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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh, the Fur is Flying

Snappy answers to stupid questions, anyone?

1) Not saying it was timed (really, I'm not) but how is it that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson manages to NEVER be around when things get hot? I saw on the news that she's out of town somewhere. It never fails.

2) I appreciate that we have an Ethics Officer and now a visible whistleblower program but apparently there were people who had doubts, expressed doubts and either got brushed off or left the district. How is the district going to make sure this doesn't happen again?

3) Steve Sundquist, at the Seattle Channel Town Hall, gave the district a grade of "B". I wonder what he would give them now.

4) Who at the Times thought it would be a good idea to challenge Charlie? David Boardman took Charlie on. It went something like this:

Charlie: Just so everyone knows:

The Seattle Times knew all about this and has known all about this for months and months. Maybe they sat on the story so it would not negatively impact the Supplemental Levy vote (and the superintendent). Maybe they are exposing it now to damage the Family and Education Levy (and the mayor).

Boardman: @coolpapa: Your claims are not only untrue, they are absurd. -- David Boardman,
executive editor

I chimed in with: Mr. Boardman, I let Linda Shaw and Lynne Varner know about this issue months ago.

I don't have a hard time believing that the Times would hold back a story to support a levy. Now did they? I don't know.

I'm looking forward to hearing what the editorial board of the Times has to say.

Charlie: It took Mr. Boardman only 26 minutes to disclaim my statement. Amazing. Did he, in that 26 minutes, get any sources? Did he check with Linda Shaw? Did he check with Lynne Varner? Did he check with any other sources? I doubt he had time.

I can produce emails to Seattle Times news and editorial staff that describe this scandal in just as much detail as can be found in this story. These emails are months old.

This scandal - and the Seattle Times' lack of interest in it - was reported months ago on the Seattle Public Schools Community Blog.

As to the conjecture that the Times' political bias influenced the decision of when to run the story, that is, of course, only conjecture and was written as conjecture.

Mr. Boardman's statement, however, is patently false. The claims are true.

Even if they were not true, they would not be absurd. Is the Times so sanctimonious that they consider themselves above suspicion? Is the Times so pure? Of course not. It isn't the least bit absurd to think that the Times' political bias might have an effect on the perspective of the news or its timing.

Mr. Boardman, with this rare, hair-trigger appearance, has shown himself to be both pompous and dim-witted. Funny how often those two go together.

Boardman: @coolpapa: Please send me the material to which you refer: dboardman@seattletimes.com.

Several readers interjected with comments about it taking time to verify facts and things like this:

Honest Abe Lincoln: cool papa

i'm joining mr boardman in calling you out. if you've got evidence, show it. and show it on this thread as well. link to the blog.

post your emails here.....one thing the Times does admirably is allow for lengthy posts. let's see 'em. i find you "even if they were not true..." intro to paragraph 6 to be damning.

let's find out right now who's the liar and who's playing politics.

JoJobber: Coolpapa- I read the blog you refer to and that doesn't have anywhere the amount of detail this report has. Face it - you and your blog buddies didn't uncover any of this.

(I interject here to let this person know that neither Charlie or I have the resources that the State Auditor does. Dorothy Neville had made public disclosure requests and those can take a month to six months. So amount of detail? Sorry for not having all the facts right at hand. There was enough there, though, that someone should have looked harder.)

Great Caesar's Ghost - WOW.....3 posters accusing the Times of sitting on a city corruption issue. Coolpapa, Wetello, and burb.

I think Mr. Boardman needs a meeting with Mr Higgins to make sure the story is consistent.

Charlie posted a long comment which I abbreviate here:
In the meantime you might want to review the reporting done on this matter at www.saveseattleschools.blogspot.com starting in the summer and continuing through today. I suggest using "Potter" or "audit" as search terms.

You might want to consider how the audit findings were reported by the Seattle Times in July. Consider also how the Times reported on Mr. Nderu's resignation in December.

"In letters to Nderu, which Nderu shared with The Times, the district alleges, among other things, that he told a district employee to deposit a $35,000 check into the account of a nonprofit organization, rather than the district's own accounts, where it should have gone. The nonprofit was a new group formed to provide training services that the district once offered."

The Times knew about this. The Times spiked the story. The Times soft-pedalled the whole mess. There's a lot of passive voice used in that paragraph. A lot more than should ever appear in a newspaper. Mr. Potter's name isn't mentioned even once by the Times until this week. Are you going to claim that Mr. Potter was unknown to the Times' reporter? How credible it that?

So - even if the Times didn't spike the story (I have no first-hand knowledge of the editorial decisions made by news editors at the Times), you can see, I'm sure, that the suggestion is far from "absurd" as you sanctimoniously sneered. It is a very credible accusation - far from absurd. You really overstepped with that one. Make sure you have the high moral ground before you try to use it to soak those you think are below you.

Honest Abe Lincoln: ok, Mr Boardman. I've followed cool papa's link.....and now i DO have questions for you. you asked him for evidence.....check out the:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 entry

(which can be found here: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/search/label/audit?up )

i think cool papa has some ammunition and i'm damned glad he provided it.

my question for YOU Mr. Boardman....what is your response?

and to cool papa? thank you and i really hope you post some of your emails. i get the feeling that the Seattle Times is going to get a little uncomfortable here....

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

IF your definition of "journalism" is to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable, THEN the Seattle Times does a great job as a mouth piece of the powerful.

It would not be a loss to the region if it went under - other than the few local jobs it still provides.

The Big Boyz would find another way to channel their money and their lies onto our doorsteps.

Uncomfortably Afflicted

kprugman said...

The 'whistleblower program' is in name only. Currently, your state has no laws that protect public employees.

Imagine an educator muckraker surviving a six-year OSPI investigation without being paid and then nothing comes of it. That's your state in a nutshell.

Washington politics are a shade less slimier than Wisconsin's. If a rural school in your state can cost double what it costs to build in Seattle - there's more than enough opportunity for public 'tinkering'.

Graft goes by a different name, but its the same. There's whole groups of less-than scrupulous people who have made it into their livelihood.

kprugman said...

Where else but Washington! Would you have one entire school district kept open just to educate a retired executive's grandkids, while the parents went through drug rehab. lol, signed bigboyz remain comfortable while shooting fish in a barrel.

Bruce Taylor said...

Am I the only person who's annoyed that the Times published a lengthy, unrebutted denial from Maria Goodloe-Johnson?

ma'am said...

I wonder if building contract kickbacks had something to do with the decision to close 5 schools and then reopen 5 others to the tune of $50 million.

Josh Hayes said...

And, AND, Megan, one of the closed schools was subsequently one of the re-opened schools (Viewlands). If you want to work out your mind-boggle muscles, SPS is the org to watch. They'll boggle the hell out of you time and time again.

BL said...

Megan,
That's an interesting possibility to ponder. Up until now, I've assumed it was merely a combination of Maria's ego and incompetance.

Josh,
The five buildings closed in June 2009 were:
Mann (Nova moved to Meany)
Genesee Hill (Pathfinder moved to Cooper)
Old Hay (SBOC moved to Meany)
TT Minor (Gen Ed moved to Lowell, Montesorri moved to Leschi)
Van Asselt (Moved to AAA)

Viewlands was closed in the previous round under Raj. Old Hay is getting reopened as Queen Anne Elementary.

Anonymous said...

Is it a waste of time and focus to spar over who said what when ect, or should we concentrate on the lack of a maintenance plan to repair our buildings? Management and MGJ have zero focus on this.

Speaking Plainly