A special raspberry goes to the
San Diego Press Club for the
bogus award to the Stutz,
Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law
firm website, while so many
journalists in San Diego
protect Shinoff from bad
When Maura Larkins offered to
change her ad to precisely
mimic an ad currently running
in the San Diego Union Tribune,
but simply changing the names,
the Union Tribune wouldn't run
that ad either!
Bob Woodward apologized for
keeping secrets about the
exposure of an American spy,
after it was learned that
reporter Judith Miller went to
jail not because of journalistic
ethics, but to hide the truth
about her lack of journalistic
ethics in her reporting about
weapons of mass destruction.
The San Diego Union Tribune, the Chula Vista Star-News and La Prensa
have some interesting information hidden in their files.
LONG BEFORE five teachers
were transferred out of
Castle Park Elementary in
August 2004, Maura Larkins
talked IN PERSON to
reporter Kelley Dupuis and
editor Michael Burgess of
the Chula Vista Star News
about problems at the
school. Burgess said he
would cover the story. He
The San Diego Union Tribune refused to print what it knew about Castle Park
Elementary, even after the paper began publishing a long series of articles and
letters about the school. Editor Karin Winner gave Don Sevrens carte blanche to
editorialize broadly against the transfer of five teachers, while ignoring
complaints that he didn't mention the $100,000s the district had spent defending
some of the transferred teachers in Superior Court or the embezzlement of
$20,000 from the PTA. Letters to the editor were cherry-picked; only those
supporting the transferred teachers were printed.
But starting in August 2004,
reporter Kelley Dupuis of the
Chula Vista Star-News
WROTE A SERIES OF
ARTICLES on the subject,
but he never mentioned a
word about the information
and documents he received
from Maura Larkins. This
information was crucial to
the story because it involved
crimes committed AT THE
SCHOOL by at least one of
the transferred teachers.
Dupuis' idea of an
investigative report is to
write one side of a story. In
this case, he covered the
teapot instead of the
Mr. Dupuis also published
negative comments about
"Mexican parents" which
had been made by a Castle
Park parent, but he gave the
maligned parents no
opportunity to respond.
It appears that this
campaign against the Castle
Park Principal was also
supported by CVESD school
board member Pamela
Smith, who was on very
familiar terms with the
Chula Vista Star-News at
that time. The Star-News
frequently published her
writings. When Maura
Larkins mentioned Pamela
Smith to Kelley Dupuis, he
denied knowing who she
It seems that either he did
not read his own newspaper,
small as it is, and was
ignorant about the school
district he covered, or he
was trying to grow himself a
The SDUT's DON SEVRENS: When a newspaper cannot admit it is
Maura Larkins sent documentation to the San Diego Union Tribune about a culture of disrespect for the
law that flourished at Castle Park Elementary for many years before five teachers were transferred out.
Don Sevren ignored the information, and wrote ANONYMOUSLY about the teacher transfers without
mentioning a word of the information he received from Maura Larkins.
The media campaign against the Castle Park Elementary principal during the
2004-2005 school year was supported by two reporters, two parents, a group
of teachers, and teachers' union President Gina Boyd. Ms. Boyd went to at
least one school site council meeting at the invitation of one of those parents, in
a clear attempt to intimidate the principal.
Was this group, which included Don Sevrens and the Chula Vista Star-News'
Kelley Dupuis, interested in the needs of children? During that year $20,000
went missing from the Castle Park Elementary PTA. As usual, Mr. Sevrens and
the Chula Vista Star-News kept silent about wrongdoing committed by the very
people to whom they have given a vast amount of press coverage.
Don Sevrens really got it wrong on July 20, 2006 when he claimed
Felicia Starr must be ethical because she had been appointed by a
"Board members are recommended by the presiding judge of the South Bay Judicial District. If you
were ever in legal trouble, these are four people you would want on your jury. You may know some
of them: Dr. Chris Searles, Mike German, Felicia Starr and Guy Chambers..."
Don Sevrens claim was false. I obtained the letter below through a public records request to the City of
Chula Vista. No judge supported Felicia Starr's appointment to the ethics board.
(See scanned document below)
Apparently fearing that this crime would eventually become public knowlege, perhaps because it was
being reported by this blog and the San Diego Education Report website, the Chula Vista Police
Department seems to have developed a plan in November 2006 to create the appearance that it was
no longer covering up the embezzlement. Of course, by November 7, 2006, the election was over. The
cover-up was successful. Larry Cunningham crowed that voters had seen throught the lies of his
opponents. The truth is that the voters saw almost nothing because Larry and Cheryl had spent
hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to cover up crimes and other violations of law at CVESD.
The police asked former Castle Park PTA president Kim Simmons to come in the CVPD office, where
she was interviewed and arrested. Was Simmons arrested after a careful investigation? No, the CVPD
does not carefully investigate incidents that might embarrass Cheryl Cox and the school board. CVPD
arrested Kim Simmons simply to create the impression that they weren't covering up Castle Park
crimes, and passed on their humble efforts to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
What did Bonnie Dumanis do? Prosecute the crime? Not likely. Just as she had refused to prosecute
CVESD Assistant Superintedent Richard Werlin for obstruction of justice, she also refused to prosecute
Why? Maybe because Kim Simmons knew too much about crimes at Castle Park Elementary.
Did I mention that Kim Simmons was a close friend of transferred teacher Robin Donlan, a member of a
powerful teacher clique at Castle Park Elementary that received a great deal of support form local
papers when she and several other teachers were transferred out of the school?
Robin Donlan and her friends created a bizarre brouhaha, in which they and the media attacked the
principal of Castle Park Elementary without ever mentioning the crimes of which Donlan had been
accused. The truth was that the principal was attacked for daring to challenge the authority of the
"family" that had created a crime wave at the school.
In October 2004, Kim Simmons entered a Castle Park Elementary classroom, and asked to use the
school phone during class time so she could call up Robin Donlan and ask for instructions on how to
proceed with her attacks on the principal of the school. The teacher gave permission, and took the
opportunity to explain to her students that she was "mad at the principal." (There has been a dearth of
professionalism at Castle Park Elementary since this "Castle Park Family" teacher group took over.)
Kim Simmons, along with Gina Boyd, the president of the teacher union, and school site council
President Felicia Starr were working with transferred teacher Robin Donlan to get rid of the first
principal who had had the nerve to stand up to the arbitrary power of the group of teachers who ruled
What was Cheryl Cox's role in all this? She and all the other board members authorized the payment of
hundreds of thousands of public dollars to Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz law firm to represent Robin
Donlan and cover up the crimes initiated by her and Assistant Superintendent Richard Werlin and
several other CVESD officers and employees in 2000 and 2001. After fostering perjury and other
crimes, and using huge sums of public money to keep bad teachers in power, Cheryl Cox ran for mayor
on a platform of "charater" and "fiscal responsibility."
The San Diego Union Tribune has maintained to this day a complete black-out regarding crimes
committed by Robin Donlan, Richard Werlin, Cheryl Cox and others at CVESD. On November 17, 2006
the SDUT published a small article about the arrest of former PTA Kim Simmons. The story immediately
went into "partially hidden" status in the Union-Tribunes archives. (If someone does a signonsandiego
search for "castle park PTA Simmons," he'll get a message back saying "No articles found.) The article
can only be found by leaving "simmons" out of the search. If you already know about Kimberlee
Simmons, the San Diego Union Tribune doesn't want you to know more.
The police waited until Cox was elected, and then they did their hoax arrest, but Kim Simmons was
never charged with anything.
When will the SD Union Tribune publish the full story, revealing Kim Simmons' close association to
Robin Donlan and the "Castle Park Five"? When will the San Diego Union Tribune apologize for so
maliciously attacking the honorable and decent principal of Castle Park Elementary on behalf of Robin
Donlan, Kim Simmons, and the rest of their clique, after the group was found to be responsible for yet
another crime after the SDUT had written so much on its behalf? How about it, Don Sevrens?
The SDUT November 2006 story about Simmons arrest was published to create the impression that
Bonnie Dumanis and the Chula Vista Police Department are not covering up crimes involving Cheryl
Cox and Castle Park Elementary School. It appears that Simmons wasn't really the fall guy; she was
actually the pretend fall guy.
Bonnie Dumanis, why don't you investigate the use of public resources for political purposes at CVPD?
Why don't you investigate crimes at Chula Vista Elementary School District, including perjury by Cheryl
Cox and Robin Donlan? Or do you only use the public resources under your control to investigate
*The police "call' report that was hidden for months by the CVPD revealed Assistant Superintendent
Richard Werlin's attempt to silence a teacher who had suggested that the media might investigate
what was happening at the school in 2001. The teacher clearly knew nothing about the media in San
Diego. The San Diego Union Tribune, the Chula Vista Star-News and La Prensa still have not reported
those crimes, although all three newspapers have long known about them. These three publications
exposed their lack of journalistic ethics when they published a deluge of letters, articles and editorials
defending the teacher, Robin Colls/Donlan who initiated the crime wave! All three papers were
incensed when Robin Colls was transferred from Castle Park Elementary. Richard Werlin, who called
the police when the teacher mentioned the media, didn't correctly estimate the power of his Chula
Vista Elementary School Board bosses, including Cheryl Cox, to silence the media. Werlin did go on to
achieve a certain amount of notoriety for his use of the police to silence teachers. He had second-grade
teacher Jenny Mo arrested in front of her students at his new school district in Richmond, California
this year when the teacher went to the media with a story about bullying at her school. Of course,
Werlin didn't step up and take the credit/blame for the arrest. He let the principal sit in the hot seat,
while he took indefinite sick leave from his position.
Of course, there has been no follow-up to the SDUT story. But there should be a follow-up,because the
story created the false impression that the police were actually intending to do something about crime
at Castle Park Elementary. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The San Diego Union Tribune
and the Chula Vista Star-News
both refused to accept this
political advertisement before
the November 2004 election.
The San Diego Union
Tribune and Chula Vista
Star News protected Judd
from this ad in 2004.
Silence is golden?
Schools and the Media
Sept. 17, 2004 School
Board Demonstration by
Castle Park Five
The San Diego Union Tribune
requires employees to sign a
U-T Clamps Down on Potential
May 22, 2009
In an unusual move for a
newspaper, the recently sold San
Diego Union-Tribune is requiring
employees to sign a confidentiality
agreement forbidding them from
wooing current or former co-
workers to a competitor.
The agreement appears to put a
crimp in any employee's plans to
create or join a rival company --
such as an online news site -- and
bring recent colleagues on board,
even those without jobs.
The president of the newspaper
industry's leading labor union said
he's never seen such an
"outrageous" restriction before,
and a local professor said it will
have a "chilling effect" on those
who want to start competing
A U-T spokesman declined to
Unlike other states, California
doesn't allow companies to prevent
their employees from working for
competitors. But the state does
permit "non-solicitation" clauses
like the one in the U-T agreement,
said Ruben Garcia, an associate
professor at California Western
School of Law.
The two-page confidentiality
agreement states: "I shall not
solicit directly or indirectly, any
person who is a SDUT employee or
who has been employed by SDUT
within the prior six (6) months for
employment by, or any business
relationship with, a competitor."
The agreement says the restriction
will be in place for two years after a
worker's employment ends.
The U-T is "asking a lot, especially
in this climate," said Bernie Lunzer,
president of the Newspaper Guild.
"I would expect it would make
people very upset."
The Newspaper Guild represented
hundreds of employees at the U-T
until 1998, when workers voted to
kick out the union.
Garcia said the wording of the
agreement is unusual because it
forbids indirect solicitation. "I don’t
know what it means to 'indirectly'
solicit someone," he said.
He added that non-solicitation
clauses generally require that
employees be given something in
return for agreeing to them. The U-T
confidentiality agreement states
that the newspaper provides
employment in return for signing
If the U-T asks an employee to sign
the agreement while already
working at the paper, the
agreement states that "additional
consideration, to be determined by
the SDUT" will be provided.
In its legal sense, "consideration"
refers to what a party to a contract
gets in return for agreeing to its
The confidentiality agreement
apparently applies to both current
employees and those who are
being laid off.
Today is the last day of work for
many of the 192 employees laid off
by the U-T earlier this month,
although they will be paid through
Secrets in the San Diego Press
Archives clip of above story:
And the U-T endorsement goes
The San Diego Union - Tribune
Date: Apr 28, 2010
With the June 8 primary election just
six weeks away, the Union-Tribune
editorial board begins endorsing
candidates it supports in today’s
edition with an editorial on the
preceding page regarding the race for
San Diego County sheriff.
But just who is the editorial board,
anyway? And how are its
The board is composed of Ed Moss,
the publisher; Jeff Light, the editor;
William Osborne, the managing editor
for editorials and opinion; Dialogue
editor Pat Flynn, editorial writers Chris
Reed, Ruben Navarrette Jr. and Don
Sevrens; and editorial cartoonist Steve
Breen. Ultimately responsible for
virtually everything at the Union-
Tribune, Moss pays attention without
playing a heavy hand. Light does not
tell the board who or what to endorse
so much as he insists we have clear
and transparent standards for our
San Diego Union Tribune archives are still not showing Maura
Larkins' letter to the editor published in March of 2004, but now it
turns up in a Google search.
Link to the letter (sixth letter from the top)
Why exactly did Chris Jennewin and Karin Winner want this letter unavailable to searchers in the SDUT
archives? Here is the letter:
There was a better way to resolve this case
I am puzzled by the March 13 article "Ex-district employee's judgment overturned" by Chris Moran. It tells
about the appeals court reversal of a jury's $678,000 judgment against Sweetwater School District in the
Mary Anne Weegar case.
When yes-men and yes-women are the only people allowed to be administrators, are not children, voters
and taxpayers hurt? Did the appeals court protect the school district, or did it actually only protect the
power of a few individuals?
District lawyer Daniel Shinoff says the court wants to protect school districts from lawsuits. Is Shinoff
saying that only money is important to schools? Is he saying that public entities have no obligation to
obey the law because if the courts were to hold them responsible for illegal actions, then public entities
would have to pay money, and that mustn't be allowed, no matter how corrupt a public entity becomes?
It's more important to have honest people who respect the rule of law and the value of democracy in
charge of education and other public endeavors, than to give virtual immunity from liability to those who
have acquired control of school districts, water districts, etc.
Wouldn't it have saved money to simply have left Weegar in her position and consider some of her
criticisms of how money was spent? Why are creative thinking and dissent forbidden when they should be
encouraged? And exactly how much did the district pay to Daniel Shinoff's law firm?
Here are items that do turn up in a search for "Maura Larkins" in the SDUT archives:
1. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print Board of
Education hopefuls state cases for open seat
Chris Moran and Elizabeth Fitzsimons; The San Diego Union - Tribune; Feb 5, 2006; pg. B.7;
2. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print Readers solve
this columnist's TV mysteries
Karla Peterson; The San Diego Union - Tribune; May 2, 2005; pg. D.1;
3. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print NORTH COUNTY
OPINION | LETTERS
The San Diego Union - Tribune; Apr 28, 2005; pg. B.9;
4. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print LETTERS TO
The San Diego Union - Tribune; Jan 29, 2005; pg. B.9.2.7;
5. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print Grocery workers,
customers react to strike
The San Diego Union - Tribune; Oct 18, 2003; pg. B.9.7;
6. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print Searching for
facts and solutions in the Mideast
The San Diego Union - Tribune; Apr 27, 2002; pg. B.11.2.;
7. Preview (Abstract/Citation) Full Text (No Photos) Buy Page Print names & notes
The Tribune; Nov 7, 1986; pg. B.6;
In 2006 I pursued a public records request for months before the CVPD admitted that it had a record of
a police visit to Castle Park Elementary on April 21, 2001. When they decided I wasn't likely to go
away, I finally received a copy of the Castle Park Elementary School "call" report.*
But the Chula Vista Police Department was doing a lot more than illegally hiding public records in its
efforts to support Cheryl Cox's campaign for mayor of Chula Vista in 2006.
Between 2000 and 2006 a long string of crimes had been committed at Castle Park Elementary. Cheryl
Cox and CVESD committed bigger and bigger crimes to prevent the exposure of earlier, smaller crimes
and violations of law committed at Castle Park Elementary in 2000 and 2001.
See "Castle Park Elementary," "Teacher Reports," and "Law Enforcement"
In 2005-2006, the most newsworthy crime being covered up by the CVPD and the media to protect
Cheryl Cox and the CVESD school board was the embezzlement of about $20,000 from the Castle Park
Only reporter Chris Moran wrote about the SDUT printed a bare-bones article
regarding Kim Simmons and the missing $20,000 from the Castle Park PTA in
November 2006, giving the false impression that a real investigation had been
done, but Kim Simmons has not been charged as of April 2007, and the article
has been indexed in the SDUT archives in a manner that hides the story from
anyone searching for Simmons.
(contd. after Don Sevren's box below)
(Contd. from above Don Sevren's box)
Here is a discussion from Rating the Media Blog about the SDUT cover-up of crimes at Castle Park
Free the San Diego Union Tribune Five!
The San Diego Union Tribune refuses to allow its reporters to write the full story about many events,
particularly wrongdoing by people of whom the SDUT is fond.
The strange events at Castle Park Elementary are one such story. Click here to read more about what
went wrong in Chula Vista Elementary School District.
When will Karen Winner, William Osborne and Bob Kittle allow reporters to practice journalistic
ethics? They might want to start with the fine reporters who cover education issues around the
county. I am speaking about good reporters like Chris Moran and Leonel Sanchez. I am most definitely
NOT speaking of Don Sevrens, who writes anonymously about education. Winner, Osborne and Kittle
should forbid Don Sevrens from writing any more anonymous stories about education. He's told
enough whoppers already.
Below is the latest installment of the Castle Park Elementary story, taken from the CVESD Reporter
CHULA VISTA POLICE DEPARTMENT 2005-06 HOAX ON BEHALF OF CHERYL COX TO COVER UP
Chula Vista is not the place to go if you are looking for equal protection of the law. It makes a big
difference to the CVPD if you're a Republican or Democrat. Republicans like Cheryl Cox get help from
the CVPD in covering up crimes and other wrongdoing.
On the other hand, a Democratic employee of the City of Chula Vista who took two hours off work to
spy on a Cheryl Cox fundraiser has been charged by Bonnie Dumanis with perjury for not admitting he
was doing political work on the job.
There's a lot of political work being done on the job in Chula Vista, but you don't hear much about the
work done by Republicans in the police department.
The Chula Vista Police Department is a friend of Cheryl Cox, who was a Chula Vista Elementary school
board member before she was elected mayor. The CVPD failed for over a year to investigate a
financial crime at Castle Park Elementary School reported in 2005. Why? The CVPD has a knee-jerk
policy of covering up wrongdoing by Cheryl Cox and Chula Vista Elementary School District.
Update 2010: Karin Winner has left the SDUT; so has Chris Jennewein, who has
moved to SDNN.
Why do Karin Winner (editor of the San Diego
Union Tribune) and Chris Jennewein (Signonsandiego, the SDUT's website)
censor stories about corrupt school attorneys? The SDUT's deeply-censored
coverage of problems at Castle Park Elementary from 2003 through 2004 was a
disgrace to journalism.
Who wrote the anonymous stories about Castle Park Elementary? At least one
(and probably all) of the anonymous stories was written by Don Sevrens. Who
tossed out all the letters to the editor that told the real story? Again, it must be
noted that Don Sevrens has been closely involved with the editorial board for
many years, and in 2010 has come out of his anonymity and is now listed as a
member of the editorial board.
Why did April Boling
give an award to CVESD
The Media and
|Judge Fraser Refused to Recommend Felicia Starr
for the Chula Vista Ethics Board
Does the SDUT favor
Why didn't the SDUT didn't
cover the sexual harassment
trial and the verdict against
former CVESD board member
and Mountain Empire USD
superintendent Pat Judd in
Probably for the same reason it
refused to accept this
The mad Watchdog also didn't
mention that Lowell Billings hired
Patrick Judd, his former boss at
CVESD, as director of The
Acclerated School in Los Angeles
when it wrote scathingly about
Russell Coronado hiring
Francisco Escobedo, a fellow
employee in South Bay School
District, as superintendent of
Chula Vista Elementary School
District. To make it worse, the
SDUT actually quoted Billings in
the article about Escobedo.
Did the SDUT take its January
27, 2008 story about Judd out
of its archives?
Searched for: patrick judd mountain
empire AND date(1/5/2008 to
Returned: 1 displays of 1 matches
1.) Title: SHORT TAKES
San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA)
Publish Date: January 26, 2008
Word Count: 634
Document ID: 11E776BC1A1EFF18
Public vote sought on fire-protection tax
CAMPO: The Campo Fire Department
is seeking a public vote on a tax to pay
for fire protection in the backcountry
community, although voters have
rejected a tax four times.
The county Board of Supervisors is to
vote Wednesday on whether to
authorize a mail ballot that would be
due by May 6. The proposal would
need two-thirds approval among 813
voters in county service area 112,
which covers Campo.
The cost of the election, about
Interestingly, the SDUT also endorsed
Explaining the ICE project in Escondido
Written byUnion-Tribune Editorial Board
Nov. 19, 2010
Robin Baker, the field director for the San Diego regional office of U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was recently interviewed by Union-
Tribune editorial writer Don Sevrens about ICE’s controversial pilot
project with the Escondido Police Department. ICE is responsible for enforcing
immigration and customs laws within the interior of the United States.
Following are edited excerpts.
Q&A: What’s next for the South Bay Expressway?
Robert J. Hawkins
noon, April 17, 2011
The South Bay Expressway opened in November 2007 as an innovative
public-private venture — a toll road financed, built and operated by a private
company but owned by the state. The promise quickly faded as recession hit,
the projected traffic barely arrived and a flood of costly litigation threatened to
sink the venture.
A year ago the operator of the 10-mile toll road filed for bankruptcy, from
which it successfully emerged on Thursday. The regional planning agency
San Diego Association of Governments wants to buy South Bay Expressway
franchise and others may also try.
Don Sevrens and Wendy Fry contributed to this feature.
Interestingly, the SDUT
also endorsed Patrick
Judd for CVESD board
And the U-T
endorsement goes to ...
April 28, 2010
With the June 8 primary election
just six weeks away, the Union-
Tribune editorial board begins
endorsing candidates it supports
in today’s edition with an editorial
on the preceding page regarding
the race for San Diego County
But just who is the
anyway? And how are its
The board is composed of
Ed Moss, the publisher;
Jeff Light, the editor;
William Osborne, the
managing editor for editorials and
Dialogue editor Pat Flynn,
editorial writers Chris Reed,
Ruben Navarrette Jr. [laid off
less than a month after this was
and Don Sevrens;
and editorial cartoonist Steve
Ultimately responsible for virtually
everything at the Union-Tribune,
Moss pays attention without
playing a heavy hand. Light does
not tell the board who or what to
endorse so much as he insists we
have clear and transparent
standards for our endorsements.
Don Sevrens stories
|San Diego Education Report
Rating the Media blog posts: