In 1997, the Board Majority (Williams, Frogue, Lorch, and Fortune), those "fiscally responsible" trustees, managed to run the district into the ground. The district was placed on a Priority 2 fiscal watch list in 1997 because of low reserves. Naturally, this meant that state auditors showed up and insisted on looking at the books. This article describes how Fortune and Williams behaved during one of those visits.
From Dissent 5, 4/14/98
[“Tom from South County” was one of Chunk’s alter-egos, a cat.]
Some Crazy Shit Down at the District, Baby
by Tom of South County
Listen up, kitten, ‘cuz I’m only sayin’ this once, and then I’m outta here. I was down at the district offices on the 6th of April—that was a Monday. I was tryin’ to get some ZZZs behind a box in the Chancellor’s Conference Room, but, man, the Chancellor and her Chancellorettes came in for a meetin’ and things didn’t let up in that room all day!
So, anyway, these people came in the room, and they were joined by Patrick Lenz, who’s Vice Chancellor of Fiscal Policy up at the state, and his sidekick, and also the new district fiscal guy, Newmeyer, I think. It was some pow-wow, baby, and your Tom was right in the middle of it as usual.
But then things started hoppin’, ‘cuz Fortune and Williams—don’t hiss, baby—came in, and this time they dragged somethin’ in with ‘em. It was a court reporter!
So Lenz says “No fuckin’ way,” but Fortune’s prepared, see, ‘cuz she whips out a letter for Lenz to sign sayin’ he won’t let ‘em do the court reporter thing like they wanna. But Lenz, he’s on top o’ things, see, and he just says, “I ain’t signin’ that shit!” or somethin’ to that effect. So, now, Fortune and Williams are steamed more than you can imagine, but, the way I remember it, they stay in the room, even though they’re not set to be under the Lenz until like 3 o’clock. That’s some pushy shit.
So, anyway, Fortune and Williams joined Hodge in her office at some point--it’s all gettin’ fuzzy in my head—but, after a coupla minutes, they stomped out again still hissin’ and steamin’ like before. Yuh see, Fortune and Williams came back into the Conference Room and thought they could sit there all day for this string of meetings, but the Lenz Man coughs up this big hair ball and says, No Goddam Way. I mean he says they’re just not welcome, OK? So like Fortune fills her shorts and runs around like a goddam dog, ‘cuz she’s gotta stay on the outside lookin’ in. And that’s just what she does—glarin’ and glowerin’ and snarlin’, I mean. And she’s somebody who can do that, baby.
Well, these meetings went on all day, like I said, and, ki-TEN, they were somethin’ else. When all those trustees finally met with Lenz in the afternoon, they got real hissy, and I was afraid the hair’d start flyin’. So, I just bolted right outta there. And I don’t bolt, you know that.
Well, when all was said and done, a letter of reprimand was placed in Hodge’s file, I guess ‘cuz she didn’t grab Lenz by the neck and slap ‘im around or somethin’. Piss on it, I say.
One thing more, baby. This district is in some serious shit. I may have to drag my feline ass to greener pastures real soon. What’s more, some accreditation big wigs are comin’ to visit on the 13th, an’ what’s THAT about?
You’d best listen to Tom, kitten. Get your financial and governance shit together, and do it soon too, ‘cuz some o’ these days, somebody’s gonna kick your big ol’ litter box clean across the room. And then the shit is gonna fly, baby.