Education Matters: Rising to Drayman's defense

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

Now that the election is over and we columnists are free to speak our minds, I have a few things that I’d like to say, starting with the absentee balloting that has become the heavily favored method of voting by our local electorate.

Putting aside the fact that the integrity of the voting booth is compromised when the secrecy of votes no longer is guaranteed, it is a sad commentary on our community that we have largely abandoned a long-standing tradition of voting in person.

Whenever a voting authority accepts a mail ballot, it foregoes the guarantees inherent in the process of in-person voting, including confirming the identity of the voter and assuring that the voter is afforded the anonymity of the voting booth.

Absentee voting was intended for people who physically can’t make it to the polls on voting day. It has turned into, at best, a convenience for people too lazy to vote in person.

Congratulations to Mary Boger and Nayiri Nahabedian for retaining their seats on the Board of Education. Hopefully, Nahabedian will not be unduly influenced by the approximately $41,000 spent by the Glendale Teacher’s Assn. political action committee on her and Ingrid Gunnel. It would also be nice if she would refrain from seeking higher office, as she did in her previous term, while serving on the school board. Thus far, she has not given that assurance, leaving some to question her commitment in the next four years to the children of Glendale.

Finally, I want to address the election for Glendale City Council and the events leading up to it, particularly the aspersions cast upon Councilman John Drayman. I will say at the outset that I am slightly prejudiced, having formed a favorable opinion of this man years ago. I join a very large chorus of voices wanting to rise to his defense, not to cover over or cover up, but to see that his side of the story is told. Some of us have been left wanting in this regard, given the headlines that have suggested impropriety and a few local voices that have gone so far as to charge criminal culpability on his part.

That hue and cry has come chiefly from Barry Allen and his local publication, Vanguard. This self-proclaimed government “watchdog,” more aptly labeled “attack dog,” has featured a weekly condemnation of Drayman for his “abuse of office,” essentially charging that he was given special consideration from an affordable housing developer now under investigation for allegedly fleecing Glendale and other cities in California.

Other, more reputable disseminators of news have only suggested the appearance of impropriety. Part of that, I’ve got to believe, is attributed to, for lack of a more precise label, a “Bell syndrome,” characterized by a hyper-awareness of possible municipal malfeasance and a readiness to jump on anything that even suggests it. But what the heck, it sells papers.

I sat down with Drayman for three hours getting his story. I asked why he hasn’t been more forceful in laying to rest some of the allegations directed at him. He answered by saying that he had answered all questions put to him, excluding the baseless charges of Vanguard.

We talked about the work done on his condo, about a few subcontractors who had done work for the affordable housing developer, Advanced Development and Investments Inc., about a legitimate loan he had taken out with a second mortgage to secure it, about campaign contributions from ADI back in 2007 — when they were just another developer — and about photographs taken in his damaged condo by a worker that Drayman said had instructions to dig up some dirt on the owner.

I sent the following note to Vanguard:

“Please delete me from your mailing list. Your relentless campaign to discredit John Drayman brings more discredit to your weekly news. You raised the questions once, which was reasonable, and then chose to keep it up ad nauseum. I would admit that John's response left a little to be desired, but many of us up here in the foothills take the full measure of the man and all that he has done. Your attack had all the appearances of being a personal vendetta — not worthy of a reputable organization.”

In his response, Allen expresses surprise: “Educators know that repetition is the best way to get the message across.”

Well, yes, if the messenger is absolutely sure of the truth of the message. If you repeat a lie over and over again, it begins to take on a semblance of truth. I’ll go with, “Innocent until proven guilty.”

Allen has slammed a very large group of people who stand by Drayman for their (our) “blind devotion,” ignoring the reason(s) for his loyal following.

“For a man so covered in guilt,” I asked Allen and others who jump on his bandwagon, “where are the indictments?”

DAN KIMBER taught in the Glendale Unified School District for more than 30 years. He may be reached at DKimb8@sbcglobal.net.

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FOR THE RECORD: Portions of this piece have been plagiarized from a voting guide on Voicevote.org. The piece, “Evolving Meaning of the Secret Ballot,” was published by “Voice Vote” in 2007.

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