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    « Appellate Court Clears Former CUSD Official McGill of Wrongdoing | Main | 'Waiting for Superman' Showing at SJC Library on Friday »

    June 01, 2011


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    It reminds me of a quote that goes something like this: "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is." Strong leaders with long, successful careers do not like to be backed into corners and forced to admit mistakes. Their leadership hinges on being respected. They fear exposure as human and fallible. I don't find that explanation difficult to swallow. We see it almost monthly with political, corporate, and entertainment big-wigs. I see it in my own extended family. If we want "government by the people," we have to admit they are people.

    The facts remain that 1) the lists caused no damages; 2) the lists wasted no taxpayer dollars; and 3) one prideful man's transgression under pressure did not need to lead to a change in our entire board, administration, reputation, and culture.

    For those "reformers" who want public schools to operate on a model of capitalism, or at least adhere to business practices, please name one CEO who would admit mistakes in response to "demands" from a "near violent" publicly-recorded meeting without fear of sinking the ship.

    Reality Check, I think you're confusing a few things. People were unhappy with Fleming and the board before the lists were created. In fact, when Kevin Murphy sent the non-blind email that caused the list to be created, he was in the process of recruiting people to work on the recall.

    While anger over the list was one of the things that caused people to circulate or sign the recall papers, it was one of the minor issues. Personally, I think the building of the new administration albatross, er, I mean building, that was the biggest factor among several.

    I've been following CUSD politics since the mid-70's and can't remember a time when everyone was happy. Unhappy voters and recalls lead to.... different leaders (who are still imperfect.) I'd give Gray Davis the same pass I'd give Fleming. And I like owning real estate more than leasing it for the long haul.

    P.S. Before someone throws out the "Fleming apologist" label: I "apologize" for my bigoted Uncle Tony and my inebriated Aunt Louise. (I am sorry to inflict them on my children.) But I am not apologizing for Fleming; I simply see him as flawed and successful and do not think those to be mutually exclusive judgments. CUSD thrived under his leadership, and its success has continued since. The head-hunters we hired to find Farley said that the average tenure of a superintendent these days was a few years at best. That makes Fleming a success story by definition. Not every story has a happy ending. But you should try to compare apples to apples.

    Fleming needed to go. The DA had a political agenda to push as well. The latter doesn't mean the former is not correct.

    The problem now is that the same very people suing are suing again because they didn't get their way.

    And the thing is, I understand. What if you had been newly elected and your lawyers say, settle this, you will lose in court. What would you do?

    The new trustees were told to honor a contract, were told they were following the brown act at their very first meeting and because two trustees and their political allies are pissed that they lost the election can't handle this, they will drag everything down with lawsuits.

    This is what our district has come to, lawsuits and using the DA's office as a tool to get what they want, come hell or high water, whether it is the right thing.

    No brown act was broken although while trying to show transparency in the March meeting some really stupid stuff happened, which pisses me off like you wouldn't believe, there has been no malicious intent by our new trustees.

    And the irony? The two ladies who run to the DA, Sue and Ellen, they leak just enough to confuse everyone, they divulge things from closed sessions to help people fight their fight rather than doing it at the dais and defending their own beliefs.

    It sickens me that we've come to this, again and that we are going to be spending more money on lawsuits, etc. because these two trustees don't really give a crap about education but about getting their way. And the same goes for their supporters.

    So when are people going to get pissed off enough to say something? Recalled two, have two more that are causing even more harm and chaos. So when are people going to show up to board meeting and let them know that the way you handle your duties is not to show up with your own lawyer and to help a political ally sue the district to get a political leg up in the game.

    I've never in my life seen anything as disgusting as what they are doing and it makes what Fleming did look like bullying in the Kindergarten yard.

    There was a perfect storm brewing in CUSD during the last couple of years of Fleming's tenure (using an alternate meaning of that word, of course). A group of people with a political agenda had been targeting other school districts in the area, voters are historically conservative in Orange County (and pay little attention to school board elections), and what started as a more economical way to house the district offices met with a sudden downturn in the economy and real estate values.

    Dr. Fleming's arrogant approach to leadership (which was never appreciated by most teachers) met this storm full on and he continued on his course as he always had. The Ed Alliance and a few local politicians were paying attention and struck at the vulnerable underbelly of a very fine school district.

    Add two more elements...a local newspaper with neither the desire nor the intention of reporting the facts at the expense of it's own political bias and a close connection between the D.A. and those same local politicians...and a force 5 maelstrom hit head on. Careers were sacrificed, amazing educators were lost to other districts, and those who were left found themselves attacked personally and professionally.

    I truly hope the constituents of CUSD will be able to find the peaceful harbor and do what they have always done so well...educate students.

    Agree completely jollygirl but the storm is still continuing to swirl around our district as the Es Alliance and its followers continue to litigate evrything they can think of to keep the waters boiling. It needs to stop and hopefully the constituents will see this and again show the support of education instead of litigation as a goal at the next election.

    Nothing justifies the actions of the DA.

    Can anyone point me to the web site of the EA? I tried googling it and had no luck. I wanted to check something.

    It was http://www.education-alliance.org/ but it is apparently no longer active or online.

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