Monday, July 20, 2009

"He catches the wise in their own craftiness"

The first time I spoke to the school board, 10 months ago back in September, I warned them not to take a position on Proposition 8, the anti-homosexual marriage initiative, because it was none of the board's business; because the board's opinion would not affect the outcome in the slightest, since it would not influence anyone's vote; and because it would expose the district to needless liability.

Well, the district made a little booboo last school year, in which a couple of schools shorted their minimum days by 5 minutes. The state told them that they were looking at a $67 million fine.

This wasn't real of course. It's like when the IRS sends me a notice that I owe them $45,000 on stock transactions, based on the assumption that I acquired the stock for free - it prompts me to respond, showing them that it already got taxed as W-2 income because I just flipped shares from the stock purchase plan, so that I actually don't owe them anything.

Same way I pay attention when the IRS tells me I owe them $45K, the district and the state talked and got it down to $5 million. The district scheduled an extra 34 days for the students, but they were already done for the year and had their final grades, so naturally nobody much went, and the state said, "I don't think so."

The local state rep, Curt Hagman, introduced a bill to let them off the hook, and it unanimously flew through the Assembly. And then it passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously - everybody wanted to throw CVUSD back.

Until it got to Senate Appropriations. They voted 7-5, on a party-line vote, to throw Hagman's bill into suspense - which is much the same kind of cooler that they have in the city morgue, and those resting there are in the same shape. So now CVUSD looks to be on the hook for about 5 million bucks. What's up with that?

Well, it turns out that the chairman, Christine Kehoe, insisted on icing Hagman's bill, and what the chairman wants, the chairman gets. When I looked into it, it seems that Kehoe is openly lesbian, and passionately concerned with equal rights for homosexuals - and that supporting Proposition 8 was the quickest way to reach the top of her fecal roster. The board majority saw a cheap way last September to pander some political capital for themselves before the November election, but it seems to be working out rather more expensively than they expected. It seems like that political capital will be returned now, with interest.

It's easy to mock their folly, but I'm worried about doing that. Haven't you outsmarted yourself by being slick just the same way? I sure have. But this little tale does remind me, and I hope you too, that it is just as it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness." "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" turns out to be a better bet.

Friday, July 10, 2009

More school news

The new Interim Supt wanted to see Stephen and me again, and we had a nice talk. He ended up saying he was going to do some more investigating. He took it in when I pointed out that fighting us in Due Process, when we're asking only for the district to see Stephen through a GED, for therapy after our insurance, and for community college, is like a dog chasing a car. If he catches the car, what does he do with it? Can he eat it? If the district prevails and wins the privilege of educating Stephen, who cannot and will not take anything from them, what do they do with this valuable treasure?

The board had a special meeting to hold a budget discussion that included the community today, immediately followed by another in which they decided to appoint a replacement for Bill Klein, instead of calling for an election. They have 60 days from Bill's resignation on the 1st- until Aug 28th - to appoint. When I learned that an election was going to cost $460K, that looked better to me too, if they do it right. And what they came up with I agree with entirely for a change. Nominations and applications for three weeks, until July 31st, with the process published in the papers and the district website; then public interviews and community input in a special meeting on the 13th; and then they make the pick in the regular board meeting on the 20th, a week ahead of the deadline.

A number of people have suggested me, and I believe I'll put in for it. I can think of several candidates I might like better than myself, but I wouldn't be so bad, and being publicly interviewed for the job would be enlightening and fun for all, although I can only imagine one of the four voting for me.

I went out to eat afterward with one of the board members and a former member who's going to consult with his family about applying, along with a couple of others, and we had a nice talk about a lot of things, in which we all profited, I think.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Do not judge lest you be judged"

Last week, the ALJ denied CVUSD's motion to quash my subpoena for the records I'm demanding, on the ground that OAH had never seen the subpoena and wasn't told its language - without prejudice, which means that CVUSD can resubmit their motion to quash with the subpoena included if they want. So far they haven't wanted.

As a lawyer pointed out, he ruled on a technicality, avoiding addressing any of the issues. She had a problem with that, but I realized that for judges to avoid deciding things when they don't have to is very wise. The problem might go away somehow - the parties might settle their differences, or anything. In fact God does that, and so should we. Giving decisions in judgment can easily subsidize intransigence and obstruct reconciliation, no matter how right a given decision may be on legal points. Judges are smart enough not to want to be judges unless they really have to be, and that's the right attitude everywhere in life. Wisdom does indeed shout in the open square, at the head of every street, and in the Office of Administrative Hearings.