Sep 09, 2008
Marlene Draper, The Orange County Register "When one of the ABC trustees indicated that the constituents of CUSD would be unhappy with the proposed increase in compensation, trustee Marlene Draper commented, 'It's not about them,' and pushed forward the vote approving the new, more lucrative contract offer."
The OC Register published this excerpt from a report by the OC District Attorney, dated September 2, 2008. Draper's statement was quoted from a February 25th closed session board meeting to discuss a permanent employment contract for Superintendent Carter. Draper's comment was in response to reform trustees Ellen Addonizio, Anna Bryson and Larry Christensen, who argued that a proposed $58,000-a-year raise was too high in light of the district's pending fiscal crisis. Their point was that such excesses were not in the best interests of the "them" in question...the constituents of CUSD. The District Attorney took issue with Draper's insulting, wrong-headed remark, concluding the report by mocking Draper with the obvious truth: "It is all about them."
Jul 08, 2007
Marlene Draper, The Los Angeles Times "I wouldn't say it was secret. I would say it was supposed to be confidential."
This is Draper's testimony before the grand jury as she tried to defend the board of trustees' illegal, secret behavior. Since "secret" and "confidential" are synonymous, she offers a difference without a distinction. Now that really smells.
Jul 08, 2007
Seema Mehta, The Los Angeles Times "During the meeting, the board agreed to settle a potential lawsuit with the general contractor for the district's new $35-million headquarters. The district paid the firm an extra $3.8 million and signed the settlement during a closed-session meeting in August. Although potential litigation legally can be discussed during closed session, prosecutors questioned why once the matter was settled it was not made public. Lubinski asked why the district was trying to "hide" the cost overrun and deemed the superintendent evaluation meeting "a secret board meeting.” Draper said the board discussed in closed session that the payment should not be made public because it could make it easier for other district contractors to drive up prices."
Thanks for the explanation, Marlene. At least now we can all rest easy knowing that the improper concealment of your financial mismanagement wasn’t your only purpose when you violated the state’s open meetings law.
May 07, 2007
Marlene Draper, CUSD Board of Trustees Meeting, May 7, 2007 "The Waldrip report said that it wasn't technically illegal. It just said that it ... smells."
Draper made this statement in response to a resident who criticized her for historically engaging in nepotism and cronyism by discussing and voting on district contracts with Culbertson, Adams and Associates, an environmental firm where Draper's daughter, Shawna Schaffner, serves as CEO. The Waldrip report had admonished the trustees to avoid the appearance of such improprieties, and cited the Culbertson and Adams agreement as an example. Judge Waldrip advised any trustee with such family relationships to abstain from such discussions or votes in the future, and speculated that the public would see the end of such improprieties as more reasonable judgement prevailed at CUSD in the future. Draper and the other Fleming trustees never apologized or took personal responsibility for any of the numerous wrongdoings confirmed by Waldrip. Instead, Draper disregarded Waldrip's admonitions and advice, discussed and voted for her daughter's contract at the first opportunity, and twisted Waldrip's words to justify her continued unethical conduct. Rather than raise the ethical bar at CUSD, as Waldrip recommended, Draper disregarded ethics and defended the bare legal minimum as good enough for CUSD ... even if it "smells." The crowd and the press were shocked. The new superintendent, Dennis Smith, put his face into his hands and shook his head in disbelief. The only person in the room who didn't seem to get it, was Draper.
Jan 05, 2007
Marlene Draper, The Orange County Register "The most important factor is to make sure someone independent is looking at the entire situation ... Hopefully Judge Waldrip will come forward with some recommendations of how we can tighten this up and make this an even better district. I feel very comfortable that whatever comes out will benefit the district."
Gee, Marlene, any chance you heard about Waldrip's wishy-washy report before hand? Waldrip failed the "independence" test from the start, and though the report strained to make excuses for virtually everyone at CUSD, it's scope was actually limited to very few real issues. And how about those recommendations -- very little bark and absolutely no bite. The report clearly shows that no blame or accountability for you, your colleagues or staff were ever intended. No wonder you're comfortable.
Mar 14, 2003
Marlene Draper, The Orange County Register "I hope that we would look at schools that would appreciate the improvement for their children."
Trustee Draper made this sarcastic remark to rebut the crowd's vocal disapproval of the district's proposed expansion of Arroyo Vista School at the March 9, 2003 Board of Trustees meeting, where local residents made public comments unanimously opposing the district's expansion plans. The meeting was carefully controlled by district officials to avoid discussion of the actual issues of concern to residents (i.e., overbuilding on such a small school site, unsafe traffic and other impacts on the local community, increased usage of the adjacent community park, etc.). Public speakers were kept to one minute instead of the usual three minutes for remarks and were met with sharp reminders from officials that the evening's discussion was centered on K-8s in general, not Arroyo Vista in particular. Draper's comment was rebuffed with defiant applause from the Arroyo Vista crowd who opposed any change to their school, neighborhood and park.