Friday, September 30, 2011

Armenta; lying?

APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta told a group of administrators, teachers, and community members; if they had a question, she would respond to it.

She said, nobody has ever
complained that she and they,
don't respond to questions.

The truth is; she is the named respondent in just such a complaint, link.

The discrepancy flows from one of two wells; incompetence or corruption. Either she "forgot" about that complaint, or she lied about it.

I tend toward the latter. When she was asking attendees for suggestions to improve communication between the politicians and public servants in the APS and the community members they serve; I raised my hand and indicated aloud that I wished to be recognized. She voiced her denial and turned to recognize someone else.

I kept the floor and suggested that the district could improve communication by providing due process for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications. I held up a small banner with the name and concept spelled out.

Armenta demanded that I hold my banner down;
I defied her unlawful demand.

The detail of APS police officers assigned to Mark Bralley and me, were courteous and professional all evening. They witnessed the incident but did not intervene.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sheriff has two PIOs; neither will respond.

I have emailed legitimate questions to the two Sheriff's Department Public Information Officers; Deborah Garcia and Jennifer Vega Brown.

Of the one I asked;

Via "contact the sheriff link"
I am trying to track down records on an incident at Rio Grande High School that happened on 8/18/11. Sheriff's deputies were involved in an incident involving APS Police and students. APS' report number is #11-1457. I am in hope that you can give me the BCSO number so I can track down the records.
and of the other;
Ms. Vega Brown,

I am wondering if the MOU response letter from the APS board and the sheriff's response to it, are available for surrender under the IPRA.
If the letters between the APS School Board and the Sheriff enjoy exception under the Inspection of Public Records Act, then she should point to the exception. Otherwise, she should answer the question about whether the BCSO will surrender the records or, fight to keep them secret.

What if APS and Sheriff Dan Houston really are meeting privately to negotiate a "grandfathering in" of the corruption in the APS Police Department; a massive scandal that will become public if the MOU about them holding evidence of their own corruption, takes effect before statutes of limitation expire on their crimes?

Don't the people have a right to know?
Perhaps they might want to hold Houston accountable for the
betrayal, at his next election.

I am concerned that the Sheriff's Office is offering so little help in tracking down their records of the incident at Rio Grande High School. Our efforts to retrieve a copy of the BCSO report, efforts that would normally produce the record, have been unsuccessful.

If KRQE did take the story down as I was told, then they have put it back up, link; a brawl at RGHS to which deputies were called. Vega Brown was interviewed in the report; she must know what their report number is.

It's too soon to say the BCSO report has vanished; but it would be consistent with what I was told; that APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez asked the Sheriff's Office to change (or vanish?) their report.

In any event, it's always bad when you ask a public servant a question and they ignore it.

If the truth is exculpating, why do they need to hide it?

Esquivel on tap for tonight

School Board Member Marty Esquivel will host District Goals Community Meeting, link, at Jefferson Middle School tonight.

He and the rest of the leadership team will spend two or three hours trying to convince stakeholders that they are being listened to; that two-way communication is taking place.

Any good and ethical definition of "two-way communication" in this context, would include, the opportunity to ask any legitimate question and expect a candid, forthright and honest response.

Yet if you ask;

  • why they will not publish an ethically redacted version of the Caswell Report, or
  • why they have not given District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, the evidence they have collected of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators, or
  • why they will not provide a role modeling clause in their own standards of conduct, or
  • why they will not allow an independent audit of APS administrative and executive standards and accountability, or
  • why they will not provide due process for more than 300 whistleblower complaints, or
  • why they will not give due process to the Citizen's Advisory Council Petition?
neither APS Supt Winston Brooks, nor Marty Esquivel will respond candidly, forthrightly or honestly.

If you ask Esquivel;
  • what authority he has to create an unlawful restraining order to stifle dissidence, or
  • what authority he has to order the APS Police Department to enforce the unlawful order, or
  • why he will not hold himself honestly accountable as a role model of the standards of conduct he establishes and enforces upon students, or
  • why he opposes the independent standards and accountability audit he once championed, and
  • why he went along with Paula Maes when she declared her opposition to any audit that would individually identify corrupt or incompetent administrators?
he will not respond candidly,
forthrightly and honestly.

He will dodge the question
and attack the questioner.

It's just the way he rolls;
he's a thug.

If you ask Esquivel's crony
Journal Managing Editor
Kent Walz, why none of this
is newsworthy, he will join Esquivel in denying you a candid, forthright and honest response.

It's just the way they all roll.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We're playing Russian Roulette with our kids' safety

The leadership is all about gun references in their upset over the implications of Sheriff Houston revoking the commissions of the officers in their Praetorian Guard.

  • APS Supt Winston Brooks said, "We're playing Russian Roulette with children's safety."
  • Board Member David Robbins said he's upset about Houston's "gun to the head" negotiating style.
  • Board Member Marty Esquivel warned, "We're headed toward a shoot out at the OK corral."
  • Chief Steve Tellez added to the attempt to whip up some hysteria by claiming "the schools will be in chaos" if only sheriff's deputies and APD are there to defend them.
In retrospect, arming them seems a little less prudent.

Brad Winter lied

According to the APS Student Standards of Conduct, link;

Honesty in communications is expressing the truth as best we know it and not conveying it in a way likely to mislead or deceive. There are three dimensions:

Truthfulness. Truthfulness is presenting the facts to the best of our knowledge. Intent is the crucial distinction between truthfulness and truth itself. Being wrong is not the same thing as lying, although honest mistakes can still damage trust insofar as they may show sloppy judgment.

Sincerity. Sincerity is genuineness, being without trickery or duplicity. It precludes all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading.

Candor. In relationships involving legitimate expectations of trust, honesty may also require candor, forthrightness and frankness, imposing the obligation to volunteer information that another person needs to know.
Listen to APS COO Brad Winter talk about the 700 felonies investigated by the APS Police Department last year, link, 2 hours 52 minutes.

Note; there are two kinds of felonies on the table; property crimes and others; like public corruption and cover up. Houston's MOU clearly allows APS PD to investigate felony property crimes, but does not let them investigate their own felony criminal misconduct. Winter's deliberate attempt to conflate the two is intended to "create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue".

You will hear him say (quoted in significant part, view the context yourself);
  • (if the MOU takes effect) "...we could not do felony investigations ..."
  • "... APD and the County would have to do all felony investigations .."
  • there were "... over(sic) 750 felony investigations we did last year ..."
  • he told city CAO Robert Perry that "... you (APD) would be doing those (750) investigations in the schools..."
Are there really more than 750 felonies committed in the APS each year (which will have to be investigated by the APD because they aren't property crimes which the MOU clearly allows them to investigate, or is Winter trying to deliberately mislead interest holders?

Another measure of his honesty, his character and his courage, is his (un)willingness to tell the truth. Ask him for an candid, forthright and honest record of the spending on their new, and utterly unjustified, new board room. He will not respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly. He will not respond at all; thought stonewalling (silence) is expressly prohibited in the standards of conduct he, and they, establish and enforce upon students.

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

Brad Winter has lied, and
he won't tell the truth.

He should be fired from APS,
and he should lose his seat on
the City Council.

Don't worry about how he'll
make out. APS pays his wife's
law firm more than enough
every year off education dollars
flowing through the APS to keep
them from starving.

photo Mark Bralley

Tellez threatens whistleblowers

I am told, APS Police Chief Steve Tellez sent an email to his troops, informing them that Sheriff Dan Houston has extended their commissions for another month.

And, that he went on to warn them, any whistleblowers would put their jobs at risk by talking to Houston about the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS. I am not the only person, apparently, who has gone to the Sheriff and pointed to the criminal misconduct and cover up.

Flash back five years to a time when the Journal was still investigating and reporting upon the corruption in the APS Police Department, link.

One of the first things APS Asst Supt Tom Savage did (when the truth about the felonious criminal background check on his fiancée was getting out) was to tell APS employees to keep their mouths shut or be fired, link.

Deja vu all over again. Yogi Berra

photo Mark Bralley

APS' Fight club cover up

It appears that on August 18, 2011, the fight club at Rio Grande High School was staging a bout. The APS police were called and reportedly maced seven students. I am given to understand that those students called the Sheriff's Department to file a complaint against the APS officers who maced them.

I am trying to get my hands on the two incident reports; one from APS PD and the other from the Sheriff's Department; it isn't easy.

I am also told, APS Director of Communications was on the phone trying to get the BCSO to change their report, and that, that request is what sparked the controversy over the commissions.

None of this can be immediately verified because APS in particular want's to keep the lid on their fight club problem and the macing of the students.

The local media hasn't said a word. I am told KRQE was running the story and then pulled it at Chavez' behest. I couldn't get a confirmation from KRQE, which leads me to believe the allegation is true; the establishment media is part of the cover up.

This IS a negotiation - apparently

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston made it pretty clear; either the leadership of the APS agreed to his MOU, or he would yank his commissions for their police officers. He said; this is not a negotiation.

After an exchange of letters that are being kept secret from interest holders, Houston has apparently reneged on his commitment to hold them to a perfectly reasonable deadline. He will give them another month to get out from under the statutes of limitation that will prevent APS senior administrators from being held accountable for felony criminal misconduct.

There is an apparently news blackout on the deal. What was a big story in the local media is now nowhere to be found.

The news black out would have come at the behest of APS,
and would be feckless except for the cooperation they get
from the establishment media.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Race to the wire

In early 2007, the Journal ran a front page story on public corruption in the leadership of the APS and their police department, link. The felony criminal misconduct that they wrote about happened in late 2006. The exact dates and details are still being suppressed.

The significance is; the statutes of limitation will expire in the next few months.

Jennifer Vega Brown is the Legal Adviser and Public Information Officer for Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston. During our meeting; her legal advice was; statutes of limitation on the felonies in question will expire before the crimes can be prosecuted. I have controverting advice that, as long as an arrest is made and charges filed before the deadline, the statutes of limitation are met.

At the same time, an effort is being made to delay the implementation of the MOU, and its obligation to surrender the testimony and evidence of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators.

Houston's MOU requires them to agree that they will not investigate their own felony criminal misconduct, and they will not hold the evidence of their felony criminal misconduct.

The instant the MOU is signed, the leadership of the APS will have yet another obligation to surrender the evidence they're suppressing.

The Board is pushing back on Houston's deadline.

Houston said; it's not negotiable.

At 3:13 into the meeting, link, School Board Member David Robbins actually defended their position; they should be allowed to to investigate their own felony criminal misconduct, and then hold onto the evidence (until statutes of limitation expire).

Robbins also suggested that APS insure itself in order to absorb the liability. He says APS can pay for their self-insurance. Instead of what? He says the costs of self-insurance will be borne by the District not by the County. That means the district has to come up with whatever amount of money is required for the losses when APS police department and the board are sued. Operational money will be put into escrow instead of into classrooms.

Remarkably, none of this is "newsworthy".

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, September 26, 2011

APS vs BCSO; "shoot out at the OK Corral"

At 3 hours and 2 minutes into the board meeting, link, you can hear what open government lawyer and hero of transparency Marty Esquivel said; beginning with his reference to the famous gunfight, wikilink, and the need for everyone to keep their mouths shut.

Kathy Korte had just said she wanted some legal advice from their attorney Modrall lawyer Art Melendres, on APS' options with regard to commissioning its police officers.

Before Melendres could open his mouth, Esquivel cautioned the board about asking Melendres any questions in a public forum, the answers to which they might now or later, want to keep secret from APS stake and interest holders, and the courts. Esquivel believes that as long as the law allows him/them to hide the truth, it is then alright to hide the truth. In particular, if hiding the truth serves their interests in any litigation.

Melendres then told the board, his strong preference would be to furnish the board with the truth in a "confidential opinion".

That the law allows them to do this is self evident. They would rather that you believe the law requires them to.

The standard of conduct they hold up for students reads;

People of character are oft required to do less than the law allows and more than the law requires.
The student standards are higher standards of conduct than the law; the lowest acceptable standard of conduct.

The question is not; how can they hide the truth (the law allows it), but rather, why do they need to? They can't hide the truth from the public except in the public interests. How are public interests served by denying them the benefit of a legal opinion prepared at their expense?

Politicians and public servants are allowed by the law to keep certain truths secret from public knowledge. They are allowed to do this for good and ethical reasons.

There are no good and ethical reasons to hide the truth about the commissioning of APS police officers. If there were, they would point to them. They would point to the need to keep the truth hidden and defend it. There aren't, they can't, they won't.

The law allows them to keep the truth "confidential"; the law doesn't require them to.

For some reason they will not disclose, the leadership of the APS needs to hide the truth about what their options are in gaining commissions for their Praetorian Guard.

They are using the same dodge to hide the Caswell Report on felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators and the subsequent cover up. The Caswell Report is a public record, politicians and public servants commissioned the investigation within their public service and used public money (classroom dollars) to underwrite it.

The board's lawyer claims, because their lawyers hired the PI, the investigator's report is "work product" covered by attorney client privilege, and therefore excepted from public inspection and knowledge. It's bullshit of course, but they have provided for themselves an unlimited budget for litigation and a shameless and utterly unabashed record of its use. Their bullshit will float for however long they need it to; to the Supreme Court if they feel like it; cost is no object.

The law does not require them to hide the report that names the names of APS senior administrators who committed felonies, it allows them to.

The question still; why do they need to?

Marty Esquivel suggested that a public servant, a charter school principal, was a coward for not standing in a public meeting and responding to legitimate questions about the public interests and her public service. He said, "it says a lot" about her character.

His own unwillingness to respond to legitimate questions about the public interests and his public service, says precisely the same thing about his character and courage.

Ask Esquivel why (not how) they are hiding the Caswell Report, and you will find his advocacy for the need for politicians and public servants to stand and deliver, doesn't apply to him. Just as the prohibition of personal attacks (like calling someone a coward for not being honest) at board meetings; doesn't apply to him. Just like the board policy prohibiting individual board members from creating unlawful restraining orders doesn't apply to him. Just like of prohibition of giving unlawful orders to the APS Police Department, his Praetorian Guard, doesn't apply to him.

Blame the Journal and the rest of the establishment media for his continued success.

photos Mark Bralley

Seven Rio Grande students maced by APS PD?

Please note the question mark following the statement.

I will try to find out some details about the fight club at Rio Grande High School, the fight that prompted the intervention of the APS police including chemically macing seven students, and the subsequent intervention of BCSO deputies.

It will not be easy, my source said that APS Communications Director Rigo Chavez ordered/asked the local media to not cover the story; the already beleaguered RGHS doesn't need anymore bad press.

This would be exactly the kind of information APS and its media cronies would hide. A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found that APS routinely falsified crime statistics in an effort to bolster schools reputations and to make the schools look safer than they really are.

The scariest part of course, is the willingness of the media to aid and abet the cover up.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Can the APS School Board commission its own police officers?

During the school board's discussion
of their response to Bernalillo County
Sheriff Dan Houston's MOU, APS
COO Brad Winter was called to the

Winter told the board that he had
received a letter of support from
Alb Police Chief Ray Schultz.

Winter then read from his letter.

Schultz claims, a statute exists,
under which the board could
commission its own police officers.

Nobody else, including APS' own
lawyers, has heard of the statute.

If it actually exists, there would
have been no need for the APS
to have gone to the legislature
twice in failed attempts to create one.

Board member Peercy asked Winter to ask Schultz to identify the statute.

So far, apparently, he has not. Perhaps because he cannot.
It would appear that Schultz' imaginary statute is just that,
and nothing more.

And still, Winter refuses to surrender a candid, forthright, and honest accounting of public spending on their new board room. Are board members really sitting in chairs for which we paid eight hundred dollars each?

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not much point in having rules if you don't know what they are.

The Albuquerque School Board avers; their meetings are run according to Robert's Rules of Order.

During the meeting Wednesday, during a discussion/debate of an issue, someone "called the question".

According to Roberts Rules, the discussion ends immediately, and an immediate vote is taken on whether to call the question. If the majority votes yes, then another vote is taken on the question which is being decided. If the vote is no, the discussion begins again.

Maes held a vote to "call the question". It passed.
And then she moved on; that was the end of it.
They never voted on the actual motion.
They didn't pass anything. I hope it wasn't their vote to close
that poor Charter School. (Update; it the district has finally posted the video of the meeting; it was the CATA vote that wasn't really taken.)

I don't point to this seemingly careless error out of pettiness.
This wasn't the first time they've done this, link.

I have (politely!) informed them of their error. They won't acknowledge the problem. Neither will they acknowledge their error in making a motion by saying, I motion this, or I motion that.

No, no you don't. You either move to do this, or you make a motion to do that. Perhaps you offer a motion, but you don't move to do the thing.

They remain ignorant. or the very best, oblivious, of Roberts Rules of Order by their own deliberate choice. They don't have a real parliamentarian by their own deliberate choice.

And that's what makes it a big deal. It's not that they are ignorant of the vocabulary and the rules they pretend to follow, it's that they are, by their own deliberate choice.

"Schools will be in chaos!" sez Tellez

Recently, secretly, promoted APS Chief of Police Steve Tellez was asked to come to the podium at the school board meeting Wednesday night.
The agenda had moved to discussion of, and action on, Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston's insistence on their agreement to his Memorandum of Understanding.

Chief Tellez was asked what would happen if Sheriff Houston revokes his commissions for APS police officers.

"The schools will be in chaos" he replied.

Can you believe that?

photo Mark Bralley

"This is not a negotiation."

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston cannot make himself clearer;
if the leadership of the APS wants
commissions for their "police",
they will sign his MOU
by the end of the month.

The School Board decided instead,
to write a letter to him asking for
another thirty days to plan their
next move.

The leadership of the APS wants to negotiate the terms of their surrender. Specifically, they want to "grandfather in" all of their current corruption. They want to continue to hide their cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.

Houston is crystal clear on two points; police officers holding his commissions will not investigate their own corruption, and police officers holding his commission will not hold the evidence of their corruption. His MOU reads;

h. Any report of a crime which may be determined to be a felony offense, excluding property crimes, shall be promptly reported to and investigated by the BCSD or APD.

i. All crimes which may be determined to be felony offenses, including property crimes, shall be documented utilizing a New Mexico State Uniform Police Report and a copy shall be provided to the Sheriff within twenty-four (24) hours of the initial report.

j. Any evidence collected by APS police in relation to any crime that may be determined to be a felony, excluding property crimes, shall be submitted to BCSD or APD for tagging and safe keeping...
The instant the leadership of the APS signs the MOU, they will be obligated to surrender the evidence they are hiding.

Depending on the actual dates the crimes were committed, statutes of limitation will expire in the next few months. BCSO Legal Adviser and PIO Jennifer Vega Brown said there is too little time to prosecute the felonies before the statutes expire, but exposing the cover up before they do, would be significant.

Even if the APS senior administrators who committed the felonies will not face justice, they should at least face the people whose interests they betrayed. They should be identified.

APS wants to hide their names and crimes until after the statutes of limitation actually expire.

I would urge the Sheriff to stand fast on his deadline. I would further urge him, upon their signing, to demand their immediate surrender of the evidence of felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators and their subordinates.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"You get one minute"

Speakers at the public forum at school board meetings normally get two minutes to speak; out of respect for their right to petition their government; the Superintendent and the Board.

Tonight, the community members who showed up to protest
the unilateral decision to end year round schooling at eight
APS elementary schools, link, because there were so many of
them, were given only one minute; out of disrespect for their
right to petition their government; the Superintendent and the Board, link.

First peek at the APS/BCSO MOU

On the agenda for the School Board Meeting tonight, link;

Presentation of Options Relating to the APS Police Department (Discussion/Action)
Presenter: Superintendent Winston Brooks, Brad Winter, Chief Operations Officer, and Steve Tellez, Chief of APS Police Department.
The Board will discuss and take action on the Memorandum of Understanding, link, between the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office and the APS, regarding the issuing of commissions by the Sheriff to APS police officers. The MOU was written by the Sheriff and must be accepted by the leadership of the APS, before Sheriff Dan Houston will agree to continue to provide commissions for APS police officers (without which they have no police powers).

The MOU contains the following stipulations;
h. Any report of a crime which may be determined to be a felony offense, excluding property crimes, shall be promptly reported to and investigated by the BCSD or APD.

i. All crimes which may be determined to be felony offenses, including property crimes, shall be documented utilizing a New Mexico State Uniform Police Report and a copy shall be provided to the Sheriff within twenty-four (24) hours of the initial report.

j. Any evidence collected by APS police in relation to any crime that may be determined to be a felony, excluding property crimes, shall be submitted to BCSD or APD for tagging and safe keeping. The collection of such evidence will be subject to the requirement contained in provisions ‘j’ and ‘k’ below.
The APS police department leadership is in current violation of all three stipulations;
  • they did not, and still have not, reported to the BCSD or APD, the felony criminal misconduct by APS senior administrators. link.
  • they never provided the Sheriff or APD with a copy of a NM State Uniform Police Report on the public corruption in the APS Police Department, and
  • the evidence and testimony collected by the APS PD in their self-investigation of their own corruption, still has not been turned over to the BCSO, the APD or anybody else, even District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, who has admitted that APS PD hasn't given her any evidence of the evidence of felony criminal misconduct.
The question then;
why would Houston accept their assurance that "they will never do it again" when they are currently doing what they're promising not to do?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Would Sheriff Dan Houston read the Caswell Report even if he could?

Let's say that Sheriff Dan Houston could get his hands on a copy of the Caswell Report, would he read it?

The Caswell Report is the final report by a private investigator. He was hired with public money, by public servants, within their public service. It is a public record. It contains the findings of an independent investigation into public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS and its Police Department, link.

The report is a public record that names the names of APS senior administrators who committed felonies. It is being suppressed to protect APS senior administrators and the administration's reputation in the community.

If one were arguing that APS should not be allowed to investigate its own felony criminal misconduct, one would cite the Caswell Report and its subsequent suppression as evidence. But only if one were willing admit that the Caswell Report exists, and is being suppressed in violation of the Governmental Conduct Act.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston says, if the leadership of the APS doesn't stop using its publicly funded private police force to investigate felony criminal misconduct by APS administrators and board members, he will pull the plug on their commissions and put them out of business as anything but security guards.

He is manifestly less inclined to do anything about the fact that they currently are doing just that, in an ongoing effort to cover up the felony criminal misconduct of APS senior administrators.

This is classic good ol' boy problem solving; solve the problem
without admitting that you created the problem or allowed it
to persist.

Sheriff Dan Houston has an obvious need to prevent a recurrence. A lesser need apparently, to investigate, and perhaps arrest somebody over, the past and ongoing self-investigation of felony criminal misconduct and cover up.

As a courtesy among good ol' boys, he will end their public corruption without any one of them ever being held honestly accountable for it.

No heads will roll.

Even though then APS Police Chief Gil Lovato and his lawyer Sam Bregman once averred;
If the truth ever gets out, there won't be a single APS senior administrator left standing.
Houston will end up with an MOU that prohibits the practice of self-investigation of criminal misconduct, without ever having to admit that there is criminal self-investigation going on. And most importantly, without ever having to admit on the record, that APS senior administrators and board members are using their self-investigation privilege to hide their own felony criminal misconduct.

photo Mark Bralley

Stifling success in APS

The Principal at Sandia High School went to the APS Policy Committee for support for starting an International Baccalaureate Program at Sandia High School. The International Baccalaureate program, link, commonly called IB, is a challenging college preparatory program accepted by universities worldwide.

According to the Journal, link, the proposal received a chilly response from most members of the board.

Their resistance fell into two categories; fairness and cost. A number of board members said they thought it would be unfair to place the program at Sandia HS, instead of at a high school in their district. Others thought the cost was unjustifiable.

Board Member Marty Esquivel objected to the program being located at Sandia HS because the school was not "chosen" as the seat of the program by any "real" process. Esquivel wondered;

“Why not allow every high school to, in a fair and open process, apply for an opportunity to run the program in its school?”
In fact, Sandia was not "chosen" at all. A synergy has developed at Sandia which has resulted in their effort to begin a program at their school. Nothing stops any other high school from applying for program status. If board members think a high school in their district could sustain an IB program, why not start one of their own there? Why try to hijack Sandia's program to move it to their school?

Some argue about the (relatively modest) cost. With a start up cost of approximately $40K and an annual cost of about $10K, programs can support between 60-70 students making the annual cost after start up, of between $140 and $170 per student. While in most contexts $40K is a lot of money, in APS $620M annual operational budget, it is small potatoes.

If Sandia was given the $40K they need, would it be the worst spent $40K in the budget? I would suppose that if anyone took a hard look, they would find a number of $40Ks being spent for far less effect.

How much money does APS spend on AVID, link, for instance? AVID is Supt Winston Brooks' pet project and has seen nothing but green lights from the board.

AVID and IB have something in common; they both take exceptional students and offer them exceptional resources, at exceptional cost, in order to produce exceptionally well qualified college bound graduates. Both are about proving that if you take students who are willing to work, and you spend a great deal of time and money on them, they can succeed.

A good faith search of APS' award winning website revealed nothing about how much APS spends on AVID, though a comparison of the costs the board endorses and rejects would be revealing.

Board Member Lorenzo Garcia objected to a program that his constituents would have to travel to get to. He too, would hijack the Sandia program and move it into his district, rather than just start his own.

At one point, he suggested situating the program closer to his district, but on neutral, central ground; the Career Enrichment Center.

Asst Supt Linda Sink informed him that CEC wasn't set up for an IB program and it would cost far more to place it there, demonstrating Garcia's suggestion didn't have a better idea based on facts, it was just his effort to hijack a someone else's plan and superimpose his own agenda.

He did the same thing when the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications submitted their petition to the board; he voiced his support and then immediately tried to hijack their agenda by listing the subjects he wanted to see them discuss.

When it dawned on him that he wasn't going to be able to co-opt the Council's agenda, his support for their Petition evaporated and he joined the rest of the board in denying the petition any real due process.

Board member David Robbins, becoming renown for putting his foot in his mouth, link, offered the most sensible comment on offering programs at some schools that cannot be offered at all;
I don’t think we need to say ‘no’ to any new program if we can’t make it available to everyone, because then what we’re doing is we’re really relegating ourselves to mediocrity in the district.”
One has to wonder at District efforts to stifle innovation and success, whether it be relentless opposition to Charter Schools and their success, or putting down any program that will demonstrate that under different circumstances than the district normally makes available to students, they can in fact be very successful.

photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, September 17, 2011

APS Police won't be able to investigate their own felony criminal misconduct anymore

Under guidelines proposed in a closed meeting between
Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston and APS leadership;
if there is more public corruption in the leadership of the
APS PD, they will no longer be allowed to investigate themselves.

According to the Journal, link, the draft "memorandum of understanding" between the leadership of the APS and the BCSO contains the following stipulation;

Any report of a felony, excluding property crimes, shall be reported to and investigated by the city police or county sheriff.
It would appear that the stipulation is in response to a self-investigation of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators and APS' Police Department, link. The criminal misconduct should have been investigated by an outside agency, not by the APS Police Department itself.

Houston is apparently willing to let that all slide, if they just agree to not do it again.

Nevertheless, Houston has come under fire from APS School Board Member Kathy Korte. She claims that Houston is only making trouble for APS in retaliation for their intention build a sports complex in Houston's neighborhood.

Houston takes umbrage at the suggestion.

In the press conference he claimed; “In that 28 years, my integrity, my honesty or my truthfulness has never been brought into disrepute.”

That he won't do anything about the leadership of the APS and their cover up of just such an inappropriate self-investigation of felony criminal misconduct; that he is apparently willing to ignore previous felony criminal misconduct in exchange for some meaningless promise that they won't do it again, creates the very disrepute he claims doesn't exist.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, September 16, 2011

The editors' take on school closings

The Journal Editors have opined, link, on the action taken in an APS Policy Committee meeting the other night.

They and I are in agreement that closing eight year round schools may not be the best idea, even if it "saves" a few ten thousands of dollars.

Other than that, the editors and I could not agree less.

They are apparently unconcerned that the leadership of the APS made a decision (that affects the interests of thousands of community members) without open and honest public discussion. They made the decision in effective secret from stakeholders.

I, in contrast, could not be more concerned that the leadership of the APS, despite their endless claims of communication with stakeholders, would make such a momentous decision oblivious to stakeholder rights to participate in that decision.

The issue will come up one more time; they have to put the closings on the agenda of a public meeting. They will not solicit nor will they accept, any effort to engage in open and honest two-way communication on the closings or on their decision making process. Asking questions of board members is strictly verboten by their own deliberate decision.

Under their rules; any opportunity for interest holders to engage in two-way communication with the leadership of the APS has passed.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of their servants. They don't get to make rules against the public interests.

Just because they don't allow people to ask them questions, doesn't mean questions can't be asked. Find comfort in the Constitutional protection of your human right to do so.

Government of the people, by the people and for the people,
requires people who are ready, willing and able to define and
defend their right to participate meaningfully in decisions
that affect their interests.

All that is required is for enough people to show up at the board meeting willing to fight for their right to participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their interests.

The Journal, editorially and in the news they report, has expressed no objection to the process which deliberately dis-includes stakeholders. The time for an honest newspaper to stand up for the interests of its community by defending their right to sit at that table has passed. They have given their tacit approval.

Just at they have given their approval of the School Board's denial of due process for a Petition for standing for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication.

If, silence gives consent, then the editors are in consent with the leadership of the APS.

And stand with them, against the people's interests in their public schools.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

APS Employee Standards of Conduct has a role modeling clause

If you dig deep enough in the about to be revised APS Employee Standards of Conduct, link, you will find a vestige of the role modeling clause that used to bind adults to the same standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students;

In no case shall the standards (of dress) for employees be less than those prescribed for students in the Student Behavior Handbook.
That clause used to apply to more than clothing, and actually required adults to be role models of the Student Standards of Conduct.

Years ago, when I tried to hold the school board, senior administrators and their lawyers accountable to the same nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics they enforced upon students, the board created immunity for itself and senior administrators, from being held accountable to the Pillars of Character Counts!, by voting unanimously to strike the Role Modeling Clause from adult standards of conduct; from their own Standards of Conduct.

So now its back, albeit in a nearly meaningless context; the standards of conduct for adult "dress" are to be no lower than the standards for students.

When it comes to standards of conduct for everything except dress, there will continue to be two standards of conduct;
students will continue to be expected to "model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!, while board members and senior administrators will held accountable only to the lowest standards of conduct; the law fraught with all the "legal" loopholes, technicalities and weaselry that (our) money can buy.

The School Board and administration steadfastly refuse to hold open and honest public discussions of student standards of conduct, and of the obligations of adults, in particular school board members and administrators, to hold themselves honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students, as role models for students.

That is after all, what role modeling means.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

APS leadership usurps power and gets away with it

Just for the hell of it, I have submitted a letter under that subject line, to the editors of the Journal. The letter was the following, previous post, verbatim.

They acknowledged receipt by offering their "thanks".

Interest holders denied due process

APS is shutting down a few year round schools to save a few ten thousands of dollars, link.

Those who have an interest in these neighborhood elementary schools;

Mary Ann Binford, Susie Rayos Marmon, Cochiti, Oñate, Mark Twain, Navajo, Duranes and Eugene Field
were denied due process when APS' Policy Committee decided to shut down their year round school calendar without allowing them meaningful participation in the decision making process.

There was no public forum. There was no opportunity for citizens to petition their government for redress of their grievance. There was no open and honest two-way communication.

Their interests were defended by an APS senior administrator.
It doesn't make any difference which one it was; they are peas
in a pod.

The Journal was compelled to admit the truth;
Representatives from the affected schools were not at the committee meeting. On their behalf, APS Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Andrea Trybus told the board the calendar is popular.
  • regarded with favor, approval, or affection by people in general,
  • pertaining to, or representing the people, especially the common people,
  • of the people as a whole
Closing neighborhood schools is government.

If it is really is to be government of the people, by the people and for the people, mustn't there be people?

The leadership of the APS is perfectly content to make decisions about your interests without offering you a seat at the table where their decisions will be made. It actually comes in
"kind of handy".

They get away with it, because it isn't establishment "newsworthy".

Korte not being candid, forthright and honest

Though she (and the rest of the leadership of the APS) are role models of APS Student Standards of Conduct, and are thereunder required to be candid, forthright and honest in their dealings, School Board Member Kathy Korte shows a different side in the Journal this morning, link, with an op-ed response to Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston. She begins;

Let’s talk facts when we discuss the Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department ...
and then proceeds to do otherwise.

She begins with a "half fact", which if you accept the proverb which reads; a half truth is a whole lie, sets the tone for her whole effort;
"... an FBI audit that found inconsistencies and irregularities in the APS Police Department. After that audit – in 2006 – the APS Police Department not only fixed faulty practices but under the new administration of Winston Brooks has worked to prevent future mistakes ..."
She also points to support for the APS Police Department from;
"... the previous APS administration, Board of Education, a 14-member community commission, then-Sheriff Darren White and Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz.
but conveniently fails to mention the Council of Great City Schools Audit, link, which was done at the same time and which found;
"The failure of the (board and administration) to act on recommendations contained in previous APSPD studies suggests that they lack the interest and the capacity to oversee the functions of the department."
"The annual statistical crime report ...may be inaccurate and possibly misleading. The team was advised that there is a prevailing culture of under-reporting incidents to improve the image of the district and individual schools."
Korte also conveniently forgets about the Caswell Report; the findings of another concurrent and independent investigation of the corruption in the APS Police Department leadership, which names the names of corrupt and incompetent administrators and is being hidden from legitimate law enforcement and from the public record, in violation of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

The truth; the faulty practices have not been fixed and the APS Police Department leadership is as corrupt as it ever was.

The scandal that provoked the FBI audit is still being covered up. Korte knows, or should know, that APS senior administrators were involved in felony criminal misconduct, link, the only investigation by a police department was done by their own police department, the results of the investigation are being hidden still, from the District Attorney while statutes of limitation expire.

Further, Korte knows, she has witnessed personally, the unlawful enforcement by the APS Police, of an unlawful restraining order issued by then School Board President Marty Esquivel, to stifle legal and ethical dissidence at board meetings.

She continues;
Houston says ... that “legitimate” law enforcement agencies (should) conduct criminal investigations of crimes occurring on APS campuses.
She then ignores the issue completely. APS senior administrators were complicit in felony criminal misconduct. The APS Police Department is part and parcel to the cover up. APS should never have been allowed to investigate its own corruption; the appearance of a conflict of interest is bone-crushing.

Essential to her efforts to interfere with the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Sheriff and the APS, is her claim that Houston only wants one in an effort to "get even" with APS, for a stadium APS plans to build in his neighborhood.

It is classic APS; attack the messenger (or his motivation) and ignore the message.

What is Korte really afraid of? Would the MOU put in crimp in the style of their publicly funded private police force; their Praetorian Guard? Would it expose the corruption and incompetence the leadership of the APS is trying so hard to hide?

Korte avers; the APS Police Department is
"... very capable of ... handling crimes that occur on campus ..."
Correct, if by "handling" you mean, covering up crimes that include administrative or executive corruption or incompetence. They are manifestly capable of that.

Korte herself, is no angel.

When she was running for the board, she advocated for a district wide standards and accountability audit; the kind of audit that would expose the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS and its Police Department. Since her election, not a peep.

When she was running for the board, she advocated in favor of Character Counts!, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct. Students in the APS are expected to "model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!" Adults are not; not since the school board removed the role modeling clause from their own code of conduct, the clause which used to read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
thereby establishing two standards of conduct in the APS; one of the highest for students, and the absolute lowest, the law, for adults (read; administrators and board members).

Since her election, not a peep. Apparently she is waiting for "the topics to come up in discussion", link.

Korte is also part of the conspiracy to deny due process to a community members' petition to establish a Citizens Advisory Council on Communication. She was there the night the petition was submitted, and she knows that the board's only response was an unlawful letter drafted by one board member, a member with no authority whatsoever, to write an individual response.

The leadership of the APS has a lot to hide. Korte is part of the effort to hide it. She sees any open and honest public discussion of an MOU as another step toward revealing inconvenient truths she and rest of the leadership of the APS want to keep hidden.

Houston and his pio Jennifer Brown, continue ignore my emails and offers to sit with him and point out ongoing criminal and civil rights violations by the APS Police Department, including aborted investigations (by the APS PD) of senior administrators implicated in criminal activity.

Korte photo APS, Houston Mark Bralley

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Board considers twelve step plan for communication with administration

Apparently the School Board is having as much trouble getting the administration to answer their questions as is the community. They are developing a twelve step plan, link, under which their requests for information would be honored;

  1. BOE Member requires information from district administrators
  2. BOE member sends request to the EDBOESO regardless of the "work load" to complete the work
  3. EDBOESO designates and forwards the request to the appropriate Leadership Team member/district administrator for completion
  4. Leadership Team Member determines the "work load" to complete the request
  5. Less than 2 hours: Leadership Team member responds to request and CCs the EDBOESO to signify completion
  6. More than 2 hours: Leadership Team member alerts EDBOESO how long the request will take and why
  7. EDBOESO takes the request and justification for time it will take to the Executive Committee for discussion
  8. Executive Committee will determine if the request should be completed in context with all other pending requests from the BOE members
  9. Request Approved: Executive Committee will determine if the request should be a public meeting agenda item or simply provided to all BOE members
  10. Leadership Team member completes request and alerts the EDBOESO when it is completed for presentation to the rest of the BOE members
  11. Information is disseminated by the EDBOESO or at a public meeting as an agenda item
  12. Request Denied: BOE President will alert the BOE member who made the request that the information will not be completed at this time and may discuss a future time for the request completion
Seems just a little silly. Why can't a board member, or a community member, simply ask their legitimate question and expect a candid, forthright and honest response as the proximate result?

Are there administrators with so little to do that they can sit on a committee to determine how questions will be answered?

The posted agenda, link, of the Policy Committee Meeting where this discussion will take place, does not include any opportunity for public comment.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"legal advisor and public information officer"

That's how Jennifer V Brown is billed in her Journal OpEd this morning, link.

How does one do that exactly? Conventional "legal" wisdom is, never say anything, to anyone, ever. The obligations of a Public Information Officer to the public include being candid, forthright and honest with them.

A legal adviser will advise saying as little as the law requires.
A real public information officer advises saying as much as the law allows.

Fundamentally different advice.

How does one do both?

One doesn't.

Houston offers APS a great deal

It's Christmas in September if you're one of the leadership of the APS who is suppressing credible allegations and evidence of felony criminal misconduct by senior administrators.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston is apparently willing to forgive and forget as long as the leadership of the APS promises to not do it again.

We hear, not from Houston himself, who is yet to respond to my emails and my offer to sit with him and point to a list of ongoing criminal and civil misconduct by officers carrying his commissions, but from Jennifer V. Brown; legal adviser and public information officer for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.

She writes, link;

"For example, previously APS was authorized by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department to access information from the NCIC system. After an FBI audit revealed problems, a former sheriff (Darren White) was forced to revoke APS access."
The "problems" revealed by the audit (and being hidden by Supt Winston Brooks, the School Board, and their establishment media friends) are felony criminal acts; at least six of them; not to mention the other publicly admitted felonies; moving money in evidence to petty cash and keeping no records, just for openers.

They will argue; the felonies are petty and don't warrant prosecution. "They" would be arguing from a position with no authority to make that decision. The authority to make that decision lies with the District Attorney Kari Brandenburg. She at least is accountable to voters should she decide to let them slide for their criminal misconduct.

The District Attorney still has not been given the evidence Houston is citing; the criminal misuse of the NCIC criminal data base to harass APS whistleblowers and to run a quick check on a superintendent's fiancee. Houston doesn't have the authority to forgive and forget felony criminal misconduct.

Heads have yet to roll, even as statutes of limitation continue to expire.

Houston says he's willing to "negotiate" with the leadership of the APS.

He is apparently willing to forget about the four and half year long investigation of felony public corruption being done on itself by the APS Police Department (in order to suppress evidence of felony criminal misconduct), as long as they promise to never do it again;
The public should be provided accurate information of criminal activity on APS property and be fully informed of police activity. Felony-level crimes will be handled by APD or BCSD. Evidence of crimes will be handled by APD or BCSD and in accordance with the law. (emphasis added)
Houston knows that the APS PD is "investigating" felony criminal misconduct by its own leadership, he just doesn't want to see it happen again. He has just admitted his responsibility for felony level criminal investigations, and instead of commencing one (on the cover up) he is instead going to negotiate "forgetness" in exchange for some future accountability.

Not good enough Sheriff.

I am wondering if the rights of the victims of the about to be forgiven felony criminal misconduct will be allowed to sit in on the meetings where justice and their day in court is "negotiated" away.

Will those negotiations be held in secret, or will we get to sit in and watch Houston publicly ignore credible evidence and allegations of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct by the leadership of the APS in order to secure some future concessions to accountability?

Houston/Brown and I are in accord at least, on their closing statement;
"Every APS student should feel safe in their surroundings and should have the knowledge that when crime occurs, there will be consequences."
That process begins by holding adults conspicuously accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

It's called role modeling.

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, September 11, 2011

APS' fight club

fight club, in this context;

students making deliberate decisions to meet somewhere on campus, there to have what amounts to "no holds barred" fistfights that on occasion result in disfiguring and even fatal injuries.
KRQE and the evidence, link, suggest there might be a fight club in APS High Schools. There is no good reason to suppose that there wouldn't be; for a lot of reasons, some of which we could actually be doing something about.

For every problem there are a finite number of solutions.

For every problem involving administrative misconduct or incompetence, there are fewer solutions. The solutions are fewer by the number of; any solutions that would include individual identification of the administrator and then holding them actually accountable.

The first administrative and executive priority in times of trouble, is to make sure no one hears about it. A simple test for doubters; go to APS' award winning website, pick a school you have an interest in, and then try to find out how many fist fights there were at that school; how many drug busts; how many weapons have been found.

How can you solve a problem while at the same time hiding it?
Real, effective and efficient solutions are needlessly rejected,
just so some board member or administrator doesn't have to
do a perp walk, wikilink; just so some principal doesn't have
to admit s/he has lost control over their school.

The likelihood of fight clubs in APS schools is inversely proportional to the control adults have over students at any particular school.

When students are out of the control of adults, when students no longer recognize adult authority, there will be fight clubs. There will be all kinds of manifest disrespect for the authority of adults over students.

The authority of teachers over students, the authority of adults over children, is fundamental to education. That authority has been lost; given away actually.

The administration gave it away when they started letting students get away with telling a teacher, fuck you!

If you asked the leadership of the APS who is "in charge" in our public schools, they would tell you, they are.

Who is in really in charge; the adults that establish the rules, or the students who deliberately ignore them? The person is in charge, whose will is being done.

I will tell you that in any school where students deliberately ignore the rules, those students are in charge.

The enforcement of district and school site discipline is first and foremost an administrative responsibility. Any problems with student discipline overall, rest on administrative shoulders.

It is a teacher's responsibility to point out to a student; their disruptive behavior and to ask them to stop it. If the student's response means "no", the student's defiance belongs in the principal's office, not in a classroom and not instead of the ongoing education of as many as thirty other students.

That APS' discipline policies are so feckless, has to do with the fact that the leadership of the APS has never taken the time as to identify and articulate the District Student Discipline Philosophy. Policies without philosophical foundation are like ships without rudders. You can't tell a student who asks why he can't do something (on a philosophical level) because I told you so, and expect to get away with it.

Nowhere is there even so basic a philosophical fundamental as whether students who deliberately ignore the rules should be punished, or given yet another second chance. No where is it written that students must submit to the authority of adults at school. Incredibly, APS Supt Winston Brooks established a discipline policy for middle schools that places a student blatantly disobeying an adult as one of the most minor of offenses.

From an administrative perspective, it's easier to let students run all over the adults at school, than it is to get sued by some parent who thinks their kid was punished unfairly. In particular if they are never held accountable for students running amok, if they never have to communicate openly and honestly about student discipline in the APS.

If the leadership of the APS admitted there are fight clubs in APS middle and high schools, maybe elementary schools, they would have to answer questions about them.

They don't want to do that, so they just pretend instead, there are no fight clubs. Meanwhile, they will do their level best working diligently to address the problem on the QT.

They will fail. They will fail because it is impossibly difficult to solve a problem that requires community intervention and involvement, while at the same time keeping the community in the dark about the problem.

An illustrative example;
Our School Restructuring Council (parents, teachers, administrators) was summoned to a meeting by Hoover MS Principal H Wayne Knight. He wanted us to rubber stamp his movement of lunch duty personnel from where they were actually needed, to surveil a girls' bathroom instead. Why? he told us, someone had been "smoking" in there.

When he saw we weren't going to move anyone to guard a bathroom a few yards from his office, he finally told us that the student had been smoking marijuana in there.

Still unmoved, we adjourned leaving him to watch over his own bathroom.

Rather than tell the truth to the people who were charged with finding solutions; rather than being candid, forthright, and honest with them; he began the process of finding a solution for a problem while at the same time, trying to hide the problem (so neither he nor his school would "look bad").
The point is; he was trying to solve a "problem" without actually admitting that there was a problem in the first place. Failure is as predicable as it is inevitable.

We cannot solve the problem of chronically disruptive students in classrooms without admitting they exist.

A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools found that APS administrators routinely falsified crime and violence statistics to protect the reputations of their schools and the district in general.

A million dollar "communications" effort is going to vanish the problem of fight clubs in APS, long enough for administrators to figure out how to end the fighting without talking to students about it.

And sooner or later; a "good" kid is going to get his teeth slammed into a curb, over and over again, just so some bullies can get on YouTube.

The establishment media; the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB, KKOB, will continue their aid and abet;
Ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS ...? We don't see any scandal. We don't see anything at all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Monica; the fine print

I told you about APS'
Executive Director of
Communications Monica
Armenta, here seen
selling the world class
calendar she and her
million dollar Communications
Department produces, and
her PowerPoint slides, link.

This is one of the slides.

You can't see it, nor could most of the people in the room,
but on the very bottom, it reads; "public records requests".

Armenta would like community members she earns at least part of her $107K a year, by responding to requests for public records.

Ask her for a public record.

Ask her (you will actually ask APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez who is APS Custodian of Public Records) for a public record. Ask her for the Caswell Report on an investigation into felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.

She will not surrender it.

She will tell you how they will get away with hiding this public record; "legal" weaselry, but she won't tell you why they will not surrender it.

She will not tell you the reason they are surrendering as little as the law requires, (as opposed to as much at the law allows). She will not admit that the reason they won't to surrender the report is because it names the names of corrupt and incompetent APS senior administrators who committed felonies, evidence and testimony of which is still being hidden from the District Attorney while statutes of limitation expire.

If there is any good and ethical reason to refuse to surrender an ethically redacted version of the Caswell Report to public knowledge, why would Armenta not point to it?

If you want to know why the leadership of the APS won't surrender the ethically redacted record, you will have to ask Armenta why the leadership of the APS will not surrender an ethically redacted report because her cronies in the media will not.

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Open letter to the Board

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education has a petition before them, link.

They have had it before them for a month.

Their only responses so far; an unlawful letter of gratitude for petitioners interest, and an invitation to attend a months long process with an entirely different goal.

Due process, at a minimum, requires public discussion and action on the petition in a public meeting that complies with the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

By any honest and honorable measure, the petition has been denied due process.

One Board Member, President Paula Maes has taken it upon herself to write a letter in response to the petition. She has no authority to respond to the petition as an individual board member, President or no. School Board Policy on the authority of school board members specifically requires the board to authorize an individual response. The School Board has not given Maes the authority to respond to the petition. If they did, they did it in a meeting in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

There is a Policy Committee Meeting scheduled, link. The agenda is still not posted, nor will it be for as long as the law allows.

When the agenda is posted, it will not include the open and honest public discussion of a petition by a hundred citizens, for standing in their effort to facilitate open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

A public discussion of the petition will not take place for one or both of two reasons. There are only two reasons. If there were a third reason, someone could and would point to it.

School Board members will not talk about the petition because they lack the character and the courage to do so. Either they don't want to talk about open and honest two-way communications, which would be corrupt, or, they are afraid to talk about it publicly, which would be cowardice; individually and collectively.

If there is a third reason; someone point to it.

If they had the requisite character and courage;

Marty Esquivel would renounce his unlawful restraining order,
he would rescind the unlawful order he gave to the APS Police Department to arrest me, and he would respond to legitimate questions candidly, forthrightly and honestly in a public meeting that complies with the letter and the spirit of the Open Meetings Act.

Instead, he, Kent Walz and the Journal will evade questions about the petition and attack the petitioner(s). You watch.

This is about the message; the petition,
it is not about the messengers; the petitioners.

Esquivel has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

School Board President Paula Maes has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

School Board Vice President Analee Maestas has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

School Board Secretary Kathy Korte has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

Chairman District Relations Committee Lorenzo Garcia has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

Chairman Capital Outlay and Technology Committee David Robbins has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

Chairman Policy and Instruction Committee David Peercy has had a month to provide due process for the Council and has not.

These folks have three choices;

  1. put the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication's Petition on the agenda of an open meeting. Allowing meaningful participation by interest holders, and then act, on the record, or,

  2. provide some good and ethical justification for any other treatment of a legitimate and Constitutionally protected petition, which would constitute a good faith response and due process for the petition, or,

  3. concede that the board lacks the courage and the character, individually and collectively, to discuss the petition openly and honestly.

cc board members upon posting, via the School Board Office.

photo Mark Bralley

Poor Monica's PowerPoint presentation

As part of the proceedings at Ernie Pyle Middle School last night. Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta, was called upon to defend the District's progress in meeting the 3rd of their 8 District Goals; Communication.

Although she claims to "sleep very well at night" over what the community receives in exchange for her $107K a year salary, she is clearly defensive about it.

She had to talk so fast to get her accomplishments all listed in her allotted time, Supt Winston Brooks commented on her ability to speak so fast. He credited her years of experience as a talking head in local news.

On the Power Point slides she showed, the poor soul tried to justify her existence by listing apparently, everything she has done in the last few years, item by item.

People in the know, know you can't put more than about a dozen words on a Power Point slide, for a number of good reasons; not the least of which is after awhile they are impossible to read beyond a few feet away, much less across a middle school cafeteria. Even on the handouts depicting the slides, the type size dictated by the volume made the reading tedious at best.

At one point, she announced that her department fields "... an average of between 4 and 40 media inquiries per day." On its face, the statement is mathematically nonsensical. Beyond that, her claim that the media is so interested in APS is undermined by the fact that they don't report on their inquiries at a rate even nearly equal to their reported inquiries.

I point this out only to illustrate a finding of a recent audit of APS' administration which found "... administrative evaluations are subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement".

You don't actually have to have an awesome skill set to pull down more than $100K per year in APS leadership, you only have to perform well in "subjective" evaluation; we like her, she'll help hide our secrets, let's promote her.

The same is true for all administrators, not just Armenta.

photo Mark Bralley

"They" say you can come in, but we will arrest you if you are disruptive.

As we parked in the lot at Ernie Pyle Middle School, APS Police Chief Steve Tellez was standing with two other APS Police Officers. The instant he recognized Mark Bralley and me, Tellez went running inside.

He has unlawful orders from School Board Member Marty Esquivel, to arrest me if I try to exercise my Constitutionally protected human rights to participate in a board meeting, and he was likely confused over whether I could participate in this particular meeting.

Esquivel's unlawful order didn't apply in the context of the Goals setting meeting scheduled for the evening, link, but Tellez is a toady not a thinker, so he ran to Brooks for more specific marching orders.

Brooks orders; I could enter but I would be ejected if I was disruptive.


It is worth noting at this point; when my lawyer asked APS for any public records at all, that demonstrated that I have ever been "disruptive" at a board meeting, the District was able to produce none, not one!

I have been illegally arrested 14 times and APS cannot produce any evidence at all to justify even one of them.
When I reminded Tellez that I didn't need his permission to attend because the unlawful restraining order didn't apply to any meetings beside full board meetings, he seemed unmoved. Either he couldn't comprehend the difference or more likely, the difference made no difference.

photo Mark Bralley

Editors like new APS stadium, then take a pot shot at Bernalillo County Sheriff

The Journal editors like the idea of APS' new west side stadium, link.

They began their editorial in support of the stadium project, by accusing an opponent of the sports complex, Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston of malfeasance. They don't come right out and say it, but their message is clear; Houston is abusing his power in a vendetta against the leadership of the APS, and in an effort to halt the construction.

It the Journal's accusation is true; Houston has violated the law; the Governmental Conduct Act. Why isn't the Journal investigating blatant malfeasance by a sitting Sheriff?

Houston's real concern is that APS Police Officers, who carry a commission from the his Office, are going to (continue to) do things that will create liability for the Sheriff's Office; an APS cop will do something like an unlawful arrest of a citizen at a board meeting, and the resulting law suit will name the BCSO as a co-defendant.

His concern is warranted; if for no other reason than the APS PD's part in the cover up of felony criminal misconduct of APS senior administrators in the illegal use of the BSCO's access to a federal criminal database, the NCIC, to harass APS whistleblowers and to do a background check on a senior administrators fiancee.

The leadership of the APS has not defended their own position over creating a memorandum of understanding about the liability issue. Perhaps because the Journal will do it for them at no cost.

The editorial begins;

Albuquerque Public Schools should not let threats deter it from moving forward with its new West Side sports center.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston, who lives near the project’s 98th Street site, denies his threat to revoke APS police officers’ arrest powers has anything to do with his opposition to the siting of the complex. But the timing of the statement by the man whose office commissions APS officers certainly is questionable as the “APS Recreation Center” moves through its final hoops.
No evidence has been cited that anybody has "threatened" APS leaders over the stadium. The connection between Houston's need for a MoU and his personal objection to the sports complex has not be proven, or even suggested except by School Board Member Kathy Korte and the Journal. If the suggestion is true, it represents criminal malfeasance by Houston. Why is the Journal not investigating that, if they think it's really true?

The same editors who will not investigate credible allegations and evidence of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct in the APS Police Department leadership, argue that the only reason Houston is bringing the issue up, is in retaliation over the sports complex.

Imagine for the sake of argument that Houston really is raising the issue only to create problems for an APS leadership he doesn't like; let's say the messenger has a grudge. How does that affect the message? The question over the BCSO's legal liability is a legitimate question and its legitimacy is unaffected by who asks it.

It is telling that the Journal has not covered the actual story; what Houston's concerns are and why he feels the BCSO need a MoU to protect itself from lawsuits stemming from APS police officers abusing power he gives them.

Do we pretend there is no issue of fallout on the BCSO because of APS' unlawful use of officers commissioned by the BCSO because the guy who raised the question has an ax to grind?

We do, if we follow the lead of APS' cronies on the Journal's editorial board.

photo Mark Bralley