Monday, September 17, 2012

Measure A: PUSD's "Big Lie" Finally Exposed

As a regular Tattler reader I am certain you recall Measure A, the Pasadena Unified School District ballot initiative that radically changed the responsibilities of each Board of Education member from districtwide to seven different subdistricts. Resulting in each district then having its own exclusive representative. This new regime was largely built along ethnic lines, two Northwest Pasadena districts where Latinos are in the majority, a West Altadena district that is a majority African American, with the remaining four being largely white districts. Including one that lumps Sierra Madre in with Southeast Pasadena.

A kind of resegregation of the Pasadena Unified School District, and in the eyes of some a return to the bad old days of the 1970s.

A big problem for us here in Sierra Madre is that while a majority of these districts will be allowed their own exclusive subdistrict representative in 2013, for some strange reason we won't get ours until 2015. Something that still seems patently unfair. The reason given by various shady PUSD apologists being that recently re-elected Board of Education members such as Tom Selinske needed to be able to serve out their entire terms in office. With Sierra Madre being called upon to make the noble sacrifice for these solons of scholarship.

This was ratified and made ballot ready by a specially appointed PUSD so-called "redistricting taskforce commission." One where our representatives, Joe Mosca and later Bart Doyle, sat passively by (if they showed up at all) and allowed this city to be stuck with a form of second class citizenship. And while a bizarre form of political correctness was given as a rationale for all of this, the real reason has now been revealed. Stick around and I will tell you what that was, and why we were misled by those who were supposed to represent us.

Pasadena Star News writer Brian Charles pretty much nailed the racial politics involved in an April 7 piece entitled "Pick Your Poison:"

Voters in the Pasadena Unified School District will vote again to decide how they will elect their school board. The current system, a quasi at-large voting mechanism, has been under attack for more than a year. The Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights said PUSD was "vulnerable to a lawsuit" if they don't switch to a ward system similar to the composition of the (Pasadena) City Council.

The push is for diversity. Creating voting districts around "communities of interest," jargon for black people, Latinos, rich people and poor people, would assume that everyone in the community is represented on the board. But beware of Balkinization. It's currently possible to influence all seven members on the board since they run citywide, and each voter in the district can in effect flip the board every two years.

On June 6 of this year we posted an article called Measure A: Sierra Madre Loses (click here). It announced that Measure A had indeed been approved by the voters, and that we'd been kicked to the back of the bus and would not have our own representative until 2015. This was also the day that the LA County District Attorney's Office searched the home of COG's miscreant El Supremo, Nick Conway. Which, while a good thing, also meant that a rather remarkable prediction contained in this Tattler article was largely overlooked. It had been made the previous day by an anonymous poster, and we were so impressed we stuck it in that day's article. Here is how it read:

The fact is the commission that drew up the maps and decided which sub-districts would get elected first was made up of failed Board of Education and Pasadena City Council candidates.

Their names are: Ken Chawkins, who lives in West Pasadena. He failed in his run for school board and so drew a District for himself and designated it open in 2013.

Roberta Martinez, who lives in Northwest Pasadena. She failed in her run for school board and so drew a District for herself and designated it open in 2013.

Khatchik Chanhinian, who lives in North East Pasadena. He failed in his run for Pasadena City Council.

This is the true reason why the Districts were drawn the way they were and why Sierra Madre has to wait until 2015 ... because the Sub-District Commission members designated the seats they intend to run in upfront in 2013.

Mark my words. These three Commission members will all pull papers to run for school board in 5 months to run in the sub-districts they created for themselves and made sure were available in 2013.

That was last June. Now leap forward several months to this moment in time. In a Larry Wilson column titled "Pigskin Preview of Pasadena Politics," which ran over the weekend in the Pasadena Star News (click here), you will find this rather remarkable passage:

Back to the Pasadena school district: "Scott Phelps will probably be challenged on the west side by Ken Chawkins, who chaired the PUSD redistricting task force. Roberta Martinez and Khatchik Chahinian, both of the task force, are said to be running in their newly defined districts."

So there you go. The June 6 prediction may have been right.

Of course Chawkins, Martinez and Chahinian are very much in league with the establishment cabal currently on the Pasadena Unified Board of Education. The same sad bunch that includes Ed Honowitz and Tom Selinske, characters responsible for the Measure TT "bait and switch" funding debacle that threatens Sierra Madre's schools. These are also the folks at the center of a new controversy that involves steadily declining PUSD enrollment and a scheme to sell off the resulting excess real estate to stack and pack housing development concerns.

Another PUSD big lie, quite possibly exposed. Despite all the claims of grandiose political correctness through ethnic engineering, it could have been all about nothing more than rigging some new voting districts for crony candidates favored by the current Board of Education. With Sierra Madre once again left holding the bag, of course. Isn't that always how these things always end up?

When will we ever be rid of these awful people? With this new restacking of the Board of Education deck, the answer apparently is not for a very long time.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

61 comments:

  1. Start by recalling Ed Honowitz for his scandalous behavior with the Brandenburg child!

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  2. Once again the ugly head of Joe Mosca rears itself into our City. All of you Mosca fans who are anxiously waiting for his return, please take note of his complete sell-out. And, we know you are out there - just look at the last election campaign endorsements.

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    1. Joe Mosca was all form and no content. If he even went to meetings, he sat there with an absent look on his face, made inane remartks when he thought it was time he spoke, and carried on with a habit of leaving early.

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    2. You are too harsh, 11:47. Joe learned everybody's first name, memorized them, and repeated them, often.

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  3. Why did our redistrcting representatives allow this to happen? Why did they say nothing, just sit quietly by while Sierra Madre's right to full Board of Education representation was stolen?

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    1. Draw the line from Doyle to Honowitz to selling off the PUSD properties for community schools aka vertical slums.

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    2. Throw in $300 million in Measure TT bond money and you'll understand the fascination these guys have for education.

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    3. Bart Doyle didn't just barge to the podium and demand this appointment. John Buchanan had a hand in it. Between Buchanan, Mosca, and Doyle we're unrepresented at PUSD until 2015.

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    4. It seems obvious to me that they were in on this. Up to their ears.

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    5. Maybe Gil Aguirre would be interested in this - pure conflict of interest, in my opinion.

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    6. Doyle was in disgrace from his recent me-no-speak-Chinese defense of being the Chief Financial Officer for some crooks who apparently did speak Chinese. His choice as representative was shocking, and an obvious ploy to rehab his reputation.

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  4. I heard that task force member Victor Gonzales was going to run in District 3 - not Roberta Martinez

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    1. Guess you should give Larry Wilson a call and find out what is up. Perhaps they are both running? That does happen in democracies. Even weak ones like the PUSD.

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    2. How accurate is Mr. Wilson?
      Are we confident in his information?

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    3. The thing that is so striking here is the dead on similarity between that post on this blog in June, and what Larry said in his column this weekend. That gives it all some real veracity.

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    4. Just read the Wilson column, and he doesn't even get the significance of what he is saying about the PUSD board.

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    5. He either doesn't know, or decided not to acknowledge it. If it is the latter, Then to me that indicates he thinks they are going to win, and wants to stay on their good side.

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    6. Worse and worse.

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  5. So to roll over elected school board members so they can serve out their full term, that sounds democratic. If it wasn't that, then it is easy to fix if the terms of office are the problem for overlapping: a person elected to a seat that needs to overlap and be reelected two years later gets to serve longer (oh yes) that the others, such as filling in for a vacated term, but "filling in" for longer that the normal term for that seat(s) the first election cycle of the new process.

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    1. Obviously the process was to guarantee certain redistricting task force committee members districts they would feel comfortable running in, and as soon as possible. Done without in any way inconveniencing their allies already on the Board of Education as at large representatives. The price being paid is that Sierra Madre and certain other areas do not get equal representation until 2015.

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    2. What sounds democratic to me is that all concerned areas have the vote at the same time. The sacrifice has to come from the one smaller individual, the person who ends up with the shorter term.

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    3. To me the screwups of the PUSD on this matter are ridiculous, of course. What is important is that districts favored by the redistricting committee get representation in 2013, and Sierra Madre doesn't get a representative until 2015. This is far more important. The clear conflict of interest is that redistricting committee members are running in districts that they clearly favored with a 2013 vote. I wonder if the DA knows about this.

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    4. If I followed the discussions before the city council correctly, and that's a big if, the primary justification for the delay for this town to have a say in representation was due to respect for the 'vote of the people' that put the current representation in - thus the response to the plea for democracy was an echoing plea for democracy.

      That was the big pitch, yeah?

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    5. Right. But now it has turned out that the real reason was to set up 3 PUSD types with safe seats to run in. 2 full years before we get to elect our representative. In other words, they lied.

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    6. be wary of these task forces, and insist on brown act regulations being implemented for full disclosure

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    7. Thanks, Bart Doyle. Your "work" is definitely the gift that keeps on giving it to Sierra Madre.

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  6. No representation until 2015, or represented by Bart Doyle. Isn't that the same thing?

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  7. Chawkins, Martinez and Chahinian should not be able to run.
    It's as clear a conflict of interest as can be, retroactively, in their committee participation.
    They should not be allowed to run!

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  8. Tattler, this is something that needs wider exposure.
    The arrogance of these people needs to be well publicized.

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    1. It just seems so fraudulent. Like they think nobody is paying attention and they can do whatever they want.

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    2. 11:34, they could well be right.

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    3. We need to change that.

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    4. The arrogance is stunning.

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    5. The arrogance stems from their certainty that the media has already ignored this story, and will continue to do so. Thank goodness the Tattler exposes the lies.

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    6. hate to say it, but no one was paying attention- and those who were paying attention were being ridiculed by the people pulling the wool over the eyes of the indifferent and apathetic

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    7. They tell us fairy tales. Machine politics is social equity. Condo projects are green. Constantly increasing taxes give you a much better life. People believe in this crap. And the perpetrators get away with murder.

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  9. What a farce if these folks were just hustling for themselves all along.

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    1. They were hustling for themselves while using themes such as social equity and racial equality as their sales pitch.

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    2. Yeah, right. They're saving the world.

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    3. On their way to the bank.

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    4. Can't we all just get along?

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    5. Rodney KIng. Didn't he drown in a pool after taking too many drugs?

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    6. A lot of good getting along did him.

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  10. To me, another dismaying part of this is that it has the appearance of democracy when it isn't.

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    1. The voetrs gave up their rights to true democracy when they stopped caring about things that are not easy to understand.

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  11. A lot of times these municipal/school board task forces and committees and commissions and feedback-from-the-public meetings are only a cover to try to legitimize what has already been decided in advance by the true power players. Whether it's Sierra Madre, or Pasadena, or Detroit, for that matter.

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  12. Please let me know when the star news publishes something reliable, then maybe I'll get concerned..

    Regardless, these people are accessible. Ask them. I have seen comments and/or heard communication from 2 of the 3 that indicated they were not running. Of course, they could change their minds, but it would seem odd to make that statement then reverse themselves and expect that not to have an impact on their electability.

    Regardless, the board made a mistake by not disallowing any redistricting member from running for a school board seat. If any of them does, they deserve to lose for that reason alone. It is a clear conflict of interest. The board policies have explicit language on conflict of interest, though I dont know that it would apply to behavior before becoming a board member. I would hope so.

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    1. Tell you what, Navigio. I promise that once the candidates for these three seats are announced I will repost your comment here, plus the June 6th comment along with what Larry Wilson had to say. Then we will see who was right. Personally, I don't think it will be you. The Board also made mistake when it robbed Sierra Madre of equal representation. Please do not forget that.

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    2. Certainly Chawkins, Martinez and Chanhinian will have written in to the Star News and asked for a correction by now, Mr. Navigio. How embarrassing for them this all must be!

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    3. Navigio, can you direct us to where you have seen statements from these 3 Redistricting Task Force people indicating that they do not intend to run?

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    4. Navigio, the board has lots of policies, but whether or not they are enforced by the board president, and whether board members adhere to them is quite laughable.
      Do you mean to tell me that Honowitz adheres to board policies? Please, he's been making and breaking his own rules for a while now, and the board sits back and goes along for the ride.
      The tide is turning, and if the other board members don't bail, they're going to be lumped together with Honowitz's dirty dealings and disgusting behavior against members of the public.

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    5. This isnt about being right or wrong. I cannot speak for people I do not know nor guarantee their future behavior (the board could/should have done that). And I made it clear that I think its wrong if they do end up running. If they do, I promise to fight against their campaigns. I do think if its possible to get actual statements from them saying they arent running (and ideally admitting it would be a conflict of interest if they did). That would probably be the best way to prohibit exactly this from happening.

      Anyway, here is roberta's statement (in the comments section):
      http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_20799535/measure-fallout-fractures-pusd

      Someone I know contacted Chawkins after reading about this concern in an earlier tattler story and he said he wasnt running. I dont know whether there is anything in writing in that case, but if he was willing to say that to someone asking out of the blue, he might be willing to do so for the media..?

      I said 2 of the 3. I have heard nothing from/about Chanhinian.

      I'll leave the representation question alone now. I've made my point a number of times why I dont agree that SM should be concerned about that and I dont expect people will be any more likely to get it this time than any of the previous ones. :-P

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    6. I just read the Star News story Navigio, and it said that Roberta Martinez refused to comment. It is good that she later had something to say in the comments, but her reluctance to discuss this with Brian Charles still raises some questions.

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  13. Anyone notice that all those redistricting task force players have been very quiet since measure A passed? They were so quick to defend their actions while they were doing all their pretty drawings, now where did they disappear to?

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    1. The fix is in. Why draw any further attention to the scene of the crime?

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    2. They know that the less they are in the news, until the election is closer, the greater the chance that this egregious conflict of interest will be forgotten.

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  14. I wouldn't be surprised if this whole controversy is a red herring meant to throw us off the scent planted by whoever Larry Wilson "had lunch" with. After all, we could just as easily see clones of Chawkins, Martinez, or Chahinian run for the board. The point is that the districts were drawn to favor like-minded candidates and definitely not for any independent-minded types.

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    1. While I think the mention of clones is an excellent point, I have a hard time understanding how geographic boundaries map to political ones to the extent needed to guarantee a victory for a particular point of view. I know people on both sides of pretty much any given issue from pretty much anywhere in the district.

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  15. I just read this and had to laugh out loud. I was reading the italicized portion. That is one thing I would never do. Re: PSN - I was busy and asked Brian to send me via email his questions so that I could answer them when I had time. He never responded to my request. What a lot of conjecture seems to be going on here. If you read the notes from the meetings it would become clear that I agree with you re: drawing district lines and immediately running. The only desire I had in serving on the DTF was to hear from folks who came to meetings, read data I was given and come to conclusions that were based on those facts. I'm not sure who you mean by independent-minded types, but I did listen to those that came to the meetings and the didn't question my decisions. They may have disagreed with me, but they knew how I felt and that I would stand behind my vote.

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    1. We don't have a PUSD BOE vote until 2015. Explain how we're supposed to pay taxes to your piece of crap school district with having representation.

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