Tag Archives: Co-Location

Ruben Alonzo — Carpetbagging Galaxy-Brained Founder Of Excelencia Charter Academy In Boyle Heights — Co-Located On The Campus Of Sunrise Elementary School — Surveilled, Stalked, And Photographed Anti-Charter Protester Mimi Duncanson — And Tried — Unsuccessfully — To Get The Cops To Tow Her Car — And Pretty Likely Violated The Brown Act To Prevent Her From Learning Of Impending Teacher Firings At Excelencia — And This Is The Kind Of Amoral Grifter The State Of California Entrusts With The Lives Of Small Defenseless Children

Excelencia Charter Academy is yet another creepy little charter school run by yet another shockingly unqualified creepy little galaxy-brained grifter, this one known as Ruben Alonzo, going about the place making creepy little announcements of delusionally impending disruptive excellence while lining his creepy little pockets with public money1 at the expense of the actual human children that the state legislature, for reasons they’re going to have to answer for eventually, has seen fit to place into his care.

In this regard Alonzo is much like Sakshi Jain, shockingly unqualified founder of the ill-fated GANAS Academy, whose plan to co-locate on the campus of Catskill Elementary School conjured up such a monumental hurricane of activist opposition and scorn that, it appears, she has had to put her school’s opening on hold while she slinks back to her lair to soothe her metaphorical wounds with a salve made of equal parts boorish self-pity and Walton family megabucks.

Unlike Jain, though, Alonzo did actually manage to open his school. In the Fall of 2018 as it happens and, like Jain’s fiasco, co-located, in this case on the campus of Sunrise Elementary School in Boyle Heights. And like Jain’s folly Alonzo’s weirdo little project conjured up some opposition, most publicly from Sunrise Elementary teacher Mimi Guzman-Duncanson.

Duncanson famously parked her SUV out in front of the school covered in flyers advertising the appalling lack of qualifications of Excelencia’s teachers, let alone Ruben Alonzo, the self-proclaimed founder. Duncanson’s protest was covered in the Los Angeles Times and by Jason McGahan, writing in The Baffler.

You can see a picture of Maestra Duncanson2 with her minivan somewhere near this sentence.That picture and another like it came from a huge set of emails released to me recently by Alonzo pursuant to the California Public Records Act.3 And if it looks like hostile photography, like surveillance, well, that’s because that’s precisely what it is. It turns out that aggressively callow hellbaby Ruben Alonzo just could not deal with the fact that anyone at all dared to question his galaxy-brained 29 year old self.

These emails reveal that Alonzo hated and feared the truth to such an extent that not only did he stalk and surveill her, take hostile photographs of her, not only did he whine about her to every reporter who’d sit still long enough, but he tried to convince police to tow Duncanson’s protest van, although they refused.

He also arranged for police presence at his school for the first few days of operation because of his hatred and fear of protesters. He almost certainly also violated the Brown Act by emailing information about firing two teachers to his board of directors in advance of the meeting, explicitly stating that he was doing so in order to keep Duncanson from learning it. You can find PDFs of the relevant emails here, and read on for quotes and links!
Continue reading Ruben Alonzo — Carpetbagging Galaxy-Brained Founder Of Excelencia Charter Academy In Boyle Heights — Co-Located On The Campus Of Sunrise Elementary School — Surveilled, Stalked, And Photographed Anti-Charter Protester Mimi Duncanson — And Tried — Unsuccessfully — To Get The Cops To Tow Her Car — And Pretty Likely Violated The Brown Act To Prevent Her From Learning Of Impending Teacher Firings At Excelencia — And This Is The Kind Of Amoral Grifter The State Of California Entrusts With The Lives Of Small Defenseless Children

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GANAS Academy Founder Sakshi Jain Emails Now Available — Showing A Pattern Of Increasing Anxiety And Paranoia About Anti-Co-Location Activists — Appeals To LAUSD To Punish Catskill Elementary Employees Who Seemed To Oppose Co-Location — Discussions With The California Charter School Association On Media Strategy — Wild Accusations Of “borderline libelous and slanderous accusations – not just about the Founder, but about the school as well” — Whatever The Hell That Means — Resignation Of A Board Member Who Did Not Want “to be villainized by the community [he] was hoping to help” — Other Essential Information — Including A Potential Brown Act Violation In February 2019 — Read All A-Freaking-Bout It!

Here’s more on the anti-colocation battle being fought by a brave and devoted band of teachers and parents at Catskill Elementary School in the City of Carson against impending plans to install upstart charter school GANAS Academy on their campus. I have been investigating this story using requests made to GANAS via the California Public Records Act.1 And just recently these GANASsholes handed over a trove and a half of goodies. You can read about the video over here, and today we’re talking about the emails, which, as always, are where the serious action is. Browse them yourself, of course, or download the whole damn stack of them, right here on Archive.Org.2

And today I’m just going to run through a few highlights with transcriptions and a little light commentary. They paint a revealing picture of the effect that the anti-co-location protests have been having on GANAS, with at least one board member having resigned when he became aware of the intensity of the animosity towards his charter school. They also show the growing anxiety, shading into abject paranoia, of galaxy-brained GANAS founder and head of school3 Sakshi Jain as it became increasingly clear to her that she was in for a long and bitter struggle, and that there wasn’t really much help forthcoming from either LAUSD or the California Charter School Association.
Continue reading GANAS Academy Founder Sakshi Jain Emails Now Available — Showing A Pattern Of Increasing Anxiety And Paranoia About Anti-Co-Location Activists — Appeals To LAUSD To Punish Catskill Elementary Employees Who Seemed To Oppose Co-Location — Discussions With The California Charter School Association On Media Strategy — Wild Accusations Of “borderline libelous and slanderous accusations – not just about the Founder, but about the school as well” — Whatever The Hell That Means — Resignation Of A Board Member Who Did Not Want “to be villainized by the community [he] was hoping to help” — Other Essential Information — Including A Potential Brown Act Violation In February 2019 — Read All A-Freaking-Bout It!

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More Records From The New Los Angeles Charter School Co-Location Battle! — Including A Copy Of The West Adams Neighborhood Council Anti-Charter Resolution Marked Up And Annotated By NLA Executive Staff! — This Is A Real Glimpse At The Usually-Hidden Thought Processes Of Some Privatizers — And An Example Of The Power Of The California Public Records Act

New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School was forcibly co-located on the campus of the public Baldwin Hills Elementary School leading to a great deal of tension which came to a head during the UTLA strike in January and NLA boss Brooke Rios said that her school would try to find somewhere else to have their school but then they couldn’t find another place so parents from the public school proposed an anti-charter-school resolution to the West Adams Neighborhood Council which approved it by a vote of 8 to 3 and you can read a copy of the resolution here and watch some video of the whole damn meeting, or at least the part where they’re discussing the charter school stuff.1

And at that meeting NLA Elementary School principal Kate O’Brien passed out a document, and you can get a copy of the document here. But that document, NLA’s response to the motion opposing their co-location, didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. They read the proposed motion before the meeting, read it carefully, marked it up with a highlighter, and drafted detailed responses to the various points made against them.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact I find it commendable in a way that very little habitual privatizer behavior is to me. By engaging is really detailed preparation the NLA folks showed that they were taking the process seriously, as a threat to them. Which is was. And is. But regardless of that, not only is the fact that NLA prepared so carefully interesting, but the nature of the preparations is really interesting.

And this is where the Public Records Act comes in. After the meeting, when it became clear that NLA had prepared so carefully, I asked them for copies of their notes and prep documents. And yesterday they gave them to me2 and today I am giving them to you! This is a really important piece of history.

Copy of the WANC resolution highlighted by NLA — This is NLA’s advance copy of the resolution presented to the West Adams Neighborhood Council, liberally highlighted and with handwritten numbered references to comments.

NLA annotations for WANC resolution — These are the actual comments referred to in the previous document.

And turn the page for images of all this stuff!
Continue reading More Records From The New Los Angeles Charter School Co-Location Battle! — Including A Copy Of The West Adams Neighborhood Council Anti-Charter Resolution Marked Up And Annotated By NLA Executive Staff! — This Is A Real Glimpse At The Usually-Hidden Thought Processes Of Some Privatizers — And An Example Of The Power Of The California Public Records Act

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March 27, 2019 — Sakshi Jain — Privatizer And Founder Of Charter School Ganas Academy — Famously Seeking To Co-Locate At Catskill Elementary School In Carson — Was Trying To Hold A Meeting At A Denny’s — But Protesters Were There Too — And Not Only Does Sakshi Jain Hate Public Schools — She Also Hates Democracy — So She Called 911 To Complain That They Were Being Really Really Really Mean To Her — And The Dispatcher Was All Like — Ma’am — It Is Not Illegal For People To Be Mean To You — And Sakshi Jain Was All But This Is A Private Event — At A Private Denny’s!

I don’t know if you’ve been following the thrilling tale of privateering charter school Ganas Academy, its astoundingly unsympathetic founder Sakshi Jain, its misbegotten plans to co-locate at the well-loved Catskill Elementary School in Carson, and the refreshingly vigorous battle being waged by a brave and devoted band of parents and teachers pushing back against the privatizers. But if so, well, today I have an interesting bit of information on one episode in the struggle.

It seems that on March 27, 2019, Sakshi Jain and her co-locationist co-conspirators were holding a meeting of some kind at a Denny’s in Carson. And the Catskill supporters showed up to protest. And because she hates the public realm Sakshi Jain didn’t appreciate this. She didn’t like it one bit. And so, in the grand tradition of life-denying totalitarians everywhere, she called 911 on the protesters.

And today I am pleased to present to you a copy of that 911 call! You can listen to it here on YouTube, and download it here on Archive.Org in whatever format suits your needs.1 And it’s really heartening, actually. Jain tells the dispatcher that there are protesters at this Denny’s and the dispatcher keeps telling her that protesting isn’t illegal and they won’t be able to do anything.

Jain can hardly believe her ears. She keeps saying that it’s a private event! In a private Denny’s!2 That she paid for! None of this is surprising coming from a woman who hates the public realm so much that she wants to make a living by privatizing public schools, but it’s a little shocking to hear it said out loud.

And I also have a copy of what the responding deputies sent to dispatch when they closed out the call, which was that they didn’t do anything because the protesters weren’t breaking the law. If you don’t feel like playing the audio there’s a transcription right after the break!


Dispatcher: Hi, this is Sheriff’s
[unintelligible], how can I help you?

Sakshi Jain: Hi, I’m at a Denny’s in Carson and we’re having a private event that is being bombarded by protesters who are harassing us and making videos.

Dispatcher: OK, I’ll send deputies out there but you know protesting is not illegal. But I will…

Sakshi Jain: [interrupting] We understand but we’re at a private event so they’re trying to crash it.

Dispatcher: I’ll send someone out there but like I said I don’t think we’ll be able to make them leave but I’ll send someone out there to talk to you guys, OK?

Sakshi Jain: OK. They’re inside too, so that’s why… They’re inside a private Denny’s and like our guests can’t come in now.

Dispatcher: OK. And do you own Denny’s? Are you working there? Or are you just there having the event?

Sakshi Jain: No, no, no. I’m paying for an event.

Dispatcher: OK. What’s the address there?

Sakshi Jain: Alright, excuse me? The address? Yeah, hold on one second.

Dispatcher: And what’s your name while you’re getting it?

Sakshi Jain: My name is ■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■ and one second. It’s in the Carson Plaza Drive.

Dispatcher: And what’s your phone number?

Sakshi Jain: ■■■■■■■■■

Dispatcher: OK, I’ll send someone out there to talk to you guys.

Sakshi Jain: Thank you.


Image of Sakshi Jain on her bullshit is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and she looks even crazier in the damn original!

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New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School To Continue To Co-Locate At Baldwin Hills Elementary School For The 2019-2020 School Year Even Though Everyone Is Unhappy About It — LAUSD Gave NLA No Other Choice According To Executive Director Brooke Rios — But In Order To Assuage Tension New LA Will Not Use Any Additional Classroom Space — Will Be Forced To Increase Class Size To Accomplish This — Desperate Search For New Site Continues With Formation Of Board Committee

You may recall that the recent UTLA strike inspired me to spend a little time using the public records act to look into the state of charter schools in Los Angeles, and one of the ones I’m looking into a little is New Los Angeles Charter Schools. After a little of the usual nonsense I was able to obtain a bunch of emails relating to the strike.

The story behind the story, well-told in LA Taco by Daniel Hernandez, is that the public Baldwin Hills Elementary School is forced by state law to cede part of its campus to New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School, a process called co-location. It’s never been a comfortable arrangement but the strike brought everything to the surface, and the emails revealed that New Los Angeles executive director Brooke Rios didn’t think it was possible to continue co-locating there given that everyone hated them:

It is clear that the strike gave voice to the mounting tension between Baldwin Hills and New LA. To be frank—we are not welcomed there. Our Prop 39 offer will be issued on February 1, and it is likely that we will be offered one more classroom at Baldwin for 18-19. It is difficult to imagine another year on that campus after this week, and I am eager to consider other solutions.

Proposition 39 created this co-location system, and the Prop 39 offer that Rios talks about there is a formal offer from LAUSD allocating public school space to a charter school. And given that the offer would issue on February 1, I made plans to attend the next meeting of the board of directors to see what was going to happen. And if I’m going to attend, I’m going to film, of course.

So last night they held the meeting out at their secret headquarters on Washington Blvd. just east of Hauser. I rode the bus all the way out there and taped the whole damn thing. So behold! Eighty four minutes of mind-numbing mumbling with a few really interesting things interspersed. Watch it at your peril, but also take a look here where Brooke Rios discusses the Prop 39 offer. To everyone’s dismay New Los Angeles was offered space at Baldwin Hills Elementary School and given no choice at all in the matter.

And Rios announces that New Los Angeles will seek not to exacerbate the tension any further by not taking up any more classroom space than they have been taking. So they’re not leaving, but they’re not expanding into more classrooms. This is going to require a significant increase in class size, which Rios and some board members anticipate will make parents pretty unhappy and might even induce some of them to move their kids to another school. How does Rios propose to deal with this desperate situation? Like any good bureaucrat, she’s forming a committee of the board! The committee will be looking for affordable privately-owned space that doesn’t involve co-location, which has turned out to be unreliable.

It was interesting but not surprising that throughout the discussion at the board meeting, no one on the primarily white board of directors or staff even mentioned the racial aspects of the situation, well explained by Hernandez, which is that the charter school is taking up space that could be used to serve the primarily African-American student body at Baldwin Hills.

It’s heartening to see that protests, shunning, and similar social action1 can actually lead to charters leaving co-located schools, or at least really trying their best to leave! There really aren’t other tools available to the parents of public school children to rid their campuses of privatizers, forced on them by state law. Nothing got settled at last night’s meeting, but I will continue to follow the story. Turn the page for a transcription of some of the discussion.
Continue reading New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School To Continue To Co-Locate At Baldwin Hills Elementary School For The 2019-2020 School Year Even Though Everyone Is Unhappy About It — LAUSD Gave NLA No Other Choice According To Executive Director Brooke Rios — But In Order To Assuage Tension New LA Will Not Use Any Additional Classroom Space — Will Be Forced To Increase Class Size To Accomplish This — Desperate Search For New Site Continues With Formation Of Board Committee

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Emails From New Los Angeles Charter Schools About The UTLA Strike Shine Some Light On Various Interesting Matters — Uncomfortable New LA Charter Co-Location At Baldwin Hills Elementary School Will Probably End Soon Due To Tensions Exposed By Pickets — “We Are Not Welcomed There” Says New LA Charter Boss Brooke Rios — Speaking Of Pickets, New LA Charter Staff Filmed UTLA Strikers At Baldwin Hills Elementary — And Copies Of CCSA Anti-Union Propaganda And Some Info About Astroturf Demonstration — And A Poignant Little Episode — New LA Charter Teachers Quasi-Union Asks Rios If They Might Please Also Maybe Get A Raise Too If UTLA Does — Pretty Please?

I hadn’t thought much about charter schools in Los Angeles for quite a while, but as happened for many people the dazzling success of the UTLA strike brought them back into my attention. Combine that with the fact that they are subject to the California Public Records Act and the next step was inevitable! And the first of the many many requests I have out came in recently! Part of which I wrote about the other day!

After a little of the usual back and forth about what’s required by the law, New Los Angeles Charter Schools head honcho Brooke Rios actually did hand over the goods. And thus did I drag myself all the way out to the corner of Washington and Burnside, where they have their secret headquarters, and sit in the office of operations director Xochitl Lira and scan a ton of paper! And it’s all available on Archive.Org!1

I chose New LA because of this fine LA Taco article by Daniel Hernandez about the tensions created by that school’s so-called co-location on the campus of Baldwin Hills Elementary School. To summarize Hernandez’s piece is to degrade it, so read it, but co-location, in which LAUSD schools are forced by the 2000 Proposition 39 to yield space to charter schools if it’s not actually being used to house an actual class, is the main site of contention.2

It has really hurt the LAUSD schools who lose space to charters. And the space lost to New Los Angeles Charter was a big issue with UTLA picketers at Baldwin Hills Elementary, who shouted slogans like “Privatization leads to segregation” and “Privatizers take a hike!” And, according to some of the emails I obtained today, it looks like the pickets were successful in that New Los Angeles will be looking for a new space for next year.

The emails also demonstrate the tension there during the strike, with police being called, with New LA staff filming the picketers, and so on. There are links and transcriptions below the break. Also below the break are links to a wide variety of fascinating emails about other strike-related topics. There are propaganda pieces from the California Charter Schools Association, giving talking points, tips for handling worried parents, polemics on how bad it is that everyone hates charter schools, and so on.

There are rumors about charter school kids being targeted on public transportation and so on, leading New LA to suspend its dress code during the strike, there are organizational communications having to do with the astroturf pro-charter rally that the CCSA organized outside the LAUSD board meeting where a recommendation for a charter cap was voted on.

And, most poignant of all, there’s a pleading letter from something called “The Teacher Collective” asking Brooke Rios in a markedly subservient tone if New Los Angeles teachers will also get a raise if the UTLA teachers win one in their strike. Sounds like some folks are ripe to be organized! Turn the page for links to everything and transcriptions of some things!
Continue reading Emails From New Los Angeles Charter Schools About The UTLA Strike Shine Some Light On Various Interesting Matters — Uncomfortable New LA Charter Co-Location At Baldwin Hills Elementary School Will Probably End Soon Due To Tensions Exposed By Pickets — “We Are Not Welcomed There” Says New LA Charter Boss Brooke Rios — Speaking Of Pickets, New LA Charter Staff Filmed UTLA Strikers At Baldwin Hills Elementary — And Copies Of CCSA Anti-Union Propaganda And Some Info About Astroturf Demonstration — And A Poignant Little Episode — New LA Charter Teachers Quasi-Union Asks Rios If They Might Please Also Maybe Get A Raise Too If UTLA Does — Pretty Please?

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