Many important events happened on October, 16, 2012. You were probably so hung up on your own trip that you didn’t even notice. In fact, some were so critical that you probably didn’t even realize their long term effect on the world as we know it today. Listen. On October 16th, 2012, President Barack Obama had a debate with some other guy over why Barack should be president again. Another thing happened. A very brave 25 year old woman confronted the ghost of her past when she unveiled an (until then) unheard of mayonnaise phobia she developed because of her mom’s cruel humor (click here) and a Buddist monk who fled Tibet with the Dahlai Lama moved to Loch Ness to try to meet the serpent king (click here) and get in touch with his own inner juju.
What I am getting at is this: it was an important day for the world. Strange things were definitely afoot (click here), so much so that you probably didn’t even notice this little story that ran in the Pasadena Star News (click here):
Lowe and Holden Highlight Marked Contrast in 41st state Assembly Race: ... On Aug. 26, (Chris) Holden arranged a private meeting between Urban Housing Communities and two executive staff members of the Pasadena Unified School District: PUSD Chief of Facilities David Azcarraga and Chief of Finance John Pappalardo, according to the PUSD officials. Holden said the meeting, although private, did not represent a conflict of interest. Questions were raised regarding the connections of Facilities Chair Honowitz, the favors he granted to Holden by brokering previous meetings with Urban Housing Communities (Bigley brother owners/donors to Holden’s campaign) and that he conveniently failed to name on the subcommittee agenda for the Aug. 26th meeting.
"The nature of the meeting was to give some creative ideas to the (school) district on how they can maximize an asset," Holden said. "I wasn't voting on anything and we weren't asking them to vote on anything. It wasn't anything that I was voting on."
I thought this was an important thing to discuss, so I summarized that article and then presented the following statement at the Pasadena Unified School District during open comments (click here) under the topic Facilities. I wanted to know all about that little community schools meeting that Citizen Honowitz set up for Comrade Holden. I know it was a burning question on the minds of all six community members in attendance, too, so I did not feel it was a bad thing to bring up.
Speak Now or Forever Forget what you were Going to Say
Mr. Azcarraga, you told me at a BOE meeting that if I had any questions that involved you, to ask you directly, so I will.
1. Which BOE member set up the meeting that is being referred to?
2. Is this the same Urban Housing Communities company that Mr. Honowitz tried to slide past the Facilities Subcommittee at the meeting where he told me "You've Got Nothing on Me" in front of my family and approximately 20 other people?
3. Mr. Azcarraga, Exactly which assets were being discussed with Councilman Holden?
Mr. Honowitz & Ms. Cooper:
1. Do either of you owe Chris Holden any political favors?
2. Have either of you given money to further his political career or any political figures?
3. Are you aware of contributions to Mr. Holden by Urban Housing Communities, or the Bigley Brothers, who are the owners of said company?
4. Do you consider any of this a conflict of interests?
Board of Education:
1. Is it acceptable that Board Member Honowitz sets up clandestine meetings to further an agenda that is hidden from involved parties, such as parents of children accused, or the public when discussing District assets?
2. Did Mr. Honowitz consult with any members of this Board in private or public to discuss the involvement of any specific contractor in violation of Board protocols or Brown Act transparency?
3. How can any of you, Honowitz included, excuse the actions of Board member Honowitz in regards to violations of Board Protocols and Bylaws?
4. Do any of you recognize a conflict of interest in the questions I have posed?
5. Do any of you believe for a second that the Brandenburg's involvement will end if he is allowed by the president of this board to continue behaving in this manner?
6. At a time where PUSD staff are losing their jobs, is there a justifiable reason that this BOE is spending money for presentations that can be viewed in podcasts, or in the case of Mr. Honowitz's community school's seminar, right here in this building for free?
7. It took a village to bully an autistic child out of his community, with the help of a board member. Do any of you see an irony in that board member teaching you how to bring communities together?
I want to make it clear that we expect Mr. Honowitz to be held accountable through a censure action, and FERPA violations.
We are watching this board, and so are our friends and associates. This is the 21st century. Do not overestimate the power of the press and underestimate the power of social networking and blogging. I promise you, we are capable of making waves in all three arenas.
I would also recommend that instead of wasting money renting large spaces to hold ceremonies that PUSD use the facilities that it already owns, and spend that money saved trying to help our children actually make it to the point that they graduate, instead of allowing them to drop out, or sending them into the prison pipeline like Honowitz and his little Sierra Madre bully friends tried to do with my child.
David Azcarraga looked like a deer caught in the headlights that night. I actually felt bad for asking. I really did. I was told that he could not answer my questions, and I should have known he couldn’t. Neither could the President, nor the Vice President of the Board, They never answered any of my questions, either.
How could they, and why would they?
Dance Monkey, Dance
So. Let's talk about this hot spit new legal team that is getting more financial love from the PUSD. They aren't new to PUSD - heck, they've negotiated union contracts with them for years. It's they are just getting more PUSD business these days for education and other related things.
I’d like you to all put your hands together and give a nice Sierra Madre shout out to Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. You can study them (click here) or just keep reading on.
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo is a full-service law firm with 140 attorneys ....... We represent both private and public sector clients, with emphasis in the areas of employment, labor, construction, education, real estate, general business and business litigation, corporate, taxation, bankruptcy and immigration.
Did you catch that last bit?
Let me pull it out and spell it out for you ICEman style, that is very s.l.o.w.l.y. Their spec-see-al-ity is employment, education, labor, construction, and real estate.
While it is totally possible that they just handle public records requests, as they have handled three or so that were made by the Brandenburgs, they seem to be involved in so, so much more.
Why are attorneys specializing in construction and real estate branching into education, or vice versa? Is there a reason? Could it be that messy Measure TT Affair that no one wants to talk about?
Well, yes, that is probably part of the situation. It is quite likely that they are now there to stop the flow of information to us, and they are especially concerned with trying to stop the flow of information to you.
Well, listen. We know who sleeps with who, who has what malady, why the police showed up at what school, whose computer was stolen, who said what about who, and all of that other stuff, too. Good grief, we watched All My Children faithfully, and we still watch General Hospital five times a week. Off the record, of course.
Let me ask another question. Second verse, different from the first.
When I make a PRA request for documents regarding anything from personal attacks against my family, to questions about where money is spent - why are Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo answering my requests? Inquiring minds want to know (click here).
Mary Brandenburg Sends another ScarleTT LeTTer
Mary Brandenburg is worse than I am when it comes to curiosity. She always wants to know about something or other (click here). So she sent a letter to Superintendent Gundry asking for stuff.
RE: Public Records Act Request Regarding Final Report from Measure TT Investigation/Audit
Dear Superintendent Gundry,
Pursuant to the California Public Records Act (California Government Code § 6250 et seq.), we are writing to request timely disclosure of the following documents in the possession of the School District relating to the independent internal investigation related to the Measure TT capital improvement program, including the final report and investigative findings. This request for public records encompasses ...
Additionally, if any records are withheld or redacted, please provide a written response that describes with specificity each and every record that is being withheld or redacted and the claimed reason for exemption under the California Public Records Act, along with supporting legal authority or authorities. ETC.
I am super excited because Friday we were told to expect another cool denial letter from my favorite new law group, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo! Of course, they’re not going to release that Measure TT investigation report! See, they need to officially release the Chief Facilities guy so they can’t disclose any former employee information.
They always Sneak in the Good Stuff at the End
It is no secret that Pasadena and Sierra Madre City Council Meetings and PUSD Board of Education Meetings are notoriously b-b-b-boring affairs. They are designed to be that way so that two things happen. The first being that you’ll either commit suicide before they end, or should you attempt to and survive, you’ll never return to another one. This is a proven fact.
Remember, keep an eye on the PUSD Board of Education, and especially on the agendas. That's where the really big shtuff goes down. At the end of the March 12, 2013 meeting (click here) there will be a bunch of interesting morsels and tidbits. At the end, of course.
From the Why the Hell did we Vote on Redistricting Department is the beautiful Item M, which contemplates possible boundaries (click here) of Burbank School and Loma Alta School.
Yes, that’s right. People keep leaving the PUSD in packs, and it becomes necessary to realign the suckers who stay.
PUSD can change school boundaries however they'd like.This is especially curious considering the redistricting that just took place to adjust voting enclaves. Something this important will, no doubt, require a subcommittee and a consultant. Oh, and that usually means more money.
The funding for the consultant and costs related to this process would be from the Capital Facilities Fund ... The budget would need to be based on the scope of the committee work, estimated timeline, and need for demographic information. This item was discussed at the February 19, 2013 Board Facilities Subcommittee ...
Maybe one day we will become part of the newly formed NW/SE Pasadena Zone. That would be awesome! Rock me, Amadeus! (click here) It is so great to be a satellite of such an illustrious and organized and forward thinking world class city!
Oh, snap! Just shut my mouth and tape it closed! I will be hogtied on a rail to hell if that isn't the same old Facilities Subcommittee, rearing up it's bald carbuncled head again one more time (click here). They are always so busy! Just like little worker bees.
Bye Bye LADDY (Azcarra) GAGA
Hey, that reminds me.
Remember that day David Azcarraga met at PUSD with those city guys from Chris Holden's office? Remember that meeting of the minds? Whatever did happen there? I never really got a clear answer, and guess what? I still haven’t!
Yowsa, wowsa, speaking of David Azcarraga ... He is on the list of people leaving the district, too. Betcha didn’t see that coming. According to the PUSD Board agenda, as of March 12, 2013, Azcarraga is resigning for “personal reasons” (click here).
I think I know what happened at that Feb. 26th 10:30 PM closed session (click here). I betcha it had something to do with a change in status from "Paid Administrative Leave" to, um, this new status.
You may recall the closed session meeting near the end of the Feb. 26th meeting - the one Prexy Renatta referenced as a “paid presentation.” Yeah, that one. It just so happens that the final report of the independent investigation by Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman was also supposed to be released on that same day, and guess what was reported out from closed? Well, according to the minutes, closed session was re: “Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release (GC §54957),” nothing was reported. Unless “NO REPORTABLE ACTION TAKEN” is supposed to be code for “Oh snap, I better quit!” someone had to bail from the PUSD ASAP.
But during the two weeks between this meeting and the next some action has definitely been taken - they’re just not talking. Why? Adam Wolfson, the PUSD Communications/PRA guy told the Pasadena Independent on Dec. 13, 2012, “Once the investigation is completed, we want to be as transparent as possible.” Yeah ... well he did say “as possible”, didn’t he?
WhaTT is at the Center of it All?
Of course, we'll never really understand any of it, at least not the full extent of it - but the last orders of business, at the very end of the Board Meeting are the releases of a couple of contractors that got paid some good money for their advice, I guess. Yes, it is finally time to officially say bye bye to Peter Contis (click here) and Robin Brown (click here) and (click here) - they’ve gone from “suspended” to officially “terminated.”
Hey. Is it possible that Azcarraga resigning and a couple of contractors being terminated are just a couple of co-inky-dinks, or would that be an “official action” from closed session?
You may recall the recent Joint Sierra Madre and PUSD Meeting. That was the night I asked about the Measure TT stuff and the investigation, only to have it shot down in flames. Superintendent Jon Gundry tried to answer my questions, and was cut off. I tried to get clarification to my question when it was finally answered. Perhaps you'll recall that I was told to shut up by the Sierra Madre Elementary Elite, and that Sierra Madre Mayor Josh Moran dodged the discussion altogether.
I will grant him this, he probably had no idea what the discussion was about. He was just powertrippin’ on his special seat and making sure that I was kept in my place. I get it.
Oh, and hey, a lawyer contract is getting approved late, late, late at the Board Meeting too! It is my new BFF's, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo!!
Lookit, lookit, lookit!
Approval of Contract with Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo for Legal Services to Special Education Department [BR 76-B] (click here). Hey I know those guys! I just got a letter from them! They are, like, famous! Color me starstruck!
I think it's really swell (click here) that they are going to represent the PUSD in its legal affairs regarding Special Education.
Why bother actually providing the educational services to children when you can just hire an attorney to scare the bejeezus out of anyone who asks a question you don't like?
The entire meeting should be an amazing display of brilliance! Be sure to save me a seat in the back where all of the trouble makers sit.
You bring the cigarettes, I'll bring the beer.
Bonus Coverage - Gil Aguirre wins another one: Open government advocate settles suit with Citrus College over issues stemming from president's raise (Pasadena Star News - click here)