Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fuentes, Michelena & Overby: plump mosquitoes from the same swamp


     “Frank G. Michelena is the guy you go to see when you want something from Orange County government.”
LA Times, 1990

     "I challenge Mr. Bein and his lobbyist Tom Fuentes to give even one legitimate reason why their firm gives gifts to individuals who have decision-making power over contracts…. ...Now we all know what it takes to be a successful engineering firm in Orange County."
Shirley Grindle, 1993
     In my last post, I laid out former SOCCCD PR gal Pam Zanelli's fortuitous appearances, like magical momentary moths, in the tangled fabric of Orange County politics and corruption. As you know, our own Tom Fuentes, late SOCCCD trustee, was all over that fabric; and, in particular, he had connections to a notorious (c. 1970s) campaign finance entity—the duo "Dick and Doc"or at least to that entity's delighted and deficient beneficiaries. Now, as it happens, it's a seriously small world, 'cause Pam Zanelli was an employee of the notorious Dr. Louis Cella, the "Doc" half of "Dick and Doc." What a coincidence!
     Anyway, our gal Pam worked for Dr. Cella at exactly the time when his curious operation (hospital, political giving, printing, Medicare and Medi-Cal fraud, etc.) was in full operation.
     She assures us, of course, that she had no idea what her boss was really doing, insofar as any of it was something he shouldn't o' been doing. Natch.

From the Times' "Lobbyists: dealers in trust and compromise," 2/20/72, where Michelena is
identified as one of six "top" professional lobbyists in OC. At the time, the Rancho Mission
Viejo was owned by the O'Neill family (headed by Richard O'Neill of "Dick & Doc").
     Among Zanelli's other moth-like flittings in OC's lurid fabric was a cheese-and-wine party she helped organize for Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown (1981). Just who would be invited to that bash was a critical and delicate matter, it seems, 'cause it was OC where there are no Moonbeams. Now, some of the fat cats in attendance were invited by notorious lobbyist Frank Michelena. Michelena, as it turns out, worked with Tom Fuentes on the seriously hinky Team Caspers, back in 1970 and thereafter.
     (Frank Michelena was an aide to OC Supe Bill Phillips [1957-1973] and later to Supe Ralph Clark, a D&D beneficiary who ultimately resigned under a cloud [prostitutes for favors?!] and became a lobbyist.)

From "The case against Dr. Cella," May 9, 1976 (Times)
     Another coincidence! It's, like, everybody's connected to everybody.
     Now when people talk about famous (or infamous) OC lobbyists, Michelena isn't the only name to pop up. Another one, a big one, is Lyle Overby, a fella who's made lots of money helping entities (including himself) secure lucrative government contracts. He's a go-between guy, a kind of pricey lubricant in a world of big wallets straining against nasty moral and legal friction to be emptied or filled like they wanna be. Pfffffwoooooo!
     (In the early 70s, Overby was an executive aide to Supervisor Ralph Diedrich, a fellow who was later indicted [1977] on 16 felony and misdemeanor violations concerning campaign finance. Soon after, the county grand jury charged him with two counts of bribery and one count on conspiracy. In the 80s, he served 20 months in Chino.)
     Overby, you'll recall, shares with Tom Fuentes membership in a very special group: guys who were invited on that fateful 1974 trip on the doomed yacht "Shooting Star" but who bailed, thereby saving their goddam lives. Ten men died on that trip, including Supervisor Caspers and Dick and Doc's political guru, Fred Harber. That spelled disaster for the "Dick and Doc show," 'cause Harber was like the Spiderman of creepy OC politics/business/whatever webulosity, and none of the other bugs had web-shooters.
     In Fuentes' case, though he made sure to stow a special cooler of goodies for his boss (Caspers) on the boat, at the last minute, he refused to board 'cause it wasn't safe. (Selfish bastard. What about his pals?) Overby actually traveled on the first leg of the trip—but bailed before the ship headed north, to its appointment with danged destiny.
     Lucky guys. Or something.
     One more thing before I go on: Tom Fuentes was also a lobbyist, you know. Near as I can tell, he made his living getting firms he worked for in contact with government officials who were in the position of granting big contracts. (He also invested in properties and such, just like his pal Fred H.)
     He had to be mighty careful, as you can imagine. He slipped up sometimes. You can't let the strings show.
     Now, as it happens, you can find points in time and space when all of these dudes spectacularly and accidentally come together to become one slime-event in the universe or something. One good example is June, 1985, in Santa Ana, CA:

$1-Million Contract for Vote-Count Unit Awarded, LA Times, June 26, 1985
     Ignoring staff recommendations, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to award a $1-million contract to a San Francisco firm for a new ballot-counting system.
     After months of intense lobbying by the major manufacturers, Sequoia Pacific Systems of San Francisco was chosen to supply the county with new machinery in time for November's community college, school and special-service district elections.
     Sequoia's price for the new system, which uses computer cards with candidates' names printed on them and a hole-punching machine to mark ballots, is about $500,000 more than the pen-marking system recommended by a board-appointed advisory committee.
. . .
     The decision is controversial because the new system will replace existing vote-tally equipment installed five years ago, also over the strong objections of county staff....
. . .
     As late as Monday afternoon, Sequoia Pacific's lobbyist, Frank Michelena, was visiting board members in their offices. Moreover, county Republican Party Chairman Tom Fuentes wrote letters to supervisors and called Board Chairman Thomas F. Riley to urge selection of Sequoia Pacific. [Gosh, I wonder why the reporter neglected to mention that Frank and Tom were pals from way back?]
. . .
     "We don't feel the county did the right thing," said DFM President Tom Diebolt after Tuesday's decision.
     However, Diebolt said he did not think any improprieties had occurred during the bidding process.
. . .
     Diebolt said he did not employ the services of a lobbyist because "Our firm has never had to deal directly with county board members before . . . In every county where our services have been selected, we dealt only with county staff, who made the selection and then followed up with recommendations to the board. Often, we were simply an item on a consent (no discussion) calendar (agenda)."
     Fuentes said he recommended Sequoia Pacific to Riley and other board members after he met with Michelena and a Sequoia official to discuss the importance of audit trails in close recounts, such as occurred in last year's 256-vote victory by Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove) over Republican challenger Richard Longshore. The term "audit trails" refers to the process of being able to trace and analyze the ballots cast so that none are lost or misplaced. Fuentes said he received no compensation for recommending Sequoia.
. . .
     The existing system was sold to the county by Valtec Co. of Tulsa, Okla.
     There was intense lobbying—including controversial campaign contributions from vendors to county supervisors—during the selection process last time. In the end, the board ignored the recommendations of its own staff and picked a system that had never been tried.
     Valtec hired Lyle Overby, an aide to former supervisor Ralph Diedrich, during the last bidding war. Overby was not involved in the current competition, county officials said….
     In May, the Times had reported:
     The existing system was purchased—over the objections of a county advisory group—from the Valtec Co. of Tulsa, Okla., after an intensive lobbying campaign in which Valtec hired lobbyist Lyle Overby, who earlier had served on the staffs of former Supervisors Ralph Diedrich and Robert Battin.
     Battin and Diedrich, of course, were beneficiaries of Dick and Doc's largesse.

* * *
     “When we wrote TIN CUP (the county law limiting campaign donations), one of the main reasons was to stop what [Frank Michelena] was doing,'' said campaign watchdog Shirley Grindle, who agreed he was one of the most influential people in the county in the 1970s. “Once there was TIN CUP, he played by the rules. In fact, we became friends. He had a very generous heart. He was basically a kind person."
Shirley Grindle, OC Reg, 8/2/2005
     One lobbyist, Frank Michelena, has established himself as the Santa
Claus of county consultants. He has given more than $ 7,800 in
sporting-event tickets, meals and other gifts to supervisors and their
aides in the past five years, according to gift reports filed by the
officials.
     In second place is lobbyist Lyle Overby, who has given $ 2,834 in gifts
to supervisors and aides during the same period, the reports show.

OC Register, 11/20/88 

BATTIN: the "COALITION" HARBER'S "BRAINCHILD

OC Reg Feb 18 1976

 

Former SOCCCD director of public affairs Pam Zanelli once worked for Dr. Louis Cella

Welcome to the OC
     I thought I smelled a rat, and I was right. (See Remember Zanelli?)
     I did a little more looking into Pam Zanelli’s background and discovered something very interesting.
     First, a little review. Denizens of the SOCCCD will remember Pam Zanelli as the notorious political consultant, hired by the corrupt Old Guard (the secretive leadership of the SOCCCD’s faculty union) back in 1996, in a desperate effort to get its slate of “fiscal conservatives” elected onto the board. (Once elected, the new board would reward the union with a contract giving leadership an array of goodies.)
     Zanelli, a Democrat, had advised the group that benefits for same-sex partners was a “hot-button issue” among local Neanderthals—er, Republicans. And so union leadership, exhibiting a startling lack of principle, sent Republican households the infamous red “same-sex” flier, which relied on distortions, misrepresentations, and (of course) homophobia to persuade voters to vote against the opposing slate (called PIE), led by Dave Lang.
     The flier worked (only Lang prevailed over a union candidate, viz., Davis). By December of 1996, the union had its majority on the board. The era of the notorious "board majority" (at first John Williams, Steve Frogue, Dorothy Fortune, and Teddi Lorch; after the election of '98, Williams, Frogue, Fortune, Nancy Padberg, and Don Wagner) commenced. Everything went to hell, and fast.
     In 1997, despite the obvious conflict of interest, the board hired Zanelli as their chief PR flak. They kept her for two or three years, but she somehow inspired the enmity of Padberg or Fortune (not sure), and so she got canned.
     Recently, I noted that she had previously worked for Paul Carpenter, a corrupt local (and state) politician associated with “Dick and Doc”Dick O’Neill and Dr. Louis Cellathe infamous campaign finance partnership that essentially “bought” the OC Board of Supervisors in the 1970s—Orange County’s most dramatic era of corruption.
     Paul Carpenter had also been involved (in 1969 or 1970) in Ronald Caspers’ ruthless campaign to discredit Republican Supervisor Alton Allen. Like Carpenter, Ron Caspers was among D&D’s stable of politicians. (It seems likely that the effort to target Allen was directed by Fred Harber on behalf of D&D.)
     And, of course, throughout this period, Tom Fuentes was Ron Caspers’ right-hand man.

* * *
Caspers' left-hand man
     ZANELLI AND CELLA. Today, I did more digging and discovered that Zanelli was much closer (in some sense) to the Dick and Doc operation than I had thought. She actually worked for Louis Cella in one of his hospitals!
     Lemme explain. In January of 1979, Republican Harriett Wieder had just been elected as Orange County’s first female Supervisor. She had replaced Laurence Schmit, a Republican who had been among O’Neill and Cella’s stable of hinky pols. (He somehow managed to avoid the attention of OC DAand RepublicanCecil Hicks, who vigorously pursued anti-corruption prosecution at the time.)
     On Jan 18, 1979, the Times (“New Supervisor Has 5 Women on Staff of 7”) listed and described Wieder’s new staff:
     —Mrs. Zanelli, 32, of Santa Ana, who handled press relations in Mrs. Wieder’s campaign and is one of three Democrats on the Republican supervisor’s staff.
     Mrs. Zanelli … has worked in the campaigns or offices of Rep. Jerry Patterson (D-Santa Ana), state Sen Paul Carpenter (D-Cypress) and Assemblyman Chet Wray (D-Westminster).
     She also did political publicity work for former Democratic financier Dr. Louis J. Cella Jr., receiving $5,400 from one of Cella’s hospitals in 1974. Cella is serving a federal prison term for income tax evasion and embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from two Orange County hospitals.
     “I was one of the people who didn’t know what Cella was doing,” Mrs. Zanelli said. Mrs. Wieder said she was “totally unaware” of Mrs. Zanelli’s work for Cella. “I brought Pam on because she is great on research,” the supervisor said.
     She will handle publicity and appointments to commissions for Mrs. Wieder.
     —John P. Erskine, 27, of Huntington Beach, the only holdover aide from Mrs. Wieder’s predecessor, Laurence Schmit….
     I’ve talked to reporters who were there in 1974. One described how Cella’s hospitals would have large wings devoted to political activitynothing medical went on there. 
     “There was all this printing equipment there," said one reporter. "It was strange.”
     Evidently not so strange to Pam Zanelli!
     By September of the same year (1979), Zanelli left Wieder “to do political consulting work…” (LA Times, Sep. 16, 1979). (I should note that Zanelli seemed to be back working with Supervisor Wieder again in the late 80s.)
     A bit after her 1979 exodus from Wieder’s crew, Zanelli pops up in connection with Governor Jerry Brown (who was known to be friendly with campaign contributor Cella). In 1981, the LA Times (“Visit linked to possible senate bid," Feb 28, 1981) reported about a recent “little-known” visit by Brown to Orange County. At the time, Democrats grumbled that Brown hadn’t given OC enough attention, and so a group of Democrats, including Pam Zanelli, organized a wine-and-cheese party at the Huntington Beach home of somebody named Francis Malloy. Lots of wealthy Dems and Repubs were invited.
     According to the Times, “Among those who attended were business executives and developers invited by Frank Michelena, a well-known Orange County lobbyist.”
     Frank Michelena?

     THE MICHELENA MAN. Michelena’s name is one that pops up throughout OC’s (shady) history going back more than forty years. He was a notorious “lobbyist,” someone who was hired to get a firm close to people, including public officials, who decided who'd get lucrative contracts. (We've mentioned Mr. Michelena's "generous" ways previously: 1976: Tom Fuentes, lobbyist, deputy.)
     Kinda like Lyle Overby and, um, Tom Fuentes.
     Now, as it turns out, Michelena worked with Tom Fuentes during the latter’s formative years as a political apparatchik/consultant/gopher.
     According to former OC GOP chairman Tom Rogers, in about 1970,
     Caspers hired a young graduate of Chapman College ... to serve on this staff. As Casper’s assistant, Tom Fuentes … worked diligently to convince Republicans that Caspers was not what many party regulars feared, an unscrupulous opportunist who had no permanent loyalty to any political party. Fuentes was aided in his duties by the ubiquitous Frank Michelena. Michelena, a lobbyist with a checkered career, was notorious in the field of political influence. (Agents' Orange, 2000)
     Rogers obviously has a low regard of Mr. Michelena—and, I think, of Mr. Fuentes.
     At one point, he identifies three (roughly defined) eras of “machine” politics in Orange County.
     The first, which arose in the 60s, was dominated by Democrats and involved O’Neill, Cella (a nominal Republican), and Fred Harber, among others. But that machine slowly transformed into a “hybrid” that embraced both Democrats (like Harber and Robert Battin) and Republicans (like Caspers and Schmit). In this second “machine,” says Rogers, the “emphasis shifted from political philosophy to corporate profits.”
     Rogers identifies Ron Caspers, Tom Fuentes, and Frank Michelena as central to this disturbing political contraption.
     (According to R, there’s a third machine that Rogers associates with the “Cave Men”: a group of religious right Republicans who are focused on defending incumbents who share their right-wing philosophy. Dana Rohrabacher and Curt Pringle [the latter a close associate of Tom Fuentes], he says, are key to this third “machine.”)

* * *
Tom
     So there we have it. First, Pam Zanelli was part of Dr. Louis Cella's operation, at least in the narrow business sense, back in 1974. It is possible, I suppose, that she "didn't know what Cella was doing." But it is highly unlikely, I think.
     Zanelli was not new to politics at the time. In 1975, she was among 15 women chosen to serve on the Orange County Commission on the Status of Women.
     Second, she worked under Paul Carpenter, though I don't know when. Already in 1969, Carpenter was one of Dick and Doc's soldiers, and perhaps that suggests that Zanelli worked for Carpenter during the same era in which she worked for Cella. (Carpenter was based in Cypress, as was Fred Harber, who had been the City Manager.)
     Carpenter was dirty. According to Rogers, he played a part in the stunning shenanigans that caused Alton Allen's loss of his Supervisorial seat. It is reasonable to suppose that he participated in similar activities in subsequent years, the years of the rise of Cella and O'Neill's influence (which peaked at about 1975). 
     At any rate, by the 80s, Carpenter, always a sly character, was caught selling votes in Sacramento. When he died in 2002, the Times described his spectacular fall as a public servant:

     ...[H]is maverick behavior led to trouble in 1986 when, during his successful campaign for the Board of Equalization, he became a target of an FBI sting in which federal agents surreptitiously contributed money to lawmakers in exchange for legislative favors.
     Convicted in 1990 of racketeering, extortion and conspiracy for accepting $20,000 from a fictitious shrimp fishery, Carpenter got off on a technicality when a federal appeals court ruled that the jury had not been properly instructed. But he was forced to leave public office.
     In a separate case three years later, a jury convicted him on 11 counts of obstruction of justice and money laundering....
     "I was arrogant," Carpenter admitted to a Times reporter in 1993 during the trial, in which he was accused of illegally funneling $78,000 to [Sen. Alan] Robbins through a Santa Monica public relations firm.
     Shortly before he was to be sentenced, Carpenter fled to Costa Rica, saying he was seeking "a more adventuristic" treatment for the prostate cancer that doctors had predicted would kill him within two years. He wrote in a note to the judge: "I find my drive for survival stronger than my sense of obligation to your legal system."
     His drive for survival didn't keep him and a friend from enteringand winninga national bridge tournament in the Central American nation.
     Tracked down less than a year later by U.S. officials, Carpenter spent several months in a Costa Rican jail before being returned to California for sentencing.
With his cancer in remission, Carpenter was sentenced in 1995 to seven years in federal prison. After his release from prison in 1999, Carpenter settled in seclusion in San Antonio ... in 1986.
     It is possible, of course, that Zanelli worked for this guy and had no idea that he was mighty hinky.
    Yeah. She's either clueless or hinky. Take your pick.
    Third—and least compelling, I suppose—she seemed to know and work with Frank Michelena, who was part of the highly Nixonian Team Caspers along with Fuentes and Harber. That's worth mentioning, I guess. Or maybe not.
     Ah, the SOCCCD saga! It just gets better and better, doesn't it?


[Note to self: among those who gave to Alton Allen during the 1970 campaign: Donald Bren, assistant to Allen, John Killefer, Frank Michelena--$500 each. Raub Bein Frost: $350. Beckman, Segerstrom, and Graham gave $250. Among Supe. Baker's contributors were Bren and Michelena.  Zitnik gave to Wilcoxen. Times, 7/8/70. Looks like Michelena soon switched horses to Caspers. Derek McWhinney gaver to Caspers in 1970! Oddly, so did Old Guard's Athalie Clark.]


UPDATE: PAM'S HUBBY, JEFF


     At some point, Pam married one Jeff Zanelli—presumably by 1975, since she was using his name by then. They later divorced, but I don’t know when.
     Jeff Zanelli was/is in the same business—political consulting. His name comes up in Democratic politics starting in the early 60s.
     Jeff, like Pam, was in some sense employed by Dr. Louis Cella. According to a 1975 Times article about Louis Cella’s criminal trial(s) (“Subpoena Quashed in Investigation of Cella,” Dec. 9, 1975),

     The federal grand jury is investigating alleged federal income tax evasion by Cella and two hospitals in which he is a major owner…. ¶ Cella … allegedly obtained money from the two hospitals by causing checks to be issued on the basis of phony invoices for nonexistent supply orders. ¶ He allegedly also caused the hospitals to pay some of the political campaign costs and some persons who worked on campaigns.
     Testifying before the federal grand jury Monday were Jerry Zanelli, staff director of the State Senate Democratic Caucus and administrative aide to Sen. David Roberti (D-Hollywood). Hospital sources said Zanelli has been paid more than $20,000 by the two hospitals.
     In 1982, Zanelli was still working for Roberti. In a Times article about the dishonest tactics routinely employed by the Newport Beach consulting firm Butcher-Forde, we’re told that Roberti sent his man Zanelli to help with the mailers for two other Democratic candidates, including State Sen. Alex Garcia, who sent mailers that falsely claimed a big endorsement, and Al Serrato, who sent mailers that were arguably racist :

     …[T]here is a continuing dispute involving mailers sent out by the campaign of Al Serrato, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the new 32nd Senate District seat in Orange County. ¶ The mailers said that one of Serrato’s opponents “marched with Vietnamese in black pajamas,” had a “Vietnamese businessman” as a chief financial supporter, and considered “Indochinese refugees” a major campaign issue. … ¶ After the Orange County Democratic Party’s ethics committee had “condemned” the mailing as “blatantly racist,” Serrato publicly insisted that he did not authorize some of the language it contained. But [ArnoldForde, of Butcher-Forde, responded that Serrato had “designed the piece himself” and that the firm had only handled its distribution.
     Later, a variety of sources suggested that Jerry Zanelli, an aide ordered by Roberti to assist both the Garcia and Serrato campaigns, was responsible. ¶ …Zanelli said that while he had provided the money for the piece in question and had been in touch with Forde about distribution, he had never so much as looked at the contents. (“Dirty Campaign Tactics Creating Alarm,” LA Times, Jun 14, 1982)
     Of course.
     You’ll recall that “Dick and Doc’s” (i.e., Richard O'Neill and Dr. Louis Cella's) political strategist, Fred Harber, was very close with Butcher-Forde and that Forde worked on Ron Caspers’ first political campaign (in 1970). Tom Fuentes managed that campaign. Later, Fuentes became Caspers’ chief aide and no doubt had many dealings with Harber, Butcher, and Forde.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Innuendo" about Tom Fuentes? Nope. OUTUENDO

     Good Lord!
     I only just now noticed a terrific Matt Coker piece (in yesterday's NavelGazing) that, well, makes yours truly look pretty damned good!

Frank Mickadeit, OC Register Columnist, Slams College Professor on Behalf of Late Tom Fuentes (NavelGazing)

     Thanks, Matt!
     Er, I mean: thanks for doing your job, being objective and fair and such.

     The upshot of Matt's post is that the Fuenteans, or, rather, one of their toadies—Frank Mickadeit, the OC Register columnist and Tomophile—responded to the board’s choosing James Wright as Tom’s replacement by screaming “disgraceful!” (see Fuentes family stung by college board)—and by going after MOI. According to the Mick, so hateful am I that I dragged out old “innuendo” to defame the sainted Tomster. (My so-called "innuendo" focused on Fuentes' close association with corrupt pols in his early days.) So I responded (says Matt) with research (old Reg and Times articles, not innuendo) that showed that Tom was a truly hinky fellow—and I'm not talking about any carnations he may or may not have worn.

     Well, Yeah.

     Check it out: here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Remember Pam Zanelli? (It’s a small freakin’ world)

Irvine Valley President Sues College District, LA Times, Sept. 13, 2000
Pam Zanelli, PR hack
     From the 18th to the 21st of October, 2000, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), of which our district was (and is) a member, held its annual conference—this time, at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. The theme for ACCT’s “Convention 2000” was “Leadership in a Democracy.”
     A contingent from the SOCCCD presented during that conference. I'm afraid it was pretty embarrassing.
     On Friday, Oct. 20, they offered “Dealing with the Media—Controversy Real or Contrived.” It explained the district’s alleged victimization at the hands of biased media with regard to such issues as: the board’s repeated violations of the Brown Act, trustee Frogue’s forum that invited anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, the district’s placement on the state fiscal watch list, one college’s blatantly whitewashed accreditation report, failure to follow accepted procedures when hiring administrators, and so on. According to this benighted bunch, the media made the district look bad, not because they were doing their job of reporting the facts. No, according to this crew, the media and its people were friendly to, well, critics like meand these people assisted in our scheme to hurt the district, the trustees, the union, et al., purely out of vengeance and malevolence. (For an overview of the district's "issues" c. 2000, see South O.C. Seats Have 10 Trading Hostilities, LA Times, Oct. 31, 2000; Cirque du Socccd, OC Weekly, Oct. 12, 2000; and Irvine Valley President Sues College District, LA Times, Sept. 13, 2000.)
     Such nutty and incompetent thinking is known as having a "bad conspiracy theory."
     As I’ve explained before, the only reason I got on well with reporters is that I never attempted to manipulate them, never lied or exaggerated. And they responded. It's that simple.
     They did not become my friends. I do not communicate with them now (with the exception of Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly—who doesn't need prodding from me to cover the endless silliness emitted from certain sectors in our district).
     My efforts were not particularly well-organized. If there was a story I thought that reporters would like to know about, I contacted them. That's it. Sometimes they contacted me.
     No conspiracy. No organized effort.
     What these fools fail to understand is that one need not "sell" a story to journalistsif the story is true.
     The district presenters that day included trustee Nancy Padberg, trustee Dorothy Fortune (who later resigned amid accusations that she was no longer an OC resident), SOCCCD Chancellor Cedric Sampson, Accuracy in Media’s Charles Wiley, and SOCCCD director of public affairs, Pam Zanelli.
     (For full transcripts of their remarks see Nancy does Nashville.)
Steve Frogue holding IHR publication
     Wiley’s organization, Accuracy in Media, which was founded by the likes of Reed Irvine, was/is known for its unreasonable insistence that Vince Foster was murdered, its challenge of reports that suggest that global warming is real (and it very likely is), and its criticism of human-rights reporting in El Salvador by the New York Times (in 1983).
     The latter reports were eventually determined to be accurate.
     I.e., Accuracy in Media is a joke.
     And Pam Zanelli? At the conference, Padberg introduced Zanelli as follows:
     OK, and our next speaker is the lady in the trenches; she is the first line of attack with the press; thank goodness we have her, cuz, without her, we would just be deluged all of us individually. So that is Pam Zanelli. She has a BA in journalism; as I explained earlier, she has vast experience before coming to us, and, uh, it’s served her well. Pam Zanelli.
     WHENCE ZANELLI? Back in 1996, Zanelli had been hired by SOCCCD's notoriously corrupt “Old Guard” faculty union to advise on how to get its slate of trustee candidates—staunch “fiscal conservatives” Frogue, Fortune, John Williams, and Don Davis—elected. Relying on polling data, she advised that benefits for gay couples was a local “hot button issue.”
     Of course, at the SOCCCD at the time, it was also a phony issue, an invention.
     In his award-winning 1998 cover story about Steve Frogue, OC Weekly writer Matt Coker explained:
     A number of teachers went to the leaders of the faculty association before the 1996 election and asked that the union not endorse Frogue because he already had a reputation as a nut. The union ignored them and instead hired an outside consultant to help direct the campaign of its slate of candidates: Frogue, Fortune, Williams and Don Davis.
     That consultant was Pam Zanelli.
     Zanelli…told the Weekly she's been in politics since she was 19. The Tustin resident represented former Governor Jerry Brown in OC; was Brown's appointment to the male-dominated Orange County Fair Board…; served on the staffs of former state Senator Paul Carpenter and then-county Supervisor Harriet Wieder, helped the campaigns of a slew of Assembly and judicial candidates....
     She was paid $4,200 to be the faculty association's 1996 campaign consultant. One of the campaign's most dramatic moments came when the slate mailed a hit piece aimed at its opponents: "Taxpayer Alert: Don't Allow Your Tax Dollars to Pay for Same-Sex 'Marriage' Domestic Benefits at Your Saddleback Community College District." Sent to Republican voters in the district shortly before the election, it alleged that the slate's four opponents—including incumbent [SOCCCD Trustee DaveLang—supported the use of "education tax dollars" for health benefits for employees' same-sex partners, college classes including "content about gay and lesbian lifestyles" and "seminars and conferences to educate participants about the gay and lesbian lifestyle."
. . .
     Lang later told The Lariat … that no candidate on his slate campaigned with domestic-partner benefits as an issue, although they were asked their feelings about it at a public forum. The claim that Lang's slate planned gay and lesbian seminars and classes "was invented," he added.
     The mailer was paid for by … a political action committee established by … the … Faculty Association. The union spent at least $44,000 on behalf of Frogue's slate in that election, records show.
     The mailer worked....
* * *
Lang: betrayed
his supporters
     DIGRESSION: Back in 1998, Lang was the board majority—and its toady, IVC President Raghu Mathur’s—harshest critic. But then, in 2000, Friend-of-Mathur Tom Fuentes … was appointed to (and later elected to) the board. Fuentes and Lang were pretty consistently on opposite sides of issues.
     But then Fuentes did what Fuentes does: he found a weakness in his colleague: Lang badly wanted to become OC Treasurer, and Fuentes convinced him that he could help with that. (This is speculation based on subsequent events.)
     And so, in 2005, Lang underwent a dramatic transformation from being Raghu Mathur’s harshest critic to being Mathur’s most ardent champion!
     Lang's supporters were thunderstruck. Lang seemed unable to explain himself. He simpered.
     Ultimately (in 2008), Fuentes helped with Lang’s campaign for the OC Treasurer spot. The campaign was a dismal failure. Briefly, the Earth spun with the music of justice.
     For reasons unknown (to me), Lang, who for so many years was virtually the board’s sole voice of reason, has, since 2005, continued to be Fuentes’ Yes-Man. And that has led him to vote in ways that are impossible to defend. [End of Digression]

* * *
     ZANELLI, PART TWOAmazingly, despite the obvious conflict-of-interest, in 1997, the new union-friendly (i.e., union-paid for) board majority decided to hire Zanelli as its chief PR person. According to Coker,
     After the ’96 election, Zanelli landed another job that placed her close to the Gang of Four. Her consulting group was hired by the board to look into the district's public-information program in the wake of the Jews-killed-Kennedy [Frogue forum] incident. After the consultants' report…was handed to the board, Zanelli was hired as an in-house consultant, serving as the district's media spokesperson and providing political expertise. Frogue's opponents call her "a $5,000-per-month spin doctor," referring to the amount she's reportedly paid and the information she's dispensing.
     WEAPONS CONFISCATED; SO IT'S SAFE. As a district flack, Zanelli committed her share of gaffs. My personal fave was the Great Weaponry Gaff.
     In February of '98, Acting Chancellor Kathie Hodge distributed a memo to administrators, alerting them that "Without my authorization, a District Press Release was sent out...today. The release, titled 'Weapons Confiscated at SOCCCD Board Meeting,' has the potential of being frightening to our students and the community...." Zanelli had authored and sent out the press release.
     A day later, the Times ran a pleasant little piece entitled, "Knife, Pepper Spray are Found at Meeting." According to the article, "Campus police confiscated a 9-inch folding knife and a small canister of pepper spray from a man attending a SOCCCD board meeting last week. The seizure came amid tighter security measures in response to controversy surrounding a seminar Trustee Steven J. Frogue proposed last year on the assassination of President Kennedy... 'We want people to know they are safe at these meetings and they will not be disrupted for any reason,' campus spokeswoman Pam Zanelli said." (Times, 2/20/98)
     Oops.
     And so why, you ask, am I taking this stroll down the Zanelli memorial gutter of Memory Frickin' Lane?
     It's cuz I just wanna say once again that it’s a small freakin’ world. And it is.

Harriett Wieder
     IT'S A SMALL WORLD. Zanelli, you’ll recall, was tight with Jerry Brown. But Brown (back in the seventies) was a pal of—that’s right, Dr. Louis Cella of the famous “Dick and Doc” campaign finance duo, which controlled the OC Board of Supes in the seventies. (See Dan Walters.)
     As you know, that project (the "Dick and Doc Show" and all of its players) ended in a hail of indictments and prison sentences.
     Now I have no idea if anything hinky went on between “Dick and Doc” and Linda Ronstadt's old boyfriend. I only know that Brown invited Cella (and no doubt Cella’s partner, Dick O’Neill) to parties during a period in which D&D made substantial campaign contributions that were to Gov. Brown’s liking.
     Zanelli also worked for Republican Harriett Wieder, who, during her supervisorial tenure, was a known critic of then-OC GOP chairman Tom Fuentes. Wieder was also a vocal critic of the “Old Boys” club that is OC politics; Tom, of course, was the navigator and exploiter par excellence of such networks.
     Zanelli worked for state Senator Paul Carpenter.
Paul Carpenter
     Guess what?
     Back in the 70s, Carpenter was in league with Ron Caspers and “Dick and Doc.” According to journalist Dan Walters, back in the 70s,
     Carpenter was the executive director of the county health planning council—an organization that rubber stamped construction of [among others', D&D's] hospitals—before winning an Assembly seat in 1974, thanks largely to financing from Cella and O’Neill.
. . .
     Carpenter moved his political base to Los Angeles County and got himself promoted from the Assembly to the Senate, where he eventually became a member of the Democratic leadership with major responsibility for enhancing campaign fund collections. That brought him to the attention of federal investigators as they probed vote peddling in the Capitol and resulted in indictment, trial and conviction.
     Early in 1995, Carpenter was given seven years and three months in federal prison for his part in the Sacramento vote-selling scandal. (See Dan Walters, Jan 23, 1995)

     PAUL CARPENTER WAS A DICK AND DOCKER. Now get this. Former OC GOP chairman Tom Rogers writes that Carpenter was involved in Ron Caspers’ notorious smear campaign against Republican supervisor Alton Allen in 1969-70. (You’ll recall that Tom Fuentes was Caspers’ campaign manager in 1970; he then became Caspers' chief executive aide until Caspers' mysterious death in '74):
     The incumbent in the 5th district was [Republican] Alton Allen, a retired banker…. Allen was widely respected for his representation of the 5th District, which included … thousands of acres devoted to agricultural production.
     It came as a rude shock when, in 1969, a tabloid-type mailer was received by residents of the 5th District alleging wrongdoing on the part of Allen and his staff. Allen’s reputation for honesty and integrity had been undoubted, never a whisper against his character had ever been heard.…
     Allen contacted Republican leadership for help against this scurrilous attack. At a meeting at the Balboa Bay Club, GOP leaders met with Allen and those in attendance were at a loss for any explanation of the anti-Allen campaign. The retired banker was obviously distraught at having unfounded insinuations directed at himself and his staff.…
     The mysterious anti-Allen forces opened a headquarters in Laguna Hills from which to launch a formal recall campaign. The mailers kept arriving with insinuations of Allen’s “wrongdoing.” …
. . .
Robert Battin
     It would be revealed later that Tarantino [the man whose name was on the recall] had ties to Lou Cella, [Cella and Caspers' political consultant] Fred Harber, and others identified by Robert Battin as “the Coalition.” Battin, in an attempt to depict his own conviction as discriminatory, revealed the existence of the group, which also included [OC land baron] R.J. O’Neill. 
. . .
     Robert Battin was to use his position on the Board of Supervisors to make Allen look inept in dealing with certain issues. Paul Carpenter also admitted to being part of the recall effort much later, but denied knowledge of the other Coalition members being involved. Carpenter claimed that the clandestine effort was confined to himself and a Republican who aspired to be a supervisor [presumably, Caspers]…. (From Agents' Orange, Tom Rogers, 2000)
     Gosh, it all makes my head spin.
     I don't have much info on Zanelli, but she seems to be 66 years old, which would make her 30 in 1976 or thereabouts. So, she could easily have been working for Carpenter during the bad old days of Battin and Caspers and Dick & Doc.

THIS STORY CONTINUES: see Zanelli once worked for Cella, June 30.


Page 2 of the 4-page "same-sex" flier, paid for by the SOCCCD faculty union to get Frogue, Williams, and Fortune elected. It worked. (Consultant: Pam Zanelli)

Limber Lou running home at poetry softball game
     These days, Rebel Girl is up north, helping run the famous Writers' Workshops at Squaw Valley. Today, she sent me this pic.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monks v. canyon dwellers

This one's close to home:

The Norbertine Code: Monks and canyon dwellers go mano a mano in Silverado Canyon (OC Weekly)

…In 1999, Las Vegas developer Marnell Corrao, which developed the Wynn and Bellagio resorts, bought 320 acres at a reported $5 million, with designs to build 12 mansions on about 70 acres. Court battles ensued when Trabuco Canyon resident Ray Chandos, who, at 62 years old, has lived in the canyons for nearly 30 years, led his Rural Canyon Conservation Fund in filing a successful civil complaint, saying the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) did not properly address impacts on water quality and coastal sage scrub mitigation. A supplemental EIR was drafted, but soon afterward, anti-development residents cited a letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that said there was evidence of the federally endangered Southwestern Arroyo Toad, a three-inch, brown-and-cream-colored critter that breeds in water and was thought to be extinct in the region…. (continued…)

"St. Thomas" Fuentes was an appointee, too—twice

     “Frogue’s actions…smack of back-room politics. Resigning from an elected board post just before a term expires is an old trick used to give a board majority the opportunity to hand-pick an ally for the seat. The handpicked successor then has the distinct advantage of running as the incumbent when the seat comes up for election” 
Irvine World News editorial, 6/29/00
     As some readers have noted, Tom Fuentes got on the SOCCCD BOT via an appointment.
     You’ll recall that, in 1997, trustee Steven Frogue sparked considerable controversy when he proposed a “forum” on the Warren Commission (i.e., the assassination of JFK). His invitees included some unsavory characters, including writers affiliated with Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby. All of them offered daft conspiracy theories of a kind never encountered in academia. That controversy led to another: various unrelated former students accused Frogue, a high school teacher, of denying the Holocaust in the classroom.
     By 2000, Frogue had survived two attempted recalls, which failed, but which came close to succeeding and even managed to unite the Democratic and Republican parties, if only briefly. Frogue was seriously damaged goods.
     No doubt someone got to Frogue and got him to resign at just the right moment—permitting the miraculous appearance of Tom Fuentes, a man who had long desired elected office but who dragged with him some serious baggage that he did not want inspected.
     I seem to recall reporting that then-IVC President Raghu Mathur had met with Tom Fuentes (then OC GOP chairman) some time in May of 2000. By 2000, Fuentes had already fended off challenges to his chairmanship coming from Big Money moderates. Maybe he decided it was time to hedge his bets.
     Then, in late June, Frogue announced his resignation. Fuentes then said he was interested in replacing the Froguester, but he was not alone.
     On the warm July night of the board's interview of applicants, ubiquitous GOP operative Adam Probolsky ran—er, lumbered—around the room dotting I’s and crossing T’s in preparation of the Great Man’s interview and coronation. Everything was choreographed. I recall wondering what it all meant.
     On hand to speak in support of Tom’s application was the union Old Guard, which still maintained control (?) of the Faculty Association. Back in '96 and '98 they had paid for the campaigns of Frogue, Dot Fortune, John Williams, Don Wagner, and Nancy Padberg. Ah, those were the days!
The Old Guard's
Sharon Macmillan
     As I recall, Saddleback College's Sharon MacMillan and IVC's Ray Chandos were among the faculty who spoke in support of Fuentes’ application.
     It was a ridiculous spectacle. The likes of Wagner and Williams could barely disguise their glee. Mr. OC Republican was about to join our board! Think of the connections! Think of how he could help advance my career! 
     John Williams was so pleased-as-punch that he sizzled in his chair like an enormous baked ham, with all the trimmings.
     That the old corrupt union was sponsoring Fuentes’ application shines an interesting light on Frank Mickadeit’s recent column in which he “explained” that, when Fuentes arrived at the district, his desire to de-emphasize high faculty salaries soon caused a “war” on the board that has never fully died down. (Supposedly, I was on the "higher faculty salaries" side of that war.)
     In truth, those, like me, who opposed Fuentes’ coronation that night had for years been fighting MacMillan and Chandos' Old Guard, a group of faculty (Mathur had been among its key members) who helped elect the aforementioned anti-union and anti-faculty elements on the board, especially Wagner.
     Why would they do that? The Old Guard had worked out a “quid pro quo”: Frogue and the others would get campaign support, and the faculty (especially senior faculty) would get high salaries—plus various scores settled and careers advanced. Thus it was that Ken Woodward and Mike Runyan became administrators. (See OC Reg, Oct. 31, 1998, "Board’s Unlikely Secret Allies." See also OC Weekly, Nov. 15, 1996, "The real purpose behind gay-baiting at Saddleback".)
Ray Chandos
     Frogue's replacement with Fuentes occurred in July and, of course, the election (including Fuentes’) would occur less than four months later! Thus it was that Mr. Fuentes snuck onto an elected board without having to campaign vigorously and expose himself to prying journalists and philosophers.
     One might ask: at the time, did Fuentes say, "Let's leave replacing Frogue to the voters in November!"?
     He did not.
* * *
“We’ve gotten rid of a crude Neanderthal but replaced him with a slick one,” said Irvine Valley College Professor Roy Bauer.... 
—"A career politician is appointed to the rancorous
south Orange County panel, filling out the term of
a controversial trustee," 
OC Register, July 13, 2000

     BACK IN 1974, after the death of his boss, Ronald W. Caspers, Fuentes was briefly an appointee. It appears that, at some point, then-governor Ronald Reagan had announced that Fuentes, who had been Caspers' chief executive assistant (among other things), would get the nod. But then that nasty one-year residency requirement cropped up and the whole thing went to hell, giving us Supervisor Tom Riley, a guy who would never meet a developer's project he didn't like. (The appearance of Riley helped doom OC to endless over-development. General "Mugs" Riley stayed on the board for twenty years.)
     Back in May of 1974, Fuentes had announced his intention of quitting his "aide" gig and becoming a priest; he said he would resign as Caspers’ aid (and, I suppose, as consultant to Caspers’ S&L) in September. But when Caspers died and a replacement was needed and Fuentes was on the short list, that all changed. Plainly, Fuentes badly wanted the Supervisor gig. Evidently, when the residency requirement nixed the deal, Fuentes was very disappointed. He returned to plan A: after giving himself a big fund-raiser, he went up to St. Patrick’s (next door to where Caspers had gone to private college, oddly enough).
Probolsky: elfin GOP operative
     But the priest thing did not take. He was back in the worldly action of OC backrooms by 1975, investing in singles bars, hangin' with GOP bigwigs. He bragged that he had received many offers for fancy jobs. (He chose to become a lobbyist for Bein and Frost.) Soon, he was back on the Central Committee and snagged the Vice Chairmanship of the OC GOP.
     In those days, he was sometimes referred to as one of OC's most eligible bachelors!
     I think that, by then, he had already established his reputation as a guy who could put on a great (i.e., excessive, gala) party. He continued doing that, making quite a name for himself with his curious audacity. He had a real flair for doing little things—providing honored guests (or prospective clients for his firm) with a dozen red roses, that sort of thing—that were memorable and appreciated. (Later, his "gifts" to officials at the Santa Margarita Water District got his firm into hot water.)
     In 1983, unable to synthesize a military record (flat feet?), he got married; then he became the chairman of the Party. And the rest, as they say, is l'histoire.

Old Guard Prez
Sherry Miller-White
SEE ALSO
• Fuentes’ suspicious appointment • The board’s unlikely secret allies • The Dissenter's Dictionary

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Conservative petition drive?

     Dan Chmielewski of the Liberal OC just posted about the BOT’s action, last night, to replace Tom Fuentes with Jim Wright:
Representing evil: Dave Lang
OC Conserverati Upset Over Fuentes Replacement on Community College Board
Chris notes that
     The conservative OC Political blog is calling for a petition drive to invalidate the appointment citing the appointment was made over the family’s objections. The family can object all they want, but the board is accountable to the voters and there is an election in just five months. This is misguided and if there’s such a hue and cry from the voters, they can have their voices heard in November at the ballot box.
     It does appear that Jolene Fuentes will be running against Wright in November. She'll have a lot to overcome; she'll need big money. She does have (as she said) "connections." But maybe she'll come to her senses and step away.
     To read about the petition drive, see: SOCCCD Appoints Fuentes Successor Over Family’s Objections; Will Petition Drive Launch to Invalidate Appointment?
     How serious a threat is this?
     Dunno. My guess? It ain't goin' nowhere.

Tom Fuentes and the events of "40 years ago"

A veritable web of public service/corruption
     “There’s always some professor writing a report. I don’t pay too much attention to them.”
—Ronald W. Caspers, 1963
     THIS MORNING, Dan Chmielewski of the The Liberal OC commented as follows:
Hi Roy — I'm curious but Mickadeit says you published old rumors about Fuentes without documenting a single fact. This seems to be counter to your regular work of going overboard to document stuff you write about. Can you address this in a post please?
     In fact, last night, in a comment to Mickadeit’s piece, I responded to the “documentation” point as follows:
     You write: “The hate is so palpable that one of the faculty activists, Roy Bauer, two weeks ago rehashed for his blog a bunch of 40-year-old innuendo about Fuentes to smear his memory – and never documented a single original fact.”
     Hate has never motivated me. I am trained as an ethicist (a specialty in philosophy). My criticisms of Mr. Fuentes (and others) are fundamentally about their lack of moral decency.
     Whether or not I have “documented a single original fact” about Mr. Fuentes’ record (I certainly have) is irrelevant. I’m perfectly happy to assemble the already available facts and let them guide us to the most reasonable view about Mr. Fuentes’ nature and his activities “40” years ago. Those facts overwhelmingly suggest that Ronald Caspers and his confederates were unethical and corrupt. And Tom Fuentes was Caspers’ right-hand man for the four years in which Mr. Caspers and Co. pursued their corrupt operation.
     Please note that Mickadeit did not write that I have "not documented my claims"; he wrote that, in my post (actually, there are numerous posts, not one) two weeks ago, I “never documented a single original fact.”
     On the other hand, he describes my post as a rehash of "40-year-old innuendo about Fuentes….” So Mickadeit seems to be saying both that (1) I provide only innuendo and (2) I present nothing original.
     Let’s stick with the events of 40 years ago—namely, Fuentes’ four years with supervisor Ronald W. Caspers (which started with Fuentes' management of Caspers' 1970 supervisorial campaign and ended with Fuentes' role as executive assistant to Caspers upon the latter's death in June of 1974). My point above is that there is no need to document anything new, since the already documented facts are sufficient to portray Caspers and Co. as corrupt. 
     That Caspers' operation was corrupt is a crucial premise in my case against Fuentes. Recently, I colorfully described that case as follows:
Upshot: (1) Caspers and Co. [Harber, et al.] were seriously dirty; (2) Fuentes was Caspers' right-hand man during those dirty years. (3) Do the math. [See here.]
     (I might have added another point about the intimate nature of Fuentes' "right-handedness" to Caspers and Fuentes' reported involvement in various disturbing or questionable events and actions.) 
     In my recent series of posts about Caspers/Fuentes, I have been concerned about the issue of “documentation”—or, as I would prefer to characterize it, of “evidence.” That led me to emphasize the deposition (from 1975) of Richard Jordan, which was associated with his successful lawsuit of the County of Orange in 1978. (In a settlement involving agreements of silence, the County agreed to pay Jordan $700,000.)
     You’ll recall that, in 1978, both the Register and the Times wrote lengthy pieces about Jordan’s allegations (which the Reg uncovered by way of a public records request). In the course of its reporting, the Times came upon an old case from the mid-60s:



—I did some research on Cypress City Councilman Denni and, unsurprisingly, I found nothing about this aborted prosecution, though I did find considerable news coverage of Denni and a bribery trial in which he was acquitted, along with another man. Obviously, that he was acquitted in one case is consistent with the suggestion that prosecutors pursued another case against him. (The fellow who became Caspers' chief political advisor, Fred Harber, was the City Manager of Cypress at the time.)
     I have unearthed various other news articles concerning the bribery trial of Derek McWhinney, the Mayor or Westminster. That case and the Denni case reveal that specific elements of the Caspers/Harber shakedown scheme that Jordan describes in his deposition (namely, the $10K lump amount; the notion of payment of $2K per month) appear in other cases in which Caspers and his crew are present. (See my Puppets and Puppeteers.)
     There's more. I present former OC GOP chair Tom Rogers' account of Caspers' defeat of Supervisor Alton Allen by unscrupulous means and the behind-the-scenes regard of Caspers among establishment Republicans in and around 1970. I discuss Caspers' close relationship with the "Dick and Doc Show"—the campaign funding scheme run by Richard O'Neill and Louis Cella and relying on the political acumen of Fred Harber, who seemed to be involved in the campaigns and operations of many in the "Dick and Doc" stable. (Cella was the big fish in a series of numerous "corruption" prosecutions by OC DA Cecil Hicks' in the mid- to late-1970s.)
     And who was right there in the middle of all this? Tom Fuentes. 
     Let me be very clear about what I’m saying and what I’m not saying. I am not saying that I have proof that Fuentes participated in shakedown schemes and various unethical shenanigans during his Caspers years (c. 1970-74). What I am saying is that, given the strong indications of the nature of Ron Caspers and his associates’ actions (including apparent shakedown schemes, various unethical actions and strategies, etc.), and given Fuentes’ intricate and intimate involvement in Caspers’ public and private affairs during this period (Fuentes was not only Caspers’ chief executive assistant at the County but also a consultant at his Westminster S&L), it is implausible to suggest that Fuentes was unaware of what was going on. Indeed, given the full fabric of evidence, it is likely that he participated in it.

Fuentes' old political machine; now rusted
     We can consider also Fuentes’ pattern of controversial (i.e., ruthless, bullying, and arguably illegal) actions, especially as OC GOP chairman, long after his Caspers years. These include, of course, his involvement in the Bein & Frost/Santa Margarita Water District “gift” scandal of the early 90s and the “poll guards” scandal of the late 80s.
     Fuentes, I submit, learned quite a lot in his early years with the likes of Ron Caspers and Fred Harber. He was brought into their culture of corruption, internalized its ethos, and then regularly exhibited its unsavory impulses and preoccupations as pol/“businessman.” (Starting in 1975, Fuentes made his living helping private firms to secure lucrative contracts with government agencies, and the appearance of impropriety clung always to those dealings, even in recent years.)
     For those who wish to review the fabric of evidence that places Tom Fuentes smack dab in the center of a web of illegality and dirty dealings, I suggest reading the following:

The Fuentes file: Puppets and Puppeteers - Jun 21, 2012
~ It's pretty clear that Dick and Doc's political mastermind, Fred Harber, was the puppeteer to OC Supervisor Bob Battin's puppet. And yet Harber was Battin's "assistant." File this under: things are not always what they seem. We examine Tom Fuentes, Ron Caspers "assistant," and the extraordinary roles he seemed to play during and after Caspers' mysterious disappearance in 1974.

Harber and Caspers attempt to bribe a developer, but then they die instead - June 18, 2012
~ A RIPPING YARN: Based on two 1978 articles (Reg, Times): Richard Jordan's account of how Supe Caspers and consultant Harber tried to shake 'im down. (Tom figures into this story.) Jordan brought in the DA's office, but then Caspers, Harber, and eight others mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Baja: see "Shooting Star" below. Jordan sued; the County settled: $700,000.

Orange County's dark underbelly
The Fuentes file: Fred Harber & the ubiquity of violent death - June 17, 2012
~ It's really quite odd. There are the ten deaths of the Shooting Star sinking. There's the Arlene Hoffman killing (arrow through chest), never solved (she was Harber's secretary). Air plane crashes galore. I know that most of this is just coincidence, but still: weird.

What does Fuentes’ tutelage under, esteem of, and four years with, Ronald "shakedown" Caspers tell us about him? - June 14, 2012
~ An attempt to provide a fairly big picture. Upshot: (1) Caspers and Co. [Harber, et al.] were seriously dirty; (2) Fuentes was Caspers' right-hand man during those dirty years. (3) Do the math.

Tom Fuentes at age 34: "consultant" - Oct 9, 2010
~ Just before he became the OC GOP chairman. About to get married to the "love of his life." Running around, taking care of his "properties"—just like Fred Harber used to do! A 1983 article, catching Tom at his most vibrant and hopeful. Someone needs to write a novel.

Tom Fuentes: ubiquitous paid consultant - Oct. 4, 2010
~ Tom appears to have made his living helping firms "connect" with taxpayer money, by hook or by crook. But wasn't Tom always carping about public employee unions sucking on the public teat? I'm trying to understand how Tom didn't help others, and thus himself, do precisely that. Tom was complex.
    

 Tom Fuentes, Caspers' "bagman"? - Sep 17, 2009
~ Young Nathan R wanted to run against the lazy Republican incumbent, but Tom declared, "thou shalt leave GOP incumbents be!" Nathan got pissed, right on TV. Called Tom "Caspers' bagman." The truth is revealed, but Nathan's political career is over.


See also:

Always loved this song.

Not so fast! Rethinking fall opening

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

Invited to IVC—this time a notorious admitted HOMOPHOBE

—Conservative radio host, Michael Reagan


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

According to the department website,

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

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


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


Great. The early bird gets the worm.


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




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

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


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


In those early years, he made some curious friends:

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

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

Later, there were legal problems:

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

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


Then, natch, he found the Lord.


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


* * *

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


Michael Reagan

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

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


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


WAY TO GO, GLENN


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

Recent columns by Michael Reagan


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

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

But not General Flynn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Michael Reagan:


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

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

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

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

Roquemore and U of Phoenix

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

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

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

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

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

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

. . .

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

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

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

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

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

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

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

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

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

Delivering factoids for

Turkish anti-feminists

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


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

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

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

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

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

What’s the matter with ‘im? Dunno.

But just who are these “Pacifica Institute” people?

According to PI’s website,

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

Fethullah Gülen

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

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

. . .

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

. . .

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen?

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

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

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

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

I clicked on that. That essay includes this passage:

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

Yikes.

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

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

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

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

Berna Turam, Northeastern

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

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


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

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

Votes of "no confidence" - 1999

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


MATHUR, RAGHU P.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

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

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

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

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

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


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

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

. . .

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

. . .

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

. . .

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

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

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

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

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

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

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

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

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