Saturday, March 31, 2012

Korte's vendetta denies petitioners First Amendment rights

The First Amendment, quoted here in significant part, reads;

Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In effect it reads;

School Board member Kathy Korte, in
her capacity as a school board member,
cannot legally discriminate against, or
retaliate against, CACoC petitioners
who have peacefully assembled, albeit
with me, by denying them due process
for their petition.

Petitioners are being denied due process as the direct result of Korte's vendetta and her want to "get even" with me,

even it if means abusing the power and resources that have been entrusted to her.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, March 30, 2012

Korte in violation of School Board Code of Ethics

I received an email from someone who attended the District and Community Relations Committee meeting where the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication petition received its first hearing and denial.

During that meeting, School Board Member Kathy Korte spent way too much time dissing me and instead of giving unbiased consideration of a legitimate effort to establish meaningful communications between the district and the community.

He wrote;

Korte really dislikes you and will not knowingly support anything that you are associated with.
I believe him. Korte would vote against the public interests in a heart beat, if in doing so, she can strike a blow, however puny and pathetic, against me.

She does so in blatant violation of the School Board's own Code of Ethics, link, which reads in significant part;
1. Make the education and well-being of students the basis for all decision making ...

4. Establish an open, two-way communication process with students, staff, families and all segments of the community ...

7. Avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof and refrain from using the board position for personal ... gain ...

In basing her decision to oppose the recognition of the
Citizens Advisory Council on Communication, based on my membership in it, she violates their code.

In her obstruction of the Council, she is stifling the opportunity for real two-way communication with the community.

In using her position on the board to retaliate against a petition I signed, Korte is using her position for personal gain.

The School Board Code of Ethics, by their own free admission, is completely unenforceable.

Her malfeasance is also a violation of state law and the Governmental Conduct Act, equally unenforceable if one has enough unscrupulous lawyers and an unlimited budget for litigation against the public interests.

photo Mark Bralley

APS gets a "Sunny" award.

APS' award winning website just got another award, link.

It has been given a "Sunny" by the Sunshine Review, link.

I point this out because if you go to their website looking for the amount of money they spent on their boardroom, for example, you won't find it.

If you go looking for the results of standards and accountability audits, ones that identify administrative corruption and incompetence, you will find none posted.

You will find nothing posted on their website that doesn't help their public perception; the purpose of the website is to create a positive image, not to be transparent.

Yet here they are, receiving an award for transparency; go figure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The room, belongs to the people.

The Torrance County Commission meets in a room that belongs to the people. Not in some esoteric sense, but in the most fundamental sense; they built it, they maintain it, and they make the rules about how the people will behave in it. They are called laws.

There are laws against disrupting public meetings. Not only did the people write the laws, they gave politicians and public servants the authority to enforce them, including police.

When a complaint is filed under the law, the respondent has due process to defend his interests and innocence. When "rules of decorum" are violated, the targets have no due process, especially against their own police.

Politicians and public servants do not have the authority to write their own rules, rules of decorum, about how the people will behave in their room. They have not been given authority to enforce their own rules.

In particular, they have no right to establish and enforce rules applying mostly to people whose outward appearance shows only an interest in gathering information and in holding politicians and public servants accountable in their public service.

Korte proves my point

When the petitioners for the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication came to APS School Board Member Kathy Korte for due process for their petition, they were given instead her lengthy diatribe on what an awful person I am.

It should not go unnoticed that she was able to do that without any opportunity for me to defend myself, because she is able to hide behind APS' publicly funded private police force and their unlawful enforcement of an unlawful restraining order.

The unlawful restraining order, he calls it a "banning letter", "revoking my privilege to attend school board meetings" was written by School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel.

If Esquivel and his thugs weren't keeping me out of meetings, I might have responded to Korte's criticism of me by reminding her; its about the message, not about the messenger.

I regard as vindication, attacks on me that come instead of the answering of questions.

Actually, I am not the only one who isn't allowed to ask board members questions.

They don't allow anyone to.

It was apparently only moments after Korte finished attacking me, when she told petitioners that APS answers every question they are asked.

How can she say questions are answered, when questions aren't even allowed?

There are questions I have asked, over and over and over.
So many times in fact, that they banned me from asking them ever again.

The questions are legitimate. I have done less wrong by asking them over and over, than they have done in refusing to answering them, over and over again.

  1. Why will they not produce the ethically redacted public records of investigations of corruption in the APS Police force? (Not "how" the law allows them to hide the record, by why do they need to?)

  2. Why are they denying due process to hundreds of whistle blower complaints? Why did they make a solemn commitment to address the appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety created by allowing the administration self adjudicate complaint against other (even super-ordinate) administrators, by providing individual executive review and approval of every single complaint, and then renege on the commitment without having reviewed or approved even one?

  3. Why will the leadership of the APS produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd?

  4. Why are students expected to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, specifically; hold themselves honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law, and Lorte is not?

    Why, as one of the senior-most role models of the student standards of conduct, does she not have to show students what it looks like to hold oneself honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law? (It seems reasonable to expect her to answer this question in words any student can understand.)
If Korte responds to this post, it won't be in a venue where she will stand for follow up questions.

Perhaps she will respond in the Journal. The Journal likes to give her space, space where exception cannot be taken with what she writes. Just like no one gets to take exception with Winston Brooks' monthly PR column.

The Journal is aware of
  1. the cover up of the corruption in the APS Police force,
  2. the denial of due process to whistleblowers and petitioners,
  3. the cover up of overruns on the board room, and
  4. the abdication of APS senior-most role models of APS student standards of conduct,
and steadfastly refuse to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

The affiliate stations in School Board President Paula Maes' New Mexico Broadcasters, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB know as well. They refuse as well, to investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

When the question is;
Will you respond to legitimate questions about
the public interests and your public service?
any answer except yes means no.

Neither she, nor the board, nor the administration will sit down and answer questions whose answers are embarrassing, shaming, or expose criminal misconduct.

School Board President Paula Maes has never denied, defended, retracted, nor even acknowledged having said,

she would never agree to any audit that individually identifies corrupt or incompetent administrators

Those are not her exact words; I will stand by my interpretation of her expressed intent. Her remark is in the public record.

She will deny having said it, or meaning it, but the simple truth is there has never been an independent audit or investigation since, witness the Caswell Report, whose results are not being hidden, and even in violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act.

I will meet Korte in any venue. She can surround herself with anyone she wants; board members, administrators, lawyers, I don't care.

I will promise to ask legitimate questions about the public interests and her public service, and she will promise to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly, according the standards of conduct she and the board establish and enforce upon students.

Attacking the questioner is a desperation move by someone
defending an indefensible position. We will not talk about me
or my blog. We will not talk about the messenger instead of
talking about the message.

Questions stand on their own; it doesn't make any difference
who asks them, or why.

Mohandas Gandhi observed after his struggle in speaking truth
to power;
First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you
then you win.

Korte would rather ignore me, or laugh at and revile me,
but she won't "fight" me; she won't point to a time, a day,
and a place where she will actually stand up an take questions.

She can diss me all she wants, she is proving my point.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Torrance County Commissioners just want "decorum"

The Torrance County Commission will take up Resolution 2012-07 tomorrow morning.

If passed, the Commissioners will have limited the free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights within the room. They should have a very, very good reason. There is fact only one reason to limit the free exercise of an individual's rights, and that is to protect the rights of others in the room to freely exercise those same rights.

It is not their responsibility to create a room where one citizen cannot annoy another. It is a betrayal of public trust to create a room where a citizen cannot annoy a commissioner.

If commissioners are not comfortable with the annoyance that comes with politics and public service, they should not be in politics or public service. Nobody is forcing them to serve.

According to the resolution, commissioners feel a need to limit
the free exercise of citizens' rights,

"in order to maintain the proper decorum required for
conducting the business of the county."
There are laws that apply to people who actually interfere with county business. If people are really interfering with county business in commission meetings and breaking the law in so doing, commissioners have a responsibility to enforce the law.

Because they know they can't have someone arrested for videotaping them, they invent another set of rules; rules of "decorum".

Rules of decorum have nothing to do with conducting county business. They have to do with creating a room that suits the interests of the decorators; the county commissioners.

It isn't their room to decorate.

They have no business writing or enforcing decorum.
They have no authority to arrange the room according to their
personal needs. The room belongs to the people.
They come to the people's room to serve the people.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In the end, you really don't get the government you deserve

You get the government you're willing to defend.

Government of the people,
by the people,
and for the people.

You pick a side when
you don't pick a side.

photo Mark Bralley

Big week for open government

Two meetings are scheduled this week; one in APS, the other in Torrance County.

In both, citizens will push back on government; they want to see what's going on with the power and resources being spent on their behalf.

As important as these battles are, the establishment media is conspicuously absent. You're not going to see the heavy hitters reporting on either meeting. The duties and responsibilities of the fourth branch of government, wikilink, have been trumped by something else.

If asked, I would argue they have bowed to personal and political loyalties.

It is an interesting juxtaposition of small town and big city government. Both are trying to set limits on public access to their deliberations.

In the one, the Torrance County Commission is trying limits on a constituent's right to record their meetings with her own camera.

In the other, the APS School Board is trying to enforce their edict; people are not allowed to ask them questions in public meetings, about the public interests or about their public service.

Big city or small town, it is the same; pols and public servants usurping control over power and resources that are not their own, and then setting roadblocks for citizens trying to wrest it back.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, and not of commissioners or board members. If the people want to record them, it is their prerogative. If the people want to ask questions, it is their prerogative.

The Citizens Advisory Council on Communication is prepared to design a model for positive two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

The board, to date and for more than half a year, has stood in the way. The agenda for their meeting tomorrow, does not include a vote. The role call vote petitioners sought, as due process for their petition, won't take place during the District and Community Relations Committee meeting.

The agenda provides an opportunity for committee members to as questions of petitioners, but includes no opportunity for petitioners to ask their questions of board members.

There will be no opportunity for positive two-way communication
about the effort to create positive two-way communication.

How ironic.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Media cover up or conspiracy nut?

Those who abide by scientific method, know that you can't prove an explanation of an event, by arguing there is no other explanation. At best, there is only no other explanation we are aware of.

I would like to be able to prove;

there is a conspiracy in the leaderships of the Albuquerque public schools and the local media, to cover up an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.
As a matter of science and law, I can't prove that APS' Executive
Director of Communications meets with Kent Walz and the other heavy hitters in the establishment news, to discuss what "bad" stories they will cover. And they decide its OK to report upon APS when they're crushing dump truck fulls of student desks and furniture, but not to report on criminal conspiracies in the highest levels of the leadership of the APS.

But, how else can you explain it?

How can you explain the fact that they have not investigated and reported upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?

If you follow this link, you will find Journal investigation and reporting upon public corruption in the leadership of the APS police force. According to the Journal, money was moved from evidence to petty cash in violation of the law; a felony. They reported that a federal criminal database was used to harass whistleblowers and to do a background check on a deputy superintendent's fiance; as many as six more felonies.

If you read every word of every Journal ever since, you will find no investigation and report on, what ever happened to the APS senior administrators who committed those felonies? You won't find a story that reveals that the only criminal investigation that was done, was done by the APS police force itself.

Or that the results of their investigation were never turned over to the DA for prosecution.

Or that APS is in violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act for hiding the results of investigations including the Caswell Report; an independent investigation that actually names the names of APS senior administrators who participated in felony criminal acts.

If you view every minute of every investigative report that has been done by KRQE, KOAT, or KOB TV, all affiliates of Paula Maes' New Mexico Broadcasters Association, you will find no investigation or report on an ongoing cover up of felony criminal misconduct, allowing statutes of limitation to expire on felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.

There is a conspiracy and cover up, and no way to prove it
except to point to what they aren't reporting.

Like, not even in the lowest corner of the last page; a report
on a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy nut whose allegations and
evidence turned out to be completely unsubstantiated.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

APS Board to hear Citizens Advisory Council on Communication Petition

Almost eight months after having received their petition, the APS School Board has agreed to hear and discuss it in an open meeting.

It is on the agenda, link, of the District and Community Relations Committee meeting, chaired by Lorenzo Garcia. The meeting is next Tuesday and begins at 5 pm.

Garcia has a history of expressing respect for public input. His committee is the only one that regularly includes a public forum on the agenda.

I still believe he holds honor and duty in higher regard than most in the leadership of the APS.

There will be formidable, albeit clandestine resistance to recognizing the standing of the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication and their effort to establish two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

It will be an interesting meeting.

I am prevented from participating in that meeting by an unlawful restraining order written by school board enforcer Marty Esquivel, and enforced by a publicly funded, private police force; unaccredited, uncertified, and unaccountable to anyone except the leadership of the APS.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, March 23, 2012

Will the FOG fall on the next Torrance County Commission meeting?

I honestly can't say whose fist pounds the table last in meetings where the FOG decides where they will and will not make their stands. I'm pretty sure its not the Executive Director's.

It is not up to Gwyneth Doland to decide.

Has the FOG taken a stand on the intention of the Torrance County Commission, to limit the free exercise of citizens rights to take notes in meetings by any means, including cameras?

What comes next; no pen and paper? Gotta sit in the back if your pencil is "too sharp"?

There are two perspectives on limited rights.

One begins with an individual's absolute liberty in the free exercise of human rights. It ends with limiting that free exercise only when necessary, and only with the authority of all the people.

The other begins with rights in the hands of the government and ends in its right to dispense them in what ever amount suits its interests (read; the interests of politicians and public servants whose face is the government).

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of pols and public servants. The exposure of Commissioners to camera lenses is the prerogative of the people, not of Commissioners.

There must be a difference of opinion in the FOG. One side is rubbing their hands in anticipation of suing the Commission after they make their mistake, the other wanting to saddle up and go fight back, before the Commissioners Gone Wild commit their outrage.

Torrance County Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger and the rest of the Commission, were backed off his plan to outlaw all cameras.

I am given to understand that they will next consider; limiting the right to use cell phone cameras, only to citizens who have bought and brought a tripod for their phone!

I'd like to see FOG step into the ring. Does the FOG really have no advice to offer to the commissioners, about their plan?

I'd like to see them send someone to fill in the Commissioners, on the moral, ethical and legal implications of any decision they might make, to screw with citizens who bring cameras to commission meetings.

I'd like to be able to stretch a pint of Häagen-Dazs into four equal servings.

If citizens with cameras get stuck in a corner, it will not be in the public interests, it will be in Commissioners' interests.

This seems like a pretty much up and down battle between good and evil; the kind that Edmund Burke was writing about when he wrote;

The only thing necessary for evil to prevail in the world,
is for good men to do nothing.
Any citizen who wants transparency limited only by the law,
rather than by the whim of petty tyrants, has a stake in this fight.

Freyburger et al. are going to try to stomp on the free exercise of rights by citizens with cameras. They are going to see if they can get away with it making harder for citizens to hold them honestly accountable for their conduct and competence within their public service.

They will get away with it if no one steps up to stop them.

photos Mark Bralley

Torrance County Commission Open Meetings - round three

It began with Torrance County Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger offering a resolution banning recording equipment in County Commission meetings.

Round two, the March 14th meeting, saw the motion tabled for re-examination.

Round three, next Wednesday.

I am told that the resolution will return with additional and different, but no less bizarre, restrictions; a 24 hour notification of the County Manager (of the intent to film?), restrictions on camera noise, light restrictions (?) and a requirement that all cameras must rest on tripods. Will the commission supply tripods to citizens who haven't yet bought a tripod for their flip phone?!

Citizens have a Constitutionally protected human right to petition their government in whatever manner they choose. Those rights are limited only by respect for the rights of other citizens to participate in meetings in the manner they choose.

Their lawyer's opinion, the more access given to the public the better, but it needs to be controlled so all members of the public have the opportunity to see the meeting, hear the meeting, and and not be disrupted, is sound but doesn't justify unnecessary restrictions. Just because someone says someone else with a camera is interfering with their right to participate in the meeting, does not establish the validity of their complaint.

Just because someone thinks a handheld camera disrupts commission meetings, does not establish that it does. Suggesting that a tripod in any aisle represents a safety issue, regardless of the remaining width of the aisle, does not establish the existence of any real safety issue.

Just because someone is in favor of restricting others' rights, doesn't justify the restriction. That one person claims "she can't do her job with cameras rolling", does not outweigh another person's right to record.

It is pretty clear that there is at least one commissioner wants to put an end to citizens making their own recordings of board meetings. Having been advised by their lawyer that they can't do that, now they're grasping at straws in an effort to make it more difficult.

The commission's fundamental position appears to be that the onus lies upon citizens establish their right to record meetings, as opposed to, the onus falling on the government to establish both their authority restrict citizen participation in government and the real need to restrict citizen participation in whatever manner they choose.

Round three should be interesting; the bell rings at 9 am, Wednesday next.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beth Everitt gets a contract extension.

Former APS Supt Beth Everitt and current Supt Winston Brooks are in a horse race over who can get the bigger golden parachute; contracts extended further into the future.

Brooks and the APS School Board managed to extend his contract until 2015, even beyond the individual board member's own terms of office.

Everitt has managed to do the same, link.

It looks like we have two winners!

photos Mark Bralley

Ethical Advocate complaints "closed"

I filed two complaints; one against APS COO Brad Winter, and one against Acting Chief of Police Steve Gallegos.

I alleged that Winter was hiding the truth about spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

An unidentified APS administrator, subordinate to Winter and APS Supt Winston Brooks, has determined,

Based on the information you have received, these are the dollar amounts for the construction of the John Milne Boardroom: construction: $384,450.00; IT: $150,240.53; furnishings: $22,595.77. It appears that you have received the information that was requested. This complaint is now closed.
If I have added their numbers correctly, they admit to total spending of $557,286.30. The Journal reported at the time, cost overruns alone of nearly $500K, link.

Yet, "case closed".

I filed an Ethical Advocate complaint against acting APS Chief of Police Steve Gallegos over his harassment of me when I went to APS' Employe Benefits to conduct personal business.

Part of the Ethical Advocate process is a proposed resolution and comment. Mine were;
How do you think this situation should be resolved?
First, I insist a fact gathering of witness statements and any records related to the unlawful arrest and ejection; including but not limited to any standing orders, written or otherwise regarding APS police force interaction with me.

Upon a candid, forthright and honest description of the incident and cogent facts, a final resolution can be determined.
Do you have any additional comments?
The APS police force has been used for years to harass me in retaliation and retribution for my efforts to blow the whistle on corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS. The effort involves administration at the highest level.

I was informed that my unlawful arrest and ejection from the gubernatorial debate at Eldorado High School resulted from orders by Winston Brooks personally.
An unidentified APS administrator, subordinate to Winston Brooks, has determined;
According to the APS Police Chief, you were not arrested on 2-28-12. There are no reports of any arrest on this date. According to the Chief, you had stated that your business with the Benefits Dept. was completed. You were then escorted out of the building. The Chief was involved in an emergency situation, which was also being reported by the media, and could not spend a great deal of time away from his office. This complaint is now closed.
I am prepared to testify that he asked me if my business was done and that I answered "no". The record will show he arrested me and ejected me from the building without provocation of any kind.

Yet, "case closed".

The appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety are supposed to be addressed by an executive review of the administrative self-adjudication of complaints. They are supposed to review and approve every single complaint.
They promised they would; school board policy promised "review and approval" of any (and all) whistleblower complaints.

They have yet to review even one.

They are denying due process to well over 300 whistleblower complaints in order to cover up an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Kent Walz and the Journal should be investigating and reporting upon credible allegations and evidence of public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS; if only to report the allegations and evidence aren't credible.

They won't of course, it's not the way they roll.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Editors back Korte, don't need no stinkin' facilitators

The editors came out this morning, link, in support of APS School Board Secretary Kathy Korte and her "vigilance against bureaucratic waste".

She, and they, think it is a waste of money to hire facilitators to help citizens and administrators reach consensus on important issues.

Editors wrote, if citizens need help petitioning their government, they should get it on their own time and dime. And that, APS' job is educate students, not their parents.

This though, school board policy reads;

The Board of Education recognizes that constructive
study, discussion, and active participation by citizens
is necessary to promote the best program of education
in the community.
But only on their own time and their own dime?

A more fundamental waste is to create advisory committees in the first place, knowing they will become hopelessly mired in meetings that go nowhere because they can't stay on track, because they lack chairmanship with real meeting skills.

APS has for as long as I can remember, responded to stakeholder efforts to be included in the decision making process, by forming them into committees and councils with no attention given to helping them function effectively and efficiently. Just because a group of citizens are educated, experienced and energized, doesn't mean one of them has the skill set to keep a contentious meeting on the rails.

It is hard to imagine a more omnipresent cause of failed meetings than the absence of a chair who was a skilled and impartial facilitator.

The editors have struck a blow against meaningful community involvement in schools. It doesn't come as any surprise; these are the same people who don't see anything newsworthy in the school board denying due process to more than a hundred petitioners and their petition to enable open and honest discussion of important issues, between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

Whose actions are more regretable?

a candidate who has voted against the death penalty, and is more than happy, eager even, to explain her position and defend her vote,


a candidate manifestly and deliberately creating beliefs and impressions that are misleading?

The venerable Joe Monahan offered, link.

"But Arnold Jones is not popular with the conservative Republican base. Her refusal to endorse the death penalty is especially problematic with them and her reaching across the aisle to Dems in Santa Fe has also drawn critics from the conservative column."
Interesting that Monahan points to her strengths as weaknesses. Rep Janice Arnold-Jones can explain and defend her vote against the death penalty. The simple truth is, there is no candidate more willing to explain and defend their position than she.

Her demonstrated ability to work across the aisle, though not appealing to the Parties, appeals immensely to the people.

Because of the difficulty in a frontal attack on her record on the issues, a lot of money is going to be spent trying to create an impression that Rep Janice Arnold-Jones is soft on criminals. They will offer as proof; her vote against the death penalty, even though that was not basis of her vote.

What she opposes, as far as I have understood her, is the spending more than 20M tax dollars to do it.

Voters may not agree with Arnold-Jones that 20M dollars might be better spent helping children grow up not to be murderers, than on killing one. But the political discourse is not headed in that direction because open and honest public discussions are her home field.

Her opponents will avoid a head to head on the issues of efficacy, effectiveness, and economy of the death penalty by resorting to relentlessly pounding on the vote, without once pointing to a flaw in the logic that justified it.

Voters will witness their own deliberate deception and then
ignore it when they cast their votes. Monahan is right about
those who will yell about her death penalty vote while ignoring
her death penalty position.

Candidates who tolerate and enable deliberate deception are
deliberate deceivers.

Why would anyone vote for someone who is manifestly dishonest?

Just because they are Democrat or Republican?

If there is open and honest political discourse, voters will grow to understand that there are good and ethical reasons to oppose the death penalty.

Monahan is right as well, about the "conservative column" among Democrats who cannot grasp good and ethical reasons to "work across the aisle".

If there is open and honest discussion, voters will appreciate the ability to work across the aisle. While working across the aisle isn't the will of the Parties, it is in fact, the will of the people.

There are candidates who are popular with the Democratic and Republican Parties.

And there are candidates who are are and will be popular with Democrats and Republicans.

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones is one such.

photo Mark Bralley

APS board will vote to limit meeting notice

Once a year, the school board is required to consider and approve an open meetings resolution; their plan to meet the requirements of the NM Open Meetings Act in the following year.

The agenda, link, published late yesterday, the minimum notice required by the law, indicates tonight is the night.

The last time they considered the subject of agenda notice, I encouraged Board Member Kathy Korte to press for more notice; some agencies offer 48 hours notice, some 72, some publish their agendas "as built" giving interest holders as much notice as possible.

Korte claimed she had been told that state law prohibited the board from extending their notice from 24 hrs to anything longer, link.

She went ballistic on me, when I informed her that she had been bamboozled, likely by School Board enforcer and "open government expert" Marty Esquivel.

Their new resolution, link, indicates they will again offer only the minimum notice required by the law, rather that extending notice to enable more participation by interest holders.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Mexico coming up in the world, APS not so much

I remember when New Mexico was the 49th most corrupt state in the union; now were up to 39th, link.

The NM FOG's new Executive Director Gwyneth Doland gives us the story behind the story, link.

So why is our government so corrupt?

Even though public corruption and incompetence are rife in state and local governments, clear down to school boards, there seems to be little we can do about it except wring our hands when more of it is exposed.

Most of the exposure and accountability comes from investigative reporters. It says something about governmental oversight, that it seems to uncover very little on its own.

The level of public corruption and incompetence, the width and depth of cultures of corruption correlate directly to at most two variables; standards, and accountability.

I say "at most" two, when it really is only the one; if the least powerful cannot hold the most powerful, honestly accountable to any particular standard, it really doesn't make one whit of difference if the standard was a "higher" standard or only the law.

It is impossibly difficult for a corrupt or incompetent politician or public servant to survive if there is a place file a complaint. If there is a place where a complaint can be filed, and where that complaint will see due process, there will be an end to public corruption and incompetence.

The folks that gave New Mexicans our D- measured a lot of variables. They really had to measure only one, and there are only two scores; A or F, success or failure.

Accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence is fatal to public corruption and incompetence. 100 % accountability is 100% fatal.

Accountability is easy to quantify; it would sound stupid for someone to say they are honestly accountable to some set of standards, but couldn't actually show it to you. That's why if you ask, they don't answer; they stonewall; the only defense of an indefensible position.

Either you see it or you don't. Either you see the place where a citizen can file a complaint against a superintendent or a school board member, and where that complain will see due process, and where the superintendent or school board member will be held honestly accountable by a system over which they have no undo influence, and powerful enough to hold them accountable, even against their will,

or you don't.

photo APS Supt Winston Brooks, school board enforcer Marty Esquivel, and board head honcha Paula Maes, Mark Bralley

Brooks is back, and back in the Journal

I read APS Supt Winston Brooks' monthly public relations piece in the Journal, link, looking for spin that might be need of un-spinning, and found this gem, he wrote;
"Who in their right mind could oppose holding ... superintendents accountable? I’m certainly not (opposed to holding superintendents accountable), and my record, both here and elsewhere, indicates that."

Actually, it does not.

And his record will grow even worse today. He won't be blowing about it in the Journal. It won't come up there at all.

Today is the last day, according to the rules we play by in the Ethical Advocate administrative accountability drill, for Brooks as Chief Administrative Officer, to respond to complaint that the APS Acting Chief of Police Steve Gallegos violated my civil rights when he kept me from completing personal business in the Employee Benefits Office. He is aware, or should be, of every Ethical Advocate filed against APS senior administrators, and he is aware of the ones filed against him personally.

Brooks is also aware of the Ethical Advocate complaint filed against APS COO Brad Winter, and that it is being denied due process by means of a timely resolution.

The complaint alleges APS COO Brad Winter is violating the law in his ongoing efforts to hide a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the boardroom and accoutrements at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

I would argue that Brooks is aware, or should be aware of the effort to hide evidence of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS police force.

If Brooks does not oppose holding Superintendents accountable, then he should not oppose the expectation that Superintendents tell the truth; truthtelling being fundamental to accountability.

If he doesn't oppose telling the truth about spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, the why won't he tell it? Why won't he tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the ethically redacted truth?

If Brooks does not oppose being held accountable for the hiding of the truth about felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded, private police force, why won't he produce an ethically redacted copy of the Caswell Report, and of all of the other public records of investigations of public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS?

If Brooks doesn't oppose being held accountable for his abdication from his responsibilities as the senior-most role model of student standards of conduct, why won't he look students in the eye and explain to them, in words they can understand, why they are expected to model and promote ethical standards of conduct, the Pillars of Character Counts!, and he is not?

If Kent Walz and the Journal don't oppose doing a story about Brooks instead of by him,
why won't they investigate and report upon credible allegations and evidence of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?

photo and Walz frame grab Mark Bralley

Monday, March 19, 2012

Janice Arnold-Jones to be taken seriously

Rep Janice Arnold-Jones won a resounding victory at the Republican Party Pre-primary Convention Saturday.

The victory puts her at the top of the ballot and in the public eye. The public will like what they see.

It has been a struggle for Arnold-Jones whose success pleases Republicans a whole lot more than it pleases the Republican Party. The "Party" has gone out of its way to make her political success impossible, link.


I would argue, it is as simple as Arnold-Jones willingness to put people above politics. She takes her orders from the people, not from the Party, that the Party doesn't like it.

A bright and intensely curious person and politician, Arnold-Jones is an authority on the issues and obstacles for government of, by and for the people. She is a proven hero of transparency, having brought webcasting into the NM Legislature against considerable and powerful opposition.

Proven competence, character, courage and grace, and now, the spotlight she deserves.

Korte down on facilitation

School Board Secretary and darling of the Journal, Kathy Korte doesn't like the idea, link, of spending $4500 dollars on facilitation to break the impasse in the Student Health Advisory Council.

The need for facilitation is incontrovertible; a district task force on reproductive education has become so polarized, they have stopped making progress.

Korte, according to the Journal, said "the task force has become a drain on APS' scarce resources, and the money could be better spend elsewhere." She would like $4500 to be spent offering students more PE.

Nevertheless, here they are with a mandated advisory council that is dysfunctional; a council in need of facilitation. I can't speak to source of the $4,500, or where else it could be spent, but there doesn't seem to be many choices.

The leadership of the APS is generally averse to facilitation of meetings, and not because the money could be better spent elsewhere. If facilitation worked to their advantage, they would be pouring money into it.

The truth is, the leadership of the APS like to lead meetings; they like to control the agenda and the discussion. As long as they chair all their own meetings, they can steer the meetings in the direction that suits their interests.

The leadership of the APS has an agenda. Facilitation, if it is impartial and competent, represents a threat to any agenda that cannot stand on its own.

As to the efficacy of these particular facilitators; according to the Journal;

"Suzanne Gagnon, who chairs the health advisory council and is a member of the task force, said the outside advisers have helped keep meetings on track and narrow recommendations"
"Marcie May, a parent member of the task force, said the facilitators are stifling free debate ... She said she feels parents have been left out of the conversation."
There is a question of impartiality; APS picked the facilitators, people with whom they have history. It would not be the first time the leadership of the APS has appointed a facilitator of their own to "facilitate" their agenda in lieu of open and honest two-way communication.

photo Mark Bralley

Santa Feans fight for access.

A reader provides us with a must read link to a story in the
Santa Fe New Mexican;

Officials block efforts to obtain public records

The story is about the newspaper's efforts to see public records
and the government's efforts to keep them hidden.

The remarkable thing about the story is, you could substitute
the players; Santa Fe government "officials", for counterparts
in every agency I have ever asked for records they don't want
to provide.

Pols, public servants, and lawyers whose salaries are paid by the very people they're stiffing for public records and access, using loopholes, technicalities and legal weaselry and hiding public records from the people to whom they belong.

It is a fight between those who want to see how their power and resources are being spent, and pols and public servants who would rather spend them in secret. There is only one reason to spend in secret; there is only one reason to hide the truth (beyond specific and explicit exceptions provided by law), and that is to avoid accountability in the spending.

They will succeed for as long as we continue to allow them.

They will succeed for as long as good men do nothing.

... in Santa Fe, in Torrance County, in APS, in ...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brooks off on Virginia junket

According to APS' award winning website, link, APS Supt Winston Brooks is off to McLean Virginia, home of USA Today.

Winston Brooks will be among the dozen or so superintendents from across the nation who will join business leaders, members of the media and other education leaders in addressing successes and challenges that face America’s urban schools ...

... the day-long forum will bring these educators, corporate executives and media personnel to exchange ideas aimed at improving education in the United States.

... the main purpose of the forum is to raise awareness of education issues and shed light on the challenges that face our nation’s schools.”

This forum brings together USA Today and the country’s leading urban educators to discuss progress in our big-city schools and how to build on achievements..."
Does anyone really believe the problem is, superintendents have not junketed around the country enough discussing education?

Does anyone really believe that when Brooks gets back in town next week, APS students will be any more likely to graduate than they were before he left?

photo Mark Bralley

APS' Ethical Advocate is a fraud; at best, frank waste

Below please find, a complaint filed with APS' whistleblower hotline. It has to do with the fact that APS Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter is trying to hide the truth about the money he spent at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

In essence, a request was made for the public record of spending on their new board room. Four months later, Winters and the leadership of the APS still have not told the truth about the money they were spending on themselves at a time when fire safety inspections in schools were being curtailed to curb expenses.

In essence, they have no intention of telling the truth.

Kent Walz, the Journal, and Paula Maes' cronies at NM Broadcasters Assoc affiliate stations, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB have no intention of calling them on it.

Original complaint

APS' Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter made a commitment to surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne Boardroom. He made the commitment in front of witnesses at the Goals Setting Meeting at Manzano High School on November 17th, 2011.

He promised to surrender the record in response to a request for public records.

I filed a bonafide and accepted request for the public records, and Winter (the APS) has failed to surrender the record in violation of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

While he may argue that the surrender of public records is between me and their custodian of public records, it was his commitment to surrender the record. If he was in no position to ensure the surrender, he should not have made the commitment.
12/12/2011 administrative response;
Thank you for using Ethics Line. Please allow two weeks (12-26-2011) for possible update or esolution (sic).
12/14/2011 administrative response;
The response date will need to be changed to 1-3-2012 due to the district offices being closed the week of 12-23-2011 through 1-2-2012. A response will be made to you on 1-3-2012. Thank you again for using Ethics Line.
12/22/2011 administrative response;
We have checked to see if an update is available regarding your request for information on the Milne Board Room. The individual that would have the information was not available. We will check again upon return from Winter Break. An update will be made available by 1-6-11. I am sorry for the delay.
1/6/2012 administrative response;
After following up about your records request, Internal Audit was told that the items have been sent to you electronically as of this date. This complaint is now closed unless we hear from you again. Thank you.
1/7/2012 Complainant;
I have received public records requests responses totaling barely $150K; a small fraction of the total amount spent on the board room. The district and Brad Winter have yet to fulfill their commitment to surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of the total amount spent on the board room.
1/9/2012 administrative response;
After contacting Rigo Chavez, APS Communications, he indicated that he is still waiting for the rest of the documentation from the M & O Department. Internal Audit will continue to monitor this and respond back to you by 1-23-12. Thank you.
1/23/2012 administrative response;
I have contacted the Communications Dept. for an update on your records request regarding the John Milne Boardroom. Mr. Chavez has not received any more documentation as of today. Do you want us to continue getting updated information from APS Communications or would you like to contact them directly? I am extending the deadine (sic) for another two weeks (2-6-2012). If at the end of two weeks I have not heard from you, I will close this complaint.
1/28/2012 Complainant;
I am not sure how you can close the complaint against Brad Winter when he still has not honored the commitment he made to surrender a full, candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne.
2/3/2012 Complainant;
re; "... extending the deadine(sic) for another two weeks (2-6-2012). If at the end of two weeks I have not heard from you, I will close this complaint." Are we in agreement that you "have heard from me" and are therefore not intending to close the complaint?
2/6/2012 administrative response;
We are still waiting for the cost of the technology from APS Maintenance & Operation. As soon as this information is received, it will be forwarded on to you. A follow up letter dated February 2, 2012, was also sent to you from APS Communications regarding this inquiry. This complaint will remain open until you notify us that your request has been completed. Thank you for your patience in this matter.
3/4/2012 Complainant;
While I appreciate the fact that you are willing to keep the investigation open, it is clear that neither Winter nor anyone else in the leadership of the APS is willing to produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the board room. Nor are they willing to surrender public records in accordance with the NM IPRA. They well past the legal deadlines for surrender and are in violation of the law. At some point, your investigation should include the fact that Winter et al are breaking the law, rather than just staying endlessly open while they do.
On 3/6/2012 administrative response;
A letter dated 3-1-2012 was sent to you from Rigo Chavez with additional information on your request. I will continue to keep you informed.
3/9/2012 administrative response;
Another letter, dated 3-6-12, has been sent to you by R. Chavez with additional information regarding your John Milne Board Room request.
I will write to them;
Neither Rigo Chavez' letter of 3-1-12, nor of 3-6-12 constitute any real production. Interest holders still have no idea how much of their money was spent, and on what.

It is time to close this investigation. Either conclude that the leadership of the APS has produced a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on the John Milne Boardroom, or that they have not and clearly have no honest intention to do so.
The Ethical Advocate whistleblower hotline is not unique among venues of accountability for administrators and board members. There is nowhere anywhere in the APS, where a legitimate complaint against an administrator or board member will see due process.

Complainants' only option is to take them to court. Administrators and board members will show up there with a bevy of unscrupulous lawyers and an unlimited litigation budget, a large bore pipeline fed with education dollars otherwise destined for classrooms.

That is the essence of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, the culture of corruption and incompetence and how they perpetuate it.

The fact that you can only learn about it here and not in the
paper or on TV, is the essence of the corruption between the
leadership of the APS, Kent Walz and the Journal, and
Paula Maes' cronies in the broadcast media.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Torrance County Commission meeting extraordinarily polished.

I have to admit carrying preconceived notions into the meeting; I wasn't expecting fast moving, informative engaging business of county government. The meeting was chaired by Torrance County Commissioner Vanessa Chavez-Gutierrez, link.

The meeting lasted five hours, including an hours long "governance training session".

Photojournalist and blogger Mark Bralley, who has seen many more government meetings than most of the rest of us combined, stood up at public forum to tell the commission, it was one of the best run meetings he has seen.

Lest we get too gushy though, they still have it in their minds to discuss whether citizens who come to participate in county commission meetings with recording equipment of any kind, will be treated differently than those who don't. They're thinking of cordoning them off or maybe sticking them up on a platform.

Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger's motion to prohibit citizens from taping meetings was dropped on the advice of the Torrance County Attorney. The consensus of the lawyers advising the commission was, if counties taped their own meetings, citizens could "legally" be banned from creating their own recordings. Freyburger defended having made the motion in the first place, saying it was a "work in progress".

A couple of county workers spoke in favor of limiting the free exercise of the rights and responsibilities of citizens to hold their government accountable in the spending of public power and resources.

Michelle Jones, r, (who I incorrectly identified previously as Linda Kayser) seated as Torrance County Manager Joy Ansley passes by, was particularly perturbed, informing Commissioners that the cameras in the room this morning had made it "impossible for her to do her job" during the meeting.

Another, argued that camera tripods had made the safe evacuation of a room with four doors and perhaps five times that many people, so dangerous as to warrant banning tripods to some corner of the room. It was he that suggested that we might be compelled to stand on a platform.

The County Attorney suggested that others needed to weigh in; the Fire Marshall for example will be asked to balance First Amendment rights against real and imagined safety issues.

On the issue of "distraction"; County Clerk argued any citizen with a camera was distraction enough to warrant limiting legislation.

Consider a real distraction; some one in the audience yelling out or making a lot of noise. Clearly that behavior cannot be permitted.

Consider the relative distraction of someone standing quietly and peacefully with a camera, or a poster. A distraction? maybe, technically.

A distraction of the magnitude that the free exercise of constitutionally protected humans rights should be disallowed? hardly. Not even close.

Pols and public servants have an obligation to sit and take a certain amount of "abuse"; it's part of the job. How can they promise to defend the Constitution and citizen's right to petition the government, and then refuse to tolerate any petition not served to them politely and on a platter?

At issue; will the commission meet "legal" standards of transparency or ethical standards of transparency?

"Legal" standards come with fingers drawing quotation marks in the air. It means the lowest standards of acceptable conduct, further mitigated by all of the legal weaselry that "legal" loopholes and technicalities will allow. They require as little transparency as the law will allow. They are standards that allow pols and public servants to hide whatever it is they need to hide.

In stark contrast, ethical standards of conduct require as much transparency as the law will allow. Ethical standards don't require air quotes or any other qualifiers. Citizens are entitled to candor, forthrightness and honesty in response to their legitimate questions about the public interests; public power, resources, and public service.

The Torrance County Commission's mettle is being tested. When/if they vote for transparency in meetings and in public records, limited only by the law, they will have met the test.

When the question is;

does the Torrance County Commission intend to tell/show
the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the ethically
redacted truth to their constituents?
any answer except yes means, no.

No matter how polished their meetings.

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, March 12, 2012

Houston blows off resounding no-confidence vote

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston chose to dismiss a recent vote of no confidence, despite it's overwhelming nature. Nearly seventy percent of "voters" showed up and more than 90% of them voted no-confidence. When the dust settles on the math, nearly two out of every three deputy sheriffs sees a problem.

Houston does not. Not enough of a problem anyway, to address any of the issues that have his subordinates so upset.

Votes of no confidence carry no weight, there is no provision in statutes to remove any politician or public servant based on vote outcomes, no matter how lop-sided. Houston would have to be recalled; a nearly impossible task.

He could just step up and deal with at least a few of the myriad of issues that prompted the vote.

Instead, he informs us that he is too busy serving us, even to take notice of the vote.

In all likelihood, he will not be recalled. The problems won't go away; they will continue to fester while morale in the Sheriff's department plummets.

Plummeting morale will affect performance, it always does.
How can it not?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Torrance County Commissioner backed down

It would appear Torrance County Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger's resolution to strictly prohibit the public from operating audit and/or visual recording devices is dead, at least for the time being.

The Independent, an East Mountains and Estancia Valley newspaper, link, reports that Freyburger's motion will come back without the controversial element in blatant violation of state law and the First Amendment.

There are two horns on Freyburger's bull; one was to gore Edwina "George" Hewitt who was by all accounts, videotaping him as he wielded Torrance County citizen's power and spent their resources.

He claims the tapes were then unethically altered before being posted on YouTube, though he is yet to point to actual evidence that would substantiate his allegation. Evidence that would be a cinch to produce, if it actually existed.

The other horn on Freyburger's bull; he doesn't want people to take snippets of the truth and use them out of context.

There are laws that deal with slanderers and libelers. If they were of use to the Commissioner, he would use them. It's not like he would have to pay for lawyers; he already has one. A lawyer who, by the way, had to "think for awhile" about whether Freyburger could ignore First Amendment rights and State law and then get away with it.

Freyburger's premise is fundamentally flawed. The idea that commission could put its own record on the internet, and that, that record would somehow be invulnerable to being chopped into snippets and used out of context, shows a bone numbing lack of awareness of video software applications.

The bigger problem is the lack of consequences he will pay.

It's not alright for pols and public servants to screw up and then say, never mind.

There is something wrong with commissioners and school board members who abuse their power to stifle legitimate petition of government for redress of grievances.

Like every pol and public who got called on their bullshit,he will just pretend it never happened.
The only mechanism the people have to deal with this kind of betrayal is recall. Recall is difficult, a deliberate decision made by the people whose recall we discuss.

I would suggest that there is another option; torches and pitchforks. If you think about it, when in the entire history of the planet, has a tyrant ever been overthrown except with torches and pitchforks?

Enough of the great unwashed gather together in one place to insist; It's time for you to go.Actual torches and pitchforks, in this case, are unnecessary.

All that is necessary, is more than a handful of peasants who have had more than enough of Lonnie Freyburger.

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

Friday, March 09, 2012

Torrance County Commissioner not backing down

Torrance County Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger just doesn't get it. At the last county commission meeting he floated a resolution that would prohibit interest holders from recording county commission meetings. The resolution is such an affront to government by the people, of the people and for the people; it is such a blatant violation of the Open Meetings Act, link, which states quite clearly;

Reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate the use of audio and video recording equipment,
one has wonder how Freyburger could have thought he could do such a thing in the first place.

Nearly as confounding, the County Attorney needs "time to think" about whether such a move would actually violate the Open Meetings Act.

Freyburger was written up in the Journal and his home town Mountain View Telegraph, link, which criticized him pretty roundly and concluded with a Harry Truman quote; if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

Rather than admit to his brain fart; arrogance and ignorance of the law, Freyburger went after the Telegraph and the citizen who raised the ruckus, in an op-ed piece of his own, link. It is apparent from reading his response; ad hominem attacks on a citizen exercising Constitutionally protected human rights, half truths and out of context statements, he has honesty issues on top of everything else.

Consider for example, Edwina "George" Hewitt's admission, link, that; "the only editing done is the use of a stabilization tool on the YouTube site, which makes videos "smoother for viewers. Freyburger wrote; "Ms Hewitt readily admits to editing ...", implying that she readily admits to editing for content, a claim he doesn't substantiate with any evidence.

He tries to re-frame the argument and recast the resistance as resistance against the county creating its own recording . As far as I have learned, no one, least of all those who would make records of their own, objects to the county doing something they should be doing anyway.

An opportunity presents itself; those who believe that the terms of public service, whether and how citizens can record meetings, are the prerogative of the people and not of pols and public servants, have a chance to stand up and defend that belief.

The next meeting of the Torrance County Commission is scheduled for Wednesday next, 9am. Estancia is about an hour away from Albuquerque.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Standing up pays off for Westsiders

The APS School Board has yielded to public pressure and created another west side school board district. The Journal reports, link, the board has recognized a great river running through the city and the differences of opinion it separates; the west side will have 2-1/2 seats on the board instead of 1 and a 1/2, and a 1/2.

It is important to School Board President Paula Maes and the rest (their silence gives consent) that we believe the changes they made have nothing to do with the pressure applied by community members and legislators.

Apparently the Journal agrees; no mention of any of the public outrage that led to the board revisiting the issue.

No mention either, in the Journal ever, of the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications petition, link, or of the more than one hundred good citizens who signed it, or of Maes' and board's efforts to make sure it never sees the light of day, link.

Budget meeting tonight

According to APS' award winning website, link,

The public is invited to a presentation on the Albuquerque Public Schools budget situation for 2012-13. The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the APS Building at 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE in the John Milne Community Board Room. Updated information will be presented by APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya.
Why they waited until the day before the meeting to post it, and haven't done anything else to publicize a meeting this important, is anyone's guess.

Mine is; they really don't want a lot of people there asking pointed questions, while giving them the opportunity sometime later, to say they had a meeting and no one showed up.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

APS redistricting on school board agenda tonight

An agenda for tonight's meeting has finally been posted. The school board intends to revisit it previous decision regarding school board member districts, link.

I suspect that they have known for some time what their agenda was. Why they waited until the last minute to post it can't be proven, but I suspect the usual motive; depressing public awareness and participation.

Also on the agenda, link; the election of Board Officers and Committee Chairs.

Matters of Information has been moved to the end of the agenda from its usual position, right after public forum. The immediate usefulness of of the move appears to be to separate the MoI from any inconvenient points or questions that might have broached during public forum, and board member's obligations to respond to them.

If there's another reason, I can't imagine it, and the board didn't articulate it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

There really is a fight going on,

and you pick a side when you don't pick a side.

On the one side, those who would have more transparency in
the spending of public power and resources, and on the other,
those who would have less.

The Torrance County Commission is considering a resolution
prohibiting people from recording their meetings, link.

It occurs to me that the best way to defend a right,
is to exercise it. Over and over and over.

What if enough people show up at the meeting where Torrance
County Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger defends his affront
to the free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights,
and then each hold up their cameras and begin recording the
spending of their power and resources?

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people;
not of County Commissioners. Anyone who doesn't like the
terms the people write, they need not serve.

If government is ever to be of the people, by the people and
for the people, clearly, the people are going to have to start
showing up.

Interestingly, Freyburger is the only commissioner who won't
take emails from constituents and other interest holders, link.

If going to this meeting to stand in defense of your rights is
within your capacity but not in your plans, if you could drive
over to Estancia but don't intend to, I would like you to
imagine having to explain to someone who looks to you for
personal example, why you will not.

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment. Commitments cannot
be defended except by sacrifice.

Those who wait for perfect circumstances to defend their
rights will find only a perfect excuse for never standing up
to defend them at all.

At which point their free exercise will be lost, likely forever.

Monday, March 05, 2012

High and low standards indistinguishable, if neither can be enforced.

Let's say you, like the leadership of the APS, have a police force.

If your interest is in having a good police force, you will identify standards of conduct and competence that are high enough to accomplish your mission.

Then you will enforce them.

You will provide due process for every legitimate complaint;
no matter no matter who lodges it, no matter why they lodge
it, and no matter who they lodge it against.

The APS Police force's mission, link, reads;

The Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department
exists for the purpose of providing police and security
services to the public schools.
In the first place, it is not a police "department". They would like very much for it to be a police department, but it is not. To call their publicly funded private police "department" is dishonest on its face. If they really were a police department, they wouldn't need the legislature to make them one.

By "providing police and security services to the public schools" they mean enforcing the law. And they do at some levels; just not administrative or executive ones.

At the leadership level, the APS police force has a more sinister mission; praetorian guard, protecting the leadership of the APS from being held honestly accountable for public corruption and incompetence. Their police force is there to make sure due process does not befall any of the leadership of the APS; to wit, the self-investigation of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS police force, by the APS police force.

More than a year ago, school board enforcer Marty Esquivel took it upon himself to write a restraining order banning me from participation in school board meetings.

The order is quite unlawful; Esquivel had no authority as an individual school board member, to write it without school board approval. That approval could not have been provided except in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Also signing off on the unlawful order; Chief of Police Steve Tellez.

Ask him what he has done with credible testimony and evidence of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

Together Esquivel and Tellez have ordered their police force to enforce the unlawful restraining order that they call a "banning letter".

Bottom line, folks wearing guns, mace, tazers I suppose, handcuffs and badges, and "just following orders", stand between me and the public forum at school board meetings.

Only now, they are enforcing the will of the leadership of the APS by drawing the line, not a the doors of school board meetings, but at the edge of APS property an action they took without provocation, without justification, and without hesitation.

Deputy Chief of Police Steve Gallegos arrested and ejected me from APS property for no reason at all except to harass me and to make it more difficult for me to expose administrative and executive corruption and incompetence.

So there it is; a standard;
thou shalt not use a publicly funded private police force
to suppress dissidence in public forums.
Are they accountable to it?

According to the State Auditor, no. According to the Attorney General, District Attorney, Bernalillo County Sheriff and Albuquerque Police Department, no.

Any complaint to be filed, can be filed only within APS itself.
They will self-adjudicate allegations made against them.

It would be silly to file a complaint against Gallegos with Tellez,
I mean, seriously?

I could file a complaint with Supt Winston Brooks, but he the one giving the orders. The administrative buck stops with him.

APS COO Brad Winter? He's in on it.

He would like it very much if I couldn't ask him again in public,
why won't he steadfastly refuses to tell the truth about spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

There is no avenue to file a complaint against the school board except the public forum, and I am kept from it, by the very people against whom I wish to complain.

There is Ethical Advocate. Though the complaint filed there will be investigated and adjudicated by the respondents themselves, it will be difficult for them to do much without creating a public record, or avoiding creating one.

I have filed a complaint. By way of resolution, I am insisting upon a gathering and compiling of the truth about the incident.

I will have an incontrovertible record, as a result of the Ethical Advocate complaint, that they were asked to tell the truth, and chose to hide it instead.

There is only one reason to hide the truth, and that is
to escape the consequences that would follow if you don't.

It is about cowardice and corruption.

photos Mark Bralley
Gallegos, ched macquigg