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.

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