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