What's Wrong With This Picture?
I don't make endorsements, however, I will call out those candidates who have histories of questionable or outright bad governmental conduct or improper ethical behavior. Those who claim to be above their actual performance on issues critical to this blog's purpose.
My regular readers are well aware of my association with the Saturday morning discussion group.
On January 5, 2013, Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Member, District 6 David Robbins, below left, attended as a candidate for reelection.
A member of the group, David Walker, above far right, had the floor and was speaking about the behavior of the school board towards citizens who want to communicate with the board.
Walker, a retired Federal Magistrate in Alaska and a former aid for the Virginia legislature in Richmond is acutely aware of the manner that the school board goes about, not only ignoring their constituents, but also suppressing public comments, and any coverage that they determine to be against their self interest.
Walker was recounting how the board had gone about ejecting people for the offense of attempting to speak or petition the board to be heard.
He pointed out that the board and administration were using "banning letters" to keep those deemed nuisances from, not only attending school board functions, but also from entering school property in a manner that he says is unconstitutional because of its lack of any due process.
Walker further went on to say that board members had stood by silently while the superintendent had ordered his police officers to physically eject people, including several in the room, who had stood silently holding signs asking for recognition of their request to communicate.
Walker pointed out that he had been one of those thrown out of a communities goals meeting while at least three board members stood by silently.
He spoke about how the school system was holding public meetings on how to deal with bullying in schools, yet the leadership was practicing, just such unacceptable behavior themselves.
Robbins was shaking his head in agreement with Walker's condemnation.
James Madison's admonition on the market place of ideas screamed in my head, "more speech, not less speech!"
Though Robbins had not said a word, he sat demonstrating through his head shaking to those participants of the group that he agreed with Walker's comments of board conduct or lack of denunciation as being a bad thing.
"How dare you, how dare you sir," I called Robbins out for trying to give the impression that he was not one of those board members who remained quiet, during the administrations actions.
Robbins is one of the most flagrant violators in the practice of abusing citizens attending meetings.
It was Robbins who expelled Ched MacQuigg and myself from an August 25, 2010, APS Audit committee of the whole meeting, for my photographing and video recording during a momentary recess while they were going into an executive session and those not privy to the closed session were vacating the room.
My loud verbal comments took the room by surprise.
"So who is the bully now," Robbins stammered.
"Not I," was my reply, " I'm speaking a truth."
The head of the table, co-moderators Frank Ruvilo, Kim Hillard, and former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, called out my name.
I was through.
Some might think I owe an apology for breaking in.
I believe I might owe an apology, but to only one person.
I was not trying to be contemptuous, of the man I refer to as "you Honor," for I know he has deserved that respect and has it from me.
I apologize for having interrupted his fine indictment of Robbins.
Robbins would leave the meeting before availing himself of the five-minutes given specifically to any candidate for public office.
This is not the first time Robbins and Walker have crossed wits.
During a regularly scheduled school board meeting's public comment session, on August 10, 2011, Arnold-Jones presented a petition with more than 100 signature requesting a citizens advisory council on communications the administration meet with members of the petitioning group.
On November 10, 2011, Robbins was a guest speaker at a District 28 Republican Ward meeting of Representative Jimmy Hall, Bernalillo County.
A question was asked as to why the petition request was answered with only a "thank you" note from then Board President Paula Maes, but no effort was made on behalf of the board to acknowledge receipt of the documents or to take up the issue.
Robbins pleaded ignorant of knowing anything about the petition, though he was present when Janice Arnold-Jones delivered it to the board.
Walker cross-examined Robbins so skillfully that Robbins seemed not to have noticed that his throat was slit so cleanly his head would fall off only if he were asked if he was feeling OK and nodded in agreement.
Robbins unknowingly admitted to totally failing to know or follow the board's own policies.
With further pressure being applied to APS, the board agreed to hear from the petitioners on the request to establish a citizens advisory council on communications.
Several petitioners gathered on March 23, 2011, to plan on how to best make the case for the board to accept and meet with the committee.
On March 24, 2011,during the Saturday morning meeting a break-out group gathered to discuss final preparations for the upcoming APS committee meeting.
On the March 27, 2011 agenda of the District and Community Relations Committee, where the entire board participated as a committee of the whole, was an item, a petition submitted by the Citizens Advisory Council on Communications seeking recognition in establishing two-way communication with the APS administration and board.
Walker, Smith, Hillard, and Countee were the presenters to the committee; Janice Arnold-Jones was invited to join them.
Korte made a statement about why she would oppose the request:
I'm sorry to say, I know that one of your leaders is Ched MacQuigg. I read his blog every now and then. It is the most negative thing I have ever read. So I don't read it, actually. To be honest with you, I don't read it. So I'm suspect of your intentions because I know Ched MacQuigg plays a big Role in this, and he's the most negative person I've ever met in my life.
According to the minutes of the meeting:
Board members felt that APS already has many of these requests in place (Student Service Center, PEAPS, open audit committee meetings, APS website, etc.). Board members felt many people do not utilize the services APS has and does to help engage families and communities.
By November 17, 2011, the board had not taken any action on the request.
APS had held a series of meeting; one in each school board district to gather "Community Input for Goals."
The last of the community input sessions was scheduled at Manzano High School. In addition to Robbins, whose district encompasses Manzano, other board members present were: Kathy Korte, district 2, and David Peercy, district 7.
Fourteen petitioners appeared at the session and six silently raised signs as Robbins began to speak.
APS Superintendent Winston Brooks, below left, told petitioners they would not be allowed to disrupt the meeting with their protest.
It wasn't until Brooks' loud comment, interrupting Robbins, below right, that there was any disruption.
When the petitioners did not lower the placards, Brooks ordered APS Police Chief Steve Tellez to remove them.
Tellez approached Ched MacQuigg and physically removed him by applying an "arm pinch" to induce pain, where there was no resistance.
Tellez returned and removed Walker, above center, who also offered no resistance, but had the pain compliance hold applied beyond the minimum necessary force needed to accomplish the goal.
Other officers removed: Ron Peterson, Charlie Tipton, and Frank Ruvilo, one protester put down her sign and was not removed.
The protestors were allowed to return without their signs.
On January 15, 2013, the Albuquerque Tea Party held its monthly meeting.
The program was an Albuquerque School Board Candidate forum for APS Districts: 3, 5, 6, and 7. The election is February 5, 2013.
Walker, right, was the moderator. There were no sparks, as Robbins, left, was given the same five-minutes each candidate received and was asked the same questions.
At the end of the session, I approached Robbins and invited him to return to the Saturday meeting and he would be given the five-minutes we give every person seeking political office in any race.
He indicated he would not be able to attend this Saturday January 19, but thought he could make the 26th.