Supt. Frederick Navarro has been out since August 22, recovering from an as yet undisclosed medical condition. My criticisms of his performance in no way mean that I do not wish him a full and speedy recovery.

In the meantime, the district is being run by Russell Lee-Sung, who is the assistant something-or-other and next in the line of succession. Lee-Sung is getting a pay raise to the level of Navarro’s salary while the superintendent is out.

The superintendent’s absence highlights many concerns, the largest being the handling or non-handling of certain public information.

  • On the district’s website, there is no mention of the superintendent’s absence.
  • There is also no mention of the musical instrument scandal, which has made the national news. The Daily Pilot has also covered it, so it’s odd that the district has not issued a statement to the effect that “student safety is our most important blah, blah, blah.” The time for that is long past due.
  • The video from the state-of-the-schools breakfast is not up, and there is no mention of when it will be available. (That’s the $32 breakfast that few on Costa Mesa’s Westside can afford so they get the crumbs of a video on the district’s website but that’s OK because none of the past breakfasts have revealed any substantive state of anything so it probably doesn’t matter and besides, it was “sold out” even though historically at least a third of the attendees have been district employees.)
  • The superintendent – the Navarro one – gets an automobile allowance of $750 per month. Since he is not driving his car, is he still getting the money? (Paid sick time is another story…)
  • The district’s home page has a link to a “Board Meeting Brief”… from the meeting of Sept. 12.
  • Then there is a link to the schedule of “public hearings” regarding the new Area map for the election of trustees by district instead of at-large. Two meetings have been held and the last one is on Oct. 9 at the district HQ. The hearings are supposed to gather input on which map is better, B or G. Map G is the so-called “mystery map” because its origin is a bit sketchy. I’m wagering that the fix is in for map G as it more closely favors the status quo. But, as we know from history that these meetings have to be held to satisfy a requirement so the administration has to go through the motions and pretend they are really concerned about what you have to say.

They want map G – watch it get voted in.

What I really want to know is why this map is labeled “G,” that is, what happened to C, D, E, and F? I can’t help but notice that “G” – the map the district favors – could stand for “Good” while the one they don’t like – B – could stand for “Bad.”

Why is the Daily Pilot reporting on the meetings but the district is not? Read the Pilot story here:

When you do, you’ll read nuggets such as this:

“The district arranged for a school bus to take attendees from the Westside’s Rea Elementary School across town to Costa Mesa High, but as of 5:45 p.m. — 15 minutes before the start of the meeting — the bus had no riders.”

I warned about this; about the insensitivity of asking Westside residents to get on a bus to go to a meeting that is really all about their representation. Congratulations, N-MUSD, your plan worked: No one got on the bus.


“Map B was the preferred choice of a nine-member committee chosen by Supt. Fred Navarro.”


“District officials say Map G was created in response to community input at two meetings earlier this year. Some at Thursday’s hearing argued that Map G has a mysterious origin unduly influenced by the school board.”

Actually, there is no mystery about map G. It’s just the usual attempt to preserve the status quo.

Business as usual on Bear St.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD