News

Dauber seeks conflict-of-interest ruling from FPPC

Palo Alto school board member hopes to quell concerns about his involvement with Office for Civil Rights

Seeking to put to rest years of questions about his relationship with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the agency's involvement in the Palo Alto school district, school board member Ken Dauber wrote last week to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for formal written advice on whether he has a conflict of interest on school board matters related to the federal agency.

He included with the letter several email exchanges he had in 2013 with OCR officials in Washington and San Francisco, written after Palo Alto Unified entered into a resolution agreement with the federal agency following the district's violation of the civil rights of a disabled middle school student through its mishandling of bullying complaints.

Dauber said in an interview Wednesday that he is seeking a ruling from the FPPC in order to quell any concerns about his past consulting work for and communications with the Office for Civil Rights as he anticipates OCR-related issues will come before the school board this fall.

From 2009 to 2011, before Dauber was elected, he served as a paid data consultant for the Department of Education, earning a total of $26,426, according to Dauber.

Two civil-rights cases remain open in Palo Alto -- both involving Title IX sexual-harassment issues at the district's two high schools -- and Superintendent Max McGee expressed this spring a desire for board guidance on whether and how the district should reach a resolution in these two cases.

Dauber said he believes he has no conflict of interest, as his paid consulting work ended in 2011 and his district-related communications with the federal office ceased before he was elected last fall. A Board of Education bylaw defines conflict of interest as when a "decision will have a 'reasonably foreseeable material financial effect'" on a board member's economic interest.

"Looking forward, I want to be able to point to a clear advice from the FPPC that I expect will affirm that I don't have a conflict. But in any case, I'll have clarity," he said on Wednesday.

Over the past several years, anonymous posters on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied.

Questions about Dauber's involvement with the agency also rose to the surface during his 2014 run for school board. When asked during an endorsement interview with the Weekly if he had recommended any action by the OCR relating to the Palo Alto families' complaints, he said he hadn't.

"I have not encouraged those complaints, sought them out (or) anything like that," he said. He also said during the campaign that he had no knowledge of the initial OCR investigation in Palo Alto before the general public did, let alone from any source at or outside of the agency.

Following the endorsement interview, Dauber sent the Weekly an email describing the communications he had with the Office for Civil Rights in 2013.

According to Dauber's letter to the FPPC, from 2002 to 2010, he worked as a paid consultant for nonprofit Ed Trust West with then-director Russlynn Ali, a law school classmate of Dauber's wife, Stanford University law professor Michele Dauber. In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Ali to serve as the Department of Education's assistant secretary for civil rights.

From 2009 to 2011, Dauber said, he worked as an "occasional paid consultant" to the OCR, helping with the agency's Civil Rights Data Collection, a national survey of school districts. In those years he received a total of $26,426, including $5,872 in 2011, which he reported as W-2 income, he wrote to the FPPC.

He has received no compensation from the Department of Education since 2011, he said.

In 2012, he made his first run for the school board but failed to win a seat.

In 2013, Dauber did "a small amount of uncompensated consulting (less than 20 hours)" for nonprofit Public Counsel, he wrote in his letter to the FPPC. The director of Public Counsel at the time was Catherine Lhamon, who in 2013 succeeded Ali as assistant secretary for civil rights. Michele Dauber also served on a nonprofit board with Lhamon from 2005 to 2013.

On Wednesday night, Dauber posted on his website his Aug. 13 letter to the FPPC and emails written between February and July 2013, which he said are all the communications he had with the Office for Civil Rights on matters related to the Palo Alto school district.

In February 2013, after learning from press reports that the OCR had issued a finding against the school district the prior December, Dauber wrote to Sandra Battle, the agency's deputy assistant secretary for enforcement, at the suggestion of Ali. He asked for data on how many other school districts had experienced OCR disability-harassment investigations that led to formal findings. Dauber wrote that he and his wife had been helping the family who filed the complaint against the school district "with getting services." Knowing how frequent this kind of outcome is elsewhere would be helpful, he wrote. He also said that he knew of as many as a dozen families with "similar experiences" who were also considering filing complaints and asked if the OCR had any "thought towards coordinated enforcement."

Battle replied that out of 1,513 disability-harassment complaints the OCR received from 2009 to 2012, 647 resulted in investigations or involvement, 118 resulted in resolution agreements and 16 led to formal findings against secondary schools. She wrote that she "would welcome other thoughts about effective coordinated enforcement" in Palo Alto.

In March 2013, Michele Dauber sent an 11-page legal analysis to Shilpa Ram, a staff attorney in the OCR's San Francisco office, pointing out inadequacies of draft policies developed by the Palo Alto school district on how to handle complaints of disability discrimination. Ken Dauber simultaneously forwarded his wife's letter to Battle.

Dauber noted in his Aug. 13 letter to the FPPC that his wife, an expert on Title IX and school-based sexual harassment and assault, also referred one of the Palo Alto OCR complainants in 2013 to pro bono representation with another Stanford faculty member.

"She has received money from no source, nor any promise of any future payment or gift with respect to any issue involving PAUSD at any time," Dauber wrote to the FPPC.

On May 29, 2013, Dauber wrote again to Battle and to two other high-level agency officials members to suggest the agency provide technical assistance to Palo Alto after Palo Alto High School's Verde Magazine reported on the school's "rape culture," including details about the sexual assault of two female students.

"One area where PAUSD has continued to struggle is compliance with Title IX, which protects girls and young women from discrimination in sports, sexual harassment, and sexual assault," Dauber wrote in his post this week. "It was evident that senior district staff were not well-versed on the requirements for prompt investigation and remediation of complaints of sexual harassment (it was later disclosed that Paly principal Phil Winston was at the same time being removed following a district investigation for sexual harassment).

"As a result, the district itself requested and received technical assistance in relation to the Paly case, according to former Superintendent Kevin Skelly. I also asked OCR whether technical assistance could be offered to the district on Title IX."

Battle responded on May 30, 2013, that OCR's San Francisco office would contact the district and offer assistance.

The last email Dauber released is from July 16, 2013, when he sent Battle PDF files of two Daily Post articles that claimed the OCR interviewed students without parental consent in Palo Alto. He suggested the agency might want to correct the record.

School board President Melissa Baten Caswell said Wednesday that she wasn't aware of Dauber's request to the FPPC and doesn't have enough information to know whether he has a conflict of interest that would prevent his participation in future board discussions or action on OCR matters.

At the last board meeting of the 2014-15 school year in June, Dauber requested that a status update on the district's pending OCR cases be placed on the board's agenda in the new school year. Baten Caswell, Vice President Heidi Emberling and Terry Godfrey supported this request, while member Camille Townsend did not.

McGee said he would appreciate the board's input on how to proceed in his communications with the Office for Civil Rights.

"If you would like me to pursue some kind of conversation to bring this to early resolution, I will do so," McGee said. "If you want to wait to hear from OCR, I will do so. I'm looking for clarity here. I can see the pros and cons of both."

In his post this week, Dauber expressed support for reaching out "proactively" and working with the agency "cooperatively to address any issues for the benefit of the students involved, as well as all of our other students."

"Unfortunately, I am hampered in making this case on the school board by suggestions that I have a conflict of interest," he wrote. "That is why I have put this question to the FPPC. When I receive an answer I will share it publicly with the community, and I will of course follow the FPPC's advice."

Comments

33 people like this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:01 am

Good for Dauber to seek advice from the FPPC and make that advice public. His voice on the school board is too valuable to be diluted by distractions - sincere, or disingenuous and politically motivated. His wise action will put the matter to rest.


24 people like this
Posted by Unquestionable
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:56 am

Dauber is an elected official just like the rest of the board. He should be allowed to participate. In fact, the lack of credibility of the previous board on the OCR issue was a major reason Dauber was elected by such a strong vote.


35 people like this
Posted by curious
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:57 am

how about the conflict of interest that exists between Dauber and this newspaper?


21 people like this
Posted by Conflict away
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

@curious: So a newspaper can't support the person that they find to add the most value, honesty and trustworthiness to our School Board?

The last board was a fiasco. We are so lucky to have a man of Ken's intelligence, honesty and forthrightness. I hope that we can find another candidate or two of Ken's calibre for the next election.

If I have a conflict of interest in supporting him openly in this forum than conflict away!!


17 people like this
Posted by Time to Put UP...
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:28 am

I hope the rest of the board will follow this example and make public all of THEIR correspondence with OCR, made through their HIGHLY PAID LAWYERS. It just occurred to me that Dauber is the only one of the board members who has actually given the public any transparency into correspondence with OCR. Let's see Barb Mitchell et al's correspondence with OCR, let's see what the district lawyers and Kevin Skelly and Max McGee and the rest of these people had to say to OCR.

Why should we only see Dauber's correspondence. Make it all public, and without a Public Records Act request.

Dauber is the only one who is committed to transparency. What are the rest of them hiding?


41 people like this
Posted by Janice Miller
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:34 am

Mr. Dauber has consistently emphasized looking for practical solutions for issues with our students and faculty in our school district. He has specifically stayed away from focusing on blame. Best educational practices are continually evolving and our PAUSD district (students, faculty and parents) is working hard to continually improve. Bullying and sexual harassment are issues of every community and every school district. How we respond defines us.

I view it as a plus that Mr. Dauber is extremely knowledgeable about the Office for Civil Rights. There is no financial benefit to Mr. Dauber on any OCR outcomes of cases that might go before the board. It is to the benefit of our school district to have Mr. Dauber as a voting member on all issues, including OCR.


17 people like this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

I admire Mr. Dauber's actions to avoid even the question of impropriety. So refreshing to see in a public figure.


20 people like this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:54 am

I applaud Ken Dauber for his transparency, and no hidden communications. Very refreshing to see. He sets an example.


30 people like this
Posted by Yeah, right.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

"Transparency" in this case is the transparency that is desired by the parties affected. The emails and correspondence that were released are the emails and correspondence that the affected parties want you to see. There is no way to ascertain whether it's an exhaustive and complete record. Can you say "Hilary Clinton email server"?

Don't be fooled by a public official who tells you they are committed to transparency and then releases a batch of emails and pretends that's all there is to it. Anyone can set up an extra email account and there is always private one-to-one conversation that no one else will ever know about....


16 people like this
Posted by Milhouse
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I agree with "time to put up." I'm way more interested in the district communication with OCR about Phil Winston than in Dauber even as I appreciate his honesty and dedication to transparency.


30 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

The concept of “conflict-of-interest” is poorly understood by most people—simply because it is wrapped up in thousands of pages of legal language that is not standardized (here in California, anyway). At the moment, every governmental district is free to adopt the language that proscribes behavior of covered individuals in that jurisdiction. Many school districts have adopted a more-or-less standardized format, but the PAUSD still has its own language.

For the most part--a “conflict-of-interest” exists when a covered individual (in this case a Board Member) votes on business that enriches that individual, or his/her spouse. If no enrichment occurs, then no “conflict” occurs.

The underlying problem here is the PAUSD has done very little to explain how “conflicts-of-interest” occur, leaving just about everyone in the District free to come up with their own theory.

Just having a “cozy” relationship with a Federal Government Agency does not constitute a “conflict” unless that relationship involves compensation for the covered individual, and there is business before the Board that involves that agency.

This seems like another publicity stunt for Dauber, who seems to like seeing his name in the paper. Clearly, where educating the public about how the District operates, and issues that are controversial-We Can Do Better!


31 people like this
Posted by the truth
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

As an educator for 19 years in the district i have never encountered a board member with such a huge ego! Dauber loves to see his name in the paper, bottom line. Since he has been around with his agenda I have not seen him on campus once during a school day. He seems to really know a lot about what is going on with Palo Alto Schools but you never see him around.

I had never even heard of OCR until Dauber started coming around. Also the whole OCR thing has really died down since he got his position on the board. Either Dauber has really made a huge effect or he created all those past situations with OCR, meaning he used OCR situations to his advantage. [Portion removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Wayne Manor
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2015 at 1:19 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Enough is Enough
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

I applaud Dauber for letting us know what is he doing to address the issue that some PAUSD members had made up in order to get our school official out of his well deserved seat. These board members can still not assimilate that "The people" put Dauber there, and he is there to stay there. I watch the board meetings. and ofter see how Camile, Melisa and Kimberly address him (in a sarcastic tone and at times humiliating him). Sometimes I felt bad for him and think that they are going to make him sick, but then I see how Mr. Dauber stands up and shakes it up as if nothing has happened. [Portion removed.] Good for you Mr. Dauber, I know some changes have occur since you came in. Keep it up and do not forget that all the voters stand behind you because we have had enough "I blew it" at PAUSD already. It is time to improve our district and keep our students "alive" and get rid of the bad apples. Mr. Dauber Thanks for staying strong and not quitting! You go show them how to do the work.


17 people like this
Posted by Red
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Red is a registered user.

Hurray for KEN Dauber! In the short time he has been on the school board, helpful and effective action have finally started in the school district for the families suffering from campus-based bullying and special education pupils receiving their legal rights to an appropriate education. Another 'HURRAY' for MR. Dauber in raising the important and crucial issue that our students must have the opportunity to become world language proficient to cope well in our current and future multi-linguistic, multi-cultural and multi-racial world. We and the PAUSD is fortunate to have the service of Ken Dauber on our school board.


20 people like this
Posted by Trust and Openness
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

"For the most part--a "conflict-of-interest" exists when a covered individual (in this case a Board Member) votes on business that enriches that individual, or his/her spouse. If no enrichment occurs, then no "conflict" occurs."

The elephant in the room, of course, is that the bloated salaries of district officials are the biggest conflict of interest -- they even admitted that their motivations were professional, because of "embarrassment", etc. McGee at one point said something about how they were still pursuing that because of a staff member's professional interest. (Can anyone dig that up? It was one of his earliest meetings.) What about the interests of children? It seems to me district administrators (getting paid big salaries by PAUSD) are the ones with the conflict of interest here. Ken Dauber is a boy scout who was elected to fix this. Good for him for trying to put an end to the smear campaigns and the self-interested attacks on him by those with the real conflicts.


8 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Can someone explain the point of this article and the excruciating minutiae about the Daubers?

[Portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Time to Put UP...
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm

[Post removed.]



20 people like this
Posted by Trust and Openness
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

@Bob,
Sorry, unfortunately I "liked" your post and then read the last paragraph. From what I know of Dauber, he's a humble person who is motivated by a deep desire for public service. He's one of those rare people who seems willing to stick his neck out even when it's tough, just to do what's right. He's a nose-to-the-grindstone sort, the opposite of someone who seeks publicity for the sake of it. So, I agree with your post up to then. I think Dauber understands that he can't help unless he ends this ridiculous accusation/power play (by people with conflicts) once and for all.


39 people like this
Posted by fan
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm

"On May 29, 2013, Dauber wrote again to Battle and to two other high-level agency officials members to suggest the agency provide technical assistance to Palo Alto after Palo Alto High School's Verde Magazine reported on the school's "rape culture," including details about the sexual assault of two female students."

[Portion removed due to incorrect factual assertion.]

Does Ken even understand the concept of "conflict of interest"? He's looking for a very narrow definition when the above influence at OCR obviously shows a serious concern.

Funny, Weekly how you're only reporting all this now AFTER the election. [Portion removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Keep sipping
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm

evidence that 19 years of Koolaid can discolor "the truth"


11 people like this
Posted by Agree with Time to Put Up
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm

@fan that "very narrow" definition is the legal definition. Inconvenient and sad technicality for your vendetta but call your legislator.


22 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Trust and Openness:

As someone who has submitted an FPPC “conflict-of-interest” request for review by the FPPC, the response I received was underwhelming. A short letter claimed that based on the information provided by myself—no “conflict” existed. There was no indication as to how many man-hours had been spent on the review, now many lawyers had reviewed it, and so on. In short—there was little information for me to use to understand why there was no “conflict”, nor what triggers would have to have occurred to get the FPPC to do any real work on my issue.

So-since it’s clear that having a “cozy relationship” with one, or more, agencies of the Federal Government does not, ipso facto, constitute a “conflict-of-interest”—Dauber is simply going to get a non-descript “exoneration” from the FPPC without having any in-depth analysis of his situation.

While there are many people who feel that reflecting undue influence of another person (such as a Stanford professor), or friends in the US DoED, should be a “conflict-of-interest”—it isn’t. [Portion removed.]

This is not to say that the current “conflict-of-interest” code for the PAUSD could not be reworked, but it doesn’t take long before various Constitutional issues pop up—and it’s very hard to believe than anyone on this Board is capable of dealing with those sorts of issues.

It’s doubtful that Dauber will be doing much more than trying to bat down his critics—rather than trying to do something that benefits the District as a whole.

We should remember that Dauber received a little less than 30% of the votes cast when he was elected, and just over 25% of the registered voters cast a ballot for him. This percentage is very typical of PAUSD/Council elections here in Palo Alto. Dauber does not have a “mandate of the people”—and should remember that when he goes crashing around the District trying to impose his will on people who don’t believe in him, and didn’t vote for him.


2 people like this
Posted by Haters gonna hater
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 21, 2015 at 6:26 pm

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by dauber should resign
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm

@agree,

It's not a vendetta when Dauber admits to it.

[Portion removed.] Why wasn't the Weekly asking these questions before the elections? Why are we only seeing such a huge conflict of interest only now?


12 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:16 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

@"dauber should" -- you are making a factual assertion -- that Dauber has a "conflict of interest" that is an allegation of misconduct for which you have zero evidence. The Weekly should delete it, because it is libelous. What you can say is "I don't like what he did -- I don't agree with it. I agree with the old board and wish he was never elected." That's fine. What you can't do is make a factual allegation like that without any evidence. The other thing you cannot say is that Dauber "admitted" to having such a conflict. In point of fact, Dauber says that he does not believe he has a conflict and he cites the law which he believes supports him. When the FPPC makes a determination, we will know whether or not there is a conflict.

In the unlikely event Dauber is found to have a conflict (spoiler alert: he won't be) then he will recuse himself as he said. Larry Klein recused himself from every matter involving Stanford, and now Tom DuBois has to do the same. That doesn't mean they had to resign. It means that they have to not vote on such matters.

You obviously have an axe to grind. You will have to find some other way to grind it besides libel though.


13 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 22, 2015 at 10:22 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

Seems to be a year or two late to me. Also investigative reporting usually involves more than asking someone to come down and give his/her one sided version of the facts. It is no wonder the teachers have been told to ignore the mostly nonsense seen on PA online.


10 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2015 at 9:13 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

The FACTS are as stated. Mr Dauber had better prove he is better than the " old rascals that were thrown out ".
He has shown far more access to the upper layers of the OCR than anyone else has had before, including my informant ( that I told the PAO about before I made any statements of how an OCR finding is handled by another LOCAL DISTRICT )
That history disturbs me. It does not pass " a smell test " when the PAUSD has to deal with an OCR issue. Just by " knowing the right people " a decision cannot be made impartially.
I'm sorry that the best thing Mr. Dauber must do is recuse himself when an OCR issue is discussed.

That would be the ethical thing to do. If he does not, than he is no better than Mr, Skelly as he is a " hired gun " for the PAUSD.


4 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 22, 2015 at 10:03 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

The FPPC is the agency that makes the call about whether or not something is a conflict. Just because "the_punnisher" thinks something is a conflict does not make it so under the law. If you read the story it is comments like that one that have led Dauber to go to the actual legal authorities to get a ruling. When it comes, it will be followed, he says. That is all completely kosher. Disclose, ask for advice, follow the advice. You can't ask for more than that from a legal or ethical perspective.


41 people like this
Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2015 at 10:42 am

Marmion is a registered user.

Alphonso,

Yeah, they were, after all handed the smoking gun and still didn't question the source. Those emails are quite damning:


Web Link
Ken establishes his personal relationship:

"Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 11:35 PM

"Hi Sandy, [note: Sandy, not Sandra. Sandra Battle Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement]
Russlynn [Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights] suggested that I email you about this question.
...
My wife Michele (who's a law professor at Stanford and whom you met at Russlynn's wedding [any wonder why Sandy chose not to ignore Ken's unsolicited input?]) and I have been helping the family with getting services."


Web Link
Ken Turns the screws

"Wed, May 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM

"Dear Sandy, Seth, and Bob:
I am writing to you at the suggestion of Russlynn Ali, who said that when OCR becomes aware of a situation in a particular district it may, on its own initiative, unilaterally offer targeted technical assistance.
....
Michele has sent that office several emails and has talked to a team lead in person about whether OCR can unilaterally offer the district TA, but she has received no response. I
....
I was happy to learn from Russlynn that OCR is able to unilaterally offer PAUSD technical assistance on this issue. Given PAUSD's other recent difficulties with implementing civil rights law this seems like a good idea. I hope that OCR will consider doing so."

Web Link
Campanile adds more data:

"Skelly and the district contacted OCR asking for advice on how to proceed. Rather than isolating themselves from the government agency, the district sought out advice, only to discover that all of the suggestions that OCR provided had already been carried out by PAUSD"


Web Link
Ken gets his result

"On June 3, 2013, the OCR sent a letter to Superintendent Skelly stating that it had “received information that (Paly) has not provided a prompt and equitable response to notice of peer sexual harassment, including peer harassment related to sexual assault.” This letter marked the beginning of an ongoing investigation within PAUSD, one that is still currently in progress"

"“What I do not know, and what I have not been able to find out, is why the office for Civil Rights chose to launch an investigation of our district,” Skelly said. “They say it’s based on the article in Verde, but there are a whole host of schools in this country, all over the place [with similar issues]… yet Palo Alto was chosen for an investigation for peer harassment.”



When faced with this overwhelming evidence, what does the Weekly report:

"[anonymous posters] have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied."

The Weekly gives Ken the floor when, from the emails, these [anonymous posters] have been right all along.


26 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

The conspiracy theory postulated above has only one thing wrong with it, which is what most conspiracy theories lack -- it excludes consideration of evidence that does not fit the theory.

The conspiracy theorist asks why PAUSD was the subject of a Compliance Review and offers as the only explanation the fact that Ken had some emails about technical assistance with OCR. This is presented as the sole possible explanation. The excluded facts are:

1. The Paly Rape Culture story was reported on Salon.com, NPR, and many other newsmedia both nationally and locally. The story went viral, in part due to the efforts of Paly itself to promote the story, which was perhaps unwise in retrospect.

2. The district itself informed OCR about the situation and asked for technical assistance, which advice it likely did not take.

3. The district was at the precise same moment that it was promoting the Rape Culture story and telling OCR about it also fighting OCR tooth and nail on a Duveneck harassment complaint and refusing to allow OCR to interview students at the school.

4. The district was also trying to get the district to accept a set of harassment policies including on sexual harassment that did not comply with its own Resolution Agreement.

Any and all of these pieces of evidence provide more than a sufficient rationale for a Compliance Review. Yet the conspiracy theory above posits (and has been positing since before Ken was elected) that it must have been him. Ken said everything in those emails publicly at the time. There is nothing in there that he didn't say to the board in multiple addresses to the board, in articles and quotes to the newspaper, and otherwise.

What isn't in the emails is more interesting than what is in there -- what isn't in there is any request for OCR to investigate or launch any compliance review. All he asked for was an offer of technical assistance.

Did PAUSD need technical assistance? Well PAUSD also asked for it, so that means probably yes. Another piece of evidence not mentioned, but that suggests that they did need technical assistance is the fact that the Paly Principal Phil Winston was allowing an out of control epidemic of flashing and streaking, was sexually harassing students and staff, and was creating a hostile environment.

I know it is probably better if you are one of the district staffers who looked the other way in the face of all the Title IX violations to construct conspiracy theories about how the one person in this story who was not nuts but was trying to get help for our students and stop the wave of sexual harassment of students that we still have not heard the last of. Unfortunately, the fact is that we have had a district office and legal advisors who have not only looked the other way but who are been enablers of the sexual harassment of our students.

What is more likely to have caused an investigation: an email that did not ask for an investigation or lawless behavior that went on for years with the knowledge and tacit support of the upper management and board?

That is why PAUSD is under investigation would be my guess. People usually go fishing where there are fish. Law enforcement usually focus on people who break laws.


17 people like this
Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Marmion is a registered user.

Parent presents a straw man argument as a counter to emails published by Ken. Not very clever to try to cross the facts.


If parent bothered to read the article, she would see that this is about:

"[anonymous posters] have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied."

This is Ken's conflict of interest and his denials that he has used his relationship with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district. Ken is trying to claim he has no conflict of interest where the emails show otherwise.

Unfortunately, for both your straw man argument and Ken's position, it's clear that Ken is now trying to do an end run around his emails but asserting that he never received any money for it via the FCPP. Why? Probably because these emails will come out in the FOI OCR requests that OCR has been stonewalling.

Sorry, Ken, your emails show a huge conflict of interest and for you to try and position yourself as "clean" to comment on these OCR really does show desperation.

Parent, if you want to respond, please show how these emails show that Ken DID NOT use his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district. [Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 23, 2015 at 1:23 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

Wow you are really chewing the paint off the walls. And it seems like it is lead paint.

The emails do not show a conflict of interest, so far as I understand California conflict of interest law. However, if they do, the FPPC will tell Dauber (and also make it public). So you will be the second to know.

It is not a conflict to care about something and talk publicly or privately about it. Your post reflects a fundamental misapprehension of what "conflict of interest" means. An officeholder has a conflict not when they have opinions, views, or speak on a matter of public concern, but where they derive a financial or personal benefit from a decision before their agency.

An example of a conflict would be if a board member works for Stanford and votes on a land issue that affects Stanford, or where they work for Apple and vote to purchase Apple computers. It is NOT a conflict to hold First Amendment protected views on a matter of public concern such as "I agree with the federal law prohibiting discrimination and think we should cooperate with the Department of Education as we are legally obliged to do."

[Portion removed.] Everything you disagree with is not a conflict.

If our district staff and lawyers were not enablers of sexual harassment the PAUSD would not be under investigation for enabling sexual harassment.

Ken Dauber is the one person in this picture who acted privately exactly consistently with his public statements and who has steadfastly stood with students.


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

Oh sorry I missed your question amidst all the fulminating. You asked: "please show how these emails show that Ken DID NOT use his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district."

There is no email in which Dauber asked for any investigation of the district. Period. If you see one, quote it. I see a request for technical assistance only, so stop accusing him of asking for an investigation he never asked for.

If you want to know why PAUSD is under investigation for failing to correctly handle sexual harassment, it's because PAUSD failed multiple times to correctly handle sexual harassment. For example, when PAUSD determined that Phil Winston was responsible for sexual harassment it moved him to a special ed classroom at Jordan without telling anyone, and then told the public that he "needed to spend more time with his family."

Let's review: PAUSD took someone it had established had committed sexual harassment and put him in a special ed classroom without telling parents, staff, or anyone else.

Why is PAUSD under investigation again? Huh.


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Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Marmion is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] You still failed to address Ken's denials that "using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district" in the context of them.

His use of personal relationships with top agency officials is clearly there. His request that they investigate Paly, although caged, is also there.
[Portion removed.]


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

What does "caged" mean? That's not even a word that has meaning in this context. Dauber did not request that anyone investigate PAUSD. You have zero evidence for that, and you should stop saying it, since your posts demonstrate actual malice, the statement isn't true, and you are publishing it.

You will need to adhere to the facts, particularly since you are registered. In your current state, I suggest you stop posting and take a step back. Everyone needs to be accountable for what they say, including you.


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Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Marmion is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Roger Dodger is a registered user.

It's worth noting, again, that no one is being compelled to release emails under FOIA and anyone who wants to is able to blow smoke left, right, and center about how transparent they are, but none of us will ever know the true extent of this conflict. It's pretty clear that Dauber had what the rest of us might refer to as "connections" (how many can casually drop the line that their spouse is a law professor at Stanford to the head of a federal agency when seeking help) that would certainly make access easier. It's also pretty clear that none of us will ever know the full extent to which those "connections" were/are put to use, since anything truly revealing of a conflict will never see the light of day.

TL;DR: there is no "transparency" here, there is only spin.


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Fred is a registered user.

If he were going to tell/ask OCR to investigate, he probably wouldn't have done it in an email. Would you? He was considering running for school board; his wife is a seasoned law professor. A clear paper trail would not be expected.


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Posted by Patsy Mink
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 23, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Patsy Mink is a registered user.

My experience with regulatory agencies is they target entities known to have compliance issues in order to make best use of limited resources. If an investigation does not uncover major compliance issues they move on. If on the other hand they find an entity significantly out of compliance that tends to warrant additional audits and investigations. If we had complied with the initial OCR investigation and not chose to fight it would OCR still be here investigating?

The Verde article may have triggered the compliance review. OCR states on their website that compliance reviews are often the result of media reports. Web Link
At the time of the Verde article that went viral across the nation 1) OCR was focused on reducing sexual harassment on campuses and 2) PAUSD had some major issues in regards to compliance on other civil rights issues and was not cooperating with ongoing OCR investigations.

I think we are fortunate to now have a board member who has worked with and is pushing our district to cooperate and comply with OCR.

Contrast Mr. Dauber’s actions with those of former Board President Barb Mitchell. Mitchell wrote, in what she thought was a confidential email to legal counsel, asking what protections there were from "expansive federal requests for information or investigations, and/or protections from subsequently discovered 'violations' unrelated to the complaint, or when there is no complaint at all?" Web Link The email was sent within days of OCR opening the Title IX compliance review. I am curious to know why Mitchell was inquiring about subsequent discoveries of violations unrelated to the complaint or when there is no complaint at all. How do we know if the district cooperated fully in turning over all of the requested documents given that Ms. Mitchell was asking for advice on how to avoid their release?

Contrast the actions of Mr. Dauber with those of our current Board President Melissa Baten-Caswell who wrote our Congresswoman Anna Eshoo asking her to join with PAUSD in efforts to lobby against OCR. Web Link

How do Mitchell and Caswell's actions serve our students?

And finally in regards to why Mr. Dauber went to the FPPC for clarification on conflict of interest one need look no further than the rush after the last election by the board led by current president Ms. Baten-Caswell to add new conflict of interest restrictions on board members with regard to prior employment and campaign contributions. Some saw this as a thinly veiled effort to censor Mr. Dauber with regards to issues concerning OCR. Web Link


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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

I did not question laws, but only what any normal person ( and a good many jurists ) would say if they saw the documents that are already shown.
You don't get informal names used on correspondence unless you are on more intimate terms than the average person ( or jurist ) is with that person.

That issue alone brings into question the impartiality of any decisions made in this situation.

I stand by my previous statement.


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Posted by Patsy Mink
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 24, 2015 at 8:51 pm

Patsy Mink is a registered user.

For those of us who are not jurists the Office of the Attorney General provides a guidebook on what constitutes a conflict of interest for an elected official. Web Link? The introduction to the guidebook begins:

"Conflict-of-interest laws are grounded on the notion that government officials owe paramount loyalty to the public, and that personal or private financial considerations on the part of government officials should not be allowed to enter the decision-making process."

PAUSD Board Policy BB9270 Web Link echoes the OAG statement:

"Conflict of Interest under the Political Reform Act

A Board member or designated employee shall not make, participate in making, or in any way use or attempt to use his/her official position to influence a governmental decision in which he/she knows or has reason to know that he/she has a disqualifying conflict of interest. A conflict of interest exists if the decision will have a "reasonably foreseeable material financial effect" on one or more of the Board member's or designated employee's "economic interests," unless the effect is indistinguishable from the effect on the public generally or the Board member's or designated employee's participation is legally required. (Government Code 87100, 87101, 87103; 2 CCR 18700-18709)"

The matter at hand that has been submitted to the FPPC is whether Mr. Dauber would derive financial gain from his deliberations on OCR issues.


28 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 24, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Mr. Dauber is an elected official who has asked for an official ruling regarding a potential conflict of interest.

We should all be thanking him for his integrity in this matter.


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Posted by Ashamedof PaloAlto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2015 at 8:01 am

Ashamedof PaloAlto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by A Parent, Sr.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

A Parent, Sr. is a registered user.

I think it's important to ask if this example of "integrity" and "transparency" was motivated by the knowledge that the PA Daily Post had filed a FOIA request, and that all of the emails were going to shortly be made public. I think they call it "getting out ahead of the story." So I'll ask: Mr. Dauber, when did you learn of the FOI request, or that the Post was working on this story?


23 people like this
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 12, 2015 at 4:26 am

PalyDad is a registered user.

Mr. Dauber should be commended for both following the law and for advocating that the district follow the law. I have had a great deal of trouble understanding what the Post is trying to do other than smear and assassinate his character.

So far as I can tell, Dauber -- while a private citizen, not a member of the board -- learned that girls at Paly wrote an article in their student newspaper about how they were being raped and then bullied and harassed by fellow students for reporting being raped. He learned that information from the newspaper. He said that the district should investigate that. Do you think that the district SHOULDN'T investigate the fact that female students were being raped and bullied by students for reporting being rape victims? I guess people at the Post think that the school should have done nothing to address that situation.

That also seems to be what the district thinks, given that the Paly student handbook (2013-14) at that time said that if a student felt that she was being sexually harassed, the first step she had to take was to work it out directly with the harasser: "1) STEP ONE: Students who feel aggrieved because of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment should directly inform the person engaging in such conduct that such conduct is offensive and must stop." I'm sure that goes really well, especially if the harasser is the Principal.

So what are people saying should have happened here?

Are people saying that sexual harassment and rape of high school students shouldn't be reported? Are they saying it's not a serious problem? Are they saying that when you read about it in the student paper you should sit quietly with your hands folded and look at your feet? Are they saying that the school shouldn't have investigated and done something to fix the hostile climate?

From reading about this, it seems like Dauber was exactly what the district always says we want -- we was an Upstander, not a Bystander. He told the district that it needed to address this. When they didn't, he asked for help. HOW HORRIBLE. ASKING FOR HELP FOR RAPE VICTIMS. I know it is unusual to have a public official who cares more about girls who have been raped and harassed than he does about Palo Alto's reputation. It must be hard for some people to recognize courage after they have seen so little of it over the past few years. But that's what it looks like so take a good look, folks.

Now he appears to be himself a victim of retaliation and harassment based on his advocacy for victims of sexual harassment. When the other board members and district officials accuse him of doing something "wrong" by speaking up for victims of assault, or when they deny him access to documents on that basis or try to limit his ability to be a board member they are retaliating against him in violation of the law.

That won't bother anyone who thinks we shouldn't do anything to help rape victims I am sure, but everyone else should be really sickened by this.




17 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2015 at 8:12 am

Fred is a registered user.

@Paly Dad - Dauber has said repeatedly that he didn't "tip off" the Feds. From the PAOnline article:

Over the past several years, anonymous posters on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied.

Now here's an email that says 1) hey OCR, can you please come "help out" and 2) you remember me and my wife, we met at so-and-so's wedding. That sounds like "using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district" - what do you think?

Frankly I'm not surprised - it always seemed obvious that he and/or his wife had done this, given then the head of OCR was a long-time friend and associate. I could never figure out why he didn't just admit he did it.


20 people like this
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 12, 2015 at 9:05 am

PalyDad is a registered user.

I never saw anything in which Dauber said anything about whether or not he had requested technical assistance. His wife said publicly many many times that technical assistance was needed including at a school board meeting and in this newsaper. Ken Dauber also said the same thing at several board meetings. There is no surprise here.

The surprise is that people are using the expression "tip off." A "tip" is of a crime. People who "tip off" the "Feds" are not "tipping off" about law-abiding behavior. It is not possible to "tip off" law enforcement about lawful conduct so what message are you and the Post sending Fred?
[Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Annika
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2015 at 10:09 am

Annika is a registered user.

PalyDad, it's a question of accountability. I voted for Ken and don't think anyone would disagree that the allegations in the PALY article warranted investigation and action by authorities. If powerful connections were called in to protect kids from being raped, well, we should all thank him, imho. [Portion removed.] If he repeatedly used his connections to target PAUSD for violations of the law, he should definitely have disclosed this when he ran for school board.


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Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

PalyDad is a registered user.

Did you even read the article or the emails? Where are you getting the "called in the Feds?" Where are you getting that he denied asking for technical assistance? He denied helping anyone file a claim. He denied asking OCR to investigate. These emails show that he was telling the truth and that he didn't do either of those things.

Honestly I am sure The Post was super disappointed with the results of their FOIA because there is zero smoking gun -- Where's the email from Dauber about helping people file complaints? It doesn't exist. He helped a cognitively impaired child "get services." WELL HOW HORRIBLE. Wouldn't it be fabulous if we had school officials who did that since that is what we pay them for instead of good Samaritins like Dauber doing it.

And where is the email from Dauber saying "please investigate Paly." The fact that that email doesn't exist must really have bummed out the tabloid. So they just said he did it anyway in a giant banner headline. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 12, 2015 at 10:28 am

Fred is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Patsy Mink
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Patsy Mink is a registered user.

At the May 7, 2013 PAUSD study session Dr. Skelly said he was aware of an incident at Paly but did not see the nexus between the school and that incident. See: Web Link
He and the board were unaware of their legal obligation to protect a student from sexual harassment even if the original incident of rape that resulted in continuing sexual harassment occurred off campus as was reported in the Verde article. When Professor Dauber raised this issue with the board including the requirement for a Title IX investigation, Melissa Baten Caswell asked staff to look into it. Dr. Skelly replied that he would.

A year later the Paly Campanile reported that the district contacted OCR for technical assistance in May 2013. “Rather than isolating themselves from the government agency, the district sought out advice, only to discover that all of the suggestions that OCR provided had already been carried out by PAUSD. “We consulted with the OCR about how to handle [the] situation, and they told us the recommendation they had and the things that they suggested were things that we had already done,” Skelly said.” - See more at: Web Link

In the Daily Post Mr. Dauber said he would not have bothered to have asked OCR to provide PAUSD with technical assistance if he had known that the district had already contacted OCR. Given the heal digging by the district and ignorance of the law in regards to civil rights and student protections I applaud Mr. Dauber for doing all he did to try to remedy the situation.

I would like to know more details about the information the district provided to OCR when they asked for technical assistance. I think that is where the real story lies. Dr. Skelly told the Campanile that the district had done everything that OCR recommended and yet a few weeks later OCR opened the compliance review. It is reminiscent of the first public OCR investigation when the district’s lawyer told the school board and public that “the district offered to do substantially more training and other actions than the Office for Civil Rights had initially requested.” See: Web Link
And then what unfolded in the press was the district had not complied with the resolution. In fact the only reason the public found out about the resolution was because the family went to the press as their only means of receiving the accommodations outlined in the resolution.

I applaud Mr. Dauber for putting our students first, not just in words but in deeds.


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Posted by Those 183 Votes
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Those 183 Votes is a registered user.

[Post removed due to factual inaccuracies.]


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Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

PalyDad is a registered user.

I am glad Patsy Mink reminded us about the fact that the district failed to follow through on its Resolution Agreement in the case of the disabled girl who was bullied at Terman. In that case, the child was severely bullied and OCR concluded after an investigation that the school had failed to do enough to protect her and did not respond appropriately to the bullying. Part of the Resolution Agreement appeared to involve individual remedies for that child, and she did not receive them. The family as Ms. Mink points out, went to the Weekly in a last-ditch effort to obtain services. That is the child that Mr. Dauber and his wife were "helping to get services." in other words, the very "services" that the district had promised OCR that it would provide but then failed to do so.

Good to know someone cared whether or not the bullied disabled child obtained the services. Usually, a family attempting to access special ed services in this district is not lucky enough to have the federal government, a law professor, and a community leader advocating for them. Usually, a family attempting to access special education services in this district just gets the shaft, personally hand delivered by Lenore Silverman & Co.

What we are witnessing against Dauber now is just the witch hunt that this district and its surrogates at the Daily Post launches against anyone connected with any effort to access their civil rights. That includes Dauber, his wife, the Gibson family (whose daughter was the victim of dating violence at Gunn), Marielena Gaona-Mendoza, who has spoken to the board many times about her family's struggles, and many other families who either filed OCR complaints, or otherwise complained about violations of their civil rights.

Everyone connected to any effort to enforce federally protected civil rights is treated to a barrage of retaliation and that is why so few people are willing to come forward until their situation is so objectively bad that they feel that they literally have no other choice.

This kind of retaliation, as examplified in the comments made by Board member Townsend in the Post article themselves constitute retaliation. Dauber asked for Title IX Technical Assistance, and advocated for the rights of victims, as did someone he was closely associated with (his wife). The effort to advocate for Title IX rights can never be the basis for any adverse action taken by the district. Criticisms of Dauber in the media by district officials are retaliatory to the extent that they are based on his advocacy or his association with someone who advocated, if they affect him negatively in his ability to do his job. District staff members and other board members need to be mindful of the protection provided by federal law from retaliation and take greater care in their public statements.

The unfortunate fact is that the norm in this district is to retaliate harshly against those who attempt to enforce their rights, or who speak to OCR about those rights. The district spent tens of thousands of dollars having a lawyer "prep" teachers that OCR wanted to interview, and also paid to have that lawyer present at every meeting. That presence of district lawyers chilled the employee speech to OCR, and also sends a message that OCR is the enemy and anyone trying to access their rights through OCR is also the enemy.

OCR is not the enemy. But in any event it is unlawful to subject anyone, including Dauber, to any retaliation because of any communications with OCR.


46 people like this
Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 13, 2015 at 7:48 am

Marmion is a registered user.

"So I'll ask: Mr. Dauber, when did you learn of the FOI request, or that the Post was working on this story?"

Interesting point. There are several stories from the post on these emails [portion removed.]

In the story titled: "Dauber’s email suggesting the Paly probe", they note: "The Post obtained the email through a Freedom of Information Act request."

According to the "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ANNUAL REPORT FISCAL YEAR 2014" Web Link, they categorize FOI requests as "simple" and "complex". They have an "EXPEDITED PROCESSING" but those numbers are way out there so I'll ignore them from this analysis.

Let's give the timetable the benefit of the doubt and call this a "simple" request. The report states that the MEDIAN for "simple" request is over 66 days, which leads to an interesting timetable:

- Ken's blog post and his publishing of his emails came out on August 19 Web Link
- Assuming a couple of days to respond to this, the earliest the Post would have made an FOI request if it was AFTER Ken's post would have been August 21.
- Then, giving them a couple of days to put together the first article on September 10, they would have to had received the response by September 8.

So, for the FOI request to have been made AFTER Ken's blog, it would have had to been fulfilled within 18 days all with very optimistic timings.

It is, of course possible to make that timetable but the odds are against it given the median of 66 days for SIMPLE requests. More likely the FOI request was made BEFORE Ken's blog post, which does lead to a lot of interesting questions on the "coincidental" publishing of Ken's blog while the FOI was in process and what, when and how Ken knew of the FOI request.


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Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 13, 2015 at 8:00 am

Marmion is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2015 at 9:35 am

PalyDad is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] Dauber stated on his blog and to the Weekly why he was releasing his correspondence with OCR. It is because he was sending it to the FPPC to ask for a ruling on whether or not he has a conflict of interest with OCR. OCR matters are going to come before the board this year, according to Dauber, and given the fact that Melissa Caswell and Camille Townsend have repeatedly and publicly implied that Dauber has such a conflict he felt he needed to clear up the question one way or the other. He stated that while he did not think there was a conflict, he determined to leave the matter up to the FPPC.

He also stated, and the Weekly reported, that he had informed the Weekly about his request for technical assistance during the campaign and disclosed his emails at that time.

I don't recall reading about anyone, including the Post, ever asking Dauber for his emails with OCR. Had the Post asked, they could have had them as the Weekly did. Evidently they never asked, or else I am certain we would be reading about how he denied having any emails but HERE THEY ARE! AHA!

[Portion removed.] DAUBER NEVER ASKED FOR ANY INVESTIGATION OF PALY BY OCR. NEVER. DID NOT HAPPEN. He asked for technical advice as to how the district could comply with the law. That is a service OCR provides to help schools do better.

Careful readers will probably recall that at the time Dauber asked for technical assistance, the principal of Paly was someone who the district later found to be a sexual harasser. So probably a safe bet that we could have used that technical assistance and Dauber was right to ask for it. Likely we still do.

Technical assistance is NOT A PROBE and Dauber never "suggested" any "probe" or investigation. Period. It's false even with the quote marks.

So let's get away from falsehoods and let's get away from crazy conspiracy theories and stick to the facts. Dauber released his email with OCR regarding Paly a second time, having already given it to the Weekly during the campaign, and then went to the appropriate agency, the FPPC for a public letter as to whether he has a conflict. He also released his letter to FPPC which contains facts not in the emails regarding his personal history and his wife's personal history with OCR. He didn't have to release that information, nor did he have to release the letter, There was no FOIA that was going to produce that. He did it to be transparent, even though he is the only one in this broken situation who is.

[Portion removed.]


41 people like this
Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2015 at 7:58 am

Marmion is a registered user.

PD, I don't understand your post.

Are you saying that Ken just decided, on the spur of the moment, to release these emails now when, given the above timeline, there most likely happened an FOIA request in process by The Post about to release the same set of emails?

That it really was just a coincidence?

Don't you think there have been more opportune times in the past for Ken to have released this information?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 14, 2015 at 8:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Perhaps he released the emails simply because he was asked for them or about them.




53 people like this
Posted by Ashamedof PaloAlto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2015 at 8:44 am

Ashamedof PaloAlto is a registered user.

The only thing Mr Dauber is doing here is to ask the FPPC to determine if he has a financial conflict of interest based on his past professional associations with OCR. FPPC makes decisions based on financial conflicts. His actions as highlighted in the article in the Daily Post call for a legal opinion from the District council to determine if his involvement and relationships with OCR employees constitue a conflict of interest and would recluse him from further involvement.. After all Mr, Daubers concerned should only be about the well being of the students and the PAUSD. It would be arrogant of him to think that the Board and Superintendent will not make decisions based on facts and the wellbeing of the students without his involvement.
Being a good leader also means you know that when your continued involvement would harm the organization. He should recluse himself from any further decisions until legal counsel can provide the district with a decision. Mr Dauber obviously has concerns as demonstrated by his reluctance and wouldn't follow through on discussions with the Daily Post reporter and went so far as to "excuse himself to go to the bathroom" and never returned. Let's get a complete legal opinion before Mr Dauber decides for himself that he can participate.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 14, 2015 at 9:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The FPPC is the proper arbiter of conflicts of interest - not an agency's legal counsel.

Mr. Dauber has done exactly the correct thing in asking for an FPPC opinion on this matter.

It is neither truthful or respectful to suggest otherwise.


3 people like this
Posted by Ashamedof PaloAlto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2015 at 9:56 am

Ashamedof PaloAlto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


23 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

parent2 is a registered user.

Dauber has already said why he released his correspondence. He released it because he was asked about it by Melissa Caswell and Camille Townsend. Camille Townsend said on the dais that Ken had "inside information" about OCR. It is clear from today's Post that Townsend actually provoked the Post's FOIA request with this comment, because according to the Post's editor, he began to wonder whether Dauber had inside information after Townsend accused him of having it.

Sadly for all of these conspiracy theorists, there was no inside information about whether or not OCR is about to issue findings against PAUSD, just some emails from more than 2 years ago, before Ken was even on the board, asking if OCR could render some assistance to Paly on the subject of sexual harassment. As I said before, the Post must have been bummed out at the results. And today we have confirmation from the Post that they did not get what they were looking for.

No bother, they will just MAKE SOMETHING UP. Now they are accusing Dauber of having called for an investigation and in order to do that they are intentionally blurring the lines between asking the district to investigate itself (which is what Dauber did) and asking for an OCR investigation into the district -- which he didn't do.

All of this is very very far afield from the interests of students. So let's talk about that because someone ought to care about that.

The Verde magazine published a story in April 2013 that included two stories of Paly rape victims. One of those stories was of a girl, named "Tina" who alleged that she reported her rape and was harassed and bullied by other students so severely that she regarded it as worse than the rape itself. She was called a liar, a slut, and accused of making it up for attention. She left the school, but the bullying by her classmates continued electronically. The Verde magazine, which is advised by teachers at Paly, said that her experience was representative of as many as 10 other students.

They were very proud of this story and did many many national and local TV, radio, and print interviews about it. [Portion removed.] What about the 10 students? What about the climate at the school? What about the hostile environment that the story reported on?

That didn't get so much attention. [Portion removed.]

The hostile environment that the story reported ended up in the hands of principal Phil Winston. Winston, alert readers will recall was himself at that time perpetrating sexual harassment and making everyone around him uncomfortable with his weird, inappropriate comments on the naked students streaking across his campus, making racially charged sexual remarks about student genitalia, and generally being wrong. He got shipped off to "spend more time with his family" and "deal with health issues" and was ultimately placed in a special ed classroom. That was a solid choice by the school board said no parent ever.

My favorite crazy statement in this whole pile of crap is the question "WHY US OH LORD? WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO INVESTIGATE US WHEN OTHER SCHOOLS ARE ALSO HORRIBLE?"

Here is my stab at that.

Why not Saratoga? After all a girl died of suicide in Saratoga after she was harassed and no one died here that has been in the newspaper yet.

The reason OCR did not investigate Saratoga is that OCR does not investigate where there is an ongoing law enforcement investigation or a civil suit. In Saratoga there were both. End of story.

However, even if the answer were not that simple, the question is STUPID BEYOND ALL IMAGINING.

This is the equivalent of PAUSD saying "why are you stopping me for speeding when other cars are speeding. Yes I was going 95 in a school zone, but someone else just whizzed by at 97. Stop them or I will complain that this is unfair. I want to talk to your boss. What's your badge number. Did Ken Dauber tell you to stop me?"

Just. Stop. Talking.

Finally, I'm glad OCR is investigating Paly. It sounds like it was a totally screwed up sexually harassing hostile environment and it deserved it. Same for Gunn. Some girl got stalked on campus and beat up by her boyfriend and the school knew she was at risk and didn't tell her parents. DAMN RIGHT THEY SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED. [Portion removed.]

Enough of this. Thanks Ken Dauber for caring about sexual violence and standing up for student rights. [Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If you read today's Post piece by Dave Price it is very clear that Price's issue is not a conflict of interest but a disclosure issue regarding emails sent before Dauber was elected to the PAUSD Board. And even then Price's only concern was with disclosure not with propriety.

I see no reason why an elected official has any obligation to disclose their private emails sent before they assumed public office unless there was criminal activity involved - and there was no such activity in this case.


8 people like this
Posted by Annika
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Annika is a registered user.

Even if no law was broken, as a public official, Mr Dauber absolutely has a duty to deal with questions in the press. This issue and timing are very relevant considering he was running for school board and the Council's counter-investigation. It's irksome that he apparently hid his proactive involvement from the Board and voters. Again, even if no law was broken, he should respond to the Post's allegations and either refute them or come clean. If this is a mistaken interpretation, what am missing?


23 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

I just read Dave Price's opinion piece in today's Post and his conclusions are not supported by the evidence he presents. This type of persuasive writing would earn a 10th grader a very poor grade.

According to Price, Dauber said he "did not recruit, encourage, or arrange for anyone to file a complaint." Price also says that Dauber "has stated all along that he hasn't encouraged anyone to file an OCR compliant." Price then cites evidence in emails that Dauber was talking directly to the OCR and mentioned "assisting" a family. Price then seems to equate "helping the family with getting services" to recruiting or encouraging them to file an OCR complaint. This is a non sequitur.

Ken Dauber should be commended for working to improve the district and helping kids, not falsely accused of misdeeds of which he is not guilty. Price should retract and apologize. And re-take a high school class on persuasive writing.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Even if no law was broken, as a public official, Mr Dauber absolutely has a duty to deal with questions in the press."

As an elected official I strongly disagree. Dauber has no such absolute duty and he can and should decide what questions he wants to answer. He was elected by the voters and is accountable to the voters. The press can and will ask a range of questions some of which are appropriate to answer, if he wishes to do so, and others which are totally inappropriate.

I would note that both Dave Price and Angela Roggiero are skilled and professional reporters and neither of them has ever asked me an inappropriate question.

I have and will decline to answer questions which I believe do not involve my public role or which involve, for example, Closed Session discussions.

So there is no absolute duty to respond - on the contrary there is a duty to use good judgement.


21 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

Anikka, you say that Ken Dauber "hid his proactive involvement from the Board and voters." I'm sorry you are just wrong. No one in this community seriously could possibly conclude that Ken Dauber "hid" anything about his proactive involvement, beliefs, or anything else on this subject.

That poor man stood down at that microphone by himself, standing up against discrimination, defending the complainants, defending OCR, and begging the board to cooperate with OCR for two years while everyone else stared at the floor.

While the board sat around listening to the FFF coffers going ka-ching ka-ching with your tax dollars, and while the board was sending Phil Winston to teach in a special ed classroom after he was found to be a sexual harasser, while the board was writing crazy letters to Anna Eshoo and PRESIDENT OBAMA about why the laws of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA do not apply to Palo Alto and don't you know who we are...? Ken Dauber stood down in the snake pit at 25 Churchill Street at the microphone year after dreadful year, talking sense [portion removed.]

No one thinks he concealed what he thought. No one is surprised that he, let alone his wife, thought that the district needed help from OCR.

A better question is why this man would want to do this horrible job of sitting in a room [portion removed] week after week listening to them jabber on [portion removed.]


73 people like this
Posted by Marmion
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Marmion is a registered user.

"That poor man stood down at that microphone by himself"

In this instance he only has himself to blame. The proper time to know whether he could speak on OCR issues would have been BEFORE the election.
Waiting to release these emails until there was an FOIA request was underway and about to reveal them, whether or not he knew of the FOIA request, does not look good.


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 14, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Reason is a registered user.

Maybe I am missing some key point here - isn't one of the purposes of higher levels of government to offer oversight of lower levels of government? Like, our board oversee's the schools. The state oversees our board. The Feds oversee states...

So we had a Rape culture published in the student paper, kids harassed for sexual assault, and disabled kids bullied, and Phil-anderer the Principal talking trash to students.

Like, could it get any worse? Really? I was rather happy the OCR came in to help clean up this mess.

My only disappointment was the foot dragging, posturing and a$$-covering by the previous board.

Wasn't it supposed to be THEIR job to oversee the district? Just like it is the Fed's job to oversee them?

In fact, I don't think I am alone in thinking the Feds needed to investigate - during the last election, basically every candidate who spoke felt that cooperation with the OCR was important. Not just Ken. Terry was pretty clear on this - in fact, the candidates who won both took this position. So it seems to agree with the communities goals.

So what is the problem? Somebody got a bug up their bum because they were caught out on the wrong side of history? Too bad. Sometimes the Feds gotta clean up Dodge.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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