Monday, November 30, 2009

Ring out, ring in

Some words on tonight's big Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Educators meeting to say goodbye to John Gudvangen and Tami Hasling, and hello to LuAnn Long and Al Loma.

The manner in which the Directors spoke of the outgoing Gudvangen and Hasling was professional and dignified; well done, and thank you for your good manners.

Although I roasted him in an earlier post, I do have to say that former Director John Gudvangen did often ask very good questions, was always gracious, and his self-deprecating comments tonight helped me to see his kinder, gentler side - I thank you for that, as well as for your hard work and sacrifice; the very best to you in the future.

Former President Hasling cautioned the audience that her speech was "a book" - and she wasn't lying.  I've no doubt her words were sincere and heartfelt...and it was helpful for me to learn more about her.  But in my mind, her public digs at Directors Charlie Bobbitt, Bob Null and Al Loma were the height of unprofessionalism.  What a slap in the face - especially after Null had just commended her habit of always speaking well of her fellow Board members.  Singling out Directors for a public dressing down on her way out the door was in Very Poor Form, and served to reinforce my original impression of her.

The tenderness she expressed for her husband and children was her saving grace, however.  I can only imagine that her stint as President was often fraught with inner pain and turmoil, and required a great deal of time, dedication and self-sacrifice - for that, Mrs. Hasling, I thank you.

As far as the election of the Board officers - surprise, surprise.  My friend and I had accurately predicted Tom Strand as President and Jan Tanner as Vice President weeks ago.  LuAnn Long was elected Secretary, and Bob Null, Treasurer.

It's already apparent that Tom was the right choice for President.  And thank goodness Bob got the Treasurer position - a match made in heaven with trusty Assistant Treasurer Glenn Gustafson by his side.

As far as Tanner goes:  if she had properly disclosed her decade-long pizza arrangement with the District, we might all be discussing President Tanner tonight - but she didn't, and so we aren't.  She really wasn't dressed for the occasion anyway, as it appeared she had splashed an entire pizza pie on her blouse.  But by now, Tanner is already aware ain't easy being cheesy.

In closing, my prayer for the Board:

Though forecasts bode ominous,
take no blind heed -- hold fast to fact.

As those around you shift and sway,
waver not, and reckon steady.

Be not mesmerized by legions of numbers,
and see through the veils of artifice.

When the mouths of duplicity whisper into each ear,
may the clear voice of truth be your sole discernment.

With discord to the left of you and deceit to the right,
reason well, and know who you are.

May the smoke of avarice never blind you
may the binding ropes of lies never tie you

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Through the Looking Glass

(Updated Links)

Hello readers, and here’s hoping you had a very wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I meant to post something about being thankful, but could neither find nor make the time to actually sit down and do it. I will do so, however, some time before the end of the year…but since it’s already late now, my spider spirit has been guided to post something completely different.

Why do we sometimes wait so long before picking up the phone and catching up with old friends and family?

I pondered that question during a Happy-Belated-Thanksgiving call with a loved one who regularly volunteers for the District. It had been a while since I’d discussed the District in any depth with this individual (who was also unaware of my blog) – rendering our conversation spontaneous, and untainted by my own bias. I certainly gained some fresh perspectives from our chat.

In explaining the decision to close Buena Vista Elementary to its neighboring community, the District maintained that the necessary improvements to that century-old facility were cost prohibitive.

(Oh – maybe that’s why the District gave away the Buena Vista school building to the city for free. Hmm…but…then why did the District see fit to cram so many kids into the equally-aged Haunt Elementary – er, I meant to say Hunt Elementary School building – which along with its spooky sibling Ivywild Elementary, required far more extensive and expensive work than the Adams buildings to update?

And speaking of updating, is everyone aware of the one-way traffic inside Sabin, or the type of work that’s going on in connection with the West K-through-8 school consolidation? Hold on to your hats, friends, lest they be blown away by my upcoming post on the District’s capital improvement spending.)

This individual had an opportunity to help pack up what seemed to be a gazillion Buena Vista library books. Sadness permeated the atmosphere; evenso, at a certain point, curiosity moved this person to ask: “Where are all of these books going?”

“To the Warehouse,” came the answer.

“The Warehouse!” I sneered. “Maybe that’s the reason why Adams is crammed full to the brim with all of those T.V. sets!”

Let me explain. I mentioned in my “Travesty at Adams” post that I’d often peer through the looking glass of the school’s doors…and described all that I saw languishing there. The District’s response to my concerns was to cover up the rectangular panes of glass with long strips of construction paper to block my view.

So, when the surprise opportunity for an escorted tour of the building’s interior presented itself, I did eight handsprings of anticipatory delight in rapid succession.

We entered the building’s main hallway – which was strewn with assorted trash from the movers – turned the corner and stepped in to the gymnasium. I was astonished to see the rows and rows and rows of audio-visual carts standing there, each equipped with large televisions, VCRs and slide projectors; stretching from wall to wall, and packed so tightly that one could only sidle, I estimate there were at least 20 carts contained in each column and row – so, 400 in the gym alone.

I didn’t know what to say, so I kept quiet and we continued on.

The main hallways were clogged with a jumble of desks, bookshelves and chairs…and off to the side were classrooms packed full of Dell personal computers – at least 10 of which were equipped with wide-screen, flat-panel monitors. Making our way to the library, I was again rendered speechless, and simply did not know what to make of the wall-to-wall electronic equipment there – all of which appeared to be fully functional and up to date.

I was a little dizzy when we exited to the rear of the building and stood together in the sunlight. My escort and I began pelting each other with questions that began with “Did you happen to notice all of the …?” It wasn’t until later that I realized we’d forgotten to walk through the remaining wing of the building; I continue to kick myself for that oversight to this day.

Adams Elementary
Adams is in a purportedly “bad” neighborhood – even worse now, with a great big abandoned school building in its dead center; so why’s the District storing all of that expensive equipment there? Wouldn’t the Warehouse facility offer a more secure and appropriate housing for such an inventory? Or am I to presume the Warehouse is crammed too full with library books?

Of course, making sure the Adams building is filled to the brim with this, that and the other effectively prevents STAR Academy from utilizing even a portion of it.

It’s my understanding that the District plans to use the Adams building as an ad-hoc storage facility and “bargain mart” through the end of November. Employees come to Adams from across the District to “shop” its stockpiles of desks, chairs, audio/visual equipment, etc., and then take their selections back with them to whence they came – a lot like Christmas Unlimited, for my literate-but-po’ brethren out there. Some time before 2010, the District will donate any remaining surplus to charity.

Hopefully, this one-stop-shopping opportunity has been extended to everyone in the District, and not just the friends and family of Glenn Gustafson and his inner sanctum. And I’m just musing out loud here, but…what an awesome way to ensure that a “new” school like Swigert Space Academy had everything it needed.

There’s a link on the District’s website for the public to view and bid upon surplus equipment…but a visit to that link shows absolutely nothing. In what’s probably just a strange coincidence: while researching the recent sale transaction of the Bijou Alternative School, the name “Eddie Bishop” popped up in connection with a surplus school supply website that’s hawking – I’m not making this up – audio/visual carts.

I know I’m mathematically-challenged…but for me, these things simply do not add up; actually, they DO add up...and I just keep on adding and adding to the oddities and inconsistencies and coincidences I happen to stumble across.

Public schools provide so much to their surrounding communities besides educating children. In times of emergency, for instance, school buildings serve as emergency shelters for their neighboring communities. Parents lacking computers of their own can use their school’s public computer, and are often permitted reasonable use of fax machines and photocopiers. This – and much more – has been taken from the communities that saw their neighborhood schools close, and is evidence of the Administration’s total disregard for equity and parity.

Before being given away to charity, the equipment that remains after the District “shopping mart” has closed should be made available for sale to the general public; and at least some of what’s left over from that public sale should be donated to the communities hardest hit by the school closures. Given the right spin, such a gesture of good will and appreciation in return for years of community support could spiff up the District’s sullied image.

Come on, District Administrators; we are not sheeple. Are we not men? Are we not just?? Don’t you owe the taxpaying citizenry of the city of Colorado Springs better than this for the hard-earned dollars we’re forced to blindly surrender to you?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Travesty at Adams

Note:  I wrote this back in August...and though several of the issues I raised have been addressed and remedied by the District, the majority of this article remains as current today as it was three months ago.


A neighbor recently asked me, “What exactly is going on at the school right now?  What are all those moving trucks doing there?  They unload at the back of the building, then another truck comes and loads up again in the front – if you ask me, they look like a bunch of crooks!”  And indeed, they do.  I’ve filmed their activities – sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes openly – and their typical reaction upon spying my camera is to sound an alarm, pack up, and scram.  I know that if I noticed someone filming me, I’d march right up and demand to know why; yet no one ever has.
The time they’ve spent ducking and dodging me has caused considerable delay, however.  Their increasingly furtive attempts to confuse and conceal their movements have been both amusing and disheartening:  trucks from five different companies back up over the grass and right up to the doors for loading; large sheets of paper and cardboard have been taped up to cover certain doors and windows; and it seems that at least a couple of the moving crew have been tasked to dress as civilians and walk the perimeter of the building as lookouts.  The other day I heard John Griego describe the whole thing as a “fiasco,” and I’ve been tempted to approach him and ask how things are going – after all, this is a prime example of our tax dollars at work –  I’m not sure what stops me.
Once the movers have departed, I walk around the building and peer into the main doorways; what I see there causes my heart to sink.  The hallways are crowded and cluttered with all kinds of everything, including sofas and other home furnishings that I’d figured had come from a dismantled teacher’s lounge; but after glimpsing a tall standing ashtray (like they used to make in the sixties), I’m not so sure.  On many occasions I’ve seen individuals drive up and load items into what appear to be their own private vehicles.  Lights are routinely left on at night in the gymnasium and anywhere in the building where the movers have been…and their trash and debris left all around.
The trash bins located on the property were removed nearly three weeks ago, despite the fact that the movers themselves still needed them.  The kids who still play basketball on the school’s courts had been very good about properly disposing of their trash, but since the cans were removed litter is strewn everywhere; incidents of vandalism have multiplied; window screens torn to shreds and left dangling, sometimes ripped completely out of place and left bent on the blacktop; three windows are broken; spray-painted graffiti appears in various places; weeds are big and bushy, and too difficult to pull.
Though I’ve worked hard to spread awareness throughout the neighborhood, many people did not know the school really did close.  Summer’s ending, and school’s back in session – but not at Adams.  The smell of fall in the air had always been accompanied by the music of children laughing; now, there’s just the soft, shocked silence that occurs when the heart of a community stops beating; punctuated only by the occasional beep-beeping of moving trucks snaking through the otherwise empty parking lot of a building in the act of being abandoned.
My own family has lived here for four years, and many’s the time my husband and I sat together on our back porch swing, envisioning the wonderful educational opportunities presented by our arms-length proximity to the school.  I had every intention of regularly volunteering at my children’s school; but since my family doesn’t own a car, and bus service in our area has been discontinued, even my own opportunities – to work with my children’s teachers and play a more active role in their learning – have been squelched.
I’ve spoken with many others who feel the same way:   some opted to walk their children to Rogers…easier to do now – but what about winter?  Others are moving away, closer to work or family.  Those with vehicles are truly envied, since they are the only ones truly able to exercise any real choice in the matter.
One Spanish-speaking family in particular, limited by transportation issues and concerned for the safety and well-being of their disabled child, worried along with me.  In spite of language barriers, we actively sought out alternatives to the one that’s been forced upon us by the District…but for naught.  In the end, with no other choices open to them, they enrolled their children at Hunt – bitter, and vowing never again to support a school the way they had supported the one that sat in our midst for over half a century.
And I, the last hold-out, sit on my back porch swing, swaying and sighing, contemplating my next steps:  am I up to home-schooling my little ones?  And how will it affect their socialization?  I blink back the tears that sting my eyes at the sight I see when I look across the street.  My five-year old son quietly clambers up beside me; after a moment, he looks at me and asks, “Why did they have to close my school, Mom?” I look into his face, unable to answer his question, and an enormous sense of loss envelopes us both.
I determined to check out Hunt for myself. It seemed clean…but crowded; lines of children waiting for what, I’m not sure.  I looked for a reason to reject the school, which was presented by the office secretary.  Curt and condescending, I felt.  I took the enrollment package anyway; there seems little option for us but to surrender and have my kids bussed to Hunt; one in preschool, one in kindergarten – both on separate busses.  It just doesn’t make sense.
There was a rumor the Urban League sought use of the building for daycare – but that turned out unfounded.  I know that for the better part of the year, STAR Academy sought partial use of the building for their overflow students; to the best of my knowledge, there’s been no response or explanation as to a reason why not from the Board.  STAR had to turn away 80 students this semester – one of them mine – because they had no room.  I don’t pretend to understand the legal intricacies, but STAR is a District charter school: doesn’t their legal right to utilize the Adams building supercede the District using it as some shady truck stop?  And since the District is using the building in this manner, is there not an ethical – if not legal – obligation to properly maintain its grounds?  It’s as though the District is purposely allowing the building to fall into utter disrepair, certainly rendering the building less desirable and more difficult to lease or sell later.
Whatever the reasons behind it, the wanton disregard shown by the District regarding Adams is morally wrong, akin to a man denying that he fathered his own offspring.
Yesterday, a family that’s lived here for ten years walked away from their home – opting to move due to the closing of Adams and the limitations they would experience for their two son’s education – and allowed it to slip into foreclosure, because no one was interested in buying a house in a neighborhood without a school.  So, this does not merely impact parents and children; it affects every property owner and business establishment in this neighborhood.  When I stop to consider that this might also be taking place in the neighborhoods surrounding the other schools that closed, I become deeply saddened for the city of Colorado Springs.
I am literally watching this community die – one of the saddest things I’ve ever personally witnessed – and for no clearly discernable reason.  I know there’s not much chance that the school will miraculously reopen…but that’s why they’re called miracles:  ‘cause there’s barely a chance.
The people in this neighborhood simply need a school to operate at the Adams building once more.

The absurd and disturbed

Knowing that I read it only occasionally, a friend called to direct my attention to John Gudvangen’s op-ed in this week’s Colorado Springs Independent; it was filled, predictably, with self-congratulatory sermonizing and pompous puff-uppery. A whole lotta hot air and pride has swelled the poor man’s head – which loomed so large, I nearly missed the more interesting article on District #11’s newest elected officials.

Departing board president Tami Hasling notes, ‘There are some really strong personalities that will be on this board.’” And two tepid ones that won’t.

“[Al Loma and LuAnn Long] are meeting with their new colleagues, getting briefed on board rules and major issues.” Hopefully Hasling isn't overseeing their orientation, considering that – by her own admission – she was and remains largely unaware of and/or unfamiliar with many long-standing District policies, procedures and board member by-laws.

Loma has already begun softly rocking the proverbial boat,” the article clucks. “Besides staying on the STAR Academy board, he says he doesn't plan to recuse himself from D-11 votes on the STAR Academy. Legally, that's allowed, though as of press time Hasling was still investigating whether it would violate a district policy. One thing is certain: Hasling doesn’t approve. ‘It seems to me that there would be a conflict,’ she says. ‘It's disturbing, to be honest with you.’”

I’m sorry, but am I the only one who finds Hasling’s comments utterly absurd? She clammed up like the rusty-jawed Tin Man when the subject was her good friend Jan Tanner’s inflated dough; now, she’s suddenly loose-lipped and offering her sage two cents on Loma? How laughable – as in, I am laughing right now…out loud!

Why is our Board’s lame-duck President play-acting the Enforcer and concerning herself with policy now? Is it because she can be counted on to muscle in and bend the rules this way and that whenever her handlers order her to, or if it involves a close friend?

STAR Academy is a District #11 charter school; it is part of the District. CFO Glenn Gustafson sitting on the Budget Advisory and Accountability Committee…Loma sitting on the STAR Academy Board: is there a difference, or any harm? It’s a District #11 charter school, after all; it is part of the District.

Let me break this one down in no uncertain terms: regardless of the Boards on which Loma may be seated, we can all pretty much rest assured that he’s not quietly earning hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from Colorado Springs taxpayers by selling the District pizza under a 10-year, no-bid contract. This could only be more preposterous if Jan assumes Tami’s self-appointed role as the Board’s Conflict of Interest Cop.

The article then turns to take a lovey-dovey look at LuAnn Long.

Ask current board members about their new colleagues, and you'll hear this statement over and over, ‘I don't know Al well at all, but I know LuAnn.’ They've seen her at meetings. They know her as an employee, a parent, a grandparent. They've served on district committees with her. Like her or not, Long, who most recently worked setting schedules and doing employee training for D-11, is no mystery.” 

Is it safe to assume they also already know whether she prefers anchovies and extra-cheese?

The article concludes, “[Long’s] not for charter schools unless they provide something to kids that traditional schools don't.”

Bravo.  Well, here's something the District isn't providing my kids that STAR Academy would:  a school within walking distance.

We should not be surprised to see these know-it-all elitists cuddling contentedly next to Long while peering uneasily at the lesser-known Loma: as an example of the good that can and does come from the ghetto, he is a walking contradiction of their mistaken notion that schools are wasted on poor kids because they’re inherently stupid.

Point blank, my friends:  Hasling and Tanner prove that money's neither an indicator to nor a prevention for stupidity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So long, fare well: a good, old-fashioned roast

The outgoing Tami Hasling and John Gudvangen participated in their final Colorado Springs School District #11 meeting of the Board of Educators tonight, and to celebrate, I thought I’d give them a good old fashioned roast.


I said before that Tami makes being blonde look like a lot of fun; but she also gives a lot of credence to all those blonde jokes. Perhaps in the circles of shallow water in which she happens to swim, hers is considered a serious intellect; but I’ve never heard her utter anything even a little bit deep in the entire time I’ve been following the Board.

If her Facebook page is any indicator, this is a happy time for us both: Tami has barely been able to wait for her stint on the Board to come to an end - and I’ve always resented her tendency to try and silence the only real thinker on the Board, Charlie Bobbitt.

Watching her pass notes to Jan Tanner on t.v., I can only imagine that in school she was always one of those popular jock/teacher’s pets – airy and unconcerned, and viciously cruel to the outsider.

They say the brain is a muscle – though I must admit, I don’t know myself if it’s true – but if it is, hers has shin splints. She reminds me so much of George W. Bush, or a Chatty Cathy Bodybuildin’ Cheerleader doll…wearing her “Trust Me, I’m Smart” glasses and chattering a handful of pre-recorded statements: “Kids are great! School is fun! Policy governance!” I just have to wonder, who was pulling her string this whole time.


Considerably more astute, but just as deep is John Gudvangen. I tried to look up the meaning of his surname, but had trouble finding one; I speak Dutch fluently, though, and will attempt a translation: Good Catching. Perhaps he did play ball, but I doubt it; he doesn’t really strike me as a jock – popular, or otherwise - but rather as a brainiac nerd.

A little too smart for his own good, and a little too good for his own smarts. Indeed, he can be counted on to make proud mention of his long-past claim to fame as valedictorian of his graduating class at Harrison – and for that, I applaud him. But really, John, how hard is it to float to the top of a school with such a high percentage of low-income and minority students?

Judging from his own writings and statements, he is an absolute educational elitist. “Oh, poverty, hrrrm hrrm and rumble…poor people are so simple that they’ll accept the substandard as good enough; by all means, warehouse all of the poor kids in a decaying century-old building – they’ll end up thanking us for it.”

Prone to self-important pontificating well after the audience has lost interest – as was evidenced in his l-e-n-g-t-h-y speech at Palmer to North Middle School’s eighth graders: be honest, John, couldn’t you hear the audience snoring?

Auf wiedersehn, Herr Gudvangen – hopefully, your future will be bright, and full of opportunities to pause weightily before laying all of your deep thoughts on us. But take this spider’s advice - leave the accordion at home.

Thanks so much to you both for voting to close schools – I’ll always remember you for it. Awww, just kidding, you two - I’m sure that so many of your “decisions” were dictated by the Puppetmaster.

But, truly:  thank you for your service.  It couldn’t have been easy, but think of it this way: at least you were part of the “In” crowd for a while – something some of us will never really know…and you’ll no longer need worry about poor, simple black spiders spinning your yarns.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Good morning readers; having trouble sleeping, so I thought I’d make the most of the quiet.

I love the feeling of rising before sunrise – I’ll be honest with ya…for me, it happens rarely. But when it does, I make myself a cup of jo, wait for the Lester Sumrall show, and smoke a silent cigarette in the pre-dawn shadows…reading.

I’ll read anything – I mean anything. The back of the shampoo bottle, the “Do Not Remove” label on the mattress, multi-vitamin recommended daily allowances – whatever.

I’ll even allow myself to re-read my own stuff...painful, at listening to your own voice on a tape recorder; at others...well, I swear...sometimes I just crack myself up.

But what I love to do more than anything at all is to read what others might have to say in response to my postings. So far, I’ve received two - for which I am grateful; both requested more information on a specific subject.

The materials in this post are pursuant to the anonymous comment on my Tip of the iceberg post.

I re-extend my invitation for any and all comments – good, bad – whatever. I’ll read them alone…before the teenagers come bounding up the stairs, and the phone starts ringing, and the day is in motion – the stillness of morning disquieted.


Secretary of State Information

Campaign Finance FAQs

527 Political Organization and Disclosure FAQs

Laws & Rules for Lobbyists

Conflicts of Interest Laws & Rules

Secretary of State Candidate Disclosure Form

Election Laws, Rules & Advisories

Colorado businesses related to Carl Tanner, Mark Tanner and/or Tony Mand (DPMD, LLC)


cheezer articles of incorporation          cheezers merge          cheezers rora

dpmd articles of incorporation          dpmd change          dpmd dissolve

inflated articles of incorporation          inflated dough annual report          inflated rora1          inflated rora2

tk articles of incorporation          tyh&h certificate          tyw certificate

Jan Tanner business, listing Sanford (Pete) Lee as the registered agent

Linda Elliott campaign management

Mann's campaigns; still active

Sanford Lee is Pete Lee          Lee's '08 campaign          Lee's '10 campaign          Lee's '10 campaign

Tanner's '06-'07 campaign

Elliott as registered agent for Friends of District 11, to pass 2008 mill levy override

Not sure why this committee pulled up under Elliott...registered agent is Cynthia Sorensen; contributors include Beverly Ard-Smith, Esq. (Lexis-Nexis), Public Education Committee

Same committee, with payment to Karen Teja Consulting for food, maps & printing

Same committee, with payments to the Colorado Springs Independent, Jay Ferguson, and the Arapahoe County Democratic Party

John Elliott as D11 Election Officer on 2008 - School District Issue 3E

Pikes Peak Restorative Justice

Board Members - Michael Faber, Elizabeth Hogan, Jeannette Holtham, Lynn Lee (Co-chair), Pete Lee (Secretary), Deb Paton, Jack Ruszcsyk (Co-chair), Kerri Schmitt, Marc Snyder, Tom Strand, Jan Tanner, Dorcas Wilkinson, Andre Zarb-Cousin

Jan & Pete1         

Pete & Bill1          Pete & Bill2

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's good to be king

Hello dear readers. So much has happened in the past week that I thought I’d take a lesson from Board of Educators Director John Gudvangen and pause – slowly, deliberately, and meaningfully – to ready you for all the profundities about to spill forth.

Wednesday’s Special Meeting/Work Session began with the D#11 Board of Educators going executive session to discuss conflict of interest issues with their lawyers, Holmes, Roberts and Owens, along with an independent counsel. The Gazette’s Sue McMillin stood up and correctly protested in point of order, but she was shut down by President Tami Hasling’s explanation that there was no provision for "citizen comments" during “special meetings.” Emerging after an hour of what I can only imagine was animated chatter amongst themselves, the team moved on with a lengthy PowerPoint presentation on the “23 Points" – action items that were identified in the wake of their decision to close eight public schools.  Glenn Gustafson had the finale with his how-closing-eight-schools-saved-us-$3-million-dollars pep talk.

The following day, the superintendent issued a press release stating that, with regard to Director Jan Tanner, no violations had been found – legal, ethical, or otherwise.

Hmph. So, that’s their story, ‘n they’re stickin’ to it. Good for them.

No, I mean, it really is good for them; indeed, as Mel Brooks pointed out again and again in “History of the World, Part I”…

Regarding the executive session: The ruling class circled their wagons protectively around the broken-winged Mrs. Tanner - though I suspect less out of loyalty and more out of self-preservation. But if at any time Tanner’s ethics cooties had threatened to spread amongst her associates, no doubt they’d all play dumb and start calling her “Jan who?” Heck, Peter did it to Jesus – three times!

When it comes down to a me-or-you type of situation, yesterday’s ally can shift into today’s adversary with the blink of an eye; and considering all of the shrugging and lash-batting that goes on, I suppose we should all simply accept such shiftiness as par for the course.

I’m curious to know who the independent counsel was, though – probably an attorney from the law firm of Gustafson, Gustafson and Guy.

Turning to the “23 Points”: In many ways, it reminded me of an old-school pep rally. I nodded off at one point, and at others found myself laughing at the bemusing spectacle of whoopee and camaraderie and premature back-patting.

Each one of those 23 points received about three minutes of time, and was absolutely reminiscent of the Capital Improvements updates we citizens would occasionally receive. “Improvements to Adams – done. Improvements to Bristol – done. Improvements to Buena Vista – 75% done. “ And so on.

But if there’s one thing I have noticed beyond anything and everything else is that Gustafson will change the numbers to fit his needs. “Oh, did I say six? I meant to say seven.” And folks – there’s a whole lotta numbers. He knows no one is really able to keep track – and that’s the bottom line. As former superintendent Terry Bishop once told a very good friend of mine…”We can make the numbers say whatever we want.” I will revisit the $3 million Gustafson has “saved” through school closures in an upcoming post.

In summary: Hope diminished with Gledich’s press release (although, who can blame him – this rot predates him, and he’s just doing his job); hope rekindled with Sue McMillin’s stand (who’s also limited in many ways by her bosses, I imagine); expectations met by Tanner and clan…and resentment kept at a steady simmer by Gustafson and his magic money minstrel show.

Regardless of press releases and “who, me?” protestations, all that’s been demonstrated is the District’s willingness to meet behind closed doors, go on the defensive, make up special rules for themselves, create distractions, and shine on the public.

Business as usual for the monarchy, it seems.

When reporters for the newsweekly Colorado Springs Independent were traipsing through City Councilman Tom Gallagher’s messy yard and taking pictures of dirty diapers in his trash, his fellow Councilman Jerry Heimlicher said elected officials should expect their mistakes to be exposed by the press:

When you run for public office, you become a celebrity in a way; you are in the public’s eye. And spiders sometimes have eight eyes – a pair for each pair of legs, I presume - how spooky is that?? Indeed, Proverbs 30:25 states that while a spider is little upon the earth, she is exceedingly wise. And while it probably is good to be the king,

This is a fact: when they closed the school across the street from my house, District #11 became my own personal hobby; and until the school across the street from my house re-opens as a school, District #11 will remain my hobby. And I love to share my hobbies with others.

I stand 100% behind my allegations. I’m not muckraking; everything is based upon public record.  As time permits, I’ll go back to my previous postings and upload the actual documents upon which they are you can see for yourselves.

I strive to be a blend of Will Rogers, C.S. Lewis, Langston Hughes and Erma Bombeck.  And though I’ll sometimes share my musings on personal matters, and write about other issues that affect the citizens of Colorado Springs, I will continue to shine my brightest spotlight on District #11 – the people who taught me how to hold my pencil.

I hope the Board has been adequately cautioned that a very spirited and loquacious spider is watching them – closely.