Thursday, January 31, 2013

Should the establishment media and Winston Brooks decide if bond issues and mill levies should pass or fail?

Is it too important a decision to be left up to voters?


If the truth about extravagant spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd were exposed now, the passage of bond issues and mill levies would be threatened, perhaps.  It depends upon the truth.  Though if they have been spending well, efficiently and effectively, they would be flaunting the books, not hiding them.

Voters will not know the truth about whether board member's chairs, to be sat in twice a month for two hours, cost taxpayers $800 a piece, because APS Supt Winston Brooks, despite his commitment to candor, forthrightness and honesty with voters,
has taken a different path.

Voters will not know that Brooks won't, or can't tell them how money was spent in their castle keep because no one it going to tell them.  Not any of Brooks' and the board's cronies in the establishment's media.  They aren't telling voters that APS Supt Winston Brooks reneged on the token of good faith and transparency for voters.

Unfortunately for their taxpaying audiences, they won't be telling them after the election either.  That because then they'd have to explain why they didn't tell them about it before the election, when it could have made a difference.

The outcomes of three elections are being manipulated by powerful people in the leadership of the APS and the media.

There, I said it.




photo Mark Bralley

APS being sued over the handcuffing of students.

In the Journal this morning, link, a report on students being handcuffed and APS (tax payers) being sued over it.

I have no personal knowledge in any of the cases in question.

I do have a perspective developed over a third of a century of close attention to similar students in similar situations.

A question is begged; how young is too young handcuff?
Is an 18 year old student too young to handcuff?  A 17 year old, a 16 year old, a 6 year old?

Like any law based on chronological age and ignoring the myriad of more influential factors than age, it is fundamentally flawed.  We use age because it is convenient; readily determined, not because it really means much of anything on an individual basis.

It's worth pointing out that handcuffs are absolutely appropriately used on any student of any age, if there is no better choice available.

Handcuffs are a tool.  It is up to the police officer to decide if it is the right tool at the right time.  In the heat of the moment, we have to depend upon professional judgment to determine if the situation dictates using handcuffs.  Policy cannot be written that covers all cases; at some point it has to be left up to the discretion of the professional in the thick of it.

That said, I don't remember watching one of my own classmates ever being arrested.  I don't remember a classmate telling a teacher or the principal, no.  At least not in elementary school or junior high.

The question of age "at cuffing" is a red herring.  The real question is why are we having to handcuff them at all?  How has it come to that?

The handcuffing of students of any age, is a manifestation of an underlying problem; a bigger problem than the age at which we start handcuffing them.

Students are growing increasingly harder to control.
Adults in schools have lost, are losing, will continue to lose
any authority they might have over students and their behavior at school.

That is the problem we need to address.

The handcuffing thing will take care of itself.

That is the problem the leadership of the APS has not, will not, and cannot adress, not while at the same time they are hiding it.

The more  teachers and other adults at schools lose authority over children they supervise, the more students we will be obliged to handcuff, and the younger they are going to be.




submitted, Letters to the Editors, upon posting


The Mayor had the time to press the flesh,



but not to respond to even one of my questions.
OK, I get it, he's busy.

Had he the time, I would have asked him if he has given any more thought to recognizing the First Amendment rights of bloggers.

His position is that bloggers aren't "the press".
They are not entitled to  First Amendment protection of their free exercise of a Constitutionally protected human right to be "the press".

More specifically, they are not entitled to inclusion in his press conferences.

Had he the time, I would have asked about his violation of our Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty (to be the press) except by due process of law.  His disparate treatment of bloggers, and everyone else who are "credentialed" only by the First Amendment, is not the result of due process of law.  It is at best "allowed" by poorly written law.

Berry has not denied equal access to bloggers by exercising the law.  He does it in utter disregard for the law.

He has sent forth Deputy Communications Director Breanna Anderson as his champion.  She will answer questions for him, about what appears to be a civil rights violation, for no good and ethical reason.

Anderson is the second layer of insulation between the Mayor and the community members he serves.

She works under Dana Gardner who replaced Chris Ramirez as the Mayor's PIO.

Interestingly, Ramirez is now serving in a diametrically opposite role at KOB TV.  He is an investigative reporter whose job it is to get past the Mayor's flacks in order to ask him some questions face to face and on the record, instead of the other way around.

I suspect he can actually do that, because he is "credentialed" by the Mayor, despite the fact, the Mayor has no Constitutional authority to "credential" anyone as a member of the "press".

Membership in the "press" according to the spirit of the Constitution, does not require possession of any trinket or talisman as proof of membership.  I suspect the framers would have agreed that the tenets of liberty put the onus on government to prove that someone isn't the press, before it falls upon a citizen to prove that they are.

Did the political pamphleteers who merited protection under the First Amendment, have to present some proof that they were the press?  Was it issued by the government?  Was the government given authority to deny the talisman without due process?

Would the protection created for the political pamphleteers of that day, have been withdrawn the day they stumbled upon computers and the internet, and put away their quill pens and parchment?

Was it?  Did we miss that meeting?

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill, it is curious that the Mayor would take such controversial stand over affording bloggers the simple courtesy of inviting them to press conferences.

The Mayor and the leadership of the APS are of one mind when it comes to the meaning of "communication" with interest holders.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but bloggers are anathema to the Mayor, School Board Members and Superintendents, politicians and public servants everywhere because bloggers, beholden to nobody but their readers, will ask inconvenient questions, questions the "credentialed" media won't ask out of fear of losing their "credentials".




photos Mark Bralley

It looks like we really did pay $800 a piece for board member chairs after all.

At nearly the instant this photograph was taken, APS Winston Brooks was making a commitment to "find out by noon" yesterday, whether taxpayers ponied up $800 dollars a piece for the chairs that school board members sit in twice a month.


We have not heard back.

Two possibilities occur to me;
  1. He found the answer and doesn't want to share it with voters before the bond issue and mill levy elections, and
  2. He couldn't find the answer because the "inadequate standards, inadequate accountability and inadequate record keeping" found by Meyners' auditors a few years back, prevented the records from being created or saved.
Regardless, the establishment's media, the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB were there.



There were there and they haven't reported.

How is it not newsworthy, days before bond issue and mill levy elections, that tax dollars were spent extravagantly?

How is it not newsworthy that records are missing?

How is it not newsworthy the APS' CEO will not be candid, forthright and honest about his stewardship over the public trust and treasure, and then have the unmitigated gall to ask for $368M more?




photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KRQE, KOAT, and KOB have videotape of Brooks' good faith gesture.


They were there when APS Supt Winston Brooks promised to tell voters whether or not they spent $800 a piece for chairs for school board members. They have videotape of Brooks' commitment to a gesture of good faith to bond issue and mill levy voters; a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at capital spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

Why haven't the put it on the air for voters to see?

Why won't they?




photo Mark Bralley

Journal editorial fails to enlighten any more than Journal reporting

The Journal editors expressed their upset this morning, because after all the stink and hullabaloo about how westsiders are underrepresented on the APS School Board, they managed to field only one candidate, and a flawed one at that.

DWI convictions, the editors think, should count in school board elections.  One wonders, why?  One will have to continue to wonder because, one doesn't have standing enough, to ask the editors any questions that would clarity their position.

In the absence of their input, we can assume that maybe they're concern about the role modeling aspects of drunk driving.

If the issue is role modelings, then as far as being a useful role model for students, I would rather see

  • a repentant drunk driver, willing stand in front of students as a personal example of acknowledging bad choices and their consequences; a modern day George Washington, than
  • someone who is unwilling even, to stand in front of students as role model of personal accountability to the same standards of conduct they establish and enforce upon students.
So why are the editors on Steven Michael Quezada's back, over decade old misconduct unrelated to public service, and not on the back of other candidates in the race over their current and far more appalling failure as role models?

The incumbent candidates, by their own deliberate choice, remain unaccountable as role models of APS' student standards conduct.

Not one of the incumbents will deny, defend, or even acknowledge that they are not honestly accountable as role models of the Pillars of Character Counts!, the standards they established and enforce upon students.

A role modeling fail of epic proportion and the Journal takes no note.
But a decade old DWI, that's news we can use.

There is an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS. The Journal is in cahoots with the school board and Winston Brooks in its cover up.

School Board election voters are the only ones the Journal is manipulating.  Bond issue and mill levy voters are being denied pertinent information as well.

Yesterday, APS Supt Winston Brooks stood in front of running cameras, microphones and Journal reporter Hailey Heinz, and promised "an answer by noon" to a legitimate question about the public interests and their stewardship over our trust and treasure;
Did they spend $800 dollars a piece for chairs that
board members sit in for about four hours a month?
In as much as past practice is the best predictor of future practice, and in the face of voting to entrust them with another $368M in taxes and mill levies, it's fair to ask if they spent the last of our support of education on our children, or on padding their butts.

Brooks agreed as well, and as a gesture of good faith, to offer up a candid, forthright and honest accounting of all the capital spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

There is some evidence that it might have been spent badly.  The fact that that evidence is unavailable to voters, indicates voters would not find it reassuring.

The single best predictor of future spending is past spending.
The Journal was at the press conference.  There is no reason to believe their reporter didn't hear Brooks' commitment.

Journal reporter Hailey Heinz, David Peercy and Brad Winter
She had the opportunity to follow up with APS COO Brad Winter.  If anyone can produce the accounting it is he.  If she did, she did not mention having done so, in her report this morning, link.
The Journal had an obligation to report Brooks' gesture of good faith to bond issue and mill levy voters, and did not.

In so far as the Journal doing too little to drum up interest in the elections, and then bemoaning editorially, the lack of interest in the elections; I told you so, link.  The "editors" contribute jack to creating any interest in the public schools elections, and then moan in their editorials about how nobody shows any interest in school board elections.

There is little interest in these elections, in no small part, because the Journal is hiding that which would interest voters the most; the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the ethically redacted truth.

And in so doing, manipulating the outcome of three elections.




photos Mark Bralley



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Step away from the brownies!

Whenever APS hosts a press conference, community goals setting meeting, bullying forum, or similar public meeting, they lay out the goodies.



As a participant in any of these public meetings, I am as entitled to a brownie or two, as any other taxpayer, retired teacher, community member and/or member of the press.

APS Supt Winston Brooks hosted a presser at West Mesa High School. It's purpose was to put the best spin possible on APS' gradation rate.

As a rule, I keep my distance from people I am suing in Federal Court.  In particular the ones who tell people I that I'm stalking them, link.  People like APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.

There are a lot of questions that I would like to ask these people.  I don't ask them because I don't want to get near them in circumstances they can misrepresent, link.

Distance is a good shield, that, and more recording devices than you can shake a stick at.

For those reasons, I was keeping my distance from Winston Brooks.

Nevertheless, on my way out of the building and munching a brownie, Brooks and I passed each other at a distance where he could be heard to say something like;
I see MacQuigg found the food!
I'm not the only one who can find food at these things, and on the most fundamental level, he is no more entitled to public resources than I.  I reminded him, that I helped pay for them.

Were he only so tightfisted with the other $1.3B we entrust to him and board.

The man has issues, link.  He is a named respondent a number of lawsuits alleging his bullying and misogyny.

Did they come up in his evaluation?
God, Brooks and the board only know.

But your brownies are safe.




photos Mark Bralley

APS' 70.1% graduation rate

For the sake of discussion, let's give APS Supt Winston Brooks the 70.1% graduation rate he claims.  Forget about whether charter students should be included, or whether the semiannual recalculation of norms, which co-incidentally makes historical trends harder to quantify, signals something.

Did the graduation rate increase because of Winston Brooks or
in spite of Winston Brooks?  It is scientifically nonsensical to suppose that because two thing exist simultaneously, one caused the other.

There are a number of people who will tell you that APS' success is because of Winston Brooks.  Nearly to a man, they have a conflict of interest in coming to that conclusion.  Board Members for example, have an interest in the success of the man they selected and continue to support.

His subordinate administrators are conflicted in their evaluation by the administrative "culture of fear of retribution and retaliation" found recently, by auditors from the Council of the Great City Schools.

No objective data has been offered, in support of the hypothesis that Winston Brooks is positive influence on the APS.

Why haven't we heard it from anybody other than another one of the good ol' boys?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Are the Pillars of Character Counts! passé in APS?

Does character count in Albuquerque Public Schools?

Character Counts! at its most fundamental level, is a declarative sentence.  Because it amounts to a declaration, and someone is declaring it, it makes a difference whether it is true.  In particular it makes a difference, if the declaration is the foundation for student discipline policy making and enforcement.

Will character count in the APS?

The election of a majority of board members will determine the answer to that question for the next four years.

Is character education an issue in the upcoming election of the senior-most role models in APS' efforts to develop character in students?

It is not.

If you don't read the Journal, you are uninformed;
if you do read the Journal, you are misinformed.Mark Twain (derived)
In 1994, the APS School Board voted to establish the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, as the highest standards of conduct for students. The Pillars of Character Counts! are a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.  They voted in resolute endorsement of the Aspen Declaration, link.

You owe it to yourself and this discourse, to read the Declaration, and read the names of the people who wrote it.

Not the least of them was, US Senator Pete Domenici.  He was pivotal in bringing a great deal of federal grant money to APS, to be burned through APS by then Character Counts Leadership Council President Paula Maes and a few of her cronies.

When the money ran out, so did they,
in very short order.

In the intervening years, both have grown, shall we say, less enthusiastic about the need to help APS students develop character.  Less enthusiastic about the need for adults to role model accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

A few years after the money was gone, I did my best to track down every member of the Leadership Council.  I asked for their help in stopping APS abandonment of character education in general, and Character Counts! in particular.

It was at a time when Maes and the rest of the board voted unanimously to remove the role modeling clause from their code of conduct.
In no case, shall the standards of conduct for adults,
be lower than the standards for students.
Not one of the so called "leaders" of Character Counts!
would lift a hand, link.

Students are expected to "model and promote" the Pillars of Character Counts!.  The obligation to model and promote the Pillars, represents the highest standard of conduct that applies to students. 

Arguably, the most fundamental tenet of Character Counts! is the critical necessity of holding oneself accountable for ones conduct and competence.  How does one model "accountability" except by holding them self "accountable"?  Honestly accountable; accountable in a venue where complaints see due process.

It's all well and good to tell students the fable about George Washington and the cherry tree.  But sooner or later, someone has to step up in the flesh.  Leadership by example.  Character is taught by personal example, and by personal example alone.

Someone else first observed;
The proper time to influence the character of a child, 
is about 100 years before they're born.
If we want kids to grow  into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like.  In public schools, it begins with the school board.

In coverage of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, it begins with the Journal.




photo Mark Bralley

Answer, not one thin dime

Question,

How much money did APS spend on district wide efforts to develop character in 89,000 of this community's sons and daughters?

That, according to APS' Custodian of Public Records and longtime Director of Communications Rigo Chavez.









Question,
Even in the face of a board member election and mill levy and bond issue elections, how much Journal coverage can voters expect, on subject of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?
Answer,
Not one page, not one paragraph, not one word.
That, according to Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz, City Editor Charlie Moore, and who knows who else at the Journal;
maybe even Tommy Lang hisself .




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Best APS Superintendent in decades, gets 40%

In the Journal Questionnaire for School Board Candidates,
they were asked to evaluate APS Supt Winston Brooks.

School Board Member David Robbins gave him 40%,
an "F" even by APS administrative standards.

The spin out of Monica Armenta's Communications Department, link, is;

David Robbins thinks Winston Brooks is

"the best superintendent Albuquerque Public Schools has had in decades, not just years, but decades.” 

Ouch!



And from the same piece.
“The superintendent continues to have the full support of the board,” said APS Board of Education President Paula Maes.
Robbins and Analee Maestas voted against extending Brooks' contract.

By what stretch of the imagination is 5 out of 7, full support?

Better yet, by what stretch of the truth?




photos Mark Bralley

APS Standards and Accountability Scandal; the cover up of the cover up

In general, any endeavor succeeds or fails according to two sets of circumstances;

  1. circumstances over which we have no control, and
  2. circumstances over which we have at least some control.
Ignore circumstances over which we have no control; the quality of parents for example. Spheres of concern reaching beyond spheres of control are filled with only with frustration.

There are at least two circumstances over which we have control;
  1. the standards of conduct and competence that apply to board members, administrators, staff and students, and
  2. any actual honest accountability to those standards.
Arguably, they are the two most important circumstances of all;
the third, a distant third at best.

If standards are high enough, and if accountability is swift and certain enough, any endeavor can succeed.  Indeed, if the standards and accountability are high enough, most endeavors can flourish.

It is important to note that standards and accountability are absolutely inseparable.

There isn't a wit of difference between the highest standards and the lowest, if neither can be enforced; enforced by the least powerful on even the most powerful, and even against their will.  Nor is there any value or point in enforcing too low standards, however swiftly, however inescapably.

In the face of school board, mill levy and bond issue elections, APS standards and accountability should be on the table for discussion.  Candidates should be taking public positions on their standards and accountability.

They are not.

It continues to astonish me that even during elections, it is impossible to get standards and accountability on the table.

They are not on the table because of collusion between the leadership of the APS and the establishment media.

The leadership of the APS has something to hide and their friends are willing to help them do it. Take for example the cover up of the cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.  Not a word from the Journal, even though they broke the story, link.

Take for example, APS School Board Member Standards of Conduct accountability to their own Code of Ethics, link.

Assume for the sake of discussion, these standards are high enough to protect the public interests in the public schools.

Let's assume even, School Board Member and candidate David Peercy is telling the truth when he claims their standards are the "the highest standards".

If asked, he won't point to one of these supposed higher standards, he won't identify them by name, he simply expects you to accept their existence and his adherence, sight unseen.

Even if you could find them, are board members actually accountable to them?

By their own free admission, they are not.

Board Member Robert Lucero, once opined,
"...maybe we could get the legislature to hold us accountable."
Well, the legislature never got around to it.

And the leadership of the APS never got around to creating a venue anywhere in the entire APS, where a board member can be held accountable by due process, for even the most grievous violation of their code of ethics.

You can, if you want to, sue them.

You will find yourself standing in opposition to an unlimited budget for litigation, even against the public interests.  The full weight of government will be brought to bear, all their lawyers and all manner of legal weaselry in a cost is no object in effort to insulate board members and senior administrators from the consequences of their corruption and incompetence.

Any examination at all, of APS' record in suits filed against board members and senior administrators will find large, secret settlements and no consequences for administrators.  No consequences, except that they are compelled to use their golden parachute to bail out.

Don't take my word for it, look at the public records.  Look at the findings of at least three investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.

All you have to do is to get the board and APS Supt Winston Brooks to produce those findings.

My efforts to exercise my rights to inspect and copy ethically redacted records, has led me, and them, to Federal Court.

You will have to accept that there is meaning in their refusal to produce ethically redacted public records.  The fact that they won't let you see them, even in the most egregious disregard for the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, means something.

There is only one reason to hide the truth, and that is to escape the consequences of telling the truth.

The sitting board will not allow a public meeting during which APS standards and accountability can be discussed openly and honestly.  They will not permit or participate in, two-way communication on the subjects of executive, administrative, staff and student standards of conduct.  They will not discuss accountability to those standards.  They will not discuss role modeling.

I don't know if its fair to say that not one of the candidates is willing to talk about standards and accountability publicly. It is fair to say, not one of them has.

Neither, has the Journal, nor any of School Board President and NM Broadcasters Assoc President and CEO, and oh yeah, candidate for the APS School Board Paula Maes' cohorts at KRQE, KOAT, KOB, and KKOB.

There's an elephant in the room.

There is an ethics and accountability
scandal in the leadership of the APS.

And nobody wants to talk about it.




photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Journal 2013 APS School Board Candidates Questionnaire

The Journal has prepared a questionnaire author(s) unknown, link, and submitted it to candidates for their responses.  The questionnaire fulfills in part, their obligations to voters in the upcoming school board, bond issue and mill levy elections.

Their question #5;

Please give your evaluation of Superintendent Winston Brooks’ performance.
All the candidates responded.

I invite you to judge for yourself whether the question is legitimate, and their response is acceptable.  In particular I invite you to look for candor, forthrightness and honesty.

I use the phrase candid, forthright and honest deliberately because it comes directly from the standards of conduct the school board has established and enforces upon students; the standards of conduct for which school board members are the very most senior role models; whether they like it or not, whether they admit it or not, whether they restore the role modeling clause to their own standards of conduct or not.   A role modeling clause reads;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
Board members have three jobs on an annual basis; one of them is to evaluate the superintendent's conduct and competence.  It is their responsibility to hold the superintendent accountable, should their evaluation reveal shortcomings in either.

Judge for yourself then, which of these candidates will rigorously evaluate APS Supt Winston Brooks performance every year, and then hold him honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence?

Please give your evaluation of Winston Brooks' performance.
In District 3:
Candido Arturo Archuleta Jr. wrote;
Increasing personal pension benefits while educators and staff have not had increases in four years, plus requesting a contract extension prior to election of new board demonstrates a lack of concern for personnel and community. 
Leah E. Persons wrote;
Winston Brooks manages one of the largest districts in the country. He has political savvy. The community is looking for better results. As a board member, I will work with the superintendent and the board to improve results. 
Lorenzo L. Garcia (incumbent) wrote;
Superintendent does very well in some areas, must continue to grow in others. He does well nationally. I’d like to see him building an organizational culture that creates conditions where excellent outcomes are more likely.
In District 5
Steven Michael Quezada wrote;
I am interested in learning more about his vision for reforming education so we improve student performance, keep classrooms small, and fairly compensate teachers and educational assistants.
In District 6
Donald Duran wrote;
As a former superintendent, I would actively support a transparent and public review of the performance measures set by the board. I do not have sufficient information how the board arrived at the performance measures or how those measures were evaluated. I look forward to working with the new board as we evaluate his performance. 
Paula Maes wrote;
I was president of the board when Superintendent Brooks was hired. I have worked with a number of superintendents during my tenure on the board, and no other person has been able to bring the credibility and progress APS has seen in the past five years. The APS I was elected to 12 years ago as a board member is not the APS I am asking to re-elected to for another four years. 
Angela L. Gonzales wrote;
He has always been a champion for Albuquerque students. He may not make the popular decision, but he is fair. He has done a good job working with the board. It is a tough job. 
David Robbins wrote;
Two on a five-point scale. APS has built good relationships with the city, UNM, CNM and the business community. I continue to seek greater accountability, openness, and listening to all points of view. 
In District 7
Larry Langley wrote;
Superintendent Brooks performance based on overall student performance, community engagement, APS personnel issues, and strong opposition of New Mexico Private Sector Business Community public policy issues has been dismal and disappointing. 
David Peercy (incumbent) wrote;
Very good: exceptional job with community/business relations. Improved graduation rate 52% to 64% over four years; improved proficiency in reading and math; achievement gap is flat, despite 1,000 lost positions. Finances exceptional despite $100 million operation budget reduction.
I take particular exception to Paula Maes' claim;
The APS I was elected to 12 years ago as a board member is not the APS I am asking to re-elected to for another four years.
I will grant that things have changed in one respect.

Twelve years ago, when there was still federal grant money to spend, Maes was the President of the Character Counts! Leadership Council.

Since, Paula Maes actually voted to remove the role modeling clause from her own standards of conduct, in order that she could not be held honestly accountable as a role model of accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!.

Twelve years ago, the leadership of the APS was a good ol' boys club where there was no real accountability for administrative incompetence and corruption.  The same was true of the school board.

Today, Paula I'll never agree to any audit that individually identifies corrupt or incompetent administrators or board members Maes sits atop a leadership that is still individually unaccountable for their conduct or competence.

Which is not to say, no administrator has been held accountable ever.
Which is to say, there is no venue in the entire APS where a complaint against an administrator or board member is guaranteed due process.

If there were such a place, someone could point to it.
Someone would point to it.

If there were such a place, Winston Brooks and school board members wouldn't still be hiding the findings of the Caswell Report and at least two other investigations of felony criminal misconduct in the APS Police force leadership.

If there were such a place, APS COO Brad Winter would have produced a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

If there were such a place, School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel and APS Police force Chief Steve Tellez wouldn't be using their publicly funded private police force to ban dissidence at public forums during school board meetings.

There is no such place.

I take exception to David Peercy's claim;
Very good: exceptional job with community/business relations. Improved graduation rate 52% to 64% over four years; improved proficiency in reading and math; achievement gap is flat, despite 1,000 lost positions. Finances exceptional despite $100 million operation budget reduction.
Peercy likes to go on about his
"... special appointment as a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, an accomplishment accorded fewer than 1 percent of all Sandia employees. This recognition by scientist colleagues is a highly regarded and humbling honor."
Assuming "senior scientist" means something more than a bunch nerds electing their own Prom King, Peercy must be a real scientist, and therefore appreciate the value of real "data" .  He has probably heard and maybe even used the old saw;  
In God we trust, all others must bring data.
Where is his data, his empirical evidence that Brooks has done an exceptional job with community relations?

If by that he means, Brooks done an exceptional job dedicating nearly a million dollars a year on a communications effort that creates a world class calendar and otherwise polishes APS' apple, perhaps he is right.  

If he means Winston Brooks has established open and honest two-way communications with the community members he serves, Peercy is an outright liar.

Point to the place where a citizen can ask Winston Brooks questions about the public interests and about his public service, and where Brooks will respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly.  And, where there are followup questions allowed as necessary.  You know - two-way communication.

There is no such place.

If you want to, you can link to APS' award winning website and archived footage of the November 4, 2009 Board Meeting, link, fast forward to 42:00 and watch me getting arrested for asking Winston Brooks (and other senior administrators and school board members) to answer questions about the public interests and their public service, The rest of the picture, link.

Of course Peercy thinks Brooks and their Praetorian Guard have done an "exceptional job" of keeping the community, me, from asking him, Peercy, to explain why his Policy Committee will not carry on an open and honest two-way communication with the community members they serve, about the APS Role Modeling Clause and their standards of conduct.

Credit where credit is due;

David Robbins wrote;
Two on a five-point scale. APS has built good relationships with the city, UNM, CNM and the business community. I continue to seek greater accountability, openness, and listening to all points of view.
Two on a five point scale; when asked to evaluate Brooks' performance, Robbins gave him an F.  

Robbins said Brooks has fallen short in providing transparent accountability in his administration of public resources and the people's power.  

In stark contrast to David Peercy's admiration, David Robbins thinks Brooks needs to listen more if he wants an exceptional relationship with the community.

Robbins voted against Brooks' contract extension.  He was joined in dissent by only one other Board Member, Analee Maestas.  

The rest of them voted to inflate Brooks' golden parachute 
to a full three quarters of a million dollars.




photos Mark Bralley

On golden parachutes

KRQE reports, link, State Rep Bill Rehm is introducing legislation that would limit the size of golden parachutes for public employees.  In the report, KRQE pointed to a couple of golden parachutes gone awry for taxpayers, NMSU President Barbara Couture's and the infamous UNM Head Football Coach Michael Locksley's.

KRQE chose to not mention APS Supt Winston Brooks' golden parachute, which the APS School Board just re-inflated to a whopping three quarters of a million dollars, possibly the largest parachute in the state, and despite the paucity of any empirical evidence of his either competence or his good character as Superintendent.

One wonders, why?




photo Mark Bralley

Friday, January 25, 2013

Drawing the line on transparency

There is a line in government, between information that is made public and information which is kept secret for many good and ethical reasons.

We think of that line as a vertical line separating on one side, the published truth and on the other, the unpublished published.  I use the word publish deliberately though not literally.  It is impractical for government to actually publish everything, but people who go looking for information should find that information as easy to find as if it were published.

The line on truth telling is actually a horizontal line, a continuum running from "published" to secret.  There is no vertical line that cleanly separates the one from the other.  In part, that is because honorable and honest people can disagree.  The real failure of open government is that the only provision for settling any dispute at all, lengthy litigation between individual citizens and the full weight of government and all of their lawyers, is unbearably cumbersome for individual citizens.  The remedy is effectively beyond the reach of common people.

In any case, there will always be a struggle between people wanting the truth and public servants wanting to hide it.  There will always be a push to the right; more truth available to more of the people more easily.  There will always be a push to the left; more ease in meetings in secret, more ease in secreting public records.

As it stands, the truth in the form of public records and public meetings, is under the control of politicians and public servants.  It is important to remember that the truth, the whole truth, belongs to the people regardless of their access to it.  We own the public truth and we own the secret truth.

As it stands, the truth belongs to pols and public servants.  If you want see, hear or watch it, you have to prove your right in court.

As it should be, the truth belongs to the people.  If a politician or public servant has a legitimate need for secrecy, they must prove that need in court.

As it stands, politicians and public servants are allowed to redact their own public record, the record of their public service.

As it should be, the law should both require and provide for the impartial redaction of  public records.  A due process in which the least powerful of us can stand against most powerful of our servants and they are afforded no undue influence over a principled resolution.

Despite the fact that I argue the prospect of endless struggle, there is an "effective" end.

There will come a day, when the law provides as much transparent accountability to the people, as it ever will provide.  Which begs a question; why isn't it today?

If the right time to do the right thing is always right now, then why is right now not the right time to write law as good as it will ever be?

A State Representative and a State Senator are co-sponsoring bills that will provide substantially more open government; HB21, link, HJR2, link.  One provides more notice for meetings, the other moves school board, school bond, and school mill levy elections to November.  This election could be the last APS school board, mill levy and bond issue elections settled by a handful of voters.

The one is a Republican, the other a Democrat; the one a veteran in the legislature, the other a newbie to the Office, a longtime veteran in the Roundhouse.  They're working together on our behalf.


The one, Rep Jim Smith, the other, Sen Daniel Ivey-Soto.

Maybe things aren't so bad after all.




photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh, boy! A SuperTAOSAC

In order to create the perception that he is in communication with students, APS Supt Winston Brooks formed the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council.  He likes to called it the SuperSAC.
He meets with the exceedingly atypical group of students once a month, in order to increase his understanding of typical students.

There are those who believe that Brooks is out of touch with teachers and other staff.  Apparently it came up in Brooks' so-called evaluation.  To ease the perception that his administrative style is "top down", school board enforcer Marty Esquivel asked Brooks to work with teachers and other staff; TAOS.

The Journal reports that Brooks is "considering" creating an advisory council to "consult" with them.  The gathering of atypical teachers and other staff will be the SuperTAOSAC.

Oh, boy!  oh, boy!  oh boy!

Teachers and other staff will be so thrilled.

In the meantime, no policy change has been made, in response the findings in an audit done by the Council of the Great City Schools.  They found;

APS has a culture of fear of retribution and retaliation
against whistleblowers.
If Brooks, or the Board for that matter, had any real interest at all in the opinions of teachers and other staff, there would be a survey done every year where teachers and staff can tell the truth without fear of retaliation.

They have no real interest, no survey will be done.

Ever.

Brooks gets another year

A series of in-secret meetings by the APS School Board has resulted in another contract extension for APS Supt Winston Brooks.  His contract expires more than a year after Marty Esquivel's, Kathy Korte's and Analee Maestas' terms on the board expire. All three end their current terms on the board in  February 2015; more than a year before the contract they gave Brooks ends.

The entire process was conducted in secret.  No public input was gathered at anytime during the process.  Teacher input was not gathered.  Employee input was not gathered.

No record was created.

At their re-election Esquivel, Korte and Maestas are to be held accountable by voters, for their selection and retention of APS' superintendent.  How are voters to evaluate their work, if it all gets done in secret?

Who says board members are competent to evaluate superintendents in the first place?  Their election to the board gives them that authority; it does not give them the skill set they need to do it.  Are the people not entitled to oversee the spending of their own resources and the wielding of their own power?

What was his final score?  What were his individual scores?

  • Did he have to account for the hiding the findings of investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators?
  • Did he have to explain, defend, deny or even acknowledge his abdication from his obligations as the senior most administrative role model of student standards of conduct?
  • Did he have to explain why a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd is not available to the people who foot the bill?
  • Did he have to justify denying due process rights to hundreds of whistleblower complaints, many naming him individually?
  • Did he have to justify his use of their publicly funded private police force to protect him and them from inconvenient questioning?
Was he asked about the many lawsuits in which he is a named respondent?
Was he asked about his reputation as a misogynist and bully?

I doubt that he was.

The Journal served up the establishment perspective this morning, link.  They report;
In the future, the board will consider Brooks’ contract in November, to avoid the politics of having Brooks’ evaluation done during an election.

They are oblivious apparently, of the ongoing legislative effort to move the elections to November, which would immediately reestablish the problem.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Will questions be allowed at the APS candidate forum?

The short answer is no of course, as their "armed and loaded", link, police force will stand between me and any opportunity I might have to ask a question.

On a broader level, will others who are allowed in, be able to ask questions?

The commitment the leadership of the APS made in their flier is;

You are invited to meet and ask questions of the school board candidates ...
Past practice is that questions will be written down and collected.
The stack will be dutifully massaged by representatives of the League of Women Voters, who will then select and word the questions according to their needs and interests.

I have yet to see them ask an inconvenient question.
  • Why are findings of at least three investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators, being kept secret from public knowledge?
  • Why is due process being denied to hundreds of whistleblower complaints?
  • Why will there be no audit of administrative standards and accountability, that individually identifies corrupt and incompetent administrators?
  • Why will they not produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd?
  • Why are the senior most role models of APS Student Standards of Conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, unwilling to hold themselves honestly accountable to the standards they establish and enforce upon students?
  • Why will the board not restore the role modeling clause to their own standards of conduct? one which reads; 
  • In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
    be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
  • Why are the efforts of the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications to establish open and honest, two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve, being thwarted?
Nor is there any reasonable expectation that they will start asking inconvenient questions tonight.

I am banned from asking those questions and others, by School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel's abusive use of a public funded private police force, accountable to no one except the leadership of the APS.  His fully armed and armored Praetorian Guard stands between me and the free exercise of my Constitutionally protected human right to go to a school board candidate forum and ask questions about the public interests, and about their public service.

The Journal will not ask them inconvenient questions.
The news directors and owners of KRQE, KOAT, KOB, and KKOB will not ask them inconvenient questions.

Somebody should do something.

Tonight, 6pm, 6400 Uptown Blvd.


Third meeting in secret today, to evaluate Brooks

The APS School Board will meet today, link.  For the third time in as many meetings they will adjourn into a meeting in secret from interest holders.  In secret, they will complete their evaluation and then come out into the light of day to

" (consider) ... of Approval of the Contract Revisions for the Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent (Discussion/Action)
No telling what "the contract revisions" are, they're a big secret too.  Smart money, or at least the money that's been paying any attention at all, is on yet another contract extension - a bigger golden parachute for their golden boy.

The fact that the entire evaluation process has taken place in secret with no input from anyone except the inner circle, is an abomination.

An abomination that has so far escaped the attention of the Journal and the rest of the establishment's press, even in the face of three elections of school board members and over the raising a third of a billion dollars in taxes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money."

Though the quote is widely attributed to Everitt Dirkson, it appears that it is mistakenly so. Wikipedia reports, wikilink, that when Dirksen was asked point blank, he replied;

"Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."
On February 5th, two weeks from today, a handful of voters will decide who will be entrusted with control over our comparatively paltry $368M.

Will it be entrusted to the same people, or will new people assume the mantel?  Same old, same old, or brand new, brand new?

On a scale of trillions perhaps, a few million here and a few million there is inconsequential.  On a scale of billions,  are they still inconsequential?

Are a few million here and a few million there worthy of our attention?

Are they really sitting in chairs that cost us $800 a piece.  Do we even care?


None of your business!
APS' Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter was asked for a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.  He was asked to explain how a deal that was supposed to have saved taxpayers millions of dollars metamorphosed into a money pit,
and he won't answer.

They steadfastly refuse to account for the money they just (mis)spent, and they would like some more please.

Who cares?

Not the Journal, it would seem.  Nor any of the NM Broadcasters Association affiliates , friends of Paula Maes and who have their President and CEO's back.




photos Mark Bralley

Monday, January 21, 2013

My attention has been called to a post I wrote a long time ago.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 to be exact; my first post. link.

More than six years and nearly six thousand posts later.
I regret to report, people running for the school board
still won't answer the question;

To what standards of conduct, will you hold yourself honestly accountable?

  1. The law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings, or,

  2. the standards of conduct School Board Members established and enforce upon students; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link.

"What a long strange trip it's been", wikilink




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, January 20, 2013

APS could simply post the public record

APS School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel maintains that my
conduct at school board meetings has been so abhorrent that
he is justified in revoking my several First Amendment rights
to participate in school board meetings.

There is a body of evidence that he will seek to have introduced,
all the horrible mean spirited crap he can have found, but also including; any public records which might exist and are not specifically excepted by the Inspection of Public Records Act.  I would add; ethically redacted.  I would argue that as the senior most role model of ethical standards of conduct, he is bound by them whether he likes it or not.

If a public records request for " every public record of every school board meetings; all the videotape, all the audio, security camera footage, gun belt recorder tape, lapel camera footage and every document public records, and then posted it online, I would welcome it.  I've been trying to do exactly that for years.

They will claim by implication, that the law prevents them from producing the truth because they are in litigation over their refusal to produce public records.  At best the law allows them to hide the records; it does not require them to.

They are under no ethical obligation to hide the truth because they are being sued over hiding the truth.  Quite the opposite. They're not bound by the law, they're hiding behind it.

A legitimate question is asked.
It makes no difference who asked it or why.

What proof do they have, in the form of ethically redacted public records; any security camera, any belt recorder tape, any lapel camera footage, any public record at all, that my conduct at any school board meeting ever, justifies denying me free exercise of my Constitutionally protected human rights to participate in public meetings of the APS School Board?

In fact, that question has been asked in the form of a public records request.  Their entire production justifies nothing.  The video tape of the November 4, 2009 regular meeting, is our proof of Marty Esquivel's abuse of my civil rights.  Who're going to believe, Marty Esquivel or your lying eyes?  Watch the video yourself, link.  I welcome you to view every videotape, to listen to every audio tape, and to read every public record.

Marty Esquivel and his lawyers, not so much.


I, or you, could ask for those records and post them online the instant they were produced; many years and many dollars down the road.

They, could post them right now for free.

The law doesn't prevent them from posting the ethically redacted record in a link on their award winning website; an abject absence of character and courage does.

Esquivel throwing Bralley and me out of the Aug 25, 2010 Audit Committee mtg
I would love for you to listen to the audiotape of  the audit committee meeting we allegedly disrupted.  It isn't we who are keeping you from listening to it, it is the school board, senior administrators, their lawyers, and their lawyer's lawyers, who are standing in your way.

This is a case in point on real transparency accountability in the APS.  They hold all kinds of awards of being transparent; hell, APS Supt Winston Brooks is a bona fide Hero of Transparency, according to Esquivel, Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz, and the NM FOG Board of Directors.

The true measure of transparency is the difficulty with which inconvenient records are gathered.

They are not restrained by the law, they are hiding behind it.

According the standards of conduct Esquivel rather did not exist, the higher standards of conduct he established and enforces upon students, one's good character depends on their willingness to do more than the law requires and less than the law allows.

There's only one reason to hide the truth, and that is
to hide from the consequences of so doing.

If we expect students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what it looks like.

Character is taught by personal example; character is taught only by personal example.





photo Mark Bralley

"Hard to have" conversations hard to come by.

Let's begin with definition.

Hard to have conversations are characterized by open and honest two-way communication about the truth that (almost) nobody wants to talk about.

They are about the truth;  however embarrassing, however shaming, however incriminating.

They are about that part of the truth that enjoys no exception under the law, but that can be easily hidden under nearly feckless law; the Caswell Report for example; findings from an independent investigation of felony criminal misconduct in APS' police force.

The law provides them no exception.  The people have a right to inspect an ethically redacted copy of the Caswell Report.  They are spending operational dollars in litigation, dollars which could and should be used educating children, to delay the production of records of their cover up of felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators.

The open and honest public conversation about the truth about
public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS
is hard to have.

Lorenzo Garcia is an APS School Board Member, District and Community Relations Committee Chair, and candidate for re-election in a few weeks.

Garcia coined the term
hard to have conversations.

Garcia can, whenever he wants, add an item to the agenda for his committee meetings.  Anytime he wants to, he can add;

Action item; begin the hard to have conversation about having hard to have conversations, and create a venue for open and honest public conversations about the public interests and our public service; grant standing to the Citizens Advisory Council on Communication.
So far, he hasn't wanted to.  The record speaks for itself, link.

There are at least two reasons that might apply; lack of courage and/or lack of character.  A lack of courage simply means, afraid to have open and honest discussion of the truth.  A lack of character means deliberately hiding embarrassing, shaming, or incriminating truth.

If there is a third reason, I cannot imagine it, and nobody on the school board has articulated it.  I welcome your suggestions.

Lest I ride Garcia too hard, he is not the only board member doing nothing about beginning two-way communication with the community members they serve.
School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel has gone so far as to create an unlawful restraining order and unlawfully deployed a publicly funded private police force, in his effort to forestall a hard to have conversation about his part in the covering up the cover up of felony criminal misconduct in the APS police force.

In truth, any board member could stand on the record at any board meeting and begin the discussion about having hard to have conversations.  Their record speaks for itself.

Silence gives consent.

Provided it is in time for the election, ideally before the candidate
forum next Wednesday,

I welcome the Journal Editors to lay out their position on the need for a venue for hard to have conversations and the reticence in the leadership of the APS to make any effort at all to provide it.

cc letters to the editor, upon posting




photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fine tuning the Open Meetings Act, will provide 72 hrs notice.

Republican State Rep Jim Smith and Democrat State Senator
Daniel Ivey-Soto have collaborated in a bipartisan response to
the demand for better open meetings law.



They propose, link, extending notice for public meetings by requiring meeting agendas to be published 72 hours before a meeting.

The current minimum of 24 hours is routinely abused by pols and public servants whose need is to make it difficult for stakeholders to attend meetings.  Ideally, agendas would be posted "as built" with a minimum of 72 hrs.

To thwart politicians and public servants who like to skirt the law by declaring "emergencies", Ivey-Soto and Smith's add some teeth to the law;

Within five days of taking action on an emergency matter, the public body shall report to the attorney general's office the action taken and the circumstances creating the emergency.
Ouch.

If I were King, we would insist that the law would require public meeting agendas to include a venue where the people are guaranteed an opportunity to freely exercise their Constitutionally protected human rights to assemble, speak, and to deliver their petition for redress; a public forum.

The right time to do the right thing is always right now. unk




photo Mark Bralley

Journal editors a day late and a dollar short ...

In the Journal this morning, link, the editors express their concern over a lame duck school board inflating APS Supt Winston Brooks' golden parachute by extending his contract again and in meetings behind closed doors.

No one but the board seems to know how they intend to perform their evaluation.

Where is the PowerPoint presentation of the Superintendent's Evaluation Process?

Where is the APS highly paid Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta and her Communications Department?

Are they so busy working on their next school Calendar, they can't put together a little presentation on how the process works?

How many more times do they intend to meet in secret?  Do they intend to continue to refuse to make recordings of the meetings, should a judge want to watch them? From whom will they take input? under what circumstances?  Do teachers have input?

The editors posit;

"These are just a few of the questions likely to be addressed in coming weeks."
Likely?  Why is it likely?  Have theses kinds of questions ever been asked before?  Not by the Journal, they haven't.

As a bona fide candidate in two school board elections, I did everything I could to get the Journal to investigate and report upon the standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.  I asked them to ask important questions; questions like;
  • Why, are the findings of at least three investigations into felony criminal misconduct by senior APS administrators being hidden from public knowledge and in violation of the NM IPRA?
  • Why has no agency of law enforcement, other than APS' own publicly funded private police force, ever investigated the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS Police force?
  • Why hasn't evidence of felony criminal misconduct not been turned over to the District Attorney's Office?
They steadfastly refused, and steadfastly refuse still, to ask the inconvenient questions of their cronies in the leadership of the APS.

Why are we to expect the Journal to start asking inconvenient questions now?

Don't forget that it was Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz who teamed up with School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel, to give Winston Brooks a NM FOG hero of transparency award while all three knew the Caswell Report was, and is, being hidden from public knowledge and in blatant disregard of the NM IPRA.


And credit where credit is due;
  • the editors printed School Board Member and berserk-er Kathy Korte's expressed belief that the broadcast news and Journal aren't giving stakeholders "a 360 degree view."
  • they asked; "... how fair is it to expect the public to trust decisions made behind closed APS doors?
  • they conceded "the majority of the tax-paying, voting public simply can’t attend every school board meeting and does rely on news coverage to make informed decisions,
  • they drew attention to the fact that voters are "... being exposed to information from the well-financed APS public relations machine, and most importantly,
  • they openly aver; "the election should be a referendum on the superintendent, this group of board members, and direction in which they have taken the district.
Talk is cheap.



 
Armenta photo Mark Bralley
Korte photo from her Facebook
Walz, ched macquigg


Question asking opportunity promised


I can't speak to the original source of the flier, but since it carries APS' logo, it's fair to assume APS had something to do with creating it.

What is so highly unusual about the flier is the promise that attendees can
"ask questions of the school board member candidates ..."
Really? this would be the first time APS has ever allowed the direct questioning of candidates.

The usual MO is to solicit questions which are then accumulated, consolidated, reworded and then asked by someone other than a forum attendee.  The process has been used repeatedly before in order to protect candidates from inconvenient questions.

At a similar forum for the candidates for superintendent, I held up a poster asking if any one of them was willing to step up as an honest to God role model of accountability to student standards of conduct.  I was asked by the moderator, a lady from the League of Women Voters, if I would move far enough away from the candidates that they could not see my poster.

I respectfully declined.  I explained to her, that would defeat the entire purpose of the poster in the first place.

I would love to go to this forum to ask the candidates if they are willing to step up as honest to God role models of APS Student Standards of Conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!.  It is an inconvenient question, so I will not be allowed to ask it - this according to the unlawful restraining order created by School Board enforcer Marty Esquivel

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Closed session" sounds so much better than "in secret",

but the effect is the same.

Journal education reporter Hailey Heinz continues the Journal's riveting coverage of APS Supt Winston Brooks' "evaluation, link.  She writes; "School board members, who met (two times) in "closed session" this week to start evaluating Brooks...".

Recognizing that the law provides for meetings in secret, who is kidding whom, they met in closed session in order that their conduct and competence during the evaluation process remain secret from public knowledge.  That the law "allows"them to meet in secret for nearly any reason, they are not required to meet in secret except under very specific circumstances that truly warrant meeting in secret.

What good and ethical reasons compel Winston Brooks' entire evaluation process to be conducted in secret?  If only there were a place where legitimate questions can be asked, and the leadership of the APS is in any way, required to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

We will never really know what they do in secret because their descriptions of what they considered, required by law to be "reasonably specific" are not. Their simple citation of the law fails to provide reasonable specificity by any honest measure.

By their deliberate choice, they don't record these meetings even though the recording would be protected from public knowledge except by a court order.  There really is no good and ethical reason to not create an incontrovertible record of their public service.

It is already too late for APS to post the Finance Committee Agenda

APS Finance Committee is meeting Monday morning at 7:30 am.  At 8:49 this morning, the agenda is still not posted, link.  If they meet, it will be in violation of the law requiring agendas to be posted a minimum of 24 hrs before the meeting.

fyi

Journal reporter encourages voting before the forum

What could easily be the biggest and most important APS school board forum is yet to take place.  Nevertheless, Journal education reporter Hailey Heinz is encouraging voters to join her in voting before the forum, link.  Are they afraid something might happen at the forum that might hurt the incumbents?

She also informs us that the Journal will be publishing its candidate questionnaires next week.  What do you want to bet that among the questions you will not find;

  1. If you are elected to the school board, will you hold yourself honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct that you establish and enforce upon students?
  2. Are the Pillars of Character Counts! that standard, or will you seek to lower those standards in open and honest public discussion of standards and accountability in the APS?
Just to be fair, I have sent the following to Ms Heinz
Ms Heinz,

Realizing that the Journal questionnaire has already been sent out to the candidates, I am wondering if there is any good and ethical reason that the Journal questionnaire (process) could not include the following two questions;
  1. If you are elected to the school board, will you hold yourself honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct that you establish and enforce upon students?
  2. Are the Pillars of Character Counts! that standard, or will you seek to lower those standards in open and honest public discussion of standards and accountability in the APS?
Grateful for your time and attention

ched macquigg