Saturday, October 21, 2006

The OC Register reports on IVC's top cops

1. OC REGISTER. In this morning’s OC Register, Marla Jo Fisher reports on recent events regarding Irvine Valley College’s top cops (Top college police placed on leave):
Both of the top police officers at Irvine Valley College have been sent home on paid leave and their computers seized, pending an investigation into unspecified allegations, officials confirmed Friday.

The reason for the probe was not disclosed. College President Glenn Roquemore said he could not discuss the case.

…Reached at their homes, Police Chief Owen Kreza and his deputy police chief, Dennis W. Duncan, both said they did not know why they were placed on leave.

…[D]eputy chief, Duncan, who retired from a long career as a sheriff's deputy before coming to work at IVC, said he had not been contacted by any investigator since he was sent home a week ago Monday.

"I was told not to say anything," Duncan, 52, said. "Anyone, at any time, can make an allegation. My conscience is clear."

…The matter is administrative, not criminal, and outside law enforcement has not been contacted, said Tracy Daly, spokeswoman for the South Orange County Community College District….

…Kreza told the Irvine World News in 2001 that he had provided security to country music stars, business moguls and the family of the Sultan of Brunei.

…In September 1993, the Los Angeles Times reported that Kreza was among five Irvine Police Department officers facing internal discipline.

City officials would not specify the reason for the discipline, except to say it stemmed from a internal investigation into a lawsuit by female officers alleging that some Irvine cops belonged to a "Code Four Club" into which male officers were inducted after having sex in the back of a patrol car while on duty.

After the investigation, city officials said they found no evidence of such a club, but announced they would discipline five officers for unspecified offenses discovered during the probe, none of which were criminal.

On Friday, Kreza said vehemently that he'd "had nothing to do with that Code Four Club" and that it was not related to his 1993 suspension by the city police department.

"My suspension was related to secondary employment," Kreza said. "I had applied for secondary employment. It was a mess."

Kreza is on the board of directors of the Exchange Club of Irvine, which has as its credo, in part, that members should "consecrate my best energies to the uplifting of Social, Religious, Political and Business ideals… (and to) honor and respect the law."

There’s nothing much new here, aside from Kreza’s acknowledging that he was indeed suspended in 1993 by the Irvine Police Department. This suggests, of couse, they he did engage in some form of misconduct.

Nevertheless, nine years later, Kreza was hired as IVC Police Chief by then-College President Raghu Mathur.

WAIT A MINUTE: the Reg reports that "Kreza said vehemently that he'd 'had nothing to do with that Code Four Club.'"

Aha! So there WAS a Code Four Club after all! (In 1993, after an investigation, the Irvine PD ultimately declared that there was no such club. See Kreza/Irvine PD.)

I suppose Owen could say that, in the above remark, he was referring only to the group who wore those Code Four pins that were being sold out of Officer Boggs' garage. But if that's all the club amounted to, why get all hot and bothered about being associated with it?

2. FATE OF IPD LAWSUITS DETERMINED. Yesterday, I presented various reports from 1993 concerning the Irvine Police Department's sexual harassment and discrimination scandals. At the time, I had not yet determined the fate of the sex harrassment/discrimination lawsuit (filed by four IPD women) that led to the uncovering of IPD's dark side.

Yesterday, I found an abstract of a 1995 OC Register article that fills in some details:
Irvine police harassment suits settled for $140,000

CITIES: Three former women employees were paid so the city wouldn't have to go to court, the city attorney says.
March 29, 1995


The Orange County Register

The city paid $140,000 to settle sexual-harassment lawsuits filed by three female employees who alleged they were treated unfairly when they worked at the Police Department, city officials confirmed Tuesday.

The last settlement was reached Oct. 25, when the city agreed to pay $83,000 to narcotics investigator Abbe Taylor. In previous settlements earlier in the year, the city paid $55,000 to senior officer Shari Lohman and $2,750 to dispatcher Elaine Jones. "We recommended [abstract ends here].

You'll recall that other women were involved in the initial lawsuit, e.g., a woman named Pamela Fuehrer. How come she's not mentioned?

Perhaps she is, in the full article (I only pulled up the abstract). Inquiring minds can buy the article and pursue the matter further, I suppose.

3. HOW BAD WAS THE ALLEGED HARASSMENT? In case I haven't mentioned it, the stories of harassment and discrimination that the initial four women told were very bad, surprisingly bad. Those interested might look up such articles as "4 Female Irvine PD Employees File Sex Harassment Suit" (Times, 2/24/93). Naturally, they are allegations. (Please note that these allegations are independent of the allegation, incidental to the suit, that there existed a "Code Four Club.")

Here's an excerpt from the above article:
[Plaintiff] Shari Lohman said she was pressured to attend off-duty police parties where she was exposed to derogatory comments and sexual gestures and forced to listen to sexually explicit recordings by the late comedian Sam Kinison...At one party, she said, she pointed to the necktie of a supervisor who didn't normally wear one and said, "What's this? How come you're dressed up?" The supervisor responded, she asserted in the suit, by placing his hand on her breast and saying, "What's this?"
According to the Times article, one plaintiff said she joined in filing an EEOC complaint and the lawsuit because "she has 'feared for her safety as a police officer' because of threats from her male counterparts in the field."

I am not suggesting, of course, that Owen Kreza had any part in these alleged patterns of sexual harassment/discrimination at the IPD.

Owen definitely has a reputation at IVC for making inappropriate remarks. Reliable persons have told me that they have heard such remarks by Kreza.

Naturally, such conduct, though objectionable (perhaps this is the wrong word), is a far cry from the conduct alleged by the IPD women of '92-'93. For all that I know, Owen's suspension in '93 concerned, as he is reported to have said, "secondary employment," not sex-related misconduct.

4. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO...? I went to the Irvine Police Department website, and, in its directory, I found that

HENRY BOGGS (one of the "IPD Six"; he was initially threatened with suspension, evidently for running some sort of "Code Four" pin business without the IPD's permission; ultimately, IPD decided not to pursue discipline in his case) is now an administrator with the IPD. He is the department's "Administrative Sergeant."

☆ The IPD serves three areas, comprising 37 officers (assuming the directory lists all officers).

Judging by their names, of those 37, about 11 appear to be female.

☆ Given the IPD's history, one is disappointed to discover that neither the department's "vision" nor its "values" refers (even indirectly) to the importance of avoiding sexual discrimination or harassment:
Vision Statement

We aspire to be a world-class leader in policing, a model for character, innovation, and service. We strive to protect our diverse and dynamic community with fairness, integrity, and respect for the rights of the individual. We resolve to develop a creative, forward-thinking workforce, dedicated to raising our level of excellence to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

One of the department's "values" is "respect":
Respect--Valuing human life, having considerate and courteous regard for all persons. We follow, honor and defend the constitution of this country.
May I offer a suggestion? The IPD should list it's "vices." Among them:


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Friday, October 20, 2006

A lovely day out at the college

Some of the folks over at Facilities & Maintenance put on a college-wide BBQ lunch today, and that was very nice of 'em. The event was a success.

At noon, Karima and I headed in the general direction of BBQ aroma waftage, which, plan-wise, wasn't too sharp. But then we ran into Darryl, who put on quite a show being the official TAXI MAN, taxiing people to the big event, which turned out to be way out there in the new F&M yard.

That Darryl, he's a real natural. I'm glad he's got something to fall back on, if'n his administrative gig doesn't pan out.

Here are Bea and Karima, getting the full-on Mr. D taxi service. In the middle of all that, for some reason Darryl told me I'd better spell his name right.

"OK," I said.

The weather was perfect, and people were obviously having a good time. Me too.

Wayne was kind enough to give me a tour of the new F&M facilities. He's pretty proud of 'em, and no wonder. It all looks first rate to me, but whadoo I know?

The new buildings looked very sharp, inside and out.

Tony did a great job at the BBQ. But that's a little like a deaf man saying, "Darling, your voice is lovely," since I'm a vegetarian, and I didn't touch the BBQed stuff.

Tony's voice is lovely, though.

On my way out, I ran into these two guys intensely working out some BIG MOVE on the violin. Now that's pretty exotic, at least here in Irvine, where you're more likely to see guys intensely working...--well, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen anybody intensely working on anything here in Irvine, so this was a real first.

The notorious (celebrated?) Mr. Mark M may be a Republican, but he sure has some great kids. [CORRECTION: I'm told that Mark is a Libertarian, not a Republican. I'll take the high road and not mention who he voted for in 2004, though.] I found one of 'em hangin' around near my office, eating chocolate. I asked him, "What're you doin'?" He said: "Just eatin' chocolate."

Here's yet another son 'o' Mark. I almost quizzed him on Adam Smith, but then I thought better of it.

Seems like, around here, we've just got the best looking kids on the planet. I ain't lyin'.

At the BBQ, Donna commented on how beautiful my niece and nephew are (I guess she looks at the blog sometimes). And do you think I contradicted her? I did not. Nor am I likely to. But those two weren't at school today, so I guess I should just drop it.

Here's another shot of Mark's chocoholic kid. His teeth are cleaner this time.

Do have a nice weekend.

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A little background on Owen Kreza and the Irvine PD

October 10, 2006:
District personnel, led by Vice Chancellor Bob King, descended upon the Irvine Valley College Campus Police Office and informed Police Chief Owen Kreza and Deputy Police Chief Dennis Duncan that they have been placed on Administrative Leave.

Their computers were seized.
(See IVC’s top cops placed on administrative leave)
I’ve asked around, and nobody’s quite sure what’s going on here. Evidently, Kreza (and Duncan) are under investigation.

Since the 10th, people have run into Kreza, and they report that he claims not to know what the district is up to.

I’ve begun to collect old news articles concerning Chief Kreza—and especially concerning the Irvine Police Department, where he served for over twenty years before becoming IVC’s chief cop.

Thus far, I’ve only had time to sift through articles from 1993, when the Irvine PD weathered a series of controversies.

This much is already clear: when RAGHU MATHUR hired him in 2001, Owen Kreza had already experienced controversy, at least as an officer in the IPD.

On the other hand, no report I provide below establishes that Kreza engaged in misconduct of any kind.


JUNE 24, 1993 ~ LA TIMES

By 1992, some female IPD officers complained openly that, since their hire (in some cases, they had been hired in the mid-80s), they had experienced serious and sustained sexual harassment and discrimination.

Finally, in November, two of these officers (Lohman & Taylor) filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. (See Times, 11/19/92)

Seven months later, the Times reported that "[Irvine] City officials launched an investigation Wednesday into allegations that on-duty police officers routinely had sex with women in the back seats of patrol cars and formed a club to induct those officers who 'got away with it.'"

The Times reported that the investigation came about because these allegations "were leveled by a lawyer for four former and current Police Department employees who sued the city in February for sexual harassment and discrimination over the treatment of women on the force."

"The women," reported the Times, "claim that some officers boasted openly about their on-duty sexual exploits and formed a 'Code Four' club in the department in which membership and pins were awarded to an officer once he had sex with a woman in his patrol car...'If you got away with it, you could become a member,' plaintiff Pamela Fuehrer said at a press conference held at her attorney's office."

According to the Times, the city's mayor, Mike Ward, "said he views the allegations seriously...'I want (city officials) to search out if there's any truth to this matter whatsoever and if so, take appropriate action. Anyone involved in this should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,' Ward said."

Meanwhile, an attorney for the city, Dave Larsen, was quoted as saying, "'I find it a little peculiar that these issues were raised this late in the game . . . if it was really something that bothered them.'"

NOTE: Larsen represented the SOCCCD when Roy Bauer successfully sued the district for violating his free speech rights when it went after him with regard to Dissent. For a time, Bob King was Larsen's assistant on the case.

A year ago, King became the district’s Vice Chancellor of Human Resources.

NOTE: as near as I can tell, the "Code Four Club" story was not central to, nor perhaps even important to, the sexual harassment and discrimination beef of the IPD women. My guess is that the nature and grounds of the women's complaints were almost immediately obscured by the news media's focus on this "sex club" business. Thus, when, later, it was "determined"--by the IPD's internal investigation--that there was no evidence of a sex club, the public perhaps drew the fallacious conclusion that the womens' complaints had no merit. In fact, the women had complained about a great many things--e.g., cruel and offensive comments, pressure to attend obnoxious parties, groping, endangerment--having no connection with an alleged sex club.

June 25, 1993 ~ LA TIMES

In this article, the Times reported that the IPD's investigation into the alleged "Code Four" club continued, and that it was perhaps near completion.

According to this article, Police Chief Charles Brobeck stated that "investigators have focused on lapel pins for a 'Code Four Club.' (Code Four is a police term meaning an officer is all right.) A preliminary investigation indicated that some officers might have owned such pins seven or eight years ago…."

The Times also reported that the lawyer for the four women who were suing the city had made a presentation in which he "displayed a Code Four Club pin as proof that such a club existed for at least eight years. The women [two of whom were in attendance] also claimed that officers openly boasted about their sexual exploits and that the pins were awarded to an officer once he had sex with a woman in his patrol car."

According to the Times, the Chief and the president of the police union, Henry Boggs, carped that "officers are angry and frustrated over the allegations...'My peers are upset because they are not allowed because of department policy to speak out against these allegations'."

As we'll see, Boggs himself would soon be revealed to have been involved in some form of "Code Four" club.


July 1, 1993 ~ LA TIMES

In this article, the Times reported that, according to Chief Brobeck, the IPD's investigation found "'absolutely no evidence' to substantiate charges that some officers had sex with women in the back seats of patrol cars and formed a club to celebrate their exploits."

Brobeck added that he hoped they could leave this matter "definitely behind us now..."

According to the Times, the investigation found that "some officers did own Code Four Club pins, which were produced seven years ago as a side business by two Irvine officers hoping to capitalize on the popularity of such police-related lapel pins...But investigators found nothing to indicate that such a club ever existed or that the pins were related in any way to sexual misconduct." --Or so said a statement released by the Chief and the City Manager, said the Times.

Two of the women suing the city were Fuehrer and Taylor. According to the Times, their attorney, Steve R. Pingel, was unimpressed by the report: "'I am not at all surprised that a department internal-affairs investigation did not produce evidence of a Code Four Club,' he said. 'I believe it exists and will produce evidence at the time of a trial.'…."


July 15, 1993 ~ LA TIMES

On the fifteenth of July, the Times reported that new allegations of an actual sex club had surfaced.

The new charges were presented as "notarized statements from two former" IPD employees, namely, "former dispatchers Nancy Anna Maubach and Nancy Fox." Those women left the department in 1990.

According to the Times, these women had joined a women's group (NOW, I think), which called for an independent investigation this time. The organization seemed to suppose that the new information refuted the rosy "no sex club" conclusions of the internal affairs investigation.

Still, reported the Times, "the documents offered few details to substantiate the charges...Nor do either of the statements say that the women actually witnessed any specific instances of sexual misconduct in patrol cars. Rather, Maubach said she was told about the club by other employees, and Fox said 'male officers would brag to me or in my presence about their membership in the club.'"

(No doubt, legally, the Times has a point. From the perspective of common sense, however, it is difficult imagining Maubach and Fox daily interacting with officers for years and hearing their routine references to sexual conquests--if such events were not occurring. It is possible, I suppose, that the officers conspired to maintain the illusion, for Maubach and Fox, that they routinely engaged in sexual misconduct.)


In August, the Register reported that "Three Irvine police officers are on paid leave today after an investigation into an alleged police sex club produced unrelated charges of misconduct...The misconduct allegations also could lead to the suspension of three other officers, all of whom remain at work."

According to the Reg, city manager Paul Brady "said the actions were not directly related to the so-called 'Code Four Club,' whose members were said to be Irvine police officers who had sex in the back seats of their patrol cars...'The investigation from the allegations made on the Code Four Club is what prompted this, along with a July 16 piece of information from a citizen not associated with the Police Department,' Brady said."

The Reg explained that, according to Brady, the six officers would soon be given a "hearing" with Chief Brobeck.

AUGUST 22, 1993 ~ LA TIMES

One day later, the Times reported that, according to Chief Brobeck, "none of the six police officers he seeks to fire or suspend has engaged in criminal misconduct." Some of the alleged offenses, Brobeck was reported as saying, "were 'absolutely stupid' minor violations of departmental regulations."

Brobeck was also quoted as saying: "It's a series of things that are not egregious acts but a series of minor misconduct things that when you add them together, an officer can't continue working or has to have discipline imposed...Some things are absolutely stupid that these guys did. They violated the rules and regulations."

The article revealed that, among the six officers was Henry Boggs, the president of the local police union!

According to the Times, Officers Baxter, Landman, and Shaw had been notified of the Chief's intention of firing them, and they were placed on "paid leave."

(Will we ever learn what these guys had done?)

Officers Asturias, KREZA, and Boggs, however, "were told they face suspension." They remained at work.

The Times reported that, according to city officials, these six disciplinary actions were not connected to the sexual harassment lawsuit. Neither were they connected to "a claim by two former dispatchers that Irvine police have a 'Code 4' club members join by having sex in the back of their patrol cars."

Evidently, the "alleged misdeeds were uncovered during an investigation that began when the lawsuit was filed and was helped by information a citizen provided, according to Brobeck, Brady and Martin J. Mayer, an attorney for the Police Department."

According to the Times, in July, a woman called the IPD "to report 'some activity by an officer that she thought was kind of unusual.'" Or so said Brobeck.


In September, the Times reported that Chief Brobeck said that he had decided not to discipline (suspend) Henry Boggs after all.

Brobeck still wasn't revealing exactly how Boggs had gotten in the Chief's crosshairs, but at least we learned what Boggs had done: "…City Hall and Police Department sources said that in the mid-1980s, Boggs manufactured lapel pins with 'Code Four Club' printed on them."

Evidently, he had manufactured thousands of them. (He had a cop partner. Kreza? Don't know.)

* * * * *

I’ve not yet determined what became of the lawsuits filed by the former IPD employees.

☹ Neither have I determined whether Owen Kreza was ultimately suspended by Chief Brobeck.

☝ That's the $64,000 question. Does anyone out there have the answer?

☻ I’ll keeping working on that.

✰ Recently, someone sent me the following Lariat article:

NOTE: at least one person connected with the Diaz case has contacted me and insists that the LARIAT article below is very erroneous. For various reasons, I'm inclined to believe this person. (11/3/06)

* * * * *

March 29, 2005 ~ LARIAT
Sharon Diaz, an IVC police officer, has filed a gender harassment claim against the SOCCCD.

The claim, filed March 7, alleges that Diaz was continuously harassed, subject to a hostile work environment and discriminated against because she was a woman police officer. It seeks more than $1 million in damages and names IVC Police chief Owen Kreza, Deputy Policy Chief Dennis Duncan and police officer Rick Welch [re Welch, see note below].

“It is obvious by their actions that Kreza, Duncan and Welch do not believe that women should be police officers,” said Eric Lampel, Diaz’s attorney.

The board of trustees…denied the claim at a March 22 meeting at the recommendation of District Chancellor Raghu Mathur….

Lampel said he would soon file a gender based discrimination lawsuit in Superior Court….

The claim alleges that the harassment began after Diaz complained to Kreza about a dating relationship Welch was involved in with a 19-year-old female student….

According to the claim, after that Welch appeared angry with Diaz, tampered with her logs, made sexual comments and left nasty messages on her computer.

The claim alleges that Kreza failed to stop the harassment after numerous complaints by Diaz.

The female student was later arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon for trying to run down Diaz and five IVC students with her car….

According to the claim, Diaz also experienced harassment after an incident on August 27, 2003, when she was called to break up a fight between two males on the IVC campus.

Diaz called the Irvine Police Department for backup and was subsequently reprimanded by Duncan for not handling the situation herself.

…”Duncan told Diaz that a male police officer could have handled the situation without calling for backup.”

Based on the incident, Diaz was required to attend a fitness-for-duty evaluation where a district psychologist found Diaz unfit for duty, Lampel said.

According to Lampel, a subsequent evaluation by an independent Los Angeles Police Department psychologist disagreed with the initial finding and found Diaz fit for duty….

✪ What became of Diaz's suit (if indeed she ever filed one)?

Inquiring minds wanna know.

UPDATE: someone close to this case telephoned me today, insisting that the Lariat was mistaken and that Officer Rick Welch is not "named" in the suit; rather, he is listed as a witness.

UPDATE 2: I've been reading the "fair use" standards, which are not terribly clear, but which do provide some direction. On the basis of that reading, I've rewritten this article.

See also

Anti-discrimination suit against CEO Mathur

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tom Fuentes, campaign advisor

OK, now bear with me here. Back in March, DtB noted a remark that appeared in Orange Juice in February (Trustee Fuentes):
An anonymous blogger posted a comment on OC Blog today insinuating that Tan Nguyen, the former Democrat who is running in the GOP primary against Santa Ana School Board Member Rosie Avila, for the 47th Congressional District, paid Tom Fuentes to work on his campaign. I took the time to look up Nguyen's campaign filings, and sure enough he paid Fuentes a total of $10,000. However, the report is murky as to what Fuentes did to earn the money…It turns out that Fuentes, the former Chair of the Republican Party of Orange County, is indeed acting as a senior adviser to Nguyen, according to Nguyen's latest mailer….
You’ll recall that, back in 1988, Mr. Tom Fuentes got into hot water concerning a certain dirty trick designed to discourage Latino voters. As Gustavo Arellano explained back in 2005:
You [Tom] approved the use of poll guards to stand outside polling places in Latino neighborhoods when they cast ballots for the 72nd Assembly District race. The Republican Party candidate, Curt Pringle, won the election. But the subsequent furor led to your resignation as communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Orange, an exodus of Latino voters from the GOP (the first of many, it would turn out) and various settlements of lawsuits regarding the matter totaling more than $480,000. (Tom Fuentes)
This finally brings us to this morning’s LA Times and OC Register:
A state attorney general's investigation into letters apparently designed to suppress Latino voter turnout in Orange County for the upcoming election is focusing on the campaign of Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Nguyen, who has made halting illegal immigration part of his platform, is running an underdog campaign to unseat Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who represents Santa Ana and is Orange County's only Democratic member of Congress.

In a fast-moving examination that began just days after the letters were mailed, sources said investigators tracked down the location where they were printed and mailed to an estimated 14,000 Democratic voters in central Orange County.

Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, appearing Wednesday on the Patt Morrison show on 89.3 KPCC FM, said his office believes it knows who financed the letters, but said interviews were still being conducted and declined to provide further detail.

"That's the preliminary assessment, that there were one or more Republican candidates for office that were associated with this effort," Lockyer said.

A spokesman for Lockyer declined to elaborate. But two sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry said investigators were focusing on Nguyen's campaign, and a third said agents had interviewed Nguyen at his office...

...The letter, which purports to be from a Huntington Beach-based group, warns that immigrants will not be permitted to vote in the election. It also warns that the state has developed a tracking system that will allow the names of Latino voters to be handed over to anti-immigrant groups.

"You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time," the letter, written in Spanish, says....(Investigation into OC letter)

This morning’s OC Register (State Probe) appears to offer an even more in-depth report. Check it out.

I’ve gotta run. Gotta give a test in a half hour!

What does it all mean?

Garsh, I dunno.

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UPDATE (11:00 p.m.):

MATT COKER has posted the letter (translated into English) on his blog:
Greetings [NAME WITHHELD],

You are being sent this letter because you were recently registered to vote. If you are a citizen of the United States, we ask that you participate in the democratic process of voting.

You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.

At the same time, you are advised that the government of the United States is installing a new computer system to verify the names of all new registered voters that vote in the October and November elections. Anti-immigration organizations can ask for information from this new computer system.

Unlike Mexico, here there is no incentive to vote. There is not a voter registration card in the United States. Therefore, it is useless and dangerous to vote in any election if you are not a citizen of the United States.

Do not listen to any politician that tells you the opposite. They are only looking out for their own interests. They only want to win elections without any regard to what happens to you.


Sergio Ramirez

Day two of retaliation? —Where's Glenn?

Facilities and Maintenance workers told me today that, once again, Director Wayne Ward seems to be meting out retaliation for workers' speaking out about Wayne's unprofessionalism (see this & this). At least that's how they see it.

This morning (I'm told), Wayne asked the custodians' lead worker to pull a custodian from the pair who were supposed to clean the B-quad. The custodian's new job? Scraping gum from around the A400 building.

I actually saw him doing that this morning. Scraping. That scraper didn't look very efficient. The worker didn't look very happy.

Meanwhile, the other custodian was left to clean the entire B-quad by himself. Naturally, that put him behind his cleaning schedule.

I'm told that there is a pressure washer for this "gum" job. Evidently, a grounds worker had used the washer to blast gum from the same area two days ago, but, evidently, Wayne decided that the effort wasn't good enough.

But he didn't ask the grounds worker to finish his job. Instead, he pulled a custodial team apart, insuring that they fall behind their schedule.

Plus the custodian wasn't given the pressure washer to use.

GLENN? Are you listening, Glenn? Have you a clue, Glenn?

RECENTLY, I mentioned that a certain manager at IVC got into trouble a few months ago for using the college credit card to buy gas for his car. (At this point, you should imagine the sound of sirens.)

I've been told that more than one manager was caught doing this. (Now, please imagine the sound of, oh, a snazzy Camaro. Vroom.)

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Would it really be so terrible?

OK, so I was over at the Health and Wellness Center yesterday, getting one of those flu shots. While I was there, I noticed a little basket over on the counter. It was full of shiny cellophane stuff. I checked it out.

Why, of course! The shiny things were condoms! So I took one. I mean, I'm a taxpayer, am I not?

So I got to looking at it, and it got me thinking: would it really be so terrible to suddenly find one of these little packages in your stuff?

I can't see why. Maybe somebody's sending you the message, "Be careful." That's not so bad, is it? Or maybe they're saying, "You, sir, are the sort of fellow who has sex."

Well, OK. I can deal with that perception. Why get peeved about it?

I mean, what if you opened your office door in the morning, and then, voila! There, on the floor, lookin' pretty sharp and staring right up at you is a condom, just like the one above that I snagged from the H&W Center.

Are you gonna freak out? What for?

OK, suppose you wander down to the coffee cart, and then, Boing!—there sits a condom next to the Vanilla Nut! Why on earth would you run screamin' into the night about it? You'd have to be some kind of dope!

Or what if you walked through the Administration Building and then walked up to where the Board Agenda is posted on that little clip. You go lookin' for it, and Zing!—somebody's stuck a condom up there instead!

Would that mess up your day? Really?

I can think of one CONDOM SURPRISE that might weird me out. If I'm looking in the mirror and I see that somebody's pasted a condom to my forehead, then, OK, that's not right.

But I wouldn't get all pissed off about it either.

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Scholarly alternative to Wikipedia

• The latest issue of "Inside Higher Ed" informs us that, soon, a scholarly alternative to Wikipedia will be launched. See CITIZENDIUM.

• Ever hear of Victor Valley College? Well, there's a website or blog--a kind of rude & crude version of Dissent--called, whose writers seem all worked up about various issues at that college. seems to be especially worked up about a particular administrator whose name rings a bell.

UPDATE: Ting! Victor Valley College is in Victorville, way out there in the middle of nowhere near Barstow.

The administrator to which I referred is Pat Spencer, who served as IVC's VPI for a brief period (she was quite popular), but she soon figured out what she'd gotten herself into. Within a year, she got a better (i.e., unMathured) job at Fullerton College.

In 2003, she snagged the Superintendent/President job at Victor Valley, whose trustees seemed very pleased to snag her. The college has undergone a ridiculous rate of growth since then, and that caused major "growing pains," evidently.

About a year ago, a student at the college complained about her grade on an essay in which she made some reference to God that the instructor had somehow prohibited. Evidently, the case became a cause celebre among the knuckle-dragging crowd, and that probably had something to do with Spencer's recent "retirement" after three years on the job.

• Do facilities workers at our colleges have a union? It's hard to tell sometimes. (See recent blogs.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Condom caper update: Wayne's retaliation?

LAST NIGHT, we told the story of an "Incident Report" submitted by custodians to Human Resources about a month ago. (See "It's a condom," he said )

The gist of the story was that, last month, Director of Facilities and Maintenance, Wayne Ward, called in the day custodians concerning the alleged fact that condoms were left in a groundskeeper's locker. During the meeting, according to our source, Director Ward angrily browbeat the custodians, accused them (or one among them) of the condom stunt, and threatened the perptrator, should Wayne learn his identity, with firing.

The custodians feel strongly that they were treated unfairly and unprofessionally by Wayne.

Hence the Incident Report.

But that process has, it seems, offered them no protection. (See yesterday's blog.)

We at DISSENT the BLOG agreed to present this matter but explained the risks involved. Nevertheless, the employees with which we spoke supported drawing attention to the situation. And so, last night, we told the story.

TODAY, one of the custodians reported to us that, in his judgment, Wayne has responded by retaliating against the day custodians.

According to that custodian, this afternoon, Wayne informed the day custodians—angrily—that he is breaking up the usual custodial teams. Instead, he is assigning large areas (e.g., 2 entire buildings) to individual custodians.

"What exactly is the problem with that?", I asked.

"It's more area than anyone can handle," said our source. "It's simple. We won't be able to do everything, and then people will complain about our work."

"He's setting us up to fail."

—OK, Glenn. Lead.

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My Beautiful Laundrette

REBEL GIRL, reporting from Irvine Valley College:

LATE LAST WEEK, in an early morning raid, Bio-Nite commandoes liberated a washing machine, which had been rudely padlocked, allegedly by a member of the School of Fine Arts.

Said machine and its accompanying dryer were always the property of the School of Fine Arts; that fact is not in dispute.

However, for some time, the two machines had been stored in Bio-Nite Territory where they were used to wash the thin nylon costumes often seen in Fine Arts productions. In recent years, an accord had been reached and ratified by the two factions, which allowed the Bio-Nites to utilize the machine for purposes deemed more serious (the cleansing of laboratory garments). This access was seen as an exchange for the continued storage of said machines in Bio-Nite Territory.

During the recent funding round, the Bio-Nites were successful in their quest for monies to purchase their own machines--and when approached, the Fine Arts faculty declined to share in the expense.

This turn of events apparently inspired the actions that led to the padlocking of the washing machine by someone acting in the interests of Fine Arts. Fit of pique perhaps? A long-simmering tantrum of resentment?

Whatever the motive, the Bio-Nite Liberation Army (BNLA) commandoes moved into swift action, and said machine was liberated via a device identified by a renegade art historian as either an "Oklahoma picklock" or a "Texas nutcutter."

All parties involved declined to state their names, leaving Rebel Girl unable to fill in the details.

David of Bio demonstrates recommended posture for wielding Texas nutcuttlery.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"It's a condom," he said

Over the last year or so, I've heard several tales from Irvine Valley College employees about Wayne Ward, the Director of Facilities and Maintenance. Most of these stories have come from those who work with or under the Waynester.

Wayne runs a crew of maybe thirty employees, including three on the Administrative Staff, thirteen in the Custodial Department, five in the Grounds Department, and eight in the Maintenance Department. (See IVC Facilities and Maintenance.)

Those who work with Wayne—and even those like me who observe him only occasionally or from afar—are quickly left with the impression that the fellow has a very high opinion of himself and of his station in life. This can be gleaned from where he parks his car—anywhere he damn well pleases, evidently (see Wayne's World)—and even from his car's vanity plates, which say, "ALL WARD."

I've asked some of his crew for a brief description of Wayne. One told me, "He's the kind of guy who'll say, 'I don't come here to make friends; I come here to do a job.' —And, sure enough, he doesn't make any friends, not with us."

Another employee said simply, "Wayne thinks he owns the college. The guy's got a real attitude."

Then there's the issue of Wayne's alleged unprofessionalism. Workers have told me that Wayne sometimes issues orders that plainly violate rules, such as limitations imposed by the workers' contract. When someone calls him on these violations, Wayne doesn't take it well. "Wayne doesn't like it when we stick up for ourselves," says one employee. "He really hates that."

"Plus, when you make him look bad, he is liable to retaliate against you."

But does he at least get the job done? Certainly, one hears stories about Wayne's incompetence, and, though it is often difficult for those on the outside to determine these stories' validity, it is obvious to anyone with eyes to see that maintenance at IVC isn’t exactly Job 1. For instance, plainly, some rooms aren’t cleaned on any schedule. Instead, they are cleaned only when someone finally complains that they have become hellish shitholes.

And then there are the bathrooms. They're pretty important. You'd think that Wayne would make a point of getting them cleaned and ready for Monday morning, the start of the school week. Not so. Often, over the weekend, organizations use some of the facilities, including bathrooms, and, as a result, the bathrooms are trashed, sometimes appallingly so. Typically, when Monday morning arrives, they're still trashed: toilets are unflushed, towels are strewn, and so on. (This is my own observation—I teach at 8:00 a.m. on Mondays.)

There have been several incidents bringing faculty directly into Wayne's sphere, and these have generally left a very poor impression of him. The recent "unfinished temporaries" episode comes to mind. (See Abject finger-pointage.) That time, somebody dropped the ball bigtime. But Wayne didn't take responsibility. (Neither did Roquemore. It was pretty frustrating.)

RECENTLY, a custodian described a remarkable Wardian incident.

Evidently, a month ago, in the late morning, Wayne called in the day custodians for a meeting. The workers arrived at the designated time and then waited for their boss. Finally, Wayne showed up. He tossed a condom onto the table.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“It’s a condom,” said one worker.

Angry, Wayne demanded to know which of the custodians left a “wet condom” on a table and a second, still-packaged condom in groundskeeper S's locker. That's what the meeting was about. These mystery condoms.

Wayne commenced cursing. He raised his voice. More than once.

The guy who told me this story insists that the custodians—at least those present—had nothing to do with the mystery condoms. Indeed, he says, they can provide proof that they were not even present when the condom incident occurred.

During the meeting, the custodians asked about their accuser. Wayne would not identify or produce him/her. Wayne then announced that, if he finds out which custodian left the condoms, he would personally see to it that he is fired. Wayne would personally escort him "out."

But why, asked the custodians, are they being singled out for accusations? What about the groundskeepers or the maintenance workers or others who could have condomized Mr. S's locker?

The custodians were offended. They felt that they were being accused of something that they had not done, and that, as a result of the accusation, their jobs were now threatened.

Later, they began to think: if Wayne gets away with this, he can do anything to us.

The custodians decided to pursue an official “incident report” (see above), which is essentially a formal complaint. It involves official channels and a defined process. Good.

They submitted the IR paperwork and then waited. After a few days, they called HR and, to their surprise, they were told that the IR document had not arrived. So they submitted the paperwork again, and, this time, they took steps to insure that it would arrive at HR.

But another problem arose. The custodians had submitted their complaint. But then they were told that they would never learn the results of the complaint. For instance, if, as a result of the IR, Wayne is disciplined or cited for misconduct, the custodians who made the complaint—and who still fear what Wayne might do to them—will not be told about that!

Naturally, the custodians feel that the situation is unacceptable.

What do YOU think?

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

THE REBELLIOUS ONE woke this morning to the news that Prop 1-D on the November ballot seeks—in addition to raising $10 billion for schools—to exempt community colleges from compliance with the Field Act. The Field Act was put in place after the 1933 Long Beach quake and requires that all public education classrooms (K-14) comply with higher earthquake standards; higher, presumably, than other public or private institutions, trailers and anything built in the city of Northridge.

Sometimes the universe offers you little moments of serendipity. Sometimes you look over at the stack of papers and curriculum revisions and course equivalency forms stacked six feet high next to your desk and see that, yes, when the Big One hits, you will be crushed to death by the writing of students who cannot distinguished between "their," "there," and "they're." But this, along with, apparently, noticing the hypocrisy of the Schwarzenegger crowd, is what we call irony. To which the front-page story of an earthquake (!) in Hawaii on the same day adds even more. Ah, Monday, Monday.

Apparently the Field Act doesn't currently cover the UCs and the Cal States. Who knew? You're on your own at the four-year universities, folks. Duck and cover. Stand in the doorway. Maybe, block up the hall. Ask our colleagues at Cal State Northridge how they fared during the last temblor.

Who knew?

Yes, we do need billions to fix aging facilities, but...Must one come at the expense of another? Is this what we call compromise?

I know, I know. Rebel Girl wants to live in an ideal world where her workplace is built to strict safety standards. Dream on.

Check out the LA Times' excellent coverage:

School Bond has a Quake Clause

And now, off to class!

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Seismograph image by Yamaguchi
Weblink to the original image: Image:Kinemetrics seismograph.jpg

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