Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Educational argument against the tech school

Make no mistake, this is one of the most important votes the tax payers of Abilene, Texas will ever see. Politicians come and go, but this building, if built, will effect Abilene's children for decades to come. I was told by a city councilman, that a 9 million dollar plan was proposed, but rejected mainly at the prompting of our superintendent, who is soon to leave office.

In theory, this sounds like a great idea, a way to reach those students that are not very successful in academics, so that they will have the opportunity to be successful in the world anyway. Yet, these classes could all be offered through the current school system and on the current campuses. Other schools all over the state are offering similar classes without building a new facility to house them. One way to approach the same outcome, without it costing as much money, which could instead be used to make repairs/updates needed on other campuses is to offer all of these classes being planned for the program in the current high schools. This would allow the kids to get used to the program while putting them on a possible career path (as well as earning them a diploma). It would also help the administration find out which classes/programs would be most convenient for all involved. Some issues that would need to be addressed would be finding teachers for the classes and figuring out which types of classes the students would take. Establishing programs in which there is a high student passing rate on the testing at the end of the course of study is also critical. Another thing to be considered is who would determine which students would qualify to be serviced through this type of program. To best serve the community, all student populations should have the choice to take the programs offered. If there is a breakdown at any of these points, the entire program will suffer.

These things need to be established before that much money is spent to build a new structure to house it. Schools don't use business plans... but, if they start the program this way, they will have data to support the spending that much money on it within 5-10 years. Until then, they can repair the buildings they already have students in.

Another thing that should be taken into account is the testing aspect of opening this campus. The state has been put in the position of having to test EVERY student in the state to address the federal guidelines of No Child Left Behind. Even school-aged children lying comatose in a hospital bed have to be addressed with the new guidelines. So, all of the students that would be in this program would still be held responsible for state testing. If these kids are not taking the standard classes for English, science, history, and math (four classes of each are required for all high school students now in Texas), then they might not have the foundations needed to pass the testing. The issue has already been addressed that Abilene is in jeopardy of becoming "Unacceptable" for accountability purposes. If you take these kids out of the classroom and put them in applied classes for these subjects, then they will be less likely to pass the tests, and the schools and teachers on the "home campus" will still be held responsible for them, so the risk of becoming "Unacceptable" will actually increase, not decrease.

The classes and certification programs being offered is a great idea. However, when you start taking kids out of the classroom and moving them across town, the risk might not be worth any reward that comes out of it, on a personal level, or a district level, because without passing the testing, these kids will not be able to graduate.

Several attempts have been made by the opposition to this bond for the 25 million dollar building to house the existing Vocational/Technical courses being taught by the Abilene Independent School District for an equal voice in the local media. As of yet, no spokesperson has been given an equal opportunity to argue the merits of this position. On a personal level, I do not expect everyone to agree with me, or the others against this bond, that basically is just to build a new building despite an abundance of existing infrastructure and campuses here in Abilene, Texas. However, we want our point of view to be given an equal opportunity to be heard. LET THE VOTERS DECIDE! To me this is just another fiscally irresponsible measure being handed down from the powers that be in Abilene, like the Diamondback Golf Course or AYSA campaign was. As of yet the local media has done little to earn our trust, and has not given coverage we can count on on this issue.

I have formed a cause on facebook called: End Political Bias In The media! It can be found under causes or at: Please join us at End Political Bias In The media! if you also believe in our quest to demand honesty and integrity from media sources, from the local, state, and national level.

I would like to thank my technical advisor, who is a special education teacher, and member of the Texas Federation of Teachers for her assistance in providing and editing some of the content of this article.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Makin' the natives restless again...

I sent this out to many media and politicos. Hope it does some good.
From: ron konstantin []
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 5:50 PM
To: Dr. Marc;; Briley Briley;;;; Doug Myers; George Levesque; joe spano; ken pyvus;; KTXS parrent; News - KRBC - Producers; News Producers - KTAB;; nussbaumk; Paul Fabrizio; professor libby; publishme; Shane Price; Sidney Levesque; stormy higgins; Tom Vodak
Subject: FW: flyer

Try searching on to facebook under VOTE NO! Abilene Career Tech High School if the email link below does not work. I have also sent this to some hidden recipiants who know you have received it... To whomsoever much is given, much is required.

Here is a copy of the flier that was sent out and a link to the webpage of the ORGANIZED opposition to the Tech School. That the newspaper and the tv stations have not reported upon fully on and have yet to interview anyone from.

Vo/Tech High School?

Vocational and technical training in High School

Abilene’s high schools are on the verge of being unacceptable

High drop out rates, and poor TAKS performance, are said to be the cause, but these problems begin BEFORE high school

Abilene independent school district wants to say

which kids will go to college and which will not

Should a counselor keep your child from a college-prep program?

Children for this school will almost certainly be selected for this school based on race and income.

Fannin and Bowie are falling down, AISD has the bond money to renovate them in the bank, but has put the plans on hold: AISD administrators are holding elementary school renovations hostage to the Vo-tech bond election.

Is this right?

The administration wants 16 to 20 acres on which to build their new Vo-Tech High School.

They claim it will cost 1.5 million dollars for the land alone:

that is over $84,000 an acre.

The Administration doesn’t know when they can build it or where to solve this pressing critical need.

Meanwhile, they have 6 empty campuses in Abilene but do not want to use them.

All the classes they propose have been taught in AISD but have been dropped during the time this task force has supposedly been studying this problem.

They want to blackmail AISD taxpayers: no decent tech classes without a new building

The vote is November 3rd

Supporters of this Proposal are hoping for a low turnout and low interest.

Go to the polls and say no one more time to this Administration!

Early Voting


400 Oak Street, Suite 101
Oct 19th-
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Extended Hours
Oct 19th-
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Oct 19th-
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Mall of Abilene-Books A Million
4310 Buffalo Gap Road

4565 South 1st Street

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Appearance on "The Professors"

I will be speaking on "The Professors" radio program KWKC 1340am about the Abilene tech school bond issue tomorrow: Friday Oct 23 from 4 to 5. If you want to send me information for or against(I want to be fair as I can, and fully informed) email me at
The number if you want to call into the show is 676-1340. You can listen online at
Unless something changes by tomorrow, I would be glad to help organize a group to oppose this issue.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stone Viking Drakkar "Dragon Ship" / Sailing Upon A Dark Wind


Inspired by and in tribute to The Immigrant Song - By Led Zeppelin

MySpace Music Playlist at

Taylor County Sheriff Les Bruce Round Two....

Posted on:
"As head of narcotic was known to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine and use meth intravenously. He reportedly has been admitted 4 times to the Betty Ford Clinic in San Antonio. Several females claim to have traded sex to avoid arrest. He reportedly beat a handcuffed detainee. Now is Sheriff of Taylor County. Does he still deal meth?"


A detailed account of a gathering outside the Taylor County Jail, that I personally attended and testified at:

Also some letters sent to county commissioners that have not been acted upon

Dear County Commissioners,

My September 2nd request to speak before you concerning misconduct by staff at the Taylor County Jail has been rejected. Ten days later, Marcus Marsh, another Taylor County inmate died while in custody from "a perforated duodenal ulcer with early peritonitis - "severe constipation."

Marsh's relative tried to get him medication on a Friday but were reportedly told that it would be Monday before it could be approved. He died over that weekend alone in his cell.

Below is another example of someone left alone in her cell after requesting medical help.

Lisa Mijares describes giving birth to a son while squatting all alone in her jail cell after her pleas for help were allegedly ignored. A second case was also reported of a mother giving birth at the jail and that baby having died. A Citizens' Review Board should be formed to look into these allegations and see if there is a pattern of misconduct.

See the You Tube video on the home page of .

In addition, it has been reported to my by an inmate's family that he filed a grievance about being housed with a man infected with tuberculosis. After more than two months of complaining, he reports that 15 fellow inmates were tested in September and that five (including himself) tested positive for TB. The Health Dept. will neither confirm nor deny this but informed me that I would need to file an open records request to get the information needed.

Lance Hunter Voorhees
Chaplain - Taylor County Detention Ministries
Abilene, TX

In case you missed it, this is my previous article about our current sheriff before he won the election last year: The newspaper and TV stations refused to report on any of this. The local media did not only ignore allegations Against Bruce, but George Levesque of KTXS moderated the only debate Bruce showed up at, and did not allow questions from the audience. Which prompted George Levesque of KTXS channel 12 and the editor of The Abilene Reporter News to be co-winners of the Abilene Moral Eyesore Of The Year Award:

Konstantin For Abilene Movement
Editorial On Sheriff's Candidates in Taylor County

Allegations and whispers are all you will ever hear About Les Bruce if the Local media have their way. The editor of The Abilene Reporter News, Barton Cromeens will not allow the truth to come out against candidates his newspaper endorses. Mr. Cromeens would not allow Mr. Konstantin to respond to a very personal criticism against him during his recent campaign for mayor either. I do not want to be banned like Konstantin. Here is what Konstantin wrote about our board's decision. Over the years, I have seen a need to have coverage of political candidates that is more balanced. We at the Konstantin For Abilene Movement, are made up of people of differing backgrounds and political affiliations. I was a candidate in last three city council elections, including the most recent, for Mayor of Abilene. During this time, I met many people that make up the diverse population of the Key City and surrounding area. From my many contacts and numerous advisers, I decided upon myself, 2 republicans, 2 democrats, 1 libertarian, 1 Ron Paul supporter, and 2 non partisan residents of Taylor County, to make up my advisory board. Our goal is not to necessarily influence the outcome of any election. We simply want to provide more information to help you, as a voter, make a more informed decision. The objective is to review and comment upon how positive or negative an effect candidates in local elections, have on Abilene, and the Big Country as a whole. Our hope is to investigate campaigns not only by personality perception, but also on a deeper level. We need to know the candidates stand on issues, and the likelihood they might actually follow through with their campaign promises. After discussing the candidates at great length, we came to a consensus. Taylor County Sheriff,Since this seems to be the most heated among the local elections on the November ballot, we decided to tackle the Sheriff's race first. The candidates are Leslie 'Les' Bruce(R) who defeated our current Sheriff, Jack Dieken, and his challenger, Arturo 'Art' Casarez(D). Originally, I had intended to write a biographical/non opinion piece over both candidates for an article, and then discuss this race with my advisory board for the Konstantin For Abilene Movement before releasing it. Although I attempted to contact both candidates, Bruce chose not to respond. Despite a lack of interest by one of the candidates, my endeavor to give a fair add balanced portrait, to present to the board continued, nevertheless.
Casarez:Arturo 'Art' Casarez was a delight to speak with. He has a masters degree, as compared to his opponent, who does not even have an associates degree. He has been A policeman, Department Of Public Safety officer, and a parole officer, not to mention quite a few more years of law enforcement than his opponent. He is also involved with a ministry effort in the county jail in his spare time. Like Bruce, he is well respected by fellow law enforcement officials, but has earned quite a bit of 'street credit' with people in the community as well. He is admired by some of the prisoners for his efforts at rehabilitating those incarcerated by our county over the years. He is a family man with many connections to the community. A few years ago he ran as a Republican. He explained this saying that he was a political moderate, that filed with a party since it is a necessary evil of getting elected in a partisan race. Although I am a moderate Republican, have avoided partisan races because of the 'yellow dog' mentality of some voters. (Some people would vote for a yellow dog as long as an 'R' or 'D' followed their name.) He seemed to be in touch with the concerns and needs of deputies. Bruce:Leslie 'Les' Bruce, despite his effeminate name, is a tall, well spoken and almost nauseatingly typical politician. In various appearances he has touted very proud connection to the Republican party and the Republican Party Chairman, Curtis Tomme. He spent some time as a patrolman, S.W.A.T. Team sniper, and Narcotics Detective. This is not a problem in most races, but the majority of board members considered the Sheriff's job one best practiced with as little interjection of politics as possible. Questions we had about Les Bruce, the Republican candidate for Sheriff were varied and extremely troubling. Included in the allegations:
1. Property tax evasion
2. Bribing the Taylor County Tax Assessor
3. Taking bribes and drugs from criminals in return for not arresting them.
Moral transgressions:
1. Racial slurs against Native Americans and Hispanics
2. Lies about his previous actions during his campaign
3. Misrepresenting his personal financial worth as being poor after building an almost $300,000 home.
4. Arrogance in the form of not responding to: phone inquiries by numerous parties, a debate with Connecting Caring Communities against his opponent, and refusing a radio interview with a local Latino radio station.
We at the Konstantin for Abilene Movement Advisory Board had not planned on endorsing any candidates for the upcoming election on November 2nd. However, by unanimous decision, we have all agreed. In the interest of the greater good of the county, we are compelled to strongly endorse the Democratic candidate: Arturo 'Art' Casarez. There is a disproportionate of minorities in the makeup in our county jail. Since here in America you are considered innocent until proved guilty, the only offense of some, is the crime of not having enough money to bond out. Not everyone who is locked up there has been convicted of a crime. Some are simply awaiting trial. The cost of housing as many people we do, could be better spent. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Maybe it is time we have a Sheriff as concerned with rehabilitation as incarceration. I think you will find there is no S.W.A.T. team mentality with Casarez. Are those footsteps I hear the boots of Barton Cromeens, set upon stomping out my freedom of speech and press, that he himself so greedily enjoys