Friday, January 16, 2015

Open letter to Albuquerque Tea Party Members

I am disappointed that I will not be able to attend your General Meeting.  Regrettably the timing conflicts with the School Board Candidate Forum being held in APS' central office.

I've been invited to write to you, so I will.

Whatever is your interest in the Albuquerque Public Schools, it is one of a number of interests who also want and deserve the close attention of the school board and superintendent; politicians and public servants.

Each of you has the inalienable right to sit at the table when your interests are being decided.

I propose those rights be honored by creating community member seats on the APS District and Community Relations Committee.

  • The board has a code of ethics.  The fourth requires them to establish open and honest two-way communication with the communities and community members they serve.
  • There is precedent.  The APS Audit Committee has community seats and they participate as full members of the committee. 
They honor that ethic currently, by providing to the people;
  • two minutes every two weeks and 
  • you are not allowed to ask questions

The terms of public in-servitude are the prerogative of the people, not of politicians and public servants.  We tell them what to do, not the other way around.

The ironically but soon aptly named District and Community Relations Committee will become the venue for open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

If elected I will carry a motion that will create community member seats on the committee, to be shared according to their will.

Stake and interest holders will participate meaningfully; they will vote with board members in the committee meeting.  Only elected school board members will vote in a "regular" board meeting, adopting or not, the decision made by the sub-committee.

It is important to realize that there will be a seat for nobody until there is a seat for everybody.

No group or coalition of groups is ever going to be powerful enough to make the school board pay close attention if they don't want to.

You have to fight as hard for seats everybody, as you are willing to fight for your own seat.

Once we have a seat, we can;
  • clean out a rats nest, or
  • or assure ourselves by impartial independent examination and review, that a rats nest doesn't exist; that there is in fact, honest actual accountability to standards of conduct and competence that are high enough to protect the peoples interests in their public schools.
Based upon the findings on executive and administrative ethics, standards and accountability, we must create
transparent accountability to meaningful standards 
of conduct and competence 
for school board members, superintendents and senior administrators.

Before we can expect students to embrace honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct, someone is going to have to show them what it looks like.  Leadership begins at the very top and by personal example.

Ending the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS must be the first priority.  The incoming superintendent must be hired with the purpose of ending the crisis and not with covering it up. 

What ever is your agenda, I insist;
  • there is not a single legitimate agenda that doesn't move forward on the day that stake and interest holders take their seat at the table in the leadership of the APS. and there is open and honest public discussion of important issues. And
  • there is no legitimate agenda that does not move forward on the day politicians and public servants find themselves honestly and actually accountable to the people and to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.
If you want a seat at the table where your interests are being decided, all you have to do is take it.  Make your board honor your seat.

I'm willing to kick down the door*, but I can't be the only one charging through.  It just makes me look stupid or crazy.

*note to Marty Esquivel and APS's  many lawyers; I am not really threatening to kick down a door. I am writing metaphorically.  I never have, am not now kicking, and I never, ever intend to actually kick down any door any where.

As much as we need the one who goes first into the breach, we need more; the second and the third and the fourth.

People, I don't want you money.
I don't want you to make phone calls or
knock on strangers' doors.

All I want you to do, is to make an issue of;
  1. Your right to a seat at APS Community Roundtables at District and Community Relations Committee meetings. and of
  2. an independent examination and review of the Ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
Don't let them move an inch on hiring a superintendent until the findings of that review are solidly in your hands.

photo Mark Bralley

People who wait for the perfect circumstances to act,
find only a reason to not act ever.

Everybody says someone should do something
when what they really mean is somebody else
should do something.

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.
How committed are you to taking your seat at the table?
How committed are you to honest accountability to higher standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants in the leadership of the APS?

I'm wondering if you should adjourn your meeting, or a contingent therefrom, to attend and participate meaningfully in the most politically important forum there likely will be in the school board election.

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