Friday, February 27, 2015

Martinez and Skandera challenged to take the PARCC test

"On the heels of student protests against a new standardized test, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez has challenged Gov. Susana Martinez and Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera to take the high-profile exam", Journal link.

What if the Governor and her Education Secretary had to take the test they're cramming down everyone else' throats?

The question resonates, but not because the answer is germane to the discussion.  It is not, not in even the smallest measure.

Whether the governor and education secretary can "pass" the test has nothing to do with whether students should take the test.  The concepts are utterly unrelated.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez would like to know whether Martinez and Skandera could pass the PARCC.  Why?

By what reasoning is it important to know whether the Governor and Education Secretary can pass the test, and by which it is not important to know if the Senate Majority Leader can pass it?

Has Sanchez ever passed a bill regarding testing and licensure?  Can he pass all the tests he voted to require others to pass?

I hate it when politicians and public servants respond to allegations by characterizing the allegation rather than addressing it head on.  But when the Governor's spokesman Enrique Knell brushed off the challenge as “yet another ridiculous political stunt” he hit the nail squarely on its head.

I will take issue with a claim Knell made regarding "... the thousands of teachers who worked on designing the PARCC exam".  I find that extraordinarily hard to believe.  I doubt Knell can cite documentation to support his unlikely claim.

The PED found it “disappointing” that the students protesting the PARCC were not in class during the middle of a school day.  It has been alleged (on talk radio) that teachers and parents might have played a part in stirring up students and encouraging various mutinies.

If true, that would be a shame.

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Videotape of public meetings, whose call is it?

There are two ways of looking at the truth about the wielding of public power and the spending of public resources;

  • the one, and the prevailing thought, is that the truth belongs to politicians and public servants and 
  • the other is that the truth belongs to the people whose power it is and whose resources they fundamentally are.
They are reflected in the manner in which that truth is told.

If the truth belongs to pols and public servants, they will share that part of the truth that makes them look good; character and competence enough to be worthy of the public trust.  Any truth which might embarrass, shame or indict them will not be told unless it is absolutely required by law.

If the truth belongs to the people then it is up to the people to decide what kinds of truth should or should not be recorded and published.

The very worst thing any politician or public servant can do, is anything they do in unnecessary secrecy from the people whose power and resources they spend.

Apparently, the City Attorney is going to let the people know what it is that "the city" is willing to put up with.  It will be up to the city to "interpret" the Open Meetings Act whose language is more than specific enough; a reasonable accommodation will be made for audio and video recording of meetings.  There isn't enough legal weaselry to be bought (with our tax dollars) to make no accommodation look like reasonable accommodation.

Where will be the hearing on whether it should be up to a City Attorney to decide if we can record our public meetings?  When will be the hearing on whether the people can freely exercise or not, their right to take personal notes with a recording device instead of a pencil?  Perhaps we should count ourselves lucky they "allow us" to use only quill and parchment.

Kudos to KOB Eyewitness News 4's photojournalist Paul Sigurdson who stood his ground and made the cowards run away, link.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Webcast archiving - the will of the people

The Journal reports, link, that two attempts to provide archiving of webcasts of legislative meetings were amended or tabled to thwart the effort.

The quality of reasoning going into the refusal is frightening;

“I think if the executive wants to do it, lets let them (pay for it),” 
Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan.
"When I leave here, I don’t want to think about this place.”
Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec.

The people support any opportunity to hold politicians and public servants accountable for their performance in legislative meetings.

Some of those politicians and public servants would rather not be held actually and honestly accountable for their public service.

Guess whose will prevailed.

Since when is the will of the people a "wish list" for legislators?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How hard will the Journal dig to find the truth?

I have been insisting for a while, that the Journal needs to begin an investigation and report upon an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

All they have to do is to expose the scandal, or lay the allegation to rest at once and for all is to;

  • examine the standards and competence that apply to senior administrators and school board (members within their public service), and 
  • examine the various venues in which and by which they can be held "accountable" to those standards;
  1. are they swift?
  2. are they certain?
  3. are they free of undue influence?, and
  4. are they powerful enough to hold the most powerful accountable even against their will?
All they have to do is ask the leadership of the APS to
  • produce copies of any standards of conduct to which they claim accountability, and to 
  • identify the venues where complaints can be filed over their failure to meet those standards.
All they have to is ask, read and report.  They don't even have to leave their desks.  At most, they should have to read a few dozen pages; and then of course, tell readers what they find.

Journal Editor Kent Walz
Are there high enough standards?
Is there accountability; are complaints
impartially adjudicated in a timely manner and without appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety, and without fear of retaliation?  Is there due process?

Research, evaluate, tell the truth; candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Come on  Walz, step up!
Inform the democracy.

photo Mark Bralley

Winter's blunder will cost more than $125K - lots more

If you read the backsides of the reports on Winston Brooks' suit in the Journal, KRQE, KOAT, and KOB, you will find a number of steaming comments.  The most of the commenters think Brooks is the heavy; that he is doing something wrong by enforcing the terms of the settlement agreement APS entered into with him.

The settlement agreement included a promise that APS (Interim Supt Brad Winter) would not defame Brooks or his wife.  And damned if it doesn't look like Winter went right ahead and did just that. 

If guilt and consequences could be assigned where they belong, the quarter of a million or so that this thing is finally going to cost, would come out of his pocket and not out of the operational fund; dollars that were destined for classrooms before they were squandered along with our trust.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

APS School Board Committee name change

The APS School Board will meet in regular meeting tonight.  The agenda, link, includes;

V. Special Issues
A. Consideration for Approval of the Name Change for the District and Community Relations Committee to the District Equity and Engagement Committee (Discussion/Action)
Presenter: Joseph Escobedo, Chief Equity and Engagement Officer
Action Memo on District Relations Name Change 2-18-15.docx, link
The Action Memo reads;
Approval of Name Change for the District and Community Relations Committee to the District
Equity and Engagement Committee

In December 2014, Superintendent Brad Winter and the APS Board of Education supported a new Office of Equity and Engagement in the district. The change in name and focus of the committee will support the district’s focus on equity and true engagement of all stakeholders in the community. In addition, this committee will focus on issues that are inclusive of all equity issues and will still allow for community dialogue on important issues in the district and community at large.
So what does it all mean?

The board has a Code of Ethics, link.  The 4th reads;
Establish an open, two-way communication process with students, staff, families and all segments of the community.
It is fair to examine the new focus in the light of that ethic.
Is the new focus going to create open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the communities and community members they serve?

The smart money is on no. Past and current practice would indicate that they have no intention to move one bit closer to open and honest two-communication with stake and interest holders.

They should have been considering for at least a month now, the idea of establishing permanent community members seats on the District and Community Relations (soon to be District Equity and Engagement) Committee.  Their lack of response means no.

Any answer except yes, even stonewalling and saying nothing at all, means no.

But they are happy to come up with some new descriptors for their communications effort in the hope stake and interest holders won't notice that nothing has really changed.

When the dust settles tonight, there will still be no place, no day, no time when the leadership of the APS will promise to sit and answer questions about the public interests and their public service,
candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

APD Police Chief Gordon Eden is a liar

In the Journal this morning, link, editors build a compelling case that APD Chief Gordon Eden cannot be trusted to tell the truth to the people he serves.  His unwillingness to be honest with stake and interest holders goes beyond the usual exploitation of the weaknesses in the NM OMA and IPRA.

They stopped short of calling him a liar outright.

Is there a difference between "telling a lie" and "not telling the truth"?  The Wikipedia has an excellent report on the many kinds of lies, link.  A complete understanding of all the different kinds of lies, leads to a working conclusion; "lying" has to with intent.  If the truth is told in a manner calculated to create a false impression, it is a lie.

It would appear the particular kind of lying Eden engaged in is called "economy with the truth".

"Economy with the truth is popularly used as a euphemism for deceit, whether by volunteering false information (i.e., lying) or by deliberately holding back relevant facts ..."
The editors conclude and wonder;
So, why did APD engage in this obfuscation...?
How could there really have been the possibility of video being retrieved when all along they knew there could be no video because the camera wasn’t plugged in?
In the first place, "APD" did not engage in "obfuscation";
Gordon Eden engaged in "obfuscation".  (he, or someone in his stead).

And part of the reason he can be expected to do it again,
is because he got away with it this time; the editors blamed APD for the effort to deliberately mislead the public, not Eden.

It is Eden, not "APD" needing to;
Who is this guy?
... learn at all levels that being frank with the public is one important way to rebuild the department’s credibility.
Eden's credibility is destroyed by his own doing; perhaps irrevocably.

Is it really up to the APD to rehabilitate Eden's credibility?

Or is it time to find a Chief whose credibility needs no rehab?

Speaking of candor, forthrightness and honesty - check out Eden's official APD website photo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Statistics point to leadership failure in APS

In a committee meeting the other night, statistics, link, were presented that strongly suggest that the culture of fear of retaliation* against whistleblowers and other complainants is still a problem in the APS.  *Finding by Council of the Great City Schools auditors circa 2007.

There still is retaliation against whistleblowers and other complainants.

The leadership of the APS makes a big deal, link, about wanting people to report misconduct.  They have over the years, severely curtailed the kind of complaints they will accept. Now, they

... encourage state employees to report fraud, waste, and abuse of state resources. 
Suspected theft or misuse of the Department's property
Overcharging for products and services purchased at a lower rate
Billing for services never rendered
Double-billing or charging more than once for the same service
Intentional misuse of funds for other purposes
Conflicts of interest
Falsification of official documents (timesheets, leave reports, etc.)
The Hotline is not for general complaints, suggestions, or personnel issues. It is primarily a report intake operation focused on concerns at the state level. Issues involving local funds, programs, employees, etc. should be addressed with the Office of Equal Opportunity, Employee Assistance, Human Resources, school police your union, your department manager or other established channels before being reported to the Hotline.
I will take some credit for compelling them to narrow their focus.  I filed a number of complaints against the senior most administrators in the APS, by means of their whistleblower hotline; Ethical Advocate.  Their self-adjudication of, and subsequent dismissal of the complaints proved the lack of due process for complaints; sample link.

Rather than continue to suffer that, they simply stopped taking complaints about their ethical misconduct.

Rather like when they decide that they would rather not be held actually and honestly accountable as role models of students standards of conduct, they simple removed the role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for adults
be lower than the standards of conduct for students. 
Their parting assurance;
"Employees wishing to report complaints are protected from retaliation."
That is simply not true.  The consistently high number of complaints of retaliation for exposing administrative and executive corruption or incompetence is evidence that retaliation against complainants continues and justifies the ongoing fear of retaliation.

If employees were polled and asked if they feel protected from retaliation if they report the incompetence or corruption of a superordinate, an overwhelming majority will tell you, no.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the poll.  The leadership of the APS does not collect data that might later prove to be embarrassing, shaming or indicting.  As a matter of routine; as a matter of course.

The profound lack of statistics of any kind at all, is as damning every bit as damning as damning statistics.

Where for example, are the statistics on student misconduct in schools, and in particular on chronically disruptive students?

Are things getting worse?  Are they getting better?
Who knows?  Why does no one know?
I'm guessing if things were getting better,
they would be collecting the data.

I'm guessing if employees really felt protected,
they would be collecting that data too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

APS graduation rates collapse

Gradation rates have collapsed in APS, dropping nearly 6.2% according to the Journal, 6.2%, link.  They arrived at that number according to the following calculation; 73.3% 2013 - 67.1% 2014 = 6.2%.

A truer representation of the collapse is gained by dividing the decline by 73.3; 
73.3% 2013 - 67.1% 2014) = 6.2% / 73.3 = .085 or 8.5%.

The results were made available one week too late to be part of the political discourse in the school board election.

The collapse points to the unreliability of "graduation rates" as a measure of public school success link.

"No one at the top or middle levels has been fired as a consequence ..."

Joe Monahan wrote this morning about the reform in the Albuquerque Police Department.  He quoted 2010 candidate for governor Doug Turner;

... the problem is accountability. No one at the top or middle levels has been fired as a consequence of the department's issues."
and as a result, the culture of the APD is not going to reform. Turner has hit the nail on the head.

The reason cultures of incompetence and corruption never end (in New Mexico) is because too few of those whose incompetence and corruption characterize the culture, are ever held actually, honestly accountable for their incompetence and corruption.

Human beings by their nature yield to temptation. 
With little likelihood of being caught and less likelihood
of being punished, human beings yield to temptation.

The very worst possible thing you can do is to tell people
a behavior is unacceptable and then enable the misconduct
by providing no consequence.  If for no other reason than it
betrays the efforts of those who do try to live and work by the rules.

Ayn Rand
It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and from condemning men's vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you - whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Federal District Court rules against Esquivel and APS

In a ruling today, a Chief United States District Judge ruled against APS School Board Member Marty Esquivel and APS on three counts of eight counts in my complaint, link.  Of the five counts the Court dismissed, those claims are still alive against APS. The Court merely found Esquivel was not the proper defendant for those claims, which was fully expected.

The ruling represents yet another signal to the school board and taxpayers; it's time to stop pouring good money after bad into their litigation against the public interests.

Three quarters of a million
dollars have been wasted already.

How many more will they waste
in a non-viable defense of
Marty Esquivel's ego?

That decision will be made in
another meeting in secret.

As is their want, practice and custom,
there will be no oversight over their spending and there will be no recording of their meeting made.

photo Mark Bralley

APS facing "big deficit"

The budget won't be reduced;
it will "not increase" by as much as they had planned.

They claim its all do to rising costs of running schools.

The announcement, link, was made the day after the school board election.

Journal post election editorial

It is the want and practice of Journal editors to weigh in in the days after a school board election in an editorial harrumph bewailing poor voter turnout .  And they have again, link.

There were few grains in the chaff;

  • (low voter turnout) does not serve the candidates or the students, teachers, administrators or taxpayers who depend on our public schools.
  • At APS, the board is entrusted with overseeing policy for more than 90,000 students, 11,500 employees and 136 schools and an annual budget of $1.3 billion.
  • Voter fatigue and apathy aside, this level of turnout is unacceptable.
  • ... there is a way to make it better; ...changing when school board elections can be held.
Conspicuous in their absence from their analysis of reasons voters didn't vote;
  • the Journal's own failure and or refusal to investigate and report upon an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS. and
  • the Journal's own failure and or refusal to investigate and report upon credible evidence of a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

APS graduation rates "dip" 6.2%

In the Journal this morning, link, we find that APS graduation rates. which until this morning had been soaring, have actually "dipped" 6.2% instead.  One wonders at the timing of the release; after the school board election.

The Journal used the word "dip" for a reason.

The word "dip" was used to leave an impression and or
create a belief that is untrue or misleading.  To wit;

the magnitude of the decline is "inconsequential",
no "big deal".
The "collapse" in APS graduation rates represents fully
one third of the nearly 20% growth APS claimed by the board under Winston Brooks.

Someone at the Journal
would have you believe
that that's no big deal.

Let's start with Journal
Editor in Chief Kent Walz.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, February 06, 2015

"... just leveling the playing field", says McClesky.

Political adviser Jay McClesky

In the Journal this morning, link; the first details about Gov Susana Martinez' involvement in the APS School Board election.

Gov Susana Martinez and her political adviser Jay McClesky are pushing the envelope on the meaning of "non-partisan" as it applies to school board elections.

McClesky admitted right up front; ... Korte’s criticisms of the Martinez’s agenda played a role in (Gov Martinez') unprecedented involvement in the election.
"Kathy Korte chose to make her campaign a referendum against meaningful education reform supported by Gov. Martinez and boasted about receiving thousands of dollars from unions, so the governor wanted to ensure that Peggy Muller-Aragon had the support she needed to level the playing field.”
Update; In a comment left on the Journal report, Kathy Korte claims the Martinez McClesky team out spent her 5 to 1;  $40K to $8K.

Their conduct begs a question;
Is it appropriate for the Office of the Governor to be influencing the outcome of a local election?
Should Martinez be throwing her weight around in a local school board election?  Or for that matter, in any local election?  State Auditor Tim Keller endorsed in the district 4 contest.  Should any elected use their office to endorse any candidate?

The list is long.  And, also a matter of public record.

Perhaps the Journal will investigate and report on by name,  
all of the electeds who used the influence of their elected office in an effort to affect the outcome of a school board election.

School board elections non-partisan? Right,
and a pint of Haagen-Dazs serves four.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Open letter to community leaders

In particular, leaders of communities who feel left out of the decision making concerning their interests in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

As you know, decision making at the executive and administrative levels is an exercise of power as opposed to, for example, reason.  The balance of power on the board will change next month.  Teachers will have a bigger seat at the table, as will Governor Susana Martinez and Education Secretary Hanna Skandera.  Your interests will become less important.

Your "seat at the table" will continue to be;

two minutes at public forum fewer than 24 times a year. If there are more than 15 of you, you will get only one minute. If there are more than 30 of you, some of you will lose your opportunity entirely.
There are two community members on the APS Audit Committee. They function as members of the committee. They move the needle in decision making at the committee level in the decision making process.

Why not have community member seats on all committees?

If your interests are being decided in any committee, why can't you expect to be there to articulate and defend them?

It’s called participative decision making, wikipedia.

It’s not rocket science.

It requires only the real willingness of politicians and public servants to share the power entrusted to them by the people with whom they will not share it.

It isn’t “their” power. They aren’t “their” resources.
Of necessity, we have surrendered “control over” our power and resources, not ownership.  The power and resources they spend still belong fundamentally to the people; not to politicians and public servants.

They can give back at least some control by providing a regular opportunity for open and honest two-way discussion of important issues. There is no good and ethical reason there cannot be candid, forthright and honest discussions between the leadership of the APS and the communities and community members they serve.

The only real obstacle is their individual and collective resistance to empowering stake and interest holders.

You have a right to participate meaningfully at every committee meeting where your interests are being disposed. Your future free exercise of that right depends on your willingness to defend it now.

Lacking a good and ethical justification for denying communities and community members their meaningful input in decision making, the school board is stonewalling the issue.
They are simply pretending the issue has not been raised.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you,
then they fight you, then you win. Mahatma Gandhi
Right now the leadership is ignoring you and your right to participate.
They could never get away with further belittleing you.
The fight is upon you.

Because your cause is self evidently and so manifestly righteous, you will win the fight.

The only way you can lose the fight is to not show up.

You will pick a side when you don't pick a side.
Your silence will give your consent.

Show up at the next public forum.
Insist upon an open and honest public discussion of the petition for community member seats on school board committees.

There is no equivalent gesture.
There will be no better time.
"The right time to do the right thing is always right now." unk

I am grateful for your time and attention.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The future of decision making in the APS

Now that Gov Susana Martinez
and her Secretary of Education
Hanna Skandera have a seat
at the table; expect that the
school board will accept their
testing mandates a little less noisily.

And now that the teachers union has a seat at the table; expect union members' agenda to advance with less opposition as well.

Clearly power has shifted.  The formerly less powerful won seats at the table. The decisions will have a different flavor but there will be no change in the decision making model;

Board members and their interests will struggle over enough power to make the needle move in decision making.
The needle will move according to the will of the most powerful.
Still; might will make right.
Human beings when given power tend to abuse it.
It's the part of human nature of which Socrates wrote when arguing that power corrupts.

One of the manifestations of the corruption of power is the unwillingness to share the power; not even with the communities and community members to whom the power fundamentally belongs.

Neither new school board member has said a word about participatory decision making in the leadership of the public schools.  Nothing about community members seats on school board subcommittees.  Nothing about delegating power and resources down to where they are needed.

Nowhere in their plan, is a change in the decision making model.

Speaking of which; the school board intends to meet in secret tonight, link.
IX. Consideration for Approval to Convene in Executive Session Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act NMSA 1978 (§ 10-15-1 (H)(7)) for the Purpose of Discussing Matters Subject to the Attorney-Client Privilege Pertaining to Pending Litigation; Albuquerque Journal, et al. v. Board of Education of Albuquerque Public Schools, et al. and Threatened Litigation Related to Former Superintendent Brooks (Action)
The above represents their effort to be "reasonably specific".
Under the law; the NM Open Meetings Act, the board is required to be "reasonably specific" when they tell us what they intend to decide in secret from us. 

Reasonably specific can mean at least two things.
To the leadership of the APS, if it suits their interests,
it means sharing as little truth as the law absolutely demands.

The polar opposite approach, sharing as much truth as the law will allow better serves the interests of the people whose power and resources are being spent.

They could have been more specific about what they intend to do tonight and still not run afoul of the intention of the law.  The law allows them to be more candid, more forthright and more honest.

They could, without breaking the law have announced;
  • We intend to meet in secret tonight to decide how much money we are going to spend in litigation to prevent the exposure of public records that we want to hide.  
  • The money will come from operational funds; money that could, would, and should be spent in classrooms instead of on; cost is no object litigation against the public interests.
  • The amount of money we can spend is unlimited and is keep largely secret as well.
  • We will make our decision without oversight*.
  • We will not record our decision making.  There will be no record made that might be asked for by a judge at some later date.
*Neither self oversight nor subordinate oversight are oversight;
they are oxymora.

An aspect of governance of the APS that will not change is the enabling of the lack of real transparency by the establishment's press; the Journal and the NMBA affiliates.

Despite overwhelming evidence and credible testimony, they relentless refusal to investigate and report on the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

Not that it makes any difference with regard to his responsibility to inform the democracy, but Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz is twixt a rock and a hard place.

Before he can report credibly on the ongoing standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, he has first to report credibly on his failure to report credibly on the crisis heretofore.

He's known about the cover up of felony criminal misconduct since February 2007, link. He's been complicit in or complacent about the cover up of the cover up ever since.  Any ignorance he might claim,can only be willful and deliberate.

He has willfully permitted or negligently allowed the leadership of the APS to cover up an ethics and accountability scandal for eight years.

All Walz and the Journal have to do, is to ask the leadership of the APS two simple questions and then report on the response.
  1. To what standards are you accountable? and
  2. by what due process are you accountable?
Tell the truth about APS?
All Walz has to do is ask the
questions and report on the

It's "newsworthy" either way,
though way too late to play
in the elections.

Walz and the Journal don't
have to do a damn thing except
ask, read, and report.

Before we hire a new superintendent, s/he and we need to know
1.  if the standards of conduct and competence are high enough, clear and unequivocal enough, to protect the public interests in the public schools.
And s/he and we need to know
2.  if there is due process* for complaints filed against school board members and administrators.
*Will there be a principled resolution of any complaint filed against powerful politicians and public servants?  Will there be a process free of their undue influence, and powerful enough to hold them actually, honestly accountable even against their will?
Is the new superintendent going to clean house
or continue sweeping the dirt under the rug?

Another fair question the Journal won't be asking.

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, February 02, 2015

Journal steps up coverage of school board contest

Truth be told, the Journal has devoted more column inches to this school board contest than any other I remember. Which is not to say, they have spent nearly enough.

Mark Twain warned;

 "never pick a fight with a man 
who buys his ink by the barrel"
Yet, here we go.

I assume Mark Twain meant;
When someone like Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz gets his dander up, he can do enormous damage to messages and messengers regardless of their merits of the message or the messenger.

If the message is true and conflicts with their own interests; powerful people jump first to defaming the messenger top draw attention from the message.  If they must, they will begrudgingly  acknowledge the message.

Their attacks on messengers need not be germane or even accurate.  Who is going to hold him accountable; how and where and when?

Consider the damage he and the Journal (and KOB TV) have done to Kathy Korte's campaign and the message she carries in the fight over testing gone wild.

Their coverage; link, link, about campaign fliers being placed on windshields at a funeral amounts to "yellow journalism" wikilink, pure and simple.

Beside defaming the messengers, there is another way that a man with a barrel of ink can use his ink to prevail; he can use the ink to report on red herring instead.

He can use it on "record coverage" and even on an editorial, link, before the election.

If the goal getting out the vote, which would be the better strategy;
  • Encouraging voters to participate and offering rudimentary coverage of generally accepted issues.
  • investigating and reporting upon more important questions;
such as;
Are the ethics, standards and accountability that apply to school board members and superintendents high enough and, is their accountability actual and honest enough, to protect the people's interests in the public schools?
Clearly, if the answer is no; then the answer is "newsworthy".
It is newsworthy in particular, on the eve of an election.

If the answer is yes, ethics, standards and accountability are high, it is just as "newsworthy".  It would underscore the effectiveness and efficiency of the leadership of the APS; school board members and superintendents and would encourage voters to keep them on the job.
What do you intend to do with regard to participatory decision making in the leadership of the Albuquerque Public Schools?
  • Will you support the addition of community member seats on APS School Board Committees?  
  • Will you there, engage in good faith in a guided discussion toward principled resolutions of community issues with the APS?
  • Will you engage in open and honest two-way communication with the communities and community members you serve?
  • Why not?
Why will you not produce the ethically redacted findings of investigations into allegations of felony criminal involvement of APS senior administrators in the abuse of a federal criminal database and misappropriate of money in evidence?
Not "how"; why?

"How?" is by spending against the public interests; wholly unjustifiable numbers operational dollars on legal weaselry in an effort to hide the ethically redacted truth from stake and interest holders; tax payers foremost among them.
Explain your abandonment of your responsibilities as the senior-most role models of standards of conduct you establish and enforce upon students?
  • How can you expect students to model and promote honest accountability to nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, while you spend millions of dollars every year litigating exceptions for yourselves even from the law; the standards of conduct that all higher standards of conduct are higher than?

Even in the "record coverage" of a school board election, Walz and the Journal steadfastly refused to investigate and report upon a number of relevant issues.

They are the very sort of issues and reporting that compelled the founding fathers, in order that their democracy be informed, to protect in their very First Amendment to the Constitution, Walz' and others' human right to report the truth candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

Yet where Mark Twain still watching, he would still offer;
"If you don't read the Journal, you're uninformed.
If you do read the Journal, you're misinformed." derived - of course
Walz is complicit in, or willfully ignorant of, an effort by a handful of powerful people to influence the outcome of a school board election.  Joe Monahan touched on the problem this morning in a post on New Mexico Politics, link;
"... the Guv's political machine to unleash(ed) withering attacks on one of its most dreaded foes--ABQ School Board member Kathy Korte.

... there has been a veritable fusillade of attacks on Korte from the machine-friendly press, in the mailboxes and at school board meetings ...
Your only opportunity to keep the election from the whims of a few political heavy hitters, is not only to vote, but to get as many others to vote as you are able.

photos Mark Bralley 


Longtime friend and reader
James Douglass Robertson
passed a week ago.

He commented on posts on
occasion, but he always
delivered one observation
face to face;
Your posts are too damn long!
He would have thought this post was too damn long as well.
It seems fitting to dedicate it to his memory, if only to provoke him one last time.  Aside from that
may he rest in the peace he earned.