|Uh oh, the Po Po!|
Fasten Your Seatbelts - I was pulled over in Sierra Madre last week. I had the whole gang in the car, and we were on our way to have a hot, nutritious meal. Burgers and fries. The boys were behind me at 5 and 7 o'clock.
However, as I was being pulled to the side of the road on So. Lima, they were screaming at each other, both were at 5 o'clock and threatening to beat the tar out of each another. "Hey, you guys. I'm being pulled over. You might want to cool down." They both sat up, and immediately their scorn was all for me.
"Way to go Dad, what did you do?"
Nothing that I could tell. I was barely out of my driveway. I actually felt kind of bad for the Officer because - try as I did - I know I seemed like a curmudgeon. I hardly allowed him to say "Good evening ..." before I started asking questions.
Apparently he thought I wasn't wearing my seat belt.
Now don't get me started on why I think seat belts should only be a requirement for children, and how I believe that adults have the right to be as stupid as they choose without the help of the government and their armed sentries.
I showed him that indeed, I was wearing my seatbelt. He informed me that it was not attached to my body correctly. I was wearing it across my chest, but below my armpit, not over the shoulder. It rubs my neck, waahh. So I wear it the way it is most comfortable. And, according to the Officer, that is the incorrect way.
Another squad car - well, it was an SUV actually - pulled up and my Officer began consulting with the SUV Officer. This was getting interesting. I took a picture. I was starting to feel kind of famous since now my neighbors were watching. Most of them haven't done that since they spied on us for Gayle Bluemel. Mary just laughed at me.
My Officer returned and told me that he was letting me go with just a warning. I told him I would try to wear my seat belt better in the future. As he returned to his car I realized that I had buckled it my way again. I fixed it. Old habits die hard, I guess.
I went to the DMV website to check on the seatbelt thing (click here), mostly because I don't believe anyone anymore. I just smile and pretend I do.
Last year I lost on a ticket for an infraction that occurred at an intersection that I wasn't even at. That is correct. I am probably the only person in the whole world found guilty of infractions that I was not even present for.
Seat belts, both the lap belt and shoulder harness, must be in good working order. You may not operate your vehicle on public roads and on private property, such as public parking lots, unless you and all of your passengers ... are wearing seat belts ... Pregnant women should wear the lap belt as low as possible under the abdomen, and the shoulder strap should be placed between the breasts and to the side of the abdomen’s bulge.
I checked. Even if I could have convinced him that I was a pregnant woman, and not a grumpy fat man, I was out of luck on this one. Still unwilling to accept the remote possibility that I might be wrong, I dug a little deeper (click here) and there was my answer.
If the safety belt is too tight or rubs your neck, ask your local car dealer to adjust it. You can also place a soft cloth or piece of sheepskin on the belt where it touches your neck. Large people should contact their automobile dealer or manufacturer to purchase a safety belt extender. It's illegal for a motorist to disable a shoulder strap if it is part of the vehicle's manufactured safety system.
Damn, I must concede defeat. Thanks for the heads up.
PUSD Superintedent Jon Gundry Is Leaving - This should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention, but PUSD Superintendent Jon Gundry is moving on to greener pastures. I can't say that I blame him. Listening to Renatta Cooper loudly snoring at Board Of Ed meetings is enough to send anyone into a catatonic state. Hell, I have come pretty close to a Renatta induced snore coma a few times myself.
Dear PUSD Families, It is with mixed feelings that I inform you that I have been selected as the sole finalist to be the next Superintendent of the Santa Clara County Office of Education. It has been an honor to work with the students, educators, community members and families of Pasadena Unified during the last three years. I will take many fond memories to my new endeavor.I am grateful for the support that the educational institutions, business organizations, and community partners have given our students and employees to help position our schools for success in the 21st century. I would like to thank the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Educational Foundation for not only their support, but for the work they do to help our students succeed.PUSD has made substantial progress over the past few years: the district’s visionary Strategic Plan has been put into operation; we have formalized a collaborative work plan with the City of Pasadena and the community that links our mutual resources to benefit children and families; our schools and classrooms are transitioning to the Common Core State Standards; and our district now offers excellent competitive academic options for all students at every grade level. I know you all will build on this momentum after my departure.My expected start date at Santa Clara is August 1. I will always remember your support and your commitment to doing what’s best for children. I wish you the best.
Jon R. Gundry
The burning question, of course, is who will be the interim superintendent until the interview process and all of that other stuff is ironed out? Most likely that would be Brian McDonald. He filled in when Gundry was in the hospital last year.
Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K - Speaking of things Bored Of Ed, it appears that there is a consultant who has been helping out one of the PUSD Board Members as a self proclaimed assistant. Our very own Tyron Hampton brought an educationalist on board, so to speak.
I sure hope that this educationalist isn't accessing docs. Not all documents are public, and some even need to be kept confidential (click here). If the rules have changed, by all means, open the floodgates and send me these insights, too.
Oh, and some consultation money!
You may recall the redistricting fiasco that took place a couple of years back. The one which backfired right in the faces of the folks who had hoped to gain so much from it. That must indeed have been a terrible let down. Now the chickens have come home to roost, so to speak.
The marginalization that they swore wouldn't happen is, um, happening. The schools and sub-districts who needed the support the most are - surprise surprise surprise - not getting anyway. Instead they are getting what they always got. Not much.
Recently Tyron started eating lots of breakfast. He set up a trio of meetings to get his sub-district to, I dunno, engage. And he wanted to use district resources to cover his efforts (click here). The person introducing herself as his assistant at these events, and has even answered his office phones from time to time, is a rather well-known international education consultant.
I love consultants (click here) and got out my shovel. Then I jumped into the kitty litter box.
Ladies and gentlemen ... could this actually be Pasadena Unified School District's new hope and guiding light?
Meet Yolande Beckles - Yolande Beckles is a transplant from the UK. According to her Facebook page (click here) she is pretty busy in the LAUSD. I assume it is helping her children on some level. Or helping somebody. Now she is helping PUSD. She claims to be one of the co-founders of the California Title 1 Parent Union (click here).
That sure sounds like a consultation group. I love those consultants so, so much.
Like me, Yolande has a super cool Wiki page up about her. And other really cool stuff, too. But, uh-oh. Apparently she has made a lot of people angry, even more than I have.
According to the Wikipedia entry, in 1998 Ms. Beckles founded Global Graduates, a group designed to help minority students. The group collapsed in 1993 with lots of money unaccounted for, and lots of heavily negative press. Also (click here), "debts of around 125,000 British pounds were left unpaid and at least nineteen court judgements were lodged against her."
Since arriving in the United States, she has been inolved not only with California Title 1 Parent Union, but has founded her own group, Think Global Kids. According to a 2010 online article from the The Independent (click here) titled "The Messy life of Miss Beckles," this group was run much like Ms. Beckles's other troubled endeavors:
In 2008, Ms Beckles suddenly disappeared from the UK, leaving behind unpaid bills and county court judgments. Now she has re-emerged in Los Angeles. And to the dismay of former victims – one of whom runs a website called "Beckleswatch", chronicling her "nefarious" activities – she appears to be up to old tricks.
She has recently founded a new firm, Think Global Kids, which operates on exactly the same basis as her previous ones: it seeks grants and financial donations from public authorities and generous philanthropists to help reform the school system and help underprivileged youngsters.
This pattern appears to be a cloud that has followed Our Miss Beckles for some time. She was the subject of a three part BBC Television show that took a tumble:
Ms Beckles, whose BBC show became embroiled in scandal when newspapers discovered tha in 1999 she had been sacked by the Windsor Fellowship, a charity based in Hackney. Ms Beckles was accused of financial mismanagement, using a work credit card to pay for a dress and goods from Sainsbury's, funneling £5,000 to her mother, and giving herself an unauthorised loan of £5,000. She appealed against the sacking, but lost at an employment tribunal.
Reporters also found that in 2003, her educational firm Global Graduates had collapsed, owing £125,000 and leaving students who had paid hundreds of pounds to go on its courses in limbo. She has also been involved in three companies that were struck off the Companies House register, and 19 county court judgments had been made against her businesses, totalling £68,708.
Born in London to Trinidadian parents in 1962, Ms Beckles left school at 18 and enjoyed a career in management before moving into the education sector. Most of her failed companies tapped into myriad grants available to organisations that help to educate underprivileged and ethnic minority children.
That money wasn't always spent in the way it should have been, however. In 2007, she featured on the front page of London's Evening Standard after she took £12,000 from the families of under-privileged children from Hackney to fund an educational trip to the Caribbean, and promptly disappeared to South Korea, where she was attending a convention of the Moonies.
A few months later, Ms Beckles was taken to court by Bickley Park School in Bromley, southeast London, for not paying her daughter's fees. Shortly after that, she vanished completely.
Well whattaya know. Another education con artist.
Welcome to Pasadena Unified, Yolande. You should feel right at home.