THE DISSENTER’S DICTIONARY
ACCREDITATION (IVC, 1998).
Both Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges were slated for Accreditation review for the 1998 cycle. Early on, however, problems arose at IVC. In May or June of ’97, IVC’s new interim president, Raghu P. Mathur, ignoring academic senate confirmation, appointed his crony Glenn Roquemore chair of the IVC Accreditation Self-Study after R. Welch resigned from that position, owing to her distrust of Mathur. But Roquemore's appointment, a few months later, as acting VP of Instruction forced him to abandon the Self-Study chairship. Ultimately, two names were presented to the IVC Academic Senate for possible recommendation of a replacement: Connie Spar, and Ray Chandos, a member of the Old Guard. In a 15-4 vote, the senate chose Spar. Mathur ignored the recommendation and appointed his crony Chandos. Faculty were appalled.
I refer, of course, to the escapes, firings, and retreats-to-the-classroom that have been the sorry fate of nearly all of the district's--and especially IVC's--best administrators since the arrival of the Board Majority in December of '96. Among the victims: Terry Burgess, Pam Deegan, Nick Kremer, Nancy Reynolds, Dan Rivas, Bob Loeffler, Pauline Merry, and others. (Chancellor Lombardi, Saddleback VP of Instruction Bill Andrews, Saddleback president Ned Doffoney, and IVC president Dan Larios also moved on for various reasons.) Even recent hires have joined the list: in December of '99, IVC's new VP of Instruction, Patricia Spenser, fled to a job at Fullerton College. Her distaste for Raghu P. Mathur had been palpable within weeks of her arrival late in the Spring of ‘99.
In 1988, the board adopted a not unusual administrative hiring procedure that gave to a search committee, representing various constituency groups, the task of selecting the best 3 to 5 candidates from all applicants for interview by the chancellor, who would forward a single recommendation to the board. In April of ‘97, the Board Majority appointed Raghu Mathur as interim president of IVC, despite his lack of experience as a full-time administrator and his unpopularity with many faculty and staff. Almost from the start, Mathur offended and angered nearly everyone, though he was loyal to the BM. Nevertheless, he applied for the permanent position, and, under the circumstances, it was not unreasonable to expect that his name would not be forwarded by the search committee to the chancellor for the final round of interviews. Recognizing this, the BM pressured then chancellor Lombardi to abandon the established hiring procedure in favor of one in which the Board would itself interview all candidates after the search committee had done so, leaving the latter with no discernible role. At the time, Lombardi explained his action by saying that he was being "realistic" about the board, who were concerned, they said, that Mathur might not be evaluated "fairly."
In 1997, the term "board majority" (along with the "board four" and the “Gang of Four”) came to be used to refer to the four trustees--Frogue, Fortune, Williams, and Lorch--who commenced block-voting starting in December of '96 and who seemed always to do the bidding of the union Old Guard. These four, three of whom owed their '96 election victories to the faculty union (Lorch wasn’t up for reelection), seemed to share an antipathy to shared governance and, more specifically, a deep distrust of and contempt for faculty, especially the faculty senates, an early and persistent source of criticism of the board. Among early BM targets were: study abroad programs, reassigned time, senate officers, the college foundations, and numerous administrators hated by the Old Guard, including IVC’s Terry Burgess, who had been selected as the state system’s “administrator of the year.” (Starting in 1997, almost all decent administrators have left the district or retreated to the classroom. See ADMINISTRATIVE EXODUS.)
Sometimes called the "Dark Side," the Axis comprises that loosely-affiliated collection of groups and individuals that has successfully thwarted shared governance and imposed an anti-faculty agenda on the district since December of 1996, which saw the arrival of the Old Guard-backed BOARD MAJORITY. The members of the Axis are not unified by a philosophy but, rather, by opportunism and a lack of principle. More specifically, they are unified by a willingness to embrace "quid pro quo" relationships for personal gain. Thus, the union Old Guard have consistently supported and defended the Holocaust-denying and shared governance-bashing Steve Frogue, who, for his part, votes for lucrative faculty contracts and Old-guard-friendly administrative appointments. Avowed “fiscal conservative” John Williams has been the union's greatest booster during contract negotiations, and the Old Guard have reciprocated. Former Mathur foe Glenn Roquemore suddenly became Mathur’s closest ally after his sudden promotion from geology instructor to acting VP of Instruction; and so on.
Each state has "open meeting" laws that forbid secrecy among "legislative bodies," such as city councils and water and school boards. In the state of California, these laws are known as the “Ralph M. Brown Act.”
When she showed up for the meeting at a local restaurant, she was more than a little surprised to find that Voight was accompanied by Frogue. Nevertheless, she entered the restaurant and they began to converse. Five minutes later, however, the group was joined by Board Majoritarian John Williams and district PR officer (and former union consultant) Pam Zanelli! Said Bustamante in an interview for the Irvine World News, 5/14/98: "I was feeling a little set up."
The SOCCCD faculty union, the legal representative of faculty concerning contractual matters; a chapter of the California Teachers Association (and of its division, the Community College Association [CCA]).
The Board Majority and its toadies--particularly Raghu P. Mathur, Cedric Sampson, and Armando Ruiz--have demonstrated a willingness to crack down on dissent and criticism with indifference to student and faculty rights. For instance, in April of ’98, Mathur sent a memo to faculty instructing them not to “speak in their classes about campus political matters.” At about that time, two mild-mannered IVC students organized a series of protests, which were designed to draw attention to Mathur and the Board Majority's misconduct and the specter of accrediting difficulties. The protests were entirely peaceful and civil; nevertheless, Mathur began to impose arbitrary and unreasonable restrictions on the protesters, and the students responded by taking the matter to federal court. Ultimately, this led to the adoption, in the Spring of 1999, of a "speech and advocacy" policy, evidently based on UCI's, that defined and limited student expression rights on campus.
A loosely affiliated group of faculty who, at least until recently, dominated the Faculty Association (faculty union). They achieved the zenith of their power and influence during the presidency of Sherry Miller-White, who ran the union as an Old Guard front, utterly disregarding laws, CTA guideines, bylaws, and any notion of openness and process. The Old Guard comprises Miller-White, Sharon MacMillan (the current union president as we enter 2000), Curt McClendon, Tony Garcia, Raghu Mathur (who, during the CTA leadership team hearings of 1997, secretly spoke in defense of the group), Bob Kopfstein, Lee Walker, Ken Woodward, Mike Runyan, Tom Carrol, Ray Chandos, Patrick Fennel, and various others.
During a closed board meeting on July 16, 1997, the board majority, amid protests by the board minority (each of whom walked out), boldly reorganized the district, eliminating 10 IVC faculty school chairs and replacing them with 5 deans imported from Saddleback College. The action had been agendized as a "personnel action," since, according to the BROWN ACT, such actions are among the few permitted during closed session. Eventually, OC Superior Court Judge Tully Seymour ruled that, through these actions, the board had violated the Brown Act, for it had failed properly to agendize the matter and had engaged in an action--a reorganization--that, by law, must be done in public, not in closed session.
Zanelli first appeared on the district scene as a consultant for the Faculty Association (union) in 1996. In its October '96 newsletter, the Faculty Association leadership explained that, owing to retiring trustee Harriett Walther's successes waging a campaign in support of Dave Lang and other trustee candidates (in reality, these campaign efforts were the work of a PAC known as "Partners in Education" [PIE] with which Walther was associated), it was forced to seek professional help in promoting the candidacies of the union's Frogue, Williams, Fortune, and Davis: "Because the faculty association has its back to the wall we have turned our campaign over to a professional firm which will try to pick up the pieces." The firm was Zanelli Consulting, which received $4,200 for its work (v. OC Weekly, 4/10/98).
|Ray Chandos of the FA|
A few months later, Chandos was in the news. According to an April '98 Register article, "Harsh criticisms directed at the embattled South Orange County Community College trustees were removed from a draft report prepared for the Irvine Valley College's accreditation review...." The Self-Study committee’s original report had included various criticisms and embarrassing facts. Chandos, as committee chair, had simply removed or softened them; further, he included positive elements: "Committee members said some statements that were never in their evaluation were added to the draft report written by Ray Chandos...Omitted criticisms include passages referring to an Orange County Superior Court judge's finding that the board violated the Brown Act last school year and that additional lawsuits are pending that accuse the trustees of violating open meeting laws. The committee's original report also attacked the board for 'micromanaging' the district and routinely ignoring the advice of top administrators and experts." (4/21/98)
Said the Times: "The accreditation commission is aware of the district's problems--fiscal woes, a drain of top administration, infighting over institutional governance and a trustee recall campaign--and will not be deceived 'for three nanoseconds' by an inaccurate self-study report, [the commission's Judith] Watkins said." (4/22/98)
In July (of ’98), a "supplemental report" for standard 10 (on governance) was submitted to the commission. It said: "Under the current president, decisions are made unilaterally by the president, and at his direction are kept at the administrative level only, or reflect board directive[s] irrespective of the college-wide governance organizations...Outside observers note that the Board continues to make sweeping changes with 'very little depth and understanding of consequences' of those actions..., without 'linking changes to evidence'..., and without consulting the administrators most affected...."
At the close of the Accrediting Team’s visit to IVC in October of '98, Team chair Steven Epler, referring to the division and discord at the college, said, "We were, frankly, stunned" (Times, 10/30/98). Pamila Fisher, chair of the Saddleback College Team, stated that "We have deep concerns about the divisiveness and the disharmony on this campus" (Times, 10/30/98).
In January of ’99, each college was placed on "warning" status. In his letter to president Mathur, David B. Wolff, Executive Director of the Accrediting Commission (ACCJC), wrote that the "Commission is compelled to issue a warning and to ask that IVC correct the deficiencies noted...At the time of the visit by the Evaluating Team, IVC was experiencing the effects of disharmony that have existed at the district and college level for an extended period of time. These effects evidenced themselves most significantly in the area of governance...The district and its colleges should immediately and persistently take steps to insure that the governing board limit itself to appropriate policy-setting roles..[and] assess the leadership issues at IVC and take appropriate measures...." (1/19/99)
The Commission asked the college to submit another report in April ‘99.
Unsurprisingly, the Commission's "Evaluation Report" for IVC noted the inadequacy of the college's self-study. Further, it found that "A high-profile, often controversial group of trustees felt obligated to involve itself actively in the day-to-day operations of the district and of the two colleges far beyond the traditional roles for trustees...A significant portion of the IVC presidential selection controversy results from a revised board policy in executive hiring. This policy, adopted in March 1998 in another 4 to 3 vote, allows the board to involve itself inappropriately in the selection process including the conducting of interviews three levels deep in the organization...This policy brings the board totally out of compliance with Standard 10.A.4...."
In February ('99), the IVC Academic Senate unanimously passed a resolution, included in that body's response to the Accrediting Commission's report, calling "upon the Trustees to immediately reassign Raghu Mathur elsewhere within the South Orange County Community College District...."
In early April (‘99), the California Citizens Commission on Higher Education issued a report, recommending the elimination of locally elected community college boards. According to the Register, "Too often, the commission argues, college boards micromanage their campuses, undermining trained administrators and creating disharmony. Commissioners cited the three years of turmoil at South Orange County Community College District as an example of what could go wrong with locally elected trustees...." (4/6/99)
In June (’99), the two colleges were informed that they continued to be on "warning" status. In mid-November, the Accrediting Teams’ chairs visited the two colleges yet again (Fisher, who was unavailable, was replaced). In Late October (’99), then board president Dorothy Fortune and chancellor Cedric Sampson took the extraordinary step of sending a letter to the Dept. of Education (in late October), alleging that the Accrediting Commission had been biased against the board and in favor of "dissident" faculty. (See DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION LETTER.)
The Commission's latest decision will be released in late January, 2000.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXODUS (c. 1999).
IVC's Bob Loeffler, who quit as VP of business services in '98, explained at the time that "I can no longer effectively or happily work in the unsettled political and administrative environment in both the district and at IVC." (Irvine World News, 7/9/98)
Unfortunately, many of these fine administrators have been replaced, temporarily or permanently, by incompetents, including Old Guard cronies, such as Glenn Roquemore, Mathur’s utility incompetent.
IVC's Raghu P. Mathur has adopted a novel way of explaining the exodus of his best administrators. On more than one occasion, he has characterized a VP's escape to another college as a "feather in the cap" of the district, a fine example of the doublespeak of which he is so fond.
Key classified employees, too, have occasionally fled the district. In September of '98, IVC's new spokeswoman, Bevin Zandvliet, quit after only one month on the job, saying, "I was told that there were some things I was not to focus on...From my own research...I got a picture of an administration that was doing some thing that I don't think I could represent without violating my own ethics...People are walking on eggshells around there...[Mathur] said he has an open-door policy and that he believes in communication, but I didn't see it." (Register, 9/25/98)
Said the Irvine World News: "It's clear the four-member majority of...trustees is now manipulating the selection of a new president for Irvine Valley College. The process they've come up with is a sham...[This micromanagement and politicizing has] got to stop before those four individuals wreck the district and its two find colleges" (8/14/97).
As the IWN in effect predicted, in September of '97, Mathur was appointed permanent president, prompting trustee Dave Lang to seek the intervention of the state chancellor's office. According to Lang, "The process allowed for no meaningful input by campus shared governance groups or the community. The choice was not supported by the administration and was subjected to no level of institutional approval...." Lang also sent a letter to the OC District Attorney concerning apparent violations of the Brown Act. (IWN, 9/11/97). (See BROWN ACT.)
By March of '98, Board members explained that they were considering a proposal to officially adopt the hiring procedure used to hire Mathur. In an interview for IVC's Voice, trustee Dorothy Fortune opined that the proposed procedure would be "more inclusive than ever." Said trustee John Williams: "This is a much fairer process." (3/5/98) On the other side, in a letter to the Times, trustee Milchiker explained that the new procedures "will invalidate a long-standing collegiate district policy which offers all college constituencies a voice in the selection of administration. This subversion of the hiring process comes at a crucial time"--given the ongoing administrative exodus.
Eventually, the Accrediting Commission (ACCJC) cited the new procedures as evidence of the board's micromanagement and subversion of shared governance, and thus they were abandoned. This, however, did not end the BM's manipulations of administrative hiring. When Glenn Roquemore didn't survive the final cut in the screening for the permanent VP of Instruction position at IVC, trustee accusations of unfairness again surfaced, and so, again overturning the search committee's decision, Roquemore was interviewed at the second level. (Though, in the end, Roquemore was not hired, the IVC Academic Senate took great exception to the Board’s impugning of faculty honesty; 2/25.) A similar kind of interference occurred in the job search that yielded the hire of Armando Ruiz as Vice President of Student Services at IVC, despite his utter lack of administrative experience.
BOARD MAJORITY (a.k.a. “the Gang of Four”).
|Frogue holding up a favorite publication|
When Trustee Lorch opted for retirement in 1998, the Old Guard sought a replacement. In the end, they secretly spent tens of thousands of union dollars to elect Nancy Padberg (of San Clemente, Lorch's replacement) and Don Wagner (of Irvine, taking John Hueter's seat), both members of the Education Alliance, an organization with ties to the Christian Coalition and an avowed foe of teachers unions. (See CHRISTIAN RIGHT.) Trustee Williams and his mentor, Assemblyman Bill Morrow, apparently were instrumental in bringing Wagner on board; Lorch may have been instrumental in bringing Padberg on board.
Since their first meeting in December of '98, Padberg and Wagner, while maintaining a demeanor of independence, have in reality tended to vote with Frogue, Williams, and Fortune (and against Lang and Milchiker) on major decisions, giving rise to the suspicion that the Board Four has been replaced by the Board Five. By late '99, Padberg's voting record—and, increasingly, her public remarks--made clear that she was at least a virtual Board Majoritarian. Wagner, however, despite his largely unfortunate voting record, has revealed intelligence and some independence.
BOARD MAJORITY/OLD GUARD AXIS (a.k.a. “the Axis”).
This loosely affiliated group comprises the Faculty Association's Old Guard, the Board Majority (or at least the original BM), and various allies and beneficiaries such as Glenn Roquemore, Armando Ruiz, Raghu Mathur, Chancellor Sampson, and district PR officer (and former Faculty Association consultant) Pam Zanelli.
Chancellor Cedric Sampson has emerged as an important member of the Axis team. Within months of his arrival, it became clear that he was willing to do whatever the Board Majority required or desired, no matter how unprincipled or stupid.
Though the Axis is not an organized group, one of its key constituents--the union Old Guard—appears to be more or less organized. The Old Guard’s successes, however, owe more to reformers' failure to organize than to the Guard’s strategic virtues.
BOARD POLICY 2100.1. (Delegation of Authority to Academic Senates)
(See SHARED GOVERNANCE)
BOARD POLICY 5406. (Speech and Advocacy)
(See FIRST AMENDMENT)
BROWN ACT (a.k.a. “open meeting laws”).
Essentially, the Brown Act requires that decision-making occur in public, and therefore secret meetings (including "serial communications" leading to a "collective concurrence" prior to meetings) by "legislators" are strictly prohibited. Further, all items to be discussed by legislators must be clearly agendized, and the public must be permitted an opportunity to comment on any possible action prior to its consideration by officials. Finally, though some sensitive issues, specified by law, may be discussed in closed session, they must nevertheless be agendized and, again, the public must be permitted an opportunity to comment upon them prior to the meeting in which they are considered.
The Board Majority has a long history of violations of the Brown Act, starting with its first meeting (12/16/96) in which, during a closed session, it discussed and voted upon a reduction of reassigned time for academic senate officers--not a permitted closed session topic--without agendizing the matter. After the board appointed Raghu Mathur interim president of IVC in a closed session in April--the action was unagendized and the public was thus not allowed an opportunity to comment--a group of faculty and community members demanded a "cure," which the board ignored; this ultimately led to a decision, by OC Superior Court Judge MacDonald, that voided Mathur's appointment and decisions. (This has been dubbed, by the district, Bauer I.) Then, in July, the board reorganized the district in closed session, agendizing the matter deceptively as a "personnel" action, thereby robbing the public of an opportunity to comment on the action, which, in any case, is not among actions that may be taken in closed session. Then, prior to the September '97 board meeting, trustees engaged in secret serial meetings regarding a "deal" promoted by Board Majoritarian John Williams (see WILLIAMS). Each of these violations (and others, including a closed session address by Vishwas More) led OC Superior Court Judge Tully Seymour to write of the board's "persistent and defiant misconduct" relative to the Brown Act. The petitioner of Bauer II was awarded $98,000 in attorneys fees, though Seymour's judgment, and the fees, are being appealed.
CHRISTIAN RIGHT. (A.k.a. “religious right”)
The Christian Right, which, in recent years, has pushed hard to place its people on school boards, has had a small—and sometimes strange--role in SOCCCD politics.
1. For instance, Board Minority member Dave Lang owes his election victory in '96 to a splitting of the conservative vote between tax attorney Don Davis, who shared a slate with the union Old Guard's Fortune, Frogue, and Williams, and a Christian Coalition candidate, who is now long forgotten. But thanks anyway.
2. In '98, Joan Hueter, another member of the Board Minority, retired, owing to illness, and Board Majoritarian Teddi Lorch decided not to seek reelection. "Reformers" came up with candidates Pete Maddox, formerly of the Rancho Santiago board, and Leo Galcher, a long-time unionist. The Board/union Axis, however, offered up two Religious Right candidates: Don Wagner (of Irvine) and Nancy Padberg (of San Clemente). Both acknowledged an affiliation with the Education Alliance, whose agenda is largely indistinguishable from that of Pat Robertson's notorious Christian Coalition and other Religious Right organizations.
According to Jerry Sloan of the Institute for First Amendment Studies (a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the political activities of the Religious Right), in late 1994, "Christian Reconstructionist idealogue" Howard F. Ahmanson backed a "pilot project" in Orange County that gave about $62,000 to 36 candidates through a PAC known as the "Education Alliance," run by Tustin businessman Mark Bucher. Education Alliance candidates, says Sloan, oppose multiculturalism and condom distribution in schools. Further, "they want to see evolution and creationism taught side by side."
In a 1995 article for IFAS, Sloan reported that "the Education Alliance hopes to expand its efforts state-wide by 1996 with the...goal of sponsoring an initiative to ban public employee unions from materially participating in elections for...trustee positions on school boards...."
Flash, now, to 1998, when Proposition 226--which indeed sought to block unions from participating in elections--appeared on the June ballot. The proposition's author? That would be Mark Bucher, leader (along with Frank Ury) of Wagner and Padberg's Education Alliance! According to national columnist George Will, writing in February of 1998, "the Campaign Reform Initiative ...would bar unions from spending any portion of any member's dues on political activity without the member's written consent...If passed, CRI almost certainly will radically reduce unions' political muscle, thereby substantially altering politics in the state...." (Times, 2/8/98). The initiative failed, barely.
Why, you may ask, would the Faculty Association (headed at the time by the Old Guard's Sherry Miller-White) spend tens of thousands of dollars of the union's money securing the victory of Education Alliance anti-unionists? Even Wagner couldn't explain it: "The teachers union [is supporting me]?...The CTA is overwhelmingly liberal. I would seriously doubt they would support a conservative Republican like me. I was generally pleased to get the support...but I think it's strange that it's the union" (Register, 10/31/98).
3. In early '98, Pam Bustamante, a former student of Mr. Frogue's and a vocal supporter of the Frogue Recall effort, agreed to meet with Scott Voight, local head of the Christian Coalition, to discuss her allegations concerning Frogue's remarks in class. (Bustamante and several other former students had signed affidavits alleging that Frogue denied the Holocaust and ridiculed minorities in class.) She was made to understand that the Christian Coalition had supported Frogue in the past and was "concerned" about her allegations.
|Attorney Carol Sobel|
According to Voight: "Pam seems like a nice girl, she seems to believe that [Frogue] is an anti-Semite. I know Steve, he seems like a really good Christian...I'm not saying if he was or wasn't an anti-Semite. But if he was, he's not any longer."
4. One of the complaints against philosophy instructor and Dissent editor Roy Bauer which occasioned the chancellor’s letter of reprimand to him in 1998 (see FIRST AMENDMENT) came from a notoriously paranoic IVC instructor who apparently viewed Dissent references to the Christian Coalition as somehow creating a "hostile work environment" for Christians. It now appears that, upon hearing of these complaints, the chancellor did not know who the "Christian Coalition" was. Here's the relevant portion of the chancellor's July ’99 deposition. (He is questioned by Bauer's attorney, Carol Sobel.):
SOBEL: At the time that you met with Mr. Bauer on December 18, 1998, what information did you have about the individuals associated with the Christian Coalition?
SAMPSON: I had a letter from [IVC instructor] Mr. R, who I think is their advisor, but I really didn't know a lot about it.... [In fact, Mr. R is the advisor of the Christian Club, not the Christian Coalition.] SOBEL: Do you know what the Christian Coalition is? SAMPSON: No. SOBEL: Did you ask anybody what the Christian Coalition is? SAMPSON: No.
SOBEL: Have you ever heard the term "Christian Coalition" used in the last two or three years in the context of political discourse? SAMPSON: I am sure I have. I'm not sure I could answer a question about it though. SOBEL: Was it important to you to understand what the reference to the Christian Coalition was in order to make a determination about whether the people who perceived themselves to be subjected to harassment and targets of violation on the basis of their religion had a legitimate claim...? SAMPSON: No....
"CONCERNED FACULTY" LETTER (1996).
In December of 1996, 109 full-time district faculty signed a letter, which was sent to CTA official Kathy Sproles. It bemoaned the misconduct of a "small number of faculty who control the Faculty Association"--namely, the union leadership (the Old Guard), which engaged in "unethical" campaign tactics and persisted in its support of the apparent Holocaust denier Steve Frogue. The letter requested CTA intervention. Various other letters followed which were also harshly critical of the union leadership, especially Sherry Miller-White--the union president who never responded to members' written requests and inquiries.
In April (4/7/97), various district faculty received a letter from Lois Tinson, president of CTA, explaining that the CTA Board of Directors had, on April 3-4, decided to send a "leadership team" to the district in order to "conduct a first hand review of the situation and report its findings to the entire Board." Board member David Lebow was named as chair. The team ultimately held hearings during mid-May, 1997, and issued a report that validated the criticisms of the 109 "concerned" faculty.
See LEADERSHIP TEAM REPORT.
A term, borrowed from the "Star Wars" saga, used by some reformers and other observers to refer to the Old Guard/Board Majority/Mathur axis. Writers for Reform newsletters edited by IVC instructor Roy Bauer (Dissent and The 'Vine) have occasionally used the term to refer to that particular group--which, as it happens, is dominated by WASPS. They have never used the term to refer to particular individuals. Nevertheless, the Chancellor, in a deposition for Bauer's successful First Amendment lawsuit, asserted, with typical ruthlessness and ignorance, that Dissent writers have used the term as a racial slur against Miller-White and Mathur, who happen to be people of color. That no one has cited a single instance of such usage--none exists--did not prevented Sampson's patron, John Williams, from repeating the charge in a guest editorial in the OC Register.
See the BOARD MAJORITY/OLD GUARD AXIS.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION LETTER (1999).
When, in June '99, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) acted to continue the warning status issued to the two SOCCCD colleges in January, Board president Dorothy Fortune and chancellor Cedric Sampson--without having conferred with the Board--wrote to William James of the Accrediting and Eligibility Determination Division of the U.S. Department of Education (10/22/99), lodging an "administrative complaint" against ACCJC, on the grounds that the latter "demonstrated partisanship for...dissident faculty and bias against the governing Board...." (The faculty were supposedly "angry at" the July '97 district REORGANIZATION. See DISCORD AND DISSENT.) "Commission leaders," said the letter, "had strong biases against the District and failed to reveal to the Commission their personal conflicts of interest."
Among those officials specifically accused of bias were Constance Carroll, formerly president of Saddleback College and one-time ACCJC chair; David Wolff, Executive Director of the ACCJC; Isobel Dvorsky, Trustee of Chabot-Las Positas Community College District and member of the IVC Visiting Team; and Pamila Fisher, chancellor of the Yosemite Community College District, and chair of the Saddleback College Visiting Team. According to the letter, Fisher referred to the district's trustees as "The Board from Hell" at a publicly-held meeting.
The ACCJC immediatedly denied the charges. It was given, by the Dept. of Education, until January 10, 2000, to respond.
Apparently, the Fortune/Sampson initiative was unprecedented. (See Community College Week, 1/9/00)
DISCORD AND DISSENT IN THE DISTRICT (c. late 90s).
Although the July '97 reorganization was, in many ways, a divisive event, contrary to the endlessly repeated claim by members of the BM/Old Guard axis, it was not "the cause" of discord and dissent within the district.
The era of extreme discord and dissent started, not in July of '97, but in December of '96, the date that marked the arrival of the Board Majority. From the very beginning, Frogue, Williams, Fortune, and Lorch, voting as a block, acted upon their inveterate distrust of shared governance groups, especially faculty, and these groups wasted no time reacting.
Consider: in January of '97, both academic senates issued letters objecting to the board's decision, in closed session, to strip senate officers of reassigned time--an apparent violation of the Brown Act. In February, an editorial in the Saddleback student newspaper, the Lariat, assailed the trustees for their misguided attacks, led by trustee Fortune, on Study Abroad programs. In the March 20 issue of the Lariat, Rick Travis, then-Saddleback ASG president, is quoted as saying, "There is no shared governance at Saddleback," a reference to the failure of the board to notify Saddleback and Irvine Valley student governments of its March 17 meeting. In the same issue, a Lariat editorial bemoans the board's "dictatorial tendencies." In May--two months prior to the reorganization--the IVC Academic Senate conducted a referendum which yielded a 72.5% vote of "no confidence" in the board, owing to "repeated actions taken which indicate its unwillingness to participate in the spirit and intent of shared governance." Also in May, a group of faculty and community members presented the board with a "demand for cure and correct" regarding its violations of the Brown Act in April. A July 3 Irvine World News editorial expressed alarm at the situation at Irvine Valley College, where, it said, "we're witnessing...an autocracy replacing a democracy." A raucous board forum which occurred one week before the reorganization was dominated by bitter complaints about president Raghu Mathur, who, according to many speakers, flouted the requirements of shared governance and seemed, despite his interim status, determined to make "sweeping changes." Also in July, the Sorenson Group issued a report in which it asserted that "Each and every stakeholder group [in the district] has been disempowered." In an address given at the regular board meeting of July 14 (two days before the reorganization), trustee Lang spoke of "dysfunction" and "chaos" in the district and warned that "Outstanding administrators at the highest levels have left or are considering leaving or retiring...[M]orale among other employees is extremely low because they feel their voices are not being heard and that all vestiges of academic freedom and established processes are gone."
Surely these facts refute the notion that dissent and discord within the district can be traced back to the reorganization of 7/16/97. In reality, owing to the Board Majority and Mathur's lawlessness and rejection of shared governance processes, the district was roiling with discontent in the months preceding the reorganization, and none of it concerned administrative reorganization.
As of this writing, the discord continues, fueled by such acts as the chancellor’s announced intention to strip the Academic Senates of the authority accorded them by mutual agreement. (See SHARED GOVERNANCE)
FACULTY ASSOCIATION. (A.k.a. the "union")
By the mid-90s, the FA was controlled by a small group of faculty--the OLD GUARD--that utterly disregarded rules, laws, common practice, and democratic principles. Starting in about '96, for over a year, union members sought unsuccessfully to secure (among other things) a copy of the chapter's bylaws--an effort that increased in intensity during and after the infamous ’96 trustees race, in which many tens of thousands of union dollars were used to finance the notorious homophobic "SAME-SEX" flier. Faced with this pressure, president Miller-White (and vice president MacMillan) asserted that the bylaws would become available once a mysterious "clean up" process was completed. (We were told that "typos" needed to be corrected.) Eventually, owing to pressure brought by the CTA, Miller-White produced a copy of "the bylaws," but it was soon determined to be a version that had been registered with CTA many years before and, according to CTA guidelines, was no longer valid, since it had not subsequently been submitted for review and registration. In about December of '96, reform members discovered that, not only had the chapter's leadership failed to keep valid bylaws on file with CTA but they had even failed properly to register the chapter with CTA. When reformers then applied for a CTA charter, CTA officials, fearing litigation, insisted that the old chapter, despite its failure to be chartered, was indeed a chapter of CTA. ("If it quacks like a duck, it's a duck.")
Owing to the chapter's egregious election conduct and its undemocratic ways, a lengthy letter of complaint, signed by 109 tenured faculty, was sent to the CCA president in December of '96. Ultimately, this yielded the formation of a CTA "leadership team," which visited the district in April (?) of '97 and later issued a report, according to which the chapter had indeed failed to keep minutes or proper PAC records and had engaged in unacceptable campaign tactics. (See LEADERSHIP TEAM REPORT)
During this period, Miller-White and her Old Guard cronies continued to run the chapter as though it were their private club. Invariably, Representative Council meetings would be held without a quorum (the issue was never raised). When reformers complained about this, Miller-White invariably became hostile and even beligerent. During one meeting in '97, Rep Council members agreed, contra Miller-White, that an effort should be made to determine the existence of a quorum, but it soon became clear that the members present could not agree what constituted a quorum. Indeed, it became clear that there was disagreement regarding who was and who was not a member of the Rep Council!
During the spring of '98, the Old Guard finally permitted an internal election of officers and Rep Council members, but when it yielded many Reform-candidate victories, Miller-White and her group simply declared the entire election null and void, citing their own error with regard to egligibility requirements for one office. In subsequent months, the Old Guard spent tens of thousands of dollars promoting the candidacies of two avowedly anti-teachers union candidates--Padberg and Wagner, friends of the Board Majority. When union members asked whether this was true, Miller-White and her cronies simply refused to answer. Thanks to fliers and ads that implied, falsely, that Padberg and Wagner could help stop the El Toro airport, the two were elected in November of '98, and the Board Majority expanded to 5 members.
In the spring of '99, owing to the involvement of CTA, new internal elections were held, and the reformers won, though MacMillan (formerly president-elect) now presided, despite being on sabbatical. (Naturally, the Old Guard contested the election.) The PAC committee, however, comprised former chapter presidents, and thus was dominated by the Old Guard. Thus, the reformers initiated the arduous task of gaining membership control of the PAC.
Toward the end of her tenure as president, Miller-White, without proper authorization from the Rep Council, made a "verbal" request to the Chancellor to cut withholdings from members' paychecks, and he readily complied. This meant that no monies would be collected for the union PAC--money that could eventually be used to defeat Fortune, Williams, and Frogue in 2000. When the new Rep Council decided to restore the withholdings, Sampson was notified, but refused to restore them. (At one point, he cited the fact that the request had merely been "verbal.") Eventually, CTA lawyers demanded the change, but Sampson still refused to make it. This has resulted in PERB complaint which may soon be ruled upon.
(See PERB COMPLAINT, OLD GUARD, REASSIGNED TIME.)
FIRST AMENDMENT (issues).
In the summer of 1999, Mathur cited the new policy to justify his order (carried out by Ruiz) that faculty permanently remove all signage from their office doors and windows--surfaces that, in many cases, had long been adorned with colorful anti-Mathurisms. OCN coverage of the resulting faculty outrage led the board to in effect rescind the order. In the meantime, students challenged the policy in court. In the Fall, Judge Collins issued a preliminary injunction on behalf of the students, ruling that several of the policy's key provisions were unconstitutional. This did not prevent Mathur and Ruiz from attempting to enforce those provisions. During “Club Day” at IVC, upon being bullied by Armando Ruiz, a student cited the preliminary injunction, whereupon Ruiz barked, "I don't care what the court said!"
IVC philosophy professor Roy Bauer had been one of the petitioners in the first Brown Act lawsuit (Bauer I) and was the sole petitioner of the second Brown Act lawsuit (Bauer II). Each was successful. Further, since the spring of '97, he had published various newsletters--evolving into The 'Vine and Dissent--that reported on board meetings, reprinted newspaper articles, and offered the opinions of various writers, all critical of the Board/union axis. Attempts by Mathur to harass Bauer failed to discourage Bauer's publication efforts, and so, in December of '98, the Chancellor sent Bauer a letter of reprimand--to be placed immediately in his personel file--alleging that he had authored elements in his published newsletters that violated district policies concerning discrimination and workplace violence. Sampson's interpretations of the newsletter elements took no notice of their satirical nature and were preposterous on their face. (For instance, a graphic metaphorically depicting Mathur's "violence" was interpreted as an expression of intent to do violence to Mathur.) No effort was made to determine whether Bauer was the author of all of the cited elements (he wasn't), and, in violation of the contract and board policy, the letter entered his file without warning and without providing Bauer an opportunity to respond to the charges.
The Chancellor ordered Bauer to meet with him in December, at which time he asked no questions and simply outlined Bauer's alleged violations and, further, ordered him to seek counseling. At that meeting, Sampson asserted, preposterously, that Bauer's use of the phrase "Mr. Goo" to refer to Raghu P. Mathur was a clear reference to the racial epithet "gook." ("Mathur," said Sampson, "is an Asian." Mathur hails from India.) When asked what had inspired the letter's remark that the newsletters had created a hostile work environment for "Christians," Sampson said he "didn't know."
Bauer responded with a lawsuit charging infringement of his constitutional rights. Soon, Judge Nora Manella, who, in court, characterised the counseling order as "Orwellian," issued a preliminary injunction on Bauer's behalf. Eventually, the case was taken over by Judge Feess, who, in the Fall of '99, awarded Bauer a summary judgment that reaffirmed Manella's ruling and went on to reject the district's "workplace violence" policy as unconstitutional on its face. (He judged that the "Discrimination" policy, also wielded against Bauer, though not unconstitutional on its face, was used for an "improper purpose," namely, to stifle dissent.) In his tentative ruling (later affirmed), Feess wrote: "The speech in question is core protected speech and there is no applicable First Amendment limitation that would permit the discipline to be imposed on Bauer...No reasonable person could have concluded that the written words of Bauer constituted a serious expression of an intent to harm or assault...Bauer was speaking out on matters [of] public interest, and his speech was a substantial (perhaps the only) motivating factor in the proposed discipline."
In court, seeking to dissuade Feess from his ruling, the district's lawyer, Dave Larsen, noted that, owing to Bauer's newsletters, some participants are afraid to participate in district discourse because they're afraid they'll be criticized. Feess responded by saying that if people are silent because they fear criticism, then "so be it."
On a 4-3 vote, the board decided to pursue an appeal. In the end, Sampson's ruthless attempt to silence Bauer could cost the district over $200,000.
FROGUE, STEVE. (a.k.a. "Weird Steve," “Uncle Steve”)
Those who insist that Frogue's reputation as a Holocaust denier and racist is undeserved are obliged to explain the following facts:
(1) about a dozen former students of Frogue's (he's a high school teacher) of various ages, and with no connection to each other or to a common organization, swear (in signed affidavits) that, in class, Mr. Frogue denied the Holocaust or made racist (and anti-Mormon) remarks;
(2) during an interview that appeared in the 3/23/95 IVC Voice, Mr. Frogue praised the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), the nation's foremost Holocaust denial organization (founded by the nation's foremost anti-Semite, Willis Carto), saying, "There's somebody that wants to engage in the debate about the Holocaust";
(3) in a 4/20/95 Voice article, Frogue is quoted as saying that "...there are too many questions about the Holocaust for it to be judged a certainty in all aspects"; and, finally,
(4) Frogue has consistently failed to clearly and strongly repudiate the support he receives from explicit Holocaust deniers and racists, such as those who spoke at board meetings in January and June of ’98. One supporter--James Scott of Tustin--proclaimed: "I found out that history was basically written by the winners. And there never was a Holocaust. It's nothing but six million lies. It's become a racket. Everywhere you go, every time you pick up the paper, turn on the radio, the TV, here's some Jew screaming about this and that and everything else...Keep up the good work, Dr. Frogue [sic]! There never was a Holocaust!" (January '98). During and after Scott's rant, Frogue smiled and said nothing. (See Times, 1/21/98)
Frogue's numerous 1995-6 board meeting diatribes against the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL) are indistinguishable from equally polite fulminations against that organization found in The Spotlight--the nation's most notorious anti-Semitic publication and the employer of Frogue's acknowledged friend, conpiracy-theorist Michael Collins Piper. During the January '95 board meeting, Frogue accused the ADL of employing a "massive espionage apparatus against thousands of law-abiding American citizens" and asserted that the organization has been "violating the rights of Americans, working in conjunction illegally with various police departments and police agencies, federal, state, and local" (Voice, 2/23/95). At that time, Frogue also questioned an IVC course on the Holocaust, "saying he is 'distressed' that [the instructor] 'is a Holocaust scholar and heavily involved in the ADL’s…Holocaust Project" (Voice, 2/23/95). In 1996, Frogue told the Times that "[the ADL is a] group of spies that actively keeps files on people...people like me." "I believe," he added, "Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the ADL...That's right...I believe the ADL was behind [the JFK assassination]" (11/25/96).
Frogue, who clearly craves attention, achieved national notoriety when, in August of '97, he requested $5,000 in honoraria for four speakers for his Fall '97 "Warren Report" forum--a non-credit "Community Education" offering. Among the scheduled speakers were talk show host Dave Emory, who, according to the Times, "contends that renegade members of Adolf Hitler's elite Nazi echelon" had a role in the JFK assassination, and Piper, who feels that the assassination "was a joint enterprise conducted on the highest levels of the American CIA in collaboration with organized crime--and...with direct and profound involvement by the Israeli intelligence service..." (8/21/97).
Commenting in the Times on Frogue's proposed forum speakers, Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, asserted that "You couldn't find...more embarassing conspiracists in America. Even among conspiracy theorists, these people represent the outer limits." Author and Pulitzer prize finalist Gerald Posner, hitting the nail squarely on the head, opined that, "The harm [of the forum] is setting this in an educational environment, where it has an official stamp of approval."
Frogue himself often claims to detect conspiracies here in the SOCCCD. Early in 1994, he charged that the election of the IVC Academic Senate president was "seriously flawed" and that there had been ballot tampering, though he provided no evidence. In response to Frogue's repeated unfounded and unsupported accusations and his reckless and uninformed remarks regarding the Holocaust course, the IVC senate passed a resolution according to which "Trustee...Frogue...has sought to intrude upon the affairs of the faculty and has repeatedly accused the academic senate of presumed actions or inactions contrary to fact." Frogue responded by calling the resolution an "intellectual drive-by shooting" by an "intellectual spur posse."
During the May 19, 1997, board meeting, after the announcement of a 73% IVC faculty vote of "no confidence" in the board conducted by the academic senate, Frogue carped that "I don't think we have much confidence in [the academic senates]." He went on to accuse faculty of lying: "We have the same type of problem here that we've had over the last three years...And we've seen it in this last week here, where lies get printed in the newspapers...It's called 'blowback.' It's the oldest game in the book. You plant something in the newspaper that's false--I've suffered this type of stuff personally from people in this very room: repeating lies...People (can be) inventive, conscientious, and creative liars...." Evidently, Frogue was referring to articles by, among others, Dan Froomkin (1995) and Kimberly Kindy (1997) of the Register, Ked Francis of the Voice (1995), Michael Granberry of the Times (1997), as well as editorials, by other writers, in the Times and Irvine World News. Why so many unrelated writers would conspire to repeat "lies" about Mr. Frogue is left unexplained, a Frogueian hallmark.
Later in the evening, Frogue added: "I've seen rigged elections...votes of no confidence--I've seen rigged elections in one of the colleges...And so when...people talk about--you know--votes of this or votes of that, I just think you have to take it with a grain of salt."
During the December 13, 1999, board meeting, Frogue offered to report to the Chancellor and the newer trustees concerning the senates' alleged history of deception, saying, "I could never get answers [from the senates] to certain questions about certain operations, certain reports that were being made, replete with false information that was being passed off as fact..." Again, he cited no specifics and no evidence.
In 1997-8, after the "seminar" flap, citizens—assisted by the California Republican Party--attempted to recall Mr. Frogue. Though the effort failed, it was nonetheless uncommonly successful, managing to gather valid signatures from 32,322 registered South Countians. According to Suzanne Slupsky of the county registrar's office, since 1991, only the Frogue recall group, of 36 groups, managed to turn in signatures for validation. (Register, 11/13/98; Times, 11/29/98)
LEADERSHIP TEAM REPORT (1997).
In December, 1996, 109 “concerned” full-time faculty sent a letter to CTA officials expressing consternation--and requesting intervention--regarding the conduct of its local chapter, the SOCCCD Faculty Association. (See “CONCERNED FACULTY” LETTER.) That letter and others eventually prompted CTA to send a “leadership team,” headed by David Lebow, in May. On June 23, the team issued its report, which, in muted fashion, essentially validated the original December concerns, among others.
In an effort at damage control, the chapter’s president, Sherry Miller-White, immediately issued a press release which proclaimed that the report “clears the...Faculty Association...of the charges of wrongdoing....”
Whether or not the report cleared the union leadership of “wrongdoing,” it in no sense cleared it of the many accusations and objections that had been expressed in December and during subsequent months by reform-minded members.
For instance, the December letter strongly objected to the union leadership’s decision to distribute a homophobic flier (see SAME SEX FLIER). Upon noting Miller-White’s motives in using the flier, the team wrote: “CTA reaffirms its belief that discrimination is not acceptable in any form or forum. Therefore, in the future, the chapter must work to make sure that campaign strategy decisions do not cause more problems than the election victory intends to solve.”
The December letter also objected to the chapter leadership’s conduct with regard to its bylaws. Members had complained that, despite repeated efforts, for months, they could not secure copies from the leadership and that the copies that were eventually provided were not current or valid or had undergone mysterious changes. Said the report: “The team believes that the Faculty Association must take immediate action to bring the current bylaws into compliance with CTA and NEA policies and standards...Copies of bylaws should be made readily available upon member request...In the future, all changes to bylaws should be referenced by date at the end of each paragraph.”
Many who had lodged complaints against the Faculty Association leadership noted that it failed to keep adequate records of its meetings, its political activities, or its finances. Concerning those matters, the leadership team wrote: “The FA does appear to take and approve minutes, but not always on a regular basis. The FA does not archive minutes of regular...meetings...The FA regards the PAC meetings as strategic discussions that do not require minutes....” The report therefore advised that the “chapter should establish a secure repository for archives of minutes and financial records...Minutes should be kept of all meetings. Matters of strategic concern can be discussed in executive session. Financial reports should be made monthly and published.”
Some members had complained that there were irregularities or a lack of clear procedures regarding elections, including the election of division reps. The leadership team seemed to agree, for they wrote that the chapter “should adopt election procedures in standing rules with specifics about timeline and the balloting process.” They also reported that “even some long-term members expressed little knowledge of the election procedures and regular balloting for FA officers over the years.” For that reason, the leadership team recommended that the FA leadership “avail itself of training provided by CTA about election procedures....“
Further, the leadership team was clearly concerned about the chapter’s finances and dues collection, for it recommended that the chapter leadership “receive training from CTA” and that it “work directly with CTA” in order to insure conformity with the law.
In truth, the report, though muted in its criticisms, painted a picture of a union local whose leadership lacked any sense of process of professionalism and that had made morally unacceptable and counter-productive tactical decisions.
MATHUR, RAGHU P. (a.k.a. "Mr. Goo")
In April of 1997, in an action later judged a violation of the Open Meetings law, the Board Majority appointed chemistry teacher and campus joke Raghu P. Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. At the time, Mathur had no experience as a full-time administrator. Five months later, through a process that violated board policy, and amid strong faculty opposition, the BM appointed Mathur permanent president. That action, too, was later voided owing to violations of the Brown Act. Two years later, despite his miserable record, which included a vote of no confidence and the palpable contempt of nearly all IVC faculty and staff, the board majority renewed Mathur's contract, giving him a raise and a $200 a month "security stipend."
Mathur was hired as an instructor in 1979, and he quickly established a reputation as a schemer and liar who would stoop to anything in order to secure an administrative position. Owing to his manifest unsavoriness, however, that ambition was consistently thwarted both inside and outside the district.
His intrigues soon gained him the hatred of Ed Hart, IVC's first president. In 1986, Hart retired, and the college adopted a "faculty chair" model, partly for fiscal reasons. Soon, Mathur "ruled" the tiny school of Physical Sciences as its chair. During the "chair" era, he was, without doubt, the chief abuser of that office, engaging in endless machinations while arranging a lucrative schedule that netted him a salary far in excess of the college president's ($124,000 in 1996-7).
During this period, Mathur continued to seek administrative positions. When he was passed over, he played the race card, charging everyone in sight with "discrimination," apparently on the sole grounds that he had not been selected.
Mathur's habit, as chair, of circumventing the governance process eventually yielded an official censure of him by IVC's "Instructional Council' in April of 1994. Earlier, the IC membership had all agreed not to go outside the process--particularly with regard to the selection of the IVC presidential search committee chair. During an IC meeting in March (of 94), Mathur was asked whether, despite the agreement, he had presented a petition, urging the selection of a particular faculty member, to the chancellor. He answered that he had "not forwarded" a petition to the chancellor or anyone. In fact, he had and, apparently on that basis, the chancellor did appoint the faculty member as (co)chair.
When this came to light in April, Mathur was censured. According to the minutes of the April 5 meeting, "Instructional Council had agreed that no one will work outside of the IVC governance structure and agreed-upon processes. They felt that Raghu had lied to the Council...[One member] made a motion to censur Raghu Mathur for lying to the Instructional Council regarding the petition and the presidential search process and for misrepresenting not only Instructional Council, but also the faculty...Raghu Mathur stated that he did not lie to the Instructional Council. He said that he was asked if he had forwarded the petition to the Chancellor and he said he had not. He did admit, however, that he had shown the petition to Chancellor Lombardi...Raghu felt that the members of Instructional Council were making too big of a deal out of the situation...The question was called and the motion passed with 8 ayes, 3 noes, and 4 abstentions."
Classified employees, too, have at times found it necessary to complain about of Mathur's conduct. For instance, in August of 1995, IVC administration received a letter from Leann Cribb, Executive Secretary (and formerly secretary for the School of Physical Sciences), in which she wrote: "Mr. Mathur routinely revises facts and manufactures innuendo to suit his objectives." During the January '98 Board meeting, classified employee Julie Ben-Yeoshua explained that Mathur was the reason she was seeking employment elsewhere: "Since you first appointed Raghu Mathur as the interim president, the atmosphere at IVC has changed drastically; morale is in the gutter...[Mathur's] inability to tell the truth is so natural that I have come to gauge everything he says and writes by believing the complete opposite...."
By the mid-90s, Mathur had come to regard Terry Burgess, then-VP of Instruction, as his nemesis, and, in 1996, he tried to discredit Burgess with the board. In the spring of '96, a student sought to enroll in a chemistry course without enrolling in the concurrent lab, and the matter came before the chair--Mathur. Though the student provided documentation proving that she had done the equivalent work at UCI, Mathur denied the request, whereupon the student asked for a review of the decision by the Office of Instruction. Mathur agreed to go along with the Office's decision.
Later, however, he accused Burgess of signing the student's admittance card despite non-approval by the instructor. Mathur convinced his school to send a resolution of complaint to the board (and also to the senate and the union), appending the student's transcripts, without her permission, an action that violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and district policies. When then-IVC president Dan Larios learned of this, he requested an opinion from the district's attorneys regarding the legality of Mathur's action. The opinion, dated March 18, 1996, indicates that Mathur acted improperly, violating FERPA and board policy 5619. Larios was fed up.
Realizing that Larios now planned to deny approval of him as chair of his school, Mathur, as per usual, scrambled to lobby board members for support. On March 29, Larios met with Mathur; he explained that he had lost confidence in Mathur and that Mathur had better "change." In the end, Larios wrote a memo (May 14) expressing his serious reservations about Mathur's leadership, owing to his repeated circumventing of established processes and his violations of board policy, and placed him on probation. If there were any further violations of process, wrote Larios, Mathur would be removed as chair.
In the meantime, Mathur asked the senate to censure Burgess. It declined to do so, citing Mathur's misdescription of crucial facts. Larios, troubled by Mathur's misrepresentations, sent out a memo explaining that Burgess had in no sense acted improperly.
In December of '96, the Board Majority era began, and Larios sensed that it was time to move on. Normally, the VP of Instruction—Terry Burgess--would serve as interim president, but the BM blocked his selection, and, in March, Lombardi was chosen as a sort of compromise. But in April, Frogue presented another one of Mathur's petitions--this time, an “anonymous” petition urging Mathur's selection as president. On that basis, Mathur became IVC president.
Mathur's outrages while president are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that in the early months of 1998, the IVC academic senate instituted a Special Inquiry into “abuses of power.” By April, it became necessary to abandon the investigation, owing to the number and the complexity of the charges against Mathur. Said the committee’s chair: “It’s like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup…Every time we put an allegation to bed, another one jumps up” (Voice, 5/7/98). Soon thereafter, Mathur received a 74% vote of no confidence by his faculty.
Mathur has sought to rule through intimidation, punishing his critics in every way available to him. In early November of 1999, the IVC academic senate released the results of a survey of full-time faculty (78% participated). 90% disagreed with the statement, "I can express my opinion about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation." The 90% figure will likely go up soon, for Mathur intends to fire an untenured instructor--a critic--for his involvement in the act of naming the plot of dirt next to the Life Sciences greenhouse. It was named the "Terry Burgess garden."
The Old Guard and their allies (such as IVC's Glenn Roquemore) have accused Reformers of seeking administrative positions, a charge without factual basis. Despite this rhetoric, in recent years, various members of the Old Guard, owing to the group's influence with the Board Majority, became full-time administrators. For instance, Mathur, despite lacking any full-time administrative experience, became interim and then permanent president of IVC; Runyan became a Vice Chancellor. Woodward, who has said that reformers seek to become administrators and "don't like teaching," became Dean of Liberal Arts and ceased teaching, at least for a while. Glenn Roquemore, who made similar pronouncements, became the Acting VP of Instruction; presently, he is the permanent dean of advanced technology.
A crucial locus of Old Guard power--which survived the internal union elections (1999) in which Reformers emerged victorious--is the union PAC committee, which, according to the chapter's bylaws, comprises former union presidents--people like Walker, Miller-White, and other unsavory characters. In 1999, the new union treasurer, in conjunction with CTA, sought to secure the chapter's PAC committee records, but the group has been utterly uncooperative, consistently refusing to turn over bank records. Reportedly, the group had set up many PAC accounts; one of these can be accessed with a secret code that only Miller-White knows. She hasn't provided it. It is likely that the situation will come to a head in 2000, for CTA auditors are growing impatient.
See the BOARD MAJORITY/OLD GUARD AXIS.
A good example of cooperation and collusion among members of the "axis" is the "paycheck withholdings" affair. In February of '99, Chancellor Sampson heeded an oral request by then-union president Sherry Miller-White to reduce members' paycheck deductions, though the request was in fact illegitimate, for it had not been sanctioned by the Rep Council. This meant that little money would be collected for the union's PAC--which would likely finance an attempt to defeat Fortune, Williams, and Frogue in the upcoming trustees race (in 2000) Later, after the victory of "reformers" in the union's election of officers, Sampson was instructed (by the new union president, based on a Rep Council decision) to restore the original level of deductions. He refused. When CTA got into the picture, Sampson still refused to cooperate. As things stand, no money is going into the union's PAC, leaving it without resources (to defeat Fortune, Williams, and Frogue) at it approaches the next trustees election.
The CTA filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with PERB on August 12, 1999. Here are some excerpts of its "statement of the charge," evidently written by CTA's Priscilla Winslow:
"In or around February, 1999, ...Sampson received an oral request from...Sherry Miller-White that the District reduce the amount of Association dues deducted from members' pay from $20 per month to $5 per month. The District complied with the request...It [is] alleged...that Ms. Miller-White's request was ultra vires [beyond her legal power] in that the governing body of the Association had never authorized the reduction in dues...On...March 22...the...staff attorney for the CTA...contaced...Sampson and requested that he restore the dues deduction level to $20. He refused to do this, explaining that Ms. Miller-White was still the president of the Association when she directed the reduction, and that he could not be caught in the middle of some internal Associaton dispute...On...April 24...the representative council of the Association, which is its governing body and the only entity authorized to set membership dues, voted to raise membership dues to $20 per month. On May 1...new officers of the Association took office, including the new president, Sharon MacMillan...On...May 10...Ms MacMillan directed..Sampson in writing that the dues deducted by the District be restored to $20 per month...On May 11...CTA staff attorney Priscilla Winslow sent Mr. Sampson a letter reiterating the Assocation's action raising the dues to $20 per month and again requesting that the District take appropriate steps to deduct that amount from the next paycheck run...On...May 18, ...Sampson contacted Ms. Winslow and informed her that he would not change the amount of dues deducted from Association members' paychecks. He offered as an excuse the fact that Ms. Macmillan's letter was not signed and not on letterhead, and that he didn't know what relation CTA had to the local Association...He also [said]...the District could be sued by some disgruntled member who may claim that the raise in dues was not properly authorized...For the past few years, the Association has funded one or more PACs. These committees were funded by a portion of the amount of membership dues. [For example,] for at least the first half of the 98-9 school year $15 of the $20 deducted or charged as monthly dues were sent to the PAC, unless members indicated they did not want their dues being used for political purposes. It is alleged...that Dr. Sampson and the District governing board have been aware for the past several years that Association dues were used in part to fund PACs estabished by the Association. In fact, money from one or more of these PACs [has] been used to make contributions to the elections of one or more of the members of the governing board. Yet not objection was made by Sampson, or any other District official, to use of dues money for PAC contributions...[O]n July 21...President MacMillan again  wrote to Dr. Sampson...requesting that the College deduct the full amount of dues from members' paychecks. He again refused, claiming that deductions for a political action fund require separate authorization from employees. Apparently, Dr. Sampson is unaware that Propositon 226 did no pass...[R]espondent is interfering in internal Association matters and is thereby interfering in the administration of the organization in violation of Sec. 3543.5..."
PIPER, MICHAEL COLLINS.
One of the speakers invited to trustee Frogue's ill-fated fall '97 forum on the Warren Commission, Piper, who works for the anti-Semitic The Spotlight, has written a book that alleges that JFK was assassinated by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. The negative press and public reaction engendered by Piper's inclusion in the forum led Frogue to cancel the event. Soon, however, some of Piper's allies (readers of The Spotlight and other Liberty Lobby publications), spouting anti-Semitic remarks, showed up at board meetings to defend Frogue (e.g., in January '98).
In March of '98, Piper emailed Marcia Milchiker, who had criticized him during the "Warren Commission" flap. He wrote: "by joining forces with the ADL in their insidious effort to silence me...you engaged in a Nazi-like activity...Well, Marcia, you are right in the same category as the Nazi stormtroopers...[W]hy are you so eager to defend Israel?...Yes, Orange County kids are old enough to fight and die for your beloved Israel, but not old enough or mature enough to read a book and make a judgment for themselves..."
Piper eventually took a special interest in philosophy instructor Roy Bauer's newsletters. Also in March, he sent Bauer a note, calling him a "motherfucker" and stating, ominously, that "some of my Black Nationalist supporters in Southern California are watching your activities closely." Later that month, he sent a letter to the acting chancellor, stating, "Yes, indeed, my Black Nationalist friends are very disturbed at Roy Bauer and they have been monitoring his activities...I would add that I have no control over any Black Nationalists in California...."
The following June, Piper showed up at a board meeting with a large entourage, including the avowed neo-Nazi Joe Fields, white separatist George Kadar (head of "Friends of Steven J. Frogue"), and explicit Holocaust denier James Scott. During "public comments," Bauer read Piper's “motherfucker” letter. Piper, focussing on the ADL and Bauer, turned in an unimpressive performance, in part owing to Irv "JDL" Rubin's heckling, which inspired Piper to remark, "if ever there was an argument in favor of anti-Semitism, it's this spokesman...for the Jewish community right here."
As had been the case back in January, Frogue made no effort to repudiate the support he received from his odious supporters, though he did say that "Critics have erroneously linked my beliefs with those of Mr. Piper. Mr. Piper's book...offers a controversial new thesis on the facts of the JFK assassination."
The 6/29/98 issue of The Spotlight reported the event. The article, by Jim Townsend, quotes Piper: "The trip here from Washington was worth it. It is very refreshing to be among patriots who are as concerned as I am about the systematic trashing of our rights and liberties by an alien pressure group, the ADL." Townsend, a resident of Fullerton, is the publisher of the National Educator, an anti-Semitic newspaper with links to Liberty Lobby. Issues offer such books as "The International Jew."
When he learned of Bauer's First Amendment lawsuit against Chancellor Sampson in early '99, the publicity-hungry Piper noisily proclaimed his support of Bauer in The Spotlight. Since ’98, his desperate attempts to get the attention of the mainstream press have failed.
Piper, it seems, has crawled back into the obscure hole that was his home before Mr. Frogue thrust him into the limelight.
See MICHAEL COLLINS PIPER.
Whatever else might be said about reassigned time--or "released time" as it is sometimes called--it is a crucial support of faculty involvement in college and district governance, for it frees academic senate officers to devote their energies to that endeavor by reducing their teaching loads by some fraction.
Nevertheless, the faculty contract ratified in March of 1998--the result of length negotiations between the Faculty Association team and district representatives, including John Williams (who, naturally, was beholden to the Faculty Association)--eliminated reassigned time for everyone except a few union officers. According to the contract, the work of senate officers could only be compensated with stipends--a system that requires that senate officers do senate work in addition to a full teaching load. This was a terrible blow to the academic senates and to shared governance, worse than the reduction of reassigned time for senate officers that occurred back in December of ’96.
Following a pattern typical of the Old Guard, at first, union leaders simply denied that they were seeking the elimination of reassigned time. For instance, on KPFK's "The Lawyers' Guild" radio program in February, when guests Jan Horn and Roy Bauer noted that the union was negotiating away faculty reassigned time, another guest, union negotiator Ken Woodward, responded by saying, "What they said about reassigned time being eliminated is completely false." In fact, what Horn and Bauer said was completely true, which became clear when, not long after, the "Tentative Contract Agreement" surfaced.
The union Old Guard's hatred of reassigned time had already been expressed in no uncertain terms a few months earlier. During the "public comments" portion of the August '97 Board meeting, Tony Garcia--accompanied by a shout of "Amen!" by union president Miller-White, herself a major reassigned time recipient--praised the “courageous moralist” "Dr. Raghu" (sic) for his "condemnation" of "the obscene and immoral practice of release time." Said Garcia, the "community should erect a statue to [Raghu]" for his "courage" and "fortitude in confronting this specific problem." The Old Guard's Bill Heffernin then spoke, praising Raghu and condemning reassigned time as "faculty welfare." Said he: "Some of us--and that includes Raghu--say this scandalous system for the favored few is over."
A few minutes later, IVC instructor Jan H stated what everyone at IVC knew: that "[Raghu's] position [as an opponent of reassigned time] is new and surprising," for "he has had 100%--or close to it--reassigned time for a number of years...."
As of writing, reassigned time for senate officers has not been restored, hampering the two senates’ efforts to represent the faculty in professional and academic matters.
REORGANIZATION (The 1997 "Reorg").
|Trustee Teddi Lorch|
Later snags HR gig
The reorganization came as a surprise, for (as trustee Lang later explained) neither administrators nor shared governance groups had been consulted, and, indeed, the Sorenson Group (consultants hired to help the district with its organizational problems) strongly advised against the board taking actions absent discussion with shared governance groups. Indeed, at IVC, only days earlier, faculty were assured by Acting President Mathur that no such action would be contemplated until the fall, when faculty returned from summer vacation. In fact, however, Mathur was the key figure in the planning and execution of the reorganization, and his assurances were lies. All of this is revealed in legal declarations provided in connection with Bauer II.
In a sworn declaration dated 9/8/98, Bob Loeffler (then IVC VP of Business Services) writes that, "In May of 1997, during an executive meeting of the three VPs and interim President Mathur, Mathur directed VP Burgess to develop a plan for the reorganization of the administrative structure of the college. Mathur...wanted VP [Terry] Burgess to develop a plan to institute a 'Dean Model' for the College." According to Burgess, when he then placed the topic of reorganization on the agenda for discussion at a May 13, 1997, Instructional Council meeting, he received a formal reprimand from Mathur: "Mathur stated that the development of the plan to eliminate the ten academic divisions and create four or five new divisions was supposed to be developed in confidence." Mathur then directed Burgess to "inform the Instructional Council that he would accept their recommendation to delay the planning process relevant to the reorganization until...the faculty, staff, and students returned from summer break."
But the secret planning continued: "Mathur directed me to confidentially continue the development of the plan to eliminate the ten academic divisions at the college and to create four or five new academic divisions...Since I knew that...Mathur's public announcement to delay the planning process was deceptive, when I developed the administrative reorganization plan..., I modified the names of the academic divisions [e.g., the name of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences] so that I could subsequently identify my work...On July 16, 1997, the Board Majority adopted the five-dean model that I had prepared at Mathur's direction. President Mathur had submitted a copy of my plans to the Board Majority and they adopted the five-dean model without modification, including the deliberate changes I had made in the names of the academic divisions." (From a legal declaration, 9/11/98.)
The BM's motives for the reorganization were probably complex. The school chairs, as faculty, could express objections to BM (and Mathurian) policies and actions with near impunity, and this the autocratic BM could not abide. At the same time, the Old Guard has aways hated IVC's school chair model, perhaps owing to its blurring of the line between faculty and administration. Further, in a faculty chair system, faculty are empowered, but only insofar as they participate in governance, which lazy faculty--those represented by the Old Guard, especially at IVC--are unlikely to do. Thus, do-nothing faculty inevitably views the faculty chair system as "inequitable."
At a board meeting on January 25, 1999, Trustee Fortune acknowledged that the July '97 reorganization was "too extreme" in its creation of "big divisions."
"SAME-SEX" FLIER (1996)
This flier--distributed to tens of thousands of Republican households--is widely credited with securing Williams, Fortune, and Frogue's '96 election victories. At the time, union consultant Pam Zanelli--now chief district PR person--recommended exploitation of the "domestic partners" issue, even though (a) the opposing trustee slate did not run on this issue, (b) CTA, which provided the chapter with campaign funds, officially favors domestic partner benefits, and (c) domestic partner benefits are properly a union, not a trustee, initiative. The flier contained figures concerning the cost of domestic partner benefits that bore no relation to reality. None of the beneficiaries of the flier--including long-time Democrat Dorothy Fortune--ever disowned it.
Union president Sherry Miller-White's decision to use the Zanelli-inspired flier naturally produced an outpouring of outrage from faculty. In response, the leadership began its campaign of simultaneously defending its action and blaming Zanelli for it. According to the post-election union newsletter, "The Faculty Association was forced to compete in the past campaign because life as we know it was under threat...[T]he Faculty Association, in desperation, turned the campaign over to a professional firm. All the information and literature of the PIE group was turned over to the professionals who developed the campaign...[T]he professionals said that many Democratic and Republican races across the nation were debating [the domestic partners issue] and that the public should not be kept in the dark about the full PIE agenda...." Also in the newsletter, Miller-White writes: "During the election, we were all in a fight for our existence as we know it. With all of this at risk, it became my responsibility as president to do the best I could [to] prevent this from happening...The unfortunate recent campaign war was necessitated solely by those opposing or threatening our contract. Even though the job as President of the faculty association is extremely difficult and requires a lot of self sacrifice, knowing that our immediate future is secure makes it all worth while."
During a forum in January of '97, Sherry Miller-White explicitly acknowledged having approved the flier, even though it was, she said, "too homophobic for me." Nevertheless, she explained, the use of such tactics was necessary to protect "life as we know it." She refused to apologize for her decision, thus providing members no reason to suppose that she would not use such tactics again. Indeed, during the trustee race of '98, Miller-White and her cronies helped secure the victories of two anti-teachers union candidates, using a flier that argued, absurdly, that the two would help stop the El Toro airport.
In American universities, the notion that professors (and students) should play a role in the governance of their institutions--which traces back to the American Association of University Professor's widely-embraced 1966 "Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities"--has been a cherished tradition, but, by the 80s, it was under attack by trustees and presidents and was otherwise threatened, owing to political pressures, increasing competition, and increasing reliance on adjunct professors, who, typically, have played no role in governance. By 1991, the assault became so serious that the AAUP began a "blacklist" of institutions that violated shared governance--e.g., those in which the board or the president made unilateral decisions concerning tenure or curriculum.
In the 80s, Californians finally legislated shared governance for the community colleges there (AB 1725), but this did not prevent the system from suffering the same tensions between partisans of faculty empowerment, on the one hand, and those who wished to run colleges like corporations with obedient "employees," on the other. By late 1997, SOCCCD became the poster child of the system's shared governance wars, though, in many ways, the problems of the district were unique. Indeed, they were bizarre--what with its Holocaust-denying trustee (Frogue), an illiterate and brazenly autocratic college president (Mathur), and its gay-bashing union (the Faculty Association). Adding another bizarre twist, in late '98, owing to support from the faculty union PAC, two trustees joined the board who were affiliated with Education Alliance, a Religious Right group whose leader, Mark Bucher, was the chief advocate and author of Proposition 226, the 1998 initiative that sought to remove unions as players in California politics. (See the CHRISTIAN RIGHT.)
Generally, in public, the "Board Majority" has claimed to embrace shared governance--while claiming also that the faculty fail to understand their role within it. On occasion, however, Board Majoritarians have explicitly expressed their rejection of shared governance. For instance, during the May '97 Board meeting, Mr. Frogue, then president of the Board, distributed a brief essay of his entitled "Comments on Shared Governance" in which he asserted that shared governance is "dysfunctional" and does not "work." He noted that 200,000 voters cast ballots for the four victorious trustee candidates in November (of '96) and that the Academic Senate presidents were chosen by a handful of faculty. He seemed to suggest that, as a consequence, the Academic Senate presidents should have only a minor role in district and college governance.
In fact, starting in December of '96, the BM-dominated Board ceased even pretending to consider the advice of faculty as expressed through its agents, the faculty senates, though it seemed often to do the bidding of the union Old Guard, whose members were sometimes appointed as administrators and whose "enemies" among administrators were removed or otherwise encouraged to seek employment elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the district's "Shared Governance Leadership Handbook" (of Fall '96) stated, "The Saddleback Community College District Board of Trustees fully supports AB 1725 and the spirit of shared governance. Implementation of shared governance in the SCCD is through a structure of councils and governance units designed to ensure all entities the right to participate effectively in district and college policy making."
Central to the Board's support of shared governance is its adherence to Board Policy 2100.1--"Delegation of Authority to the Academic Senate"--which, in response to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, mandates that "the governing board delegates to the college academic senates responsibility for and authority over academic and professional matters." As of writing (1/20/00), that policy is still in effect. Nevertheless, in recent years, the board has failed to delegate authority to the senates, illustrated by its apparent determination to foist upon Saddleback College a soccer program--a curriculum matter--despite the faculty recommendation to the contrary, and the Board's repeated failure to explain in writing its failure to accept Academic Senate recommendations (on matters over which the body is given authority by 2100.1), as per the board policy.
Perhaps the nadir of SG has now occurred (early 2000), with the initiative to modify BP 2100.1. "The board," said Sampson, "felt it delegated too much authority to the faculties and it needs to clarify and correct some of the policies" (Times, 11/27/99). Hence, Sampson expressed his intention to recommend changing the faculty senates' role from "authority over" academic and professional matters to "responsibility for advising the board" concerning them.
During the December '99 board meeting, Sampson was asked whether the board was able unilaterally to change the policy in this fashion. His answer: "Yes." In fact, however, BP 2100.1 states that "This policy is a mutual agreement between the governing board and the academic senates and may be modified upon mutual consent of the parties." Nonetheless, it now appears inevitable that the Board will act to change the policy without the consent of the faculty senates.
TRUSTEES RACE OF '96….
TRUSTEES RACE OF '98….
VIOLATIONS OF BOARD POLICY.
WATCH LIST (1997).
The South Orange County Community College District was placed on the state chancellor's "priority 3" fiscal watch list way back in March, 1996. In November of '97, however, it joined two other districts statewide by being placed on the more worrisome "priority 2" watch list, owing mostly to a dip in budget reserve to only 1.2% and five straight years of deficit spending.
Self-styled "fiscal conservatives" John Williams and Steven Frogue served on the board during this entire period. They had also consistently supported faculty salary raises.
At the time that the district was placed at priority 2, 88% of its budget went to salaries and benefits, allowing it to have--by far--the highest pay scale in the state. The state-wide average for salaries and benefits was 83%.
In a November '97 editorial, an alarmed Irvine World News asked, "who has been watching the store in the South Orange County district...?" The IWN also remarked upon the Board Majority's vaunted July '97 reorganization, which was alleged to have saved the district big money: "[W]hile the four-member board majority was patting itself on the back for saving a purported $1 million by shaking up the administrative structure of IVC, the real figures show any savings were no more than a quarter of that, not counting legal costs the move engendered. Taking into account those legal hassles, the move likely will end up costing the district money." A careful examination by the IVC faculty senate later revealed that the reorganization in fact cost the college money.
The district was finally removed from the watch list in the Fall of '99.
WILLIAMS, JOHN. (A.k.a. "Brown Boy," "PE Boy")
A trustee since 1992; a key member of the BOARD MAJORITY and arguably its most ruthless member. In a closed board meeting on July 16, 1997, without warning, the BM reorganized the district, eliminating faculty School Chairs at IVC and replacing them with Saddleback deans, leaving Saddleback College woefully under-administered. In a secret memo sent to his colleagues on July 11, Williams had recommended the reorganization, citing as his primary rationale the chairs' failure to "display loyalty, courtesy, and willingness to participate as...member[s] of the leadership team." After the 16th of July, however, he and other Board Majoritarians claimed that they were motivated essentially by fiscal concerns. (An IVC Academic Senate report later largely refuted the claim that the reorganization had fiscal benefits, particularly at IVC.)
During the BM's subsequent (and unsuccessful) effort to defend themselves against the charge that they had violated the Brown Act, Williams and his cohorts stated that the reorganization hadn't occurred without warning, that it had been discussed with shared governance groups and with the public--something all district observers knew to be false. Thus, in a sworn declaration, Williams asserted that "On July 8, 1997, the Board held a public forum for the purpose of hearing statements regarding the subject of organization or reorganization." In fact, however, those who actually attended the forum know that it had no such purpose. Indeed, Williams' own remarks during the forum refute his assertion, for he said: "I came [to the forum] today, and if there is one thing that I would ask the group and throw something out, it has to do with 'Where is this district going as far as growth money, and with this growth where are we going to put the students?' We need to grow!" (In a letter to the district attorney dated 9/3/97, trustee Lang asserts that, before the reorganization occurred, none of the shared governance groups were consulted, a point he later repeated under oath.)
Prior to Raghu P. Mathur's permanent appointment as IVC president in September of '97, Williams, in an egregious violation of the state's open meetings laws, attempted (unsuccessfully) to broker a deal between the BM and the Board Minority--one in which two administrators (liked by the minority, but hated by the Old Guard and Raghu Mathur in particular) would have their contracts renewed in exchange for the minority's not opposing Mathur's appointment. Indeed, in a legal declaration, Williams himself writes that "Prior to the September 8, 1997, Board meeting, I spoke to Trustee David Lang...and told him I hoped that the Board's appointment to a position as significant as president of IVC would be unanimous or at least unopposed...I asked Mr. Lang whether it would be possible to reach a compromise on the Mathur appointment with the Board members who opposed his appointment." It was just such acts that led Judge Seymour later to write that the board had engaged in "persistent and defiant misconduct" relative to the Brown Act.
During the '98 trustee race, Williams, as board president, invited only Wagner and Padberg (the Old Guard's candidates) to a Saddleback College Emeritus vocal performance (by the "Kool Kats"). Only Wagner and Padberg's names appeared in the printed program. Del Curry, the president of the Kats, had asked Williams to contact and invite all of the trustee candidates. "We wanted to get everybody that we possibly could to come," he said. Williams attended the concert with Wagner and Padberg, who handed out campaign fliers.
According to Fair Political Practice Commission spokesperson Gary Huckaby, "If officials do not invite all of the candidates to an event, the action is considered a contribution to the campaign...The penalty for illegal contributions is $2,000 for each instance."
The OC Jewish Heritage reported that Williams, Wagner, and district employee Pam Zanelli met during the summer prior to the '98 election to discuss strategy for Wagner's campaign--this is confirmed by Wagner. According to the FPPC's Huckaby, the law states that "No public official shall give and no candidate shall accept public funds or public resources, including public employees on the clock."
One more thing: according to several sworn declarations by then-IVC administrators, in early September, 1997, Lang called a meeting, attended by the administrators, in which he (Lang) presented Williams' proposed deal regarding Mathur's appointment as IVC president. According to one declaration, "Lang...also stated that Trustee Williams had promised to support Lang for Board Treasurer in the upcoming December, 1997, elections in exchange for Lang's assistance in obtaining a unanimous appointment for Mathur." The other declarations confirm this.
Now that's sleazy.
|Pam Zanelli, PR hack|
By her own admission, it was Zanelli who advised the union leadership that "domestic partner benefits" are a hot-button isssue in South Orange County that might be useful to them. Thus, at union president Sherry Miller-White's direction, tens of thousands of fliers were sent to south county homes, alerting the public that "SAME-SEX 'MARRIAGE'" benefits would soon be provided for district employees if PIE candidates are elected. According to Dave Lang of the PIE slate, however, none of the PIE candidates ran using domestic partner benefits as an issue. (Lariat, 12/5/96)
Miller-White's decision to use the Zanelli-inspired flier naturally produced widespread expressions of outrage from faculty and the community and further divided an already-divided faculty.
According to the OC Weekly, "After the '96 election, Zanelli landed another job that placed her close to the Gang of Four. Her consulting group was hired by the board to look into the district's public-information program in the wake of the Jews-killed-Kennedy incident. After the consultants' report--foes say it cost taxpayers $15,000--was handed to the board, Zanelli was hired as an in-house consultant, serving as the district's media spokesperson and providing political expertise. Frogue's opponents call her ‘a $5,000-per-month spin doctor,’ referring to the amount she's reportedly paid and the information she's dispensing. The board voted on March 23 to turn it into a full-time position." (4/10/98)
At the time, Zanelli declared that she would not seek the position. But she did seek it and was hired.
As a district flack, Zanelli has committed her share of gaffs over the years. In February of '98, Acting Chancellor Hodge distributed a memo to administrators alerting them that "Without my authorization, a District Press Release was sent out...today. The release, titled 'Weapons Confiscated at SOCCCD Board Meeting,' has the potential of being frightening to our students and the community...." Zanelli had authored and sent out the press release.
A day later, the Times ran an article entitled, "Knife, Pepper Spray are Found at Meeting." According to the article, "Campus police confiscated a 9-inch folding knife and a small canister of pepper spray from a man attending a SOCCCD board meeting last week. The seizure came amid tighter security measures in response to controversy surrounding a seminar Trustee Steven J. Frogue proposed last year on the assassination of President Kennedy...'We want people to know they are safe at these meetings and they wll not be disrupted for any reason,' campus spokeswoman Pam Zanelli said." (Times, 2/20/98)