At the April 24 PUSD Board of Education meeting Mary and I petitioned for help with a picket and protest on Facebook. This is not foreign for us, we have done this from time to time. There are certain advantages, and disadvantages to doing this. The advantages are, naturally, that you get the word out to a large group of people.
The disadvantages, naturally, are that the people live just about everywhere in the world. Well, except for Antarctica. This makes attending a protest impossible for our Polish and Czech friends. A second disadvantage is that it is hard to gauge who will actually attend. People tend to opt out when they believe there is already enough support. Others object to holding up signs. They said it blemishes their image and their Gypsy Chic.
There was a pretty bad accident on the 210 Freeway. Apparently a truck tire blowout on a semi caused a little havoc and sent another track smashing through the barrier and smashing up a Gold Line electricity facilitator. Don't you love how I create names for thingamabobs that I lack the technical and semantic knowledge to correctly refer to?
So we held a picket out on Del Mar and Hudson, and, not surprisingly, found many people driving by that were supporters. We were supported by friends, family, Ron Thomas, musicians, and a local Anonymous group who were streaming the event live. We then went into the board room for public comment.
Substitute teachers in Pasadena got a little surprise compliments of the United Teachers of Pasadena and the Pasadena Unified School District. Well, it shouldn't have been that big a surprise, really. Substitute teachers are not union members, so the union does not look out for their well being.
I recall being a substitute. I did the job of a teacher - I was hired on a 29 day on 1 day off on my third day; the following year I was hired as a long term sub by PUSD, and then hired as an Emergency Credentialed temp. I left after that because I was offered a full time position elsewhere. After the 100th day my already meager wages were garnished by STRS which, technically, I had to pay into with no hope of a return - unless I entered the field permanently.
By the time I left PUSD I had already figured out that their union didn't care about me at all. What mattered was my eligibility as a union paying member. They didn't do anything to help me at all as a struggling beginning teacher. I went to a smaller district.
Anyway. My point is substitute teachers are not union members. The union does not benefit from their dues, so they do not look out for them. When the UTP and PUSD entered an agreement earlier this year, it raised the salaries of the union members.
As for the substitute teachers, who are a necessary part of any school district, the exact opposite occurred. They were granted a pay reduction. This generous little, uh, reward, was made possible by the UTP demands for more and the PUSD reality that its shrinking funds have to come from somewhere.
The little wage war was complicated further by the fact that Yolanda Mendoza, PUSD Chief of Human Resources, notified the substitutes of the $20 reduction by mail before the BOE had even voted on it! As reported in the Pasadena Star News (click here) Mendoza … sent a letter to the district’s substitute teachers explaining their daily pay rate would be cut from $140 to $120 effective Aug. 12. The board did not publicly vote on the pay decrease until Aug. 27, according to PUSD records.
Resisting injustice is the duty of every citizen
Oopsie Daisy. For those of you paying attention, Ms. Mendoza appointed buffoon Steve Miller to investigate the Brandenburgs' claims against PUSD and "What Me Worry?" former Board member Ed Honowitz. Miller has, of course, left PUSD, thus avoiding an investigation and complaint by the Brandenburgs, and Ms. Mendoza has continued an interesting PUSD pattern of internal self-evaluations, internal investigations, and the investigations of superiors by subordinates.
Does anyone wonder why PUSD is never found at fault? Does anyone ever wonder why PUSD keep getting awards that no one can explain? Does anyone ever wonder exactly what these gallant feats of educational wonder actually are?
Codes of Silence
Like it or not dear readers, I assert that my youngest child was abused at Sierra Madre School by PUSD staff; that he was held by force in storage rooms and bathrooms by PUSD staff; and that they did this for hours at a time without reporting it to my family, or to the agencies that protect children against abuse.
Don't get me started about the petition that the parents circulated. There is a reason the PUSD hid that for the parents. You know how cronyism works when your buddies are the city attorney, the sheriff, and the lady who rests comfortably in the back pocket of the union.
The rest of the cast of clowns are protected by their own parents involvements - they are children of PUSD former staff, the children of high powered special education leaders that serve on Senate Committees.
Say what you will about me, I don't care. But ask yourself one simple question: What do Tony and Mary Brandenburg gain from all of this? I will tell you. Nothing but pain, frustration, and sorrow. We will never know what our child could have been because these people stole his childhood, destroyed him emotionally, and changed the entire course of his life.
Codes of Silence are what they are. Keep this in mind, the teachers are still there, looking out for the best interests of your children.
Smoke and Mirrors
The BOE room was bustling. There were twenty or more substitute teachers sharing their plight. They were hesitant to form alliances with the people in the Guy Fawkes masks out on the picket line, but even more so once inside. The monitors for the meeting live stream were turned off. This little trick started back when the Brandenburgs held our first demonstrations.
PUSD didn't want to televise the picket signs. Like everything else they do, they started hiding the truth from the public with significant edits and camera pans. This is why, for example, you didn't see Honowitz's brother-in-law kick me last year. They protect the guilty.
So it must have come as a bit of a shock to them when people in masks walked into the Board Room, pointed cameras at them, and ran a live stream on the internet. One that doesn't censor what is going on. One that shows exactly what PUSD doesn't want you to see.
So you know- you have the right to film and stream a public meeting just like they do. PUSD, you are officially on notice. You cannot hide the truth from the public anymore.
Photo credits - Freeway of InLeague Press