Friday, October 31, 2014

Former APS Police Chief avoids criminal prosecution

Former APS Chief of Police Steve Tellez will not be prosecuted over his responsibility in the disappearance of ammunition from APS control.

The decision was made a month and a half ago.

As far as I know, the Journal is yet to report it.  As is anyone credentialed by KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV and or the publishers of the DCF.

"Not newsworthy" would be my guess.

The Bernalillo County District Attorneys Office offers the following;

After carefully reviewing the evidence and allegations, our office has determined there is insufficient evidence to move forward with the case involving Mr. Tellez . Several people had access to the storage closet where the ammunition was stored and the State cannot prove what happened to the two boxes of missing ammunition. Further, no APS ammunition was found during a search of Tellez' home.
The search was conducted by the Bernalillo County Sheriffs Department.

... more than five weeks after first
the shit hit the fan, urbandictionary, in February, link.

photo Mark Bralley

Limited windows of opportunity for input into APS School Board Member elections

The election of APS School Board members will take place on February 3, 2015; the first Tuesday in February.  Candidates for election must declare their candidacy in late December; about a month and a half from now.

Nobody is going to pay any attention to the school board elections while the mid-term elections are in progress.  Let's say the dust settles on the election by mid November.

Nobody is going to be paying any attention to school board elections over the winter holidays.

Let's say, interest in APS returns by the end of the first week of January.  Two weeks later, the 2015 Legislative session begins.

Let's say for the two whole weeks in between, attention will be paid to the APS school board elections.

There you have it;

  • a month between mid-November and mid-December and 
  • another two weeks in the middle of January.  
Those are the times one could reasonably argue that school board member elections are (more) newsworthy than anything else going on politically.  I mean after all, these folks spend more than a billion tax dollars a year!

Not that the election will have the attention of the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV and now, the Duke City Fix.

...the ethics and accountability scandal
Since 2005, I have been
trying to draw attention
to an ethics, standards
and accountability
scandal in the
leadership of the APS.

Since then, they have done everything they can to keep me from exposing them during public forum; even to the point of what amounted to a lifetime ban on my participation; since overturned in federal court.

Twice since 2007, I have run for a seat on the school board.
Twice, the establishment's press; their media, refused to print a word of my allegations, even during school board elections.  Kent Walz and the Journal labeled me a bomb thrower and gadfly, but never mentioned a word about allegations of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS; even to report that there wasn't one.

The scandal in 2007, link, culminated in the cover up of APS senior administrative involvement in felony criminal misconduct.  The scandal is manifest today in an ongoing cover up of the cover up.

All anyone has to do, to prove these allegations false is to tell the truth about what happened in the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded private police force.

All they have to do is tell the truth about who, if anyone, actually investigated credible allegations of felony criminal misconduct;
  • the unlawful use of a federal criminal database (NCIC) to harass whistleblowers and do a background check on a senior administrators fiancee, and
  • the criminal misappropriation of money in evidence
What, if any evidence of the felony criminal misconduct was turned over to the District Attorney for her consideration?

There are a number of ways of looking at the truth about what happened, why it happened and whether it is still happening.

There is the "whole truth".  The truth without redaction.
Then there is the "redacted truth"; the whole truth with some parts obliterated.

Redaction is done by the people with the most lawyers, guns and money.  They redact at their own discretion, according to one or the other of two standards of conduct;
  1. the law; the lowest standards of conduct; the standards that any higher standard of conduct, is higher than,.  The law in its most misshapen by legal weaselry, unlimited budgets and no real oversight.  Self-oversight and subordinate oversight are not oversight; they are oxymora. Or
  2. higher standards than the law; one such being ethical standards; one such the Pillars of Character Counts!; the standard the school board has created and enforces upon students.  They, link, represent a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.
The ethically redacted truth about the corruption in the leadership of the APS Police force will substantiate my allegations.  Or it will not.  It you still "trust" the leadership of the APS, the ethically redacted truth will destroy my allegations.

The school board has every reason to tell the ethically redacted truth if the truth exonerates them.

They have no reason to hide the ethically redacted truth except that it embarrasses, shames or indicts them.

That they don't have to explain to anyone, even voters,  
why it is, they need to hide the ethically redacted truth
can be blamed on the likes of Kent Walz and the Journal,
KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV and Sophie Martin DCF.

Not one of whom coincidentally, has to explain to anyone, even voters, why it is they will not ask the board to explain why they will not produce ethically redacted public records, and report on the answer.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

APS' latest audit findings

Because they spend more than a billion tax dollars every year,
the administration of the Albuquerque Public Schools is audited every year.

The findings of the audits are kept secret for awhile.  They are kept secret for some good and ethical reasons.  But, after those reasons expire, one should be able to inspect or copy those findings.  Rather easily and rather immediately.

APS made a solemn promise to interest and stakeholders; they promised to post APS audit findings on their award winning website.  All anyone would have to do, is to click on them to read them.

They have yet to post the first.

It is possible to get a copy of audit findings to read, but not easy.  Certainly not as easy as simply looking it up on their (our) website.  And may I remind you, they promised to post them all and they haven't posted a one!

APS calendar; their "biggest project"
I once asked APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta, could she or anyone else in APS' million dollar a year public relations effort, point to any audits whose findings did not include one or all of the following findings;
  1. inadequate standards,
  2. inadequate accountability
  3. inadequate record keeping
It was a public records request and I offered; if the request is too burdensome (too many clean audits to list easily), the request would be satisfied by providing only the latest one.

Neither she nor they, could.  The administration of the Albuquerque Public Schools has never been audited, not one single time, where the auditors could not find inadequate standards, inadequate enforcement of inadequate standards and, inadequate recording keeping of the inadequate enforcement of the inadequate standards.

At what point can we expect a clean audit of the administration of the Albuquerque Public Schools and the spending of well more than a billion tax dollars?

They've been trying now for more than a hundred years.

It isn't rocket science.  It isn't magic.

There are organizations of this size that have figured out how to write meaningful standards of conduct and competence for their executive and administrative personnel.  They have figured out how to enforce the standards, and they have figured out how to make a candid, forthright and honest record of what they have done.

In no small part, it is fair to blame Kent Walz, the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV and now the publishers of Duke City Fix, for the relentless refusal to investigate and report upon an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Even to offer evidence that there is not one.

Even in the face of school board elections.

Even in the face of the hiring a new superintendent.

Tomorrow morning's meeting, link, includes in secret discussion and action on this year's audit. By their own deliberate decision, there will be no recording made, of their discussion and action.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trust in the "blue code of silence"

in essence, according to the Wikipedia, link,

The Blue Code of Silence (also known as the Blue Shield[1] or Blue Wall[2]) is the idea of an unwritten rule that exists among police officers not to report on a colleague's errors, misconducts, or crimes.

If questioned about an incident of misconduct involving another officer (e.g. during the course of an official inquiry), while following the code, the officer being questioned would claim ignorance of another officer's wrongdoing.
If you asked;
Is a blue code of silence part of the culture of the Albuquerque Police Department?
you would likely get different answers.

Alb Mayor Richard Berry
In particular, you would get a different answer from the Chief of Police and his boss the Mayor, than you will get from the police themselves.  That's why they will never be asked.

The press, those who the mayor chooses to "credential", will not ask the mayor about the blue code of silence.

Nor will they ask his Chief.

According to the Eye on Albuquerque, link;
Not too long ago, the City, APD and Chief Schultz were sued by (APD police officer)Sam Costales. In his suit, Costales claimed that Schultz and the department created an atmosphere where Costales feared for his life and was forced to leave APD.
The Federal suit resulted in a jury trial. In the end, the jury awarded Costales $662,000.00 plus an additional $200,000.00 in attorney’s fees.
Everyone gets why people in gunfights need to be able trust the people fighting next to them.

What at least some people don't get;
Why is the measure of that trustworthiness the willingness to overlook errors, misconducts and even crimes?
If the rules apply to anybody at all, they first have to apply to
the people who establish and enforce the rules.

And the very first rule is and must be;
1.  everybody has to obey the rules.
Rules apply to everybody or they apply to nobody.

There is an actual Pandora's Box, wikilink, opened when "some" people are allowed to except themselves from accountability to the rules;
If it's alright for anybody to break the rules,
it's alright for everybody to break the rules.
Apologists for rule benders will argue;
the privilege of bending the rules applies only to those of us who are smart enough, well educated enough, experienced enough, and just basically good people enough to be trusted to write their own rules.
And they will be distinguished from the rest of us how, exactly?

The practical result of enabling anybody to adjust the line between right and wrong, is that everybody will adjust the lines according to their own values; however good or bad.

The abundantly manifest result of blue codes of silence among police officers is; some number of them will then take advantage of the protection it offers to escape the consequences of their violation people's civil rights.  There are some "bad" cops; they are enabled by the blue code of silence.

If you've been reading Diogenes' six for very long, you know I am fond of pointing out oxymora.  One such;
Trust in a code of silence.
People by their nature, do not handle temptation well.
The opportunity to self-except oneself from the rules is too great a temptation to resist.  You're asking for nothing but trouble.

You can't trust the people who say they are immune to temptation.

It's nonsense on its face.

Renounce the blue code of silence and then, we can talk trust.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Esquivel and APS lawyer's dishonesty profoundly disturbing.

It isn't so much that drowning men grasp at straws, nor that APS school board member and Defendant Marty Esquivel has found lawyers willing to help him,
as it is that,
the utterly unjustifiable amounts of money he is willing to spend and they are willing to pocket, are operational funds.

Operational funds are tax dollars that, if Esquivel wasn't squandering them, would actually end up in classrooms being used to educate children.

How much is his ego worth, really?
Esquivel and his lawyers have filed the 135th document in a case in which nearly three quarters of a million dollars have been spent; diverted from classrooms to courtrooms; their RE-BRIEFING OF THEIR MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ...

Within and though out the document, link, are examples of their willingness to deliberately mislead a federal court judge by creating beliefs or leaving impressions that are untrue or misleading.  I could list them all, but who is going to read a 29 page long post?

I will cite two examples; one each of individual and overall efforts to mislead the judge.

On page 9, top of the page;
47.  On two occasions after issuance of the September 1, 2010 letter, APS police officers caught plaintiff trying to sneak through a side door at 6400 Uptown Blvd.
It is a complete fabrication.  It is unsupported by any evidence whatsoever including videotape from the densest security camera coverage anywhere in the APS.

It is unsupported by any testimony whatsoever except from former APS Police Chief Steve Tellez, whose case now languishes in the hands of District Attorney Kari Brandenburg.   His entire testimony on any issue, lacks credibility even in its smallest measure.

On a more "though out" level; part of the lawsuit has to do with the fact that they would not let me attend a gubernatorial debate at Eldorado High School.  The debate was not just a debate, it was a public meeting, to which I was denied access.  Because it was a scheduled meeting of APS District and Community Relations Committee, the Open Meetings Act applies.

I challenge anyone to find anywhere in their 29 page pleading where they admit that the debate was part and parcel of a meeting as is subject to the Open Meetings Act.  Their hope is that the judge won't notice.

Their behavior is "legal", probably. 
The law represents the lowest standard of conduct,
It is the standard that every higher standard, is higher than.

While it may be "legal", is is not the way the people would have their power wielded and their resources spent.

Their hope is that the people won't notice the squandering of their trust and treasure.  In particular they hope the people won't notice before the school board election.

They will continue to receive in that endeavor;
the cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS,
the aid and abet of the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV, and now apparently, Duke City Fix.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Duke City Fix dumps Diogenes' six

For quite awhile, my posts were showing up on Duke City Fix, link, in the form of the headlines, upon which readers could click, and then land on Diogenes' six.  Many did, indicating the headlines at least, were of interest to DCF readers.

The publishers are revamping and have decided that Diogenes' six no longer qualifies for their attention based on "no specific criteria". 

"Too critical" of incompetence and corruption in the leadership of the APS would be my guess.

We are disappointed of course, but not surprised.

Esquivel responds during public forum; by turning on his mike and coughing!

The videotape of the October 15, 2014 regular school board meeting is finally posted on APS' award winning website.  APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez is yet to explain why the video was not posted in a timely manner.
You can if you'd like, click on the video, link,, and FF to 30:53.  You will see my presentation at public forum.

... cough, cough, ... cough, cough, cough
You will hear School Board Member Defendant Marty Esquivel coughing through his mysteriously open mike during the good parts; like where I was challenging the board to actually look at the records they are spending so much money to hide.

Two weeks from now; APS school board members will find themselves in a position where they will have to;
1.  admit the record is of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators. Or,

2, admit to remaining willfully ignorant of the truth about that cover up.
The same can be said for the Journal, KRQE, KOAT and KOB TV.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taxpayers buy 18 seat boardroom for Convention Center

In the Journal Business Outlook this morning, link, we read;

The remodel (of the Convention Center) also introduced an 18-seat boardroom in the northwest corner and a roomy stairway landing that Garcia expects will become a gathering place in its own right.
The Journal's investigation and report did not include;
Which boards if any, will meet there.
If they are government boards, 18 seats is an insult to the people who paid for it.

If they private sector boards,
How many of them are really looking for a
board room to rent and a stairway landing
in which they can hang out?

The Journal chose to not report to taxpayers, the actual cost of the board room.

Just as they choose to not report still, to taxpayers, the actual cost of APS' John Milne Community Boardroom.  The still to be justified new board room was built;
over budget, link, and
  1. while inadequate financial standards were in place, and
  2. while there was inadequate accountability to such standards as there were, and
  3. while inadequate records were being kept;
the trifecta of public corruption and embezzlement.
All this equipment and 3 techs, and still no timely record of school board meetings?

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, October 19, 2014

APS misleads KOAT; KOAT misleads viewers re: lawsuits against Brooks

I stumbled upon an MSN report, link, to a KOAT report on the most recent settlements of lawsuits against APS and former Supt Winston Brooks.  I cannot find a link to the report on KOAT's own site.

At the end of the report, about two minutes in, the reporter said;

"APS says there is at least one other ongoing lawsuit involving Brooks."
I am aware of at least three.

If the reporter, Megan Cruz, is telling truth about what "APS" said, then " APS" misled her in order that she would mislead KOAT viewers.

Who knows, who "APS" is.  It could have been APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.  It could be APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez.

It is important to know who, because whomever it was, was being less than candid, forthright and honest with KOAT and by extension, with all stake and interest holders.

I will forward a link of this post to KOAT.  I will challenge them to follow up on this issue;
  1. report on the exact number of outstanding law suits (and complaints in other venues) there are involving Winston Brooks and have yet to be settled, and,
  2. report on the number of dollars still on the table; dollars that will not be used to educate nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.
We will see what we will see.

It would be nice to know in time for the school board member elections and the hiring of the new superintendent.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

APS settles a quarter of a million dollars on two complainants

The leadership of the APS has leaked to their Journal friends, link, the amounts of both settlements in case brought by two administrators against then APS Supt Winston Brooks; $245,000.  The figure represents a $70K settlement on one complainant and a $175K settlement on the other.

The Journal headline;

Total to settle two APS claims is $245,000
is misleading at best.

The money paid to the plaintiffs, is the smallest part of the cost to APS' operational fund and to taxpayers trying keep the fund solvent.  Still secret, the amount APS spent on lawyers in these cases, in Brooks' effort to escape the consequences of retaliating against people who filed complaints against him.

The plaintiff's lawyers' fees are also part of the cost to the district and taxpayers, of settlement and is not part of Journal coverage.  An honest headline would read;
Total to settle two APS claims is more than $500,000.
More settlements to come.
But then we know better than to expect candor, forthrightness and honesty from the Journal in their coverage of their cronies in the leadership of the APS; don't we.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The truth about the fourth camera and a broken promise

I have dug for awhile, into the mystery of the fourth(?) camera being used to record school board meetings.  I far as I can tell there is a camera on the speakers podium, on the board and on the superintendents desk.  The new camera is most distant from the action.

The story I'm getting is that the new footage is going to be folded into the streamed recording.

Editing four streams at once should be a snap in a room full of equipment purchased at a time when the administrators who were signing the purchase orders were (according to the Meyners & Co audit) spending up to $50K at a whack "... without involving purchasing."  This during a time when the same auditors found;

  1. inadequate financial standards and
  2. inadequate accountability to such standards as there were, and
  3. inadequate record keeping
the trifecta of public corruption and embezzlement.

The board promised stake and interest holders who cannot attend the meetings, they can download the video the Friday after the meeting.

This is not the first time the video has not been posted by the deadline.  A quick check on their award winning website, link, will give you an idea of the number of regular meeting video records still to be posted.

Videotaping of regular meetings is the only videotaping they do of meetings;  They don't videotape any of their committee meetings.  They don't post the audio tapes; if you want one, you have to make a public records request and buy a disc for $5 or $10 that might be unreadable or copied in a format nobody ever heard of.

These are the same people who, when I asked them for a copy of the videotape of the meeting where then School Board President Paula Maes announced that she would never agree to any audit that named the names of incompetent and corrupt administrators, apparently played their record on a TV and videotaped the TV to make my copy.  You can imagine the quality of the image and audio.  They to the same thing with public records they don't want you to read; a copy of a copy of a copy ... until it's unreadable.

Despite three guys and all this equipment, the video of Wednesday's meeting,
 which was supposed to be posted on their award winning website today is still
 not posted.

APS Exec Director of Communications
Monica Armenta
APS' million dollar a year public relations and calendar publishing effort has yet to explain why it takes two days for three technicians sitting in a digital electronic toy chest, to post a video that has already been streamed

If I had the software and the inclination, I could have a video record up on YouTube or somewhere, before the echo of "meeting adjourned" died.

In the 8 years that I have been speaking at public forums at school board meetings, an opportunity to watch videotapes of meetings has been a commitment by the board to the community members they serve.

It has been my personal experience that the record broadcast to the community has been manipulated by APS.  In particular, if I stood up at public forum and asked;
As the senior most role models in the entire APS, is there a single one of you; school board member or senior administrator, who is willing to hold yourself honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct you establish and enforce upon students?

Is there one of you who will role model honest and actual accountability to APS student standards of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct?
They would not answer, they were embarrassed, and they removed that part of public forum from the broadcast record.

When I asked APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez about the fact that the broadcast record was being altered, he assured me it was alright because the broadcast videotapes are not the actual "minutes" of the meeting.

The actual "minutes" are notes taken by a specialist and then approved by the board.  An incident like the one I described, if it was noted in the minutes at all, would read, a man talked about Character Counts!

At one point, they actually moved public forum off their meeting agendas in order that it would not show up on a broadcast record.

When I asked a senior APS administrator for an answer to a simple question, as one of the senior most administrative role models of student standards of conduct, he was obliged to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly.  See for yourself;
I wrote;
I am wondering, what is the purpose of the APS camera in the "meeting administration" alcove in the far west end of the John Milne Community Board Room?
He responded
The camera is used to film the APS Board of Education meeting.
I asked
What is the intended use of the public record it creates?
Why is a different camera necessary?
He responded
Not sure what you mean by your first question. If you want to call me and explain, I'll try to answer.
With regard to your second question, the camera provides a different recording angle from the other cameras in the room.

I responded;
... With respect to my first question;

What is the intended use of the public record it creates?
I mean; what does the person who decided to make the recording intend to do with the recording?
Who is that person, by the way? Who asked to have it set up?
He responded;
Like I said before the camera you are talking about provides a different angle than the other cameras in the room. The video from the different cameras is edited into a video of the meeting.
As for who decided to locate the camera there, I assume it was the folks in Information Technology who put together the video. The change was made when the room was reconfigured and the podium moved from the center to the side.
I asked;
Please identify "the folks" in IT in order that I might ask questions of them directly.
Who ordered the room to be reconfigured?
Why does any of this make any difference?

It makes a difference because somebody re-purposed the alcove and in so doing moved "the media" to a place where they can no longer photograph the faces of speakers at the podium.  And, they created a genuine trip and safety hazard as demonstrated when Chavez himself moved in to replace videographer and his tripod.

There should have at least some justification for doing it.

I am afraid what they're really about to do, is to use one camera with a Google Earth view of the room every time they want to make something, or someone, really hard to see in the video record.

School board enforcer and defendant Marty Esquivel says this isn't about Character Counts!  He says he didn't try to ban me for life because I keep pointing to the lack of character and courage manifest in their abandonment of their obligations as the senior most role models of student standards of conduct.

But it is.  If it wasn't about role modeling of student standards of conduct, Esquivel wouldn't be afraid to talk about it.  Nor would board members Analee Maestas, David Peercy, Steven Michael Quezada, Kathy Korte, Donald Duran and, Lorenzo Garcia.  Nor would interim Supt Brad Winter.

If it is important to us that students grow into adults who
embrace character and courage and honor,
someone is going to have to show them what they look like.

Character is taught by example.
Example has more followers than reason.  Bovee
Character is taught only by personal example.

If Esquivel and board aren't up to honest accountability to higher standards of conduct than the law, maybe they shouldn't be role models; maybe they shouldn't be board members or senior administrators.

photo Mark Bralley

$175K APS Brooks settlement a tenth of taxpayer liability

In the Journal this morning, link, the settlement with the other of two administrators in a federal lawsuit against former APS Supt Winston Brooks.

The amount of the other settlement is still secret from the people whose money it used to be.

I am willing to guess; if we knew the number of dollars at stake in yet to be settled lawsuits against the Brooks administration, it will be ten times or more, the number settled on these two.

And, the settlement number the Journal published, I am willing to guess; does not include inordinate numbers of dollars funneled to law firms friendly to the leadership of the APS.

All of these dollars are "operational dollars".  Operational dollars are dollars that could be spent in classrooms instead of being spent on cost is no object legal defenses for school board members and superintendents.

Some, may be covered by insurance.  Taxpayers premiums for that insurance have already been raised at least once (that I know of personally) as a direct result of the amount of money APS board members and superintendents spend on litigation.  It is worth noting; they spent without any real oversight.  Self oversight and subordinate oversight are not oversight.  They are oxymora.

"I am willing to guess" because without any data, what else can you do?

Why do stake and interest holders not know, and why cannot they find out, how public funds are being spent?  Why the big secret?

Obviously they have something to hide.

Obviously, the Journal is ready, willing and able to help them hide it.  Journal reporter Jon Swedien writes once again, link;

In (the) other cases involving Brooks, a judge in 2013 dismissed a suit made by three APS principals who claimed they were unfairly demoted.

There is also an ongoing case involving Ruby Ethridge, a former APS associate superintendent. Ethridge filed a civil rights suit against APS and Brooks, arguing she was demoted after complaining that Brooks “treated woman with disdain.”
I added the (the) obviously.  If Swedien had written it, it would be an outright lie.  Without it, the statement is simply misleading.  If it were first time he had done it, it might be inadvertent.  At this point it is a pattern.

If the intention of those paragraphs is not to mislead readers into thinking those are the only ongoing lawsuits against Winston Brooks and taxpayers,  then I,
(as my father used to say) am a Chinese sea cook.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

APS Audit Committee gives whistleblower report short shrift

APS Audit committee paid little attention to and gave little consideration of the presentation of the Director, Internal Audit Peg Koshmider's data on APS' whistleblower protection program; Ethical Advocate.

Of particular consternation; the discussion of a graph of SilentWhistle data.  But before you link to the graph; keep in mind that their conclusion based on the graph was; complaints are "all over the map" and no one misbehavior stands out as needing attention, link.

There is no more grave symptom of oligarchical malignancy than retaliation against whistleblowers.  As you saw; complaints of retaliation led all others for four years in a row.  Council of the Great City School auditors found in the APS; a culture of fear of retaliation against whistleblowers and other complainants.

Their conclusion; nothing to see here, let's move along.

Audit Committee Chair Dr Donald Duran does not allow public input in Audit Committee meetings. 

I considered raising my hand during the presentation in order to ask for permission to take the floor long enough to ask one question.  As the committee chair, he has the authority to allow a question if he wants to.

I reasoned that I would be accused of "disrupting" the meeting, so I decided instead to write a short note to Dr Duran;

Dr Duran,
I would appreciate it if you would ask for the percentage of whistleblowers who were satisfied with the process.
or words to that effect.

It is an important question.  If 90% of whistleblowers think the system failed them; it is a problem that should be addressed.  Considering that all the investigation and adjudication is done in house and in secret, I would not be surprised to find that a number of whistleblowers feel doubly victimized by the process.

I felt the least disruptive manner to deliver the note would be to hand it to a "board specialist" who would pass it along in Duran's direction.  It stopped, I think, when it got to Constituent Services Specialist Christy Albright.

And there you have it - the board has happily signed off on some really bad news, is reticent to answer any questions about any thing, and the problem of a culture of fear of retaliation will be hidden, not solved.

In cases like these, some communities have press who take their obligation to inform the democracy seriously.  They would follow up on stories like these and;
  • find out whether whistleblowers feel like their complaints saw due process and
  • find out how many administrative respondents suffered any consequences at all, over their attempts to retaliate against whistleblowers and other complainants. and
  • find out whether APS employees still feel that if they expose administrative incompetence or corruption, they will be retaliated against.
There is a school board election coming up.

They are about to hire another $250-300K a year superintendent with a golden parachute worth $500K.

The Journal in particular, relentlessly refuses to investigate and report upon credible testimony and evidence of a standards, ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

... to hell with voters and their need to know.

photos Mark Bralley

APS "Ethical Advocate" stats to be presented

APS' Audit Committee meets today.  The agenda, link, here quoted in significant part with added links, includes;

Ethical Advocate Statistics (Discussion)
Presenter: Peg Koshmider
Ethical Advocate Statistics link
9-30-14 Ethical Advocate Statistics link
SilentWhistle Graph link
Ethical Advocate is the "public relations" face of the treatment whistleblowers get from the leadership of the APS.

The hidden face of APS treatment of whistleblowers was described in the findings of a recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools.  Their auditors found that whistleblowers are confronted by a culture of fear of retaliation in response to their complainants.

Part of the felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators that they're trying to cover up, is the federal felony criminal abuse of the NCIC database in an effort to harass whistleblowers.

If you examine the SilentWhistle Graph, you will see that
consistently ranks among the highest subjects of whistleblower complaints (against administrators).

Note that the statistics of three entirely different behaviors are conflated for no good reason.  When APS reported bullying statistics, they conflated them with vandalism; again for no good reason.

They conflate data to order to diminish the usefulness of the data in holding school board members and senior administrators actually accountable for their conduct and competence.

If data is too embarrassing, shaming or indicting to diminish even through conflation, they simply gather no data at all.  Where is
  • the historical data on student discipline problems in the APS? and or,
  • the current data, and or
  • the current plan to deal with student discipline problems including chronically disruptive students, and most importantly,
  • where is their plan for the future, link?
The non-existence of any of real, useful data leads one to suspect that the data is being not collected for a reason.

That reason is not;
because there are no problems to report.

Wait til you hear this ...

I went to the APS School Board Meeting yesterday.  Upon entering the John Milne Community Board Room, I noticed that the alcove in the far back of the room had been re-purposed.  The alcove's previous purpose had been to allow people with tripod mounted recording devices to place their equipment out of the way.

The purpose now; to accommodate a single tripod mounted video camera, small desk and APS Computer Technician Salvador Gonzales.

Another person whom I believe to be Technician Russell Reid, but definitely the nearer of the two technicians in the photo below, was standing in the raised alcove and at what amounted to a rope barrier between them and the great unwashed.

Hard to imagine - all this equipent to record a school board meeting?

I asked him what "it" was.  The question was accompanied by hand gestures indicating the space in which he stood; the alcove.

Misunderstanding, thinking I was talking about the rope line itself and concluding that I had never seen a crowd control device before, Reid told me; it's a crowd control device.

Either that, or he was just being a wise ass.

Finally understanding my question, he said he "didn't know".
Taxpayers pay Russell Reid $21 an hour during our exchange.

He decided to refer me to APS Police Chief Steve Gallegos.
You pay him $51 an hour.  We established that Gallegos had
already told me that he wasn't going to answer my questions
and if I asked him any more questions it would be harassment, link.

Next in line, the person who appeared to be in charge in alcove, Computer Tech Sal Gonzales.  He finally offered that the alcove was now for "meeting administration".   You paid him  $24 an hour for his begrudging service.

I asked a few questions of a $17 an hour board service specialist, about the movement of the media from the alcove, the previous "designated area", and was told, I needed to talk to recently raised; $53 an hour, APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.  I declined any assistance involving her.

Armenta's decision to move the media to the SW corner of the room had created a genuine trip and safety hazard.  The always alert Chief Gallegos was oblivious to the problem.  With the arrival of the KOAT videographer the situation became so bad, APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez came over to tell KOAT they had to move to the other side of the room.  Apparently, there are now two "designated areas" for the media.

On my way out of the meeting, I stopped to ask Sal Gonzales, what was the purpose of their new camera - I mean they already have at least three cameras covering the meeting.

He decided that the best interests of students were would be served by refusing to answer the simple question, and insisting I ask Rigo Chavez who makes $35 an hour.

Chavez's response will be cc'd to Armenta, (probably) Brad Winter, making $96 an hour, and a few lawyers making $130 an hour.

And then, maybe, we will find out what they need a fourth camera for.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If APS principals are really so great ...

APS interim Supt Brad Winter wrote an opinion piece for the Journal this morning, link.

His opinion is; Principals are key to success at APS.

The headline illustrates the  unswerving belief that no matter what the problem is; no matter how bad the problem is, the solution is simply finding the right administrator.

There are schools in the APS whose principals are deservedly beloved and respected by their communities.  There are schools whose principals' efforts and energy played decisive roles in creating the only thing that has ever has really "fixed" a failing school; a saving synergy.

This post is not about principals with character and competence.  It is about a system that disrespects those men and women by enabling incompetence and corruption in some of their colleagues.

There were times when APS teachers regularly evaluated their site administrators.  The evaluations were meaningless; the evaluation forms were collected by the site administrator and then disappeared, but at least there was the pretense of subordinate evaluation of administrators.  No more.

Which begs a question; are teachers qualified to evaluate their principals?  Does their nearly 100,000 years of combined, ongoing teaching experience as APS teachers qualify them to tell good administration from bad?

It seems pretty clear that teachers would welcome the opportunity to evaluate administrators.

It seems just as clear that administrators (and school board members) would rather not be evaluated by teachers.

So why don't administrators (in general) want to be evaluated by teachers?

Any evaluation of administration, from vice-principals to superintendent, would include questions about their administration of district and site discipline policies.  Any evaluation that allowed teachers to comment candidly, forthrightly and honestly without fear of retaliation, would register their overwhelming dissatisfaction with the administration of APS and site discipline policies.

APS spinmeister Monica Armenta
If the truth were otherwise, the leadership of the APS would commission the survey and publish the results.

If the truth were otherwise, the Journal would run a story on it.

A great deal of energy and resources are being spent to identify teachers who cannot or will not do their jobs.  What about principals; the "keys to success"?

Why isn't more emphasis placed on identifying principals who cannot or will not do their jobs?

Why is no emphasis placed on identifying school board members who cannot or will not do their jobs?

The answer is that powerful people do not hold each other accountable to the same standards they establish and enforce upon everyone else.  And the powerless, by definition, haven't the power to evaluate and hold accountable, their principals and superintendents.

The simplest way to evade accountability over incompetence and corruption, is to gather no data.  The calamity that is student discipline in the APS, is manifest in the complete lack of data on student discipline, link.

The complicity of the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, KOB TV, and APS' million dollar a year public relations effort, is intended to effect the outcome of the school board election and their selection of the next half million dollar golden parachute recipient.  It is intolerable.

Somebody should do something.

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, October 13, 2014

APS Board walking back secrecy position?

The agenda for the APS School Board Meeting Wednesday, link,suggests the board might be revisiting their decision to keep settlements secret from the people who pay for them.

Consideration for Approval to Convene in Executive Session (secret)... for the Purpose of Attorney-Client Privilege Regarding Discussion of Threatened Litigation: Review of Brooks Matter (Action)
God only knows what that actually means, but the "threatened litigation" might be complaints filed over their efforts to keep secret; pertinent details of the Brooks settlement.

With respect to the language the board used on the agenda, the Open Meetings Act is pretty clear in the insistence that meetings in secret from the people, must be described with "reasonable specificity".

The question is not;
have they been as specific as the law requires?  
The question is;
have they been as specific as the law allows?
The distinction is important for at least two reasons
1.  The standards of conduct for which school board members are the senior-most role models; APS' student standards of conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, require them to be as specific as the law will allow in contrast to as specific as the law requires.
2.  Their deliberate refusal to be as candid, forthright and honest about their intentions as the law allows, creates the appearance of impropriety; if they are doing nothing wrong, why won't they tell the truth (candid, forthright, honest) about what they are doing?

There is no reason to be non-specific except to avoid the consequences of being specific.

Another APS Brooks settlement in the works?

According to their agenda, link, the APS school board intends to meet in secret this morning to discuss

"... Pending Litigation: Michael Bachicha, an individual, Plaintiff, vs. Board of Education of the Albuquerque Public Schools ...
They have already settled with the other complainant in the case, link.  The settlement in that case, and the settlement in this case, are likely to remain secret for as long as open government expert and APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel and the rest of board are allowed to keep them secret.

They are allowed, not required, by the law to keep the settlements secret.  The distinction is important.

What they need to keep secret, is the amount of money they spend on litigation and settlements.

You have to figure the costs of litigation are at least two or three times the amount of the settlement; a $250K settlement actually costs taxpayers $750K.  The money comes from operational funds; tax dollars appropriated for the education of children.  It is money that literally, could be spent in classrooms instead.

APS' record cannot bear scrutiny without repercussion.
It is a record of spending inordinate amounts of money on litigation; litigation in the interests of board members and superintendents, not in the interests of students; litigation against the public interests.
APS' record will not bear scrutiny.
For reasons they have yet to acknowledge, much less defend, the Journal and the rest of the establishment credentialed press have decided to not investigate and report upon the squandering of the people's trust and treasure in cost is no object litigation in efforts to allow school board members and superintendents to escape the consequences of their corruption and or incompetence.
Their record is there to be examined; all the embarrassing, shaming and indicting record. The public record of the involvement of senior APS administrators in felony criminal misconduct is there.  All you have to do is pry it loose.

The findings of as many as three separate investigations of allegations of public corruption and in competence in the leadership of the APS Police force (and by logical extension, the leadership of the APS in general) name the names of the corrupt and the incompetent.

The findings name the names of people whom misappropriated cash from an evidence locker (a state felony) and criminally abused the NCIC criminal database, (a federal felony).  Names which were never turned over to the District Attorney for criminal prosecution.

Ethically redacted copies of those findings are being hidden from public knowledge by the school board, the superintendent, and their unlimited budgets for litigation even in their own self interests and without any real oversight*.

*the meetings where the board decides how to spend operational funds on their own legal defenses, are held in secret.  By their own deliberate decision, they do not record their meetings in secret.

Even if the NM IPRA allowed secreting the findings, the school board and superintendent owe interest and stakeholders an explanation about why they need to secret them.
Why are they spending so much money to keep ethically redacted copies of the findings secret?
The law does not require this level of secrecy; it only allows it by means of legal weaselry; using weakness in the law to thwart justice.

The amount of money spent defending school board members and senior administrators is newsworthy.  How operational dollars are being spent is newsworthy.  Why dollars that could be spend in classrooms are being spent in courtrooms instead, is newsworthy.

There is a school board election coming up.
A new superintendent is going to be hired.

I am witness personally, to the Journal's steadfast refusal to investigate and report upon APS' litigation record.

The proof that I have insisted that they do, lies in the pages of Diogenes' six.  The proof that they have turned a deaf ear, even through many school board elections, mill levies and bond issues, lies in the pages of the Journal these many years.

It lies as well, in the records of NM Broadcasters Association affiliate stations KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV.

How much money does the APS spend every year,
obfuscating the production of public records?

Why won't  Journal Editor-in-Chief Kent Walz and the news directors assign reporters to investigate and report upon the truth about what the school board and superintendent are spending on litigation?

... except that they are complacent or complicit in a
cover up of the ethics, standards, and accountability crisis and scandal in the leadership of the APS?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Federal court dismisses two counts against APS, taxpayers will suffer

A federal court judge has dismissed without prejudice, link, two counts in a complaint alleging that APS is hiding public records in violation of the NM Inspection of Public Records Act.

The records in question, are public records of the findings of investigations into allegations of (state and federal) felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.  APS has been hiding them since 2007, link.

The dispute the court did not resolve; whether the records enjoy legitimate exception under the law.

The dispute will continue and funds appropriated to educate children will be gobbled up at the rate of about $300 an hour until it is settled.  Taxpayers are paying for APS' lawyers, they are paying for my lawyers, and they will pay whatever fine is levied by the court against APS.

The person or persons in the leadership of the APS who have decided to spend operational funds in an effort to keep the ethically redacted truth secret, will not pay any part of the fine.  They will suffer no consequence at all for diverting classroom bound dollars into cost is no object litigation in order to keep the truth hidden.

Never in this process, will that person or those people, have to explain why the truth needs to remain hidden.  Note; the question is not how they can do it.  The do it by spending operational dollars on legal weaselry.

The question is why do they need to hide the ethically redacted record of their own public service?

I can think of three reasons why they need to hide the ethically redacted truth about public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS and their publicly funded private police force;

1.  the truth is embarrassing, and or

2.  the truth is shaming, and or

3.  the truth is indicting.
  • the leadership of the APS
  • the Journal editors, and
  • the news directors of KRQE, KOAT, and KOB TV
    could post the reason I missed; the good and ethical reason to spend educational funds to hide the truth - if there was one.  There is not.  If there was, someone would have mentioned it by now - the litigation has been going on for years.

    Their only defense is; you can't make us!

    The APS school board and senior administration are squandering the public trust and treasure in an effort only to not be embarrassed, shamed, or criminally charged subsequent to their public record becoming public knowledge.

    Taxpayers and other stake and interest holders are being betrayed by the (establishment credentialed) press their democracy depends upon.

    Their betrayal flows from one of two founts; corruption or the lack of courage.  They are willing participants in the cover up or, they are too afraid of the consequences of finally telling the truth.  The establishment's media you see, are in a bind with respect to telling the truth about their friends in the leadership of the APS.  They are betwixt a rock and hard place;
    • they cannot report credibly on the ongoing ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS
    • without they first reporting credibly on their failure to investigate and report upon credible evidence and testimony regarding on that crisis, heretofore.
    photo by ched macquigg
    As far as the the Journal goes, it's fair I believe, to blame Journal editor-in-chief Kent Walz.

    In all these years, he has never offered up the name of anyone more responsible and blameworthy than he, for the Journal's relentless refusal to investigate and report upon the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

    Thursday, October 09, 2014

    Students who can't read, are not the problem

    Students who don't want to read, are the problem

    Teaching has been likened to herding cats so many times now, as to become trite.  It keeps coming up because most teachers will agree, it is true in so many aspects.

    With respect to children and kittens learning to read, a simple fact remains;

    if kittens could learn how to read, they would.
    And, in short order.
    If children were allowed to learn how read, they would.
    This providing they and cats have the same ground rules;
    if it isn't interesting and engaging and intrinsically motivating, they get to move on.  They get to move on until they do find something that is intrinsically interesting and engaging and self-motivating.

    Students will learn with vigor and enthusiasm.  Once they have learned how to learn; once they have matured emotionally, they will begin to be able to learn what isn't so appealing at first sniff.  It will be begrudgingly, but they will be in a better position to learn it, simply because they are skilled learners by the time it comes up.

    The mission, the ultimate goal, and the primary objective of education is to create independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.

    Kids who don't want to read are the problem.  Their problem is exacerbated by our relentless unwillingness let them follow their noses to something they want to read so much, they will learn how to read in order to read.

    Kids, for the most part, who want to read, learn how to read.
    The trick is to help them find something they want to read.

    As an aside; as written and "spoken" language diverge,
    learning to read is going to become increasingly difficult.
    One cannot read in a language they do not already speak.
    Sit down and shut up is a poor prelude to learning to read.

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014

    APS settles another Brooks lawsuit in secret

    It has taken half a decade, but one of former APS Supt Winston Brooks' earliest victims has finally found some amount of justice in the legal system; ignoring for the purpose of this post that;
    Justice delayed is justice denied wikilink

    The size of the settlement, and the amount of money the leadership of the APS spent in a effort to postpone it, will easily triple the amount of Brooks' golden parachute.  It does not include whatever it is going to cost to settle with the other plaintiff in the same case.  All amounts are secret from interest and stakeholders.

    “The terms of the settlement are confidential,” according to APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez

    Interestingly, in a moment of candor,
    APS school board member and
    Defendant Marty Esquivel went on
    record saying he doesn’t believe the
    school district can have a confidential
    settlement; and yet they did it anyway.

    Some part of the money will come from insurers who will raise their premiums and cost to taxpayers, again. The rest will come directly from taxpayers. It will come from decision making power and resources the people entrusted to the leadership of the APS for the purpose of providing a first class education for their sons and daughters.

    All APS settlements cost taxpayers more than they should because they all include admissions of no guilt.  Public money is used routinely and as a matter of course, to scrub board members and superintendents' records clean of their guilt; their incompetence and their misconduct.
    Here are a few hundred thousand tax dollars and
    I admit no guilt.

    The true cost of the squandering of the people's trust and treasure can be found in public records of the settlement.  Except that the leadership of the APS does not want the people to see those records.

    They will spend even more money keeping those records until nobody cares about them anymore.
    As an illustrative example; there are records of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators during a scandal exposed in the Journal in 2007, link.  The records and evidence have been secreted for so long that statutes of limitation have expired on felonies.  If you ask the Journal to investigate; their excuse is that it's old news.
    The APS school board is still in litigation to keep the ethically redacted truth from stake and interest holders.

    Journal reporter Jon Swedien tried to mislead readers into thinking there is only one other pending lawsuit against the departed superintendent;
    There also is the ongoing case involving Ruby Ethridge, a former APS associate superintendent. Ethridge filed a civil rights suit against APS and Brooks arguing she was demoted after complaining that Brooks “treated woman with disdain.” (emphasis added)
    There are in fact, many pending lawsuits.

    There are so many and they are costing taxpayers so much, that the leadership of the APS needs to keeps the number and overall expense secret from those whose trust and treasure they squander.  Especially they need to keep it secret through the school board elections and the hiring of the next superintendent.

    That the Journal is complicit in the effort to keep APS' litigation and settlement record secret from the people whose taxes underwrite it, is manifest in their relentless refusal to publish even a bare minimum of the facts.

    APS' longtime family
    lawyer Art Melendres.
    When are Journal readers going to find out that the Modrall law firm is making so much money off taxpayers and APS,  that APS Modrall lawyer Art Melendres couldn't remember (under oath) how much money they're actually taking in every year, even to the nearest quarter million dollars?

    photos Mark Bralley

    Friday, October 03, 2014

    Steven Michael Quezada called me out

    APS School Board Member Steven Michael Quesada accused me of making false statements during the public forum Wednesday night.

    You be the judge.

    The following are the notes from which I spoke.  I have since, added a missing word and numbered them.

    1. I am concerned that APS’ legislative goals will include an effort to gain departmental status for the APS Police force.
    2. The main reason is to remove the leadership of the APS Police force from the oversight (of) the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.
    3. Without oversight, the APS police will once again, be allowed to investigate allegations of felony criminal misconduct by the people they work for.
    4. It creates an appearance of conflicting interests that could not be, more egregious.
    5. As long as the APS police force reports to administrators and board members, they cannot be part of self-investigations of allegations made against administrators or school board members.
    6. You cannot in good conscience, reduce external oversight over the leadership of the APS Police force. In truth, oversight needs to be increased dramatically.
    7. I urge you to soundly renounce any effort by any other board members to convince you take any steps to reduce much needed oversight.
    I would argue; Steven Michael Quezada is in no position to label my concern, a false statement, #1.  Nor is he in a position to evaluate my opinion, #6, nor my petition, #7.

    I will respond regarding numbers 2,  3, 4, and 5.
    2. The main reason is to remove the leadership of the APS Police force from the oversight (of) the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.
    There are at least two other reasons to departmentalize;
    as APS Supt Dr Brad Winter argued, there is a lot of money to be harvested from federal grants for police departments (and requires no further attention)
    as Board Member Dr David Peercy argued; it's the only way to protect students who commit crimes from suffering the legal consequences of their criminal misconduct at school.* emphasis added
    *There are two schools of thought on criminal misconduct by APS students.

    The real world perspective is that if someone commits a crime, it is up to the justice system to decide whether they should be punished and how.

    The APS school board and administrative position is that if a student commits a crime, it is up to an administrator to decide whether to report the crime to law enforcement** and justice.

    **The APS Police force is "law enforcement" as far as school board policy and administration is concerned.  This though their brand of "law enforcement" is different that law enforcement as manifest by the APD, BCSD and NMSP, as Peercy points out.  APS' publicly funded private police force reports directly to, and only to, the leadership of the APS.  They will even after they are departmentalized.  The only difference will be no oversight at all.
    School board members and administrators argue that they are only looking out for children who don't deserve criminal records (in the opinion of the school board and administration of the APS).

    The school board members and administrators, who are deciding whether or not criminals deserve criminal records, benefit directly from keeping "crimes at schools" statistics low.  Not creating criminal records for criminals means lower "crimes at schools" statistics.

    The question; which is their "main" reason? is not settled.  But, perhaps it doesn't make any difference.  Perhaps evading oversight is not an acceptable reason anywhere on the list.

    I stand by my statement.
    3. Without oversight, the APS police will once again, be allowed to investigate allegations of felony criminal misconduct by the people they work for.
    Steven Michael Quezada might have two issues with my statement.  He might disagree with my use of the word "again" because, he might argue; it is not in evidence that APS ever self-investigated before.

    I submit as evidence that it has happened before; that it has happened before.

    All Steven Michael Quezada has to do is open his eyes and look at the evidence.  (He played a cop on TV; he knows at least, what pretend evidence looks like)

    With respect to the 2007 scandal, link, there is not one shred of evidence that anyone other than APS and its "praetorian guard" ever investigated allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.  The APS Police self-Investigative Report is being hidden from public knowledge and from the District Attorney.

    If there were one shred of evidence; an investigative report from any other agency of law enforcement, Steven Michael Quesada and APS' lawyers would produce it.  It would be in the Journal.

    Steven Michael Quezada thinks I spoke falsely that APS was prevented by the BCSD/APS  MOU, link; from self-investigation of felonies.  Here it is, quoted in significant part;
    Any report of a crime which may be determined to be a felony offense, excluding property crimes, shall be promptly reported to and investigated by BCSD or APD
    Without the MOU, the Sheriff's Department is not going to keep APS from self-investigating felonies.  Hell, they're not even going to know the crimes have been committed.

    Steven Michael Quezada might believe it won't happen again.
    I stand by my belief that it never stopped;
    that it never even broke speed.

    I stand by my statement.
    4. It creates an appearance of conflicting interests that could not be, more egregious.
    I would argue APS self-investigation is self-evidently a conflict of interests.  I stand by my statement; it is not false.
    5. As long as the APS police force reports to administrators and board members, they cannot be part of self-investigations of allegations made against administrators or school board members.
    This seems self evident.

    Steven Michael Quezada, about two hours and four minutes into the meeting, link, tried to explain how, exactly, an APS Police Department would be accountable under what he imagines is an existing hierarchy;
    • APS Police overseen by 
    • the Albuquerque Police overseen 
    • by the county sheriff's office 
    • overseen by the state police.  
    No such oversight exists.

    If it did, the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department and the New Mexico State Police would not have allowed APS to self-investigate allegations of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators.

    I stand by the statement.

    Steven Michael Quezada slandered me last night when he accused me of making false statements.

    He didn't slander me by name; he called me "a speaker".
    He knows my name but won't use it.

    Funny, from a guy who expects everyone else
    to use all three of his names.
    Funny odd, and funny ha ha.

    photo Mark Bralley

    KOAT disses Armenta and APS' PPSBM* Policy and Procedural Directive

    *Public Participation in School Board Meetings

    When KOAT's reporter showed up at the school board meeting on Wednesday night, APS' Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta took time away from calendar sales, crises management, and everything else she has to do, to tell KOAT's reporter where he had to set up his camera.

    Armenta was, at the time, enforcing APS School Board Policy.

    Backing Armenta once before, the
    current APS Chief of Police Steve
    Gallegos. photo ched macquigg
    This despite the immediate overwhelming presence of APS security.

    In fact, APS Chief of Police Steve Gallegos was near enough to enforce the policy had he chosen to pay any attention.

    Armenta thinks she has this authority, because School Board Member and Defendant Marty Esquivel just passed a new school board policy and procedural directive.  They were cooked up by Esquivel and his Modrall lawyers; likely Art Melendres at taxpayer expense.

    The policy and procedural directive have already drawn specific criticism from the NM FOG.

    Their new policy and procedural directive reads in significant part;
    Media Etiquette

    Members of the media are welcome at public meetings of the Board of Education. Members of the media and media equipment shall be required to video and photograph from a designated media representative area of the room in which the Board of Education Meeting is being held. (emphasis added)

    Media representatives shall cooperate with district staff regarding placement of equipment, photography and video requirements or be subject to removal from the meeting.(emphasis added)

    **Auditors at the time the board room was built and furnished found  
       the trifecta of public corruption and misappropriation of tax dollars;
    inadequate standards, inadequate accountability and,  
    inadequate record keeping

    The "designated area" in the Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, is a small alcove next to the control booth where one can find the nearly one hundred thousand dollars worth of electronic goodies** that support APS coverage of school board meetings.

    The equipment was purchased at a time when senior APS administrators were spending up to $50K on their signature and "... without involving purchasing... "

    It is that spending, a candid, forthright and honest accounting of which is yet to be produced, that APS Supt Brad Winter steadfastly refuses to discuss.

    The spending occurred on his watch,
    under his immediate oversight; and
    a bunch of it probably carries his signature.

    In any case;
    The "designated area" is a perfect place to put a camera if you want a shot up the middle of the room from the farthest point in the room.  It is twice as far away as APS' cameras.  It amounts to censorship pure and simple.

    "Pure and simple" abrogation of Constitutionally protected human rights will not stop Marty Esquivel from paying Modrall lawyers as much as they need or would like, in order to forestall the inevitable conclusion of whichever court finally ends their violation the people's civil rights.

    Esquivel will spend operational dollars in defense of his ego for as long as he is allowed.

    Modrall will continue to suck on a large bore pipeline to unlimited operational funds; money taxpayers appropriated to educate nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters, for as long as they are allowed.

    Their combined efforts enjoy the tacit approval of the Journal and the rest of the APS "credentialed press".  Hence, their combined failure to investigate and report upon the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

    In any event,
    the KOAT reporter set up his camera in a number of places in the room depending I suppose, on what he considered necessary.  At one point he even walked right up the Kevlar lined dais they hide behind.  The board used to come out from behind the dais to shake people's hands, now they do it behind cover. 

    At no time did I see Armenta take any action in response to KOAT's utterly justifiable but nevertheless blatant disregard for Esquivel's policy and procedural directive. Nor did anyone else.

    The point is, KOAT gets away with ignoring Esquivel's PPSBM policy and procedural directive.  If any of APS' "credentialed" press choose to ignore the policy and procedural directive; they will do so without consequence.

    When (APS un-credentialed, but many timeWhite House credentialed) photojournalist Mark Bralley approached the dais, to ask a board member a legitimate question about the public interests and her public service and to record her response, School Board Member Kathy Korte attacked him - and I do mean attacked him, link.

    If he, I, or any other member of the APS un-credentialed press try to walk up to the dais to take the same photograph, you can bet your ass there will be consequences.  It is called disparate treatment.  It is unconstitutional.  It is illegal.

    Note as well, that the reporter who approached the dais was there to record something that made APS look good.  The leadership of the APS has different sets of rules for people who are praising them and people who dare to criticize them.

    They have as well, different sets of rules for students and for their senior most executive and administrative role models; but that's a whole different issue.

    End note;
    my search for a link on KOAT's website to the footage taken by their reporter, was futile.  As was sending to them, an email asking for a link.

    When APS gets around to posting the record they live-streamed, viewers will see the reporter at the dais. (Or, as Winston Brooks used to call it; the deity)

    photos Mark Bralley

    Thursday, October 02, 2014

    Taxpayers are going to have to dig deeper for APS' litigation

    APS has received another adverse ruling in their litigation against the public interests.  The cost to taxpayers, to defend APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel's ego, is going up.

    In a ruling from a Federal Court Judge, link, APS' Motion for Summary Judgement was denied without prejudice.  The effective result is that Esquivel's lawyers are going to have to re-write their motions and we are going to have to rewrite our responses to their motions.  The cost to taxpayers will be substantial; thousands of dollars that literally could have been spent in APS classrooms instead.

    A few school bus loads of students won't get to go on a field trip this year, because Esquivel and the school board think the best interests of those students are better served by adding thousands of dollars to the already nearly three quarter of million dollars they have spent defending Marty Esquivel's ego.

    There is a real cost to students for ignoring the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

    "Your right to know" focus of NM FOG banquet

    I attended the Dixon Award Banquet FOG fundraiser yesterday.

    The words "your right to know" figured prominently in the celebration and discussion.

    There really isn't anything to be said about your right to know that you don't already know.  The issue is settled; the ethically redacted truth about the spending of your trust and treasure belongs to you.

    The problem is; their opportunity to hide the ethically redacted truth trumps your right to know it.

    It makes no difference if that is "right" because it is "legal".
    Legal weaselry effectively trumps your rights to everything.

    Politicians and public servants can, without consequence, hide the ethically redacted truth about how your resources are being spent and how your power is being wielded, for as long as their money holds out.  It's your money - has it run out? 

    The problem is in the premise.

    Politicians and public servants act as if the truth is theirs to parcel out as they see fit.  They hire more public servants whose job it is to parcel the truth in the interests of the politician or public servant they work for.

    If a politician or public servant sees fit to spend public power and resources to endlessly forestall the production of ethically redacted public records, they can without consequence.

    Because they can,
    they do.

    As an example; Marty Esquivel and APS are spending operational dollars right now, in cost is no object litigation in their effort to hide the ethically redacted truth about the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.

    The public record of the public service of politicians and public servants does not belong to them, it belongs to the people.  T The redaction of that record is not within the purview of the people whose records they are.  In creates a manifest conflict of interests.

    Public record redaction is the responsibility of someone who is not conflicted except by their duty to the public interests.

    When a politician or public servant thinks a record needs redaction; rather than having us prove our right to know, why doesn't the public servant have to prove their right to secret?  to someone who is impartial and powerful enough to deny their claim, even against their will.

    Public meetings belong to the people as well.  It is the prerogative of the people; what it is that public servants will discuss and decide about our interests, in secret from us.

    It is up to the people to decide what does and does not "disrupt" their meeting.

    By the way, recently the NM FOG roundly criticized, link, Marty Esquivel and APS' new Public Participation in School Board Meetings Policy and Procedural Directive.

    NM FOG is yet to take decisive action on Esquivel and Modrall's folly and abomination.