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MDUSD superintendent responds to questions about false and misleading bond resolution

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, June 8th, 2012 at 6:18 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

I sent the following e-mail to Mt. Diablo schools Superintendent Steven Lawrence on Wednesday, asking him to explain misleading statements in the bond resolution approved by the board in a 4-1 on vote April 23rd (Hansen against).

I received his response this afternoon, which I am posting below my original e-mail. After reading his response, which did not include the bond documents I requested, I sent a follow-up e-mail, which I have posted after his response.


“Subject: April 23 Bond Resolution

Dear Steven,

I have some questions about the April 23rd bond resolution, which was changed after the board saw it, then submitted to the County Board of Supervisors on May 8:

According to the minutes, the board authorized you to make the following changes to the original resolution (which has been removed from the district’s online agenda):

“Eberhart moved, Mayo seconded and the Board voted 4-1-0 (Hansen – no) to approve 16.5 to modify the resolution so the changes reflect the will of the Board around option 3 and real property/land acquisition.”

Although the resolution was changed to reflect the will of the board regarding Current Interest Bonds, I do not see any language added to reflect the will of the board regarding real property/land acquisition.

However, I see that an entire new section was added (13), indemnifying the county. As you know, the board never authorized or discussed that addition.

I also noticed that both versions of the resolution include the same false information, which was not changed. Both resolutions specifically state that both the Preliminary Official Statement and the Purchase Agreement were “presented to this meeting of the District Board.” Further, both resolutions state: “The foregoing recitals are true and correct.”

Yet, those two documents were not presented to the board.

After the board meeting, the resolution was changed and the original resolution was removed from the district’s website and replaced with the new resolution, which was never presented to the board. That revised resolution (signed by you) was submitted to the County Board of Supervisors on May 8, as backup for the Supervisors’ resolution authorizing the sale of the bonds:

Based on all of this, I am requesting that you provide me with copies of the Preliminary Official Statement and Purchase Agreement, which the board reportedly approved.

Section 3 states that the Purchase Agreement is “on file with the District Board and is hereby approved….” Section 4 states: “The District Board hereby approves the form of Preliminary Official Statement relating to the Bonds on file with the Clerk of the District Board…”

I also have the following questions:

1. Why did you not present the Preliminary Official Statement and Purchase Agreement to the board at the April 23 meeting, as stated in the resolution?

2. Why did you sign the resolution, including the statement, “The foregoing is true and correct,” when it wasn’t true and correct?

3. Why was Section 13 added, indemnifying the county?

4. Who requested the indemnification clause?

5. Who authorized the indemnification clause?

6. Why is there no restriction on the acquisition of property or land in the revised resolution, even though the board directed you to add language reflecting “the will of the board” regarding that?”



The District’s bond program includes a team of legal and financial professionals who advise us as to the legal, financial and other requirements in authorizing and issuing our bonds. The District makes every effort possible to meet those requirements. The following responses are provided to your questions of June 5th:

1. On April 23, 2012, the Board of Education (the “Board”) of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (the “District”) considered a resolution requesting the issuance by the County of Contra Costa of certain general obligation bonds (the “Bonds”) of the District (the “Resolution”). Prior to the April 23, 2012 meeting, the Board was provided with the Resolution for review in preparation for that meeting. In addition, as stated in the Resolution, the Board, through its Clerk, was provided with certain supporting documentation, including a preliminary official statement and a Bond Purchase Agreement. The supporting documentation was not presented at the meeting because it had already been provided prior to the meeting thus allowing for review prior to action being taken.

2. The recitals in the Resolution are true and correct. I signed the Resolution with that understanding and belief.

3. Section 13 of the Resolution was added after a request was received by Bond Counsel to include such language. The County of Contra Costa requires the language in Section 13 of the Resolution for all bond issuances for which the County issues on behalf of a school district.

4. The County of Contra Costa through the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office requested the indemnification clause in Section 13.

5. The indemnification clause in Section 13 was authorized by General Counsel to the District after discussion with Bond Counsel. The addition was made prior to the April 23 meeting. The revised resolution was provided to the Board for review prior to the April 23 meeting.

6. The Board authorization prohibited the expenditure of bond proceeds for the acquisition of new school sites but rather provided that bond proceeds were to be used to improve existing school sites. The authorization granted with respect to the issuance of the Bonds is accurately memorialized in full in the Resolution and the minutes of the April 23, 2012 meeting.”



Thank you for these responses. I am again requesting that you provide me with the preliminary official statement and bond purchase agreement that were provided to the board for review. As you know, since they were distributed to the board, they should be public record, available for immediate review by anyone who asks for them.

Also, I am requesting a copy of the revised resolution, which you said was provided to the board prior to the April 23 meeting.

I also have the following follow-up questions:

1. Why did you not make the bond documents available to the public as part of the agenda docket?

2. Since you didn’t present the bond documents during the meeting, why didn’t you change the language in the recitals to reflect the fact that they were distributed to the board prior to the meeting?

3. The language in Section 2 of the resolution states that proceeds are to be “used for the acquisition and improvement of certain real property.” How does this prohibit the acquisition of new school sites?

4. Why did you not announce to the board and the public that the resolution had been revised prior to the meeting?

5. Why are the first two versions of the resolution no longer available for public review on the district’s agenda?”

Lawrence appears to be arguing that the resolution’s statements that the bond documents were “presented to this meeting” really meant: were provided secretly to the board without public disclosure. Based on his belief that these two are interchangeable, he is asserting that the recitals were “true and correct.”

He also appears to believe that it is not necessary to announce to the public that a resolution has been revised after it was published with the agenda, or to make the bond documents being approved at the meeting available for public review before they are approved.

Are you satisfied with Lawrence’s responses?


When I spoke to Superintendent Steven Lawrence on Monday regarding the bond resolution and supporting documents, he said the district was following the same procedures it had in the past and he wondered why there were so many questions this time around.

In response, I sent the email posted below. I am also posting his response, along with my follow-up questions:

“Tuesday, June 19, 2012 12:32 PM

“Steven, In response to your assertion last night that you did everything the same this year as you did in the past regarding bond sales, please refer to this agenda docket item from Aug. 10, 2010:

As you can see, the 2010 resolution was substantially different and did not include the ‘whereas’ clauses I questioned in the April 23, 2012 resolution. The 2010 resolution also did not include the statement: ‘The foregoing recitals are true and correct.’ But, it DID include forms of the purchase agreement and preliminary official statement as attachments.

I continue to question why you failed to present the bond preliminary official statement and purchase agreements to the public in April, yet claimed in the resolution that they were presented. Also, when Alicia Minyen asked to see them, you did not tell her that they were available for inspection upon request. Your rationale that they were “made available” to the board does not change the fact that they were not, in fact, ‘presented’ as you attested in the resolution. Also, you did not make a public statement that they were ‘available’ to the board upon request.

Do you believe your failure to publicly present the preliminary official statement and bond purchase agreement, as stated in the resolution, violated the Brown Act?”

“Wed 6/20/2012 6:10 PM


Please find the following response to questions that you have raised regarding the Resolution authorizing the bond sale and specifically the Bond Purchase Agreement (‘BPA’) at the April 23rd Board meeting. Also, per your request I asked Loreen to send you both the Draft BPA and Final BPA.

The Resolution that was adopted is different from earlier resolutions adopted by the Board. The most obvious difference is that earlier resolutions provided for the issuance of bonds under the Government Code while this latest resolution provided for the issuance of bonds under the Education Code. Thus, there will be a number of different provisions due to the different code. That is to be expected. There are also similarities. Both forms of resolution approve both a Preliminary Official Statement (“POS”) and a BPA and provide direction to staff to complete those documents.

The Resolution does not claim that the POS and the BPA were presented to the public. The Resolution states that forms of those documents were presented to the meeting of the Board and further states that they were held on file with the Clerk of the Board. That language was intended to mean that the documents were provided to the Board for consideration at the meeting and available for review if needed.

Our financial advisor Jon Isom personally hand delivered the BPA to Loreen with Lori Amenta’s assistance at the start of the Board meeting on the 23rd. This explains why Loreen didn’t have an electronic copy to share with you. In fact, he sent an email to Deborah Cooksey (referenced below at 7:31 pm on April 23rd) from his iPhone with the BPA attached to be printed and available at the meeting. I have since confirmed with Loreen that she does have the original hard copy from that meeting.

‘From: Jon Isom []
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 7:31 PM
To: Jon Isom;
Subject: Fwd: Mt. Diablo BPA

Sent from my iPhone’

I hope this background helps to clarify the questions surrounding the resolution, what it does and doesn’t do, and the source of the BPA.


Steven Lawrence”

(Note: Isom’s email appeared in the body of Lawrence’s email exactly as shown above, without the attachment mentioned.)

“Wed 6/20/2012 6:27 PM

Steven, Thanks for this explanation. I have received the first version from Loreen and she said she’ll send the final one soon.

Regarding the email from Jon Isom: I don’t see the attachment you referenced.

Regarding the language in the resolution, I am still unclear about whether the documents were actually distributed to board members. Did board members receive the preliminary official statement and bond purchase agreement at that meeting? Or, by “provided to the board,” do you actually mean that you had them and they were available for review, but not distributed to trustees? If this is the case, why was there no public announcement about this? Also, why did you not provide them to Alicia Minyen for review, when she specifically asked to see them? Also, why didn’t Deb forward the electronic version to Loreen?

Theresa Harrington”

Are you satisfied with Lawrence’s latest responses?

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135 Responses to “MDUSD superintendent responds to questions about false and misleading bond resolution”

  1. g Says:

    Theresa, I believe it is actually worse than that! He tries to make it sound like the documents were provided to the board prior to the meeting—except for one clever phrase—


    “In addition, as stated in the Resolution, the Board, through its Clerk, was provided with certain supporting documentation, including a preliminary official statement and a Bond Purchase Agreement.”

    He doesn’t say the board ever “saw” the documents themselves!

    Who will call him a liar if he says “I” am the clerk, and “I” saw the documents “for and on behalf of ” the board?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Thanks for ferreting that out.

    If you are right, he is actually arguing that the statement the bond documents were “presented to this meeting” really means: were withheld from the board and the public, but secretly provided solely to the superintendent without public disclosure. And, if you are right, he believes those two statements are interchangeable.

    As we all know, he is accountable to the board and the board is accountable to the public. I will ask Peterson if he believes Lawrence’s response demonstrates that the district complied with the Brown Act and acted legally.

  3. g Says:

    By the way, EMMA now has the “Official Statement” up. It posted just a little while ago.

  4. Seriously.... Says:

    #1 @G – Excellent Points!

    I have a couple of questions for the Board…

    Did you receive, at any time, the forms of preliminary official statement and purchase agreement? If so, when and who provided them to you?

  5. Anon Says:

    And four members of the board voted to extend this man’s contract.The four who did should be recalled or defeated in the November election upon which Lawrence should be summarily dismissed along with Rolen and Richards.

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As has been previously pointed out, the board approved the contract extensions (4-1; Hansen, no) at the same meeting where trustees approved this misleading resolution.

  7. g Says:

    The list of “project schools” includes Cornerstone—-Cornerstone??? How far did they have to go back to dredge that name up? And why dredge that name up just to list it on this bond’s Official Statement?

    Wasn’t that a “special program”? Not a facility at all.

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The last time I checked, Cornerstone was a program at YV Elementary that operated out of a few classrooms. But, it’s been years since I visited there.

  9. Alicia Says:

    @6 – Theresa, I’m confused by Mr. Lawrence’s statement that the recitals in the final resolution are true and correct. The Board actually did not approve any written resolution. Further, the final resolution provided to the County, which was respresented as approved by the Board on 4/23/12, didn’t actually exist on that day.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You are correct. The board approved a different version of the resolution, but authorized the superintendent to make changes to reflect the will of the board. Yet, the resolution submitted to the county does not state that it was changed after April 23.

  11. Alicia Says:

    The Board moved to amend the resolution to represent Option 3…however, in reading Section 2 and 3 of the Final Resolution, there is no disclosure regarding Option 3’s issuance of $77 million of Current Interest Bonds in 2015. So, the Resolution does not reflect Option 3.

    What assurance do we have that the Board in 2015 will follow the “will of the Board” expressed on April 23, 2012? Zero.

    Lawrence states that the Minutes are accurately stated, however, it is the Resolution that is binding and it supercedes all else.

  12. g Says:

    With this issue, our Debt Service on the two Measure C bonds (alone) just crashed through the $BILLION DOLLAR stratosphere!

  13. Alicia Says:

    @8 – Theresa, Cornerstone was listed on the projects list on the original ballot. However, I just compared the list of schools on the ballot to the Official Bond Statement. The Official Bond Statement does not include “Olympic” and “Prospect NSHS”, which were both listed on the ballot.

  14. Anon Says:

    Well, it looks like the Taxpayer is getting hosed again as bond premium is being taken away from us and given towards payment of Cost of Issuance. See the Sources and Uses table below:


    The proceeds of the Bonds are expected to be applied as follows:

    Sources of Funds

    Principal Amount of Bonds: $149,995,000.00
    Net Original Issue Premium: 13,121,051.30
    Total Sources: $163,116,051.30

    Uses of Funds

    Deposit to Building Fund: $149,995,000.00
    Deposit to Debt Service Fund: 12,251,071.30
    Costs of Issuance: 869,980.00
    Total Uses: $163,116,051.30

    According to the State Attorney General, 100% of bond premium belongs in the “Debt Service Fund” to offset interest costs. Notice how the “Debt Service Fund” will receive only $12,251,071 instead of the full $13,121,051. In the end, Taxpayers will be shorted $869,980. Also, taking bond premium away from Taxpayers will cause the district to receive more bond money that was voter approved.

    See Kamala Harri’s letter regarding bond premium at:

  15. Anon Says:

    Based on Option 3 below, it was estimated total interest to be $158 Million. According to the official bond statement for the $149,995,000, the total interest cost is $127.2 million. It looks like the estimated interest cost will be exceeded since I doubt $77 million will cost less than $30 million in interest costs…but we will see.

    Here is financing Option 3: Bonds sold next 3 years
    Issue Dates: 2012, 2015
    Bond Structure: CIBs Only
    Financing Term: 25 years
    Bond Issuance Amount: $150 M, $77 M
    Total Interest: $158 M
    Total Debt Service: $385 M
    Tax Rate per $100K of assessed value(1): $89.00, $95.00

  16. Alicia Says:

    @15 Anon – Oh great…it looks like we will not be paying $89 per $100k in 2013 as estimated in Option 3, but rather $114 per $100k (assuming assessed valuations stay the same in 2013.)

    The Official Bond Statement shows that in 2013 we will pay $33.6 million for the 2002 and 2010 Bonds combined. Using the $89 tax rate estimate per $100k of assessed value, that would only generate $26.3 million in tax revenue. (The Total Secured assessed valuation subject to this tax is $29.5 Billion.) Someone, please check my math…If you take 29.5 Billion, divide it by $100,000 and then multiply that by $114, you get $33 million which is due in 2013.

  17. Alicia Says:

    @3 – See the following link to the Official Bond Statement:

  18. Doctor J Says:

    Nothing will change until the Feds and State intervene — and that will only happen on written complaints being filed with the attachments of the fraudulent documents. DA Mark Peterson became compromised when he acted on the bogus complaint, ostensibly by or on behalf of Lawrence, resulting in the intimidation of Trustee Cheryl Hansen. Lawrence has been caught in his own mousetrap.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence admits to a clear violation of the Brown Act: “The supporting documentation was not presented at the meeting because it had already been provided prior to the meeting thus allowing for review prior to action being taken.” DA Mark Peterson, are you going to prosecute him ? Investigate him ? Conduct an inquiry ? I thought Cheryl Hansen asked at the Board meeting where those documents were ?

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence’s response reminds me so much of Richard Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” press conference. Lets see Steven, your track record: one Yolo County Grand Jury investigation, and now two Contra Costa Grand Jury investigations [responses by the BOARD are coming due and should be subject to public review and input]. Last year’s MDUSD academic achievement after a full year of SASS: +2 API points, whoop-ti-do. This year’s API coming soon. I think our parody friends need a new production staring Steven Lawrence trying to explain the truth. Perhaps they can get a combo of Judge Judy and this Richard Nixon clip:

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Don’t forget the Grand Jury report that found the board did not discuss the Measure C bond financing before voting to place it on the ballot. As I have previously pointed out, Rolen replied that the board did discuss the financing, but produced no proof of that. The minutes don’t reflect any such discussion and the Times has reported that no such discussion took place. That Grand Jury response was never discussed by the board.

    Lawrence’s most recent response appears to defy logic. He admits that the bond documents were not presented at the meeting, as the resolution states, but then says the statement: “The foregoing recitals are true and correct” was not false. His reasons for failing to present the documents do not change the fact that they were not presented.

    His statement that the documents had already been provided prior to the meeting, thus allowing for review, led me to believe they were presented to board members for review. But, g has suggested that that may not even be true. If board members didn’t review them either, it would appear that Lawrence may have usurped their duties by approving the documents on their behalf without public disclosure.

    And Anon has pointed out a possible reason the district’s cadre of legal and financial professionals may have recommended that the bond documents not be publicly dislcosed: they planned to pay themselves and bond underwriters more than a quarter of a million dollars, using bond premiums that the attorney general has said should not be used for that purpose.

    If those documents had been publicly disclosed prior to the vote, it’s likely that someone from the public may have pointed this out and objected to it. Now, the transaction is already complete.

    The superintendent’s actions appear to be deceptive, at the very least. It remains to be seen whether the DA or attorney general will consider them to be illegal.

  22. Anon Says:

    So, now what happens to them? The Grand Jury found that they did not discuss with the Board and did not disclose to the public. Where is the accountability?
    NO WHERE! These guys just do it over and over and the Board just rewards them with a new contract.

  23. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    This is absurd. If Peterson doesn’t investigate I will get a recall petition going.

  24. Seriously... Says:

    @21 – Bingo! Failing to provide the preliminary official bond statement may have been an error, however, it doesn’t look good that there is a motive to hide the preliminary official bond statement from the public.

  25. Anon Says:

    @23 – Peterson endorsed the 2010 Measure C. Do you think this conflict of interest will allow him to act fairly and objectively?

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Seriously, the superintendent did not say it was an error. It appears to have been an intentional decision on his part, based on his belief that it wasn’t necessary to present the documents at the meeting, since they were previously provided to the board, via its clerk. Obviously, that’s not what the resolution says, though.

    Anon: I believe Peterson’s oath of office required him to swear to uphold the law. This supercedes any allegiance he may feel toward district officials, based on his endorsement of Measure C.

  27. g Says:

    San Ramon chose its new Superintendent…. They wanted someone with a background in “Accountability”.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a link to our story about the new San Ramon Valley superintendent:

    She was selected after a two-month search from a pool of 21 candidates.

    Eberhart stated that one of the reasons he insisted on extending Lawrence’s contract 14 months before it was set to expire was his fear that the board might not be able to find a superintendent if Lawrence were to leave (if his contract were not renewed immediately). San Ramon’s experience shows that there appears to be a large number of superintendent candidates willing to work in this area. Of course, MDUSD has a much more diverse student population and many more low-performing schools than SRVUSD.

  29. g Says:

    I believe one huge reason renewal of the Superintendent and his team was, very simply…because Ms. Hansen, just the month before had made a public request that they NOT renew contracts prior to the new board coming into office with the November election!

    The primary goal of the current board majority is to stymie Hansen, NOT to further education.

  30. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The DA’s Brown Act inquiry appears to suggest that someone thinks information may have been leaked from a closed session to others. I will try to post a separate blog item about that today.

    Also, Eberhart’s insistence that the “censure” policy be brought back at the next meeting for approval could suggest that more finger-pointing could be coming. It will be interesting to see if the board adheres to the “civility” code of conduct it recently approved on its consent calendar.

  31. g Says:

    Ah, but an empty cup does not leak. What is the board trying to hide? THAT is the question.

  32. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The information in question may be related to the superintendent.

  33. g Says:

    Let’s say, for example, that instead of the Superintendent and board president deciding what should go on an agenda, that there was discussion in closed session about whether or not to put an action item on a public agenda. Let’s say some people did not want it to be added. Let’s say a majority of those in closed session formed a “consensus” to add it.

    Under Brown Act rules, when a majority of the board came to a “consensus”, that constitutes a closed session vote, and it should have been made public in minutes of that closed session.

  34. Sue Berg Says:

    Theresa, are you reporting that the Board took a vote based on documents that were not shared with the public beforehand? I cannot believe Gary Eberhart would participate in that vote.

    In late 2008 he and fellow Board member Paul Strange vociferously refused to vote on a proposal regarding school air conditioning because the background report had not been distributed to the public beforehand. Even when it was pointed out that staff had made an oral presentation of the report, with copies made available, at the previous Board meeting, Eberhart and Strange argued that the printed report should have been attached to the agenda for the meeting at which the Board would take its vote.

    You, Theresa may recall this case as you wrote an article about the meeting, highlighting the two Board members’ assertion that it would be a violation of the Brown Act for them to vote on the proposal because the background documentation had not been distributed as widely as they believed necessary.

    Having attended that 2008 meeting and heard Eberhart’s strong argument on the public’s right to see the documents Board members use to determine their vote, I would be surprised if he is not demanding the same standards from this leadership team as he did from the previous one.

  35. Jim Says:

    Theresa @28 — There may be a “large pool” of superintendent candidates, but not necessarily for MDUSD. Unlike SRVUSD, this district has a “reputation” in N. California, and even further afield, of having poor leadership, a dysfunctional board dominated by individuals of, shall we say, “modest” achievements, and a general culture of mediocrity that has grown and become more entrenched over the years. It is very difficult for a superintendent to come in and change all of that, particularly in the absence of a cohesive, supportive, and competent board. The best candidates all understand that this is not a district to enhance one’s resume. That leaves the candidates who have nowhere to go but down. I fully understand why Gary is so concerned about recruiting a new Supe if Lawrence leaves (although Gary may not understand how he figures into the problem).

    Even Supt. Lawrence probably recognizes that in his interviews for his next job, if there are tough questions about his tenure here, he can just say, “Well, you know MDUSD…”. The eye rolls and heads nodding will tell him that the interviewer from the hiring board would not EVER consider his/her OWN district to be such a miserable organization. The next board to hire him will think, “Oh, all of that stuff CAN’T happen HERE.” And then they will see if it does.

  36. MoMx3 Says:

    Sue Berg, the only thing I’m surprised about is that you’re still surprised by anything that is going on in this district. They are an embarrassment. I hope to god neither Gary and Sherry are re-running and I’m disgusted I helped them them get there.

  37. MoMx3 Says:

    Why is nothing being done about these blatant violations of the public trust?

  38. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, can you provide a link to the 2008 article you wrote about Eberhart’s understanding of the Brown Act that Sue Berg referred to in post #34 ?

  39. Fly on the Wall Says:

    Jim @35: the mediocrity is certainly reflected at MDHS where the principal can’t even “remember” what she has promised to the academies.

  40. Anon Says:

    So, this might be a stupid question. Is the DA investigating the board or Lawrence?

  41. vindex Says:

    Well done! I have a ton of respect for people in Public positions. It is very difficult. I also believe that they should tell the truth, act with integrity, and if they are found to lack both, should be fired.

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon and MoMx3: The DA is following up on a complaint that Hansen mentioned during her board report, which stemmed from an anonymous comment on a blog. Peterson was not aware of Minyen’s complaint about the bond resolution when I asked him about it. Minyen told me she found out Friday that her complaint has been given a number and she was told it was on a deputy DA’s desk, but she was not told whether it was being investigated. Peterson did not return my call Friday, asking if he was pursuing the information I sent him regarding the false statements in the bond resolution that was submitted to the County Board of Supervisors.

    Sue: Yes, I remember that. Back then, Eberhart and Strange often claimed that Superintendent McHenry was not giving them information. After McHenry left and Strange and Eberhart became part of the board majority, however, things changed. They began to be the ones who didn’t share information. A prime example was their failure to bring the CREBs applications before the board for approval. Another was their failure to discuss the bond financing before it was placed on the ballot.

    Dr. J: I will see if I can find the article I wrote. If so, I will post it.

    Jim: Your comments are similar to the ones that I believe are being investigated by the DA. Did someone leak this information to you, or are you basing your comments on your knowledge of the district, compared to other districts in the state — as well as your knowledge of Lawrence, compared to other superintendents or potential superintendent candidates in the state?

    Fly on the Wall: There does not seem to be any indication that there will be a change of top leadership at that school. Did the academies get the promises in writing?

  43. Jim Says:

    Theresa, I’m not clear on what you are getting at. Nothing in my last post required a “leak”. Anyone who regularly reads your paper would understand that MDUSD has long had an uncanny ability to hit just about every pothole in the road. Most educators are reluctant to criticize their peers in other districts, especially because they never know whom they may be reporting to someday. (As we know, education is an insular business — outsiders rarely come into education and few “lifers” ever leave.) But at some point, MDUSD just went beyond the pale.

    Which district (and its union) couldn’t even get its act together to support a parcel tax that already had majority support? Which district pushed, instead, an unprecedented 42-year bond issue and then, while pitching the deal before the CC Times editorial board, couldn’t even tell the editors how much the district’s total interest expense would be? Which district had to fight the secession attempts of the neighborhoods served, not by low-performing schools, but by the HIGHEST performing schools in the district? Which district sat by while another of its high school communities became so disgruntled by district incompetence and indifference that they became the FIRST high school in Northern California to complete a successful “teacher trigger” charter conversion? And this is by NO MEANS a complete list of the “can-you-top-this?” stories originating in MDUSD.

    We’re like the proverbial family with the crazy uncle in the attic. We’ve lost track of how fundamentally weird our situation is. I believe that the unique “reputation” of MDUSD is one reason why the last two charter application rejections got reversed at the County Board of Ed. We’re no longer just the typical “problem district”, dragging down property values and generating occasionally uncomfortable headlines. We’ve now become an outright embarrassment to anyone who has tried to have a positive impact in public education. The ballot box has not turned around this district, so even educators in the public education establishment seem to understand that more school choice is one of the few viable options that we have left.

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Jim, that was sort of my point. It’s questionable whether it takes a “leak” of information for someone to speculate about why the superintendent may have been looking for another job before his contract was renewed, or about why other districts may have had reservations about hiring him.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t end up having time this weekend to do a blog post about the DA inquiry, but I hope to tomorrow. Based on what Trustee Cheryl Hansen has told me, it was prompted by a comment written by Dr. J on April 17 on my blog.

  45. Doctor J Says:

    Gary and especially Lawrence needs to blame someone other than himself for their failures. So its easy to pick on me. I hit a home run with my post on April 17. Has Lawrence ever denied he was in the running for the San Juan Sacramento job ? Nope. Many of Lawrence’s failures are simply public record. Hopefully DA Mark Peterson is quickly learning that the real culprits are Eberhart and Lawrence. The call to investigate me is more like Richard Nixon trying to find out who Deep Throat was. :-)

  46. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It would appear that the “inquiry” may be related to trying to find out who your “source” was.

  47. Doctor J Says:

    My sources, as yours, are protected by the First Amendment, but I guarantee you that Cheryl Hansen has never shared any information of what occurred in a closed session with me or anyone else that I am aware of. I don’t believe that there is any confidential information disclosed in my April 17 posting that could have possibly come from a closed session of MDUSD that was limited to the umpteen “performance evaluations” of Steven Lawrence noticed by the Board — more likely than not these redundant “performance evaluations” exceeded the scope and purpose of “closed sessions” anyways since the performance review is set out in the Superintendent’s contract. By the Board saying they are going to have a serial performance review lasting over many months, does not give them permission to discuss many other side issues, like salary, or other indirectly related issues and call them “confidential”. Its all set forth in the California Attorney General’s guide to the Brown Act. If the Board chose to discuss with Lawrence, or Lawrence chose to disclose, during his serial performance reviews his seeking other employment, that is beyond the confidentiality protection of “closed sessions”. For amusement, go back to October and chart every Agenda that had down “Superintendent Performance Review” down and you will see a clear pattern of the Board to subvert the Open Meeting law of the Brown Act. Whoever made the complaint to DA Mark Peterson, acted in a manner I think Cheryl Hansen described very articulately: thinly veiled attempt at intimidation of a Board member. Which other Board members were interviewed other than Cheryl ? Therein lies the key.

  48. Seriously... Says:

    Did the DA say the “leak” was a Brown Act issue?

  49. Doctor J Says:

    Did Lawrence disclose confidential “closed session” discussions in job interviews to make himself look better ? Here is what San Juan was looking for — does anyone really believe Lawrence “matched up” to these accomplishments in his short 3 year stint at a small district in West Sacramento, and 2 years at MDUSD with his poor academic success record, lack of follow-through, disdain for a “strategic plan” so important to San Juan, and so many “GATES” you can’t count them, including the one that went “viral” — ToiletGATE. But one can hardly forget many other memorable ones, ButtercupGATE, NugentGATE, and we have the list published on this blog. Read the San Juan “attributes” and see which, if any, you think Lawrence matches up with:

  50. g Says:

    IF Steven Lawrence did, in fact, apply for the San Juan job, it would mean that, if chosen, he was more than willing to leave this district in the lurch with little more than a month’s notice!

    Knowing this; knowing he can not be counted on to even fulfill ONE contract term, why on earth would this board even consider renewing his contract a full year before it expired?

    Any investigation that might be done should center around THAT question.

    I would suggest they begin by looking beyond Eberhart’s ego; though getting past that will be very difficult, since it leaves very little space for anyone else to be in the same room.

    Peterson doesn’t need to find the “source”. He needs to find the bodies!

  51. Seriously... Says:

    I’ve read the Brown Act and it does not address leaks from Closed session as being Brown Act violations. Further, Lawrence’s job search efforts should not have been considered in his evaluation…and therefore I do not believe a job search is closed session material. However, this all might explain Whitmarsh’s reason to recommend an extension of his contract. Dr. J., I bet Hansen was the first and only board member contacted. However, now that the DA knows of Minyen’s complaint he will be sure to contact the other Board members.

  52. Jack Weir Says:

    Theresa, thank you for a fine piece of investigative reporting, and for continuing to focus a bright light on the ongoing violations of law and disregard for public access displayed by district staff and some board members.
    Of course Lawrence’s answer is unsatisfactory – it’s non-responsive to your questions, and is bureaucratic blather. His referall to the district’s reliance on “bond counsel” for legal advice is entirely disingenuous. Bond counsel’s primary fiduciary responsbility is to bond investors, not to taxpayers.
    Good luck getting your hands on the records you requested. The public, and even members of the citizen bond oversight committee have been repeatedly stone-walled by the district to prevent disclosure of incriminating documents.
    The superintendent and the district counsel should be fired for their actions, and members of the board, except for Trustee Hansen, should be removed from their positions by voters.

  53. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Somewhat ironically, Trustee Linda Mayo voted against raising the tax rate at the April 23rd meeting. But then, she voted in favor of the bond resolution, saying she wanted to go along with the will of the board. Some members of the public have told me they were surprised by her apparent willingness to reverse her opposition to the tax increase so quickly. A vote against the bond resolution would have shown stronger opposition to the tax increase, some people have said.

    Mayo also made a motion not to include General Counsel Greg Rolen’s contract among those being extended at the April 23 meeting. This motion was seconded by Hansen, but died in a 2-3 vote. So, she appears to be somewhat conflicted about following his recommendations, but she did not state why she made the motion.

    Seriously, yes, the DA said the inquiry was related a a Brown Act violation related to possible disclosure of information discussed in closed session. As I keep saying, I hope to do a blog post soon laying it all out, as I understand it.

  54. g Says:

    Seriously; Yes the DA knows about Alicia Minyen’s complaint. He made sure it got buried in a deep stack of papers on “someone else’s” desk where it will most likely die of suffocation.

    Peterson and good buddy Eberhart have a lot of quid pro quo running through their veins, and sunshine might cause a clot.

  55. Doctor J Says:

    Any bets if DA Mark Peterson will respond to Theresa’s inquiry today ? And bets if Steven Lawrence will respond to Theresa’s further inquiry today ?

  56. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Based on comments on this blog, I now have more follow-up inquiries regarding whether Lawrence actually distributed the bond documents to trustees and why the district is continuing its practice of paying cost of issuance with the bond premium, which Minyen and the Measure C auditor questioned the first time around. At that time, the bond counsel said she didn’t understand the attorney general’s Poway letter. “No one knows what it means,” she told the BOC. She also said everyone else was doing it and she seemed to believe there was no law against it.

  57. Doctor J Says:

    Wait until Romney appoints a principled U.S. Attorney who might be willing to start a federal corruption probe. Don’t forget the federal Capital Corruption probe in Sacramento in the early 90’s that led to several convictions.

  58. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    It is imperative that DA Peterson investigate the MDUSD board. If he only interrogates Hansen then we know he is part of the cabal that is running the MDUSD into the ground.

    I suspect The Gary is the head of this organization.

  59. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s my understanding that the DA’s office intends to interview all MDUSD board members regarding the Brown Act inquiry mentioned by Hansen.

  60. Doctor J Says:

    The plot thickens. Read Item 4.1 of the October 18, 2008 Board Meeting.

  61. g Says:

    Theresa @ 56; We really need to see the “negotiated sale” Purchase Agreement. The terms in the Resolution of .75% tells me we are looking at a cost to the taxpayers of well over $1.2million before we ever see a penny of money for the schools.

    Whether that is in addition to the “Premium” being used to pay for issuance, or if it is inclusive, it is a whole lot of money for people who don’t give a hoot about the schools.

  62. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: I have requested the purchase agreement and haven’t yet gotten a response from Lawrence. I will also ask board members if they received it for review, which Lawrence appeared to imply in his response. If so, they should be willing to provide it directly to the public, if their clerk refuses to do so.

    Dr. J: Thanks for the minutes. As Sue Berg recalled, Eberhart and Strange (who is an attorney) insisted that backup documentation should be presented to the public at the board meeting in order to avoid a Brown Act violation. Rolen and interim superintendent Dick Nicoll, on the other hand, said it would not be a Brown Act violation, since the documents had been publicly presented at a previous meeting.

    In the April 23 instance, however, the bond documents were NEVER publicly presented and still have not been presented by the district. Perhaps Eberhart’s understanding of the Brown Act has changed since he became part of the board majority and since Rolen and the superintendent now support his arguments.

    I have found my previous story about the October 2008 meeting, in which Eberhart and Strange accused the rest of the board of violating the Brown Act. I will post it separately.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    In the words of Ron Popeil, “And there’s more !” The Board on a Motion by Gary Eberhart voted in closed session 3-2 and directed the Supt to post the Agendas for the Parent Advisory Council in accordance with the Brown Act. This directive to the Supt has never been revoked by official action. Yet, Lawrence continues to violate the Board directive to post the Agenda’s 72 hours in advance of the PAC, both on the website and at the District offices, as required by the Brown Act.

  64. Doctor J Says:

    Another diamond in the minutes ! Gary and Paul approved the minutes as accurate so they can’t deny the accuracy of their own statements ! On March 11, 2008, Eberhart said: “Eberhart, voicing the same concern as Strange did under Board Reports/Issues of Concern, objected to being told that some financial information Board members are receiving is confidential. He quoted from the Brown Act on the need for Board deliberations to be held in public. In regard to budget reductions, Strange reiterated his comments that Mt. Diablo USD receives the lowest state revenue per student than other districts in the county and that the only way to change that is by generating more revenue through a parcel tax. He echoed Eberhart’s concerns about the Brown Act. ”

  65. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Oh my! What a tangled web they have woven.

    Does anyone know if the DA regularly “follows-up” on anon blog posts or if he was directed to “follow-up” on one by a certain someone?

  66. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t believe the DA regularly follows up on anonymous blog posts. It appears that someone brought it to the DA’s attention and may have requested an inquiry.

    Here is the link to my 2008 story about Eberhart’s insistence that it would be a violation of the Brown Act not to present backup documents to the public before a vote:

  67. Fly on the Wall Says:

    Theresa, no, the MDHS principal did not put her promises in writing. Staff were naive to believe in the good faith of a principal. Now the IHTA will not have a new kitchen.

  68. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FOTW: The IHTA will not have a new kitchen? But, I heard it was going full steam ahead (with Prop. 55 funding). What happened?

  69. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As an aside, the Emeryville teachers’ union has voted No Confidence in their superintendent based low morale, teachers feeling unwanted, devalued and disrespected:

  70. vindex Says:

    Again, based on how we’ve seen this district work, everything is cleared by General Counsel Rolen. Is he being investigated for this as well? Is he being investigated for the Bond issue?

  71. Fly on the Wall Says:

    68. From the MDHS principal “The IHTA kitchen is not being funded through Measure C and is no longer on the priorities list.”

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FOTW: But wasn’t the site council supposed to develop that list? Did they agree to take it off?

  73. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Bay Area News Group 2011 Public Employee Salary Database is now online:

  74. Wait a Minute Says:


    For the life of me I can’t understand why MDEA and the classified unions does not also conduct a Vote of No Confidence in Stevie Lawrence and company.

    The district is really owned by the citizens but the organized employees need to stand up against the corruption and incompetence at the top that threatens not just the reputation of the district but ultimately its financial longevity.

  75. Doctor J Says:

    Why does the database show Pete Pedersen making over $12,000 MORE than his “not to exceed” annual salary ?

  76. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to the database, Pedersen earned $76,626 in “other income” plus $2,222 in “misc,” for a total of $78,848.

  77. Doctor J Says:

    @WAM, J. Edgar Hoover said it best: Knowledge is power. MDEA has power with it unspoken knowledge and plays on Lawrence’s weak spots. Not only did MDEA get the 3% bonus [as well did Lawrence & certificated staff]but they also slam dunked SASS who had all Principals planning for an entire day of “Professional Development” on Friday, and instead the Principals get one hour and then the rest of the “day” is left to the discretion of teachers.

  78. Doctor J Says:

    @#76 “Not to exceed $64,368” and Pete gets: “$76,626 in “other income” plus $2,222 in “misc,” for a total of $78,848”. A secret bonus ? Perhaps its time to look at his timesheets and expenses.

  79. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Of course Petey is lining his pockets, why do you think he is so willing to be one of the henchmen of the machine.

  80. Just curious Says:

    Dr J. The rest of the day on Friday will be spent doing all of the room cleaning and paperwork teachers are unable to do while they have a classroom full of students.

  81. Theresa Harrington Says:

    When I saw Superintendent Steven Lawrence last night, I again asked him for the Bond Purchase Agreement, which he still has not sent me. He said he would speak to his secretary about it today. She told me she doesn’t have it.

    I also asked Lawrence if the bond documents were actually distributed to the board. He said they were “made available” to trustees and they knew they could ask to see them if they wanted to. But, he didn’t say whether any of them actually requested or saw the documents.

    Lawrence also said the district is using the same team of legal advisers this time and is doing everything the same way it did last time, so he didn’t understand why there were questions about it now. However, Alicia Minyen has said the district is not doing everything the same this time.

    The bond counsel opinion states that Matt Juhl-Darlington and Associates “examined” documents including the bond resolution.

    “We have not undertaken to verify independently, and have assumed, the accuracy of the factual matters represented, warranted or certified in the documents….” it states. This appears to imply that Juhl-Darlington assumed the bond documents were “presented to this meeting” as stated in the resolution and that the “foregoing recitals” were in fact “true and correct,” as attested to by Lawrence.

  82. g Says:

    Just because they have made a habit of attaching “blank” Purchase Agreements does not make it right, and does not make it OK to just continue poor policy!

    We care. We are watching. This particular sale was (supposedly) carried out as a Citizens’ special request. There are huge TAX implications.

    There are rules to follow, no matter how much Lawrence wants to pretend he just doesn’t “understand”.

  83. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, Minyen pointed out to the DA in her Brown Act complaint addendum that the district’s 2010 was very different from the 2012 resolution:
    It also included the official preliminary statement and bond purchase agreement as attachments.
    It did not falsely claim that they were “presented to this meeting” or falsely claim that such “foregoing recitals are true and correct.”

  84. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#81 How dishonest and misleading could it get based on this statement: “I also asked Lawrence if the bond documents were actually distributed to the board. He said they were “made available” to trustees and they knew they could ask to see them if they wanted to. But, he didn’t say whether any of them actually requested or saw the documents.” The conflict between the bond statements and Lawrence’s version are irreconcilable.

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Do you mean the bond resolution (which states that the documents were “presented” to the meeting)?

  86. Anon Says:

    Someone needs to go to jail for this, most likely Lawrence and maybe Eberhart.

    Sadly, the DA appears to be complicit, and maybe even goes as far as trying to be one of the strongmen for attempting to intimidate Hansen.

  87. g Says:

    “made available” is absolutely not the same as “presented”. Not even close!

    I’m sure they would know that the only board member that might have had sense enough to even care to see the documents would be Hansen–a point made clear by the board’s vote!

    What was she supposed to do–‘make an appointment’ with Lawrence to see them and then take a stand between Rolen and Lawrence as they stood over her shoulder while she read them?

  88. g Says:

    It’s clear that when Lawrence stated that the documents were presented “through the clerk” he DID mean that HE saw them, and chose not to present them to the board before the vote!

    So now, why is he putting it off to his secretary to stall Theresa?

  89. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Hansen said she didn’t recall seeing the documents. In fact, she didn’t even realize the resolution had been revised.
    She said she received an email from the superintendent’s secretary about the revised resolution an hour-and-a-half before the meeting, but hadn’t had a chance to open it, due to closed session.
    She is putting forward a new agenda item for June 25 aimed at making such revisions much clearer to the board and the public.

    g: It looks like you were correct that he didn’t actually present the documents to the board. It definitely appears that Lawrence is stalling on the purchase agreement. Minyen says the bonds close tomorrow, according to the preliminary offering statement.

  90. g Says:

    So, we can all now see the version 3 of the Resolution, and the Preliminary Disclosure is on EMMA; but WHERE is the Bond Purchase Agreement posted? Anywhere?

  91. Theresa Harrington Says:

    That is my point. The district is still withholding it from the public. I will call the DA about this today.

    I just spoke to his secretary and she said she still hadn’t had a chance to ask him about it, because he’s been in meetings. But, she said she plans to ask him about it when he gets out.

  92. Doctor J Says:

    So Theresa, do you feel Lawrence lied to you or misled you last night when he said he in essence said his secretary had the Bond Purchase Agreement and then today his secretary says she doesn’t have it ? How could he have it before, and not have it now ?

    Hansen should just start posting the documents on her webiste and let the sun shine on the TRUTH !

  93. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Last night, he said he would talk to his secretary about what had been sent to me. He appeared to believe he had already sent the purchase agreement to me. I don’t know if he really couldn’t remember whether he had already sent it or not. But, clearly, if he had sent it, his secretary would have it.

  94. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have just left a message for Peterson, who is not in his office at the moment.
    I also intend to ask him about Minyen’s third addendum, which suggested that he investigate the district’s possible misuse of public funds related to its planned use of bond premium to pay issuance costs.

  95. g Says:

    Since this was a “Negotiated” sale, who, from the District, would be allowed to sign on the bottom line? Rolen? Richards? Lawrence?

    Surely the person on the bottom line would have had sense enough to keep a copy of anything with his signature on it!

  96. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You would assume so, especially since Lawrence has asserted that it is “on file” with him.

    Here is the Poway letter from the attorney general, which says the use of bond premium to pay issuance costs is “not authorized by law” and that the attorney general may intervene if such practices continue:

  97. g Says:

    Matt Juhl-Darlington & Associates, Chico, California, is acting as Disclosure
    Counsel for the issue.

    Perhaps a call to his office would bring some “Disclosure” for the issue!

  98. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, I also want to ask why the district is continuing to ignore the attorney general’s Poway letter.
    I have left a message for the deputy attorney general who sent it.

  99. Doctor J Says:

    @93 Theresa, another whole day and you still don’t have it ! How much more disrespectful can the man be ?

  100. Doctor J Says:

    I guess there is always the power of the free press: a front page story with how the Supt is stalling full disclosure and playing hide the ball. A time line in a little box will be really impressive to readers and perhaps to law enforcement.

  101. Doctor J Says:

    @G #97 Amazing ! Follow the money !

  102. g Says:

    This district is advised by its counselors to ‘ignore any opinion that does not have a written statute behind it’, and is directed to ‘skirt any issue that does have a statute behind it’!

  103. Doctor J Says:

    @G#102 Did you get that from a closed session ? :-)

  104. g Says:

    My sources told me. :)

  105. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The bond counsel essentially told the BOC that when the auditor questioned the last time the premium was used to pay issuance costs. But, Minyen points out, the last time the district did that was BEFORE the Poway letter. With the next issuance immediately after the Poway letter, the district did not pay the cost of issuance out of the premium, Minyen said. Now, it’s back to the premium payment, with no public disclosure at a district board meeting. I want to find out if the attorney general agrees with the district’s bond counsel that it’s okay to ignore the Poway letter.

    I’m also wondering who told Lawrence that the district is doing everything the same this time as it did in 2010. Anyone who compares the resolutions and attachments can see that that’s not true. Either he hasn’t read the resolutions himself and he’s relying on what his team of legal advisers is telling him, or he’s hoping no one else will read them. The problem is: he’s the one who signed them and he’s the one who attested that the recitals were “true and correct” in April, when they weren’t.

  106. Doctor J Says:

    Sounds like Lawrence has turned the Dent Center into the “No Tell Motel” — expediency overrules the truth. More than ten days have come and gone and he still refuses to give you the agreement. When are you going to sick the legal beagles on him ?

  107. MoMx3 Says:

    There is a job opening for a Measure C Asst Program Manager… is this a new position or replacing someone?

  108. Theresa Harrington Says:

    That’s a good question. Since the job description isn’t very specific, it’s hard to tell. Perhaps Pete Pedersen will explain this at tomorrow night’s BOC meeting.

  109. Wait a Minute Says:

    Hey everyone,
    I found this editorial by Sac Bee columnist Dan Walters to be interesting because it postulates why is there so much wacko behavior amonst east-bay politicians:

    Maybe Dan Walters would like to take a look at the incestous relationships going on here at the MDUSD?

    By Dan Walters
    Published: Friday, May. 11, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

    The East Bay Municipal Water District captures water from the Sierra snowpack in reservoirs on the Mokelumne River and sends it via sealed pipeline 90 miles to customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, saying it “assures that all customers get high-quality drinking water …”

    One wonders, however, whether the East Bay’s water is contaminated by a germ that compels its politicians to misbehave.

    While there’s a long history of aberrant behavior in the region, it’s been particularly evident recently.

    Within a few months, East Bay politicians were arrested on a shoplifting charge (Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi), resigned after becoming involved in a tawdry sex-and-drugs scandal (Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer) and lapsed into gibberish and accused a journalist of donating money to his opponent (Rep. Pete Stark).

    It’s facetious, of course, to blame water. Nevertheless there is a common syndrome – ingrown politics.

    The East Bay’s voters are overwhelmingly Democrats, so its politicians need only win the party’s blessing – or, more accurately, the patronage of a few pooh-bahs – to hold office.

    If one says the right things to and does the right favors for the right people, one is magically ordained and protected from re-election challenges.

    A rare challenge is what set off 20-term Rep. Stark during an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board.

    Relying on research by his 16-year-old son, the 80-year-old Stark erupted and falsely accused Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders of contributing to his rival’s campaign.

    Stark’s bizarre behavior in Washington is legendary. He once called a congresswoman a “whore” and was denied chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee because of his erratic demeanor.

    Hayashi initially blamed a brain tumor for shoplifting, but eventually pleaded no contest to the charge, paid a small fine and was placed on probation.

    And then there’s Nadia Lockyer, who was elected to the Alameda County board mostly because state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, her husband and one of the region’s dominant figures, transferred huge sums into her campaign. She resigned after admitting to substance abuse problems and an affair with a man she met in rehab, claiming that he had assaulted her during a meeting in a motel room.

    In one bizarre email, she claimed that her husband supplied her with drugs – which he denies. But he has a history of rather strange behavior himself, including public meltdowns.

    It’s something, and whatever causes East Bay politicians to misbehave appears to be infectious. In March, a Southern California assemblyman, Roger Hernández, was arrested on a drunken driving charge in Concord – in a state car, no less.

    Read more here:

  110. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Speaking of East Bay agencies and politicians, the attorney general’s office would not say whether they intend to follow up on the district’s plan to use bond premium to pay issuance costs.
    The attorney general’s spokeswoman acknowledged that Alicia Minyen sent them a copy of her Brown Act complaint and possible misuse of public funds complaint, but noted that those complaints are seeking action from the District Attorney.

  111. Wait a Minute Says:

    Maybe Alicia needs to resend it to the AG’s office with revisement seeking action from the AG instead of the DA?

    Maybe that would let DA Peterson off the hook here?

  112. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Minyen said she may inquire about that.

  113. g Says:

    Alicia may need to include a bit of information about a possible conflict of interest with DA Mark Peterson being the person who wrote the “Pro” comments on the ballot, along with his up front City of Concord Mayoral support of Eberhart in 2008.

  114. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Minyen did mention in her Brown Act complaint that Peterson endorsed Measure C.

    On another note: I sent a PRA to the district today for the bond purchase agreement, based on the superintendent’s failure to produce it after three written requests and one verbal request (with the first request sent June 5).

    Later in the afternoon, I got a message from the superintendent’s secretary saying she thinks she has it after all. But, since it was a hard copy and she didn’t have it in electronic form, she apparently didn’t realize that was it. Also, she said it has a lot of blanks on it. So, hopefully, I’ll be receiving that version by tomorrow. I have also requested the final, executed version, with all changes made after April 23.

  115. Doctor J Says:

    @#114 If she didn’t think she had it, how were the Board members supposed to get it ? Reminds me of “Who’s on First?” Either its an incredible cover-up or pure incompetence.

  116. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have just posted a “June 20 update” to this blog with more email exchanges between Lawrence and me about this.

  117. g Says:

    …And why is Isom’s email time stamped at 7:31 on the date of the meeting?

    So Cooksey received a FORWARDED copy of an email at 7:31? Where is the original?

    Obviously an email received during the meeting could not be distributed AT the meeting!

    I also do not see any indication of an attachment on the email.

  118. g Says:

    Check the minutes of 4/23—Cooksey was not listed as even being there!

  119. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence digs a deeper hole: he admits the POS and BPA were not provided to or even available to the public — a clear violation of the Brown Act.

  120. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, and this is the basis for Minyen’s Brown Act complaint.
    If Cooksey received an email with the bond purchase agreement to print, copy and “make available,” then why didn’t she give it to the board and to Minyen?
    The final version was signed May 30, more than a month after Minyen filed her April 25 Brown Act complaint.

  121. g Says:

    The board voted on a resolution stating: “The form of Purchase Agreement on file
    with the District Board is hereby approved…”

    The Superintendent, the Legal counsel, the Chief Financial Officer are all at fault for allowing this “false statement” to even be presented to the board for a vote.

    The Board is at fault for not properly preparing themselves for the job they are entrusted to perform.

    Meeting after meeting they vote on items that they obviously have not read, much less studied.


  122. Alicia Says:

    Theresa, I actually haven’t asked for the POS or BPA. I listened to my public comments again from 4/23. Because I was under the impression that the resolution would be amended and brought back to the board at a subsequent meeting, I stated that I expected the POS and BPA to be attached to the Agenda (because of the language in the resolution indicated that such documents were “presented to the meeting of the District Board”). I actually expected a presentation during the 4/23 meeting, and I commented that it would be difficult to present the POS and BPA in just a few minutes. I also commented that that the POS and BPA be separately discussed and separately approved, rather than including the approval of these important documents in with the resolution. As Mr. Lawrence stated, the resolution said the POS and BPA has “been presented to this meeting of the district board…” Any reasonable person would interpret this to mean that these documents would, by default, be presented to the public, since the “meeting of the board” is held in front of the public.

  123. Alicia Says:

    @G – #121 – I agree that the Board of Trustees has a duty, especially involving a decision that results in a tax rate increase, to perform adequate due diligence to ensure that they are fully informed prior to vote. This mess is precisely what can happen when a Board of Trustees essentially waives their duty and responsibility by giving staff authority that they otherwise don’t and should not have in the ordinary course of business.

    It is very irritating that the district appears to down play the events surrounding the Resolution especially when the Brown Act concerns relate to a tax rate increase to be assessed on over $29 Billion in property in Contra Costa County that will cost taxpayers $227 million.

  124. Alicia Says:

    On the upside, it appears the $89 tax rate estimate is reasonable. I forgot to assume the IRS subsidy payments pertaining to the CREBs.

  125. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Alicia, Thanks for clarifying your comments. My point is that you stated the documents should be “presented to the meeting.” As you suggest, any reasonable person would assume that would be public. If Lawrence had the documents available, he should have stated that and made them available to you and anyone else who wanted to see them.

  126. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence clearly engaged in deception, sleight of hand, was misleading, and it continues. Shameful for a Superintendent of 32,000 children.

  127. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH – did you get all the docs you asked for and were told would be provided? Did you get answers / responses to all your questions posted above in this blog post?

  128. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I got the bond purchase agreement and the preliminary official statement. However, I have not gotten answers to all of my questions.
    As I previously noted, the district does appear to be making an effort to mark revised agenda attachments as “updated” and to leave the original documents online so the public can see what has been updated. However, Superintendent Lawrence is still resisting Trustee Cheryl Hansen’s suggestion that he make an announcement about such updates so the public will know that a revision has been made and what the revision is.
    Rolen has not yet provided me with the “thorough analysis” of the Poway letter that Lawrence said was provided to the board regarding the bond cost of issuance. I have not yet received a response to my PRA for that document.
    It appears that Lawrence, Rolen and Eberhart want to be able to claim they have definitive proof that they are abiding by the law when they use bond premium to pay underwriters — and the same legal advisers who are giving them that advice — without showing the alleged proof to the public.
    Also, the DA’s office has acknowledged receiving Minyen’s Brown Act and improper use of public funds complaints, but is not willing to divulge the status of those complaints — or whether they are even being pursued.

  129. Wait a Minute Says:

    Wow Theresa,

    I’m sure that the reason Rolen has not given you the “thorough analysis” is because it doesn’t exist and they are attempting to write something up after the fact.

    This is a minefield that Rolen might not escape. He has been and continues to break many ethical rules that lawyers are supposed to follow and this one could lead to him losing his license if he is not careful.

    I predict that Rolen and his Chico buddy that he “persuaded” the MDUSD to hire Mr. Matt Juhl-Darlington esq will attempt to blame the real bond counsel that they associated in to do the real work while Matt took a big fat cut.

  130. g Says:

    Quoting Theresa: “Eberhart said the board received “extremely definitive assessments of the process we’re using.” He said it’s an important issue and it’s important for the public to know that the district is operating appropriately.”

    Could I suggest holding Eberhart’s toes to the fire on these “extremely definitive assessments”. If Eberhart refuses to “let the public know”, then someone else on the Board should have a copy of the assessments.

  131. anonadad Says:

    @G #130: yes, please suggest that Cheryl Hansen have a copy of the assessments. She is currently the only Board Member that the public trusts and Steven Lawrence, Rolen, and Eberhart have made it a point to bully her into silence/submission; however, Cheryl Hansen is not even phased by their bullying. She continues to question, and insist on transparency for the public. I believe that if Cheryl Hansen has a copy of these assessments, all of the public and their children will benefit.

    @Wait a Minute #129: what Rolen and Juhl-Darlington have financially gained from the district’s general fund is literally “taking candy from a baby”; the baby is each student in our district that is receiving less because Rolen and Juhl-Darlinton have taken away academic opportunities (candy)from each student. In addition, Rolen’s fiance’ is close to making a 6 figure paycheck for this last year; yet, the public is not provided with the number of hours her AIS company has provided. I have to blame taxpayers (myself included) that we allow these unethical antics to continue. During this past school year, I have read this blog and pinpoint the problem of irresonsible spending and unethical proceedings; my conclusion is that: Steven Lawrence, Eberhart/Whitmarsh, and Rolen are all in cahoots with ignoring what is in the best interest of students (and I have 2 yet to graduate), and continue to make covert decisions in their best interest. At this point, I am encouraging every person I know in my neighborhood and church to not vote for Eberhart and Whitmarsh (although she has not yet stated whether or not she’ll run); what would be helpful for me from this blog is what candidates my wife and I SHOULD vote for in November.

  132. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anonadad: Please note that this blog will not endorse any candidates. However, the Contra Costa Times’ editorial board may endorse candidates. Also, of course, blog readers are free to post their comments regarding candidates and the election.

  133. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, here’s a primer on Public Records Act requests, in case anyone else wants to request information from the district:

  134. g Says:

    Excellent article from Mr Peele. I guess the term “cumbersome” which is so often used by MDUSD officials might be considered insubordination.

  135. Doctor J Says:

    Despite Mr. Peele’s great article, Rolen continues to defy the law, thumbing his nose at anyone who challenges him — when will someone pursue the next step not talked about by Mr. Peele ? File a lawsuit under the PRA and collect the attorney fess for doing so from MDUSD. When the Board has to write that check, maybe in the immortal words of Lawrence “a lesson will be learned.”

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