I won't call Mr. Gilmore "oblivious" as he requested in his letter, but I would use the words pleonastic and ill-informed based upon his one day of research into many complicated issues that confront the Hesperia Unified School District. I certainly respect his, and any other, input into the recall debate, but his seems only to add to the structural imbalance of the debate. And since he implied a false question with respect to me personally, I am compelled to respond.

First, there is absolutely no relationship between myself and the Hesperia Teachers Association. I am neither a member nor an employee of the organization, nor have I ever been or even seek to be. As with most of Mr. Gilmore's letter, his knowingly false assertion that I am affiliated with HTA, albeit worded in the form of a question, is unsubstantiated with any data.

Just as the Daily Press' opinion page editor will gleefully print all things anti-union, I will speak on behalf of things and people that I support because I believe in them. One of the things that I believe in is the fundamental right for workers to unite. My belief in this right is based upon my historical studies of the issue. The Triangle Waist Company factory fire, the Pullman strikes and governmental response, and the meat packing industry of the 1900s - 1920s are but a few reasons that I believe workers, including teachers, have an absolute right to organize. Congress, in 1914, enacted the Clayton Act, which included several major provisions protective of organized labor. The Act stated that "the labor of a human being is not commodity or article of commerce." That statement was, and still is, profound for anyone who labors in this country. The Congress certainly did not pass that law because they wanted to, but because the labor conditions demanded it. Unions exist for very valid reasons, but I personally have never belonged to one. If given my druthers, I would prefer teachers to coalesce into guilds that simply promoted professional growth centered on subject matter excellence. None of this is meant to imply blind support either because unions do act badly, as do administrations, but it should clarify at least one of Mr. Gilmore's questions.

Secondly, I do have children attending school in the district. The idiotic bureaucratic blowback from HUSD that occurred when I noticed extremely harmful curriculum issues is what first got me interested in learning all I could about HUSD. I was always involved in the specifics of my kids' educations, but these profound institutional failures got me interested in the operations of the district as a whole. What I first learned, in the harshest sense possible, was that HUSD did not ever want to be questioned by a lowly parent. The old guard at HUSD (Bray, Challinor, Richardson, Swanson, Gogley, Minton, Hamilton, Helen Rogers, et al) presented a very strong front that explicitly informed me that parents who disagreed with HUSD means and methods, no matter how flawed, were unwelcome. This, to me, was "disgusting," to use Mr. Gilmore's phrasing.

Thirdly, Mr. Gilmore points to a very interesting concern that pro-recallers constantly neglect to mention. This concern is that pro-recallers frequently quote and cite that they have "read the agendas and the board minutes" off the HUSD website (and other sites that simply capture others' content) but they do not even attempt to recognize that the only HUSD minutes and agenda that are available online are ones that have been created since the new board took office. HUSD board meeting minutes are only readily available from our computers going back to December of 2006, when the new board members took office. The new board members took great care and effort to ensure that the actions they took could be scrutinized by the public. The old guard certainly never embraced public debate or scrutiny of their actions and, as the only person in the audience for countless HUSD meetings who did not have any vested financial interest in HUSD; I can assure you that many of their actions were highly questionable. And the many hours that I spent sitting in HUSD board meetings provide sufficient background to assert that board minutes are sometimes to be taken with a grain of salt for they do not always accurately reflect the statements made, but they are the only record that we have to go on. The board members now being subjected to the recall efforts are proponents of openness and debate. They have provided their personal phone numbers to any interested parties who wish to inquire or comment on their actions. They readily admit mistakes, stay the course when they believe in the direction, and are available for discourse.

Finally, I will briefly consolidate and respond to one of Mr. Gilmore's "ten major points," although his count is way off. The Director of Facilities who oversees HUSD construction projects, Diana Gott, is married to the head of, and had substantial vested interest in, Gott Construction, which was awarded the bid for Mission Crest Elementary project. The new board members said no, this is a direct conflict of interest, which it clearly was. The new board then tried to direct staff, with much bureaucratic blowback, to implement a different construction bidding process called Requests for Proposals (RFP). District staff, who felt that it had been okay for those with vested interests to oversee construction projects, put together a highly flawed and highly subjective RFP "process," if you can even call it that for they simply created forms with undefined criteria and then filled them out anonymously. I disagree with Mr. Gilmore's statement that "school district staff has proven they are totally capable to handle a bid process ..." for this very specific reason; they had previously bungled a bid process. That reasonably creates doubt. The new board members then fumbled this ball too. They were trying something new which did not work. They responded and things went back to the old, although not necessarily better, way. If you want to hear the new board member's rationales on this issue; call them.

Mr. Gilmore obviously has put the cart before the horse as he calls for an old board member to step up and fill one of the not quite yet open seats. He even vaguely quotes Eric Swanson, a recent invitee to a grand jury for his role as a CCA board member and then purveyor of services to same CCA schools the day after he quit as a board member, who once said before the 06 election, "the machine is working and it is working well." Voters in November disagreed, but perhaps that has changed. We shall see. But I can assure you Mr. Gilmore, those who once sat are coming forth for they too support the recall since it allows them an opportunity to change the results of a legitimate election; a second bite of the apple so to speak. And some of them are already greedily chomping at the bit.