Apodaca: Let's look at school, city and self governance

February 25, 2011|By Patrice Apodaca

This week I'm sounding off on a few issues facing our community.

School board can still win respect

The first item on my agenda involves the school board.

I'm sure most of the board members at this point wish for a day when they weren't beset by controversy. The widespread criticism over their handling of Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard's legal woes can't be easy to take.

So let me clue them in on a way to diffuse at least some of the disapproval: Do the right thing. Release all of the e-mails between Hubbard and board President Walt Davenport.


The board last week made public a dozen e-mails between the pair, dated Dec. 16 to Jan. 24, in which Davenport expressed strong support for Hubbard, who is awaiting trial on charges of misappropriating public funds while he was Beverly Hills schools chief.

But the board should comply with the Daily Pilot's request to hand over all e-mails between the two officials dating back to Hubbard's 2006 appointment by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. The public has a right to view these communications, a point underscored by an e-mail last month in which Davenport wrote that he would wait a day to tell other board members of Hubbard's request for paid leave.

The delay, Davenport indicated, was motivated by his concern that school board member Katrina Foley would go public with the information before the board's scheduled closed-door session. This end-run around Foley came after Davenport had rejected Foley's request for an earlier meeting to discuss Hubbard's conduct.

Foley is the only board member who has demonstrated a clear commitment to greater openness and accountability. Let's hope her common sense approach wins out, and other board members give more than lip service to the concept of transparency.

'Glee' would have to wait

Next up is the Feb. 22 Newport Beach City Council meeting, which provided some great political theater thanks to a contentious debate over the proposed Ronald Reagan statue.

Council Chambers were packed for the showdown when Councilman Keith Curry, a big Reagan fan who has spearheaded — some would say steamrollered — plans for the artwork, offered a rousing speech on his idol's legacy. His major concession was to suggest the statue be erected in Castaways Park instead of at the new Civic Center.

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