To the Pasadena Star News: Attached you'll find the emails that Mr. Cahalan and I exchanged. I wrote Mr. Cahalan because he and his wife wanted to make this process a sort of a popularity contest by going through social media (i.e. Facebook), thus cheapening the process.
I did mention my reservations for one particular candidate and his motives to be back on the short list belief that I have held since the time Mr. Hueso spent $50,000 running for the seat. This is my district and the seat being filled is in my district and I have the inalienable right to express myself about the politics surrounding whoever is appointed to this seat and, in my communications with Mr. Cahalan that was the intent.
Mr. Cahalan expressed his dislike for someone that may have run for the seat and lost. I also ran for the seat and lost therefore, his comment applied to me too. Any reasonable person would have read his comments the same way I did. I already knew by the time I went to the interview that regardless of Mr. Hueso's or my qualifications for the position neither one of us will be on the short list due to prejudice against those who have run before, who happened to be Latinos, in a predominantly Latino and African-American District.
This made contest unfair and his exchange probably illegal specially since Mr. Cahalan is one of the decision makers and part of the deliberative process who can influence the board one way or another.
As previously stated, I am considering my options which may include petitioning for a special election but, the above deserves to be investigated. Mr. Cahalan's conduct is abhorrent, prejudicial, quite possibly illegal and should be censored by the PUSD Board or, better yet, impeached. I do plan to go to the PUSD Board and say this on the record to ensure that the good people of Pasadena are aware that malfeasance, corruption and favoritism is alive and well at the PUSD Board of Ed if no one acts on it.
I need not to tell you that one of Mr. Cahalan's fans threatened me with libel because of this and Mr. Cahalan tried to downplayed this as nothing after I spoke up. I don't think this is nothing, this serious stuff and whole lot of famous people get in trouble for "nothings" like this.. It got to the point that I have to block him and some of his fan from accessing and/or communicating with me since I felt intimidated, harassed and one actually began to insult me for speaking about this. I think that this person used the words "cry baby" for speaking up.
Let me know if you need additional information. The whole exercise was nothing but a farce!
Guillermo A. Arce
(Mod: Here is the exchange of e-mails with BOE member Patrick Cahalan that Mr. Arce references above.)
On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:31 AM, Guillermo A. Arce
Dear Mr. Cahalan:
It is with great interest that I see for letters of recommendation to fill the vacancy left behind by Mr. Hampton who went to pursue higher office elsewhere. I am hoping that you are not turning the appointment for this vacancy into a popularity contest. I, as a resident of District 3, don't want someone on the Board solely based on your personal likes and dislikes.
I for one I am tired of people seeking these obscure position for personal political gain without giving an Angolan pickle about the students who reside on District 3 but are, in large part, represented in all the District's schools but underrepresented on the Board. Most of us at District 3 are minorities, English learners, in need of special education services and undeserved at PUSD schools. Even your wife is turning this into a beauty pageant on Facebook.
During the past election cycle even one tried to pretty much buy the position (Mr. Hueso) with outside money and to my dismay, the other one had higher office in mind leaving the PUSD District 3 without a representative. We at District 3 are tired of the power brokers trying to influence the board or attempting to speak for us.
Let this process be fair and forget about your letter of recommendation. Those are not necessary since we pretty much know who is who in Pasadena politics and some that are likely to recommend puppets, are not of our liking.
Guillermo A. Arce
From: Patrick Cahalan
Subject: Re: District 3 Vacancy
Thank you for the investment of your time to send me your email.
Rest assured, my vote will be based upon my assessment of the capabilities of the candidates who are interviewed for the appointment, not an assessment of their popularity, or who chooses to endorse them.
I am interested in cleareyed assessments of the candidates with a reasonable assessment of their capabilities. Any letter of endorsement that lacked justification would be regarded as merely political fluff and I would not be swayed by it.
On the other hand, for example, a special ed parent critiquing a candidate's involvement in special education due to first hand knowledge would be great information to know. People can look better "on paper" than they actually are.
There are many constituencies in D3, from folks who are in minority groups to special education parents, foster kids, English learners, and socioeconomically disadvantaged citizens. I would very much like to see a candidate who is aware of those issues, particularly special education.
Given the number of candidates and the time available to interview them, any additional information I can gather regarding the candidates is useful (even if it comes from a biased source, provided I'm aware of the bias involved.)
I don't understand your accusation that my wife is turning this into a "beauty pageant". Rest assured, Kitty has worked closely with every type of constituency in the district in the last six years, both at our school site through the PTA and at the District level, and she is not swayed by trivialities or popularity.
Regardless, my wife is not a Board member and has no vote on the matter, nor does she hold any particular influence over anyone on the Board when it comes to policy decisions, myself included.
I do not intend to take the assessments of "power brokers" at face value, should I receive any.
If you have someone on the list of candidates that you would regard as particularly objectionable (other than Mr. Hueso, who you have already mentioned with a negative assessment), I would be glad to know your opinion. Similarly, if you have someone on the list that you don't believe would be a "puppet", I'd be interested in knowing that as well.
If you live in D3 you quite possibly have a better idea of some of the candidates than any individual Board member and I welcome your input.
PUSD Board of Education Trustee Area 4
On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 12:41 PM, Guillermo A. Arce
Dear Mr. Cahalan:
Thank you for responding to my letter.
Please note that anyone recommended by Ken Chawkins is suspect and that includes Hueso who was rated a least and/or less effective teacher per the L.A. Times. Going through Facebook for letters endorsement is akin as to getting a LIKE and kind of demeans the process.
As to the accusation, that's the word around. I guess is about perceptions. However, we at District 3 don't want politicians, we want a candidate that genuinely care about the children in our community and not use a school district board as a springboard to higher office, just like Hampton did and Hueso probably wants. I mean who in the right mind invest $50,000.00 to run for a Board seat at the PUSD financed by politicians in Sacramento.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to ascertain the capabilities of any candidate. My point is that there are no prerequisites to be a candidate in order to get elected to the Board. The only requirement to be a candidate is that you are at least 18 years of age, a U.S. Citizen, a registered voter and live in the district you want to represent. There are no prerequisites that a candidate should have a background in education or an education for all it matters.
I would rather select a candidate that will demonstrate commitment to the community he or she is planning to serve irrespective of that person's background. Who's that person, that's up to you and the Board to decide. However, I can smell a rat a thousand miles away and the biggest one is Hueso out of the bunch. You should chose a teacher?
I believe that the PUSD Board already have educators and teachers but it lacks diversity in other areas that need addressing such as, special education for example. It lacks a representative from the people without a vested interest in the interest groups vying for position to influence the Board.
From: Patrick Cahalan
Subject: Re: District 3 Vacancy
I want to pull this line out directly, because I think it's the most important one in your message:
"However, we at District 3 don't want politicians, we want a candidate that genuinely care about the children in our community and not use a school district board as a springboard to higher office, just like Hampton did and Hueso probably wants. "
I agree. Not just for D3, but districtwide.
I'm a parent in the district and one of the reasons why I ran is because I knew Tom Selinske was not going to run for office again and Renatta Cooper was not well liked among the D4 population.
I particularly did not want to see a "political up and comer" decide to run for the D4 seat with the underlying motivation to challenge either Victor Gordo or Margaret McAustin for City Council in two years.
The Board needs folks who are there for the kids, and involved in the District on the kids' behalf.
"I believe that the PUSD Board already have educators and teachers but it lacks diversity in other areas that need addressing such as, special education for example. It lacks a representative from the people without a vested interest in the interest groups vying for position to influence the Board."
I agree with your first sentence. Your second one, I'll take some issue with.
I, myself, have no vested interest in any of the interest groups vying for position to influence the Board. I respect the work UTP does, I respect the work the classified staff do. I respect the special ed community and the foster kids community and the socioeconomically disadvantaged kids and the English learners.
I have a healthy respect for community organizers of all types, so to the extent that their support helps get the best results for the kids in the district, I'll accept that support. To the extent that their support is directed at not helping the kids in the district, they're going to have to find another ear to bend, because they aren't going to get mine.
I explicitly told the UTP folks when they interviewed me, for example, that I would be happy to accept their endorsement if they offered it, but I wasn't there to seek it. I was there because the teachers deserve to know what sort of candidate I was. If they thought I would be good for the kids in the district, that was great. I told something similar to ACT and to PFAR and to the ANCA. If they chose to endorse me thinking that I was going to put their needs or desires ahead of what I think is best for the District, they did so without listening to the things I said when I visited with them. I was actually somewhat critical of PFAR and the Realtor community at their interview process and they endorsed me anyway.
Regarding Ken Chawkins: I've met the man all of three times. He seems to be fairly supportive of the school district in principle, but he and I don't necessarily share the same operational ideas on how to get from here to there.
His opinion regarding Mr. Hueso's candidacy (in my mind) doesn't outweigh the fact that D3 voters already chose Tyron Hampton over Hueso, so I don't see Mr. Hueso as a great candidate simply on that score.
Right now, the Board has a mix of areas of expertise. Scott and I are both trained scientists, Larry and Elizabeth have teaching experience at the elementary thru high school level. Roy and I both have a smattering of experience in management or business or both. Kim is a former PUSD parent with experience in middle management, Scott and I are both current PUSD parents, as is Larry. Larry works with at-risk kids.
Scott, Elizabeth, and Roy all have experience in teaching at the university level, I'm the equivalent of a classified staff member here at Caltech. I have some construction experience as does Roy. Kim and I are both familiar with technology issues (myself somewhat more so).
We do not have a representative on the Board with direct experience in special education, foster kids, or district support services. I agree with your calling out of special ed in particular, and I regard that as a current lack of expertise as a drawback.
I'm working with both special education folks and the foster care support community to try and plug that gap, on my own... but I very much would like to have someone on the Board with experience in those areas, all other things being equal.
On the other hand, the special education community is not as monolithic as say, the English learner community simply because special education covers everything from severe developmental disabilities to physical handicaps that make learning in a classroom more difficult, and everything in-between... so someone familiar with special education needs to demonstrate that they're aware of the breadth of special education issues, not just the ones that impact them directly.
With luck, the interviews of the D3 candidates will show someone with solid vision for the district and a wide field of concerns that fits well with the existing Board.
(Mod: That is pretty much where the exchange ended.)