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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This trying to see board meetings and having them uploaded in a timely manner is something that I have long tried to have APS honor.

I just might take my 'walker' to the next meeting and make them listen to me complain. Over, and over, what is the problem APS?