Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rob Perry is the problem, but you wouldn't know it to read the paper or watch the news

To the extent he is not the problem, he is illustrative of the problem; he is a bully behind a badge.

The Albuquerque Police officers who are bullies, the ones who provoke and exacerbate problems rather than de-escalate them, are following the example of people like CABQ Chief Administrator Rob Perry.

Whether he's bullying a citizen at a public meeting, link (Monahan) and link (YouTube), or trying to further stir up a bunch of people who are already out of control, he is a natural; it's right in his wheelhouse.

He encourages by his example, exactly the behavior that needs to be curtailed in the Albuquerque police force.

So why Perry's problem not being covered in the Journal, or on KRQE, KOAT or KOB news?

Why do interest holders not know that one of the biggest problems with the APD is city leadership like Rob Perry?  Why do interest holders not know the city is hiding public records, link, of Perry's misconduct during the recent dispute in the Mayor's office?

Is it because Rob Perry can pull, have pulled, or have not issued; press "credentials" (read; "access") to any of the press who tell the inconvenient truth about him?

Do the Journal and TV news directors give politicians and public servants special treatment in order to maintain their Berry, Perry, et al, issued press "credentials"?

Is that why they get "credentials" while the members of the press who will ask inconvenient questions, do not?

This is of course, all quite unconstitutional.
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press.  
That prohibition would seem to include would it not,
any law allowing the government to require government issued credentials be presented before the freedom of the press can be exercised with respect to reporting on the government?

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Journal coverage of little use to taxpayers

The Journal ran a story yesterday, link, on

"... a federal judge (coming) down hard on a governmental body that went too far in trying to limit comment at a public meeting.
Journal staff writer Scott Sandlin pointed out, this is the second time this year that a federal court judge found rules or policies barring speakers at public forums from criticizing politicians and public servants are  unconstitutional burdens on free speech.

According to the Sandlin;
Greg Williams, president-elect of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, said the importance of (the judge's) opinion is that “a policy that says you can’t be critical is improper.”
As is a "practice" that says you can't be critical.
(The judge's) opinion includes: “The core pursuit of governing body meetings is to make decisions and conduct business on behalf of the municipality. … (The governing body takes) limited public comment so that it can be informed of its constituents’ opinions, and, with this information, be better situated to make decisions that are more democratic and sometimes, more competent.”
The other federal court ruling Sandlin mentioned was in our complaints.

A federal court judge found that Marty Esquivel's justifications for banning me (effectively) for life from school board meetings were pretexts masking viewpoint discrimination.

They don't like being criticized from the podium in a public forum.

Sandlin reminds us, the people have no "legal" right to public forums in public meetings.  Public fora are provide by the grace of the politicians and public servants involved.

In exchange, and in gratitude for their beneficence in providing public fora, they expect us to follow their rules of "decorum".  The first of them is to not make electeds and senior public servants feel "uncomfortable".

To that end, Esquivel and the board have apparently come up with another brainstorm; speakers at public forum can criticize politicians and public servants by title but not by name.

They cannot be serious.

I am allowed, apparently, to stand up and say;
The superintendent of the APS is part of a cover up of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators and the leadership of their publicly funded private police force.
but I can not stand up and say;
Winston Brooks is part of a cover up of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators and the leadership of their publicly funded private police force.
Their new policy is as ridiculous as it is legally indefensible.

"Legally indefensible" doesn't mean a "legal" defense cannot be mounted. "Legally indefensible" does not mean they won't spend enormous numbers of tax dollars defending their mis or malfeasance; their stupidity and arrogance.

It means such a legal defense cannot be mounted in taxpayers' best interests.  The tax dollars they are squandering in their effort to escape justice cannot be justified.

And that's where the Journal has let taxpayers down.  Not one word in Journal about the cost to taxpayers for this ruling.

Taxpayers and other interest holders have no idea how many tax dollars are wasted by politicians and public servants in their efforts to avoid the consequences of their public corruption and or incompetence by conducting cost is no object legal defenses in their own interests.

Who knows how many dollars were wasted by Ruidoso politicians and public servants trying to cover their asses?

When APS was asked by Rob Nikolewski, Capital Report New Mexico, how much money APS was spending defending Esquivel and his cronies, they low balled him, link.  APS told him a quarter of a million dollars at a time when I know full well, the total was closer to three quarters of a million, and that was before Esquivel decided to go to trial rather than settle, and admit his wrongdoing.

APS School Board Member and Defendant Marty Esquivel will encumber a million dollars before he's done trying to escape the consequences of his violations of my civil rights; dollars which could and should be spent in classrooms instead.

Why are taxpayers paying for cost is no object legal defenses for politicians and public servants charged with betraying the public trust?  

Esquivel's spending is utterly unjustifiable and is being done without public oversight.

Where is the oversight?

I can tell you where the oversight isn't - it isn't in the Journal.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Journal; "We are not done digging"

That was the Friday before last; June 13th, link.

The commitment; "we are not done digging", came at the end of a report on the demotion of an APS administrator under circumstances that were not clear then, are are no more clear now.  It followed by four days, an editorial weigh in on the same issue, link.

Journal reporter James Yodice wrote;

Without actual confirmation about the details of APS’ investigation – which it said this week was finished, barring the introduction of new evidence – what we’ve been left with over the past few weeks is a steady stream of rumors and innuendo.
Yodice asked;
Why is (the administrator) being moved?
and complained that
APS is refusing to say, which is less than satisfying.
... what is the evidence?
and he wondered;
Why, why, why?
The investigation was of course "internal"; another APS administrative self-investigation of administrative incompetence and or corruption.

The findings will remain "internal".  There will be no production of "ethically" redacted public records.  There will be no production of "legally" redacted records (unless and until they have spend all the money they can and still lost in litigation in their own interests in an effort to create an exception for themselves from the law).

There will be no production at all.

This though the power and resources in question belong fundamentally to the people, as does the truth about how they are being spent.

Yodice rightly (in part) opined;
APS... couldn’t end (the administrators) career, not without facing a probable lawsuit. Right?
He is only partly right because, not only could they not fire the administrator without a lock tight case, but they can't fire him with even with a good case because APS can't afford to end up in court.  Things would become known that the leadership of the APS would rather not become known.

It's what Gil Lovato's lawyer Sam Bregman was talking about when he told APS Modrall lawyer Art Melendres, that if Lovato and he ever got to court, there wouldn't be a single senior APS administrator left standing.

And then Yodice offered and asked;
So, what we are left with is the most nagging, pressing, irritating question of all.

Will the full truth ever be known?
The answer of course is, no.
The full truth will never be known,

When and where has the full truth on any corruption in
the leadership of the APS ever been known?

It's not the way they roll.
Not APS; not the establishment's press.

Yodice ended the report with the commitment to the people
whose power and resources are being played with in the dark;
Let’s hope (the truth will someday be told).
We are not done digging.
That was ten days ago.

Is he, are they, still digging?

  • It has been more than four months since APS Chief of Police Steve Tellez was sent packing.  For what?  We still don't know.  We don't know who is holding up the BCSO Tellez investigation.

Is the Journal still digging on that one?
  • It has been more than seven years since APS Chief of Police Gil Lovato was sent packing.  Senior APS administrators were involved in felony criminal misconduct.  They've been covering it up ever since.

Is the Journal still digging on that one?

Yeah, they're still digging on them.

and a pint of Häagen-Dazs serves four.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Journal editors stuck still, on graduation rates

From the editors of the Albuquerque Journal this morning, link;

NM Grad Growth No. 1
The state’s high school graduation rate increased faster than any other state from 2007 through 2012. That’s excellent news for the state, its students and its schools. 
No, it isn't.  It may be"excellent" news for someone trying to hoodwink the people into believing that public school education is 20% more effective than it was a few years ago.  Other than that, it is news coverage of a "statistical" outlier, wikilink; a measure that doesn't correlate with other measures.

Graduation rates are up a full order of magnitude over every other measure of public school success.  The supposed growth in graduation rates is fully ten times as great as any other measure of how well public schools prepare students for life after school.

Graduation rates can be raised significantly by simply allowing more time to graduate.  Or, by rewriting the rubric to dis-include students less likely to graduate.

How else can you explain such phenomenal growth in graduation rates and a tenth as much growth in every other measure?

The story here should be;
why are graduation rates so high while every other measure of public school success remains essentially static?

In particular, that question needs to be asked because huge amounts of public power and resources are being spent based on efforts to effect the 
why isn't education getting cheaper and more effective

There are a number of ways to measure the success of public education.  For the most, the measures align; if one goes up a little they all go up a little.  It stands to reason; if public school education is getting better or worse, one would expect legitimate measures to move together.

So why the focus on the least consequential statistic; the outlier?

Politicians and senior public servants would like to focus on
graduation rates because graduation rates (can be made to) look good,
and by extension, they (can be made to) look good as well.

Why the Journal editors are so fixed on the least consequential measure of public school success is for them to explain.

I would argue there is circumstantial evidence enough to draw a conclusion about their apparent fixation with graduation rates, and about their part in the cover of the standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

The Journal editors and their counterparts in the broadcast media are protecting personal and political relationships with politicians and senior public servants; school board members and senior APS administrators.

Else, the editors simply are bone numbingly ignorant of which they write, and yet write nonetheless.

I wonder if even one of them has signed up to substitute teach in a regular or special ed classroom for even one day, ever.

There are a number of situations in life where, if you weren't there,
and in particular, if you intend never to be there, even for one day,
you're better off keeping your opinion about what other people
ought to be doing in such situations, to yourself.

Monday, June 09, 2014

For the umpteenth time, APS School Board Meeting not posted on time

For all equipment you bought for them, you'd think the leadership of the APS could manage to tape a school board meeting and then post the video on line, link, by the following Friday; last Friday.

Guess what; no video.

All this equipment and two technicians to tape a simple meeting,
and still they can't manage it.

photo Mark Bralley

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark; even the Journal editors can smell it.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, wikilink.  Even the Journal editors can smell it.  They describe what the stink smells like, but they have no interest in doing anything about it.

It would appear, an APS administrator has done something wrong.  Maybe even criminally wrong.

APS employed its publicly funded private police force to investigate.

They have found something that warrants a transfer, does not include criminal charges, and will be kept completely secret from interest and stakeholders.

The leadership of the APS are acting like they own the findings.
They own the truth about the wielding of public power, the spending of public resources, and about their public service.

The law; the standards of conduct that every higher standard is higher than, allows them to not tell the truth and that is their choice.  It is their deliberate decision to not be candid, forthright and honest with interest and stakeholders; the people.

They will not tell the whole truth,
they will not tell the ethically redacted truth.
They will tell the "legally" redacted truth and only then after spending however much money they want to spend, in an effort to litigate an exception for themselves from the law.  It is litigation against the public interest.

They are hiding the findings of every investigation investigation that has ever been done, that names the names of APS administrators or school board members who have broken the law.

Search APS award winning website for "audit findings",
you won't find any.

There is only one reason to not tell the truth;
to avoid the consequences of telling the truth.

In APS, there is an added dimension.

You don't get to be an administrator unless you're one of the boys.

In plain terms, being one of the boys means you are willing to carry around guilty knowledge of public corruption and incompetence involving other administrators and school board members.

An added advantage of the guilty knowledge, is that when one of them gets caught doing something wrong, all they have to do is threaten to tell what they know if someone wants to fire them.

So, they "transfer" them instead.

They get away with it because the Journal editors think
the answer to even the most egregious appearances
of impropriety and conflicts of interest is an editorial harrumph.

And spanked 'em good, they did.

And that's the end of it.
... as far as the leadership of the APS and
their friends at the Journal are concerned.

I think the victim and his lawyer see a different end.

APS (taxpayers) will end up paying him and his lawyers and their lawyers a bunch of money.  The leadership of the APS will sign off on a settlement wherein they admit no guilt for anything.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Graduation rates are up. Supposedly. If they are, it doesn't really mean anything.

"Graduation rates" are a measure of the overall success of public schools.  They are a widely used measure, by politicians and public servants.

Graduation rates are not the only measure of the success of public schooling.  They are not the best measure.  They are not even a good measure.

What point is there in counting the number of diplomas you hand out, if the diplomas are so easy to get that they are essentially meaningless to employers or secondary educators?

Simply allowing students to graduate in five years instead of four, raises graduation rates; independent of increased performance.  The Journal reported this morning, that graduation rates are based on four years; that is not my understanding.

Gov Martinez and PED Sec Skandera
In any case, there are more
valid measures of increased
performance and they are
not registering increased

Nationally normed tests SAT,
ACT, others, don't show the
20% increase in performance
for which governors and
school boards, secretaries and
superintendents, would like to claim credit in this upcoming election.

So why then, such a hullabaloo over graduation rates?
  • They are easily manipulated and 
  • they cover the asses of the folks who were supposed to improve public education and have not.
Why are the people ignorant of their manipulation?

How did the people become fixed on the red herring?
Why are they focused on graduation rates exclusively and
instead of every other objective measure of the performance of public schools?

Blame the establishment press.

It has let the people down.

The Journal, has let them down.

Kent Walz, has let them down.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Stand with APS students on Character Counts! They need you

Character Counts! trainers used to give kids t-shirts after completing their Character Counts! training.

On its front and back it read;

Stand up for what you believed in;
even if you are standing alone.
Students in search of good character cannot be left to search alone.

What children and students in the APS need is;
  • adults behind them, encouraging their effort,
  • adults beside them, sharing the load, and
  • adults in front of them, leading by personal example.
    What students have is;
    • nothing.  
    APS cannot point to the expenditure of one single dime, literally not one dime, on any district wide effort to develop students' good character.

    Not that there are not good role models among the adults who work in classrooms and schools.

    It is that;
    there is not one single role model of honest accountability
    to the Pillars of Character Counts! in the entire senior leadership of the APS.

    There is not one school board member;
    there is not one senior administrator,
    who will stand up and swear;
    I will hold myself honestly and actually accountable
    to the same standards of conduct
     (the Pillars of Character Counts!, link
    that I have established and enforce upon students.
    When the question is;
    will you be held honestly and actually accountable
    as a role model of student standards of conduct?
    any answer except yes, means no.

    The leadership of the APS cannot point to any due process under which they are accountable, actually, honestly accountable to student standards of conduct; in this case, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

    Show up at the school board meeting tomorrow.

    No spray paint, no screaming
    no yelling, no violence.

    Just "the people" showing up
    and wondering together aloud
    and out loud;

    Why are APS students
    expected to model and
    promote actual, honest
    accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected
    code of ethical conduct, while school board members and
    senior administrators are not?

    Let's show the board what it looks like when stake and interest holders go to a public meeting to petition their government for redress of their grievance;
    90,000 APS students are being systematically denied
    any opportunity to learn about higher standards of conduct
    than the law.  They are being systematically denied
    other higher standards which they might then choose to embrace as adults.
    The Journal, KRQE, KOAT and KOB TV are yet to investigate and report upon credible evidence, manifest evidence, and allegations of an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.
    If the establishment press won't help, it will have to be done without them.

    If you know someone who might be upset
    at the abdication en masse of the entire senior-most
    role models in the APS, tell them about the meeting.

    Wednesday (before 5 pm if you want to sign up to speak)
    6400 Uptown Blvd.

    Brad Winter safely retired; spending still secret

    Come see what your tax dollars have bought
    instead of new roofs on dilapidated classrooms, link.

    If the standards we expect children to embrace include
    character and courage and honor; someone is going to
    have to show them what they look like.

    If we expect students to hold themselves
    honestly accountable to meaningful standards of
    conduct and competence, someone is going to have
    to show them what that looks like. 
    Don't worry that your children never listen to you,
    worry that they are always watching you. unk
    the trouble is, when people say
    "somebody should do something"
    they always mean
    someone else should do something.
    The leadership of the APS doesn't want to step up as role models of honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!.

    They role model instead; accountability to the law, the standards that all higher standards are higher than.  And only then after burning through an unlimited budget to buy all the legal weaselry they can buy, in an effort to litigate exception for themselves, from even the law.

    If the leadership won't lead;
    it's time for new leadership.

    photos Mark Bralley

    Sunday, June 01, 2014

    Who will stand to defend the interests of more than 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters in the APS?

    The premise of course; that

    it actually is in the best interests of children
    to make some deliberate considerable effort
    to help them develop their good character
    at the earliest opportunity.
    There are those who argue that character development is first and foremost the responsibility of parents and churches.

    With respect to teaching character in school, opinions vary from;
    anything is better than nothing, 
    nothing is better than anything.
    As soon as parents and churches fill the character development vacuum, it will make some sense to debate whether parents or churches or schools will continue their success individually or together.

    In the meantime, for most children, character development will take place at school or it will not take place at all.

    If character education is really in the best interests of children, why aren't we doing a better job of it?  Why are we not doing it at all?

    If character education is not in the best interests of children, why are we expecting students to
    model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts! 
    Respect Responsibility Trustworthiness, Citizenship, 
    Fairness and Caring?
    Why does the APS School Board, in their Student Behavior Handbook reiterate their expectation that students will model honest accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct if it is not in their best interests?

    There is not one single person in the entire leadership of the APS, willing to stand up in front of the community and pledge honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts!

    Neither is there a single school board member or senior administrator willing explain to students in words they can understand, why children are expected to model and promote higher standards of conduct than their adult role models in the so-called leadership of the APS.

    APS Supt Winston Brooks cannot look students in the eye and explain to them, how anyone of them can hold him accountable to the same standards he enforces upon them; the Pillars of Character Counts!

    Whether the Pillars of Character Counts! are the best standards for students and adults is not the point.  The question of their propriety was settled when they where unanimously adopted by the APS School Board two decades ago and reaffirmed on an annual basis ever since.

    What there needs to be is an open and honest public discussion of standards and accountability in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

    There never has been one for the same reasons
    there (likely) never will be one;
    the leadership of the APS would rather not have the discussion and
    their friends in the establishment media are willing to not ask why not?

    Why hide the truth, except that it looks bad?

    Why hide the truth very, very hard,
    except that the truth looks very, very bad?

    They will do everything they can to prevent and open and honest discussion of their individual and collective abdication of their obligations as the senior-most roles models of student standards of conduct.

    If you understand why students in the APS need character education, or if you disagree about character education but still understand the need for a public meeting on the subject; then you understand why you need to go the next school board meeting.

    There to be counted in support of
    an open and honest public discussion of standards,
    accountability and character education in the APS.
    in defense of the best interests of students.

     photo Mark Bralley

    Does Character Count in APS? More importantly, do you care one way or the other?

    If you ask the leadership of the APS if character counts in classrooms, school campuses and school board rooms, they won't answer.

    Any answer except yes, means no.  "No comment" means no.

    The leadership of the APS and their media friends would like stake and interest holders to believe that character counts in the APS.  For this post, character means actual, honest accountability to any standards of conduct higher that the law.

    There is more talk about being accountable to higher standards of conduct than there is actual honest accountability; clear and unequivocal standards and, due process for complaints.

    Within the standards of conduct that the school board established and has enforced upon students for two decades, one can find the following;

    Sincerity. Sincerity is genuineness, being without trickery or duplicity. It precludes all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading. (here copied and pasted verbatim from the Character Counts! website, link and emphasis added)
    Stonewalling is dishonest.  Half truths are whole lies.

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

    The Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV are manifestly unwilling to expose it.

    It can be exposed in a public meeting.

    The leadership of the APS doesn't want to have that meeting.

    Who cares what they want?

    Stand up at the public forum. Tell them you want a public 
    meeting wherein the topic of character education; past, 
    present and future will be discussed openly and honestly.

    The public forum at APS School Board meetings is hard to get to. The APS School Board makes it as difficult as they can, for the public to do anything but watch the meetings three days later on APS' award winning website. 

    Not the least of the barriers they have built is their utterly unjustifiable insistence that you sign up for public forum before 5pm.  They've effectively eliminated anyone with a 9-5 job from exercising their Constitutionally protected human right to speak freely and petition their government during a public forum in a public meeting.

    And that's the whole idea really; effective eliminate meaningful public participation in school board meetings.

    Are you going to just sit there and take it?
    It is for us the living ... (to continuously) ... resolve that
    (service and sacrifice have not been) in vain ...
    that government of the people, by the people, for the
    people, shall not perish from the earth.  Abraham Lincoln (derived)
    The bass-ackwardness that enables them to obstruct access to their meetings, allows politicians and public servants the prerogative of letting the people know;
    • where it is convenient for them to meet,
    • when it is convenient for them to meet, and
    • what it is convenient for them, to allow the people to do during their meetings.

    If their spending were justifiable, they wouldn't be hiding the records.

    There was a time when board meetings were held in the evening in high schools around the city.  The board met in every high school a couple times at least, every year.  They rotated among the high schools so the every school community had the opportunity to go to a board meeting in their neighborhood.  They met in the evening when stake and interest holders could more easily attend meetings.  Attendance was greater, far greater that it is now.

    All they accomplished with spending a million dollars on a fancy new boardroom, was to make it easier for administrators to attend.

    The terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people,
    not of the politicians and public servants who serve them.

    If it is too inconvenient for them to meet in times and places that are convenient for the people, maybe they should consider not running for the school board.

    I cannot think of a better flag to gather around than higher standards of conduct and competence in politicians and public servants.  Honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law.

    The best way to defend the free exercise of your Constitutionally protected human rights is use it freely and frequently.

    If you don't, don't be surprised when you finally do go to a School Board meeting public forum to talk about whatever it is you have found that was worth standing up for, and find that free exercise is no longer available.

    photo Mark Bralley