Monday, March 25, 2013

Arturo González, BCS Counsel, Intentionally Misquotes Me

On March 21st, 2013, Bullis Charter School held a "meeting" that was open to the public, or apparently so, or confusedly so, or maybe it was "private" (and what would that mean for a school that is nominally "public"?). Suffice it to say that there was some confusion about this. In any case, the primary speaker of the meeting was BCS lead counsel and big shot lawyer Arturo González.

The primary purpose of this meeting seemed to be for BCS to drum up hatred for the LASD community within its own parent ranks.

In this meeting, Arturo used writing of mine to make his case. He quoted an email I sent Doug Smith over a year ago. I had to dig this email up myself, as I didn't even remember it. He did not mention my name, but the quote fragments were unmistakably from my email.

The email in question was, if I do say so myself, a stream-of-conscious one from somebody who had only recently become acquainted with the issue. As it was a personal email between myself and another individual (I knew who Doug was, but I didn't consider my email "official" in any way), I didn't really check the email for... anything. I just wrote what I felt at the time and hit the send button. Months later when I did get around to crafting a complete and positive answer to this crisis my approach was well thought-out and complete.

That notwithstanding, Arturo apparently took "snippets" from this email, pieced them together to make them look like one sentence, and then used that newly formed sentence to lead the audience of unsuspecting BCS parents to two false conclusions:

1. That the contents of his snippets represented my complete opinion, my current opinion, or even my opinion at all.

2. That this fabricated opinion was actually representative of the entire LASD community and not just one person's. (A lie within a lie).

Arturo's (Mis)Quotes of Mine

Now I will use the evidence from the record to show that Mr. González lied to BCS parents and other community members in this "session".

Arturo sets these quotes up by saying, "...to put into context why we're here and why we're in litigation...". It's important to underscore this, since, as what follows is a lie, it would follow that a primary reason why BCS parents were there and the reason for BCS's litigation is a lie. He sets up this quote as a key rationale for BCS's vicious legal attack on our public schools.

Here's the quote from Arturo: 
"...this person writes, 'I do not recognize BCS's moral right to exist I think the charter laws essentially force a vigilante response to charter schools I think advocating the dissolution of BCS is the only response I do not think there is a valid compromise solution.'".
He goes on to say how "stunned" he is, and how I am supposed to get a therapist, etc. and then proceeds to insinuate that many Los Altos community members have this "mentality".

That is what Arturo gives as a primary driver for why BCS should continue its assault on our local public schools, and significantly escalate the war, now extending to individuals including myself and our individual elected officials. 

In other words, the BCS Board and Arturo are justifying their dirty work, publicly at least, on a straw man--a figment of their imagination that they concocted to deceive their own parent community. They are making up an enemy and then fighting it vigorously.

Analysis of Aturo's Misquote

So let's go over Arturo's newly concocted sentence, shall we?

The actual text he was quoting was not one sentence, but rather four sentence fragments rolled together to sound like one run-on sentence. Each of those sentences had a distinct context, and each contained other parts which would change the meaning of the fragment. It makes me wonder why he didn't also piece together, "I hope the Giants lose today" out of the same email using sentence fragments. It would have been just as dishonest.

I will copy the entire email below, but for now I will just go over the four actual sentences above, one by one, and explain what I meant by them. I'll leave it to the reader to try to untangle Arturo's handiwork by finding the fragment in each actual sentence sorry that's just too hard--I highlighted Arturo's quoted fragments.

First, there's this one:
"3. I particularly don't think that Charter Schools belong here in Los Altos. 
4. I do not recognize BCS's moral right to exist (which is different than saying legal right, in this context)."
I don't think the Charter school laws were meant for high-performing districts like Los Altos, and so do many people, including many charter school advocates. They, like myself, would not think that BCS should exist. However, the part Arturo leaves out, in order to inflame his audience, is that I absolutely did not question BCS's legal right to exist". Arturo committed a lie of omission here.

Next, there's this one:
"7. I think that the Charter laws put Districts like our in an impossible position of both needing to "compete" against Charters "like a business" but then legally forbid them to compete. BCS is run like a killer tech company bent on wiping out its competitors (i.e. public schools)--and the District can do no such thing in response.  
8. In light of this, I think the Charter laws essentially force a "vigilante" response to Charter schools."
This one doesn't need much explanation. Note how Arturo not only used a sentence fragment to misquote me here, he left off what is a crucial bit of punctuation--the quotes around the word, "vigilante". The idea here is to insinuate to BCS parents that I am calling for armed conflict, etc. This insinuation is, of course, libelous. 

Finally, the last two sentence fragments are found in these paragraphs:
16. Tactically, I think advocating the dissolution of BCS is the only response that is consistent with reality. Insofar as you allow them a "right to exist" you allow them a "right to take over any public school they want", in my opinion, which of course is different than yours and the rest of the [LASD] Board's. 
17. I do NOT think that there is a valid "compromise solution" here that will make everybody happy, and that when BCS is not "happy" they will just continue to sue (and they have nothing to lose by doing so). As such, every "compromise" made with them will simply have a ratchet effect.
The first point is as close to a valid fragment as Arturo gets: I did say, and mean, that I advocated the dissolution of BCS. That has to be, however, read in the context of the quote before it, wherein I made it clear I didn't question BCS's legal right to exist. In this context I expressed only that I wished BCS would go away, and wished that people would stop supporting the school by applying and enrolling in the school. This was more than a bit muddled, yes, and I wrote a complete answer on that point two months later, and haven't changed my essential stance since.

The next and final sentence fragment Arturo pieces together, on the other hand, is blatant lying on Aturo's part. Taking the first few words of that sentence and conveying to others that I "said that" is a bald-faced lie.

Alas, Aturo is a very experienced litigator. He didn't use my name (my pseudonym) in this BCS parent anger-enhancement session. Therefore I can't sue him for libel. Clever.

Full Email Here

Here's the full text of my email to Doug Smith. 

Doug, as I am a private citizen--and insofar as you are not--I am not "on your side" per se.

I do not speak for the Board or any other official entity. Please feel free to officially repudiate anything and everything I say in any public forum in order to make that clear. (I have said this many times myself as well).

What your are in effect saying is that anybody who speaks out against BCS is assumed to be speaking for the District, which in turn is in a legal position that precludes it from having a public opinion on BCS, Charter Schools, Charter laws, etc. etc. I understand that it's the Board's duty is to faithfully uphold the law as it's written. However a private citizen's duty is to question those laws and engage in eternal diligence. 

You are, oddly, implying that the Board's "side" is my "side" but we should just not admit that in public--and I do not think that's necessarily true, and I don't think you'd want to imply such a thing.

As for my own personal "side", please understand:

1. I don't speak for the Board and I won't be forced to act as if I do.

2. Like most of the founders of the Charter movement, I do not agree with the entire concept of Charter Schools any more. I do not expect this "fad" to last much longer than few more years.

3. I particularly don't think that Charter Schools belong here in Los Altos.

4. I do not recognize BCS's moral right to exist (which is different than saying legal right, in this context).

5. I think what the Moore family et. al. has done to our community is a travesty (although I'd never publicly mentioned their names as this is, for the moment, nothing personal).

6. I think the BCS continually spreads lies to get their way, and that the District is not legally able to refute these lies effectively.

7. I think that the Charter laws put Districts like our in an impossible position of both needing to "compete" against Charters "like a business" but then legally forbid them to compete. BCS is run like a killer tech company bent on wiping out its competitors (i.e. public schools)--and the District can do no such thing in response. 

8. In light of this, I think the Charter laws essentially force a "vigilante" response to Charter schools.

9. I absolutely do NOT agree with the philosophical stance of appeasement. Failing to engage an enemy because you think that "will just make them mad" always leads to defeat. Always. 

10. Related, I do think our community should "compromise" with BCS in any way, and ANYTHING they do to detract from our amazing public schools here is offensive.

11. Related, I think many people who are against the Charter forget that Charter people are a tiny minority, politically. They forget that Measure E succeeded by a 2/3 majority despite BCS's concerted attempts to kill it. BCS is weak, politically.

12. I think the Moore family has "created a monster" by years of anti-public school indoctrination of parents and BCS leaders. The current "charter movement" aspect mixes in real Republican politics as well, divorcing the issue, in many people's minds, from our children here. What started as an attempt to get a local school going in Hills is now a key battle front against the Democrats. This is light years from where they started. It's now not so much as a school as it is a political statement.

13. I think the current set of "tactics" by private citizens that have been employed against the Charter for the last eight years have not, by any measure, been successful.

14. I think that many people who have "been in the trenches" in this war for many years don't understand the significance of what happened in October when BCS prevailed in their lawsuit against the District. There is a "sleeping giant" effect happening right now in that for many years we parents we able to "sleep" comfortably knowing that the District was prevailing in court. I know I did. Now we are awake.

15. I think that if prospective parents of BCS knew what was going on here, their applications would plummet. I was an applicant of BCS so I have a perspective here. I think private parents fighting BCS "as a business" in marketing against them is a powerful tactic that WILL work.

16. Tactically, I think advocating the dissolution of BCS is the only response that is consistent with reality. Insofar as you allow them a "right to exist" you allow them a "right to take over any public school they want", in my opinion, which of course is different than yours and the rest of the Board's.

17. I do NOT think that there is a valid "compromise solution" here that will make everybody happy, and that when BCS is not "happy" they will just continue to sue (and they have nothing to lose by doing so). As such, every "compromise" made with them will simply have a ratchet effect.

18. In wars between zealots and moderates, zealots always win, all other things being in the ballpark of equal.

19. We've fought this battle the same way for the last eight years and it has gotten us nowhere. It's time to change the tactics.

20. In your role as a District trustee I do NOT expect or even condone your direct support, coordination or cooperation. 

Please continue to do what you legally should be doing, but be aware that some private citizens in our community want to change those laws significantly and wish to fight this battle in ways that you legally cannot but we legally can.

Thank you again.


-- An LASD Parent



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