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An Open Letter to Walter Myers on Scott Baugh’s Run for the 48th Congressional District

Posted by Mark Bucher on March 23, 2018

Walter,

I read your post about feeling slighted by Scott Baugh as Chairman of the Orange County Republican Central Committee when you were not chosen as the replacement for Jack Anderson (not John Williams), who resigned from the Committee because he was moving. You and I recall these events very differently. I remember well that you were upset, but Chairman Baugh had little involvement in that event. And it was not, as you claim, driven by race, racial insensitivity, or anything else about you personally.

When a Central Committee member resigns, the by-laws of the Central Committee require the remaining five members of that district (in this case, Jon Fleischman, Marcia Gilchrist, Tony Beall, Todd Spitzer and me) to select and recommend a replacement. After Mr. Anderson notified us that he was resigning, a fellow Central Committee member recruited Greg Woodard to replace Mr. Anderson and lobbied for him to be appointed.

The decision regarding whom to recommend was‬ not made in a vacuum – these were tumultuous times‬ on the Central Committee. As treasurer, I had been falsely accused of committing financial crimes involving the Party’s books by Francis Akhavi and others who were supported by her. (We now know why she was convinced I was cooking the books – Akhavi recently went to prison for stealing and keeping separate books. That irony is rich.) At the time, Jon Fleischman and I, and others in our assembly district caucus, wanted to make sure the replacement was somebody we knew and was not part of Akhavi’s scheme. We knew Mr. Woodard well, and simply did not know for sure where you stood. It is as simple as that. I do not recall then Chairman Baugh playing any substantial part in the decision. In fact, Mr. Woodard will confirm for you that he never even met Chairman Baugh until after he was sworn in as a new member. Nonetheless, Chairman Baugh followed the by-laws and put our recommendation to a vote of the entire Central Committee for approval.

Walter, if there is anyone you should be upset about for not being appointed to the Central Committee, it is Jon Fleishman and me, or even the entire Central Committee who voted for Mr. Woodard instead of you. But it is simply wrong for you to claim these circumstances constitute ethnic insensitively by Chairman Baugh.

With respect to your other claims that Chairman Baugh had no interest in minority outreach or is ethnically insensitive, nothing could be further from the truth. On many occasions Chairman Baugh championed ethnic outreach, including recruitment of candidates reflecting the great ethnic diversity of Orange County. He has been a fierce supporter of then Supervisor and now Senator Janet Nguyen, and stood up to powerful elements within the party to do so. He recruited and was an early supporter of Assemblywoman Young Kim, helped elect Michelle Steel and held her first fundraiser at his home when she was running for Supervisor, and led the Central Committee to an early endorsement of Andrew Do that helped lead to his election. In Santa Ana, Chairman Baugh was a leading advocate for Cecilia Iglesias for the School Board and he personally recruited Maribel Marroquin for the Central Committee in 69th Assembly District. He was also a leading proponent with the Lincoln Club for outreach to Santa Ana with Teresa Hernandez by walking precincts in an off election year to hear the concerns of the residents of Santa Ana, and even led the charge to have two Central Committee members removed who circulated racist materials.

I could go on and on recounting other efforts undertaken by Chairman Baugh, but I think the point is clear – Chairman Baugh was not responsible for you not being on the Central Committee, and has been a champion to be praised and emulated with respect to outreach to minority and ethnic communities.

Walter, you and I are friends, and I sincerely hope you are not offended by what I am saying. I just know for certain that the claims you are making against Scott Baugh are not true, and I felt it is important to set the record straight.

Mark Bucher

Elected Orange County Republican Central Committee Member
Former Treasurer, Orange County Republican Central Committee

Posted in 48th Congressional District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

CTA Hypocrisy Exposed by Vergara Ruling

Posted by Mark Bucher on June 11, 2014

The California Teachers Association is the most powerful special interest in California. They often run ads touting how much they care about education and our students, while at the same time steadfastly defending laws that make it virtually impossible to fire grossly ineffective teachers who can have a devastating impact on the education of students. Yesterday a judge in Los Angeles exposed this hypocrisy by ruling that CTA-backed laws protecting ineffective teachers are illegal because they deprive our children of a quality education.

The judge found:

“Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience…There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms…The number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students, now and well into the future for as long as said teachers hold their positions.”

“This Court…finds that based on…the evidence presented at trial, Plaintiffs have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the challenged statutes impose a real and appreciable impact on students’ fundamental right to equality of education and that they impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students.”

The CTA and their allies set up this system, profit by it, and will fight to keep it this way. But this landmark court case, Vergara vs. the State of California, has been a long time coming. The interests of students are finally being heard.

Vergara claimed that three current statutes violate the civil right to equal education. The first challenge regarded tenure, which requires an administrator’s decision after only 16 months, which the plaintiffs argued is far too short a period of time in which to identify an ineffective teacher. The second concerned dismissal practices, which are costly and time consuming, making it impractical to fire a teacher. The third challenge was to the “last-in, first-out” layoff rules, which force school districts to fire top teachers and retain ineffective ones.

This ruling, which will be appealed by the CTA (of course – why would they put the education of students before the interests of grossly ineffective teachers), is far reaching.

In a mesmerizing 56 minute closing argument, plaintiff attorney Marcellus McRae dissected the objections of the defense. As he repeatedly cited, it was the witnesses for the defense who, withering under cross-examination, provided some of the most compelling testimony. Again and again they admitted that yes, it is impossible to evaluate a teacher for tenure in only 16 months, yes, it is for all practical purposes impossible to fire ineffective teachers, and yes, LIFO layoff rules cause districts to lose some of their finest teachers, while retaining many who are ineffective.

McRae’s argument concerning the disproportionate harm these rules cause low-income and minority communities was impossible to refute. Good teachers accept new job offers and migrate to better schools while poor teachers take advantage of their tenure to remain in place. Vacancies are then filled by poor teachers getting transferred out of good schools because they can’t be dismissed. The few good new teachers who are attracted to poor schools are lost whenever there’s a layoff.

The judge agreed.

In their official response the CTA made this accusation, “Students Matter is supported by Michelle Rhee and Students First, Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin, Billionaire and school privatizer Eli Broad, former lawmaker Gloria Romero, and other corporate education reformers with an interest in privatizing public education and attacking teachers’ unions.” But their logic doesn’t hold up.

If anything, the abolition of current laws that protect ineffective public school teachers will not further the agenda of private education special interests, but rather help to rescue public education. A Machiavellian strategy to push private educational solutions would be to allow the public school system to fail completely. If proponents of private education and charter schools are supporting Vergara, it’s because it’s the right thing to do for California’s students.

The coalition that opposed the Vergara plaintiffs was obvious – the public employee unions representing teachers. Apart from sharing a conviction that California’s students deserve better, the group supporting Vergara defies simple characterization. That they have coalesced on this issue, and are likely destined to fundamentally improve the rules governing California’s public schools, should be cause for great hope to anyone who wants to reform California’s public institutions. All of them.

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Mark Bucher is the president of the California Policy Center

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »