Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Chihuahua asks, “Why not bite?”


OK, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place.

Dissent the Blog is a lot of things, but, to me, it is first and foremost a watchdog. There isn’t a heck of a lot of internal watchdoggery in this district, that’s for sure. And there is no effective external watchdoggery. The Accreds? It is to laugh. The press? They're a skeleton crew on a sinking ship.

There's DtB. We’re a scruffy little Chihuahua, yapping in the corner.

We’ve got full-time jobs as teachers, and so it isn’t easy keeping DtB going. We do the best we can.

We have “friends” (who are sometimes unfriendly) who just don’t get the watchdog thing. They keep coming at us with “don’t say that! It’ll hurt the college!” or “Who the f*ck do you think you are!”

Well, sure. But the problem is that people with power will make mistakes and, beyond that, they will do things they shouldn’t be doing. We understand about mistakes. We’re all human. But sometimes the only way to get powerful people to stop doing things they shouldn’t be doing is to drag their hinky endeavors into the light of day, cuz you can’t appeal to some of these people with reason or morality or decency. Hey, don't think I haven't tried.



(Remember those "Brown Act" lawsuits? Wendy and I (et al.) didn't just suddenly sue the district. We came to the board and apprised them of their error. We explained how they could fix it. They stared. Then they said "fuck you." And consider this "prayer" lawsuit. Did we (I joined the effort recently) just up and sue the district? Hell no. We made efforts to moderate the board's behavior over a period of several years. The board resented our persistence, our criticisms. So what did they do? They laid on the religion even thicker. It was that same "fuck you." --People With Power, man. Just try to reason with 'em. See what you get.)

I don’t want to hurt the college or the district. But there are people with power who think they’ve got Gyges’ Ring. And they do things, man. There’s nothing unusual about this. It is the way it is. You can try to work with these people and, sometimes, they’ll cooperate. Most often, though, they’re just gonna do whatever they can get away with. They change only when you bring their actions out into the open--or smack 'em over the head with a lawsuit. (Remember the senates' "hiring policy" lawsuit? Same thing.)

So let’s talk about this “Lutheran high school” business.

It all started like this, see. On Thursday, F, a historian, walked over to my office and asked about a history course being taught at a Lutheran high school. What’s that all about?, he asked. I’m in the senate, so he figured I’d know.

I didn’t know. Increasingly, things go on that seem to operate below the radar. I couldn’t recall anything about it. I looked up the course on the online schedule, and there it was, apparently a regular 3-unit history class, taught by one of our adjuncts.

Odd.

I did a little research on this Crean Lutheran South High School and found pretty much what you’d expect to find. “Decidedly Christian, Distinctly excellent.” That’s how they describe themselves. OK.

On their webpage, they trumpeted their arrangements with Irvine Valley College (and Concordia U, which is Lutheran). They said, “CLS and IVC offer a partnership that provides Crean Lutheran students the opportunity to take college courses at IVC, at no cost, to bolster their academic resumes.”

When I had a little time, I researched the history of Crean Lutheran South (CLS), and I learned that it was largely bankrolled by John Crean, the founder of Fleetwood Enterprises. I recalled that Trustee Tom Fuentes had some sort of association with Fleetwood, and so I dug that up. The story of Fleetwood’s rise to the top, Crean’s acrimonious exit, and Fleetwood’s slide to the bottom seemed interesting to me, especially given that Crean was a local character and one of the right wing movers and shakers of OC. Plus I always enjoy adding pieces to the enormous jigsaw puzzle that I call the Fuentesphere, a sprawling rogues' gallery—Carona, Rackauckas, Street, Schroeder, et al.—punctuated with the occasional decent dupe.

To me the issue here, if there was one, concerned the apparent fact that we were using CLS as a site for instruction. These Crean courses did after all appear in our schedules of courses — without apparent restriction or qualification.

(As it turns out, their inclusion there was a mistake. They are in fact courses that IVC has contracted to offer at Crean, for Crean students, paid for by Crean.)

Still under the (I think reasonable) impression that IVC’s Crean courses were regular offerings, I posted the story, gently (yes, gently) raising the question of whether it was appropriate to use a Lutheran high school as an off-campus site.

Then the shit hit the fan. Friday morning, I got word that the paragraph about Crean and IVC was “wrong.” Well, yes, there was a problem, for the post proceeded on the assumption, inspired by the college's own published schedule, that they were regular offerings.

Throughout the day (Friday), I made changes to the post, setting the record straight, but noting the schedule snafu. I would get word that the changes were “OK” with administration.

That annoyed me. This whole business was caused, not by my poor reporting, but by the rather massive error of publishing a schedule of courses that included “contract ed” courses that are NOT open to the community to take. As usual, I got the feeling that my real sin was shining a spotlight on something that normally chugs along quietly, unnoticed, unexamined, like our "early college" program (though, with some effort, the latter has finally come under scrutiny).

They don't want no stinkin' watchdog stirring up dust.



Over the years, we’ve not been pure, watchdog-wise. That’s all down to me and not my partner, the Reb, who, re monitoring the Powerful, is all watchdog, zero puppy. I’ve often sat on “stories” (i.e., held back reports). I have tried to compromise with certain faculty leaders and administrators about our watchdoggery. I’ve bent over backwards for them.

Now, that would be tolerable (to me, not to Reb), I suppose, if these people were to appreciate the nature of the sacrifice we are making and the position we are in. But it seems that they don’t. Again, yesterday, I found myself getting the word from on high that my corrections and deletions were acceptable to them, as though I had entered the scene only to paint erroneous pictures.

Well, that’s just bullshit.

The college is pissed because we’ve shined a spotlight on a hinky corner of their operation. Noting that the IVC’s Crean courses are “contract ed” settles one issue. But there are other issues here. There are facts, simple incontrovertible facts, not opinion, that are, well, unfortunate. If some of us in the college community had been included in the decisions about this program, we would have said: don't go there. This is trouble.

But no.

These facts. Now, just why shouldn't I state them?


[Note: (1) I am NOT stating them and have not stated them. I have, however, contacted someone with the VPI's office. (2) N.B. In my view, this "episode" points to the folly of administration's new practice of leaving faculty out of the loop, as they seemed to do in the case of the "early college" program. If this Crean business were to have been pursued with normal faculty involvement, none of the unfortunate circumstances/facts would have arisen.]

Pics: taken today at Jan's

Comments:

Anonymous‬ said...
Thank you, Chunk. Over the years, the fair shake you have so often given this college and district has sometimes actually revived my old love of IVC.

About your current post, I have a couple of questions that I think any department chair would ask. How is it that the thinly disguised F did not know that HIST 20 and 21--6 units of osh--were being offered at this off-campus site? And if these units do not represent osh taken from the department's allotment for the semester, who is paying the adjunct? And if the adjunct is being paid from a pot different from the instructional budget, is he held to the 9-unit limit?
3:30 PM, December 19, 2009

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Yes, whose dime are we spending here? And why?

Where is the Academic Senate on this: Saddleback just went after HS students taking classes without paying.
7:17 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Please note that an instructor who regularly teaches History for IVC (Hist 1) teaches Poli Sci (PS 1) over at Crean HS - curious discipline shift.
8:10 PM

‪B. von Traven said...
3:30, I just got home. I don't have an answer to your questions, though, as I explained yesterday, our courses at Crean are "contract ed," which means that Crean, not the taxpayer, pays for them. ¶ At some point, a request went out for volunteers to teach at Crean. Adjunct faculty got this email, but possibly all faculty did. This, of course, is not the same thing as running this arrangement past the academic senate. I don't recall it being presented there, but it is possible that it was and I missed it somehow. We'll see.
9:21 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Someone is pulling something here - the question is just what and why.
9:32 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Who is in charge of articulation now that Kate Clark has retired?
10:22 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Do the instructors who teach Contract Ed need to be credentialed or qualified in the same way we are? or are there difefrent standards? I expect if the courses are being offered for college credit need to be taught by instructors who meet the same standards otherwise the courses are worthless - in terms of college credit anyway.
9:14 AM, December 20, 2009

‪B. von Traven said...
The standards depend on the courses. It appears that the courses offered at Crean are transferable (i.e., "credit") courses, and so the usual standards apply. In fact, the instructors sent to Crean by IVC are part of the existing pool of instructors at IVC, and so they are prima facie qualified. All is well unless Crean starts assigning these instructors courses that they are not qualified to teach--e.g., if a historian, who is qualified to teach transferable history courses, commences teaching, say, transferable econ courses.
9:30 AM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
But CREAN should not be assigning instructors to courses - that something that IVC (chairs and deans) should do - RIGHT????
3:21 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Roy, the entries to your blog have been and are remarkable. We applaud you for the questions you have raised, the research you have done, and the closer to the truth on a number of issues that never would have come to light that you have delivered to us.

We are not "community" colleges any longer. The transparancy that would be wonderful if our District and college administrations shared matters that affect the intergrity of the colleges. We are fortunate to have not just a philosopher who teaches that subject but a man who practices philosophy--the pursuit of questions, the answers of which might improve the quality of our lives and the work we do.

Community bespeakes a communion between and among the members of it. We have very infrequently found that in the SOCCCD. That does not mean that we can't get better at becoming a community. I hope that we do.

Thank you, Philosopher Roy.
4:01 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Hear, hear!
4:07 PM

Anonymous said...
Something is fishy. 

Generally (generally, not all - take the Jesuits for example) parochial schools have their own standards of behavior one must observe - some of these would be at odds with the academic freedom we enjoy. 

Keep barking.
8:29 AM, December 21, 2009

Anonymous said...
Who IS in charge of articulation?

I can't find anything on the website about who took over from Kate.
9:27 AM

B. von Traven said...
9:27, I believe that Tam Do is our articulation officer. I'm not sure what would be gained contacting Tam, however. This semester, near as I can tell, qualified instructors are teaching the IVC Crean courses. I'm told, however, that universities sometimes balk at college courses offered at high schools. (I'm not sure if this is a significant concern.) But, as I have said, in this case, IVC (adjunct) faculty are teaching the courses. My understanding is that this "program" (if that is the term for it) is being run out of Dave Anderson's office. [My source: two of our Crean instructors. Anderson--a nice guy--is the Director of Extended Education.]
10:04 AM

Anonymous said...
Sorry to be stupid BUT who's assigning the adjunct instrcutors to these courses? The dept. chairs or Anderson or both? Who decides if they're qualified to teach the college credit classes? Faculty or admin? Why would someone who teaches history at IVC teach Poli Sci at Creaon?
10:24 AM

B. von Traven said...
10:24, with regard to your last question: someone with a masters in history can, I believe, teach political science courses if they also have a bachelors in political science (I looked up the rules). Whether the instructor to whom you are referring has the requisite BA--well, I just don't know. Further, I would think that the relevant IVC dept/school (faculty/dean) would determine whether a person with these credentials should be teaching one of our Poli Sci courses. Re your first query: As of this moment, I don't have a clear picture of who was involved in assigning faculty to Crean courses. My communications with some of our Crean instructors makes clear that the man with the answers is Dave Anderson, Director of Extended Education (at IVC). He would know about Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 (see online schedule).
10:39 AM

Political science:
Master’s in political science, government, public administration, or international relations OR
*Bachelor’s in any of the above AND Master’s in economics, history, social science, sociology, any ethnic studies, JD, or LL.B. OR
*The equivalent
From Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges, February 2008

B. von Traven said...
Above (at 10:04), I wrote: "I'm told, however, that universities sometimes balk at college courses offered at high schools." I checked my notes, and I should have said that universities sometimes balk at college courses offered at high schools that are not open to the public. One of my sources, who is very reliable, seems to think that these courses are NOT open to the public, but only to Crean Lutheran students. But, again, I do not know whether this is a significant concern. No doubt experts do know.
10:42 AM, December 21, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Irvine Valley College: contract ed at a Lutheran high school* [Crean & Fuentes]

[*See correction/clarification below.] Ever hear of Orange County’s John Crean? He was well known—in some circles, not mine—for two reasons. First, his was a classic rags to riches story: starting in the early 50s with nothing, he built a nice RV business, Fleetwood Enterprises. Eventually, it became a vast tin-can-on-wheels empire. When Crean retired in 1998, Fleetwood was a $3 billion-a-year Fortune 500 company.

Second, he was a generous philanthropist. According to the Reg, he and his wife Donna gave to many organizations, including “Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, the Orange County Philharmonic Society, Opera Pacific, the YWCA Hotel for Women, the Crystal Cathedral, the Santa Ana Zoo, the Balboa Theater, the Children's Bureau of Southern California, and the Orange County Republican Party.”

At the time of his death at 81—that was less than three years ago—he lived in Santa Ana Heights.

For many, he was an icon of old-fashioned American can-do-itude. So, in 2000, he wrote his autobiography, called The Wheel and I – John Crean: Driving Fleetwood Enterprises to the Top.

Oddly, he wrote the book with Jim Washburn, the journalist (LA Times, OC Weekly, etc.). I kinda know Jim Washburn, cuz I knew this gal (she was my next door neighbor c. 1990) who occasionally sang with his rock band. Washburn writes about music, guitars, his penis, and even politics. He’s not the kind you’d expect to find partnering with a Christian conservative—albeit an interesting Christian conservative—like John Crean!

Crean and Tom Fuentes:

The book has two "forwards," one by Stan Freberg (?!) and the other by our own trustee Tom Fuentes, who, evidently, was an old pal and associate.

Sadly, in 2008, about two years after Crean’s death, Fleetwood Enterprises filed for bankruptcy protection. At the time, the Press-Enterprise told the sad tale of hubris and decline:
Crean retired in early 1998, and forced the company to buy out most of his stake – 5.2 million shares of stock worth $176 million. He remained on the board for a year until he was ousted in a struggle for board control.

The same year, Fleetwood started buying up retail sales centers to catch up with their competitors who had been on a spending spree for dealerships to boost profits…Fleetwood took on a mountain of debt and eventually bought 245 retail stores to sell their homes, sometimes competing with their independent dealers that carried Fleetwood products.

Tom Fuentes, the retired chairman of the Orange County Republican Party, was a Fleetwood board member and a longtime Crean confidante. Fuentes said the company's leaders ignored two of Crean's biggest principles. They expanded from manufacturing to retailing, and borrowed money to do it.

Crean abhorred debt and had wanted to reinvest profits into the company and its manufacturing processes. Owning retail sites brought Fleetwood more issues than its leadership could deal with, Fuentes said. It meant buying real estate and hiring sales personnel.

"John's idea was to allow dealers, whose livelihood depends on it, to sell the product," Fuentes said. "Management getting into retail was a completely different story."….

Fuentes, who was voted off Fleetwood's board after Crean and his son, Andrew, were ousted, said he has seen a similar pattern in other businesses. An entrepreneur starts a business and spends 40 years making it successful. But the next generation's leaders believe they can go one better and are willing to break the original mold to do it….
But, again, the Creans got out long before things went south.

[DIGRESSION, 7/28/14:

A 1996 Article about early Fuentes' associates, Butcher & Forde (see):

The 'Darth Vaders of Direct Mail' (LA Times, 3/3/96)
     In 1982, a mailer for Republican congressional candidate [John Crean's son] Johnnie Crean claimed that his opponent was facing "voter fraud, tax fraud, conspiracy and perjury charges." Only the fine print revealed that the charges were leveled by Crean.
     "In Butcher's mind, right was what worked. Wrong was what didn't. He was always surprised when other people didn't see it that way," Crean said.
     On a TV talk show about that time, Butcher defended his tactics: "Political consultants are not paid to decide what's right."
Butcher and Forde split up about then. In 2014, Forde was revealed to be the secret decision-maker of Larry Agran's "Great Park" boondoggle. --End of Digression.]

Crean Lutheran South High School (CLS):

Well, one of the Creans’ special projects was the establishment of the [Crean] Lutheran South High School (CLS) in Irvine—the belated twin of Orange Lutheran high school, in Orange. (Oddly enough, the northern school is located just yards from my childhood home.) The Creans provided $350K in seed money in 2003 and pledged another $10 million in 2007, when the school opened.

Naturally, the school, with about 300 kids, is unmistakably religious. And why not? As the school’s website often reminds us, CLS is “decidedly Christian, distinctively excellent.” The school, says CLS’s website,
teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God's Word and Sacraments...The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
Yep, sounds Lutheran all right. That stuff never did make any sense to me. I sported a quizzical look during my teenage years, you know. This's why.

And these Lutherans are pretty conservative, too. The CLS website sports videos, including a presentation by well-known conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt and his conversation with a CLS official on his program.

Check out these videos. Hewitt’s historical notions are, um, pretty special. As a Christian, he says, you’ve gotta know about history. That means you've got to know about the Jews, who gave us Jesus. Then you’ve gotta know about the Romans, who spread Christianity. Then, he says, you’ve gotta know about “the English.”

The English? I think he's skipping a few chapters.

Well, again, this is all well and good. If the Crean Lutherans wanna hang out with the likes of Hugh Hewitt and teach goofy history, then more power to ‘em, I say.

Irvine Valley College: contract ed at CLS

But now get this. This morning, it came to my attention that Irvine Valley College offers some of its credit courses at CLS! [CORRECTION (SEE BELOW): It does, but, contrary to the impression left by IVC's schedule of classes, these are not regular offerings but special "contract ed" courses open only to a specific population, namely, students of CLS.]

I already knew about our “early college” program [see note below], which has our instructors teaching college classes to allegedly prepared kids at Tustin, Irvine, and Lake Forest high schools. Some faculty feel that such instruction—i.e., facing a room full of young and unruly and unprepared high school kids—will inevitably experience powerful pressures to lower standards—perhaps to a place south of "college." Teachers know how that can happen—how hard it is to just hand out Ds and Fs, if that's what's called for.

But I didn’t know we were teaching at this Lutheran school too! [CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: I have been informed by a reliable source that the IVC courses taught at Crean are in no sense part of the "early college" program--though, of course, I never said they were. They are "contract ed" courses, and they do not get their funding from the state. This means, I gather, that they need not be open to the public but may be designed for some specific population, such as, say, the employees of the local AT&T office. Hence, there is no issue of whether we should be using parochial schools as off-campus sites for "IVC courses." They are not ordinary IVC courses. My issue then is that these courses appear on the schedule of classes with no indication that enrollment is restricted in any way, suggesting, of course, that they are ordinary IVC courses. They are not.]

1:15 p.m. Lemme try this again. Here's one way to look at this whole episode: a fuss was created by a simple error, namely, the college including these Crean Lutheran courses in the Schedule of Courses, thereby (a) clearly implying that a religious school is among our off-campus instructional sites, and (b) potentially thwarting non-CLS students who attempt to enroll in these courses only to find that they may not do so. Now, in fact, the implication--(a)--is false, for these courses are not regular IVC offerings; rather, they are courses that we offer to CLS students as our part of a contract with CLS in which they pay for instruction.

Contract ed is a common way for a college to make money. It works like this: Some entity (e.g., a local business) needs to educate a group of employees (e.g., in expository writing); we educate them; the entity pays for it. Please note that, if the state were to pay for the instruction, it would be necessary to make enrollment open to the public--for we are a "community" college funded by taxpayer dollars. Contract ed courses do not need to be open. When I wrote the original post, I proceeded on the assumption (caused by (a) above) that our CLS courses were the regular, state-funded kind.

I suppose that one might argue that community colleges should not engage in "contract ed," though it is not obvious to me what that argument would be. Assuming that there is no objection to the concept of contract ed, one might argue that some sort of line (that should not be crossed) is crossed when the entity with whom the college contracts is religious. Again, it is not obvious to me what that line is and why it should not be crossed.

Comments

Anonymous said...
If I were a student, say, of the Muslim faith and wore a hijab, I'd want to know if the off-campus course I signed up for was being taught in a religious institution. I'm sure this off-campus site is clearly identified as a Lutheran school site, yes? Students are informed of this, are they not?
7:55 PM, December 17, 2009

Anonymous said...
Curiouser and curiouser.
8:11 PM

Anonymous said...
Can they do that?
9:16 PM

Anonymous said...
Wow, that's special! Who pays? Its website touts that our college courses are "free" for Crean students - so who pays? ¶ And I notice that the instructional dates are different from our calendar - the fall classes start later are still being taught into late Jaunary! What's up with that?
6:53 AM

Anonymous said...
There seems to be a pattern here...
8:37 AM

Anonymous said...
Why can't they just build a decent multi-purpose classroom building at IVC (like they have at all the other colleges) so we can teach more classes on campus?
10:01 AM

Anonymous said...
I'd want to know *who is teaching* the courses. If it's faculty of the religious institution, I'd be more than worried. If it is IVC faculty, I'd be less worried. Is it just being used as a physical site? The different instruction dates would indicate not.... ¶ Hmmm--yep, I'd be concerned, big-time.
--MAH
11:04 AM

Anonymous said...
Qualified IVC faculty are teaching the courses. --RB
11:37 AM

Anonymous said...
To Anonymous at 11:37: thrift lad, tis because of thrift. Think Hamlet--something is indeed amiss.
--Anonymous at 12:20 or so.
12:18 PM

Anonymous said...
Chunk, Your clarification just made an odd fact even stranger - I don't get the situation at all now. The classes are listed in our schedule as IVC classes taught off-campus.... ¶ What IS contract ed anyway? How deos the curriculum differ? ¶ Whose great idea was this?
12:29 PM

Anonymous said...
Face it: they don't tell us ANYTHING and never will. Plus, they're SLOPPY.
12:49 PM

Anonymous said...
12:29, please see my added comments after the red paragraph. --RB
1:28 PM

Anonymous said...
That us: IVC, the In 'n Out Burger of higher ed.
1:31 PM

Anonymous said...
But, are these courses (and Contract Ed courses in general) transferable? Do they articulate?
1:46 PM

Anonymous said...
Yes, as far as I know, they transfer. They are taught by our (qualified) instructors and carry the usual credits/units. Sometimes, I believe, contract ed provides non-transferable courses, but, in this case, the courses are transferable (i.e., they have recognized units/credits). IVC has a "community ed" division that provides non-transferable courses, such as the "Emeritus" courses that we offer at Laguna Hills Village to a very particular population. Faculty tend to view these courses with, um, suspicion, in part because, typically, they are not taught by our faculty--standards for Emeritus are, well, different. It is a bit surprising to find these transferable courses, taught by our own faculty, managed by the "community ed" people. --RB
2:02 PM

Anonymous said...
How can I sign up to teach THERE rather than at IVC? Can it be part of my load? who do I talk to?
4:43 PM

B. von Traven said...
4:43, I would talk to my dean. My guess is that CLS wants more kinds of courses that will give their students a leg up when they apply for college. Right now, only three or so departments offer any courses there: history, economics, political science. It is likely, however, that any decision to add other disciplines will involve academic chairs and other faculty in those disciplines.
5:17 PM

Anonymous said...
Professor $:43,
I expect that some of us would be more acceptable to the Crean HS people than others...but DO talk to your dean.
6:47 PM

Anonymous said...
Non @ 6:47:
It doesn't matter if our instructors are "acceptable" or not to Crean - WE do all the hiring per board approved processes and our contract! The Crean HS people should have no say at all.
8:27 PM

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Old boys, young boys in the OC GOP

As you know, OC right-wingers maintain a kind of Old Boy farm system—they spot hot young prospects (almost invariably young men) and groom ‘em, usually running ‘em through the Young Republicans for starters.

One of Tom Fuentes’ groomies was a young fella named Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, the son of a local GOP mayor. Fuentes wrote him letters and bought ‘im suits at South Coast Plaza; he even took ‘im to dinner and sauna at the Balboa Bay Club, or so Nielsen wrote in one of his letters to a kid in Virginia. Naturally, young Jeff’s local GOP connections got him into a fancy local lawfirm. I bet he had one of those Junior Deputy badges, too. He prayed a lot. He knew Mike Schroeder.

He was an up-and-comer.

But then, in 2003, he was accused of pedophilia. Gosh. He noisily denied the charge and flashed his pious Christian credentials for several years. But then another young victim turned up—he kept some of Jeff's romantic/pious letters—and so he was convicted. Yep, admitted it and everything.

Dang!

Today, R. Scott Moxley, who is likely more responsible than anybody for bringing Jeff to justice, reports that they’ve let loose the former Great Right Hope:

Ex-Dana Rohrabacher Aide Turned Convicted Pedophile Gets Out of Prison
Jeffrey Ray Nielsen—the Orange County Republican activist, close Washington, D.C., aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and convicted pedophile—is out of prison and living in Laguna Beach, according to a California Attorney General's website that tracts the whereabouts of sex predators.

Twenty months ago, in March 2008, a judge sentenced Nielsen to serve 36 months in prison after he reluctantly acknowledged that he was guilty of targeting seventh, eighth and ninth grade middle school boys as his sex partners.

I previously reported that Nielsen landed in a private prison. He was also charged with possession of a huge cache of man-boy and boy-boy sex pornography, but a bonehead mistake by prosecutors allowed that count to expire before taking necessary court action.

Getting justice in the case was never a sure thing. The 39-year-old Nielsen, once an intern for District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, liked to brag about his personal connections that extended to then-Sheriff Mike Carona. Indeed, thanks to his friendship with OC Republican Chairman Scott Baugh, he landed a well-paying job at a large law firm and a gig representing a local government agency as a lobbyist.

With the aid of high-powered criminal defense lawyer Paul S. Meyer, Nielsen spent nearly five years viciously attacking his accusers and portraying himself as a persecuted Christian conservative who was being smeared by a liberal press, naming this paper. (While he awaited trial, the Orange County Register wrote a story about how Nielsen loved puppies and, oddly, didn't mention the pending sex crimes charges.)

At one point, Meyer attempted to derail the Weekly's investigation by alleging to the FBI that I was part of blackmail scheme against his client. The laughable tactic didn't work. Nielsen ultimately pleaded guilty after I found a second boy in Virginia who backed up his story with love notes Nielsen had sent him. The State Bar of California revoked his license to practice law….


Do you ever stop and think just what kinds of people the OC right-wing Old Boy network comprises? Start with those with criminal convictions, and then work down to those just getting and keeping lucrative jobs despite gross incompetence and abject sleazitude. And I'm not even counting all those priests they protected for all those years.

If there is a God, I bet He's pissed.

See also: Mentoring Dos and Don'ts

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner :"like angels clearing their throats"


"Stille Nacht, Heilege Nacht" by Peter Meinke
At Christmas, my sisters and I
learned to sing carols in German:
Grandpa would give us a quarter
apiece for performing, though
only Carol could carry a tune.
After the start of the War
Father forbade us to practice,
and when Grandpa asked for his songs
we told him they weren't allowed.
You are German, he shouted. Sing!

Singt, mein kinder, für mich!

We stood mute, unhappy, ashamed,
between father and son locking eyes
while the U-boats were nosing the currents
and propellers coughed in the skies
like angels clearing their throats.
*

1st Amendment in the Classroom

In this morning’s Inside Higher Ed:

First Amendment in the Classroom
At a time when faculty groups are increasingly worried that a Supreme Court ruling is being used to limit the free speech rights of public college professors, a federal judge has declined a college's request to do just that. ¶ The judge's ruling keeps alive First Amendment claims in a lawsuit by June Sheldon, who in 2007 lost an adjunct science teaching job … at San Jose City College. Sheldon lost her job following a student complaint about comments she is alleged to have made during a class discussion of the "nature vs. nurture" debate with regard to why some people are gay. ¶ Some students complained that her comments suggested that she did not believe anyone could be born a lesbian, and that the way she endorsed the "nurture" side of the debate was offensive….

Sheldon sued the college in federal court.... Judge Ronald M. Whyte, while rejecting parts of the suit, turned down a request by the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District to dismiss the First Amendment claims. ...[T]he ruling states that [Sheldon] has First Amendment rights and doesn't lose them by virtue of the speech in question taking place while she was teaching at a public college….

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Incompetent Public Administrator/Guardian John Williams has friends

I smell a rat.

This afternoon, the OC Reg’s Jennifer Muir ("Watchdog") posted the following update on (SOCCCD trustee) John Williams regarding charges that, as OC Public Administrator/Guardian, he is — not to put too fine a point on it — an incompetent a**hole:

Despite protest, supervisors allow public administrator to keep duties (See also reader comments.)
Against the urging of the county’s chief executive, county supervisors narrowly voted to keep embattled Public Administrator John Williams‘ office intact.

The vote comes on the heels of two scathing Grand Jury reports alleging Williams doubled his management budget and broke personnel rules. The grand jury recommended changing Williams’ job from an elected job to a board-appointed position.

County CEO Tom Mauk’s proposal didn’t go that far. He asked supervisors this afternoon to split the Public Administrator and Public Guardian positions — both headed by Williams — and give Mauk oversight authority of the Public Guardian office, which would be changed to an appointed job.

Board Chairwoman Pat Bates and supervisors Janet Nguyen and Chris Norby voted against the change. Bates said Williams already has fixed some of the problems identified in the grand jury report and suggested that the board revisit the issue during budget hearings, when questions about his pay and other details about a potential split could be resolved.

“I would call on Mr. Williams to make a concerted effort to make a collaborative approach on management issues,” board chairwoman Pat Bates said. “Until I’m certain about what they are doing, I think this is premature.”

Williams has denied many of the allegations in the report, saying the grand jury didn’t understand much of the complicated information he provided. He didn’t speak at this morning’s meeting or at a meeting last week when supervisors postponed deciding.

Last week Williams’ personal attorney Phil Greer spoke in his place, saying Mauk’s proposal would be expensive and inefficient. (Greer has represented all but one of the county supervisors, John Moorlach, who along with Supervisor Bill Campbell, voted to split up the office.)

Union leader Nick Berardino, general manager for the Orange County Employee’s Association, said the situation at the department is “critical” and urged supervisors to act immediately.

He reiterated concerns raised in May memo by county Human Resources Director Carl Crown that Williams promoted two managers in violation of county policy and noted he’s being asked to lay off five union employees in Williams’ office.
Given what has come to light since May, no one with even half a brain would support Williams and his special county job/sinecure. May as well toss chunks of money into the toilet.

–Unless, of course, ugly politics are involved. John Williams is a sleazy dolt. But he's a member of the gang.

He stays.

Not only has attorney Phil Greer represented Williams and each of the Supes (except for Moorlach), he also advises Chriss Street—you know, the county's corrupt Treasurer and the guy that Tom Fuentes keeps dragging to SOCCCD board meetings to give reports on tax revenues.

And he represents Chris Norby, whose brother (Eric, I think) got tapped by Fuentes a few years ago to replace resigning SOCCCD trustee Dorothy Fortune (she resigned amid accusations that she no longer resided in the county).

That deal didn't work out so well. But that's OK. These people are relentless. They take care of their friends, one way or another.

I wonder what Raghu Mathur will get when he's finally shown the SOCCCD exit? (Could be soon.) Just you watch.

Fuentes will not allow such, ahem, talent to go to waste.

Two years ago: Fuentes' pal OC Treasurer Chriss Street defends himself against charges of impropriety with the assistance of his attorney – you guessed it! Phil Greer.
Greer now represents John Williams.




Street trouble

COMMENTS:

Criminality relativism
Anonymous‬ said...
They're all criminals! Unless it's your friends in those positions, then they're ok.
8:21 PM, December 15, 2009

Banana slugs
‪Anonymous‬ said...
What a bunch!
9:27 PM

Metaphors gone wild
‪Anonymous‬ said...
We don't have the brightest bunch of boys on the block, but John Williams does take the cake. What a healthy and remarkable "Old Boys'" network in Orange County.
5:48 AM, December 16, 2009

Yeah, but then who's Evelyn Mulwray?
‪Anonymous‬ said...
It's Orange County, Jake.
7:06 AM

Cake takage specificity
‪Anonymous‬ said...
Just what KIND of cake does John Williams take?
9:13 AM

Sheethead
‪Anonymous‬ said...
He's a sheet cake!
10:29 AM

Where's Hal Holbrook when you need 'im?
‪Anonymous‬ said...
Any more from the employee at the office who commented on JW's lack of work ethic?
10:54 AM

Buffy the Vampire Payer
‪Anonymous‬ said...
I smell a rat myself!!!!!! Just a little background information. The assistant PA/PG Peggy Buff was a major player/fundraiser in Patricia Bates' election......... hmmm 

Also the attorney that Mr. Williams chose to represent him also represented Janet Nguyen during her election challenge..... do you think she owes him a favor?
12:40 PM

More mixed mets
‪Anonymous‬ said...
Mr. Greer and his wife hosted a fundraising event for Patricia Bates during her election as well... My how muddy the waters are. I guess we can all see why the taxpayers will bear another burden of political inbreeding.
12:41 PM

über-scandal
‪Anonymous‬ said...
All these pople do is write big checks to each other and cover up for each other - it's beyond scandal.
12:55 PM

Cadshot
‪Anonymous‬ said...
LOVE that headshot of Williams - what a cad!
1:00 PM

Greer v Jay
Anonymous‬ said...
Greer's wife also ran against Bill Jay in the last election.
1:28 PM

No banana cream?
Anonymous‬ said...
I think he's yellow cake with white frosting and shaved coconut.
1:45 PM

Monday, December 14, 2009

One pure smile

The SOCCCD rumor mill is grinding day and night. Have you heard some of this stuff?

"Watch for things to pop," some say.

–Like what?

Today, a friend talked to a friend who talked to an acquaintance who recently ran into Chancellor Mathur, who (so the story goes) complained that things are getting pretty nasty on the third floor (district headquarters), and so he (Mathur) is contemplating resigning.

(We keep hearing that Mathur royally pissed off the Wag Man with his sneaky tête-à-tête with Babs Beno over the propriety of trustees serving on accred committees.)

Meanwhile, another friend (and faculty leader) has heard (where? I dunno) that there will be a double secret probationary board meeting on Friday. I checked the district website, and there’s nothing posted there, but there wouldn’t be, would there? This crowd only does what is legally demanded, openness-wise. Sometimes, they don't even do that.

(Another friend keeps describing to me his fantasy of a long and twisty conga-line on the 3rd floor of the district offices, led by XXXX, as Mathur is seen being escorted to his Mercedes by Harry Parmer and a German Shepherd.)

A week ago, the board spilled into the Ronald Reagan room, a veritable slime ball of mutual, snarkological peeviosity and sticky, backroom wheeler-dealery. (Gosh, it must be hard keeping all those grudges straight. One pure smile could really mess things up!) Imagine! –Fuentes, Williams, and Lang voting against Don Wagner for President! And Williams nominating Padberg! And Don nominating the likes of Padberg and Milchiker for his “team"!

And Nancy and Tom arguing over whether Washington, D.C. is on a coast! 

And what does this mean for Wagner’s 70th Assembly campaign? At least until recently, Don seemed to enjoy the full backing and political wizardry of Tom Fuentes, and, in this benighted county, that still means something. Might this “new SOCCCD order,” if that’s what we've got here, threaten Wagnerian electoral Fuentification and brass-ring grabbery?

Gosh, I just don’t know.

Where’s this all going? And if the board is so torn up over Mathur (and who-knows-what-else), can they really be on the same page about this “religion” fubar? And what’s happened with the ongoing Tustin snafu? And is the district heading for another close call (or worse) with the dang 50% Law?

And when am I finally gonna get my gosh-darn 23-year pin!

Inquiring minds wanna know!

No conga, but good


Comments:

‪Anonymous‬ said...
I'll make chile rellenos!
8:04 PM, December 14, 2009

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Yes! I can absolutely picture that conga line! With XXXX in front!
8:41 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Didn't Williams once FIRE Padberg?
8:57 PM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Washington DC is on a river. The Potomac.
8:59 PM

‪B. von Traven said...
Yes, Williams fired Padberg a few years ago, and she was plenty steamed about it. ¶ 
Padberg rejected the Orlando trip because of the expense of travel to the "other coast." Presumably, consistency requires that she reject trips to Washington as well, since that city is virtually the same distance--further, actually--and similarly expensive to travel to. ¶ 
As to whether Washington DC is on the east coast: surely it is, despite not literally being along the coast. No one would deny that, say, Irvine is on the west coast or that Philadelphia is on the east coast, despite neither city being "coastal."
10:23 PM

Anonymous‬ said...
Orlando is probably further from the coast than DC is since Orlando is in the middle of Florida...
5:20 AM, December 15, 2009

‪Anonymous‬ said...
There you go again Roy - twisting the facts. DC is NOT a coastal city.
6:29 AM

‪Anonymous‬ said...
Hate to be all Eyeore, but so what if he goes down - look who's standing in line behind him: a decade of mediocre hires and worse.
7:20 AM

Anonymous‬ said...
Which is worse? Ruthless and untrustworthy? Or just incompetent? I guess it depends. In any case, we'll have a day or two of cool conga dancing. We may have to stop and pray here and there.
10:58 AM

Anonymous‬ said...
I myself resent having to choose between Ruthless & Untrustworthy and Incompetent.

The students, the community, all of us, deserve better.
11:08 AM

Anonymous‬ said...
Request for a new Poll: Eeyore has opened the door on this one. If (when?) there is an opening on the third floor, who is your next fearless leader?
12:41 PM

Anonymous‬ said...
Can they all fire each other? Clean sweep? is there a precedent for this?
9:34 PM

Dissent the Blog's Fall '09 video



This video gathers many images used in recent months on this blog, including crazy graphics, lots of pictures of Irvine Valley College, the Board of Trustees, and--my favorite--Orange County's colorful past. Pictured are such places as Irvine, the Santa Ana Mountains, El Toro, Tustin, Orange, Mission Viejo, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach (among others).

The music:
Blind's Blake's "Diddie Wa Diddie" (1929)
Monarch Jazz Quartet's "What is the Matter Now?" (1929)
Skip James' "If You Haven't Any Hay, Get on Down the Road" (1930)
King Solomon Hill's "Tell Me Baby" (1932)
Love this stuff.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chopra euthanizes the watchdog

I just noticed this piece from last Thursday’s The Writer’s Washroom:

Southwestern College Administration Now Attacks Freedom of the Press
Apparently unsatisfied with their attacks on America’s Freedoms of Speech and Assembly, the Southwestern College administration has taken aim at undermining the Freedom of the Press.

Just before last night’s Governing Board meeting, several different people informed me that less than half an hour earlier, the college administration had decided to handicap one of its prestige programs by refusing to fund the requested printing budget* for its nationally-recognized newspaper, the Southwestern College Sun.

Why would the administration want to attack and cripple such a prestigious program, you ask? Because the Sun has come down, again and again, in opposition to President Raj K. Chopra. This fall, they covered the student rally that Chopra has attempted to spin as a “riot” and refused to fall into the administration’s line. They refused to turn over photos of the event when the campus police came out and demanded they do so. They have done proper journalistic due diligence and have watchdogged this shameful administration….
*Near as I can tell, the decision only concerns printing, not publishing online.

COMMENTS:
Anonymous said...
Sounds like what they did (with Gensler) to the IVC Voice....
9:36 AM, December 13, 2009

Anonymous said...
First it was freedom of speech, then freedom of assembly, and now it's freedom of the press.

I wonder what's next? Cruel and unusual punishment?

 --100 miles down the road
9:36 AM

Anonymous said...
Presumably, the Sun can still be published online, right? That's what they did with U.S. News and World Report. So they'll be in good company.
1:00 PM

Anonymous said...
Dear 100 miles down the road: I was going to say something about freedom of religion, but then I remembered: wrong district!
10:26 PM

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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

Goals and Values and Twaddle

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

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

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

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

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

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary