Two Elections, One Lawyer Part One: The Charlie Mac Connection

This week in Camden County and across the state of Missouri, municipal elections are taking place to determine the make-up of school boards, fire protection districts and a flurry of bond/levy issues. In Camden County, these election issues are being decided under the long shadow cast by attorney Charles McElyea.

Charlie Mac, at a meeting of the MCFPD earlier this year.  Charlie Mac tried to explain the closure of outlying stations in the district wasn't part of a shakedown attempt after the levy failure in November.

Charlie Mac, at a meeting of the MCFPD earlier this year. Charlie Mac tried to explain the closure of outlying stations in the district wasn’t part of a shakedown attempt after the levy failure in November.

The incestuous influence of Charles McElyea, partner at the law firm of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter and Welch, over Camden County government is undeniable.

McElyea is the attorney for Camden County, as well as the Mid-County fire district and lists the Camdenton school district as a client. He is an incumbent on the Mid-County fire board, former member of the Camdenton school board, former member of the Lake Regional Hospital board and registered agent for Kids Harbor in Camdenton.

Recently, McElyea’s decision to suspend Sunshine Law and issue threats and concerns of lawsuits in order to hide his billing records, has placed him in the spotlight in the Lake of the Ozarks community. McElyea’s legal ‘advice’ as Camden County attorney has also been called into question by Second District Camden County Commissioner Cliff Luber.

In a meeting of the Camden County Commission earlier this month, Kris Franken referenced McElyea’s legal ‘opinion’ in attempting to defend his own disregard for law in an attempt to ram through a unilateral re-write of the ULUC’s Article 800. Nor was this the only questionable opinion offered by McElyea regarding Camden County Planning and Zoning.

He also ‘justified’ tens of thousands of dollars of legal fees, wracked up during the tenure of former P&Z administrator Don Hathaway. McElyea did this by giving his ‘legal opinion’ regarding investigating anonymous complaints. McElyea, in spite of the ULUC’s specific requirement that complaints be both signed and notarized before an investigation began, gave the legal opinion that the ULUC ‘didn’t say you COULDN’T investigate anonymous complaints’. This ‘opinion’, contrary to the letter of the ULUC, cost the taxpayers of Camden County thousands, as attorneys flocked to county coffers, taking their bites one invoice at a time.

This type of legal ‘opinion’ was the subject of the following complaint lodged this morning with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel by Ms. Theresa Townsend. This is the most recent of multiple complaints against the county government:

To Whom It May Concern:

On March 18, 2014, after having set up an appointment the previous week, I went to the Camden County Clerks office to view the billing records of Charles McElyea, the Camden County Attorney for the year 2013. I filled out the appropriate request paperwork and was given the file and a place to sit and review it. During the course of this review, the door to the County Clerks office burst open and Rowland Todd, the County Clerk, took the files from my hands while bellowing out “if you post any of the pictures you took (of those public records I was reviewing) to the internet, Charles McElyea will sue you!!”. I was alarmed by this large, red-faced man threatening me with a lawsuit by the County Attorney with regard to the Public Record of his billing statements.

In my opinion, having been Camden County Attorney for many, many years Mr. McElyea should have been aware of what information his billing records contained and conformed them properly or let the clerk know what was NOT public record under the law.

Mr. McElyea now contends that he did not threaten me, even though there were several witnesses to this threat. He either threatened me, a taxpayer who went through proper legal channels, for viewing public records or he threatened the county which would represent a conflict of interest to his continued employment by said county.

I was contacted by a representative of the State Attorney Generals office regarding this matter. It would seem Mr. McElyea was so concerned at what my reaction might be, he CALLED that office the very next morning to tell them that I was lying!! I had not even registered a complaint over the issue with that office!

In addition, I have found that our Planning & Zoning Commission and our Board of adjustment are seated illegally and have been for SIXTEEN YEARS!! We were a Third Class county in 1994 when the voters voted in Planning & Zoning. In 1998, we became a First Class county. The ULC was not adopted until June of 2004.

According to rsMO 64.120, the Board of Adjustment is to be made up of the County Commissioners. According to rsMO 64.020, the Planning & Zoning Commission is to have one County Commissioner (64.020). This means ANY decisions that have been made by these boards have been illegal and therefor subject to lawsuits should the aggrieved parties wish to pursue this course of action.

In an e-mail dated 2/19/2014 the County Commissioners were made aware of this concern. Mr. Luber stated that Bev Thomas told him that Charles McElyea had said that because we had been a Third Class county when we voted in Planning & Zoning that this was legal & proper. However, according to rsMO 48.050, Any office which may be established as a result of the change of the county from one class to another shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of the law relating to the filling of vacancies for such office.

Mr. McElyea should be reprimanded and heavily fined (with the fine going to a general legal relief fund for the taxpayers) at the very least for his conduct and, I personally feel he should be dis-barred as his actions were deliberate and a man with his years in this field should be well aware that what he was doing was illegal. He has stated he “is to advise the County Commission and office holders on ways not to get sued.”; he should certainly know that threatening taxpayers for viewing public record OR the county he is employed by that this is certainly NOT a way to avoid a lawsuit; nor is allowing an illegally seated board or commission to continue for SIXTEEN years!!

Certainly Mr. McElyea’s behavior is NOT commensurate with what we expect from our County Attorneys who, in my opinion, should be held to a higher standard of ethics and behavior.

The behavior described in this complaint is precisely the behavior that McElyea promises to bring to Camden County government and the Camdenton school district. This behavior is steeped in historical fact and is highlighted by a recent shakedown attempt by the Mid-County fire protection district, under McElyea’s purview.

CHARLIE MAC AND THE MID-COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

In January of this year, the Mid-County fire protection district announced plans to close three satellite fire stations. The board, chaired by McElyea, also unveiled budget cuts that included selling equipment, restructuring holiday and overtime pay and the elimination of the fire inspector position. These moves, it was explained by McElyea, were in response to the failure of a tax levy proposed in 2013.

A 12-cent levy proposal was soundly defeated by voters in November of last year, by a margin of nearly two to one.

Many residents looked at the closure of the satellite station as retributive in the wake of the levy’s failure. Closing outlying stations, #3 on State Road AA, #5 on Old South Highway 5, and #6 on State Road D, would force many households to pay higher insurance rates. This is based on the distance between a given home and the nearest fire station. Residents outside of a five-mile radius would be exposed to higher rates. Closing these three satellite stations would therefore increase insurance costs to hundreds of lake area homes.

The steps presented by the fire board in January were seen as an affront to some taxpayers in the fire district. Stacy Shore, resident in one of the areas affected by the proposed station closures, questioned the fire board’s decision to purchase a property on Pier 31 road. This purchase was for a future fire station and cost approximately $50,000. While this purchase was made with a bond for capital expenditures, it still raises several questions among members of the community who believe that other options should be considered before closing fire stations. Also an issue of contention: the $14,000 price tag incurred by the fire board to fund efforts during November’s levy initiative.

Claims of being “fiscally conservative” were offered by McElyea during the January meeting, but for many residents, these claims fall on deaf ears. They point to the administrative costs as being out of line with the operation of the fire station. To these residents, bringing those costs down would allow the protection district to invest more in the wages of front-line firefighters and keep the threatened stations open.

The Mid-County fire protection district and its board, after hearing the public outcry in January, attempted to use this civil unrest as a vehicle to launch yet another campaign to raise the fire levy. Most observers believe that this was foolhardy on the part of McElyea and the district.

One candidate in this week’s Mid-County fire board election offers an alternative to the ‘screw you, pay me’ philosophy espoused by McElyea and the MCFPD.

Jeremy Rugen's slogan: "One name. One vote." is resonating throughout Camden County in response to 'business as usual'.

Jeremy Rugen’s slogan: “One name. One vote.” is resonating throughout Camden County in response to ‘business as usual’.

Jeremy Rugen has a different perspective on how to achieve financial solvency without cutting services and raising the current levy.

I believe the district severely needs overall budget accountability. Some of the trucks and equipment that are currently owned is not needed to provide service or to maintain insurance standards. I feel in our country today our government does not prioritize spending and wastes tax dollars. I don’t feel it is okay for our government or the fire board to do the same. I believe that if you have $2 you cannot spend $3. In my budget at home I cannot spend more money than I have in my account. My goal is to eliminate unneeded vehicles and equipment. I want to prioritize spending and have a complete audit performed. Once this is complete, I can determine more accurate needs of the district.

The district will need a operational increase to create truck replacement program and air pack replacement program. The issue I have with the current levy is these two issues are not being addressed and will not solve the budget problem. I would like to see the district balance the current budget and wait until 2017 when the bonds are paid off. This will take the current amount the tax payers are paying for the bond and place it into the operating account. This will require a vote from the tax payers. This will be no tax increase.

Rugen went on to talk about equipment purchases that were unnecessary and also said:

I am committed to stopping the current wasteful spending. I believe with budget cuts the budget can be balanced until 2017. The district has very little in reserves and this will not be easy task, but I am up for the challenge.

His campaign slogan of “One name, one vote” distinguishes Rugen as a candidate who stands against the mobster tactics used by MCFPD in recent months and is a stark contrast to the reign of McElyea.

Tomorrow from American Spring: Two Elections, One Lawyer Part Two….

In it, we look at the McElyea family business, using government to make a buck, including the McElyea’s control of the Camdenton school district, Charlie Mac’s role with Kids Harbor and ‘Child Trafficking and Missouri Schools’ and much more…

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

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Occupy Common Core: The Corporatization/Privatization of Education

Friday morning, March 28, an email was circulated calling for supporters of Common Core standards to rally in favor of the standards. In this email, it is stated that Missouri legislators are getting “pressure from right wing activists around the state”.

Right wing activists?

That, I must admit, caused me to actually laugh out loud. This is the latest in a run of empty assertions that have been made by the alphabet soup organizations of unelected educrats in Missouri in regards to the demographic of Common Core opposition.

I am not a conservative Mom. I am not a right wing activist. I am the antithesis of these things and unfortunately for MASA, DESE, MSBA, etc and et al, I also stand against Common Core. Let me shatter the illusion they would like to present to you, the one that identifies opponents of Common Core as right wing activists and conservative soccer moms.

My ‘political activism’ began after the tea party movement had launched, but my awareness of the corruption embodied in the implementation of Common Core began long before that. The rise of global corporatism and corruption, assumptions of power by branches and agencies of government in clear violation of Constitutional law and efforts to silence and marginalize dissenters drew me to an inevitable, inescapable conclusion: We, as a nation, are held in the grip of fascism. There is no clearer symptom of this condition than the government overreach exemplified by Common Core.

I have curated the website http://www.americanspring2011.com for nearly three years. My activism, such as it has been, was the direct result of the protests of workers in Madison, Wisconsin, the ‘Arab Spring’ and the for-profit police state that was rising around us. My education comes from years of schooling, common sense and practical knowledge. My beliefs spring from the moral code instilled in me by my family. My experience comes as a result of growing up in a small rural Missouri town, graduating with seven classmates. My views have been formed by the culmination of these and an endless number of lessons learned through the course of my life. My anger, my righteous fury, at those who would seek to implement ANY system that robs us of local control of our schools, is fueled by the love I have for my children and the hopes I have for their future.

I am neither a mother, nor am I a right wing activist. I’m a father who identified far more with the Occupy Wall Street message than the purchased political talking heads who hijacked the authentic grassroots movement, the tea party. The root message of the OWS movement was missed amid a flurry of symptoms of an ill society. What was lost in that movement’s translation, with its many signs and seemingly mixed messages, is that each of the messages displayed on the signs of the 99% were caused by the same root disease. Fascism. The levers of power of the most powerful military on the planet are in the hands of fascists. Their philosophy is a brutally simple one: enslave a population, through all means necessary. And now they have turned their sights on our schools.

By destroying wage protections, the door is open for economic slavery, as wages will be dictated by corporations like Wal-Mart. By increasing the militarization of police and constructing a data collection network, government and corporate powers have opened the door to tyranny. By extending the talons of government control to our schools, via the implementation of Common Core, the doors to our homes are not just opened, they have been kicked in. These conditions, each, describe fascism.

The threat of Common Core is not confined to schools, classrooms and education. It is much more personal than that and represents a greater danger. It is, in its base form, control. It institutionalizes a bully system through emphasis on student, teacher and district ‘performance’. It expands this ‘competition’ across our country, so that ‘failing’ districts become prime targets for replacement from private, for-profit educational warehouses, the kind of ‘education’ promoted by special interest groups like Fordham.

Fordham is subsidized not only by Bill Gates, but by the same Wall Street vulture who helped bankrupt the city of Detroit, by raiding the pensions of workers. John Arnold, former Enron executive, played a large role in that city’s demise. Now Detroit is being dismantled, with the goal of privatizing that city’s public services and turning it into a laboratory to conduct neoliberal economic experiments. This same mad scientist approach is now being made reality in our schools through Common Core.

Fordham certainly isn’t alone. A cabal of corporate interests and their representatives have their fingerprints all over Common Core. It has been supported by a consortium of players, united in this fascist takeover of education. Bill Gates is a major player. So is Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News with holdings in multiple private educational pies. So is Mike Huckabee. So is Jeb Bush. So are hundreds of others, scavengers all, each ready to take their bite out of the corpse of locally controlled education. All ready to fill their bloated bank accounts at the expense of our kids.

They support Common Core for precisely the same reason. It is a way to privatize what is public. It is a way to monetize our children’s future. It is a way to discourage learning, to control and monitor our children, to initiate them into a subservient way of thinking. It is a way to herd our children into the low wage jobs Chambers of Commerce have waiting for them. It is a way to discourage our children from seeking a college education that is becoming more and more unattainable through rising costs. It is a way to create a true life Idiocracy through bureaucracy.

Nor is Common Core the singular mechanism of this corporate takeover of education. Laws, some currently pending in the Missouri State Congerss, have been written and endorsed by ‘conservative’ politicians in this state that offers a clear picture of the handwriting on the wall. They have been debating, along with Common Core legislation, to allow a forty hour work week for children 14 and older. They have passed laws to expedite the process through which the state can ‘take control’ over districts that ‘fail’ accreditation tests. They have passed laws that have made it easier to fire teachers. They have set the stage for the next evolution in the transformation of education. It is a for-profit system, subsidized by parasitic interests that feed off each ‘failure’.

Common Core is the proverbial ‘no-win’ situation for parents. Without a vote and without consent, government has overstepped its authority and the citizens of the United States have been told they have two options for their children’s education: Government dictated corporate education via Common Core in our ‘public’, ‘locally controlled’ schools or privatized, for-profit corporate education via ‘failed’ districts. Each student who ‘fails’, each family whose child doesn’t ‘perform’ under this ‘educational’ model, are at risk of school/government led ‘intervention’. This ‘intervention’ is done not under the rule of law, but under the assumption of authority. It is the same assumption of authority that ‘supports’ arguments in favor of this transformation of eduction.

The state of Missouri used to have protection from this type of hostile takeover of Missouri school districts by the federal government. The statute, in an abridged, layperson form, set a higher standard for educating Missouri children than the federal government’s. This statute was used by Sherry Lagares to defeat the assumption of authority by the Camdenton school district. Shortly after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in her favor, Sherry was called to Jefferson City as lobbyists from DESE, MSBA and other special interest groups fought to repeal that same statute. She watched as both corporate-sponsored politicians and corporate-sponsored emissaries kicked down the door protecting Missourians from Common Core. Now, her family has been visited by unbelievable acts of retribution by the same entities and players standing in support of Common Core in Missouri.

Common Core is a system that is built to profit from each child’s failure, regardless of their parent’s political affiliations. Those who stand in support of the corporatization of education do so in spite of false party labels. So to, do those who stand in opposition to this gross assumption of authority. To claim otherwise is disingenuous, it is foolish and it speaks to the blind ignorance of those who would take control of our children’s futures.

Our schools are where we lay down our political banners and pick up the crests of our families. It is on this battleground, the first, the most personal, that we don armor made of ironclad truth and carry shields forged in the fires of American determination. We gather under the flags of our children in protection of their future and here, we all have common ground.

I am not a conservative mom, nor am I a right-wing activist. I’m a liberal father.

But when I see a threat like this leveled against my kids and their future… I’m a real mother.

Leaked DESE/MASA Email Reveals Spite, Common Core ‘Bigger Picture’

Today, in a Senate hearing on Common Core legislation a leaked email from DESE became public. The email from DESE, talks about the Common Core battle being waged in Jefferson City. This email contains observations from the private lobby organization MASA, or Missouri Association of School Administrators.

This email labels opponents of Common Core as ‘right-wing activists’. It also offers a variety of empty talking points, the kind typically issued from supporters of Missourians surrendering the illusion of ‘local control’ over our districts. This slanderous, outrageous and blatantly false characterization of Common Core opponents seeks to create fertile ground for the false narrative that opponents of Common Core are ‘tea party extremists and obstructionists’ or conspiracy theorists in need of tin foil hats.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who stand in opposition to Common Core do so because it is another step in the advancement of a fascist takeover of our local school districts and an assault on our rights. It is about re-establishing local control, accountability and transparency in our school districts for the sake of our children.

The leaked DESE email is reprinted below. In the interest of space, a list of state representative contact information was removed from the body of the message. This is the only alteration made to this email. It appears exactly as it was sent out by DESE.

From: curriclistserv-bounces@lists.mo.gov on behalf of Bates, Shaun
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 8:05 AM
To: ‘curriclistserv@lists.mo.gov’
Subject: [Curriclistserv] March 28, 2014

Your Contact With Senators Is Crucial in Common Core Debate

Your legislators need to know that the Missouri Learning Standards (which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards) are supported by yourself, your district, and your educators. They are getting a lot of pressure from right-wing activists around the state to pass legislation prohibiting the implementation of the new standards.

The threat to abandon four years of work that Missouri educators and schools districts have dedicated to this initiative is very real. As MASA has engaged with legislators at the Capitol, it is clear that they are only hearing from the detractors of the Common Core.

The time to contact your legislators is NOW! Administrators should consider not only emailing their legislators regarding this issue, but also calling or physically meeting in order to discuss the issue in greater detail.

If you email your legislator, please send a copy of your email to David Pearce, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee at david.pearce@senate.mo.us and a copy to Gary Romine, Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee at gary.romine@senate.mo.us

Please contact your House members as well on this issue.

Roger Kurtz
MASA Executive Director

Common Core Talking Points

The Missouri Learning Standards simply provide a framework by which Missouri will develop MAP tests; they are NOT curriculum. Districts maintain complete control of their ability to write their curriculum, while teachers are allowed the flexibility in how to teach their students.

The federal and state mandated testing footprint will be minimized under the new test schedule that the state will begin using with the Missouri Learning Standards in 2015, including giving the ACT to every student. This change was made due to concerns from educators and education organizations representing teachers, principals and MASA. We would support a further reduction in the federal and state mandated testing footprint, but we fully support the new test schedule to be used for the foreseeable future.

Repealing the Missouri Learning Standards would be an irresponsible and expensive action for the Missouri Legislature to take. Districts have spent nearly four years moving to these new higher standards. This represents MILLIONS of dollars and THOUSANDS of hours in professional development. Abandoning this work would have a devastating impact on teacher moral moving forward. DESE, the Missouri Legislature, school districts, and administrators would lose a ton of credibility for any initiative in the future.

If Common Core were to be repealed, we would expect policymakers and politicians to stop utilizing unfair comparisons on performance with other states that have different levels of rigor in state standards. The Common Core State Standards were developed because policy makers and politicians that have continually attempted to compare one state to another without a set of standards that allowed the comparison to be fair.

The Common Core State Standards represent work that was done between policy makers, politicians, educators, business leaders, and the higher education community in order to ensure that students that graduate from high school are fully prepared for their post-secondary goals. Employers would be able to get a more accurate indication of the educational level of a student with a high school diploma, while higher education institutions can now begin moving to better place students in their class offerings, thus reducing the need for remedial courses.

With an ever-increasing population of students that are mobile, the Missouri Learning Standards allow for schools and students to smoothly transition from one school or district to another. Schools would be better equipped and assured of where a student is at in their educational career and thus have more time to focus on meeting the needs of that student without wasting as much time trying to figure out where to place new students.

DESE and MASA, in this email, show a complete disregard for the notion of local control of our school districts. They would paint those who stand in the way of their silent coup, their assumption of authority they aren’t granted, as troublemakers, rabble-rousers and plain old crazy. That’s because those who stand up for their rights and the rights of their children stand in the way of the DESE/MASA business model.

MASA is a private group with lobbying status and describes itself as follows, from their website, http://www.msaonline.org:

The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) is the only statewide association in Missouri that exists for the purpose of serving the needs of school superintendents and central office administrators with an interest in the superintendency. MASA is a statewide professional association that has grown to include over 600 school superintendents and school administrators. In 2011-2012 MASA set an all-time membership record. The services provided by MASA to its membership have also increased as members have identified and approved long-range plans incorporating key services.

Paul Ziegler is President of this private organization. He serves as the superintendent at Northwest R-I in High Ridge, located in Jefferson County, just south of St. Louis. The organization he heads, MASA, is a private entity. It is supported by the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole. It is also supported by ACI/Boland. Additionally, L.J. Hunt is listed as a sponsor of this private organization.

To provide complete context for the motivation behind the leaked email’s message, American Spring would like to invite you for a closer look at the Camdenton school district. For many reasons, Camdenton provides a clear picture of what ‘local control’ truly looks like under the DESE/MASA approved model.

This school district, located in central Missouri at the popular tourist destination, the Lake of the Ozarks, provides insightful context as to the motivations of the leaked DESE email. Camdenton offers an unobstructed, complete look at what is on the line with Common Core implementation.

To begin this dissection, a look at MASA’s sponsors and supporters is necessary. The list below is taken from the program for MASA’s Spring conference in 2011-2012. This conference was held at the Lake of the Ozarks Lodge of the Four Seasons.

Special Thanks To The Following For Contributions
To MASA Events And Programs During 2011-12.

PFM Asset Management, Inc. (MOSIP)
Forrest T. Jones & Company
Lawrence E. Smith & Associates
George K. Baum and Co.
Commerce Bank
Brian Cave Law Firm
Stifel, Nicolaus and Company, Inc.
Inter-State Studio and Publishing Co.
American Fidelity Assurance Company
Apple Computer
Mickes Goldman O’Toole, LLC
Chartwells
Piper Jaffray
Simplified Online Communication System (SOCS)
ACI/Frangkiser Hutchens, Inc.
L. J. Hart and Co.
Sam A. Winn & Associates Architects, PC
Johnson Controls
Guin Martin Mundorf, LLC
OPAA! Food Management
SchoolWires
Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt PC

For residents of Camdenton, some well-known names appear on this list, including the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole. This law firm has represented the district in several expensive, frivolous proceedings costing taxpayers of the district thousands in legal fees. Additionally, the firm and school administration have throttled the public’s ability to interact with board members, by placing themselves as intermediaries between taxpayers and their elected officials. They have presumed to do this under flawed legal arguments and fear mongering, encouraged by another private organization, the MSBA, who sent a lawyer to present the faulty logic that the board might be sued because of something a citizen said to them.

The origins of the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole reek of controversy, corruption and conflict of interest. As reported by American Spring last year:

Mickes was asked to resign from the firm he previous worked with due to his financial stake in a company that sold textbooks and manuals to the same school districts the firm represented.

From the St. Louis Business Journal:

Tom Mickes, known as one of the region’s leading attorneys on education issues, has been ousted from the law firm he helped start in April 2000.

His former partners at the 20-lawyer firm, now known as Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, took the action Aug. 25, and at the same time referred a report relating to Mickes’ termination to the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, the state’s lawyer discipline system.

The actions apparently stem from a separate business Mickes owns that provides policy manuals to school districts and educators.

Tom Tueth, 56, one of Mickes’ former partners, declined to discuss the contents of the report but indicated in a written statement the report dealt with Mickes’ work for “several education clients.” The Tueth firm represents some 250 school districts in Missouri and more than a dozen in Illinois.

Mickes is the only lawyer who has left the firm, Tueth said.

The Tueth firm’s statement said in part: “We recently became aware of certain activities of Thomas Mickes relating to several education clients of the firm. We promptly conducted an investigation, both internally and through outside legal counsel….”

After the investigation the Tueth firm terminated Mickes. The statement continued, “Mr. Mickes acknowledged in writing conduct that raised our concerns. Our investigation has revealed that no other attorney or firm employee was involved, and each and every other attorney and staff member remains with the firm.”

In the Camdenton school district, the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole have a long, sordid history. They have provided the legal cover for administrators in Camdenton to create a toxic climate for teachers and students alike. A pervasive, vindictive bully system has been institutionalized in the Camdenton school district under the guidance of superintendent Tim Hadfield and the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole.

This bully system has been directed at teachers, as the cases of former educators Jan Michaelree, Kathy Egyabroad, Sean Kirksey and others clearly demonstrate. Good teachers and educators have been forced out of the Camdenton school district for not going along with the program, as dictated by the law firm through their puppet superintendents.

Teacher suppression in the Camdenton school district is a way of life. It comes with the job.

Earlier this year, a thirteen year teaching veteran turned in her resignation after less than three months in the district. Fearing retribution, she hired a lawyer to deliver the letter to school administrators.

Nor has the law firm’s bullying been confined to teachers and students. It has been directed at parents who have dared defy their assumed authority. The firm filed a law suit against the Fitzgerald family in the Camdenton school district.

The Fitzgeralds home schooled their children. The law firm, in a case that was laughed out of court, made unfounded claims of abuse as basis for the school’s attempt to reach into their home and take control of the Fitzgerald children. In reality, this suit was filed in an act of retribution. It was filed against Sherry Lagares’ sister. Sherry Lagares had previously beaten the Camdenton school district in Missouri Supreme Court. The firm however, in its blood lust for revenge, didn’t stop there.

The law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole, through the Lebanon school district, rewrote a court ordered custody agreement for Sherry Lagares’ grandchildren. Through actions condoned and legally ‘justified’ by the law firm, Denny Lagares, Sherry’s son, has had his parental rights stripped from him.

This is particularly disturbing when we look at this presentation, given by the firm, made to MASA at the aforementioned spring conference in 2011-2012.

Successful OCR Investigations from Beginning to End

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm Marbella A

Presenter: Tom Mickes and Teri Goldman, Mickes Goldman O’Toole

In recent years, OCR complaints have far exceeded the number of due process cases involving special education issues. The OCR has seized upon bullying issues and statutory changes in an attempt to expand their reach into school districts. Teri will help you navigate through the OCR bureaucracy.

This is the very door the law firm stepped through in order to literally “kidnap” Sherry Lagares’ grandchildren, as promised by Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole attorney Ernie Trakas through the Lebanon school district. This is not a door unfamiliar to Mickes’ firm. They have represented private youth facilities, such as CALO, at the Lake of the Ozarks. Mickes has also been tied to multiple other interests profiting off of the most vulnerable of our children, including those with autism.

With the number of school districts represented by the firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole, and the number of administrators listed in MASA’s membership, it would appear the MASA is a private club for Mickes’ approved and endorsed administrators, and a collection of profit hungry vultures.

L.J. Hart & Company

One of these is L.J. Hart and Company. L.J. Hart, in addition to sponsorship of MASA, also serves on the Board of Advisors for MARE (Missouri Association of Rural Education). The company is an associate member of the MSBA, the Missouri Association of School Business Officials and the Chamber of Commerce in Chesterfield.

L.J. Hart has a long association with the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole. They are tied to most bond initiatives in the districts represented by Mickes. Mickes has introduced Hart in school districts around the state for bonds and loans. This is significant, considering the way L.J. Hart has conducted business.

From Bloomberg.com:

L.J. Hart & Co., a St. Louis-based municipal-bond underwriter, agreed to pay a $200,000 fine to settle charges that it violated pay-to-play rules by giving tickets to sporting events to win work from schools and counties.

L.J. Hart gave school and county officials more than 2,000 tickets to attend games played by the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Cardinals and other teams, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority documents. The tickets were valued at $183,546.

The gifts show that securities regulators haven’t eliminated underwriters’ practice of giving gifts to public officials from whom they seek business in the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market. This year about three-fourths of the $233.4 billion of municipal debt sold has been through negotiation, instead of competitive bidding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Recent changes made by the Missouri legislature has increased the debt limit for school districts. As a result of this hike, school districts across the state have put ballot initiatives in front of taxpayers this April.

In the Lake of the Ozarks area, several ‘no-tax increase’ proposals are on the ballot. Many of these are tied to, in part, federal grant money from FEMA for the construction of bunkers or ‘safe rooms’ in our schools. Two, in Eldon and Warsaw, raised eyebrows in Camdenton.

Last year, Camdenton passed such a ‘no-tax increase’ measure. What voters were not told by superintendent Tim Hadfield, pitch man for the sham, was that while no tax increase would take effect with that vote, the ability for raising the levy without a vote of the people was handed over to the school board.

This week, during a forum for Camdenton school board candidates, school administration was overheard saying that Camdenton was also getting a ‘safe room’ or bunker installed in the district. This came as a shock, considering no such measure has ever been put in front of the taxpayers. The statement was made with certainty, although construction cost overruns are already plaguing the Camdenton school district and the district is operating in the ‘red’ financially.

ACI/Frangkiser-Hutchins is also listed as a proud supporter of MASA. ACI/Frangkiser-Hutchins is better known however, for their parent company. In Camdenton, ACI/Boland is both well-known and well-represented on the school board. Selynn Barbour, an incumbent running this spring, is related to the interests in ACI/Boland, the architecture firm that has attached itself like a parasite to the Camdenton school district.

From designshare.com:

ACI/Frangkiser Hutchens, Architects & Planners, is the educational division of ACI/Boland. ACI/Frangkiser Hutchens is a nationally recognized educational design firm that has been in business since the early 1950’s. In the fifty years since its founding, the firm has concentrated on programming, planning, design, and construction of educational facilities. We have been involved with over 750 such projects.

ACI/Boland has been happy to spend the tax dollars of Camdenton residents. They were in support of the ‘no-tax increase’ pitch delivered by Camdenton superintendent, MASA member and part-time snake oil salesman, Tim Hadfield. They have pocketed thousands of dollars through their incestuous, seemingly never-ending relationship with the district.

The context behind the message revealed in the leaked email from DESE/MASA cannot and should not be overlooked. MASA is simply doing what its membership is trained to: act on behalf of the special interests and attorneys who are usurping local control in our schools and assuming that power for themselves. Common Core implementation is simply another brick in the walls they are constructing for parents and children. It allows not only for greater profit margins with its endless data collection, it also allows for this assumption of authority to continue into our homes.

A look at MASA’s 2013-2014 legislative priorities, from its own website, provides insight into the future this organization envisions for our schools.

3. Support For High Standards

MASA supports the implementation of the Common Core. In recent years, school districts have put an enormous amount of time and energy adjusting curriculum to improve student learning. Stopping implementation of the Common Core standards at this point would be extremely counterproductive for the students we serve. Missouri schools receive no assistance with technology funding and they cannot be among the top education states in the nation without providing students with the modern tools they need in the classroom.

MASA Supports:

Providing specialized training for administrators, teachers and staff who work in high poverty areas or with diverse student populations that focus on the unique situations children face in their communities and culture;

Replicating programs that have been proven to be effective in meeting the needs of students and specifically those that live in poverty or those who are considered “at-risk”.

Increasing the bonding capacity for school districts;

Allowing voters to approve bond issues with a simple majority;

MASA, no surprise, opposes the following:

Limiting the ability of school districts to seek civil, equitable and other legal remedies; and

Transforming the early childhood special education program from a required to a voluntary program.

MASA, and the special interests they represent, want nothing more than complete control of our children, as early as possible, so as to turn them into profit centers. The unspoken threat, leveled against our children, is that they will come into our homes and snatch our children if we dissent. This is the door opened by Common Core, the next evolutionary step in the march toward fascism. It is also the door through which the boogymen of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole have made a practice of walking through.

Sherry Lagares witnessed the determined, combined, coordinated effort by lobbyists for DESE, MSBA, MASA and the alphabet soup of educrats rushed to repeal the Missouri state statute that, in part, allowed for her victory in the Missouri Supreme Court. She watched as the statute that Missouri had in place, holding the standard for our children’s education above the standard set by the federal government, was repealed despite efforts by Sherry and dozens of state representatives. It was through the repeal of this statute that Common Core implementation was made possible.

Sherry Lagares and her family have paid the highest of prices for daring to oppose fascism in education. She has been forced to watch while her grandchildren have been ripped from their home and placed into an unsafe environment by the sponsors of the leaked DESE/MASA email. They have been targeted by an insidious, vindictive bully system, the type designed, installed and promoted by Mickes, his law firm and puppet administrators.

Attempting to dismiss opposition to Common Core by marginalizing them as ‘right-wing activists’ is nothing more than a futile effort in the campaign to marginalize all parents, taxpayers and citizens of Missouri and the United States who dare stand up for their Constitutional rights. It is precisely the kind of arrogance one has come to expect from those who seek to assume power and authority they are not granted under law.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Camdenton School Board Race: Local Control?

Last night, during the forum for Camdenton school board forum, the struggle for local control of the district was on full display. The Q and A forum, hosted by the Teachers Association of Camdenton, a wide range of topics were discussed with the candidates and, through their answers, much was learned about two distinctly different visions for the future of the district. One of these viewpoints was represented by four of the five candidates for school board. This view represents the ‘status quo’ in the district. As a result, they expressed ideals and talking points that reinforced that view. It was echoed in answer after answer throughout the high school auditorium.

Another perspective was offered by candidate Mindi Sales, who made statements in favor of accountability, transparency, fiscal responsibility and, most importantly, about protecting the local control of the Camdenton school district from a number of gathering vultures. In taking this stance, Mindi has identified the simplest of platform planks during her run for school board: Honesty. It is a message that is resonating throughout the district.

Concerns over the district’s future, and who controls that future, are at an all-time high. Currently, the battle against government and corporate overreach and collusion is on full display in Jefferson City, as parents across the state are fighting corporate interests, unelected educrats and lobbiests to preserve local control in the fight to turn back Common Core. School districts across the state reflect this same struggle in this spring’s elections. Local control is at the heart of these school board races.

Without a word, an assumption of power has removed local control from districts around the state. This silent coup has been performed by private entities, such as the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA), who ‘educate’ board members across the state to hand over the power of their office to school administration and lawyers. This was on clear display during a recent presentation by an MSBA lawyer in Camdenton, who argued that the school ‘might’ be sued because of something a citizen said during public comment at board meetings. This argument, steeped in fear mongering and flawed legal rationale, was used to restrict the ability of the taxpaying public and parents to address issues of the concern. Now, parents and taxpayers are restricted to their issues being approved by administration and the school’s lawyers. This robs the public of oversight of the school district they fund and also strips elected board members of their power as elected representatives. They do not, and should not be subject to, the rule of administration and their lawyers.

The clear and present danger represented by willingly handing over control of our school districts is evident. It has turned a previously well-regarded district like Camdenton into a place that teachers and administrators across the state have no wish to work in. This abrupt change of climate in the Camdenton is personified by current superintendent Tim Hadfield and the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole.

Selynn Barbour and Joe Ridgeway stated that they believed it was the role of a board member to ‘work with administration’. This, Barbour claimed, was the way to ‘support teachers’. As is clearly demonstrated by the historical record, a culture of bullying has been institutionalized in Camdenton. This bully system affects not only the teachers in the district, but is trickled down to our children and exported into the homes of families in the Camdenton school district. As an incumbent, Barbour oversaw this transformation in our district, and was a willing conspirator in trying to hide its existence from the public.

Joe Ridgeway said that the most important role of a board member was in the hiring of a superintendent. Ridgeway, the current superintendent in Richland, stated that board members shouldn’t interfere with administration, saying that it was not the board’s role to ‘micro-manage’ administration. He went on to say that board members should merely ‘help’ administration make decisions for the district.

Someone should inform Joe Ridgeway that the law says school administration works at the pleasure of the people, through their elected representatives. The administration isn’t supposed to have control of the rudder. They work for us. It isn’t the other way around. This is a fact that the current board in the Camdenton school district, and four out of five of these candidates, has forgotten.

Another question asked during the TAC forum was ‘What three factors would you use in making decisions for the district?’ To this, Jackie Schulte answered that one of her prime sources of information would be data collected on our children. This espouses fears of many parents, as the collection of such data is currently being debated in Jefferson City. Lobbiests from corporate heavyweights like Google, whose representative today bent the ear of Speaker of the Missouri House Tim Jones, are in favor of data collection, are facing off against parents concerned about profiting from our children’s private information. Jackie Schulte, by her own admission, is in favor of this obscene overreach.

One question asked about how they would respond to a parent who had an issue with a teacher or administrator. To this, Ridgeway answered with an hint of disgust that he would ask the parent if they had ‘followed the chain of command before you even came me’. Barbour “piggy-backed” on this sentiment and pointed again to the ridiculous and illegal public comment policy she championed and the equally questionable email system.

When asked for an opinion about Common Core, now renamed as Missouri Learning Standards, Courtney Hulett displayed little knowledge of the implementation of these standards, talking in vague terms about ‘reform’, ‘different groups’ and ‘eleventh hour’, before stating that he would work to ‘provide tools and resources’ to aid in its implementation.

When Jackie Schulte was asked about current Common Core legislation, and what she might say if asked to represent the district on the matter, fumbled weakly. She said that Common Core is ‘just standards, and that it is ‘not curriculum’. She went on, staggering like a deer in headlights, stating a concern for the ‘gap kids’. Presumably she didn’t mean children who shop at the store in outlet mall. She added that she had concerns about ‘funds’ for technology associated with the roll out. Jackie went on to assert that the district was ‘all set’ and the ‘teachers are proud’.

Joe Ridgeway, when asked the same question, repeated the underlying mission statement of Common Core implementation and data collection. It is the reason the Chambers of Commerce around the state have supported Common Core. Ridgeway talked about the future and preparing kids, not for college, but for jobs. He went on to say that Common Core standards ‘must be enforced’ in order to maintain a ‘higher standard’ in our school.

What Ridgeway did not mention was that the statute that protected our school district from the gross overreach of the federal government into our local schools was stripped by DESE, MSBA and corporate education lobbiests in the late 2000’s. The statute, before it was repealed, held schools in the state of Missouri to a higher standard than the federal government with regards to the quality of education our children had a right to. After the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in Lagares v Camdenton in favor of the Lagares family, a ruling based, in part, on that very statute, the fascist powers representing collusion between corporate power and government, stripped that statute from state law. This successfully allowed schools to lower their standards to meet the federal standard. It opened the door for Common Core itself.

One observer noted the following points:

In attending the Camdenton School Board forum last night, there was a stark difference in some of the opinions revealed by the candidates. The one that left me at a loss was when the incumbent, Jackie Schulte, said that she was not against “looking at the levy”, which is code for “increasing your taxes”, in order to keep the district working the way it should be.

It was also revealed that we are now operating at a $2 million deficit. We are spending from our reserve. That means this election is very important. If you don’t want to see your taxes increase you had better start paying attention…the writing appears to be on the wall when an incumbent is bring up the deficit over and over and then suggesting that she is not against “looking at the levy” in order to get the school out of the red. I left wondering if the sitting board even knows why are we in the “red” in the first place. It was pretty concerning to say the least.

I was relieved when this morning, candidate Mindi Sales, noted that same observation on her FB page and revealed how she felt about increasing the levy. Her response and position on that idea can be read below. Please share her message of fiscal accountability, and leadership that gives the school back to the people it serves. It is inspiring to me.

From the Facebook page Mindi Sales for Camdenton School Board:

I can’t believe the election is a week away! Thank you Laker Nation for the great outpouring of support. It has been amazing! Today I wanted to talk about the dreaded “T” word….TAXES.

Last night, the teachers of Camdenton put on a forum for the school board candidates. First, thank you teachers for the opportunity to speak. I appreciate it!

Last night, as the event was finishing, Jackie Schulte said that we need to look at the levy in order to continue to fund ALL programs we currently fund. My personal opinion is that I am NOT for raising the levy. That is just a fundamental difference between the two of us. But, the thing that concerns me the most is this: THE LEVY CAN BE RAISED BY THE BOARD ALONE WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THE “NO TAX INCREASE” BOND THAT WAS PASSED LAST YEAR. I want to be perfectly clear. I will NEVER vote to raise the levy without a vote of the people. If the citizens of the district want vote to raise the levy to fund after school programs, then I will let the vote of the people stand. But, I will not go forward without letting the people decide what they want with THEIR money.

Let me give you an example. The PASS program, an after school program, costs the district $600,000 a year. The district had been getting a grant to pay for PASS. Now, for the next school year, the grant will be cut in half, so the district has to come up with the $300,000 on it’s own. A word about grants. Grants can be an amazing thing for a district, no doubt. But, part of being a responsible board member is acknowledging what the district will do when the grant runs out. Am I suggesting that they cut PASS? No, I am not. I am using this as an example as to what happens when a grant runs out, and how a district responds to it. When we take grants, we need to be diligent by having a plan or solution to what we as a district will do when the grant runs out.

I hope this post gave you some insight as to how I will vote when representing you. My heart is in one place: to do what is best for the teachers, kids, and tax payers of this district.

Thank you Laker Nation for your amazing support!
Mindi

Local control and fiscal responsibility are huge issues in the Camdenton school district. As reported earlier by American Spring, the school board now has the ability to raise the levy without a vote of the people. This bill of goods was sold to the taxpayers of Camden County as a ‘no-tax increase’ ballot issue. The same sort of measure is on the books of at least two local school districts. Warsaw and Eldon are facing similar measures, although both of those cases rely on federal grant money to subsidize ‘safe houses’ or bunkers for schools.

Camdenton administration was overheard last night stating that Camdenton was also putting in one of these bunkers. That unexpected expansion of the proposed reconstruction project may account for the deficit we face as a district. This is a decision that has not been put in front of the people and not been put up for a vote. It has simply been decided, if the administrator is to be believed.

It is worth noting that the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole, representing Camdenton along with more than three hundred districts across the state of Missouri, has long standing associations with LJ Hart. Hart is the architect of many of these bond proposals across the state.

He serves on the Board of Advisors for the Missouri Association of Rural Education. Mr. Hart is also a member of the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association. The company is an associate member of the Missouri School Boards Association, the Missouri Association of School Business Officials and the Chamber of Commerce of the City of Chesterfield.

It calls directly into question the notion of local control of our school district.

Locally, ACI/Boland is helping themselves to our tax dollars through unexpected projects like FEMA safe rooms and undisclosed family relationships with Selynn Barbour. Projects are already running over budget with no end in sight. If Jackie Schulte has her way, the district will simply begin “looking at the levy” to keep the money train flowing on the backs of the tax payers in the district.

This story is far from over……

One Name, One Vote

Next week’s election on April 8th features several municipal elections. Around the Lake area, aldermen races, a fire district levy and school board races are heating up as election Tuesday approaches. American Spring and Guerrilla Radio will be looking at these local races, what they represent for the community of the Lake of the Ozarks and the importance of ‘local control’ of these different government agencies.

In the case of area schools, for a growing consensus of parents, Common Core implementation is a crucial issue this election cycle. At the heart of opposition to Common Core is the blatant, gross overreach by state and federal government into our local schools. Common Core supporters assert that implementing the standards do not interfere with local control of our districts. They claim that teachers will still be allowed to teach as they see fit, that school districts and boards will retain ultimate control with regards to our children’s education. This is absolutely false. It strips taxpayers, voters and parents of the control guaranteed them by the US and Missouri Constitutions.

This is not the only issue to face our local school districts. Currently, in Camdenton, major construction is underway on two satellite elementary school buildings. While it is difficult to argue against the need for such renovations, the project is already experiencing overruns in cost. Financial responsibility and transparency is a key component to the Camdenton race.

Across the state, ‘no tax increase’ levy extensions and other funding increases are being sought by schools in record numbers. The floodgates to these ballot initiatives were opened recently in Jefferson City, as state lawmakers allowed schools to increase their debt load.

CAMDENTON SCHOOL BOARD

Last spring, a ballot initiative was proposed by Camdenton’s school district administration and the board of education. It regarded a ‘no tax-increase levy’ for the district. The initiative was pitched by superintendent of the Camdenton school district, Tim Hadfield. Hadfield famously repeated an example to the voters of the district, that sought to explain how such a ‘no tax increase levy’ would be used to ‘shift a few cents from one pocket to another’. This, he said, would allow the district to complete the necessary construction to these schools without asking for a tax increase to fund them.

What Hadfield did not tell the public during his slight of hand public relations campaign is that the ‘no tax levy’ granted the school board the ability, without a vote of the people, to raise the levy by up to eleven cents.

A similar ballot initiative is on the books for the Eldon school district next week. It joins a flurry of such measures on ballots across the state. For a network of parents and taxpayers across the state, the epidemic of school levy proposals can be directly related to future costs associated with Common Core and rising school district ‘legal fees’. As scandals in the Hickman Mills school district clearly demonstrate, financial transparency is critical to prevent abuses.

There is reason, at least in Camdenton’s school district, to be concerned about similar abuses. Questions about an abandoned audit, cost overruns at a ball field and concerns about the role of an architecture firm in school business have swirled in the community.

In the case of an approximately $1.5 million dollar overrun during the construction of a ball field, an investigation revealed that the Camdenton school maintenance supervisor, Kerry Dickeman, had ties to multiple LLC’s and awarded those businesses contracts for work on this ball field.

After the results from this investigation were presented to the Camdenton police department, they suggested the information be forwarded to Jefferson City for review. The CPD believed there was reason to pursue the questions raised by this citizen-led investigation, but cited their own conflict of interest as reason for being unable to investigate themselves. This conflict is the relationship between the department and the school, through the CPD’s role in providing resource officers for the district.

Additional concerns have been raised regarding the role of architecture firm, ACI/Boland. The architecture firm seems to have a never-ending ATM with the Camdenton school district. The firm, after designing the new high school and other buildings, was intimately involved with the passing of Camdenton’s ‘no tax increase’ levy measure last spring. Certainly, the construction and renovation projects attracted the attention of the firm. Their level of participation in the sham of the ‘no tax increase’ initiative is unclear at this time. What is clear however, is that ACI/Boland certainly has the inside track with regards to the Camdenton school district.

Selynn Barbour, current member of and candidate for the Camdenton school board, is forced to recuse herself from each and every vote that involves the architects. This is because she is related to members of the firm. ACI/Boland, with their sponsorship of the half-truths presented by Hadfield’s presentation of a ‘no tax increase’ levy, seems to have ensured that their parasitic relationship with the district will continue. Should Barbour be re-elected, the likelihood of this increases.

In a recent Q and A with candidates for Camdenton school board, four out of the five candidates expressed a willingness to restrict the public’s ability to provide oversight and accountability in the district. This logic and the willingness of these candidates to hand control of our district over to unelected administrators and lawyers represents a troubling trend that has presented itself in districts across the state of Missouri.

The lone dissenter to this, in the Camdenton school board race, was candidate Mindi Sales.

Three seats are up during this year’s election, ensuring that two positions will be filled by those who endorse turning our district over to unelected administrators and lawyers. It is with this thought in mind that a strategy has emerged in this race that has gained traction with the voters. It is an idea plainly expressed by candidate for Mid-County Fire Protection District board, Jeremy Rugen.

MID-COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT BOARD AND TAX HIKE

Rugen, who entered the race in the wake of recent public opposition to the closure of satellite stations in Camden County, has put this slogan on his signs:

“One name. One vote.”

Rugen, who was opposed to the idea of closing the satellite stations, represents a departure from the ‘status quo’. He recognized that the district should look at alternatives that did not include closing these stations. On paper, their closures would save some money, but Rugen, like many other county residents, believes that there are alternatives that should be taken before shuddering area stations. These closures, while saving the district, will cost the taxpayers more. Closing satellite stations, such as the one in the Roach area, will cause immediate hikes in home owner insurance rates for some Camden County residents. Earlier this year, during a packed meeting of the Mid County Fire Protection Board, the public protested these cost cutting measures.

The board and administration of the fire protection district used this as reason to ask for yet another increase in taxes. They launched another campaign, to little fan fare and less support, to raise the district’s levy. Mid-Missouri Fire Protection District Chief Scott Frandsen and the board, including Charlie McElyea, attempted to turn the public’s resistance to closing stations into support for the levy increase the district has been seeking. This has not materialized however, as residents do not believe raising taxes is the answer. They believe other steps should be taken first, such as not filling vacant administrator positions. They believe that by taking measures to reduce administrative costs, enough money would be saved that the district could improve wage conditions for the front line firefighters. They believe these goals can be achieved without costing taxpayers of the district a single dime in new taxes.

These three ballot issues on April 8th will determine the direction these districts, both school and fire. They represent local control of our government and restoring accountability, transparency and honesty from the institutions we fund. We will continue to watch them closely.

Monday night at the Camdenton High School auditorium, a forum will be held for the school board candidates. This forum, at 6:00 PM, is sponsored by the district’s teachers and the public is welcome to attend. We would encourage you to do so.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Missouri State Senators Concerned About Teacher Suppression

Wednesday, Missouri Senators heard testimony from a growing coalition of parents, teachers and educators who oppose the implementation of Common Core in our districts. During this testimony, the Senators were stunned to hear of the suppression tactics being used against teachers in districts across the state who chose to speak out in opposition of this transformation of education.

The State Senators called a sidebar Thursday, about testimony regarding teacher suppression efforts, taken by administrations around the state, against teachers who aren’t in favor of the corporate model of Common Core standards. They witnessed this type of behavior and suppression of teachers first hand in Jefferson City, courtesy of Lt. Governor Kinder. The Senators also had concerns about the veil of secrecy surrounding Common Core and lack of answers from DESE.

Debate continues in Jefferson City on several pieces of legislation regarding Common Core.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Franken’s Fitful Future

When Second District Commissioner Cliff Luber presented the formal, legal request for a modification of the Universal Land Use Code, it was much needed good news regarding the county’s embattled Planning and Zoning department. It was a victory for the taxpayers of Camden County and Cliff Luber, who has made Planning and Zoning concerns one of his top priorities since taking office. The formal request, submitted according to 1402 of the ULUC, represented a long battle by Luber to begin to restore equity, fairness and common sense to the Planning and Zoning department with regard to inappropriately zoned properties in Camden County. It is a significant achievement for Luber and what many regard as one step in the right direction with the ULUC.

This formal proposal, brought by Commissioners Luber and Thomas, was something entirely different for candidate Kris Franken. It was the ‘cherry’ on top of a manure sundae.

Franken and Joe Roeger at this week's leeting of the unelected TAC.  At that meeting, it was announced that MODoT would not support the TIGER 5 grant application.  This was another in a string of recent rebuffs of Franken.

Franken and Joe Roeger at this week’s leeting of the unelected TAC. At that meeting, it was announced that MODoT would not support the TIGER 5 grant application. This was another in a string of recent rebuffs of Franken.

Recently, support has fallen apart like wet toilet paper for Franken and the abuses of Planning and Zoning under Hathaway. Franken has long stood in support of former P & Z administrator Don Hathaway, who submitted his resignation at last week’s meeting of the Planning and Zoning commission. Hathaway was the center of numerous controversies during his time as P and Z administrator. The latest of these involving Franken’s violating the ULUC in an attempt to unilaterally rewrite Article 800.

For candidate Kris Franken, Hathaway’s resignation could not have come at a worse time. Hathaway’s departure shines an unwelcome spotlight on the ‘status quo’ under Kris Franken. It speaks volumes to the way business has been conducted in the Camden County Courthouse under his self-appointed reign.

It comes in a week that finds Franken feeling particularly vulnerable. A typical tactic used in Camden County politics, one well-known to residents of the area, is to put up several candidates for one office. Typically, these multiple candidates all have similar platforms and are sponsored by similar interests. This tactic is used to ensure that the ‘status quo’, represented by Kris Franken, is maintained. This election cycle however, Franken stands uncomfortably alone facing opponent Greg Hasty for the Presiding Commissioner’s office. This awkward political vulnerability, along with his own well-established track record, has Franken teetering as his term winds down.

At Thursday’s meeting of the Camden County Commission, Franken’s frailties displayed themselves. During open session, Franken appeared to be quite miffed at the language of the formal request. He was upset that he wasn’t mentioned along with Commissioners Luber and Thomas in the formal request to revise ULUC language.

Franken protested that he was also in favor of fixing this problem with Planning and Zoning. Unfortunately, in what has become a tiresome trend, his assertions come up woefully short of reality. As Cliff Luber pointed out in his press release announcing the formal request, this issue has been brought up numerous times, with ample evidence to support such a change. Franken, despite claims to the contrary, did nothing to fix this obvious problem with Planning and Zoning. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Franken repeatedly opposed Luber’s efforts to bring attention to this issue and fairness to the taxpayers of Camden County. Frequently, on audio recordings of commission meetings, Franken can be heard to dismiss, dispute and disassociate during numerous complaints regarding Planning and Zoning.

His protests to the contrary fall on deaf ears. Franken, with a history of covering up the transgressions of his supporters, has continued to protect Don Hathaway.

In a recent article from the News Tribune, Franken claimed the results of an investigation into Don Hathaway’s conduct late last year were “inconclusive”. This is in stark contrast to the fact that Hathaway was placed on a two-week unpaid suspension.

Second District Commissioner Cliff Luber believes the results were anything but inconclusive, as reflected by the suspension. Luber would welcome the results of that investigation becoming public, he said during a recent appearance on Guerrilla Radio with American Spring.

It comes as no great surprise that Franken wanted to tag along on Luber’s achievement in rectifying a long standing problem in Planning and Zoning. Unfortunately, Franken, with his recent end-around attempt to rewrite the ULUC, has displayed an utter lack of knowledge of and respect for its articles regarding revisions. After his last minute effort to rewrite Article 800 crashed like the Hindenberg, Franken then sought, and the people paid for, two legal ‘interpretations’ to justify his actions. He also sought to rewrite history, by convincing Don Hathaway to state that he had asked Franken for the rewrite, despite Hathaway’s stating previously that Franken had not acted properly with regards to his attempt to rewrite of Article 800.

Hathaway has now resigned.

The Missouri State Attorney General’s office is conducting an inquiry into possible Sunshine violations in regards to Camden County Planning and Zoning.

During Thursday’s meeting of the Camden County Commission, Franken made sure to say a ridiculous, smarmy ‘thank you’ to Don Hathaway, for his supposed input on Luber and Thomas’ proposal.

In that, Franken the candidate stands alone, like the cheese in that old children’s rhyme.

What an unfortunate place to be.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.