Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who is exposing the underbellies of school systems, U-T San Diego or Voice of San Diego?

My challenge to Will Carless at VOSD and Jeff McDonald at U-T San Diego: Why don't you find out the truth about what's going on at SDCOE?

Now that Will Carless has replaced Emily Alpert at VOSD, why doesn't he conduct a "Crosier Watch" similar to the "Petty Watch" he conducted in 2008?

Over the past few years, only a few limited stories about the tactics of education attorneys have crept into the press. Reporters have to beg and plead and practically stand on their heads to get their stories published. Voice of San Diego dropped its coverage of SDCOE attorney shenanigans, and laid-off its stellar education reporter Emily Alpert. CEO Scott Lewis claimed that he didn't have enough money to pay her.

But that explanation doesn't hold water.

Voice of San Diego benefactors Buzz Woolley and Irwin Jacobs, who claim to care about education, could have easily paid Emily's salary with their pocket change if they'd wanted her to stay. And I suspect she would have wanted to stay if her job description had been made more appealing, which would have included being allowed to publish her stories freely. At one time she must have hoped that all her work would result in some changes for children in schools.

It seems Buzz Woolley, Irwin Jacobs and Emily Alpert weren't on the same page.

I recently discovered (in a story by Jeff McDonald at the U-T) that SDCOE executive Dan Puplava, whom Emily had started investigating, was fined $7000 and had his brokers license suspended while AIG Financial, which was paying Puplava big bucks for moonlighting with them, was fined $300,000 for not properly overseeing him. Still, Puplava retains his job as head of the SDCOE Fringe Benefits Consortium.

Voice of San Diego never even placed a link in its Morning Report to the U-T San Diego story.

To its credit, VOSD's Will Carless is doing a great job investigating a school bond scam in Poway pulled off by board members and their lawyers.

But if VOSD had been willing to aggressively investigate education attorneys, the Poway Capital Appreciation Bonds scandal might have been prevented. Of course, the downside of that for VOSD would be that it wouldn't have an exciting school bond story to write about.

It seems that journalists are a bit like Plaintiff lawyers: they actually benefit from corruption and wrongdoing because investigation it gets them money and fame.

All along, of course, the school attorneys are making work for themselves by advising school boards to ignore the law.

But the public doesn't hear much about this.

In fact, even private bloggers like me and Scott Dauenhaur get sued by SDCOE lawyer Dan Shinoff for defamation on behalf of himself and his pals at SDCOE. SDCOE should stop tax dollars to stop public discussion of school attorney tactics, but it won't.

Shockingly, it seems that U-T San Diego's Jeff McDonald is more willing to expose SDCOE than Voice of San Diego is. As a member of Voice of San Diego, I never thought I'd be forced to confess that we need the U-T in order to get balanced news reporting in San Diego. I never thought Doug Manchester's rag would sometimes do a better job on education than Buzz Woolley and Irwin Jacobs.

The U-T freely admits that it is using the paper to influence voters and officials. You know you're reading a biased paper when you read the U-T. The Union-Tribune has been killing important stories for years.

The problem with VOSD is that the bias is in the censorship--you don't know which stories they killed because donors didn't like them. Except, of course, in cases where VOSD started a story--and then killed it.

No comments: