Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dissent's canyon slide show

Click on the ARROW to start the slide show.
Click on individual photos to enlarge them.
Some of 'em don't look like much until you do that.
(You might as well play some music while you view the show!)

PROFILE: the Foundation’s Adam Probolsky, Superhero

.....IN MY OPINION, not enough is said about the remarkable people who serve on the Irvine Valley College Foundation.
.....—People like the ubiquitous ADAM PROBOLSKY, who serves on the Foundation’s Board of Governors along with his pal Jon Fleischman, who, until about a year ago, was Sheriff Mike Carona’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs.
.....Dissenters first encountered Adam Probolsky back in July of 2000, when the GOP’s Tom Fuentes showed up at a special board meeting to apply for the role of replacement of resigning trustee (and Holocaust denier. Oops!) Steve Frogue. At the time (see Duck crap), we reported:
.....Fuentes’ appointment seemed to be, well, highly orchestrated. Consider: of the three candidates who were interviewed on the 12th [of July, 2000], only Fuentes showed up with written answers for each of the Board’s questions. Someone in the audience told me that the pro-Fuentes remarks offered that night by three Old Guard unionists [including Ray Chandos and Sharon McMillan] were read from documents written in the same font as was displayed on Fuentes’ prepared answer sheets. Possibly this verbiage was provided by the remarkable Adam Probolsky, a fat man in a white shirt who kept running around the board room fixin’ things. Probolsky, one of Fuentes’ lieutenants, is a consultant for local right-wing politicos. His partner is the son of Lou Sheldon (of the “Traditional Values Coalition”).
.....Another remarkable personage entered (or reentered) the picture at the time—Mike Schroeder, OC kingpin and head of the local “Republican mafia” (evidently, a role he inherited from Fuentes). I had a meeting in July or August of 2000 with Fuentes in which Schroeder sat in. Schroeder had been the state GOP chair, and, in that role, he assisted our attempt to recall Mr. Frogue.
.....Still with me? OK. Just two days ago, Mr. Probolsky’s name came up in Dana Parsons’ column (see Replacement for Carona too close for comfort) in the Times. Parsons revealed the curious politics behind the selection of Jack Anderson as exiting OC Sheriff Mike Carona’s replacement:
.....…Under federal indictment on corruption charges [Oops!], Carona had returned to office Jan. 7 after a two-month paid hiatus but decided to step down this week so he could get free legal help—something he couldn't do if he stayed.
.....Slight problem. Who would take over?
.....When he took his initial leave, Carona tapped loyalist Jo Ann Galisky to run the department.
.....Slight problem. It's unclear whether the county [Republican] party would fall in behind her as the permanent face of local law enforcement.
.....However, it would fall in line behind Jack Anderson, an assistant sheriff and member of the party's central committee. So, Carona, who made it clear this week he wanted Anderson to succeed him on a permanent basis, named him second in command.
.....Here we see the Mafia in action. Pay attention to what comes next. According to Parsons,
..... [Carona] couldn't name [Anderson] undersheriff, the position Galisky held, because Anderson didn't meet the county requirements for the post. Before he left office, Carona demoted Galisky.

.....Our boy Probolsky now enters the picture. Parsons continues:
.....Anderson met the press Tuesday, assisted not by any of the paid Sheriff's Department spokesmen, but by Adam Probolsky, an ex-officio member of the GOP's central committee and a volunteer with the Sheriff Department's reserve program.
.....Probolsky serves on a few local governmental positions and is a pollster by trade. He said he helped Anderson in his role as volunteer reserve. He has stepped in for the county on other matters, Probolsky said, such as helping out with media during the protracted wildfire season. All he did for Anderson, Probolsky said, was provide reporters with names of public officials who had worked with Anderson and could offer perspective on him.
.....Not to be naive, but I asked Probolsky—well-known as an unapologetic political animal—if politics shouldn't have been separated from Anderson's press event.
....."I don't think you have to separate the politics," he said.
.....The central committee is sprinkled with names of people holding elective office, he noted, adding that the Sheriff's Department is a political office, as well.
.....I asked him how he happened to be at Anderson's event. "Did I get a call from a higher power?" Probolsky said. "No. I took it upon myself to say, 'Here's a project I think I can help with.' "
.....Mindful of Probolsky’s outsized helpfulness and ubiquity (he even helped with the fire!), Rebel Girl calls Adam a kind of “superhero”—you know, with special abilities from some higher power. I've got to agree.

.....A couple of summers ago, Adam suddenly appeared in one of my philosophy courses, listening intently. Amazing! How does the man do it all!

.....Another place where the P-man pops up is the current JANET NGUYEN saga. You remember: back in 2007, she ran against Schroeder-anointed Trung Nguyen for OC Supervisor in a special election to replace resigning Lou Correa. Carlos Bustamante also ran—seemingly as the GOP cigar-chompers' favorite. But on election night, it appeared that Trung won, though just barely. But Janet had her eye on the Mafia and she cried foul over perceived irregularities in Westminster. (See Claiming voter fraud.) So she got a recount, and she emerged the winner by three votes! But, see, Team Schroeder hates to lose, and so he took the matter to a higher court and, yesterday, the matter was finally settled in Janet’s favor. (See Janet Wins.) Whew!
.....But what about Probolsky? Here’s where things get seriously zany. Eleven months ago (see Probolsky won’t involve himself ), we had occasion to quote Martin Wisckol’s THE BUZZ. Martin had quite a story to tell concerning that wacky special Supervisor election. Prima facie, the local GOP backed rising star Carlos Bustamante, who was opposed by Janet Nguyen and Trung Nguyen, among others. Here's the story:
.....The venerable Lincoln Club apparently had its own money used against it to defeat the club's candidate, [Republican rising star] Carlos Bustamante, in this month's special election for county supervisor.
.....The OC club is made up of Republican business people that participate in campaigns on many different levels….
.....The PAC, which was coordinated in part by GOP consultant Adam Probolsky, ended that election with about $2,700 left. The account was collecting dust when somebody decided to rename it, raise more money and use it for attacks on Lincoln Club-endorsee Bustamante.  [My emphasis.]
....."It just gets weirder and weirder," said Matt [“Jubal”] Cunningham, the Red County/OC Blog editor trying to unravel the intra-party cloak-and-dagger affair.
.....The new treasurer of the committee, now called the Orange County Healthcare, Education & Neighborhood Leaders PAC, hasn't returned Cunningham's calls. But Cunningham tracked down some of the PAC's latest contributors as also being Janet Nguyen supporters.

.....Probolsky, it so happens, has done some work for Nguyen, and that has lead to speculation that he had a hand in transforming the PAC.
....."There is no advantage for me to get involved in that discussion," Probolsky told the Buzz when asked if he would deny the speculation.
..... .....--Now wait a minute. Probolsky's pal Mike Schroeder is Janet Nguyen opponent Trung Nguyen's attorney. Right?
.....This don't add up. Well, whatever. The point is that the Foundation’s P-man sure does get around. And he's clever. And he sure is helpful.


.....I looked up the above-mentioned PAC (see Contributors) and found that, in October of ’06, the Lincoln Club gave $15K to this PAC. That makes sense, I guess. That’s when the PAC was geared to getting Bustamante, not Janet N, elected.
.....Another contributor listed is the “LAW OFFICES OF HOWARD J. KLEIN,” who contributed twelve days earlier.
.....Wait a minute. Isn’t Klein the Chairman of the IVC Foundation? (See IVC Foundation.) Yep.
.....Klein was also a contributor to Sheriff Mike Carona’s first campaign, as was the Foundation’s Mark H. Cheung, John Fleischman, Mary Aileen Matheis, and, of course, Adam Probolsky.
.....As you know, several years ago, the IVC Foundation named Mike Carona IVC’s “Hometown Hero.”
.....Oh yeah. Guess who's the treasurer of the Saddleback College Foundation Board? It is none other than Adam's brother, Brian!
.....Gosh, it sometimes seems like everything’s connected! Know what I mean?

Friday, January 18, 2008

What about Gustavo Arellano?

1. Yesterday, at the IVC Academic Senate meeting, Senators were shown drafts of new board policies that are up for approval (on Tuesday, I think). Among them is a policy permitting alcoholic beverages at Foundation functions held on campus. That's good. Punch and cookies are gettin' mighty old.

The writing of the policy isn't so good, though. The policy reads, "The authorized to approve...the serving of alcoholic beverages...if the alcoholic beverages is for use at"

It gets worse. Really.

Baboons run this district.

2. A member of the Commencement Speaker task force solicited suggestions for a speaker. I think the last speaker was a successful bodybuilder/fitness guru. (Faculty on the committee wanted a writer; students wanted the muscle guy.) The speaker before that, I think, owned a successful chain of fish taco restaurants. He wore a colorful shirt. Nice guy.

During the meeting, one senator, a member of the PE department, suggested that we secure an Orange County Olympic gold medalist. I guess they could do curls or something. Or just stand there with their gold baubles.

I opined that, though I was not necessarily opposed to muscle or fish speakers, it would be refreshing if, for once, we could secure a speaker who represented intellectual attainment. Years ago—i.e., anteGoo—our commencement speakers included writers. Now, they're all Republican politicians or businessmen.

Some senators worried that Chancellor Raghu "Micromanager" Mathur might fix the selection. What's the use of having a task force if the fix is in? Yeah, well.

How about writer Gustavo Arellano? He's swell! I can just see it. We'll ask Gustavo, and, Gustavo will say yes (how could he resist?), and then Mathur will step in to give the job to Lou Bone.

That is my prediction.

3. There are indications that Mathur has joined HR in boldly violating district hiring policies. One persistent story is that he "directed" the two college presidents whom to select for the various faculty hiring committees—and he did so in a manner that violated the policy's provision according to which two-thirds of each committee must be faculty. When this became clear, vigilant faculty (who have made an effort to bone up on the details of our hard-won hiring policy, the result of a successful lawsuit) blew the whistle. Nope, you've got to follow the policy.

As you know, owing to a gigantic SCREW UP by the Chancellor, we are now compelled to hire 45 faculty ASAP (in order to increase the proportion of spending on instruction, which is supposed to be at least 50%). Each college president is entitled, as per board policy, to select three members for each hiring committee.

Unless, of course, Raghu P. Mathur is the Chancellor. Then they're not. He is.

Or so he seems to think.

4. Don't forget! There's a meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees on Tuesday. I'm bringing my camcorder.

5. Have you been following the Janet Nguyen case? The OC Weekly is all over her victory over Mike Schroeder and Co. (the Fuentesphere). See NGUYEN VS. NGUYEN: JANET WINS!

I do have one complaint, though. The OC Weekly stole our Carona/Knack joke. See THE BALLAD OF MIKE CARONA. I think their graphic (above) sucks, compared to ours (below):

Plus, Rebel Girl was singing "My, My, My Carona" back in early November! (Did I miss an email?).

We'll let it go this time!

Medieval Tech Support (with English subtitles)

I expect the incredibly tolerant and cheerful folks at Technology Services will especially enjoy this one. It's Friday, ya'll.

Watch a movie. It won't take long.

This one is courtesy of a fellow who knew the Rebel Girl way back when, like, say, 1975.

The language - Norwegian.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

U of Phoenix & fraud

From this morning’s New York Times: Fraud by University Owner Is Found:
PHOENIX (AP) — The Apollo Group Inc., the company that owns the University of Phoenix, fraudulently misled investors in 2004 about student recruitment policies, a federal jury decided Wednesday. The panel ordered the company to pay shareholders about $280 million.

Jurors said Apollo officials “knowingly and recklessly” made false statements in a news release, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and four conference calls with market analysts. By doing so, jurors said, Apollo violated federal securities laws.

…Shareholders claimed that Apollo misled investors four years ago when it kept secret a 2004 Department of Education report that criticized the University of Phoenix’s recruitment policies. The report concluded that the university paid enrollment counselors solely based on the “recruiters’ success in securing enrollments,” which violated federal regulations….
See also Piling on the U of P.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rebel Girl's Lifestyle Tips for this Electoral Season

.....In the aftermath of the last presidential election, Rebel Girl spent an inordinate amount of time staying up late, listening to the songs of the Spanish Civil war (Freiheit!), and sipping Greek Metaxa (five stars!).
.....It seemed to help.
.....This year, she's getting started early and has vowed healthier habits.
.....If you too feel the looming doom, she suggests brewing large mugs of Redbush Chai tea (resist the sweetener!) and reading George Orwell. He always helps.
.....Today's reading is from his essay "The Lion and the Unicorn," published in 1941. An excerpt (bolded phrases are Reb's, of course):
"Almost entirely we are governed by the rich, and by people who step into positions of command by right of birth. Few if any of these people are consciously treacherous, some of them are not even fools, but as a class they are quite incapable of leading us to victory. They could not do it, even if their material interests did not constantly trip them up. As I pointed out earlier, they have been artificially stupefied. Quite apart from anything else, the rule of money sees to it that we shall be governed largely by the old - that is, by people utterly unable to grasp what age they are living in or what enemy they are fighting. Nothing was more desolating at the beginning of this war [WW II] than the way in which the whole of the older generation conspired to pretend that it was the war of 1914-18 over again. All the old duds were back on the job, twenty years older, with the skull plainer in their faces… It was like a tea-party of ghosts. And that state of affairs has barely altered. The shock of disaster brought a few able men like Bevin to the front, but in general we are still commanded by people who managed to live through the years 1931-9 without even discovering that Hitler was dangerous. A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses."

Fuentes bashes faculty

A video that presents Trustee Fuentes' remarks during a notorious 2004 Leisure World TV interview:

Monday, January 14, 2008

IVC's "Hometown Hero" resigns

See Carona to resign in the OC Reg:
Sheriff Mike Carona announced his resignation today “with a heavy heart,” saying it would be best for the department and the county if he was not distracted while defending himself against federal public corruption charges. Carona placed his announcement on the department’s Web site and is expected to meet with reporters later today.
From the Times: O.C. sheriff's resignation causes turmoil:
...As he departed, Carona took steps to leave his political imprint on the department, firing one of his assistant sheriffs, Dan Martini, without explanation, and appointing as interim sheriff one of his biggest loyalists.

His choice of Assistant Sheriff Jack Anderson to run the department immediately raised concerns in some quarters, because in addition to being a strong Carona ally, Anderson is an official of the Orange County Republican Party….

Turf War? Community college funding in the hot seat

From this morning’s Inside Higher Ed: A Proposition They Can Refuse?:
On Thursday, …California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency and proposed 10 percent cuts across the state budget. The deep cuts proposed for the state’s public education system would require lawmakers to suspend Proposition 98, a 1988 measure that sets aside about 40 percent of the General Fund revenues for K-12 and community colleges.

Against that backdrop, California voters will head to the polls in early February to decide whether a certain proportion of that allocation should be strictly reserved for community colleges – and whether California’s fees, already the lowest in the nation, should be reduced from $20 to $15 a credit hour and essentially locked in at such low rates….

“It continues to evolve, the political climate around the initiative. I think initially, when this initiative was first put together, there was a feeling that there would be a lot of support,” said Marilyn Grinsdale, a government relations officer for Citrus College, a community college in California’s San Gabriel Valley. “As the budget situation has gotten worse, I think people have suddenly started thinking, ‘We’re afraid we won’t get what we need.’”

“There has been, much to community colleges’ dismay, some opposition coming in from other systems.”

California’s controversial Proposition 92 has pitted the various components of California’s higher education system against one another. Among its supporters are the Community College League of California and community college chancellors, presidents and trustees. Among its opponents are the California State University and University of California Systems, and the powerful California Teachers Association. (Although CTA’s statewide affiliate, the Community College Association, broke from its parent organization to support the initiative).

The debate has largely denigrated into a turf war: “Proposition 92 if passed could result in unintended problems that will negatively impact the CSU and threaten funding for other critical California programs,” CSU says in its statement. “Proposition 92 requires more state funding and reduces student fees for one segment of higher education without regard to the needs of all of higher education. Since it does not create or identify any new revenue sources, unprotected state programs such as UC and CSU would be competing for a smaller share of available General Funds,” UC’s regents said in theirs….
(My emphases.)

SOCCCD's Faculty Association is a member of CCA (and ipso facto CTA). I do believe that our district is a member of CCLC. I recall that our trustees occasionally attend CCLC conferences.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Desire and Obligation

REBEL GIRL spent the last weekend before the semester at a family holiday party in Parker, Arizona, on the banks of the Colorado River, some six or seven hours across the desert. As you may know, the Colorado River is held hostage by technology. This baffles Rebel Girl. The result this weekend was that the river was "low"–too low for boat rides, too low to gaze at and have one's spirits raised. She gazed instead at the television screen and watched a football game between the Green Bay Packers and some team from Seattle that was played in a raging snow storm, which added something, she must admit, to the spectacle. She opined to the cousin nearest her that her mother used to root for Green Bay way back in the late 60s. They were good then, the cousin confirmed.

Others headed out to the infamous Desert Bar where they drank and shot at things. Upon their return, yet another cousin confided that, at the Desert Bar, he was told that his grandfather had had a vasectomy BEFORE his own father was conceived, which suggested that his bloodlines to the family were perhaps thinner than originally believed. That means that you can go home NOW, Rebel Girl said but he didn't seem to hear.

The next day, on their way home, on the California side of the river, they drove past the Wyatt Earp Post Office. It's something sitting there, in the middle of nowhere. She wished she had a letter to mail. Next time she'll stop.

Meanwhile, the new semester begins.

Crisis caveat

Faculty, welcome back.

As you know, the big news right now is the governor’s proposed budget. According to CCC Chancellor Diane Woodruff, “The California Community Colleges received a reduction of $525 million that includes a two-thirds reduction in growth funds.”

No doubt, you’ve already received lots of emails alerting you to the trouble ahead.

But NOTE WELL: there can be no doubt that Chancellor Mathur will exploit the situation to serve his interests. That’s what the man does.

As you know, owing to his bungling, our colleges are, and have been, in crisis mode re the 50% Law. The gist: state law requires that at least half of expenditures (in community colleges) go to faculty salaries and benefits (“instruction”). But, for years, in part because of ATEP start-up costs, we’ve spent increasingly less on instruction and are now doomed to cross below the 50% mark. (See The data & Documents.) Among the desperate measures we’ve taken: the en masse and ASAP hiring of faculty.

No district would do that unless it had to. Faculty hiring should be done carefully, deliberately. Not hurriedly.

Our haste has already produced fiascos. HR has bungled advertising for these 45 new hires. Check out our ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It's useless; and it contains errors. (This was discovered during a recent IVC Academic Senate meeting in which it occurred to folks to actually go online and check out the ads that HR was in such a hurry to get into the CHE.)

No doubt Mathur will seize the opportunity to blame all of our woes, including our 50% woes, on the state budget. He’ll announce various obnoxious initiatives too, using the budget crisis as cover.

We can’t let him get away with that.

"But wait!", you say. "The state’s budgetary woes do not apply to us because we’re on basic aid!"

Well, yes. But there’s a big “but”: despite our special funding situation (we rely on local property taxes), our board of trustees insists on funding the colleges as though we received the more common state funding. And so that means we’re headed for seriously lean times. We’ll have to spend less money.

Meanwhile, the district (i.e., Gary Poertner) projects that we are headed for non-compliance with the 50% Law (for 2007-2008) to the tune of four and a half million dollars. But the projection assumes a faculty COLA of 4.53%.

Among the provisions of the state budget: no COLA.

That means that we’re headed for an even greater degree of non-compliance (with the 50% Law) than we thought. And that means: we need to hire more faculty or increase faculty salaries/benefits.

How that all fits with spending less money ain’t exactly clear to me. (Admittedly, I’m no money guy.)

At any rate, it’s important that we learn the facts about all this and keep an eye on you-know-who.

So welcome back.

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