Sunday, August 8, 2010

MDUSD Board Meeting Tuesday includes Measure C Committee appointments

You can find the agenda for Tuesday's board meeting on the electronic school board LINK. Just click on the calendar date, August 10th.

This board meeting includes some changes to the teaching (certificated) personnel and administrators. New leave of absence for a Principal, and some resignations and retirements of others. You can find that under agenda item 9.3.

The board is being asked to approve a 25,000 contract "Award of professional services contract for demographic and facility analysis to assist with school closure/consolidation process." Item 9.22.

The board will also be looking at a voluntary dress code at Sun Terrace Elementary. Item 14.1.

The board will be asked to approve 17 applicants for the Measure C oversight committee. If you recall the committee needed a "well rounded" group of applicants representing the various district stakeholders. Those applicants are:
  1. Jay Bedecarre (representing CONCORD "local business community")
  2. John Burke (Parent/Guardian active in PTO)
  3. Rick Callaway (representing PLEASANT HILL "local business community")
  4. John Ferrante (at large community member)
  5. Brent Hayes (representing WALNUT CREEK "local business community")
  6. Ralph Hoffman (Senior Citizen's Organization)
  7. Pat Howlett (Senior Citizen's Organization)
  8. Faye Mettler (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  9. Bonnie McDonald (at large community member)
  10. Susan Noack (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  11. John Parker (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  12. Jenny Reik (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district and at large community member)
  13. Tina Segrove (representing CONCORD "local business community," and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  14. Mark Weinmann (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district and at large community member)
  15. Jack Weir (taxpayer association)
  16. Marc Willis (at large community member)
  17. Larry Wirick (representing PITTSBURG "local business community"
Take a look at the agenda, there are some budget items, and information related Measure C and the sale of the general obligation bonds. It's a long agenda, might be a long night.


  1. Bob Dodson on leave of absence. Interesting.

  2. Ironic that the no bid $25,000contract to a Bond Campaign donor is buried in the "consent calendar". What is wrong with competitive bidding to save money ? And to avoid the appearance of payback to Bond Campaign contributors ? And what happened to this committee that was supposed to be appointed last June ? Transparency ? Not. Communication ? Not.
    Doctor J

  3. Doctor J, the committee has been appointed, did you see the list? Have you figured out that people are tired of you yet? If you can't say something nice or positive, then say nothing. There is communication, but I think no matter what is done you will find fault. You appear to be the type of man that the glass is always half empty. Yes many of us are pretty sure we know who you are.

    For the sake of our children/students, please resign from the MDUSD.

  4. Please. If u knew who dr j was you'd have posted it

  5. Anon 1:03pm- I am no fan of Doctor J's, but he was referring to the committee for the school closure. That decision is supposed to be made in Sept.

    Are you referring to the Measure C oversight committee? If not, can you point us to where the school closure list is posted?

    Doctor J- The district announced at least to those of us at the last PAC meeting that the school closure committee was being pushed back until Sept.

    If you were curious about it, then you could have called the district and asked about it.

    You make everything seem so cloak and dagger. Maybe the decisions that are being made by the district have been clunky lately. That does not mean there is nefarious intent, as you are so insistent to point out.

    I think that even if the great Doctor J revealed himself and ran for the board, he would find his share of detractors who would find fault with all of his decisions.

    Maybe you are an administrator, maybe you are running for the board--I don't know.

    What I do know is that you seem to do a lot of complaining, but little else.

  6. Anon 1:03
    No, I haven't seen the School Closure Committee list. Did I miss it ? Where is it ? We were told it was going to be appointed in June. I suggested it be appointed a year ago, and if it had been, its work would have been done, and the Board would have had the option of consolidating schools for the 2010/11 school year to save millions or waiting until 2011/12. But the Board chose to wait, costing the district teachers and staff by not saving over a million dollars this year. Now two of three incumbents will not run, and Linda Mayo will have to answer to the voters.
    Annon 1:03 may want to hide your head in the sand like an ostrich waiting for something positive, but ignoring the TRUTH will not solve MDUSD problems. You call one newsletter that said nothing new "communication" ? Oh, please.
    Doctor J

  7. Annon 1:26
    Thank you for your post. I was not aware the School Closure Committee had been pushed back to September. Perhaps I am wrong, but the last communication, I think from Sherry, was that it was to be appointed in June. School closure, or consolidation as I like to refer to it, is always a difficult pill to swallow for the students and parents and staff of the school that is closed.
    You claim I do a lot of complaining. Interesting that no one was interested in commenting on the Seattle schools vision or Strategic Plan that I put out here a couple of weeks ago. What is the vision of MDUSD ?
    Doctor J

  8. Anon 1:03
    In pondering your comment that "there is communication" it reminded me of the quote from George Bernard Shaw “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” MDUSDparents used it a while ago, and I really like it.
    Unfortunately, at MDUSD there are way too many illusions.
    Doctor J

  9. Tonight's agenda has Measure C Oversight Committee.

    The list of school closures will be coming within the next two meetings. Dr. Lawrence announced this at the July meeting. The reason for the delay was that there were not sufficient applicants in some feeder patterns, and the district was working on volunteers to represent the feeder pattern.

    School closures were not done directly by the board because of the overwhelming request of the community to be part of the decision. I think that when we are making a decision that impacts so many of our children, having a community team that makes the recommendation is extremely important.

    In regards to innuendo about "paybacks", I do not know who is on the list of campaign donors, except for my family. The donations were made to CUES, not to the district.

    Strategic plans do not develop in a matter of weeks. To create a strategic plan for this district and to do it properly will take upwards of six months. It takes planning, stakeholder interviews, development of the plan, review with stakeholders, and then final a board vote.

  10. Sherry, Thank you for the information. The minutes for the July 1 meeting have not yet been prepared or placed on the agenda for approval so that kind of information is not available to the public. I am not sure why the approval of the minutes seems to be behind schedule. I have no problem with community involvement in school consolidation; it makes the process open and transparent. Its just that it is way behind schedule. As for the Bond campaign donors, the list has been widely reported on by Theresa in the CC Times. While you may not have had involvment with the committee, two of your fellow board members did, plus the Supt. I would hope you would pull it from the consent calendar and have a full and complete discussion about it so that there is no stone left unturned -- transparency and openness. This vendor's involvement in the Bond campaign was just brought to light in the "late reporting" of campaign contribtuions by CUES. It would be a good question to air tonight as to whether or not the Supt or other Board member solicited the vendor for a CUES donation ? If so, I would recommend that the contract be competively bid, even though it is not required since the amount is less than $50,000. Is the contract capped at $25,000 or is it $25,000 plus the hourly and expenses ? I would recommend it be competitvely bid in any event to try and save money. Every dollar saved is a dollar that can be spent on teaching.
    As for the Strategic Plan, of course it takes months to develop. We could have got started six months ago and been way down the road. Sherry, what are your feelings about the Seattleschools vision and Strategic Plan ? Is that the kind of thing you would like to see in MDUSD ?
    Doctor J

  11. Sherry- Are you saying that the list of school closures is coming in two weeks or that the school closure committee list is coming in two weeks? I hope you mean the committee list.

    Doctor J- Is the Seattle school plan the holy grail? Why are you pushing that particular plan over and over again? I have nothing against it, I just don't know why you keep harping on it as if everything in Seattle is just as it is here in the MDUSD.

    The school closure committee is going to be very emotional for all parties. I knew that the meeting got pushed back in June, so it wasn't a secret.

    I thought that the district also wanted to see the outcome of the Measure C vote, which would impact the budget before deciding what schools would be closed.

    You may think that the 2010/2011 school year would have been a good time to institute school closures, but it would never happen that quick.

    Can you imagine if the district made decisions to close schools without allowing the community to fully accept it? Theresa Harrington would have something new to write about.

  12. Anon 3:56
    The Seattleschools Strategic Plan is an example of a well thought out and developed comprehensive plan -- you can't just block and copy it -- each Stategic Plan must be personalized for the organization. The process of developing the plan is just as important as the final plan because you get all the stakeholders, including the unions, involved and committed. When you are done, everyone is moving in the same direction, and there are action plans for implimentation and progress reviews. Please read their plan -- its not perfect, but it will give you an idea of what can be done. Every Strategic Plan starts out with vision. I keep asking the question, What is the vision of MDUSD ? We don't have one. We need one. But it takes more than a vision statement. That is what makes a Strategic Plan so effective. And you just can't have goals -- where is the Plan for implementation and review ? A comprehensive Strategic Plan would do wonders for this district.

    I would rather call it a school consolidation -- we are not cancelling students, just grouping them in less groups and larger groups. We are just going to use limited resources more effectively. Heck, rename the cosolidated schools so everyone is at a new school. Think outside the box.
    Now if the Board had done this 15 months ago, the committee would have done its work, and the board could have decided to either consolidate in 10/11 or postpone to 11/12. But it would have had the OPTION. By its inaction, the Board reduced its options. Anytime you can save a million dollars, you can employ lots of teachers and staff. That translates to better service to the students. Yes, I think the community should be involved. The community owns the district. We are the shareholders of this company.
    Doctor J

  13. When one understands the PROCESS for development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan, one realizes that no single person develops the vision or the plan. It is the most collaberative effort ever undertaken in most organizations, and MDUSD would be no exception.
    Doctor J

  14. Doctor J- You can call it what you want but you are living in LALA land if you think it's going to be as easy as renaming a school and calling it a consolidation.

    Maybe you could be the point person for the district on this matter. Everyone who has an issue could email you so you could explain it to them.

    You make it sound so painless, that it's hard to believe you are a parent or if you are, that you still have kids in school.

  15. Doctor J- You said, "You claim I do a lot of complaining. Interesting that no one was interested in commenting on the Seattle schools vision or Strategic Plan that I put out here a couple of weeks ago."

    Cutting and pasting Seattle's strategic vision isn't exactly doing something.

    Why don't you go before the board and bring it to their attention? This isn't their blog even if Gary and Sherry sometimes comment on it.

    If you were to bring it to the district's attention and work to refine it to fit our district, THEN you will have my respect.

  16. I don't believe the school closure committee is behind in schedule, originally it was decided that it was best for students if schools were not closed this year 2009-2010. You may not agree with that but most of us with kids in the school think that time frame would have been way too short. The list of schools that are to be closed with be out in January according to the timeline for closure in the 2010-2011 school year. I've heard rumblings that Dr. J is a certain disgruntled MDUSD principal who rode on McHenry's coat tails and when McHenry left so did his chance of moving up in the district and this is is payback. How about just moving onto McHenerys district and leaving the rest of us in peace Dr.J! I'm sure McHenry would love to have you.

  17. Annon 8:55
    You forget that the depth of the budget crisis changes the game plan -- class sizes are increased, teachers laid off, staff laid off, hours cut, benefits cut, furlough days, and more. School consolidation has been an issue for years -- with 29 elementary schools having various populations from about 250 to 800 children. If you can consolidate schools so that all elementary schools now have 600-800 children you save a ton of money, more than a million a year. That $$ means jobs and less cuts to teachers and staff -- which means better learning conditions for children. Why did we just hire a bunch of new elementary principals when we are going to close 4 or 5 schools next year ? School consolidation, if done right, does take time, but the studies should not have been postponed but have been done a year ago, the committee work a year ago, and then the Board would have had the CHOICE. So where does the Board look now to save the same million dollars ? Staff cuts, hour cuts, benefit cuts, teacher cuts, furlough days, and more. And in the midst of all of this Budget Crisis don't forget the hypocritical raises to the Gang of Five, including the accountant and lawyer.
    Doctor J

  18. Dr. J- Please stop with your "Gang of Five" reference. It is ridiculous and inflammatory, and is not rooted in anything but your active imagination. You are definitely someone in administration or someone looking to run for the board, because I have never heard ANYONE else use that term.

    You are not looking at the long term implications of school closures and consolidations. You may be a numbers guy, but that is not all there is to consider.

    If schools close and parents have to shuttle kids to a farther elementary school or less desirable high school, it will affect property values.

    Cities would be wise to be involved in this process, because it will definitely affect them.

    When school boundaries change, it affects the core of a person's neighborhood and community. The whole point of studying this issue by a broad swath of the district is to, hopefully, eliminate or minimize the emotional response that will happen when the decisions are made.

    The process of how the decision is going to be made was laid out by Dr. Lawrence at a PAC meeting and even though they are going to jump through hoops to be fair, it is not going to be a painless process.

  19. Annon 9:56
    You are worried about property values ? Here is what they don't tell you. You know those six "persistently underperforming schools" with a potential for several more -- watch the Star results next week. Each family of each student in a "persistently underperforming schools" will get a letter soon, as required by law, to allow them to transfer to good schools and be bussed at District expense. So these children from the underperforming schools will end up at YOUR schools ! How do you think that will affect YOUR property values ? I think you ought to be more worried about children who fail in school rather than property values. Keep a scorecard on the six "persistently underperforming schools" and the other seven or so potentials. See what happens to their Star test results -- improving or declining ?
    Doctor J

  20. Those families who choose to send their kids to a different school, tend to be the ones that want a better education for their kids.

    The district might supply transportation, but kids have to leave at least and hour or an hour and a half before school to go through the bus route.

    It's not just property values, because we in the MDUSD know about lower property values than our neighbors. Especially those in WC.

    Are you saying that closing schools will improve test scores? If so, please tell us how.

    Requiring families/guardians to participate in, and be responsible for, their children's education is one way to lift test scores.

    I don't have all the answers, but it is plainly clear to anyone who works in education that throwing money at the problem, without engaging families, just doesn't work.

    Doctor J- There is a lot that can be done to fix schools, but you are coming from a different place. All you seem to be doing is criticizing, complaining and accusing.

    When I read your posts, I come away with the feeling that you have an axe to grind--not that you are really interested in finding solutions. Cutting and pasting the Seattle school vision notwithstanding.

  21. Annon 12:56
    You claim I am not interested in finding solutions. I am. But the greatest solution lies in this the basic responsibility of the School Board: "1. Setting the direction for the community’s schools. Of all the responsibilities of governing boards, none is more central to the purpose of local governance than ensuring that a long-term vision is established for the school system. The vision reflects the consensus of the entire board, the superintendent and district staff, and the community as to what
    the students need in order to achieve their highest potential. The vision should set a clear direction for the school district, driving every aspect of the district’s program."
    From School Board Leadership: The role and function of California School Boards.
    Three of our Board members have been in since 1995 and 1997, and in those 15 years, we have no long term vision. Until that long term vision is developed as described above with everyone's involvement, MDUSD will continue to flounder like a fish out of water.
    Doctor J

  22. Dr. J. you seem to be so concerned about the list of campaign donors from Measure C. Have you ever taken a look at the campaign donors for all of our city council members. They receive huge donations from Garaventa,attorneys, and other businesses that then do direct business with the city. This goes on in every city in every election. It is completely legal and it is the way our political system works. Stop harping on this with the district. There is no wrong doing!

  23. Annon 1:38
    Public officials have certain disclosures they must make to ensure and protect the process of fairness, proper ethics, transparency and prevent graft. Disclosure of Campaign donors is just one. Fair Political Practices Form 700 on gifts and gratuities is another. Competitive bidding is another. MDUSD has a $25,000 disclosure requirement. Right now there are two Members of Congress with ethics charges pending against them: Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters. Its the public's job to monitor public officials and insist on transparency in all transactions and avoid the appearance of "quid pro quo".
    Doctor J

  24. For the love of God, Dr. J, start your own damn blog! Those who think your blathering has merit can follow you there, and those who are TIRED of your anal-retentive one-note posts can read this blog in peace. Oy!

  25. maybe she has her own blog already... mdusdvoice sounds awfully familiar!

  26. I'd still like to know how the school board was able to pay special ed/resource out of Measure C funds. These funds were for fixed costs, not variable which is what wages are.

  27. Anon,

    the district did not use Measure C funds for Special Ed ongoing costs. they used Measure C funds for ongoing maintenance of facilities (which is allowed) and used deferred maintenance funds for Special Ed. The flexibility in the deferred maintenance funds is relatively new (tier three flexibility). If measure c had not passed the district would have needed the deferred maintenance funds to maintain the buildings.

  28. Doctor J's presence has caused an interesting tone to the comments on this blog. I find the anger directed toward Doctor J as odd. It is as if those who comment are defending a personal attack.

    Everyone including the board knows that the district needs a strategic plan, needs better communication, has too many under-performing schools, etc... So why are so many Anonymous commenters bashing Doctor J?

    Are there really parents out there who would defend the board in light of these issues? I understand defending them for their hours of service and for working through a difficult budget but why defend their actions or inactions regarding those items outlined by Doctor J.

    Why are commenters so adamant about vilifying Doctor J and why do they bring up very specific people and accuse them of being Doctor J?

    Is this about discussing the issues that would improve MDUSD or is it about discrediting the messenger?

  29. Anon 7:35am- I have been reading Doctor J's posts for a while and I am not sure how you can say that all he is doing is providing information.

    In his initial posts, he was more about finding out what was talked about at the Buttercup Grill or who met at Dr. Lawrence's house than talking about strategic plans.

    The fact that decisions by some board members or the Superintendent might have been clunky does not make them criminals. If you personally knew any of the people Doctor J was accusing, you would be offended by his innuendo too.

    Many posters, like myself, have given up on trying to respond to Doctor J's comments. There was no point since Dr. J was adamant about what he/she was saying.

    It's obvious that Dr. J is someone in the know, and that is also offensive to me, since they are posting very negative, personal things anonymously. If they are inside and they really want change, then they should speak up. If they are right, the parents will rally around them.

    It's interesting to me that if Dr. J is someone who works for the district or is a board member, that they would want to keep their job working for such a corrupt and inept operation.

    The last time someone posted about Dr. J was August 12th. As to your claim that people are vilifying Dr. J, there might be a couple of people who got frustrated with him/her, but most of the vilification has come from Dr. J.

    The truth is, I would love to hear constructive comments about things going on--or not going on--in the district. Unfortunately, the way Dr. J has gone about casting aspersions against people has left him/her with no credibility with me.

  30. Oh , Dr. J, where are you today to declare an official new "gate." Introduced by the CCtimes we now have "GOLFgate!"

    Check it out:

    This actually made the Pasadena news too though it originated with the Times. Golly gee, does Dr. Lawrence have a brain in his head??? Is nothing off limits?

  31. 4:15pm- You are calling for Dr. J to flesh out "GolfGate", and that is exactly why he/she has lost credibility with many posters here.

    Why would Dr. J focus on a discounted golf game when he/she is pressing the district for a strategic plan?

    I think the Superintendent was ill advised to get the $60 discount per player, but it does not rise to the level of being criminal.
    Dr. Lawrence should understand that the scrutiny is much stronger when you are leading a 32,000 district.

    If Dr. J starts on this, then it's really not about the kids and education, it's about playing gotcha.

  32. The article about golf just demonstrates the CCTimes lack of perspective. I am waiting to hear back from Salerno to understand his depth of knowledge of our district - I imagine it is pretty light, but anything to get a quote in the paper, I suppose.

    There is nothing inappropriate about this. A group of guys was going to play golf and invited another to go. Big deal. When will the CCTimes decide to cover real news. If you can't compete with the real journalists in our community, then you should drop all pretense of any journalistic integrity and admit what you are. In fact (not to slight bloggers), when confronted about the fact that it is inappropriate to quote anonymous bloggers, a member of the editorial staff at the CCTimes said (paraphrasing) "we have to compete with them so what do you expect?"

    Krupnick refused to even ask me any questions. For some reason he feels he can dictate the terms under which I communicate with him. Given the fact that the CCTimes has a personal vendetta against the district, lacks any semblance of partiality, regularly misquotes us and quotes anonymous bloggers as its sources, I think it is perfectly appropriate to ask them to communicate in writing. That way there won't be any gray area when it comes to what was said. In my opinion, the fact that Krupnick won't, suggests that he is not willing to be bound by what is actually said - he probably wants the flexibility to write whatever he would like.

    When I deal with individuals or entities that are unreasonable and untrustworthy in my professional life, I require that they communicate in writing. I don't know why this would be any different.

  33. I guess my prior questions about meals and gratuities from Chevron were pretty accurate. But some of you crucified me for asking the questions. So now I guess Lawrence had better disclose all these gratutities on his Form 700 for the Fair Political Practices Commission. I don't know if we call this Golfgate since Oliveto's in Oakland was involved too. Geez, who paid for his dinner there ? I can't afford to eat there. Maybe we call it Chevrongate. Let's take a poll and see. Has anyone checked his Form 700 for 2009 ? I will bet Turner construction is on there since he did a $60 million dollar deal with them in West Sacramento.

    Doctor J

  34. Paul, I think it is now appropriate that each Board member declare publically if they received any meals or gratituties from Chevron since January 1, 2009. It is appropriate to have public statements clearing the air. It is appropriate that the Board demand that Lawrence publically declare ALL meals and gratituties he received from Chevron or any vendor with MDUSD. Was there a fishing trip ?
    Doctor J

  35. Anon 2:21, I agree that comments should be constructive, informative, and respectful, even when questioning the district leadership's actions and behavior. And most posted here are far more civil than comments Gary and Paul welcomed and praised on their blog two years ago during their campaign to take over the district leadership. They set the standard for the low level of discourse posted on blogs and the high level of accountability Board members and the Superintendent must meet.

    Gary and Paul deserve credit for demanding accountability from district leaders. Unfortunately, they occasionally do not meet their own standards. Would they have accepted any of the following behavior from Dick Allen, Linda Mayo, April Treece, and Gary McHenry:
    1) The four of them dining together in a local restaurant? And one of the Board members responding to the criticism by draping herself/himself around the restaurant's sign and essentially ridiculing those who dared to say the meeting appeared to violate the Brown Act?
    2) Any or all of them meeting privately in their homes with business leaders who may be given a no-bid contract for district work?
    3) Refusing to make public a report used to make a Board decision?
    4) Reneging on a promise to begin a new district plan and involving the community in the process?
    5) Reassigning school administrators without communicating with the site staff or parents?
    6) Reducing the frequency of communication about district issues, activities, and decisions?

    Gary and Paul used the CCTimes, their blog and a couple of others to call attention to perceived and real weaknesses in the former district leadership. Now they criticize those, including the Times, for doing the same in regard to their leadership.

    Their critics are simply asking them to meet the standards they set for MDUSD leaders to meet.

  36. Sorry 5:56pm- It is a weak argument to blame Paul and Gary for incivility on this blog.

    They certainly didn't set the standard of civility for me, and if you use them as a rationale for being rude, that is a sorry excuse.

  37. So, is Doctor J in the Accounting or Finance dept? He sure knows a lot about what gets reported.

  38. Chevrongate: Lets do the math. Paul Strange suddenly jumps on the blog minutes after the news of Chevron gratuities to Lawrence hits the blogs with Paul immediately downplaying the whole thing. Lets recall Paul's or was it Gary's prior comments about meeting at Lawrence's house with Chevron officials and Board members as a matter of convenience. Now we have drinks at Oliveto's in Oakland paid for by Chevron officials with Lawrence -- who else was there ? Now we have Lawrence calling his "friend" the Chevron CEO to get gratutities for his friends at a golf country club in Lake Tahoe and join his "friends" to play golf. Who were these friends -- there were 12 of them for a golf weekend. Wait, don't you play golf in foursomes ? Let's see 12 divided by 4 equals 3. So where was there room for the Chevron CEO ? And now we have Board members refusing to say if Chevron officials ever bought and paid for any meals, drinks or other gratuities for them. Do the math. Come on Paul and Gary, where is the transparency you claim to demand of others ? Its your turn.
    Doctor J

  39. Forgot the $10,000 Chevron donation FOUR days AFTER the election on June 12 to the Bond Committee, which had Lawrence and a couple of Board members on. Add that to the equation. Do the math ! As Paul will point out, it all appears legal, but is this the kind of back room deal making you want your public officials doing when there is a $60,000,000 NO-BID contract hanging in the balance ? Oh, and lets not forget that Sherry will have to recuse herself as a Chevron employee. So if two more board members would have to recuse themselves, then what ? Everyone should call on ALL Board members and Supt to detail any and all contacts, meals, gratutities with Chevron officials and clear the air ! Lets not have a tainted contract. Lets have the transparency you demanded of others and that we expect. Full disclosure now -- who, what, where, when, and how.
    Doctor J

  40. Doctor J,

    Again you demonstrate that you just don't see the big picture. Look at your comment - you claim there is a back room deal, but you acknowledge that the Chevron donation was disclosed. You try to make the contribution to the bond into something sinister, but you already know that the bond committee is not the district, so you point out that board members and Lawrence were on the committee. When you make these statements, you make it seem sinister. What would you prefer? No board members or supt on the committee? If that were the case, I am sure there would be criticism that we were not involved in supporting the bond. Have the bond committee not take money from one of the largest and most profitable employers in our community? Maybe we should refuse contributions that support students as well. No more classroom Chevron grants for MDUSD.

    I am not trying to insult you, but it is very clear that you can't see the big picture. There is nothing sinister about Chevron trying to do business in our community. In fact, Chevron has rules of conduct that are, from what I can see, far more restrictive than other companies. I have had drinks and eaten with other companies (these have never risen to the level of being reportable). The other companies tend to want to pay for things and it is the officials who have to refuse and remind them about disclosure levels and raise the discussion. With Chevron, they won't even consider paying for lunch or anything else and they won't let us pay for it.

    I met with Chevron with Gary for lunch one day (again very inexpensive). At the beginning of the meeting, they specifically said "We can't pay for lunch due to our rules." My response was, OK, I will pay. They said that was not allowed either. I offered because it was just easier to pay than to split the bill. In the end, we split the bill up and they paid their portion and I think I paid Gary's (oh no!, I should be conflicted from ever talking to Gary!).

    The entire discussion is somewhat amusing because of the fact that Chevron is the company that hold the highest standards when it comes to these issues.

    If these were all so sinister and secret, you would not even know about it. It is so not secret that it is in the paper, and I assure you that it is not the investigative skills of the CCTimes that uncovered this. The fact is it has been always will be open and available to the public.

    You, on the other hand, are secret and sinister. You like to appear knowledgeable, but know nothing. Why don't you just stop? Everyone is tired to your complaining. Your comments do nothing but hurt the students of MDUSD. You are not making revelations or providing any meaningful input to the discourse.

  41. Anon 9:12, I did not accuse Gary and Paul of incivility on THIS blog. I was referring to the blog they actively managed during Gary's run for re-election in 2008. At that time they encouraged all manner of comments and defended posters' right to anonymity. On several occasions Linda Mayo publicly questioned the use of a decidedly personal blog that included "MDUSD" in its title. She asked that they correct misinformation in posters' comments. Paul and Gary declined, calling their blog a great example of free speech because people could say anything they wanted without censor.

    My point in my recent post is that they set the standards, both for the openness of blog comments and for the accountability of district leaders. Thanks to reminders by MDUSDParents, comments on THIS blog are primarily civil. But they are also critical, or at least questioning of the district's leadership. Good leaders welcome questions, seeing them as a way to provide more information and build support for their proposals and decisions.

    Gary, Steven Lawrence, and Linda Mayo showed that they understand that leaders must be accountable for their actions and decisions. Each responded to the reporter's questions about the golf outing. Paul, instead, chose to attack the questioner (the reporter and the Times), as he has been prone to do throughout his tenure on the Board.

    The posters on this blog and the reporters for the Times are asking some hard questions and, for the most part, with civility. By answering them respectfully, district leaders will earn the trust and support they seek.

  42. Paul,
    Again you are missing the big picture.
    If there was trust, transparency, and good communication in this district the actions of our Board and Superintendent would be trusted and it would be much less likely that the appearance of impropriety even be considered.

  43. Paul, It's actually the big picture that's the problem.

    The small picture of two Board members having a meal with business people who provide donations and grants for student programs is acceptable, worth putting in the district's annual report.

    The big picture showing several such restaurant gatherings along with private meetings in district leaders' homes with business people expecting their company to be awarded a no-bid contract on a multi-million dollar project--that picture raises eyebrows. And despite your assertion, the public did not know about the collaboration with Chevron on the solar energy project until the Times reported it.

    I have heard that the Chevron subsidiary has the most knowledge and experience in the solar energy project the district has in mind. Your attacking anyone who has questions about the district's interactions with Chevron on this issue is counterproductive and just may force the Board not to consider the Chevron proposal because of public perceptions of impropriety.

    By answering questions respectfully and being totally transparent about the selection process, you can put the suspicions to rest.

  44. Paul, where there is smoke, there is fire. Look at the Mt. Diablo blaze yesterday. Transparency that you preach, you need to practice. The only way to be transparent is full disclosure. Now that the Supt and some board members have created the smoke, its time to have transparency through full disclosure, unless of course there is more to hide. You have just been piecemealing the information to the public as one thing after another gets discovered. Its time to make FULL and TOTAL DISCLOSURE by the Supt and ALL BOARD MEMBERS: Every contact with Chevron executives related to the solar project since Jan 1, 2009. That shouldn't be very hard unless of course there are more contacts than you have disclosed so far. You preached transparency; now its time to practice it.
    Doctor J

  45. I wonder if Lawrence already has a dozen Chevron golf balls ?

  46. So if the Chevron CEO facilitated Lawrence's friends discount -- who facilitated Lawrence's discount ? I am having a hard time believing Lawrenence paid full price.

  47. anon 2:54
    ROFLOL Did you notice its a "Diablo" golf ball with Chevron logo ? Too funny.
    Doctor J