The mysterious sinking of the "Shooting Star." Part 1

The entire “Fuentes/Shooting Star” saga can be found here.

A typical AVR conversion
Ron Caspers
     Occasionally, DtB readers ask me about that curious moment in Trustee Tom Fuentes’ career when he passed on a fishing trip down up the Baja coast with his boss, OC Supervisor Ron Caspers, a few days after Caspers’ reelection in 1974. The ship—the "Shooting Star"—mysteriously disappeared, with all hands lost.
* * *
     In 1974, the ambitious 25-year-old Fuentes was Caspers’ “executive assistant.” A 1985 article about Fuentes, on the eve of his twenty-year tenure as OCGOP chair (Changing of the Guard for Orange County GOP), explains Fuentes' relationship to Caspers:
     Fuentes credits former Supervisor Ronald Caspers for much of his political rearing. He worked as an aide to Caspers for four years in the 1970s. Caspers' boat was lost at sea with 10 aboard—including Caspers—in 1974. (Fuentes would have been aboard the Shooting Star himself on the voyage to celebrate Caspers' reelection to a second term but decided against going at the last moment.) None of the 10 aboard was found.
     Fuentes had hoped that he would be appointed to replace Caspers. When he discovered that there was a one-year residency requirement that he did not meet, he decided to carry out an earlier plan to enter a seminary and study for the priesthood.
Tom Fuentes, c. 1974
     A year or so after this article (1986), Fuentes had by then established his bullying and autocratic reputation. During a political debate, faced with the Fuentean dictate that his time to run for a local office had not yet arrived, a well-known and respected local Republican (Nathan Rosenberg) angrily referred to Fuentes as Caspers' one-time "bag man."
     It will come as no surprise to long-time OC observers that Caspers, Fuentes' boss, was associated with a powerful group whose corruption eventually made headlines (see below).
* * *
     The 1974 sinking of the "Shooting Star" has never been satisfactorily explained.
     Recently, a close relative of one of the victims of that disaster contacted me in an effort to gather information—she says the family has always been dissatisfied with how little information they got from authorities or from the press—and this renewed my own interest in the event.
     The disaster started on June 13, 1974:

The Star-News, June 15, 1974
Ex-Pasadenan, Sons on Sinking Craft


     A sea search for a pleasure boat containing 10 persons … intensified late Friday with the Mexican Navy and Air Force vessels joining the U.S. Coast Guard in the effort.
     On board the 59-foot “Shooting Star” are Supervisor Ron Caspers, 43 … and his two sons, Kirk, 20, and Rick, 18.
     The drama began late Thursday night [June 13] when the converted Navy vessel was reported sinking by its owner-skipper Fred Harber, an Orange County political manager. In a “May Day” call, Harber radioed that the “Shooting Star” was taking in water off the Baja California coast.
     As the rescue units converged in the search area, about 275 miles south of San Diego in an area dotted by the San Benito Isles and Island De Cedros [see map], authorities said an advancing hurricane was rapidly approaching the operation area.
     Friends and former associates who knew Caspers as a banker here during the fifties recalled ominously Friday how the supervisor’s first wife, Barbara, was killed in an accident at sea on Oct. 2, 1954.
. . .
     Another person, advertising executive Harold Kelly, also was killed in that accident but Caspers and two other friends survived.
. . .
     Also aboard the boat are Thomas Klein, 26, an aide to Orange County Supervisor Chairman Ralph Clark; two of Klein’s brothers, identified as John and Tim Klein; Leonard Basher, an Anaheim contractor; Basher’s son-in-law, Richard Tully, 21, and Basher’s nephew, Robert Basher, also of Anaheim.
     As the search continued, authorities reported that the approaching Hurricane Connie was causing rough seas and limiting visibility to 500 feet. Most of the vessels steaming toward the area were said to have arrived in the rescue area late Friday night or early today. In two calls prior to the distress signal, however, Harber reported that the $65,000 vessel is well-stocked with rations, life jackets and a small lifeboat with outboard motor.
     The 10-member party was on a fishing trip from Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of the Baja peninsula, to Newport Beach when the problems arose.


     Ultimately, all ten passengers were lost. Despite some big unanswered questions, the incident faded into oblivion. Slowly, politically aware locals began to view the matter as curious, mysterious, odd. It became mythic.


     Nine years later:
     Here’s a portion of an article about Orange County “mysteries” that appeared in Orange Coast Magazine in October of 1983 (“Some OC Tales Could Add Another Chapter To Ripley’s—Believe It Or Not”; by Cathy Eilts):

     ...The third major mystery occurred June 13, 1974, when the 59-foot yacht, the Shooting Star, carrying Orange County Supervisor Ron Caspers, the former Buena Park Mayor and Cypress City Manager Fred Harber, and eight others disappeared near San Benitos Islands off Baja California. The group was on a return voyage from Cabo San Lucas celebrating Casper’s reelection as 5th District Supervisor.
     According to an article which appeared in the Register of October 2, 1974, a search for the vessel began after an engineer aboard a private research ship on the night of June 13 picked up the following distress signal: “Mayday. This is the Shooting Star with nine persons aboard… We are sinking about 50 miles from Turtle Bay.”
     The Coast Guard searched for the Shooting Star from June 14 to June 20, covering 40,000 square miles. Six to ten private planes also searched the area….
     In June, debris was found from the yacht including the top of the cabin, some furniture, and a sailboat which had capsized. In July, a foreign freighter recovered the yacht’s lifeboat 350 miles from the first sighting of debris. None of the bodies or the yacht’s hull were found.
     Three years later, according to another Register article, new questions surfaced regarding the incident. A sea captain who often traveled from Orange County to Cabo San Lucas may have been the last American, other than the Shooting Star travelers, to talk to Harber. According to the seaman, Harber had said the group planned to make a leisurely voyage and do some marlin fishing. However, in order to travel to the spot near Turtle Bay where the distress call was picked up, the yacht would have had to travel 69 hours straight and often in stormy seas. Why did Harber, who was considered an expert seaman, try the fast-paced and dangerous voyage contrary to former plans?


     This next article, which appeared, again in OC Magazine, exactly ten years after the incident, continues the “mystery” theme and reports some remarkable speculation and political intrigue.
     Some began to ask, "Was it murder?"

The Sinking of a Political Machine
by Larry Peterson

Dr. Louis Cella


     …Among the ten men lost and presumed dead on the ill-fated fishing trip were County Supervisor Ron Caspers and political strategist Fred Harber.
     Following its investigation of the disappearance of the converted naval rescue craft just before midnight on June 13, 1974, the U.S. Coast Guard concluded that there was no evidence of foul play.
     But, other than to suggest that bad weather may have been a factor, the probe failed to determine why the 63-foot vessel, owned by Harber, disappeared with barely a trace in rough, shark-infested waters. What is not subject to question is that Orange County’s politics never have been the same since that tragic night.
     The voyage was supposed to be a celebration of Caspers’ re-election only a few days before. The victory was engineered by Harber, who had close links to Dr. Louis Cella and other political figures who later were to be indicted on charges ranging from fraud and embezzlement to campaign-finance cover-up and bribery.

     At the time, Cella headed the closest thing Orange County has ever had to a political machine. [Please note: Fuentes’ turn as county GOP chair started in 1984 and lasted about twenty years.] In the mid-seventies, Cella and south Orange County land baron Richard O’Neill teamed up to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of candidates.
     District Attorney Cecil Hicks, close to the country’s Republican establishment, fought a running battle with Cella. Hicks once publicly accused the doctor of heading a “shadow government” that controlled the county Board of Supervisors. Cella responded by accusing Hicks of alcoholism. In any case, a majority voting bloc, usually consisting of recipients of Cella’s political largesse, repeatedly helped stymie Hicks’ attempts to investigate Cella and his allies.
     Within four years after the sinking of the Shooting Star, most members of the shadow government had been driven into political exile. Some, indeed, were behind bars, and others were fighting rear-guard legal battles that would end in their incarceration.

     Cella was convicted in 1978 of using a hospital he owned to defraud the federal government of hundreds of thousands in Medi-Cal funds, much of it used to underwrite his campaign contributions. After serving time in federal prison, he moved to Coachella. County Supervisor Robert Battin, for whom Harber had been an aide, was convicted in 1976 and briefly jailed for illegally using county funds to help his unsuccessful 1974 bid for the Democratic nomination of lieutenant governor. He now practices law in Santa Ana. Supervisor Laurence Schmit, a Cella ally and a major beneficiary of his political influence was defeated in his 1978 re-election bid. He moved to Northern California Supervisor Ralph Diedrich, who tried to reassemble the shattered machine, was convicted in 1979 on bribery charges. Recently released from prison, he, too, has left the county. O’Neill—never accused of wrongdoing—eventually became chairman of the state Democratic party. But that was only after years of virtual political hibernation during which he lived down the onus of his alliance with Cella.
Ralph Diedrich
     Cella, interviewed last year in Coachella, where he practices medicine at a farm workers’ clinic, said the sinking of the Shooting Star marked the “death knell” for his role as a power broker.
     The loss of Harber, he said, deprived him of his political allies of a “political genius,” who, had he steered the boat safely home, could have helped pilot the shadow government through troubled political waters.
     And, in Caspers, Cella added, the group lost a reliable ally who could have helped push through a Cella-backed move to investigate the district attorney’s office and blunt any possible probe of the Cella-O’Neill combine.
     “If Caspers had lived, we would have had the votes to stop Hicks,” said Cella. “He was a very strong vote against Cecil and he disliked Cecil even more than Fred did.”
     Battin agrees with Cella’s assessment, calling the loss of Harber and Caspers “the beginning of the end.”

     But even if the demise of the Cella-O’Neill machine is attributable to that of the Shooting Star, the events that sealed the boat’s fate remain a mystery.
     Neither bodies nor pieces of the wooden hull of the ship were ever found. Recovered 350 miles away from what was believed to be the site of the boat’s sinking was its thirteen-foot lifeboat. More than 300 miles from the presumed resting place of the Shooting Star, but a like distance from the lifeboat, debris from the yacht was found: a thirteen-foot sailboat, two large pieces of cabin top, two life jackets, some furniture and a few smaller items.
     The Coast Guard investigation failed to determine why the life jackets apparently were not used or why radio reports before the sinking indicated different positions.
     Also still a mystery is why no one, according to the official report, apparently was able to transfer from the Shooting Star to the lifeboat.
 
Robert Battin
    Another discrepancy that remains unexplained is that a mayday message picked up by a research vessel in the area said there were nine persons aboard.
     And still subject to guesswork—and not addressed by the report—is why, according to witnesses, the party on board suddenly forsook plans for two days of leisurely marlin fishing and headed—apparently in a hurry—for San Diego.
     The Coast Guard said it found no evidence of fire or explosion aboard the lifeboat. But at least one person believes there was an explosion aboard the Shooting Star and that it was set off deliberately.
     Private detective Neal Graney, who conducted his own unofficial probe, went so far as to publish a 200-page fictional account—Mayday! Mayday! Morningstar—a thinly disguised rendition of his speculations about what happened. The names, of course, have been changed. Currently, he is trying to market a screenplay based on the same theme. “I know I don’t have a smoking gun,” says the former Chicago policeman. “But, in my gut, I’m sure it was murder.”
     Though long on conjecture and short on proof, he also theorized that one of the men aboard knew the yacht was about to blow up and left in the lifeboat before the explosion. That, he argues, explains the mayday report of nine aboard and the great distance between the discovery place of the lifeboat not only from the sinking site but also from the other debris.
     And the bodies? “There are many reasons,” explains one of Graney’s fictional characters. “When bodies go down to the bottom of the sea, they usually float to the top within two or three days. That is, unless they are in small pieces. Then they are fish bait.” As for the condition of the life preservers, some of them damaged but none demonstrably bloodied, Graney attributes that to the impact of metal or wood fragments from the explosion.
     There is some support, however slender, for Graney’s belief that someone got off the boat alive. One former west Orange County elected official told me he thinks he saw a member of the ill-fated party about three years ago in Hawaii.


Richard O'Neill and family, 1950
     At the time, the former official says he was on the beach near the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki, and the supposedly deceased man crossed the street nearby.
     “It looked so much like him that I just yelled his name without thinking that he was supposed to be dead,” said the vacationer, who was well-acquainted with the Shooting Star passenger he thinks he saw. “He took off and disappeared into the crowd….I’m sure that, when I yelled out, he would have recognized me….It seemed deliberate.”
     Scenarios just as bizarre as Graney’s based more on conjecture than provable fact, have been widely circulated and are passed on by Cella, Battin and others to anyone who asks.
     Details vary, but the essentials are this: Somebody hired either organized crime-related figures or a right-wing paramilitary group to blow the Shooting Star out of the water.
     Implausible as that may seem, there is some evidence that the boat would not normally have sunk, even with the pounding it took from heavy seas. Louis Fallows, co-owner of the Wilmington-based firm that was one of the government’s contractors for the type of naval rescue boat that was rebuilt to create the Shooting Star, is graphically emphatic on that question. She said the boats were built with air-tight compartments that would have buoyed themselves so much that it wouldn’t have sunk completely even if there were a big hole in the hull. “The only thing that would have sunk it would have been if it were blown apart,” she said, without being prompted by being told of theories about an explosion.
     Why anyone would want to deep-six the Shooting Star, especially in the manner Graney suggests, is unclear.


From the 6/24/74 Star-News
     But evidence that Harber and Caspers were up to potentially dangerous mischief at the time surfaced four years later. In 1978, developer Richard V. Jordan alleged in a suit against the county that the two were trying to shake him down for a $10,000 payoff plus $2000 a month for approval of a project he wanted to build near El Toro, in Caspers’ supervisorial district.
     The county settled out of court on Jordan’s claim that the county illegally revoked his building permit, paying him $700,000. The matter was investigated by the district attorney’s office to determine whether persons still alive might be criminally liable, but that probe ended inconclusively.
     As it turns out, preliminary discussion concerning the alleged deal took place in Mexican waters aboard the Shooting Star, Jordan said in papers filed with his lawsuit.
     Before the arrangement could be consummated, however, Caspers, Harber and the others departed on the fateful trip. Ironically, Jordan said, he was invited along, but declined because he didn’t think the Shooting Star was seaworthy. But the Coast Guard cited reports that deficiencies on the boat had been corrected prior to the trip.
     Jordan, the record shows, knew how to seek and obtain remedies for his grievance in a court of law. But one is tempted to ask: Were Harber and/or Caspers using the same routine on anyone else, perhaps someone prone to resort to different—and more violent—remedies?
     That might be a point of departure for any resumed investigation of the disaster. For years, however, there has been no evidence of any official interest in the matter—with one exception. In the past year or so, the FBI, questioning a politically connected Orange County person on a different matter, slipped in some questions about the Shooting Star. That doesn’t amount to a new probe, of course. But ten years later, even a residue of official curiosity at any level is intriguing.

     Still, until the questions left hanging by the official report are answered, who is to say that Graney’s explicit but seemingly farfetched version is wrong? Those questions, of course, may never be answered. And the tale of the last voyage of the Shooting Star may make as good a whodunit ten years from now as it does today.

SEE Part 2

The "Shooting Star" was a converted WWII-era AVR
Background on Fuentes:

Dear Mr. Fuentes (Nathan Calahan, April 28, 1999)
GOP's Fuentes Favored to Win 7th Term Chairing O.C. Party (LA Times, January 19, 1997)
Interview With Tom Fuentes, Part 1 (Red County, September 15, 2008)
 Interview With Tom Fuentes, Part 2 (Red County, September 16, 2008)
Trouble in the Big Tent (Jean Hastings Ardell, Orange Coast Magazine, March 1996)
• Guiding With an Iron Hand (LA Times, July 11, 1996)

Comments

Anonymous said…
Very noir. Someone should write a screenplay. I like your occasional forays into the past. very cool.
Anonymous said…
Talk about 38 year old GOP scandals! How 'bout today's Lockyer (DEM) sex tape, drug & extortion scandal? According to the report Nadia Lockyer (DEM), Alameda County supervisor & member of the CA CC system board of govs. is corrupted up to her pretty little eyeballs. This involves both Bill (DEM) and Nadia (DEM).

How 'bout creating a new thread entitled, "Those nasty, corrupt Democrat public officials are at it again" or somethng like that?

You can highlight the resulting impacts this may have on CCCs!
Anonymous said…
2:09, are you really that obtuse? Bauer wrote about this "mystery" because it concerns one of our trustees. It is an entry point into the distinctive worle of corruption that is OC politics. --Please observe that we are in OC, not in Alameda County.
Anonymous said…
But what about the impact on the CCCs. That affects CCCs in the OC, ya know...
Anonymous said…
How about creating a new thread entitled "biggest liars in American politics." Let's start with Newt, then move along to Romney and Walker. Santorum doesn't count as he's too loony to take seriously in any manner.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, I lost three of my Uncle's on that boat and I wish we didn't have to always wonder what happened.
Anonymous said…
Well I've got you beat. I lost 11 aunts on that boat!
Anonymous said…
11 aunts?!?!? Seriously?!?!? It's nice to know that you can make light of such a sensitive subject, because honestly, until you spend nearly your entire life wondering what happened to your family, you have no clue the anguish we've gone through. I'm grateful to the writer of this blog, it's nice to know that after all these years, someone else still cares about what happened. That their lives have not been forgotten by people who weren't related. That we aren't the only one searching for answers.
Roy Bauer said…
You've got to ignore these trolls. That's all you can do. When we delete them, they just come roaring back, like dufus psychos.
Anonymous said…
Dufus psychos sums it up in a nutshell. Seriously Roy, I can't begin to tell you how much this blog is appreciated. Thank you!!!!
Anonymous said…
I too want to thank the author of this. This tragedy has been a sore subject within my family for a number of years. We may never know what really happened on that fateful day but it wont stop our resolve to find the truth.
Roy Bauer said…
You'd be surprised how a post like this can get things started sometimes. I'm hoping that someone out there (maybe at one of our local papers) gets an interest in pursuing this story. I'll keep putting it out there, see what happens. I'm sure that at least SOME light can be cast on this event.
Anonymous said…
Aw come on Roy. You're not as important as you think you are.
Anonymous said…
He's obviously important enough to get you reading his blogs, right? If you found it & took the time to read it, who knows where this could go………
Roy Bauer said…
11:11, for a partial list of fairly substantial news stories sparked by Dissenters, go here. The political blogging world here in OC is small and it is monitored by local journalists (who typically are bloggers themselves). So, again, yes, it is surprising how little it can take to spark a story--in my experience. Am I claiming to be "important"? Don't know, don't care.
Linda Klein Berrett said…
My three brothers were aboard the Shooting Star, my two nieces grew up without a father, my mother lost 3 sons.
Unless you have gone through this kind of tragedy, no one cane image the pain and grief our family has gone through.
I know in my heart this was murder, my hope is some day, someone who knows the truth will come forward and help us understand this tragedy that has change the lives of so many.
Anonymous said…
just found this as I was describing current hurricane destruction in Baja to a co-worker. I was a pretty good friend of Rick's. Good to see that some of the family members like and appreciate the article.
Al
Anonymous said…
My father, cousin and brother in law were aboard the Shooting Star. I was only 21 at the time and my sister had been married to Rick for a few months and my cousin Robert Bashor's wife was pregnant at the time and Robert didn't know it. It was a great loss for all of my family. I appreciate this blog as I didn't even know the suspicions existed.
Veronica said…
Roy,

I am the grand daughter of John Klein. I was able to obtain the FBI files on this case. Please contact me and I will send you the files if you are interested. I believe the confirm a few of your theories. veronicaraesav@gmail.com
Anonymous said…
Stumbled on this article by accident. I was on the Air Force 130 aircraft that spotted the wreckage. Never had a clue about all this other part of the story. Interesting.
Anonymous said…
Still fascinating. Who has the released FBI files?
Unknown said…
Thank you Veronica for sharing FBI files with me. I am the youngest daughter/ child of Ronald Caspers who was on board The Shooting Star along with two of my older brothers Kirk and Rick- it’s very painful to re-live this tragedy, and yet I to just want to know the Truth, not speculation - whatever truly did happen, anyway one looks at it, it was a huge tragic loss for us all close to family and friends on board. Blair Caspers Box
Unknown said…
Hi Blair- Been a while...Had a nice talk w K last New Year's Eve. Got the news on Mom, Condolences are True. Hey, I have studied this for years. Whatever the talk, the Truth is. The yacht Shooting Star was refueled at at Tortuga Bay with a heavy load of diesel. Went North in heavy weather in open seas. Sent radio msg asking for assistance "Taking on water...pumps." Soon after, "Mayday...sinking...". The Shooting Star sank very quickly, due to heavy seas and both mechanical and structural failure. The Boston Whaler was released with intent yet no one got in it.Your Father and Brothers and the others drowned. All the other chatter is BS. I talked with A about this a few times, many years ago at the BBQ's at V Florence.She always said "Yes, I know. It's just that the damn boat sank..". It is what it is. Love, jc

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