Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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.

Yesterday Tony Saavedra in his OC Watchdog column in the Orange County Register, HER
E, 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.

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?

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?


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 c
learly 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!

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.

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...

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Anonymous Sally said...

You should write about Obama more..

1/13/2011 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Geoff, right on-point. This is indicative of the fact that no one really runs against these Trustees come election time and they have become so vanilla and disconnected from what true leadership is. How much does Hubbard have to offend before they take action? Our School Board needs LEADERSHIP. Maybe Katrina Foley can light that fire. Very disappointed in Fluor's comments.

1/13/2011 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Sally, I can barely keep up with local stuff. Besides, I can't do anything about him being President - I voted against him, but that's it until 2012, when I'll vote against him again. Thanks for reading.

1/13/2011 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


I have met with Hubbard several times since he was hired. I know people who were on the interview panel. He is genuinely a charming guy. I understand he is a bit of a flirt, although I can not confirm this from firsthand experience :).

I think the emails are more interesting from the perspective that they give the prosecution some evidence of a closer than average relationship with Christiansen and that is about it.

It may show some lack of restraint using company property (computers and email systems) that way. As the head of the district he should be setting a good example.

Over all I have decided this is more of a personal embarrassment than any strong indictment of his character and/or job performance.

Just my take.


1/13/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Honeyman said...

Geoff, Good to know you've made your Presidential decision on 2012 already. Will you have a PALIN-2012 bumper sticker on all your vehicles?

1/13/2011 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Nah, probably be a Romney or Jeb Bush sticker! :-)

I've seen enough of our pretend President - two years has been more than enough.

1/13/2011 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce, I suspect most observers of this situation - especially the members of the school board - hope this is just a mistake and it will all turn out OK. I know that's how I felt - until the emails surfaced. That changed my mind.

As the leader of the district Jeff Hubbard has the obligation to be above reproach, particularly in his associations with subordinates. To use district communications to engage in adolescent exchanges with a lover is just plain unacceptable. Bill Lobdell's column that will appear in print Friday has it right.

1/13/2011 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Someone should take a good, hard look at school board member Fluor. She appears to be encouraging this kind of behavior. It may be time to replace her.

And Sally, we hear enough about Obama on television.

1/14/2011 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bullying warrior said...

NMUSD June 14, 2011 (

Kimberly Mimms went in front of the Board to discuss a series of events that started in February. She reported confidentially to the Principal that a teacher was bringing her toddler to class and interrupting class activities. The Principal then told this to the teacher and both bullied, intimidated, and retaliated against the daughter of Kimberly Mimms. They affected her grades and ignored her complaints to the point where her daughter had to be taken out of the class, school, and eventually the school district for her own safety. Kimberly Mimms then wondered if other events such as this had happened before and wanted an investigation, which never happened. In fact, school officials denied it ever happened after Kimberly preceded to file numerous complaints against the school officials in charge involved in the mistreatment unsafe, unequal, unfair educational environment to her daughter.

NMUSD September 27, 2011 (

Mr. Nicks presents concerns “related to the district's long standing practice of reimbursing the district for the cost of substitutes...” Dr. Hubbard gave the reason soon afterwards.

7/13/2013 02:49:00 AM  

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