Wednesday, August 27, 2014

APS Modrall; will Journal shake up change anything?

There has been a shake up in the Journal's newsroom, link.  There has not been a shakeup in ownership; we know whose fist pounds on the table last in meetings of the leadership.

For as long as I have been trying to get the Journal to investigate and report upon the money that flows through APS and into the coffers of a few select law firms, the Journal has been refusing to.  I have long surmised that it had to do close personal and political ties between the heavy hitters at APS and at the Journal.  I have also surmised that it had to do with Journal owner Tom Lang and his personal and political ties to the APS.

APS is both self and other insured.  APS other insurer, United Educators, raised APS' premiums recently.  The premiums are paid with operational dollars; dollars that could be spent in classrooms.

United Educators raised our premium because APS engages in wholly unjustifiable amounts of very expensive litigation.  The primary beneficiaries of APS' administrative and executive largesse include the Modrall.  For the longest time, the APS school board president and the president of Modrall were literally married.

Defendant Marty Esquivel once admitted to me, he was aware of the fact that firms like Modrall were milking taxpayers at the direct expense of nearly 100,000 of this community's sons and daughters.

If a Journal reporter interviewed a few lawyers who have litigated against APS, Modrall, Robles et al., they would find APS lawyers run up huge bills and then settle on the courthouse steps.  They settle for huge amounts of money so that politicians and public servants like Marty Esquivel can scrub their names from their misconduct.  Operational dollars pay for admissions of no guilt.

I doubt Journal coverage will change.

Time will tell.

I would argue that there is a story here.  I would argue it is newsworthy no matter what the investigation uncovers.

If the Journal investigates and reports upon the public record of tax dollars flowing to select law firms for the last 12 years or so, the investigative product will be newsworthy.

It will be newsworthy if the Journal can report that the millions and millions and millions of dollars that flowed into Modrall and handful of APS family law firms have been spent well; in the interests of educating children.

It will be newsworthy if the Journal must report that the millions and millions and millions of dollars that flowed into Modrall and a handful of APS family laws firms has been spent on cost is no object legal defenses in efforts to litigate exceptions to the law for APS school board members and senior administrators.

That the public trust and treasure have been squandered is newsworthy.

The worthiness in question, is of the Journal newsroom and of the people who tell them what is the news they will investigate and report upon.

Will they from now on, inform the democracy in order that the administrative and executive leadership of the APS can be held accountable by the community members they serve?  Will there be government of, by and for the people?

Will a government of, by and for the people be enabled by a press that doesn't give a crap about where APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta thinks they have to stand during school board meetings?

Will the Journal continue to kowtow for APS credentials and or for some more sinister reason; like their complicity in cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?

That will become abundantly obvious, shortly.

photo Mark Bralley

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