Daily News Propaganda Machine

By David Bolduc

If you want to track a local fake news story this weekend, then go read the recent Naples Daily News Editorial titled, “Missed opportunity to avoid election conflict”.

In it, the Daily News Editorial staff opined that since the Collier County School Board did not extend Superintendent Kamela Patton’s contract from June 2020 to a least June 2022, it will somehow create School Board election conflict in 2018 and 2020.

Bolduc and Bracci find the Daily News’ reasoning on why Superintendent Patton’s contract should be extended to be symptomatic of their relentless propaganda campaign to praise Superintendent Patton for useless, undefined accomplishments, yet never measure Patton on academic results.

Just look at the cast of “respected educational and civic leaders” the Daily News quoted to back-up their argument.

First, it was Ed Morton, who serves on the university board of governors in Florida, stating,

“We cannot allow someone of this talent and ability to slip through our fingers”.

Really, Ed? Take a look at the attached 3rd Grade English Language Arts Scores, and the percentage which scored 3 or above. Shockingly, two thirds of Collier County Elementary Schools scored D-level or F-level in 3rd Grade English.

Worse yet, since the 3rd Grade average scoring 3 or above was 57%, the students never recover from Superintendent Patton’s horrible Digital Learning and AdvancED elimination of teachers programs; as evidenced by the attached US News and World Report High School Ranking, where 45% of Collier County High School students graduate not knowing how to read and write at a 12th grade level.

Maybe Ed Morton likes this? More remedial classes, and more money for the Florida university system.

Then the Daily News rolls out former board member Kathleen Curatolo; who was such an authoritarian, the District got sued, and lost, because of Curatolo’s embarrassing quest to silence the First Amendment Rights of Public Speakers.

This propaganda machine needs to be exposed. Maybe we should refer to the newspaper of record in this town as the “Naples Daily Propaganda News on Superintendent Patton”.

Patton Staffer Admits “District” Meddling in 2016 School Board Election

By Steve Bracci:

This post follows up on my June 7 post about whether Superintendent Kamela Patton’s staff interfered in the 2016 School Board election.

In my June 7 e-mail to the School Board, I had asked who the “we” was in a June 2016 e-mail where Patton’s communications department was requesting corrections to articles to more favorably report coverage toward the campaigns of now-school board members Erick Carter and Stephanie Lucarelli.  It appeared that the “we” was the Collier County School District.  Last night, communications official Leanne Zinser confirmed my belief.

Looking further into the substance of the June 2016 Naples Daily News article in question, it appears that Patton’s staff was attempting to clarify the public reporting about which candidates would be in favor of extending Superintendent Patton’s employment contract.  In other words, it appears that Patton’s staff wanted the public to know who to vote for if you wanted to ensure Patton’s contract extension, and made requests for corrections to the article with a sense of urgency.

Here is a link to the June 20, 2016, Naples Daily News article:  [Click here for article link:]

The following is an e-mail I sent to the School Board today, in follow-up:

Board – last night you all agreed that preferential treatment of school board candidates is inappropriate.  Your suggested solution was to fix it moving forward.  This does not address what happened during the 2016 school board election campaign, the result of which is that we have two then-candidates now sitting on the school board dais.  Last night, Ms. Zinser also admitted that the “we” in her article is the District itself.  Since the school board never made a policy decision to meddle in the 2016 school board election by tracking coverage to ensure accuracy of reporting for candidates, the “District” as described by Ms. Zinser can only mean Superintendent Patton and her staff.  Ms. Lichter correctly stated last night that “the buck stops with the Superintendent.”

The vague answer by Ms. Zinser last night does not sufficiently explain why she meddled in the election coverage.  The rescue interjection by Mr. Turchetta – who then foolishly proceeded to say “I cannot speak to an e-mail I did not write” despite no one ever asking for his opinion – further makes one ponder what the Communications Department of the Patton Administration was up to last summer.

The June 2016 NDN article in question is attached. The article reported on which school board candidates would support an extension of Superintendent Kamela Patton’s contract.  It would thus appear that Patton’s staff tracked election coverage and demanded that the Naples Daily News correct the story so that the voting public would know who to vote for if they wanted to ensure the extension of Superintendent Patton’s contract.  This was so important to the Patton Administration that Ms. Zinser requested three times and with a sense of urgency that the article be changed.  Ms. Zinser made these requests during regular business hours, from her District e-mail address, under color of District authority.

Ms. Lichter – you indicated that Mr. Fishbane put this matter back upon you to look into as a board member- so can you please ask Ms. Zinser and Mr. Turchetta for:  (i) all other requests for corrections to election news coverage made by the Patton Administration during the 2016 school board campaign; (ii) all other communications with the Naples Daily News or other news organizations pertaining to the 2016 school board election; (iii) all documents evidencing staff meetings and communications with Mr. Carter and/or Ms. Lucarelli during the 2016 election; and (iv) all documents evidencing staff meetings and communications with other school board candidates during the 2016 election; (v) all agendas and minutes for the Superintendent’s cabinet meetings for the year 2016; (vi) all agendas for District staff meetings with the Naples Daily News from the start of 2016 through present; and (vii) all information regarding possible coordination between the Patton administration staff and Roy Terry during the 2014 school board candidacy.  As to the last item, if I recall correctly, was there was some discussion about the Patton administration conducting opposition research on behalf of Roy Terry?  Please share these documents with me once you receive them.

Please also ask Ms. Zinser why she has not responded to my public records request below.  I asked for the Outlook invitations and responses to the Erick Carter meeting that occurred in April 2016.

There should be no objection from staff to your request, and you should demand that they deliver the documents promptly.  As you know, Jon Fishbane typically conducts investigations.  But you indicated that he threw this responsibility back on to you, and it would seem that Jon Fishbane is conflicted in this anyway given that he serves at the will of the Superintendent.  You should insist that staff complies, so you can do your job as the people’s elected representative and get to the bottom of this.

This whole campaign issue might also be relevant to other recent concerns about possible orchestration regarding the Mason Classical Academy contract extension and the timing of the attempted NDN/Hammerschlag hit piece that came out, followed closely by the apparent desires of Roy Terry, Erick Carter and Stephanie Lucarelli to re-open discussion on a ministerial item for the signing of a contract extension which the board had already unanimously approved in March. If not for the efforts of Mason’s administration, its legal counsel, and other concerned citizens, this Mason episode might have turned out much worse.

Ms. Zinser – do you intend to acknowledge and respond to the public records request I sent you a  week ago?  Or has Mr. Fishbane instructed you once again to withhold public records from me, similar to the sworn testimony you gave back in December 2015?

Sincerely,

Steve Bracci

Folks, this really stinks.  And I believe it goes beyond the Communications Department.  I suspect it lies at the feet of Superintendent Kamela Patton.

 

Did the School District Administration Interfere in the 2016 School Board Campaign?

By Steve Bracci:

6/7/2017  – Today I sent an e-mail to the Collier County School Board, noting similarities between a recent modification of a Naples Daily News article to soften a very concerning statement by School Board member Erick Carter whereby he suggested that the United States should not call itself a “republic” because of the “immediate connotation” to the People’s Republic of China.!!

This episode harkened back to Summer 2016 when the Collier County School District’s communications department was tracking campaign news coverage and coordinating with the Naples Daily News for then-candidates Erick Carter and Stephanie Lucarelli.

Here’s my e-mail:

Board– do you know why the Naples Daily News softened the wording of the article about Mr. Carter’s comments describing why we cannot call our nation a republic because of its “immediate connotation” with the People’s Republic of China?

See attached highlights, comparing the two forms of the article, including the change to the article in the middle of the night at 3:27 a.m.  Did someone get the infamous 3 a.m. call?

[original article linked here]

[revised article linked here]

Is this the result of more orchestration between the District and the Naples Daily News – similar to last summer’s orchestration between the District’s Communications Department and NDN Editor Allen Bartlett during the course of the campaign for school board — with the intended purpose of changing the paper’s coverage to read more favorably for then-candidates Carter and Lucarelli?

See attached e-mail from June 2016, showing the District’s orchestration with NDN/Bartlett.  When Leanne Zinser asked Allen Bartlett to change the Carter/Lucarelli coverage, Bartlett responded “I’m on it.”When Zinser made the requested change, she said:  “If you could please have someone fix it, we’d very much appreciate it!”Who is the “we” in that sentence?  Logically, it can only mean the Patton Administration who seems to be interfering in the school board election, using District resources.

[Zinser – Bartlett June 20, 2016 email linked here]

By contrast, in August 2016 when David Bolduc asked Bartlett to balance out the negative reporting about candidate Lee Dixon with some similar important reporting about candidate Stephanie Lucarelli’s $1.4 MM home foreclosure, Bartlett refused to assist by responding:  “I am independent of and have absolutely nothing to do with the news operation.  Newsrooms are designed that way to create a separation.”See attached e-mail.

[Bolduc – Bartlett August 20, 2016 email linked here]

Ms. Donalds– as the champion for increased School District audits, will the next “best practices” audit look at the propriety of the Patton Administration’s communications department tracking election news coverage and orchestrating with the Naples Daily News to gain favorable coverage for certain school board candidates during the 2016 election?

Also with respect to “best practices” and coordination with school board candidates, the Patton Administration’s finance department orchestrated heavily with then-candidate Mr. Carter to bring him up to speed on budget issues, utilizing District resources.  Look up the dozens of e-mails between Mr. Carter and Siobhan Fox between April and July 2016.  School District budget issues were discussed quite heavily during the election debates, and I am sure that the information and assistance provided by the District’s finance department to Mr. Carter was quite helpful to him.

I brought this issue up at the Organizational meeting in November 2016.  Did Jon Fishbane or anyone else do anything about it, or did Jon and others just ignore it?

Ms. Donalds – If an audit finds that the actions of the Patton Administration were improper or even illegal, what happens next?

Finally, by copy to Leanne Zinser, this is a public records request for all original format Outlook invitations and replies for the District’s meeting with Erick Carter that took place in April 2016; also any other document that memorializes who attended the meeting with Carter, and what was discussed or anticipated to be discussed.

Sincerely,

Steve Bracci

I then followed up with a second e-mail to the School Board as follows:

Board – attached is a video of Mr. Carter from the July 14, 2016, school board candidate debate sponsored by the Florida Citizens Alliance, Inc.  Note Carter’s nuanced understanding of the School District’s budget.  This follows the material support Mr. Carter received from the Patton Administration’s finance department from April through early July, 2016.

The video is courtesy of the Florida Citizens’ Alliance, Inc.  The link to the complete video is as follows:

http://floridacitizensalliance.com/liberty/video-july-14-2016-collier-school-board-candidate-forum/

Ms. Donalds and Ms. Lichter – did you have this level of understanding of the District’s budget prior to being seated as a board member?

Sincerely,

Steve Bracci

 

 

Blue Zones, Sunshine, and the Naples Daily News

By Steve Bracci:

“Kicks” to the Naples Daily News editorial board for its April 1 print edition piece supporting the Blue Zones Project® by stating that “Government should be in the Sunshine ……unless perhaps that shade is blue.”  This is hypocrisy, or perhaps the editors are just April fools.

Taken literally, the NDN editorial board is saying that it is just fine that our various local governments’ participation in Blue Zones occurs behind closed doors and outside of public view.   Why not, since the Naples Daily News’  paw prints are all over it?

In June 2015, the Blue Zones Project manager e-mailed the Blueprint to the steering committee, instructing that “this document shall not be public record or shared until after you have signed and approved it in July.”  Naples Daily News President Barker – with first-hand knowledge of this instruction to conceal a public record – apparently went along.

The NDN’s three-person editorial board includes its president, William “Bill” Barker.  In 2015, Barker joined the “Blue Zones Project Steering Committee” that met behind closed doors alongside 6 local government officials including Superintendent Kamela Patton and County Commissioner Penny Taylor.  Their purpose:  to orchestrate the for-profit Blue Zones Project’s® infiltration into our local governments and other elite local establishments.   It was all described in a Blue Zones Blueprint developed by Barker and his fellow steering committee members.  In June 2015, the Blue Zones Project manager e-mailed the Blueprint to the steering committee, instructing that “this document shall not be public record or shared until after you have signed and approved it in July.”

Naples Daily News President Barker – with first-hand knowledge of this instruction to conceal a public record – apparently went along.  Barker’s NDN newspaper never reported on the contents of the Blueprint, nor on the fact that our public officials were about to sign it.  Worse yet, Superintendent Patton kept that document from the public until a school board member forced her to produce it.  Despite the public not having seen the Blueprint, Barker ran an editorial two days before the school district’s final 9/8/2015 vote, telling readers that “the debate is over” and that the school district should adopt the very Blueprint that Barker helped to conceal.

This is what our local newspaper of record calls “Blue Zones in the Sunshine.”

Click here for the Naples Daily News editorial.