|Renatta has her mind made up|
The sub-districting fiasco, created by a paranoid city to fend off a lawsuit that was never filed and never would have been, is one of the follies of recent time that shows how absolutely inane a local government based on rules on top of rules has become. It is so far-fetched and ridiculous that we now stare into an abyss and wait for a Board of Education - one voted in by regional self-interests, is going to somehow make plausible decisions not just for their constituencies, but for the others as well.
Yeah. That will happen.
At this point in time the absolutely laughable is taking place right before our eyes.
Renatta Cooper has suddenly become the number one public commenter on the value of a Latino voice on the Board of Education. The most obvious declaration is found here in an editorial where Renatta tells us all how important it is to have Latino representation by writing three paragraphs about African Americans in leadership roles.
She not only fails to show where the Latino representation in the district is, she also fails to explain why African American children in this district are overrepresented in special education, why the children of African American descent are more frequently suspended and expelled in Pasadena, and where the African American leadership is while all of this is going down. Most tellingly, she fails to show why she does nothing about it but to occasionally mumble.
Now Renatta, who has done so much, is suddenly concerned about the Latino voice.
Really Ms. Cooper?
I can think of a couple of autistic Latino children in Sierra Madre that you didn’t do a damn thing for (click here).
The Presidential Seal, or: Today’s Dictator, Today
Two weeks ago, in a totally laughable coup, Tom “Baby Otter” Selinske nominated Renatta “Presidential Seal” Cooper for president, effectively stealing the presidency in an election that should have never happened in the first place. It was a bold move, one that even Larry Tate would envy.
See, if anyone bothers to read the ed code and the bylaws and the board policies would know that the position of president is supposed to based on seniority and rotation. Technically that would place Scott Phelps in the position of president - a position already held by Renatta Cooper last year - and that would place either Kim Kenne or Elizabeth Pomeroy in the vice president’s position. If I recall correctly, Kenne declined the position, and in a mind boggling move, the newbie, Tyron Hampton was made Vice President.
His first order of business was to challenge the superintendent in a bid to placate the UTP. In two days Tyrone went from a newbie to a gold card member. Not bad for the first month. Put the guy in the spotlight, let him make his mistakes out in the front of the class, and distance themselves or embrace him as the political chips fall. It almost hurts to watch.
Now I am going to do the unthinkable. I am going to ask a couple of questions. I want you to think about this.
Why was Renatta Cooper’s first piece of writing after becoming president an essay that was not designed to bring about unity, but to splinter off and reach out to one single segment of the community? Did she believe that would validate how she changed the rules and then stole the presidency? Does she believe that justifies how they have changed the rules for the vacant seat, and how that will be stolen, too?
Does she believe that her advice should be followed by the Latino population, and that they should follow her lead? Or is it the last wheeze from a dinosaur who is well past her political prime? The last gasp from a self-serving nonentity that nobody took seriously in the first place?
Does she really believe she has done the children any favors when so many kids are misidentified and punished on a scale that doesn’t match the larger population?
Does she really believe that the schools to prison pipeline routes around her, and not directly through her?
Isn’t there a little secret memo that came from a local Latino group, one with a few names on it that happened to show up in the top 9 candidates to squeak through? Maybe a memo that went to all board members, and thus is a public record that we don’t know about? Maybe one that supports my assertion that three or four Board members had a little talk before the paper screening took place?
Which reminds me.
Custodian of Records: Denise McElroy, Beth Leyden
RE: Public Records Act Request
Dear Superintendent Gundry,
Pursuant to my rights under the California Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.), I ask to (inspect/obtain a copy of) the following, which I understand to be held by your agency:
Any and all video footage from the May 14, 2013 Board of Education meeting involving cameras facing the audience during the meeting. The requested video footage is during public comments made by Tony Brandenburg, including the public comment directly following.
We also request any and all correspondence between May 3rd and May 16, 2013 between Lt. Gourdikian of the Pasadena Police Department and the following PUSD staff/Board members:
I ask for a determination on this request within 10 days of your receipt of it, and an even prompter reply if you can make that determination without having to review the record[s] in question...... etc.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Tony and Mary Brandenburg
I was once told to ask Renatta how many people in her family enjoy the fantastic health benefits of that PUSD plan she’s been getting as a board member.
So, I am asking. How many, Ren?
Check it out, UTP, the health packages that you have, as I am sure you have been told by PUSD, are rather expensive. They are one of the things that cost the district, and thus the public, and the budget so much. They are also one of the best perks in the Board members’ packages.
I know one of the applicants who didn’t need the package, and was going to actually donate his stipend (click here). Haha. He got one vote, probably from the only Board member that read the application.
Oh, By the way, Renatta, I Think You May Have left Something Out
May 23, 2013
Custodian of Records: Denise McElroy, Adam Wolfson
RE: Public Records Act Request
Dear Superintendent Gundry,
Pursuant to my rights under the California Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.) and including the precedent established in the ruling in Smith v. City of San Jose (Case No. 1-09-CV-150427) re: electronic messaging, including texts, emails and voicemails from private accounts, but pertaining to city/school district business. I ask to obtain a copy of the following, which I understand to be held by your agency:
All emails, text messages, and voicemails, including those from private accounts, during the period of May 6 through May 15th, 2013 between the following officials of PUSD and the City of Pasadena and regarding the appointment to the vacant Board of Education seat, and also regarding the appointment of the President/Vice President of the Board of Education:
Renatta Cooper- Board of Education Trustee
Tom Selinske- Board of Education Trustee
Tyron Hampton- Board of Education Trustee
Bill Bogaard- Mayor of Pasadena
Mark Jomsky- City Clerk of Pasadena
I ask for a determination on this request within 10 days of your receipt of it, and an even prompter reply if you can make that determination without having to review the record[s] in question..... etc.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Tony and Mary Brandenburg
Touche’ Madamn President (May 28, 2013)
The following was presented by me, with no one holding my hand, nor speaking on my behalf, to the Board of Education on May 28, 2013 (click here).
These are some of the anomalies I have found thus far in the process. It is not my intention to figure out who, or what occurred that allowed this to take place. I am aware that there are Board members who were compelled to participate through coercion, through the threat of having no voice in the process, or who lacked the knowledge or skills to resist these decisions. For this reason, I apologize in advance for having to make broad statements, but must do so because this unit -willingly or not- allowed many of these events to take place.
I. The Board of Education has shown bias in the screening process.
A. In reviewing the files for the 38 applications, one of the application files referred to the applicant by first name, and the remaining 37 by their last name. This suggests familiarity to a single candidate and shows preferential treatment and bias.
B. The second example of bias by the Board is the screening process, itself. In failing to redact the applicant names the applications are simply a formality and the criteria is based on popularity and not on skills.
C.The third example of bias by the Board is that there was no process for screening and there was no standard for criteria in the decision making, thus the review was not objective and relied solely on the personal opinions of the six members.
D. The fourth example of bias by the Board lay in the failure of each member to independently read and review the entire 38 applications, and instead relying on one another for information within the applications.
E. The fifth example of bias by the Board lay in their failure to develop and use an unbiased tool to screen the applicants.
F. The sixth example of bias by the Board rests in the failure of the Board to have a rating tool at all prior to taking a vote in the paper screening process.
II. The Board of Educations has committed Brown Act violations in regards to the interview process and screening process. The Board President should be held accountable for these actions as the leader who presided in these actions.
A. The first example of Brown Act violations is for failing to disclose all meetings and discussions related to the screening process.
B. The second example of Brown Act violations is in regards to meetings in which decisions were made which changed the interview process which was set for June 1st and should have included all 38 applicants if they were eligible-and which was changed without notifying the public of the changes, nor notifying the public of the meetings in which these decisions were made, nor posting the minutes from said meetings.
C.The third example of Brown Act violations is in the discussion of the applications by Board members in private meetings prior to making decisions.
D. The fourth example of Brown Act violations took place in meetings which discussed the placement of the current president and vice president prior to formal elections, and which changed the process by which the leadership is designated.
III.The Board of Education is not qualified or competent to interview the candidates
A. The Board members are not knowledgeable in Robert’s Rules, and yet are interviewing applicants in their use. At the May 14 Board Meeting, two Board Members spoke during public comment in violation of the very rules that they are supposed to uphold. This suggests that the Board is not qualified for the interview process because they themselves do not understand Robert’s Rules.
B. The Board is not qualified in the interview process because their criteria shows a fundamental lack of understanding and clarity.
According to the Board’s own criteria for the process an applicant should have a layperson’s understanding of public education. The statement itself denies access to qualified applicants and further suggests that applicants should be without knowledge of the process. This contradicts the rest of the criteria which suggests applicants should have knowledge that a layperson would not have.
C. The Board of Education is not qualified to interview the candidates because the Board has ignored the voice and will of the voters.
The Board has shown its inability to honor the voice of the people by accepting applications and interviewing candidates who were flatly rejected in the Democratic Election process.
IV. The Board President has demonstrated Bias and Incompetence in this process
A. The Board President has demonstrated incompetence to perform the interview process by failing to control the Democratic Process and the Constitutional Rights of the public
. At the April 23 Board Meeting I was kicked by a community member, and verbally accosted by a district employee during public comment. This was all under the supervision of the Board President who did nothing. This demonstrates that the Board President lacks control of the Board Room, and does not understand Robert’s Rules.
B. The Board President showed bias prior to the screening and interviews through her statements to the press prior to a vote being held. In making statements to the press on May 2 and May 22 and May 23 regarding ethnicity and her personal preferences prior to the screening and interviews.
C. The Board president influenced the outcomes with those statements and which may have influenced the outcome of the process.The Board President should recuse herself from the process for these and other previously stated actions.
D. The Board President made statements demonstrating that she believes she is above the Constitution of the United States by denying equal access and opportunity to all applicants.
Sorry, Charlie, We don't want Tuna with Good Taste; We want Tuna that Tastes Good
A finer “thanks, but no thanks” has never been had. Well, by me, and the 27 other people that have already gotten one, I mean. Oh well (click here). I think I have already addressed this above, but maybe I should ask Diana Orona. I am sure she knows where all the bodies are buried, so to speak.
Thank you for applying to fill the vacant Seat 4 on the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education in a replacement capacity. Because of the overwhelming number of applicants for the seat, board members conducted a preliminary screening of applications on May 28 to determine who will appear before the board for a final interview.
After careful consideration, the board has not chosen you for a final interview, but wanted to express their appreciation for your willingness to serve the children of the Pasadena Unified School District. They thank you for your time and hope that you will remain involved in PUSD.
Diane D'Arco Orona
It Should Come as no Surprise, or ... Not All Grapes Are Sour
Before I am accused of sour grapes (click here), and it is bound to happen due to the inevitable poster who doesn’t read the whole blog before firing, you should know a couple of things. The first, and most important thing is that I proudly exercise my right to free speech.
That means that the Board are well aware of what I write. Having said that, on May 27 an investigative reporter contacted Elizabeth Pomeroy about the events at Sierra Madre Elementary School a couple years back. I am certain my name came up. Two weeks ago my daughter played her a serenade, and there were nightly silent vigils at her house.
I betcha Doctor Pomeroy didn’t vote for me. Neither did Tyron, or Renatta. Speaking of Renatta Cooper, she called Tom Selinske "Doctor Selinske" three times at the last Board meeting. Nothing like puffing up an undeserving ego, Coop. I figure that I got a “no” vote from Selinske because Renatta said so. It must be nice to have someone new pulling the strings.
Can you tell I am crushed and devastated by it all? Lament with me (click here).
The second thing is that I have already said I will not run for the office. That is simply because I refuse to spend my money on an election I don’t care about, nor to raise money means to owe favors. I don’t do well with that. I was OK with an appointment. It required no money, and no promises.
I like to be debt free.
The third thing is that there are far better people for political positions like these. The kind that say, “Yes, Sir” (click here) I am not so good at that. I ask way too many questions.
I am unhappy that the President and her little puppets changed the rules. There was supposed to be an interview. You don’t really think I was going to sit there and answer their questions, do you? I had planned to show everyone how little they know about this charade. Oh, they knew it was coming. They made sure it didn’t happen. They may be stupid, but they’re not stooooopid - if ya know what I mean.
As for Gretchen Vance, I know everyone loves her and all, but exactly what has she done on the Oversight Committee? Besides nothing, I mean. The fact that she had a perfect opportunity last night to ask about the Measure TT bond and construction when it came up on the agenda, but said nothing means ... what? Would it have interfered with her interview? Does it matter? Maybe there’s a good reason why Gretchen Vance doesn’t want to be my Facebook friend. Maybe she and I aren’t made of the same stuff.
Mikahla Rahn? I don’t know her, but as an adult who was once a child who was tossed aside, and because of programs like hers, I managed to stay involved in school through ROP type programs, and out of jail. I learned to print my own shirts and flyers and stayed out of the kinds of trouble that the rest of the system had already planned for me. As the father of a child treated the same way, I am personally indebted to people like her. I don’t know if she has a conflict of interest asking to be appointed to the board, but ya know what? To be perfectly honest, I don’t really care.
All the same, I am sure I will never recover from this major setback (click here).
To be honest, I was quadruple booked for June 1st anyway. I had booked the Board interview, and a robotics competition my son is in, and my other son is supposed to test for his first belt, and I have a book reading I am scheduled to do. It kind of makes it easier for me to not participate at all in the the rest of the Board of Education charade.
In fact, it wasn’t news to me at all. I was notified last week when I was on my way to Las Vegas where I planned to see the Weirdos (click here) who I hadn’t seen in ten years, and I was scheduled to sing a few songs with a couple of guitar players that I really admire - James Williamson (click here) of the Stooges and Captain Sensible (click here) of the Damned. It probably doesn’t mean much to Elizabeth “Where am I?” Pomeroy, but it meant a whole lot to me.
Oh yeah, and I got to make fun of the PUSD to about 4 media outlets.
I leave in a few days on an East US/Canadian tour, and then a couple weeks later I'm off to Europe for five weeks. I have tons of press I need to do for a new album. Most of my life is booked through 2013 already.
So. I really didn’t have the time to be a board member, only the desire to help the kids. The smart guys will have to do that part. I am sure they will do just fine. After all, they’ve done a smash-up job so far.
I will just have to be content to be the pitbull on the sidelines.