On September 28 I attended the PUSD "State of the District." It cost me a sick day, which eventually means more money than I can afford to lose. So why do it? I do it for the joy of being active in the affairs of my children's school district, and to share why I have a problem with bullying, and why I have a problem with Honowitz. Yes, I was there with Mrs. Brandenburg, with picket signs and flyers, with a couple of friends to help out, and with my child. I was teaching him the fine art of peaceful protest, and I did a great job. I spent the latter part of the school hours in a meeting planning my child's education with PUSD staff.
Riddle of the Day:
Q: Why does it take two Brandenburgs to attend a single PUSD meeting?
A: Ten years of being lied to makes the Brandenburgs rely on witnesses.
I didn't say it was a funny riddle. It is just a riddle.
I will say this, however, I am finding more and more of the staff who have come into the district and have begun working with us in the aftermath of our situation to be more empathetic, patient, and willing to work with us. It is a fragile situation, and we have become guarded and jaded because of the past. It was nice, for example, when arriving in a shirt that shouted "CENSURE HONOWITZ" to be invited to a seat by Sierra Madre staff, even though the elephant in the room is that we are the flu.
So, we did our thing, we passed out informational flyers, we talked to the press (LA Times, Pasadena Sun, Pasadena Now) - we got our pictures taken so that we could promote our own brand of narcissism, and we talked to the people who were kind enough to take our flyers, and to those who politely declined them. The Pasadena PD were very respectful, with the chief even taking the flyer I offered to him. It was the interaction with a representative from the office of Anthony Portantino that caught our attention. His representative couldn't be bothered and flatly told us, my child included, that she didn't care what it was about. Now being treated like crap on the sidewalk, or looked at like I have a booger wiped on my face has been the story of my life, but to have a woman who is obviously a person whose profession centers on, revolves around, and is supposed to be driven by, the needs of children - acting in this manner was something of a surprise.
So I got up on Saturday morning and, instead of trying to bait traps to catch the vermin on Ramona Avenue, I sent an email to Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and was told,
"My staff person is a state employee on state business when she saw that someone was taking photos of people with signs dealing with another public official she did not want to be put in a compromising position by being captured in a photo for which she was unsure of its use or purpose. My staff and I have a very bright line between staff work and politics. Had my staffer known of the issue she would of course been happy to converse with you or whomever brings an issue forward. I'm sure you can understand the situation when there are signs and activity unrelated to case work that would make a person in her position not engage."
There you go. Makes sense. Dismiss a child and his advocates because you might chip a nail taking a flyer. I get it. So Mary and I looked her up, as we are known to do. We found that both she and Portantino were featured in a pictorial with Invest In Pasadena Kids, and we see all the usual suspects, former superintendent Edwin "I fixed the telephones" Diaz, as well as one of the "core parents" (as they referred to themselves) - both central characters that bullied my child out of school - and what are they doing? They are all part of a group that is currently lobbying the Pasadena City Council to accept and pass an 8th guiding principle into the ten year General Plan for growth and development. It seems to have caught the ear of Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck who will, according to IIPK (Invest In Pasadena Kids) propose the language to be included in the General Plan that:
“Pasadena is committed to community planning that supports vibrant educational resources responsive to the broad needs of our diverse community. Quality public schools are a shared community responsibility.”
Now, I may only be a school teacher/punkrock singer/amateur narcissist, but I am pretty sure that language such as vibrant and quality are not quantifiable terms, and while I may think Mr. Beck is a super swell and nice guy for showing me I have a nose at the end of my face at the last Pasadena City Council Meeting I attended, and did a dynamite job over there in Riverside, all of this verbiage is just eloquent hokum. The terms look great in mission statements and on sugar-sweetened cereal boxes, but they have no real meaning when it comes to development and planning. Call me persnickety, but I promise that there are differing opinions on what those terms actually mean. Add to the mix that the IIPK gets Peter Dreier so warm and fuzzy that he jumps to attention and starts to sing, but then, PUSD could poot the mere hint of social equity smoke, and ole Petey is gonna sit up, wag his stubby cropped tail and wave his paws in the air.
I haven't heard anything from Ms. Hines stating she has any opinions on anything at all, but her twitter profile says she is just a little ole social worker, doin' her thing in the best Assembly District in California. That's cool, I'm just a little ole accidental activist, and while I don't call myself a social worker, I have been doing social work for most of my life - and would never snub a family asking for help for their child simply because someone might take my damn picture. Maybe the real issue is that she is just a little ole fashioned figurehead that doesn't give a damn about anyone but herself and her free breakfast that you and I are paying for. Bon appetite!
Scott Wilkins: "You are just a one man wrecking ball, aren't you, Mr. Honowitz?
What is really at issue here is that my wife and I have touched the Honowitz nerve center, and that nerve center is politically connected - we know because he called us political, though we aren't - and when you look up the pictures on the websites of these groups, and follow the money trails, you see familiar faces, maybe even the faces of the people that sabotage your life and the lives of your children. If you stand up to these packs of bullies, and those bullies are in the same "grass-root" parent groups that rub shoulders with the Peter Dreiers of the world, and if your Board of Education representative breaks every by-law he can with the blessing of the puppet masters and the feeble minded, and you show up to public events to share it with the public, then Ms. Julianne Hines doesn't want to hear about it, and she doesn't care what it is about. That's pretty much the long and short of it.
Just like the PUSD - when they say they want the best for every child, what they really mean is that they want the best for some of the children, and they don't give a damn about the rest.