Sean Baggett Sean Baggett

Warranted concerns

Tea party-backed school board candidate remains on probation after paying a portion of DUI-related fine

By André Coleman , Jake Armstrong , Kevin Uhrich 03/31/2011

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A tea party-supported candidate for the Pasadena school board remains on probation for a nearly 3-year-old DUI-related offense, even though an unpaid fine that led to the issuance of a warrant for his arrest has been partially paid, the Pasadena Weekly has learned.

On Friday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Collette Serio ruled Sean J. Baggett violated his probation by not paying the $1,486 fine — part of a plea agreement on a May 2008 drunken driving offense in which Baggett was ultimately found guilty of reckless driving.

In that case, court documents show Baggett was granted a 60-day extension to pay, but did not show up in court on July 16, 2009. At that time, Judge Gus Gomez issued a $30,000 warrant for Baggett’s arrest. Court records show that Serio lifted the warrant after Baggett paid $400 to the court on Friday. The judge, however, reinstated Baggett’s probation. His next payment to the court is due June 27.

In other election news, the Weekly has learned that Michael T. Alexander, a Baggett supporter and one of the architects of current conservative campaigns for local office, resigned from practicing law with disciplinary charges pending in 1989 after the California Supreme Court found he committed acts of “moral turpitude and dishonesty” by accepting money from four clients, then working against their best interest or not performing any work at all.

Head of the Pasadena Patriots, the local faction of the tea party, Alexander was suspended by the court from practicing law for one year, ordered to return more than $1,000 to two clients and serve five years probation, but he resigned less than a year later instead. Alexander, who was featured in a story that appeared in the Aug. 19 edition of the Weekly, did not return calls seeking comment. (Please see “Tempest in a teapot,”  HYPERLINK "http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/more_than_a_tempest_in_a_teapot/9145/" http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/more_than_a_tempest_in_a_teapot/9145/) 
In an email, Baggett, who on Friday also did not return multiple calls, wrote that the Weekly’s story, also published on Friday, was false and demanded that it be taken off the paper’s Web site. (Please see “Wanted: Sean J. Baggett,”  HYPERLINK "http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/wanted_sean_j_baggett/9934/" http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/wanted_sean_j_baggett/9934/) and “Not Wanted: Sean J. Baggett,”  HYPERLINK "http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/update_div_not_wanted_sean_j_baggett_div/9935/" http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/update_div_not_wanted_sean_j_baggett_div/9935/
“I made payment on the fine this morning [Friday] and the bench warrant was lifted. Please immediately correct your story which is posted on the Internet,” wrote Baggett, who faces Board of Education incumbent Tom Selinske in the April 19 runoff election.

On March 23, the Pasadena Star-News reported on some of Baggett’s other problems with the law — a charge of urinating in public at the Rose Bowl, a claim which he admitted to but was later dismissed, a petty theft conviction and other driving-related convictions in the early 1990s, all dug up by public school parent and licensed private investigator Larry O’Brien, who was not identified in that story. 

The paper did not report on either the warrant or an unpaid civil judgment of nearly $14,000 imposed on Baggett in 2008 by a San Diego civil court, which O’Brien also uncovered. 

In a telephone interview Monday morning, Baggett again claimed the Weekly’s story about his warrant was false because he paid part of the fine the previous Friday morning, just prior to publication of the Pasadena Weekly’s story around 4 p.m. This newspaper’s story was based on court records and the word of Pasadena police, the arresting agency in the DUI case, which still regarded Baggett’s warrant as outstanding when the story was published online.

At that time, Pasadena police Lt. Phlunte Riddle confirmed there was still a warrant out for Baggett’s arrest and that he could be taken into custody if stopped by an officer. Riddle urged Baggett to turn himself in.
“The story you posted is false, when you posted it, it was false,” Baggett said of the coincidental timing of publication of the story on the same day that he decided to finally start paying his fine and clearing the 20-month-old warrant.

When asked how he paid the fine, Baggett said he used personal funds. He then refused to answer any more questions. He said he would bring documents clearing his name to the Weekly’s office in Old Pasadena, but he never showed up. 

During the March 8 election campaign, a reporter asked Baggett to his face if he had ever been arrested or charged with a crime, and Baggett answered no. The Weekly asks that question of all candidates for public office, following up on those who seem suspicious in their answers, a test that Baggett — and his opponent — apparently passed at the time.

Baggett has also been deceptive about his career. For instance, he claimed that he worked as a track and field coach at Caltech, when he was really a volunteer. He’s also said that he worked as adjunct professor at Pasadena City College, which is untrue, and that he is currently employed at Cal State Sacramento, which he is not.

Baggett has also been deceptive about his political alliances, claiming he was not affiliated with the tea party, when, in fact, Amy Ellison, the director of media relations for TeaPAC, the fundraising arm of Alexander’s Pasadena Patriots, serves as media director for Baggett’s campaign.

In the Weekly’s story about Alexander last summer, the ebullient 24-year-old Ellison was enthusiastic about the tea party getting involved in local politics, saying the organization would be aiming for seats on the school board and City Council.

“We will be very involved in the local elections,” Ellison said. “We will be running our own candidates for a bunch of the city positions.”

Click on links to view court documents.
 
 


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Comments

Who is Selinske paying or doing at Pasadena Weekly? Definitely Coleman, Armstrong, and Uhrich. Anyone else? How do I get on this? I have a few places I need smeared too, let me know your going rate?

posted by informed2011 on 3/31/11 @ 10:34 a.m.

I mean 3 articles in 1 week?!! Cant you "journalists" be a little more discreet about your smear campaign. You have completely compromised all credibility as neutral, fact based writers, for a PUSD board member.

posted by informed2011 on 3/31/11 @ 10:36 a.m.

Having formerly worked as a teacher for Sean Baggett, I was shocked and disappointed to hear that he had the gall to run the school board and was very relieved when this and other news outlets identified his many public misrepresentations. I have never before (or since) worked for someone who was so unprofessional or so dishonest. At SEA Charter School, Mr. Baggett routinely asked his staff to hold special education meetings without the required participants and asked his staff to illegally alter special education documents before audits. He frequently arrived extremely late to meetings, often left work mid-day, spoke very disparagingly to his staff, and did not support his teachers or monitor them to ensure that students' needs were being met. I would be very concerned if Mr. Baggett was on the school board at my child's school.

posted by concerned on 3/31/11 @ 10:45 a.m.

The Pasadena Weekly is now just an appendage of the good old boy system that runs all the money pots in this part of the world. About as alternative as a trip to McDonalds. Smear is their assigned task, and they go at it with an amphetamine level of intensity. Follow the crooked money.

posted by Bill Williams on 3/31/11 @ 12:45 p.m.

RE: American politics.

Certainly, all the right people seem to be dumping great quantities of condemnation on the "greater evil" dogpile identified as Sean Baggett, who also seems to be running for the official bogey-man office evacuated some time ago by Emmanuel Goldstein.

Also, most politicians cannot determine who does and does not choose to support them. I mean, whodathunkit, Jackie Robinson's choice for President over JFK was Richard Nixon! Now apparently, Michael T. Alexander is an ethically flawed lawyer, it says so right there in the article above ... but tell us oh mighty Weekly of investigative journalists, who else (quite possibly on the City Council, etc.) has MTA supported? Shouldn't we also be spreading some guilt-by-association there?

In the meantime, while the Weekly seems to be getting most of its investigative journalism handed to it by Paddyland's Private-PI-League, NOBODY seems to comprehensively be investigating the politically-presumtive lesser evil of "Tom" Selinski.

And last but not least, calling somebody a "Teabagger" nowadays is very similar to how the Joe McCarthyites of the 1950s used to call most people of progressive qualifications "Communists." It's gotten so bad that all one need do in this modern era to get labelled as a Teabagger is to simply declare that they "support the Constitution." As it is, the above article seems to be just a tad ad-hominim heavy.

So tell me Kevin, when're you publishing your three-article expose' of Selinski? Does he really walk on water?

DanD

posted by DanD on 3/31/11 @ 12:46 p.m.

Why is it not surprising that a Baggett surrogate is begging for some discretion here? Discreet is right; too bad you couldn't keep all those nasty cats in the bag.

Stop your tut-tutting of this paper and its reporters serving the public as they rightfully grab onto Mr. Baggett's low-hanging fruit of a past, which is ripe with dishonesty, criminal behavior, professional fabrications, woeful disregard for public safety, and wasting taxpayer dollars. As a probationee he'll now cost us further!

How insulting that Baggett has run as some kind of taxpayer advocate for PUSD. I'll trust a man who is able to run a business rather than some dancing lemon administrator from L.A. who not only cannot support himself from the government teet but has the nerve to burn our dollars further by disregarding the law.

I hope the court charges him interest on his back fines and judgments, bills him for wasting the court's time, and tacks on the costs to monitor his unscrupulous ways while on probation. Aim for the toilet Mr. Baggett; this might keep you out of trouble for your next bogus attempt at public office and frankly is the place you right where you belong.

posted by pasparents282 on 3/31/11 @ 01:21 p.m.

Wow pp282, you must WHORSHIP the Koch brothers!

DanD

posted by DanD on 3/31/11 @ 02:13 p.m.

I worry about my kids starting to drive these days as it is. How sad that I would have to warn them of a school board member behind the wheel. What would we say when SADD and MADD come to our high schools? Shame on anyone who claims that this particular offense should be overlooked. As a mother I refuse to do so. If we cannot elect someone who at the very least can differentiate between right and wrong then surely we are doomed. Bare minimum, this candidate at least could have faced up to the responsibilities like a man. He may have thumbed his nose to the court of law but now he must face the court of public opinion.

posted by shry68 on 3/31/11 @ 04:16 p.m.

All's good and fair in love, war, and politics ... except, why isn't Selinski's past being wrung out as comprehensively as Baggett's? The issue here seems to be not so much that Baggett has a checkered past, but only that he is not nearly as adept at hiding it as his opponent may be.

I'm really not defending Baggett per-se, I'm just wondering why Selinski ain't receiving an equal colon-dose of private-dick inquiry? Has anybody really asked Selinski; "... to his face if he had ever been arrested or charged with a crime ...? Since the Weekly allegedly "asks that question of all candidates for public office," Still, it makes me wonder if an equal intensity of investigative invasion truly has been produced against both candidates.

On one side of this coin, the silence is just a bit too profound.

DanD

posted by DanD on 3/31/11 @ 04:57 p.m.

To all the Shoot The Messenger enthusiasts: I hope you realize that you're not going to rescue Baggett. Nowhere on the planet are people going vote knowingly for a school board candidate with a record of drunk driving and public display. Nowhere.

I mean, DanD, you're really wondering why Selinski isn't being asked when was the last time he was arrested for whipping it out in public? Really? OK, let me help. That's because most of us don't do that sort of thing. It's highly u-n-u-s-u-a-l. Or how 'bout asking Selinski if he just snuck into a city office to undue his years-old bench warrant for a DUI, coincidentally just as a local paper was going pub with story? Well, yah, ya could do that, if you had a lotta time on your hands.

Look, you Tea Partiers have every right to back candidates, and tell us what you think, and even if we don't see it your way, the system benefits from the challenge. But this time, guys, it looks like you may have picked a scoundrel. It was an accident. It happens. Don't get defensive, just next time, check your candidate out a little better.

If the experience with Baggett sharpens your focus you'll be better at promoting your ideas, and we'll all win. OK?

posted by DanC on 3/31/11 @ 06:03 p.m.

Um, "DanC;"

First off, Baggett is not my "candidate." Second, I'm not a Teabagger. And for all that you (and the rest of us) know, Selinski ain't a registered sex-perp simply because he's a more careful political perp ... besides, everybody seems to be too busy spending their three minutes of hate on Baggett.

As I implied earlier, the problem here is that there's too much information flooding the Weekly's innertubes about one potential inmate, while a great dearth of information is being investigatively process about the other. Lack of coverage or information should not be referenced as a recommendation.

DanD

posted by DanD on 3/31/11 @ 07:31 p.m.

Thx for the reply, DanD. First off, I apologize unreservedly for assuming you were for Baggett. However, I don't buy your assumption that everyone running for public office is one sort of perp or another. Baggett's record is actually quite unusual (as well as funny in a sad sort of way; one hand wants to lead him to help and the other wants to slap him).

And about the PW showing bias, well, maybe they do ... and maybe they don't. Small distrib. local paper + salacious story = headlines. What could be more natural? Maybe the big exposé on Selinski is no weirdness, no arrests, no faked résumé, no financial mess. That just = boredom, unlikely to make it to any publication.

But I'll support you anyway. PW! Arise! Set your investigative dogs on poor Selinski. Publish the unvarnished truth. (Me, I'll break out the NoDoze ...)

posted by DanC on 3/31/11 @ 07:51 p.m.

A couple of observations for all. Beginning from early childhood, virtually everybody does something stupid sometime in their life. Also, EVERYBODY has at some time pissed in the woods, with those woods sometimes being highly manicured. Why manufacture a faux-paux from reasonably questionable evidence?

Lastly, the less spontanious controversy any politician can lay claim to frequently means that they are just a well-scrubbed corporate shill. Show me a man who's made no mistakes and I'll show you somebody who has no first-hand experience to speak of (and only follows orders).

Oh yes, and thank you DanC for that gracious apology ... I accept.

DanD

posted by DanD on 3/31/11 @ 08:14 p.m.

Are arrests and pleas really just "faux-pas" arising "from reasonably questionable evidence?" The criminal justice system really doesn't work that way. You’re not hauled into court on rumors. You don’t refuse to blow at a sobriety checkpoint when you don’t have anything to hide. Providing excuses of back surgery and medication to the paper who uncovered your charges is one thing; giving the judge a copy of a prescription and post-op documents to substantiate your claim is quite another. And we’ve all taken a slash outside in the woods but do you actually think that was what was going on? You get charged with public urination when you don’t have the sense nor the manners to know when it’s socially permissible and when it’s not. You get that charge from pissing on someone’s tire, not pissing in the woods looking for Checkers.

And what bias or controversy from the PW? When your rap sheet runs long and your fabrications and excuses are frequent and obvious, there's really no digging required. Just a few phone calls around and a query of court records is all one needs--tools available to any reporter. The use of a PI to confirm suspicions of a shady candidate is a matter of journalistic taste, not ethics. And besides, since he has lied straight to these and other reporters’ faces and had the nerve to continue to do so then digging deeper for bad behavior and striking gold is a just desert.

posted by pasparents282 on 3/31/11 @ 10:04 p.m.

Re the pissing charge; "... a charge of urinating in public at the Rose Bowl, a claim which he admitted to but was later dismissed ..." Apparently, some judge didn't see it quite a sensationally as the PW has.

But tell me pp282, do you know for a fact that Baggett pissed on somebody's vehicle tire? One thing I know from experience ... COPS ARE LIARS! If many of them think that it may increase their reputation as a bad-assed law enforcer, wherever its a "cop-says / target-denies" circumstance, it's my experience that the Northwest's "average" LE gangbanger will lie through his teeth just for the revenue enhancement of it all, especially at the infraction courts over on Walnut Street.

California is currently in the jack-booted process of developing a first-class police state where criminal law enforcers face not even marginal quality control regarding their own lack of ethical conduct.

Ultimately, Baggett has worked quite hard to loose this election. As a less advertised consequence, Selinski never really needed to try winning. Because he's practically off the radar as a doze-off candidate, beyond the PR of his candidacy, in contrast to the sensational crash-n-burn of Baggett, nobody really knows what kind of character Selinski is.

Tell me pp282, do you really believe that there are never any political conspiracies?

DanD

posted by DanD on 3/31/11 @ 11:24 p.m.

Sure, DanD, we've all done stupid stuff. But you're using ambiguity, trying to get away with conflating the normal mistakes of youth with an apparent record of repeated criminal, civil and financial offenses by a baguette whose résumé appears to be full of blatant lies.

Your characterization of the "corporate shill" who has no "first-hand experience" sounds to me like warmed-over junior high school Marxism. People often serve their communities because they feel good giving; people often contribute great things to those with whom they share a living place. Not every local candidate falsifies a résumé. Not every city manager is a Rizzo.

You're a thinker, so tell me, aren't you just using the decaying flesh of the Baggett campaign as a slippery platform for promoting nihilism? If so, we can all accept that. Someone's gotta clean up the carrion.

posted by DanC on 3/31/11 @ 11:31 p.m.

Do political conspiracies happen? I'm sure they do, although less than what many suspect. But this case is a poor example of a conspiracy. This is guy had no business running for school board, or any other public office for that matter. He is short on talent and long on excuses and questionable behavior. The press grabbed on because it's a good scandal and easy pickin's with this fellow. Just because there hasn't been any skeletons in Selinske's closet reported doesn't mean they're waiting to be found.

posted by pasparents282 on 4/01/11 @ 07:50 p.m.

Opened my ballot the other day and saw the Selinske's number one supporter is Pasadena Weekly. Still think their articles are fair and not skewed?

posted by informed2011 on 4/02/11 @ 11:04 a.m.

Tell me "DanC," does that tag have anything at all to do with your real name ... or perhaps, maybe more like mine?

Anyway, I finally got Selinske's "non-partisan" political advert in the mail just yesterday. As a consequence, I see now who's being manipulated into electively supporting this particular smooth operator.

Effectively, "Tom" Selinske is turning this ostensibly "non"-partisan school board competition into an "old-school" Republican victory! It functionally says so right there at the top of this cardboard scorecard;

"REPUBLICAN VALUES"

At first, it qualifies the competition supposedly being waged ...

"School board is a non-partisan office."

And then, it proceeds to requalify the real goals of this particular election. One at least is to re-inject popular political acrimony into a formerly non-political-party battlefield by establishing:

"But it is no secret that Tom Seliske is a lifelong Republican - and the ONLY Republican on the PUSD School Board(!)."

Wow, talk about Heracules meeting with all the enemies at the gate!

So, by such a covertly faux-unofficial announcement, Selinske is the only real Republican who puts his balls-to-the-wall by making it a contest as a lifelong REPUBLICAN during what is ostensibly supposed to be a non-partisan election!

Good-Koresh, PR Cahones up the yazoo.

In the meantime, in order not to so terribly piss-off all that not to inconsiderable Tea-Bagger minority (left out of the loop) base within Pasadena's Republican ranks, Selinske's flyer actually refers to his (only) other party-unacknowledged Republican opponent in just tepid neutral terms. He does this, however, while yet playing the allegedly liberal (and definitively corporatized) Pasadena Weakly as his own personal political foil among all those weaknee'd progressives and other Democrat party yahoos in Pasadena's grand, "non-partisan" school district! So, the proto-goys of the Democrat party get pressured into voting for Selinske if they don't want a Bachmann-ized, Tea-bagging Palinizer delivering a "baguette" of perverted educational influence among a Selinske political flyer-acknowledged, Democratically predisposed local school yard near you!

And nobody still believes that Baggett is a ringer?

Simply because of this one politically-definitive flyer alone, I feel that life-lone Republican Tom Selinske should effectively be booted out of his "non-partisan" candidacy for this VERY partisan appeal to gain managerial access to a particulary Democrat-predisposed, grassroots political post.

Anyway, ain't non of it honest.

DanD

posted by DanD on 4/03/11 @ 08:43 a.m.

Our current election cycle pretty-much adds up to this:

Baggett's crash-n-burn will take out the Tea Party's wild-card vote because the batschit crazy of it all just cannot be controlled by any lucid political party;

Selinske carries the reasonably sane Republican and Blue-Dog Democrat vote.

IN the meantime, the fake non-partisan-ness of it all has guaranteed removing any self-actualized Democrat from ever getting his/her name printed on a District 6, schoolboard election ballot, while any write-in effort by some other more progressive Democrat or Independent is virtually still-born for the sheer lack of time and understanding about how they've all really been royally phucked in their truly, fantasy non-partisan pieholes.

And not even kiss or a cigarette.

In the meantime, by seeming to have become a covertly Republican bulletproof monk, Selinske will continue aiming higher on the public-service foodchain while also manufacturing himself as an ever-expanding and greater, behind the scenes, politically androgynous, "non-partisan" kingmaker.

Truly debonaire hucksterism.

DanD

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