2/12/10
Do you think the Times can get off their collective asses long enough to be a little embarrassed
at being scooped by a blog put together  by unpaid, out of shape, middle aged wonks who both have to work other jobs and do this in their spare time?
Could it be that the reason the amazing shrinking Times is in trouble isn’t just a bad economy and changing media - could it be because they won’t or can’t print any local news that’s worth a 
plugged nickel? Is that why a bunch of no budget loose screw bloggers and the LA Weekly with a fraction of their staff and budget are beating their ink stained Downtown  butts at actual local news reporting?
Demented minds want to know...
LAUSD WATCH

9/09


Is it true that LAUSD Super Ray Cortines plans to lay off 50% of the LAUSD elementary arts teachers next year and the other 50% the year after? That’s the word on the street.


Library assistants who have been laid off (riffed) are reported to contend that Cortines is proposing "book fairs" instead of their services. Book fairs are characterized as fairs held in schools where children can PURCHASE books. That does not sound like a very viable replacement for library services where books are free. It sounds like it might put a lot of school kids who aren’t so wealthy at an even bigger disadvantage.


In fact, the giant book publisher and retailer "Scholastic" that Cortines sits on the board of, lists "Book Fairs" as one of it's prime retail activities, right on their web site.


This blog asks, is it true Mr. Cortines, that you get $150,000.00 a year for sitting on the board of "Scholastic"? Please tell us that all the benefits your job at LAUSD, a big customer of Scholastic's  products, could possibly bring that company, is in no way any kind of conflict. Is it? How much is spent on Scholastic products at LAUSD Mr. Cortines? Inquiring minds want to know.


School Board member Monica Garcia and Super Cortines may have a little something “Sweet” in common. We’re just wondering, is it something in the water, swimming pool water that is?

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  The public school children of Los Angeles just took another one in the chops from the big guys. Will the Mayor and his bunch of school yard bullies, LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, trusty sidekick Yolie Flores Augilar along with Superintendent Ray Cortines ever stop picking on the little kids? Guess it’s just too easy and too profitable.


When the Mayor’s majority bought and paid for LAUSD Board voted to lease out those brand new schools to Antonio’s pet CHARTER Schools, they robbed our public school kids. A nod to  Board member Marguerite LaMotte for voting no  to Chef Antonio’s little Bond $ spiced stew.


How’s that, you may say. We love CHARTER schools and we can’t get enough of them. Love who you want, but voters voted those billions in bond dollars to take our kids out of over crowded and run down campuses, not to rent them out, no matter how much people may love CHARTER schools. I say fine, love CHARTER schools, send your kids to them, have wet dreams about them, just don’t kick our public school kids to the curb. Move the deserving public school kids and teachers to the new facilities and rent out the old ones to the CHARTERS. CHARTERS are always saying they can do a great job in almost any facility


When bonds are put on the ballot they have some very specific language in them, to say nothing of the promises made to get voters to vote for them. If these campuses are rented out without giving the public school kids first shot at them, LAUSD will be on shaky legal ground. Of course that’s a favorite place for Mayor Antonio and his cronies.


Why, we have to ask ourselves, would they want to rent these new schools out? Well it goes like this. LAUSD used to be very overcrowded with students, and new kids were pouring in every day. LAUSD began putting bonds on the ballot for the voters to approve so they could build more schools. As the District built and built they discovered they liked this building stuff. There seemed to be no end to the bond money voters would approve and there was no end to the contracts the LAUSD brass could pass out to their pals. Everyone seemed pretty happy.


Then some odd things happened. That flow of new students slowed down, then it began to go the other way and there were fewer and fewer students. There were not enough students to fill the new schools. Worse, the economy kept getting worse and there was less and less money to operate the schools.


Of course there were still hundreds of millions left in all those building bonds. Now, no self respecting bureaucrat or politico lets a taxpayer dollar that can be funneled to a crony go unspent, so the building just kept going. It’s illegal - and worse, easy to get caught - to spend building bond money on any operating expenses, yet that is just the money that LAUSD is starving for.


A brilliant (well it looks like that to the people who came up with it) - if questionably legal - strategy is hatched at the Mayor’s little chicken coop. They will build these schools and rent them out. They will use the income for all sorts of expenses the bond funds can’t be used for. Not only that, they can give their favorite tenants sweetheart rents and still have money to play with. It’s a form of political bureaucratic money laundering - a bad brew by any measure. Problem is, it may not be legal.


Now I leave it to all the lawyers and judges and wheeler dealers to sort this out, and believe me, there will be money made in that sorting machine. I just say, give the public school kids a fair shake, give them those new schools that were built for them. If they want bathrooms that work, let them attend the CHARTERS and eat some of that cake, you say. Well that would be okay, but a lot of CHARTERS pick and choose, they only take the kids that will make them look good and not be much trouble. If a kid doesn’t live up to expectations, in many cases, they’re not kept around to drag down test scores - they are sent back to our public schools.


Is this starting to sound like creating school ghettos? Kids who are not seen as a premium to CHARTERS kept in old run down schools? What great leadership on education from our EDUCATION MAYOR. The LA Times thinks so. They ran an editorial praising the Downtown Prince for finally stepping up and taking leadership in his job. Problem is, schools are not really his job. He mostly avoids doing his job in favor of photo ops - see the LA weekly story

“The All About Me Mayor”, but he can’t seem to stay out of those juicy school bond funds.


That takes us over to the very troubled L.A. Community College District. They are low on operating funds and rolling in building bond dough as well. Mayor Antonio is central to a brewing LACCD scandal over the Van de Kamps Northeast Campus.


Starting back in 1999 the historic bakery building was saved by a local group, the Coalition to Save Van de Kamps and then Senator Richard Polanco. Polanco went on to secure seed money to help buy the site for a Los Angeles City College Satellite Campus. Eight years, vicious internal politics and five presidents later LACC handed the campus and it’s close to completed buildings off to the Los Angeles Community College District, saying they did not have funds to open a satellite campus.


The exact machinations of the hand off, the conflicting reports on why and how it happened are swirling around a building scandal. The Community group is pressing forward, now called the Van de Kamps Coalition they are pushing a foot dragging LACCD on fulfilling a California Public Records Act to find out the particulars of the deal and protesting the hand off and now renting out of the facility, (Disclosure here, I am a very active part of that Coalition - wouldn’t you just know it).


The same legal questions arise about the use of bond money. Those bonds were passed for a Community College facility, the language is very specific. It doesn’t say they can be come a “tenant based facility” (LACCD’s own language) anywhere in them. In fact LACCD is actively submitting plans for changes to the buildings to suit tenants. Bond money for tenant’s requirements. That is getting pretty nervy. But I digress.


One guess as to who is central to all this renting out - yep - it’s our special guy - Mayor Antonio again. The tenants for the building are a collection of his pet projects. the first tenant to take occupancy in a dangerously unfinished site is ... an Antonio supported CHARTER school. LACCD has calculated the numbers and figures to take in $100,000. plus in rental profits. According to their own documents they plan to use this money for the District. Get that, not for students, but for the District, which is a purely administrative unit. Bond funds going for District expenses of any kind is expressly forbidden by the bond language.


So here we have it again, bureaucratic money laundering.  Bond funds build buildings for schools which, under questionable legal maneuvers, are turned into rentals which generate  income for operations, salaries and bureaucrats, all of which is forbidden by the bonds. The Downtown Prince rides high again., but for how long?







By Howard Blume, February 12, 2010



L.A. Unified schools' chief works for district supplier

Supt. Ramon C. Cortines sits on the board of Scholastic Inc., which supplies a district reading program. Officials say he is not involved in decisions pertaining to the publisher.

Los Angeles schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines earned more than $150,000

last year....read more

Better late than NEVER- we broke the story (see below LA Times excerpt) way back in Sept. 2009...of course the Times STILL hasn’t connected all the dots...and they’re still not talking about what’s so sweet in that swimming pool...
Gunfight at the LAUSD Corral

Showdown between Mayor and LAUSD. Big A  just took a body blow from his formerly tame LAUSD School Board and his puppet Supervisor “Wrong Way Ray” Cortines. He put them in place to hand the public schools over to him through his "non profit " “Partnership For Los Angeles Schools" (profit can be a relative term ---political profit can be counted in coin other than dollars in the wallet - like influence in the hand) and hand picked charter schools. Judging that his power is ebbing fast and their true master,Eli  Broad is distancing himself from the Downtown Prince they defied Big A and only handed 3 schools off. Of the 30 schools turned over (whittled down from original 250), 22 were handed to LAUSD teacher’s groups with 4 going to charters and the remaining school to a combination charter/teacher management project.

A hopping mad Big A had loaded the buses up and shipped droves of primed and ready charter supporters off to yell at the Board and Cortines at the top of their lungs. All to no avail. Too bad Tony - they can smell your grip weakening. 

Three of his favorite charter pets, Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance for College Ready Public Schools and ICEF were entirely passed over. (Alliance is the controversial tenant at the embattled Van de Kamps Campus- where Big A plans to populate the rest of the community College bond finance buildings with his collection of unemployment projects...read more about it at Miki's Pointed View).

Talk about adding insult to injury, first the Supreme court tells you pack it in - you can't have the schools and all that lovely money in contracting and building to hand out to cronies to amass favors and power…now your own bought and paid for School Board and Superintendent has given you the bum's rush. Can you spell 
L-A-M-E  D-U-C-K. Time to limp off stage - and don't let the door hit hit you on the way out.

Gunfight at the LAUSD Corral


Showdown between Mayor and LAUSD. Big A  just took a body blow from his formerly tame LAUSD School Board and his puppet Supervisor “Wrong Way Ray” Cortines. He put them in place to hand the public schools over to him through his "non profit " “Partnership For Los Angeles Schools" (profit can be a relative term ---political profit can be counted in coin other than dollars in the wallet - like influence in the hand) and hand picked charter schools. Judging that his power is ebbing fast and their true master,Eli  Broad is distancing himself from the Downtown Prince they defied Big A and only handed 3 schools off. Of the 30 schools turned over (whittled down from original 250), 22 were handed to LAUSD teacher’s groups with 4 going to charters and the remaining school to a combination charter/teacher management project.


A hopping mad Big A had loaded the buses up and shipped droves of primed and ready charter supporters off to yell at the Board and Cortines at the top of their lungs. All to no avail. Too bad Tony - they can smell your grip weakening.


Three of his favorite charter pets, Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance for College Ready Public Schools and ICEF were entirely passed over. (Alliance is the controversial tenant at the embattled Van de Kamps Campus- where Big A plans to populate the rest of the community College bond finance buildings with his collection of unemployment projects...read more about it at Miki's Pointed View).


Talk about adding insult to injury, first the Supreme court tells you pack it in - you can't have the schools and all that lovely money in contracting and building to hand out to cronies to amass favors and power…now your own bought and paid for School Board and Superintendent has given you the bum's rush. Can you spell

L-A-M-E  D-U-C-K. Time to limp off stage - and don't let the door hit hit you on the way out.

Cortines to be booted within a week...
Prince John Deasy to be Crowned

January 6, 2011 - originally sent out at 4:54 pm

Raymond Cortines, LAUSD Superintendent (as I write this) has been told to clean out his desk because he will be gone within a week. The background - Mayor Antonio delivered that message to LAUSD Board Member and Broad/Riordan puppet Monica Garcia in a secret meeting earlier this week. Antonio is, of course, merely doing the bidding of his brain - Eli Broad and Broad’s sidekick former Mayor Ricard Riordan. 

John Deasy, Deputy Superintendent for a few days -- before he ascends to the LAUSD puppet throne, was hand picked by LA “City Father” and the power behind all thrones in our little town, Eli Broad. The LAUSD Board rubber stamped Broad’s selection of Deasy by hiring him back in June of 2010. LA Weekly reporter Patrick McDonald exposed the controvery surrounding Deasy’s selection in his blog back then. (reproduced at left). Everyone else except staunch LA blogger Ron Kaye has followed in the kissing up cover-up of “sleazy” Deasy - maybe that moniker is why he is doesn’t want his name pronounced “correctly”.

The LA Times article which will appear in print tomorrow, Jan. 7th, keeps to their Howard Blume ”speak no unflattering truth about anyone backed by Eli Broad” policy.

 Deasy gave the LAUSD Board an ultimatum just before the holidays -  if he was not crowned King of LAUSD immediately in the new year, he was picking up his toys and leaving. More importantly, he might take some of Uncle Eli’s toys with him.  

Deasy then marched over to the head attorney at LAUSD and said that upon ascending to the throne, he intends to buy out the contracts of many of the the main honchos at LAUSD so he can put his puppets (read Broad approved puppets) in. -Maybe Deasy didn't exactly put it that way - but everyone heard it loud and clear. Want to bet everyone who gets installed is a big Charter/privatization booster. If you’re a top honcho at LAUSD better start polishing up the old resume.

Could this have anything to with Governor Brown’s State Board of Education changes, putting in less charter/privatization loving appointees of his own and taking the most rabid privatizing crowd out? Looks like LAUSD is lining it’s puppets up to do battle with Brown’s puppets. Sounds like a Punch and Judy show - only not so high minded. So many puppets fighting it out with each other...seems that a lot of strings will get tangled. No one in this little play seems to have the least concern for the school kids - but that’s nothing new.  Bottom line - Deasy is a Charter School, privatization loving hand picked puppet. Read the posts we put up over the last year and a half to get the background to the drive to privatize that has consumed LAUSD under the influence of Broad/Riordan and their collection of puppets from Mayor Antonio to the new fair haired boy in town, Deasy (he likes it pronounced “Daisy” - a little like Hyacinth Bucket who prefers her humble name pronounced “Bouquet” on the BBC classic comedy “Keeping Up Appearances”. 
http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/06/john_deasy_lausd.phphttp://ronkayela.com/2011/01/transparency-in-la-decisions-m.htmlhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0107-lausd-20110107,0,184833.storyhttp://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2011/01/jerry-brown-relies-on-old-friends-in-first-wave-of-appointments.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1shapeimage_6_link_2shapeimage_6_link_3
Bye, Bye, Ray Ray??
LAUSD’s not so super Superintendent, Raymond Cortines, has sealed the deal with the unions and is leaving this year in December - or so our spies tell us. Can it be true? The old man of Baudry Hill will soon be drifting off into that big blue swimming pool of his with all that sweet stuff in it. Word is he has named a successor to fill out the last year of his contract. Now the question is, who will LAUSD find next to try to clean up the LAUSD mess. We would suggest former State Senator Richard Polanco - but we really like him. How about Conan the ex Governor? The job will take a lot of heavy lifting - a hard head wouldn’t hurt...and whose is harder?
Bye, Bye, Ray Ray??
It’s official - Cortines announced his retirement 7/22/10 - the rest of the media is reporting it... now - months after we told you about it.http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_15571946shapeimage_8_link_0

LAUSD’s not so super Superintendent, Raymond Cortines, has sealed the deal with the unions and is leaving this year in December - or so our spies tell us. Can it be true? The old man of Baudry Hill will soon be drifting off into that big blue swimming pool of his with all that sweet stuff in it. Word is he has named a successor to fill out the last year of his contract. Now the question is, who will LAUSD find next to try to clean up the LAUSD mess. We would suggest former State Senator Richard Polanco - but we really like him. How about Conan the ex Governor? The job will take a lot of heavy lifting - a hard head wouldn’t hurt...and whose is harder?

 
Why did big Ray leave early? Read the older posts - below - leading up to his big goodbye -  and see what may have had something to do with it...
John Deasy, his hand picked successor is already getting comfy in Cortine’s old chair. Controversy  follows Deasy around like a bad smell and the LAUSD Board is ignoring the warning aroma - as usual . By the way, he likes his moniker pronounced “Daisy” like hazy, not “Deazy” - like sleazy - kind of says it all.”.http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/education/john-deasy-lausd/http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/education/blog/2008/10/prince_georges_says_goodbye_to.htmlshapeimage_10_link_0shapeimage_10_link_1
Never doubt the power of the blog. It took a while for the rest of the media to catch up (nothing new), but it has cost Cortines dearly $150,000 dearly loved $ a year to be exact.
The next question...when will he resign? Doesn’t he know this story was his exit cue? Since the Times functions as a house organ for the Mayor - they sat on this Scholastic story until it was time to send a message for the Mayor and cronies. Word is the “Old Man of Beaudry” has ignored the not so subtle signals and now he got this one backwards (normal for him) - he was supposed to retire to the oh so cushy arms of Scholastic and let Antonio’s puppet board, headed by puppet in chief Monica Garcia (who has gotten a little to chummy with rah rah Raymond and the Sweets in that little pool for Antonio’s liking), put in a new, more “with it” Superintendent puppet...now who might that be? Hmmm... you heard it here first - as usual. - 2.18.10

Controversies Surround LAUSD's New Hire John Deasy
By Patrick Range McDonald, 
Wed., Jun. 23 2010 @ 8:00AM
LA Weekly














Board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District agreed to hire John Deasy as deputy superintendent yesterday, which will make him a major player in the operation of the nation's second largest public school system, and a possible successor to Superintendent Ramon Cortines.
While the Los Angeles Times touts Deasy's previous jobs with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Prince George's Public County Schools in Maryland, and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, the Griffith Park Wayist reports that the new deputy superintendent found himself in the middle of two major controversies only a few years ago.
The blog writes that, in 2008, Capital News Service found "two anomalies" in Deasy's resume. One involved stating the wrong date he received a master's degree, and the other was about the listing of a faculty position in the doctoral program of Educational Leadership and Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University from 2003 to present.
According to Capital News Service, Loyola's human resources department could not find Deasy listed as a current or past faculty member.
The Griffith Park Wayist also offers up a Baltimore Sun article that goes into how Deasy was caught in another controversy in 2008: He received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Louisville after completing only nine credits.
But among LAUSD board members, who are led by president Monica Garcia, it appears Deasy's completely off the hook for whatever sins he may have previously committed -- with the L.A. Times completely ignoring the controversies in its coverage over the past two days.
The L.A. Times does report that the LAUSD board gave Deasy an annual salary of $275,000 -- $25,000 more than his boss, Ramon Cortines.
The newspaper also makes the point that Deasy appears to be a strong contender to succeed Cortines when he is expected to retire sometime in the next two years.

http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/education/http://blogs.laweekly.com/author.php?author_id=387http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/06/la-school-system-poised-to-hire-senior-gates-foundation-official.htmlhttp://griffithparkwayist.blogspot.com/2010/06/did-lausds-deasy-take-it-easy.htmlhttp://somd.com/news/headlines/2008/8355.shtmlhttp://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/education/blog/2008/10/prince_georges_says_goodbye_to.htmlhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-20100623,0,1358741.storyshapeimage_12_link_0shapeimage_12_link_1shapeimage_12_link_2shapeimage_12_link_3shapeimage_12_link_4shapeimage_12_link_5shapeimage_12_link_6
Is it just a “coincidence” or did the LA Times just pick up our tip on Cortines’ ouster and the Deasy corination? We sent it out today, 1/6/11, at 4:54 pm and posted it on Miki’s Facebook page shortly after that - the LA Times put PART of the story up on their blog  at 6:50 pm. You be the judge. No telling how long you will have to wait to read the whole story we reveal below on the Times’ pages...if ever. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/home.php?sk=mynotesshapeimage_15_link_0


L.A. school board to vote on new superintendent

Los Angeles Times | January 6, 2011 | 6:50 p.m.


The Los Angeles Board of Education will vote Tuesday to appoint John Deasy as the next superintendent of the nation's second-largest school district, sources said.


Deasy would replace Ramon C. Cortines, 78, who announced last year that he would retire this spring from the system he has headed since 2008.


Deasy was brought in by Cortines in August as his deputy and Cortines promptly vacated his office for his heir apparent. Deasy came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversaw efforts to revamp teachers' evaluations.

 

Click on Hyacinth to hear her pronunciation of “Bucket!!