

There will still be a need for teachers. Students with genuine learning disabilities will need highly qualified "teachers" to help them overcome their various disabilities. Most students do not have such disabilities. Their only disability is their lack of self discipline; their only need is for someone to keep them on track.

The current model provides for a large number of highly trained teachers, and a smaller number of teaching assistants. The future calls for a small number of highly trained teachers, and a much larger number of less highly trained, and therefore less expensive, teaching assistants.

The savings can be translated into spending less on education all together, or spending the same amount, but lowering the ratio of students to adults. Instead of one adult per thirty students, we might see an adult for every ten students, allowing for the individual attention students need but are not now getting, whether to answer questions or simply to keep them on task and out of trouble.

The character of education will change dramatically.

The railroad unions fought the demise of the brakeman's job,
just as teachers unions will fight the demise of "teaching" jobs.
Textbook publishers will fight against the abandonment of
their anachronistic offerings.

The result will be the same; there will be an eventual concession
to the advances of technology, whether they like it or not.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two years not enough time to fix APS; Bob Clark

KKOB talker Bob Clark, has APS Supt Winston Brooks' six this morning.

He just told listeners that Brooks came into a system "in need of reform", and has had "only two years" to fix things.

Two years strikes me as more than enough time. In fact, I would challenge anyone to point to any reform that takes two years to realize. Reform means policy changes and procedural directive creation. Neither of those require even two months to accomplish, much less two years.

Reform is not done in the APS even two years later, because "reform" is not the top priority.

The top priority is covering asses. Reform will be accomplished as quickly as possible, but only as long as no good ol' boy will be held honestly accountable for their misconduct or incompetence.

They absolutely will not allow the individual identification of corrupt or incompetent administrators. And that kind of reform takes a lot longer than actual reform.

APS layoffs; Brooks "declines" to tell the truth.

APS is looking at a $40M deficit next year.

One of the decisions being made is; a certain amount of money will be kept in a "reserve fund", and as a result, as many as 300 teachers and teaching assistants will lose their jobs. More importantly, students will be sitting in larger, and therefore less efficient and effective classes as a result.

APS Supt Winston Brooks,
according to Journal reporter
Hailey Heinz, link,
"declined"
to say exactly how much money
will be kept in the reserve fund.

Apparently Heinz will leave it at that.

The Journal pulled its experienced
education reporter off the beat,
replacing her with Hailey Heinz.


She told me once that she was too busy with other stories to listen to anything I had to say about;

  • the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, centered around their abdication as role models of the APS student standards of conduct.
  • the cover-up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators and the APS Police Department, link,
  • the truth about spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd,
  • the truth about the fraud in the APS Whistleblower program.
  • and on and on and on ...
Board member Paula Maes once said, she would "never agree" to any audit that individually identified corrupt or incompetent administrators. The leadership of the APS steadfastly refuses to allow any impartial independent audit of their administration of the APS that will identify any waste from corruption and/or incompetence.

Any competent newspaper of record would investigate and report upon their efforts to avoid an honest audit.

The Journal is content to leave a lot of truth untold.




photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diogenes on his own til Monday next.

Diogenes will have to cover his own six for the next few days.

I'm on hiatus. I'll be back Monday, 3/29/10.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Denish can offer no proof of resisting the culture of corruption.

Lt Governor Diane Denish is impaired in her run for Governor, by an administration rife with corruption and incompetence. There are those who have argued, she was either complicit in the corruption, or complacent about it, and is therefore, unfit to be Governor.

Her only defense; repeated proclamations that she is in fact,
a leader in ethics reform.

Jim Scarantino called her bluff, link.

He asked her to produce any and all public records of her efforts
to curtail any of the rot in the Roundhouse. He filed a request
for public records including;

Any and all communications by the Lt. Governor Diane Denish and/or any member of her staff to the Governor Bill Richardson and/or any member of his staff concerning or containing information about public corruption, “pay to play,” ethics reform and/or state contracts being awarded to contributors to the election committees and/or political action committees of the Governor or the Lt. Governor. This request specifically covers any communications by Lt. Governor Diane Denish in which she expressed concern to the Governor about corruption, allegations or the perception of corruption, rewarding political contributors with state contracts, and investigations being conducted by the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
She was unable to produce even one record. Not one.

Wouldn't a "leader" in governmental reform have created at least one record that documented the effort? One would think there would be many.

Political pragmatism, or Culture of Corruption?

In the following post, the preceding post chronologically,
I challenged those who passed and are praising the
Sunshine Portal legislation, link, to justify the inclusion
of a two year delay in actually opening the portal.

I argue, there is only one reason to include the delay; to give
corrupt and incompetent politicians and public servants an
opportunity to get their acts together before people find out
what they are doing - in effect grandfathering in current and
past corruption and incompetence.

A reader argued that there is an other reason to include the
two year delay; political pragmatism.

Political pragmatism dictates that legislation cannot be passed
if it holds politicians and public servants immediately accountable for their conduct and competence within their public service.

In other words, the delay wasn't included for the purpose of hiding current corruption and incompetence, but for the purpose of giving the legislation any hope at all of passing; had the delay not been included, no legislation could have been passed.

Why can't legislation pass if it doesn't include ample opportunity for the corrupt and incompetent to fix problems and cover tracks?

It would have to be; the fundamental unwillingness of those with power and privilege, to expose the corruption and incompetence they have enabled, and/or to hold any of "their own" honestly accountable for their corruption and incompetence.

The following comes from a post on Cultures of corruption, link.

The culture of corruption exists and is nurtured by the political and economic elites of society. Their political and/or economic status is their passport and visa to power. Personal gains earned through the abuse of their political and economic status is their commonality. This is the reason why, even if they hate each other, they have to protect each other. (emphasis added)
What we are left with is; was the delay included to protect the corrupt and incompetent, or was it included in deference to a culture of corruption that protects the corrupt and the incompetent?

This seems to me, a distinction without a difference.

I hope I have understood and done justice to an opposing point of view. If not, I'll be happy to give it another shot.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Still nothing from Sander Rue, or Diane Denish

Senator Sander Rue and Lt Gov Diane Denish are credited with legislation creating a Sunshine Portal on state government.

Nobody seems to be much upset that two fiscal years will come and go before the Portal actually opens. During those two years, corrupt and incompetent politicians and public servants will be scrambling to fix all of the problems they either created or enabled, and covering their tracks.

No one has suggested any other reason to wait two years.

Technical issues are not the problem. Most of the data is in a format that could be put on line immediately, though some is recorded in ancient computer languages that might take considerable time to translate.

What is really going to take two years, is for the corrupt and
incompetent to read every single line of what is going on line,
looking for evidence of their corruption and/or incompetence
and then finding some way to mitigate or obscure it.

The point is; the Portal could open, at least in substantial part,
tomorrow.

But is won't. And if there is another reason at all, except to
grandfather in corruption and incompetence,
why won't anybody articulate it?


Why won't Senator Sander Rue
answer the question; either on
Haussamen's blog, link,
on this blog, or in response
to my email?








Why won't Lt Gov Diane Denish,
explain, defend, or even acknowledge
the grace period on corruption?

I thought she was supposed to be
all about ending the corruption
surrounding her Office
sooner, rather than later.




photos Mark Bralley

Janice Arnold-Jones; state budget already $60M in the red.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones told attendees at her Saturday morning office hours, the budget passed during the just ended Special Session, is already in deficit; $60M over actual revenues; maybe as much as a $100M.

The budget that the Democrats pushed through, spent revenue that doesn't exist.

For example, it is based on unrealistic estimates of revenue from natural gas sales. It depends on natural gas selling at much higher prices than exist in reality.

Arnold-Jones said another Special Session is inevitable.
It is a matter of when, not if.

Sooner is better than later for the Democrats.

The Democrats are going to have to raise taxes even higher
in order to fund their bloated and inefficient bureaucracy, and
the longer the time between raising taxes and standing for
re-election, the more likely they are to survive.

Look for another Special Session, soon.

Allen Weh is a war hero, so what?

Colonel Allen Weh has released a TV spot highlighting his
military service; in this case, in Vietnam, nearly forty years ago.

There will be those who will (deliberately) misunderstand the
point of this post; the absence of any correlation between being
a military hero and an effective Governor. So I will begin by
underscoring my respect for veterans; in particular combat
veterans, and most particular, decorated combat veterans.
Without their abundant sacrifices, we would not enjoy the
many freedoms and advantages that many take for granted.

Never the less, does that make him a better Governor?

How often do we need our Governor to beat someone else's
Governor to death with his bare hands? Realistically,
not all that often.

Does the same skill set that allows a man to lead a squad,
a platoon, a company, or a battalion in to battle, translate
into leading a state legislature to consensus?

I would argue that it does not; the necessary skill sets are
entirely different.

So why point to the one, and ignore the other? Because Weh
does have the one skill set, and can point to no evidence of the
other. In fact, there is considerable evidence he lacks the
latter skill set entirely; witness his intention to "carry a
baseball bat" into negotiations in the Roundhouse.

Does anyone really suppose that strategy will succeed?

And then there is the matter of personal courage.

Based on the medals that have been awarded to Col Weh
based on battlefield performance, he is a man of courage.

Why then will he not step up to the issue of the allegations
of his anger management issues resulting in a "physical attack"
on staff members of his own Party?

What is he going to say when Lt Gov Diane Denish asks him
why the incident was hidden from voters, and points to to his
lack of candor, forthrightness, and honesty?

If he cannot summon the courage to own that incident, it
is fair to ask whether he will be able to summon the courage
to own other, more consequential failures in Santa Fe.

Will he be another Governor (albeit, one with a chest full of medals) hiding the truth from New Mexicans?

So far, he has had nothing to say about the secrecy in the
Roundhouse, about webcasting, open meetings, public records,
or any of the other transparency issues in state government.

He has yet to show us the courage it takes to hold one's self
honestly accountable for their conduct and competence as
a candidate or as a Governor, by telling the truth about
that conduct and competence; candidly, forthrightly, and
honestly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NM Republican Party dirty tricks

Eight years ago, Rep Janice Arnold-Jones submitted an email address to the NM Republican Party. The email address was created for this purpose and no other. It was added to a list of emails that are used to allow the Party and candidates to broadly email potential supporters, saving thousands in postage.

When Gubernatorial Candidate Arnold-Jones asked for a copy of the email list, she was told no such list exists.

Yet she is receiving emails to this address from the campaigns of Allen Weh and Susana Martinez. Apparently, they have gotten hold of the "non-existent" list.

The Republican Party is not supposed to support candidates in Primary Elections; only during General Elections after the list of candidates has been winnowed down to one.

NMRP Chair Harvey Yates has apparently contacted KKOB radio and informed them that they were to recognize only the candidates who received 20% of the votes at the Republican Pre-Primary Convention, and to disregard the candidates who are otherwise fully qualified to compete in the Primary Election based on the number of petition signature they have compiled.

Yates contacted Rep Arnold-Jones and invited her to drop out of the race.

I would suppose there are many of the same people involved,
who at one time, were threatening Arnold-Jones' daughter,
link, should Arnold-Jones continue her run against the Party anointed, Darren White, in the race for US Rep Heather Wilson's seat.


Add to this, the apparent cover-up of a physical assault by Colonel Allen Weh on member(s) of the Republican Party staff, and a picture emerges of Party favoritism in violation of Party Rules.

But then the NM Republican Party never has been big on following the rules, link.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones urges no on "cap and trade".

"Cap and trade" is based on two fundamental premises;

  1. global warming is real, bad, and causally linked to energy consumption, and
  2. energy consumption can be decreased by making energy more expensive.
The second is incontrovertible, the first not so much. There is an ongoing debate over global warming. People on both sides of the debate can point to "science" that substantiates their positions and their proposed solutions.

"Cap and trade" will raise the cost of energy, and those costs, like all production costs, will be passed along until they land in the lap of those who cannot pass the costs on to anyone else. Thus, the cost of living will rise for those who are least able to afford the increase, those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Here at home, the New Mexico Environment Department plans to petition the Environmental Improvement Board, a state regulatory board, for a cap and trade program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones writes;
“Cap-and-trade will substantially raise the costs of energy production on everyone including small businesses. It will hurt a very large segment of our population including senior citizens on fixed incomes, the poor and the unemployed.

This flawed idea is a job killing program that hurts New Mexico’s families.

Cap-and-trade programs have been proven to drive up the costs on everything. I cannot support placing additional regulations based on weak science on our businesses, farmers and ranchers, especially during these tough economic times.”
It is important to note that neither of these bodies are elected, and hence, neither is directly accountable to the people who will pay the "tax" they would levy.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Janice Arnold-Jones turns "39"

Tomorrow is Janice Arnold-Jones
birthday.

May I suggest, in honor of
the auspicious occasion,
a gift idea?

Join her by volunteering and/or
donating to her campaign.




photo Mark Bralley

It's not about who can beat Denish

There are those who would argue, Republicans need to field
a candidate who can beat Lt Gov Diane Denish.

I would argue, they need to field their best candidate;
the one of them who will be the best Governor
for the state of New Mexico and its citizens.

And if the Republican's best candidate for Governor
cannot beat Denish; the Queen of complacency, compliance,
or complicity in the culture of corruption and incompetence
in Santa Fe,

they don't serve to win, and it wouldn't make any difference
if they did.

Martinez to surrender "disc" of public records

The final resolution of the "controversy" over whether public records could be scanned is, they will be scanned and handed over on a disc.

Great.

How about posting them on line, so that if in the future, anyone asks for the same records, all District Attorney Susana Martinez would have to do, is to send them a link?

A nearly worthless Inspection of Public Records Act
is worse than worthless. It pretends something that doesn't
really exist, and mollifies the unwitting by leading them to believe they have something they don't really have.

Not knowing they don't have it,
they are unwilling to fight to get it.

If the Governor's race were a personality contest, Janice Arnold-Jones would win hands down.

It isn't a personality contest of course;
there are many more important issues in play.

Which is not to say that personality is unimportant.

It is a powerful lubricant when personalities are clashing
over differing political perspectives.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones
brings much more to the table,
than her winning personality.
She brings intellect, experience,
and an open mind.

But it will be her personality
that will keep tempers and egos
in check during difficult deliberations
in order to arrive at real consensus
to bridge the philosophical and
ideological divides in Santa Fe.




photo Mark Bralley

Janice Arnold-Jones earns another endorsement.

Rep Kathy McCoy has offered
her endorsement of
Rep Janice Arnold-Jones

for Governor.

In her endorsement,
McCoy
pointed to Arnold-Jones
ability to "hit the ground running"
based on her extensive
Roundhouse
experience.


Representatives McCoy and Arnold-Jones serve together on the Voters and Elections Committee where McCoy is the ranking Republican.

McCoy offered in her endorsement;

"As my colleague in the House of Representatives, I have been extremely impressed with her ability to analyze, comprehend and communicate complicated legislation.

She has been a champion of government transparency and election reform, including photo ID.

Representative Arnold-Jones courageously stands up to the Speaker of the House when rules are broken or, in some cases, completely tossed out the window.

Representative Arnold-Jones is able to cut through the smoke and mirrors we often experience in the legislature and is one of our best debaters. She knows how to cut through the bureaucracy in Santa Fe, or use it to her advantage when necessary.

“Representative Arnold-Jones interacts extremely well with the other side of the aisle in order to advance good legislation and always carefully weighs what effect it will have on New Mexicans. In other words, she is already uniquely qualified to be our next Governor.

It is my distinct pleasure to endorse her candidacy.”




photo Mark Bralley

Martinez backs off, Denish adds new twist to obfuscation of records requests.

The Journal reports this morning, that District Attorney Susana Martinez will back off her stand against allowing people viewing public records, to make their own copies of the records.

This will save the Democrat Party up to 50 cents per copy; the original demand was for 1 dollar per page, although the law allows only the actual copying cost to passed along to the person requesting copies.

In a related development, Lt Gov Diane Denish is "responding" to a records request from Allen Weh. His request is taking a long time to process because, according to Denish, it is "excessively burdensome". It is also taking a long time because Denish is taking time to "over redact" the records.

Some public records should not be made public for good and ethical reasons. The redaction process is clear. Most often, it is only a small part of the record which enjoys exception under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act . That small part can be, and should be, redacted; normally a black line through a name or some other specific and distinct information.

Denish has invented her own exception. According to the Journal, she argues that if a record contains information that is "non responsive to the request", but enjoys no other exception, it can be redacted as well. She is writing her own public records law.

Exceptions to the Act are clear, link, and do not include redacting parts of records which are "non responsive to the request". If the request were worded differently, the parts she wants to redact, could not be redacted because they are not protected under exceptions to the law.

There is no reason to redact "non-responsive" parts of records except to further delay the surrender of public records. All public records, whether they are "responsive" to a specific request or not, are still public records, and are still subject to surrender to public knowledge.

The simple proof; when the dust settles on this nonsense,
a request for public records could be filed. It would read,
opportunity to inspect and/or copy all public records
which were redacted according to the "non responsive"
standard.

The request would yield records which were formerly redacted but could not now be redacted, because they do not fall within any exception provided for under the law.

Denish is gaming the system in order to circumvent the law,
and, she would like to be the next Governor.

Haven't we had enough Governors who game the system
to avoid accountability to the law?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sander Rue unresponsive

Senator Sander Rue wrote a commentary for Heath Haussamen, link, touting his Sunshine Portal.

I asked repeatedly in the
comments section of the post;

why do we have to wait one year
and four months, in effect
two fiscal years
, before we see
the first ray of sunshine?


Either he isn't reading the backside of his own article, or he doesn't want to answer the question.

Normally, when someone won't answer a question, it is because they don't want people to know the truth, and they don't want to tell a lie on the record.

So they employ the only defense of an indefensible position, they try to hide it.

They stonewall.

Who is responsible for the delay?
Who needs time to cover their tracks?




photo Mark Bralley

e Schooling a threat to APS' model

There are three basic mechanisms used to present information to students;

  1. their teachers can recite it to them, or
  2. they can read it in a textbook, or
  3. they can sit with a keyboard and a window to the entire universe of knowledge.
The leadership of the APS is fond of teachers and textbooks,
the enormous funding required to support them, and
the huge bureaucracy necessary to administer them.

Charter schools don't share those priorities, and have invested in the opportunities of e schooling. They are in some cases, on the cutting edge.

APS is at best, being dragged kicking and screaming into
the future of education.

APS has some e school programs. Rather than buy off the shelf
commercial e curricula, APS leadership decided to write create
their own. Not surprisingly, their product is inferior to many of
the readily available and thoroughly vetted programs.

The worst part of the whole situation is, the leadership of
the APS is trying to compel APS Charter Schools to adopt
APS' inferior e school software.

The charters are understandably upset.

The fundamental justification for the widely accepted concept of
charter schools, is control over curriculum. All public school
curricula must meet certain government standards.
Having met those standards, charters are free to design specific
curricula that meets their individual learner needs.

APS' interference in charter e school software is completely indefensible.

File this story under "a" for, Another story, you won't read about
in "education"section of the Journal.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Janice Arnold-Jones needs your help.

She needs more signatures to stay in the debate.

Because she didn't garner 20% of the delegate votes at the pre-primary, she has to turn in twice as many signatures as those who did. I thought she already had the necessary signatures, but apparently not.

There are reasons to give her your signature even if you intend
to vote for someone else for Governor.

What?

In the first place, if your candidate deserves to win, they will.
So it's not like you are betraying them by keeping their feet to the fire.

If Rep Janice Arnold-Jones is on the ballot, things will get talked about that won't get talked about otherwise.

Who else is better advocate for transparency than the person who brought webcasting into the legislature. New Mexico was the 47th state to begin webcasting, and it's not being done right; there still is no archive.

Who else is a better advocate using state employees to end the cultures of corruption and incompetence, than Rep Janice Arnold-Jones who said, before even the regular session began, that, we need to get state employees in front of legislative committees to expose the corruption and incompetence in state government.

No one else .

The character of the race
will be diminished greatly,
if Rep Janice Arnold-Jones
is not part of the debate and if the
issues she champions loose their voice.





If you think we deserve robust webcasting to an archive,
of every deliberative meeting about the public interests,
you need to keep her in the debate.

If you think state employees should be given the help they need to clean up the governmental agencies they work in,
you need to keep her in the debate.

Otherwise, it's going to be the same old, same old,
I'm gonna fix this, I'm gonna fix that, and nobody ever
really fixes anything at all.





photo Mark Bralley

NMRP; Gays not entitled to civil rights.

The Equal Rights Plank of the New Mexico Republican Party proclaims vigorous support of not only the letter, but the spirit of Civil Rights laws for different races, different genders, different handicaps, different religions, and different national origins.

They just can't see their way clear to granting civil rights to people of different "sexual orientations".

Civil rights are based on human rights. Gay people are being denied protection of their human rights.

And nobody seems to care. NMI was at the convention, the Journal was surely there. TV news was there. There must have been a lot of media there, and not one of them wrote that the NMRP delegates are a bunch of bigots.

And what about the candidates they endorsed?
Are they bigots as well? Is Colonel Allen Weh a bigot?
How did gays fair under his commands?

Is District Attorney Susana Martinez a bigot?
I haven't heard her say otherwise.

Is this a legitimate question to ask the front runners;

Are you about bashing gays, or do you thing the
Republican Party Equal Rights Plank should
protect people with different sexual orientations?

Opposing opinions "a cheap and juvenile prank".

An unknown number of delegates at the Democrat Pre-Primary Convention cast protest ballots against incumbent Rep Martin Heinrich by "writing in"Republican Jon Barela's name.

The actual number of ballots cast for Barela is being kept
secret by Democrat Party leadership.

The protesters believe that Heinrich is a Socialist who has lost touch with his party and, they are entitled to their opinion.

If "the system" allows them no means of dissent, then their dissent outside the box is not only legitimate, but critical to the process.

State Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales doesn't see it that way.

"What a few fringe individuals who have a history of supporting Republican candidates did is nothing more than a cheap and juvenile prank."
OK, Javier, what ever.

"Zone of Tolerance" or "Culture of Corruption"

Monahan was busy handicapping the various candidates for state office this morning, link.

When he got to Secretary of State Mary Herrera, he addressed the probable effect that her current problems, hiding public records and allegations of ethical misconduct in her Office bordering criminal, might have on her effort to be re-elected.

He wrote;

Recent ethical charges leveled against Herrera aren't pleasant, but insiders say they don't violate what is a pretty broad "zone of tolerance" around here.
Another name for "a pretty broad 'zone of tolerance'" of ethical and criminal misconduct in the highest offices of state government is "a culture of corruption".

There is a culture of public corruption and incompetence in NM state government. You can call it a "zone of tolerance", but what it really is, is corruption and guilty knowledge of corruption. When public trust is the foundation, there isn't one wit of difference between those who are personally corrupt, and those who turn a blind eye to the corruption around them.

The highest ranking members of NM state government are,
in the words of Democrat State Senator Tim Eichenberg,
complicit or complacent
, in the culture of corruption;
they are complicit in the corruption, or their complacency,
their "zone of tolerance", enables it to flourish.

Lt Governor Diane Denish would like voters to believe that
for eight years, there was simply nothing she could do about
the sea of corruption and incompetence swirling around her.

I think we should take her word for it.

We need a Governor with a narrower "zone of tolerance"
than Lt Gov Diane Denish's.


"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of
men living together in society, they create for
themselves in the course of time (a zone of tolerance
that enables it,)
a legal system that authorizes it,
and a moral code that glorifies it"
Frederic Bastiat - The Law



We can accept neither complicity, nor complacency,
about public corruption and incompetence.

The culture of corruption, the zone of tolerance of it, must end.

It must end at once, and for all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Herrera hiding more letters.

AJ Salazar was not the only subordinate to hand in a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Mary Herrera.

Apparently his letter was not the only letter to point to serious problems in the Office.

Which explains why those letters too, are being hidden from public knowledge feigning some boggle over what the law actually requires, according to NMI's Gwyneth Doland, link.

The sitting Attorney General, Gary King, the author of the Inspection of Public Records Act, says letters of resignation are
public records.


Herrera sez,
what the hell does he know.




photo Mark Bralley

Rep Anna Crook steps up with Janice Arnold-Jones

State Representative Anna Crook has joined the campaign.

Rep Anna Crook is serving her eighth
term in the legislature. Rep Crook
serves on the Taxation and Revenue
Committe
e with
Rep Janice Arnold-Jones
.

Rep Crook pointed to the remarkable progress and momentum in Rep Arnold-Jones campaign in spite of the interruption of the regular and special legislative sessions.

She said Rep Arnold-Jones knows how to get the job done.

Rep Crook is the ranking Republican Gentle-lady. The ranking Republican male, Rep Keith Gardner, is endorsing DA Susana Martinez in the run for the Governor's seat.

I have never felt really comfortable with Gardner's commitment to transparency, it seemed a little hinky. He certainly wasn't making any waves over webcasting and archiving. Apparently he is comfortable with Martinez' agnosticism on the subject.

Rep Crook in contrast, can be found helping Rep Arnold-Jones keep camera pointed at the people's business during their committee meetings.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones said.

“I am truly honored to have such an esteemed colleague endorse my candidacy,” “Not only is Representative Crook dedicated to serving the people of her district, she was my mentor on the Taxation and Revenue Committee.

I am proud to have her on our team.”




photo Mark Bralley

The Republican Party Plank; the one that didn't pass.

There was an amendment offered that would have stricken "sexual orientation" from the list of human conditions which the party will continue not only to disrespect, but flat out not tolerate.

The amendment was struck down nearly unanimously.

Let's say you were a conservative, looking for smaller
government and fiscal restraint, and at the same time,
let's say you were also willing to concede that any one of us
could have been born into a different set of shoes,

where does that leave you in the NMRP?

Why would you join a Party that wouldn't welcome your child?

How did "Allen Weh vote on that amendment?

How did Susana Martinez vote on that amendment?

Will gay Republicans ever be welcome in their Party?

Allen Weh continues to dodge assault allegation.

Colonel Allen Weh still has not
stepped up to allegations that
he lost his temper and physically
assaulted, link, a staff member of the
Bernalillo County Republican Party.

If he is unwilling to hold himself honestly accountable for his conduct and competence as a candidate, why in the world would anyone believe he would hold himself honestly accountable when the stakes are higher and the accouterments of power in Santa Fe include even greater immunity from accountability for one's conduct and competence?

And what about the leadership of the Republican Party,
are they willing to let what might well be a criminal assault
go unacknowledged, simply to win in November?

And that would set them apart from Democrats how, exactly?

Allen Weh has two choices;

  • candid, forthright, and honest, and

  • anything less than candid, forthright and honest.
... and one choice to make between them.





photo Mark Bralley

Party convention results, who cares?

Sure, it would have been nice to have come out on top.

We didn't. What now?

There is still the message;

Government should be transparently accountable
to the people.
It is still the most fundamentally important issue of all.

That is not a message you will hear from the folks who
run and attend pre-primary conventions.

The "Party of Transparent Accountability" doesn't even
have a governmental transparency plank in its platform.

Republican Party insiders, the heavy hitters that wield the power and resources, don't want anyone to take back the power they have usurped. They don't want anyone to end their illegitimate privilege any more than the heavy hitters in the Democrat Party want anyone to end their control over their political machines.

Pre-primary party conventions are about battling machines.

While there is a correlation between the power of a political machine, and the likelihood of it being able to install a candidate, there is no claim made that the process will identify the best candidate, only the one more likely to win.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones would be a better Governor than Diane Denish, Susana Martinez, or Allen Weh.

The pre-primary convention process ignores that dimension.

In some respects, Janice Arnold-Jones is the better for the loss; birds of a different feather, don't flock together.

The most important things that Janice Arnold-Jones will do as Governor, will likely happen in a room adjacent to the Governor's Office. It accommodates an enormous round table.

The idea behind a round table, is to pretend co-equal influence at the table. In theory, no one sits at the head of the table.

In practice, added influence sits in the chair with the Governor in it.

Now imagine, seated around the table, twenty or so legislators with deeply held disparate interests.

The Governor is charged with ending the discussion in consensus.

Now imagine each of the remaining candidates sitting in the Governor's chair. How might things be different?

In the first place, if Janice Arnold-Jones is at the table,
you will be at the table as well.
The meeting will be robustly webcast to an archive.

Allen Weh will not webcast the meeting; he hasn't had a
single word to say, throughout the whole fight over webcasting.
Neither has Susana Martinez. Neither has Diane Denish.

Beyond that, the Governor is charged with facilitating the meeting.

If she has done a good job, people leave the meeting feeling that their side has been heard, the truth is on the table and, a reasonable compromise was reached.

Allen Weh cannot lead that kind of meeting. He has made it as clear as it can be made, he take his seat after first placing his baseball bat on the table in front of him.

Everyone will leave the table unsatisfied; even his "friends".

I don't know if Susana Martinez can draw consensus from opposing opinions or not. Same with Diane Denish. They are unproven in what might be considered the most important gubernatorial skill of all.

Many of Allen Weh's supporters tout his successful experience as a businessman. Susana Martinez' supporters sing praise of her success as a prosecutor.

Do we need business acumen in the Governor's seat?
Aren't the business principles involved, common knowledge?
Do we really need a rocket scientist of a business man?
Does anyone really believe that the cultures of corruption and
incompetence flow from the fact that there is no one in Santa Fe with business skills enough to end them?

And with respect to Susana Martinez' prosecutorial skills, does anyone really believe that the cultures of corruption and incompetence flow from the fact that there is no one in Santa Fe with prosecutorial skills?

The skill set that plays is legislative.

Diane Denish, arguably has a legislative skill set equivalent to Janice Arnold-Jones'. Others would argue that a ceremonial figure head, even if they occasionally cast tie breaking votes, hasn't the same experiential background as someone who has crossed the aisle on many occasions to create support for worthwhile legislation.

And then there is grace; an elemental personal trait,
utterly essential in consensus building.

The results of the pre-primary conventions don't tell the whole story, and anyone who bangs on them too loudly, does so because it's there only drum.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones;

proven competence,

proven character,

proven courage,

and abundant grace.




photo Mark Bralley

It's National Sunshine Week

Heath Haussamen has posted a commentary by Sarah Welsh, link. She is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

She focused on the apparent successes in opening up NM state government. Yet she was forced to admit in her closing;

It still takes months, and sometimes years, to obtain important government documents or to overturn illegal closed-door actions. It also takes money, time and a big chunk of sanity.
However close we are, we are not close enough.
We are nowhere near done. We cannot rest on our laurels.

The fight is still on, the final battle is yet to be fought.

GOP picking on me, whines Denish.

The Journal reports "breaking news" this morning, link;
Republican Gubernatorial Candidates
are "ganging up"
on Lt Gov Diane Denish.

Wow, imagine that, candidates seeking public office,
all attacking the person and policies they are trying to unseat.

"The expected Democratic nominee for governor, Diane Denish, played Charlie Brown in fundraising efforts last week, pointing out to potential donors that everyone seemed to be picking on her.

"I now have five — yes, five — Republican opponents. Instead of campaigning on their own ideas, most of them are running their campaigns on one central message: Attacking me ... attacking us."
Well, duh.

Denish's campaign spokesperson Chris Cervini noted;
"Nasty personal attacks like (Domenici's) only serve to remind New Mexicans why they're sick of politics as usual ...".
Domenici's "nasty personal attack";
"There are three things wrong with our state: a fiscal crisis, an ethical crisis and Diane Denish," "And these are all the same problem."
A fiscal crisis, an ethical crisis, and Diane Denish;
are New Mexico politics as usual.

I don't see their beef.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Susana Martinez' perspective on surrendering public records

Gubernatorial Candidate and District Attorney Susana Martinez is the subject of a backside discussion on Haussamen's site, on public records surrender, link.

One of her defenders argued;

"... she is doing what she thought was within the bounds of the law."

To begin with, I am not comfortable with one of the highest ranking members of law enforcement "thinking"she is following a law, that she might actually be breaking.

More fundamentally, her apologist expressed a disturbing philosophical premise; she can do anything to obfuscate the surrender of public records, as long as it's "legal".

That is a far different concept than a public servant surrendering every record that the law will allow.

There is no such thing as ethical reform that doesn't rest on the foundation of the fundamental ethic; truth telling;

as much as the law will allow.

Republican Party cover up?

Everybody seems to know about, but nobody
seems to want to talk about, an altercation between
Colonel Allen Weh
and members of the
Bernalillo County Republican Party
staff.

There are allegations of a "physical attack".

I think there is truth being hidden.

There is a fine line, determined according to due process,
between the truth that should be told and
the truth which is rightfully hidden from stakeholders.

If there is wrongfully hidden truth in the leadership of the
Republican Party of New Mexico,
they ought to be held accountable for it.

Otherwise, we are a Party sanctioning wrongful cover ups
as well.

And, there really is no difference between the Parties.

The truth needs to come from retired
Marine Corps Colonel Allen Weh.

Will he raise his right hand, perhaps put his hand on a bible,
and promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth, (so help him God),
and then tell the truth about his conduct that afternoon.

Will he hold himself honestly accountable as role model for his "troops"?


Is Governor Weh going to be
manhandling state government
employees?

Should state government
employees be afraid
of their Governor?





photo Mark Bralley

DA Susana Martinez way off base on Inspection of Public Records compliance

Haussamen reports this morning, link, on a tussle between District Attorney Susana Martinez and the Democrat Party. The Dems claim she "hiding" records, though they have actually inspected all of the (tens of thousands of) records they asked to see. The disagreement centers around making the copies they want.

The devil, as usual, is in the details.

In the first place, DA Martinez apparently ordered her records custodian to sit and watch as the records were being inspected. At some point, the watcher is accused of telling the requester, he was "a pain in the ass".

There is no reason for a records custodian to sit and watch an inspection; in particular if they are allowed to harass the requester. If nothing else, it is intimidating. If they are really concerned that a record might be stolen, simply surrender the records in an electronic format; they could scan the document themselves, in less time than it takes to add it to the stack to be inspected, and later re-file it. Simply pull it, scan it, re-file it. It would actually save money. If there is a need to actually handle an original, then move to the more cumbersome process.

If the requester were allowed to scan records, there would no point in stealing one. Yet Martinez chose to disallow scanning or photocopying. According to Haussamen;

"Martinez said her office didn’t allow the party to bring its own scanner or camera because she wanted to ensure the documents were in their entire and true form when they left her office."
This argument is nonsense.

If a requester wants one page of a two page record, does Martinez seriously intend to force them to pay to copy both pages?

If they then, throw the unwanted copy in a trash can,
is she going to make them pick it out and take it anyway?

And, how does a scanner or camera produce an "untrue"
form of a document? If an "untrue" document could be
produced, of what use would it be in comparison with the
"true" document?

The real reason the record holder wants to do the copying, is to make two copies; one for the requester, and one for their lawyer, who will then know which records will be used against his client's interests.

Haussamen reports;
Phil Sisneros, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said scanners and cameras should be allowed. The public records act, he said, “requires the custodian of public records for a public body to ‘provide reasonable facilities to make or furnish copies of public records during usual business hours.’” “This office’s position is that this provision permits a requester to use his or her own equipment to make copies of public records,” Sisneros said.
Though that position is eminently logical, Martinez argued that the literature, the Attorney General's Compliance Guide, doesn't spell it out exactly enough; she wants a court decision.

Clearly a choice is being made; make it easy for the public
to inspect and copy public records, or, make it difficult.

There is no reason to make it difficult,
except to discourage further requests.

Susana Martinez should reexamine her position.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Democrats cheered Herrera, at the Dem Convention

despite the current outrage over
allegations that she used the
Secretary of State's Office
for politicking.

Steve Terrell interviewed
a few delegates about
Sec of State Mary Herrera's

misconduct and whether it
should count against her in
the election. link.

"... several delegates interviewed said they doubted it would play out that way.

"What politician doesn't do politics in the office. Come on!"
one man said, laughing."
Many of the delegates, if asked, would proudly admit,
they went to Manny Aragon's big send off to prison party,
or wished they had.

And yet, we are supposed to believe that electing Democrats,
is going end the culture of corruption.




photo Mark Bralley

Journal editors take their turn at charter bashing

The Journal editors surfed the third wave in the campaign to diminish the standing of charter schools in the community, link.

They would like to encourage your upset over the fact that one charter school superintendent and principal, is making too much money.

They would not like to encourage your upset over APS Supt Winston Brooks' 1/2$M golden parachute.

In fact, according to their record,
they don't even want you to know about it.

"I see nothing"

"I for one will not enforce any rule on my campus.
The referral fairy always runs away with the referral.

I will not enforce the "dress code" or no kids in the hall, or
no I pods, or no jet cards. I'm finished being APS' fall guy.

They hang us out to dry on a regular basis.

No more chances APS. You can make all the rules you want.

I see nothing"


The greatest consequence in writing rules they have no intention of enforcing, is that the "leadership" push good staff members into positions where they feel like the staff member, who wrote the above comment in response to my post on the APS cell phone policy, link.

It would be simple to quantify and qualify this problem
by surveying those they expect to do the enforcing.

Precisely why the issue was not addressed in their survey.
It never has been addressed in a survey, and
it never will be addressed in a survey.

Four real choices for Governor. One stands out.

Doug Turner lacks the gravitas.

Pete Domenici lacks the charisma.

There are four; Lt Gov Diane Denish, District Attorney Susana Martinez, Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, and retired Marine Corps Colonel Allen Weh.

For me; the choice is based on three elements; competence, character, and courage.

Though I am a conservative, I would support a liberal with competence, character, and courage, before I would support a Republican who lacked any one of them.

A rising tide lifts all boats. There is no legitimate agenda, conservative or liberal, that does not move forward on the day that the people, liberal and conservative, regain control over power and resources that are fundamentally their own.

Regaining control begins with transparent accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants within their public service.


Competence;

Representative Janice Arnold-Jones record is self evident. Point to an example, where in her public service, she dropped the ball. Or, admit to her competence.

I believe, none of them is more competent to be governor,
than Rep Janice Arnold-Jones.

Character;

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones can stand again, on her record. Point to an example, where in her public service, her character was found wanting. Or, admit to her character.

Courage;

If they gave medals for courage in the Roundhouse, Rep Janice Arnold-Jones would wear one for carrying the first web camera into the legislature. Point to her cowardice or, admit to her courage.


Rep Janice Arnold-Jones brings
something else to the table.

She brings it in an abundance,
she brings more to the table
that all of her opponents combined;

grace.





She can bring the best people together from both sides, and extract from them the best solutions to the problems in government. She, and they, will find the ground in the middle, without wasting time and without the puffery.

She has a goal; government that is transparently accountable to the people.

She can achieve that goal without a baseball bat.

In fact, she can achieve that goal because
carrying a baseball bat to a negotiating table,
would never occur to her.



If government doesn't work,
no legitimate agenda moves forward.

When government does work,
every legitimate agenda moves forward.




photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Momentum will keep Rep Janice Arnold-Jones in the race.

A lesser person might have called it quits today, but not
Rep Janice Arnold-Jones.

District Attorney Susana Martinez had a great day.

Colonel Allen "I'm no Mr. Congeniality "Weh

had a better day than he should have.

And, Janice Arnold-Jones came in third.

Third, despite the fact that when the legislature was in session, not only could she not solicit campaign contributions for more than a month, but just as importantly, she obviously couldn't be campaigning for delegates.

It bears noting, I have not seen Susana Martinez in a debate with Janice Arnold-Jones. Let's see them together a few more times before we vote.

The fourth and fifth candidates are going nowhere;
one lacks the gravitas, the other the charisma, to be elected.

Third will become second, when people start thinking about
whether as uncongenial a Governor as one can imagine,
can really point a baseball bat at corrupt and entrenched
politicians and public servants and expect them all to turn tail.

They'll fight at every turn. They will override his vetoes
with the largest majorities in legislative history,
just to show him whose boss.

It will also dawn on people, that Weh hasn't said a word during his campaign about robust webcasting to an archive, or about public records, or about Open Meetings.

He's not accustomed to subordinate review, or to negotiation.

The words "open meetings" are an anathema to the Colonel;
open meetings aren't his long suit, link.

Amid all this, the Republican Party decided
it was going to torment gays for at least another election cycle.

And last but not least, the "party of transparent accountability"
does not have a transparent accountability plank in its platform.



The best thing I can say about the whole day?

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones
still has some fight left in her.




photo Mark Bralley

They just don't make it easy to be a Republican

The day began around 8:45;
I, on my way to crash the Central Committee Meeting.
I wasn't on their guest list.

Up until this morning, Central Committee Meetings were closed to stakeholders.

It was probably during a closed meeting of the Central Committee, that the following party rule was endorsed and adopted, link.

NMGOP Party Rule; 1-2-1. PARTY MEMBERSHIP/PARTICIPATION
A. Party Membership: Any qualified voter In New Mexico whose properly registered Political Party affiliation is "Republican" shall be considered a member of the Republican Party of New Mexico and of the Republican Party of the County in which the voter is so registered and is eligible to participate in Republican Party affairs in accordance with these Rules.

B. Participation: It is the intent and purpose of these rules to encourage and allow the broadest possible participation of all Republican voters in Republican Party activities at all levels and to assure that the Republican Party is open and accessible.
I took a copy of it to show to anyone who asked to see my "invitation".

A lot of people wanted to see it, and nobody liked it.
I just kept working my way up the chain of command.

I hold no grudge against anyone who obstructed my entry into that closed meeting. Each of them was just doing what they were told to. Most of them had no idea what to do with me and were more than happy to pass me along to someone else.

I ended up in Ryan Cangiolosi's lap.

I explained what was going on, and showed him the rule.

He agreed without hesitation, to enforce the rule on my behalf.

I couldn't help but think what would have happened if Allen Weh was still the party chair. I probably would have left with my invitation rolled into a tight cylinder and stuffed where the sun don't shine. I'm a big guy, but he's a combat hardened Marine with a baseball bat.

It was made clear that I was allowed in according to my standing as a member of the Republican Party and not as a member of the press. I pointed out to them that the press has a right to be there as well, they just choose not to press it.

Later in the morning, Cangiolosi asked if the frankly boring meeting met my expectations. I told him I hadn't really seen it all because I had to be elsewhere to register for the convention. It didn't appear to me that they did anything at all worth hiding. Which begs the question; then why hide it?

The whole thing was being videotaped from the back of the room, so if they had wanted to webcast it, they could have. As far as I know, they did not.

At the end of the day, amendments to the party platform were brought to the table.

If the process would have allowed it, I would have argued for a transparent accountability plank.

The process of course, doesn't allow spontaneous participation. The process is designed to allow its control by the party heavy hitters.

Consider how much trouble Rep Janice Arnold-Jones had getting amendments on the table when Colonel Weh was the Party Chairman, link.

I digress.
There was an amendment offered that would change their Equal Rights plank:
We support vigorous enforcement of the letter and spirit of Civil Rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, handicap, religion and national origin.
It would have added "sexual orientation".

There was a motion immediately made and seconded, to table the amendment.

The motion to table the amendment passed nearly unanimously.

I, the gentleman seated next to me, and maybe a hand full of others were the only ones who yelled no!

The Republicans will shun gays for at least another election.

Which brings us back to the participation rule
B. Participation: It is the intent and purpose of these rules to encourage and allow the broadest possible participation of all Republican voters in Republican Party activities at all levels and to assure that the Republican Party is open and accessible.
unless you choose to be born gay.