At Least She’s (Hopefully) Not Your School Board Member…

(The battle of Andrea Merida vs. everybody else rages on – promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s always good to see our elected officials take to the interwebs to engage in some good ol’ interaction with the people they are supposed to be representing.

Of course, for most politicians, that might mean responding on twitter or engaging on facebook. But for a select few, it might just mean getting down in to the trenches, and starting a good old flame war.

And few are more likely to be engaging in some good ol’ blog-post-comment-wars (general belief is she had quite a few sock puppet accounts here on Pols back in the day) or general online "trolling" than the Denver school board’s very own elected super-troll, Andrea Merida (when she isn’t busy imploding in some other way, of course).

What follows is almost too ridiculous to be true. It's simply incredible that she’s (still) an elected officia, and in a job that’s important!

So, check out the kind of elected official her constituents are lucky enough to enjoy!

First, Merida gets started with a snarky comment about “fiduciary responsibility”, an interesting direction for her to go in, but certainly a phrase she's heard other people use, even if she doesn't seem to fully grasp it..

Andrea Mérida says:

May 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for the suggestion Alex, but I would never advocate for such a thing. The public dollar needs oversight by an elected body. It’s called “democracy” and “fiduciary responsibility.”

Unsurprisingly, the target of her snark responds. And makes a very fair point (i.e. let’s not forget that Merida stole / wasted thousand of DPS dollars)

Alexander Ooms says:

May 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Andrea, well, what can one say. Charters schools: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. It must be love.

You make an odd distinction since many oversight bodies are appointed, not elected, (FDA, SEC, Supreme Court Judges, Cabinet members, etc) partly to try to limit partisan political influence. But then again, you do have a pretty unique insight, as not many people have first-hand experience with fiduciary responsibility that merits coverage in the editorial section of the Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_18808091

And then things get GOOD! By which I mean Merida falls completely off the rails and down the hill and all the way around the bend.

Andrea Mérida says:

May 16, 2013 at 8:15 am

Sure, why bother with the Colorado Constitution, which establishes the oversight authority of the Board of Education with elected members, when you can just take cheap personal shots?

Charter schools are the law. We each took to uphold the law, but the other side of the law is that the board has to authorize them. We raise the issue about how much time is spent on charters because we care about quality (as should you), not because we’re having a time-management issue. I know you know this.

I’d like to know what your personal stake is when charters get authorized. How much do you stand to gain when we do? Do you get a bonus? Do you own some sort of service provider for charters?

Your sexist, troll-like behavior needs to be dealt with once and for all. So tell us how charters augment your bottom line.

Being called a troll by Merida is certainly something special, since she’s pretty much an expert on the subject. Screaming “sexist!” is a particularly nice touch. Did everyone catch the sexism directed at her? No? Of Course not. But that’s why Merida is an expert in trolling. She screams at people on the internets from a small dark basement that isn’t even close to the real world. And then she makes some crazy baseless claims about her counterpart!

Surprise, surprise, he responds! Rationally, fairly, and with a bit of humor.

Alexander Ooms says:

May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

School oversight varies considerably; some boards are elected, some appointed, some are a mix, and some cities have mayoral control. I have not seen any research on the supremacy of any single system, and I don’t have the certainty that you do that any one is flawless to the exclusion of the others.

As I think you know (perhaps you don’t), I receive no financial benefit from my work with charter schools. Zero. Not even an expense account to run up. Nor have I ever been paid by a political campaign, or any other political interest group.

I won’t ask you to list your similar interests, as you have shown a disinclination to be transparent about your personal finances, and I’m not clear it is really relevant. Public money, and the accountability of elected officials, is a little different. I thought the Post was clear on the distinction. Do you think the coverage on ColoradoPols was better? http://coloradopols.com/diary/42517/has-andrea-merida-paid-back-her-overages-yet

“Sexist troll” is a new one. I confess I have never thought that trolls have a gender. Sexless trolls I get, but sexist? Going to have to let that image go.

But don’t worry, that won’t stop our Andrea from getting in the last word (don't get your hopes up, this is actually going to go on for a long time, unfortunately). And she’s going to make it good, right?

Andrea Mérida says:

May 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Since all you have to harp on is a closed issue, here you go: http://andreamerida.com/resources/dps-budget/expenses/

The page has been up on my website for a while, and it shows that I pay my own way. Or do you only pay attention when it’s time to troll?

Err, hm? A closed issue? Probably not – she’s up for re-election this year (crazy she's running, honestly), and I’d expect that someone basically stealing thousands of dollars of district funds, and then fighting against funding for DPS schools (She led No on 3B) is going to have a lot of explainin to do. The only thing her website shows is that she has some nonsense convoluted explanation for her spending, but it really doesn’t hold water. But her, she doesn’t really need an explanation because people who disagree with her are TROLLS, haven’t ya heard?

Troll-troll-troll-troll-troll.

So then she gets asked a reasonable question – has she actually paid back the money (and also – fairly – what’s with all the troll-talk?)

Alexander Ooms says:

May 16, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I think the issue would be closed if you were to repay the expenses, in the spirit of the fiduciary responsibility of democratically elected officials. Or because you said you would. I’m not clear if you have done that yet. If you have, this would be a good time to say so.

I fully admit I don’t read your site. I assume that is a link to the detail of your board expenses. That’s terrific, and I commend you for doing creating it. How different is it than this one? http://coloradopols.com/diary/16307/what-andrea-merida-was-misspending-our-tax-money-on

And seriously, what’s up with the troll obsession?

Apparently, her page says she paid back the district! I must have missed that part.

Andrea Mérida says:

May 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

And here’s where you’re being selectively obtuse, or “troll-like.”

The page says clearly that I have. Read it.

So did Alexander Ooms.

Alexander Ooms says:

May 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

Ok, I did read it (and I encourage others to as well). It does not say, anywhere, that you have repaid the district for the expenses you incurred.

What it says is that you are now spending less than what you believe you are entitled to, so by your fiduciary accounting, at some point you will be even.

I find that a bizarre interpretation: First, this is not a stipend, it is reimbursement for legitimate incurred expenses. Board members don’t get a credit if they don’t spend it. And if an employee is caught stealing money from their organization, they don’t normally just say “I’ll work for free for a while and it will all work out.” And the primary question is if those expenses are legitimate, and if they are not, why you did not then pay the district back for them.

Based on previous reporting and your webpage, it is pretty clear that there are thousands of dollars of expenses that were not legitimate. And now it is also clear that you have not paid them back. And that the statement “I have” is not truthful. I think those qualify as fact — even in some mythical troll-land.

Confronted with the truth about her misleading comments (read: lies) about the money she wasted, she decides to change the subject by going on the attack with some conspiracy theories (which don’t matter, and I don’t know or care the truth about – though given her record its probably false) that aren’t even relevant to the specific topic (the money she wasted) about a guy who isn’t an elected official anyway. Also, she's supposed to behave better than this, but obviously that ship has long since sailed with her…

Andrea Mérida says:

May 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

What’s interesting about your interpretation is that my board colleagues don’t agree with it. None of my expenses were deemed inappropriate, nor was I ever asked by them to “pay back” anything. Go back and check the record. I foot the cost of my office myself, and no one else does that.

Now it’s your turn. According to your bio at Strive’s website, you’re “managing partner at ClearCreek Partners, and also serves as a member of the board of directors for the Colorado Charter Schools Institute, the Charter Schools Development Corporation.”

A cursory examination shows that ClearCreek does venture capital matchmaking. Charter Schools Development Corporation “finances and builds great charter schools.” I wonder how often you counsel your clients to invest in charter schools and reap the tax write-offs. I wonder how much you charge for such a matchmaking service. It must be pretty lucrative, since you have time to act like an internet troll all day.

So tell us more about those relationships, Alex. I’m sure it’s all very legal.

Dude addresses the accusations with a flat out no – he’s able to be honest about them, in stark contrast with Merida  who can’t be honest about the money she wasted.

Alexander Ooms says:

May 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

You keep saying how you believe all your expenses are appropriate, without actually defending them. Again, there is a pretty good list here: http://coloradopols.com/diary/16307/what-andrea-merida-was-misspending-our-tax-money-on You could tell us why specific ones are all somehow legitimate, but you won’t (and honestly, who could blame you).

It’s clear as well that you have quickly switched your position and are no longer claiming that you have paid anything back. And it is does not look to me like your colleagues are in agreement: http://www.ednewscolorado.org/news/four-of-seven-dps-board-members-overspend

I do appreciate the usual Whack-A-Merida approach of attacking others when your conduct is found wanting, and golly it’s fun to build conspiracy theories, but there is absolutely no overlap between my professional life and my volunteer duties as a board member for any organization. I don’t benefit financially, period.

Glad we finally took a respite from Troll Mania. And with it we might end this thread.

I’m basically tired of copy and pasting this crap from her but since it’s the last comment there now and she’s still being awful and nasty and whatever…

 

Andrea Mérida says:

May 17, 2013 at 2:05 pm

No, we’re talking about YOU now. I genuinely want to know how lucrative your relationships around charter school funding is playing into all this.

I’m waiting…

Guys she’s excited now! Attacking other people with baseless allegations, that’s the sort of trolling she lives for!! She wants to talk about YOU! Not about her own ridiculous record, or the school district’s money that she wasted…

I’m exhausted. How is she still on the school board? Ugh.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    eww.

    I thought fer sure that all DPS Board hoo-ha would be somehow calmer and more … adult by now.

     

  2. catpuzzle says:

    Thanks for editing it, I haven’t been posting as much so I totally forgot about using the jump thing. The edit did leave out the link to the page where she’s being crazy. Here it is for anyone who’d like to check it out and see if she’s dug any deeper.

    http://www.ednewscolorado.org/news/analysis-what-the-dps-board-minority-wants/comment-page-1#comment-34081

  3. BlueCat says:

    And speaking of trolls, she could open her own Look Over There College of Trolling.

  4. Not Dame Edna says:

    Unfortunately, Ms. Merida is my school board member. It would be lovely to have a rational adult instead of a lunatic child representing my side of town on the school board.

     

  5. Not Dame Edna says:

    Dave Barnes, if you are implying that she will coast to re-election by the virtue of her ethnicity, you should know her challenger is also a Latina. And that there are rumors of a third Latina joining the race.

    Both of these challengers (registered and rumored) have reputations of operating as rational adults.

    There is hope for the children in our school district but not until November.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      She's my problem too.  I don't live in her district but I live in Denver and have twp grandkids in DPS, so she is definitely part of the problem.   Nice piece, Catpuzzle.

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