|Renatta the Recycled|
In PUSD, as in any other elected position, there are defined rules for how a Board President is chosen. It is not done on a whim (click here) but up until a few days ago, I always assumed it was. You see folks, I don’t know much about how this local government thing works. In fact, I didn’t even know school district board meetings were political at all until the day Ed Honowitz waited until the window for public comment had closed, and then accused Mary Brandenburg and myself of being political.
We had no idea we were on the politics wild and crazy fast track. Actually, we didn’t even know we were in a car.
Based on the way Mayors and Board Presidents are created and abdicate in Pasadena and Sierra Madre, I pretty much figured all decisions of this nature were done with a coin toss.
So. Redistricting was a failure. This brings forth some interesting questions that should be considered. If the redistricting did not bring the desired leadership to the table, how was this exercise in gerrymandering (click here) productive? If the school district is 61% Latino, how is it that we are now at 0% Latinos on the PUSD Board of Education, where we were at 14% before the Redistricting Task Force made its recommendations - the same recommendations that the school board accepted, and that Pasadena and Altadena (not the Sierra Madre) voters passed into law?
If it wasn’t productive, then, was this a failure?
Consider the wisdom (click here) of the Presidential Seal, “I believe the school board should be representative of the constituency served by the school district,” said School Board President Renatta Cooper. “With that in mind, given our demographics, clearly we need Latino representation at the school board level, at least one person.”
Really? Well, the constituents in a largely Latino region voted for an African American, Tyron Hampton, who the PUSD Board immediately placed into the role of Vice President of the Board of Education (click here). The Latino, Ruben Hueso, who had thousands and thousands of dollars of (Dem) support from friends, and families, and non-partisan (Dem) groups like ACT, well, um, he pretty much got trounced. The same can be said of the other Latino with lots of ACT support - Luis Luis Carlos the Iceman Ayala.
So what does this suggest? Is Republican the new Democrat?
If the goal of redistricting was to place Board leadership who were ethnically - not politically - tied to their constituents, then redistricting was a failure. However, if Ms. Cooper is suggesting that the remedy is that the Board can just pluck a Latino out of a gene pool to represent the 61% Latino population, she is mistaken. It is not something that is to be decided by the Board. That is something to be decided by the people, and the people have spoken.
Voters like me don’t care about political endorsements, by the way. Personally, I don’t care who they think their friends are.
The Presidential Whim
Whim. A sudden desire or change of mind, especially one that is unusual or unexplained.
I have changed my mind. The presidents on the PUSD School Board are chosen by whim. There is no sensible way to explain it.
Unless it’s all rigged.
Selection for the President of the Board of Education is generally done on a rotation basis. For some reason, however, for the last two years it has rotated right on past Scott Phelps, even though it was his turn. Why?
Well, there is a line of thought and thinking that suggests that, because the president has access to more documents, that somehow placing a person into that role who believes in transparency could result in more documents becoming accessible to the public. There are people who don’t want that. They don’t want you to know what’s going on.
Scott Phelps had been passed over last year, and instead, Renatta was given the presidency for the second year, while Ed Honowitz was given the vice presidency. It was a given that should Phelps be re-elected, he would assume the presidency. So much so that rumor has it the PUSD had already ordered the nameplate and business cards. But something happened.
Those promises of goodwill and harmony have fumbled. While Selinske is trying to figure out which way the wind is going to blow now that Honowitz is gone, will the old guard still hold the positions of influence? Probably not, and it is scaring them.
Scaring them because they are afraid of change. And some of them are willing to take drastic steps to stop that.
Board Room Etiquette, or One Endless Act of Buffoonery
Thinking back to Renatta’s comment on Latino representation reminded me of something I’d been considering. Last time I checked the roster, we had a Latino Board member. His name was Ramon Miramontes.
NOT ONE person from the community said a single nice thing about him at his final board meeting because the entire meeting was designed by the ACTors to elevate, uh, that one guy - old what’s his face.
To be honest, it was an embarrassing sight to watch. I mean, I am socially oblivious by design, but even I sensed that the Honowitz appreciation had reached a saturation point and was beginning to just sound ridiculous (click here).
I mean how many creative ways could they come up with to call him The Dimwit, the All Inclusive? I mean, I got the message, all right? Ed Honowitz was the most amazing, and inclusive human being on the entire planet. OK. I GET IT.
Hell, he’s so inclusive I am sure he even invites Hamas and Al Qaeda over for latkes and borscht at least once a week to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. He is so damn inclusive that the harmony seeps out of his single eyebrow. Even the food he eats sings his praise before ingestion.
That means the ONLY family he excluded was mine, and the ONLY child who wasn’t good enough for Pasadena schools was mine.
Anyway, I didn’t hear Ms. Cooper reminding the audience there was another board member leaving. Oh wait, she mentioned it in passing, when comments closed and the room emptied.
That certainly seems rather lackadaisical for someone so concerned about Latino representation as to discuss it to the newspapers and all.
Climbing Mountain Avenue
Mountain Avenue is one of my favorite streets in Pasadena. Mostly because it is an easy shortcut street to get from Sierra Madre to mid city Pasadena. But, wouldn’t you know it, there are some Tattler All Stars who also live on that street. That’s right, some of the Mountain folk are the esteemed What’s up Doc Petey Dreier (click here), Mr. Ed Honowitz (click here), and even the Elizabeth Pomeroy (click here).
For the last week or so a small handful of dedicated parents and activists have held silent vigil in front of the home of Elizabeth Pomeroy in order to remind her that her that in order to bring unity to the PUSD Board, she needs to begin by honoring the agreement; the one that would place Scott Phelps into the leadership role of President.
As I have stood out there a couple of dark nights with candles in silent vigil with a group of mostly women, holding candles and waiting for Ramon “Meet at 7:30” Miramontes to show up at 9:30, I have to weather a whole new group of curious onlookers - this time from the Mountain (Ave.) folk. Yes, we look like a group of giggling onlookers at a Wake.
Still, there’s a part of me that worries that at any moment, Petey and his droogies from Mountain Avenue - Honowheezie, Pomeroy, and their buddy Renatta, could come strolling down the street decked to the nines in white with black bowler hats, and demand to parley at any moment with a bit of the good old fashioned ultra-violins.
So, to anticipate the possibility of violins, Mia Brandenburg, our daughter, brought her violin over to Mountain Avenue and played while a group of fifteen or so protesters showed up on the thirteenth to picket at the home of Elizabeth Pomeroy in an attempt to get her to reconsider her position. Ms. Liz didn’t come out from behind the Wonderful Wizard’s curtain, but the Presidential Seal drove by.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Regurgitate
Apparently it worked, because within 24 hours the Seal was recycled.
That’s right, it was one of the most ridiculous events of the year. Another power move in which the Honowitz Method - that is, bully the others, bully the Superintendent, make the decisions and let the schmucks think it was their idea - is alive and well.
The Board already demonstrated it had a green policy, it immediately placed Tyron Hampton into the Vice President seat. Wow. Bad move.
Just like our own little greenie, Johnny Harabedian, the Board of Ed has its own greenie that they gave a pair of big boy pants to. Now it’s time to show us that he can fit into them - just like dad!
The first major blow it by Tyron Hampton was to begin discussing the Superintendent’s salary - much to the enthusiasm of the UTP in attendance. The same UTP who don’t think they should give up any furlough days - even though every other state worker has.
The most ridiculous suck-up to an audience that I have seen from a newcomer. Really? Mr. Big Britches sure learned Gundry a thing or two. Just like Honopuss - who set the tone for how to mistreat and bully Superintendents.
I guess no one told the greenest of the PUSD Board Green Committee that we keep our lips sealed during public comment. And we never, never, talk about non-agendized items during public comment, especially when we get to play marbles with the big kids.
Maybe he wants to be censured in his first month.
Good old Pomeroy began asking all sorts of questions and making comments during non-agendized public comment, too. I couldn’t help it. I laughed.
Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention that she missed becoming the Board President by one vote last week.
All the President’s Phlegm, or Renatta’s Putsch
Maybe all these nervous mistakes were the visible signs of a coup d’etat?
After a week of what was probably an illegal set of meetings, the Board of Ed reconvened and gave the scepter to Renatta Cooper, yet again.
After losing control of the meeting on April 23, 2013, to the point that a UTP bargaining rep was allowed to lead a group of teachers to bully me during public comment, and then allow a community member to kick at me - the Board determined she was the best choice.
Surprise, surprise, surprise, she was rechristened Queen of the Hive after being nominated by Larry Tate Selinske (click here) in one of Larry’s bolder moves.
Way to step up.
Selinske, in what was the most ridiculously staged plant of recent memory, pulled his hand from his side and lifted it - just like Wimpy orders a cheeseburger in a Popeye cartoon, and said, “I nominate Renatta Cooper.”
Good god, I was hoping someone, even that little UTP Rodent with the big mouth, would chug a can of spinach and speak up. But no one did.
Look at the video of the meeting. You will see Cooper insist on the vote, Kim try, repeatedly, to get clarification, and then Renatta dart a look at Selinske. Selinske then nominates Cooper. It’s hilarious. I swear, he looks like a beat down “yes dear” house-husband. What a hoot.
When the smoke cleared, the Weenie, the Greenie, the Presidential Seal, and the Lost Lady of the Mountain had all placed their votes. Cooper wins, 4-2.
I am flat out saying that I believe that this election was staged, and that what is about to go down with this vacant Board Seat is all part of a set-up.
Just two weeks ago she couldn’t control her board room. Now she is falling asleep at the front of it. I should ask Larry Tate Selinske if those are the stand up qualities I should expect a Board President to show.
She may as well have taken that crown and stuck it on her own head.
Citizen’s Committee? Wait, Isn’t that what an Election is For?
Prior to the Board Meeting of May 14, poor, poor Renatta - the recycled Presidential Seal - figured out she had a little problem. That problem is that 38 interviews need to be conducted.
Wait. A whopping 38 people volunteered to be the Vacant Board Member?
Well, yep. It’s true.
It’s a regular old smorgasbord of people who represent every interest and disinterest imaginable. Folks from every angle possible. Everyone from the folks we already said no to the first time, to pesky gnats, to the disenfranchised cities like Sierra Madre and Altadena, to aspiring rodentia, to the creme de la creme of the soda social.
Oh, and there are even a couple of outsiders.
Well. There is something going on that should concern the citizens of Sierra Madre. I have discussed the first one, and that was the election of the Board President. It smells funny. It smells funny like - go to DTLA and straight to the City Attorney’s office and file a Brown Act Violation - kind of smells funny. There was a meeting before the meeting, that is a no-brainer. That’s when they discussed renewing and recycling Cooper.
This second question is why Cooper was discussing this with the Mayor. She wasn’t the Board President at the time, so whose authority was she acting under? The third concern is why the Mayor of Pasadena and his City Council are so interested in this to begin with? This wouldn’t have to do with Community Schools and the Pasadena City Plan, would it?
Renatta Cooper brought up that she spoke with Pasadena’s very own Mayor Bogaard on Tuesday to discuss the interview calamity. Mayor McCheese then offered some guy to solve this problem. A guy named Mark Jomsky could come in to to work with the Board.
Hey. Stupid question time. Why is the Pasadena Mayor making decisions for the Board of Education? Did Mayor McCheese discuss it with Sierra Madre’s Mayor? How about Altadena’s Mayor? What is Jomsky like? Is he going to look out for our interests?
I’m sure the Mayor’s proposition is legit.
I know from my experiences with Bogaard and Renatta that neither of them have ever shown favor to the special people over the rest of us proles.
I have a question. Why was the Mayor of Pasadena offering suggestions to the Board member Cooper? Renatta Cooper was not the acting president when she approached Bogaard on Tuesday May 14.
According to Renatta Cooper at the Board Meeting, Jomsky has his own ideas on forming a "citizens committee" to screen the 38 applicants for the vacant seat.
Well of course he does. How nice of him to share.
So, now we can expect an array of the finest slop in Pasadena will serve up, just like the creamed corn from Beadle’s Cafe. We can expect something easy on our palates, something we can gum down without our falsies. Maybe even some well known establishment cronies. Maybe Dart Boil or Petey Dreier, or even Tattler buddy Buchanan.
A Citizen Committee will decide which applications to keep and which to discard, right? They know what you want better than you do. How cool is that?
Don’t laugh. It could already be going down.
Mary sent me some concerns that she wrote this morning. Funny, but don’t laugh. That’s how we communicate. Two laptops on opposite sides of the table.
Mark Jomsky is the Pasadena City Clerk who was right in the middle of the push for redistricting, You’ll recall that PUSD swore that they could be sued for big $$ if they didn’t redistrict. At last night’s meeting the newly recycled Renatta had already spoken to Bogaard that day. Bogaard told Renatta that Jomsky had a great plan to lighten the load of interviewing 38 applicants (who all threw in at the last minute, of course). They could assign a “citizen’s committee” to screen (read: weed out) the applicants. Renatta said that another city council member asked for all 38 applications, which they were going to go through very carefully.
They have already ordered copies of the applications. Including mine. Everyone say hi to the friends of Larry Tate Selinske and the Presidential Seal. Let’s all give it up for the Pasadena Association of the Mrs. Kravitz Clan.
Of course. A Citizen’s Committee run by the same people who forced through redistricting.The committee will, no doubt, know what the Board is looking for. They will know which applications to dump. But of course they want to help form this Citizen's Committee! They will have it all figured out for you, the voters.
Sometimes it helps to be one of the smart guys.