After the election I checked in with the Police Department and asked if anyone had actually filed such complaints against me and, of course, there was absolutely no record of such a thing. It was a complete and utter libel, and typical of the behavior we have often seen from the people who make these kinds of politically motivated attacks.
My personal opinion is that this fabrication was done to aid the Joe Mosca reelection campaign (Susan Harriet etc. considered herself to be an "organizer" for that campaign), and was even possibly done with Pothole Joe's cooperation. It does smack of his style and abusive wit. And, of course, I wasn't the only one who had been subjected to this sort of thing here in town. MaryAnn MacGillivray, Pat Alcorn, Nancy Shollenberger, Don Watts, Kurt Zimmerman, the Dunns, and just about anyone associated with Measure V has also had to endure assaults from the great San Gabriel Valley political establishment slime machine as well. It is how these people do politics, and when the going gets tough (or their records get discussed) they can be counted on to resort to such things. It's what they do.
Now you might think that in an election for a seat on a Board of Education there would be no place for this sort of thing. That the topics would be the welfare and education of school children, textbooks, music programs and marching bands, athletic programs and, of course, how successful the school system itself has been in educating our young. But apparently for Tom Selinske that sort of discussion isn't what it is all about.
In yesterday's Pasadena Star News there is an article that publicizes the latest round of smear attacks from the good old boy political establishment. Tom Selinske, the Seat 6 Pasadena Unified School District incumbent, desperately fighting for re-election, now finds himself in a runoff election with a talented opponent named Sean Baggett. And, as is typical of the political establishment that he is a part of (Tom has been endorsed by just about all the mainline establishment politicians including Mayors Bill Bogaard and Joe Mosca), Tom Selinske has now unleashed a barrage of unfounded slime against his opponent. This from the PSN piece:
According to court documents, challenger Sean Baggett's criminal record includes a 2008 Pasadena arrest for driving under the influence, which was later reduced to reckless driving; a 2006 Pasadena arrest for urinating in public, which was thrown out in 2007 and a 1994 Santa Cruz arrest for reckless driving. "If (this is true) it would wrong for him to serve on the school board," Pasadena Unified School Board incumbent Tom Selinske said Wednesday.
You might want to note here that the PSN article does not say what Sean was charged with driving under the influence of (it was a reaction to asthma medicine), nor does it state that the Santa Cruz charge was basically a traffic citation. And is there a person living and breathing today who can honestly claim that they haven't relieved themselves against a tree at least once in their life? My personal take is that if you do raise your hand on that one you have probably never played golf.
That Tom Selinske has had to resort to so low and unbecoming a tactic is not only typical of the establishment he represents, it is also an act of desperation. Looking at what has become of the Pasadena Unified School District in the last four years, which is the time of Tom's tenure, what choice does he have? Because to discuss that would be to invite speculation on what has been an unmitigated disaster for local education. Wholesale teacher firings, school closings that have resulted in unprecedented classroom crowding, absurdly low graduation rates, and a mass exodus from the public school system by any families with the wherewithal to send their kids to private school, all things that happened on his watch.
No wonder Tom Selinske would rather talk about pissing in public.
In an article written by former Pasadena Star News mainstay Dan Abendschein (who now runs the Altadena version of The Huffington Patch), there are some very inconvenient numbers that get examined and discussed. And certainly they are not the kind of thing that Tom Selinske would prefer for you to be talking about right now.
According to State Department of Education statistics, Pasadena Unified School District's spending per pupil in the highest in the region. PUSD spends over $10,500 per kid. The second highest rate is in wealthy San Marino where the rate is $9,000 per student. The countywide average is around $8,800.
Yet when you couple those figures with the fact that Pasadena Unified School District pays its teachers the worst salaries in the area ($64,000 per annum versus the LA County average of $66,400) you have to wonder where all of that money is going. And with 160 teacher layoffs, school shut downs and the cutting of as many educational programs as can possibly be eliminated without losing the right to call itself a school system, PUSD is quite obviously not putting its money where its educational mouth needs to be.
So where is that money going? Administration. How do you pay more per pupil than anyone else while paying educators the lowest going rate in the area, and then firing a good portion of them? You spend it on the old boys and girls bureaucracy that runs the place. As Sean Baggett puts it:
Last year, close to 160 teachers were laid off. However, while there were a few administrators let go because of other issues, not one could I find that was laid off due to a reduction in force. That sounds to me that the students and the teachers took the brunt of the hits from last year's budget.
Tom Selinske is now doing everything he can to keep you from talking about the real plight of the PUSD. A plight that, as the Seat 6 incumbent, he bears a lot of the responsibility. And since Selinske has nothing in his 4 year tenure that he can point to with any sense of pride, he has now embraced low road politics and is engaging in what can only be described as a smear campaign.
And in a school board election no less. It really is quite unbelievable.