Saturday, April 1, 2006

Creeps 'n' plagiarists

creep [noun]: an unpleasant or obnoxious person

1. THE UNLUCKY MR. TOM FUENTES. Poor Tom Fuentes. It must be such a drag to have his rotten luck. I mean, so many of the people he associates with turn out to be creeps.

Let’s get the creepiest of these creeps out of the way. According to Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly,

[C]hurch documents obtained by the Weekly reveal that [Tom] Fuentes for five years supervised a priest caught in flagrante delicto with a 13-year-old boy in a Sacramento area graveyard…[Pedophile priest Jerome] Henson first came to the diocese in 1983 to direct its television department, where he remained for six years. As communications director, Fuentes oversaw the television department five of those years.” (See Henson)

Sheesh. The Weekly tried to talk to Fuentes about all this, but he wouldn’t return their calls. Can you blame him? He must be mortified.


uentes is closely associated with attorney Mike Schroeder. Indeed, Tom was recently spotted at Mike's birthday party. Schroeder's the attorney and advisor of Mike “Scandal Boy” Carona, OC’s Sheriff, and Tony “Sleazeball” Rackauckus, the OC D.A.

No doubt thanks to some Fuentean string-pulling, the IVC Foundation gave Carona an award. And Tony Rackauckus? He showed up in the district a year or so ago to swear in new Trustee officers.

Carona and Rackauckus are total creeps. I bet Tom's really disappointed in those boys.

Fuentes is on the board of Eagle Publishing, which own Regnery Publishing. Regnery publishes such gems as Unfit For Command, the infamous fact-challenged “swift boat” expose that smeared Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the last Presidential election campaign. Check out their catalog! Regnery (hence Eagle) is a creep publishing company.

The chairman of Eagle Publishing is founder Thomas L. Phillips of Orange County. (N.b.: most of our board members have partied at one time or other at Phillips’ fancy schmancy home in Corona del Mar.)

Phillips is on the Board of Trustees of the “Phillips Foundation,” which includes our own Thomas Fuentes (plus Alfred Regnery).

Tom’s colleague on that board is uber-Creep Robert Novak—you know, the “journalist” at the heart of the Valerie Plame scandal. Novak, who writes a column, has been known to interview—

You guessed it! –His pal, Tom Fuentes.


hen there’s Tom’s boss, William Lange, who heads LFC (Lange Financial Corporation). Back in 1997, Lange was sued by the Justice Department for fraud. The case was settled out of court.

Jeez, if the guy was innocent (i.e., not a creep), why didn’t he insist on his day in court? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Let’s get back to Regnery Publishing. As I said, Regnery publishes Unfit For Command. You remember! For 13 weeks, it sat on top of the New York Times’ best seller list, and it helped Mega-Creep George Bush get elected.

The book was written by Jerome Corsi. Guess what? Corsi’s a full-on plagiarist.

I know this because I watched Keith Olbermann’s show on the 27th. On that day, the very funny Mr. Olbermann named Corsi his “worst person in the world”:

…our winner [is] Jerome Corsi, author of the infamous swift boat book “Unfit for Command.” He has admitted now to lifting research and information and seemingly entire passages from the column of another conservative columnist Debbie Schlussel. The admission comes after Schlussel complained about plagiarism and posted Corsi‘s WorldNetDaily column side by side with her original. Jerome Corsi, himself, evidently [is] the captain of a none too swift boat—and [he’s] today‘s worst person in the world. (Schlussel)

Corsi’s obviously a creep.

Another Regnery “star” is David Horowitz. According to Regnery, Horowitz’s new book—The Professors—is about “Terrorists, racists, and communists—you know them as The Professors.”

OK, you know lots of professors, right? Are they terrorists, racists, and communists?

Didn’t think so. Horowitz is another creep.

I could go on all day listing the creeps in Fuentes’ world, but let’s leave it at that for now.

Tom, you’ve got our sympathy.

2. ARE CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS VICTIMS OF DISCRIMINATION? Speaking of Horowitz, you might want to check out an article that appeared in the Chronicle on the 30th. As you know, Mr. Horowitz has promoted the idea that conservative students face “discrimination” in the college classroom. Well, a new study suggests otherwise.

Here’s an excerpt from that article ("Study Casts Doubt on Claims That Conservative Students Face Discrimination in Classes," by Jennifer Jacobson):

Study Casts Doubt on Claims That Conservative Students Face Discrimination in Classes

A study showing that conservative and liberal students do equally well in courses with politically charged content casts doubt on conservative activists' claims that liberal faculty members routinely discriminate against their conservative students.

The study found no difference in the grades conservative and liberal students receive in sociology, cultural anthropology, and women's-studies courses. It also found that conservative students tend to earn higher grades than their liberal classmates in business and economics courses.

Titled "What's in a Grade? Academic Success and Political Orientation," the study was conducted by Markus Kemmelmeier, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada at Reno, who was the lead author; Cherry Danielson, a research fellow at Wabash College; and Jay Basten, a lecturer in kinesiology at the University of Michigan.

The researchers published their paper in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin last October, but it has attracted little attention, even as activists like David Horowitz continue to press state legislatures to adopt a so-called academic bill of rights to make college campuses more "intellectually diverse" and more tolerant of conservatives.

Mr. Kemmelmeier's study follows two others, published within the past seven years, that found that conservative students tended to earn slightly lower grades in majors such as sociology and anthropology. The professor, who describes his politics as slightly left of center, says he did not undertake the study to contribute to the ongoing discussion of political bias on college campuses, but to address ongoing questions in social psychology about the choices people make regarding their interaction with organizations and what personal characteristics contribute to their success within those organizations.

The earlier studies are "consistent with what Horowitz might suggest -- that conservative students are actually not doing all that well in fields that are thought more left-leaning," says Mr. Kemmelmeier. But there's a problem with that argument, he says: The students' performance "has nothing to do with bias" on the part of their professors.

In a four-year longitudinal study that began in the late 1990s, he surveyed 3,890 students at a major public university in the Midwest. Asked to describe their political orientation, 2.7 percent identified themselves as far left, 34.6 percent as liberal, 42 percent as middle of the road, 20 percent as conservative, and 1.2 percent as far right.

Mr. Kemmelmeier then compared the transcripts of a variety of students taking the same courses, specifically courses taught in the economics department and the business school (which Mr. Kemmelmeier considered "hierarchy-enhancing," or conservative) and those taught in American culture, African-American studies, cultural anthropology, education, nursing, sociology, and women's studies (which he considered "hierarchy-attenuating," or liberal).

He found that in the latter courses, students' political orientations had no effect on their grades -- which, the study says, suggests that disciplines such as sociology and anthropology "might be more accepting of a broad range of student perspectives," while economics and business classes "appear to be more sensitive to whether student perspectives are compatible with those of the academic discipline."

In economics and business classes, the study found, conservative students earned better grades. It also found that conservative students were likely to graduate with higher GPA's in those courses than liberal students who entered college with similar SAT scores….

Prayer, scandal, liars

1. CAUSE OF LOW MORALE IDENTIFIED: PRAYER. This just in. The cause of low morale in the district has been identified. It’s prayer.

That’s right, ever since Trustee Tom Fuentes showed up in the SOCCCD, there’s been lots more prayer, and creepier prayer, too. And things have been goin’ downhill, man.

Well, according to a landmark study whose results were announced this week, not only does prayer not help people, it causes “performance anxiety.” As Bob Park reported yesterday:

The long-awaited study of intercessory prayer for coronary bypass patients was released yesterday...A small increase in complications, attributed to "performance anxiety," was found in a subset of patients who were told that strangers were praying for them. Otherwise, there was nothing. Scientists are relieved of course; science is tough enough without having to worry that somebody on their knees in East Cupcake, Iowa can override natural law. The study of 1800 patients took almost ten years and cost $2.4M, mostly from the Templeton Foundation. Of course, there are calls for further study. Where do we start? What are the units of prayer? Do prayers of Pat Robertson count more than those of death-row inmates? What is the optimum posture of the supplicant? Where can we learn these things? (What's New?)

OK, so the scientists said that the negative effect of prayer was “small.” But those guys haven’t heard Trustee Tom pray!

If there’s a God, He’s pissed.

2. LOCAL REPUBLICANS: FOR ONCE THE SCANDAL IS KINDA SMALL. Did you hear about the latest local Republican scandal? This time, it’s a mini-scandal, I guess, so they're movin' in the right direction. This is from this morning’s OC Register:

More than 100 Orange County residents who thought they were simply signing petitions to cure breast cancer, punish child molesters or build schools were duped into registering as Republicans, an Orange County Register investigation found.

The ruse took place over several days in December and January at shopping centers throughout Anaheim, Santa Ana, Buena Park, Westminster and Garden Grove, where paid petitioners begged, cajoled, lied and committed forgery to get so-called Republican converts. Petition circulators were paid as much as $7 for each GOP registration.

Orange County election officials have received complaints from 167 people who were flipped to the Republican Party without their permission. The Register found the problem was far wider, interviewing 112 others who were not only switched, they were tricked and deceived. Among the victims is a lifelong Democrat who was pressured to fill out forms even though she didn't have her glasses and couldn't see what she was signing.

The Register traced the bogus registrations to Christopher Scott Dinoff, who took out 13,000 blank affidavit cards from the Orange County Registrar of Voters Office, records show.

…In Orange County, local GOP Chairman Scott Baugh said he considers his party a victim in the scam.

"Not only do we get hit for the dollars we are paying vendors, but if they are reluctant Republicans, we are also wasting money on follow-up mailers and efforts to contact (them)," Baugh said.

…Many of those [victims] interviewed by the Register were college students or people with a limited command of English.

"We really don't know how the system works, and we're a little more naive than the rest of the population," said Evelyn Maldonado, 19, a Santa Ana College sophomore who was approached by a signature gatherer after class.

…Dinoff was hired by a subcontractor for Bader and Associates, the Newport Beach consultant used by the GOP to conduct the registration drive.

…Orange County Republican officials say they took immediate action when they learned of "over-aggressive" petitioners, refusing to pay for anymore registrations from Dinoff.

But Frank Barbaro, Orange County Democratic Party chairman, isn't so sure that the Republican Party is blameless. Barbaro said the GOP benefited because the boosted numbers strengthened the party's fundraising ability in the heated 34th District.

"It gives the Republicans all this energy," Barbaro said. "They take those numbers around the state and raise money, saying, 'We can win that district.'" (Click GOP Scandallet)

3. GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS FOR SHERIFF CARONA. One of Trustee Tom’s pals, OC Sheriff Mike “Rat Bastard” Carona, got some good news and some bad news this week.

The bad news? Well, on Wednesday night, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs voted to endorse Bill Hunt, Carona’s chief challenger in the upcoming election. Ouch!

As you know, that came on the heels of a similar setback: a week earlier, the OC Republican Party’s Central Committee declined to endorse Carona for reelection.

Meanwhile, Hunt submitted a ballot statement that described Carona as a “failure” whose administration brought “scandal after scandal.”

Carona’s people cried foul and took the matter to a judge, who ruled this week that Hunt’s verbiage amounted to a “personal attack.”

Personal attack? Here are some more "personal attacks":

• Raghu Mathur’s chancellorship has been a failure.
• Raghu Mathur is a liar.
• As a faculty member, Raghu repeatedly ignored process and went directly to trustees.

These are no more “personal attacks” than is the assertion that Carona’s administration has been beset by scandal, which is demonstrably factual.

I guess that, in the judge’s view, if you say something harsh or unpleasant about someone, then that’s a “personal attack,” even if it’s true plus pertinent. By that standard, “Saddam Hussein was a dictator” is a personal attack.

If you want to hear some real personal attacks (that's when you say things about people that are harsh and false), listen to Raghu's 9-minute speech of Monday night. (See Raghu Blames Faculty)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The district’s problem? Why, that would be faculty macromanagement! (AUDIO FILE)

As you know, not long ago, the Accreditors spanked the colleges hard, mostly because of the conduct of the board of trustees and the Chancellor (see yesterday’s blog, which lists the Accred’s recommendations re the district).

Nevertheless, in recent meetings, trustee Fuentes has made remarks that suggest that he rejects the Accreditors' criticisms, especially with regard to its complaint that the board meddles or “micromanages” in district and college affairs. Indeed, based on his various remarks over the months, it seems clear that, in Mr. Fuentes’ mind, the Accreditors’ assessment of the district’s problems is radically misguided. The problem, in his view, isn’t that the board and Mathur misbehave; rather, it is that faculty misbehave.

Given some of his remarks, it is clear, also, that Mr. Fuentes embraces a conspiracy theory according to which the faculty of the district, when they are not attempting to control the colleges, control the Accreditors and their reports.

On Monday night, no doubt in part because of some of Mr. Fuentes’ reckless public remarks, Chancellor Mathur attempted damage control. He recommended to the board that it embrace a resolution, the gist of which is that, just in case there is any doubt,

the board embraces (it agrees with, it does not reject!) the Accreditors’ recommendations and it is committed to “addressing” those recommendations.

Below, I have provided audio of the curious discussion that occurred Monday night regarding that recommendation (item #28).

Here's the draft brought to the meeting:


The audio begins with an introduction by Chancellor Mathur. Next, Trustee Lang asks that the vote regarding 28 be taken.

At that point, that Mr. Fuentes interrupts to object to the resolution’s language. His says that he is unwilling to vote for the resolution unless it is amended to include mention of the “macromanagement” of “others."

In particular, Fuentes focuses on the fourth “whereas” of the resolution:

Whereas, the Board and District are committed to clarifying the respective leadership roles and scopes of authority of College and District constituent groups and governance committees in meaningful, collegial decision making processes; and

Fuentes suggests adding the following phrase at the end:

“to avoid macromanagement on the part of other constituent groups”

Mathur responds: “that would be acceptable to me.”

At that point, Trustee Milchicker expresses bewilderment regarding Fuentes’ suggestion or intent. Fuentes responds in an unhelpful way, but he then seems to drop the ball into Mathur’s lap. Mathur picks it up, and he then reminds everyone that, in his recent comments (see yesterday’s blog), he too indicated that the macromanagement of faculty is a concern. He says that we need to be careful that “people are not overreaching.”

“Precisely,” says Fuentes.


Marcia again complains of unclarity. Fuentes then amends his suggestion. Now, he suggests adding this phrase:

“to avoid macromanagement and overreach by constituent groups.”

The problem, of course, is that the Accreditors made no recommendation concerning “overreach” by other constituent groups since it did not find that other constituent groups overreached. Marcia makes that point.

Eventually, student Trustee Ho expresses concern that this sort of action (he does not say “defiant action,” but his meaning is clear) might not be well received by Accreditors. It could threaten the colleges’ accreditation.

Fuentes responds by saying, “Paul, don’t buy off on [the idea] that we’re under the hammer of pulling your accreditation.”


Mathur eventually offers yet another edit that amounts to the same thing:

Whereas, the Board and District are committed to clarifying the respective leadership roles and scopes of authority of College and District constituent groups and governance committees in meaningful, collegial decision making processes, thereby avoiding macromanagement by constituent groups;

The motion passes: Lang, Williams, Fuentes, and Wagner vote FOR the revised resolution.

(Padberg is absent). Milchiker and Jay vote against it.

PART 1 (about 3 minutes)
this is an audio post - click to play


PART 2 (about 3 minutes)
this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Negative press" caused by faculty? Here's the list

AST NIGHT, Chancellor Mathur did what he does best: he pointed a finger of blame at others, especially faculty. In particular, he asserted that "faculty leaders" somehow cause most of the negative press coverage that the district and the two colleges receive. (See previous blog [below].) Gee, is that true? I did a Lexis/Nexis search concerning the district and colleges going back three years. I did find lots of negative coverage. But the coverage was inspired, not by faculty leaders or faculty, but almost always by the board and the Chancellor. Check it out. This is everything that I found:
[UPDATE: notice that no articles concerning the Academic Senate's successful lawsuit against the district popped up. Not sure why. That the board violated a law and violated the Senate's rights surely counts as an instance of the board generating bad press.]
1. Saddleback rehabilitating 4 ill-constructed buildings The Orange County Register (California) October 9, 2005, Sunday BYLINE: By Amanda Strindberg MISSION VIEJO -- Efforts are under way at Saddleback College to repair four buildings that over the years have been plagued with mold growth, cracking foundations and uneven floors. 2. Bees City News Service August 12, 2005 Friday DATELINE: MISSION VIEJO Call it a case of bad buzz. A 16-show run of "Babes in Arms" that was scheduled through Sunday at Saddleback College's McKinney Theatre has been cut short because of bees, the Los Angeles Times reported. 3. TOM FUENTES, THIS IS YOUR PYRRHIC LIFE OC Weekly April 1, 2005, Friday BYLINE: GUSTAVO ARELLANO This is indeed a “negative” story about our district. It’s negative because it is highly skeptical of Trustee Fuentes’ remarks concerning the Spanish course in Santander, Spain. 4. OC Weekly, letters: “Spanish lessons” OC Weekly March 18, 2005, Friday [3 letters, all negative:] 1. I'm studying Spanish at Saddleback College and was stunned to read that it voted to cancel the Spanish study abroad program due to Spain's withdrawal of troops from Iraq …. 2. I'm a Republican who is pretty conservative, but I don't get the Spain thing. …. 3. I have dedicated my life to Spanish education here and abroad for 33 years, and I am disgusted that valuable linguistic and cultural programs can be jeopardized by neo-con trustees …. 5. DIARY OF A MAD COUNTY OC Weekly March 18, 2005, Friday BYLINE: STEVE LOWERY … March 10 Spaniards observe a moment of silence for the 191 people who died in a terrorist train bombing last year. One of those not observing silence or even on the premises is frequent OC house guest and prime minister at the time of the attacks, Jose Maria Aznar, who was in Mexico at the time, perhaps looking for his soul. Spain eventually pulled its troops out of Iraq, which eventually led the South Orange County Community College District, under the equally soulless thumb of former local Republican jefe Tom Fuentes, to cancel its study abroad program in Spain. While this will have little to no effect on Spain, it is yet another humiliation for Orange County, which seemed to be emerging from the hick/wacko shadow of the likes of Bob Dornan, Bill Dannemeyer, John Schmitz, John Birch and Wally George. …. 6. 'NO ENTIENDO'. (from Arellano’s column) OC Weekly March 11, 2005, Friday BYLINE: GUSTAVO ARELLANO As the chair of Orange County's Republican Party from 1984 until last year, Tom Fuentes distinguished himself by waging vindicative, sometimes bizarre campaigns against enemies real and perceived. As a trustee for the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD), Fuentes continues his GOP battle plan by launching a campaign against . . . Spain?! 7. Two OC colleges end study-abroad program in Spain The Associated Press State & Local Wire March 6, 2005, Sunday, BC cycle Leaders of two community colleges in Orange County have ended their schools' study-abroad program in Spain, citing the country's troop withdrawal from Iraq. 8. News briefs from Southern California The Associated Press State & Local Wire May 18, 2004, Tuesday, BC cycle IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - Professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges overwhelmingly cast a no-confidence vote against South Orange County Community College District Chancellor Raghu Mathur…More than 93 percent voted in favor of no confidence, and 6 percent were against the union-sponsored measure, the district faculty association said. Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 voted. 9. WAKE UP, WHITE PEOPLE! OC Weekly April 9, 2004, Friday BYLINE: Nick Schou Mission Viejo's Saddleback College is already infamous as the only California community college that can claim it once had a board president who was a Holocaust-denying high school history teacher--that'd be Steven J. Frogue. So it wasn't entirely unpredictable that students would soon get in on the act, turning an anti-racist teach-in into a forum on Jewish control of the media. 10. A CLOCK WORK ORANGE (Coker’s column) OC Weekly March 14, 2003, Friday BYLINE: matt coker Anyone who has attended meetings of local boards, councils and commissions is used to the superfluous public ass-kissing elected officials give one another. Taking such manufactured passion to new depths is the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees, which governs Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges. At a recent meeting, board president Don Wagner paused at one point to congratulate trustee Tom Fuentes for being re-elected to a 10th term as Orange County Republican Party chairman. Fuentes had earlier toasted fellow trustee John Williams for being sworn in as Orange County's new public administrator--the part-time elected official who oversees conservancies for feeble-minded folks who can't care for themselves and have no next-of-kin. But what Fuentes did next says a lot about Orange County Republicans, county government and that particular school board: he congratulated fellow trustee Nancy Padberg for being appointed to Williams' professional staff. The same board awarded a plum district administrative job to the trustee Padberg replaced--even though her qualifications were questionable. The funny thing--not funny ha-ha, but funny as in ironic--is Williams was first swept into his trustee seat as a reformer who would protect South County taxpayers by ending rampant cronyism on the part of faculty and administrators. Dissident trustee David Lang has long complained of cronyism practiced by Fuentes, Williams, Padberg, Wagner and Dorothy Fortune--Republicans who cast identical votes so often you'd think they trained at the old Soviet Politburo. We would have asked Padberg if she foresees any conflicts, but she was too busy nominating her new boss Williams to a seat on the California Community College Trustees board of directors. 11. Iraq-College City News Service March 31, 2003 Monday DATELINE: LOS ANGELES An Irvine Valley College administrator has warned instructors against discussing the Iraq war in class unless it is directly related to the subject they are teaching, it was reported today. 12. Irvine college bans classroom discussions of Iraq conflict The Associated Press State & Local Wire March 29, 2003, Saturday, BC cycle DATELINE: IRVINE, Calif. Irvine Valley College has banned classroom discussions of the war with Iraq unless they are linked to course work after a sobbing student complained about a professor's anti-war remarks.

Listen to Raghu blame our problems on faculty leadership

Item 26 of last night’s meeting of the board of trustees was a discussion of the recommendations offered not long ago by the Accreditation agency (ACCJC).

At one point, Chancellor Mathur focused on those recommendations that pertain to District operations. They are:

IVC (#6): The board should immediately cease micromanaging.
Saddleback (#5): The board should immediately cease micromanaging.

IVC (#7): all groups should regularly define and evaluate leadership roles and scopes of authority. (A paraphrase.)

Saddleback (#4): Essentially: The board should abandon its objectionable and unprofessional hiring procedure (for college and district executives) and begin giving constituency groups a meaningful say (in the process).

IVC (#8): deal with the hostility, cynicism, despair and fear that plague the college.
Saddleback (#6): deal with the hostility, cyncism, despair and fear that plague the college.

The accreditors' most severe criticisms were directed at our Board and distict leadership (i.e., the Chancellor, the chief cause of fear, distrust, etc.).

Last night, upon having outlined what the colleges and trustees are doing to respond to these recommendations, Chancellor Mathur decided to offer some "thoughts."

I present them in their entirety. They are in two clips, each about 4 minutes long:

PART 1:

this is an audio post - click to play

1. Negative press coverage is caused chiefly by faculty leaders.
2. Only 1 or 2 trustees have micromanaged (in the past), and only occasionally; yet “the whole board” gets a bad name.
3. The board is trying not to micromanage now. Everyone should appreciate that.
4. Faculty leadership should work more with leadership and the board. They should do so respectfully and reasonably.
5. Faculty concerns about loss of accreditation owing to trustee micromanagement are erroneous and unhelpful.
6. Hostility and fear are spread by this talk by faculty leaders.

PART 2:

this is an audio post - click to play

1. Some issues, e.g., institutional memberships, should be dealt with at the staff level.
2. The trust problem is perhaps a carryover from previous boards. (I.e., Dorothy Fortune did it, not these guys.)
3. This board has spent money to recruit students and to repair buildings. The board has been generous with salaries.
4. Yet there’s no balance and fair play on the part of faculty and staff, who never come to thank the board.
5. Let’s not use inflammatory language in discussing issues.
6. It is everyone’s responsibility, not just the board’s, to improve our reputation.
7. Just now, some faculty leaders left. See? We listen to them, but they don’t listen to us.
8. Faculty, staff, trustees: talk to me first about problematic agenda items. Don’t “grandstand.”
9. We need to commend each other more.
10. Faculty should cease “inviting” board micromanagement by going directly to the board with issues.
11. The board must be treated with utmost respect.
12. “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Monday, March 27, 2006

DEFIANCE: A brief report on tonight's wild board meeting

This’ll have to be fast. Gotta get some sleep. More tomorrow.

It was quite a meeting tonight. It was a horror movie, and Raghu and trustee Tom were the monsters. More on that in a moment.

During public comments, IVC Academic Senate Prez Wendy, on behalf of senators, noted that the district planning process is illegitimate, given that it was developed without Academic Senate input. She explained that failure to include faculty violated Title V and BP 2100.1. Hence the Academic Senate decided to pursue a “minimum conditions” complaint with the State Chancellor’s Office.

During trustee reports, Lang used his time to express his “disappointment” in Wendy’s remarks, which he rejected as erroneous. No, he said patronizingly, the district gets to pursue planning. Planning is not just the faculty’s purview.

Of course, she (i.e., the IVC senate) never said that. Rather, the point was that, according to Title V and 2100.1, the district is to rely primarily on the academic Senates regarding the development of a planning process.

Nancy Padberg indicated that she would have to leave early for some reason, and this got me to worryin’, since she was the 4th vote for “reinstatement” of the American Library Association to the approved district membership list. Sheesh.

During her report, Nancy expressed gratitude for last month’s staff report on trustee traveling expenses in the last year. I’m told that the report makes John Williams look pretty bad.

Well, on this night, Nancy requested that the report now be extended to “five years” in order to see whether the pattern of the last year was just an aberration.

Guess what? Williams, Fuentes, Wagner, and (I think) Lang voted that down!

Luckily, the public has a right to this info, so we’ll work on getting it for you.

There was some carping about item 31, “budget development discussion,” which requested the authorization of two guidelines. Trustee Fuentes used the occasion to complain that, in effect, the board was failing to follow its chosen policy according to which “basic aid” money would not be used for “ongoing expenses,” but, rather, only for “one-time expenses.” But, asserted Tom, each year, we permit these “one-time expenses.”

Near as I can tell, Mr. Poertner responded by saying that the colleges are $15 million in the hole, and they can’t operate without some help, so you better help them. I think he prevailed.

Mathur and the college presidents gave a slide show concerning responses to the Accred’s recommendations. That went on for a while. It seemed clear that Mathur and Co. are stuffing "Accreditation" items into board meetings because that leaves an impressions that they're serious about the Accred's recommendations, which, plainly, they are not.

At some point, Raghu stopped the whole show to read a lengthy statement regarding the Accreditation issue. In his mind, evidently, he was stepping up to the plate to provide some “leadership.”

I’ll have lots more, including audio files, maybe tomorrow. I'll just say for now that Raghu’s “leadership” took the particular form of his asserting that certain people are trying to tear down the district’s reputation, and that the real problem in the district is that a few faculty leaders are trying to run the whole show. Naturally, this message presupposes that the Accreds' recommendations are crap.

Plus, said Raghu, some of these people who want to control the district are indecorous and disrespectful (I think that last one was about me, though I’m not a “leader.”)

This went on and on and it was so obnoxious that the faculty union president and the two senate presidents got up and left in protest. Later in the evening, Mathur referred to that exodus as evidence that the problem is with faculty.

I think it was item 28—a resolution to affirm board and district commitment to address the Accreditation Teams’ recommendations—when Mr. Fuentes insisted that he wasn’t about to affirm any such thing. No, he would only affirm a statement that included mention of faculty “macromanagement.”

More than once, Fuentes asserted that the problem with the district isn’t board “micromanagement.” OK, maybe two trustees engaged in some micromanagement, but so what? Somebody’s gotta control these pesky over-reaching faculty leaders! There’s your problem!

Student Trustee Ho tried to mediate. He expressed the worry that Fuentes’ defiance might lead to our Accreditation ticket bein’ pulled. Fuentes then advised Ho not to buy into the nonsense that trustee actions threaten accreditation. Paul backed off immediately.

At some point, Nancy disappeared, and then item 29, “reinstatement of ALA to approved district membership list” came up. For some reason (graciousness? Nah), Fuentes moved to table the item, but that failed. (I think Marcia and Bill need to talk. They need to find a clue.)

And so the inevitable occurred: the vote was 3 to 3, and thus the reinstatement of ALA failed. It seems unlikely that the board will again agendize this issue.

Within minutes of that vote, Nancy returned to the meeting. D’oh!!!! Too late!

I noticed just after I got home that union president Lewis L sent faculty an email responding to Mathur’s obnoxious remarks. Check it out.

More later.

Heads up: tonight’s board meeting

DEAR GABACHO:

Is anything interesting liable to happen at tonight's meeting of the Board of Trustees? Inquiring minds wanna know. And so do I. --Inquiring Mind

Dear INQUIRING MIND:

As usual, the closed session items are potentially interesting, what with discussion of, e.g., the Mora v. Mathur (aka Raghu v. women) litigation. That should be going to trial soon. Will the district settle?

But these items seldom live up to their potential.

During board reports, maybe John Williams will describe his expensive and wasteful trip to Orlando. Yeah, that should be good. Nancy will smile slyly.


The open session items are another story. There are bound to be some sparks aflyin’.

Item 26 is for “information/discussion,” not action: SC/IVC ACCRED TEAM REC’S. There’s a chance that Trustee Tom will turn red and pop. Or Wagner will at long last peeve himself into a tiny dot on the floor. But seriously, folks, Tom’s liable to say something memorable, like “let’s put out a contract on those pesky unelected Accreds.”

Item 27 is, I believe, the “proposed” follow-up (4/24/06) to the February technical assistance meeting, involving the Academic Senate of CA and that silly trustees organization. (See the series of three blogs starting with Hammering out differences.)

You remember. No? Anyway, I think the board is supposed to say, “Yeah, let’s show up for that.” If they’re smart, they’ll tell Trustee Fuentes to stay home. Last time, he yammered about love while shooting wicked looks.

Item 28 is a “resolution” re the Accred rec’s. Evidently, Raghu is recommending that the board affirm its commitment to addressing the Accred’s rec’s. Maybe the Accreds heard about Trustee Tom’s mad sputterings and so this is damage-control. Could be. Don’t know.

Item 29 is the American Library Association issue. Last I heard, we’ve got four votes for reversing the January decision to discontinue the college libraries’ memberships in ALA. Still, Fuentes and Wagner will want to bloviate against the ALA, cuz it keeps the right-wingers happy.

Let’s hope some Librarians actually show up to speak up this time. If they don’t, then it’s open season on ‘em, satire-wise.

I do hope that Glenn will correct item 46, which is erroneous. (Left out one of the Teachers of the Year.)

During public remarks, IVC Academic Prez Wendy will make a few nasty remarks about Raghu and the Board on behalf of the IVC Academic Senate. She didn’t want to, but the Senators insisted.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

St. Thomas Akimbo

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Tom and his pals are featured in the new Universal Studios motion picture "Slither."



No vulture

Check out Peggy Lowe's interview of Sheriff Mike Carona in this morning's OC Register (Carona responds to his doubters).

Here's my favorite part:

Carona: I've never defined myself politically. So when all this stuff came up, we'd sit down and talk about it, but I've just never defined myself as political. My job is political. To be able to become sheriff I had to run and become political. But once I've gotten over that hurdle, what I do is operational. What I love about this job, what I studied for, what I've trained for is the operational side. The politics – I'm not so sure I could sit in a room and be one of 40 votes or 50 votes.

It's why God didn't make me a vulture. I have to kill something. I got to go out and hunt it down. I can't wait around for it to die.


8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary