Saturday, June 28, 2008

The REAL law dean of Orange County

Marla Jo Fisher is at it again! This time, she has interviewed Erwin Chemerinsky, UCI’s new law dean, who’s moving into his Irvine home. (For the entire interview, go to Irvine's new law school dean shares his plans and philosophies.)

You rememember Erwin: he was hired, then fired, then hired again! The usual right-wing rat bastards were making their move, but it backfired. Nyah.
Q. Do you have one main goal for the new school?
A. We want to be a top 20 law school as soon as we can, all the faculty and staff are coming from top 20 law schools, but if we just replicate what other top 20 law schools do then we've failed. We have this wonderful opportunity to create the dream law school. The central tension we face is the need to keep a sufficient number of traditional elements, while adding our own innovations.

Q. Many people have been opposed to creation of a new University of California law school, saying the state doesn't need any more lawyers. How would you answer those people?
A. Orange County has 3 million people but it has no public university law school, nor is there one between Los Angeles and the border with Mexico. I think we can create a law school here that will make a difference.

Q. When the UCI chancellor sought approval for this law school, he said it was necessary to create more public interest lawyers. Critics responded that there are already plenty of students who would like to practice public interest law, but the high cost of law school and hefty student loans drive them into private practice. What would you say to those critics?
A. That's just not true. And I can say that from having been a law professor for 20 years. Wherever lawyers go, in big firms or small, they can spare part of their time to serve the public. They should be doing something with their law degree to make the world a better place. We plan to match the Berkeley (law school) loan forgiveness program for students going into a certain range of employment.

Q. As a former law student and longtime professor, certain things must have irritated you over the years that you want to change in your own school. Can you name some of them?
A. I don't think law schools spend time preparing students for the practice of law. We can do a better job. I want every law student to have some clinical experience with at least one client before they graduate. Most students graduate never having had a client. … I want to teach fact investigation. … I have hired L.A. Times (legal affairs) reporter Henry Weinstein to be a professor and teach it to our students….


Q. Can you remember things specifically that bothered you when you were a law student?
A. I went to Harvard in the 1970s, and, overall, I was disappointed in the quality of the teaching. I had a sense that the faculty that was there then didn't seem to care much about teaching….

Q. Why did you go to law school? Did you know you wanted to be a law professor?
A. I went to law school because I wanted to be a civil rights lawyer. I knew someday I wanted to be a teacher. At one point I even became certified as a high-school teacher….

Q. You teach. You write a lot. You argue cases before the Supreme Court. You have a family. How do you do it all? Some of your friends joke that you never sleep.
A. I don't need a lot of sleep. I am just high energy. I have a low stress level. I don't obsess and worry about things too much….

Q. When Chapman University wants to recruit a new faculty member, the president takes them out on a borrowed yacht in Newport Harbor. How did you recruit your faculty?
A. Well, I don't have a yacht and I don't know how to swim. Don't look shocked. I'm from the south side of Chicago. My pitch is to come and create a dream law school….

Q. There was national attention when you were hired, fired and then rehired by UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, which you said at the time was due to political pressure over your liberal politics. What are people saying to you about that now?
A. For the most part, it's in the past. Occasionally, it comes up. I've had a year now of working with Michael Drake and our relationship is better than ever.

Q. How have you changed your outspokenness as a result of your new job as law dean? Have you toned it down?
A. I have an op-ed piece today in the L.A. Times on gun control. I think it's very important for a law faculty to express its opinions to the public on matters of law….

Q. There were some newspaper stories that implied without saying that (billionaire law school donor) Donald Bren was behind the plan to sabotage your appointment. Have you met him?
A. I have met him at functions and he's an important supporter for the law school. Those stories were just false and very unfair to him.


Q. Some Jewish people have described UCI as "the most anti-Semitic campus in America." You are Jewish. What do you think about that?
A. This is something I looked at very closely. I think it's a misapprehension. There was a letter written by students at several Jewish organizations on campus talking about the wonderful Jewish student life here. As a Jew, I have never seen the slightest evidence of anti-Semitism on campus.

There have been some speeches on campus against Israel that crossed over into anti-Semitic speech. But a university has to be a forum for all ideas, even if we don't agree with them.

Q. Now you've bought a house in University Hills. How does that work?
A. You buy the house and the university owns the land. Usually, faculty get put on a waiting list until some older people retire, but we heard the couple who owned this house was selling, so we were able to buy it. One of the things that attracted me to this campus was that we could live on campus and walk to work. There's a real community feeling here, too. That was one reason we left L.A. (for North Carolina four years ago). We didn't like the traffic and we wanted a different type of community.

Q. Have you met any of your neighbors?
A. Oh yes, people have come over and made us feel welcome. It's very nice.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gods with little to do

From today’s What’s New (by physicist Bob Park):
PEW FORUM: U.S. RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE SURVEY.

The latest findings of the respected Pew Forum’s massive survey make it clear that we are an overwhelmingly religious people. Only 16 percent identify themselves as "unaffiliated" and only a tenth of those are atheists.

The strongest predictor of a person’s faith has always been the faith of their parents, but with interfaith marriages increasing, a quarter of adult Americans have switched to another religion.

The greatest gain was in unaffiliated, but even among the unaffiliated 70 percent said they believe in God.

The willingness of Americans to compartmentalize their beliefs, holding totally contradictory convictions in different spheres, is remarkable. Scientists accept as a given that behind every physical effect lies a physical cause. That seems to rule out supernatural causes, leaving gods with little to do.
—Check out OC Weekly's Orange Coast magazine has a party. I happen to know that Rebel Girl was invited to (and attended?) that party, and a piece about her (among others) will appear in the next edition.

For you conspiracy fans: watching the machine and some of its tiny, stinky parts

DEEPLY COMMITTED TO THE WELL-BEING OF—HIMSELF

.....Chancellor Raghu Mathur sure does some strange things—for instance, his very special hire (he essentially nullified the search committee’s recommendations) of the inexperienced Tod Burnett (the fellow, it seems, has never been a college administrator of any kind) as President of Saddleback College sure was odd.
.....Now, why would Mathur do something like that? Well, Burnett is a politician/bureaucrat with bigtime connections in California politics. Right now, he works for the State Chancellor; he used to work for the Governor.
.....We must always remember that Mathur is essentially a political animal (genus: political; species: narcissist), and he’s inside the local GOP machine, especially the crude and cruel gears inside a smallish dark and noisy box way, way over to the right.
.....One way the machine works is through endorsements. So, naturally, Mathur, the wily politician, endorses candidates who are associated with his own right-wing cronies on the local scene. It’s practically automatic. (More on that in a moment.)

* * * * *

GOSH, THE PROXIMITY OF SOME PARTS OF THE MACHINE TO OTHER PARTS OF THE MACHINE CAN BE WORRISOME

.....According to Trustee Tom ("supervisor of pedophile") Fuentes' district bio, "Speaker Dennis ["enabler of pedophile"] Hastert of the United States House of Representatives appointed Trustee Fuentes in 2006 to serve...on the Board of Advisors of the United States Elections Assistance Commission [EAC].... The [EAC] oversees the expenditure of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds across the nation."
.....According to Wikipedia, the EAC does more than that. It is responsible for “Creating a national program for the testing, certification, and decertification of voting systems.”
.....OK, so our man Fuentes is part of the machinery that oversees "voting systems."
.....According to Wikipedia, "[HAVA]...[was]...signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002. [It was] Drafted (at least in part) in reaction to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S. presidential election...."
.....The goals of HAVA include "[replacing] punch card voting systems." That is, HAVA seeks to move us toward electronic voting.
.....You'll recall that the 2000 and 2004 national elections were, in places, seriously hinky, and a large part of the hinkitude concerned the scandal-ridden electronic voting industry, which is dominated by three companies: Diebold, Sequoia, and Election Systems & Software (ES&S). Remember that last one: ES&S.
.....One aspect of the hinkitude concerned the politics of the people who own these companies. Amazingly, they keep turning out to be right-wingers--often, way-right-wingers. Or even way-way right-wingers.
.....Now, if you trace the history of ES&S in particular, you'll discover that a major deep-pocket in the ES&S saga is none other than mega-scary theocratic right-winger Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who lives here in Orange County.
.....So, as it turns out, Ahmanson was (and, according to some sources, still is) one of the Big Money Men behind the electronic voting industry.
.....Naturally, Ahmanson, the big "voting industry" cog, and Fuentes, the tiny "voting systems oversight" cog are close personal friends. They go way back. Decades even.
.....Lovely, isn't it?

* * * * *

IT'S LIKE A FREAKIN' DAISY CHAIN

.....Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Neil Blais, a familiar OC Republican, is running to replace term-limited Assemblyman Todd Spitzer in California’s 71st Assembly District.
.....I don’t care. But I was Googling “Raghu Mathur,” and I came upon Blais’ campaign website, and, in particular, the part of it devoted to “endorsements.”
.....Naturally, Blais is endorsed by my Congressman, Republican Gary Miller, aka maybe the most corrupt politician in Congress.
.....Blais is also endorsed by
Mike Schroeder (head of the OC “Republican Mafia” and a close associate of Trustee [and former OC GOP chair] Tom Fuentes; Schroeder was much involved in the Frogue Recall)
Mark Bucher (co-founder of Education Alliance, on whose board SOCCCD board president Don Wagner sits; Trustee Nancy Padberg, too, has EA associations)
Chris Norby (conservative Sup, whose brother our Board Majority tried to slip onto the SOCCCD Board of Trustees back when Board Majoritarian Dot Fortune got caught living outside the county)
John Williams (well, you remember him; he was a bailiff; now he's an SOCCCD trustee and, owing to local GOP connections, this "househusband" became the county guy in charge of corpses)
Tony Rackauckas (corrupt OC DA; key member, along with disgraced former Sheriff Mike Carona [a frequent guest and prayer-leader at Irvine Valley College], of the OC Mafia)
Marcia Milchiker (Good grief)
Nancy Padberg (Well, she’s a conservative Republican, so what else is new. Plus she used to be, and probably still is, a member of Bucher's Education Alliance.)
Adam Probolsky (this guy can be found in every dark corner, including the one in my classroom; he’s a close associate of Schroeder, Fuentes, and each of the rest of the OC mafiosi)
—and, of course, “Dr. Raghu Mathur, Chancellor, South Orange County Community College District.”

* * * * *

YOU'RE A HYPOCRITE? NOT A PROBLEM!

.....It will come as no surprise that Blais has strong views concerning “illegal immigration”:
…I will fight to immediately secure the California border so that the flow of illegal immigrants is stopped once and for all. … I will join the Governor and our Republicans in Congress to convince neighboring states to also seal their borders with Mexico to end the flood of illegal immigrants. I support allowing all local law enforcement agencies to check legal status of those being incarcerated for crimes and identify illegal immigrants for deportation.
.....It’s the usual red meat.
.....One problem, though. Blais is a bit of a hypocrite.
.....I came upon this month-old story in the OC Reg:

Neil Blais and illegal immigration: the straight story

.....The upshot: Blais’ opponent, Corona mayor Jeff Miller (yet another conservative Republican), is accusing him of raising money for the benefit of illegal immigrants. If true, it would put an end to Blais' election hopes. The Reg’s Martin Wisckol looked into the charge and found it to be exaggerated.
.....On the other hand, he suggests, it has merit:
.....Blais and his wife, Destin, run a grant-writing consultancy. ... Three of the agencies and foundations with which Blais is contracted benefit, among others, illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County. ... ¶ The attacks from opponent Jeff Miller’s campaign include a mailer and a press release. Unless you’re paying close attention, you might think LA County’s spending on illegal immigration is Blais’ doing — and that he’s getting rich doing it. … ¶ The attack goes over the top, as many attacks ads do. But Blais was associated with agencies … that often don’t check the residency status of those [they help]…. … ¶ Blais may have done little business with these groups, but he never said he turned the work down. Rather, it appears that the groups never called on him to perform, with a small exception. It seems as though he was ready and willing to do the work.
.....Another way the machine works is that hypocrisy isn’t a problem. You just smile through it. It's like Sheriff Carona's piety and love of family. The fact that he's obviously a hypocritical Rat Bastard never mattered to Fuentes, Schroeder, Mathur, and that whole crowd—until he was formally charged with crimes and put on trial. "America's Sheriff" my ass.
.....Naturally, I could go on forever with examples of this crowd's hypocrisy. Remember when Tom "mentor to pedophile" Fuentes was concerned about possible faculty "cronyism"?! (Good Lord!) And remember when Mathur crusaded against "reassigned time"? He was only the champion abuser of RT while an instructor. He was the poster child for the very thing he was railing against!

* * * * *

.....Here’s an oddity. I noticed that Dana Rohrabacher is listed as endorsing both Blais and Blais’ opponent, Miller.
.....The machine gets complicated.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jay and Milchiker voted against Burnett

Video of the June 24 meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees is now available here. I had the opportunity to view the first twenty minutes or so. I was surprised to discover that the appointment of Tod Burnett (Prez of Saddleback College) was not unanimous. (See below.)

Here are some highlights:

00:00:39
Clerk Tom Fuentes reads out actions taken during closed session. He reports that Tod Burnett was approved as Saddleback College President on a 5/2 vote, with Bill Jay and Marcia Milchiker voting against.

Wow. Perhaps J&M were displeased that Mathur disregarded the recommendations of the search committee (he interviewed the committee’s three recommendations and then went back into the pool, pulling out Burnett). Boards typically seek to approve top administrators unanimously. Further, Burnett, though impressive, seems to lack college administrative experience.

00:05:30
Math professor Karla Westphal declares that she was “appalled” by Wagner’s speech at the recent Scholarship event. She is disappointed that only Trustee Padberg urged Wagner to apologize.

00:08:38
Nancy Padberg stands by her words regarding Wagner and the scholarship event.

00:09:09
Tom Fuentes says he returns “30 pounds lighter” and with “gratitude to God,” after his liver transplant surgery.

00:15:00
Wagner: “I’ve had the privilege, the pleasure, of serving on the IVC Accreditation Focus Group over the course of the last several months and it has been quite an eye-opening experience; there’s been a lot of give and take, a lot of frank…discussion…; it’s a group [that’s]…just a pleasure to be involved with; chaired by President Roquemore and co-chaired by Wendy Gabriella and [Vice] President Justice. You guys are just doing a great job. I thank you for the opportunity to participate. I think we’re doing some great work for the colleges, and for IVC in particular, and I’ve really enjoyed my time there, so thank you…it is an all-star group….”

00:19:30
Mathur: Summer enrollments are up 7.5%. Blah, blah, blah. Mathur praises outgoing Saddleback President Rich McCullough, a man that Mathur in fact pressured out. “Let’s all give him a standing ovation,” said Mathur.

00:24:00
Fuentes wants to develop a policy regarding naming new buildings.

01:40:00
Re tentative budget. Discussion of the reserve. Poertner explains what is meant by "basic aid" money. Lots of disagreement.

02:07:00
IVC Senate Prez Wendy Gabriella gives her report.

A SONG FOR YOU. I offer yet another obscurity, this one by Peter Sarstedt in 1969. I used to love this song, though I knew nothing about it or the singer. It was just mystery music emerging from my little Philco radio by the side of my bed. But if I love a song, it plays in my head forever. So, tonight, nearly forty years later, I did some searching and found it (by reviewing a list of British "tops of the pops"). The song was by Peter Sarstedt. I read about him. They offered Sarstedt a TV show, but he said no; he walked away from fame and fortune. Never had another hit. Maybe you'll remember "Where do you go to, my lovely?," but I think you'd have to be over 50. I wonder: for many of my generation, this song had a certain magic. Does it have magic, too, for young people today?



OK, I can't help myself. Gotta love Dusty Springfield. "You don't have to say you love me," from 1967:

Memorable cataclysms, part 1

Four billion years ago: Asteroid M4005X hits Mars, causing the great "dichotomy"

Twelve years ago: Asteroid GOO hits the South Orange County Community College District, causing the great "lobotomy"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Last night’s board meeting: eyes have been opened

.....I couldn't attend last night’s meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees 'cause I was at the Greek Theater enjoying the performances of country/bluegrass star Alison Krauss, Led Zep singer Robert Plant, and super-duper producer T Bone Burnett (plus four other musicians, including the great Buddy Miller!). If you get a chance to see the "Raising Sand" show, don’t miss it. (See Times' review.)
.....Monday night, Krauss and Co. will be warblin' in San Diego.

.....Still, I did get a brief report from someone who was there—at the board meeting I mean. (As usual, we await Tracy Daly’s fluffy “Board Meeting Highlights,” which will likely materialize soon. [UPDATE: the "highlights" are now available.] And, don’t forget, the district regularly archives video of board meetings. The video, when available, can be viewed here.)

.....Naturally, the BIG NEWS last night was the appointment of Saddleback College’s new President (see posts below). The announcement was made, I’m told, by death-defying board Clerk Tom Fuentes, who, despite recent liver transplant surgery, was back on the job, scowling (I'm only guessin' about that) and making the world safer for right-wing nutjobs everywhere. (According to Fuentes, the accreditation process is fixed and controlled by, um, faculty. [That's seriously paranoid.] Plus the fellow wants to name Irvine's "great park" Nixon Park. [Nixon was a corrupt bastard, kids.])
.....We’re glad he's recuperating. Fuentes, I mean.

.....Math professor Karla Westphal was on hand to put Board President Don Wagner’s feet to the fire for his allegedly inappropriate speechifying (re trustee prayers) at Saddleback College’s scholarship event. Trustee Nancy Padberg was supportive—of Westphal.

.....During his report, Trustee Wagner, who, for several months, has been working with faculty (and administrators and classified—and even a student) on Irvine Valley College’s accreditation problem, went out of his way to praise these faculty. Working with this crowd, he said, has “opened my eyes.”
.....I’ve followed this saga carefully—early on, I was a detractor of the "focus group" idea—and, in my view, there is zero reason to suspect that Don’s remarks were anything but sincere. Later in the evening, an appreciative IVC Senate Prez Wendy G had an opportunity to return the compliment, which she did, or so I’m told.
.....Again, I do hope that members of the IVC community are keeping tabs on the doings of the IVC Accreditation focus group, for they have worked very hard and intelligently and seem to have generally hovered about consensus on some difficult issues (trustee micromanagement, roles and responsibilities of officers & groups, the climate of “despair,” etc.). Their biweekly (i.e., twice a month) meetings will continue for a month or two.
.....If our college manages to avoid accreditation disaster early in 2009, it will be largely because of the efforts of the focus group.
.....Be not oblivious.
.....Not sure what's going on with Saddleback College's more laid-back focus group, which includes trustee Dave Lang and whose motto appears to be, "What, me worry?" Or, again, so I'm told.

.....There was some discussion of the board's curious decision, a few months ago, to adopt a high level of "reserve" funds. Efforts last night to reconsider the matter were obliterated, I believe, by Trustee Fuentes, who made clear his firm opposition to lowering the percentage.
.....(Ten years ago, our district was placed on the state chancellor's "watch" list when our reserves dipped below the required percentage. Nowadays, however, our district is swimming in extra moola, owing to our "basic aid" funding plus high local property values, to which this funding is keyed.)

.....The ATEP thing passed. (Submittal of long range plan to the city [of Tustin].)

.....(Did you know that the city of Tustin, aka the "City of Trees," has peskified this whole ATEP business in part because certain Tustinites embrace a view of county history according to which Irvine Valley College was supposed to be Tustin's community college [to be located where the Tustin Marketplace now sprawls], but then that dastardly Irvine Co. showed up with "free land" along Jeffrey? [According to this yarn, the Irvine Co was in dutch over some seriously hinky deal, but they made that problem go away with this highly opportune giftage.] So, despite ultra-clear state rules to the contrary [proximity issues], Tustin wants its own friggin' community college [at long last!] there along Redhill, and, so, there you are: inveterate stink-eyed Tustinary peevitude!)

.....That’s all I’ve got. --CW


And here, for no particular reason, is one of my favorite semi-obscure tunes, "Here Comes My Baby," done by the Tremeloes in 1967. (The song was composed by Cat Stevens.)


I don't know why I like this version so much. The band is obviously a bunch of idiots. --Still....

Marla's Q & A with Burnett

As you know, last night, at the monthly SOCCCD board meeting, the trustees announced that Tod Burnett has been named as the President of Saddleback College, succeeding Richard McCullough, who retires at the end of this month. (See A New President.)

I had heard from reliable sources that the Presidential search committee recommended three candidates to Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur, but, upon interviewing those three, Mathur exercised his option to go back to the candidate pool to interview candidates not forwarded to him. The word on the street is that Burnett, who admittedly looks good on paper (although he lacks experience running colleges; he's essentially a politician/bureaucrat), was a beneficiary of that late process. I have no confirmation of this however.

The Register’s Marla Jo Fisher has just posted a Q & A with Burnett:

Q: What’s your family status?
A: I’m unmarried, no kids. I have a dog, though, a fawn pug named Rudy. Yes, he’s named after Rudy Guiliani, whom I had just seen that week and thought it was a good name. He’s the cutest pug in the world.

Q: What’s your favorite music?
A: I love all music but especially 80’s music. My favorite band is Tears for Fears.

Q: What’s in your car CD player right now?
A: Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve

Q: What kind of car do you drive?
A: A gray 2007 Acura RDX. I wish I had a hybrid, though.

Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I like all athletics, tennis, hiking, biking, whitewater rafting. I’m a big college football fan, especially the USC Trojans. I’m excited about the Gaucho football team and all the athletics there. I also like movies, theatre and all the arts, weekend trips to wine country and the mountains. I used to have a cabin in Lake Arrowhead for many years.

Q: Do you have a place to live in Orange County?
A: I’m looking for a place, probably in Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo or Laguna Woods. It’s a 24/7 job so I want to be near campus.

Q: What are you looking forward to, and what makes you nervous about your new job?
A: I’m looking forward most to working directly with the faculty and staff and the community on campus, after working on a statewide level. We all miss that. The traffic makes me anxious.

Q: What one thing would you like students to know about you?
A: That they can come to me for any reason, with anything they want. I’m accessible.

Q: The South Orange County Community College District has been under fire from a variety of sources over the years. Did you have any trepidation about coming here?
A: No, not at all. I think one reason I was selected is because I’m an outside fresh face. I believe everybody is there for the students, hopefully I will be helpful.

Q: What will you be wearing on campus? A suit and tie?
A: Good question. I have to figure out what’s appropriate to the culture of Saddleback College.

Q: What kind of movies do you like?
A: I like a lot of action adventure. My favorite is Indiana Jones. I also like heavy dramas.

Q: What did you think about the new Indiana Jones movie?
A: It was pretty good but not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark. That was my favorite.

Q: What are you reading right now.
A: I’m reading a business book, “The Long Tail” about Internet and advertising marketing and sales; also, don’t laugh, but “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” I love all those fantasy-adventure type books.

Q: What do you think about Orange County TV shows like the OC or Real Housewives of Orange County?
A: I have to say I have never seen them.

(I asked Rebel Girl if she'd read the above Q&A, and all she could say was, "80s music?! Tears for freakin' Fears!?"—something like that. I couldn't get her to move beyond it. Classic Rebel Girl.)

A big victory for Education Alliance

The attempted recall of two school board trustees of the Capo Unified School District (CUSD) was at long last successful last night (see articles below). But the group that achieved this change in CUSD leadership got a substantial portion of its political funding from Education Alliance, a right-wing “back to basics” group with ties to several trustees of the SOCCCD board. (See Education Alliance.) Be on the lookout for hubris.

• LA Times: Capistrano Unifed school board members are recalled:
With the recall Tuesday night of two school trustees in South Orange County, a group of parents, politicians and gadflies claimed their greatest in a series of recent victories: control of the embattled 50,000-student Capistrano Unified School District.

With relatively low turnout, about 70% of voters approved recalling Marlene Draper and Sheila Benecke, who between them have 36 years of experience on the board, and replacing them with substitute teacher Sue Palazzo and termed-out Assemblyman Ken Maddox….
• OC Register: New Capo trustees pledge openness:
Capistrano Unified's new trustees-elect, Sue Palazzo and Ken Maddox, on Tuesday pledged an era of open communication and redoubled examination of school affairs. 
“The days of trying to gloss over things are over,” Palazzo said. “At the beginning of my term, it's just going to be truth. People will feel they can talk, raise questions that will be answered truthfully. ”

Maddox and Palazzo will join trustees Ellen Addonizio, Anna Bryson and Larry Christensen in creating a five-person bloc on Capistrano's seven-member school board, once election results are certified….

Parents skeptical of the new five-person majority will be carefully watching the board's every move.
Anti-recall leaders have cited a link between the CUSD Recall Committee and the Tustin-based Education Alliance, a political action committee that opposes health clinics and bilingual education in schools, advocates for school vouchers, and wants to curb the power and influence of teacher unions. The recall committee received almost half of its political donations in 2006 from the Education Alliance. Maddox, a former state assemblyman who knows Education Alliance co-founder Mark Bucher through Republican circles, said Tuesday he had not received any donations from the alliance, but would not turn down money from the group.
“There are some things Mark and I agree on, and other things we don't,” Maddox said, citing school vouchers as an area of disagreement. 
“What is for sure is that voters can expect to see five unique individuals who bring their talents to the school board. We're not sitting around as a collective trying to formulate one goal. We are just five people wanting to see a change in the district. ”
Palazzo said the widespread rumors that she and the four other trustees were plotting to take over the school board and enact drastic changes at the district level were unfounded and untrue.
"I have been a public school teacher for almost 40 years, and I follow the California state law,” she said….
WHO IS MARK BUCHER?

• According to the OC Republican Party,
Mark has been actively involved in politics since the 1993 Proposition 174 [174 was a "voucher" initiative] school choice campaign, when he acted as the volunteer coordinator for Orange County . His observations during that campaign of the power and influence of the unions in our state led him to found the Education Alliance, a group dedicated to assisting school board candidates who are independent of education unions, as well as authoring, qualifying, and chairing Proposition 226, which would have required unions to receive permission to use their members’ dues for political purposes.

Mark also oversaw the qualification of Proposition 22, the Defense of Marriage Initiative, as well as Proposition 38, a school choice initiative.

Mark obtained his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Biola University , and his Juris Doctorate from Western State University , where he graduated Summa Cum Laude first in his class, and with the additional honor of Valedictorian. Mark lives in Tustin with his wife, Hanne and their 3 children.
• MARK BUCHER's role in "Fuentes-world" (from Fuentes-world, Part 1):
Back in 1993, Bucher, then a businessman, and two pals—James Righeimer and Frank Ury—fought for passage of the “school voucher” initiative (Prop 174). Apparently, when that measure failed, the three amigos founded “Education Alliance,” in Tustin, an organization dedicated to placing “conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives, on local school boards” (Cosmo Garvin).

At the time, Frank Ury was a trustee on the Saddleback Valley Unified School District board—having been elected as part of a slate that took out trustee Raghu Mathur in ‘92!—but, owing to Ury’s support of the voucher initiative, he lost in 1996 to an opponent who was heavily financed by the California Teachers Association (CTA), of which, incidentally, Raghu was a member. (CTA is the parent organization of our own Faculty Association.)

A New President for Saddleback College

Marla Jo Fisher’s College Life Blog reports the following:
.....It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but trustees have appointed Tod Burnett, statewide vice chancellor for California community colleges, as the new president of Saddleback College.
.....Burnett will replace Rich McCullough, who’s retiring. In New York City this week at a conference, Burnett, 45, said this morning he plans to start his new job August 1, after finding a place to live and taking a short vacation in Hawaii.
.....An alumnus of Pepperdine, USC and UC Riverside, Burnett said he’s a sports fan who’s looking forward to rooting for the Gauchos. He pledged to keep his door open to students and said he’s excited to be on campus working directly with faculty and students, rather than in Sacramento.
.....Born in West Covina, Burnett said he has family and friends throughout Orange County, and will likely look for a place to live near the campus.
.....While at the system office in Sacramento, Burnett has been responsible for the systemwide strategic plan and overseeing policy initiatives.
.....Burnett, who formerly was deputy appointments secretary to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said he wasn’t scared off by bad press over the years about the South Orange County Community College District, which operates Saddleback.
.....“I think one reason I was selected is that I’m a fresh face coming from the outside,” he said. “I believe everybody is there for the students and that’s what matters.”
At the State Chancellor's office website, one finds the following description of Burnett:
.....Dr. Tod A. Burnett was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Vice Chancellor on January 1, 2006. In this capacity, he coordinates implementation of the California Community Colleges System Strategic Plan and is responsible for the development, formulation, coordination and communication of complex and highly sensitive policy initiatives for the System Office. He is also an Associate Faculty at the University of Phoenix. Prior to joining the Community Colleges System Office, Tod served as Deputy Appointments Secretary for Governor Schwarzenegger where he advised the Governor on making political appointments to hundreds of full and part-time positions in State government.
.....Previously, Tod was Director of State and Local Government Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Christie Todd Whitman and Commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan. His private sector experience includes Chief Financial & Operating Officer of the law firm of Gascou, Gemmill & Thornton; Vice President of Eva Gabor International, Ltd.; Assistant Vice President for Union Bank's Merchant Banking Department; and Financial Analyst for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's Capital Markets Group.
.....Tod is a strong proponent of youth leadership education. He served as President of the Board of Directors of California Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership, Inc. (HOBY), a non-profit organization that seeks out, recognizes and develops leadership potential of high school students. In 1999, he was selected among over 5,000 volunteers worldwide as HOBY’s National Volunteer of the Year.
.....Tod holds an Education Doctorate Degree in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Administrative Studies from the University of California, Riverside. Tod was born and has lived in the Los Angeles metropolitan area most of his life, except for two years both in Chicago and Washington, D.C. He has resided in the Sacramento area since 2003.
FURTHER INFO, FACTOIDS:

• Evidently, Burnett is not averse to participating in politics, and, for once, they don’t seem to be right-leaning. See his recent endorsement of Democrat Laurette Healey for Assembly.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Those zany sharks!

WEIRDNESS CONTINUES. There’s been yet another shark incident, this one on the far side of Catalina Island: Shark attacks woman on kayak at Catalina, knocks her off in front of her kids. It occurred Saturday but wasn't reported until last night. A shark knocked a woman off her kayak, but small boats came to her rescue (her family saw the incident from their boat, but they were unable to respond because the boat was anchored). She's OK. (It doesn’t seem quite clear that the shark was “attacking” the woman, although it did knock her over. Some say that sharks can be motivated to "attack" by mere curiosity.) See update.

As you know, yesterday, the Reg reported a shark incident, involving people on an Outrigger, off Laguna Beach. The Sharkster was reported to be "gnarly."

BURNT MOUNTAINS. The Register has posted a nice photo essay of the burned areas of the Santa Ana Mountains: Photo report: Inside the closed wildfire zone. Check it out.

This morning’s Inside Higher Ed reports that:
Lack of cleanliness in educational facilities hinders learning, according to a national survey of students by APPA, the organization that represents higher education facility managers. In the survey, students ranked cleanliness as the fourth most important building element to influence learning, after noise, air temperature, and lighting. [Gosh, I wonder what a lack of sanity and decency does?]

• Syracuse University adjuncts have approved their first union contract with the university, under which they are receiving gains in pay, health insurance, professional development and procedures for resolving disputes. The union is an affiliate of the New York State United Teachers, which is part of the American Federation of Teachers, which released details on the contract.
• I’ve included some photos from the Reb’s recent adventures on Santa Barbara Island. “It was hot,” she said. So, she says, people tended to stay in the lovely water—with the sea lions. (See photo below.)

Especially Limber Lou.



Monday, June 23, 2008

What's on tap for tomorrow's board meeting?


.....The “agenda outline” for tomorrow’s (June 24) meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees has now been posted (here (pdf)).
.....The closed session starts at 5:00 p.m.
.....Under "public employee discipline/dismissal/release," the closed session agenda lists four “cases.”
.....It also lists a single “appointment”: “President, Saddleback College.” Does this mean that they’ve hired someone? Maybe so. (Or maybe Chancellor Raghu Mathur is allowing for the mere possibility. Dunno.)
.....There’s the usual union, ATEP, and legal stuff.

OPEN SESSION:

.....The open session is set to start at 6:30.
.....As usual, after some "resolutions," members of the public will be given an opportunity to address the board.
.....Why doncha show up and just point and scream like Donald Sutherland (or, better, Brooke Adams) did at the end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers? They'll let you do it for three whole minutes.

Donald Sutherland: Invasion of the Body Snatchers


.....Among the “consent calendar” items is this:

5.18 SOCCCD: Budget Amendment: Adopt Resolution No. 08-19 to Amend 2007-2008 Restricted General and Community Education Funds : Adopt resolution.

.....—As usual, the public is left sans clue as to what that’s about. I don’t think Raghu fully grasps the spirit of the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Among “general action items”:

6.1 SOCCCD: District Mission and Vision Statements and District-wide Goals 2008-09 (approval)

.....—Have you ever read this stuff? This kind of pseudo-erudite writing—Mathur's kind of shit-hackery—suggests a complete failure to grasp the notion that writing is meant to communicate something. (Naturally, the “agenda outline” does not actually provide the statements. Thanks again, Democracy Boy.)

6.3 SOCCCD: Five Year Construction Plan 2010/11 to 2014/15

6.4 SOCCCD: ATEP: Submittal of Long Range Plan to the City

.....—Looks like something’s brewin’, ATEPwise.

Item 6.9 (Academic Personnel Actions) includes “authorization to establish and announce a faculty position.” Don't know what that's about.

.....I’m gonna miss this meeting. I’ve got tickets to see Alison Krauss and Robert Plant at the Greek. Can somebody please cover for me?
.....Don't all volunteer at once.

T-Bone Burnett, Alison Krauss, & Robert Plant

Some daffy news

.....The two items of news provided below are odd. The first story concerns the U of California's evident intention to disobey a (soon-to-be) new state law designed to protect free-speech minded advisors to school journalism/newspaper programs. (They tend to get fired. Remember Saddleback College's Kathleen Dorantes?)
.....The second story concerns Philadelphia's plan to honor Charles Darwin (as we approach the 150th year since the publication of Origin of Species). That's great, but an organizer of that effort—a Dr. Janet Monge—is quoted (by the New York Times) as saying things that strike me as quite daffy. Judge for yourself.

.....NOPE, WE WON'T BE OBEYING THAT LAW. In this morning’s Inside Higher Ed, we learn of a very odd conflict between California legislators and the University of California: Above the Law?:
.....Student newspaper advisers are something of an endangered species these days. They often get caught in the middle when administrators and student journalists clash over content, and in more than a few cases on college campuses in recent years, advisers …have found themselves losing their jobs….

.....It was with several recent such controversies in mind, and numerous instances of censorship at high schools in California, that the state’s Legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation this month that would prohibit a college or school district from firing, suspending or otherwise retaliating against an employee for acting to protect a student’s free speech. Last week, with the measure, SB 1370, sailing for passage and a trip to the governor’s office for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hoped-for signature, the University of California quietly revealed its opposition to the bill.
.....In a letter to State Sen. Leland Yee, the legislation’s sponsor, a lobbyist for the university system “respectfully” warned Yee that the university did not expect to abide by the requirement if it was enacted. “The University of California must maintain its ability to correct situations in which a member of its teaching corps or a University employee has failed to comply with academic teaching standards, violated UC policies, broken rules or laws, or misused University resources.” wrote Happy Chastain, senior legislative director for state government relations in the UC president’s office. “Under the provisions of SB 1370, UC is concerned that its ability to act in such circumstances would be restricted and expose the University to frivolous and unwarranted litigation.”
.....The last-minute opposition from UC officials infuriated Yee and other supporters of the bill. Not only did they challenge the university’s logic for fighting the measure, disputing the suggestion that it would restrict its institutions’ ability to punish faculty members who teach inappropriate material in the classroom; more broadly, they also expressed surprise that the university could assert the right not to abide by the law.

.....SB 1370 is only the latest piece of legislation aimed at ensuring the speech rights of student journalists. At the core of the effort is 1992’s California Education Code Section 66301, broadly protected the right of college students not to be punished solely “on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside a campus of those institutions, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution” or California’s own Constitution.
.....In 2006, the California Legislature approved a measure (AB 2581) sponsored by Senator Yee that, in the wake of 2005’s controversial Hosty v. Carter decision, prohibited colleges in the state from censoring student newspapers or exercising “prior restraint” of student speech or the student press.
.....The reason Yee followed up with the pending legislation, SB 1370, said [Adam] Keigwin, his aide, is because campus media advisers are often thrust into the position of defending (or not defending) the student journalists whose work they oversee. If campus administrators can readily dismiss a faculty or staff member who stands up for student journalists, and replace him or her with someone who won’t, Yee asserts, the 2006 legislation can be seriously undermined.
.....“Since administrators are unable [under AB2851] to exercise prior restraint with regard to a student publication, they lean on advisers to do what they legally cannot,” said Jim Ewert, legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which supports the Yee measure. “When advisers refuse, they are punished because administrators know they will face no legal consequences. SB 1370 is necessary to close this gaping loophole in the law.”

.....Last Monday, on the day that the state Assembly approved Yee’s legislation, the University of California — for the first time, according to aides to Yee — expressed its opposition to the measure. In the letter to Yee, Chastain noted that the university “feels strongly about academic and speech freedoms,” but argued that existing laws and university policies “already afford substantial freedom of speech protections for students and faculty.” The fact that the issue raised by the proposed legislation may not be an issue at UC, Chastain suggests, is “evidenced, in part, by our inability to identify a single example of the University of California acting to discipline employees for supporting the free speech of University students.”

.....What would happen, the university suggested, if “during delivery of a course in mathematics, a student uses class time to promote opinions unrelated to mathematics or the course materials, and ... the instructor of record not only allows this behavior to persist, but also reinforces the student’s beliefs in class.” In such a case, in which “the course is not being taught according to the curriculum approved by the University,” Chastain wrote, UC must retain “the right to take appropriate measures to ensure that our standards and policies are upheld.”
.....Supporters of the media adviser law were surprised by the last-minute nature of the university’s opposition ("It came totally out of the blue,” said Keigwin, “on the day after it passed the second house — that’s just not the way you do things") and by some of its assertions. They argued, for instance, that the example cited in Chastain’s letter is an illegitimate comparison, because the university would have every right to punish a faculty member who is not teaching the curriculum.
.....“The letter cites as a hypothetical example a math instructor who allowed a student to promote opinions unrelated to the subject during class time, suggesting that under the law, the university would be prohibited from punishing the teacher for tolerating the disruptive student speech,” [Mark] Goodman, the Kent State ... [Chair of Scholastic Journalism], wrote in a post on the blog of the Center for Scholastic Journalism. “Of course, the letter never explains why the University believes that off-topic student speech in the classroom would be protected by the law in the first place, a requirement for the university employee protections of the bill to come into play.”
.....In addition, just because UC has not punished a media adviser or other employee for protecting the free speech rights of students does not mean that university employees do not feel constrained and do not need protection, said Keigwin, the Yee spokesman. The Student Press Law Center has received numerous complaints in recent years about free speech being impaired at UC campuses, and since Yee introduced his bill, his office has received complaints about as many as a dozen cases “where the adviser felt some pressure to steer the paper in a certain way,” said Keigwin. “Speech has still been squelced at the college level.”
.....More fundamentally, Goodman and others are perplexed by the university’s assertion that it would not be obliged to abide by SB 1370 should it become law. In an e-mail message late Sunday, a UC spokesman, Brad Hayward, said that the university’s Constitutional status gives it “discretion in implementing state law.... In this particular case, the bill proposes to amend Section 66301 of the California Education Code, which is within Part 40 of the Education Code. Another section of Part 40, Section 67400, states, “No provision of [Part 40] shall apply to the University of California except to the extent that the Regents of the University of California, by appropriate resolution, make that provision applicable.”
.....In this case, Hayward and Chastain warn, the regents do not plan to let the media adviser provision apply if it should become law.
.....How is it that the university sees itself as not being subject to the media advisers’ legislation but bound, presumably, by the underlying free speech legislation on which it is based? Goodman asked. “I don’t see a legal distinction between one and the other. Why do they think this one is problematic when the underlying statute is not?”….
.....PHILADELPHIA TO HONOR DARWIN. In this morning’s New York Times: Philadelphia Set to Honor Darwin and Evolution:
.....Nine academic, scientific and cultural institutions around the city are holding a Year of Evolution, a series of exhibitions, seminars and lectures to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin next February, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, “The Origin of Species.”
.....Events will include a talk by John E. Jones III, a federal judge who ruled in 2005 that teaching intelligent design — the belief that some aspects of nature are so complex that they must be the work of a higher power rather than of evolution — in public school science classes was unconstitutional.
.....The intent of the citywide event, said Janet M. Monge, one of the organizers, is to increase public understanding of evolution and science in general at a time when polls show that a majority of Americans believe God created man in his present form and that the number of people who accept the evolutionary model of human origins is declining.
.....“The strengths and weaknesses of evolution are the strengths and weaknesses of science,” said Dr. Monge, the curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. “You don’t get answers.” [?]
.....She said the Philadelphia events were also intended to encourage people to consider the evolutionary alternative to the biblical account of the origins of man, as represented by the new Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., a $35 million institution that has attracted more than 400,000 visitors since it opened in May 2007.
.....Ken Ham, the president of the Creation Museum, said he expected to see more pro-evolution events as the Darwin anniversary approaches. Mr. Ham said that in response his museum was planning its own exhibits on the origins of life.
.....“The culture war is definitely heating up,” he said.

.....Creationists and their allies in the intelligent design movement suffered a setback when Judge Jones rejected a plan by the school board in Dover, Pa., to teach their ideas. Judge Jones sided with the American Civil Liberties Union and others who sued the school board, arguing that intelligent design was a religious rather than scientific concept and had no place in science classes….
.....I do not object to Monge's statement (according to the Times) that “The strengths and weaknesses of evolution are the strengths and weaknesses of science.” That makes sense. But she is also quoted as saying, "You don’t get answers.”
.....In the sciences?
.....I just don't understand that remark. It is certainly true that scientific theories do not answer all questions that one might have. This is perfectly understood by scientists. But one would never express this truism by saying that science provides no answers.
.....Perhaps the point is that scientific theories are never proved in a strong, deductive sense. A good theory, scientists tell us, is highly probable, not proved. ("You can disprove a theory, but you can't prove one," scientists often say.) But that means that science at times provides highly probable answers. That is, it provides answers.
.....Also (but less worrisome), why does Monge elevate Creationism as she seems to, for she describes evolution as the "alternative" view to Creationism. But surely the (at most) "alternative" view is Creationism, not Evolution. Backed by overwhelming evidence and reasons, scientists teach that evolution occurs—largely through the mechanism of Darwinian natural selection—and this explains much about what we observe in the natural world. People who fail to understand the standards of science (e.g., the importance of simplicity, fruitfulness, predictive power, etc.) might suppose that Creationism offers a good alternative explanation of the facts. Well, yes, it is a kind of alternative theory that in some sense can explain the facts. But, if so, it is also a very poor theory (e.g., it falsely implies or holds that the Earth is but a few thousand years old; it suggests that organisms have no design flaws—a perfect designer will produce a perfect design—but plainly some do). More importantly, it is decidedly inferior to "evolutionary" theory as it is now understood. (Again, think of simplicity, predictive power.)
.....Evolution is the probable truth about things. Creationism is the wacky "alternative" view. In truth, even calling it an "alternative" theory elevates it groundlessly. It's an alternative scientific theory like homeopathy is an "alternative" medicine. That is, it's an alternative only among the ignorant or goofy.
.....My main beef, though, is with the "don't get answers" malarkey. Maybe the reporter screwed up. Somebody sure did.

WHITE SHARK. This was posted at the OC Reg just a couple of hours ago: Large great white shark follows Outriggers about a mile offshore in Laguna. Crazy, man.

.....Sunny says "hey."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yes, we have no agendas

.....CHANNEL ISLANDS. On Friday, I briefly described tiny Santa Barbara Island, among the Channel Islands off of the So. Cal coast. As it turns out (as one reader informed me), this weekend, the LA Times has a lengthy piece on the Channel Islands: The Channel Islands: Southern California's offshore Eden.
.....Here’s what it has to say about Santa Barbara (and San Miguel, pictured at left and below):
.....Caves are also a draw on tiny Santa Barbara Island, and a beautiful beach is a hallmark of San Miguel, but both are so far out that you really have to work to get there, which is why they're the least-visited in the park.
.....Island Packers schedules a few trips to each annually, mainly in the summer. But sea and weather conditions often cause these to be canceled. I finally reached Santa Barbara on a beautiful day in April, when conditions were ideal. Rough weather last winter ripped out part of the pier, so visitors have to land by skiff on a rocky ledge. It would be treacherous in anything other than totally calm sea conditions.
.....The island is only a mile square, so hiking it is a breeze. And the ocean view is spectacular. Rocky coves are filled with barking sea lions and clear blue water that's reminiscent of the sea color in the Caribbean or the South Pacific. A tiny campground sits on an unprotected bluff.
.....Sea conditions were not as ideal in late May, when I joined a group of campers headed for San Miguel, 64 miles west of the mainland. Twelve-foot seas made the four-hour journey uncomfortable for many of those on board, as the Island Packers' 64-foot power catamaran lurched up and down through huge waves. I loved it, but I kept my views to myself and cheered only inwardly, out of respect for my seasick companions.
.....Luckily, the weather was better on San Miguel. It offers good hiking and, of course, lots of solitude.
.....RECALL ELECTION. Meanwhile, this weekend, the OC Register previews this week’s Capistrano Unified recall election. The article mentions The Education Alliance, a group to which I referred recently (some of our SOCCCD trustees have links to EA; EA has associations with Howard Ahmanson, Jr.): CUSD showdown in Tuesday's school board recall election:
.....Anti-recall leaders have focused their message on the Recall Committee's link to the Tustin-based Education Alliance, a political action committee that gave $22,000 to the recall and its candidates during the 2006 election. The self-described "back-to-basics" group opposes health clinics and bilingual education in schools, advocates for school voucher programs, and thinks teacher unions wield too much power.
.....The recall committee and the "reform" trustees say they've welcomed the Education Alliance's donations, but that their views aren't in line with the alliance's.
.....NO AGENDA OUTLINE? Oddly, at the SOCCCD website, no agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting has yet been posted (as of 11:00 a.m.). What’s up with that? Democrats (with the small "d") should be plenty annoyed. How are we supposed to keep track of what our government representatives are up to, if we've gotta go to so much trouble just to see meeting agendas? Tell me that!

UPDATE (Monday, 8:30 p.m.): at noon today, the district still had not posted the "agenda outline" for the Tuesday board meeting. I just looked and the outline is at long last posted: here (it's a pdf file).

Not so fast! Rethinking fall opening

Today's report  — up again USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes LA Times  ...

Invited to IVC—this time a notorious admitted HOMOPHOBE

—Conservative radio host, Michael Reagan


Here at IVC, natch, we have an Accounting Department. It happens to support something called the Guaranteed Accounting Program: GAP4+1.

According to the department website,

This unique pathway program — a partnership between Irvine Valley College (IVC) and Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) — will enable you to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years and a master’s degree with one more additional year (thus GAP4+1).

Among the Master's degrees available through the program, we're told, are "Accountancy and Finance; Taxation; or Accountancy."


We're also told that "The number of students accepted into this program in any one year is limited so be sure to apply early."


Great. The early bird gets the worm.


Evidently, the good people of the GAP4+1 program have recently seen fit to invite someone to speak at Irvine Valley College (in late April): Michael Reagan.




The Republican Party of OC just loves IVC (from their website)

That's right. They've invited Reagan family embarrassment Michael, a man of, let's face it, little or no distinction.


He was expelled from his High School and he washed-out of college. Eventually, he went into clothing sales.


In those early years, he made some curious friends:

In 1965, the FBI warned Ronald Reagan that in the course of an organized crime investigation it had discovered his son Michael was associating with the son of crime boss Joseph Bonanno, which would have become a campaign issue had it been publicly known. Reagan thanked the FBI and said he would phone his son to discreetly discontinue the association. (From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

[“F.B.I. agents in Phoenix made an unexpected discovery: According to records, ‘the son of Ronald Reagan was associating with the son of Joe Bonnano [sic].’ That is, Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and Ms. Wyman, was consorting with Bonanno’s son, Joseph Jr. The teenagers had bonded over their shared love of fast cars and acting tough.” ... "Joseph Jr. was not involved in organized crime, but he was spending time at his father’s home... [I]n October 1964, he had been arrested in connection with the beating of a Scottsdale, Ariz., coffee shop manager. ... Following routine procedure, F.B.I. agents in Phoenix asked agents in Los Angeles to interview Ronald Reagan for any information he might have gleaned from his son. The investigation, after all, was a top priority. But Hoover blocked them from questioning Reagan, thus sparing him potentially unfavorable publicity. Declaring it 'unlikely that Ronald Reagan would have any information of significance,' Hoover instead ordered agents to warn him about his son’s worrisome friendship." - New York Times]

Later, there were legal problems:

In 1981 Reagan was accused, but later cleared of felony violations of California securities laws in court documents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney alleged that Reagan had baited investors into unlawful stock arrangements, and selling stocks despite the fact that he was not legally permitted to do so. The D.A.'s office investigated allegations that Reagan improperly spent money invested by others in a company, Agricultural Energy Resources, he operated out of his house in a venture to develop the potential of gasohol, a combination of alcohol and gasoline. Investigators said they were also checking whether he had spent up to $17,500 of investors' money for his living expenses. The district attorney's office cleared Reagan of both charges later that year. [“The investigators said they became interested in Michael Reagan after being informed that he had steered customers to Mr. Carey {Richard Francis Carey, who "was selling worthless stock,"} had accepted a $4,000 check from one investor, and that, in at least one meeting of potential investors, his relationship to Ronald Reagan had apparently been exploited as a promotional tool for the stock.” - New York Times]
On September 20, 2012, Reagan and two associates were sued by Elias Chavando, a fellow partner, for allegedly withholding Chavando's interest in an e-mail business built around the Reagan.com domain name. In 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Reagan liable for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty. Reagan and his business partners were ordered to pay $662,500 in damages.
(From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

Michael tended to smash things (cars, etc.) in his youth. Well into his 40s, he tells us, he was full of "rage" (owing, he explains, to having been molested) and he treated his family badly.


Then, natch, he found the Lord.


Plus, owing to his relationship to his pop, President Ronald Reagan, Michael grabbed the brass ring and became a talk-show host on one or two right-wing radio networks. Blah, blah, blah, he said.


In his latter-day career as mediocre right-wing bloviater and Pious Christian, Michael Reagan has said some unfortunate things:

In April 2013, in a syndicated column, Reagan accused American churches of not fighting hard enough to block same-sex marriage. He wrote that, in regards to arguments supporting gay marriage, similar arguments could be used to support polygamy, bestiality, and murder.

. . . In June 2008, conspiracy theorist Mark Dice launched a campaign urging people to send letters and DVDs to troops stationed in Iraq which support the theory that the September 11 attacks were an "inside job". "Operation Inform the Soldiers", as Dice has called it, prompted Reagan to comment that Dice should be executed for treason. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a liberal/progressive media criticism organization, asked Radio America at the time to explain whether it permits "its hosts to call for murder on the air".

. . . He spoke out in support of profiling in October 2014. In a piece called Profile or Die, he wrote that it would be left to citizens to defend themselves if there were an attack against them by terrorists such as the Islamic State. (Wikipedia)

Golly. It's pretty clear that Michael Reagan is just another "former total fuck-up, now reborn and pious."


Intellectually, he's a low-rent Limbaugh, and that's pretty low.


I mean, when he gets here, just what is he gonna say? That liberals are evil? That his dad was a saint? That freedom and democracy are good? That you oughta put your life in the hands of the Lord? That you don't need to go to college? That homosexuality is a sin?


Only in Bizarro World would Michael Reagan be judged a good speaker to invite to a college.


* * *

Meanwhile, IVC's Guaranteed Accounting Program folks have only wonderful things to say about the fellow:


Michael Reagan

The eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan and one of the most dynamic and sought-after public speakers, Michael Reagan’s commitments to public service and the conservative vision his father championed are second to none, making him the natural heir to the Reagan conservative legacy. Michael serves as chairman and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which seeks to advance the causes President Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency. Michael’s career includes hosting a national conservative radio talk show syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, championing his father’s values and principles in the public policy forum, commentating and appearing on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Good Day LA, CNN, and Fox News, and contributing to Newsmax Television. Also an accomplished author, Michael has many successful books including On the Outside Looking In, Twice Adopted, and his latest book, Lessons My Father Taught Me.

Well, sure. But he's also the worst kind of insubstantial, opportunistic "celebrity." And he's not an intellectual; he's a propagandist. He's a minor player in our sad era of noisy and loutish conservative anti-intellectualism and demagoguery.


—And he's a homophobe, among other things. Or so he says.


WAY TO GO, GLENN


IVC Prez Roquemore shares Reagan's enthusiasm for the Pussy-grabber-in-chief.

Recent columns by Michael Reagan


ALL IS FAIR IN THE WAR ON TRUMP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, December 13, 2018

…Hillary continues to skate free, unbothered by the FBI or any federal agency for the dirty things she and the Obama administration’s injustice department did during the 2016 election to try to defeat Donald Trump.

But not General Flynn.

His life was ruined by the FBI bosses who set out to nail him – and did….

TRUMP VS THE CRAZIES (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, January 11, 2019

…Some of the country’s most desperate liberals in the media actually argued that the president’s televised pitch to the country for congressional funding for a stronger border fence should not be carried live by the networks.

Why? Because they said the president lies too much and they wanted to be able to fact-check his speech beforehand….

TRUMP SAYS ‘ADIOS’ TO BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, November 1, 2018

…Ending birthright citizenship, better known as dropping the anchor baby, is the most significant illegal immigration reform the President Trump has announced. With a single executive order, he unplugs a beacon that attracts scammers from the world over. He also attacks a visible manifestation of the “foreigners first” mindset that has infected the State Department, and the rest of the federal bureaucracy, since the 1960s….

THE PARTY OF EVIL (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, October 11, 2018

…Now, thanks to the Democrats’ ugly smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh, Republican senators like Susan Collins and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders need security guards 24/7.

It’s not the new Supreme Court Justice who’s evil.

It’s the Democrat Party and the nasty “progressives” who’ve taken it over and are willing to say or do anything or destroy anyone to bring down President Trump.

Maybe this is not something new. Maybe the Democrats have always been this evil….

About Michael Reagan:


A separate peace* (LA Times, August 31, 2004) – by Anne-Marie O'Connor

For years, Michael Reagan, the older son of Ronald Reagan, felt unloved and unwanted. His parents divorced when he was 3. Two years later he was packed off to a boarding school where, he says, he was so lonely he cried himself to sleep. Sexually abused at age 7, he felt shame and self-loathing, compounded by Bible passages that convinced him he would never go to heaven.

He grew up so angry he smashed a childhood bicycle and later took a sledgehammer to his new car. Well into his 40s, his "rage came to a full boil," and he often yelled at his wife and young son.

Then, he says, he found salvation through the love of his family and his "adoption" by God. He embraced conservative values and became a syndicated talk-radio host who today tells listeners: "I am homophobic."….

Roquemore and U of Phoenix

From Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy DtB, 8-26-14

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."

Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.

As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.

The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.

The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.

Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.

No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.

Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature"

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature" May 21, 2013

Delivering factoids for

Turkish anti-feminists

Here’s a curious factoid. I came across the following press release, evidently dating back to April of 2008. It was posted by the “Pacifica Institute,” which has a dozen or so offices, including one in Orange County (Irvine):


Glenn R. Roquemore-Irvine Valley College President Speaks at PI - Orange County

Today Pacifica Institute hosted Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore. Before this luncheon forum in Irvine , New Zealand Consul General Rob Taylor and Irvine Mayor Beth Krom were the keynote speakers. Consul General Rob Taylor spoke about Welcoming Diversity as a Path to Peace and Mayor Beth Krom’s topic was How to Create a Balanced Community. Dr Glenn Roquemore’s topic is the Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education.

Dr. Glenn Roquemore is President of Irvine Valley College….

Dr Roquemore gave very important statistics of the Community Colleges in California….

You’ll recall that, in the past, we’ve kidded Roquemore over his tendency to approach speaking always as an occasion to dispense the merest of statistics as though they were astonishing jewels. "Two percent of our students," he'll say, "sport a vestigial tail." Huh?

What’s the matter with ‘im? Dunno.

But just who are these “Pacifica Institute” people?

According to PI’s website,

Pacifica Institute was established in 2003 as a non-profit organization by a group of Turkish-Americans. Pacifica Institute designs and executes projects covering social welfare, education, poverty, and conflict resolution issues in collaboration with scholars, activists, artists, politicians, and religious leaders-communities….

. . .

The Institute seeks to …[engage] in a variety of civic activities and [seeks to invite] others to generate and share insights, thereby removing barriers to confidence-building and trust….

Gosh, it sounds as though that illiterate pseudo-educator, Raghu Mathur, may have had a hand in writing this stuff.

Elsewhere, PI presents “Frequently Asked Questions about Pacifica Institute and Fethullah Gülen.”

One naturally assumes, then, that Mr. Fethullah Gülen and his ideas are important to PI. Sure enough, in the Q&A, Gülen and his movement are central:

Fethullah Gülen

Q: How is the Pacifica Institute involved with the Gülen movement?

A: Some of the founders and donors of Pacifica Institute are participants of the so-called Gülen, or Hizmet movement. Pacifica Institute was inspired by the movement’s philosophy and goals….

. . .

The Gülen/Hizmet movement is a values-driven social movement and following a philosophy that advances interfaith dialog, education and community service as tools to build a better and more harmonious society. The movement was inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish scholar, author and advocate….

. . .

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen?

A: Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish scholar, preacher, thinker, author, opinion leader, education activist, and peace advocate who is considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential religious thinkers. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide civil society movement, the Gülen Movement, which is committed to education, dialogue, peace, social justice, and social harmony….

Well, I’ve done a little looking, and this Gülen fella is mighty controversial, in some circles at least.

I skimmed a couple of sites, which suggested that Gulen is, among other things, a conservative and a vocal opponent of feminism (although I ask that readers judge for themselves based on his writings--and the writings of his mouthpieces).

So I went to the Fethullah Gülen website. There, I searched the term “feminism” and that brought me to a page with links to various relevant essays, evidently by Mr. Gülen, including The Gülen Movement: Gender and Practice.

I clicked on that. That essay includes this passage:

Although he promotes equality between the sexes, Fethullah Gülen's views on gender can indeed be described as complementary. He sees women and men as having equal value but inheriting different roles and characteristics due to physical and psychological differences. He classifies men as "physically stronger and apt to bear hardship" and women as "more compassionate, more delicate, more self sacrificing" (Gülen 2006: 1). Although he does state that women can be involved in any field of work he idealizes the mother as the pure educator (Gülen 2006: 2) implicitly implying that the man should be the family provider. This may open up for critique on behalf of Western feminists or scholars of religion and gender. According to this relatively new academic discipline[,] gender is a social construction. Human beings are born with different sexes, but social roles and expectations of fulfillment of these are constructed and emphasized by the norms that prevail in society.

Another link takes one to an essay entitled Women Confined and Mistreated. Here are some excerpts:

As a reaction to all the injustice done to women … a movement to claim women's rights emerged, particularly in the West. Even though this movement is considered an awakening of women, it occurred as a reaction and was doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements and ended up in extremism. Although the starting point was to defend women, in time it deviated from the original aim to the degree of being full of hatred towards men and to feeling a grudge against them. The movement named feminism, which was born from the idea of protecting women and providing them with rights equal to those of men, has only left behind longing, sorrow, and wreckage as a movement of discontentment….

. . .

According to Islam, women's role in this world is not only restricted to doing the housework and raising children. In fact, as long as it does not conflict with her primordial nature or with observing religious requirements, she is responsible for carrying out the duties that befall her in every area of society and making up for shortcomings where men fall short in social life. However, this reality was ignored in time, even among Muslims; rough understandings and crude thinking upset this system based on women and men's mutual assistance. After this upset, both family life and the social order were also upset. Different peoples' perception of their own historical heritage as a part of Islam, their seeing and reflecting their folklore and traditions as essentials of religion, and making judgments pertaining to this issue at certain periods all resulted in the usurpation of women's rights; they were pushed into a more restricted area day by day, and in some places they were totally isolated from life without consideration of where this issue leads. However, the source of mistaken thoughts and deviations in this matter is not Islam whatsoever. The mistakes belong to those who misinterpret and misapply the religion. Such mistakes in practice must definitely be corrected.

On the other hand, while correcting these mistakes, approaching the issue from a feminist standpoint will upset the balance again and an opposite extremism will replace the former. For instance, just as it is very ugly to see women as merely child-bearing objects and is insolence towards them, it is equally unbecoming and unnatural to build a society where women are unable to bear and bring up the children they wish for, or for a woman to feel a need to rebel against marrying and to avoid bearing children in order to show that she is not a machine. As a woman is not a dirty dish, her place at home is not confined to the kitchen with the dirty dishes. However, a woman who claims to have no household responsibilities and thereby turns her home to a quarters for eating and sleeping is far from being a good mother, a good teacher, and a good spiritual guide to her children.

Besides all this, it is another form of oppression to make women work under difficult conditions, such as mining and road-building. It contradicts human nature to push women into heavy tasks like agricultural manual labor, or military field operations, and other harsh pursuits, just for the sake of proving their equality with men; it is nothing but cruel torture. It shows ignorance of women's qualities and conflicts with their primordial nature. Therefore, just as an understanding which imprisons women at home and takes them completely away from social life is absolutely incorrect according to Islam, likewise, depriving women of financial support, preventing them from bearing and raising children in security, and forcing women into the labor force to do uncongenial work is also oppressive. A woman, like a man, can have a certain job as far as her (and his) physiology and psychology are taken into consideration; but both women and men should know that a good life consists of sharing and division of labor. Each should assist the other by doing tasks in compliance with their nature.

Yikes.

I’m in no position to judge this “take” on feminism relative to the various Muslim communities (e.g., in Turkey) and the possibility of discourse within them. But it’s pretty plain that Gülen’s philosophy, as expressed here, is antithetical to some of the core tenets of Western feminism, broadly understood. It seems clear that Gülen is not likely to gain many adherents or followers among contemporary Westerners, with their commitment to the ideal of equality, as they understand it at least, between the sexes.

The Wikipedia article on Gülen is alarming—if, that is, it can be trusted. It asserts that

...Gülen's views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, Gülen has argued:

"the man is used to more demanding jobs . . . but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother . . . the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied." [35]

Berna Turam, Northeastern

Wikipedia is quoting Berna Turam, a serious academic at Northeastern U. She herself seems to cite a work from 1996 entitled Fethullah Gulen Hocaefendi ile ufuk turu (Aktuel kitaplar dizisi). It is written in Turkish.

One should be careful to note that the superiority that Gülen is discussing is physical, not moral, or at least that's how I read it. Even so, his remarks are mighty offensive, at least to these Western ears.


Gosh Glenn, you really oughta be more careful who you hang out with. Philosophically, these Gülenites are a problem, at least relative to most of our community on these shores.

I'll see if I can shed more light on the Pacifica Institute and what it means for the likes of Glenn Roquemore and Beth Krom (a Democrat) to be hanging out with 'em.

Votes of "no confidence" - 1999

from the Dissenter's Dictionary, Dec. 3, 1999


MATHUR, RAGHU P.



In April of 1997, in an action later judged a violation of the Open Meetings law, the Board Majority appointed chemistry teacher and campus joke Raghu P. Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. At the time, Mathur had no experience as a full-time administrator. Five months later, through a process that violated board policy, and amid strong faculty opposition, the BM appointed Mathur permanent president. That action, too, was later voided owing to violations of the Brown Act. Two years later, despite his miserable record, which included a vote of no confidence and the palpable contempt of nearly all IVC faculty and staff, the board majority renewed Mathur's contract, giving him a raise and a $200 a month "security stipend."

Mathur was hired as an instructor in 1979, and he quickly established a reputation as a schemer and liar who would stoop to anything in order to secure an administrative position. Owing to his manifest unsavoriness, however, that ambition was consistently thwarted both inside and outside the district.

His intrigues soon gained him the hatred of Ed Hart, IVC's first president. In 1986, Hart retired, and the college adopted a "faculty chair" model, partly for fiscal reasons. Soon, Mathur "ruled" the tiny school of Physical Sciences as its chair. During the "chair" era, he was, without doubt, the chief abuser of that office, engaging in endless machinations while arranging a lucrative schedule that netted him a salary far in excess of the college president's ($124,000 in 1996-7).

During this period, Mathur continued to seek administrative positions. When he was passed over, he played the race card, charging everyone in sight with "discrimination," apparently on the sole grounds that he had not been selected.

Mathur's habit, as chair, of circumventing the governance process eventually yielded an official censure of him by IVC's "Instructional Council' in April of 1994. Earlier, the IC membership had all agreed not to go outside the process--particularly with regard to the selection of the IVC presidential search committee chair. During an IC meeting in March (of 94), Mathur was asked whether, despite the agreement, he had presented a petition, urging the selection of a particular faculty member, to the chancellor. He answered that he had "not forwarded" a petition to the chancellor or anyone. In fact, he had and, apparently on that basis, the chancellor did appoint the faculty member as (co)chair.

When this came to light in April, Mathur was censured. According to the minutes of the April 5 meeting, "Instructional Council had agreed that no one will work outside of the IVC governance structure and agreed-upon processes. They felt that Raghu had lied to the Council...[One member] made a motion to censur Raghu Mathur for lying to the Instructional Council regarding the petition and the presidential search process and for misrepresenting not only Instructional Council, but also the faculty...Raghu Mathur stated that he did not lie to the Instructional Council. He said that he was asked if he had forwarded the petition to the Chancellor and he said he had not. He did admit, however, that he had shown the petition to Chancellor Lombardi...Raghu felt that the members of Instructional Council were making too big of a deal out of the situation...The question was called and the motion passed with 8 ayes, 3 noes, and 4 abstentions."

Classified employees, too, have at times found it necessary to complain about of Mathur's conduct. For instance, in August of 1995, IVC administration received a letter from Leann Cribb, Executive Secretary (and formerly secretary for the School of Physical Sciences), in which she wrote: "Mr. Mathur routinely revises facts and manufactures innuendo to suit his objectives." During the January '98 Board meeting, classified employee Julie Ben-Yeoshua explained that Mathur was the reason she was seeking employment elsewhere: "Since you first appointed Raghu Mathur as the interim president, the atmosphere at IVC has changed drastically; morale is in the gutter...[Mathur's] inability to tell the truth is so natural that I have come to gauge everything he says and writes by believing the complete opposite...."

By the mid-90s, Mathur had come to regard Terry Burgess, then-VP of Instruction, as his nemesis, and, in 1996, he tried to discredit Burgess with the board. In the spring of '96, a student sought to enroll in a chemistry course without enrolling in the concurrent lab, and the matter came before the chair--Mathur. Though the student provided documentation proving that she had done the equivalent work at UCI, Mathur denied the request, whereupon the student asked for a review of the decision by the Office of Instruction. Mathur agreed to go along with the Office's decision.

Later, however, he accused Burgess of signing the student's admittance card despite non-approval by the instructor. Mathur convinced his school to send a resolution of complaint to the board (and also to the senate and the union), appending the student's transcripts, without her permission, an action that violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and district policies. When then-IVC president Dan Larios learned of this, he requested an opinion from the district's attorneys regarding the legality of Mathur's action. The opinion, dated March 18, 1996, indicates that Mathur acted improperly, violating FERPA and board policy 5619. Larios was fed up.

Realizing that Larios now planned to deny approval of him as chair of his school, Mathur, as per usual, scrambled to lobby board members for support. On March 29, Larios met with Mathur; he explained that he had lost confidence in Mathur and that Mathur had better "change." In the end, Larios wrote a memo (May 14) expressing his serious reservations about Mathur's leadership, owing to his repeated circumventing of established processes and his violations of board policy, and placed him on probation. If there were any further violations of process, wrote Larios, Mathur would be removed as chair.

In the meantime, Mathur asked the senate to censure Burgess. It declined to do so, citing Mathur's misdescription of crucial facts. Larios, troubled by Mathur's misrepresentations, sent out a memo explaining that Burgess had in no sense acted improperly.

In December of '96, the Board Majority era began, and Larios sensed that it was time to move on. Normally, the VP of Instruction—Terry Burgess--would serve as interim president, but the BM blocked his selection, and, in March, Lombardi was chosen as a sort of compromise. But in April, Frogue presented another one of Mathur's petitions--this time, an “anonymous” petition urging Mathur's selection as president. On that basis, Mathur became IVC president.

Mathur's outrages while president are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that in the early months of 1998, the IVC academic senate instituted a Special Inquiry into “abuses of power.” By April, it became necessary to abandon the investigation, owing to the number and the complexity of the charges against Mathur. Said the committee’s chair: “It’s like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup…Every time we put an allegation to bed, another one jumps up” (Voice, 5/7/98). Soon thereafter, Mathur received a 74% vote of no confidence by his faculty.

Mathur has sought to rule through intimidation, punishing his critics in every way available to him. In early November of 1999, the IVC academic senate released the results of a survey of full-time faculty (78% participated). 90% disagreed with the statement, "I can express my opinion about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation." The 90% figure will likely go up soon, for Mathur intends to fire an untenured instructor--a critic--for his involvement in the act of naming the plot of dirt next to the Life Sciences greenhouse. It was named the "Terry Burgess garden."


Huge Vote Against College Chief (LA Times, May 18, 2004 | Jeff Gottlieb)

Faculty in the South Orange County Community College District overwhelmingly voted no confidence Monday in Chancellor Raghu Mathur.
Of the full-time professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges who cast ballots, 93.5% voted in favor of no confidence, and 6% were against the union-sponsored measure. One person abstained.
Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 -- 77% -- voted, according to the district faculty association….

Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy - August 26, 2014

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

○ Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."
Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

○ IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

○ Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

○ You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

○ Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.
As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.
The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.
The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.
Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.
No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.
Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix