Monday, December 13, 1999

THE ANTI-DISSENT, TOILET PAPER, & OLD GUARD SHENANIGANS by Chunk Wheeler

[From Dissent 39 (12/13/99)]

by Chunk Wheeler

1. Saddleback’s Nameless Newsletter.

The Dissent/’Vine has evidently inspired one or two anonymous “response” publications, which have appeared of late in some faculty mailboxes. The first of these nameless documents surfaced, mostly at Saddleback College, around the time of the last Accrediting team visit. Here are some “highlights” from that initial publication:

* Saddleback College Academic senate president Anne Cox is described as “the queen of 80’s hair.” Evidently referring to physical attractiveness, the Nameless Newsletter (NN) opines, apparently without irony, that Cox is “no competition for the President of the Board.” The latter —viz., Dorothy Fortune—is described as “a snappy dresser [who] looks great on TV.”

* Inexplicably, IVC Anthropology instructor Wendy Phillips, who has twice defeated the district in court, is referred to as a “slut.” The “State Supreme Court [?],” insists the NN, “said” that one may publish such remarks with impunity.

* The Dissent’s own “Rebel Girl,” referred to as “Rebel Post Menopausal Girl,” is described as having “bad hair.” How odd. In fact, Rebel Girl is decidedly Pre-Menopausal, although I’m no expert. She certainly doesn’t have bad hair. Who does NN think Rebel Girl is?

* One well-known critic of the Board Majority and the union Old Guard is named and then described as “shaped like a pear.” Inexplicably, his wife is advised to get him some “Viagra.”

* Classified employee Linda Davies is called a “buttinsky,” having been identified as the “actual compiler” of the Dissent/’Vine. Odd. Linda has never had anything whatsoever to do with the Dissent/’Vine.

* Roy Bauer, says the NN, “has gone flaccid and neglects his personal appearance.” Again, this is quite odd. Since June, Bauer has lost over 35 pounds.

* In a section entitled “Most Recent Books They’ve Read,” Anne Cox is said to have just read the book “A Bitch Like Me.”

—Well, if you like all this talk about sluts and bitches and post-menopausal bad-haired buttinskies, Saddleback’s Nameless Newsletter is the publication for you.

About a week ago, another unnamed and anonymous publication appeared, again mostly in Saddleback College mailboxes. Its format and crudity suggest that it was published by the same anonymous scribblers who gave us Nameless Newsletter, Volume 1.

Volume 2 comprises a single article—a fantasy “narrated,” from the year 2020, by one “Rip Van Soc.” The piece seeks to ridicule the usual suspects—Bauer, Phillips, Cox, Cosgrove, et alia. In general, we at the Dissent/’Vine are disposed to encourage and applaud competition. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, NN Volume 2 is burdened, not only by very bad writing, but also by confusion and error and a reliance on ad hominems.

The “Rip Van Soc” piece ends with these nifty lines: “I had a rewarding career from which I had retired sometime early in the 21st century, and retired into a state of physical land [sic] emotional comfort. Sometimes we just need to be reminded how good we have it.” --I’m guessing that Dot Fortune is our mystery writer. What’s your guess?

[INSERT:

12/16/1999, LA TIMES

Newsletters lampoon college faculty, officials
They satirize relations between professors and community college district.


By RENEE MOILANEN
MISSION VIEJO—Two mysterious newsletters with “insulting” references to certain faculty leaders appeared in Saddleback College staff mailboxes in the last few weeks, an apparent response to satirical newsletters published by an Irvine Valley College professor…Both newsletters were anonymous…[Saddleback Academic Senate President Anne] Cox said she received the first newsletter a few weeks ago. “It’s insulting. It’s banal,” she said, adding that it characterizes exactly the problems between the district and college faculties.

“Ugly, vicious personal attacks flourish and are encouraged by the leadership in the district,” she said….

[Bob] Cosgrove, a self-described “outspoken critic” of the board, called the newsletters “juvenile.”

“They’re unsigned, which tells the people are gutless,” he said.

Chancellor Cedric Sampson said he’d seen only one of the newsletters.

“There are points and counterpoints to faculty opinion. I don’t think that’s unusual,” he said.

END OF INSERT.]

2. Read All About It.

The Dec. 3 issue of the OC Weekly contains the following:

South Orange County Community College District trustees on Nov. 22 decided to appeal a court ruling favorable to Roy Bauer. The Irvine Valley College (IVC) professor publishes rabble-rousing newsletters that hilariously lampoon a board and administration that does a damn fine job of hilariously lampooning itself (Nazi sympathizers attending board meetings, homophobic political mailers in trustee elections, faculty fuckheads willing to sell their souls for coin—such a hoot!). Bauer’s bosses tried to force him to seek therapy because, they alleged, his Vine and Dissent newsletters were filled with violence and hatred. Bauer sued on First Amendment grounds. The district countersued, claiming employees had been threatened physically in what friends and foes affectionately refer to as the “Unabauer Manifesto.” But the judge sided with Bauer—in humorous fashion. When the district tried to make hay out of a comment in one newsletter that stated the author wanted to drop “a 2-ton slate of polished granite” on the IVC president’s head, the judge dismissed it as pure hyperbole, noting, “Think of the logistics!” So now the not-so-appealing district is appealing, even though Bauer’s court record against them is a solid 3-0. Two other cases involved the board’s cavalier violations of the state’s open-meetings law (we forgot to include those with the “District Lampooning Itself” examples). Defending the appeal motion, Chancellor Cedric Sampson says he wants to defuse workplace hostilities in an era when not only postal workers go postal. Subliminal message to Bauer: ixnay on the ackblay enchcoattray.

3. TP Deficit.

An IVC classified employee has sent me a list of recent purchases by the Board Majority’s own Raghu P. Mathur:

New office phone: $500
4 outdoor signs: $6,820
6 posting display cases: $2,400
“Attitude” posters : $1,200
1 Self-improvement book: $70
Tapes on dealing with
problematic people: $48


The outdoor signs, I’m told, are actually designed for indoor use and will soon deteriorate. Raghu doesn’t care.

The list’s provider also noted that, normally, 125 cases of toilet paper are purchased each year. This year, however, Mathur, facing a self-inflicted budget crisis, has purchased only 75 cases, despite protests. Further, he has decided not to repair the college’s large lawn mower until July. Classified insiders think Raghu’s an idiot.

4. Old Guard shenanigans.

As you know, the union Old Guard has refused to open its books as regards the notorious PAC. The PAC Committee—the sneeky crowd who brought us Fortune, Frogue, Williams, Padberg, and Wagner—comprises former presidents (Sherry, Curt, Lee, et al.). Despite repeated demands, this group steadfastly refuses to cooperate with the Treasurer and the CTA auditor.

During the Faculty Association “Rep Council” meeting of the 6th—a meeting attended by both the CCA President and Vice President (CCA is the community college division of CTA)—Roni L, union Treasurer, distributed a handout with her report. It said:

“Our local’s annual PERB financial report was due on 10/30/99. Despite requests to the PAC Committee for bank statements required to properly complete the forms, no communication or documents from the PAC Committee were received. The financial report was completed with information that the Treasurer had based on General funds; an asterisked statement was added to the report as follows: The amounts indicated do not include assets and liabilities for the Association-supported PAC account. Neither the Treasurer (who first took office 2/99) nor the President (who took office 5/99) has been able to obtain records for that account, though numerous attempts have been made and continue to be made.

“The deadline for filing of financial forms is January 15, 2000. It is imperative that PAC financial records for fiscal year 98-99 be obtained prior to that date so that the forms can be filed. A statement similar to the one above is not acceptable for such filings. Consider: if the Executive Committee and the independent auditor are unable to retrieve required documents through formal requests, what are our legal next steps?

“…An audit cannot be conducted until paperwork is gathered…Therefore, the first priority will be to gather documents for this time period so that David Marian [the CTA auditor]…can create a financial picture of the organization. Many of the local’s general documents have been given to [CTA’s] Margaret Hoyos and are in “a box.” The bulk of missing information relates to the PAC accounts; there is nothing in “the box” about these accounts. To this end, Mr. Mariam will be working with Mike Channing and Sherry Miller-White (and possibly others), former Treasurers of the PAC (or signatories on FPPC filings for the PAC) during those two fiscal years, to gather bank statements and other filings for the PAC….

“Sharon MacMillan has sent a letter to former Presidents (the “PAC Committee”) indicating the Rep. Council’s directive to assist the Treasurer in obtaining documents necessary to carry out Treasurer duties and to name a contact person for communication about such documents. The letter specifically requested that any PAC financial statements for the period of the audit be sent to the Treasurer.”


During the meeting, Roni asserted that it is “outrageous” that, after many months, the auditor still hasn’t received the requested records from the PAC Committee. She is “incredibly frustrated,” she added.

Some in the room felt that legal action must now be taken. Roni seemed to agree.

Later, CTA’s David Lebow nervously asserted that CTA is taking “all legal measures necessary to get” the needed PAC records. Margaret Hoyos, the regional CTA staffer, made similar noises. Lee shouted, “Hi Ho!”

Throughout these discussions, Curt McClendon, Old Guard crony par excellence and PAC Committee member, appeared repeatedly to justify and defend the Committee’s unresponsiveness. At one point, Lebow had had enough; he shouted at Curt. Naturally, nearly everyone in the room broke into applause. Sharon started to cry, I think--but who can tell?

Toward the end of the meeting, Julie noted that, at IVC, despite the board’s campaign to reduce administration, we now have more administrators than ever. Indeed, as things stand, IVC has more managers than Saddleback, which is twice its size. Someone proposed a resolution against the “proliferation of administrative positions” and the “transformation of faculty positions into administrative positions.”

Saddleback faculty noted, however, that, on their campus, there are still far too few administrators—a legacy of the Board’s idiotic reorganization of two years ago. In the end, the following inelegant motion passed: “The Faculty Association does not support the proliferation of administrative positions at IVC, specifically the Director of Supportive Services position, or the transformation of faculty positions into administrative positions at IVC.”

5. Senator Joe Mathur.

As you know, IVC’s Raghu P. Mathur has recently gone after an untenured instructor who dared to criticize the Imperial President. His alleged crime? —Helping his tenured colleagues name a garden.

Now, Mathur is going after other faculty critics—one for “violating the chain of command” (Huh?), another for allegedly planning a protest.

About two weeks ago, Wendy Phillips was instructed to meet with Mathur concerning her supposed role in planning a student activity on October 28th. In fact, Wendy had no role. Nevertheless, she met with Mathur, accompanied by a lawyer, as a vigil, including about 15 faculty and students, was held outside the meeting room. Mathur, evidently disappointed with Wendy’s account of her conduct during the interrogation, moved to plan B: he asked her to name names of students who had allegedly planned the protest. On her lawyer’s advice, she did not comply.

6. New lawyers/Tustin base.

During the “special meeting” of the 7th, the board voted unanimously to hire a new law firm: Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. I’ve asked around: the firm has a reputation for sleaziness; it specializes in “firing people.” On the 7th, representatives of the firm were treated like conquering heroes. On the 8th, one of the heroes was spotted on a tour of IVC postings with Raghu. He scowled.

The trustees also discussed a possible name for the Tustin Base complex. A classified guy leaned over to me and whispered, “How about Black Hole Money Pit?” I snorted.

Frogue’s suggestion wasn’t much better. He urged the board to adopt the name, “South Orange County Community College District Marine Memorial Center.” Marcia thought about that for a minute. Then she said, “How ‘bout somethin’ short and sweet?”

They also fired a guy that night. But my back is killing me, and I’ve gotta stop. Happy freakin’ holidays. —CW

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