Thursday, December 04, 2014

Public forum at APS meeting runs out of control

In what can only be characterized as a positive development, more and more people are showing up at public forum, there to express themselves frankly to school board members, sometimes by name and eyeball to eyeball.

Speakers frustration in finding when they get to the forum, that they are allowed only 60 seconds to express themselves is manifest in some pretty blatant disregard for the "thank you" we're done listening to you sign appears on the TVs around the room when time is up.

APS photo
Supposedly "in charge",
School Board Secretary
Steven Michael Quesada.

In Quesada's absences,
School Board Member
Lorenzo Garcia takes over.

Quesada isn't the only
comedian on the board.
When Garcia was in charge
during the last public forum,
he decided  to shake things up a little by calling on people in the reverse order than they signed up.  Unclear what he was trying to prove.

In any case, both Quesada and Garcia struggle during public forum, between their instincts as gentlemen and the requirements of School Board Member Marty Esquivel's manifestly unenforceable Public Participation in School Board Meetings Policy and Procedural Directive.

Perhaps Esquivel could take over as Secretary and enforce of his own nonsense.

Last night, a woman stood up and thanked the four board members by name, whom she thought had actually been paying attention to previous speakers.

In an old photo, Esquivel
has a beard.  Nothing much
else has changed, one iota 
Esquivel's name was not among them.

He didn't react to the gibe over his inattention, because he missed it; because he wasn't paying attention.

There are a couple of things that people who have written and then tried to enforce rules come to understand.
  • First and foremost, if there are going to be rules, you have to obey them.
  • Second but equally important; don't write a rule you don't intend to enforce on everybody.
  • Third; if it's not a hill worth dying on; if you aren't willing to do what it takes to extinguish the misconduct you are prohibiting, you're better off not prohibiting it in the first place; it just teaches people that you permit prohibited behavior.
The permission of prohibited behavior undermines control.

If board secretaries are going to remain "in control" they are going to have to enforce Esquivel's rules of decorum.  If they don't, the forum is out of (their) control.

There are going to have to enforce them on everybody, not just on people they don't want to hear.

They have made a rule they are not willing to enforce; in no small part because so disrespectful of the people who go out of their way to participate in one of the purest form of government of the people.

And who wants to stand in front of that, except Marty
Esquivel and every other school board member and
senior administrator with a record of their public service
they need to hide.

photos Mark Bralley

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