Don't drink the Kool-Aid

Don't drink the Kool-Aid

Miramontes says story about his proposed contract with PUSD is really an attack on Superintendent Gundry


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Just about any objective person reading Peter Dreier’s opinion column “Keeping Ramon onboard” in the Jan. 30 edition of the Pasadena Weekly would come to the conclusion that Dreier has some sort of axe to grind with me that almost borders on an obsession.   

This is evident in the way he uses half-truths, innuendo, mystery “sources” and downright tried and true yellow journalism to buttress his hack job on my character and my company. The purpose of his gossip column is an attempt to deter third persons from associating with and doing business with my company and me.

So, let’s set the record straight.

When I first ran for political office, Dreier actually endorsed my school board race. However, when he discovered that I was not willing to read off his political script and that I would not pray at the Temple of Dreier, well, this was too much for Mr. Dreier’s delicate sensibilities to manage. The bottom line is that he didn’t like that I wouldn’t dance to his radical leftist tune and this is what his smear campaign is truly about. 

I refer the reader to Tony Brandenburg’s “Sneaky Pete Is Back” on the Sierra Madre Tattler for a wittier analysis of Mr. Dreier’s diatribe.  

I stand by my record with the Pasadena Unified School District. I am a mainstream Democrat who pushed for the first-ever Project Labor Agreement in PUSD, delivered more resources to our Northwest Pasadena students, and I never once voted for a school budget that laid-off teachers. I was always the lone dissenting vote. 

My commitment to the community extends beyond the PUSD. For the past 11 years I have worked with John Muir students to achieve their dreams to attend college. Dreier made no mention of this or the thousands of dollars I have personally donated and the tens of thousands I have helped to raise. For more information, please visit to help our local kids go to college. 

Mr. Dreir all but accused me of forming illegal contracts with the PUSD. There is no law or board policy that prohibits a former board member from working with the district. Mr. Dreier alleges that there were some shenanigans between PUSD Superintendant Jon Gundry and I that led to my firm being given a contract to do work. The fact of the matter is that the superintendant has discretion to enter into contracts without board approval as long as those contracts fall below a certain monetary threshold. Mr. Dreier was fully aware of this. 

So why all the insinuation that there was wrongdoing by anyone involved? The answer is that Mr. Dreier and his crony, Board President Renatta Cooper, are looking for any toehold to oust Mr. Gundry, and if they can take a swipe at me in the process, all the better.
Dreier wondered aloud how I was able to hold down more than one job at a time, that this aroused his suspicions. One thing that Dreier either could not conceive or elected to ignore and not mention is that I have a small consulting firm with staff.  Here’s a news flash, Dreier: My firm can bill for the work those employees or consultants do. 

Dreier’s personal smear campaign goes on to throw me in the mud of the city of Bell corruption scandal for my work representing the Southeast Cities Schools Coalition. It should be noted that this was a government agency that included several cities, not just Bell, and it in no way had anything to do with the corruption in Bell. Using Dreier’s logic, I would be able to assassinate his character by insinuating he had a hand in sexually assaulting students at Occidental College merely because sexual assaults occurred at Occidental College and he happens to work for Occidental College.

If you really want to know the core of this man’s beliefs and the techniques he advocates in his very own words, read Mr. Dreier’s “The Case for Transitional Reform,” published in Social Policy, January/February 1979, pp. 5-16, where he blatantly advocates intentionally collapsing the US economic system in order to usher in a socialist state. Better yet, just read the section on Mr. Dreier written by author Stanley Kurtz in his book, “Radical-In-Chief, Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.” 
The political landscape is rapidly changing and the old guard is worried.  Dreier, Cooper and ACT, the status quo political machine, have been given a brutal beating in recent local elections, due to good progressive candidates and Martin Truitt’s brilliant political brain.  
I don’t dismiss the fact that Mr. Dreier has his supporters and fan base in town. But Jim Jones also had his followers. And the Kool-Aid these people are drinking will only lead them to a political cemetery.

Time and demographics are on my side, Mr. Dreier. The ramblings of grumpy old men are soon forgotten. 

Ramon Miramontes is a former member of the Pasadena Board of Education. 


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I agree with what Ramon writes about Dreier and his article, but this response glaringly fails to address the most important issue. Did Ramon propose a contract last summer, and later submit a bill for services rendered that omitted his name, even though no actual contract was signed? If so, at the very least, this is fishy and sneaky. It bears a glaring appearance of impropriety.

posted by true reason on 2/13/14 @ 12:29 p.m.

Um, True? Your question is answered in the article. Paragraph 8. Don't be a Petey!

posted by Jonathan Tyler on 2/13/14 @ 02:41 p.m.

that question was not answered. Paragraph 8 merely states its not illegal for him to enter into a contract with the district, nor for gundry to make them for that amount. it does not state whether or not such a contract was made or merely proposed by him, nor whether or not his name appeared on the bill. Pete flatly told a mistruth in the opening line of his article, but Ramon's response is mum on what Ramon actually did.

posted by true reason on 2/13/14 @ 03:10 p.m.

So what were you looking for from a column in a weekly newspaper? A wad of sealing wax bearing the imprint of the King of Denmark?

posted by Jonathan Tyler on 2/13/14 @ 03:53 p.m.

these two guys have been slinging stuff at each other for some time to the detriment of the district. if they are going to start it up again, the words and actions of each should be scrutinized.

posted by true reason on 2/13/14 @ 04:19 p.m.

Here's the truth:

Soon after he'd left the school board, Ramon Miramontes proposed doing a consulting gig for the school district for $54,000.

Supt. Gundry agreed to it, but didn't sign it, nor did anyone else at the school district.

On November 1, Miramontes submitted an invoice for $8500 for work allegedly done in September and October. The invoice included evidence of any work performed -- no dates, no names of people contacted, no notes of meetings.

Supt. Gundy had not informed school board members of the two initiatives that Miramontes was allegedly working on -- an on-line ESL program and an exchange program with Chinese high schools.

After my article appeared in the Weekly on January 30, the school board discussed the so-called "contract" in executive session.

PUSD attorney told the board members that Miramontes had no contract with the school district and that they had no obligation to pay him for any alleged work.

Despite that, the school board voted 4 to 2 to pay Miramontes the $8500, even though he provided no evidence that he'd done any work. Those who voted to pay him include Kim Kenne, Mikala Rahn, Tom Selinske and Tyron Hampton. Renatta Cooper and Elizabeth Pomeroy voted against it. Scott Phelps was conveniently absent. The board also agreed to issue a statement noting that Miramontes had no contract with the district, thus "canceling" the rest of the $54,000 proposal he made to the district.

Typical of Miramontes, he seeks to avoid blame and scrutiny by questioning my motives rather than owning up to his own behavior. But contrary to his absurd comment, I wrote the article to expose a waste of taxpayers' money and Miramontes' consistent pattern of behavior that promotes his own financial and political self-interest over concerns about the well-being of the school district and its students. I did not write the article to encourage the school to oust Supt. Gundry, although I do think this backroom deal with Miramontes was a case of poor judgment on Gundry's part.

PUSD parents and teachers are asking how they could have used $8500 for field trips, supplies, band instruments, and other essentials.

Everything in my Weekly article about Miramontes -- about this phony "contract," his divisive behavior, his threats to teachers, parents, and others, his troublesome associations, etc -- is true. Nothing in his column challenges any facts in my article. Instead, he draws on a lunatic right-wing book that accused Obama of being a dangerous socialist to attack (and distort) an article I wrote in 1979. That's pretty desperate. But it is typical of someone like Miramontes who backed Sean Baggett for school board despite Baggett's lies about his educational credentials and his work history, despite his record of drunk driving convictions, and despite his support from the Tea Party.

posted by peter dreier on 2/13/14 @ 04:29 p.m.

There's a missing word in the third paragraph of my comment above. It should say: "The invoice included NO evidence of any work performed -- no dates, no names of people contacted, no notes of meetings."

posted by peter dreier on 2/13/14 @ 04:31 p.m.

There is a very thin line between love and hate, Professor Dreier. Try not to be so ashamed of yourself.

posted by Jonathan Tyler on 2/13/14 @ 04:53 p.m.

Pete: your piece from two weeks ago twice stated that a contract actually existed. Now you state it was agreed upon by Gundry, but never actually signed. What is the basis of your knowledge that Gundry agreed to it? Were you there? Did he tell you? Kudos for bringing this to light, but its important to do so with true facts. Your vendettas should not cost you your credibility.

posted by true reason on 2/13/14 @ 06:02 p.m.

Pete: Baggett did not have drunk driving convictions. He was arrested for drunk driving but convicted of alcohol related reckless driving, a lesser offense. He was clearly unqualified, but you clearly have problems telling the truth about people you oppose.

posted by true reason on 2/13/14 @ 07:55 p.m.

Interesting that "true reason" won't reveal his/her name. But in any event, he/she poses a good question.

There WAS a written contract drafted by Ramon or his wife calling for a $54,000 payment. I have a copy of it and that's what I wrote in my original article. It was NOT signed by anyone from PUSD, thus making it NOT binding or legal.

Gundry agreed to it but asked Ramon to provide more specifics. He didn't. Gundry never signed it.

That's the truth, not a smear.

posted by peter dreier on 2/13/14 @ 09:37 p.m.

Here is a quiz for Dreier:

Were you a member of the Democratic Socialists of America National Executive Committee? (Hint: Yes)

When was the last time you posted your writings to the Democratic Socialists of America Website (Hint: January 25, 2013)

posted by Dreier Watch on 2/13/14 @ 11:22 p.m.


Still bolder aspects of Dreier’s strategic vision are laid out in his February 1979 Social Policy essay, “The Case for Transitional Reform.” This piece, influential within organizing circles but virtually unknown outside, supplies a Marxist framework and a long-term strategy for community organizing. Here Dreier draws on French Marxist theorist Andre Gorz’s notion of “transitional reforms,” or “non-reformist reforms,” to suggest a way of transforming American capitalism into socialism. The central idea, borrowed from Gorz, is to create government programs that only seem to be “reforms” of the capitalist system.

Rightly understood, these supposed reforms are so incompatible with capitalism that they gradually precipitate the system’s collapse. Dreier’s strategy has two parts. On the one hand, quasi-socialist institutions need to be pre-established in the heart of capitalist society, so as to turn a coming moment of crisis in a socialist direction. These quasi-socialist institutions, of course, would be groups like ACORN, with a significant semi-governmental role via their insertion into the banking system, public utility commissions, business boards of directors, and so forth. The second part of the strategy involves “injecting unmanageable strains into the capitalist system, strains that precipitate an economic and/ or political crisis.” Dreier has in mind a “revolution of rising entitlements” that “cannot be abandoned without undermining the legitimacy of the capitalist class.” “Proximately,” says Dreier, “the process leads to expansion of state activity and budgets, and … to fiscal crisis in the public sector. In the longer run , it may give socialist norms an opportunity for extension or at least visibility.” So Dreier’s plan is to gradually expand government spending until the country nears fiscal collapse. At that point, a public accustomed to its entitlements will presumably turn on its capitalist masters when they propose cutbacks to restore fiscal balance. Dreier fears that this intentionally wrought crisis might actually backfire and produce fascism instead of socialism. That is why he believes it’s so important to have a left-wing grassroots movement already in place. Left-wing community organizers will turn the national fiscal crisis in a socialist direction. Dreier seems to think that some revolutionary violence may emerge at this point. Yet his stress is on conditions designed to achieve a gradual transition to socialism.

Kurtz, Stanley (2010-10-19). Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (pp. 46-47).

posted by Dreier Watch on 2/13/14 @ 11:37 p.m.

After duping some PUSD parents to join a group called "Invest in PUSD Kids", Dreier attempted to hand control of the group over to LA Voice, the Los Angeles affiliate of the PICO National Network.

PICO subscribes to the organizational theory of Saul Alinsky.

1. Alinsky teaches that in politics, the ends justify the means.

2. Alinsky teaches that one must clothe one's organizational actions with "moral garments".

3. Alinsky's worldview is Marxist and therefore predicated on class warfare.

4. Alinsky teaches "popular education" techniques - a way of politicizing people into acceptance of Marxism.

5. Alinsky second book, Rules for Radicals, opens with a tribute to Lucifer.

Dreier himself is a decades long advocate of political tactics recommended by Alinsky. In particular, Alinsky's Rule 13 "“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

This is why Dreier is so nasty to people that do not agree with his socialist agenda. Dreier thinks it is a clever tactic to smear and attempt to destroy the reputations of people he disagrees with. The truth doesn't matter. All that matters is Dreier's goal of Socialist Revolution.

posted by Dreier Watch on 2/14/14 @ 12:08 a.m.

To Edwin Chusid:

Ramon Miramontes' wife, Guelsy Gomez, signed a "consultant contract" form dated August 1, 2013 on behalf of Zocalo Strategic Group. It called for PUSD to pay the firm $54,000. But there is no signature in the box on the form labeled "Pasadena USD." Her name is also on the W-9 form. But Miramontes' email address is listed on the Invoice for $8500, dated November 1, addressed to PUSD.

posted by peter dreier on 2/14/14 @ 04:08 a.m.

Miramontes is a businessman working hard (more than one job) to support his young family.

Did Dreier object when his political ally and friend and former PUSD board member Ed Honowitz' wife got a City of Pasadena contract?

Did Dreier object when Ed Honowitz left the PUSD board and took a government job related to education?

Did Dreier object when the campaign manager for Dreier's PUSD candidate Tom Selinske got a PUSD contract for more than $100,000?

Nope, because Dreier is a hypocrite.

And of course no response to the material showing that Dreier is really a committed socialist who has advocated intentionally collapsing our economy by proposing fraudulent "reforms" deigned to fail so that his left-wing friends can seize control and usher in a Socialist Paradise.

posted by Dreier Watch on 2/14/14 @ 08:25 a.m.

Did Dreier object when Dreier's chosen PUSD candidate Bob Harrison's business (Green Street Restaurant) was paid money by the PUSD while Harrison was a Board Member?

Did Dreier object when his Dreier's chosen PUSD candidate Tom Selinske's business (Encore Awards) was paid money by the PUSD?


Because "All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.”

posted by Dreier Watch on 2/14/14 @ 10:37 a.m.
posted by peter dreier on 2/14/14 @ 05:14 p.m.

PUSD catfight!

Meanwhile, pay no attention to all those diversionably allocated and effectively evaporated tax dollars ... after all, "It's for the children! (NOT)"


posted by DanD on 2/18/14 @ 07:17 a.m.

This Erwin guy sounds like Ramon's wife. Ramon's a man, let him fight his own fight. All of this is ridiculous, no wonder people are paying big $$$ for private school.

posted by csula09 on 2/22/14 @ 12:37 p.m.
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