Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What does APS Supt Valentino know about morale (among APS teachers)

If you want to measure organizational good or ill health, there is hardly a better indicator than employee morale.  If it is measured properly, morale correlates with efficiency and effectiveness.  The measurement is valid and reliable.

Morale among APS teachers, and I would assume; most employees, is at an all time low.  A recent speaker at a board meeting public forum, reported that it is as low as he has seen in a third of a century in APS.

APS image
APS Supt to be Luis Valentino, will accept without measurement, that morale is low.   He will try to address the issue without gathering data.

It is the APS school boards' want and custom, to expect superintendents to mitigate problems without admitting their existence, up to and including actually covering up problems; i.e. the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS police force.  And, certainly without developing any hard data of the problem that might be used hold administrators and school board members accountable for their part in the problem.

Raising morale, of necessity, will be one of Valentino's top priorities.  It stands to reason that the new supt will do everything he can think of, to raise morale.
As an aside; low morale is not an inevitable result of bad circumstances.  History is replete with examples of good leaders maintaining morale in awful circumstances.

Low morale and poor leadership however, do correlate.  If morale is low, there is a good chance that it is the proximate result of leadership that is incompetent or corrupt.
It is telling that with all the hullabaloo surrounding the evaluation of teachers, there isn't a commensurate clamor over evaluating administrators - and school board members!  It is typical of good ol' by oligarchies; the more power you have; the fewer times you get evaluated and the less critically.
Valentino will not gather hard data.  He would not have been hired if the board expected him to start compiling real data on the many problems in the APS that can be traced back to poor policy and or inadequate administration of those policies.

Instead, Valentino, he says, will wander the district "listening".

Listening is fine if the goal is to make a relative handful of people feel like they were "listened to".  Is that really the best use of his time, is that what Valentino needs to be doing; making a few people feel listened to?

Listening, gathering data upon which to base later decision making, can be displayed on a continuum.   On the left, standing there with your fingers in your ears.  In the low middle somewhere; "listening", and on the high end of the continuum you have scientific data gathering; well written and executed surveys.

Valentino, could ask for surveys of stake and interest holders.  The results could be used to help him identify objectives and articulate meaningful goals.

The board, if they didn't have conflicting interests,
could just go ahead and do the surveys in anticipation of his arrival.  The results could be ready to discuss and take action upon.

They won't of course, and neither likely will he.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What does APS Supt Valentino know about student discipline (in the APS)?

APS image
Among myriad problems incoming APS Supt Luis Valentino will be tasked with solving is (the lack of) student discipline.  The administration and enforcement of discipline policies is an administrative responsibility.

It will be up to Valentino and his administration to enforce the board's student discipline policies in order to create educationally effective and efficient teaching and learning environment. 

If Valentino looks for a record to guide him, of how and how well previous APS superintendents and their administrations have enforced student discipline policies, he will not find one.

APS does not keep records on student discipline problems and their effect on the learning of other students.  They cannot show you actual statistics on discipline problems; neither historically nor currently.

They don't gather those statistics; they don't compile them.

They don't post them on their award winning website.

Of all of the problems teachers deal with every day, few wear them down and waste more time that students who are misbehaving, and especially those whose misbehavior is disruptive of the education of other students.

Yet, we never talk about it.  I once asked former APS Supt Winston Brooks, why don't we ever talk about student discipline? link  He responded to the question, but not by answering it.

So why don't we ever talk about student discipline?

It's actually quite simple;
  • Writing the (district) policies is an executive responsibility.  
  • Enforcing the discipline policies is an administrative responsibility. 
Ergo, if there are discipline problems as the result of inadequate or inappropriate policies and or if there are problems with inadequate enforcement of the policies;
  • the responsibility for the problems falls on the shoulders of the school board, the supt, and site administrators.  None of whom are inclined to be held actually and honestly accountable for maintaining order in schools.
Rather than being held accountable for surrendering control over school for out of control students, the board and administration chose to simply sweep the problem under the rug.

Journal Editor Kent Walz
They are enabled by the establishment's press; the Journal and the affiliate stations of the NM Broadcasters Assn.  When have they ever investigated and reported upon discipline in schools?

Sure, they cover individual instances of really severe discipline issues; if it bleeds it leads, but never on the culture.  So why not?

Is it because the heavy hitters in the local "press" would rather cover asses than inform democracies?

If not, then what?

Why do we never talk about student discipline problems in the APS; why won't the media investigate and report - if only to report everything is just hunky-dory?

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, April 23, 2015

APS Board Member Petersen and board host "round robin" discussion

aps image
APS School Board Member Barbara Petersen chairs the board's District Equity and Engagement Committee - formerly the District and Community Relations Committee.

The agenda, link, for her first meeting as chair, included a "Round Robin Discussion/Questions".

A "round robin"* discussion represents a giant step forward for a board who typically shuns open and honest two-way communication with stake and interest holders, like it was the plague.
*After a brief search, it remains unclear to me; the difference between a round robin/table and a round robin discussion.  The rules for roundtables seem to be more clearly spelled out; the rules for round robins less so and therefore, more subjectively created.
This might actually have been the board's first round robin/table.  It's focus was on Indian Education which was consistent with the rest of the agenda.  As far as I know, the roundtable went unnoticed by the establishment's press.  Though since the experience is a largely positive one, one would think APS' million dollar a year public relations effort would have landed some establishment press coverage.

In true board fashion, the board abandoned a truly round table (or arrangement) in favor of a square arrangement of tables.  The board dominated their side of the square and their end of the room.  Not exactly in the spirit of a real roundtable discussion, but as I wrote, better than anything we've seen heretofore.

Kudos to School Board Member Barbara Petersen for her commendable effort to open up the process.

End note; There is an audio record of the meeting and round robin; they don't videotape committee meetings for reasons they choose to not articulate.  Unlike the videotapes which are posted on APS' award winning website and free to watch, you have to buy the audio record. Go figure.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

APS board members' first terms begin under a cloud

Barbara Petersen APS image
The Journal has reported, link, that APS School Board Member Barbara Petersen received and spent nearly 40% more money during her campaign to be elected to the APS School Board, than all of the candidates in all of the races combined!

Petersen will tell you that the unions who contributed the bulk of the money, have not influenced her to "vote union".  The unions will tell you that they don't really expect Petersen to "vote union" in exchange for the tens of thousands dollar they gave her.

The rest of us believe money buys elections and colors politics and public service thereafter.

Ms Petersen and the unions have created the appearance of a conflict of interests; the interests of students against the interests of teachers unions.

Just for the record, the APS School Board Code of Ethics prohibits creating conflicts of interest
7. Avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof ...
One could argue she was not a school board member at the time she created the appearance of a conflict of interests, and therefore the code did not apply, but one would be splitting hairs in so doing.

Petersen could have dissipated the cloud during the decision making process for hiring a superintendent by supporting opening the decision making to the public, at least to the extent allowed by the law.  Instead, she contributed to the appearance of impropriety by voting twice to move the entire decision making process into unnecessary secret from stake and interest holders and allowing her to hide her prejudice should she need.

All these same arguments could apply to the other new board member Peggy Muller-Aragon.  She also accepted an enormous amount of money from people who are generally regarded as not giving something away for nothing; political operative Jay McCleskey and Governor Susana Martinez.

However, and in stark contrast
to Petersen, Muller-Aragon
fought to open the meetings
that Petersen and the rest
voted to close.

She at least, was willing to allow
stake and interest holders to
watch and evaluate her as she
participated in the process;
to determine for themselves whether
she was looking out for the best interests of students or, those of the Governor.

Interestingly, the Journal and NMBA affiliates whose most sacred obligation is to inform the democracy, chose to not cover Muller-Aragon's stand in favor of transparency and the board's otherwise unanimous resistance to opening meetings to the maximum extent allowed by the law.

Not "newsworthy" apparently.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, April 17, 2015

Korte finds voice on Journal backside

Some websites allow readers to post comments on what is sometimes referred to as their backside.  The Journal has a backside allowing comments and as far as I can tell, doesn't edit them.

Former APS School Board member Kathy Korte thinks the Journal's coverage of her is biased.  I think she's right.  I think anyone who reads the record will conclude that Journal coverage is biased.

In any case, Korte makes use of the opportunity to comment on Journal articles she thinks are biased. 

She has again this morning, on the Journal's coverage of spending in the school board election, link.

Her arguments resonate.  The bias looks, walks and quacks like journalistic malpractice.

Kent Walz, Journal Editor in Chief is complicit in or complacent regarding Journal bias in reporting about Korte.

If Korte decides to pursue some justice here, she will find none.  There is no venue where her complaint will see due process.  There is no venue where Journal lawyers, guns and money won't give Walz cover.

"Power" does not corrupt.

The opportunity to abuse power without consequence corrupts, absolutely.

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, April 16, 2015

APS teacher morale; lowest in a third of a century?

The APS school board met last night.  During the public forum, a good number of teachers showed up to try during the 60 seconds they were allowed to speak, to convince the board that the bell schedule they and Interim Supt Brad Winter foisted on them, is creating significant hardship for high school teachers and adversely affecting their morale.

One speaker informed the board that in the 33 years he has been teaching in the APS, he has never seen lower teacher morale.

One man's opinion.  But it begs a question;

How is APS teacher (and employee) morale?
Or, a more fundamental question; does the morale of the people who work in schools make any difference; should we care?  Does teacher morale affect student educational outcomes?

The questions seem rhetorical; yet there are times when discussion needs to be grounding by restating the obvious;
employee morale and performance correlate;
morale and performance rise and fall as one.  
Clearly, educator's morale is important.

So why don't we know the state of the morale of APS employees?  Why hasn't there been an honest survey of employees over their morale and a number of other issues that affect morale; student discipline and chronically disruptive students to name for example.

We know why the leadership of the APS won't survey stake and interest holders.  The survey would document the existence of a number of problems that they have failed to solve but have successfully led people to believe have been solved or don't exist.

If teacher morale were high, the survey would be done in a New York minute.  What appears to be success is the result of a million dollar a year two pronged public relations campaign; celebrate success and cover up failure.  Success is surveyed, failure is not.

We know why the leadership of the APS doesn't want to talk about morale (or any one of a myriad of significant problems).  What, we don't know is why the Journal doesn't won't investigate and report on teacher morale (or any one of a myriad of significant problems that would make the leadership of the APS appear incompetent or corrupt)?

We don't know why the Journal, for example, step up and investigate and report upon
  1. teacher morale, or 
  2. student discipline and chronically disruptive, or
  3. student violence, crime, and bullying, or
  4. the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of APS, or
  5. ...

Actually, we do know why not.

Journal Editor in Chief
Kent Walz is typical of those in
power in the press who have
abandoned their rather sacred
obligation to inform stake and
interest holders in favor of the
personal interests of politicians
and powerful public servants.

It is as appropriate to hold Walz as accountable as any other editor or news director who is covering up the ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, maybe more.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

School board race spending increases by an order of magnitude!

The Journal reports this morning that spending in two races in the recent APS school board elections, increased ten fold.

If there were a last bastion of democracy steering government, I would have supposed it would have been school board elections.  They are not even supposed to be partisan; much less up for sale to the highest bidders.

It is an affront to democracy for one or a handful of people to manipulate the outcome of an election.  It is arrogant for them to suppose that it is somehow justifiable if they do.  Shadow governor Jay McCleskey "justified" Gov Susana Martinez $15K contribution to a local school board race, Journal link, by offering;

“The governor will continue to support candidates and causes she believes will serve New Mexico well.”
photo Martinez website
That's nice of her.
Not so very democratic,
but nice.

Korte steamed at Journal's Dan Boyd - rightly so it would appear.

Former APS School Board member Kathy Korte is upset over being singled out in Journal coverage.  She expressed her upset in a comment on Journal Capital Bureau Chief Dan Boyd's report on candidate spending in the recent APS school board election.

No one can tell it like she herself; you'll have to scroll down to her comment; link.

photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Valentino's promise is a challenge

Luis Valentino APS image
If Luis Valentino had raised his right hand and sworn, he could not have made a more solemn commitment;
he intends to collaborate.

Talk is cheap.

The Journal reports, link, that Valentino intends to hit the ground "listening".  We can forgive him his poor choice of words; first because they are not his own; he attributes them to another candidate, and because he isn't from around here.  He has no idea the history of Superintendents who have toured the district and "listened" to stake and interest holders.

"Listening" is not collaboration.  Every single one of his predecessors "listened".  Former Supt Winston Brooks began his superintendency on a bus tour of the district, link. Never, not once, have they come back from "listening" and told us what new they learned.  What did they learn, that they should not already have known?

Whatever are Valentino's intentions, they will be come apparent rather immediately - coincidental with his first public meeting and whether or not he really engages in open and honest two-way communication with the communities and community members he serves.

Having listened to him at three forums, I am convinced of his sincerity about collaborative decision making. 

Having taught in, and paid attention to the APS for four decades,
I have to tell you; there has never been honest to God collaboration between the leadership of the APS and teachers; teachers who between them have nearly 100,000 years of ongoing experience.  For as long as it has been on the teachers union wish list; it hasn't moved much past wish stage of development.

Whatever growth there had been was lost when Winston Brooks, with the board's blessing, clawed backed all the decision making power and resources and consolidated them in the castle keep at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

photo Marj Bralley

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

APS admits; no oversight over Esquivel defense

 For quite awhile, I've been writing that in the complaints I have filed, the defendants have been spending in their own defenses without limit and without oversight.  The allegation has been validated.

In the Journal this morning, link,
APS School Board President
Donald Duran admitted that
there has been no school board
oversight over spending in the
interests of former school board
member and Defendant in the
federal lawsuit, Marty Esquivel.

When asked about the opinion of the Chief United States District Court judge; that Esquivel's public participation policy was unconstitutional;

APS school board president Don Duran said he wasn’t too familiar with the case because it started before he joined the board ..."
"Isn't too familiar" with a case that has cost tax payers three quarters of a million dollars during his tenure?
  • The litigation against Esquivel began in November, 2012.
  • Duran joined the board in March, 2013.
  • Duran was on the board for all but four months of the life of the federal complaint.
  • School board policy requires that the board have lawyers who are representing school the district's interests to present case analyses of complaints against them.  The lawyers are expected to be candid, forthright and honest with the board in order that the board not end up spending a lot of tax dollars in litigation against the public interests.

If the board recorded their meetings in secret, they don't, there would be a record that Marty Esquivel's lawyers went to the board and told them this case was an historically expensive loser for the best interests of students.

In the alternative, there would be a record that there was no presentation; the board never provided oversight over the spending of nearly three quarters of a million dollars in an effort to remove Esquivel's name and reputation from the impending settlement

Since there is no record to examine, we'll have to take Dr Duran's word for it; the required "case analysis" presentation never took place; they just signed checks for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars without examining why Esquivel was spending them and on what.


Journal readers remain in the dark.
The democracy remains uninformed.
Journal editor and Esquivel besty
Kent Walz is the reason why.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

New Supt must "set a good example"

If you were taking a survey and were asked to respond to the question;

Should the next Supt set a good example?
the most of you would say yes.

It's a poorly worded survey question because a lot of respondents would immediately question;
  • set a good example of "what"? and
  • set a good example for "whom" and
  • set a good example or suffer what consequences?
and maybe even, what is a good example?

It is precisely because those questions have not been asked and will not be answered, that this process is fraudulent.  Stake and interest holders have no idea what is really on the table.

On the issue of adult role modeling;
Does the board expect the next Supt to set a good example of actual, honest accountability to same standards of conduct s/he will establish and enforce upon students?
or do will they all continue to expect students to hold themselves accountable to higher standards of conduct than apply to school board members and administrators?
Does the board expect the next Supt to set a good example of honest, actual accountability even to the law?
or will they all continue to spend operational dollars without limit and without oversight on cost is no object litigation and legal weaselry in order to escape the consequences of their own incompetence and or corruption?

If the next Supt's answers to both of those questions is not an emphatic yes, without reservation, without qualification, we cannot expect the next Supt to serve in the best interests of nearly ninety thousand of this community's sons and daughters.  Or in anyone else's but their own.

As important as the questions are, they have not and will not be asked.  Nor will there be an opportunity to ask them before the decision is made.

Public forums are promised, link.  The opportunity to "ask questions" is promised. But they aren't promising the opportunity to actually stand up at a microphone and ask a question; someone might ask an "inconvenient" though otherwise absolutely legitimate question.

What they really intend for stake and interest holders is an opportunity to write their questions on 3X5 cards.  Then their question will be conflated with other questions in order to create questions that are more "convenient" for school board members and candidates.

It is their want and practice, and hey,
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Bert Lance

cc Letters to the Editor upon posting

Monday, April 06, 2015

Believe your lyin eyes

Suppose for the sake of argument;
a handful of powerful people gathered awhile ago and
decided who was going to be the next APS Supt.
Not necessarily who specifically, but who in general.

Suppose they decided it was time for example, for an Hispanic female to lead the state's largest school district.

Or, suppose any one of a number of a number of other "qualifications" of the next (and every) APS supt; some that can be talked about publicly and some that cannot.

Suppose that a group of people have already decided important aspects of the hiring and that they needed to make the process at least look legitimate.  How different would the process look, than it does; shrouded in yet to be justified secrecy.

The unjustified secrecy simply cannot be ignored.

If because of the trust that must be place in them,
the leadership of the APS is actually, honestly accountable to
higher standards of conduct, then they are accountable to
standards of conduct that require them consistently, to
do more than the law requires and less than the law allows
when opening meetings and acting in secret.  That's what the
concept "higher standards" means; "higher" than the law.

They could open more of the meetings than the law absolutely requires and they could discuss less in secret than the law allows. They don't, by their deliberate and considered decision.

Continuing; suppose that this whole process is substantially "rigged".  How would it look any different than it does?

There is really only one reason to hide the truth and that is to avoid the consequences of the truth being known.  What truths are they hiding?  Why are they hiding them?

Of the truths they are hiding;

  • the need to address student discipline issues without publicly admitting that there are any.
  • the need to reconcile the discrepancy* between the standards of conduct that apply to students and those that apply to school board members and senior administrators, without publicly admitting that there are any. * Students are expected to model and promote ethical standards of conduct while school board members and administrators are accountable only to the law; the standards that any higher standards at all, are higher than.
  • the need to keep up a public relations image of a supt who is accountable as the senior-most administrative role model of student standards of conduct, without publicly admitting that that no one in the the entire leadership of the APS is actually, honestly accountable as a role model of accountability to the standards they establish and enforce on students.
  • the need to cover up an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS, without publicly admitting that there is one.
  • the need to cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving APS senior administrators in their publicly funded private police force, without publicly admitting that there was any.
  •  the need to cover up the districtwide abandonment of character education despite a binding board policy requiring it.
the list really could go on and on.

Hence the question; who are you going to believe;
the school board and their million dollar a year public relations effort, or your lyin eyes?

Kent Walz;  conspirator?
What makes this so incredible, so unbelievable, so nearly impossible to accept is that, one would suppose, if any of this were actually true, it would be common knowledge; they would have read about it in the Journal or heard about it by way of one of the NM Broadcasters Assoc stations.

Who is going to believe Journal Editor Kent Walz and the editorial equivalents at KRQE, KOAT, and KOB are part of a conspiracy to cover up  an ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS?

Yet, how else can you explain their relentless refusal to investigate and report on any of APS secret problems?

photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Public input in superintendent search ended with KOAT betrayal

The search for the next APS superintendent is over.
The board knows who they are going to select and that person's name is hidden among five others in pretense.

Veronica Garcia  Next Supt?
I was told at least a month ago, and long before candidates names were finally made public, that the next APS supt will be an Hispanic female; likely Veronica Garcia.

And voila, up she pops.

The thing is, there is no way to check the story against the facts because its all happening behind closed doors.

Nobody knows on what bases the six finalists were actually selected.  We know that APS held a bunch of public forums to "gather input" to guide them; but you never heard them say;
based on what we heard, this is what we are going to be looking for.  
Just like every fact finding tour they've ever undertaken, when they get back, they can't tell you anything that they learned, that they should not already have known.

Peggy Muller-Aragon
On Thursday, for the first time ever, a school board member stood up to protest the unjustifiable secrecy the rest intended for their process.  Had anyone noticed or been told, a public discourse would have begun on the limits of transparency in the superintendent hiring process.   The next meeting might not have remained entirely in secret.

Instead, Peggy Muller-Aragon did her thing, the board shut her down in violation of their own internal rules and KOAT reported nothing.  They filmed her objection and then buried the story, likely at the behest of the board who don't want any light shined on their process.

Not one of the six other board members had to explain, defend, or even acknowledge their need for secrecy far beyond what the law requires.  They didn't articulate their objection at the time and KOAT hasn't followed up.

KOAT simply went along with them.  As a direct result, the board will repeat the performance next Thursday morning when they will meet in secret again to shorten their short list.

Muller-Aragon will likely protest again;
the board will ignore her protest, and
they will complete their decision making in secret.

Nobody will really understand what happened because they won't be told by those whose responsibility it is to inform stake and interest holders; KOAT and the Journal, KOB and KRQE.

photos Mark Bralley

Friday, April 03, 2015

KOAT knuckles under, or ...

KOAT was at the board meeting yesterday. They filmed the whole thing; they conducted on camera interviews.  And then they decided to not cover the story they witnessed; a rift on the APS school board with regard to the process by which the next superintendent will be selected.  A serious rift over a serious issue; open government.

KOAT didn't report anything about it.  KOAT viewers will be kept in the dark about an issue even the Journal, link, found newsworthy.

Muller-Aragon told the Journal on Thursday that she voted against the list because at the beginning of the meeting, she felt the board improperly voted to go into closed session.
Either the board went into executive session according to the law, or they did not.  It makes a difference because if the moved into their secret meeting illegally, the selections they made are moot; the votes don't count and the meeting needs to be redone.  But only if someone decides to sue APS over the issue.  Otherwise; they skate.

Board member Lorenzo Garcia told the Journal that there was nothing improper about the vote, made necessary by the "inflammatory remarks" he alleges Muller-Aragon was making at the time*.

* The board has a problem with allowing people saying "inflammatory" things to their face.  A United States District Court Judge has just ruled, link, their policy against inflammatory remarks, unconstitutional.

The issue is over "calling the question"; a process provided for in Robert's Rules of Order, and abused Thursday morning.  The board has formally adopted Robert's Rules as their own.  If the question was called in violation of Robert's Rules, they ended discussion in violation of their own internal rules.

I am not a parliamentarian.  Neither is Lorenzo Garcia.  (I will bow to controverting fact)

Nor is, I am guessing, the person who told Garcia it was all "legal".  Again just guessing; APS Modrall lawyer Art Melendres who witnessed the entire episode first hand.

Missing still; any actual resolution of the complaint; a final determination whether they adjourned according to the law.  Does the fact that they adopt rules they obey or not at their own discretion make any difference?  A complaint has been made and needs to be addressed.

The final determination will not be made soon.
It will not be made until far later than too late to make any difference.  KOAT isn't going to dig into it; neither is the Journal.  They will do what they always do; act as if nothing happened.

Missing as well, videotape of the meeting.  You can't go to APS' award winning website and see for your self what happened.  They don't videotape their committee meetings, though both of the techs who do the videotaping were in the room for this meeting - keeping an eye on a tape recorder I suppose. The most you can hope for is an audio recording which you will have to go pick up in person and then pay for.

It is hard to tell why KOAT bailed on this story.  It could be that APS (and former APS school board heavy hitter Paula Maes, President and CEO of the NM Broadcasters Assoc) wears a big enough shoe that they can just tell KOAT to kill the story or never get another on camera interview.

It could be that whomever at KOAT, simply decided on their own to keep their viewers in the dark; creating beliefs or impressions in stake and interest holders that are untrue or misleading.  They have recently censured one of my comments on their earlier report on Muller-Aragon's stand.

When the Bill of Rights was written, Constitutional protection was specifically provided for the free exercise of the human right to be the press.  The protection was provided because they understood how important the press is to a functioning democracy.

KOAT (KRQE, KOB) and Journal have an obligation to inform the democracy.

Unfortunately, they can't be held accountable when due to their complicity or complacency, they decide to do otherwise.

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, April 02, 2015

How much did taxpayers pay Modrall to write an unconstitutional public participation policy?

If you really want to know who is most responsible for the APS School Board adopting a public participation policy, about which a Chief United States District Court Judge found;

"...on its face, the “personal attacks” policy of Defendant Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education violates the First Amendment as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education is permanently enjoined from enforcing its “personal attacks” policy.
you will probably have to sue someone to find out.

My money is on Art Melendres,
APS' lawyer of decades.
He dates back before the school
board president was married to
the Modrall president.

It is fair to suppose he owns the monstrosity that is Marty Esquivel's Public Participation in Public Meetings Policy and Procedural Directive.  It was offered ex post facto in an effort to legitimize Esquivel's prior abuse of my Constitutionally protected human rights during public fora.

All of which begs a question,
does APS, do taxpayers, get their money back
from Modrall for their bad advice?
Will we get back nearly three quarters of a million dollars
APS squandered on other favorite law firms in litigation to forestall this accounting?
Let's ask the Magic 8-Ball, Wikilink
... shake ... shake ... shake
"Don't count on it"
And there you have it.

photo Mark Bralley

APS Supt hiring process begins with a bump

APS School Board Member Peggy Muller-Aragon threw a wrench in the works this morning when she fought against moving into secret to select the new superintendent.  Ultimately, the board voted to stifle her objection by "calling the question" while she had the floor and was still talking.

Robert Aragon and Peggy
Aragon-Muller at filing
The board pretends to be governed during their meetings by Robert's Rules of Order.  Muller-Aragon's husband Robert Aragon, who served as a legislative parliamentarian, says calling the question while his wife had the floor, was out of order.

The violation of their own internal process and rules in order to adjourn throws the whole process and any decisions they might make, into question; they may have to re-meet in order to redo what ever it is that they do do this morning.

Muller-Aragon complained about the fact that she was unable to get the candidate resumes to review before the meeting.  They were denied to her by Board President Donald Duran he argued, according to a process which was decided upon before her election.

Duran did not take the opportunity to defend, explain or even acknowledge the decision that he and the board made (before Muller-Aragon's election) to secret resumes and applications until today.

An argument could be made for posting the truth (public records) as soon as it they become the truth and not at a date that is convenient for politicians and public servants for other reasons than the public interests.

The truth (about the wielding of public power and the spending of public resources) belongs to the people at the instant it is created.

It is not up to the people to prove their right to see and know the truth (at the instant it is created). It is incumbent upon politicians and public servants to prove the(ir) legitimate need to secret it from the people they serve.

Muller-Aragon articulated well, the need for more transparency in this process, pointing out the board has lost the trust of the people they serve through their in-secret decision making, and need to do things differently to repair the damage.

photos Mark Bralley

APS' “personal attacks” policy is declared on its face to violate the First Amendment."

With those words, link, a Chief United States District Judge ruled that former APS School Board President Marty Esquivel's effort to keep me from standing up during public forum and criticizing him and other school board member's public service individually, was unconstitutional.  Writing;

"...on its face, the “personal attacks” policy of Defendant Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education violates the First Amendment as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education is permanently enjoined from enforcing its “personal attacks” policy.
Taxpayers have already ponied up nearly $750K in litigation; 750K operational dollars; dollars that should, could and would have been spent in classrooms, had they not been squandered in a nonviable defense of former APS School Board President Marty Esquivel's ego.

Their spending has been done without oversight and without limit.

Muller-Aragon and KOAT shine some light on the darkness

New APS School Board Member Peggy Muller-Aragon will have rocked the boat when her complaint to KOAT, link, sinks in.

Muller-Aragon complained to KOAT that
this part of the process to hire the next
APS Supt feels

  • rushed and 
  • needlessly secret from stake and interest holders.

She not only right, but extraordinarily courageous in saying so out loud and on the record.

Good for her!

photo Mark Bralley