Monday, August 31, 2015

The I's are dotted; the T's are crossed, and the asses are covered

Based on the recently settled settlement;  APS Supt. Valentino resigns voluntarily and takes with him, about five months salary.  When the dust settles, taxpayers are going to be out a few hundred thousand dollars overall.

Or, since those tax dollars came from the operational fund,
students and classrooms will be out a few hundred thousand dollars.

The politicians and pubic servants who have here
squandered those few hundred thousands dollars, and
who have squandered as well, whatever trust that
stake and interest holders still might have had left in
the "leadership" of the leadership of the APS have done nothing wrong.

Art Melendres of APS/Modrall
Fortunately for all of them,
they were able to find lawyers
who are willing and able to write
the language they all need
to absolve themselves "legally"
of their guilt.

Fortunately for all of them,
there are always enough operational left to pay lawyers to help them write things like this;
12.  Nothing in this Agreement or in its execution admits wrongdoing of any kind by either party. 
Then, if you can stand it,  they all affirm at once; as if it were necessary and not already abundantly obvious;
This is a voluntary agreement, mutually entered
for the benefit of the District and Valentino.




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weasel weighs in

Former School Board Member Robert "the weasel" Lucero, has found media outlets to air his umbrage at School Board Member Peggy Muller-Aragón over her protest over the over-the-top secrecy from the board.

It bears noting that Robert Lucero was on the board when they had a discussion that included their frank admission that their Code of Ethics was utterly unenforceable.

Lucero's lame suggestion;
maybe we could get the legislature to hold us accountable.
So how did that work out for your constituents, you weasel?

School board members aren't any more accountable to their Code of Ethics (or to the law for that matter) than they and you were, the day you finally admitted that school board member accountability was a sham.

... and you have the nerve to complain about another board members conduct?
cc Lucero upon posting, except that he has indicated 
previously that he would rather not hear from me ever again.



photo Mark Bralley

APS School Board utterly unaccountable to their own Code of Ethics!

Why is that headline not a Journal headline?

Why is that fact;

The APS School Board Code of Ethics
is utterly unenforceable and has been
since the day it was written
not the subject of editorial outrage?

It isn't.  Not at the Journal. 
Not at any one of KRQE, KOAT, or KOB TV.
And not in city hall.

... begging a question;
Why in hell not?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

APS School Board Code of Ethics "... avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof..."

Though, by their own frank admission,
it is utterly unenforceable, the APS
Board of Education has a Code of Ethics, link.

The seventh of them reads in significant part;

"Avoid conflicts of interest 
or the appearance thereof ..."
Whether he is "legally"guilty of "nepotism" is yet to resolve.  If it is disputed, the resolve will take years and cost hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to litigate.

With an eloquence of lawyers at his disposal, access to unlimited operational dollars, and the opportunity to spend them without (real) oversight, whatever the outcome, it will include the board president "admitting no guilt", ever, no matter what.

Whether Duran is guilty of nepotism, that he and APS Supt Luis Valentino and Duran's daughter Gabriela Blakey have created the appearance of conflicts of interest and of impropriety is self-evident.

Were it not, we wouldn't be talking about it.

The school board's code of ethics is  
by their own frank admission and abundantly obviously
utterly unenforceable.

Why wouldn't the senior-most role model in the entire APS ignore his own code of ethics - there is no consequence.




photo Mark Bralley

And now to the future of the APS

However you look at it, the future Luis Valentino's superintendency is in the hands of the elected school board.  It is their exclusive obligation.

The only influence stake and interest holders have at this point is to threaten to elect them out in some distant election they likely won't vote in anyway.

There is the opportunity for stake and interest holders to make sure that something like this will never happen again, ever.

The circumstances that enabled, enable, and will continue to enable ongoing public corruption and incompetence; APS' dark side; the good ol' boy oligarchy, has not changed in a hundred years.

There is the opportunity to change those circumstances now.  If for no other reason than that the establishments media has finally picked a side.

Heretofore, school board members and senior administrators have been accountable only to "the law".  "The law" in the case of the leadership of the APS (and powerful people everywhere) means the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings further debilitated by limitless spending without (real) oversight on litigation and legal weaselry*.

*Legal weaselry is using weaknesses in the law to thwart justice; historically by endless delay followed by expensive settlements containing admissions of "no guilt" for even those the them who are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.
There is the opportunity now to see them held in the future, honestly and actually accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

APS student standards of conduct, established by the school board and enforced by their supt. and his administration amount would be a good place to start.  The board, their supt., and their administration expect students to model and promote honest accountability to the Pillars of Character Counts! link.

Good, bad or indifferent; the question is moot.  The Pillars have been the student standards since 1994 and they will continue to be the student standards until the school board establishes some other much lower ones.  The board will need to find standards low enough to allow them to restore a role modeling clause to their own standards of conduct.
In no case shall the standards of conduct for a student
be lower than the standards for their adult role models.
They will or will not find themselves actually, honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence depending of the will of the people.

They will or will not find themselves actually, honestly accountable to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, depending on the manifest* will of the people.
*Torch and pitchfork carrying people are going to have to show up somewhere and wrest back control over power and resources that belong to them.  The power and resources, the trust and the treasure that have been squandered belong to the people.

Control over the disposition of power and resource is given over to politicians and public servants by law.  The only safeguard the people have is the trustworthiness of people who are powerful enough to ignore the law if they want to.

Power and resources that belong fundamentally to the people are being spent against their interests and the only way to stop it is to show up some place some time and do some thing to change the standards and accountability the will apply to them from this day on.

People who wait for perfect circumstances to act, never act.  They have found the perfect excuse.  There will never be a perfect time.

There may never be a better time.

Edmund Burke argued;
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil 
is that good men do nothing.
I'm not saying those who live and work in APS' dark side are "evil".

But they are the people about whom Burke wrote his warning.
And you are who he was warning.

Stand up and be counted.

There is no equivalent gesture.

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.
Are you committed or are you not?

Your silence gives consent.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Duran comes under fire for Valentino's poor judgment

APS School Board President Donald Duran has been asked to recuse himself from the decision whether to fire the guy who gave his daughter a great job, link.

The "legalities" have been met.  The statutes, rules, regulations, policies and procedures prohibiting nepotism in hiring and, creating the appearances of impropriety and conflicts of interest were twisted far enough to make it all "legal".

aps image
Nevertheless, now Duran finds himself feeling some heat over a problem APS Supt. Luis Valentino created when he hired the school board president's daughter, Dr. Gabriella Blakey.


What the hell, the school board president's daughter was so much better than every other candidate that Valentino had no other choice?

Seriously?
He should have known better.


aps image
Were we in need of another example of Luis Valentino's poor judgement, add hiring the school board president's daughter under any circumstances at all.




photo Mark Bralley

Berry has nearly 90,000 constituents in the public schools

Mayor Richard Berry's constituents include every one of this community's sons and daughters in the APS.  There are 87,500 of them, give or take.

City Councilors also have constituents in the Albuquerque Public Schools and who depend on the APS for their education.  They have about 9,666 each, by my estimation.


This while the leadership of the APS is deeply mired in an ethics, standards and accountability crisis.

Not one of the mayor or city councilors has weighed in on the crisis.  (I will not only bow to; I will welcome controverting evidence.)

Why is this scandal of no concern to the mayor and city councilors, apparently?

Ayn Rand suggested that,

to fear to face an issue 
is to believe that the worst is true.
Are the mayor and councilors throwing no stones because
they live in an ethics, standards and accountability
glass house of their own?

Update; three hours later, the Mayor was on KOB TV, link.
“I’m hopeful that they will make that decision on Monday so that we can get back to the business of educating our kids,” Berry said. “As the mayor it is imperative that we have an education system that works for our families - works for our kids."



photo Mark Bralley

Ethics; the third rail in the examination of the APS debacle

"For those of you in Rio Linda ...";

Some large train sets, like subways, have three rails.
The third rail carries enormous amounts of electricity.
Touching one can be immediately fatal.
In (APS school board) politics, a third rail is;
A dangerous area of discussion, a point at which
the mere mention of a subject result is disaster.
Ethics, standards and accountability are APS' third rail.

Ethics, for the purposes of this discussion, can mean any standards of conduct higher than the law.  All "higher" standards are "higher than the law".  The law represents the lowest standards of conduct acceptable among civilized human beings.

Why will no one talk about ethics in the leadership of the APS?  Why does the mere mention of honest to God accountability to higher standards of conduct in public service mean disaster for the school board and senior administration?

For one, there is none.  Despite what the board would have you believe, there is no accountability to higher standards of conduct for anyone in the entire leadership of the APS.  The school board's own code of ethics is, by their own admission, utterly unenforceable.

There are two reasons as far as I can reason, that politicians and public servants in the leadership of APS will not hold themselves actually and honestly accountable higher standards of conduct; standards like those they establish and enforce upon students;
1. A lack of courage; they are afraid to be held actually accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law. and or
2. A lack of character; they do not want to be held accountable to higher standards of conduct than the law.
They avoid the conversation like the plague, because they can't articulate any good and ethical justification for their lack of accountability.

Interestingly, ethics and accountability are a third rail when it comes to the establishment's media as well.  Why?
1. It could be a lack of character.  Maybe I'm telling the truth when I say Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz and others are part of a conspiracy to cover up an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.
2.  It could be a lack of courage.  Perhaps they are afraid to point out the ethics and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS because light will be cast on their own ethics and accountability.
Or, there could be another reason; one I cannot imagine,
and one that not one of them, has or will articulate.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

You can't get fingerprinted if your fingers aren't here

In an odd development,
former APS Deputy Supt.
Jason Martinez claims his
fingers have been in Colorado
the whole time; he never
violated the terms of his
release on bail.

The whole time we've been paying his salary, he wasn't even here.

OK, that works for a defense of allegations that he left Colorado illegally, but not so well for the district and stake and interest holders.

APS is pretty sure his key card was used a few times, but apparently can't prove who used it.  It has been suggested that Martinez is just the kind of guy who would have someone swipe his card for him.

But who?

Update; APS School Board Member Steven Michael Quezada on this subject has tweeted;

The man is a habitual liar. Don't believe anything that man or his lawyer says
Further update; KOB TV is running videos of Martinez in town and even speaking at a school board meeting 3 weeks ago.

Valentino confirms the need for an audit(s) of APS' administration

I have been arguing for a long, long time, that there is a need for an independent audit of the administration of the APS.

Embattled APS Supt. Luis Valentino agrees.

The leader among the professional news outlets in the scandal coverage, NM Political Report, comes with an interview, link, and this from Valentino;

From day one, I’ve said we really need to revisit every single system because some of them needed a lot of work. HR was one. That’s why I wanted audits coming in the door. I think I was here one week before I realized that we needed to do that. If we had begun audits in HR, it probably ..."
The revisits of which he speaks are audits.  The systems of which he speaks are departments like Human Resources.  Some of them need a lot of work.  He figured it out in a week.

There is only one difference between the audits I propose and the ones Valentino says we need.  The findings of the audit I propose would be made public; Valentino's would remain secret from stake and interest holders forever - or until pried loose after expensive and interminable litigation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The rehabilitation of trust in the leadership of the APS

Trust in the leadership of the APS is as low as I have ever seen it.

The online petition, link, for the dismissal of APS Supt. Luis Valentino will have more than 2,000 signatures sometime this morning.

There is no reason to believe that,
if there were an online petition for the removal of the school board, it wouldn't attract as many signatures and just as quickly.

Witness the increasing demands for the resignation of APS School Board President Don Duran.

There is widespread belief that the trust that stake and interest holders have placed in the leadership of the APS has been betrayed through incompetence and or outright corruption.

A few people, mostly radio show hosts, are asking;

what will it take to restore trust in APS leaders?

It will take nothing less than
Honest to God accountability to meaningful
standards of conduct and competence
within their public service
Swift and certain accountability for even the most powerful of them, to clear and unequivocal standards of conduct and competence.

Fortunately, there are such standards and they are immediately available to the board.  They are the standards that the board establishes and enforces upon students; APS student standards of conduct.  Since 1994, students have been expected to model and promote accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, link.

Not only is the leadership of the APS not actually, honestly accountable to those standards (as the senior-most role models of accountability to the standards they establish and enforce), they will not go so far as to admit that that their obligations as role models even exist.

APS student standards of conduct have this to say about

TRUSTWORTHINESS
When others trust us, they give us greater leeway because they feel we don’t need monitoring to assure that we’ll meet our obligations. They believe in us and hold us in higher esteem. That’s satisfying. At the same time, we must constantly live up to the expectations of others and refrain from even small lies or self-serving behavior that can quickly destroy our relationships.

Simply refraining from deception is not enough. Trustworthiness is the most complicated of the six core ethical values and concerns a variety of qualities like honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty.

Honesty
There is no more fundamental ethical value than honesty. We associate honesty with people of honor, and we admire and rely on those who are honest. But honesty is a broader concept than many may realize. It involves both communications and conduct.

Honesty in communications is expressing the truth as best we know it and not conveying it in a way likely to mislead or deceive. There are three dimensions:
  1. Truthfulness. Truthfulness is presenting the facts to the best of our knowledge. Intent is the crucial distinction between truthfulness and truth itself. Being wrong is not the same thing as lying, although honest mistakes can still damage trust insofar as they may show sloppy judgment.
  2. Sincerity. Sincerity is genuineness, being without trickery or duplicity. It precludes all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading.
  3. Candor. In relationships involving legitimate expectations of trust, honesty may also require candor, forthrightness and frankness, imposing the obligation to volunteer information that another person needs to know.
Honesty in conduct is playing by the rules, without stealing, cheating, fraud, subterfuge and other trickery. Cheating is a particularly foul form of dishonesty because one not only seeks to deceive but to take advantage of those who are not cheating. It’s a two-fer: a violation of both trust and fairness.

Not all lies are unethical, even though all lies are dishonest. Huh? That’s right, honesty is not an inviolate principle. Occasionally, dishonesty is ethically justifiable, as when the police lie in undercover operations or when one lies to criminals or terrorists to save lives. But don’t kid yourself: occasions for ethically sanctioned lying are rare and require serving a very high purpose indeed, such as saving a life — not hitting a management-pleasing sales target or winning a game or avoiding a confrontation.

Integrity
The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as "integer," or whole number. Like a whole number, a person of integrity is undivided and complete. This means that the ethical person acts according to her beliefs, not according to expediency. She is also consistent. There is no difference in the way she makes decisions from situation to situation, her principles don’t vary at work or at home, in public or alone.

Because she must know who she is and what she values, the person of integrity takes time for self-reflection, so that the events, crises and seeming necessities of the day do not determine the course of her moral life. She stays in control. She may be courteous, even charming, but she is never duplicitous. She never demeans herself with obsequious behavior toward those she thinks might do her some good. She is trusted because you know who she is: what you see is what you get.

People without integrity are called "hypocrites" or "two-faced."

Reliability (Promise-Keeping)
When we make promises or other commitments that create a legitimate basis for another person to rely upon us, we undertake special moral duties. We accept the responsibility of making all reasonable efforts to fulfill our commitments. Because promise-keeping is such an important aspect of trustworthiness, it is important to:
  • Avoid bad-faith excuses. Interpret your promises fairly and honestly. Don’t try to rationalize noncompliance.
  • Avoid unwise commitments. Before making a promise consider carefully whether you are willing and likely to keep it. Think about unknown or future events that could make it difficult, undesirable or impossible. Sometimes, all we can promise is to do our best.
  • Avoid unclear commitments. Be sure that, when you make a promise, the other person understands what you are committing to do.
Loyalty
Some relationships — husband-wife, employer-employee, citizen-country — create an expectation of allegiance, fidelity and devotion. Loyalty is a responsibility to promote the interests of certain people, organizations or affiliations. This duty goes beyond the normal obligation we all share to care for others.

Limitations to loyalty. Loyalty is a tricky thing. Friends, employers, co-workers and others may demand that we rank their interests above ethical considerations. But no one has the right to ask another to sacrifice ethical principles in the name of a special relationship. Indeed, one forfeits a claim of loyalty when he or she asks so high a price for maintaining the relationship.

Prioritizing loyalties. So many individuals and groups make loyalty claims on us that we must rank our loyalty obligations in some rational fashion. For example, it’s perfectly reasonable, and ethical, to look out for the interests of our children, parents and spouses even if we have to subordinate our obligations to other children, neighbors or co-workers in doing so.

Safeguarding confidential information. Loyalty requires us to keep some information confidential. When keeping a secret breaks the law or threatens others, however, we may have a responsibility to "blow the whistle."

Avoiding conflicting interests. Employees and public servants have a duty to make all professional decisions on merit, unimpeded by conflicting personal interests. They owe ultimate loyalty to the public.




photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

KRQE censors comment

KRQE is running a story, link.  Within the story, which included a quote from KRQE's lawyer Marty Esquivel, a quote from school board member Barbara Peterson.

“The board members that stayed in and had conversation last night are really looking for the best interests of the districts.”
I reminded her in my comment, that the APS school board has a code of ethical conduct, link.  The first of them reads;
Make the education and well-being of STUDENTS the basis for all decision making. (emphasis added)
I pointed out that it is fortunate for the board that their code of ethics is, by their own free admission, utterly unenforceable.

KRQE found it all, too offensive to print.

I find their corruption and cowardice, too offensive to believe.

Journal editors grow a pair - figuratively of course

In an editorial this morning, link, the Journal begins in earnest to create some distance between them and the stinking mess in the APS.

I have written in the past that in investigation and coverage of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, the Journal's Editor in Chief Kent Walz is betwixt a rock and hard place.

He cannot now report credibly on the crisis without first reporting credibly on his failure to report credibly on the crisis heretofore.

He is doing what powerful people can do in situations like this; pretend there are no rocks.

Journal coverage will continue under the appearance and illusion of credibility.




photo Mark Bralley

Monday, August 24, 2015

I was the 657th person to sign the petition

There is an online petition, link, to remove APS Supt. Luis Valentino.  I was the 657th person to sign.

As part of the process, signers can explain why they signed.
I wrote;

Through the mistakes he made and the manner in which he resolved them, Supt. Valentino has demonstrated his inability to be an inspiration in this district ever.
Of what use is a superintendent who can no longer inspire his subordinates, including students, to greatness, especially in their good character?
The petition, regardless of the number of signatures, can and likely will be utterly ignored by the board.  They will avoid situations where questions about their individual or collective reactions to the petition, can be asked.

I'm not real thrilled that the outfit that provides the platform for petitions will not accept a signature without an agreement to give them your email address and agree to;
accept Change.org’s terms of service and privacy policy, and agree to receive occasional emails about campaigns on Change.org. You can unsubscribe at any time.
To their credit, the return email from Change.org did include an opportunity unsubscribe immediately.  I think I'll hang around awhile to see what other people are trying to get done.

Valentino removal petition nearing 500 signatures

The petition, link,  to dismiss APS Supt. Luis Valentino
will have 500 real signatures before I publish this post.
The response is unprecedented, and
will make no difference at all.

If the petition gets 5,000 signatures, and it might, still,
it won't make any difference at all.

The APS Board of Education is unmoved by public sentiment.

Now if 500 people showed up at the next public forum,
that, would be a different story.

Are we dealing with carelessness or characterlessness?

aps image
If APS Supt. Luis Valentino has been careless (incompetent), is seems reasonable to dock him a few weeks of pay to get his attention.

If APS Supt. Luis Valentino has issues with his character, no amount of docked pay will fix it.

You can’t have a lack of character in a public schools superintendent.

If the RFP process that APS CFO Don Moya interrupted was an attempt to scam taxpayers, the attempt was criminal.

Who if anyone, is investigating the criminal aspects of the scandal?

If anybody but the school board or one of their minions was conducting a forensic examination, we would have heard about it. That we have not heard about any investigation means at best, APS is investigating what could be felony criminal misconduct, themselves.

They have hired lawyers or Robert Caswell to conduct the investigation, the findings of which the board will “own”. They can then hide them from public knowledge by means of litigation and legal weaselry without limit, or any real oversight. Witness; their hiding of their “lawyers'” investigation of conduct that got former supt. Winston Brooks  both fired and a third of a million dollar parting gift.

Who is going to assure us that no crimes have been committed?
  • The Chief of APS' publicly funded private police force Steve Gallegos?
  • APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta?
  • School Board President Donald Duran?
  • Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz?
Or
  • how about Supt. Luis Valentino himself?
I would feel a whole lot better about that assurance
if I heard it from someone I could trust.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Muller-Aragón leaves school board meeting in protest.

When the APS school board met in secret today, to discuss the future of their floundering supt  School Board Member Peggy Muller-Aragón walked out of the meeting in protest over what she feels is unjustifiable secrecy and the ongoing lack of transparency.

She has protested the unnecessary secrecy before.  Every time the board voted to go into a session in secret, Muller-Aragón objected verbally.

Today, she said, she just couldn't keep protesting without effect, without taking some action.

One of her constituents objected to Muller-Aragón about the fact that she, the constituent, was not being represented in the meeting.  Muller-Aragón indicated that she understood the concern but made a difficult decision to not keep going along with something she doesn't believe in.




photo Mark Bralley

APS School Board to take stand on curfew

In a school board meeting next Wednesday, link,
the District Equity and Engagement Committee intends to
take a stand in opposition to

any mandates from the Albuquerque City Council
to implement a city-wide curfew ...
A copy of the draft resolution, link.

just fyi

Rudys fights back, Bregman represents her

In the Journal this morning, link, we find APS Assistant Supt. for Human Resources Karen Rudys isn't going to take lying down, School Board President Don Duran's defamation of she and her department.  She has hired Sam Bregman to defend her.

The school board is meeting in secret this afternoon to decide what they are going to do about all the trouble their new supt. has created, and to decide how to spin it all to the people whose trust and treasure they have squandered.

Duran has been insisting that HR was responsible for the snafu and might continue to argue in secret, that it was.  And, by logical extension, was Karen Rudys.

It looks like Don Duran is looking for a scapegoat;  Rudys and Bregman should be there to defend her interests.

The people should be there too, and for precisely the same reason.

We know the people will be barred from the room; will Karen Rudys and her lawyer Sam Bregman be barred as well?

Duran is under fire over the appearances of conflicts of interest and impropriety created when Supt. Valentino made Duran's daughter his Associate Supt. of Middle Schools.

A few years ago, Sam Bregman spoke on behalf of another embattled APS administrator, Police Chief Gil Lovato.

Lovato and Bregman claimed
(justifiably);
when the truth is known
there won't be a single 
senior APS administrator 
left standing.

Though a statement like that could be chalked up to Bregman braggadocio, it happened to be true. 

It is true still.

There is not one single member of the leadership of the APS who is not corrupt and or incompetent, or who does not have guilty knowledge of those who are.

It is time for an honest independent audit of the administration of the APS. Even against their will. Especially against their will.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of their servants.


The next school board meeting with a public forum is a week from Wednesday and in their castle keep at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

People say “somebody should do something” when what they really mean is; somebody else should do something. Much has been written about whether now is the time to stand up;
All that is necessary for the rot in the leadership of the APS to prevail, is for good people to do nothing. (derived)
The right time to do the right thing is always right now
You pick a side when you don't pick a side.
You say something when you say nothing.
Your silence gives consent
You get what you tolerate.
If not you then who, ...
and so on.

If you want there to be honest to God accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence in politics and public service in the APS, sooner or later you're going to have to show up somewhere and do something.

Historically, torch and pitchfork gatherings have seen some success in toppling tyrannies and could now.

Sacrifice is the currency of commitment.
If your commitment to repairing the APS isn’t worth a trip to a school board meeting, how important to you is it?

Show up one week from Wednesday.
There is no equivalent gesture.




photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Petition started to oust Valentino

An online petition, link, has been created.  It begins;

Due to the total lack of trust that parents,teachers, and the general public have for Superintendent Dr. Luis Valentino as Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent we ask that the school board begin the process of termination. ...
The petition has 90 signatures in less than one day.

There is of course, no number of signatures on a petition that would actually compel the board to take such action, but it's the kind of thing people do when they can see no other outlet for their upset.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Truth to come out Sunday - in secret

Note; I mistakenly posted that the meeting was to be on Monday; it is not.  It will be held Sunday, August 23.

About two dozen people will find out Sunday evening, exactly what has happened since Luis Valentino took over the helm of the APS.

They will meet in secret, link.
They will not record the meeting.
Nobody, not even a judge with probable cause,
will be able to find out what those people hear.

Though they own the power that has been abused,
though they used to own the tax dollars the board
and their supt. have and continue to squander,
stake and interest holders haven't the "privilege"
to know who did what, and under whose nose.

Consider for a moment, the concept of government
of the people, by the people, and for the people
and compare and contrast it the way the APS school board
has done, does and will do business.

It's disturbing; is it not?

They will decide in secret, what secrets they will keep.

Board members have three jobs; one of them is to hire and supervise their superintendent.

Stake and interest holders (voters) have one job; make sure the representatives they elect to the board, do all three. Their job is to make sure school board members hire good superintendents and require them to perform.

Valentino was selected and hired in meetings in secret!
Stake and interest holders have no idea what questions
their representatives had the courage to ask, or not;
which principles they defended which the did not.

They’re getting ready to do the whole thing again,
in another meeting in secret.

How can school board members be held accountable by voters at election for their hiring and performance of the superintendent, if everything they do is done in secret?

One of the worst things a politician or public servant can do,
is anything they do in unnecessary, unjustifiable secret
from the people they serve.


The background check is a red herring

My conjecture based on the abject absence of candor, forthrightness and honesty from the board and their superintendent;

APS Deputy Supt. Jason Martinez was not told to resign or be fired over his failure to submit to a background check. 

Martinez was told to resign or be fired over what the background check will reveal.

The path, off which they are trying to draw you is;
the background check will not be done. 
And if it is done, the findings will be hidden behind
a nearly impenetrable wall of unlimited spending,
without (real) oversight on lawyers and legal weaselry.
Stake and interest holders will never know the truth about
the betrayal of the trust they placed in the leadership
of the APS. ... and of the media.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

If anyone knows how we can retain teachers please let me know!; Muller-Aragón

aps image
During the board member comments section of the board meeting last night, link*, APS School Board Member Peggy Muller-Aragón wondered aloud;
If anyone knows how we can retain teachers please let me know! or words to that effect

*You can, if you would like, follow the link and work your way through their unnecessarily cumbersome stream, to 1:12 or so into the meeting and hear it verbatim.  The precise wording is immaterial.

The point is; the school board would like to know if anyone has any good ideas how we can retain teachers.


How about asking teachers?

The teachers in the APS, have between them nearly 100,000 years of teaching experience.  And, no seat at the table where decisions are made.  So how about asking them?  Survey every last one of them, and find out what they have to say based on their education, experience and expertise.

Not once have teachers been surveyed by the district.
Not once have they had the opportunity to register their complaints over a number of issues like student discipline and chronically disruptive students.

How about surveying those who work in schools to find out what it is that you can do, to make their lives easier, more efficient and more effective?

Stop ignoring their input.

Kudos to Quezada, but ...

Actor, comedian and School Board Member Steven Michael Quezada became last night, the only school board member to speak out on the ongoing brouhaha over Supt. Luis Valentino's inadvertent public revelation of APS' dark side.

The other six board members are in such solid accord that;

nobody sez nothin' to nobody
that the appearance is of impropriety; a rolling quorum in the least, maybe even an outright confab in secret somewhere or in a conference call.

Although Quezada wants to talk about the elephant in room, he doesn't want to talk about it's "privates", meaning;
he, the board, and their eloquence of lawyers
will be the ones who decide what parts of the elephant
stake and interest holders will be allowed to see.
I reminded him, link; there is no private in public service.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Remember this day

This is the day the leadership of the APS and the leadership of the local "media" parted ways.

Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz and his counterparts at local NM Broadcasters Assoc affiliate stations, have been part of a decades long cover up of APS' dark side.

He today. and they in short order, will abandon APS' sinking ship.

He and Paula Maes' cohort in local TV news, have relentlessly refused to investigate and report upon the ethics, standards and accountability crisis and scandal in the leadership of the APS.

He and they have helped cover up a cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.

Upon APS Supt. Luis Valentino's blunder and the expose in more reliable press like NM Political Report, link, the local "press" found themselves in a foxhole too foul to share.  Walz' has taken, the rest will take, the only way out; tell the truth and let the board's chips fall where they may.

Today, not only an editorial they can never take back, link, but an adjacent page, full of on point letters to the editor.

The leadership of the APS would appear to be alone in a hole.

Co-incidentally;
serendipitously,
there is a school board meeting today at 5.











It's one the rare times when you can just walk right into their castle keep, wikilink, at 6400 Uptown Blvd.  without first getting permission from the leadership of the APS and the chief of their publicly funded private police force. 




photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is Robert Caswell investigating in the Valentino, Martinez, Moya affair?

When there is a scandal of any kind going on, and the APS Board of Education needs to find out what is really going on, they hire lawyers and private investigators to gather information and evidence.  By hiring lawyers and private investigators, they are able to exploit weakness in the Inspection of Public Records Act.

They have on more than one occasion, despite the glaring appearance of conflicts of interest and impropriety, used their own police force to investigate state and federal felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators and school board members and maintain control over those findings.

So it's a fair question;

Who is investigating the Valentino, Martinez, Moya affair?  Who is doing a forensic examination and review of the facts and evidence? Who is going to find out if something untoward was underway?
More importantly,
To whom will the findings belong?
  • the people who paid for the investigation and whose interests are at stake;
or to,
  • the leadership of the APS and their lawyers?
The board and their lawyers will insist that the truth is theirs, and they will spend however many dollars they need, to prove their point.  The will spend without limit and without (real) oversight.

I have only to point to the findings of at least two separate investigations into felony public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS publicly funded private police force, and the tens of thousands of operational dollars they have spent in an effort to keep the findings hidden.

Neither APS nor Caswell will surrender the findings to the public record.  It is worth noting that through all these years and all this litigation, they have never established any legitimate need to hide the records, only that the law, stretched to its absolute limit, will allow them to hide them.

Who is investigating allegations of corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS?

APS is, that's who.

Journal needs to step up; and rather immediately.

Journal, link, comes this morning with more of the same on the latest brouhaha involving an APS superintendent.  Valentino, who will meet with the "media" but will not meet with the press, had the Journal print (t)his dodge;

“It’s unfortunate that a personnel issue has been forced into the headlines on these first days of school when our focus should be on our students,” he wrote.
and parry
“Though we’re a public entity, we must respect the legal and privacy rights of our employees, which limits the amount of information we can share with the media.”
Valentino is being disingenuous;
"we must respect the legal and privacy rights of our employees, which limits (sic) the amount of information we can share with the media.”
The "limits" on the amount of information they "can" share with stake and interest holders, are determined by judges and juries after APS has squandered hundreds of thousands of operational dollars on litigation and legal weaselry, finally have to cough up the records. Look at their record of IPRA complaints and the amount of money they spend hiding records.

The Caswell Report on felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators (2007) is hidden from the "media", not because the law requires it, but because the law allows it.
Politicians and public servants are squandering our trust and treasure hiring lawyers to stretch the law to its breaking point and beyond.

All the Journal has to do to defend itself against allegations that it is part of a cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, is to publish the truth; a candid, forthright and honest accounting of the ethics and standards that apply to board members and superintendents, and of the processes by which they can be held accountable.

School board members and superintendents are accountable to high enough standards of conduct and competence within their public service, or they are not. If they are not, and believe me they are not actually, honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence, then that truth needs to be known and it is the Journal's responsibility to tell it.

If there are high enough standards, and if there is swift and certain accountability even for the most powerful, then that truth should be known as well.

School board meeting tomorrow at 5pm

Monday, August 17, 2015

Don Moya's leave costs taxpayers nearly $1K a day - with no benefit to students or the district

Because APS Supt Luis Valentino sent his Chief Financial Officer home on paid leave, taxpayers are on the hook for the nearly a $1K a day he earns.

Years ago, when APS Deputy Supt Michael Vigil was put on paid leave for his aggravated drunk driving arrest, the community and board were so upset over the fact that so much money was being wasted, they decided that in future, any suspended administrators would still continue to do useful work for the district.

Apparently, they've gotten over that upset.

To date; taxpayers have been offered no explanation or justification for the waste.  It appears that the school board is just trying to sit on the lid until people forget what's going on.

Therefore, the APS School Board is;

  1. manifestly incompetent; unable to get it's act together, or
  2. .
  3. manifestly corrupt; unwilling to get its act together.
Neither is acceptable.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Re: the APS board, supt, cfo, procurement issue

The resources spent in what looks like an aborted attempt to rip off the operational fund, belonged fundamentally to the people.  The resources that have been spent since, belonged to the people.  The ethically redacted truth about how they were spent, belongs to the people.

The power that apparently was and is still being abused, belongs to the people.  The ethically redacted truth about how their power was and is being spent, belongs to the people.

Politicians and public servants are obliged (according to any standards of conduct higher than the law) to tell the ethically redacted truth about the public interests and their public service.  Those standards require them to be;

  • candid, 
  • forthright,
  • honest and 
  • timely. 
Though they are inexorably "obliged", they cannot be compelled.
Betraying our trust, wasting our treasure and abusing our power,
the APS school board and supt. simply offer "no comment".
They get away with it because the people put up with it.

You can of course, sue them for the truth.

"That is not a conversation I need to engage in ..."

So said APS Supt. Luis Valentino in a recent interview with a KOAT TV reporter, link.

Valentino does not need to explain to stake and interest holders, anything at all about his negligent allowance or willing permission of procurement code violations.

Neither does the school board; not individually, not collectively.

The rules that bind them do not require them to answer legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service, candidly, forthrightly and honestly.  The rules do not compel them to answer questions at all.

Though the power they wield belongs to the people;
though the resources they spend belong as to the people,
politicians and public servants have written rules for themselves that allow them to simply refuse to answer questions about the power, about the resources or, about their public service.

Their rules allowed them to simply say "no comment" and then turn around and walk away.

The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of their servants.

If you object to unwarranted secrecy and the squandering of trust and treasure by the leadership of the APS, plan to show up at the school board meeting next Wednesday.

Demand candor, forthrightness and honesty in the wielding of your power and the spending of your resources.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Will Kathy Korte so testify?

Former APS school board member Kathy Korte has been sharing some interesting information in comments she is leaving on various stories about the brouhaha at APS involving the new superintendent, and one of his new hires, and efforts to violate the procurement code.

Korte comes right out and says; that while she was on the school board, there were shenanigans at the top of the APS administration and the board.  And that a few board members with the most power were behaving unethically.  And that the board made decisions in rolling quorums.  And that they violated the Open Meetings Act.

She totally understands, she says, why people have no faith ...

Executive Director of Communications
and Public Information Officer
Monica Armenta
She continues; there are board members who won't raise hell ...;

and a Public Information Officer who smiles and says all is good.

And that, really good admins have "NO VOICE" out of fear of retaliation.  Korte says APS CFO Don Moya was fired in retaliation for exposing an impending swindle.

A recent audit of the leadership of the APS found "a culture of fear of retaliation" against whistleblowers and other complainants.

Korte believes that when Supt. Valentino hired APS' liaison to the company who "found" him; it created an appearance of impropriety; like maybe they made a deal; she would do what she could to grease his rails, and he would give her a cushy job.

Not saying that's what happened
... just reading between the lines.

Korte says Luis Valentino hired a guy who was once fired for taking bribes, and then was going to allow him to award contracts in violation of the procurement code and proper fiscal protocols.

Korte finds it all, discouraging.

I find it discouraging, that not one of; the Journal,
KRQE, KOAT or KOB will investigate and report on
what Kathy Korte is describing;
school board conduct in deliberate violation of the law.

I find it discouraging that the Journal, KRQE, KOAT and KOB are ignoring Korte.

They will not interview a former school board member who describes being a witness of, and party to, deliberate violations of the law by entire body of government.

They are ignoring her in my opinion, because the guy who was at the helm when all this was going on, the guy who should have known better than to do what it is she says they have done, was none other than former school board president and KRQE's long time lawyer, Marty Esquivel.

The people who run the major media are willing I believe, to help him cover his ass no matter what.  They still won't tell stake and interest holders that Esquivel has spent nearly $750K on a non-viable defense in federal court, of his ego.

And that he will spend $250K more if he isn't stopped.

If there is another explanation for the Journal's, KRQE's, KOAT's or KOB TV's apparent complacency over, or complicity in, the cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the senior-most leadership of the APS, I cannot imagine it, and
they have yet to articulate it.




photos Mark Bralley

APS Valentino Moya procurement-gate illuminating

There was some stuff going on in the dark;
stuff we never would have known about
had not APS Supt. Luis Valentino
accidentally flicked on the lights.

Standing there, like deer in headlights,
people preparing to embezzle tax dollars.

There are people in the leadership of the APS,
at the Journal and in the media who would now
like you to lose sight of that fact.

Try to resist.

Friday, August 14, 2015

APS CFO was making waves; he had to go

The New Mexico Political Report comes with this.

APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya was rocking the boat when he was pushed over board.  He was openly critical of a procurement process he thought looked suspect.

I won't tell their story; link, but my take from the emails published on the Political Report; it appears as though Moya was doing exactly what he should have been doing, when APS Supt. Luis Valentino decided it was time to fire him, and went looking for allies in that endeavor, in the person of the NM Secretary of Public Education.

APS' history of accountability around the spending of millions and millions of dollars on technology borders criminal. An independent auditor, Meyners & Co, found senior APS administrators were spending $50K at a whack "without involving purchasing".

The  auditors found the trifecta of public corruption, embezzlement and fraud in the spending on technology and renovations.  They found;
  1. inadequate standards, and
  2. inadequate accountability to such standards as they had, and
  3. inadequate record keeping.
Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of dollars were squandered and APS cannot produce a candid, forthright and honest accounting of spending at 6400 Uptown Blvd.

The Journal has dug as deep as they intend; they have and will publish Monica Armenta's press releases.
Update; the Journal comes with more coverage and my added questions. link.

It appears the NM Political Report is taking a different tack.  Kudos to them and to reporter Joey Peters.  Welcome to the fray.




photo Mark Bralley
Bralley's investigation and report. link 


Journal readers remain in the dark about APS' dark side

If you're paying attention to the coverage of APS Supt. Luis Valentino's texting blunder, you're seeing a great deal of attention paid to his poor spelling and grammar, and to his lack of command of social networking skills.

It is a deliberate misdirection; just like when Valentino suggests the problem isn't what he wrote or who he sent it to, but rather that Don Moya chose to make the whole thing public.

They want you to not pay attention to the content of the text and of Luis Valentino's character.

There is a dark side of the leadership of the APS.
Valentino has apparently joined in.  It explains his reticence to step up as the senior-most administrative role model of student standards of conduct.

The board's steadfast refusal to talk openly and honestly about their own ethics and standards points to their own unwillingness or inability to step up as role models.

Former School Board Member Kathy Korte has recently written about the dark side in frank comments she has made on line and in the comments* on the websites of local TV and the Journal.

*update; this post now includes a link to a future post wherein the comments she posted are more completely addressed.

The dark side is dark for a reason.

In the dark, they ignore ethics.
In the dark, they ignore the law.

In the dark, they do whatever they want to do; comfortable in their confidence that litigation and legal weaselry will insulate them from any consequences, even in the unlikely event their incompetence and corruption come to light despite the efforts of their friends in the media.

The leadership of the APS has had more than a century to fine tune their ethics, standards and their accountability to those standards and ethics.  They should now be, as clear and unequivocal as they will ever be.  Accountability should be as swift and as certain as it will ever be.

By their own free admission, the APS Board of Education is, after more than a hundred years, utterly unaccountable even to their own Code of Ethics.

The truth is, their ethics and standards are not high enough.  Moreover, even if they were, it wouldn't make any difference.  They are not, by any due process, actually, honestly accountable to any standards of conduct, not even the law*.

*They buy their way out of trouble using operational dollars to fund litigation and legal weaselry to allow them to sign admissions of no "guilt" in expensive settlements.

Their record is there; you just haven't seen it.

You haven't seen it for two reasons;

  1. they hide it very hard.  They have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars hiding the findings of investigations of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators. and
  2.  
  3. the press, who you would expect to be exposing the truth, are actually part of the cover up.
By "the press" I mean Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz.

Substitute for his name, the name of any of the news directors at any of Paula Maes' NM Broadcasters Assoc affiliate stations.

They have all agreed to ignore the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.  They have agreed to ignore the dark side.


FOG hero Brooks.
Walz and former APS school board member Marty Esquivel actually went so far in their effort to maintain the cover up, they bamboozled the NM FOG into giving former APS Supt. Winston Brooks their transparency award while the three of them were hiding the truth about a cover up of state and federal felony criminal misconduct.





The dark side of APS is right now, underwriting a nonviable defense of Esquivel's ego to the tune of $750K.   They intend to spend another $250K in search of a settlement where Marty Esquivel gets to "admit no guilt" in violating my Constitutionally protected human rights.


The Journal has gone so far as to publish a letter to the editors suggesting that Valentino resign.  They have yet to write an editorial; they have yet to take a stand on whether powerful politicians and public servants should be actually and honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service.

Due in no small part I think, to the fact the Journal has a dark side of their own; it is one of the accouterments of power; you get to live beyond the law.

When Winston Brooks tweeted his way into the hall of shame, link, it wasn't three days before everybody from the Governor on down had weighed in on the record.  Then School Board President Marty Esquivel had shared his opinion on TV within two, link.

Within two days the APS board had demanded an apology from Brooks.

A week later, not only has the board failed to step up, they even cancelled a meeting this morning where they could have done just that.

I expect they are just waiting for it all to go away.
That's worked for them in the past; no reason to think it might work for them now.

School Bond Issue election six months away.




photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Librarians, assistant principals to fill in as teachers" - happy as clams about it!; Alb Journal

There was an article this morning in the Journal, link.  It had to do with how happy everybody is about librarians and assistant principals filling in for the teachers that APS did not hire in time for the beginning of classes.  I'm guessing that the reporter did not interview many librarians or assistant principals.

I availed myself of the opportunity to post a comment on the story;

This reporter/the Journal need to do a little investigating before passing along APS press releases. This is not investigative reporting. It isn't even honest.

The truth is no harder to find than interviewing teachers who have left APS, and those who dream of leaving. Certainly there is some upset over standardized testing and teacher evals, but that isn't the whole story.

APS doesn't do exit interviews (I am supposing) because they anticipate results they won't like.

As but one example, they will find a number of teachers left and are leaving APS because of out of control students and classrooms; in particular an administrative failure to protect teachers and other students from chronically disruptive students. Anyone who doesn't believe this, simply needs to substitute teach for one day. If you don't think students are control in schools, go to any high school and see how many students are "sagging" in blatant violation of school board policy. This isn't about sagging, it is about the permission of prohibited behavior and the effects that has on educationally efficient environments.

Alternatively, drive by any high school and see how many students are "sagging" in blatant violation of school board policy. (This isn't about sagging; it is about the (overt or tacit) executive and administrative "permission of prohibited behavior" and the negative effects that has on educationally efficient environments.)

Enforcing the district's discipline policy is an administrative responsibility and one can see why APS administrators and the board don't ever talk about student discipline. And, why they don't and won't collect any data that exposes the failure to keep schools under the control of adults.

APS does not have a "discipline philosophy". Go ahead, search their award winning website; nowhere will you find any philosophy upon which they base their feckless and often conflicting discipline policies. The "leadership" of the APS cannot even agree whether to "punish" or even keep longitudinal records of deliberate misconduct.

APS cannot show you historical data on student discipline. A recent audit (by the Council of the Great City Schools) found administrators routinely falsifying crime statistics to protect the reputations of their schools.

They maintain a PUBLICLY FUNDED PRIVATE POLICE FORCE in order to keep a lid on the truth, in particular the truth about school board members and senior administrators who break the law. It's why, when former APS police chief Gil Lovato was canned, his lawyer Sam Bregman said, "if they ever get to court (to tell the truth about the cover ups), there won't be a single APS senior administrator left standing".

Sussing the Journal's steadfast refusal to dig any deeper into issues than the news releases that Monica Armenta hands them, is as easy as it is obvious; they are part of APS' cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the highest levels of leadership.

That or what else, exactly?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

APS looking for a few hundred million more dollars

Unclear still how many millions of dollars APS will be looking for in a bond issue election planned for February 2, 2016.  A search of APS' award winning website produces five year old information, link.

Their preference and practice is to conduct the elections in relative secret; informing mostly those they think will vote yes.

Their public relations campaign is well on its way, link;

This year’s 13-month calendar features photographs of APS students and teachers in schools that have been built or renovated with funding approved by taxpayers in school improvement elections. The next election is Feb. 2, 2016.
For its part, the Journal preference and practice has been to not investigate and report upon the ethics and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.  It has been apparently not newsworthy, even in the face of elections over hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bond issues,  and will likely continue to be so.


What if "Hanna" had gotten Valentino's text?

What if, instead of sending his text to the guy he was "going after"; APS Supt. Luis Valentino had managed to get it to its intended recipient NM Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera?

What if his question had made it to the Secretary?

Got any bright ideas on how to fire a guy whose biggest problem seems to be his expressed opposition to standardized testing run amok?
Part of the training students in the APS are supposed to receive as part of a concerted, deliberate effort to help them develop their character, was this admonition;
If someone asks you to do something wrong,
you should wonder why they think you would say yes.
Has Hanna Skandera asked herself why
the Supt. of the APS thinks
she would help him screw someone out of their job?
APS' highly paid Executive Director
of Communications and spin-master
Monica Armenta says these kinds of
conversations go on all the time.

Worse than the possibility that
Armenta might be prevaricating
again, is the frightening prospect
that she might be telling the truth;
that superintendents are calling
the Secretary of Education all the
time looking for advice on how to
get rid of people without due process.

It would be nice if the Secretary would take a moment to disabuse interest and stakeholders of that misconception.

If it is indeed, a misconception.




photos Mark Bralley

APS texting gaffgate more than colossally careless; it is illustrative

aps image
That APS Supt. Luis Valentino
did not correctly address his text
reveals in him, a certain level of
carelessness.

The content of his text reveals
a certain level of insufficiency
in his character.  It reveals how
he intends to remove from his
staff. people he doesn't like.

It is not whether he has that right,
but whether this is the way employees should be dismissed without cause? - Moya is yet to be accused of doing anything untoward at all.

When former APS Supt. Winston Brooks embroiled himself in a scandal over disrespectful messages he tweeted about a sitting Secretary of Education, an observation was made that I think resonates;
it wasn't so much that Brooks had tweeted what was running through his mind, rather, it was that he was even having those thoughts in the first place.

APS Supt. Valentino and those in charge of APS' public relations would have stake and interest holders believe that it is APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya's "misconduct" that has caused the brouhaha; if only he had kept the text secret, there would not be this problem.

There is no better defense than the exculpating truth.

Moya's strategy is in fact, brilliant;  APS' "legal" defense for everything is to hide the truth.   Anyone who can get out the truth around the leadership of the APS, the Journal and their lawyers has accomplished something monumental.


Which is exactly why the leadership of the APS spend so much money and energy to keep the truth hidden.  Witness the hundreds of thousands of dollars they have spent hiding the Caswell report on felony public corruption in the leadership of their publicly funded private police force.

Luis Valentino made APS' stake and interest holders a promise; he would not take advantage of the golden parachute the board has provided.

When it is time for him to resign, he said, he would not collect on the remainder of his contract.  I thought at the time, it was a pretty impressive offer and commitment.  It may be time to take him up on it.

In any event, it is time for the board to speak up.
The longer they wait to weigh in on the implications of the content of the text, the more likely it becomes that they will not weigh in at all (their preference) or that they intend to weigh in without notice.

The board of course, is betwixt a rock and a hard place;
  • the rock;
If they admit that their new hire has screwed up,
it's tantamount to admitting they made a mistake in the meetings in secret where they decided to hire Valentino.  They will appear incompetent.
  • the hard place;
If they don't own his screw up, it will stink of cover up.  They will appear corrupt.

Does our school board really want the district run this way?  Does APS really need a dark side; a place where business is done without regard to ethics or even the law?

Also 'twixt a rock and hard place,
Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz;
  • how can he report credibly on the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership, 
  • without first reporting credibly on his failure to report on the scandal heretofore?  nearly a decade since they abandoned their obligations as role models and more than five years after they began their cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving the leadership of their police force.




photos Mark Bralley



Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Open letter to the board ...

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I am unable to participate in the public forum tomorrow evening, I am taking advantage of your offer to consider a written submissions instead. Were I able to present it during public forum, my petition would read;

Whereas,

the very first ethic in the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Code of Ethics; link, requires the board to make education and well-being of students be the basis of your decision making; and,

Whereas, the fourth of your ethics requires you to establish an open, two-way communication process with students, staff, families and all segments of the community;

Whereas, the sixth of your ethics requires the acceptance of responsibility and accountability for your own actions and behaviors; and, 

Whereas, the seventh of your ethics requires you to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof ... ; 

Whereas, the ninth of your ethics requires you to ... establish a process for accountability of administrators;

Therefore be it resolved,
  • Before you write another rule or regulation
  • Before you pass another policy or procedure
  • Before you establish another administrative directive
  • Before you create another code or enact another ethic,
  • Before you sign off on one more standard of any kind for anybody else at all,
Decide at once and for all;
Will you be held honestly accountable yourselves
to whatever standards you establish for students, 
employees and community members on campus?

As you well know, I have been asking this question at public forum for nearly a decade.  As you know, the question has been stonewalled and continues to be stonewalled to this day.

This despite that for more than two decades, the standards of conduct you have established and had enforced upon students, link;
"... preclude all acts, including half-truths, out-of-context statements, and even silence, that are intended to create beliefs or leave impressions that are untrue or misleading."
It is untrue and misleading to create a belief or leave an impression you; the senior-most role models in the entire district, are actually and honestly accountable to the standards you role model.  You are barely and rarely accountable even to the law.

If upon public consideration, you find that you are willing to be held accountable as role models of actual, honest God accountability to the standards of conduct you establish for others,
it becomes incumbent upon you to explain to stake and interest holders; how it is that you intend to be held actually and honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within your public service.

There isn't a whit of difference between the highest standard and the lowest, if the highest standard can not be, or will not be enforced. 

Show us the due process you intend.

Show us impartial adjudication of complaints filed against you.  Show us the certainty and timeliness in decisions.  Show us real protection from the retaliation visited against whistleblowers and other complainants.  Show us a process powerful enough to hold you accountable; even against your will.

School board meetings cost at least an hour of your time and cost taxpayers around $600 each.

Don't waste your time and our money to establishing any more standards that apply inversely to according to power and influence.




photo Mark Bralley

Sunday, August 02, 2015

APS board needs to show us the beef!

The APS board of education is about to embark on another standards writing adventure.

The last one began six years ago when School Board Member David Peercy began his overhaul of policies and procedures.  He is not yet done.

Among the policy revisions he is yet to broach in his policy committee, because they are too busy reconsidering every other policy first; whether the leadership of the APS should reinstate a role modeling clause in their standards of conduct.  The role modeling clause was removed nearly a decade ago.  It once read;

In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult 
be lower than the standards for students.

One of the aspects the board will review will be their code of ethics.  They will reaffirm the existing code, link, amend it, or write another.

Every time they meet to discuss their new code of ethics, it will cost taxpayers around $600.  Every meeting for every policy, regulation, rule or procedure they reconsider will cost taxpayers about $600.

It begs a fair question;
If they could come up with a better code of ethics, would it be worth $600?
Frankly, yes it would. One could reasonably argue;
the higher the standards of conduct and competence,
the more likely is the success whatever endeavor.

But only if the board and senior administration are actually, honestly accountable to those ethics.  Accountable by a due process over which they have no undue influence and powerful enough to hold them accountable even against their will.

By their own free admission, the board's current code of ethics is completely unenforceable.  There is no venue where a stake or interest holder can file a complaint against a board member or the board, and where that complaint will see due process.

They will argue;
you can sue us; the due process you seek can be found in the legal system.
Those who seek due process through litigation find out pretty quickly that there is no justice to be found in litigation.  The board and whomever they decide to defend, have an unlimited budget for litigation even against the public interests.  They spend without real oversight - subordinate oversight is not oversight.  It is an oxymoron.

Witness my complaint against the board and former school board president Marty Esquivel.

All of the evidence and credible testimony substantiate the complaint; he violated my civil rights when he banned me (effectively, for life) from participating in public forums at APS school board meetings.

Rather than admit Esquivel's and their mistake, the board has spent nearly $750,000 in a non-viable defense his ego.  They are prepared to spend $250,000 more; steadfastly refusing to settle the complaint.

Esquivel and the board are looking for admissions of no guilt.
They litigate without regard for cost in order to obtain settlement agreements in which they are allowed admit no guilt; no matter how guilty, no matter of what.  Taxpayers pay millions and millions of dollars to buy admissions of no guilt for politicians and public servants enabling them to escape the legal consequences of their misconduct.

Need more proof that the leadership of the APS isn't routinely accountable even to the law?  Consider the Caswell Report on felony public corruption and incompetence in the leadership of APS' publicly funded private police force.

Robert Caswell Investigations produced a report on their investigation of senior APS administrative involvement in state and felony criminal misconduct.  Their report names the names of those whose felony criminal misconduct was covered up, and implicates former and current administrators in the consequent cover up of that cover up.

The Caswell Report is being secreted from public knowledge by means of litigation and legal weaselry.  APS and their lawyers have written argument after argument on how the law allows them to hide the records.  They have yet to write even one sentence about why they need to hide their record.  There is only one reason to hide the truth; to avoid the consequences of the truth being known.

The standards of conduct that the board establishes and the superintendent enforces upon students require students to consistently expect from themselves more than the law requires and less than the law allows.  In hiding these public records, the senior most role models of student standards of conduct are doing less than law requires by exploiting every loophole, technicality and weakness the law contains.  And they spend millions and millions of "operational dollars" hiding records and avoiding deserved criminal convictions.  Operational dollars are those that should, could and would be spent in classrooms were they not being squandered in courtrooms.

High standards and actual, honest accountability are part and parcel.  One without the other is meaningless; actual accountability to too low standards is of no effect.  Yet, even the highest standards mean nothing if there is not actually, honestly accountable to them.  There isn't one whit of difference between the highest standards and the low, if the high standards are unenforceable.

APS' administrative and executive standards of conduct are unenforceable.  Which is not to say they are never enforced, but rather that they are not reliably or even routinely enforced.  Should they decide to violate a standard, even a statute, they have the wherewithal to forestall accountability for as long as they choose to continue to litigate.

The APS School Board has a code of ethics, link.  It is hard to imagine a more important set of standards than one's own code of ethics.  It is, by their own free admission, absolutely and utterly unenforceable.  No matter how egregious the ethical violation, there is no process by which school board members can be held to account.

The leadership of the APS do not have a record of honest to God accountability.  If they did, they would show it to you.

What is the point in writing and rewriting standards to which they have no intention to be held actually accountable?  Except to create or maintain a beliefs or impressions that is not true?  conduct expressly and specifically prohibited for students.

We are still waiting on the establishment's press to inform the democracy on standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz has decided that his reporters will not investigate and report upon the standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS; even to report that there is not one.

He refuses to report that the leadership of the APS is not really accountable even to the law; the lowest standards of conduct; the standards that every "higher standard" is higher than.

Walz and his ilk at the NM Broadcasters Association affiliates will not investigate and report on the trust and treasure that have been squandered on litigation and legal weaselry in order to buy admissions of no guilt for board members and senior administrators who have violated the law.

Before the board considers revision of another standard, policy, procedure, regulation or rule, show us the beef!  Show us when, where and how you will be held actually and honestly accountable by due process, impartial and powerful enough that you will be held accountable even against your will.

Else, don't waste our time or our money.




photos Mark Bralley