Sunday, February 17, 2013

Does Hercules need to fear retaliation?

On September 5th, a Hercules parent expressed to the school board concerns of "retaliation" against Hercules.  His comments stemmed from then President Ramsey's criticism of Hercules and Pinole for not supporting Measure K enough to pass it.  This parent helped man the phones for the Measure K vote, so he felt betrayed by Mr. Ramsey.  Then, there was the incident regarding the very sudden (less than 24 hours) displacement of Ohlone Elementary School students.

Last week, at the Hercules City Council, I spoke against supporting the debt limit waiver being sought by the WCCUSD.  I cited what I believed to be the deceptively written Measure E ballot document, along with the compromised oversight of the bond program as a result of the composition of the CBOC.  I cited my concerns about the matter regarding Mr. Jungherr and his not being reappointed to the CBOC.  I further cited a report from the Senate Education Committee which stated numerous deficiencies with the state's school construction program, including the lack of oversight. 

This resulted in President Kronenberg commenting that no one had ever criticized the WCCUSD CBOC before.  I replied with the name of at least one critic, and was then quickly silenced by Mayor Delgado's gavel.  Trustee Ramsey said I hadn't attended enough meetings to really be able to make a meaningful evaluation of CBOC protocol that was in place.   As an auditor once said to my employer after a short period of time reviewing our records, "I've seen enough." (Gulp).

Councilman Kelly said he had concerns, that he would pass the waiver reluctantly.  He added that the CBOC "didn't pass the sniff test" and that if any of the concerns brought to his attention turned out to be valid, that he would notify the State legislature.

The following night, I attended the WCCUSD bond program information meeting.  I found it pretty useful and was glad I attended although I was unable to remain until the 11:00 conclusion.  I was disappointed to learn that while I sat in in this meeting until 10pm, someone was smashing my windshield.  I had parked in the lot often used for meeting attendees. There were no officers around as I exited the meeting by myself, and walked to the car.  All previous WCCUSD meetings that I had attended had security.  In fact, I had a bad feeling, just like in the movies, as I realized I was all alone, walking to my car in the lot at the end of the street. 

One movie comes to mind, The Godfather, in which the individual pulls up to the toll booth, and then notices all the toll collectors ducking down in their respective booths.  That was how I felt as I walked to my car.  Maybe the assault on my (and only my) car was a coincidence, that it had nothing to do with my criticism of the WCCUSD the night before.  Maybe it was just a random-act-of-not-so-kindness.  Or karma.  Was my criticism the night before of the CBOC too harsh?  I am awaiting any video footage if such exists. 

Back to the parent's concerns about retaliation.  Retaliation is an act of deliberate unfairness.  In order to understand if such has happened at any time in the past, present, or future, one must have a clear understanding of what fairness looks like.  Fairness must be clearly defined and articulated before we can ascertain as to whether or not any deliberate acts of unfairness have occurred.  The default is that the district is one that is fair and just.  I would like to believe that no one has to fear retaliation by our own school district.  This isn't The Godfather, right?

Soon, I will attempt to paint a picture of fairness as is relevant to our school district as I understand it.


  1. One additional note. This week, a teacher shared with me their own experiences of perceived unfairness. They told me to get my daughter into a different school district at all costs. "Run away!" was the message I received. This isn't what I expected or wanted to hear from one of the district's own.

    Like one of the 3 wise men, I replied that I came bearing gifts in the form of a future parcel tax increase, that this would help the WCCUSD meet the expectations I have of them for providing my daughter with a quality education and addressing this teacher's needs.

    The reply from this very jaded individual was "Why throw money at this system (you fool!)? Why support a system in which union president Dianne Brown chants "We are all the same?" That teachers who strive to provide the best for each and every child receive no more in compensation than those teachers who are performing satisfactory or worse."

    So, fairness also is on the minds of our teachers.

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  3. Video of the recent Hercules City Council vote on the WCCUSD debt limit waiver

    Also, Video of the Godfather tollbooth scene I referenced. Warning--it is pretty graphic.