Saturday, August 9, 2008

More Get Your War On!

See here for the comic strip.

Friday, August 8, 2008

[I Can't Title Posts] Forest for the Trees, or Something

After noting the myriad of problems he faced at the DMV, DH letter-writter William C. Hogg says this:

I have absolutely no problem with Spanish people here in Albany. Most of them are very nice and courteous and have beautiful families. But while at DMV, I observed many Spanish people go to the counter, present some kind of ID, then take a small test and have their picture taken. They were then provided with a driver’s license, which would be mailed to them. The exact way we used to get ours. What?

OK governor, senators and representatives, what are you trying to prove? How about the citizens?

Right. Because clearly no Spanish people could be citizens of the US. And clearly anyone who's not Black or Asian must be Spanish - not Mexican, Ecuadoran, Panamanian, or any one of many, many other identities. Nope. All Spanish, all foreigners.

This is a great example of unintentional racism. I don't think Mr. Hogg had malicious intent, but the assumptions he put in writing erase whole groups of people from existence and make unfounded assumptions about others. Not cool.... not to mention that he's making an assumption that his experience is representative of white people and the experiences he observed were similarly representative of whole groups.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What the.....?!


The news that Iraq has been able to amass a $79 billion budget surplus from oil revenues says a couple of things.

The first is that the war has been won...

What fucking planet is that man on?

... more calmly: There is no necessary connection between Iraq squirreling away money and "the war" being over. Certainly Hering doesn't make one.

Evanite, the Greenway, and an Editorial all walk into a bar....

A GT editorial:

The deal offers a potentially huge payoff for Corvallis and its residents: The 32- foot-wide, quarter-mile-long strip of land on the Willamette River would allow the city to fill in a missing link in its riverfront trail system. The result would be an uninterrupted 3.5-mile path for pedestrians and cyclists from the north end of downtown to Willamette Landing.

In return, Evanite wants the city’s help in getting out from an extra layer of oversight of development requests on part of its 35-acre site on Crystal Lake Drive.

This has been the basis of the deal since the beginning. I am very much in favor of an unbroken trail from Willamette Landing to Michael's Landing.... but I'm skeptical of Evanite.

Specifically, I want to know exactly what regulations Evanite wants out of - is it really just building near the river? Or is there an environmental component? Is there a chance that the land near the river owned by Evanite contains some nasty pollutants that Evanite doesn't want to deal with? And why does the GT label it "extra"? Is there any basis for that, or is that word in there to give people the impression the regulations are, for some reason, unnecessary?

I can't say I've read every GT story on this issue, but I suspect I've seen most of them, and I can't remember ever hearing about possible environmental impact or about the regulations in any detail.

This editorial, of course, is no different. Given that we're in Corvallis, it would seem like a no-brainer to at least mention the potential environmental impacts, especially if any of the regulations in question deal with them. But no... and here is where I find myself agreeing just the tiniest bit with the incensed commenters: The GT does tend to show a rather strong pro-development/pro-business bias, often in its editorial slant.

But I can't just blame the GT for that and walk away. I'd bet money that the parent corporation, Lee Enterprises, actually has policy directives surrounding editorial stances. It's not unheard of, and Lee has a reputation as a very pro-business company.

I happen to think that the existence of such policies undermines the credibility of journalism, but what do I know? The GT tells me this is a good idea, conveniently omitting even the possibility of downsides, so I guess I should just be happy that I get a trail, right?


Apple Sued


David Walsh, a former Network Engineer that worked at Apple from 1995 to 2007, is suing the company for violating California labor laws.

Filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, the complaint focuses on the fact that employees were required to work more than 40 hours a week or eight hours in a workday. Walsh’s suit says that Apple then denies the employees proper compensation for that work.

Walsh claims that Apple has created several job levels so they can make them exempt from receiving overtime wages. One example given is the use of “Senior” before the title “Network Engineer,” even though all Network Engineers perform the same duties.

The on-call requirements for Network Engineers were also an issue for Walsh. His on-call duties lasted for seven days, every six weeks — during this time he was on stand-by every night without additional compensation.

The lawsuit is seeking class action status, which would allow any employee during the class period to join the lawsuit.

I find this entirely believable. Unsurprising, even.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

[Insert Title Here]

From a comment:

I was curious that during the discussion on the failing reading and writing AYP scores, no one asked, how specifically the district plans to fix the issues.

Good question. The charitable answer is that there is a plan, and that the board already knows what that plan is, and so felt no particular urge to ask again simply for the benefit of the public.

However, I don't think "charitable" and "probable" are particularly close on this one. It does suggest something about the board that they didn't ask, doesn't it?

Awesome Quote of the Day

No link, but check this out:

"...but we have to quit expecting that if we elect D's, we'll get a fucking pony."

Far, far too many people believe in the Democrats-and-ponies theory at this point. Why they keep believing cycle after cycle is beyond me (though I would venture that 20/28 years of Republican Presidents has something to do with it).

h/t wobs.

Of Hypotheticals and Listening Skills

Part of a hypothetical conversation that might have happened this morning:

Person X: So tell me about the meeting yesterday. What's the situation with Issue A?

Dennis: This is the structure of their existing plan... if we successfully pass this proposal, we can choose how to implement, either matching the existing plan or creating a whole new plan. Here are some reasons to do either, plus some likely consequences for different options.

Person X: So our proposed plan is analogous to their plan?

Dennis: No, we have the freedom to do it however we want. We never actually proposed a concrete plan, just that we get the resources to meet this existing need.

Person X: So our plan, which is analogous to their plan, is to [describes their plan].

Dennis: Actually, we don't have to stick to that, we can do any way we want. [Briefly repeats a few possibilities.]

[Conversation shifts to rehashing other parts of the meeting, the same thing happens.]

Later, in presenting this to other people:

Person X: Our plan, which is analogous to the existing plan, would....

Dennis: [Develops an ulcer on the spot.]

Monday, August 4, 2008

DH: Jackson Resigns

From Jennifer Moody, the greased lightning of the education beat:

LEBANON - Jay Jackson has resigned his position as director of operations for People Involved in Education, the organization that runs Sand Ridge Charter School.


In an interview following his statement, Jackson said he does not anticipate having any role in PIE from now on. Doug Miner was elected president of the PIE board at the organization's June meeting, and Business Director Mary Northern will be the main point of public contact, he said.

Here is the million-dollar question, at least for me: Who is going to be serving the role of administrator at Sand Ridge? That is, who is going to be supervising teachers and doing all the other things someone in an administrator role does? If it's Mary Northern, then she needs to register with PIE if she hasn't already.

It would be interesting to see the DH or LE follow up on this question. It's entirely possible that Sand Ridge already has a properly registered or licensed administrator lined up for next year, or that Northern will simply register without a fuss; I just don't know. But if past history is any guide....

The Submarines' "You, Me & the Bourgeoisie"

Found in one of Atrios' late night threads, I am fascinated by the lyrics.

Post-Liveblogging Post/Board Meeting Extra-Short Summary

Well... that was interesting. I got a kick out of liveblogging, it got a few positive reactions, and I think a few people even followed along (I think I set a record for the ratio of pageviews to unique visits at about 5:1 for today). I might try that again.

As for the meeting, here's the super-short summary:

Jay Jackson resigned as Director of Operations for PIE during audience comments.

Russ McUne was appointed to the empty seat on the board.

Rick Alexander was very, very quiet.

I'm more suprised by what did not happen:

No one talked about firing, suspending, buying out, or otherwise getting rid of Robinson.

Rick Alexander did not add anything to the agenda or otherwise cause much of a ruckus. (Speculation: He's not happy about Jackson resigning.)

Um.... yeah. All in all, a relatively quiet, well-run meeting. Congrats are due to Josh - he was ten times better than last month. I still think he shouldn't be voting on everything except in case of a tie, but hey. It could be worse.

The caveat: The board went into Executive Session after the meeting ended, so who knows what shenanigans are still going on.

I suppose I'll post more reactions as I have them, but for now, what did y'all think of the board meeting? What about the liveblogging?

Liveblog! LCSD Board Meeting, August 4th, 2008

9:17 Adjourn into Executive Session after Josh notes a two-hour meeting and a three-page agenda. AND NO BOMBSHELLS. AMAZING.

9:15 McUne sworn in on the spot. That is one weird oath. Room is oddly silent... there it goes... he gets applause.. Standing ovation, actually, as he walks up to the podium to take a seat.

9:13 Fisher: All of you would make great board members, picking is the hardest part.

Alexander: Move to appoint Russel McUne.

Fisher: Second.

Josh: Discussion? [For once I agree with Josh, hah - they should be talking before a motion is made]

Fisher: Thanks for answering all the questions.... you all answered them well.... but only member who I remember seeing is Russ..... he has reached out.....

Debi: I concur with Chris.

Josh: Russ contacted all four board members...

Fisher: Elections coming up.

Josh calls question - appoint Russell McUne to board in Sprenger's seat until the next election.

Vote is unanimous.

9:10 Jeff Sneddon.... live in Lacomb area.... interest around getting kids ready to get ready for workforce and world economy.... jobs being outsourced.... competing with larger nations with smarter kids.... how do we get our kids ready.....?

Fisher: Same questions.

Sneddon: I have attended three.... I have conflicts with the time... if selected, the board gets priority....

Sneddon: Highly important for board members to provide professional boundaries.... encourage problem-solving at the lowest level.... [he is speaking very quietly].

Sneddon: Board member must have as primary focus to put their own opinion to the side.... look at district overall, look at policy, etc.....

[He is giving short, well-prepared answers, but has the advantage of going last.]

Sneddon: Top three priorities are literacy.... reading is key for acquisition of other skills.... second is NCLB, it's an unfunded mandate, struggle to implement.... third is communication between board, district and community....

Fisher: Open mind?

Sneddon: Definitely open mind.... focus my ideals on where I would like to go.... being able for our kids to participate....definitely.

Josh: Thank you sir, appreciate all three of your time.

9:05 McUne: I have several kids.... am a physician... live near the edge of district boundary... work at Samaritan Albany now..... full time in emergency room.... desire to be on school board growing for many years..... parents went, always came home angry.... recall this, recall that.... [!].... education system is important..... I have two children who are special needs...... one pet issue is communication in district and on board around special education.... disappointed by AYP for special needs.... wife and I went to public schools..... like Oregon.

Fisher: Same questions....

McUne: Attend board meetings when I remember to request them off.... seven or eight in the last wife would know better [!].... already requested next twelve meeting days off....

Fisher: same second scenario.... what if you're asked for a favor?

McUne: Board's job is oversight.... had an issue with my child and an IEP.... got recommendation from Josh.... Josh said call Kelley.... got it solved quickly.... that's what chain of command is designed to do.... passing on to proper personnel mostly means to district office....

McUne: Presumably easy to separate family issues from professional issues.

Debi: Top 3?

McUne: AYP is important.... happy to see increased requirements for math and reading.... two, are our kids learning how to work in outside communities?.... impressed by cashier who counted out change without help.... three, continue to move the district forward and work with district office....

Fisher: Can you come in with an open mind?

McUne: Yes.... appreciate not being put on hot seat and picked at beginning of meeting... want to look at information.

Observation: How much can the board vary in the questions they ask each candidate?

8:49 Time to appoint a new board member! All three are in attendance.

P. Jay Jackson is up first. The audience got real quiet real quick.

Jackson: Desire to be on board.... grew up here.... Plainview class of '74... firefighter..... now have the opportunity and time to give back.... social degree in firefighting technology.... facilities services certification .... almost five years facilities service director of OSU Housing and Dining ... back as a construction project manager.... board for Rock Hill School Preservation.... trying to keep it short.... any questions?

Fisher: How many board meetings have you attended?

Jackson: Past five years, few, as I worked in Corvallis. Before that, a few. Keep up to date with newspapers.

Fisher: Question I'm going to ask all the candidates.... say you get a complaint about an issue from a member of the community that ends with "what can you do for me?"... how do you react?

Jackson: I can listen, take into consideration what their concerns are and then approach the proper person to pass on concerns. "Channel their issues."

Fisher: How do you deal with school district issues when they affect family/friends? I want to make sure you can separate yourself from the issues.

Jackson: As a business person, that's not a problem, especially when it comes to money.

Shimmin: What are the three top educational issues facing the school district.

Jackson: Loooooooooooong pause. His leg starts kicking under the table. He clearly was caught off guard with this one. Really fumbling, references state requirements, AYP, etc. "It was really simpler in the old days." Overall, the future of our children, making it in society, making sure our children have the tools they need to succeed... those are kind of the three top things.

Observation: The second two candidates get it easier, as they've seen the two hard questions. Total length of questioning of Jackson = under 5 minutes.

Josh: Moving on to McUne.

8:48 After some discussion, but not much, Fisher motions and Shimmin seconds to approve the remaining policies through the first reading only. The motion passes unanimously.

8:37 Rick: I don't understand the rolling contract bit; that seems wrong. Can the board change it? [I am paraphrasing, because Rick is making no sense.]

Discussion continues..... Kelley makes the point that the three-year rollover is also in Robinson's contract, and notes the board that can change the policy or the contract.

Surprisingly, nothing occurs - however, they will still have the second reading of the contract to make changes. Frankly, I'm surprised that no one thought to amend board policy to eliminate the rolling three-year contract. Maybe I missed it; maybe they figured out that the policy does not require rolling three-year contracts, but allows them.

8:30 Josh: Oregon Senate discussion around golden parachute - districts not allowed to buy out an administrator at more than the value of their contract.

No offense, Josh, I'm glad you know all about this, but all you're doing is bloviating. There was no question or requested change in anything you said.

On the other hand, Josh is coming across as pretty sharp tonight. His questions are pretty good and informed.

8:26 Kelley: If I may recommend a procedural change? Pass all the ones you don't want to see changes on, then deal with the remaining policies as they come.

Observation: Kelley's recommendation, to adopt and pass most of the policies on the first reading, both gets things done efficiently and deprives the board of an opportunity to further mess with most of the policies without extra effort. Shrewd.

Fisher motions, Alexander approves motion to adopt on first reading and waive second of all policies except GBEC, GBED, JO/IGBAB, CBC and IKF.

Motion passes unanimously.

Kelley is really driving the ship at this point.

8:21 Josh: Can I get things like this before the meeting? (Talking about school budget document.) Linda Darling: It's the same thing you already had, with one minor change regarding funds on hand.

8:17 Fisher moves, Alexander seconds the school boundary revision. Motion passes unanimously with no discussion.

8:15 Discussion around the request to approve the Reed School plan. Debi moves to approve, Fisher seconds. Fisher: Not voting until I see numbers. I want a cap on what the district will spend.

There is some confusion over what motion to make given Fisher's desire for a cap.

Josh is clearly aggravated, as is Fisher. Interestingly, neither seems to be terribly upset with each other. Maybe I'm wrong.

Kelley: Bring back a contract next month. Table for now. My apologies for not having [a contract] ready for you this month.

8:06 Debi makes motion to approve facilities plans, Chris seconds.

Rick: This is just, this is not for the tax?

Josh: This is a prerequisite for pursuing the tax.

Rick: How hard is this to change?

Motion passes unanimously.

8:03 Rick: Is there anything left of the bond money or the sale of properties?

8:00 Rick - can we table approval of the facilities master plans until after the hearing on the construction excise tax to get citizen input and approval?

Tilford: Apparently, many districts did not have public hearings on approval of the tax. I can contact those who did and see what happened.

Debi: Tax or no, we need to pass a plan, it's a state requirement. "I would recommend that we would approve it."

Chris: We need to pass a plan to at least keep up with current buildings.

[A side note - someone pointed out to me recently that Chris is very inarticulate when at the mic, and I think that's right. I wonder why that is, since I usually agree with most of what Chris says, but I bet he'd be more effective if he was more articulate.]

7:55 Josh clearly does not know how to pronounce Rynda Gregory's [the new Principal for Riverview] name. I don't either, but then again, I'm not the board chair. It would have looked really good if he had asked beforehand, though certainly this is the kind of mistake everyone makes. Call it the difference between good and great.

Lots of applause - two rounds, one for the hiring committee and one for the hire. Good stuff - all positive. Kelley is really talking her up, like it's a done deal. Nice move on his part - preempts any criticism.

Debi immediately moves to approve, Chris seconds, Josh fumbles name. No discussion. Motion to hire passes unanimously, and there is another round of applause. Damn, that's impressive.

Kelley notes that at the community presentation for Gregory there were a total of 45 or so people.

It really sounds like the process was stellar and everyone's happy about it.

7:52 Rick (for the first time tonight): Is there any reason we can't table the alternative education proposal? [coming on the heels of several questions by board members that Jan & Kelley can't answer.]

I believe it was tabled. Kelley asked for more information requests from board members.

Chris (also speaking for the first time tonight): I believe that the reason the district did not move forward with this three years ago was the possibility that it would hurt teachers, and the district was bargaining. [Waffles and says both that he is looking out for teachers and that the district needs to do everything possible to educate students.]

7:44 Josh: Why the change of heart since we declined to participate in this program several years ago? It seems to be bringing in a lot of money over in Scio, where they implemented it. [Agenda item E1, Alternative Education Program].

Jan: This program is actually run through the University if Phoenix. [WHAT?!]

Kelley: Can't answer that question off the top of my head.

Jan: Can find more information before action is taken.

7:41 Kelley keeps referring to him as Dr. Robinson. For some reason, I find this funny. Now arguing that new board member should not be asked to vote immediately after getting on board w/out information in packet. That was rationale. Josh agrees.

Question: Since Rick doesn't read a lot of what's in the packet anyway, does that.... ah, nevermind.

7:39 Resolving a question about attorney's fees as asked by an audience member last month. [See agenda item "GSPC Costs and Ruling"]. Debi wants a copy of the filed grievance and reports. Kelley: "Yes. ma'am. I'll make sure you get it right away."

7:30 Whoever followed Jan (I should know this) is covering the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) stuff that came out of NCLB. LHS and Seven Oak did not meet AYP. Apparently there were

Longer-term readers will know I despise NCLB, especially the AYP part.

Josh: Have we ever met AYP? At LHS? Never?

un-IDed woman: Sanctions unlikely.

A few more questions, some confusion, etc. Just an update.

7:25 Jan Zarate: "Writing is not just an issue in Lebanon. It's not just an issue in Oregon. It's an issue across the nation." YES IT IS. GOOD FOR HER.

7:20 OK, this pace is exhausting. I might slow down and leave a few things out. A quick note on liveblogging: The entries are in reverse chronological order. The oldest stuff is at the bottom.

7:15 Super's Report. Kelley: "Doc Robinson" is on vacation this week. Currently unaware of any license or registration concerns at either LCSD or Sand Ridge. Possibility of late hire questions, but "well on the path of 100% compliance." Cool.

Second item: Charter School Resolution.

Josh: with resignation of Jay, resolution becomes a moot point.

Kelley: Resolution now unnecessary, assuming Jackson's resignation is immediately effective.

Josh: Resolution was not to be voted on, just a point of discussion. Attorney had revised.

Third item: Jan Zarate to talk about plan and district goals. On the agenda as "Goals plan."

Zarate: Tonight, look at one (of three) goals... she's having the usual trouble with the powerpoint. Its like an unwritten law of technology, that it works just fine until one is in front of a crowd. The goal:

"Student self-advocacy to ensure that each student is work-force and/or college-ready."

Good stuff.

7:13 Consent agenda. Josh has corrections on minutes. Pretty standard. After a few seconds, Chris motions and Debi seconds to approve with Josh's modifications. Motion passes unanimously.

7:12 Connie Schmidt. Encourages board to adopt resolution re: PIE, but not to get rid of Sand Ridge. Instead, to get PIE to comply with state, even if they don't like the requirements; "take the step tonight to avoid the very real threat of decreased funding;" third, approve resolution "because I want to tell my boys...that this board believes following the law is important."

7:10 Brian Bray corrects Mr. Gaston regarding the new website.

7:07 Ralph Gaston(?) Questions for board regarding website and agenda, or whoever is responsible. Says website has not been updated for a year. I checked, and the new site is updated through June. Complaining about inability to find board policies, etc.... it's all on the new website. I checked. You can too.

Makes point that board members should take office immediately - wants the new board member to vote on tonight's agenda items.

7:05 Lonna Harris - LACE President. Advocating for P. Jay Jackson to be on the board as Sprenger's replacement.

She is quoting from his application, noting that he has children in the community, his demeanor, etc. Stumbling a bit, but ultimately very clear.

7:05 Audience comments. Jay Jackson is up first - and not in a suit.

"Public education should be about the students, not the adults."

"The charter school is committed to making the [opportunity for education] available to every child."

"no adult should allow themselves to be an obstacle."

"I resign my position."

His voice is breaking as he thanks everyone. He's quite serious.

7:01 Josh calls the meeting to order and calls for the flag salute. As is normal for me, I don't stand.... and keep blogging.

6:59 PM Well, this looks like it's going to work. We'll see if there are fireworks tonight or not. Among the ..

... OK, Rick Alexander just came over and tried to look at what I was doing. I closed the laptop to talk to him.

He was very nice, and very polite. "I believe in democracy," he said. "The more people participate, the better off we are."


Liveblogging the Lebanon School Board

If I can get internet access, I'm going to try and liveblog the LCSD board meeting tonight as it happens. Doing so will almost certainly take the place of my normal writeup.

Check back during the board meeting to see if I manage. If you check and I don't have anything by 8 PM, don't expect to see anything until it's over.

(Liveblogging, by the way, is essentially blogging something as it happens. Think a running commentary/record of a sporting event, or the State of the Union, or something similar.)

Here's an example of Washington Monthly blogger Kevin Drum liveblogging a State of the Union address.

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