Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is the Council of the Great City Schools Fall Conference a boondoggle?

When I was a student in the APS, there was a week in the fall that students eagerly anticipated.  It was the week of Teacher Convention and students got a couple of days off.

Likely there were teachers who looked forward to that week as well; an opportunity to get together with other practitioners and improve their individual and collective practice.

Teachers no longer have conventions, but administrators do.
In town this week the Council of the Great City Schools convention.

The leadership of the APS is deeply involved, link.  A great deal of energy and resources are being invested, link.  They've even hired a social media expert, link, to help them tweak their tweeting, link, about all the important stuff they're doing.

A fair question;

To what advantage are these resources being spent insofar as the average student is concerned?
Every time the leadership of the APS go on one of their little adventures, I dare them come back and tell us what they learned in exchange for the energy and resources they spent.  I dare them to come back and tell stakeholders what they learned of any consequence at all, that they should not have already known.

There is no magic.  There are no secrets.

If there were really magic and secrets to be shared, we would be sharing them with teachers at teacher conventions; not with a bunch of high paid administrators and board members none of whom have any impact whatsoever on students in classrooms.

APS leadership can go long and hard on the benefits of this latest adventure.  For one, they're claiming the conference is bringing $5M to our cash strapped local economy.

But that begs another fair question;
While the economic impact may be all well and good for the city, is that really what we where we want the leadership of the APS spending their energy and our resources?  
Improving education for 89,000 of this community's sons and daughters is well and good for the city too; arguably, even more so.

What these conventions really are, are opportunities for "important" people to pat each other on the back and tell each other how important they are. If these conventions were of real value, the board members and senior administrators who attend could take a minute during matters of importance at the next school board meeting, and tell us
  1. what they learned,
  2. how what they learned will improve the lot of students, and
  3. why they didn't already know about it.
They will not.  They never have.  They never will.

Just watch.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Brooks Tweets! Journal covers it?

In the Journal this morning, link, we find that the leadership of the APS attended a rally and while there tweeted and re-tweeted photographs of posters with uncomplimentary depictions of the governor and public education secretary.

Apparently, the Journal reporter questioned the propriety of the tweets and was told, no offense intended.

With respect to the likelihood of anymore disrespectful tweets in future, the highly paid APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta said Winston Brooks said,

“we can certainly discuss the guidelines of social media use ...."
The ed sec's spokesman, Larry Behrens said sec ed said, the tweeting represented a disappointing use of tax dollars.

The governor's spokesman, Enrique Knell said the governor said, she’s disappointed that APS is playing politics with taxpayer funds.”

The Journal devoted 17 column inches to the exposé.

The total inches of exposé of the cover up of the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS
... still zero.




photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Peercy to be honored, but not for his moral courage

The Journal reports, link, APS School Board Member David Peercy is apparently in consideration for a prestigious award from the Council of the Great City Schools. He is in the running for the

Richard R. Green Award, which APS Superintendent Winston Brooks described as “the most important award a superintendent, administrator or school board member can receive.
Whatever the award is for, it is not for moral courage.

David Peercy runs APS Policy and Instruction Committee.  He is as responsible as anyone in APS for the fact that the Policy Committee will not hold an open and honest public discussion of whether school board standards of conduct should include a role modeling clause.

The question is simple enough, should the standards of conduct that apply to board members and senior administrators include language which reads;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
be lower than the standards for students.
The role modeling clause was removed by unanimous school board approval in 2005.  The refusal to reinstate it, and more over, the refusal to openly and honestly discuss whether it should be reinstated, flows from one or both of two sources; a lack of character and or a lack of courage.

Either David Peercy and the rest of the leadership of the APS don't have character enough to hold themselves honestly accountable to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, or they don't have courage enough.

If there is a third reason, if there is anything beside a lack of character and courage that keeps David Peercy and the rest of the leadership of the APS from stepping up to honest accountability to student standards of conduct,  it is yet to be articulated or imagined.

David Peercy getting an award for anything beside moral cowardice and corruption, is like APS Supt Winston Brooks getting a Dixon Award as a hero of transparency.

Who dreams up this crap?




photo Mark Bralley

Journal education reporter moves on

Unless I missed it, Journal education reporter left without so much as a peep in print.  In a tweet to her followers, she indicates that she works now for UNM's Center for Ed Policy Research.

Hailey Heinz,  Board Member David Peercy and APS COO Brad Winter

She is but the latest in a line of education reporters who no longer do. Heinz distinguished herself in my mind as the only Journal reporter who flat out refused to listen to my side of the story, even when her professional responsibilities demanded that she do just that, link.

I have no idea why Heinz has left the Journal.  I would like to hope that it was because she found being part and parcel to covering up an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, personally revolting.

In my surmise, reporters come out of Journalism school aching to write some Pulitzer winning expose of something or another. It must be difficult to get out in the real world, to be sitting on the facts of a monumental scandal, and then being told to ignore them.

There is no reporter to whom I have spoken at any length, who couldn't see a story. Then they go back to the newsroom, someone says you're not going to write about that and I never hear from them again.

For example; the story about the cover up of corruption and felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS Police Force.  All any reporter has to do to blow the thing wide open  is to ask for
  1. the public records including the findings of the investigations, and then
  2. report on APS' response. 

APS will not produce them because they include truths that will "leave no senior APS administrator left standing."  (That according to APS Modrall lawyer Art Melendres after hearing from Sam Bregman and his client disgraced APS Chief of Police Gil Lovato.)

It could not be simpler.

I blame Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz
and those of his ilk at KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.




photo Mark Bralley

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Winston Brooks: misleading the public ..."

So begins the flip side of a flier sent to River City residents this week.  The flier was  the product of New Mexico Competes.

According to blogger Joe Monahan, link, New Mexico Competes primarily for more power consolidated in the hands of Governor Susana Martinez and shadow governor Jay McCleskey.

The self evident purpose of the flier is to dishonestly manipulate public opinion regarding APS Supt Winston Brooks and education reform.

I write "dishonestly" deliberately and cite as an example, their "fact";

Fact: 99,9% of all APS teachers are currently rated at the highest level, because student progress is not part of the evaluation process.
The truth is; if that many teachers are rated that highly, it is because of a lot things, not just because student progress is not part of the evaluation process.

No one wants to talk about it, but teacher evaluations aren't the only problem.  A recent audit of APS' administration found that administrative evaluations are subjective and unrelated to promotion or step placement.  That and, there is a culture of fear of retaliation against whistleblowers.

In any event, the flier is manifestly dishonest; it is New Mexico Competes that is misleading the public. It is so dishonest that the people who paid to have it published, have to do so anonymously.

The sitting and shadow governors would have you believe;
Winston is misleading the public to block education reform.
That particular statement may or may not be true, nobody has actually asked Brooks "why" he is misleading the public in this particular case.

What is true is, 

Winston Brooks is misleading
the public about a whole bunch 
of things and education reform 
is the least of them.

Why New Mexico Competes 
has limited its attack on Brooks
to simply his "misleading the public"
on the one issue is perplexing.

Brooks is misleading the public about;
  • student discipline issues and the problems with chronically disruptive students and,
  • the lack of due process for complaints filed against senior administrators and school board members, and
  • the lack of an honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, and,
  • the cover up of corruption in the leadership of the APS Police Force including felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators and
  • the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS including the abject abandonment of any responsibility and accountability at all, as the senior-most role models of APS' student standards of conduct; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!.

New Mexico Competes is misleading the public because they have the money.

Winston Brooks is misleading the public because he has Kent Walz.  

Walz, the Journal, and the rest of the establishment's media; KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Esquivel and Walz should resign from NM FOG leadership

New Mexico in Depth and Heath Haussamen, link, come with a piece  on problems in the leadership of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, to whit;

FOG Pres Terri Cole
a President wanting to give unearned accolades to deliberate obstructionists and,

a Vice President who is self evidently conflicted in his roles as an elected and public servant and, as a watchdog over electeds and public servants.

NM FOG VP Marty Esquivel's appearance of a conflict of interests isn't his only disqualification and nowhere near his greatest.

The leadership of the APS has in their immediate possession, a fistful of public records. The records are the findings of several investigations of corruption in the leadership of the APS police force, including felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.  The records name names and according to APS Modrall lawyer Art Melendres, have the capability to lay waste the entire senior leadership of the APS.

They claim for entirely "personnel" reasons, they would rather that you not see them, ever.  Read that personal reasons. They are covering up an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

In their defense, they prefer to be held accountable to the law; the standard of conduct that every "higher standard" is higher than. The law does not require them to hide the records from you, the law allows them to hide the records from you.

NM FOG Vice President Marty Esquivel is defending himself in federal court over his refusal to produce those records for public inspection.  The law, he and his legal team argue, allows him to do nothing in the face of corruption.

He is spending a lot of money doing it. He spends without board oversight, without signed contracts, and he spends without limit.

He spends from a pot of money called operational funds; money that if it were not being spent in an effort to protect him from the consequences of his misconduct, would be spent in classrooms instead.

Esquivel's legal team is arguing that he is not the custodian of public records, and therefore has no personal participation in the illegal withholding.  I would say turning a blind eye is personal participation.  Guilty knowledge is personal participation.

Operational dollars also underwrite the legal defense of  APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez.  He is being sued in his capacity as the Custodian of Public Records.

Taxpayers are paying lawyers to hide the truth from them, the truth about the squandering of their trust and their treasure.

Esquivel would have you believe it isn't his job to produce public records.  He is being at best, disingenuous.

As a board member, he could at any time start the wheels rolling on a candid, forthright and honest accounting of the corruption in the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded private police force.

Moreover, he could at any time, go to his good friend Kent Walz and tell him, hey Kent, you should investigate and report on the cover up of the corruption in the leadership of the APS police force.

Kent Walz, NM FOG Secretary and co-founder, could do that.  He could order that investigation, he could publish the results.

But Esquivel won't, and Walz won't.

And we know why they won't.

The likes of Esquivel and Walz being the face of the FOG is dumbfounding.  It defies explanation.





photos Mark Bralley
Walz caught by macquigg

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

William Dixon must be spinning in his grave!

Turn in one's grave, wikilink.

William Dixon, in whose name the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government presents Dixon Awards to heroes of open government, was a co-founder of FOG; he and  Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz put it together together.

A Dixon Award has been given to both Marty Esquivel and Winston Brooks.  That would be unsettling enough for the founder, as both of them are up to their eyeballs in a cover up of corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS.

His real consternation flows from Walz part in the cover up.
Walz and Esquivel actually managed to bamboozle the FOG
into giving Brooks a Dixon Award while all the while,
all three were busy covering up an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Walz could not be acting in more diametric opposition to the FOG's mission if he tried, and trying he is.





photo ched macquigg

KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV cowardly or corrupt?

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

All anyone in the media, or anyone else for that matter, has to do to investigate the allegation to their complete and utter satisfaction, is write an email to
APS Director of Communications and Custodian of Public Records Rigo Chavez.

They don't have to go anywhere, they don't have to do anything, and they don't have to believe anybody.  All they have to do is ask to see the public record.

All they have to do is request that he produce any and all ethically redacted public records of allegations and investigations of public corruption in the leadership of the APS, in particular of the investigations of corruption in the leadership of their police force.

The records are immediately available as most are currently in evidence in my lawsuit against them.  In particular if the request is made for electronic records, there is no reason why they couldn't have them right away.  It is his policy to produce records, if he in deed does produce them, "within the 15 days allowed by the law".  That's not the way the law reads, but ...

They could ask to see the public record of all of the IPRA requests for those records, and their responses.  They could ask for the records of communications by and among the leadership of the APS about how they were going to handle the scandal, (and the subsequent cover up).

The only reason the news directors or whomever in the establishment's media won't ask for a candid, forthright and honest accounting of the corruption, its investigations and its consequences, is because they are afraid of the consequences of so doing, or they are corrupt; unwilling to tell the truth, complicit in hiding the truth from interest holders.

If there is another good and ethical reason that the media won't make the request and then report upon the response, other than journalistic cowardice or corruption, someone would be doing them and me a great big favor by suggesting what that might be,

go for it _____________________________________ .


I have reason to believe that at least KRQE asked for the findings at the time of an independent investigation; the one that named the names.  And then they abandoned the request.  I suspect that their lawyer Marty Esquivel counseled them to (I will bow as always to controverting proof).

It would be interesting to know which other media outlets even bothered to ask for the findings.   And if they did, why did they stop asking?




photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More dishonesty, of the Esquivelian kind.

APS School Board President Marty Esquivel, by and through his lawyers, has told a federal court that he "... is entitled to summary judgement (sic) on Plaintiff's claims as they relate to ... the August 25, 2010 Audit Committee Meeting based on a lack of personal participation. (emphasis added)

In his sworn testimony, Esquivel says he said "(Get) Out. Please get out."  I don't believe he actually said "please" for whatever that's worth. He indicated he had to "reiterate" that I needed to leave.  That sounds like "participation" to me.

 "Get out.  Please get out."
In this photograph, Esquivel is pointing his finger at me in what I would describe at a threatening manner; far more threatening a gesture than I have ever made toward any of them.  Note; his personal space has not been invaded, and if the distance between us had closed, it was by his deliberate action and not mine.

Speaking of threatening, do any of these people look afraid for their safety?

I was necessarily where I was, to photograph a public servant within his public service; it's the only reason why this record exists; of Esquivel documenting the unlawful ejection.

According to his sworn testimony
"... I pulled out my video phone, and really wanted to capture what was going on.  And I didn't capture everything but I think I got enough, because I knew things were headed downhill pretty fast. And I really wanted to document the misconduct, document the disruption in case I needed to really do it someday.  And I'm really glad I did."
Esquivel claims a degree in Journalism.  Who taught him to turn his camera off as soon as "things started heading downhill pretty fast."?  Isn't that the moment most of all, when his camera should be turned on?

In his deposition, Defendant Esquivel testifies in great length and detail about our alleged misconduct before the Audit Committee began.  Nowhere in his deposition does he mention that he wasn't even there - it's all hearsay.  He didn't even get to the meeting until after they had already adjourned the regular meeting and then moved into executive session.

If Esquivel found out what supposedly happened before he got there, he found out about it in a discussion that took place outside of the open meeting; in violation of the Open Meeting Act.

He learned it during a discussion of whether to eject Mark Bralley and I from the meeting; a discussion and vote that took place in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

A violation they later denied under oath when they approved a claim that nothing other than the agenda had been discussed and acted upon during the closed session.

I'm sure they will argue this is all "legal".

I'm just as sure I will never understand how it possibly could be.




wide shot Mark Bralley
the other is mine

Monahan picks scab off NM FOG

Blogger Joe Monahan sounded a FOG ALERT this morning, link.

I have sounded the alert as well,
as recently as yesterday.

I have been sounding the alert ever since the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government gave APS Supt Winston Brooks a Dixon Award for heroic transparency, while knowing that he was hiding, and continues to hide, the finding of several investigations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators. Findings that name names.

The Dixon Award travesty was pulled off my Defendant Marty Esquivel and Journal Managing Editor Kent Walz.

It is Walz who is keeping the Journal from investigating and reporting upon an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Monahan asks;

why not clear the fog at FOG and let new blood take over?
I ask, why would any new blood want to "take over" a good ol' boys club whose primary interests lie in covering each others asses?

Monahan avers, the Journal and the Alb Chamber of Commerce run the show.

I aver, APS is a player.

The Vice President of FOG is Defendant Marty Esquivel; the President of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education.

APS spends more than a billion tax dollars a year; not well, not transparently, not under any serious oversight.

Take for example; Esquivel's spending on his own legal defense.  Oversight by underlings.  Subordinate oversight is oxymoronic.
It is conflicted decision making on its face.

The willful ignorance of the APS School Board, of the issues under litigation defies explanation except by their complicity in, or complacency about Esquivel's squandering of the public trust and treasure.

The establishment's broadcast media investigative reporters aren't investigating either.

Until recently, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Mexico Broadcasters Association Paula Maes sat on both the FOG Board and the APS School Board.






The end line of the post screams for a pun on the impenetrability of fog. I'll settle instead for wondering for us all,
what in the hell is going on in there?

Steve Terrell offers this on that; link.





photos Mark Bralley

Monday, October 14, 2013

NM FOG Vice President says, the First Amendment is just too damn confusing, for anyone to expect him to follow it.

New Mexico Foundation for Open
Government Vice President (and
Defendant in a federal civil rights
lawsuit) Marty Esquivel argues that
the law is too unsettled for him to
have known that what he does to me
in the following video violated my
First Amendment rights.



video

Esquivel ejected me, he insists, not because of what I was saying, but because what I was saying included personal attacks and dealt with personnel issues.  It did not, as you heard.  Even if it did, both are protected speech under any ethical interpretation of First Amendment rights.

Esquivel is arguing that I have offered my petition one too many times.

Which begs a question;

If the government is allowed to ignore petitions for even one more time than petitions are allowed to be delivered, what is the point in protecting the right to deliver them to people who openly admit, they are ignoring them?
What is the point in Constitutional protection for the human rights to speak freely and petition the government, if the government has no obligation to respond to the petition in good faith?

However you look at it, the First Amendment either protects what I did at the public forum November 4, 2009, or it does not.

If it does not,
we are in a world of shit.

The terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people.
The people get to decide the limits on their liberty, not the government.

And especially, not Marty Esquivel.




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Esquivel lies again, this time before a federal court judge

In Defendant Marty Esquivel's Motion for Summary Judgment, he made a claim that is an outright lie.  All of his motions are characterized by a profound lack of honesty, but I point to this one in particular because it is so demonstrably, unequivocally dishonest.
The claim is based on Esquivel's sworn testimony, and reads;

"(During my public forum appearance on November 4, 2009, I made) allegations that a particular senior APS administrative official, who was not present, had engaged in criminal behavior."
What I actually said;
I have come tonight with individual opportunities to stand up as role models of the Pillar of Trustworthiness.
...
Ms. Sink (the administrator who was not present) can tell the truth about ...(ejection begun)
I was going to say;
"Ms. Sink (in order to take advantage of an opportunity to stand up as a role model of trustworthiness) can tell the truth about student discipline and the effects of chronically disruptive students."
I was not allowed to complete my thought.  Even if I had I been, I would not have had accused her of having engaged in criminal behavior.  It was enough to point out that she had not yet told interest holders the truth about the problems consequent to students misbehaving in APS schools.

Saying that I accused her of engaging in criminal behavior, is a bald faced lie.

video
See for yourself at 1:30.

So who are you going to believe, Marty Esquivel or your lyin' eyes and ears?

Unfortunately bald faces lies come easy for APS School Board President, NM FOG Vice President, and self proclaimed "open government expert", Defendant Marty Esquivel, link, link; the senior most role model in the entire APS, of the student standard on truth telling, the Pillar of Trustworthiness.

This is newsworthy, as is;
  • The removal of the role modeling clause In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults, be lower than the standards of conduct for students, from APS school board policy and their own code of conduct.  And in the so doing, their wholesale abandonment of the duties and obligations of the senior most role models of student standards of conduct, and
  • the abject lack of due process for complaints filed against administrators and board members, and
  • their refusal to produce a candid forthright and honest accounting of their spending at the Castle Keep at 6400 Uptown Blvd, and
  • their refusal to produce and discuss, statistics on student misconduct, past, present and future, and the effects of chronically disruptive students, and
  • their refusal to recognize the nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience in the APS by providing for them, a seat at the table where decisions are made, and
  • their refusal to allow any audit of administrative and executive standards and accountability, in particular if that audit, review, investigation and report will individually identify corrupt and incompetent administrators or board members, and 
  • steadfastly refuse to produce ethically redacted public records of investigations of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of the APS police force, and
  • their limitless spending on litigation to protect the leadership of the APS from the consequences of their misconduct; civil and criminal.  Spending that is "overseen" by underlings.  They claim subordinate oversight.  It is oxymoronic, and worse. And
  • that litigation is being done without the presentation of a "case analysis" before the whole board (for what reason except to maintain plausible deniability when the truth gets out.  Truth that won't leave a single senior APS administrator left standing, and
  • so is quite frankly, that the only guy standing up a public forum and calling them on their bullshit, has been banned for life (or until I admit to doing what I have not done, and promise to never do it again, despite my several First Amendment rights to do just that) from just the public forum at school board meetings, and only from there according to Defendant Marty Esquivel.
How many hundreds of thousands have they spent and need to hide?  Hell, how many millions?

So why won't the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, or KOB TV investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?

Except that they are complacent, or
except that they are complicit?




photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, October 10, 2013

APS teacher morale horrifically bad throughout the district

APS Supt Winston Brooks, in a Journal report, link, suggested that “75 percent of the morale problem is because of the PED reforms and 25 percent is because of the implementation of the new common core standards.”

Consider for a moment, the statistical unlikelihood that his estimations are accurate.  Are there really no other factors in declining morale among teachers; not even one?

Bad times and bad morale don't necessarily correlate.
Good leaders can get people through bad times and
with their chins up.

Bad leadership and bad morale do correlate, directly.

Teacher evaluation and common core are part of the problem for certain.  I would venture that most teachers would point to other problems as well.  For one; the administrative failure with regard to student discipline and chronically disruptive students.

Brooks would like to draw attention away from his bad leadership for selfish reasons.

The Journal, apparently, would like to help.

A simple survey of teachers would reveal the truth and so much more.  Therefore, a simple survey of teachers will not be done.

Not by APS, not by the Journal, and oddly enough,
not by teachers (unions).

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Council of the Great City Schools Fall Conference coming to APS

APS Supt Winston Brooks has a monthly Journal column.  This morning, link he wrote about the upcoming national conference of the Council of the Great City Schools.

His column is called "From the Top" and, in an interesting aside;

during his deposition, Brooks made it clear that he actually believes the Kevlar reinforced dais; the raised platform at the front of the John Milne Boardroom behind which he and the board hide during school board meetings, is in fact called a "deity"
He said it three times; it wasn't a slip of the tongue.  Freudian slip, wikilink, or ...?
In any case, the CoGCS conference is coming to town, link.

Brooks wrote;
I am very proud to help bring some of the most respected and influential thinkers of our time to Albuquerque for the purpose of creating better public schools.
Brooks argues that the conference will provide;
  • the opportunity to network,
  • exchange ideas,
  • share challenges and
  • problem solve
in both intimate and large public discussions empowering participants to
"deliver the best possible education for the 6.8 million students we collectively serve".
And in the final analysis,
"... it’s our students in the long run who will benefit from this gathering of the minds."
If after the conference, anyone asks Brooks what exactly are the benefits that students received, or what exactly he learned, that he didn't already know, he will not answer, link

He can't.

There is nothing, that will profoundly affect the outcome in public education, that is new to learn.

There is no magic.

If there were magic, teachers should be invited to hear it
first hand from the magicians.  Why filter the explanation
through the likes of Brooks and APS Executive Director
of Communications Monica Armenta?


In the end, Brooks and Monica Armenta will enjoy the warmth
of the limelight for about a week and that's about it.

Brooks invites you to "Send comments or questions to
superintendent (at) aps.edu.

He won't read them, but he does encourage you to send them.
It's another way of his, to stay in touch.




photo Mark Bralley

Monday, October 07, 2013

Armenta swears; no one (in the media) ever asked

In her sworn deposition testimony, APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta testified that there is nothing she needs to know that could be found on my blog.

She was asked, if she never read the blog, how does she know that there is nothing on it she needs to know.

She replied;

... no one has ever asked me a question in the media about it.  There has never been a question, according to this, is this happening?  There is no questions that have come, whose origins are from that particular blog.
Her sworn testimony is that no one in the media, not the Journal, not KRQE, not KOAT, and not KOB TV, has ever asked her about;
  1. the cover up of criminal misconduct in the APS police force leadership, or about
  2. the abandonment, by the entire leadership of the APS, of the obligations and responsibilities of role models of student standards of conduct. or about
  3. spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd, or about
  4. their resistance to an independent audit of administrative standards and accountability, or about
  5. the denial of due process to hundreds of whistleblowers, or about
  6. any of the issues I have raised on my blog.
If the media has ever asked her about any of these issues, Armenta is lying.

If Armenta isn't lying, then the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV are guilty of journalistic malpractice on an epic scale.




photo Mark Bralley

It was Melendres who reported that no top administrators in APS would be left standing

In a Journal report, dated June 8, 2007, link, it was APS Modrall APS attorney Art Melendres who offered up the boast for publication;

"Sam Bregman has said that, by the time this lawsuit is over, there will be probably no top administrators in APS standing because his goal is to take everyone down."
Why would Bregman think that the truth that APS Police Chief Gil Lovato had to tell, would bring down the top of the APS?

It could be nothing more than
Bregman bombast and braggadocio.

Or it could be that Lovato, with his
knowledge of in secret investigations,
really could have taken down the
entire leadership of the APS,
had he had his day in court.

It is an important question and a question worthy of investigation and report.

A question the answer to which, is curiously uninteresting to the local press.



Is it because they know the answer, and
they are complicit in hiding it?

I invite any alternative, good and ethical alternative explanation.




photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The first government takeover; the takeover of government

When the government was first formed, it was widely understood, but not yet expressed, that government was to be of the people, by the people and for the people.

As government matured, it became more independent.  Less attention by the people was necessary and, less attention was paid.  The people wandered off to make livings, raise families and build a country.

The power of government grew in inverse proportion to the people's interest and involvement. A tipping point was passed and now the people don't tell the the government what to do, the government tells the people what to do.  And how to it, where to do it, and when to do it.

Consider the who, what, where and when of the right to petition the government.

The ultimate outrage; the government took it upon itself to write the rules over people's right disagree with government. And in those rules, revoked the "privilege" of the people to freely petition their government; a Constitutionally protected human right.

Open Meetings law in New Mexico, does not require politicians and public servants to take public comment at public meetings.  The public forum is a "privilege" flowing not from our rights but rather, from their individual beneficence, or not.

What is the point of Constitutional
protection of the human right
to petition one's government,
if there is not a corresponding
obligation on the part of government,
to accept that petition in good faith?

They are not doing us a favor
by listening to us; it is their duty.
They are not doing us a favor in
accepting our petition, it is their duty. 




photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Skandera's PIO; debate; we don't need no stinkin' debate!

Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein invited NM Public Education Secretary Hanna to Skandera to participate in a “formal debate” on the new teacher evaluation system.

Teachers, arguably the most qualified to speak on teaching and teacher evaluation, want to sit down and have a two way discussion about how teachers should be evaluated.

Bernstein asked for a serious debate “that includes the voices of the professional practitioners who are experiencing the policy, as well as the voice of its primary designer.”

If teachers have serious concerns about the efficacy of this system, it would seem prudent to hear what they have to say.

I am disappointed that they have selected a "formal debate".  They can ask for whatever they want, but what they need is a forum where they can engage in a meaningful and complete dialogue with a person who has the power and the authority to say "yes".  (There is an adage that applies to travelers having problems; never take no from a person who doesn't have the authority to say yes.)

Larry Behrens, spokesman for the state Public Education Department, said Thursday that Skandera will not be meeting ATF members for any such debate, but not very nicely;

“What is disappointing, but not surprising, is that this so-called offer from the status quo defenders does not once mention the most important element of education – our students,” said Behrens. “It’s unfortunate our students can’t afford the organized political operation from which ATF union leaders benefit.”
And further;
Regarding this latest debate invitation, Behrens said: “Their stalling tactics in the courts make it impossible for us to even seriously consider their ‘offer.’”
Whose side is Behrens on, the people he works for, or the woman he works under?    Whose side are all Public Information Officers on?  Is it there job to inform the public, or defend their bosses from legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service.

Skandera loses this one by trotting out her PIO,
not to explain why their request is unreasonable,
but  to bad mouth the teachers who made it.




photos Mark Bralley

Friday, October 04, 2013

Where does the press get to stand?

There are good and ethical restrictions on where members of the press  (or anyone else) can stand and participate in the deliberations of their government; the wielding of their power and the spending of their trust and treasure.

Genuine safety concerns are exemplar;
you can't set up a tripod in anyplace that complicates an emergency evacuation.

There are at least two schools of thought;

1.  The government has the right to tell the press (and anyone else) where they can/must stand.
2.  The government has the right and obligation to tell the press (and anyone else) where they cannot stand; but only for reasons that stand some scrutiny.
If the government's rules are created to protect politicians and public servants from oversight by those whose power they wield and whose resources they spend, then the rules are "bad" rules.

It begs a question; a question I've been asking for a long time;
who writes the rules for public in-servitude, the people or the public servants?
And a more important question;
who should be writing the rules?
Is it reasonable for the government, APS School Board Member Kathy Korte for example, to tell the press where they have to stand; up to and including; offsite?

In her sworn testimony and email exchanges, she reveals her conviction that;
a male photographer taking her picture from a distance and even "while she was doing her job" as an elected and as a public servant, is a stalker.

There is nowhere, where they can stand to photograph her or ask her questions about the public interests or about her public service, and where that will not be "stalking".

She admitted that there are certain members of the press, in particular from KOAT TV that she will not talk to at all, even to answer their legitimate questions about public interests and her public service.

Her denial of equal access, to certain KOAT press, is a violation of their civil rights.  Her denial of access to any particular member of the press, especially males, is a violation of their civil rights to equal access to government and a place to stand.


That's wrong, right?




photo Mark Bralley

I know squat about Character Counts!

During her sworn testimony,  APS School Board Member Kathy Korte offered that I was in no place to tell her anything about Character Counts! because I am ignorant on that subject.

My lawyer asked her if she knew I was trained in Character Counts! by its founder Michael Josephson.  (That I had done dozens of highly acclaimed trainings before audiences including a sitting Governor, and APS superintendent, and that I am as knowledgeable about Character Counts! as anyone in the leadership of the AP; I would be happy to stack hats with any or all of them at once.)

Her response was that she thought Character Counts! was founded by US Senator Pete Domenici.

So, no.

The photograph is of her modeling the Pillar of Respect, in defense of, and shortly after her assault and battery on photographer Mark Bralley.




photo from Korte's Facebook

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Journal editors think I'm a gadfly; they have written as much

1. A persistent irritating critic; a nuisance.
2. One that acts as a provocative stimulus; a goad.
3. Any of various flies, especially of the family Tabanidae, that bite or annoy livestock and other animals.


They think ill of me after years of defamation by the leadership of the APS.  They think ill of me because the leadership of the APS convinced them to.  The editors accepted the slander and libel and acted upon it.  Whether out of their malice or incompetence, they have ignored credible evidence and testimony regarding a years long cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

That I was a "gadfly" should not have , would not have, and
did not keep them from investigating and reporting on the cover up.

Their corruption and or willful ignorance/incompetence did.

That I am still a gadfly, does not keep the media from
investigating and reporting on the ethics and accountability
scandal in the leadership of the APS,

... it is only their corruption that does.




The drawing is not mine, 
my considerable effort to 
find the creator was fruitless

Is Brad Winter's testimony credible?

I am going to write from memory here; if the transcript contradicts me, I will let you know.

APS COO Brad Winter was testifying under oath.  He testified that after the August 25 Audit Committee Meeting, I walked up to him and invaded his personal space by leaning in and whispering something he took to be "threatening" in his ear.

 I already told you what honestly happened, link.

Winter ended up arguing that no one has ever leaned in toward him, that did not make him feel threatened by their so doing.  After considerable coaxing, Winter finally conceded that "maybe 3 or 4 times" in his life, has someone leaned in toward him without making him feel threatened.

Would you believe; photo-
journalist and blogger
Mark Bralley managed to
capture all three!?

What are the odds?

I mean, seriously,
what are the odds
that Bralley caught
Brad Winter every
time in his life that
someone leaning in
toward him, didn't
make him feel threatened?

Slim; in my estimation;
exceedingly slim.  Really, really slim.

The same odds probably, that you will get bitten by a
Polar Bear and a Brown Bear in the same day.

A little later, Winter swore;

All anyone has to do to find out how much money he spent, and on what, at 6400 Uptown Blvd., is to file a public records request.
Been there, done that, link.

You really can't make this crap up; not in this volume,
not this fast.




photos Mark Bralley

I cannot, I was told, have it both ways

I have testified under oath, that I believe the leadership of the APS has made a deliberate decision to ignore me.

I have testified as well, that I believe the leadership of the APS is retaliating against me because of the content of my speech at public forum, and because of what I write on my blog.

You can't have it both ways, I'm told.  If they are retaliating against you, they are not ignoring you.

Honestly, I never thought of it that way.

They ignore me at public forum, and everywhere else I try to engage them in two way conversation about legitimate public interests, except that they retaliate against me for having so done.

The Defendants also, cannot have it both ways.

Either I am so threatening that

  • an entire administrative complex has been, at great expense, fortified and wired to record my every movement,
  • Their Chief had to order my close up surveillance by multiple police officers whenever I set foot on APS Property
  • The Communications Director ordered her subordinates to photograph me,
  • Their lawyer told them to document my behavior,
  • I am banned for life from "threatening" them again.
or;

The fact that, despite all that effort and six years of trying,
they were not able to create a single;
  • photograph, 
  • videotape, 
  • audiotape, 
  • document, or 
  • contemporaneous record of me doing anything other than exercising my Constitutionally protected human rights to speak freely and petition my government
means something!



They can't have it both ways.




photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Korte doubles down on "the kid is a jerk" remark

APS School Board Member Kathy Korte drew some attention, when in an email to constituents, she referred to an APS student as a jerk, to a parent as whiny, and to her belief that KOAT TV cannot be trusted to tell the truth about APS.

KOAT reported on it. link.

School Board Member Targets Action 7 News in Email
Today in her sworn testimony, she indicated
she still feels the same way about the little jerk,
so there.

In so far as her expressed belief that KOAT TV
cannot be trusted to tell the truth about APS, she and I
find ourselves in agreement, although for different reasons;
she thinks they don't tell the good truth,
I think they won't tell the bad.

She expressed continuing disappointment with KOAT,
and again, we found ourselves in agreement, and again
for those different reasons.

Korte testimony indicates no understanding of her obligations as a role model of student standards of conduct.

In her sworn deposition this
morning, APS School Board
Member Kathy Korte
answered enough questions
about Character Counts! and
about the role modeling of
them, to conclude that there
are severe limits on her
knowledge about either.



Nothing in her testimony would lead anyone to believe that she knows;

  • Character Counts! was adopted for the entire APS by unanimous school board resolution.  The 1994 resolution has been neither rescinded nor modified.  It is a binding today as it was on the evening they adopted it.
  • The Pillars of Character Counts! are the current APS student standards of conduct, and have been since 1994.
  • Every year, she and the board sign off on the Student Behavior Handbook, an extension of School Board Policy, and in it, a line which reads;
  • Students are expected to model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!
  • The only way one can "model" any standard of conduct is to hold themself honestly accountable to it.  
  • Students are expected to hold themselves accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law.
  • Korte thinks accountability as role models of the Pillars of Character Counts! applies to students.
  • Korte thinks accountability as role models of the Pillars applies only to students.
  • Korte does not realize that she is one of the senior-most role models in the entire APS, of student standards of conduct, and from a position of absolutely no accountability to them.
It is manifest hypocrisy.

Accountability is the foundation upon which any and all standards rest.  Without accountability, there isn't one whit, link, of difference between the highest standards of conduct and the low.

If you ask Korte, or any other board member or senior administrator, if they are accountable as a role model of the Pillars of Character Counts!, they will undoubtedly claim that they are.

The funny thing about "claiming" accountability to anything, is that is so easily tested.  If you can't see it, it isn't there.

If Korte was actually and honestly accountable as a role model of student standards of conduct, she could point to a venue where that claim could be tested.

Where can a complaint be filed against Kathy Korte, Marty Esquivel, Winston Brooks, Monica Armenta, Steve Tellez, or any other senior administrator or board member, and where that complaint will see due process?  If the complaint alleges their failure to meet higher standards of conduct than the law, where can it be filed? With Ethical Advocate, link?  In court? 

Korte will tell you it is at election and, nowhere else.

They could create such a venue.  Any guy worth more than a quarter of  a million dollars a year, could figure out a way to do it.

If they did create such a venue, they could point to it when anyone asked them;
Where is the place where you can be held accountable as a role model?  Where can I file a complaint?
There is no such venue, there is no honest accountability
for the leadership of the APS, as role models of the standards
of conduct they establish and enforce upon students.

They just won't admit it.

Fortunately for them, their establishment media friends
aren't about to rat them out.

Quite to the contrary, obviously.




photo Mark Bralley

George Washington and the cherry tree; new development

I am curious about what my readers are curious about.
One had linked to a very early post, link.  It was entitled and read;

George Washington and the cherry tree; new development
If you asked a Leader of the APS, did you chop down the cherry tree? If they answered they would say, through their lawyers, “Prove it.”

And then they would use a whole bunch of money to keep you from doing that. The money comes from people who think that their taxes are being spent in the best interests of children.

APS Leaders are spending money to protect their own interests. They’re doing it in diametric opposition to the interests of children.

Taxpayer trust is being betrayed.

But just you try to hold them accountable for it.
I wrote it November 21, 2006.

It's all still true.

But just you try to hold them accountable for it.

L. to r. me, my poster, a wall, the chain of command; the grinning APS COO, the grinning APS Police Chief, a gun, a pair of handcuffs, a grinning uniform, and a badge.





photo Mark Bralley