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May 17, 2007


View From the Top

Despite being forced to attend Brown Act training only 4 days earlier as a result of CUSD’s lawsuit settlement with Ron Lackey for previous Brown Act violations, it’s obvious that Benecke (a 15+ year veteran of the Board) couldn’t figure out what a Brown Act violation is if it were spelled out in writing, taped to her forehead and she was looking in a mirror.

Draper has certainly gained front runner status for the Golden LaBonic’s Award for the best foot-in-mouth comment of the year. Her comment about her own situation involving CUSD doing business with her daughter’s company, “While it may not be illegal, it just smells” ranks up there with some of the great moments provided to us by the award’s namesake at the Republican Central Committee meetings during the 2006 election. Even the new superintendent couldn’t help but put his hands in his face and shake his head at that one.

Superintendent Smith, welcome to the zoo my friend … to the show that never ends. I hear the Placentia-Yorba Linda school district is looking for a new superintendent, it might not be too late to apply.

Who needs the Desperate Housewives of Orange County when we have four Fleming-era trustees providing this kind of entertainment? Someone needs to start taping these meetings, at any given moment we’re likely to see a CUSD staff member lie and mislead the public or see a real life elected official violate the law or have a melt down.

As Trustee Darnold likes to say, “I’ll second that Marlene,” whatever you want.

Draper fails smell test

I couldn't believe that at last Monday night's Board meeting Marlene Draper actually tried to defend the long-standing conflict of interest and nepotism arisig from the district's hiring of Draper's daughter as its environmental consultant by referencing the Waldrip report and saying her voting on the matter was not "technically illegal" -- "it just smelled." So according to Draper, if it smells, that's good enough for CUSD. Glad to see Draper has put the district's bar for propriety so high.

After all of the scandals that have plagued this district over the past few years, and especially the recommendations in the Waldrip report directed specifically at her (to avoid even the appearance of impropriety), it's clear that Draper is still clueless. No wonder this district is viewed with disdain by so many constituents who simply want decent, honest leaders. Draper really topped herself this time. What a disgrace.

Say whatever it takes

Draper and the other Fleming Trustees have proven time after time that they will say and do virtually anything, even ignore or violate the law, to force their favored projects down our throats whether they're equitably, financially or legally sound or not. San Juan Hills High School, Arroyo Vista K-8 and the Education Center are prime examples of how far they will go to put the interests of staff and themselves ahead of the true interests of the kids and the taxpayers -- more interested in Fleming's legacy/beauty projects, even if they drive the district into virtual bankruptcy. They (Benecke, Darnold, Draper and Stiff) should all be recalled so they can join their former colleagues (Casabianca, Henness and Kochendorfer) and their other buddies (Fleming, Doomey, Crawford) in the hall of shame.

Still don’t get it

CUSD’s recent “independent” Judge Waldrip investigation was a sham and their continuing delay tactics are designed to resist any meaningful reform. It’s nice to see that the recall folks are still aggressively cutting through all of the district’s nonsense and pushing for reform. These latest violations demonstrate, once again, that the veteran CUSD trustees still don’t get it. Hopefully, the Recall Committee will lead the way again to finish the job by removing Sheila Benecke, Marlene Draper and the other Fleming-era trustees (Mike Darnold and Duane Stiff) sooner, rather than later. The corruption and incompetence of the CUSD leadership will not end until these status quo-defending, reform obstructionists are removed from office and held accountable for the illegal and unethical things they’ve done. Then real reform can begin, while they are duly forgotten.

Capo Unified Violating Brown Act

How could the new CUSD Superintendent allow these abuses to continue right under his nose at his very first meeting?

Let's hope the DA steps in quickly to clean up this mess.

Time for new leader

I read the LA Times article about the Benecke/Draper fiasco at the May 7th board meeting. Draper's "it just sells" response was a stupid self-indictment, plain and simple. Whatever the basis of Benecke's faux pas, what she did to Ellen Addonizio and the audience was calculated and rude. This isn't the first time she has publicly disrespected one of the ABC reform trustees. Benecke has lost all manner of decorum and her "leadership" skills are terrible. Any good Benecke and Draper might have done for the district when they started as trustees years ago faded long ago as they becme arogant, bitter and jaded. Obviously, their time for doing good for the district has passed, and with a few more examples like these, no one, except Draper and Benecke, will miss the awful truth.

Joan Little

It's time for term limits. No one should be on this board for 10 years, let alone 20 years.

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