Thursday, August 18, 2016

APS School Board's silence gives consent.

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

He who is silent,
when he ought to have spoken
and was able to, is taken to agree
— Latin proverb wikilink

Have APS students a right to good role models?

If the behavior of the seven senior most role models in the entire APS are any indication, the answer is no.

APS School Board member Maestas
One of them has betrayed the public trust.

The other six of them sit with her at school board meetings and pretend there's nothing wrong; no censure, no nothing.  If asked; they're still "waiting for all the facts".  The case has dropped into the legal process where it will languish until long after anyone who cared stops caring.

The APS School Board expects students to "... model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.

Of themselves, the board expects compliance only to "the law".  Already the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings, litigation and legal weaselry will lower them to near non-existence.

Analee Maestas is role modeling a corrupt politician New Mexico style.  The rest of the board are role modeling the enabling culture that allows public corruption and incompetence to continue unabated; even in plain sight.

If we really want students in APS to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone is going to have to show them what they look like.  If not the so called leadership of the APS, then who?

The leadership of the APS is doing everything they can to eliminate Character Counts!.  It isn't about Character Counts! per se; it is about any standards of conduct that require truth telling and honest to God accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

The senior most role models in the entire APS are abdicating right before our eyes; abandoning their duties and obligations as the senior most role models of nearly 90,000 of this community's sons and daughters.

Journal Editor in Chief
Kent Walz - leader in the
cover up of the scandal.
They get away with it, because the Journal is complicit in the cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, August 15, 2016

CABQ Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry is a bald-faced liar.

In the Journal this morning, link, CABQ Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry is quoted regarding his and the city's efforts to keep the truth hidden from stake and interest holders by making special team reviews "secret" records.

Perry said;

“We don’t mean to conceal anything."
Raise your hand if you believe him.

Seeing not one hand; bullshit is called.

CABQ Chief Administrative
Officer Rob Perry
is a bald-faced liar;
shameless and undisguised;

photo Mark Bralley

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Analee Maestas and the cherry tree

Many Americans have for centuries, been sharing a fable, link, with their children.  The point in sharing the story with children is to encourage them to embrace character and courage and honor

"The cherry tree myth is the most well-known and longest enduring legend about George Washington. 

In the original story, when Washington was six years old he received a hatchet as a gift and damaged his father’s cherry tree. When his father discovered what he had done, he became angry and confronted him. Young George bravely said, “I cannot tell a lie…I did cut it with my hatchet.” Washington’s father embraced him and rejoiced that his son’s honesty was worth more than a thousand trees. 
The fable is useful as an illustrative example, because
there are so few real life examples to point to instead.

One of the senior most role models in the entire APS, School Board Member Analee Maestas, has an opportunity to provide for those who look to her for an example to emulate, honesty worth more than a thousand trees.

She will provide for students apparently,
a diametrically opposite example.

She, and the rest of the APS school board.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

In the absence of trust there must be transparency

The most onerous and inescapable aspect of representative government is that the governed must surrender their control over their combined power and resources, to politicians and public servants.

Except for manifestly feckless governmental conduct laws, and nearly as inconsequential open meeting and public records laws, the only thing the people have ever had to protect their interests has been trust; trust that those they elect, appoint and hire will act in their interests; with the entirely predictable result; “power corrupted; absolute power corrupted absolutely”.

At this point, in the face of human history and any understanding at all of basic human nature, how is it anything but mind-numbingly naïve to expect human beings to not yield to temptation; to not take advantage of the lack of transparency?

If trust has been lost, then there is only transparency left to protect our interests.

There needs to be no argument made, that meetings where the people’s power is being wielded, where the people’s resources are being spent, should be open to the public. The question is; will the meetings be open; what happens if they aren’t?

A more important question is; what are you going to do when by their words or their deeds, they make it clear to you, that they have no intention of letting you watch their little meetings in secret?

Who are you willing to follow, where are you willing to go,
what are you willing to do, to defend your interests?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Maestas ‘working diligently’ ..."

The Journal headline, link, reads; "

Maestas ‘working diligently’ to resolve $342.40 dispute"
Marc Lowry of the Rothstein Law Firm; the attorney and firm representing Maestas in her effort to escape the consequences of  misconduct, said;
"(Maestas) is “working diligently” to resolve questions surrounding a receipt the state auditor claims she doctored."
Lowry noted in Maestas' defense, that in more than 47 years as an educator, this single receipt for $342.40 is in dispute.

The argument is nonsense of course; the law doesn't provide exceptions for people who have never been caught before.

It's a little like someone accused of drunk driving arguing that they shouldn't be prosecuted because they've never been caught driving drunk before.

Her lawyer wrote;
“Dr. Maestas ... looks forward to returning to her full-time job as the Executive Director of La Promesa Early Learning Center once a full review of this case is completed.”
One wonders how long exactly, a "full review" will take.
It's stretches credulity past its limit, to suppose for even one moment; there has not yet been a "full review" and that the review looks bad for Maestas.

If Maestas' record of not getting caught before is germane at all, it will be during a sentencing hearing to determine a fair consequence; not in determining her guilt or innocence.

Not clear from the Journal report, whether Maestas' will be paying for lawyers or if taxpayers will get stuck with what is bound to be and enormous bill.  When it comes to defending school board members and senior administrators - cost is no object when it comes to their legal defenses.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The coward David Peercy is a liar.

The coward, link, APS School Board
President David Peercy is lying;
intending to leave impressions 
that are untrue or misleading*.

*conduct prohibited for students by the standards of conduct Peercy and the board enforce upon students but will not enforce upon themselves.

He told the Journal; "... the board has “great concern” about ethics, and that (school board) bylaws require board members to “in all instances, maintain their conduct at the highest professional and ethical standards” ...”

The lie lies in the fact that the board provides no venue where a complaint can be filed against them over ethics violations. By their own free admission, their own code of ethics is utterly unenforceable.

There is a full blown ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS. The board and their supt are covering it up in their own self interests.

They wouldn't be getting away with it, except that Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz is up to his eyeballs in the cover up as well.

Either could completely exonerate them self by simply pointing to the place where school board members and senior administrators can be held honest to God accountable for their conduct and competence.

The Journal is covering up an epic ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS. Walz is covering up double standards of conduct; students are expected to model and promote ethical behavior while their senior most adult role models are manifestly unaccountable even to the law.

All any of them has to do, all they have ever had to do prove otherwise is to;
1. identify their ethics and standards and then
2. point to the process by which they can be honest to God accountable to them, even against their will.

Whether they have written down ethics and high standards or not is moot; there being not one whit of difference between the highest standards and the lowest, if neither is enforceable.

Don't suggest "taking them to court". Peercy and the board (within the last year) knowingly permitted or negligently allowed former school board member Marty Esquivel to squander a million dollars in federal court in defense of his ego. No change has been made that would prevent them from doing the same thing for Maestas.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

APS school board member subject of review and investigation by the state auditor.

APS School Board Member Analee Maestas moved a step closer to justice today when the State Auditors Office released a "Review of Allegations at La Promesa Charter School".  The review outlines the misappropriation of public funds and efforts to mislead investigators.

Maestas is the subject of the report though her name isn't mentioned; referred to repeatedly only as the "executive director".

SAO image
NM State Auditor Tim Keller continues to clean house; his energy and determination are commendable.

According to the review, the NM PED is still conducting another investigation of their own, of which little is known.  The NM PED PIO Robert McEntyre is not inclined to share any information on the investigation.  Though he is a "public servant", he has earned a reputation for ignoring emails and questions this investigation and others.

The Review, link, has been turned over to District Attorney Kari Brandenburg for prosecution.

Right, and a pint of Häagen-Dazs serves four.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pat Rogers; "Shame on (me) for not leaving!"

Republican Party National Committeeman Pat Rogers was the guest speaker at the Bernalillo County Republican Party Friday morning get-together at the Golden Corral this morning.

He began his talk by insisting that any members of the media turn off their recorders and further, that they were not to write anything about what they were going to hear.

When it was my turn to speak, I informed Rogers that had I a recorder with me, I would have turned it on at the instant he told me that I could not.  Who in the hell does he think he is?

Further, I told him that I had every intention to write about what I had seen and heard this morning, specifically including his effort to contain the truth by ignoring the rights of a free press.

Rogers said I should have left the room if I didn't like his terms.

"Shame on you for not leaving the room!" he said.
At which point, I called bullshit.

I am a member of the NM Republican Party and I had every right to attend the meeting.  My human right to be the press is protected by the First Amendment and not subject to the whim of petty politicians and tyrants.

My question to him (it was a Q & A);
"Do you really think this kind of behavior, manipulating the dissemination of truth and the press, is what the Republican Party needs right now?
He chose to not respond directly to the question.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, April 25, 2016

Former APS school board member comes clean

Former APS Audit Comm Chair Robbins
Former APS school board member David Robbins spoke at the Bernalillo County Republican Party breakfast and meeting last Friday.

His frank admissions of accountability issues in the leadership of the APS had jaws dropping.  Literally.  Ask anyone who was there.

He stood up and confirmed in essence, what I have been saying for years about an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

If the Journal interviews Robbins and reports upon the concerns about which he is finally willing to talk, stake and interest holders; taxpayers in particular, will be outraged.

 ... more than reason enough for the Journal to not investigate and report; as is their want and practice.

As an aside, Robbins confirmed that it was Marty Esquivel personally, who sought to ban me from public forums for life; a violation of my civil rights that ended up costing taxpayers $863K (over a million if you include Mark Bralley's settlement over similar violations).

photos Mark Bralley

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reedy's first act lacked character and courage

aps photo
One of APS Supt. Raquel Reedy's first acts in her capacity as APS' new Chief Administrative Officer, was to hold a press conference; APS style.

APS pressers aren't about informing the democracy.  They're about showcasing whatever it is that the leadership of the APS want to exhibit and display.  They only invite those who have been cooperative in shining the APS apple.

aps photo
An APS style press conference is a press conference to which only "APS credentials" gain admittance.  You have to be on APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta list of media "friends".

Bralley photo

In the face of the potential of another federal complaint being filed against them,  APS, by and through their Director of Communications Rigo Chavez, (supposedly) placed me on the advance notice list for press conferences.

Neither I, nor photojournalist Mark Bralley were notified in advance of the press conference.

I was not invited because, given the floor, I would have asked;
What are your intentions as the senior most role administrative role model of student standards of conduct?  How will you hold yourself honestly accountable to the same standards of conduct* that you enforce upon students?
*The Pillars of Character Counts!; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.
Bralley would have taken photographs of the new superintendent not responding candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

The reporters who Monica Armenta saw fit to invite, would have stood there feeling useless; wondering what it would be like to work for a news organization that was about informing the democracy and not about promoting the interests of their news directors, owners, and former school board heavy hitter Paula Maes and her NM Broadcasters Assoc.

Perhaps some of them, who had not tried before, would have tried to report on the wholesale abdication of the entire leadership of the APS, as role models of student standards of conduct; to no avail.

Supt. Raquel Reedy is absolutely responsible for this, just the latest in a string of violations of my First Amendment rights.

Reedy is responsible because she is knowingly permitting or negligently allowing
  • Monica Armenta to indulge her paranoia and personal vendetta against me, by violating my Constitutionally protected right to be the press by knowingly permitting or negligently allowing
  • APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez to knowingly or negligently fail to get
  • some administrative assistant who Chavez will not identify, and upon whom the blame will be heaped for violating my civil rights, to update the email notification list.
Bralley and I have missed what could have been the most important presser of Reedy's superintendency.

The only way to hold anyone accountable is to take them to court again. To begin again, an impossibly difficult and years long process in search of justice, in order to leave with a settlement including their admissions of no guilt.

Been there and done that; have the T-shirt, and
zero interest frankly,
in earning another.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Raquel Reedy cannot be APS' superintendent; she's unqualified.

aps image
Now APS Supt. Raquel Reedy
is unqualified to be the
superintendent APS because of
her manifest unwillingness to be
held honestly accountable as the
senior-most administrative role
model of student standards of conduct.

Pure and simple.

The argument rests one major premise; students have a right to adult role models.
In particular, they have a right to adult role models of accountability to meaningful standards of conduct.

If we really want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what those look like.

It is Reedy's apparent intention to double down on APS' double standards of conduct;
  • ethical standards for students and
  • whatever they can get away with under the law.
Students are led to believe that their good character rides on they own willingness to do more than the law requires and less than the law allows.  It is one of the most fundamental tenets in the Character Counts! character education model.

Yet their senior-most adult role models; school board members and superintendents, spend hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on litigation and legal weaselry in, so far, successful efforts to escape accountability even to the law.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Reedy listening to teachers - a handful of them anyway.

About 50 teachers from across the district met recently at Sandia High School.  Their convention was called in order that they could "imagine the future of Albuquerque Public Schools".

aps image
Imagining along side them,
Supt. to be, Raquel Reedy.

It is unclear from her weekly 
message to employees, link,
in what capacity exactly,
she participated.

In particular, the convention
participants "imagined" in the
context of working on the
district's Academic Master Plan.
"What skills, dispositions, attitudes and characteristics will our graduates need to succeed in a world that we’re just now imagining? And how do we reshape teaching, learning, classrooms and schools to fulfill the needs of this future generation?"

"Tough questions" in Reedy's estimation.

It is encouraging that the leadership of the APS is finally turning to "practitioners" for input, albeit only 50 of them who may or may not be representative of practitioners as a whole.

Reedy conceded;
It makes sense to turn to practitioners as we develop the Academic Master Plan.
It could not possibly make more sense; Practitioners district wide have more than 100,000 years of current and ongoing teaching experience between them.  Reedy seems surprised to find out that;
"Their experience, insight and vision are proving to be invaluable."
"(Their) astute thoughts ... will help us flesh out our goals and develop focus areas and strategies for preparing our students for the happy, successful lives they deserve."
This story ends the way all stories about gathering stake and interest holder input, end; for all of the effort and expense, Reedy will not be able to identify one thing, not one, that she both;
  • learned from their input and that,
  • she should not have already known.
Nothing new here.

To file as well, under nothing new;
the school board will meet Wednesday, in secret, to evaluate Raquel Reedy's performance as acting superintendent, and then likely offer her the job permanently (relatively speaking of course).

Reedy will assume the position without having once admitted that she is as such, she becomes the senior-most administrative role model of honest to God accountability to a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethics, the Pillars of Character Counts!; the standards of conduct the school board established and she will enforce upon students.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Are APS school board members accountable as role models?

As a school board member, Analee Maestas is one of the senior-most role models in the entire APS.

As a role model, she must follow one or the other of only two paths;
1. show students what it looks like to do the right thing; or
2. show students what it looks like to accept responsibility for having failed to do the right thing.

If we really want students to grow into adults who embrace character and courage and honor, someone has to show them what they look like.

Teachers have to show students what character and courage and honor look like; principals have to show teachers, senior administrators have to show principals, the superintendent has to show the senior administrators and,
the school board has to show the superintendent.

If Maestas will not hold herself accountable as a role model,
how can she be expected to participate in the hiring of a superintendent who will?

Are superintendents accountable as role models?
Should they be; should any of them be?

Nobody in the leadership of the APS will admit to honest to God accountability as a role model of student standards of conduct. If that isn’t proof that they aren’t, what is? There is no such thing as inconspicuous role modeling; the concept is oxymoronic.

Are they accountable to the same standards of conduct that they establish and enforce upon students or are they not?  Are the leadership of the APS actually, honestly accountable to any standards of conduct at all?

They are not.

There is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS.

The simple proof of the allegation is their inability to prove that there isn't that crisis. If they are honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence, they could show you their ethics and standards, and they could show you the mechanism by which they can be held accountable to those standards, even against their will.

They truth is, they aren't really accountable even to the law.
They spend hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on whatever litigation and legal weaselry they need, in order to "admit no guilt" in settlements of complaints made against them.

If Kent Walz and the Albuquerque Journal weren’t in cahoots in the cover up of the scandal, they would investigate and report upon executive and administrative ethics, standards and accountability in the APS.  The would prove that there isn’t that crisis and that they are not covering it up.

That they won't, is prima facie proof that they are.

That the leadership of the APS actually were accountable to meaningful ethics and standards would be newsworthy;
as newsworthy as the fact that they are not.

photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

APS' Analee Maestas - justice denied?

According to William Ewart Gladstone (according to some)

"Justice delayed is justice denied."
William Penn wrote;
"To delay justice is injustice."
Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger wrote;
... inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value ...
Ancient Rabbis taught;
The sword comes into the world, 
because of justice delayed and justice denied..."

It has been more than six weeks now since then APS School Board Vice President Analee Maestas was accused, link, of stealing from her school.

The evidence makes her look guilty as sin.

There was supposed to have been an investigation.

Perhaps the investigation might have cleared her of wrong doing; perhaps not.

Whichever, it seems unfair to leave her twisting in the wind.

The supposed investigation needs to be completed before Maestas participates in the hiring of their next superintendent; else the hiring be tainted by the resignation or recall of a board member involved in the decision making.

Clear Maestas or get along with the indictment and disallow her from participating in the decision.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, April 11, 2016

Journal opinion writer on the wrong side of history

journal photo
Journal opinions are expressed
by opinion writer, Sharon Hendrix.

I intend to take issue with the one
she expressed Saturday last, link.

Before I begin, by way of disclosure, Hendrix seems to have an issue with me personally.  I don't know why, except that I often write about the Journal's complicity in the cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, and perhaps she takes that criticism personally.

She writes at every opportunity;
"MacQuigg ... was accused of being disruptive and threatening, allegedly taking hundreds of photos of APS employees in attendance, speaking out of turn and looming behind the then-superintendent while videotaping ..." or words to that effect.

The statement is of course, absolutely true.

Nevertheless, it is misleading.  Hendrix and the Journal repeat them to create impressions and beliefs that are misleading.  Readers who don't know the truth gain an impression every time the Journal repeats the allegations, that because the Journal keeps spreading them, there must be something to them; that I actually did these these things and somehow got away with doing them.

Hendrix and the Journal steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that with all the resources that APS had available to them, they could not produce a single shred of hard evidence to support even one of their allegations that I did anything ever, that justified banning me from school board public fora for life.

Nor will Hendrix and the Journal admit that they keep repeating the allegations in the interests of Marty Esquivel.

Hendrix is consistent in her lack of candor, forthrightness and honesty in her failure once again, to point out that the villain in the piece; the guy who cost taxpayers more than a million dollars in a cost-is-no-object legal defense of his ego.

She is consistent in her refusal to disclose her and the Journal's personal and professional connections to Esquivel and the appearances of conflicted interests in both Journal coverage and opinions regarding Esquivel's well documented violations of my (and Bralley's) civil rights.

Now, on to the editorial she wrote.

Hendrix and the Journal picked a side in the struggle between the "protesters" and city councilors.  They think it's the protestors who are pushing the limits on free speech.

They see nothing wrong with council rules that limit poster size to something they can't see from where they sit.  Nothing to do with protecting the rights of all participants to see, nothing to do with disruption; simply, your "poster" has to be to small for us to see.

I am reminded of a public forum where candidates for the APS superintendency were answering questions.  It was their practice to not entertain any questions about the obligations of the senior most administrative role model of the standards of conduct s/he would enforce upon students.

So, I constructed a poster, wondering if any one of them could summon the character and courage to talk about role modeling.  I stood quietly against the wall, creating no real disruption whatever.

I was asked if I would mind standing somewhere else, somewhere where the candidates could not see the poster or read my question.

Alternatively I suppose, I could have used a poster too small for them to see.

I declined.

That the people who run public meetings have an obligation to maintain order in meetings really doesn't require reiteration.

Unfortunately, the power they are given to maintain order in meetings can be abused to include disallowing simple dissent.

The city council meeting in this case was disrupted, but by whom?

Was it disrupted by a dissident refusing to obey an unnecessarily restrictive rule, or by a city councilor's efforts to enforce an unnecessarily restrictive rule?

Hendrix and the Journal see only the abuse that the councilors (sometimes) see and paint all protestors with the same brush,  The editors are unwilling or unable to see the abuse that the little people see when they step up to the podium during a public forum to speak truth to power.   Clearly they identify with the powerful and not the powerless.

The Constitutionally protected human right to petition one's government is at stake, and Hendrix and the Journal are on the wrong side of the fight.

photos Mark Bralley

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Journal editors ignore SPJ Code of Ethics

The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics.
As far as I know; it is as good as any and widely accepted by members of the press who are willing to be bound by ethics in the first place.

Like all codes of ethics; the SPJ CoE is unenforceable in a court of law and therefore, for all practical intents and purposes, unenforceable period.

All higher standards depend upon on self enforcement;
the character of the people involved.

Does Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz subscribe to the journalists' code of ethics?

If this morning's editorial, link,
is any indication; he does not.

When the question is; are you willing
to be held honestly accountable to
higher standards of conduct than the
law, any answer except yes means no.
If you asked the editors of the Journal;
do you subscribe to the SPJ code of ethics;
they would say yes.  Yes, we do subscribe.

Then they publish an editorial attack on people who stand up at public forums, and use it to weave in a defense of Walz' and journal crony Marty Esquivel.  Esquivel cost taxpayers more than a million dollars in settlements without being exposed in the Journal, while Walz and the Journal have yet to disclose the personal and professional relationships amounting to conflicts of interest.

It is a blatant violation of the journalists' code of ethics.  But like I said, there's nowhere to lodge a complaint.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

APS settles civil rights lawsuit

The hosing that taxpayers are taking as a result of the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS just never stops.

photo Mary Ellen Broderick
The board has just settled the complaints brought by Mark Bralley, the photojournalist whose work has illustrated this blog for many years.

Bralley will leave with a little less than $60K and the satisfaction that he, litigating pro se, stood up against the APS education litigation complex long enough to prevail.

APS lawyers will walk away with many more dollars than Bralley.  If I were inclined to guess; I would guess three times as many or more.

No one who has not taken on the leadership of the APS and their lawyers, spending an unlimited budget in meetings in secret, of which no record is made, and without any honest to God oversight, can even begin to imagine how monumental is Bralley's accomplishment.

The dollars will come (ultimately, in one way or another) from APS' operational fund.

Operational dollars are dollars that should, could and would be spent educating students if they were not being squandered along with the trust of stake and interest holders, on litigation and legal weaselry in cost-is-no-object legal defenses at taxpayer expense.

In this case, and though taxpayers are out $200-250K,  
no guilt was admitted by anybody;
no matter how guilty they obviously are.

Nobody done nothin' ...

Get used to it.

The Journal is yet to report even that Bralley had filed his civil rights complaints, much less that litigation was underway, and taxpayers were getting hosed, again.

Consequently, public outrage will be kept to a minimum.

Monday, April 04, 2016

KRQE and Iain Munro called out on ethics breach

Iain Munro is the news director at KRQE.

He decides, or is the flak catcher for
the person or people who decide,
what truths will and will not be
shared with the people who look to
him and KRQE for their information.

Munro and KRQE have among their many obligations, the obligation to inform the democracy.  Their obligation is at once;

  1. an ethical one, and
  2. a sacred one, and
  3. an utterly unenforceable one.
Andy Lyman and the NM Political Report, link, report on an unresolved appearance of conflicting interests.  An unresolved appearance of conflicting interests is as damaging to trust as actual conflicting interests.

Lyman writes;
Munro’s motives for the memo (that created the appearance of conflicted interests) are unclear; no one at the station, including Munro, responded to numerous emails and phone calls over the past few weeks seeking comment on this story.
The proper response; the only exculpating response; an easy response if they've nothing to hide, is to address the appearance of a conflict of interests by explaining them away.  He and they need to own the conflicting interests and offer their assurance that they are resolving the conflicts ethically.

In the absence of any assurance of any kind, and in particular in continued absence of even Munro's open and honest acknowledgement of the conflict, the need for real concern is substantiated.

Munro and KRQE are behaving unethically; clear as the nose on your face.  Just like when they covered for KRQE lawyer Marty Esquivel, link, when he squandered the people's trust and treasure in a cost-is-no-object non-viable legal defense.

The only way Munro and KRQE can regain the trust
they have squandered, is to start behaving ethically.

And that's not going to happen any time soon; mark my words.

photo w/o credit

Monday, March 28, 2016

Raise taxes, raid the permanent fund, or …

… end waste, fraud and abuse, at once and for all?

Offered those three choices for generating a few hundred million dollars, why would anyone consider either of the first two?

Balderas; if 1% of the state’s budget were
appropriated to oversight, it would save
taxpayers 250 million dollars annually.
When NM Attorney General Hector Balderas was the state auditor, he complained that the auditor’s office hadn't the resources to do the job the way it needed to be done.

Like all agencies of government charged with providing oversight over the wielding of power and the spending of billions of dollars, his was underfunded.

One could quibble about the actual numbers I suppose, but the bottom line is that an enormous amount of money is being lost every year through waste, fraud and abuse. And further, that that loss is absolutely preventable.

It could be made impossibly difficult to hide public corruption and incompetence. It could be, but it isn’t. It never has been, and looks like it never will be.

In the weeks since the legislature ended without ending the culture of corruption and incompetence in state government, a number of people have lamented the lack of transparency in state government. They seem all to realize that the lack of transparency is the root of all evil.

None, unless I missed it, proposed a workable solution.  Not one of them has proposed anything different from the way it has been done always; hope that legislators will finally do what they have not only never done, but have never shown any real inclination to do ever.

For the most part, it has been all talk no action.  The handful of victories; webcasting and a few others, could not have been conceded more begrudgingly.  It’s easy to understand why politicians and public servants don’t want to change the rules of the game; they like the rules the way they are; they’re winning.

Much harder to understand is, why we put up with it; why we won’t try something different for a change?

I invite anyone to take issue with any of the following few fundamental suppositions:
  • The terms of public service are the prerogative of the people, not of their servants.
  • It is possible to write the statutory and constitutional reform necessary to end the culture of corruption and incompetence at once and for all.
  • It is possible to write standards of conduct and competence high enough to protect the people’s power and resources from the relentless waste, fraud and abuse.
  • It is possible to create honest to God accountability; to hold politicians and public servants accountable to those standards; even the most powerful, even against their will.
A new set of rules could be written between now and the election of the entire legislature. Candidates could be held accountable for their willingness to play by the people’s rules.

FOG, Common Cause, and a few others have been called out. They haven't shown the least interest  in creating real reform through rules change. Apparently, things will stay the same.  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be squandered every year and taxes will be raised and the permanent funded will be raided, to cover the losses.

photo Mark Bralley

Monday, March 21, 2016

APS/Armenta dodge federal complaint

For quite some time, I have been trying to participate in APS press conferences.

For just as long, APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta and others, have been opposing that effort.

Though a great deal of "legal" shenanigans have been employed to keep her name out of it, I am convinced that it was she who has been the main driver in APS' ongoing denial of the free exercise of my Constitutionally protected human right to be the press.

Armenta's opposition is based on a number of (her personal) issues but is centered on the way I behave when I am allowed to ask questions out loud and on the record.  I sometimes ask questions that make them feel uncomfortable; questions like;

Why do you refuse to stand up as role models of the standards of conduct you establish and enforce upon students?
I ask questions that their media friends are willing to forego in exchange for access to press conferences.

At the press conference following the bond issue and mill levy elections, for example; I asked a question about their stewardship.  Their response, that they had no specific plans to address it, made them feel uncomfortable.

Most, if not all of the local media were there to take pictures, ask questions and join in the back and butt slapping with Armenta and APS bigwigs before the presser began.

My question was a perfectly legitimate question; but legitimate questions weren't the purpose the press conference.  It was to be their celebration more than a Q&A.

Armenta wasn't happy.

Despite her unhappiness, it has become clear to them and their lawyer Art Melendres, that their wanton violation of my civil rights is leading to another federal complaint, more litigation and their inevitable defeat despite another cost-is-no-object legal defense.

The last time Melendres and the Modrall law firm advised the leadership of the APS on how to get away with violating my civil rights, they gave the district such bad advice, ended up costing the district (taxpayers) $863K.

It should come as a huge relief to taxpayers, to learn Armenta and whomever have relented; they have decided to allow me to exercise my right to participate in their press conferences.

I have been informed by APS Director of Communications Rigo Chavez;
"... your name and contact information have been added to the APS Communications Office list for press conference invites."
It isn't binding of course, it's only their word on it.
It's not a court order; no precedent has been set.
They can renege anytime it suits their interests.
And it will.  Sooner or later, it will.

And the dance will begin again.

photo Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

If ever the NM FOG needs a poster child ...

I will nominate APS Director of Communications, Public Information Officer, and Public Records Custodian Rigo Chavez.

In the interests of the leadership of the APS and for as long as I can remember, Chavez has been the kind of PIO that keeps the FOG in business; less than candid, forthright and honest in response to stake and interest holders' legitimate questions.

In his defense, he is only following orders.
If he wants to keep his cushy job, he does as he is told.

Most recently, Chavez has been told to obfuscate my search for evidence of yet another civil rights violation precipitated by his boss, APS Crisis Manager and Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.

Armenta is seen here ordering APS'
 publicly funded private police force to
expel me from a gubernatorial debate
 in violation of my right to attend.
For her own personal reasons, and because I won't promise to ask softball questions like her friends in the media, Armenta refuses to add me to the list of those who are contacted in advance of APS press conferences.

I am in the midst of an effort to exercise my Constitutionally protected human right to be the press and she is trying to stop me.  Armenta, and those who enable her, are violating my civil rights.

aps image
Armenta's boss, APS interim Supt. Raquel Reedy is up to her eyeballs in the violation as well.

Reedy is in receipt of a complaint concerning Armenta's violation of my civil rights and is apparently doing nothing.  Reedy is knowingly permitting or negligently allowing her subordinate to violate my First Amendment rights with impunity.

If complaints are ever filed in federal district court, against Armenta, Reedy, and the board, they will enjoy the benefits of yet another cost-is-no-object legal defense and finally the admissions of no guilt in a settlement.

Just for the record, no litigation is pending or threatened, so there really is no reason why any one of them could not respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to questions from the media

... if ever they decide to ask any.

Chavez photo Mark Bralley 
Armenta photo ched macquigg

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hope springs eternal (in the human breast) and in the leadership of the NM FOG

In an op-ed he penned for the Journal and for, link, The president of the Board of Directors of the NM Foundation for Open Government, Gregory P. Williams wrote about problems with NM's "sunshine" laws and FOG's plan to remedy them.

That there are problems with sunshine laws in NM, is in some part, a manifestation of the FOG's failure to complete its primary mission;

"to educate, advocate and enforce our state’s sunshine laws". emphasis added
At least according to Williams, the FOG's plan to enforce our state's sunshine laws in future is to hope;
"... for the good of our state, (that) every official (will) hold sunshine high among their priorities."
They never have before; why would they now?
While hope springs eternal in the human breast;
while human nature is to find cause for optimism,
as a strategy to defeat the forces of evil, it sucks.

When Edmund Burke offered; all that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world is for good men to do nothing, he might just has well have written;
All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world is for good men to rely on their hope that evil will change its mind about being evil;
that the leopard will change his spots, spontaneously, for no apparent reason.

There is a fight going on, over the truth about the wielding of power and the spending of resources that belong fundamentally to the people. 

Imagine a boxer whose defense is to hope his opponent will stop hitting him in the face; and how well that strategy will work.

Those who want to continue to hide the truth have only to prevent change.  They have inertia and nine points under the law, wiktionary, to their advantage.

FOG could if they wanted to; fight back; take the offensive.

They could quite easily, enable the creation of a reform proposal remedying the constitutional and statutory inadequacies that have enabled the generations long culture of corruption and incompetence in state government.

It could be done in time for the election of the entire legislature.  It could be an election issue.  It could be "the" election issue. 

The culture of corruption and incompetence could be ended at once and for all.

Or, we can hope (beyond any reason) that all of them will, spontaneously and for no other reason, "make sunshine their priority".

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, March 11, 2016

Reedy to be promoted in meeting in secret

aps image
Whether APS interim Supt. Raquel Reedy is even remotely qualified
to be promoted to Superintendent,
is moot.

Just as is; whether she is actually
the best qualified candidate.

Those are both legitimate questions and worthy of at least some consideration at some point in the process.  Right now, she happens to be really, really convenient.

The immediate problem; the de-legitimization that flows from the fact that the entire decision making process will take place behind closed doors; in secret from the people whose power and interests are at stake.

For  any one of a number of good and ethical reasons, some of any interview process can and should take place behind closed doors.  But not all of it.

There is no good and ethical to ask every question behind closed doors; to respond to every question behind closed doors.

Should Supt. Reedy be asked about becoming the senior-most administrative role model in the entire APS?
What does she think that looks like?

They are going to ask her that, right?

They are going to ask her about becoming the senior-most role model for staff and students, of accountability to the standards of conduct that she will expect them to embrace, right?

Why shouldn't she have to answer those questions in particular, in public?  Why wouldn't she want to? Isn't in public kind of the whole idea in role modeling?

There is no such thing an as inconspicuous role model.
The concept is oxymoronic. ... except maybe in spy-craft.

The worst thing they could possibly do in this process,
is anything they do in unnecessary secret.

Yet that is their deliberate intention.

It is for no other reason than to hide from inconvenient but nevertheless legitimate questions about the public interests
and about their public service.

They do it because they can.

They can do whatever they want, whenever they want,
and they seem always, to get away with it.

Union supports school board pick and process

In the Journal this morning, link, we find that "the union" has endorsed APS interim Supt. Raquel Reedy's promotion to a more permanent status.

By endorsing the school board's pick for superintendent, the union is endorsing the process by which Reedy will be promoted;

a meeting in secret, without real oversight, and 
without any tape recorders running.
like that hasn't gone wrong a time or two in the past.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

We now have a list of their names ...

We know the names now, of everyone who intends to run for a seat in the NM state legislature.

There are two kinds of them;

1. those who will when elected, wholeheartedly support governmental reform including their own honest and transparent accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence within their public service, and
2. those who will not.
If only there were some way to distinguish the one
from the other.

If only there were some test.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Or maybe, there's another, better way to skin the cat (of governmental reform)

Perhaps we could just cut to the chase; draft State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto and State Representative Jim Dines to co-chair an ad hoc PAC.  This one being a Peoples' Advisory Council.

Ivey-Soto and Dines would arrange for and participate in a (facilitated?) round table discussion of the constitutional and statutory reforms necessary to end at once and for all, the culture of corruption and incompetence in NM government.

The discussion will be conducted on behalf of the people and in their interests.  It will take place independent of whatever the interim process ever gets around to doing, if ever they do anything at all.

The open and honest discussion will take place in public.  There will be no smoky back room; no sleight of hand.  Stake and interest holders will have an opportunity to participate meaningfully.

The ultimate goal will be to create a final draft of a governmental reform proposal to put in front of voters in time for primary elections.

By put in front on voters it is meant; the reform proposal will be able to be used as an issue in the primary election; voters will be able to ask candidates to speak to their intention if elected, to pass the reform at their earliest opportunity.

Or not; at which point, one would hope, voters will reject their candidacy.

It wouldn't have
to Ivey-Soto and
Dines, of course.

Though I cannot
imagine two
gentlemen better
suited to the task.

Let's just get it done, dammit!

photos Mark Bralley
cc Ivey-Soto and Dines upon posting

Saturday, March 05, 2016

We, the undersigned, ... an opportunity to provoke change

Still in service to the people; the New Mexico State Legislature; 72 Representatives and 42 Senators.  They will remain in service to the people until;

"... New Mexico legislative terms expire on December 31 every two or four years, however, incumbents remain in office until their successor is officially sworn in on the third Tuesday in January after the election."
Each of them still has duties, responsibilities and obligations to honor in the "interim"; the ten and a half months they are not "in session".

The people of New Mexico have been issued an assurance by the leadership of the senate; a bill will be written during the interim to address the demand for an ethics commission.  The assurance was later walked back; in the interim they would get ready to begin work after the next session begins.

We have been assured; they can and will write a bill that will sail smoothly through the next legislative session.

The assurance means nothing.

They cannot assure us that someone else will do anything at all.  Such an assurance could be offered only if they were guaranteed re-election.  There is no representative or senator who is guaranteed re-election.  In especially their re-election is not guaranteed, or even likely, after an ethics, standards and accountability fight it which they find themselves on the wrong side of history.

There are those in the sitting legislature who would rather have the next legislature deal with the ethics commission.  Most of those would rather not be held accountable during the election for their obfuscation of critically necessary reform.

It is well within the realm of possibility, to write the enabling bill in less than two months.  A small group of people could write a bill that would provide whatever constitutional or statutory reform is necessary to end the culture of corruption and incompetence in New Mexico State Government.

If the bill were written before the elections instead of after them, the elections could be used to hold legislators accountable for their part in writing the bill, and their willingness to support the bill if they are re-elected.

I propose that the sitting state legislature be put on notice;

Write a bill that addresses the inadequacies in;
  • the Open Meetings Act, 
  • the Inspection of Public Records Act, and
  • the Governmental Conduct Act.
Get it done in time to be held accountable for your production, in the June primary elections.


I would like to start an online petition.  The first draft reads;

Petition to members of the New Mexico State Legislature

We, the undersigned,
insist that you prepare (in time for the primary and general elections) your proposal for the constitutional and statutory reform that will end, at once and for all, the culture of corruption and incompetence in government in New Mexico.

I would appreciate input on the wording, and help in putting together a valid and reliable online petition.

I am grateful for your time and attention.

ched macquigg

Friday, March 04, 2016

The "interim process" must be complete in time to play in the June primaries

Upon the most recent failure of the legislature to create an ethics commission, promises were made by powerful people that the kinks could and would be worked out in interim committee meetings.  Nobody believes that, but it is nevertheless what they have promised.

If these lame ducks are as close as they would have us believe they are, to creating an ethics commission and other meaningful reform, it should come as no great hardship to their effort, to expect them to complete their work in short order.  Under no circumstances should it remain undone until after the primary and general elections. 

It is every bit reasonable, to expect them to come up with a done deal; a final draft of constitutional and statutory reform, in time that candidates for legislative seats can either agree to co-sponsor as is, or explain to voters why they will not.

What can be done to precipitate a conclusion to the interim process in order that their product be available in time to play in the elections?

What can be done to create honest to God accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence for politicians and public servants in the state of New Mexico?

Time is running out.

photo Mark Bralley

Thursday, March 03, 2016

APS board, Reedy, Armenta, Chavez and APS lawyers aching for litigation to begin

At the school board meeting Wednesday night, I ran into APS’ longtime Director of Communications and Custodian of Public Records Rigo Chavez.

I asked him if he had actually received my week old email requests for public records.  He acknowledged that he had.

In so doing, Chavez acknowledged that he was in violation of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. Chavez was required to respond to my request within three days. In fact, the law requires him to produce immediately available records, immediately.

aps photo
By any definition of “three days”, Chavez acknowledged being in violation of the law.

A complaint over his failure to produce the records was copied to his boss; APS Executive Director of Communications and Crisis Manager Monica Armenta, and to her boss; soon to be APS Supt. Raquel Reedy.

aps photo
Reedy is also in receipt of a complaint over Armenta's ongoing violation of my First Amendment rights.

Reedy is yet to respond to either complaint.

Why do you suppose Chavez, Armenta and Reedy would, on the advice of APS lawyers, deliberately break the law?

For some reason, they'd like to provoke me into filing complaints in state and federal district courts.

If I file a complaint over
  • Chavez' failure to produce public records, 
  • APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta violation of my civil rights or
  • APS Supt. Raquel Reedy failure to provide any real oversight over her and over her over him
at least two things happen;
  1. The records will not be produced until a settlement is reached some time far in the future, and
  2. Any questions the media might get around to asking them about the suppression of public records and ongoing civil rights violations will be can be addressed with their old standby; we are not allowed to comment on ongoing litigation.”
The truth is, they don’t want to comment on ongoing litigation.  In particular, they don't want to comment on the hundreds of thousands of dollars they squander on litigation and legal weaselry in order to finally admit no guilt in distant settlements.

To the extent that they "can not" it is because they wrote for themselves, a rule they could hide behind rather than responding to legitimate questions, candidly, forthrightly and honestly.

APS lawyer Art Melendres
They spend more than a million dollars a year on lawyers who help them not respond to legitimate questions, about the public interests or about their public service.

Unless and until I decide to file a complaints against APS, Reedy, Armenta, and Chavez, the media remains free to ask them legitimate questions about APS and Armenta’s violation of First Amendment rights, Chavez’ hiding of public records of their guilt, and of Supt. to be Raquel Reedy about her negligently allowing or knowingly permitting Armenta and Chavez to ignore the state and federal laws.

Not that they will of course, just that they could
if they were so inclined.

photos Mark Bralley

The problem with David Peercy

Recently elected APS School Board President David Peercy looks good on paper; there's no denying it.

But he has a dark side; it is he who is more responsible than any other board member for the fact that the Policy and Instruction Committee has never had an open and honest public discussion of ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

In the year that Peercy was elected to the board, David Robbins was elected too. 

I talked Robbins into asking Peercy's Policy Committee to discuss reinstating the role modeling clause in their standards of conduct.

There was to be, open and honest public discussion of executive and administrative obligations as the senior-most role models of student standards of conduct.

Peercy immediately blocked the discussion and has managed successfully to keep it off the agenda ever since.  I accused him, link, and accuse him still, of moral cowardice and or corruption based on the following logic;

There are no reasons to refuse to step up to honest accountability as a role model except cowardice or corruption; fear of the consequences of honest to God accountability or, unwillingness to be held honestly accountable out of personal interest.
Peercy claimed at the time, that they were already accountable to the "highest" standards.  He, of course, never pointed to those higher standards, nor to any due process by which he could be held accountable to them.   How could he? there are none, and there is none.

The school board's code of ethics, is by their own free admission, utterly unenforceable.

What Peercy has covered up, and what he will continue to cover up as board president is this;
Ever since May 2nd, 1994, there have been double standards of conduct in the APS.
  • Students, since that day and every year since, are told they are expected to "model and promote the Pillars of Character Counts!".  Students are expected to hold themselves honestly accountable to higher standards of conduct; a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct.
  • School board members and senior administrators were and remain manifestly unaccountable even to the law; the standards of conduct that all "higher standards" are higher than.
An effort was being made in the NM 2nd Judicial District Court in 2002, to hold the board accountable as role models of ethical standards of conduct based on the presence of a role modeling clause in their standards of conduct. 
Their response was to erase the role modeling clause from their standards of conduct.  Until they did, it read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
That was the beginning of a full blown ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership.

Peercy has been part of the cover up since the day he was elected.

Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz and the Journal joined the conspiracy to cover up the ethics, standards and accountability crisis with a vengeance in 2007, when they refused to investigate and report upon the cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators in the leadership of their private police force, link.

photos Mark Bralley

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Is Reedy trying to provoke another federal complaint against APS?

aps image
APS Supt. Raquel Reedy is in receipt of a formal complaint filed against APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta.  By that, I mean the (anonymous) person who opens emails addressed to Reedy, has assured me that my complaint was forwarded to the supt.

There has been ample time for Reedy to respond, if only to tell me she needs more time to respond.

I suspect that Reedy and APS want to provoke another civil rights complaint and lawsuit.

Why? one might wonder, would they want to do that.

In the first place, there's no reason not to go to court.
It doesn't cost any one of them even one cent personally,
and they can continue to enrich their favorite law firms and lawyers.

Adverse publicity will be contained by their friends in the media.

It was only a fluke that my complaint and settlement received the media attention it did; biased as it was.  The Journal for example steadfastly refuses still, to mention Mark Bralley's federal complaints against Armenta and the rest, even though they've been pending for nearly as long and are likely to cost the district (and taxpayers) just as much money.

Armenta is seen here, ordering APS'
publicly funded private police force
to eject me from a gubernatorial debate
in violation of my civil rights.
Armenta's unprofessional and illegal infringement of my rights could be used by the district to provoke another federal civil rights lawsuit against the district.

The last complaint in which Armenta was a named respondent, cost taxpayers and APS' operational fund $863,000, link.

Nevertheless, it would suit the interests of the leadership of the APS because it would postpone for another three years, the free exercise of my right under the First Amendment, to be the press, and to ask them questions they don't want to answer at press conferences they don't want me to attend.

The "sue me or go home" attitude of the leadership of the APS and their lawyers illustrates a simple fact; there really is no venue anywhere, where complaints can be filed against senior administrators and school board members short of taking them to court; their home field; unlimited budgets to spend on litigation and legal weaselry, in secret and without real oversight.

There is an ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS;
  • standards aren't high enough to protect the public interests, and
  • there is no honest accountability to any standards of conduct at all.
And if, in order to cover it all up for another three years, they need to provoke an otherwise completely unnecessary lawsuit, they will.

... in a heart beat.

"APS" says "no one has raised any concerns about Maestas serving on the audit committee."

APS School Board Vice President and Audit Committee Chairperson Analee Maestas is apparently guilty of embezzlement, link.  So far, the evidence seems clear, compelling and overwhelming of her defense.

Coincidentally, as the chairperson of the board's Audit Committee, she heads their investigation into the misappropriation of funds by a PTA somewhere, link.

It seems inappropriate.

Does her personal familiarity with embezzlement make her more qualified to lead the committee, or less qualified?

If the allegations are true, Maestas doesn't even hold her seat legitimately; she has forfeited her right to serve on the board.  Why she would want to prolong the process any longer than necessary is unclear.  Except that maybe she thinks she's going to get away with it.

She would not be the first school board member to take advantage of the situation;

  • standards too low and 
  • accountability too easily escaped
to compel her to do otherwise.

If she is somehow able to inject APS lawyers, litigation and legal weaselry into the mix, she could do like Marty Esquivel did, prolong the process until she's no longer in office.

Maestas and the board knowingly permitted or negligently allowed Esquivel to burn through $863K in a non-viable defense of his ego; waiting to get out of office before going to trial.

Will she expect the board to underwrite for her as well, another cost-is-no-object legal defense?

The meetings where that decision will be made, will be held in secret, without recording, without real oversight, and with an unlimited budget.

According to KRQE, link, "someone" at APS told their reporter;
"At this point, ... no one has raised any concerns 
about (Maestas) serving on the audit committee."
Seriously? Where would anyone raise such a concern?  With whom?  And, why would anyone have to have to raise such a concern in the first place?

Are "raised concerns" the only trigger for holding themselves accountable for their conduct and competence?

Anything and everything is OK as long as enough concerns have not yet been raised?

What that would mean is;
for as long as they and their friends in the media
can hide the ethics, standards and accountability crisis
in the leadership of the APS, 
it's OK for the board  and their media cronies to ignore it.

photos Mark Bralley