There is this other matter… John Caldecott. Remember him? He’s the district’s ex-human resources guy who dared to raise questions about what he believes are improprieties in the district as well as the creation of a “hostile working environment.”

Caldecot’s not going away, either. Next month, he will have his day in court, at which time taxpayers will either get the transparency they want and need (and which is being provided by the cities of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, thank you very much), or that day will be delayed a bit longer. Ultimately,  however,  the documents that support Caldecott’s assertions of unethical behavior and his subsequent termination when he asked questions will be revealed.

The whole affair has yet to be fully understood by the out-of-town superintendent (he lives in Long Beach) and the seven school board members. They do not seem to realize the eventuality of the situation and how their hard line on revealing documents is not only damaging their images, but if Caldecott is right, voters are going to have serious questions about their judgment. Coincidentally, there is a prominent national politician who is experiencing a serious fall due to a failure to release documents.

Caldecott is raising important questions about administrative protocols and spending, and about the firing of a possible whistle-blower. If for no other reason than it is the right thing to do, one of the board members has to step up and take the lead in being the responsible person voters expected when they cast their ballots. If Caldecott is wrong, great – we can all move on. But if he is right, well…

It’s easy to lead when there is plenty of money for people and programs. Anyone can look like a hero when times are good. The true test of character is how someone acts when things get rough; when a decision has to be made between protecting someone and fulfilling one’s obligations to the people who elected you.

Those people did not vote for a person as much as they voted for what that person represents. Even a cynic like me wants to believe that when the time comes, fairness, responsibility, and a strong moral compass will drive decision-making. But it’s hard to hold that line when the only side we’re hearing is from a guy who’s not asking for money, he’s asking for truth, accountability, and justice.

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