Tag Archives: Cristina de Jesus

It Appears That Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin Revealed Confidential Attorney Client Information From LAUSD’s Office Of The General Counsel To The California Charter School Association In A Secret Meeting In February 2018 — Having To Do With A January 2016 CCSA Lawsuit Against LAUSD Over Prop 39 Access To Facilities — In February 2018 CCSA Met With Melvoin About LAUSD Facilities Policy — At This Meeting Melvoin Told CCSA — The Adverse Parties In The Freaking Lawsuit — That LAUSD’s General Counsel Was “Confident In Lawsuit Position” — And Therefore Was Disinclined To Settle — Two Months Later CCSA Conceded And Dropped The Suit Without A Settlement — Perhaps Their Decision To Pursue This Course Was Informed By Confidential Information Obtained From Melvoin — It’s Hard To Imagine It Could Be Otherwise

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an episode in January 2018 when the California Charter School Association actually drafted a resolution for then newly elected, then and now bought and paid for, LAUSD board member Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin,1 to present to his colleagues on the school board. It was and is a complicated story, and I promised at the time to lay it on you in increments.2 That first post was about the CCSA-drafted resolution and how they passed it on to Nicky in January 2018.

Today we’re moving along to February 20, 2018. On that date Nick Melvoin, his senior advisor Allison Holdorff Polhill, and his policy director Danielle Tenner met with Cristina de Jesus of Green Dot Private Schools, Emilio Pack of STEM Preparatory Schools, Caprice Young of the creepiest cultiest charter chain, that is Magnolia Charter Schools, and Cassy Horton, Ebony Wheaton, and Jason Rudolph, all the last three from CCSA, all met to discuss the resolution.3

Also at that time, explained below, CCSA was suing LAUSD. And, amazingly, it seems that in this meeting Melvoin passed on a great deal of privileged information about LAUSD’s legal strategy to the charter advocates. He also agreed to intervene with LAUSD’s lawyers to further CCSA’s interests. This is on its face appalling behavior from an elected official, sworn by oath to faithfully execute the duties of his office, a violation of which oath this behavior pretty clearly is.4 As always, the details are complicated.

We know about this meeting from an email sent the next day, February 21, 2018, by the aforementioned Jason Rudolph to his co-conspirators de Jesus, Pack, Young, Horton, and Wheaton. This email is interesting in itself, and it is reproduced below in full. Much, much, muchmuchmuch more interesting, though, is the attachment to the email, consisting of Rudolph’s notes on the previous day’s meeting.5 This document is endlessly complex. I expect that the next four or five posts in this series will be on this document.6
Continue reading It Appears That Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin Revealed Confidential Attorney Client Information From LAUSD’s Office Of The General Counsel To The California Charter School Association In A Secret Meeting In February 2018 — Having To Do With A January 2016 CCSA Lawsuit Against LAUSD Over Prop 39 Access To Facilities — In February 2018 CCSA Met With Melvoin About LAUSD Facilities Policy — At This Meeting Melvoin Told CCSA — The Adverse Parties In The Freaking Lawsuit — That LAUSD’s General Counsel Was “Confident In Lawsuit Position” — And Therefore Was Disinclined To Settle — Two Months Later CCSA Conceded And Dropped The Suit Without A Settlement — Perhaps Their Decision To Pursue This Course Was Informed By Confidential Information Obtained From Melvoin — It’s Hard To Imagine It Could Be Otherwise

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In January 2018 — Just Mere Months After Millions Of Dollars In Charter School Money Bought Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Election To The LAUSD School Board — He Asked The California Charter School Association To Draft A Board Resolution For Him — Outlining Proposal To Study How To Legally Sell Or Lease LAUSD Property To Charters — And To Take LAUSD Facilities Away From Public Schools And Give Them To Charters On The Basis Of “Performance” — And To List All Facilities So The Privatizers Would Know Which To Target — And To Put Prop 39 Co-Location Disputes In The Hands Of A Putatively Neutral Third Party — And To Work Some Incomprehensible Voodoo With Bond Money — And Then Melvoin Proceeded To Have Secret Meetings On The Subject With CCSA Flacks — And Other Privatizing Galaxy Brains — Like Emilio Pack — And Caprice Young — And Mark Kleger-Heine — And Cristina De Jesus — This Post Is Part One Of A Series Because The Whole Thing Is So Darn Complicated

We’ve already seen that LAUSD officials, both elected and appointed, have a sickening penchant for sharing confidential materials with Charter lobbyists, giving them advance input into official policy proposals, and so on. I’ve recently reported, e.g., on an episode from September 2018 where Austin Beutner allowed Cassy Horton and Jed Wallace of the California Charter School Association to vet an upcoming speech and also to talk in advance with his speechwriter to explain what they thought ought to be included. Convicted felon slash former schoolboard member Ref Rodriguez did the same thing in March 2018 with respect to a board proposal.

And it turns out that, beginning in January 2018, LAUSD Board member and charter school bootlicker Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin1 was involved in a very similar scheme having to do with LAUSD policies on school facilities, a subject which sounds tedious but is actually bureaucratic code for real estate, a subject which is at the very center of the zillionaire plan to loot the public treasure-stores for their own gain.2

Basically the proposal, which seems never to have made it out of the secret meetings, would have called for LAUSD to list all its facilities so that the privatizers could choose which ones to target, to allocate facilities between charter schools and public schools based on excellence and student success rather than on need, to authorize a putatively neutral third party to settle disputes over co-location offers, to study how to sell or lease LAUSD property to charters, and to do something complicated with bonds used to fund facilities. It all seems incredibly shady, shady beyond belief.

Icky Sticky Nicky was elected to the LAUSD Board in May 2017 after having been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, which delusionally called him an “independent thinker” and also claimed that “Melvoin, who has worked for reform-oriented groups, is decidedly aligned with that movement but in a more balanced way than, say, Monica Garcia.” The LA Times reported on his July 2017 swearing in, and was, by then, after the election was over and the information could no longer sway a single voter, willing to state the relevant facts more explicitly, noting that Melvoin was “elected with the help of millions of dollars from charter school supporters.” The Times also quoted from Melvoin’s speech at the ceremony:

Today is not about the results of an election but about the emergence of a new paradigm.
[I am a product of] the coalition that arose to implore us to lead with a simple yet radical maxim: Put kids first.

And today’s story concerns some ugly truth about Melvoin’s putative more-balanced-than-Monica-Garcia alignment with Charter school zillionaires and about what they bought from him in exchange for their zillions of dollars.3 About how these matters actually played out during his first year in office and, by extension, exactly how he interprets his “simple yet radical maxim: Put kids first.”
Continue reading In January 2018 — Just Mere Months After Millions Of Dollars In Charter School Money Bought Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Election To The LAUSD School Board — He Asked The California Charter School Association To Draft A Board Resolution For Him — Outlining Proposal To Study How To Legally Sell Or Lease LAUSD Property To Charters — And To Take LAUSD Facilities Away From Public Schools And Give Them To Charters On The Basis Of “Performance” — And To List All Facilities So The Privatizers Would Know Which To Target — And To Put Prop 39 Co-Location Disputes In The Hands Of A Putatively Neutral Third Party — And To Work Some Incomprehensible Voodoo With Bond Money — And Then Melvoin Proceeded To Have Secret Meetings On The Subject With CCSA Flacks — And Other Privatizing Galaxy Brains — Like Emilio Pack — And Caprice Young — And Mark Kleger-Heine — And Cristina De Jesus — This Post Is Part One Of A Series Because The Whole Thing Is So Darn Complicated

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In March 2018 Then-LAUSD-Board-Member Ref Rodriguez Shared A Top Secret Confidential Copy Of A Board Resolution With Cassy Horton Of The California Charter School Association — Before Anyone Other Than Richard Vladovic Had Seen It — And Cassy Horton Of CCSA Inserted Comments And Rewrote Language — And Arranged For Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA — And Parker Hudnut Of ICEF Charter Schools — To Meet In Her Company With Rodriguez And Aixle Aman Prior To Its Introduction To The Board To Discuss It — And Shared It With Christina De Jesus Of Green Dot Charter Schools — And Emilio Pack Of STEM Prep — For Their Comments — And Rewrites

Remember how in September 2018 universally-reviled-by-sane-people LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner gave an advance copy of a major policy speech to the California Charter School Association for their comments, and even organized a conference call between Jed Wallace, then supreme commander of the CCSA, and Beutner’s speechwriter Shira Fine so that Wallace could pass along pro-charter propaganda to Fine for inclusion?

And then, when it got tweeted about, reprehensible CCSA shill Cassy Horton responded with a particularly mendacious claim that this kind of thing was just business as usual and everyone does it?1 Well, today’s story, about Horton getting top secret information from Ref Rodriguez in March 2018, may tend to support her claim that it’s just business as usual. But I still haven’t seen any evidence that anyone other than CCSA flacks is getting advance information out of LAUSD officials.

Before he was investigated by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, before he resigned in what passes for disgrace in municipal politics, before he pled guilty to a felony and assorted misdemeanors, before all that nonsense, former school board member Ref Rodriguez was famous for being the handpicked stooge of the CCSA. And, like his asshole buddy Austin Beutner after him, it turns out that Ref Rodriguez also secretly shared major policy documents, including at least one LAUSD board resolution, with CCSA flacks for them to revise to better reflect their interests.

The story begins with this email from Cassy Horton to four of the very creepiest of creepy charter creeps, which is to say Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA, Emilio Pack of STEM Preparatory, Christina De Jesus of Green Dot, and Parker Hudnut of Inner City Education Foundation Charter Schools.

Its subject alone tells quite a story: “<DO NOT SHARE OR FORWARD> Authorizing Resolution for Review and Feedback”. But the whole thing is essential reading. What’s at stake in the resolution is how charters should be authorized by LAUSD, how their performance should be evaluated, and so on. Not, sane folks might think, something which ought to be written by the very industry it’s meant to regulate. Evidently Ref Rodriguez disagreed. Here’s a transcription of the email:
Continue reading In March 2018 Then-LAUSD-Board-Member Ref Rodriguez Shared A Top Secret Confidential Copy Of A Board Resolution With Cassy Horton Of The California Charter School Association — Before Anyone Other Than Richard Vladovic Had Seen It — And Cassy Horton Of CCSA Inserted Comments And Rewrote Language — And Arranged For Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA — And Parker Hudnut Of ICEF Charter Schools — To Meet In Her Company With Rodriguez And Aixle Aman Prior To Its Introduction To The Board To Discuss It — And Shared It With Christina De Jesus Of Green Dot Charter Schools — And Emilio Pack Of STEM Prep — For Their Comments — And Rewrites

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Green Dot Charter Schools CEO Cristina De Jesus Served On Gavin Newsom’s State Charter School Task Force Earlier This Year — According To Tony Thurmond The Point Was To Identify “what is truly best for kids” — But De Jesus Told Her Colleagues That Her “Representation On The Task Force” Gave Green Dot “The Ultimate Voice” — And She Used Her Knowledge Of Task Force Meetings To Shape Green Dot PR Messaging On Charter School Controversies — None Of Which Sounds Like Thinking About What’s Best For Anyone Other Than Green Dot — Oh And Also It Seems That In Early 2018 De Jesus And The California Charter School Association Were Just Sitting Around Waiting For Michelle King To Die — So They Could Start Manipulating The Choice Of Her Replacement — Which As We Now Know They Ultimately Managed Really Well — At Least From Their Infernal Point Of View — And Making Insensitive Remarks While They Waited — Which Is Not A Good Look For A Bunch Of Privatizing Vultures — Especially Given How Their Hand-Picked Dude Is Working Out

Earlier this year Governor Gavin Newsom asked State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to convene an expert task force to study some aspects of charter schools in California and to issue a report by July 1, which task they duly completed. Here’s what Tony Thurmond had to say about what all these experts were going to get up to:

I am excited that we have this incredible assembly of experts from all sectors to help lead this charge, to take a deeper look at the impact of charter schools. We plan to research data and facts, and will review the fiscal impact and authorization process of charter schools. But more importantly, we are going to do this with thoughtful intention and through the lens of identifying what is truly best for kids.

And one of the putative experts appointed thereto was Cristina De Jesus, mostly famous for being the supreme commander of behemothic privatizing charter school organization Green Dot California. And even though Tony Thurmond thought the task forceers were going to think about the kids, well, as might be expected by the cynical,1 it turns out that, as shown in some emails I recently obtained via the California Public Records Act, De Jesus had very, very different ideas about her role on this expert body.2

The story begins on March 27, 2019, when Anna Phillips published a story in the Los Angeles Times, privatizers-into-a-tizzy-throwingly entitled How a couple worked charter school regulations to make millions. And into a tizzy indeed were thrown the privatizers, especially their ministers of truth.3 Thus did Green Dot commo-king Sean Thibault write an email to his Supreme Commander CDJ,4 proposing a response, perhaps to be submitted as a letter to the editor, which Thibault refers to as an LTE because of course he does.

This proposed LTE is incredibly worth reading for its crackpot accusation that “ideological charter critics” essentially caused Clark and Jeanette Parker to steal all that money from Today’s Fresh Start Charter School because they “have focused their legislative proposals on areas that already have healthy public scrutiny” rather than what, according to Sean Thibault, they ought to have been doing, which is “partnering to update charter laws and regulations to help catch bad apples.” But what we’re really interested in here is Thibault’s summing-uppery, directed at his boss CDJ:
Continue reading Green Dot Charter Schools CEO Cristina De Jesus Served On Gavin Newsom’s State Charter School Task Force Earlier This Year — According To Tony Thurmond The Point Was To Identify “what is truly best for kids” — But De Jesus Told Her Colleagues That Her “Representation On The Task Force” Gave Green Dot “The Ultimate Voice” — And She Used Her Knowledge Of Task Force Meetings To Shape Green Dot PR Messaging On Charter School Controversies — None Of Which Sounds Like Thinking About What’s Best For Anyone Other Than Green Dot — Oh And Also It Seems That In Early 2018 De Jesus And The California Charter School Association Were Just Sitting Around Waiting For Michelle King To Die — So They Could Start Manipulating The Choice Of Her Replacement — Which As We Now Know They Ultimately Managed Really Well — At Least From Their Infernal Point Of View — And Making Insensitive Remarks While They Waited — Which Is Not A Good Look For A Bunch Of Privatizing Vultures — Especially Given How Their Hand-Picked Dude Is Working Out

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On September 13, 2018 Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner Gave A Major Policy Speech — The Week Before That Beutner Staffers Rebecca Kockler And Elmer Roldan Met Separately With Lobbyist Cassy Horton Of The California Charter Schools Association To Vet His Proposals With Her — I Have A Copy Of Horton’s Extensive Notes On These Two Meetings! — On September 7 Beutner Met With Christina De Jesus Of Green Dot And Emilio Pack Of STEM Prep For The Same Purpose — And On September 12 Cassy Horton Had An Advance Copy Of Beutner’s Speech And Shared It With Those Two For Feedback — Ironically In The Speech Beutner Touted The Importance Of Transparency — But Didn’t Mention Word One About All This Back Channel Commo With Elite Privatizers About The Very Speech In Which He Was Touting Transparency!

A little history and a list of the dramatis personae are in order before we begin. In May 2018 noted zillionaire Austin Beutner was appointed superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District via a shady, probably illegal, backroom process pushed through by noted charter-lovers Monica Rodriguez and later-indicted-and-convicted criminal Ref Rodriguez.1 Subsequently Beutner hired Broad Foundation alumna Rebecca Kockler away from the already-pretty-wrecked state of Louisiana where she was famous for privatizing everything in her reach and thereby wrecking everything even more as his chief of staff2 and some dude named Elmer Roldan as his director of civic engagement.

Then there’s the shady charter school lobbying conspiracy known as the California Charter Schools Association, sitting like a fat green spider at the center of the various ickety-stickety webs of privatization spritzed all over our fair city by behind-the-scenes zillionaires. These privatizing peddlers of metaphorical poisoned apples are not just lobbyists, but also actively gather what passes for intelligence in privatizerlandia and spread it around among their members. They’re probably reading this very blog post. Their local capo is Cassy Horton.

And one of the CCSA’s creepiest little Southern California projects is something called the Los Angeles Advocacy Council, a shadowy website-lacking group of twenty-ish super-elite local charter leaders who convene regularly to discuss how to privatize everything they can lay their greedy paws on, to meet with politicians, propose policy, and so on.3 And among these elite privatizers there is an even eliter bunch, the so-called LAAC Leadership. This hyper-exclusive crew consists of Green Dot Charter Schools CEO Christina De Jesus and STEM Preparatory School boss Emilio Pack, facilitated by Cassy Horton.

And it came to pass that after Beutner had been on the job for a few months, in September 2018, he decided that he wanted to give a major policy speech, explaining just what the hell he planned to get up to way high up on the zillionth floor of the Bastille on Beaudry.4 And how does a galaxy-brain like Beutner prepare for such an event? Well, perhaps he thinks about things, reads up on things, talks about things with his senior staff, goes out in the field and looks at things.

And maybe Beutner did all of that and more. But he also had two of his senior staff, the aforementioned Kockler and Roldan, meet with Cassy Horton to run all his proposals by her. And the next day he met with LAAC elites Christina De Jesus and Emilio Pack. We know about this first meeting from an email which Horton sent to De Jesus and Pack, ensubjected “<Confidential/For Review> Preview of Austin Convo for Tomorrow” describing in astounding detail both the content and her thoughts on these two meetings with Beutner’s staffies.
Continue reading On September 13, 2018 Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner Gave A Major Policy Speech — The Week Before That Beutner Staffers Rebecca Kockler And Elmer Roldan Met Separately With Lobbyist Cassy Horton Of The California Charter Schools Association To Vet His Proposals With Her — I Have A Copy Of Horton’s Extensive Notes On These Two Meetings! — On September 7 Beutner Met With Christina De Jesus Of Green Dot And Emilio Pack Of STEM Prep For The Same Purpose — And On September 12 Cassy Horton Had An Advance Copy Of Beutner’s Speech And Shared It With Those Two For Feedback — Ironically In The Speech Beutner Touted The Importance Of Transparency — But Didn’t Mention Word One About All This Back Channel Commo With Elite Privatizers About The Very Speech In Which He Was Touting Transparency!

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