Monday, May 21, 2012

"Unseemly" May meeting of the SOCCCD BOT: board will appoint Fuentes' replacement!

One of Tom's "relatives" is interested
in the vacancy. But which one?
     • [Be sure to check out Tere's Board Meeting Highlights; for streaming video, go here.]

     • [You may wish to skip down to the account of the "special" meeting that followed this regular meeting. It concerned whether to pursue an appointment of a replacement for Fuentes.]

     6:05 p.m.  - WOW, I just entered the Ronnie Reagan meeting room and I am struck by the New Age piano tinklings. What's that all about? Then I see the endless loop of tender pics of the late Tom Fuentes displayed on the screen. Here's Tom with that rat bastard John Williams. Here's Tom standing before that fake picture of that fake lake in Lake Forest. Here's Tom with Ronald Reagan's head; here's Tom holding forth at the Balboa Bay Club; etc.
     Good grief.
     Will this be the tone of the evening? Our beloved Tomster is dead. How will we ever go on?
     Meanwhile, the room is nearly full. Something's up, and it can't just be the death of Tom Fuentes. Somebody is gonna get a prize for something, that's fer sher.
     Back in a minute.
     6:09 - Here we go!
     Nancy Padberg: "We've lost one of our members, Saturday evening." (Well, no. Friday evening.) She identifies the location of the funeral or something. She doesn't spend much time on this Fuentes thing. Sheesh!
     Padberg corrects a misreported action last month as Marcia stares into space.
     Marcia Milchiker reports actions taken in closed session (but not before she has trouble with her mike): Another unpaid leave with benefits. Another unpaid leave with benefits approved. Another. All part-time classified. Finally, rejected claim filed by student against district.

Jay: some words & a mo-
ment of silence for Tom
     Invocation by Bill Jay: "Tom Fuentes deserves a little time, so sit down." (OK.)
     Says Jay: [Tom was] a straight-shooter. Telling it like it was. Not average politician, who tries to be forceful, but is benign if he might offend a constituency. Tom never hesitated. He was a terrific board member. For 12 years. Not many hang around that long. [Marcia winces.] Before that, he was Mr. Politician in OC. He was Mr. Republican. If you wanted to run for anything [and you were a Republican], Tom was right in there working on it. Lots of local offices. People sought his help. He'd been a politician very early. Admired Nixon tremendously. He managed to secure non-partisan Supervisorial seats. While on the board, he was the clerk for at least five years. (Jay seems to be running out of positive things to say. Clerk for five years? Who cares?) He was sort of the spokesman for the board, often MCing. He did a fine job. He was a seminarian for a while, after graduating from Chapman College. [Jay skips over the Caspers years.] Whenever anything reverential or sacred happened, we always had Tom do it. "A very righteous guy." I learned (he smiles) that he was always right. He was also terribly loyal. Always had your back. Also loyal to students, employees, the community. (Lang smiles. How come? Does he remember that midnight down at the crossroads with Tom?) Always a very frugal board member. Loyalty was his number 1 aim. You can't ask for much more than that. [Sure you can.] Finally, more than that, he was a friend. When you really got to know him, he was a friend. [Yeah, unless you were his enemy.] To all concerned. Shock and sorrow: we say goodbye to Tom. He's been a wonderful influence on this board and community.
     (A moment of silence. I type. The distinct sound of chicklets fills the hall.)

     Lang leads the pledge. What will he do without his special friend? Maybe he's moved on to TJ?
     They swear in new trustee Heather Park. Cute kid. Doesn't say much. I like her already.

Board Prez Nancy P
     Saddleback College "employee of the year." Valerie Senior. She says that she really enjoys her job.
     (As this goes on, I see that Fuentes' visage is still displayed on the screen above and before us. But at least they turned off that damned piano noodling.)
     IVC employee of year, Barry Miller. Barry gets parking certificate. American Express freebie.
     (Tom is still smiling down at us.)
     (TJ Prendergast carps that he was the only trustee not to get an iPod. Laughter.)
     Next: district employee of the year. Patty Houghton(?). Teddi Lorch comes up with her, holding posies. Colorful ones. The trustees do roll call vote (as before). Photo op, again. She says: wonderful co-workers. I'm a very lucky person. (Bugay puts in a plug for her.)
     Next: IVC Model UN -- 2012 National Champs. The whole team comes up--maybe 7 people. Marcia reads resolution. Applause. Roll call vote. Photo op.
     6:30 - Stu Frame introduces the MUN students. He's been advisor for last 14 years. Another advisor, from UCR, took the students to New York for this competition. He's teaching tonight. (Nancy tries to push things along, but Stu ain't pickin' up her vibe.) Each student briefly speaks. A kid named Eric Hanson distinguishes himself with humility, saying, "I won the most awards this year." (Smiles and giggles.)
     Final Resolution: IVC Speech and debate team, national champions. Gary Ribald (um, Rybold) comes up with 12 of the team. Marcia reads the res. Roll call vote. Photo op. Gary speaks: "This team was just a joy to work with." New facilities in BSTIC building was a big help. Thanks ASIVC. Administration. Facilities. (Wow, I've never heard anyone thank a building before!)

Public comments:
     1. Prez Tod Burnett: recognizes three students. Has them come up. Also invites two coaches. Champion hammer throwers. Liz displays her sexy lock tats (and 4.0 gpa). Former Marine. (Yes, yes—once a Marine, always a Marine.) Remy, like Liz, never threw a hammer until he arrived at Saddleback, and coach spotted his talent. Liz speaks briefly and well. Remy too, who, owing to his success, will be going to his "dream school."
     2. Burnett continues: recognizing Joseph Trejo.... Another success in Model UN. Marine vet. Will go to Drexel U. Lee Haggerty is advisor. Joe speaks briefly, well. That's it.
     3. Patti Weeks: asks Burnet and Jim Wright to come up. Her facility assists 5000 Saddleback students with tutoring. Some tutors are volunteers. Wants to recognize those who volunteered 100 hours or more. She has them stand. Photo op. They get "hearty hand clasps" from Burnett and Wright as their reward. I'd check my wallet.
     4. Paula Jacobs: recently became Prez of Faculty Association (union). Extends condolences to Fuentes family.

Board reports (6:50 p.m.):
     Bill Jay: I've said enough. (Laughter.)
     Frank Meldau: attended my first ever fashion show. Gwen Plano's retirement party. Nurses pinning. Attended both commencements, outstanding events. IVC Speech and debate team banquet: "those people know how to party." (Christian spin-the-bottle?) Looking forward to KSBR birthday bash.
     Marcia Milchiker: wonderful time of year. Attended commencements. Newly tenured faculty celebration. Fish BBQ, Plano's retirement party, etc. (Quite a list. You know Marcia. Tom Fuentes' image continues to menace the building.) Rat a tat tat go the Marciaisms. Prayers to Fuentes family. Trustee for 12 years. Service much appreciated.
     TJ Prendergast: attended School Board association event with Scott Lay as speaker. Attended nurses pinning. "I love nurses and they love me." Went to my second commencement. Tom got sick soon after I came aboard. Too bad; sounds like he was someone good to know.
     Nancy Padberg: attended scholarship award ceremonies. Anonymous person started a scholarship "in my name." Also in Don Rickner's name. Commencements. All great. May is a busy time. Condolences to Tom Fuentes' family. Knew him for many years. He will be greatly missed. (Once again, Nancy manages to say as little as possible in praise of the F-man. Hell hath no fury like a Nancy scorned.)
     Dave Lang: attended nurses pinnings, commencements. All outstanding. Terribly saddened by loss of our colleague, Tom Fuentes. (I'll bet.) Such an iconic individual, who graduated to his next level. (Huh?) Want to add to the biographical record: he was a thoughtful trustee. I appreciated his unique insights and perspectives. I'll miss his "wisdom, passion, and polish."
     Chancellor's report (Gary Poertner): Commencements were joyful events. We have some new old faces at the table here. New rep for SC Ac Senate, Bob Cosgrove. IVC Ac Senate President Kathy Schmeidler. Paula as prez of FA. (All familiar faces.) Passes on his condolensces to Fuentes family. Enjoyed knowing him. Very unique individual. Great integrity to his own views, beliefs.

The late Tom Fuentes with Jolene, c. mid-80s
(we're pulling item 6.8.)

Discussion item: Basic Aid allocations. Fitzsimmons presents.
     Will outline recommendations for Basic Aid for various projects. Groundbreaking: based on district-wide planning efforts, etc. Transparency, interactive communication.
     Accreditation recommendation 2: transparency and inclusive process, etc. After the teams came and gave recommendation, a committee was formed. Addressed this rec. They helped develop board policy. Then Administrative regulation. Approved in Feb. Few Basic Aid projects were authorized. Waited for BP and AR implemented. So we've got two years of basic aid funding.
     BARK was formed. Basic Aid process. Planning must drive our budget process. The tentative budget comes to you (board) next month.
     --It gets a bit tedious, no fault of Fitzsimmons'. Freakin' basic aid.
     (Fuentes slide replaced with slides concerning Basic Aid. At last!)
     Shows slide: amount available for allocation: $74,337,592. Gosh.
     Capital Projects: $48,858, 230.
     District-wide technology projects: $10,177,855
     Fitzsimmons goes through pages of report that we cannot see. The trustees seem to follow. (See link above.)

Jolene Fuentes, c. 1986
     Prendergast: we don't use basic aid funding for long-term expenses. But this is going to salaries, right?
     F: groundskeeper, maintenance worker, et al.--a district expense at ATEP. Why should IVC have to pay for this? That was the reasoning.
     Lang: we always funded ATEP out of basic aid. We've been criticized for doing so. But now more transparent. Will be self-sustaining in the future. This is a terrific report. Very transparent way of allocating these dollars. Commending the BARK committee. Very fair. Only minor criticism: some jargon in here like "dude" and "fusion." (Laughter.) F: everything will be coming back to you, etc.

Consent calendar:
     Pull 5.5, 5.6. Move. Unanimous approval.

Item 5.5/5.6:
     These things pass unanimously.

     6.1 -- consolidating elections for boards. It reduces the cost. Roll call vote: unanimous.
     6.2 -- Board Policy revisions. Technical. Approved unanimously.
     6.3 -- Board Policy revisions. Inst'l memberships, etc. For review and study.
     6.4 -- Richard White's request to rescind sabbatical. OK
     6.5 -- New salaries, I think, for managers and administrators. Nancy alludes to the length of the period in which this has been discussed. Passes unanimously. See below:

Someone left this document under my door this morning (May 22). It is entitled Exhibit A, but it does not match the exhibit A for item 6.5 last night
     6.6 -- Academic Personnel Actions. New faculty members.
     6.7 -- Classified personnel. Approved unanimously.
     6.8 -- pulled.

     7.1 Board report requested by TJ Prendergast re purchasing pool.
     7.2 Accred reports (two colleges). Burnett: our annual report, given each year. "We're all pretty familiar with it," says Nancy. Roquemore: same old thing.
     7.3 Mission statements, annual review. Burnett: no change to our vision or mission statement. Same for IVC/Roquemore. Peebles: no change, blah blah blah.
     7.4 Saddleback College speakers.
     7.5 Basic Aid report. No changes. Fitzsimmons explains some issue from last month.
     7.6 Facilities plan status report.
     7.7 Monthly financial status report. (Oddly, screen goes blank.)
     7.8 Etc.

Jolene Fuentes, c. 2009
Constituent groups:
     Saddleback College Senate: Cosgrove: 31 faculty left in one year. We are looking forward to replacements. Setting up seminar to aid these new employees. Led by Alannah Rosenberg.
     Next: Faculty Association: no report.
     IVC Ac. Senate: no report
     IVC/Roquemore: blah, blah, blah. Welcomes new leadership, especially Kathy Schmeidler. Mentions Joann Chen's award, use of technology in teaching. $260K handed out at Scholarship award ceremony. Four faculty honored at UCI.
     Burnett/Saddleback: condolences to Fuentes family. Congrats to .... blah blah blah. Commencement: the best year ever! Banner year: $400K given out in scholarships. More than 200 students. Burnett notes that it's now summer. Wow.
     Bramucci: no report
     Bugay: congrats to Bob and Kathy and Paula, et al. Refers to hiring going on. Job fair at Camp Pendleton.

7:44 - they adjourn. Close meeting in honor of memory of Tom Fuentes.

Monsignor John Sammon, Bishop Michael Driscoll, Bishop Norman McFarland, Fuentes, 1997
Next: SPECIAL MEETING to address whether the board will appoint someone to fill the vacancy left by the passing of trustee Fuentes.

Poertner: board has option of waiting until general election in Nov--or advertise for an opening, then interview and appoint. That's the decision the board needs to make.
Padberg: we're very close to the election--so, one might ask, what would be the purpose of appointing a replacement for the next five months? But Fuentes has been absent for a year. Once or twice we've barely made a quorum. We've been vulnerable to quorum problems. We should go ahead and appoint. Thats' the responsible thing to do.
Lang: I have a different view. I need to say, this is unseemly; we've not even had the funeral yet, and here we are talking about appointment of a replacement. Disrespectful. Not pleased about that situation. This close to the election, it would be irresponsible not to let the voters decide who will replace TF. We have functioned effectively until now, and we'll continue to do so. Frankly, the appointment at this point in time would give the person appointed an unfair advantage [incumbents almost always win]. Not the right thing to do. The right thing is to keep the seat vacant.
Padberg: thank you for your opinion. We neglected to ask for public comments. (The one person who asked to address the board comes up to the podium.)

Lake Forest resident, Dennis Walsh: you should appoint someone. Will give the person 5 or 6 months jump on learning curve. Somebody qualified, would fit in with other board members. Several people on board were appointed [Fuentes, Meldau]. I would like to know how to apply. (He sits down.)
Padberg returns to the discussion: The public notice: all defined by ed code. Notice in newspaper. Deadline for application. Will schedule special meeting for interviews, etc.
Prendergast: I agree with trustee Lang on a couple of points. Taken aback that we are already addressing this issue of replacing TF. We kind of have to, I suppose. Unseemly as it seems, it is a necessity. Strange timing. I'm a civics instructor. Voters have a right to choose. Track record of incumbents [they almost always win]. They get an unfair advantage. Meldau was a great choice--nothing against him, but that process wasn't good though. Taken aback by it. Wasn't remotely democratic. Nothing against Frank Meldau, I voted for him anyway. But there was an unfairness. I would only support an appointing process if we were to do it a different way.
Padberg: all defined by code. Can't do much differently. Spell out your concerns!
Prendergast: how we voted. A motion to approve Meldau as appointment, and that was it. There are other ways. For instance, ranking, etc. Discounted three other candidates in the first motion! At the time, we thought that was the way to do it, but there are "other and better ways."
Padberg: can be controlled by emotion (?). (Not sure what she said, but she alluded to someone's emotions during last appointment process.)
Jay: wouldn't be right to do it tonight. There's no rush.
Kathy Fields comes up (attorney with Addelson, et al.): timing is controlled strictly by ed code. The specific process is not defined. You have to do it within 60 days. May 18 to July 18. You have two options. Make an appointment, or call for an election. If you call for an election, it would be November. Can't have a special election. Any person who is appointed would only serve until election. The person you appoint doesn't have to be in Fuentes' area—they can be from anywhere in district.
Padberg: I've never heard that before.
Fields: no, they have to be 18 years old, a registered voter. That's it. (Until November election.)

Tom's eldest son, TJ,  recently
became an alternate on the OC GOP
Central Committee
Padberg: unseemly? I asked the Chancellor about putting this on the agenda tonight. One of trustee Fuentes' family members is interested in applying [TJ? Jolene?], and they were not upset about this.
Milchiker: seems unseemly....

     (I'm only speculating, but it sounds like Nancy P is trying to avoid an inevitable TJ Fuentes [or Jolene?] victory in November by doing the appointment now, in a process in which TJ's of Jolene's prevailing would be less likely)

     (Marcia seeks to understand what trustee Prendergast has against the last process.) She says:
     I would look for someone honest, cares about the district, cares about the students, be ethical, have integrity.... If we could find someone like that, that would be my preference. (So she seems to favor moving ahead with the appointment process.)
Jay: another factor. Tremendous resources go into election. It offends me as a frugal person. We shouldn't appoint this evening.... (I'm not following his logic. Didn't the lawyer just say that a special election wouldn't happen? And Nancy wasn't suggesting that the appointment be made tonight. Am I wrong?)
Padberg interrupts: we can't appoint this evening.
Jay continues....
Padberg: you're saying we should have a special meeting in a week or so to decide this (not tonight)? Yes, says Jay.
Jay motions: have a special meeting within reasonable length of time. Make this decision at that later date.
Padberg: I haven't heard a second to Jay's motion.

Michelle Fuentes is in a
doctoral program in Alabama
(Political Science)
Marcia asks: what's the motion? (A: Time to think about it before discussing. Have a meeting in a week or so.)
Jay: shocked that we're discsussing this (whether to replace Fuentes) tonight.
Padberg: agreeable to that [waiting]. Let's find a date. Monday is a holiday next week. Maybe next Tuesday.
Prendergast: a very busy time for lots of people. We're here now.
They vote: Milchiker, Prendergast and Lang vote against. Meldau abstains. They continue to discuss.
Prendergast: I move that we take no action, let it go to election in November. Prendergast and Lang vote yes. Three nos, Meldau abstains. Motion fails.
Motion: that we appoint. Jay seconds.  Jay, Milchiker and Padberg vote yes. Is that a majority? It's a majority, says attorney. It's a majority of members present. Motion carries.  Prendergast and Lang vote no. [Meldau abstains?]
Padberg declares: the motion carries. We will proceed with appointment process. Any comments out there? "I see some frowns." (Prendergast seems to agree that they counted they interpreted the voting correctly. The motion carries.)
That's it.

Note: recently, Tom Fuentes' son, "TJ" Fuentes, was made an alternate on the OC Republican Central Committee. (See A recent Fuentes sighting.) There's been speculation that TJ would attempt to replace his father on the SOCCCD board. TJ is twenty-five or twenty-six years old.

Tom with the Duke (c. mid-70s)


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"I would look for someone honest, cares about the district, cares about the students, be ethical, have integrity...."

In other words, someone distinctly different from the recently departed.

Anonymous said...

Ribald - hee hee hee.

Anonymous said...

According to Glen, $260K was handed out at IVC's scholarship ceremony? That's a mighty impressive figure.

However, I would like to see where that money came from and to whom it went. Where is that information located? It should be available, right?

The awards programs never identify which scholarship goes to which student - it's just a long list of names. Only the scholarships which are awarded to the students who are in attendance are announced from the stage -and then quite briefly. It makes it difficult to know who has one what.

Some students find it difficult to attend that early morning program because, after all, their scholarship students and have to WORK but that's another matter.

As someone who has donated money through the years, I'd be interested in seeing this information.

Who has it? Morely? Cox? Roquemore?

Anonymous said...

Croquemorley, he he.

Anonymous said...

Nepotism FROM the grave? Will it never end?

Anonymous said...

Two people applied for the position. JIm Wright of Saddleback and Tom's widow.


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