About 10 years ago – maybe more, maybe less, my editor at the Daily Pilot approved an April Fool’s Day column in which I confessed that I had been lying about not having watched television since 1994. It was an elaborate piece that went into great detail about my secret television watching habits and included a description of a small satellite dish that was hidden inside a hollowed out swamp cooler unit on my roof.

It was all bogus, all in fun. But one reader – someone who falls in that space between and acquaintance and a friend – e-mailed me to tell me that she no longer wanted to speak to me. Ever. And she was serious.

A couple of years ago, we ran into each other and she acted as though nothing happened.

Most of you realized right away that my blog post of three days ago on April 1 was bogus. A few did not but none of them got mad. The interesting thing about the comments of people who didn’t get the joke is that they were happy for me, stating something to the effect that it was great that there would finally be someone on the inside who was a straight shooter (my term for the collective sentiments).

That doesn’t say much for the district administration but it’s not surprising. I wrote a few months ago that in 30 years I have lived in Costa Mesa, I have never seen the district’s administration in such disarray. From John Caldecott’s continued whistle-blower revelations to a lawsuit by two respected former members of the administration, to paying an already highly-paid bureaucrat not to retire, to mismanaging the new stadiums at CdM High and Costa Mesa High, to the continued poor performance of many Costa Mesa schools, to a rodent infestation at Costa Mesa High, to the prom draft scandal, to the cheating scandal, and many more, there has been more turmoil in the N-MUSD in the last three years than in all the years prior.

The administration is aided and abetted by a compliant school board – a club, really – that fails to ask the key questions and fails to hold any district official accountable for anything.

But the worst element of all this mismanagement is the shabby treatment of the district’s teachers. Actually, no, that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is having this treatment continue, then listening to the school board club members tell everyone how much they appreciate our teachers.

Their disconnect would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.

None of this is should be a surprise. This bureaucracy is doing what it has always done: Sticking its head in the sand, commenting only to deny everything and waiting for everything to blow over. In some cases, that waiting, can cost taxpayers a lot of money in legal fees.

And that is no joke.

Steve Smith

P.S. I haven’t done the precise calculations, but I believe that Deputy Supt. Paul Reed still makes more than his boss, Supt. Frederick Navarro.

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