Monday, May 31, 2010

Brian Colón, testing his mettle.

Brian Colón posted on Democracy for New Mexico, link.

He said;

"These are our children and grandchildren,
and it is up to us to protect their future."
If we believe that character counts in our children's future,
then character must be part of their education.

There is an elephant in the room in the APS; character education.

If Brian Colón is elected he will have 89,000 constituents who are students in the APS and who are desperately in need of role models of the student standards of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!.

If we really want these kids to grow up to embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like. Somebody has to step up as a role model of the APS student standards of conduct, if even only for the few hours each day they hold students accountable to those standards.

Children have a right to role models.

They need someone to champion their right to character education.

Will Brian Colón be their champion; will he be the one who will point to the elephant in the APS. Will he shine the light of public attention on the lack of honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence in the leadership of the APS. Will he point to their steadfast refusal to even discuss, openly and honestly, the restoration of the role modeling clause to their own standards of conduct, the one which used to read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.

School Board President
Marty Esquivel
won't do it.

APS Supt Winston Brooks
won't do it.

Will Brian Colón do it?

Is he really a champion?

With the throwing down of this gauntlet; a test of his mettle.

photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NM Republican Party insider corruption

This is not a short read; it is a worthwhile read, link.

The reference to negative polling done against Doug Turner and Rep Janice Arnold-Jones would explain a lot.

Turner thinks Yates has sidestepped his duty.

Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Turner has posted on Haussamen, link.

I find a few flaws in his thinking; it begins with his apparent belief in the "wisdom" of voters.

"Party officials simply must trust the wisdom of GOP voters to do what’s right and not intervene in a way that supports one candidate over another."
Who actually believes in the "wisdom" of voters?

Who actually believes that political campaigns appeal to the "wisdom" in the electorate?

If voters voted according to "wisdom", Rep Janice Arnold-Jones would be winning this thing hands down.

Turner thinks the leadership of the NMRP picked a side in the primary; Susana Martinez'.

How, by taking a stand against deceit, does one pick any side except against deceit?

Turner went on to argue that NMRP Chairman Harvey Yates "denied candidates the opportunity to defend themselves". This is simply untrue; each can defend themselves regardless of Yates' action. How have they been curtailed?

Turner wrote;
By taking sides in a primary, party officials lose the credibility they need to unite the party behind the single candidate selected by GOP voters on June 1.
How do Party officials "unite behind a candidate", knowing the candidate had deliberately misled voters before the Primary? Is the deceit somehow OK as long as the candidate wins the primary?

Turner thinks Yates abandoned his duty to remain neutral. Yates' duty to remain neutral applies to his treatment of candidates; it does not require him to ignore ethical misconduct. If there is indeed a rule that prevents any leader from standing up for what is right, then change the rule.

According to Dante;
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those
who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.

photo Mark Bralley

APS gives story exclusive to KOB

Nicole Brady introduced the piece by saying

"Recently Albuquerque Public Schools did a study and released the results only to Eyewitness News 4." link.
Why is APS giving exclusives to KOB?

Is it even legal?

Would that make any difference?

Does it have anything to do with APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta and her friends at KOB?

photo Mark Bralley

Is Susana Martinez a Party Politician?

The answer to the question; yes, is so obvious as to make
the question seem rhetoric or worse, stupid.

But what if the widely accepted notion of disaffection for incumbent politicians extends to disaffection for Party Politicians as well?

What if people are as fed up with the so called “leadership” of both Parties, they reject candidates because they have the support of the leadership, rather than rejecting the candidacy of those who don’t aren’t among the Party chosen.

Candidates like Rep Janice Arnold-Jones, for example.

Proven competence,
proven character, and
proven courage, and
not a "Party" Politician.

photo Mark Bralley

Government Restructuring Task Force will not be streamed. Why?

Why is the Restructuring Task Force being conducted in (effective) secret from the people? For what good and ethical reason(s), is there no plan even to record the proceedings, much less webcast and archive them?

If there are no good and ethical reasons to not begin robust webcasting, then there are only reasons to not webcast, that are neither good nor ethical.

Why is there no plan to webcast the restructuring of state government?

Why does no one care that there is no plan to webcast what is arguably the most important Task Force in generations?

State workers want a seat at the restructuring table

During the public forum at the second meeting of the Government Restructuring Task Force, two state workers wondered out loud, how the Task Force, comprised of 17 voting and 6 non-voting seats, did not include a seat for state workers.

There are more than 28,000 of them. Ironically, that is both the problem and the solution; there are too many state workers and, there are more than 28,000 people with first hand knowledge of the best solutions to that problem.

I suggested to the task force, these people know more about the inefficiencies in their departments than anyone on the dais.

Rep Keith Gardner suggested a survey of state workers.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones is long on record, for calling state workers into Roundhouse committee rooms and listening to their input.

Bottom line; a survey is on the table. The survey items will be crafted to expose public corruption and incompetence, or they will be crafted for some lesser purpose. The results will be made public according to the spirit of the law, or according to some lesser standard.

There are those questions. I would remind you of the PRC Ethics Survey and the secrecy that surrounds it still.

If justice delayed, is justice denied, then

a survey delayed, is a survey denied.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A restructuring we went.

Today was day two of the meeting of the Government Restructuring Task Force. I didn't write about day one because it was so discouraging and I really didn't have the heart.

Day two was only slightly more encouraging.

The Task Force is running smoothly due to the efforts of its Chair; Senator Tim Eichenberg and a facilitator. (By way of disclosure, Mark Bralley and I invited the Senator to join us for lunch during the break in day one. He joined us, and then kindly paid for the lunch).

"Smoothly" has nothing to do with direction, and it is the direction being taken by the Task Force that gives me pause. My sense is that they want to identify and correct all the inefficiencies in state government themselves; an impossible task.

The approach I advocate is, restructure state government so that government itself, ferrets out and corrects inefficiencies on a continuous basis. It is the difference between putting fires out and preventing them.

I took the opportunity to address the Task Force during the public forums at the end of each meeting. I encouraged them to reach more deeply to begin their restructuring and, to have something that voters can look at before the November elections. I have also asked that defining the limits on transparency be put on the table for open and honest discussion. I consider it to be a fundamental reform/restructuring issue, a view not yet adopted by the Task Force.

Eichenberg has assured us that there will be opportunities for public input at every meeting of the task force. He has been very good about posting on line, all documents they are using, so there is public access to them.

One of those documents is called; Inventory of Statutory Executive Boards and Commissions. It is 315 pages long, which should give you an inkling of the bloat in state government.

As disappointing as the progress is, more disappointing is the fact that the Task Force is being ignored by the political press; legacy and otherwise. It would be difficult to overemphasis the importance and potential of this Task Force, yet no one knows about it because it is not being reported to stakeholders.

Gadi Schwartz KOB TV, was there, but only for a few minutes. No other "legacy" press attended as far as I could tell.

The next meetings will be in late June.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A restructuring we will go ...

Hi-ho, the derry-o, wikilink, a restructuring we will go.

The first real meeting of the Government Restructuring Task Force begins at 10 this morning in Room 307 in our Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

It will become apparent rather quickly,
whether that actually means anything or not.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Denish, guilt by association?

There are those who think Lt Gov Diane Denish shares some culpability for the culture of corruption in state government.

Denish apologists point
to the fallacy in the
"guilt by association" argument.

And they do so correctly;
she is not guilty of
complicity in the corruption
simply because she hung out
with corrupt people.

Instead, her "guilt" stems from her failure to fight against the culture of corruption itself.

Heath Haussamen has pointed to an example of Denish fighting corruption, link. There are perhaps other specific examples of times and places where Denish appeared to be in the fight and on the right side.

That doesn't mean she fought against corruption.
Fighting against one soldier is not the same as fighting against them all.

She was there for a battle or two,
she never got into the war.

If she had, she would be a whole lot bloodier.

photo Mark Bralley

Yates disowns Weh

Questions have been raised about whether the leadership of the NMRP was cutting Colonel Allen Weh a little extra slack during the primary, link.

Apparently Weh will get no slack from the NMRP over his latest (dishonest) attack ad on Susana Martinez.

NMRP Chairman Harvey Yates wrote in a press release, link,

"Republicans expect honesty in government. How likely is that result, if dishonesty in campaigning is tolerated in those we elect to run government?"
The ad in question is not the first ad whose honesty has been questioned; Weh ran an ad falsely accusing Lt Gov Diane Denish of using "stimulus funds to fly to a parade" long after the error in the allegation became apparent.

Weh's response came through his Campaign Director Whitney Cheshire. She chose the "she did it first" defense, dodging the basic question of the (dis)honesty of Weh's ad, and instead ranted about the NMRP giving Susana Martinez a "free pass" in "break(ing) her word about running a negative campaign".

She then chastised Yates for interfering in a primary. She said it was harmful for the Chairman to "interfere in a primary". Note; someone ask her what Weh had to say about the Party endorsing Darren White as the candidate in CD1, link, or any of the other nastiness that went on in that Primary, link.

Cheshire went on to say;
We stand by our ad’s "accuracy".
(quotation marks added for emphasis.)

Cheshire probably doesn't make little air quotes when
she speaks these words, but she should; its pivotal.
As a Character Counts! trainer, I sometimes had difficulty explaining to children how it was possible to say something that was technically, "legally" accurate, but never the less created a misperception, and further that deliberately creating a misperception is dishonest, even if the words use to create it were "accurate".

Kids had some trouble understanding how "telling the truth" is sometimes nothing more than a clever way of "telling a lie".

They think if you don't actually "tell a lie", you haven't done anything wrong.

Voters I hope, will not share the children's boggle.

Kudos to Yates for standing up for some real Republican values.

Now if he would just come clean on the physical assault
is alleged to have recently committed on
Republican Party staff member(s)
, link.

How is the NMRP's cover-up of that, any less dishonest
than Weh's TV spot?

Is there a double standard for candidates and Party bosses?

photo Mark Bralley

Santa Fe Tea Party endorses Weh? No way!

Allen Weh issued a press release that might lead some people to believe that the "New Mexico Tea Party" has endorsed his campaign.

The fundamental problem is that there is no such thing as the New Mexico Tea Party, link.

Further, the person who made the endorsement, made it clear when she made the endorsement, that she was speaking only for herself. Weh's press release does mention that, but only in "the fine print".

Do we need another Governor who hides the truth in
the fine print? No Weh!, but that's just mho.

In a press release from the Santa Fe Tea Party, they wrote;

Unfortunately, the (Weh) campaign wrote a misleading headline to create the impression that the support was from a large coalition of tea parties across the This is not true. Complaints to the campaign were made and requests to correct the headline were ignored. (emphasis added)
He ran the "Denish used stimulus funds to fly to a parade" long after he
found the truth to be otherwise.

He ran the "Martinez got caught red handed" and "didn't pay taxes" long after it was revealed to be a bookkeeping error.

If he will deceive voters in order to get elected, what do you think he will be willing to do to stay elected?

Note should be taken, and
points deducted.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, May 21, 2010

Denish owes voters candid, forthright, and honest answers.

Gwyneth Doland, NMI, NMiF, asked, link, Lt Gov Diane Denish how she intended to deal with the perception that she is linked to the public corruption and incompetence that surrounded her for seven years in the Roundhouse.

According to her response, Denish intends to not deal with it
at all. She intends instead to "focus upon the future", and
"upon families", because that's "what the people really want"
her to do.

Candidate Diane Denish has been asked legitimate questions. She has an obligation to respond to those questions candidly, forthrightly, and honestly.

She won't of course.

Instead she will treat us to $3M worth of thirty second TV spots reminding us that "it is all about the future".

It's the good ol' boy get out of jail free card;

"Forget about the past. Let's focus on the future."

"Never mind holding anyone actually accountable for
their incompetence and/or corruption, let's focus instead
upon, 'making sure it doesn't happen again'."

In her first spot, Denish said she wasn't "a good ol' boy", and
"never wanted to be a 'good ol' boy'".

Of course she isn't; she's a good ol' gal.

So technically, in a legally weasely kind of a way, she isn't lying.
Neither, is she telling the truth.

She will allow people who want to vote for her because she is a Democrat, to believe that she cannot be held accountable for any of the public corruption and incompetence that has permeated state government for seven years.

There are so many of them, she can get elected without ever having to talk about her recent past. They will protect her from having to defend, deny, explain, or even acknowledge "the past".

She will simply stonewall the questions; and get elected anyway.

A candid, forthright, and honest answer would begin by admitting to the corruption in the Richardson administration. It would then move on to her explanation of why she doesn't have a bloody nose to show us, for all her "fighting" against that culture of corruption and in our defense.

Denish does not want to be Governor in order to "clean out" the Roundhouse. She goes there to assume command of the ship of state, and of its crew.

"The crew" won their state jobs, political appointments, and promotions, for their loyalty, not just to Gov Bill Richardson, but to "the Party" as well. They have been good soldiers. They will expect to keep their jobs. They're not going anywhere.

The only chairs being rearranged on our Titanic,
are the ones in the wheelhouse, wikilink.

Lt Gov Denish,
Is there a culture of corruption
in state government? and,

Why are you not bloodied
from fighting against it?

photo Mark Bralley

Denish has a record of fighting corruption.

Blogger Heath Haussamen stood up for Lt Gov Diane Denish against those (Republicans) who claim she has never done anything to fight against public corruption in Santa Fe.

Haussamen outlined Denish's efforts to support legislation similar to the bill Rep Janice Arnold-Jones carried, that provided for the audit that eventually uncovered the Housing Authority corruption, link.

It is fair to point out that when Denish was asked by Jim Scarantino, link, to surrender any public records she had, demonstrating that she had expressed any concern over public corruption in Santa Fe, she surrendered none.

Associated Builders and Contractors censor candidate forum.

The five gubernatorial candidates who participated in the forum hosted by the Associated Builders and Contractors were told that if they "went on the attack" against any of their opponents, they would be told to stop talking immediately, link.


Weh spanked by Martinez, on tape!

Candidate Allen Weh was being interviewed by Stuart Dyson, link, when Candidate Susana Martinez interrupted their interview to spank Weh for his recent attack alleging she wasn't paying her taxes.

It appears that taxes were not paid correctly for some part time employees in Martinez' Office and Weh put up an ad that presents the issue as one of her character, when at most, it is an issue of her competence. Weh's ad looks like a deliberate effort to mislead voters about Martinez' character.

After asking Weh if he was willing to turn over his tax records to public scrutiny, she offered to show her taxes to Dyson by the close of business the next day.

Not known for being quick on his feet, Weh choked on his response.

The first thing he did was look to Dyson for some protection from his "attacker". Getting none, he went on to argue that because he works in the private sector, the time was not yet "appropriate" for him to reveal any details of how he made millions of dollars doing business with the Bush administration.

He believes, apparently, that while her tax situation is "germane" at the moment, his is not.

Weh said, after Martinez turned and walked away, that the confrontation amounted to, just being "silly".

While Martinez may lose points for barging into the interview, Weh was the clear loser overall.

There is some more "silliness" that needs to be done.

Since Dyson won't, perhaps Martinez will, ask Weh another question;

Will he explain, defend, deny, or even acknowledge a physical assault by Weh, on a Republican Party Officer at the Bernalillo County Ward meetings, link?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

APS has a new Chief Financial Officer.

A few years ago, an independent auditor revealed that APS' Finance Department was spending more than a billion dollars a year;

  • without adequate policies, procedures and regulations, and
  • without adequate accountability to such standards as there were, and
  • without adequate record keeping.
The audit revealed the APS has never had adequate standards, adequate accountability, or adequate record keeping.

Likely, millions of tax dollars have gone missing; either wasted or stolen. The leadership of the APS refuses still, to answer the question;
did Meyners auditors uncover any criminal misconduct by APS administrators?
In the years since the Meyners Audit, APS has had more than a couple of CFOs. All have been promoted from within. Despite the fact that each was in a position to blow the whistle on the lack of standards, accountability, and record keeping, they were promoted into positions where they could cover not only their own tracks, but the tracks of others as well. At one point, they even declined the offer of additional auditors from the State Auditors Office.

The newbie is an outsider, well qualified and experienced. The conclusion we can draw is that, the leadership of the APS has taken care of all of the worst problems and can now afford to be seen by an outsider.

One might argue; if the problems are solved, who cares how they were solved?

The answer is, if the first priority in problem solving is covering asses, then solving the problem will never be the first priority. While it is a happy co-incidence if the problem can be solved and asses covered, it is a wasteful and inefficient approach. It exists only to protect the corrupt and the incompetent from the consequences of their corruption and incompetence.

APS Supt Winston Brooks steadfastly refuses still, to allow an independent review of standards and accountability in the APS.

He has the support of School Board President Marty Esquivel, who refuses to allow even an open and honest public discussion of an independent review of administrative and executive standards and accountability.

It is not the review of standards that has them running scared; apparently their standards are up finally up to snuff.

They are afraid of an independent review of their accountability to any standards of conduct at all, even the law. They are justifiably afraid that they will not be able to hide the fact that they really aren't accountable to anyone but each other.

They cannot show stakeholders a venue where they can be held honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence against their will.

If they could point to the venue, they would.

It does not exist. Neither does their intention of allowing some independent auditor to reveal that fact to the people who are given no choice but to trust them with more than a billion tax dollars every year and with the education of nearly a hundred thousand of their sons and daughters.

photos Mark Bralley

Neither Martinez nor Weh are fit rolemodels for APS students.

Both Allen Weh and Susana Martinez have aired ads that are deliberately misleading. Whatever else they are, they are a deliberate and deceitful attempt to manipulate voters, link, link.

If either is elected Governor, their constituents will include about 90,000 students in the Albuquerque Public Schools.
APS students, and any other students in the state who are held accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, are prohibited from engaging in any

... 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.
Students are given to believe that if they ran campaign ads that were misleading, they would do so at the forfeit of their good character.

If we really want our kids to grow up to embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like. Most political candidates cannot serve as role models for students; they have failed on their face, to hold themselves honestly accountable to a higher standard of conduct than the law; the lowest standard of conduct of them all.

There is one candidate
who if elected Governor,
could actually step up as
a role models for students ,
Rep Janice Arnold-Jones.

Coupled with her competence,
her character, and her courage,
there is no more qualified
candidate for Governor in
either Party.

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Conspiracy Brews" to discuss restructuring

"Conspiracy Brews"
meets every Saturday
morning. It is hosted by
Janice Arnold-Jones

as an open Office Hours
opportunity to meet with

Senator Tim Eichenberg dropped by yesterday. He came to Conspiracy Brews to solicit input from the informal "think tank", on the subject of the Government Restructuring Task Force he chairs.

The group, we, decided to make the Restructuring Task Force the sole topic next Saturday. There was some juggling of the usual agenda to accommodate conflicts, so the discussion will begin at 10:30.

The next meeting of the Restructuring Task Force will be the following Monday, May 24th at 10 am.

It would be difficult to overstate the potential the task force represents.

Imagine, an open and honest discussion of the direction of our government.

If ever there were a time, a day, and a place;
this is those.

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Denish defense; I wasn't even there.

According to Lt Gov Diane Denish's TV spot,
she worked very hard at getting "out of Santa Fe" a lot.
On its face, that may seem like a bad thing.

But in fact, it is a good thing; it can be cited as one of the
reasons she didn't step up, as Lt Governor,
to the culture of corruption and incompetence swirling around
her in state government; the "rot in the roundhouse".

I wonder how many times you can say "I wasn't even there"
on TV for $2.8M?

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

APS Climate Survey results won't be ready until June

APS employees are completing an online climate survey. The opportunity to participate closes today. Participation is "voluntary", which skews the reliability of the results.

I have received input from a few teachers indicating they do not feel that their anonymity is protected and have therefore, chosen to not participate.

I have been informed, by APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez, that the results will not be ready until June, after teachers can no longer compare notes on the results from their schools. I would suppose, since the whole thing is being done by computers, the results could be ready as soon as a fraction of a second after the survey closes.

According to the header on the survey, the results will be kept secret from stakeholders who do not have access to APS' "protected" intranet site, and that they will not be "ready" until the "start of the 2010-11 school year".

APS Supt Winston Brooks has just received an award for "transparency".

What a joke.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible ...

President John Kennedy wrote;

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
make violent revolution inevitable."
UNM President David Schmidly is under considerable criticism over his inability, or unwillingness, to fold the faculty into the decision making process.

During a recent awards ceremony, a faculty member, Howard Waitzkin, who was receiving UNM' highest award for teaching, took the opportunity to criticize Schmidly over his failure. He went so far as to demand Schmidly's resignation.

The teacher is being criticized for being "uncivil" by bringing his protest to the awards ceremony.

Which begs the question; where else could he, should he, have made his protest?

The answer is that there really is no other place. Schmidly and his ilk, offer no venue where they can be criticized; no place where anyone can stand up and petition them over their failures as public servants.

If anyone is responsible for the "violent" revolution at the awards ceremony, it is Schmidly himself, who offered no opportunity for a "peaceful" revolution instead.

The gentleman who is criticizing the teacher who spoke up; admits, according to the Journal, link;
"Simple honesty prevents me from denying that the sentiments expressed by (Howard) Waitzkin — regarding this president's ability to lead the university forward — appear to be shared by a large number of the faculty."
... none of whom have any venue to stand up and complain either.

APS senior administrator gets award - from APS vendor

APS Chief Information Officer Tom Ryan, has received an award from the New Mexico Technology Council, link.

Dig a little, and you will find that the New Mexico Technology Council, link, it is sponsored by a company, TIG, that is making a killing selling electronic chalk boards to APS.

TIG has been the subject of investigations by KRQE's Larry Barker, link, and by photojournalist and blogger, Mark Bralley, link.

You scratch my back;

buy a lot of very expensive electronic chalkboards,

and I'll scratch yours;

give you a shiny award to hang on your office wall.

Business as usual; APS.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Denish disconnect

Though the story by Deborah Baker; "GOP Candidates Already Taking Aim at Denish", was in the Sunday Journal, pg A6, I cannot find it on line; I cannot link you to it.

If I could, I would, and I would ask you, has a line had been crossed? Has our "newspaper of record" has published a political endorsement under the guise of news? Is this journalistic malpractice?

If the "report" had been written by Denish's campaign, it couldn't have been more glowing.

I take particular exception to one claim by Baker;

Lt Gov Diane Denish has "... way more experience than anyone else running for Governor.
By "experience", I take Baker to mean,
has been doing something of consequence in Santa Fe for the last eight years.

Yet, if Denish is asked to point to anything she did during those eight years that actually exposed any of the culture of corruption in Santa Fe, she can point to nothing of consequence at all.

If ones digs a little deeper into the question; why shouldn't Denish be held accountable for her failure to act more decisively in the fight to protect the public interests from public corruption and incompetence; the most oft offered excuse, she was of no consequence in the administration;
"Diane Denish was powerless to do anything
except what Bill Richardson told her to do."
Well Denish can't have it both ways, and neither can Baker.

Either she was a player,
in which case she needs to explain why she did nothing
to expose the corruption around her,

or, she was not a player, and should stop pretending.

Never once in eight years
was she able to summon
the competence, and
the character, and
the courage

to take the fight directly to
corrupt and incompetent
legislators and public servants
around her.

Was she complicit, complacent, a coward, ..., which is it?

According to Baker, Denish says
"We're going to be prepared to tell my story"
When will it be ready? How much preparation does it need?

Is it still too unbelievable?

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Policy Committee Meeting agenda is noteworthy

There will be a meeting of the APS School Board's Policy Committee Tuesday at 5pm; as per usual, it will begin before stakeholders with jobs can get to the meeting.

The agenda, link, is noteworthy in a couple of aspects.

It marks a beginning of alignment between policies and procedural directives. The board creates a policy, the administration creates a procedural directive that implements it. The policy and the directive are being proposed and discussed together. Ultimately, this will improve both policies and procedures.

At the bottom of the agenda, "future topics".

At one time, "future topics" included the discussion of whether the leadership of the APS will actually hold themselves honestly accountable as role models of the student standards of conduct.

Specifically, there is a motion, currently "tabled", to restore the role modeling clause to the code of conduct that applies to the leadership of the APS. The clause used to read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult,
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
That discussion has been dropped from "future topics". It has simply disappeared from the agenda. Poof, its gone.

They are no longer even pretending that they intend to hold an open and honest discussion of administrative and executive role modeling of the student standards of conduct.

If nothing else, this is a violation of Robert's Rules of Order.
Board policy specifically and explicitly requires business according to Robert's Rules.

This of course is why they don't want to be held accountable
as role models of the Student Standards of Conduct;
under those higher standards,
people are actually expected to obey the rules.

We don't need a Governor who will prosecute public corruption

We do need a Governor who will prevent public corruption.

DA Susana Martinez is all about prosecuting corruption.

She assures voters that if elected, she will prosecute public corruption.

Aside from the fact that prosecution of public corruption isn't
a gubernatorial responsibility in the first place,
it is too little, too late, in any case.

If corruption gets to the point where you are prosecuting it,
damage has already been done; tax dollars have been lost,
power has been abused, and the public interests have been

Prosecuting corrupt politicians and public servants does not repair the damage that is already done. And, there is no empirical evidence of which I am aware, that would suggest that even vigorous prosecution has a demonstrable effect as a deterrent.

Martinez' approach is reactive solutions to a problem whose only real solutions lie in a proactive approach.

It's the "issues" stupid.

The reference is to an effort to keep the Clinton campaign
on message, wikilink.

Keeping a political campaign "on message" does not mean keeping the campaign on issues; in fact it means quite the opposite. At best, it means a single issue; not about all of the issues.

There is almost no debate on issues. Instead, we hear candidates like Brian Colón saying things, link, like;

he is "... going to fight to stop Republicans who are hurting public schools".
Does that sound like a debate of issues? or does it sound like a campaign staying on message; Republicans are bad, Republicans are bad, Republicans are bad, ...

It is a campaign that plays on the lack of intelligence and sophistication of many voters.

They would be offended, if only they had the intelligence and sophistication to understand what Colón and others are doing to them.

Weh continues to run dishonest ad

Colonel Allen Weh is running a campaign ad that by any ethical measure, is dishonest.

The ad would have the viewer come to believe,
Lt Gov Diane Denish
flew the state jet to a parade, using
"stimulus funds". This despite the fact that the allegation has
been roundly disproved.

Perhaps it was an innocent mistake at some point.
It no longer is.

Weh is deliberately misleading voters in order to be elected.

If past performance is a good predictor of future performance,
current and ongoing performance, is better.

He will deliberately mislead stakeholders after he is elected.

New Mexico politics, as usual.

APOA Martinez endorsement questioned

The Political Action Committee of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, link, endorsed, link, DA Susana Martinez.

At her weekly office hours on Saturday,
Rep Janice Arnold-Jones
expressed her disappointment that she had not been included in the process;
no questionnaire, no interview,

no anything.

I have emailed Daniel J Champine for details. He is the APOA Vice President, and the chair of the committee;

I need some information for a post I am writing on the APOA endorsement of DA Susana Martinez for Governor.

Please give me an outline of the process;
  • how many members on the political action committee? is the membership posted anywhere?
  • did they conduct interviews
  • surveys? and are the surveys posted or available somewhere?
  • review records? which? are they posted or available somewhere?

If there is any other information that might illuminate the process, I would appreciate it.

I am grateful for your time and attention.

ched macquigg

I can't imagine how this is going to shake out honest, but they have an opportunity to explain, defend, deny or acknowledge the injustice in their endorsement process.

Candidate Susana Martinez must have been aware of the (lack of) due process, had the opportunity to decline the "shady" endorsement, and chose not to;
“It is with extreme pride that I accept the endorsement
of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association.
- Susana Martinez

New Mexico politics, as usual.

photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, May 08, 2010

APS School climate survey

The leadership of the APS is conducting a "climate survey".

I have asked to see a copy of it.

So far, they have surrendered nothing.

I expect that it does not gather any data which could be used to hold an administrator individually accountable for incompetence or corruption.

Corruption and Democrats

Blogger Joe Monahan reports on a survey of Democrats, link.

A poll of 400 registered Democrats conducted last week ranked jobs as far and away the #1 issue on their minds. 41% said that was their primary concern. Government corruption ranked third with only 8% citing it as their top issue. Education came in second with 27% and the environment was fourth with 8% calling that their number one issue.

Normally I try not to use global terms to argue specific issues. But it does seem to me that Democrats are more likely to enable corruption than Republicans are. Democrats seem more willing to accept "that's the way it's done in New Mexico" as justification for doing unethical, and even illegal things.

Democrats are prepared apparently, to re-elect the same people who have presided over what could be the most corrupt and incompetent administration in state history.

Complicit, complacent, or what, exactly?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Wasting time, writing standards.

By any reasonable measure, APS students are not up to "standards".

APS Winston Brooks' solution; "Let's go in search of other standards!" link

It is a variation of a recurring theme; juggle the standards every few years.

If you had a set of standards, like the ones we had when we were in school, and you used those standards over and over again, you would be able to spot trends; scores going down every year.

But if you re-norm the test every few years, then you always have too few years to point to a statistically significant trend.

Camouflaging the trends serves the interests of those who are responsible for the direction of the trend. If things are getting progressively worse, it pays to confuse the facts.

If students were doing better every year, you can bet that they wouldn't be looking for a "better" set of standards.

There are two pillars supporting performance;

  1. standards, and
  2. accountability to those standards
We have standards enough. We have too little accountability.

We have too little accountability at every level.

We will not find accountability in a search for other standards.

"Better standards" is a red herring; they would rather talk about standards than about accountability.

They have never met the standards; they have always fallen short.

You don't know that, because they re-norm the tests every few years.

It works well.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Shared governance.

UNM President David Schmidly is in hot water over his inability and/or unwillingness to share governance, link.

APS Supt Winston Brooks would be in hot water over the same issue, if only the truth were as widely known.

Shared governance; the right of stakeholders to participate meaningfully in decision making that affects their interests.

There is no point in arguing over whether stakeholders actually have such rights. We teach students that they do. You buy it or you don't.

If you buy it, you enable stakeholder participation.

If you don't buy it, you obstruct stakeholder participation.

The most fundamental level of participation in decision making is, sharing the truth. If you buy stakeholder rights, you share the truth. If you don't buy stakeholder rights, you manipulate the truth to your own ends.

The truth belongs to everyone equally. Withholding the truth prevents shared decision making about that truth.

Schmidly, Brooks, et al, believe, they own the truth;
it is theirs to distribute as they see fit.

Then APS Supt Peter Horoschak once told me;

"You can't just tell the truth.

You never know how someone might try to use it."
They survive by hiding the inconvenient truths that would be exposed by independent reviews of their internal standards and accountability.

If you ask either one of them, if they will commence an independent standards and accountability review of their administrations; they will stonewall the question.

They have no intention of sharing governance. And the proof
of that is; they have no intention of sharing the truth.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The three C's of Governorship

Competence, character, and courage.

A Governor must be competent; they must have the skill set necessary to govern effectively.

A Governor must have character; the accouterments of power attached to the state's highest office represent huge temptation. The greater the temptation, the greater the character needed to overcome it.

A Governor must have courage.

I will give Colonel Allen Weh credit for courage and, for the sake of argument, for competence as well.

That leaves character.

Weh has been involved in a number of incidents that require explanation, defense, denial, or at the very least, acknowledgment.

When a legitimate question has been asked, and the respondent is competent to answer, and they have the courage to answer, then it is only (a lack of) character which will prevent them from answering candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Weh has been asked about parking in a red zone and, he has been asked about allegations of a "physical attack" that took place at the Bernalillo County Ward Meetings.

He is yet to respond candidly,
forthrightly, and honestly.

Why not, except as a matter
of character?

photo Mark Bralley

Weh's special parking permit

Heath Haussamen snapped a photograph of Colonel Allen Weh's truck, parked in a red zone, link.

Haussamen reports that though he asked the campaign for a comment, they haven't responded.

How big a deal is it? That's a fair question.

My long held opinion is, if you cannot summon the moral courage and strength to resist minor temptation, why would anyone suppose you had the moral courage and strength to resist temptation when it is large?

More important, his failure to accept responsibility for his misconduct. If he hides from consequences as slight as these are sure to be, isn't it reasonable to expect that he will hide harder when the consequences are greater?

This kind of behavior speaks to Weh's character; there are people, with greater character, who would walk a few hundred feet rather than break the law. There are people who would admit their mistake and accept the consequences.

It reminds me of Gov Bill Richardson speeding down freeways at 110 mph, just because he could.

Monday, May 03, 2010

"Public forum" to be the first order of business.

There will be a school board meeting at Rio Grande High School this evening, at 5:30. You can watch it on line, link.

A public forum is the first order of business, link.

If you are a stakeholder in RGHS, this is as good as it will ever get; a board meeting in your neighborhood, scheduled outside of the usual work day, and a soap box upon which you can stand while exercising the dual first amendment protected rights; freedom of speech and freedom to petition one's government.

Someone please ask them if the Pillars of Character Counts! represent the student standard of conduct at RGHS.

And further, whether by logical extension,
are the Pillars of Character Counts! the standard of conduct for adults as well?

Someone ask them if the person they will install as the senior most administrative role model of the student standards of conduct at Rio Grande High School has any intention at all of stepping up to honest accountability to that nationally recognized, accepted, and respected code of ethical conduct.

If the leadership of the APS has the right to expect students to hold themselves honestly accountable to a higher standard of conduct than the law, some one of them will have to
show them what it looks like.

If we really expect students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor; someone has to show them what it looks like.

Someone has to show them what honest accountability to meaningful standards, looks like.

Denish was asked to tell the truth, her response was, no.

Heath Haussamen asked for Lt Gov Diane Denish
for a copy of her calendar, link.

She said, no, while swaddling herself in feckless law.

What good and ethical reason is there to redact the entire calendar of her public service to New Mexicans?

When the question is; will you tell the truth?
any answer except yes means, no.

Why isn't she proud to show voters her calendar?

Why doesn't she want us to see what she does all day long,
while we are paying her to be the Lieutenant Governor?

There shouldn't be anything on her workday calendar that she should be ashamed or embarrassed about.

What is she hiding?

Why in the world would anyone vote for a politician
who won't tell them the truth about their public service?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Democrats pulling for Weh.

The hard line Dems, the ones who believe electing a bad Democrat is better than electing a good Republican, are hoping that Colonel Allen Weh wins the Republican Primary.

They reason, rightly, that Weh will be the easiest to beat in November.

Notice that to date, they haven't used any of the dirt they have on him.

They're saving it all until after the Primary,
and then they're going to bury him under it.

Take for example, the millions of dollars he has made off
no bid contracts with the government.

There is nothing illegal in no bid contracts, but the point is moot
because the Democrats won't have to explain it to unsophisticated voters. They will just feed upon the prejudice against sweet deals and government.

They'll just blast it over TV a million time with a picture of
creeping around in the dark somewhere. They might
have some cell phone footage the of the altercation Weh
got into at the County Ward Meetings. They'll run the
"I'll clean out the Roundhouse with a baseball bat!" thing
a million times. They will point to his responsibility in all of
the discord in the Republican Party. They will remind voters
how Weh threw a Party member out of a Party convention for
asking a question that he didn't want to answer.

As I recall, there was mention of a baseball bat related to that
altercation as well. Something about, "my bat, my ball, he lost."
or words to that effect.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were Dems donating to his campaign just to make sure he is the candidate against which Lt Gov Diane Denish can spend her millions.

Essential elements of reform

There will never be agreement on all of the elements of reform. There can be immediate agreement on at least one; there must be transparent accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants, within their public service.

Every position in politics and public service must have clear and unequivocal standards of conduct and competence. Standards high enough to protect the public interests.

There must be accountability to those standards by means of an impartial system that is powerful enough to hold even the most powerful, accountable, even against their will.

To the extent that government is not transparent,
it is not under the control of those whose power it is, and
whose resources they are.

We have lost control over our government.

The first step in gaining control, is to gaining ready access to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The power and the resources belong fundamentally to the people. They truth about how they are being spent belongs to the people; all of it. Every aspect of government must be completely transparent, limited only by the spirit of the law.

We must establish control over our government.

It begins with access to the truth.

When the question is;

Are you willing to tell the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth?
any answer except yes, means no.

Public records reform is on the table

There is no reason that public records reform should not be included in the restructuring of state government.

Who is going to write the reform?

If we sit back and do nothing, it will be written in the traditional manner; a demonstrable failure, or it will not be written at all.

The same with webcasting. The same with open meetings.

We know where the battle will be. We know the time, and
the day, and the place. The only thing we don't know is,
if anyone from Team People will be there, ready to rumble.

A lot of people talk about their commitment to transparent accountability. It has come time to walk the talk.

There is an opportunity to stand up and defend the principle.

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.

If no one is willing to sacrifice in defense of a principle,
what does that say about the value of the principle?

And if the principle is of value, what does it say about
the character and courage of those who have talked the talk,
and now balk at walking the walk?

Who is going to show up at the fight for transparent accountability?

Who is going to lead, and who is going to follow?

Someone needs to step up and lead the fight for transparency in our government.

Someone needs to put their pen(s) to a counter proposal from the people.

Someone needs to carry it to the table in room 307 in the Roundhouse.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
make violent revolution inevitable". John Kennedy

The leading cause of failed peaceful revolutions is the people who are not willing to fight for what they believe in.

Is fight the right word?

Either the restructuring will include transparent accountability to the people, or it will not.

Whether it does or doesn't depends on what the committee proposes, and what they are willing to do to defend it. If they are prepared to fight to deny transparent accountability to the people, then the people have to be willing to fight as well.

If what we are willing to do to compel transparently accountable government does not include fighting for it, you have to wonder what we would do with it, if we had it.

If someone does step up; someone else has to stand up behind and beside them. The responsibility to stand up falls upon all stakeholders equally.

With membership in a community comes dues; the obligation to share fairly the burdens that must be born in order for the community to survive.

Someone else first observed;

One can give without caring
but one cannot care without giving.
I would offer a corollary;

You can show up to the fight in Room 307 without caring,
but you can't care about the outcome of the fight, without showing up.

"All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world, is for good men to do nothing"; Edmund Burke.

Or, all that is necessary to lose the fight over transparent accountability, is for good men to do nothing.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Proactive reform

A rally point has been established. In about three weeks the Governmental Restructuring Committee will reconvene. At its conclusion, either the culture of corruption and incompetence has ended, or it will not. Everything is on the table.

I repeat; everything is on the table.

The table belongs to the people.
"That which is on the table" is the prerogative of the people.
The terms of public in-servitude will be established by the people, and not by politicians and public servants.

The people decide what is on the table.

We can sit back and "hope that they get it right",
though in two hundred years, they have not.

Or, we can meet them with our plan for restructuring.
And with our insistence that they act upon it.

Somebody else has to stand up and be counted.

Somebody else has to step up into the breach.