Friday, June 26, 2015

Another one bites the dust (a very bad day for Shitweasels)

Mightily disgruntled today. Good.

Familiarly heedless

O.C. college district foundation closer to OKing Saudi consulting deal (LA Times)
…The proposed deal [with the Rancho Santiago Community College District] has been criticized by faculty members and others who say that it was brokered in near secrecy and who questioned doing business with an absolute monarchy with a spotty human rights record….
. . .
     Chancellor Raul Rodriguez said he hopes revenue from the deal, or others like it, will help support district projects and student programs.
. . .
     "I guess we picked the wrong country to start with," he added, jokingly.
. . .
     Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School who specializes in good governance, said even if it was an honest mistake there are consequences to violating open meeting laws.
     "The public is injured when there is a Brown Act violation like this," she said. "The public is deprived from taking part in their government's decisions."
. . .
     Rodriguez said that the district's primary role in Saudi Arabia would be to consult, help train faculty and set curricula for the two all-male schools….

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another one bites the dust (Fuentes' hagiographer reportedly caught with hand in the cookie jar)

Wu: oops
"So much has changed in my life since I met Tom, and he has guided me through all of it. Who will guide me now?"
     Here’s a curious little story. Some will recall that the late Tom Fuentes had some peculiarly avid admirers, including Register columnist Frank Mickadeit and Newport Beach Republican activist Jack Wu. Wu’s writings about Fuentes were so fawning that I dubbed him Fuentes’ “hagiographer,” although Mickadeit equally deserved that description.
     Well, in today’s OC Reg, we read that Congressman Dana Rohrabacher [has filed a] complaint that treasurer Jack Wu stole from [Rohrabacher’s] campaign:
     Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has filed a complaint accusing his former campaign treasurer, prominent Newport Beach Republican activist Jack Wu, of stealing nearly $175,000 from his re-election committee.
     The congressman fired Wu last month after committee members found just $187 in an account that was supposed to have about $185,000, Rohrabacher’s staff said Wednesday. They said Wu has stolen at least $173,500….
     Say it ain’t so!
     It will be interesting to see where this story goes.

DtB mentionings of Jack Wu:

     The OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley informs us that Nick Gerda (Voice of OC) broke this story yesterday:

Dana Rohrabacher’s Campaign Treasurer Accused of Embezzlement
“Upon discovering this information, Mr. Wu was immediately replaced as committee treasurer and the bank account was frozen. The committee confronted Mr. Wu with these allegations and Mr. Wu admitted to taking approximately $173,500 in funds from the committee’s account. The committee also demanded immediate, full restitution, and Mr. Wu promised to do so, but as of this date has failed to do so.”
On Wu's Twitter account: "Kick ass for da Lord!"

Hans Vogel

Reagan and Vogel, pals
     Earlier today, the SOCCCD community received an email from the district noting the passing and singing the praises of the district’s first board president, Hans Vogel (1922-2015):
     Dr. Hans W. Vogel, President of our first Board of Trustees, recently passed away at the age of 93.
     It was Valentine’s Day in 1967 that residents approved the formation of Saddleback Junior College District, dubbing it the “Sweetheart of Orange County.” In July 1968 the board hosted then-Governor Ronald Reagan for a high-profile dedication of Saddleback Junior College. Dr. Vogel would ultimately serve as Board President four times in his eight-year tenure….
     Over the years, in an attempt to understand our benighted district, I've written about Vogel often. It's pretty clear that Vogel—a war hero, successful volleyball coach, contractor, lawyer, and right-wing paranoid—was a very interesting man and someone perhaps best viewed, as they say, as a man of his time. He sure was!
     Not long ago, I was surprised to learn that Vogel had a significant role in the political career of Ronald Reagan. (Some will be impressed; others will be horrified.) Two years ago, I encountered this description of Vogel in a book by Tom Rogers, chairman of the OC GOP from 1969 until 1972:
     Hans Vogel was one of the first county residents to become involved in conservative politics. As a local businessman and bookstore owner, Hans was able to gather a circle of friends and associates to informal discussion concerning many issues. He was an early supporter of [John Bircher] John Schmitz, but his most impressive accomplishments was to sponsor a book-signing event at his Tustin bookstore, featuring a rising star in GOP politics, Ronald Reagan who had written a book Where’s the Rest of Me? [1965] The event was a success by all standards, and really introduced the future governor to local conservatives who came away with a signed book and a determination to support Ronald Reagan in his political career.
     Hans was also active in the County Republican Central Committee as publisher and editor of the Observer. [Elsewhere, Rogers explains that Vogel did an excellent job in that role. The Observer faded from the scene many years ago.]
DtB posts mentioning Hans Vogel:
"Utt" Library, September 1972

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rancho Santiago Community College District Foundation Takes Up Saudi Arabia Deal TODAY (NavelGazing)
     The Rancho Santiago Community College District Foundation's board is scheduled today to discuss its controversial $105 million consulting contract with Saudi Arabia that has been chastised by faculty, a student trustee and the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States.
O.C. college district foundation moves forward with downsized Saudi Arabia deal (OC Reg)
     A controversial deal to have the Rancho Santiago Community College District serve as a consultant to two Saudi Arabia all-male technical colleges won tentative approval Tuesday.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees: just saying "no" to district services relocation

Construction projects: trustees (except Prendergast) deleted #17 on the priority list, i.e., locating district services at a neutral "middle" location. They offered no rationale.

     [See Tere's Board Meeting Highlights.]
     [Meeting agenda available here.]

     6:35 - just arrived. The trustees are gathering. The meeting will start soon.
     Earlier today, the board had a special meeting (3:30) concerning planning the ATEP campus. Evidently, among other things, the first building (for IVC) was discussed. (Agenda available here. See agenda graphic at end.)
     Tere tells me that the agenda looks pretty thick tonight. Dang.

     6:36 - The meeting begins. Actions taken in closed session: 6-0 vote, Padberg absent, approved unpaid leave, part-time classified.
     Lang's invocation refers to the church shooting, etc.
     Recognition: Jacklyn Chasteler, SC hammer throw state champ. Wright reads the res. Jaclyn stands with three others. Applause. Roll call vote. Photo op. J speaks: thanks SC and the coaching staff, et al. Applause. Coaches identified. Yet another photo op.
Public comments:
     Jim Leach, the SC foundation guy, who'll be steppin' down. His tenure's almost up. Recites the usual impressive factoids about the SC foundation. Will have $116k available each year in perpetuity. Thanks Burnett, Rickner. Introduces the man who will take his place as Prez, Mike Hamilton, listing achievements, then adding, "and I think he drinks." That got a laugh. Mr. Hamilton steps up, speaks. More blathering of superlatives. "Only two drinks a week," he says. Etc.
     6:46 - Lang speaks. Jim Leach did a "tremendous job" all these years, etc.

Board reports:

     Marcia Milchiker: thanks Jim Leach. Attended commencements. "Incredible." Mentions other ceremonies she attended. SC was ranked #1 in state by some body. IVC has #1 transfer rate in OC and is 2nd in the state.
     James Wright: mentions that Karen Street named teacher of the year. Attended both graduations. Praised both commencement speakers. Appeared on Laguna Woods TV.  Attended celebration of career of a counselor.
     Tim Jemal: Echos praise of SC Foundation crew. "Great job." Both commencements were very well done. Was happy to confer degrees. State budget reflects some moderation. Some one-time money to come into education. Some serious decisions ahead.
     TJ Prendergast: Echos praise. Was sorry to have to miss commencements. Etc.
     Barbara Jay: also attended the graduations. Very impressed. Got a tour with Burnett of Saddleback campus. Also got a tour of district services, 3rd floor. Attended SC scholarships ceremony.
     Dave Lang: best wishes to Mike Hamilton, who will do a great job running the SC foundation. The commencement: this is what it's all about. Attended SC Foundation golf tournament. Attended fiscal update (county organization).
     Student trustee Lemar Momand: welcomes the new college student government presidents.
     Chancellor's report (Gary Poertner): colleges planning for next round of accreditation. This includes a self-study; that'll start in the fall. Then teams will visit the colleges. One part of this that is changing: a much closer looks at district services and the board. They've got a new handbook, sent to trustees.
     IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore: yadda yadda. Introduces new IVC Foundation director(?).
     SC Prez -- substitute guy. Blah blah. Mentions that Hans Vogel just passed away at age 93. He was involved in establishment of the district. [I've described his participation and actions previously.]

     No board requests for reports.

     We've been asked to move 6.1 and 6.2 to earlier in the meeting. (Budget reports.)

6.1 SOCCCD 2015-6 tentative budget (See)
     Deb Fitz. comes up to yammer. Fiscal year begins on July 1. The state has passed a budget since first drafting this. Will have more info in August.
     Goes over goals, guidelines. Reserve, etc. We don't allow "deficit financing."
     Total all funds: $711 million
     Based on Gov's budget back in January. Goes over generally rosy points about tentative budget assumptions.
     7.5% reserve for economic uncertainties: %12.2 million, etc.
     Available basic aid funds: balance of 22.9 million.
Total available FY 2014-2015: $61,352,000
     Basic aid expenses. Funding for BAARC allocation = 61.4 million.
     Budget trends: district-wide personnel costs make up an avaerage of 85% of total unrestricted general fund budget. Etc.
     PERS/STRS rate and cost increases. Annual increase over 14-15 9.2 million
     Looking ahead. Final state budget info will be included in the "adopted budget."
     Any questions?
     Milchiker: given our basic aid funding, growth funding? A: Follow DRAC model. Not from state
     Jemal: enrollments are flat, and yet this is the biggest budget ever. Explain. A: Our capital money is growing. Retiree trust fund is growing. Etc. J: around 90% (actual figure for personnel costs). A concern for us to be at that level? Blah blah blah. Jemal alludes to deletion of term "one-time" re basic aid.
     Lang: this was created before "May revise" (state). Will we get info prior to final budget? Fitz: we can certainly do that. L: didn't we fund for enrollment growth? Funded to level that we would have gotten from the state were we not a basic aid district? Yep. Still true. When you broke down the expenditures of two colleges and district--surprised by how much for district. A: [I didn't understand the answer]
     They approve the tentative budget. Unanimous.

     Prendergast: turns out we did have a board request for a report (all trustees). Request concerning listing sessions. They approve unanimously.

     6.2 - Tentative budgets for SC and IVC student government (See)
     SC kid speaks. Thanks people.
     Budget anticipates decreased funding from bookstore, cafeteria. Otherwise mostly unchanged from one year ago.
     Highlights: blah blah blah. Accomplishments. (This kid is pretty slick.) More tutors available. Big success, evidently. Blah blah blah.
     Any questions?
     Lang: some suggested changes for final budget. You refer to ASB "sticker sales" then "stamp revenue." A disconnect there. Etc. Kid thanks Lang for suggestions.
     Jemal: one quick note. Mentions plan of turning to an "opt out" system (student opting out of paying student fee, I guess). Chosen because it promises to increase these fees. Jemal: Expect reaction. Harsh feedback. OK
     Wright: why sales down in bookstore, etc? Competition with online book sales, etc.
     Prendergast: how do you expect to increase sales of stamps? A: blah blah blah

     Next: IVC SG tentative budget. Linda Fontanilla speaks. Praises student government leadership. Lots of great activities. Kid (Adam) takes over.
     Very similar to last year. $575,537. Goes over "highlights." Events. Accomplishments.
     Mentions our co-curricular programs: speech and debate, IVC Model UN, etc.
     Jemal: praises report. There's a 200,000 difference between SC and IVC. How come? Fontanilla: blah blah blah. Jemal: so the difference is because of co-curricular funds? A: blah blah blah.
     I found this hard to follow, but it seems that the IVC kids have decided to maintain having a say and being very involved in deciding how to use these funds. SC SG has gone another way.
     Wright: IVC is doing much better than SC re cafeteria and bookstore income. How come? Fontanilla steps in. Says "blah blah blah." Refers to talent show, etc. Prendergast wonders aloud if a video is available. Yuk yuk. (Fontanilla appears to be the "den mother" kind of supervisor to these kids. Clueless mother hen. She thinks bringing cookies to local businesses is good outreach.)
     Lang: excellent presentation. Explanation re budget makes no sense though. Lang says something about different arrangements between SC and IVC re bookstore contracts. Brit gal steps up to explain that all revenue goes straight to student gov at IVC, but only a portion at SC. Lang: that makes sense. Fontanilla: our faculty has a long-standing great relationship with student government. Blah blah blah. She emphasizes students' tremendous involvement in governance and decision-making, a point later emphasized by the Ac. Senate Prez.
     IVC Ac Senate prez notes that SC's model was investigated at IVC. Faculty and students chose not to change our way of doing things. The two colleges are quite different. Our model seems to work well for us. (This seems to be about co-curricular activities, which are expensive. IVC students are very involved in that.)
     Two budgets approved unanimously.

7:49 - back to consent calendar. Anything to pull? Lang: 5.12, 5.18, 5.27. Jemal: 5.23, 5.30. Prendergast: 5.2, 5.5. They vote on the balance: unanimous approval.

     5.2 Question about Spanish program, credit by exam, etc. High School courses count? Werle: students must achieve scores on tests of competency. --Approved unanimously.
     5.5 Sailboat surplus - disposal. Prendergast: really? we're tossing these yachts in the trash? Brandye: an assessment was performed. They are unusable. --Approved unanimously.
     5.12 Radioactive waste removal - increase of contract. What's this about? Brandye: this radioactive stuff has been at the science building since 1968. Pendergast: When there was a bid, did we not know about this stuff (the need to remove it)? Somehow, Brandye gave a satisfactory answer. --Unanimous approval.
     5.18 Increase of $30K for work on A400 building. Unforeseen issues. Prendergast: hey, didn't you say that when we adopt the design/build approach, this wouldn't happen as much? Brandye: yes, we've had some challenges in this case. She seems to focus on an unfortunate assumption made by the contractor. "We were forced to do more babysitting than anticipated." Design/build hasn't worked out in this case. But, in other cases, this approach will work, says Brandye. --Approved unanimously
     5.23 Security guard services at ATEP. [Gosh. What are they protecting? Rubble?] Jemal: what are we paying currently? F: This contractor is the same as what we have now, same rate. --Approved unanimously.
     5.27 Lang: (something about storm sewer system). A typo. Another one. A third correction. Prendergast notes another typo. Another issue: language is "loose" somewhere. "I will make those corrections," says Brandye. --Approved unanimously.
     5.30 Jemal: real estate advisory services at ATEP, $35k. What type of services? What are they doing for us at ATEP? Fitz answers. But I didn't get it. Jemal seems satisfied though. --Approved unanimously. (Lang is temporarily? absent.)

6.3 SC Techo and Appl Sciences building swing space project, architec. Services agreement. --Approved.
6.4 Change order on same project. --Approved.
6.5 SC Photo/radio/TV renovation project, change order. --Approved.
6.6 Same project, notice of completion, Approved.
6.7 IVC dean, reorg of Behavioral Sciences and Reorg of Liberal Arts [?]. Approved.
6.8 IVC renaming of A400 --Approved.
6.10 - pay for absent trustee (Padberg). --Approved, natch.
6.11 - contract with Neudesic -- approved.
6.12 Contract with Blackboard. Approved.
6.13 ATEP utilities and infrastracture project. Approved.
6.14 Five year plan revision. Lang: has a problem with item 17, I guess. District relocation. Lang wants to amend the motion (namely, he wants to delete district relocation as among district plans, priority list).  Only Prendergast votes "no" to the amended item. [I think that the trustees, except Prendergast, are rejecting faculty insistence that district relocation--to a neutral middle point--is important. See Item 4.1: Lang and others carp about district offices relocation idea]
     [Note that the need for locating district offices in between the two campuses came up in the Climate Survey. Evidently, trustees are unimpressed. Could it be we're entering a new era of board disregard of faculty opinion? Sheesh.]
6.15 approved unanimously
6.16 Board Policy revision, personal leave. Jemal: is all this language necessary? Eliminating a redundancy, evidently. --Unanimous yes.
6.17 Initial proposal to CSEA (California School Employees Assocation - classified union). Open public hearing.
   Public comments? No? Public hearing is now closed. Further discussion? No. Concluded. Turns out, don't need to vote, since just a public hearing.
6.18 Academic Personnel actions. No changes. Jemal: wants aggregate amount for faculty stipends. A big figure, he says. Bugay: we can do that. They vote on item: --unanimous.
6.19 Classified personnel actions. No discussion. --Unanimous approval.
6.20 Sabbatical revision and rescind. --Unanimous approval.

7.0 Reports
7.1 nada
7.2 annual accreditation report.
7.4 no changes

8.0 Reports from administration and governance groups
(8:33 p.m.) I'm outta here.

From agenda of the "special meeting"

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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

Goals and Values and Twaddle

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

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

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

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

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

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary