Tag Archives: United Teachers of Los Angeles

During The UTLA Strike In January 2019 — The Union Sent A Letter Around To Various Charter School Employees — Expressing Solidarity And Stuff — And Emilio Pack — Supreme Commander Of STEM Preparatory Charter School — Was So Offended That He Contemplated Blocking All Emails From UTLA To His Employees — Only On The Strongly But Cynically Worded Advice Of His High-Powered Charter School Lawyer Janelle Ruley — From The World’s Most Privatizing Law Firm — Which Is Of Course Young, Minney, & Corr — Did He Back Off From His Creepy Paternalistic Disrespectful-Of-Humanity Position — And I Have A Copy Of The Damn Letter From The Damn Lawyer! — Along With Other Emails Of Interest! — And You Can Read Them Here!

Today we’re looking at Dr. Emilio Pack, supreme chief head executive honcho & founder of STEM Preparatory Schools, which is, of course, yet another instance of the usual herd of entities of the general type of entity that it’s an instance of, and supremely so. Pack, renowned amongst those whose renown is the currency of his world, profiled and lionized and so on, is a member of the shadowy pro-charter conspiracy known to the world as the Los Angeles Advocacy Council. And not just any member, but a member of the executive committee, perhaps the chair, something big.1

And then there’s the world’s most privatizing law firm, Young, Minney, and Corr.2 Famous in these parts for their of counsel guy, H. Wayne Strumpfer and his hapless and feckless but tireless advice to the hapless and feckless but tiresome Ms. Sakshi Jain, founder and CEO of weirdo little co-locationist charter upstart GANAS Academy.3 And then, of course, there is the UTLA, which needs no introduction around here and neither does their monumental strike in January 2019.

It’s well-known, of course, that charter schools hate unions, and that, friends, is where our story begins! Well, and ends too, pretty much. It seems that on January 7, 2019, UTLA sent an email to a bunch of charter school employees, expressing solidarity and explaining their position vis-a-vis charter schools and the strike. I have a copy of it only because Kerry Kletter, who is not just the head boss of Village Charter Academy but is also a bootlicking snitch of the first water,4 emailed a copy to bootlicking first-water snitch-handler Cassy Horton of the CCSA and was all like OMG the freaking nerve of these damnable unionists! You can read a copy of it here along with subsequent bootlickery between Kletter and Horton.

And it seems also that this letter was sent to some people who worked at STEM Prep, laboring in the happy fields overseen by Supreme Executive Commander Pack! And it seems that Supreme Executive Commander Pack blew his supremely executive commanderish stack! And decided to block incoming UTLA emails! Because why should damnable unionists consume his valuable electrons?! But supreme executive commanders generally have not attained the supreme executive commanderships they enjoy by taking action without weighing potential consequences, And Pack is clearly no exception. Thus did he ask his lawyer, Janelle A. Ruley, hey friend! Can we do this thing?

And Janelle A. Ruley was all like no freaking way, friend! That’s just the very briar patch into which the UTLA seeks to get thrown! Later they will lie about stuff and you’ll be busted! And, as it happens, I know this story because subsequently Emilio Pack forwarded an email from Ruley to Christina De Jesus of Green Dot Charter Schools and a couple of pinheaded flacks from the California Charter Schools Association, thus waiving the privilege and creating a public record which, as will happen, I managed to obtain a copy of. Here’s a link to a PDF of it and you can read a complete transcription below!
Continue reading During The UTLA Strike In January 2019 — The Union Sent A Letter Around To Various Charter School Employees — Expressing Solidarity And Stuff — And Emilio Pack — Supreme Commander Of STEM Preparatory Charter School — Was So Offended That He Contemplated Blocking All Emails From UTLA To His Employees — Only On The Strongly But Cynically Worded Advice Of His High-Powered Charter School Lawyer Janelle Ruley — From The World’s Most Privatizing Law Firm — Which Is Of Course Young, Minney, & Corr — Did He Back Off From His Creepy Paternalistic Disrespectful-Of-Humanity Position — And I Have A Copy Of The Damn Letter From The Damn Lawyer! — Along With Other Emails Of Interest! — And You Can Read Them Here!

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More On Covert California Charter School Association Involvement In Austin Beutner’s 13 September 2018 Policy Speech — Then-CEO Jed Wallace Spoke To Beutner On Sept. 7 — Beutner Was Impressed So Had His Flacks Arrange A Conference Call Between Themselves And His Speechwriter And Wallace So Wallace Could “walk through how he thinks Austin should be talking” — And Beutner Chief Of Staff Rebecca Kockler Opened A Back Channel With Green Dot Boss Christina De Jesus — And Shared The Speech Language With Her To “Ease [Charter Proponents’] Minds” — But Was Paranoid About Leaks So Refused To Share A Copy — Insisted On Reading It Out Loud Over The Phone — Apparently At The Behest Of CCSA The Speech Was Edited So As To Not Even Mention Charters — Because Evidently That’s What It Takes To Ease Their Damn Minds

I wrote yesterday about how Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner and Rebecca Kockler, at that time Beutner’s chief of staff, allowed privatization lobbyists the California Charter School Association to vet the content of a major policy speech he gave on September 13, 2018, supplying them with an advance copy and talking repeatedly with their representatives. If you’re not familiar with the issues or the people that post is a good place to start.

This evening’s story is about more covert meetings between Beutner and his staff and CCSA regarding the content and even the specific wording of the speech.1 The story begins on September 7, 2018, when Jed Wallace, at that time the CEO of CCSA, talked to Beutner on the phone about the speech. The next day Wallace sent an email describing the conversation to his close associates Marcia Aaron of KIPP LA, Emilio Pack of STEM Preparatory Schools, Christina de Jesus of Green Dot, Myrna Castrejon, then of Great Public Schools Now,2 and the famous Cassy Horton, CCSA’s Greater Los Angeles minister of propaganda.

According to Wallace, Beutner promised to keep charters out of negotiations with UTLA. Beutner also said that he was planning to “get further left than UTLA,” whatever that might mean to a guy like Beutner, and he said that he was planning to discuss an (unrevealed) additional policy item that might have to do with charters. Wallace, by his own account, fed Beutner the party line on charter oversight and some other issues. The money shot, though, is this statement:
Continue reading More On Covert California Charter School Association Involvement In Austin Beutner’s 13 September 2018 Policy Speech — Then-CEO Jed Wallace Spoke To Beutner On Sept. 7 — Beutner Was Impressed So Had His Flacks Arrange A Conference Call Between Themselves And His Speechwriter And Wallace So Wallace Could “walk through how he thinks Austin should be talking” — And Beutner Chief Of Staff Rebecca Kockler Opened A Back Channel With Green Dot Boss Christina De Jesus — And Shared The Speech Language With Her To “Ease [Charter Proponents’] Minds” — But Was Paranoid About Leaks So Refused To Share A Copy — Insisted On Reading It Out Loud Over The Phone — Apparently At The Behest Of CCSA The Speech Was Edited So As To Not Even Mention Charters — Because Evidently That’s What It Takes To Ease Their Damn Minds

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The California Charter Schools Association Is Not Just An Insidious Privatizing Pro-Zillionaire Lobbying Group — They Also Evidently Facebook-Stalk Anti-Charter Folks On Social Media And Then Distribute Their Findings To Their Members — Like Memes About How Damn Much Money These Charter Bosses Make — And Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Staffer Allison Holdorff Thinks Normal Political Speech Is “Disconcerting”

My new charter school project is starting to pay off to some extent. Just this morning, for instance, Ms. Dr. Pam Magee, well-esteemed and intensively bowed-down-before head honcho of that otherworldly bastion of zillionaire privilege known to the world as Palisades Charter High School sent me a big pile of emails between her profusely respected self and the Los Angeles Unified School District in some date range that’s presently escaping me. And for your viewing pleasure I popped the whole steaming pile up to Archive.Org and you can take a look at it right here.

And as expected, for such is the nature of CPRA-fueled public interest voyeurism, most of it is tedious chaff. But as is often the case there’s a little bit of gold to be found in there. And the text for today’s sermon is this anxious little exchange between Keith Dell’Aquila, who’s some kind of lobbyist with the California Charter Schools Association, and various “charter leaders” flipping out over a meme he found on the internet about how much charter bosses get paid. He sent the first email on January 18, 2019. Right in the middle of the strike.

And man! Keith Della’Aquila is not just upset by the meme. He’s getting ready for bread riots, for the last charter school director being strangled with the guts of the last zillionaire, and so on. These privatizers were really worried that the UTLA strike was the beginning of the freaking revolution. Here’s what El Dude had to say about it, and then turn the page for a transcription of the rest of the conversation, including a really unprofessional comment from Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s senior advisor Allison Holdorff Polhill:

From: Keith Dell’Aquila <KDellAquila@ccsa.org>
Date: Friday, January 18, 2019 at 2:16 PM
Cc: Cassy Horton <chorton@ccsa.org>, Chris Copolillo <ccopolillo@ccsa.org>, Jason Rudolph <jrudolph@ccsa.org>, Luis Figueroa <lfigueroa@ccsa.org>
Subject: Your Organization Featured in Online Posts

Good afternoon, Charter Leaders,

We wanted to let you know that the names of your schools and reported salaries of senior leaders are being circulated in UTLA-aligned online communities (Twitter and Facebook groups). This post does not appear to have been shared widely and does not appear to have been shared by official UTLA accounts or reflected in any media coverage. Still, we want to flag it for you in case it get gains additional traction or if your organizations receive additional attention.

Please let us know if you need any support or if you and your schools have been targeted in any way.

Thank you for continuing to serve LA students and families well during this challenging time.

Keith Dell’Aquila

Director, Regional Advocacy, Greater Los Angeles
213-864-6310 | kdellaaquila@ccsa.org

Continue reading The California Charter Schools Association Is Not Just An Insidious Privatizing Pro-Zillionaire Lobbying Group — They Also Evidently Facebook-Stalk Anti-Charter Folks On Social Media And Then Distribute Their Findings To Their Members — Like Memes About How Damn Much Money These Charter Bosses Make — And Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin’s Staffer Allison Holdorff Thinks Normal Political Speech Is “Disconcerting”

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Annals Of Public Records Act Bullying Tactics — Brooke Rios Of New Los Angeles Charter Schools Tries An Old Dodge — Sadly Commonplace Among CPRA Obstructionists — “Your Records Are Ready And You Can See Them As Soon As You Give Us $90” — But Then Backs Off In Less Than Two Hours After Being Told That The Law Requires Inspection For Free — Sadly, The Only Unusual Thing About This Episode Is The Short Time Frame

What with the recent unrest in the teacher/labor community which, as you know, led to a historic victory which, for the first time ever, led to the school board recommending a cap on charter schools in Los Angeles, well, and what with Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, just recently issuing a historic opinion stating definitively that charter schools are subject to both the Brown Act and the Public Records Act, yes, what with all that, I thought it might be interesting to hit up a few of these zillionaire-beloved trojan horses with some requests for information.1

And one of the ones I hit up in the first round was the New Los Angeles Charter Schools. You can read my request here, sent to NLA boss Brooke Rios, seeking information contained in emails about discussions their administration had about the UTLA strike.2 And roughly within the statutory time-frame, I received a response letter from Rios quoting a bunch of aggro copypasta lawyerese, citing the attorney/client privilege exemption, and informing me that they had 363 pages of responsive material and that I had to pony up $90.75 if I wanted to see the goods.3

Now, that’s $0.25 per page that she was proposing to charge me for copies. The CPRA at §6253(b) allows agencies to charge “fees covering direct costs of duplication,” which it’s doubtful that $0.25 is given that most copy machines cost about $0.02 per page and even FedEx Office only charges $0.13 per page, and they’re making a profit from that. I’m told by those who have reason to know, though, that this is essentially an unwinnable argument in court,4 given that, e.g., the Los Angeles County Superior Court charges about $1 per page for freaking PDFs, and those are the same judges one would be asking to declare $0.25 excessive.

Another problem with Rios’s problematic proposal is that emails are electronic documents. The CPRA at §6253.9(a) requires agencies to provide copies of electronic documents in electronic formats, whereas Rios has obviously printed these emails out on paper and wants to require me to accept and pay for paper copies. Of course, the “direct cost” of making copies of electronic files is $0.00, so her insistence on charging $0.25 for paper copies is a violation of that section as well.

But the real kicker is that the CPRA does not allow agencies to charge for access to records. They’re only allowed to charge for copies of records. This is codified in the CPRA at §6253(a), which states in pertinent part that “[p]ublic records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided.” Nothing in the law says they can charge, and so they can’t charge. By insisting that I pay $90.75 before getting access to these records Rios was poised to violate this requirement of the law.

And sadly Rios isn’t the only public official in the world to think of this bushwa means of CPRA obstructionism. It’s commonplace, and it’s essential to push back on it whenever it’s encountered. Thus did I send Rios a response outlining these facts and offering her the choice of providing me with electronic copies for free or letting me come in and scan the records myself with my scanner.5 And although many public agencies take the untenable stance that they can charge exorbitant fees for access to records, not many back down as quickly as Brooke Rios did. It took her less than two hours to concede that I had the right to see the records and make my own copies at no charge.6

It is a very sad situation indeed that public agencies are allowed to attempt to intimidate people who want to look at records, and that it’s necessary not only to understand one’s rights thoroughly but be willing to push back against unsupportable CPRA aggression in order to be able to exercise the right to access public records. It doesn’t seem like the legislature is going to fix this7 any time soon, so right now we have no choice other than to know our rights and push back, push back, push back. And turn the page for transcriptions of everything!
Continue reading Annals Of Public Records Act Bullying Tactics — Brooke Rios Of New Los Angeles Charter Schools Tries An Old Dodge — Sadly Commonplace Among CPRA Obstructionists — “Your Records Are Ready And You Can See Them As Soon As You Give Us $90” — But Then Backs Off In Less Than Two Hours After Being Told That The Law Requires Inspection For Free — Sadly, The Only Unusual Thing About This Episode Is The Short Time Frame

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