The pursuit of political power at the expense of education at
CVESD is exposed in the Ana Stover v. CVESD lawsuit, which
was triggered by Pamela Smith's election campaign.
Ana Stover was in line to be superintendent of Chula Vista Elementary School
District, but was illegally and maliciously sabotaged because she supported
Russell Coronado instead of Pamela Smith in a school board election.
Pamela Smith's fellow CVESD
board member and ally Bertha Lopez
played a role in bringing election politics
into the CVESD district office.
[Bertha Lopez has been charged with
crimes for her actions as a board
member at Sweetwater Union High
This case was fought by attorney Daniel Shinoff,
but was eventually settled privately.
Russell Coronado eventually won a seat
on the board by defeating Pamela Smith crony Pat Judd.
December 5, 2001
To: Pamela Smith
From: Maura Larkins
The most amazing train of thought occurred to me this morning as I was trying to figure out why Chula Vista
School District would so blatantly disregard the contract and the law.
I was asking myself what could possibly have possessed the School Board to allow Rick and Libby to compile
more violations of the contract AFTER I HAD GIVEN NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE on October 4. It just didn’t
make sense. The natural response for the Board would seem to be to cut the losses of the taxpayers of Chula
Vista by forbidding that any more damage be done to the victim who was threatening to sue.
I thought, there must be a reason for this odd behavior. Then one possibility occurred to me: maybe Werlin
and Gil convinced the Board that if the Board would give them free rein for a while longer, they would get
Maura Larkins under control without bothering with the niceties of the law and the contract.
This possibility was supported by Werlin’s words on November 21 when he told my lawyer and me that he
and Libby have more power than most school superintendents to make
Here are three letters that Pamela Smith pretended to ignore, but apparently she acted on them secretly:
Smith's lawyer Mark Bresee made clear that Larkins was fired (at least in part) for writing them.
|Mrs. Smith, does this homeless
teenager ever cross your mind?
Do you ever wonder what
happened to her?
|Pamela Smith's lawyer, Kelly Angell Minnehan, made clear that the board's
decision to dismiss Larkins was based on the fact that Larkins sent this and
other faxes! Is this true, Mrs. Smith? When did you first find out about the
crimes at Castle Park Elementary? When did you first decide to cover them
up, thus committing obstruction of justice?
The board must have demanded some sort of explanation from Rick
and Libby regarding the facts of the case.
This is the point in my train of thought in which I had a startling
realization: maybe Rick and Libby told the board the TRUE FACTS OF
Not the ridiculous, false, constantly changing sorts of excuses that had been given to me and my lawyer as an
excuse for actions against me, but the ACTUAL TRUTH!
That would put us in a whole new ball game.
Then I had an even more shocking revelation: maybe Werlin and Libby
told the board the TRUTH way back in April and May when my first
grievances were filed!!!
The board must have been quite aghast at Rick’s April 20 action. He had to come up with an explanation for
them. His falsehoods were too feeble. He had to tell the truth—and the truth was (as he saw it) that the facts
of the case involved such serious transgressions against me on the part of individuals whom the district and
the union wanted to protect from legal action by me, that the truth needed to be kept hidden. Maura Larkins
could not be allowed to continue her demands for an investigation; no honest and fair investigation could take
by Roger Phillips
|Alex Smith, Pam
Smith, and their NEW
|The Board clearly wasn’t demanding any sort of objective investigation. Apparently they thought (if they even
bothered to read it) that the two-page gossip sheet Werlin called an “Interim Summary” would be acceptable
(after nine months!) in lieu of an investigation.
The report was nothing but gossip trumped up to justify the actions of those who had caused me to be taken
out of my classroom in February. I told Werlin the true reasons for the hostility toward me, and I told him the
true details of some of the incidents in the report (the report contains glaring falsehoods), and I told him of
aggression toward me on the part of my accusers.
None of these things is in the report.
Would Pam Smith act
like this in her job as
Director of the Dept. of
Aging at San Diego
It's not likely, but then who
Most likely Ms. Smith restricts
her illegal activity to the job in
which she has the most power.
Richard Werlin seemed to be saying that the Board was allowing him free rein, and the Board didn’t
particularly want to be involved. I guess the controlling majority of the Board has more important things to do.
Since three members of the Board have supported Rick and Libby through similar (though possibly less
serious) cases of employee abuse, and since Rick and Libby’s tactics have seemed to work so well in the
past, perhaps the majority of the board did indeed decide to continue its hands-off policy.
Perhaps a majority honestly believed that teachers have to be kept in line, that they shouldn’t be allowed
basic constitutional rights. I can see how the idea of starving or intimidating employees into giving up their
rights would have a sort of medieval appeal to some individuals.
One big advantage of this plan is that it saves time that would otherwise be spent reading the contract, and
thinking about it, and talking about it.
|But no, I argued
with myself, that
theory just doesn’t
Obviously, if Maura
Larkins were going to
submit to the illegal abuse
of Werlin and Gil, she
would have done it
sometime during the
previous seven months.
The school district either
had to straighten up and
fly right, or face a lawsuit.
In order to decide which
course to take, the board
needed to address the
question of how well it
could defend itself from
the charges in the October
4, 2001 claim.
But what would cause the
board to agree?
Perhaps the board believed it
shouldn’t admit that it had
lost confidence in Rick and
Libby, even if it was
seriously outraged by their
First of all, three board
members had supported Rick
and Libby for so long that
their own reputations were
bound together with Rick’s
Those board members were
partially responsible for Rick’
s and Libby’s arrogance with
regard to employees.
(At one meeting
last year, Rick
to some teachers
that the district is
sued, but it never
has to pay
goeth before a
Secondly, admitting that Rick
and Libby had behaved badly
would leave the district with
very little with which to
defend itself not only against
Maura Larkins’ demands for
justice, but against other
Perhaps the board imagined
itself hemorrhaging dollar
I don’t think covering up a crime is within the scope of a Board
Member’s duties. I think you would have liability as an individual
for that one.
It was odd for the UT to cover transfers, when it failed to cover lawsuits involving
many of these same teachers, lawsuits for which Pamela Smith authorized the
expenditure of $100,000s of taxpayer money.
Pamela Smith was a good friend to teacher Robin Donlan: she supported Donlan
with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, hiding the truth about Donlan's
wrongdoing. After calling the shots for so many years, and having board
members like Pam Smith jumping to their tune, the teachers that controlled Castle
Park Elementary were out of control.
But since Mrs. Smith and the other four board members (Patrick Judd, Larry
Cunningham, Bertha Lopez and Cheryl Cox) were complicit in Donlan's crimes,
they could not allow the truth to be told about what was really going on at Castle
Park Elementary. The board's unanimous decisions pressured employees to
perjure themselves in the Castle Park Arbitration, just as they had in the Maura
The San Diego Union Tribune wrote in 2007 about Alex Smith's foundation
to help foster kids when they turn eighteen.
Sherry Saavedra writes in the July 17, 2007 article, "Smith's mother, Pam, a deputy director at
the county's Health and Human Services Agency, arranged the visit (to San Pascual Academy,
a residential school for foster teens in North San Diego County)."
It would have been newsworthy and appropriate for the SDUT to mention that Pamela Smith
is a longtime board member of Chula Vista Elementary School District.
Much of what the SDUT has printed about CVESD has been less than
newsworthy. For example, was it really all that newsworthy when the SDUT
gave so much ink to Robin Donlan and the four other teachers who
were transferred with her out of Castle Park Elementary?
Pamela B. Smith
Chula Vista Elementary School District Board Member
Pamela B. Smith (photo 2008)
Does Pam play politics with personnel?
|San Diego Education Report
Update Nov. 2014
Pam Smith did not run for reelection to the CVESD board in the Nov. 4, 2014
election--but her son Joshua did.