Monday, December 05, 2011

Editors call out Armenta and APS

The Journal editors have pounded out an editorial, link, in which they wonder aloud; "Why are Burping and Cash a Crime in the APS?"

The editorial is manifestly dishonest or, it is based on their genuine belief that a student was actually put in jail for nothing more than burping.

It is within their power and responsibility to actually investigate the facts; to ferret out the public records created between the burp and the slamming of a jail cell door. If there was an assault and battery in there somewhere, shouldn't it be part of the story?

They complain that APS Executive Director of Communications and Crisis Manager Monica Armenta (APS) has yet to comment on the lawsuit "... which raises troubling allegations ..." but not troubling enough, apparently, to warrant a real investigation and reporting.

The public record of the actual arrest is held by the city, not APS. A Journal reporter could get a copy if they thought it (the truth; the whole truth and nothing but the ethically redacted truth) was important.

Armenta did comment actually; telling the Journal a few days earlier, link; she "... had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment."

"Could not" being the fly in the ointment. (Ignore for the time being, the premise that APS' Crisis Manager "has not seen" a lawsuit that will affect APS' image so dramatically.)

APS administrators and board members routinely pretend that the law "prohibits" them from standing and delivering candid, forthright and honest answers to legitimate questions about the public interests and about their public service.

When Armenta was a presenter at District Goal Setting Meetings, she often told citizens that she was not allowed to respond to their legitimate questions.

When Board Members hold public forums, they claim they're not allowed to respond to questions asked in public forum.

Not allowed? by whom? each other?

The editors argue;

"... when you are funded by taxpayer dollars and accountable to the public you owe them a full explanation ..."
They continued;
"The “P” in APS stands for public. District officials owe students, parents and taxpayers a complete accounting ..."
So how do you explain the fact that the Journal editors are ignoring the dispute over the petition for standing for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication?

If the editors really want a complete accounting of the spending of the public trust and treasure, why aren't they standing in support of an earnest effort to do exactly that?

Why won't they write an editorial in support of the petitioners and their petition; why won't they decry the board's months long denial of due process?

Why won't they call the the board out for;
  • denying due process to hundreds of whistle blower complaints, or
  • hiding the Caswell Report on public corruption in the leadership of APS' police force,
  • their unlawful restraining order banning dissidence at public forums at school board meetings, and arresting a half dozen petitioners for holding posters in a peaceful petition of their grievance against their school board.

Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz and School Board Member Marty Esquivel are tight. The two of them managed to bamboozle the NM Foundation for Open Government's Board of Directors into giving APS Supt Winston Brooks their formerly prestigious Dixon Award, while was and still is, refusing to surrender an ethically redacted version of the Caswell Report to public knowledge, and refusing to explain, defend, or even acknowledge his refusal.

The integrity of the editorial staff is damaged by their failure to acknowledge the appearance of a conflict of interest in Walz deciding what truths about Esquivel and Brooks, get investigated and reported upon.

An honest investigation and report upon ethics and accountability in the leadership of the APS, including but not limited to the denial of due process to a legitimate citizen petition, would go a long way to restore their integrity.

In the meantime, the editors doth protest too much
about the wrong things.

cc the editors upon posting.

frame grab Mark Bralley

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