Anti-Recall Website Entertains

School Board Trustees and targets of a proposed recall question whether or not Dan White is fit to sit on the board citing his handling of the recall process. But I question their suitability, citing their inability to operate an anonymous website successfully without revealing their identities or effectively managing their content.

In an effort to clean up their act, anonymous board trustees have removed the personal attack content from their site, having recently been outed as the owner’s of the website. I’ve chosen to memorialize that content here. Recently, they also removed a list of names of recall supporters along with content suggesting they’re financially connected political conspirators. School Board Trustees naming various parents, citizens and Ed Foundation contributors is not helpful to their cause.

I had the good fortune of finding this screenshot of the content they removed. Click to enlarge it.

Removed Content from Anti Recall Site

More than one individual is responsible for reserving domain names for the group’s anti-recall online efforts. The primary domain name and associated website is hosted at GoDaddy.com, but the alternate “.net” and “.org” websites, for some completely bizarre reason, are hosted elsewhere, containing an outdated mirror of the website’s content and my source for the screenshot above. Hiring a web developer should be in their future. (Note to Arleigh: contact me for referrals.)

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Anti-recall Site Changes its Mind

UPDATE BELOW

The anti-recall site that opted to personally attack a private citizen who wrote several letters to the editor criticizing the school board has had a change of heart. They’ve decided that’s a bad move and have removed the attack content from their website. I’ve decided to memorialize the attack on this site as a historical reference. Here’s a screenshot. Click it to enlarge it.

Anti-Recall Attack Page

Attorney and blog author extraordinaire Mitch Green attended a public meeting last night about the recall, hosted by the Democratic Club with guest School Board Trustee Rob Collins. Regarding the meeting, and specifically the anti-recall website, Mitch Green said this:

… I can confirm that while Diane Collins was speaking at the Democratic Club on Wens, Oct 16, she mentioned she wanted to discuss the website. She then said, “Arleigh (speaking to Board Trustee Arleigh Kidd, present in the audience), do you want to mention it?” District Board President Rob Collins immediately cut off his wife and said, “Well, let me mention it, Arleigh really has nothing to do with it,” and then Rob abruptly changed the topic away from Arleigh’s involvement with the anonymous website and turning to Wayne Evans, also in the audience, gloated that Wayne may want to check out the website, because he, Wayne, was featured on the site.

Dave Goodwin, another attendee, had similar remarks:

At the Democratic club meeting, there was discussion about the anti-recall website, and a question about it came up. Rob Collin’s wife turned to Arleigh and directed the question to him for guidance. Rob Collins quickly stepped in and started stammering that Arleigh has nothing to do with the website. It was very, very obvious that he was lying. So much for transparency.

If it sounds like people are making assumptions, it’s because they are. No one has chosen to claim ownership of the website. People in the know regarding the site simply don’t answer when asked who is responsible for it.  With sleazy maneuvers like this, who can blame them? I hope for the sake of their cause that they can get it together.

UPDATE: As of 10/18/2013, the idiotic series of conspiracy themed “links” of named recall supporters to various elected officials through donation history has been removed. Evidently, the elected school board trustees who wish to remain nameless and anonymous have decided that character assassination isn’t the best strategy for making their point — but the damage is already done.

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A Smear Too Far

556920_497264096977712_385366256_nI’m going to go on the record here that I think the “status quo defenders,” aka the anti school board recall, have gone a little too far in its attempts to character assassinate local political activist, Wayne Evans.

Wayne, I’m sure, is more than capable of pulling up his big boy pants and defending himself, but I still think the status quo defenders have taken a step too far.

Now, I didn’t really mind when they posted stuff about me that was far from on target.  Heck, I found it amusing, to be exact.  The folks that wrote about me were clearly paid stooges who probably never met me nor read page one of my many blog columns.  So, they didn’t do their research and they are way off target and being as this recall campaign is going to be a long one, why correct them from their erroneous ways now?

But like with another more recently, they posted some things about me that may be wafer thin correct but clearly not the entire story.

So lets have at it, shall we?

This is what our friends at http://www.savesimischools-norecall.com/ have to say about me . . . ;)

“Recall Supporter-Mitch Green. See above. Green also was recently removed from popular Simi Valley Facebook site for repeatedly attacking Simi Valley Councilman Mike Judge. Green also served a 2 day suspension from his job as an attorney with the City of Simi Valley for conduct un-becoming a city employee. Also ran as democrat for Simi Valley City Council in 2010. Green, who is a lawyer, has recently been attacking the school district’s lawyer, Robert Thurbon. Do you think he’s angling to be the new school district attorney if the recall campaign succeeds? Only Green can answer that question, we don’t know.”

Now, on its face, there is a shred of truth to all the above.

I was kicked off the Facebook page Simi Valley Letters to the Editor, oh, maybe 4 or 5 times.  Maybe more.  One friend of mine was kicked off that page 11 times in one day.  So I have some catching up to do. What the heck, Letters to the Editor, or “LTE” for those in the “know,” is very right wing Republic Conservative, and I tend to be a little more on the Democrat conservative side.  And with a little “c” on the “conservative” at that.

And the reason that I was most recently kicked off “LTE” was not because I was “repeatedly attacking Simi Valley Councilman Mike Judge.”  On that count I was merely raising newspaper articles written about Mr. Judge and his sharing of the murder snuff porn flick, the one where the lady gets her head cut off on live video. Remember that one? [Which, as an aside, makes one wonder: Do the anti recall folks endorse misogynistic murder snuff porn?]

Anyhoo, the reason I was kicked off Simi Valley Letters to the Editor was because I posted the felony conviction for drug sales with weapons charges of a critic who, among other things, accused me of faking my military career (the one where I enlisted in the Oregon Army National Guard at age 18 as a private and retired from the Army Reserve at age 45 as a major, you know, that military career? All 27 years 16 days worth? ) and then insinuated that I had broken federal law regarding posing as a federal officer.  And then that same critic sent me a photo shopped document claiming that I had been convicted of some unknown felony in 1992, the same year I was admitted to the California State Bar after rigorous background check . . .

So now you know.

And as to that “2 day suspension from his job as an attorney with the City of Simi Valley for conduct un-becoming a city employee,” OK, I called an opposing counsel “a joke.” And I was going to take my vacation at Burning Man the following month, and I didn’t feel like wasting my time with a meaningless writeup. The City Manager wanted my head, and the City Attorney was happy to serve it up.

But I did get some interesting press out of it. This is what the Ventura County Star had to say . . .,

///

Judge won’t dismiss Simi’s settlement with former police officer

By Raul Hernandez

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A judge refused Wednesday to dismiss a $63,000 settlement the city of Simi Valley reached with a former police officer who claims he was sexually harassed by another male officer for five years.

After the ruling, and outside the courtroom, lawyers in the case and the former police officer engaged in a heated argument, pointing fingers and shouting.

Simi Valley Assistant City Attorney Mitchell Green in court had accused Daniel Gonzales of trying to change the terms of the settlement and now, “embellishing” his allegations with new and very serious criminal allegations against Officer John Samarin. Gonzales accused Samarin of sexual harassment, and later, accused his superiors of retaliation for reporting it.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Green said, pointing his finger at attorney Samuel Galici, who is representing Gonzales.

When Green and Gonzales started arguing, Galici got between the two and shouted several times to Green: “You are not allowed to talk to my client.”

When Green got close to Galici’s face, Galici said: “Get out of my face, sir.”

“You’re a joke,” Green fired back, and left.

Galici, who filed the legal motion last month, claims the city breached its contract with Gonzales by telling an investigator working for prospective employers that Gonzales was fired for being dishonest.

Two jobs allegedly denied

That erroneous information has resulted in the denial of Gonzales’ job applications to work at two law enforcement agencies, despite ranking high as a candidate, according to Galici.

Green adamantly denied any wrongdoing by Simi Valley.

“They didn’t contact us, and we didn’t say anything adverse to them,” Green told the judge.

The court has no jurisdiction to dismiss the settlement, only to enforce it, Green said.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew agreed with Green.

Galici is considering appealing Kellegrew’s ruling.

Gonzales began working in Simi Valley in 1992 and was assigned to patrol, the legal motion states.

He alleges in a declaration with his motion that Samarin began harassing him in the locker room in 1997 “with the apparent objective to get me to have sex with him.”

Gonzales claims he reported Samarin’s conduct to Sgt. Ron Chambers in October 1998.

“I told him how it progressed from him just calling out my name and saying, Hi,’ while he was either undressed or only had his underwear on, to where he was intentionally drawing attention” to private parts of his body, according to the lawsuit.

Green told the court that Samarin was engaged in “horseplay” in the Police Department’s locker room. Police superiors contend Samarin is a “kidder” and likes to play practical jokes.

Accusations disputed

Speaking to a reporter, Green said Samarin disputed the accusation that he tried to draw attention to parts of his body and insisted that he did not engage in sexual harassment.

Green added that Gonzales never said anything about the alleged crimes until recently, and an investigation found no basis for his allegations, which Green said were “outrageous” and “unforgiveable.”

Gonzales claims the harassment continued until 2002.

In May 2003, Gonzales was fired.

He contends it was in retaliation for opposing Samarin’s harassment.

According to Gonzales’ legal motion, the city agreed in 2005 to settle and determine that the allegations that led to his firing were “frivolous” and “unfounded.” Gonzales’ personnel file and documents relating to two Simi Valley Internal Affairs investigations on him were to be sealed, the legal papers state.

Gonzales claims he was denied peace officer jobs at the Oxnard Police Department in 2005 and the Ventura County Community College District in 2006.

‘Attorney says he’s disgusted’

In an interview after the hearing, Gonzales said some Simi Valley officers told an investigator that he is a dishonest cop, which he emphatically denies.

Green said he was very upset and “disgusted” that Gonzales had embellished his allegations by accusing Samarin of very serious crimes. Green said the accusations are totally without merit.

Gonzales said that before he was fired, he told Simi Valley police superiors about his allegations of harassment, but they did nothing about them. Gonzales said the Police Department still has not investigated.

///

Wow, such heady days! Good times . . ., good times.

My point here is that if you have done anything remotely political, you might have some press in your background.  So what?

And to attack Wayne Evans for speaking out now about the school board?  What does that accomplish other than to show a juvenile mind set to warn others to shut up or the status quo defenders will try to dig up some dirt on you.  Calling Wayne out for things from another decade, in another state, is total bonkers.

But bonkers seems to be the only thing the status quo defenders have.

If you can’t beat them on facts, character assassinate.

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City Public Record Act Requests

556920_497264096977712_385366256_nJust for the fun of it, below you will find a copy of each public record act request sent to the City of Simi Valley in the last two years.  If you feel like going on a “Where’s Waldo?” quest, you may find it interesting who is requesting what, and for why.

Enjoy!

01_Hard_copies_08-31-2011_to__01-30-2012

01_Public_Records_Log_excerpt__02-12_to_09-13

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D.A. Letter to SVUSD Re Brown Act Violations

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The embargo time has come and gone re the news I referenced last Friday. In fact, shortly after I posted, the news popped up on the Star regarding the District Attorney’s determination re alleged Brown Act violations on the part of the SVUSD Board and Trustee White.

The District Attorney ruled that the Board was in violation of the Brown Act, the Board was Ordered to Cease and Desist from the issues it was found to be in violation.  And, the District Attorney ruled there was insufficient information and insufficient case law to determine that Trustee White had violated the Brown Act.

In other words, the Board was in violation, White was not.

Below you will find the link to the District Attorney’s letter dated October 9, 2013.

BrownAct-Cease_and_desist_letter_100913

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A Modest Update

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Like any proud father would, I have to share a photo of my son, Private E2 Greg Green, taken today on his fifth day of Army active duty at Fort Jackson, SC, the very same place that I went through Army basic combat training starting in October, 1976. That would be, what . . .? 37 years ago? Whoa! Time does file! But he looks so much better in uniform than I ever did!

PV2 Green

Updates as this story develops.

I have some rather interesting news regarding the Simi Valley Unified School District, but I’ve been asked to embargo until Monday. So I will. I imagine there will be a story coming out rather soon regarding a decision made that makes perfect sense. At least, it makes perfect sense to those who understand the law rather than to those who try to sneak around the law. I’m reminded of an old adage along the lines of, “They will smile at you, spit in your face, and argue instead that it is raining.”

Oh, yes, the district says its raining, and the final word from the referees are, no, “you are spitting in their face.” [Note:  OK, the spitting in the face thing is me, but when you hear the news, you may agree it is a most appropriate visual]

And as to the most recent district board meeting, that was clearly some doozy. Perhaps I’m speaking out of school (ugh! couldn’t resist), but I’m having a hard time recalling when I’ve seen a more arrogant governmental assembly with the leader, President Rob Collins, going out of his way to insult the gathered constituents. Mr. Collins started the meeting by referencing a comment someone made on Facebook about gathering a lynch mob for the meeting (and which comment the original poster subsequently retracted as being inappropriate), and yet Mr. Collins continued to refer to those assembled at the meeting as a “lynch mob.”

Way to go Mr. Collins! Not to mention the implied, or was that overt, insults he directed to Wood Ranch parents!

My personal favorite moment came during Trustee Davis’ comments, where she looked directly at me and made statements along the lines of, “you just sit there and smirk” and “you think this is funny.” Perhaps it made Trustee Davis feel better to stare down her nose at me while she uttered snide comments at . . ., who really knows, but I could care less. I’m one of those who had his own plaque on the principle’s bench and yet I still managed to pull off a graduate degree (Juris Doctor, no less).

And yes, Trustee Davis, I am entertained.

Just a short Howdy tonight Simi Valley.

More tidbits when I’m allowed to shake off the leash.

Have a great weekend!

Mitch

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How To Make Me Support the Recall

The Simi Valley School Board Trustees approved the contract extension for Superintendent Scroggin last night. I had a genuine belief that they would hear the opposition and at least delay the decision to discuss it more. Apparently, I am naive.

Currently, my kids are in private school, but after a very public problem with the Grace Brethren High School principal getting caught changing students’ grades and NOT being fired for it, we’re considering enrolling our kids in Santa Susana High School when they reach high school age. While talking to my wife about it, we considered these possibilities:

  • Either trust that my oldest son’s future school will eventually deal with their principal who cheated and hope we no longer have to worry about the perception of his eventual high school transcripts
  • Support the recall pending outstanding replacement candidates
  • Ignore the problem entirely and trust that it will all work out

The first and last options make me feel even more naive than I did last night. But the second option is also unpleasant. I’d like to see change and I’d like to see it now. But I honestly don’t care much for some of the talk I hear from the recall supporters. If we could emphasize the following instead of “secret back room deals” and various conspiracy theories, I could get behind a recall:

  • Focus on the risk of financial insolvency and the VCOE’s warnings
  • Focus on the lack of transparency from the current board and the fact that many of us know little about the VCOE’s concerns
  • Focus on declining enrollment and what appears to be the current board’s position to wait it out rather than proactively improve the situation
  • Focus on whether Dr. Scroggin is the best choice for Superintendent in the immediate future and whether or not the current board agrees

If we could do that and drop the drama, I could support a recall.

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Proposed Contract Extension for Scroggin

On the heels of the bizarre retirement confusion of Dr. Scroggin as Superintendent of Simi Valley Schools (she’s retiring; she’s retiring but we’re not talking about it; okay she’s not retiring anymore; did someone violate the Brown Act?), the Simi Valley School Board is now considering a contract extension for Scroggin.  The School Board meeting this Tuesday, October 8th at 6:30pm at City Hall, will include the contract extension on the agenda where School Board Trustees are expected to vote on extending Scroggin’s contract to June of 2015. A high level summary of the contract highlights have been published by opponents of the extension:

1. Term now to be set to expire June 2015. The agreement will automatically renew unless the Board takes action to send a notice to the Superintendent within the proper notice period.

2. Two board members can force the district to keep the Superintendent in place even if a majority of board
members believe there has been gross negligence, violations of law, gross insubordination, and/or material harm to the district. Even if the Superintendent held up the operations of the school district and caused the district and the Board to break California and/or federal laws, the vote of four out of five board members would be required to remove the Superintendent from her position as “Chief Executive Officer”, secretary, district superintendent, and primary person responsible for execution of Board policy.

3. If 4 out of 5 Board Members vote to terminate the agreement without following the contract’s strict due process requirements to show material breach or neglect to perform duties, the district must then pay the Superintendent’s salary for the remainder of the term.

4. Salary: $213,319 + car allowance of $650/mo. 22 Vacation days per year.

5. Each Board member is REQUIRED to promptly refer all criticisms, complaints and suggestions called to his or her attention to the Superintendent for study and recommendation. This includes any criticisms, complaints, or allegations of misconduct regarding the Superintendent herself.

6. The district must pay for the Superintendent’s defense of any legal action (including criminal defense) related to incidents occurring within the Superintendent’s scope of employment.

Item #2 is interesting. Item #5 is odd. Overall, considering her initial intent to retire, entertaining any contract extension, even one that doesn’t so obviously serve to “circle the wagons”, seems like a strange idea.

The Superintendent wields a lot of power in the Simi Valley Unified School District. I’m not educated enough in standard school board policies to know whether or not that’s normal. Reviewing documents made available at simivalleyschools.org, it seems apparent to me that the Superintendent can make major financial decisions without requiring board oversight. If you look at page 143 of the very large document linked here which represents several significant C4 Bond funded project proposals marked “for board consideration,” you can compare this workshop agenda packet and see many of those same projects moving forward into a status of “In Design and Planning.” Without input from the Board, I’m assuming Dr. Scroggin herself moved these projects forward. There’s no board oversight for projects of this cost and significance?

I asked Dan White about the February workshop agenda asking if he challenged the fact that C4 funded projects move forward without a board discussion and he indicated that the workshop had been cancelled in favor of another board member’s Super Bowl party — I did not verify that. He also pointed me to a document that I had initially missed which represents his email requests for more details on how C4 Bond funds are spent (see it here). Though I have to admit that I’m not at all educated on school board operations and procedures, I share Dan White’s belief that the board should provide oversight on bond funded projects and that no one person should control those decisions.

When I really look at all of this, I get the impression that a majority of the School Board is content to defer to the Superintendent on critical financial issues, despite concerns from the VCOE that the district is running out of money. I also get the impression that they want to protect her job at all costs, locking her into the position in such a way that it is nearly impossible to dismiss her (see Board President Rob Collin’s remarks about “job security” by clicking here). Considering current district concerns along with the fact that Dr. Scroggin appears to have strongly considered retirement very recently, I’m not at all in support of a contract extension, at least not with the stipulations highlighted above. This feels to me like the board is handing the Superintendent way too much power and protection.

If my understanding of all of this is incorrect, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

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