By Doug Porter
A teachers group has initiated an online petition drive urging the Superintendent and Board of Trustees for the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) to dismiss newly hired Chief Financial Officer Stanley “Data” Dobbs.
The movement comes in the wake of a recent Q&A interview with Dobbs published February 1st by Voice of San Diego (VOSD). The CFO’s factually challenged assertions about the challenges facing the school district along with his one-dimensional analysis of the politics of education in this city has reverberated throughout the community for nearly two weeks now.
VOSD responded to complaints about inaccuracies in the interview by publishing “fact check “ articles which have proved that, indeed, the Chief Financial Officer for SDUSD had no command of actual dollar figures associated with the single biggest expense in any education system: the people who teach. Nor is he familiar with studies relating to concerns in the academic world over the impact of class size on educational achievement; Dobbs simply said they don’t exist.
An apology by SDUSD Superintendent Bill Kowba for Dobb’s errors in fact was followed by an analysis at VOSD pointing out what wasn’tapologized for, namely the CFO’s opinions expressed concerning the politics of educational governance.
Of course, opinions can’t be fact checked. The article did give VOSD the opportunity to restate those opinions, i.e., the school board is a bunch of union toadys, etc. And it would be safe to say this point of view dovetails with (what I believe are) the underlying premises of all their education coverage; namely a simplistic and naïve belief that the institutional DNA of SDUSD is skewered towards screwing the students.
Word has it that CFO Dobbs has privately apologized to Bill Forman, President of the San Diego Education Association (the teachers union), but that does nothing to undo the aspersions cast upon rank and file teachers. As I’ve said before, the impact of Dobbs assertion in that Q&A will far outlast any corrections that get published after the fact.
The UT-San Diego, which can barely contain its hostility towards the concept of public education, has already used the VOSD story as the basis for an editorial.
So it seems appropriate that the Breakfast Club, a union reform group, has issued the call for Dobb’s dismissal. Here’s the language (and the link) for their petition:
On Feb. 1, the Voice of San Diego published an alarming interview with new SDUSD CFO Stan “Data” Dobbs. In the interview, Dobbs falsely claimed that the average District teachers makes $92,000 before benefits, that class size has no impact on student learning, and that teachers are going to need to give up our healthcare to keep the District afloat. Not only did Dobbs play fast and loose with the facts, but his tone was clearly hostile and demeaning towards teachers and the work we do. He is in no way qualified to be the honest and objective financial servant our schools need. Both Superintendent Bill Kowba and School Board President John Lee Evans have already apologized for the misinformation in this interview. But Dobbs hasn’t. We call on Dobbs to immediately apologize to the public for spreading misinformation that will damage our schools, and we call on the Superintendent and School Board to do right by our kids and remove “Data” Dobbs from his position immediately. We all deserve better.
Gov. Brown’s Secret Joy
Despite the ruckus about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s visits to California seeking to poach a few companies for his state, it would appear that Gov. Brown is actually pleased. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Publicly, Gov. Jerry Brown is calling Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s three-day trip to try to lure California businesses to the Lone Star State“barely a fart.” But privately, he’s kind of happy about it – figuring the poaching threat plays right into his desire to streamlineCalifornia‘s environmental laws to make the state more business-friendly.
“The stage is set – he’s opened the umbrella wider than any other Democratic governor has ever done before,” said one key aide. “Now he’ll stand back and let the Legislature make their moves.”
GOP May Force Nation into Vegetarianism
The pending reductions in government services associated with across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in March may result in furloughing every U.S. meat and poultry inspector for two weeks, causing the meat industry to shut down. From Reuters:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lamented across-the-board spending cuts during a speech to state agriculture directors earlier this week.
“There is not much we can do when Congress says to cut every line item by a certain percent,” Vilsack said. He said employee pay accounted for the bulk of spending at the meat safety agency.
USDA spends about $1 billion on meat safety annually and has 8,400 inspectors at 6,290 slaughter and processing plants.
What Could Go Wrong? Drones Seeking Cop Killer
The British press is reporting that aerial drones are being used to hunt for the ex-cop turned renegade. From the Express:
A senior police source said: “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him. On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Asked directly if drones have already been deployed, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, who is jointly leading the task force, said: “We are using all the tools at our disposal.”
The use of drones was later confirmed by Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio, who revealed agents have been prepared for Dorner to make a dash for the Mexican border since his rampage began. He said: “This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement. That’s all I can say at the moment.”
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the media this weekend that his agency would reopen its investigation into the 2007 episode that led to the firing of Christopher J. Dorner. From the LA Times:
“I am aware of the ghosts of the L.A.P.D.’s past, and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner’s allegations of racism within the department,” Chief Charlie Beck said in a written statement.
“Therefore, I feel we need to also publicly address Dorner’s allegations regarding his termination,” he said. “I do this not to appease a murderer. I do it to reassure the public that their Police Department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”
Police reportedly deployed extra security for last night’s Grammy awards. Fortunately nobody was wounded. In addition to the two women (one of whom was 71) who were mistaken shot by Los Angeles police officers, there’s this story, which hasn’t garnered nearly as much coverage.
David Perdue was on his way to sneak in some surfing before work Thursday morning when police flagged him down. They asked who he was and where he was headed, then sent him on his way.
Seconds later, Perdue’s attorney said, a Torrance police cruiser slammed into his pickup and officers opened fire; none of the bullets struck Perdue.
His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He’s several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.
So I’m not so sure that the drones flying over Southern California are necessarily a good idea. Some poor bear wandering in the woods may feel the wrath of the LAPD.
UPDATE: The Fronteras Desk is reporting that the Border patrol spokesman for San Diego is denying reports about Customs drones being used. This doesn’t mean that other drones aren’t being used, for what its worth. Drone manufacturers have been soliciting police departments nationwide as of late, urging them to consider adding unmanned aerial vehicles to their collection of law enforcement tools
My gut feeling (and this is pure speculation!) is that Dorner is already dead; that he committed suicide and his body hasn’t been found due to the snow. Whatever. It sucks to be him right now.
Obama’s New Executive Orders: Coincidence? I think not…
From today’s Washington Post:
President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants, according to people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues.
One of the first orders is expected this week, when the Obama administration will call for the creation of new standards on what critical private-sector companies should do to protect their computer systems from hackers.
Elsewhere in the same paper:
A new intelligence assessment has concluded that the United States is the target of a massive, sustained cyber-espionage campaign that is threatening the country’s economic competitiveness, according to individuals familiar with the report.
The National Intelligence Estimate identifies China as the country most aggressively seeking to penetrate the computer systems of American businesses and institutions to gain access to data that could be used for economic gain.
The report, which represents the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community, describes a wide range of sectors that have been the focus of hacking over the past five years, including energy, finance, information technology, aerospace and automotives, according to the individuals familiar with the report, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the classified document. The assessment does not quantify the financial impact of the espionage, but outside experts have estimated it in the tens of billions of dollars.
Ron Paul Joins UN Conspiracy
Libertarian hero and former Congressman Ron Paul incurred the wrath of his online fanboys last week by filing an international copyright complaint against them with a United Nations-affiliated agency. In the hive of Ron Paul, the United Nations is at best a suspect agency. Many feel that it is plotting to impose world government.
The former presidential candidate has the internet buzzing over his decision to file a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization against the proprietors of RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org., and, boy, are they angry. From RonPaul.com:
Back in 2007 we put our lives on hold for you, Ron, and we invested close to 10,000 hours of tears, sweat and hard work into this site at great personal sacrifice. We helped raise millions of dollars for you, we spread your message of liberty as far and wide as we possibly could, and we went out of our way to defend you against the unjustified attacks by your opponents. Now that your campaigns are over and you no longer need us, you want to take it all away – and send us off to a UN tribunal?
A Better San Diego Breakfast on Transportation Issues
If you like a little wonk with your Wheaties, then these early morning gatherings, hosted by A Better San Diego, may be for you.
This Friday’s (Feb. 15th) gathering will focus on comprehensive solutions to San Diego’s transportation challenges. A panel including Jack Shu, President, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, Director, San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council and Theresa Quiroz, Transit Advocate will explore how transportation decisions impact our communities and economy, how those decisions drive job creation, and how our choices impact the character of our neighborhoods.
The meeting kicks off at 8am at the UFCW Hall at 2001 Camino Del Rio South, in Mission Valley. (The Hall entrance is behind the building.) Breakfast (I don’t think Wheaties are actually on the menu) is provided for a suggested donation of $5. Please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweet of the Day:
No pope has resigned since 1415, which is also the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record – Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight)
North Park Alert!
As part of our ‘grassroots news’ mission here at the San Diego Free Press we’re going to start expanding our neighborhood coverage in the coming weeks. And all you hipsters in North Park are first in line as we launch this grand plan, so expect to see us in our SD Free Press tee shirts prowling around. (Other neighborhoods shouldn’t be jealous, we’re headed your way as the year moves along.) So if you live or work in North Park and would like to pen a neighborhood-centric essay, drop us a line. Contact@SanDiegoFreePress.org
On This Day: 1812 – The term “gerrymandering” had its beginning when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, signed a redistricting law that favored his party. 1964 – The Beatles played their firstU.S. concert at the Collisseum in Washington, DC. 2006 – In Texas, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a quail hunt.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Fallbrook (102 S. Main, at Alvarado) 10 am – 2 pm, Imperial Beach (Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza) 2 – 7:30 pm, Kearny Mesa (No. Island Credit Union pkg lot 5898 Copley) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, La Mesa Village (Corner of Spring St. and University) 2 – 6 pm, Rancho Bernardo (Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) 9 am – noon, Southeast San Diego(4981 Market St. West of Euclid Ave. Trolley Station) 2 – 6 pm
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