Thursday, February 02, 2012

You missed a great public forum

So did I. I had to watch APS' live stream at home.

The video is supposed to be posted on APS award winning website, Friday.

That's how long it takes two guys and $159K worth of really cool digital electronic recording equipment to make the keystrokes that make it happen.

It's fair to reflect for a moment on the reason why APS doesn't post meeting archives immediately. I am going to suggest it is because they are doing everything the law allows and a little as the law requires, to open government to the oversight of the people.

When it is posted, you will see three people stand up at the podium for the purpose of petitioning their government for redress of their grievance.

The last speaker was a high school student. She came to
complain that the administration at her school was inconsistent
in dealing with teachers. If APS was still giving kids the t-shirt
that read; "stand up for what you believe in, even if your standing alone." she would have earned one for her service above and beyond the student minimum standard; "modeling and promoting the Pillars of Character Counts!".

The first speaker was James "Robbie" Robertson. He came to defend a petition that he and more than 100 other citizens had signed and is being denied due process by the school board.

Within his two minutes, he pointed to his standing, his right to be there; his service in three wars defending his country, his Constitution and his right to petition the government.

The contrast between Robertson and the high school student
could not be greater, yet they both have exactly the same
right to assemble there, to speak freely and to petition the board for redress.

In the middle, in the forum and in this photo, a retired Federal Magistrate Judge, David Walker. He came to defend the same petition for standing for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication.

The CACoC seeks to create venues for open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve, on issues of public interest.

The Judge looked APS Supt Winston Brooks in the eyes when recounted his arrest on Brooks' orders for; "... standing mute and holding a sign" protesting the denial of due process for his petition.

After the Public Forum, you will watch Matters of Importance.
The Supt and Board Members have an opportunity to respond to questions that might have been asked despite their explicitly expressed prohibition against the asking of questions.

Mostly they don't; mostly they didn't last night.

Board member David Robbins did. He suggested that the petition might be unworthy because David Peercy's Policy Committee was rewriting board policy, and the policy the petition cited as one of several justifications for advisory committee standing, K.01, link, might be changed and therefore no longer apply. (They just did the same thing when they rewrote school board policy to deny whistle blower complaints due process and their final review).

K/01 reads in significant part;

Citizens Advisory Councils will exist to provide for greater community involvement in the educational planning process.
Without one word of public discussion of the petition, he's suggesting that the CACoC would not serve an "educational planning" function and was on that basis as well, unworthy of standing.

Kathy Korte spoke to the petition. She was not in a good mood. After the board meeting she was on her way to meet with two community groups who are really upset over the board's redistricting decision. Apparently, Lorenzo Garcia was the only board member willing to accompany her to defend their decision.

She is not a big fan of open and honest two-way discussion between APS leadership and interest holders. She actually said, when she talks about involving the community, she doesn't mean involving them (in open and honest two-way communication), she means petitioners like Robertson should, instead of wasting their time with an advisory council,
get a background check", go to a school classroom and volunteer teaching kids how to read
To Korte and the rest, a citizen standing at a public forum, who may or may not get a response and who must then wait another two weeks for another public forum, to do it all over again, is communication enough.

It's not, and it's not her call.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people
and not of public servants.

photo Mark Bralley

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