Thursday, July 06, 2006

Who does Cheryl Cox work for as an "educational consultant"?

I've long wondered exactly what Cheryl Cox does as an "educational consultant." Is she paid public funds when she does this consulting? Is she really more like a lobbyist? Is she paid taxpayer dollars to help clients get more public funds?

Apparently at least one San Diego educational nonprofit had a relationship with Copeland Lowery, the lobbying firm connected to Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the San Diego congressman sentenced to eight years in prison for handing out military contracts in return for bribes.

Today the Washington Post says, "Lobbying fees paid by the Foundation for Improvement in Math and Science Education, an independent nonprofit formed to improve San Diego junior high school teaching, were understated by $220,000."

The Post story says that Copeland Lowery, which is currently under federal investigation, "failed to disclose at least $755,000 in income from 17 nonprofit organizations and governmental entities, and $635,000 from 18 other clients."

The Post said, "...Some experts have called them unusual and suggested that Copeland Lowery might have been trying to play down how much money it was paid by those who received federal grants the firm arranged, particularly the clients who paid its lobbying fees with tax-exempt or public funds.

"Keith Ashdown, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said that 'what we've seen by Copeland Lowery is highly unusual. Lobby firms make amendments all the time, but we have never seen it at that level.'"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How Is Corruption Maintained in an Organization like Chula Vista Educators?

An Open Letter to Peggie Myers, who was recently elected to the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly

It appears that Jim Groth is grooming you for a leadership role in the corrupt teacher organization he hopes to maintain in Chula Vista. It is a shame that this influence has been exported to the NEA-RA. Obviously, you got votes based on your notoriety as one of the “Castle Park Five.” But you wouldn’t have received all those votes if the truth were widely known about you and Jim Groth. The two of you have so far succeeded in covering up the wrongdoing—including criminal actions—of teachers at Castle Park Elementary.

But how long do you think you can keep the truth covered up? I think you’ve got a few more months at most. After all, there’s a school board election in Chula Vista this fall. That will inevitably bring about a discussion about what happened at Castle Park. Don Sevrens likes to think he had the last word about Castle Park Elementary on May 25, but when he spread the Castle Park story all over the Union Tribune, he made it newsworthy beyond the Union Tribune. He can not silence further discussion of the story he brought, with your help, to the attention of the public.

Maura Larkins

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A note to Steve Padilla: Don't become like Cheryl Cox!

Is someone a little too friendly with developers?

Your opponent, Cheryl Cox, has been sliding in that direction for five years. The disgraced David Malcolm began his long slide to the wrong side of the law by doing just that. While on the California Coastal Commission, he appeared to sell himself to the highest bidder.

Don't follow in these footsteps.

You're better than that.

Cheryl Cox has gone along with the wrongdoing of the controlling majority of the board of the Chula Vista Elementary School District for half a decade. Don't be like someone who has been playing footsie with certain developers for years.

Hiding Public Records

I'm guessing that you were not part of the attack on David Rowlands, the well-respected city manager of Chula Vista who was recently forced to resign. It was the rest of the Chula Vista City Council that wanted to get rid of Rowlands, but who, to their shame, wanted to cover up the deal they made with him to get him to go away, so they paid him hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in return for signing a secrecy agreement. It was a purely political move, and the majority on the city council wanted to make sure that Rowlands couldn't reveal the truth to the public until after the November elections.

This sounds just like something Cheryl Cox would do. As a member of one of the most secretive school boards in the state, Cox has a history of thumbing her nose at the California Public Records Act and at many other California laws. For over a year I've requested public records regarding how much CVESD spends on laywers, but my requests have been ignored. Why? Because Cheryl Cox and her fellow board members think that I won't sue them. And if I do, they can just spend taxpayer dollars fighting the lawsuit.

How much will Cox and the CVESD board spend to fight public records requests? I don't know, but I do know how much the San Diego City Council has spent to fight public records requests: more than $20,000 (according to today's San Diego Union Tribune).

The last thing that the Chula Vista City Council needs is someone like Cheryl Cox as mayor.

Cheryl Cox and Chula Vista Elementary School District have worked closely with lawyers, in the process harming the proper functioning of several schools, including the notorious Castle Park Elementary, which continues to hold the attention of the media.

If you really wanted to work for the public good, why don't you take over Chula Vista Elementary School District, and fix it?

Maura Larkins