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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

NEW: Who Is SDEA Board Member Dennis Schamp (And Why Is He Being Recalled Too)?

Well…actually I have to give credit where credit is due.  The title for this particular posting originates at the Breakfast Club site.  Apparently, they know who I am just from knowing me through SDEA.  Well, that and my comments on their FB site, and my public commentary about their interesting versions of what’s what.  So I thought it only fair to tell you who I really am.  Using their title is just my way of confusing the masses when searching.

I didn’t start out to become a teacher.  No…my first love was banking and accounting.  I began my career as a night-crew poster for San Diego Federal/Great American Federal/Great American Bank back in the 1980s.  You know them…they had the blue roofs and the three-seagull logo.  It was a really good job with lots of perks.  Eventually, I became the manager of the accounts payable department…and then the big real estate bust of 1988-89 hit, and the bank was taken over by the government.  As the people were being let go right and left, I received an interesting job offer from the owner of the comic-book store I shopped at.

He was looking for a full-time manager.  Well, butter my biscuit!  I reached out for that gold ring immediately, and began my new career as a retail business manager.   During the ensuing 15 years, I met many interesting people, schmoozed with celebrities and comic-book icons, and worked my way into a staff position at the Comic-Con.

During that time, my children began appearing, and I started out as a room parent.  For six-plus years, I cut, pasted, glued, taped, graded, and worked my way through 3rd grade several times.  Many of the teachers told me I was a natural and that I should consider a career as a teacher.  Thanks to the generosity of a relative, I was able to return to school to get my credentials, and my master’s degree.  Although I continued to work part-time at the comic store (once it’s in your blood…), I immersed myself in the education field, where you find me today.

Why did I become a board member?  Well…numerous times during my career I found myself challenged by less-than-proper administrative personnel…those who felt they could run roughshod over the new guy.  Thanks to the help from members on our board and the wonderful SDEA staff, I prevailed at every turn.  So, in 2011, when a seat opened up on the Area 3 board for a secondary representative, I felt it was time to give back to the people who had helped me.  For the past year and a bit, I’ve done my part to help ALL members – not just the vocal minority or majority.  Sure – some decisions by the board are not liked by all (see the recent agreement for evidence of that). And yet, I feel that I’ve done more good than harm.

And now, I find myself the focus of a recall attempt by a person who wonders why I didn’t contact her personally to get her opinion on that agreement.  Apparently, she blames me personally for the passing of our new agreement – you know, the one that saved the jobs of 1,500 employees of our fine school system.

To her I can only say this: I had a few jobs on that agreement…but getting it to pass was NOT one of those jobs.  For the record:

I worked with the budget scrub team to go over the district’s budget numbers, trying to find any money (none).

I worked with the board to discuss and analyze the agreement, which was presented to us by the bargaining team.

I voted to bring the agreement to the membership for a vote.

I voted yes.

So, Ms. Marble I ask you: where in this chain of events do you find fault with my actions?  Over 3,000 of our members voted to pass this agreement, and over 1,400 voted to keep it from passing.  I will assume from your decision to have me recalled that you were one of the 1,400.

You lament that I did not ask you what you wanted.  Did it ever occur to you that I have an email address on file with SDEA, and that I am reachable by district email?  Did it every occur to you to call me, email me, or snail-mail me to tell me your opinion?  Communication is a two-way street – as I’m sure you tell your students every day.

I’ve already apologized to you for not contacting you personally.  Now, how about returning the favor and stopping the recall effort against me.  I’d really like to focus on getting education dollars back to San Diego, rather than run a recall campaign that will cost our union thousands of dollars.

What do you say?



Well – I finally have a reason as to why I’m being recalled…apparently I forgot to personally ask someone at Clairemont High School about her opinion of the agreement before it was passed by our members.

Stephanie Marble – If if was unable to contact you directly and personally…I’m sorry.  I surely wish I had had the time to call every single member in my area to get their opinion.  Instead, I did what many board members do – I emailed my ARs and asked them to discuss it with their sites and then relay that information to me.  Perhaps your AR did not receive that message…I was working from older emails.  To be sure, many did reply – with both pro and con answers, all of which I took to heart before voting to bring the agreement to the membership.  Surely you cannot be blaming me for the 3,000 yes votes that passed the agreement, can you?

Now – let’s clear the air about the current posting from the Breakfast Club.  They’ve accused me of some interesting things, and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.

First, this tidbit:

“At last Wednesday’s SDEA Rep. Council meeting, Schamp interrupted the pre-meeting Q&A to grab the microphone from Freeman’s hand and read a typed, two-minute speech about his objections to the recall.

Well…I figured if The Breakfast Club could use the question and answer forum to read a prepared statement, then I should be able to do the same.  Unless you want the rules changed, you should be able to play by them yourself.  And using the microphone was just my way of being heard.  You’ll notice I finally gave it back to Bill when I had spoken my piece (you can read the entire speech on a previous entry).

Now, the lies begin:

“Schamp ended his tirade by announcing that he just found out that he was being recalled, too, and storming back out of the building with the loud declaration regarding those who dared recall him saying, “And they can kiss my ass!”

I believe my exact words were: “TA DA!”  with my hands raise high, as I left the building to return to my school site’s open house.  At the TA DA, many people were heard to say “it’s about time,” and “hooray,” and other exclamations of joy.  Let’s be clear:  AT NO TIME DID I TELL ANYONE TO KISS MY ASS.  Not to anyone’s face, not in passing, no one no how.  I know that the Club is fond of making up stories and calling them facts.  Well, this is another one.

To continue:

And his outburst at Rep. Council wasn’t the first time Schamp has shown such blatant disregard for democracy. This past spring, Schamp worked with online persona “JK Masterson” (a blogger whom Schamp apparently met through his connections in the comic book world, and definitely NOT a teacher) to create a hit piece blog about our union.

How is writing a blog a blatant disregard for democracy?  Isn’t the Breakfast Club writing a blog that disagrees with the union’s position on most items?  Are they showing a disregard for democracy?  A clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

And this:

“Read this again. SDEA Board member Dennis Schamp chose to work overtime (there were more than 25 pages of these blog posts online before the blog was shut down) with the persona “Masterson” to lodge false and misleading attacks on anyone choosing to disagree with him rather than having the courage to make these statements himself. “

Gee…if members of the board can work with The Breakfast Club to post pieces online about how they disagree with the board’s policies and decisions, then there should be nothing wrong with anyone else from the board doing the same.

Finally, this gem:

“There is a real difference between using your own name and posting your opinions about your own union online, which the SDEA members of the Breakfast Club proudly do, and hiding behind an anonymous online person who has nothing to do with our union to launch personal attacks that you don’t want to be associated with. Do SDEA members really want someone like Schamp as an SDEA Board member representing our union?”

Damn straight I’m someone you want on your union board.  I’m the guy who takes on all comers.  I’m the pit bull who will  gnaw on the bone of lies to expose the marrow of truth (now THAT’S an interesting visual.) I’m the guy who will work overtime to make sure that you know the real deal, the truth behind the lies and innuendo.  I’m the board member who will not go gently into that good night.  We all know who the main voice behind The Breakfast Club is.   And here I am, in the light of day, giving you my opinion.  Happy now?

NOTE: The items contained in this blog represent the opinion of me, myself, and I.  I do not claim to speak for any other person, group, or organization.  I promise not to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater.  Ain’t free speech grand?


The official notice of my recall came in the mail yesterday; however, I found out about it by phone on Friday.

Now…according to the B Club’s website/FB page, this recall is (gasp) not from them.  According to them, this is an “independent recall” attempt.

Well…that MIGHT be true.  Here’s their statement from their FB page:

“Your one-stop shop for recall materials. Note that Scott Mullin’s recall petition has been added, as well as a petition for Dennis Schamp which was filed independently from the Breakfast Club.”

Sure enough…their little link from their FB page sends you to a page where you can download all of the recall petitions.


If this is an independent recall attempt…filed apart from the Breakfast Club…they why are they promoting it on their website?

Once again, their fuzzy logic has taken hold of the Internet world.

If you can get the info from their site, then they are DEFINITELY INVOLVED with my recall.  If they’re not, then I formally request that it be removed from their Facebook page and their website, so they can remain truly independent.  Let the filer distribute the petition on her own…make it a real independent recall attempt.  If she’s using your resources, you must be involved in some way.

At least I now have a name…STEPHANIE MARBLE has submitted me for a recall.  She’s a  teacher at Clairemont High School.  My Alma-mater.  Class of ’79 (That’s the Ridgemont High gang, thankyouverymuch).  Someone from my high school wants me out of office.   Wow.   Makes you wonder who I pissed off back in ’79 to have that much contempt for my services reach through the decades to Ms. Stephanie Marble.  Or, maybe she’s taking her cues from The Breakfast Club, and is being directed by them behind the scenes.  Sadly, since these don’t have to be filed with a reason, the world may never know.

Thank you, Stephanie.  I’m glad to see you taking an active role in our union.  I just wish I knew what I’ve done to provoke you into trying to remove me from office.  You know where to find me.  I’ll wait…but only for so long.


A well-written, easy to understand discussion about education funding in California and the need for passing Proposition 30, by Bill Freeman, president of SDEA:  (words below – here’s the link to the UT:   http://web.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/22/prop-30-invests-in-education-economy/


California once had a public school system that was second to none. Its community colleges, California State University and UC campuses were the envy of other nations, which rushed to send their students to study here. Our elementary, middle and high schools were doing an outstanding job in preparing students for what was then called “the computer age.” Students had new textbooks, entered their experiments in science fairs, sang in the chorus, played musical instruments, took classes in shop, studied in the school library, went on field trips, met with school counselors, and had a well-rounded education that prepared them for new jobs, careers and to be responsible citizens.

Now, without the enrichment programs, up-to-date textbooks, tech-prep courses, libraries, counseling, and classroom aides, our schools are struggling to produce students who are well-prepared for college and work in the 21st century. Why? Somewhere along the line, California stopped investing in education, and it has hurt us all.

Over the past four years, $20 billion has been cut from California schools while 30,000 educators have been laid off. California ranks 48th in teacher-to-student ratio, and 50th in the ratio of librarians, counselors and nurse-to-students. Whereas once California ranked in the top 10 states in per-pupil spending, it now ranks 47th in the nation, eight states below Mississippi. The San Diego Unified School District has had $400 million in cuts in the past four years, which has resulted in a loss of counselors, nurses, and support services. Our class sizes have increased in grades K-3 and our students have five fewer instruction days in their school year. Our teachers are struggling to help students meet the high standards required of schools in California. Instead of the California Dream, we face the Impossible Dream.

The California Dream is still attainable, but we must start by reinvesting in our schools. A sound, well-funded education system is required to keep our economy strong for the next generation. That’s why teachers are backing Gov. Jerry Brown’s funding initiative, Proposition 30. The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act invests in our children and in a strong economy. It’s the only measure that stops the cuts, avoids the steep tuition hikes, and invests in our schools and colleges starting this year so we can prepare the next generation for the jobs of the future.

Prop. 30 asks California’s wealthiest to pay a little more for seven years so that the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden. Under Prop. 30, families making below $500,000 a year will pay no additional income taxes. Yes, the measure calls for a temporary one-quarter of one percent increase for four years, but even with the increase, our sales taxes will be lower than they were last year.

Prop. 30 is not a panacea and, sorry to say, it will not provide all the funding our schools desperately need. But it will protect our schools from an additional $6 billion in midyear cuts. More importantly, it will prevent an additional $42 million in cuts to San Diego Unified schools this year, and end the possibility of shortening the school year by 14 more days. Instead, that money will keep class sizes from growing larger, prevent more tuition hikes, and retain educators in our classrooms.

Prop. 30 is worth our investment.

Freeman is president of the 7,000-member San Diego Education Association. He is a third-grade teacher and was San Diego City Teacher of the Year in 2009-10.


During our most recent Rep. council (and as mentioned on the previous post), a Breakfast Club member decided to use the Question and Answer portion of the meeting to read a prepared statement…rather than ask a question or look for an answer.  Since the rules clearly have been suspended for a small group of dissident union members, it seemed only fair that I be allowed the same.  Hence, my desire to read my prepared statement during Q&A.  It was clear from the hands that immediately went up, and the voices that tried to tell me shut up, that they were not happy.  So – now you know how I feel when you change/break the rules to suit your own purposes.  I sincerely hope that, in upcoming rep council meetings, that EVERYONE is reminded of the guidelines: Q&A is just that – Ask a question, seek an answer.  Should you not follow those rules, you will be asked to sit down and stop talking.  Period.  Anyone…including me.  If you want something on the agenda to be discussed, submit it in writing to the board and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.  Play nice – or else.

For those of you interested in what I said that night, here’s the full text.  I had to edit it on that evening, as I could tell my welcome was wearing thin and (unlike the Breakfast Buffet), I know when to shut up:


It seems that, during this time when our entire union membership should be diligently working together to preserve education funding in our district and across the state, increase our pay, and return us to a full year of school, there are still several  members who feel the need to work diligently in distracting us from that needed solidarity.

This week, a so-called Action group has once again decided to force a splintering of the membership.  Instead of coming together to work on the two initiatives and the bond measure on our city ballot, they have decided to wrest your focus towards an ill-concieved recall election.

During a time when our board of directors should be working with the entire membership, and our school board towards the passing of Prop 30 and Bond Measure Z, and the defeat of Prop 32, these people would like you to split your focus to deal with series of frivolous recall petitions against five  members of our board: Your duly elected president Bill Freeman; your duly elected treasurer Manual Gomez, your  duly elected Area Representatives Erin Andreasen Kole, Eleanor Evans, and Scott Mullin.

I am speaking to you today not as a board member, but as a regular dues-paying member, just like you.  And I have to say this crap sickens me to the core.  This small splinter group of members, which unfortunately includes our current board secretary and our previous vice president, as well as several members currently in attendance tonight, would rather have us deal with what I perceive to be a  personal vendetta, rather than have us keep our focus on what is really important to the survival of education in our district.

It is my personal opinion that this is an effort to once again divide the union membership at a time when we should be working together.  Their goal is clear – if the ballot measures go against us, they can claim we – your board – didn’t do enough to save education and your future paychecks, which means we have failed you.  Of course, having to split our work and our focus between working for education and against their innuendo will most certainly work in their favor, and may even garner your support for these evil and destructive recall efforts…

which would, of course, leave them free to repopulate the board with people from their group…the same people who were happy to allow 1,500 members – including myself –  to be fired and left without a job or health care over the summer, or longer.  These are the same people who suggested that the fired members should just go on unemployment and apply for COBRA.  The same people who spin the truth on their website to suit their own private agenda.  I say enough is enough.

I urge you not fall for their deception, their pettiness, or their lies. Ignore their attempt at another division of our membership.  Search your conscience, read between the lines, and see this action for what it truly is.  Ignore the attempts at this frivolous recall movement and let us come together as a united membership to save education in San Diego as well as our fine state.  Focus your efforts on passing Prop 30 and Bond Z, and defeating Prop 32, in order to secure a more stable financial situation both for our district and our own livelihood, and not on their nefarious plan.  For as Lincoln said,  A house divided cannot stand.

NOTE: The items contained in this blog represent the opinion of me, myself, and I.  I do not claim to speak for any other person, group, or organization.  I promise not to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater.  Ain’t free speech grand?


Let’s focus on a few specific events from the past few weeks that will highlight the true agenda of that so-called Action Group.  I’ll begin with something that showed up on their blog a few days ago…a little ditty that was partially read out loud at the rep council on Wed. night.

This posting concerns an email sent from the district to all principals, regarding the proper use of district mail, email, and site mail boxes. It referenced the rules about what is and is not allowed to be placed in said mail boxes – specifically, approved mail/documents from SDUSD or SDEA.  It was sent from Larry Schoenke, on behalf of Bill Kowba.

It was a mini-lesson, people: “Hey, kids – here’s a reminder of the rules.  You may have someone trying to break those rules.  Please remind them of the rules.”  Naturally, some people took offense at that email, and posted their complaints.  Here’s the part that I’m most interested in, and one which illustrates how far they will go to get their way.

Here is their first ‘point:’

“When we asked Karen [Ellsworth] about who she had notified about the recall and when, she was honest and forthcoming. She said she immediately notified SDEA Contract Specialists Larry Moreno and Rafal Dobrowolski, SDEA Executive Director Tim Hill, and SDEA President Bill Freeman in order to ensure that the Elections Committee handled the process appropriately.”

Pinocchio Factor: 1: It is quite possible that these were the FIRST people who were notified of the recall.  But they were not the only people notified. It is hard to tell if they left that piece of important information out on purpose…

They continue with:

‘Of these four people, only one of them is actually the subject of a recall. Only one of them has the potential to lose his position. Only one of them regularly talks about chatting on the phone with School Board President John Lee Evans and other District big wigs. And only one of them just led our union in donating $15,000 to layoff-supporter John Lee Evans’ campaign: Bill Freeman.”

Pinocchio Factor: 3: Based on his following, and the number of people who have supported him over the past years, I doubt Bill is in any danger of losing his job.  And why shouldn’t he chat with members of the school district?  That’s what collaboration and group work looks like (just in case you teachers forgot that point).  As for ‘leading’ us to support John Lee…sure, he gave his opinion; and then that item was discussed in open committee, for a good period of time.  Even I was concerned that it might send the wrong message to the membership.  However, when you look at the alternative choice in that election, better to go with the guy you know.  We all voted with our conscience…and there was at least one no vote.

So – using those two pieces of infallible logic, they came to this natural conclusion (the bold is theirs):

“What does this all mean?  SDEA President Bill Freeman has reached out directly to our employer, SDUSD, to shut down dissenting voices within our union. Bill Freeman has asked the District to silence the voices of those of us who disagree with him, and the District is more than happy to comply because they know that keeping Bill Freeman in office is their best bet for continuing to get massive concessions out of SDEA.”

 Pinocchio Factor: 5: If they had actually done their research, they would know this: Karen Ellsworth sent an email about the recalls to EVERY MEMBER OF THE BOARD. That email arrived in my inbox on Monday evening; I would assume it hit the other mailboxes about the same time.  The email to the principals that appears on their website, from Larry Schoenke, was sent out on Tuesday Morning.

Based on faulty logic, they have implicated Bill in an illegal action, without a shred of proof.  They have publicly accused him in print of illegal activity in their recall attempt – I believe that would be known as LIBEL.  This false accusation was also read aloud at the rep council meeting on 9/19 – I believe that would be known as SLANDER.

In Reality – 18 people received the notification about the recall from Karen.  ANY person on that email list could have notified the district about the elections.

Maybe I notified the board: everyone knows I have a hidden agenda.

Wait – I know – It was Barry!  He called Mr. Schoenke and told them about the recall.

Perhaps it was Michelle!  She got the email on Monday night…she certainly had time to contact the district before Tuesday morning and fill them in.

Actually – if you think about their track record of misinformation, that scenario would make more sense…have someone who belongs to both SDEA and the Club place an anonymous phone call or make an anonymous email to SDUSD, then sit back and watch the wheels turn, and use the results to launch a smear campaign against our union Pres.

To be perfectly clear – I’m not saying that ANYONE made the contact with SDUSD…I’m just using their brand of fuzzy logic to present a theory.

Since their facts don’t hold up on this claim, it certainly makes one wonder what other facts they have twisted to their own brand of truth?

What does all this mean?   The most likely answer is that The Breakfast Club is lying to you.  Once again they have twisted the facts to suit their own agenda, leaving out key points and calling it “The Truth.” Of course…since I don’t have access to their “facts,” this is only a guess on my part.

When Will This Nonsense End?

NOTE: The items contained in this blog represent the opinion of me, myself, and I.  I do not claim to speak for any other person, group, or organization.  I promise not to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater.  Ain’t free speech grand?

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