The curious case of an outstanding school superintendent and a school district’s dysfunctional board of trustees


03-husdmeetingpublic-530In the city of Hayward, California, there was a school superintendent that the community’s civic and business leaders – as well as parents and school teachers and administrators – admired and respected for his work in ameliorating the quality of instruction and the academic achievements of the students.

And in the same city of Hayward, California, there is a school district board of trustees that people say couldn’t resist meddling with the school superintendent’s work and placing roadblocks along his way. The school board’s meetings have been characterized as disorganized and contentious, thus the label “dysfunctional.”

The school superintendent in this story is Stan ‘Data’ Dobbs – the fourth school superintendent that the Hayward Unified School District’s (HUSD) board of trustees has hired and fired since 2010, a span of a little over five years. Four school superintendents in five years must be a record of some sort.

Dobbs was terminated by the HUSD board of trustees during its raucous meeting held Wednesday night, September 14. The action took place in spite of a unanimous outcry and demand for his retention by Hayward parents, teachers, school administrators, and civic and business leaders. The board’s action was condemned as being in utter disregard of the people’s wishes.

Dobbs was first placed on paid administrative leave by the board last June 29. Hayward’s community rallied behind Dobbs, gathering hundreds of signatures for a petition to drop all trumped-up charges and lift the suspension. The petitioners claimed that the accusations against Dobbs were whimsical.

02-lisabrunner-250x250On July 23, Dobbs filed a claim against the school district, alleging that the school board and its president, Lisa Brunner, violated his “statutory rights to privacy” and made “defamatory statements” against him during the board’s July 13 meeting where Dobbs was publicly accused of entering into contracts without the board’s approval and of “receiving gifts.” The claim seeks unspecified damages. If the claim is denied, Dobbs is expected to sue the school district.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Hayward have organized CLASS (Civic Leaders Advocating Student Success) and CLASS action is taking place in the city of Hayward. CLASS is a political action committee (PAC) that is campaigning to elect three new board members on November 8. If the CLASS action succeeds, the three new board members will constitute a majority on the 5-member school board – and the city of Hayward can get back on the road to providing the best in education to its students.04-husd-boardmeeting-530

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Why Donald J. Trump has not the shadow of a slim chance to get elected president of the United States


Donald J. Trump - Untrustworthy, DangerousThere are only two ways that Donald J. Trump – the most unqualified person to have been nominated by a major political party for the presidency of the United States – will win the election in November:

1. There is rampant cheating in favor of Mr. Trump where women, young Americans, members of the minority, and newly enfranchised immigrant voters are – one way of another – deprived of their right to vote.

2. The entire United States west coast gets torn off the continent and sunk into the Pacific Ocean in a major, major earthquake, leaving the contest to mostly so-called “Red” states.

The good news is that the odds of any of these two scenarios taking place are one in 36 billion!

The reasons Donald J. Trump will not win in November are that he simply (1) cannot win and (2) the American people are overwhelmingly convinced that he must not win!

At this time – 48 days to election – the American people are on to Donald J. Trump and his silly tactics. The American people are wise to the fact that Donald J. Trump is simply the most unqualified person to ever run for the presidency.

The American people are on to Donald J. Trump’s desperation to become president. A need so necessary for him to protect his endangered business empire, a conglomerate so over-stretched, mismanaged, and threatened by an unfavorable IRS audit in addition to the loss of massive business revenues due to his unfair characterization of immigrants and members of a religious group. A need so necessary to protect him from numerous, numerous law suits, almost all of which he is assured of losing.

The American people have become aware that Donald J. Trump does not have the education, the experience, and the temperament to be president of any country, much less of the United States.

The American people are on to the fact that thin-skinned Donald J. Trump is a demagogue, a pathological liar, a fascist, a stupid and uncouth sycophant, a violent racist, a misogynist, and a xenophobe.

The American people are aware of the fact that Donald J. Trump is UNTRUSTWORTHY and possessed with DANGEROUS ideas – enough so that they know he cannot be trusted with the most powerful office on the face of the earth!

The American people have a future ahead of them!

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte needs to improve his manners, and put an end to extrajudicial killings


VictimsOfExtrajudicialKillings-530The great majority of Filipinos continue to admire and show support for President Rodrigo Duterte in spite of the rising voice of discontent and dissatisfaction among the nation’s intelligentsia. The discontent and dissatisfaction are brought about by three – among many – of the president’s widely publicized recent bloopers.

  1. He ogled his lady vice president’s legs and naughtily bragged about it.

Duterte&Robredo-320In televised remarks to army troops in Zamboanga del Sur on August 10 this year, the president related an incident in which his eyes caught the legs of his vice president, Leni Robredo. Duterte said that he admonished himself “. . . don’t do it!” and added “but I kept staring at her . . . she is beautiful.” The president told his audience, somewhat lewdly, that if he became “unlucky” while travelling and his vice president succeeded him to the presidency, “you would not be listening to her when she speaks but would just keep staring at her because she’s beautiful.”

How much lower and depraved could one get – one who is looked upon to set the proper moral compass for his people? Behavior and speech of the sort demeans the office of the president.

2. He maligned and disparaged United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.

GoldbergCourtesyCallOnDuterte-320Last August 5, while talking of the recent visit of U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Philippines and about U. S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, Duterte told an audience of soldiers in Cebu City: “Secretary Kerry is okay, but his ambassador – that homosexual son of a whore – he gets my goat.”

While a majority of the Filipino masses cheer Duterte for his boldness, his remarks have nevertheless been rightfully condemned by political and social leaders as despicable.

3. He authorized and continues to encourage the extrajudicial killing of the country’s drug pushers and drug lords.

DuterteThePunisher-320Duterte has publicly announced the names or identities of what he said were drug pushers and drug lords with the admonition that police and other authorities were free to “kill” those of them that do not “voluntarily surrender.” In less than two months – as of August 9 this year – 513 drug “suspects” have been reported killed by Philippine National Police “for resisting arrest.” Human rights organizations have placed that number at more than 900, with some of the killings described as “execution style.”

Duterte’s actions have been condemned by many of the country’s lawmakers and justices as a violation of due process, the rule of law, and respect for and protection of universal human rights. In return, Duterte has threatened to declare Martial Law in the country if he did not have his way.

President Rodrigo Duterte must mend his ways – and mend them soon – if he wants the Philippines to remain a respectable member of the community of nations, and if he wants his people to learn how to be civil and maintain respect for the law.

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Why Donald Trump desperately wants to be pals with Vladimir Putin – or why he imagines he already is the Russian president’s ‘friend’


TrumpPutinMeeting-2013-goldenharied-530Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is desperately trying to make friends with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Matter of fact, he gives the impression he and Putin are indeed friends. The question – or, rather, the problem – is why? At one point in the US presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump said “Wouldn’t it be great if Russia and the US got along together – wouldn’t that be great?” to the roaring approval of his followers.

During a recent TV interview, Trump appeared to contradict himself when he said of Putin: “I know him – he’s a nice guy.” which he later followed with the statement “Never met him. But we could really get along well. We could.”

Russia’s official press relations officer has stated over and over that “Putin and Trump have never met or spoken.” When prodded, the spokesman added “Not even by telephone.”

Donald J. Trump tried to get the attention of – and wiggle out a friendship with – the Russian leader with a tweet shortly before a Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow in November 2013:

TrumpTwitterImage-52x52Donald J. Trump 
✔@realDonaldTrump
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?

There was no response to this tweet – with or without love – from Russia or from Putin. But that didn’t stop The Donald. In a side trip to Scotland this year to inaugurate a new golf course, Trump said he’d “get along very well” with Vladimir Putin. Why he even said that is a mystery.

It also appears that Donald J. Trump thinks he and Putin have become friends just because they appeared on the same episode of “60 Minutes.” Trump said of the experience: “I think the biggest thing we have is that we were on ’60 Minutes’ together and we had fantastic ratings. . . So that was good, right? So we were stable mates.”

Why is Donald J. Trump so desperate to be friends with the Russian dictator?

Got a hunch?

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Why thin-skinned Donald Trump ‘felt hurt’ when ‘nothing nice’ was said about him at the DNC convention – or why he deserves what was said of him


EgomaniacCondemnsLackOfRecognition-530Donald John Trump is well-known for bad-mouthing, insulting, branding, and even threatening his fellow candidates during the primaries as he does now in the course of the presidential campaign. During the primaries, Trump consistently called Ted Cruz “Lying Ted” and referred to Cruz’s wife with uncivility and to Cruz’s father as the likely “assassin of President John Kennedy.” And he branded Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary.”

Now, in his response to the Democratic Party convention speeches – specifically Hillary Clinton’s acceptance message – Donald J. Trump angrily complains that “not one good word was said about me” by anyone throughout the four days of the event. A fellow at a bar who was watching Trump voice his protestation on TV yelled: “Cry some more, Cheating Dumb Trump! People are on to you, you charlatan!”

InfamousTrumpQuotes-325And because of what they said about him, Donald John Trump threatened to “hit” a couple of the Democratic Party convention speakers “so hard” their “heads would spin.” As if Donald John Trump was the only person entitled to say nothing good and everything bad about someone else – or as if he deserved any praise at all.

Donald John Trump is the last person on earth who warrants being complimented, mostly because there is nothing good that can be said of him. The handful of people who have a fine word for Donald John Trump are those who benefit from saying it – members of his family, business associates (until they get to know better), and the misinformed folk who are misled into voting for him.

Donald John Trump’s arrogant, egotistic, and self-centered behavior has resulted in his being abandoned by the Republican Party leadership and major party donors and supporters. It means a lot when the likes of former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, former GOP presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney, and party leaders Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio, among others, boycott the party convention and refuse to endorse Trump’s candidacy.

We hope that Donald John Trump embraces this assessment of him and his character and not go ape over it.

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The 2016 U. S. presidential race: how Trump and Clinton compare – their strengths, their weaknesses, and their odds of winning


TheTickets-ClintonKaineVsTrumpPence-532The 2016 presidential primaries are history, and the 2016 Republican and Democratic conventions are over. These events have given the American people an insight into the two parties and their candidates. On November 8, Americans will decide who will lead their country for the next four years: Donald John Trump or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The differences between the two candidates and their party and personal platforms and agendas – just like their personalities – are like the difference between night and day.

This much we know about the two parties and their candidates:

TheFight-VeryUGLY-300(1) Republicans are in utter disunity, Democrats are united. Ted Cruz refused to endorse Trump, while party leaders George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, among others, indicated their disdain for Trump and boycotted the party convention. Democrats were united and unanimous in proclaiming Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate.

(2) The Republican Party convention was mismanaged, the Democratic Party convention was a huge success. The Republican convention featured a plagiarized speech, many miscues, and a lineup of second-rate speakers. The Democratic convention was entertaining, informative, well-organized, on cue, and featured big-name and compelling speakers.

(3) Republicans are pessimistic about their country, Democrats believe America is the greatest nation on earth. Republican convention speakers pictured America as a “dark” and “morbid” place and the rest of the world as “falling apart.” Democrats drew an optimistic picture of the world and of America as the greatest nation on earth.

AmericasChoices-320While Donald Trump pictures America as a “broken” country and proclaimed that he “alone can fix it,” Hillary Clinton speaks about work “we are all engaged in” to keep America a great nation and which aims to “make our country even greater.” And while Donald Trump pitches a message of hatred and division, Hillary Clinton talks of her struggle for national unity and dialogue.

Never in the history of the United States has a woman been nominated and offered a chance to lead the country – and never before have Americans had the chance to elect a leader who has eerily striking similarities to Adolph Hitler!

Trump incites violence, is racist, misogynous, xenophobic, and a pathological liar. Trump is absolutely ignorant with regard to issues of world economy, diplomacy, and military strengths and weaknesses, while an expert in bilking people, including students of his so-called Trump University.

Hillary Clinton has spent her entire adult life serving the people – the underprivileged, women and children, and minorities. She is credited with representing the interests of the United States and building good, sound relationship with peoples and nations around the world.

If Americans vote the way they have in the past 238 years – and there is absolutely no reason they will not – we can safely predict that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected the 45th president of the United States this November.

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Donald Trump accepts GOP nomination while making the angriest, most negative, and most incoherent speech ever


Trump-Mad&Incoherent-530Donald J. Trump walked up to the podium without a single wave to the crowd and without acknowledging anyone in the audience. After accepting the nomination, he started his speech with the promise: “I alone can fix it!” apparently referring to the nation’s problems.

Smug as usual – and while making funny faces of all kinds – Donald J. Trump angrily made promises to restore national security, enforce peace and order, build the economy, improve trade, revitalize the energy industry, and change foreign policy – all so incoherently and without saying how he would accomplish any of it.

Among the other vague promises he made:

  1. “I will build a country of law and order.”SmugDonaldTrump-350
  2. “I will go to work and go to work for you – the people – and build a country that will be the greatest in the world.”
  3. “I will immediately stop all immigration into this country.”
  4. “I will build a wall across our border with Mexico.”
  5. “I will abrogate the NAFTA trade agreement.”
  6. “I will change our relationship with NATO.”

He also promised “protection for LGBTQ rights”, and said “the NRA will be proud of me”, etc., etc., etc.

At no point did he say how or in what way he will accomplish any of his promises. Matter of fact, Donald Trump promised all of his plans will “immediately take place or take effect on January 20, 2017 – right after I am sworn into office.”

A highlight of his speech is the absence of a mention of God or religion or faith (all of which are incumbent Republican Party staples). At the end of his speech, he simply said “Thank you” and did not utter the usual “God bless you – and God bless the United States of America.”

The Republican Party convention got from Donald Trump nothing more than his egotism and a long list of empty promises.

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The 2016 Republican Convention opening day: a sea of white faces and a dozen poorly mendacious speakers


04-WhiteFaces-GOPconventionDay one of the 4-day 2016 Republican National Convention closed out in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, July 18 with a wholly white audience consisting of Republican Party delegates and campaign workers listening to a long list of third-rate speakers led by discredited former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. It would have been a historic flop were it not for Melania Trump’s speech (apparently with a lot of plagiarized parts from Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008) that emotionally plead for people to vote for her husband.

Not one nationally-known Republican leader showed up. Notably missing (they had earlier announced a boycott of the convention) were the true Republican Party leaders – former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, former presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, and recent presidential primary candidates John Kasich (governor of convention host state), and senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Not even Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan cared to show up!

Meanwhile, outside the convention building were large protest groups that had an even larger audience listening to their chants.

Let’s see what takes place the next three days.

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Cronyism and the ‘padrino’ system: what they do to the Philippine’s political and business culture, and how to get rid of them


NoToCronyCapitalism-600Cronyism and the ubiquitous padrino (patronage) system describe an economy in which certain business people and government officials maintain a close relationship, resulting in favoritism in the allocation of government contracts, permits, grants, benefits, etc. In its more despicable form, cronyism makes use of illegal and corrupt practices, causing people to lose respect for, and develop a mistrust of, both business and government.

While cronyism is an important factor in the growth of capitalism and the economies of countries, it results in discrimination against honest, legitimate business.

The Philippines ranks among the top ten countries in which cronyism is rampant. And the connection between cronyism and pervasive graft and corruption in the Philippines is all too obvious and well-known.

Bribery&Accomodation-400Every area of business in the Philippine economy is fueled by cronyism, including retail, manufacturing, banking, transportation, energy and natural resources, real estate and construction, and communications – and all branches and agencies of the government are affected.

Cronyism owes its spread in the Philippines to the proliferation of political dynasties, the culture of patronage, and the fact that Filipinos value social and institutional bonds, sometimes over blood relationship. Almost every adult Filipino has a kumpadre or two, and the bonds created by each relationship extend across entire families. Strong ties also grow through college organizations and the fact that people were schoolmates, or are members of the same service club.

Newly installed President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to eliminate all forms of graft and corruption in government and business – and between business and government. Mr. Duterte can succeed by adopting the following measures to curb cronyism:

  1. Bring the salaries of all civil servants – including and especially law enforcers – at all levels of government to living wage standards. This will reduce the temptation to accept bribes or privilege.
  2. Guarantee transparency in government conduct by using smart technologies in government processes, activities, and procedures.
  3. Enforce transparency in all government transactions. This will assure openness and minimize misconduct.
  4. Streamline procedures and processes to eradicate red tape. Red tape induces bribery.

With a civil service that is above-board and transparency in government conduct, cronyism – and the padrino system – will fade away.

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Why Filipinos would rather live in sin than seek to legally dissolve a nonworking marriage, or why the Philippines desperately needs a divorce law


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Rep. Lagman’s HB 116 promises relief from “long-dead marriages” to multitudes of “hapless women”

The Philippines is the only country in the world – outside of the Vatican, which has only about 30 women citizen/residents – that does not allow divorce. Many married Filipinos live in sin and illicitly when they separate and one or both ‘remarries’ outside the law. Only Filipinos who are Muslim can legally divorce under Philippine law.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines has used all its power and influence to prevent the passage of a divorce law in the country. When the Philippines gained independence in 1945, the church made sure divorce was no longer allowed under Philippine law.

UntilWeGetDivorced-300Filipinos whose marriages are utter failures can seek recourse through a marriage annulment, a decree obtainable from the church or a civil court under very limited and highly improbable or difficult-to-prove grounds. The process for a legal annulment is long and tortuous, and a great majority of Filipinos could not afford the time or the cost of a church-sanctioned or civil court-promulgated marriage annulment.

The other alternative for Filipinos is “legal separation.” Legal separation is easy to obtain but does not dissolve a marriage – it simply allows the spouses to live separate from each other while maintaining the conjugal partnership.

Several attempts have been made in the past to enact a divorce law in the Philippines. All such attempts were defeated either by failure to pass Congress or by a veto of the president.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines has so far succeeded in making sure that the Filipino people – those who are not Muslim – are bound to a life of misery, sin, and illegal relationships, simply because they failed in their attempt at building a family. The Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines can take pride in helping to create a population of illegitimate children, adulterers, concubines, and all forms of broken homes.

Divorce-WeAreDone-350But relief is in sight. Representative Edsel Lagman of Albay province has filed a bill – House Bill 116 – that seeks to allow absolute divorce in the country. The congressman says the bill would provide “a merciful liberation of the hapless wife from a long-dead marriage.” Rep. Lagman was the principal author of the country’s newly-enacted Reproductive Health Law which the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines opposed with all its might.

The grounds for absolute divorce, under Lagman’s bill, in addition to those allowed for legal annulment, are: (1) when either of the spouses secures a valid foreign divorce; (2) gender-reassignment surgery; and, (3) when “irreconcilable differences or conflicts exist between the married couple, which are beyond redemption despite earnest and repeated efforts at reconciliation.”

If reason prevails in the Philippines – and there is no reason for it not to – the bill will pass both houses. The legislation will most likely be quickly signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law – and the Philippines can leave that distinction of being a “marry-and-suffer-the-rest-of-your-life” society to the Vatican, where there are only a handful of married people.

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