Hubbard Racy Emails Part Of A Pattern?
I've avoided commenting much about the brewing scandal involving Newport-Mesa Unified School District Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard because his case is in the initial stages in the courts. I've felt, and still do feel, that he should be given the opportunity to clear his name in court. He is charged with two felonies, apparently for the misuse of public funds while in his previous job as Superintendent of Schools in Beverly Hills. His co-defendant is a woman who worked with him in Beverly Hills, Karen Anne Christiansen.
REGISTER PUBLISHES EMAILS
Yesterday Tony Saavedra in his OC Watchdog column in the Orange County Register, HERE, published emails obtained through a Public Records Request that covered several years of a relationship Hubbard and Christiansen had both while working together and afterward, when Hubbard began working in the Newport-Mesa job. Those emails can only be described as graphic, sexual in nature and indicative of just what might have prompted Hubbard to bestow public funds on a woman with whom he had a less-than-professional relationship.
DAILY PILOT QUOTES SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS
Joseph Serna in the Daily Pilot published a follow-on article this evening in which he refers to the Register article and also quotes the emails. You can read it HERE. His subtitle online is quite bothersome to me. It reads, "Exchanges between the Newport-Mesa schools chief and his former subordinate in Beverly Hills doesn't bother some on the school board." What I want to know is, why not?
FLUOR - "THEY'RE CONSENTING ADULTS"
Serna quotes long, long time school board member Martha Fluor as stating, "I take it with a grain of salt. They are consenting adults." Later in the piece Serna quotes her as saying, in response to some specific references Hubbard apparently made to Christiansen in emails, "So, you know, he's a very affectionate person and expresses him and does say some witty things, and that's the type of relationship when you're working with a superintendent. You develop a bond of trust and closeness that's not necessarily sexual." Is that right, Mrs. Fluor? Really?
SCHOOL BOARD TOO BLASE'
It astounds me that elected leaders on the school board have taken such a blase' attitude about this issue. I was willing to wait until the outcome of the legal actions before commenting, but the release of the emails by the media changed that. They clearly show a man who was using his position of power in a relationship with a subordinate and it resulted in the misuse of public funds. I mean, the articles imply that he paid off his girlfriend with a $20,000 stipend because he had been unkind to her while she was grieving. Geez!
REMEMBER STEPHEN WAGNER?
If the quotations attributed to Fluor and to other members of the school board in Serna's article are accurate, it causes me much concern for the diligence of those members. We have only to recall the pathetic case of Stephen Wagner, the former finance director for the school district, who embezzled nearly $4 million back in the late 80s and early 90s, was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, where he died at age 43 of AIDS-related causes. Daily Pilot columnist Bill Lobdell reminded us of that case recently, HERE.
ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH - AGAIN?
If the school board is dozing at the switch again, then the voters need to remember this at the next election. This will certainly generate more comments about some of the trustees on the board overstaying their welcome. The way Fluor shrugs this off with a kind of "boys will be boys" comment makes me question her judgment. It seems to me that it's about time for someone to take a good, hard look at Superintendent Hubbard's activities since his appointment four years ago. Was his lapse of judgment in Beverly Hills a one-time thing or part of a pattern of inappropriate, and perhaps criminal, behavior? It seems unlikely that the school board is interested in taking the lead. If they won't, who will? I'd really like to hear what School Board President Walt Davenport has to say about this...