Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today, with the nieces

Young Natalie just turned 3.
Here she is with her dad.
Sarah will turn 8 soon.
Natalie  does a lot of smiling.

John Williams was CCing attorney Phil Greer in internal PA/PG emails already a year ago!

Click on graphic to enlarge it

John Williams
     I’m still trying to make sense of recent events re the “John Williams is a corrupt doofus” story. The latest: yesterday, the OC Reg revealed that Williams’ ethically-challenged attorney, Phil Greer, had distributed confidential packets (re an investigation into Williams' office) to Supes. Then he demanded that nobody read ‘em, and then he called ‘em back. Huh?
     Evidently, Greer's action was a breach of confidentiality.
     Several months ago, Williams used Greer to defend himself against the litany of harsh charges by two OC Grand Jury reports and the recommendation (by CEO Tom Mauk) that his two offices be split (which would have put an end to Williams as a player and a massive sponger of taxpayer money).
     It was ugly: Greer (sans Williams) advocated on John’s behalf before the Supes, four of whom had been represented by Greer. Then, astonishingly, the Supes voted to let Williams to continue to run amok.

      Greer can always be found these days where corrupt OC officials are in trouble (Street, Mathur, et al.). The guy who no doubt helped place the notoriously dim-witted Williams in County office—Williams' community college trustee colleague, Tom Fuentes—hooked Williams up with go-to shyster Greer, a fellow just slimy enough to fit nicely on Fuentes’ Rolodex-from-Hell.

The "Mask" died in crash
      Check this out: this morning, I came upon (on FaceBook) a print-out of one of John Williams’ emails to his staff in the Public Administrator/Public Guardian office. It is dated November 9, 2009—so it’s nearly a year old. (Click on graphic above.)
      In the email, Williams expresses enthusiasm regarding the outcome of the TapoutT case—in which his office aggressively sought control of that multi-million dollar estate (when the wrestler-dude owner died in an OC car crash), which meant big money for the PA/PG office. (As we reported back in May, that odd ruling was reversed on appeal. The reversal was disastrous to PA/PG's finances. Some charge that that circumstance inspired Williams' aggressive—and unethical, maybe illegal—pursuit of estates for the sake of revenue. (Hence the complaint that led to Assistant DA Spitzer's phone call to PA/PG, which led to Spitzer's inexplicable firing by the DA, who happens to be engaged to Williams' #1 at the PA/PG!)
      As you can see from Williams’ email, that "high profile" victory seemed to inspire some promotions, some of which have been characterized as hinky. (His real estate guy maybe didn’t have a license, etc.)

      But notice that, in this year-old email, Williams is CCing his attorney, Phil Greer.
      I checked, and, sure enough, “” is indeed Greer’s email address (see here).
      Why on earth was Williams CCing his private attorney on internal PA/PG documents? About personnel matters? And why already a year ago?
     Who knows. Maybe Greer runs the PA/PG. That would make Williams' frequent tax-payer funded trips to Orlando even more convenient.

      Incidentally, I’ve been looking into Greer’s history of ethics lapses. It’s fun reading. Here is the “legal conclusion” (see pdf link) of the State Bar ruling concerning one major lapse:

Click on graphic to enlarge it
      Essentially, attorney Greer helped client B file a complaint against client (that’s right, client) A—without the required “okey-dokey” from A and B re conflict-of-interest. Wow. Greer received a spanking.
     And it wasn't his first one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The latest hinky Phil Greer episode down at the County

• Confidentiality breached in county investigation (OC Reg; Total Buzz)

     Thick packets marked attorney-client privilege landed at the offices of the county’s five supervisors the last week of September.
     The packets, which have been read by the staff of at least one supervisor’s office, contained not only information regarding former assistant district attorney Todd Spitzer and the conversation with the Public Administrator/Public Guardian’s Office that would cost him his job but also information about a confidential county investigation, Total Buzz has learned.
     Almost as quickly as the packets were dropped off, they were collected by county’s lawyers after concerns they contained confidential investigatory information that should not have been released to anyone, even a member of the Board of Supervisors. County counsel asked for them back unopened and unread.
     The attorney who distributed the envelopes is Phil Greer, a well-connected political attorney hired by Public Administrator/Public Guardian John S. Williams after he was accused of mismanaging the county agency. The county is reviewing the office’s practices and procedures at the request of Supervisor Pat Bates and then Williams himself.
Phil Greer 
     Total Buzz requested the documents under the California Public Records Act and we’ll let you know whether County Counsel will release any or all of the documents. Still, questions linger about why a private attorney has access to a confidential county investigation and why he is handing it out.
     Greer is representing Williams in his individual capacity and not the county, the county’s chief executive office confirmed.
     Spitzer, once thought to be the next district attorney, was fired from the District Attorney’s Office in August for what he was told was “inappropriate contact” with the Public Administrator/Public Guardian’s Office. He called the office to check into accusations the agency was mishandling an elder abuse investigation, he told Total Buzz.
     Rick Francis, chief of staff for Supervisor John Moorlach, confirmed the supervisor received the packet of documents from Greer and that staff had reviewed them.
     Moorlach’s office had also been contacted by the same citizen who eventually contacted Spitzer accusing Williams’ office of mishandling an investigation.
Adam Probolsky
     Assistant Public Administrator/ Public Guardian Peggi Buff emailed Francis in August and confirmed there was an investigation and that investigation was confidential, according to an email obtained under the California Public Records Act. Buff is engaged to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
     Greer told Total Buzz that neither he nor Williams did anything wrong. Greer said he did not see any of the investigatory case files. The information he sent out was from Williams’ operational files, he said.
     It was his understanding the state probate code allowed him to share confidential information with the five supervisors because they are in essence managers of the Public Administrator/Public Guardian’s Office, Greer told us.
     “Under the probate code we believe the supervisors have a right and a duty to see the information because it completely exonerates John Williams,” Greer said. “Everybody is working on speculation and innuendos instead of facts.”
     County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos disagreed with the legal opinion regarding an investigation into elder abuse and a potential conservatee – and informed Greer of this is a subsequent meeting.
     “Just because you’re on the Board of Supervisors doesn’t mean you can see that information,” said Supervising Deputy County Counsel Jim Harvey. “It is not to be disclosed to people who are not entitled to see it.”
Tom Fuentes
     Greer now says he agrees with Chrisos’s interpretation of the law and the information should not have been disseminated. But its impossible to un-ring a bell and the confidential information has already been reviewed by the office of at least one supervisor.
     And it is still unclear what information Greer had access to and who gave it to him.
     The county has hired Tim Kay, an attorney with expertise in probate and conservatorship law, to look into Williams’ office. Kay is a partner at Snell & Wilmer, the same law firm where state Assemblyman Van Tran is of counsel.
     Greer is a Newport Beach attorney who has become a mainstay at the county hall, representing a number of Orange County politicians, including county Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street and four of the five current county supervisors.
     Moorlach is the only one who has not hired Greer.
     Total Buzz revealed earlier this month that a transcript of a telephone call that Williams said proves Spitzer acted inappropriately simply does not exist. The transcript is not a transcript of a phone conversation between Spitzer and one of Williams’ supervising deputies, but a memo authored by the supervisor after the fact, Jim Harvey confirmed.
     Greer, who sat in on a Register interview with Williams last month and was copied on at least one of Williams’ official e-mails to his staff, refused to hand over the memo.
     It was Greer who helped Williams keep his office intact last December when CEO Tom Mauk proposed to split the two offices. Greer appeared in front of the board representing Williams; the board voted 3-2 to allow Williams to keep both jobs.
Tony Rackauckas
     According to campaign finance records, Williams paid Greer $10,000 last year for legal defense.

--Gosh. $10,000? Greer's fee in representing former SOCCCD Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur was $25,000.  The odious fellow was negotiating his "exit" from the SOCCCD. The college district paid for Greer's services. But why were such services necessary? No doubt Mathur's mentor, Tom Fuentes, a member of the board, insisted.

From the April 2010 SOCCCD Board agenda

Go to college, kids!

UC president touts college to Anaheim students (OC Register)
“[UC President Mark] Yudof encouraged students during an assembly to complete college prep coursework so they could pursue a path to a UC, California State and other college or university.”
     —Wait a minute. The UCs, the CSUs, and the community colleges are turning away students in droves. There’s no room for them.
     I don’t get it. Who is this Yudof anyway? Some kind of performance artist? A comedian?

Mira, oh Mira

     I’m not much of a fan and I don’t have idols or heroes.
     But I’ll make an exception for Mira Sorvino: Mira Sorvino, Smart as She is Talented, to Receive Anaheim International Film Fest Honor (OC Weekly)

Michael Bublé steps in dog crap, is peeved

Can't stand this guy. Don't know why. His name is pronounced "Boob LAY."

This is how it's done, Michael:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Looks like the "review" of the Public Administrator/Guardian will be "confidential." Good grief!!

Tim Kay
     Pen Pal alerted me to the agenda for the October 19 meeting of the OC Board of Supervisors—which can be found here at the county website.
     There, one will find a revision:

S45A. County Counsel - Direct County Executive Officer to conduct an investigation and review of the Public Administrator/Public Guardian office and ratify agreement with Snell & Wilmer, LLP for professional legal services and file a confidential report by 11/1/10 - All Districts

     There’s a link. S45A is a request from County Executive Officer Thomas Mauk for a “supplemental.” The reason: ratification of agreement with Snell and Wilmer, L.L.P. (attorney Timothy Kay) for “review of Public Administrator/Public Guardian.” Evidently, the request is an exception to something called Rule 21.
     Here’s the first page of the agreement, followed by a detail:

Click on graphic to enlarge
     This is from Page 2:

Click on graphic to enlarge
John "Orlando" Williams
     The upshot: the review/investigation will be “confidential.” It will be a "privileged attorney-client communication."
     I suppose that means that we’ll never find out what it says.
     Well, we can simply accept what the Board of Supervisors tell us it says.
     That wouldn't be a good idea. It's Orange County, Jake. The Board comprises five Republicans, four of whom have hired ethically challenged attorney Phil Greer in the past. Recently, even new Supe Shawn Nelson hired 'im.
     Yep. That Phil Greer. He's the go-to guy for corrupt Republicans in this County. He represented Fraud Boy Chriss Street (and, more recently, the odious Raghu P. Mathur).
     Greer happens to be Public Administrator/Public Guardian John Williams’ attorney too.
     That's right. Williams is a Republican.
     Good grief.

Wacky IVC sculpture is honored by OC Weekly

They like it; they really like it!

     The OC Weekly’s “Best of OC” issue is out—and guess what? One of those wacky sculptures that sprouted on campus (Irvine Valley College) a year or so ago has won in this category:

Best Public Art – 2010:

     Up Up Up to Where Even George W. Bush Has Got Soul (After Neil Young)
     Jason Butler's 2008 fabricated and forged steel sculpture at Irvine Valley College is a triumph of the living, the breathing and the thinking as curled tendrils spring from concrete and extend toward the sky, attaching and wrapping themselves around a rigid iron beam, a fencepost, changing their color from industrial gray and iodized red to a bright-yellow enamel. The name of the sculpture is inspired by and revised from Neil Young's ode to Richard Nixon ("Campaigner").

I've heard a fair amount of grumbling about this particular piece.

Abject Greed begets Fed Regulation begets Gloomy Outlook begets Wall Street Plunge begets My Thursday Smile

OK, not my smile
For-Profit Sector Plunges on Wall Street Amid Gloomy Outlook on Enrollment and Regulation (Chronicle of Higher Education)

     Stock values of for-profit higher-education companies plummeted today on Wall Street after the Apollo Group, parent company of the University of Phoenix, predicted a “significant” decline in enrollment — up to 40 percent — next year, according to the Dow Jones Newswires. The Apollo Group also withdrew its previously released financial outlook for the 2011 fiscal year, in light of the increased federal regulation the for-profit sector may face and the “heightened media attention, much of which has portrayed the sector in an unflattering light.”

     Media attention of what?
     Of the sorry facts, that's what.

Candidate T.J. Prendergast's commercial

October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The no-bid gang overworks their chimp, poor thing

     IT ALL STARTED last Thursday, with R. Scott Moxley’s OC Weekly piece about the local GOP chief’s smelly/corrupt no-bid contract with the County, which was approved by the carefully machined (and Greer-ified) OC Board of Supes (Scott Baugh's Big, No-Bid County Lobbying Deal).
     I get it. It’s like that fat contract that Tom Fuentes’ LFC recently got with John Williams’ County office. Totally corrupt. (Tom suddenly disappears, leaving only his smile.)
     But Team Greer/Schroeder/Fuentes/Baugh own some trained chimps, and so the chimps immediately pound out a string of outraged responses: OC Weekly Screws The Pooch, More On Moxley Hatchet Job, OC Weekly's Drive-By Against Baugh.
     Gosh, their chimpy fingers must be sore.
     Near as I can tell, though, Moxley essentially got it right. Baugh is a corrupt bastard of an all-too-familiar kind in this county. Plus he's pedophile Republican Jeffrey Ray Nielsen's good pal. (Fuentes took Nielsen to the BBC spa!)
     Naturally, upon reading Moxley’s update/rebuttal today, Art Pedroza, a fella with zillions of scores to settle, broke into a victory song: Scott Moxley destroys Scott Baugh and Matt “Jerbal” Cunningham!
     Check it all out, especially Moxley's piece. You’ll love it. Or hate it.

• Chimp Cunningham's response

Hey, let's consult some psychics!

     Earlier today, a friend directed me to a story in yesterday’s Times (Chief engineer knew it would take a miracle).
     The story was about the Chilean mine disaster. As you must know, much of today’s “news” was devoted to the spectacle of miners finally emerging from the mine.
     Here’s the part of the story my friend found interesting:
[Chilean engineer Mauricio] Pino remembers the early, gloomy days of the search, when initial drilling failed to find any trace of the men. Four psychics the government had hired to help find them said, "Forget it, they're all dead."
     It’s a good thing the government didn’t listen to those assholes.
     Just sayin’.

Brave New ATEP: Tiny Tin and Big WL

     MORE INFORMATION has become available about recent changes with regard to ATEP—or, anyway, with regard to that 68 acres of former Navy/Marine property out there in Tustin, along Redhill.
     At a recent all-college meeting here at Irvine Valley College, Chancellor Dixie Bullock explained her role in these changes. As soon as she took over from Raghu Mathur in July, she learned of those nasty letters that the Accreditors (ACCJC/WASC) had sent to our colleges. Good Lord! And so she got on the horn with head Accred honcho "Babs" Beno and one other Accred official. The problem, it seemed, concerned ACCJC’s puzzlement over the spectacle of ATEP people reporting to the district and not to a college. As far as the Accreds were concerned, ATEP needed to be owned by a particular college. (Some faculty—e.g., IVC's recently retired Kate Clark—have long insisted that the Accreds would spit back anything not tied to a particular college. But this crew doesn't listen to faculty.)
     Dixie seemed uncomfortable, or unsure, about her account of these conversations, as though she has never been clear about the Accred’s beef. It’s as though those ACCJC people handed her tea leaves or goat entrails. Or maybe they’re just messin’ with the Dixter. Dunno.
     And so, motivated by the notion that the Accreds were organizing a war party to go after us, Dixie commenced a discussion with Glenn R of IVC and Todd B of SC and, after a couple of months, it was agreed that ATEP—not the whole 68 acres, but the one and a half acres of tin parked at the Redhill entrance—would be IVC’s facility. Eventually, this facility would be funded out of IVC’s budget (in a manner, I guess, that will not threaten existing funding). Thus requireth the Accreds.
     To avoid confusion, you’ve gotta distinguish tiny (1 and ½ acre) Tin ATEP from complementary (67 remaining acres) dirt/derelict ATEP. But since the name “ATEP” will likely change—it will become inappropriate—we really oughta start talking about the tiny IVC Tustin facility versus the big “what’s left” Tustin acreage: little IVCT and big WL.
     ATEP Provost Randy Peebles came to the all-college meeting to describe recent changes in management/administration. He called ‘em “positive and encouraging.” I do hope he’s not just blowin’ smoke. Seems like an honest guy.
     Peebles is now in charge of Big WL, not Little IVCT, and so he’ll be working with the city of Tustin and potential commercial/educational partners. Evidently, only 49% of the property can be commercial. These commercial entities would generate revenue to help pay for buildings and maintenance. The city was not happy allowing the commercial element on the property, but, it seems, they’ve recently become more accommodating.
     IVC President Glenn Roquemore was there, too. He explained that there is a real possibility of pursuing partnerships with local educational institutions—UCI and CSUF were mentioned. Was he talking about Little IVCT or Big WL? Not sure. Maybe both.
     It sounded like the next step for Little IVCT would be the construction of a structure about the size of IVC’s new BST (“Biztik”)—which is about five- or six thousand square feet. Naturally, that would reduce Big WL by a couple of acres.
     With some trepidation (I suppose), Roquemore emphasized that, in these developments, we will have “a two way conversation for the first time.” Undoubtedly, this was an allusion to the long-standing ATEP status quo: faculty (among others) have not been invited to the planning table, despite their authority re program development.
     Glenn explained that ATEP—er, Little IVCT—will now be developed as a “Center.” But much work must be done, he said, and it must be done quickly, if the facility is to attain center status. Upon achieving that status, the facility can be developed further. So we have a clear goal.

     Owing to existing restrictions, there’s no possibility of turning IVCT or WL into a college. The chief obstacle to that: the proximity of IVC, which is only five miles away. (For years, we’ve heard that Tustin dreamed of having it’s own community college; when IVC was built in the late 70s, the original site was in Tustin—where the Marketplace stands—but the Irvine Co. gave up some land, in Irvine, to solve a tax problem, and so everything changed. Tustinites have been steamed ever since.)
     In the course of the discussion (the meeting was well attended and many joined in the conversation), someone mentioned the notion of constructing a “conference center” for Saddleback College’s Culinary Arts Program. Glenn seemed to think that that would be an ideal project for the property (naturally, it would be something for Saddleback College, not IVC, to pursue).
     So it appears that the recent ACCJC letters—which have been described ominously as a “strong and helpful warning”—are the chief reason for recent changes in the ATEP project (if it can still be called that).
     But it might not be the only reason. Contemporaneous with Dixie’s Accredular adventures, the SOCCCD board of trustees had about reached their limit with regard to ATEP, a project that, despite many years of district effort and expense, never seemed to really get off the ground. After all of these years of struggle, the trustees just felt worn down.

     They were about to pull the plug.
     Meanwhile, trustee Fuentes, who has never liked the idea of ATEP (his libertarian ideals produce occasional spasms of bilious spewage; he projectile vomited last summer), had reached the conclusion that ATEP was a “black hole,” a money pit. He said so publicly, noisily. He demanded action.
     Just what was the problem, anyway? No doubt thanks to a certain person’s reports, the trustees were under the impression that the City of Tustin was the problem. They were being difficult, impossible.
     After Mathur’s exodus, Bullock sent Randy Peebles to try to work with the city. And guess what? All of a sudden, things turned around. Whatever the problem was, it went away.
     Insiders tell me that they have no doubt what needed to go away. ‘Twas Mathur. The bastard was doing what he does, using people, manipulating them, and all the while playing the Grand Poobah.
     The Tustin people hated him.
     And so the new ATEP status quo—in part propelled by the factoid that Mathur was screwing the pooch by being an asshole—represents, really, a Fuentean defeat.
     Tom must be hopping mad.
     But at least it can be said that things have changed with regard to the ATEP project. Whether these changes are enough to avoid further descent into that Fuentean BLACK HOLE remains to be seen.

Years ago, the "Camelot" group came up with this "studio" plan.
The existing facility is that small cluster of grey buildings at top right.

The founder of the "Young Americans" made a pitch for housing his singin' and dancin' kids at ATEP.

Tustin plan for Navy property

Marcia Milchiker stars in her own video!

     Is it just me, or does Marcia seem different on this video? I suspect that the video will work for her.

     Marcia and Nancy are likely shoo-ins. Not so TJ Prendergast, who is going up against Mr. Muldoon, the county GOP's pic. There's no reason that TJ can't win. Any little edge could make all the difference.
     FACULTY ASSOCIATION MEMBERS: Don't forget Friday's fundraiser!
     If you can't be there, send big money instead!
     If Muldoon wins, Mr. Fuentes will dominate the board. NO!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The ever-wriggling and lurid corruptathlon that is OC

     The latest in the ever-wriggling and lurid corruptathlon that is OC officialdom:

Attorney to review public guardian (OC Register; Total Buzz)

     An attorney with expertise in probate and estate law has been chosen to review the county’s public administrator/public guardian in the wake of criticism of how his office manages more than $38 million in estates and the lives or deaths of more than 1,000 people every year.
     Tim Kay is a partner in the law firm of Snell & Wilmer, said county spokeswoman Brooke DeBaca. He was selected Oct. 8 by Stephen Dunivent, the deputy county executive officer overseeing the review.
     The county’s review will target cases involving estates and conservatorships to make sure they are being handled within the law, said Dunivent.
     Also being investigated are the property auction houses hired by the office and the process used to select those firms.
     The review is expected to be done by early November, Dunivent said.
     Kay’s contract will not be up for consideration by the county’s Board of Supervisors until Oct. 19, but to make sure he will be able to comply with the county’s aggressive time line Kay has already begun his analysis, DeBaca said.
     From the website of Kay’s law firm:

Tim Kay is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, California Board of Legal Specialization. His practice is concentrated in tax, trust, and estate matters with emphasis in estate planning, trust and probate administration, and estate and gift taxation. He employs advanced estate planning techniques, including grantor retained annuity trusts, family partnerships, limited liability companies, charitable remainder trusts, defective grantor trusts, insurance planning, public charities, and private foundations. Tim has experience in trust and estate litigation, and obtains private letter rulings on significant gift, estate, and income tax matters. In addition, he provides advice to non-profit organizations.

Stanford Law School (J.D., with distinction, 1987)
Note Editor, Stanford Law Review
University of San Francisco (B.A., Psychology, 1975


OC-Born Judge Throws Out 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (OC Weekly)

     Riverside federal judge Virginia Phillips has double-downed on her initial ruling against Don't Ask, Don't Tell, issuing a worldwide injunction barring enforcement of the rule. ¶ The government has sixty days to appeal, but may decide not to….

The IVC "flapjack" boys

Glenn and Craig preparing for the Oct. 19 "pancake breakfast."
Reportedly, they have "fully mastered flapjackery." So confident are they that they propose to "make flapjacks even for those damned Accred people," who will visit campus soon.
Let's hope the Accreds bring their appetites!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Uh-oh, Shawn "Ferret Face" Nelson is a member of Team Greer (aka OC's League of Corrupt Republican Thugs)

     The OC Reg’s “Total Buzz” posted today about new OC Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Nelson threatens Sidhu over pension talk). Nelson won the June primary (to replace Chris Norby), emphasizing pension reform.
     Then, just before he was sworn in as a Supe, he signed up for a super-duper county pension.
     This crafty move was detected by Nelson's wily critics, who wasted no time calling Nelson a hypocrite. So Nelson tried to undo the damage by exploiting a loophole, voiding his sign-up.
     But there was no unringing the bell: rival Harry Sidhu and other critics have been banging the drum of Nelsonian “hypocrisy” ever since.
     So what did Nelson do?
     It’s the worst case scenario. He thugged up. He hired Phil Greer:
     In a letter to Sidhu’s campaign consultant Chris Jones, Nelson’s attorney, Philip Greer, said Nelson has never been and is not currently a participant in the Orange County Employees Retirement System.
     . . .
     “Furthermore, in that you ... are now personally on notice as to the falsity of the claim, if you choose to pursue the above described course of action, Mr. Nelson will seek to hold each of you personally responsible and liable for said actions,” Greer wrote.
     But Jones said Sidhu’s campaign has never claimed Nelson is a current member of OCERS, and they aren’t planning to say anything of the sort.
     “We said he signed up for a pension,” Jones said. “We’re going to continue to say that and that he’s a hypocrite.”
The Reg notes the curious ubiquity of Mr. Greer:
     Greer is a Newport Beach attorney who has become a mainstay at the county Hall of Administration, representing a number of Orange County politicians, including county Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street and four of the five current county supervisors.
     Supervisor John Moorlach is the only one who has not hired Greer.
     Greer is also representing Public Administrator/Public Guardian John S. Williams whose office has been maligned with accusations of mismanagement….
     Mr. Greer has a history of ethics lapses.
     But of course he does!
     This really stinks.

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