Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NUSD and ACTD Bus saga

The latest in Busing saga at Newark:

From: Charlie Mensinger <>
To: Victor De La Cruz <>
Cc: Christopher Beach <>; "" <>; "" <>; Charlie Mensinger <>; Dave Marken <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 10:49 AM
Subject: Re: Inconsistent Contracted Bus Services for NJHS

Hi Victor,
As I communicated earlier, I believe AC Transit has been very responsive and open in their problem resolution to me and in turn, I have shared those responses with you.
While ACTD has been responsive and communicating with you (from a District perspective) I am the concerned parent, I am being asked by "parents" AND students what ACTD is doing. Now I know that sounds like I am looking for credit or to put myself up there, I'm not, hell, I'd rather never to have said anything in the first place and should have just driven my child to and from school. The point is, Why aren't the concerned parents being addressed by ACT; are WE not the customer and THEY the provider?
We all share the frustrations in what happened and, I believe, that the safety of our students has been the primary consideration. I can't answer why AC Transit does not respond to you directly; however, I have had correspondence from their James Pachan COO, Chris Beach Director of Transportation, and Jeff Davis Area 5 Representative.
I challenge your concern for safety and sharing of frustration; if genuine, I wouldn't be hearing about kids bullying other kids on those "NON- District Buses". I wouldn't be hearing about kids on those same buses smoking Marijuana, I wouldn't be hearing about kids on those buses smoking tobacco, or cursing more than me. If you cared, truly cared, there would be, at the very least a "public" plan on how to address and lower the incidences of those occurrences. And I'm not talking about a bull-crap plan to plainly put an officer on the buses to deter bad behavior; everybody knows that people will be on their best behavior when there is authority in the midst, unless they're pathological. I'm talking about some undercover and arrests, that's how you stop bad behavior; consequences. Of course, that could be better managed by having district buses to begin with or contracting for specific service.
As you know, I asked for a update Friday and received the following email from Mr. Pachan over the weekend:
We conducted an extensive investigation to get to the root cause of the problems. A detailed explanation of the problems identified were provided in the e-mail from Christopher Beach, Director of Transportation. As noted in Mr. Beach’s e-mail, there were two different types of issues that occurred that resulted in the lapse in service. I met with the Scheduling and Transportation staff earlier this past week on this issue, and I directed staff to implement new checks and balances into the process to prevent this from occurring in the future, as follows:
· First incident – this incident was the result of a Scheduler making an error on the date for the special school dismissal, which resulted in the division sending out the bus at the wrong time. To avoid this in the future, the Schedulers will be required to send out a listing of the special schedules to the schools for review prior to implementation. In the past, there was no review process, and the lack of checks and balances resulted in this error occurring.
This seems very open ended. Here's what I believe will happen. The scheduler will comply and send the schedule for verification. On occasion, it will be confirmed and replied to. On the occasions that it is NOT confirmed or replied to, there will be no follow up because, well, and I know how many government employees work because of guaranteed salaries, they'll simply say, "Hey, I did my part, I sent it, it's not my fault they didn't respond". There is NO collaborative process in place to ensure the checks and balances between the district and AC transit.
· Second incident – this incident was the result of division staff not properly inputting the updated notice from the Schedulers. To prevent this in the future, the division will now be required to report back to the Schedulers that the system has been updated with the special school schedules. This new check and balance should prevent this from occurring.
Again, pretty talk. But where's the oversight? Who's on a performance review since this is NOT the first time this has occurred; it's been going on for years according to several of the comments and people I've spoken with. Aside from the fact that the presumed corrective action for the second incident is dependent on the first which as I mentioned if it collapses, then obviously the second part shall as well.
The Scheduling department is in the process of developing the new Standard Operating Procedures that will include these new checks and balances that should prevent this from occurring in the future at all schools.
Which office or who, from a district perspective, will collaborate with AC to ensure their SOP properly addresses the issues negatively affecting Newark School district?
Please let me know if you have any questions.
James Pachan
Chief Operating Officer
Again, I cannot speak to why AC Transit does not communicate directly; however, I have received about ten emails and three phone calls in the week or so that I have been involved. I believe that, at this point, AC Transit has addressed the issue and we can only wait to see if it is implemented they way they planned.
Again, I share your frustration as I too have children in the district. What else do you wish to see?
I do not believe that you share the level of frustration as I do. What else would I like to see; how about the district being proactive. With an increase of violent behavior in our community by armed criminals and the fever for disarming of law abiding citizens everywhere, I for one, see the violence increasing NOT decreasing, therefore, safety and hyper-vigilance is paramount in my mind. Maybe because of my experience you may find me a bit paranoid, but I would rather be in front on safety than attending a child's funeral. Now, you are either now taking the lead on this, as I noticed at the board meeting everyone thanking you for bringing this to light, or you're not. But if you are, I expect tenacity, integrity, and action in a proactive manner. When I first brought this all up, I apologized to everyone about my directness, I an not a politician nor have aspirations of ever being one, nevertheless I'll apologize again if I offend anyone, that is NOT my intent; my mission and intent is action.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So today I went to a board meeting for the Newark Unified School District. It seems, and I may be wrong, that the buck was passed this evening for no further action. I really hope that I am wrong.

Let me provide a bit of context. On Friday, February 8, 2013, my daughter, and of course all other kids that rely on the bus to get home, was left standing out front of the school with no transportation. Of course, I was livid and so I wrote an email to the Alameda County Transit District Board, the Newark City Council, the Board of Education, the Superintendent, the Principal at the Junior High and the local News Source (the Newark Patch). While it was polite, it was nevertheless aggressive in wanting some answers and to avert further incidents. I received and very concerned email from an ACTD Director who promised to make sure this type of situation was avoided in the future. Well, not one week later on, yep, you guessed it, Friday the 15th, they AGAIN, left the kids stranded. I immediately wrote another email somewhat more scathing than the first.

What is wrong with people today?! No accountability, no drive, no pride in effort, at least not in government or sudo government entities.

What did I get after the second email, well, here it is below. I want to believe in these leaders as though I were still in the Corps where leaders, at least most leaders, earned the respect commensurate their rank. Leadership is so woefully lacking in business let alone in government agencies, but I digress. Oh, here's that response:


Good afternoon everyone. I would like to add my apology to that of
Director Davis and COO Pachan, and provide a bit of background to the
events of the past week as they pertain to Newark Junior High and our

My investigation of the circumstances that led to last Friday's late
service and yesterday's lack of service points to a breakdown of
communications within AC Transit.

The first instance was caused by incorrect school service information
being provided the Hayward division, which is responsible for service to
Newark Junior (and Memorial) High School. Although we sent a bus to the
school as soon as we learned of the mistake, it was rather late and most
students had already left the school grounds. At that time, District
staff (senior planner for school service, transportation superintendent
and I) researched and discussed the root cause, and confirmed the school
service calendar for the following (this) week. I was frustrated beyond
words upon learning of yesterday's incident - coming so close on the
heels of last week's late service. I can only imagine the frustration
of those most directly affected.

Yesterday's incident was due to division staff, who were in receipt of
correct school service information, failing to note and schedule it in
our automated dispatching system properly. This, in turn, caused that
particular school trip to go unnoticed and remain unfilled. Last
evening I addressed the underlying causes with responsible staff; we are
meeting first thing Tuesday morning with COO Pachan to review and
reinforce our procedures to ensure it does not happen again.

I have also requested that the Hayward division's superintendent
research our service to Newark Junior and Memorial High Schools since
the first of the year. Specifically, I have asked her to provide
information about actual missed trips, and any late service during this
time. Late service can be caused by a variety of issues, and we
understand its consequences on a student's attendance or ability to get
home. Missed trips should be rare, if ever, and due only to
extraordinary circumstances. The District's practice, and policy, is to
accord priority to Transbay trips and school service. As a result, they
should be the last trips cancelled due to a lack of workforce or

And as Mr. Pachan previously mentioned, a transportation supervisor will
be assigned to monitor the line serving Newark Junior High Tuesday
through Friday of this coming week. I checked the school's website last
evening to verify that school is not in session Monday, February 18.

The voiced concerns of the students, parents, school staff, the
District's Board of Directors and the Newark School District's Board of
Education are justified and warrant our immediate attention. As I told
Mr. De La Cruz earlier this week, I am a parent whose son used AC
Transit service all through his middle and senior high school years. I
understand your concerns and know firsthand how disruptive it is when
the bus does not arrive as scheduled. I assure you of our commitment to
provide the level of service scheduled for the schools, and I again
apologize for the lapses of the past week.


Christopher Beach
Acting Director of Transportation


Stay tuned, I will be responding with some questions, I just can't sit still while things just sit with no milestones. What's the goal? Either we get perfect service or a District Service of its own; safety, being the ultimate goal.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I hope this makes sense to everyone; shouldn't take a genius to understand.  If however, you are a toon ta roon, well, just ask and hopefully I'll be able to break it down for you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My political garbage

To all of you sheeple of America, you are STUPID!! Pull your head out of the dark reaches of your asses, open your eyes, rub the mud off and see the truths. This is the beginning of my blog. I am a pissed off, crusty, hard ass, retired Gunnery Sergeant of my Olde Corps of men, real men. There will be lot's more to come. Unfiltered and uncensored cuz I have no feelings and don't give a turd's sniff about nodoby or nothing except for my family. Go ahead, mess with them.