Sunday, November 22, 2009

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.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Spydra, I noticed Tami's sudden interest in conflicts of interest. It is such a shame that her friendship with Jan has clouded her judgement. Tami's behavior - ignoring "Pizzagate,' - also shows what power a board president can wield. I hope this next board chooses wisely.