Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Journal Editors Strain at a Gnat and Swallow a Camel

To read them write it, link, the editors are much agitated over more tax dollars fattening the wallets of APS administrators.  So was I.  They are upset as well by the administrative junket 18 of them took at taxpayer expense.  So was I.

Straining on the gnat; Journal editors have taken a stand; draw the line on stupid spending.

There is a school board election coming up.  There is a bond issue election as well.  In deciding who to elect and whether to give them millions and millions of dollars to spend, we need to know that they will do it effectively and efficiently.

Past performance is an excellent predictor of future performance.

The leadership of the APS, the school board and senior administration, recently spent a whole lot of  our money refreshing their digs at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending, hidden from taxpayers.
The manner in which they spent tax dollars there, is a
good predictor of how they will spend tax dollars there.

Citizens have a Constitutionally protected human right to know how their trust and treasure have been spent.  The hiding of the accounting of the spending there, is ethically indefensible.

APS COO Brad Winter steadfastly refuses to surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of his spending the last time we trusted him with the money we give him to educate our children.

Did he really spend $800 a piece for board member chairs?
Is it alright with voter taxpayers if he does it again?

Will he refuse to provide candid, forthright and honest accounting of his spending of the money he wants us to entrust to him next February?

The editors admonish the board and senior administration to;
consider how it looks to the many at ground level —
and to the taxpayers who foot the bill.
A gnat, compared to how the ethics and accountability scandal cover up will look to voters, when, if, the establishment news ever gets around to investigating and reporting upon it.
  • Denial of due process to whistleblower complaints.
  • Cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators
  • Universal abdication of role modeling responsibilities by the entire "leadership" of the APS
  • A Praetorian Guard; publicly funded private police force
If voters are to hold school board members accountable for their conduct and competence, they must be candidly, forthrightly and honestly informed about that competence and character.  The onus rests upon the shoulders of editors and news directors.

It is they who are covering up the cover ups.

It is they who conspire to manipulate the outcome of the February elections.

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, October 29, 2012

APS surrenders bullying stats

You will be comforted to learn that bullying occurs on campuses and in classrooms, on average, only five times per school, per year. 

Please take a moment to let that number sink in,
and the circumstances that generated it.

As predicted, link, there is a paucity in data.

Bullying in the APS is no longer the story.

The story now is; how does a guy that for his entire superintendency, has not collected statistics on bullying, drugs, weapons, thefts, and robberies at school, get away with it?

The last audit of their publicly funded private police force found; crime statistics were routinely falsified by administrators trying to create a false public perception.

How does APS Supt Winston Brooks get away with failing to gather statistical evidence of his failure to re-instate the authority of adults and restore order at school?

As far as his school board is concerned, he gets away with it because that is what they expect him to do; protect APS' public perception even if he has to lie about it.  Even if he has to hide evidence of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  The board expects that, individually and collectively.

As for his subordinates and citizen stakeholders, there is his Praetorian Guard, a publicly funded private police force, to keep them in fear of retribution and retaliation should they decide to expose administrative or executive corruption and incompetence.

As for stakeholders, there is a local media that is disinclined to investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

In fairness, KRQE, link, implied some resistance from "APS" to their efforts to get the statistics they were looking for.  They did not identify the pol or board member or public servant who gave them the runaround.  Apparently reporter Alex Tomlin had simply asked for their candid, forthright and honest response to a legitimate question; will you show us the statistics you have collected on bullying, and was told she would have to file a formal request.  The formal request process allows "APS" to then interject 15 and 30 day delays at will.

She did not ask for, or did not report upon APS' surrender of statistical truth about all criminal behavior on campuses.

Even I was stunned to learn, in order to keep "bullying" down, "APS" has decided, the first time a kid bullies or gets bullied, does not count as "bullying".

The district has a clear definition for bullying,
“Conflict is a one time incident, bullying is something that happens over time and continues to happen.”
He gets away with it by trotting out APS' newest inner circle member Kris Muerer.  She will be the flak catcher with regard to his failure in ensure accurate and complete data gathering.

In her report, Tomlin identifies Muerer only as "with APS" and not by her title and standing as their newest senior administrator.  I thought that odd.

Meuerer's job is the same job of every senior administrator; solve problems while hiding their extent; to end bullying in the APS while at the same time trying to hide its breadth and depth.

KRQE reports that "APS" admitted they never actually gathered bullying data as such.  The data' unexplained combobulation with other data hid bulling data forever.  "APS" apparently will not be able to gather bullying data as such, this semester, or the next.  "Probably" by next year, maybe.

They do report 1337 incidents.  Hell, there were probably that many fistfights posted on YouTube alone.
The district suspects less than half of those 13-hundred reports filed last school year were cases of actual bullying.
If that's true, that would amount to about five cases of bullying per school last year.
Ask a teacher; if they believe there were less than six fights a year, per school, in the APS?  Ask a teacher if they went looking, could they find five bullies in one passing period in one hallway?
APS also says there will always be bullying victims that don't come forward, “If you don't know about it you can't do anything about it.”

APS has a rule on data gathering.  If you note that you have gathered several years of data, and the trending data makes the administration look corrupt or incompetent, change the way you gather the data.  Bullying data will enjoy no exception;
In order to figure out just how big of a problem they are really dealing with the district is changing the way schools report bullying this year. Those reports will now longer be lumped in with assaults.
If data shows increasing incidence; claim better record keeping just makes it seem that way;
They are also tracking the cases closer.
Meuerer offered;
“We don’t report all classroom behavior things because if we did that's all we would be doing reporting all day long.”
Did she, or did she not, just admit a problem so large that even the keeping track of it is problematic?  Did she or did she not, just admit to chronic disruption of the educational process?

photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why is the Journal hiding Winston Brooks' golden parachute?

In a recent editorial, link, in response to NMSU President Barbara Couture's half million dollar payout, editors argued that it was time to consider "clipping public employees’ golden parachutes once and for all".  Their interest in clipping APS Supt Winston Brooks' wings, not so much.

APS Supt Winston Brooks' parachute is 50% bigger than Couture's and gets no mention in the Journal; why?  Why is the Journal keeping taxpayers in the dark about Brooks' contract extensions?

In the Journal's story, link, about another sweet deal having to do with Brooks' state pension, the Journal call's Brooks' golden parachute a "three year rolling contract".  What is the difference between a three year rolling contract and a golden parachute.  It is fair to wonder how deliberate their decision to not call it what it is; a golden parachute.  A safe bet; the language comes from APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta and the effort to improve APS' public perception unrealistically.

When the Journal finally investigates and reports upon Brooks' hiding evidence of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators, he will leave with three quarters of a million dollars, two hundred and fifty thousand more than Couture and equal to the completely reprehensible amount they gave to Michael Locksley.

What makes this all so particularly distasteful is that there is no objective or empirical evidence that Brooks is even a mediocre superintendent, much less the wizard the board would have us believe.

Far from it, Reportedly, he is no more esteemed by the people who work with him than he is by those who work for him.

There is a reason there are no subordinate evaluations of his conduct and competence.

The increases in educational outcomes in the district are statistically irrelevant. He is widely regarded as a misogynist and bully. The number of lawsuits against the district, in which he is a named respondent, is significant.

They are significant anyway, to everyone but his media cronies.

Brooks is not evaluated by anyone but the school board members who hired him, regardless of the conflict of interest it creates.

School board members will tell you they are accountable to voters for their hire's conduct and competence.  If they make a bad choice, they can be held accountable in the election a few months distant.

If they admit to Brooks' incompetence and corruption,
they admit to their own as well.

The meetings where the board evaluates Brooks' performance and their own, are conducted in secret from the taxpayers for whom he and they work.

Brooks' and his administration, their standards and accountability, have yet to be evaluated by anyone but themselves.  Why?

School Board President Paula Maes has stated it rather flatly, she has no intention ever, of agreeing to any independent audit that individually identifies corrupt or incompetent administrators and board members.  And, especially, not Winston Brooks.

Maes is up for re-election February next

photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vote early; end the phone calls and mailings

State Representative Sheryl Williams-Stapleton offers relief to voters besieged by election season phone calls and mailings; just vote early.  According to her own latest mailing to voters;

Wanna stop the political mail?
Wanna stop the political calls?
Vote early!  Vote for Sheryl!
And then figure out who might want to call you or send you a political mailing, call or write to them first, and tell them you already voted?  Yeah, that might work.

Williams-Stapleton at the dedication of her very own monument to me.

Williams-Stapleton would like credit for bringing millions of tax dollars to District 19.  A lot of them were spent on a building bearing her name - one of the many monuments to me that taxpayers buy for sitting legislators, link to increase the likelihood of their re-election in subsequent elections.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, October 19, 2012

Journal weighs in on Indianapolis trip

The Journal covered the APS in Indianapolis story this morning, link; "covered" being a relative term.  The journal offered its tacit approval of APS' justifications for the expenditure of $34K and a week of their (our) time.

The "justifications" are as follows;

  • "drumming up interest in next year's event"
  • "they will be responsible for many of the logistics of next year’s conference"
  • "we can look at how other districts are doing things" and
  • "We get a lot of good benefit, I think, from collaborating with a lot of people.” 

How does drumming up interest in next year's conference help the half of our children who leave APS every year without the education they need?  And doesn't the City of Albuquerque have their own team of specialists in drumming up interest in conferences in Albuquerque?

Our people, who should be busy solving the problems contributing to APS' 50% failure rate, only need to be trained to run conferences, because Winston Brooks and the Board want to host one.

A dozen staffers will spend the next year preparing for the conference.  Who is going to do the work they would have been doing if Brooks and the gang didn't want to throw a big party?

"They need to go to learn".  Fair enough, if they actually learned anything.  What are they learning?  Have you once seen or heard one of them list the things they learned on one of these junkets?  There's a reason why.

There really isn't a lot of "new" left.  There are no magic breakthroughs to share.  If they learned anything at all, it could only be something they should already have known.  It may be news to superintendents and board members, but none of it is new to teachers or anyone else working everyday with students.

Board Member David Peercy says;
We get a lot of good benefit, I think, from collaborating with a lot of people.”
But do students benefit a lot because Peercy benefits a lot from his networking?

APS COO Brad Winter and School Board Member David Peercy are presenting the research they've been conducting, on the correlation between truancy and well maintained new construction, in tough economic times.

You do not have to build a case for maintenance; it's a no-brainer.  We don't need another reason to take care of public resources in the APS.

You do have to build a case for building a whole bunch of new buildings.  Especially if they aren't necessary for any other reason than to cheer up students a little.  Look up manifestly self-serving arguments and you should be linked to Winter and Peercy pointing to their research.

How many hours have Peercy and Winters invested in their little research project; how many hours have been invested by their staffs?

The conference gives the bigwigs (link) a chance to tell each other what a wonderful job they're all doing.  That and to get away from town and their problems for a week or so.

An endeavor servers no purpose if its only purpose
is to perpetuate the endeavor.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Soto, overworked and overextended?

In justifying raises for three senior administrators, APS Supt Winston Brooks pointed to the increasing amount of work they are expected to do.  He claims additional burdens in recent years justified a 6.6% boost in salary.

One of the overworked and overextended senior administrators is Associate Superintendent for Secondary Education Eddie Soto, link.

One of the reasons he is overworked and overextended is that he decided to accept a position on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, link.

APS reports, he is active as well in the local Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

We are paying him to serve in these capacities and undoubtedly many similar capacities.  The other Associate Superintendents likely sit on innumerable boards and committees.

It begs a fair question; does the expenditure of  their energy and educational expertise in any endeavor other than actually educating children, do one damn thing for students, or teachers, and is therefore at least remotely justifiable?

APS' public perception is not more important than actually educating children.  It is only treated as though it is.

Polishing APS' apple and their own, only improves APS' public perception and their own; far different goals than actually contributing to the education of this community's children.

In secret pay hikes for APS top administrators revealed

The Journal reports this morning, link, at the end of the week and when all the players are out of town, that three top administrators received pay raises last July.  Nowhere is it explained, must less justified, why that information was kept secret during contract negotiations and ratification with all the employees who weren't getting raises, and have not gotten raises, for several years.

When the teachers and others who work everyday with kids, signed their no raise contracts, they had not been told about administrators getting raises the district couldn't afford to give them.

Who knows, they might have voted differently on ratification.  I would have, were I in their shoes.

"Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, said the decision is sure to cause discontent among teachers in the district, who have not received raises in the past four budget cycles due to limited state funding.  
 Gee, ya think?

Where was the public meeting where teachers and others, could ask Brooks, face to face, to justify his decisions regarding their interests?  There wasn't one.  There never will be one.
Board member Kathy look out for your camera Korte echoed some of Bernstein’s concerns about teacher morale ...
when they find out they got stroked.

Where was she when the budget that raised their salaries was approved?  She did what about it, exactly?

When did Korte first find out about the raises?  Were they in the budget she approved?  If she knew about them, why didn't she tell her teacher and other constituents?  If she didn't know about them, why not?  Did she read the budget she approved?

APS Supt Winston Brooks argues that it isn't really costing taxpayers anything, because he will pay their raises with the money he saved when Ruby Ethridge "left" the district.  Were he even a little more candid, forthright and honest, he would admit, she didn't just "leave".  He drove her out and she is suing  him over it.  I've been told that one of the reasons he is going to lose, is that he never got around to attending required sexual harassment training for administrators; training he sorely needed.  His reputation as a bully and misogynist isn't going to help his case either.

When she and others prevail in court or settlement, there won't be any savings to give raises in the inner circle.

In the discussion prompted by NMSU President Barbara Couture's golden parachute, let's not forget to talk about Winston Brooks' promised safe landing, 150% softer even than Couture's.

A glance at APS' award winning website, reveals that the July raises are still not posted.  Anyone looking for current salary data, will not find it.

I used to tell kids, if you can't trust someone all the time, you can't trust them any of the time.  If they, the students, wanted other people to trust them some times, they had to be worthy of that trust at all times.

The leadership of the APS cannot be trusted to tell the truth,
Because when you ask them for the truth,
sometimes they won't answer answer at all.

When the question is;
In response to legitimate questions about the public interests 
and your public service, will you tell the truth, the whole truth 
and nothing but the ethically redacted truth?

any answer except yes, means no.

When the question is, in your communications with the community, will you be candid, forthright and honest,

stonewalling, means no.

There are questions the establishment's press should be asking,
won't ask,
and apparently never intend to ask.

That's really bad, on so many levels.

photo Mark let go of my camera Bralley

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Marketing APS, the how and the why.

Former talking head, Calendar Queen, Crisis Manager and now renowned "expert" on the "marketing" of public school systems, APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta is on her way to an annual gathering of the leaderships of the largest public school systems in the country, link.  The cost yet to be released.

Meeting in Indianapolis, the fall conference of the Council of the Great City Schools will feature a presentation by Armenta called; “How to Effectively Market Your Urban Public School District.”

Not mentioned, why one might need to.  With a virtual lock on nearly 90,000 students, why does APS need to market itself?
Why do we need to listen to one after another of the insipid "APS Support the Potential" ads on the radio?  The best marketing tool they could create, would be to simply start doing a better job educating this community's sons and daughters - but that a whole other story.

Standing beside Armenta, APS Supt Winston Brooks.  He will offer presentations of his own on; hiding evidence of felony criminal misconduct, and another on; using a private police force to limit the free exercise of citizen's right to petition their government.  They don't appear on the agenda of course, and will be held in dark corners.

APS COO Brad Winter will co-present “What the Key Performance Indicators can Do for Our Great City Schools” along with Board Member and Board Member David Peercy.

Off line, Winters presents; how to hide a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending on administrative and executive extravagance.

The coward David Peercy will be telling his group; how to keep an open and honest discussion of students standards of conduct and the duties and responsibility of their role models, from ever taking place.

Board member and batterer Kathy Korte will let every one know how to stretch their School House Dollar in Tough Economic Times,” Brooks and Winter will be standing beside her, the best the country has to offer in administrators and school board members, on the subject of stretching dollars.

The most ironic presentation title and presenter combination must be“Urban School Construction,” by Brad Winter.  Perhaps the presentation on how to hide spending will be in public after all.
Standing with Winter for that one; Chief Financial Officer Don Moya; seemingly a nice guy caught in the middle of scandals he had no part in creating.

Board members and the Brooks are scheduled to "facilitate" a number of the sessions, though they have no apparent skill set or facilitation training to bring to the assignment.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Is Korte really krazy, or just a really pathetic role model?

APS School Board Member Kathy Korte continues to raise issues over own mental health.

Were enough questions not raised by her unprovoked attack on photojournalist Mark Bralley during a community input meeting; more questions are now raised by the hours she spent obsessing on Bralley, culminating in her design of a halloween  costume she thinks might offend him.

In the press card she is holding, she describes Bralley as "white trash".

When School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel called a woman a "nutcase" in an email, it made the news. Korte, a media darling, will likely see her behavior ignored by her friends in the establishment's press.

On her facebook page, she claims only a handful of parents were in the room when she attacked Bralley for asking a few questions and attempting to take photographs of her; a public servant, within her public service, and in a public place.  Bralley reports 50-60 people in the room.

Korte is yet to produce a single witness to verify her claim that Bralley attacked her with his camera.

Small wonder Korte will not hold herself honestly accountable as a role model of the Pillars of Character Counts!; the standards of conduct she establishes and enforces upon students, but not on herself.  We would never allow a student call another "white trash" a genuinely offensive term, wikilink, why should we permit the senior-most role models for students, to behave so outrageously?

Is this really the example school board members should be setting for students, staff and the community?

photo Korte's Facebook

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Let go of the camera"

Blogger and photojournalist Mark Bralley has been banned from City Center.

The most important thing to note about the banning letter,
it was created without due process for Bralley.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution reads in significant part; Mark Bralley cannot be

deprived of ... liberty ... without due process of law.
Bralley has not lost his liberty to a piece of paper,
his liberty was taken from him by an armed, unaccredited
and un-certified publicly funded private police force.
A police force that reports directly to, and only to,
the supt and board members.

Complaints over the denial of due process they perpetrate
can be filed with any of Maes, Brooks, or Winter,
your choice and with similar effect.

There are no legitimate limits on liberty outside the law.
Laws are the only legitimate limits on liberty.

If Bralley has broken some law, why haven't Maes, Brooks and Winter filed charges?   Why aren't they looking to the court system for a legal restraining order instead of creating one of their own?  And, instead of creating the appearance of conflicts of interests that scream foul play?

Because no honest judge would give them one.

Because in any venue where there is due process,
Bralley will be completely exonerated.

As would I, for that matter.

The letter is first signed by
School Board President Paula
"it's good for parents to 
get in teacher's faces 
every once in awhile" Maes.

It is signed next by Supt Winston Brooks.
Brooks doesn't want Bralley to capture
the look on his face when he tries to tell
interest holders they have no right to even
ethically redacted versions of the findings
of at least three investigations into felony
criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.

It is signed last by APS Chief Operating
Officer Brad Winter.

Winter shares Brooks' apparent conflict
of interest.

He is trying to oust a photojournalist
prepared to capture his face while he
tries to explain to interest holders, why
they have no right to a candid,
forthright and honest accounting of
his spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

The "Twins"; how they spent our money there is Winter's secret.
Complaints over the denial of due process they perpetrate
can be filed with any of Maes, Brooks, or Winter,
your choice and with similar effect.

Conveniently, Maes, Brooks and Winter have a Praetorian Guard to keep dissenters at bay.

Two of them, fully armed, showed up at Bralley's home, to hand deliver the letter.

The establishment's press is nowhere to be found.

photos Mark Bralley

Royale Dá/KOAT have not responded

The story is newsworthy, photojournalist Mark Bralley was mugged by a school board member.  But the story KOAT told, simply wasn't accurate.  They have been informed about their inaccuracies.

KOAT won't respond to my complaint that they have misrepresented the truth.

Why not?

Bralley reports the Dá's last question to him was,

Is there anything you would like to add ...?
 To which he replied,
"Yes, I am not happy with the way you've gone about this interview.
 Dá did not respond to his objection, nor did she pass it along to viewers .

Why not?

I assume it has to do with Mary Lynn Roper and that it is her fist that pounds the table last at KOAT.

I believe her personal association with APS School Board President and New Mexico Broadcasters Association President and CEO Paula Maes controls the truth that KOAT tells about the APS School Board and Superintendent.

Maes doesn't want the truth to get out, about an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS including criminal abuse of power.

Co-incidentally, neither does Roper. This story isn't the first to go to KOAT to die, link.

Kathy Korte attacked Bralley's camera.  She wasn't defending herself against anything except a photograph of her within her public service, refusing to respond to legitimate questions about the public interests and about her public service.

When Bralley posts in depth on his own blog, he will produce a photograph he took of Korte moving her cell phone to a hand already holding a large paper cup full? of hot? coffee? moments (long enough for a rational person to regain some self control - rethink a bad plan) before using the newly freed hand to shove Bralley's camera into his chest.

KOAT hasn't told the whole story.
The Journal hasn't told the whole story.
KRQE and KOB haven't told the whole story.

Update;  When I followed up, Dá indicated she never got my email.  I sent it again, she acknowledged she received it, and promised to forward it to the powers that be.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting the truth out

In February of next year, a majority of APS school board members will run for re-election.

Every one of them is part of a conspiracy to cover up the cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.

And that's not the half of it. It's not the fourth of it.

The only way the word is going to get out to voter stakeholders,
is for the press to do their part; fulfill their obligation
to fully inform the electorate.

The press have the most sacred obligation of any, in support of democracy.

They are charged with providing the truth; the truth upon which
 the success of every other endeavor, fundamentally depends.

Let's have a real press conference.

I propose; it be held off campus, so Brooks and the Board can't use their publicly funded, private police force to limit access, and the free exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights in a participatory democracy.  APS Police Chief Steve Tellez should come to answer questions; but he shouldn't be wearing a badge or carrying a gun.

Let's have it in a place where legitimate questions can be asked,
and where photojournalists can work without getting mugged.

APS can send everybody;
all the board members and their lawyers,
all the senior administrators and their lawyers,
and all the lawyer's lawyers.

Hell, they can send $106K a year, Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta if they want to.

On the other side,
should be the press,
doing what they're
supposed to be doing.

... for a change.

photos Mark Bralley

KOAT called out on false report

KOAT's Royale Dá reported yesterday on APS School Board Member Kathy Korte's assault and battery on blogger photojournalist Mark Bralley.  KOAT has provided no link to their report.

In her report, she slandered me; not by name but as Bralley's "associate".  She reported inaccurately on Marty Esquivel's unlawful restraining order, and then announced that I had disrupted board meetings, an allegation I deny, and an allegation that is supported by no evidence.  School board meetings are recorded; if I had disrupted one, there would be a recording of it.  APS has provided none, Royale Dá clearly has not viewed, nor listened to one.

My letter to Dá and her news director reads as follows;

Ms Dá,

I write in response to your reports yesterday, which contained false and defamatory information.

I am Bralley's "associate".    Anyone, at all familiar with the situation, knows who I am.
Just because you call me an associate, rather than by name, has not protected me from be identified as the object of your inaccurate and incomplete reporting, or from the effects of the slander.  Anyone who believes you, will believe falsehoods about me.

Contrary to your report, I am not banned from City Centre.

If you had taken the time to do an adequate investigation, you would have at least read the "banning letter",
and you would see I am only banned from Board Meetings, not from City Centre.  Any attempt to keep me from entering City Centre or the community input meetings is unauthorized by the letter.

A minor error overall, but an error nonetheless.

Further, you reported that I was banned because I disrupted meetings; an unfounded allegation that you didn't bother to investigate before reporting it.  You couldn't be bothered apparently, to point out that they are allegations, allegations unsupported by any evidence.  Neither you, nor APS, has any evidence whatsoever to support the slander.

APS Board meetings are all recorded.  If I had ever disrupted a meeting, there would be a record of the disruption. You have not viewed or listened to any of the tapes, or you would not be spreading APS' slander.

In truth, I was not banned for disrupting meetings; I was banned because I stand up a public forums and ask questions that board members and the Supt don't want to answer;
why have they abdicated from their duties as role models of the student standards of conduct?
why are they denying due process to hundreds of whistle blower complaints?
why won't they surrender a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending remodeling 6400 Uptown Blvd?
why are they hiding public records of multiple investigations of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators?
If you go to APS website,
select the board meeting of Nov 4, 2009 (one of the two meetings cited in the banning letter) fast forward to 42:00 you will see my presentation at public forum.  You will see I did not disrupt the meeting.  Rather, I petitioned my government, a Constitutionally protected human right.  That right cannot be dismissed, simply because I asked questions they don't want to answer.

The banning letter is unlawful;  it was written by Marty Esquivel acting alone.  Board Policy specifically and explicitly prohibits board members from acting as individuals.  The APS police force, an unaccredited and un-certified police force, reporting only to the supt and board, responsible only to the supt and the board, accountable to no one but the supt and the board,  has no business enforcing the unlawful restraining order.

Why are you not investigating the fact that the APS police force is the only agency of law enforcement to investigate felony criminal misconduct by the leadership of the APS police department?  Why are you not investigating their failure to surrender the evidence they gathered, to the DA? Yet you will slander me for no reason except my willingness to stand up at public forums and ask them to explain why they're hiding the public records of the several investigations.

Your coverage was incomplete and misleading.  You have an obligation to report the truth.

I cannot find on your website, the name of your news director in order to cc this letter.
please forward it.

grateful for your time and attention

ched macquigg

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Korte suggests Bralley is a threat to her children

 APS Board Member Kathy Korte said in the Journal;

“If I’m feeling threatened again, if I’m with my kids or at a school event, I need this documentation to show there is a pattern of behavior here,” she said.
The fact is, Bralley would throw himself between a threat and her kids, between a real threat and her, if the truth be known.

APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta is spreading lies as well; telling people I threatened her family.

APS School Board President Paula Maes is telling people I'm a threat to all children.

Korte is worried about developing patterns of behavior.

As should all APS stakeholders.

Korte, Armenta, and Maes suggestions are reprehensible.

Journal covers Korte blow up

In the Journal this morning, link, a report on the assault and battery committed by APS School Board Member Kathy Korte on blogger and photojournalist Mark Bralley.

Korte of course denies her misconduct claiming Bralley was pushing his camera in her face.  Security tapes from inside the boardroom would show her closing the distance between them, not Bralley.

Think about it, the "altercation" took place in the front of one of the most secure rooms on the face of the planet; armed guards, security cameras, and witnesses abound.  With all their power and resources, they cannot produce any proof that Bralley ever did anything wrong.

Everything Bralley has done has been recorded.
Everything I've done has been recorded.  Or deliberately not recorded.

We would be happy to have anyone see and hear those records.  We're not the ones hiding the records.  We're not the ones hiding for example; public records of findings of investigations of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.

Bralley was a cop for 25 years and a journalist for as long.  He knows better than to meet someone in a hallway somewhere; there's a reason they were in public and in full view when Korte blew her cork.

If either of us have broken the law, we would be in jail or on bail, charges would have been filed, reports would have been written.

If Heinz did, as I have done, she would have asked Supt Winston Brooks and the Board to produce the public record of disruptions of school board meetings.  If she had, she would have received conclusive evidence that nothing I or we did, disrupted a meeting ever.

If I ask at a public forum, why board members and superintendents are not honestly accountable as role models of the standards they establish and enforce upon students, the question does not disrupt the meeting.

The employment of a publicly funded private police force to carry off the questioner, does.  We don't disrupt meetings, they do.

The records do not show disruptive behavior.  They show me asking questions the leadership of the APS would rather not answer, and in particular would rather not answer in public and on the record.  The show me pointing their incompetence, they show me pointing to their corruption.

I stand on the record.  I would have anyone examine it.

It's a shame Heinz and the Journal won't actually look at it.
They are comfortable instead, simply repeating unjustified allegations.

Heinz failed to report as well, the banning letter is totally unlawful.  Board members have no authority to write "banning letters" and have no authority to order APS police officers to arrest any one who persists in asking questions though the board prohibits asking them questions.

Kathy Korte doesn't want to explain why she and other board members;
  1. have abdicated from their obligations as role models of the standards of conduct that they establish and enforce upon students, and why they
  2. are denying due process to hundreds of whistleblower complaints, and why they are
  3. hiding public records of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.
Heinz writes;
APS has a standing ban against MacQuigg, who has been an outspoken critic of the district for years and has unsuccessfully run for the school board several times. 
She should have written, APS has a standing ban against MacQuigg because he has been an outspoken critic of the district for years.

Though I was never elected, I wouldn't say I was unsuccessful.
I brought issues to the table that nobody else wanted to talk about.

I have to say I'm not pleased with the overall impression, Journal Reporter Hailey Heinz creates. 

She writes;
MacQuigg was banned from board meetings in September 2010 after he repeatedly disrupted them and made APS staff feel unsafe, according to the letter the district sent to him.
"... according to the letter sent to him." doesn't quite get to gist of it. She wrote in effect; I disrupted meetings.

I'll bet she hasn't looked at a single videotape, or listened to a single audio tape of me "disrupting" a meeting.   APS has them, why hasn't she asked to see them; why aren't they falling all over themselves to offer them to her?

Heinz failed to point out that the banning letter, whether justified or not, is utterly unlawful.  Heinz knows that board policy specifically prohibits board members from individual action.  Marty Esquivel had no authority to write it.  The board never authorized it.

She never asked, if Marty Esquivel had just cause for a restraining order; why didn't he go to a judge for a signature?  Why is the only other signature on the letter, the Chief of his publicly funded, private police force; accountable to no one except the administration and school board; a Praetorian Guard if ever there was.
MacQuigg recently attended two community forums about bullying without incident, but those forums were held in school buildings, not at APS headquarters. 
Not true.  The meetings were not without incident; I made allegations that made them feel so uncomfortable that Brooks didn't even show up for the second meeting.  I pointed out, for instance, they weren't spending a dime district wide developing the character of children; before they become bullies.

Heinz acknowledges  
"... a community group that has been advocating for APS to establish a citizens advisory council to foster public involvement.
She does not acknowledge that they are called the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication, nor that we seek to foster public involvement by creating venues for open and honest two-way between politicians and public servants, and the community members they serve: a venue where someone like me can ask legitimate questions without being labeled disruptive and then be arrested.
''Korte told the officer that to the best of her knowledge, MacQuigg was not allowed into any meetings at City Centre.
Has Korte not even read the banning letter?  If it is as lawful as they would have us believe, she must have voted to authorize it.  Without reading it?

Does she not know anyway, she has no authority to order police to remove people for their completely legal exercise of Constitutionally protected human rights?  The police freely admit, they take orders from board members; if a board member wants to throw someone out for any reason, even if they have broken no law, the police will obey, using force if they must.

Bralley reports that Korte closed five feet of distance between them to grab his camera.  Korte defends sayss ".. all she had to do to grab the lens was hold up her hand". Like that would make it somehow alright to go ahead and grab the camera; criminal assault and criminal battery.

If not as a veteran police officer, then as a photographer, Bralley is acutely aware of all of the reasons he has no reason to stick a camera in someone's face.

Where is Korte's evidence and proof?  Why in the super secure John Milne boardroom, can no recorded evidence be found to support her allegations?
(Korte) also said she felt threatened by how close Bralley was to her.
Truth be told, Korte feels threatened by the truth being told.

Anyone can claim they feel threatened, and for any reason, justifiable or not.
Other APS staff intervened, ...
Truth be told, "other APS staff intervened" because they chose to, and in violation of Bralley's Constitutionally protected human rights to be where was, doing what he was doing.  The only person with any authority to arrest Bralley would be a police officer, which Bralley himself had requested.

... Bralley eventually left, although not before asking to talk to the most senior APS police officer on staff and questioning whether police had legal cause or authority to make him leave. 

Truth be told. the most senior APS police officer (on duty) freely admitted that he had no legal cause at all, and it made no difference.  He would remove photographers simply because a board member asked him to.  Knowing all the while board members have no authority to order police officers to do anything ever.

The APS Police may have authority, badges, guns, handcuffs;
they haven't legal cause.

A fact that doesn't give them a moments pause.

If ever there was a tip of the iceberg, this is it.

Game on.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

So, apparently I wasn't invited after all.

I received an email from Executive Director of Board of Education Services Brenda Yager.  The email was with regard to the community engagement meeting Monday evening, and carried a subject line reading;

"You Are Invited".
The body read;
Dear Mr. MacQuigg,
This is a forum that your group might be interested in participating as well.
As surprised as I was by it, I took it to be an invitation to attend.
It was not, as I found out when we, Mark Bralley and I, tried to enter. Bralley is a photojournalist; we cover APS together.

We were greeted by CSA Anthony Sanchez. Greeted is a fair description, he has never been anything but civil and very professional in all our interactions. He said he didn't think I was supposed to be allowed in, pursuant to School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel's "banning letter"; an utterly unlawful restraining order, link, written by Esquivel and signed off on by APS Police Chief Steve Tellez.

Sanchez went to find out if I had indeed, been personally invited to the meeting.  When he came back, he told us the order was that I would be arrested; denied my liberty by police action.

The order came from a school board member, though according to School Board Policy, school board members have no authority to actually give orders to any APS employee, even the superintendent.

Sanchez declined several requests for the identity of the board member who gave the order.

A few questions allowed us to determine that Kathy Korte was the only school board member in the building at the time.  Bralley went to interview her.

When he caught up to her in the front of the board room, he asked her if she had ordered the APS Police to eject me.  He asked her why.  He raised his camera to take her picture.  That's when she went berserk.
He was standing still, she came at him, and grabbed his camera.  She can't deny it, her palm print is on his camera lens.  She shouted "you're a stalker in disguise."

Assault and battery are criminal acts.

There were witnesses; an IT guy, who deliberately shielded his identity badge when Bralley tried to identify him, and an, as yet unidentified, woman.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that at the time, there was security camera, or other APS camera recording.  I would be surprised that any recording still exists.

This though, a specific request was made to preserve all public records of the events involving either of us.

Not that there's much to preserve, as usual.  The lapel camera worn by the sergeant during our interaction, appeared to be not turned on.

The unlawful banning letter, revoked my "privilege to attend meetings of the Board of Education".  Someone, has changed the order to; not in City Center if there is a board member in the building.  I would like to know who.

The banning letter is being enforced by a publicly funded private police force.  They report directly to, and only to APS Supt Winston Brooks and the School Board.  They take their orders from Brooks and individual school board members.

I asked to speak to the senior-most APS Police Force officer on site.  I ended up waiting to speak to the senior most officer on duty in the district.  That was more than fine with us, though we had to wait awhile for him to drive over from the west side.

Upon his arrival, Bralley explained to Sergeant P V Brady, the circumstances leading up to Korte's assault and battery.  He also objected to being removed form the meeting though there had been no investigation of Korte's complaint, whatever it was.  He pointed to the lack of any evidence that he had done anything wrong, much less illegal, much less justifying police interference on Korte's behalf.

Sgt PV Brady and Officer Martin Cordova, nice guys, "just following orders".
Brady said, they take orders from school board members.

Brady said over and over;
We follow board members orders.
In complete disregard for School Board Policy and the law.

The APS Police Force leadership has an interest in keeping me from asking questions during public forums.  One of the questions I like to ask is, how is it that the APS Police are the only agency of law enforcement that investigated felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators in the APS Police Force, and how is it that the evidence has never been turned over to the DA for prosecution?

Establishment media was there.  I guess they didn't notice.
Not that it would have made any difference in their coverage
if they had.

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, October 08, 2012

You really couldn't ask for more publicity

It would be hard to argue that APS didn't do what they reasonably could, to inform interest holders know about the community input and engagement meeting tonight; at least those who pay attention to the Journal and the TV news.  I don't know if the invite is running on their digital billboard at Del Norte High School.

You can't make people pay attention any more than you can make students pay attention.

The Journal ran a decent piece on the meeting, I even saw two pieces on TV.  Oddly, I couldn't find a link to any of them.

I did stumble onto Journal Education Reporter Hailey Heinz' blog post on the meeting. I recommend it to your time and attention, link.

I recommend also, to your time and attention, the meeting itself.

Two hours of your time, and two hours of your attention.

How committed are we, to the principle of meaningful involvement in decision making about our interests?  How committed are we, to the principle of transparent accountability in our government?

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.

All that is necessary open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve, to remain forever elusive, is for good men to do nothing.

One cannot reasonably proclaim the importance of principles
and then not show up to the fight to defend them.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Would-be shooters expelled

Two middle school students with apparently serious intentions to shoot up Tony Hillerman Middle School have been expelled.  Meaning; "they will not return to THMS this school year.

Meaning what? they'll be back at Tony Hillerman next year?
they'll be at some other APS school the rest of this year?

These are only questions until they are answered.

Why do we know so little about the terrorists, bullies, and run of the mill chronically disruptive students?  Why do we not know what happens to them, where they go, or why they're left where they are, to disrupt learning and pester other students and their teachers?

Why is there no PowerPoint presentation on student discipline?

We don't know the truth about student discipline in the APS,
for one of two reasons;
the people who are supposed to be telling us the truth;
the board,
the administration, and
the establishment's media,

  1. don't know the truth, or
  2. have decided to hide it.

Neither, of course, is acceptable.

Baby rescued? or victim of opportunists?

Has a mountain been made of a molehill, link?

Man leaves sleeping baby alone in car;
911 gets called.  Isn't that illegal?

Whatever real emergency existed before
Martinez' one or two State Police officers
became involved, ended when they did,
and before 911 was dialed, and the media

... just saying

Did you see, link, Senator Tim Jennings' version of how well he and Keith Gardner are actually getting along?

As opposed to the Governor Susan Martinez McCleskey Gardner version, by and through spokesman Scott Darnell,

they're getting along just fine

Just in case we're keeping score.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, October 04, 2012

CACoC invited to APS meeting

The Citizens Advisory Council on Communication has been invited to APS' public meeting on how they engage families and the community.  I have been invited as well.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 pm, Monday October 8th.  It is likely to take place in the Martin-DeLayo Room, though that information is not part of their release, link.

They make it very clear, the purpose of the meeting is to "gather public input",  The word communication, much less two-way communication is no longer in their communications lexicon.

They're not there to engage in actual two-way communication about the lack of opportunity to engage in actual two-way communication about the public interests and their public service.

So far, they will only commit to "engage" with those whose power they wield and whose resources they spend.  So far, no mention of real two-way communication; questions followed by answers followed by more questions, and so forth, until all the questions have been asked and answered.

The meeting will follow the they talk, we talk, meeting over/they'll get back to us, model;
"The meeting will include presentations about what schools and the district are currently doing, as well as gather suggestions for new procedures that can be put into place.

The meeting will be run by Kristine Meurer, APS' new Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Supports.

photo Mark Bralley

Chanting "Mayor Berry is quite contrary"

protestors outside the Dixon Award ceremonies challenged the decision of the NM FOG to give Mayor Richard Berry a Dixon.

Being a Hero of Transparency is not about how much low hanging fruit can be hung on a website, it is about how hard you make it to get to the records and meetings, they don't want you to see.  Records and meetings that enjoy no ethical exception under the NM IPRA or Open Meetings Act.

Those records should be easily and immediately available.  If you make them so, you're a hero, maybe.  If you don't; you are no hero and there is no doubt about it.

The last time a couple of NM FOG board members got together, Marty Esquivel and Kent Walz,  gave APS Supt Winston Brooks a Dixon Award for bunch a data dump; data that doesn't include spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, or the findings of any of several independent audits of their character and competence.

Brooks, Esquivel and Walz are covering up a cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  And using a Dixon Award for cover.  There seems to be more than a little evidence that the Award is being given to people who don't deserve it.

In principle, there are only two kinds of public records and meetings, those the IPRA and Open Meetings Act explicitly and specifically shield from public knowledge, and those they don't.  In practice there is a third; records and meetings that are not excepted from transparency laws, but that politicians and public servants want to hide.  Again back to APS, for an illustrative example;
APS, Brooks, Esquivel, Maes, et al are holding in their hands, findings of three investigations of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  The findings are public records and ethical redactions of them enjoy no exception under the law, yet they refuse to surrender them to public knowledge.
In his acceptance of the Dixon, Berry acknowledged the protestors and the importance of the First Amendment; specifically in regard to freedom of speech and the press.

Yet when push comes to shove, Berry has no problem denying  the free exercise of press rights of modern day political pamphleteers; bloggers.

I hold Richard Berry personally responsible for my city government's refusal to recognize our First Amendment right to be the press.  The right was articulated with the political pamphleteers of the day in mind.  Berry either cannot or will not see that bloggers are the political pamphleteers of the digital age and fully deserving of Constitutional protection of their human right to be the press; even the pain in the ass press.  Especially the pain in the ass press.

And yet, Berry, according to an unidentified handful of FOG Directors, is a Hero of Transparency.

I know a Hero of Transparency.

Richard Berry is no hero.

During her part of the ceremony, Diane Diamond argued that members of the media sometimes tell "the inconvenient truth".  They do, sometimes.  And when they do, they become the "inconvenient" press and their access is restricted.

Berry thinks he can restrict the access of bloggers because as a rule, they tend towards in-convenience.

Richard Berry is no hero.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

APS leadership comes out of hiding

It deserves more than two column inches buried deep in the Journal.  It is worthy of more than "brief" mention.

Board members and senior administrators have opened a door they can never close.

For nearly two decades I have been asking the leadership of the APS to point to a time, a day, and a place where they will engage in open and honest public discussion with the community members they serve.  Finally, they have.

They have pointed to time, 6 pm,
a day, Monday, October 8th, and
a place, 6400 Uptown Blvd, link.

This is not the meeting where there will actually be open and honest public discussion with community members, except with respect to establishing the rules that will ultimately result in those open and honest public discussions of specific issues of interest to stakeholders some time in the future.

Not Monday, but some day, I will be able to ask them;

  • why they won't surrender the findings of investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators? and why haven't those findings been surrendered to the DA?, or
  • why are whistleblowers being denied due process for their complaints?, or
  • why are board members and senior administrators are not honestly accountable as role models of the standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students?
and they will respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly, or be actually accountable for not doing so.  That day will not be Monday, but it will be some day.

Monday, we need begin a process that cannot be stopped.

Monday, we need to establish a beachhead.

Monday, they say their purpose is to "gather public input" from families and the community.

They say
they “... want to expand our efforts to make sure we are providing ways to get input and engage the Albuquerque community,...” ... "in the education of students"
Note that there is already qualifying language;  "... in the education of students ..." to narrow the scope of the discussion.  By what logic are citizens and taxpayers entitled to communicate their concerns about "the education of students", but not about the spending of their power and resources?

Look what they have already done to mitigate your influence by means of parent advisory councils.  Read their old and new ideas on our value in their decision making process; notice the back tracking on empowering citizens to participate in advisory councils.

The old K.01, link, and the new K.01, link.
Notice the use in the chronology of the directive , of the word "reviewed" rather than "revised" August 14, 2012, to describe their obvious revision of the policy.

The Monday meeting will begin in earnest, a process that will end when interest holders have a place where they can ask any legitimate questions, and expect candid, forthright and honest responses from APS politicians and public servants.

There are those who will resist moving the line on transparency; board members and senior administrators with corruption and incompetence to cover up.

They will show up at the meeting,  and
they will try to change the subject.

There are those who think the truth about the spending of power and resources belongs to the people.  And who think they have a right to ask questions in search of that truth, and with very few exceptions, as granted specifically and explicitly in the law, who believe they have a right to expect candid, forthright and honest responses in reply.

They need to show up and speak up.

People don't get the government they deserve,
they get the government they're willing to fight for.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

"APS seeking input on community relations"

reads the Journal headline.

According to the Journal arm of the APS communications effort;

Albuquerque Public Schools wants public comment as it considers changing the way it engages families and the community.  A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday (Oct 8th) at the APS Building, 6400 Uptown NE.
The leadership of the APS wants
“...  to expand (their) efforts to make sure we are providing ways to get input and engage the Albuquerque community.”
The meeting will be held in their castle keep, wikilink, behind their Praetorian Guard.

The twins; still no candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending, link

By holding the meeting in the twins, they can use their publicly funded private police force to arrest anyone who might want ask them why they won't tell us how they spent our money fixing the place up.

Are school board members sitting in chairs that cost taxpayers $800 apiece?

The leadership of the APS never had to justify building the board room in the first place, much less the little stuff like $800 dollar chairs.  At the time, students had far more pressing needs than board members and senior administrators, and the establishment's press gave them a bye on investigating and reporting upon the debacle.

The Journal can get in, but they won't ask for a simple accounting of how they spend our tax dollars, even on the eve of another bond issue election.

They've been not asking for a long time, link.

So have Paula Maes' cronies at KRQE, KOAT, and KOB.

photo Mark Bralley

Two weeks later, bullying forum "notes" still not posted.

The leadership of the APS is fond of wading in among the great unwashed, to "gather their input".  They are there instead, to improve APS' perception among interest holders.  They are there to schmooze.

They would have us never mind, the single most effective thing they could do to improve their public perception would be to improve their performance.

Rather than talk about their failure to (substantially) improve their performance; they go  out to "gather input".

Every time they gather input, they promise or imply, the input they gathered will be compiled and shared with stakeholders.  If you filed a Request for Public Records you might get to see some notes, but nobody else will.

They always promise to share with us, what they learned.
But they never do.  They can't, because they can't point to
a single thing they learned,
that they should not have already known.

Search their award winning websites for the forums on preventing bullying.  You will find information about the (upcoming) meetings which were held on Sept 18th and 20th, but you won't find any mention of what happened at them; that they were challenged to produce data on bullying in APS, or that they were challenged to talk about the viability of character education as one solution.

They're spending a million dollars a year in an effort spin the truth about their stewardship over control over our power and resources.

They would have us "support their potential"
before we examine their failures.

Journal Editor Charlie Moore abets,
KRQE, KOAT, and KOB abet.

Were it not that Esquivel and Maes would have me arrested for doing so,

I would be at the public forum at the school board meeting tomorrow night.

I will not be there because a publicly funded private police force will stand in my way. The APS Police will stand between me and my free exercise of my Constitutionally protected human rights.

They will stand there, with their guns, their mace, tasers, handcuffs and their badges; every cop tool there is, except a running tape recorder, and deprive me of my liberty.

Were it not for an utterly unlawful abuse of public power and resources in behind School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel's utterly unlawful restraining order, I would exercise my right to speak freely and to petition my government for redress of my several legitimate grievances.

Peercy, Robbins and Esquivel tossing us from an Audit Committee meeting.
They deprive me of my liberty; they would arrest me,
for the 17th time.

Journal City Editor Charlie Moore can't see a story here.
Nor can his counterparts at KRQE, KOAT, or KOB.

Kind of hard to believe, isn't it.

photos Mark Bralley