District Prepares For Appeal as New Information Casts Doubt on Previous Reports

volleyballThe school district’s appeal meeting will take place on Thursday, March 13, not in community chambers where it can be broadcast live, but rather in the Conference Room in the District Office Building on 526 B Street.  The closed session will begin at 6 pm and open session will begin sometime after 7 pm.

In order to allow for a more robust discussion the district has three open session items.  First will come any announcement of decisions made in closed session, which will focus on the immediate determination of the appeal.

Second, in order to allow board members to freely discuss issues that are related to the appeal, the district has agendized a place for board member comments related to the appeal.

Finally, the district has placed a first read of a new conflict of interest policy, which clearly is developed out of the issues that arose last year, where in February Nancy Peterson first voted to pull a consent agenda item on Coach Julie Crawford’s VSA.

In July, Nancy Peterson would be the lone dissenting vote in a 3-1 vote, with Tim Taylor not on the phone line when the vote occurred.  She then threw fuel on the fire when she stated, “My vote reflects nothing more than my continued pursuit of ideals centered on children. I cannot in good conscience vote to approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults.”

Clearly, there was a conflict between her personal experiences and responsibilities to her family and her official duties.  Could a conflict of interest policy be reworked to accommodate that?

A proposed conflict of interest policy notes, “Even when there is not a conflict pursuant to the PRA (Government Code 87100-87500.1) or Government Code 1090, the Attorney General has found that special situations may still exist under the common law doctrine against conflict of interest which, unlike the statutes, extends to noneconomic interests.”

The policy cites an example where a loan agreement was voted on, a “loan agreement where the recipient of the loan was a corporation owned by the board member’s adult son.”

It notes, “Although the board member was not financially interested in the contract under the PRA or Government Code 1090, the Attorney General determined that abstention was necessary in order to avoid a conflict between the member’s official and personal interests and to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”

Board policy notes, “A Board member shall abstain from any official action in which his/her private or personal interest may conflict with his/her official duties.”

That would seem to cover this incident.  “Districts are encouraged to consult legal counsel if situations arise that raise the question as to whether such a conflict exists,” the policy reminds.


Robert Peterson, husband of School Board Member Nancy Peterson, addresses School Board two weeks ago.
Robert Peterson, husband of School Board Member Nancy Peterson, addresses School Board two weeks ago.

Vanguard Analysis: Selective Reporting by Newspaper In Initial Retaliation Story

In the meantime, additional information has come out with regard to the findings by independent investigator Alexander Sperry.

When Chris Saur of the Davis Enterprise first broke the news on February 11, 2014, he wrote, “Retaliation may be at root of coach’s dismissal.”

As we noted, quoting at the time: “The complaint triggered the investigation, which was completed around Thanksgiving, when the findings were sent to the district.”

Mr. Saur reported that Mr. Sperry’s conclusion was detailed in a December 17 letter from Matt Best (Director of HR for DJUSD) to Robert Peterson.

He then quoted from the letter, that the finding was that ”more likely than not, Coach Crawford’s decision to cut [Vanguard redaction] Peterson from the varsity volleyball team was influenced, at least in part, by Coach Crawford’s feelings about Nancy Peterson.”

The Vanguard would learn that the letter was leaked by Mr. Peterson himself to the newspaper.  At the time and several times since, the Vanguard has questioned the decision by the newspaper to print from what was a confidential personnel document in which only one of the parties – Mr. Peterson – consented to the release of sensitive information.

Moreover, the use of the daughter’s name was criticized – ironically, by the Petersons who were the leaking party.

Even based on that limited leak, the public questioned the strength of the findings mixed within the words, “more likely than not” and “influenced, at least in part.”

On Sunday, for first time, Jeff Hudson disclosed without comment or notation that Mr. Saur’s original report actually misstated the findings by Mr. Sperry.

Mr. Hudson writes, “The Davis school district hired an attorney to investigate the complaint and prepare a report at a cost of $22,041. The investigator concluded that ‘coach Crawford’s decision to cut (the Petersons’ daughter) from the girls volleyball program was influenced, in part, by her personal feelings about Nancy Peterson’ but also added ‘at the same time (the investigator) does not find that coach Crawford acted with “willful mal-intent” to harm (the Petersons’ daughter). … Rather, through no fault of her own, (the daughter) simply became a casualty of the ongoing “volleyball drama” involving coach Crawford and Nancy Peterson.’”

Aside from Mr. Hudson’s very careful redactions of sensitive information, he for the first time reports the second part of Mr. Sperry’s findings that Mr. Sperry did not find that Julie Crawford acted with “willful mal-intent” or the intention to actually “harm” Ms. Peterson.

The new information clearly changes the entire context of the letter.  It calls into question the nature of the public comments by Robert Peterson back on February 20.

“My issue was a disagreement between this coach and her friend the previous coach and my wife at whatever level became simple retaliation,” Mr. Peterson told the board during public comment.

Mr. Peterson would go on to state, “It’s documented.  The threats are there.  The email chains are there.  We presented all of this information.”

The implication that there were threats is undermined now by the belated disclosure that the investigator found there to be no “willful mal-intent” on the part of Ms. Crawford.

At the same time, the new information bolsters the questionable nature of the initial decision to print from a leaked document that, as we have noted, is confidential in nature.  While Mr. Peterson consented to the release of the information, it is without question that Ms. Crawford did not.

The decision to selectively quote from the article was misleading at best.  The paper could have averted the perception that the initial report was framed by Mr. Peterson by releasing a redacted version of the document – if they really felt that releasing the information was in the best interest of the parties involved.

The new information may of course change the public perception of this conflict and would seem to bolster a decision that the board might make to overturn the decision by district administrators to not renew the VSA.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. PhilColeman

    The proposed COI policy revision reminds everybody that they are “encouraged” to consult District counsel should there arise a circumstance where a conflict of interest issue could be raised. If anybody in authority in the School District is reading this PLEASE change “encouraged” to “shall.” This is not free legal advice (because I can’t do that) but it is free management advice (Credit my feel from the $22K deficit).

    It’s called CYA, a highly technical legal and management term, widely employed. School employee, if you have a shadow of a doubt on your possible peril here, talk to District Counsel. If they say, recuse, you recuse. If they say it’s OK and you later get criticized for COI, you have the perfect defense. My lawyer said it was OK!

  2. SODA

    agree Phil. When I was on a professional board, the counsel said the same thing. The operative words were perceived and potential.
    Are the city council chambers booked on Thursday? Why wouldn’t they use the normal filmed room or is it obvious?

    1. growth issue

      “Are the city council chambers booked on Thursday? Why wouldn’t they use the normal filmed room or is it obvious?”

      I’m wondering the same thing Soda.

      1. Michelle Millet

        They usually have closed sessions at district office then move across the street to community chambers for open session. Maybe this isn’t normally true for special meetings?

        I checked the city website, it does not appear that community chambers is already in use that night.

  3. Michelle Millet

    A proposed conflict of interest policy notes, “Even when there is not a conflict pursuant to the PRA (Government Code 87100-87500.1) or Government Code 1090, the Attorney General has found that special situations may still exist under the common law doctrine against conflict of interest which, unlike the statutes, extends to noneconomic interests.”

    This is a tough one. Finical interests are more black and white then the issues our school board members are deciding on.

    For example I have heard through the parental grapevine that at least one parent who has a child/children in the GATE/AIM, and who is known as a aupporter of this program, will be running for school board. If elected will they have to recuse themselves from any decision that effects that effect AIM.

    1. Mr. Toad

      Depends on if the action is on the gate program or directed at a specific person with malice because of a personal issue like a bill of attainder.

      The board also needs a policy on maligning employees from the dais without disclosing the facts so that the public can judge such accusations in a transparent process.

  4. PhilColeman

    I saw the Sauer article, and the comment about Crawford having no “mal-intent” towards the Peterson daughter (Reporter Sauer editorially changed “mal-intent” to an legitimate word, “malice”).

    I read that sentence three times, and, yes, it said what it said. Peterson published only the preceding sentence which said Crawford was “influenced” by Nancy’s endless personal assaults over her coaching ability and judgment.

    I’m quite certain the investigator asked Crawford the question, “Were you influenced by your verbal exchanges with Nancy Peterson?” It’s a fair question for the circumstance. It’s also a “set-up” question routinely used by investigators for the question that follows–the real meaty question.

    Only two classes of people would say no to that first question, liars and sociopaths. Of course, Coach Crawford was influenced (or affected) by this ongoing cat fight. The predictable second question would then ask, “How did your relationship with Nancy influence your relationship with her daughter?” or words to that effect.

    It was the answer to that second question, along with the presence or absence of any supporting evidence, that lead to the investigator concluding Crawford was without malice towards the Peterson girl. It would appear that Dr. Peterson must have missed that part of the summary letter sent to him

    Crawford was not offered a renewal of her contract and this judgment was rendered by apparently one administrator. The reason for this decision is not known (yet). But one thing is certain, the investigation report unconditionally says that Crawford did not act maliciously towards the Peterson, and that cannot be the valid reason for her contract being pulled.

    Reminding ourselves of the weasel-wording also contained in the summary letter–and how it seems to conflict with the no-malice judgment, was this letter worth the paper it was printed on? Whoever wrote that dreadful letter, if that person had anything to do with the construction of the investigation report, it, too, is not worth the paper it’s written on.

    I may have been the first to publicly predict the outcome of Thursday’s appeal meeting. Were I a betting man, I’d give odds now. But most folks know a sucker bet when they see one.

    1. iPad Guy

      I’m not sure what you mean that “Peterson published only the preceding sentence which said Crawford was “influenced” by Nancy’s endless personal assaults over her coaching ability and judgment.”

      It’s odd that so many missed what you read so carefully. Time to go back and reread Chris Saur’s original story.

      On the other hand, I assumed that the letter from the district to Dr. Peterson was not intended to be an executive summary of the 72-page report, but the minimum the district could say without violating the rights of the person being investigated.

      I’d never take your bet without hearing the administration’s rationale for not hiring the coach, seeing the coach’s appeal and reading the entire report. Then, I’d propose odds based on my reading of the school board reading of the public reaction to its possible decisions. The fact that they’ve rushed through a conflict policy change obviously aimed at their former colleague might say something.

    2. Davis Progressive

      i read the saur article a number of times and i never picked up on the lack of mal-intent or malice. pulling it out and failing to quote greatly diminished the impact. no one who has recited it here was aware of the further diminishment of the findings.

      1. iPad Guy

        I agree. Since the ICDavis art and The Enterprise series of articles were all we had to comprehend what’s might be the report, leaving out (several times) this statement is significant. Consider all the comments about how meaningful “influenced, in part,” etc. meant. If the letter does include the “mal-intent” statement, Chris Saur didn’t do his job as a reporter.

    1. PhilColeman

      I think your right. The legal terminology used lead me down the potential false trail of thinking that the law office wrote the letter for the District Administration’s signature and mailing.

      That may have well happened. Or the law office reviewed the drafted letter before it was sent out by the Administration office. That’s common practice.

      Since we know only one thing for sure on authorship, the letter went out over Best’s signature, we’ll conclude he bears full responsibility for the content. I’ll take the hit and publicly apologize for blaming the law office, lacking the certainty the firm had any part in the letter’s creation.

  5. iPad Guy

    “…Mr. Sperry did not find that Julie Crawford acted with ‘willful mal-intent’ the intention to actually ‘harm’ Ms. Peterson.”

    Not sure is there is a distinction intended between “actual harm” and “harm,” but there’s no reason to switch the investigator’s finding that he “does not find that coach Crawford acted with ‘willful mal-intent’ to harm (the Petersons’ daughter)” to apply to “Ms. Peterson” instead.

    I just knew that we’d like this report a lot better when the conclusion that “coach Crawford’s decision to cut (the Petersons’ daughter) from the girls volleyball program was influenced, in part, by her personal feelings about Nancy Peterson” got this amendment about not finding of malintent.

    Whether malintent is some technicality needed for retaliation, it doesn’t make sense that Chris Saur intended to overlook this significant point. Did Jeff Hudson just mine this gem weeks later from the Rob Peterson letter or is he working from some new, undisclosed source? It’s almost as though it’s time for Rosannadana to pop up.

    This further supports someone’s long-stated notion that we need to allow the school board to deal with the entire report instead of relying only on what was in The Enterprise and on ICDavis. I remember reading long ago someone suggesting that David get a copy of Dr. Peterson’s letter instead of just criticizing The Enterprise for using it.

    An Exiled, Anonymous Poster

    1. Davis Progressive

      it’s a mealy mouth report. the point i think coleman makes is that peterson failed to cite the second portion of the findings which tend to nulify her and her husband’s complaint that julie acted with malice and they can prove it if only the facts come out.

          1. Don Shor

            I was going to let this go, but since folks keep bringing it up, here’s what I posted on the other thread.

            iPad’s general pattern has been to take an opposite debating point, being intentionally contrarian on many topics on the Vanguard. That can be a useful and stimulating activity.

            The Vanguard allows anonymous/pseudonymous postings because some individuals have expressed concern (and there have been instances) that identifying themselves could lead to harm. To themselves, their careers, or their associates.

            In this instance iPad has persistently and aggressively acted to argue on behalf of the Petersons’ positions. The Petersons took actions that led to material harm to a private citizen (Coach Crawford) and tarnished her professional reputation.

            It seems to me that anyone who is going to spend hundreds of posts making that case should at least have the courage to do so publicly, under his own name. It would also clear up the perception that iPad is acting specifically on behalf of the Petersons. He can say what he wants. David can say that he has no reason to believe iPad is associated with the family. But we have no way of knowing.

            The policy exists to protect Vanguard participants. It is being used to harm a private citizen. I consider that an abuse of the policy allowing anonymous postings.

          2. Michelle Millet

            I disagree with you Don. He is not presenting new information, he is questioning the information presented by others. I think this type of behavior should be encouraged, even if it is done anonymously.

          3. Michelle Millet

            Also TrueBlueDevil consistently posts in support of Crawford and does so anonymously. Is there a reason you feel this is different from what iPad is doing?

          4. iPad Guy

            The moderator starts with untrue charges at 10:08 a.m. and wants to cut off dissenting opinions by 10:18 a.m. Nice.

          5. Don Shor

            No, iPad. I asked a question. I would like to know if Michelle really wants to debate the issue here, now, on this thread.

          6. iPad Guy

            “Do you REALLY want to continue this herei?”

            I kinda thought Davis Progressive and Michelle were doing just fine. Are you thinking it’s become off topic now that you joined?

            Should I get a chance to give my thoughts on the inuendo before you shut down the discussion?

          7. Don Shor

            Michelle asked me a question. I asked if she wanted to continue the discussion here. You can say whatever you want.

          8. iPad Guy

            But, I hope Michelle responds with a “Yes, of course, that’s why I asked my very insightful question.”

          9. Michelle Millet

            My question was a sincere one. First I’d say that I don’t have a problem with the ways either iPad Guy or TrueBlueDevil are posting, or how they are using their pseudonyms. I don’t see a big distinction in how they are doing so, which makes me wonder why one is being called out on it and the other is not. Am I missing something?

          10. Don Shor

            The Petersons took actions that led to material harm to a private citizen (Coach Crawford) and tarnished her professional reputation. iPad’s behavior has been in furtherance of that material harm and damage to her professional reputation. TrueBlueDevil’s postings were not. Any material harm that has come to the Petersons has been, essentially, of their own doing. And Mrs. Peterson, at least, is a public figure.
            I have taken criticism in the past from public figures who have felt that comments about them on the Vanguard have been unfair or harsh, and have just replied that it is, unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of being a public figure. But Coach Crawford didn’t invite any of this.

            And now, apparently, we learn that coaching isn’t Coach Crawford’s ‘real’ job.

          11. iPad Guy

            No, when TBD said, “Given that a 2X COTY has her job on the line…,” I tried to point out that “her real job teaching” wasn’t on the line–probably pretty apparent, her “other job” or her “first job” or her “bigger job” teaching. I think it’s obvious that I meant no disrespect about coaching, but you can say want. All the better if you’re trying to show my “mal-intent.”

          12. TrueBlueDevil

            I also ask questions. Yes, I had a bias from early on after last summer, and logic, discussion, and more facts furthered my position. However, I have written at least 4 times that there could be a Broom Hilda / Bobby Knight incident that we are unaware of. Given the revelations and five examples spelled out from Ms. Leigh Choate – which you can judge the veracity of – I believe it gave real-life texture to what many surmised. Coach Crawford was being nitpicked… over transportation and clothing minutia?

          13. iPad Guy

            I noticed your disclaimers about some smoking gun possibilities; they seemed fair enough to mention as qualifiers as you listed your evidence about what might be in the report.

            My own view has been that arguments weighing what the letter means (as reported in The Enterprise!) about the report itself was not very productive without having the 72 pages at hand.

            Other than your desire to drag us into judging performance of the player herself, I think you did a good job of bringing additional information to the discussion.

            I thought your conclusions sometimes were more overstated than the evidence deserved. But, we sure agree that the things over which the two principals were battling were unusually petty for the explosion that ensued.

            Hope that answers your questions.

            You should note with appreciation that—with all you had to say here—no one ever accused you of being Coach Crawford, her attorney or another significant other.

            Or, that you could somehow be abusing the Vanguard’s policy on anonymous posters.

          14. TrueBlueDevil

            I almost asked if you were Dr. Peterson, but I rethought things. I agree the 72-page report would be good to read, but odds are we won’t see it. Player performance is a dicey game, but the extremes here are huge. Freshmen players getting significant time is rare, but DHS volleyball lucked out. Given that a 2X COTY has her job on the line, what are results de clase?

          15. iPad Guy

            I don’t know whether an employe has a right to read such a document. If she does at this point, maybe she already has to help her prepare for questions during the appeal. (She’s not talking, right.)

            If the report is as weak as the letter to Dr. Peterson, I’d think the administration would report that their decision was based on more than just the investigation.

            Whatever it says apparently wasn’t enough to put her real job teaching on the line.

  6. Mr. Toad

    As I said teachers don’t take it out on the kids when parents are behaving badly. If anything they cave in. Its not Crawford who retaliated by cutting the kid it was the Petersons who retaliated because the kid was cut. Remember nobody ever complained about getting an A or in this case making the team. Its only when the teacher says no and holds the line that it hits the fan.

  7. Mr. Toad

    Typical Davis Enterprise move to publish out of context excerpts that attack the coach to support the connected school board member. The irony is the paper changed positions when Dunning and Whitmire blew the whistle and cried foul. I guess being a connected ivy league school board member only gets you privilege with the Davis Enterprise until you run into opposition from the good old boys of Davis.

  8. David L. Johnson

    David – thanks for your reporting. Journalism needs to be fact based AND equitable. You are also correct about new journalism changing the course of V-gate. Ten years ago, who knows what the outcome would have been. Separately, even with the best rules and policies, if you have bad actors, bad things are going to happen. (Think Watergate) The best we can do is to elect good folks and makie sure the others are turned away OR not re-elected to any other office.

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    If the meeting is held in smaller chambers – with no TV – it smells. Sorry. Do they not want the whole meeting videotaped / broadcast, or do they want to limit the size of the crowd?

    Mr. Coleman, several blog comments at The Enterprise claim that Coach Peterson and her assistants had little input / time with the investigator / lawyer. Does this make sense to you?

    Thank you to Mr. Greenwald for highlighting this selective reporting. I’ve wondered if there was a Bobby Knight eruption hidden somewhere, and the odds look less likely all the time. This also continues a theme of the Peterson’s, at minimum, exaggerating, and the possibility that Dr. Peterson was not being truthful when he claimed inflammatory emails (my term).

    A lockdown fact for me was finding out that two outstanding freshmen made the volleyball team. Combine that with a reserve player who is not improving, and the math is straightforward. On top of that, one of the stud players plays the exact same spot as the Peterson’s daughter. If the report missed these facts, Alexander Sperry produced a powder puff report.

    A GLOBAL POINT. A large part of this agreement comes from how you (we) view athletics. Is high school athletics about competition, sometimes fierce competition. Or is athletics about cooperation, and learning to work together. That influences how some see this situation.

    1. Michelle Millet

      If the meeting is held in smaller chambers – with no TV – it smells. Sorry. Do they not want the whole meeting videotaped / broadcast, or do they want to limit the size of the crowd?

      I wouldn’t read to much into this decision, I really don’t think there is malicious intent here. My guess is that this just standard procedure for special meetings.

      That being said if they can change the venue I encourage them to do so.

    2. David Greenwald

      Want to let people know that I have been working with the district to change the open portion of the meeting to the community chambers – I think it’s going to happen, but stand by.

      1. growth issue

        Good move David, if there’s no good reason not to have the meeting in the bigger chambers and televised doesn’t the board realise how this looks to us commoners? It gives the appearance of once again trying to take the easiest path.

    3. PhilColeman

      TBD, I’m flattered that you asked me specifically to comment on facet of the investigative process. You might consider also asking I-Pad. You’ll surely find his response far more interesting than mine.

      I’m not comfortable offering an answer/assessment for the following reasons: The sources are anonymous and unsubstantiated; “little input” need to be first measured in some way to make it little, then contrasted to somewhere else in the report where there was larger input.

      Fundamental to any discussion of the Investigative Report, my feeling is that no reasoned comment can be made by anybody unless he/she has read the report. I don’t think anybody has yet made that claim, even under a comfortable cloak of anonymity.

      1. iPad Guy

        Just catching up with this. PC, I’m flattered that you’d think I could add anything here, let alone something interesting.

        As usual, I’d avoid speculating on what went into a investigation and report that we’ve never seen and will never see. I do, however, recommend that Enterprise letter posters be attributed the same level of credibility as Vanguard comment posters.

  10. chris

    i agree the whole “more likely than not” influenced “in part” language is very wishy-washy and wasn’t well-reported by the enterprise. it also would have been useful to know about the “no mal-intent” language.

    but i read that last sentence as saying there was no ill-will toward the daughter, not that there was no inentional malicious conduct toward the family. so if there was still “mal-intent” toward mama peterson affecting the decision to cut the daughter, i think that still counts toward a finding of retaliation against the family — even if the finding, as noted earlier, was still a wishy-washy, more likely than not influenced in part kind of conduct. so i don’t think the “no mal-intent” language necessarily exonerates the coach, although it does help her.

  11. TrueBlueDevil

    I don’t think the Board’s parsing of policy will help.

    If a BOE member has a relative on a team / organization, recuse them from that decision. Or, if the Principal and AD agree to rehire a coach, unless there is a criminal charge, make the rehires automatic. A third option is to not allow citizens who have children in the school system run for the BOE.

    This might solve some of the problems, at least in athletics.

    Was Nancy Peterson no part, a small part, or a large part of Dr. Moore being released?

    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t believe any of those solutions are legal. A member has to recuse themselves, if they refuse, I’m not sure what the recourse is. Ed Code controls the board decisions over hiring. And you can’t preclude citizens for running for the BOE who have children in the school system.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I could be wrong, but I thought I read another city or county handle it this way.

        A third option is to not allow citizens who have children in the school system run for the BOE.

    2. iPad Guy

      I think David’s got a good point. Things other than legal financial conflicts necessarily end up being judgment calls on the part of the official who might have a conflict or an appearance of one.

      Consider that Ms. Peterson’s troublemaking action wasn’t as much her pulling from the consent calendar or voting, but her acts of talking publicly about matters that should have been handled in executive session. The board chairman at the time (Sheila Allen?) should have gotten these personnel discussions behind closed doors as soon as she knew what was happening.

      School board parents can’t be prohibited from keeping away from business every time it might affect their kids–what a can of worms just to determine. It should have been obvious to this board member that her feelings and connections met anyone’s concept of a conflict needing recusal. The board effort to revise its conflict policy needs more quiet, reflective time.

  12. TrueBlueDevil

    I’ve read where, reportedly, Coach Crawford was unable to secure school vans for a team building exercise, so she decided to use a limo. This was done with approval from superiors, and she checked or submitted the receipt to see if it would be cleared for reimbursement.

    Reportedly, Nancy Peterson flagged it. How did this happen?

    Are our Board of Education members checking the expense reports of all employees? Or did she review this because of her position of influence with the Blue & White Foundation? I have no problem with the expense being rejected, and Coach Crawford paid for it, but this should be something that is handled by the AD, accounting staff, or the Principal. Tell me if I am wrong, but it sounds like this is unneeded, and meddling is only one description.

    1. iPad Guy

      If this was done “was done with approval from superiors,” then her superiors or the district should have ended up paying as soon as she turned in her voucher request. Why would Nancy Peterson’s opinion have determined what how the matter played out.

      The best source on this episode so far (Leigh Choate), however, has provided a different report about how Coach Crawford’s made her generous decision to give her team a special treat at her own expense.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Not sure about that.

        In the “Slowly Pierces Get Filled In” Vanguard article, there was back n forth between Mr. Greenwald, IPad Guy, and Ms. Choate. Here is part of the exchange:

        David Greenwald
        March 10, 2014 at 4:16 pm

        “It means she [Crawford] attempted to get reimbursed, Nancy [Peterson] objected and so it ended up coming out of pocket. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for reimbursement and I don’t think it changes the facts as described. The larger objection is the unfounded complaint by Peterson of mismanagement.”


        I’m surprised a Board member is dealing at this level.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            Not a board member, but still somehow interjecting herself into the logistics of the volleyball program … very odd. I’ve never seen it.

          2. Leigh Choate

            she was with the blue and white foundation at the time and was the team liaison to blue and white for financial information, that is how she had some say. I am not sure when her post as president of blue and white was over but she had access to all financial information.

  13. David Greenwald


    The board meeting will take place in Community Chambers. Please note that public comment will be at 6 pm, the board will then cross the street and go into closed session and then back to the community chambers to announce their decision on the appeal.

    1. PhilColeman

      A self-described “quasi-judicial” body is going to hear free-form public input on the matter immediately prior to their retiring and deliberating an employee appeal. Amazing, simply amazing.

      1. iPad Guy

        And, the comments will be enthusiastic efforts to convince the board members to decide the appeal one way or the other. Afterwards, they’ll leave to go into seclusion for presentations/deliberations that not one of the public commenters ever will see.

        And, they’ll be expected to disregard everything that they’ve just heard at public comment and concentrate on what’s presented at the closed session.

        It sounds very odd to me. But, exciting.

        The city council has public comments after closed sessions all the time. Why would the Brown Act treat school boards differently?

  14. iPad Guy

    “I was going to let this go, but since folks keep bringing it up, here’s what I posted on the other thread.”


    At first, I wished you had let this go, ’cause I appreciated people disagreeing with your original, misguided accusations against me. But, then I realized I had missed your second, even stronger pitch last night.

    Furthermore, I intended to leave things the way they were left. But, I woke up wondering: “Who is going to let David know that his new story mistakenly states that ‘…Mr. Sperry did not find that Julie Crawford acted with ‘willful mal-intent’ or the intention to actually ‘harm’ Ms. Peterson”? So, I just couldn’t help myself.

    On every count, you’re wrong about me abusing the Vanguard’s pseudonym posting policy.

    None of us got upset that an an actual, close defender of one of the parties, “the original blue devil,” has been contributing anonymously beginning last year (until she outed herself recently). Of course, she’s always been on the right side of this battle.

    Even after I’ve told you and others that I’m not a Peterson, an agent, a friend, etc., you persist in the charges. At least David’s assurance has moved you to: “we have no way of knowing.”

    Have you considered that assurances given from a real-name poster might be no more accurate or reliable than mine are? What would you do with a real name, camp out to see who come over for dinner? So, the whole abuse of Vanguard anonymity policy contention is meaningless canard.

    But, you take this a step farther by outrageously claiming that I’m using the anonymity policy “to harm a private citizen.” Ignoring the fact that a high school coach of the year (twice!) is actually a limited public figure, I’m surprised you didn’t accept David’s assurances. And, charging bad intention to harm someone is astonishing.

    That I’ve posted lots on this issue isn’t a sin and partly can be explained by the fact the The Vanguard has run two dozen stories (with much repetition) since its first on the day of the second Enterprise story.

    When David announced his point of view “if I end up writing a commentary” that very first day, I expressed concern that he’d already made up his mind, hoping that he’d do a good job of reporting to find out what happened.

    I think you’d find that a good percentage of my comments have to do with the way David reported, sometimes just questioning the language he used.

    For example, the assertions that “the parents sent the student back to the team” or “Nancy Peterson sent her husband….” when there was no way David could know that either of these people “got sent” by anyone since both are fully capable of making their own decisions. (Apparently, he found these observations tiresome because he kept it up.)

    I also commented on David’s claims that Rob Peterson was somehow not a different person than his wife and that Dr. Peterson and The Enterprise hadn’t the right to do what they did. I pointed out that it seems as though Dr. Peterson talked to the paper two days after Coach Crawford got her story out.

    Sometimes, I just asked David where he came up with some new fact. He’s certainly used to clarifying or maintaining confidentiality. Sometimes, he ignored the question. (For example, one about him learning that Ms. Peterson’s “supporters and campaign team” warned her to avoid volleyball “if and when she got elected.’ This seemed so remarkably like a first person story that Leigh Choate had just related on The Vanguard that it seemed remarkable it could allege things that varied so much from her account.)

    A lot of the back and forth between other posters and me were similar discussions, and didn’t involve me arguing for the Peterson positions or arguing against the Crawford position. I hope you’ll take time to at least glance at some of the some these with a fresh eye.

    I also expressed concern about how nasty some of the comments had gotten both in the Vanguard and the Enterprise letters column. It didn’t seem like the way Davis normally operates. (I was surprised when, in the midst of a lot to vitriol that got posted when Nancy Peterson resigned, that wdf1 expressed sadness, instead, and mentioned her “exemplary work in public service in the schools through many years.” Not many of us were willing to give her anything.)

    A couple times, you wrote about me “defending the indefensible” without giving specifics, leaving me curious since I thought defending accuracy and fair treatment were considered virtues.

    Until I read your comment yesterday, I had no idea that you were developing an impression that I was doing the Peterson evil bidding since I can’t think of much Peterson information I ever brought to The Vanguard. In fact, I was pleased when you spoke up with some assurance that I didn’t just sign up for the Peterson scandal.

    Instead of accepting the comments from David, Michelle and Matt that you might be criticizing me too harshly, you decided to double down, claiming that I “persistently and aggressively acted to argue on behalf” of the Petersons who “took actions that led to material harm to a private citizen” and “tarnished her professional reputation.”

    I’m not criticizing you for expressing your opinion about the Petersons, but you’d be hard pressed to find much evidence in my words that I argued “on behalf of the Petersons” or that I argued against Coach Crawford.

    Even if I had spoken up with an aggressive defense of Nancy Peterson–which I did not–why would that be out of bounds in The Vanguard?

    I did join the discussion about what the language the Rob Peterson letter might mean and noted that would be wrong under the district’s regulations if a coach retaliated against a student, regardless of how and how much school board member had complained. I also repeatedly urged along with others that posters avoid making derogatory comments about the Peterson daughter.

    By the way, where were you back on July 20, 2013, when I got my bona fides on the Dump Nancy bandwagon? I was first out of the gate when David called for more transparency in the personnel decision-making process:

    David: “…she cited passages from the district’s handbook for coaches regarding “integrity’.”

    DG quoting NP: “I cannot in good conscience vote to approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults….”


    Me: “The problem in his case isn’t one of personnel confidentiality policies. It’s that Ms. Crawford violated the policies by taking her personnel discussions public. Where does she get off issuing statements packed with such innuendo and publicly challenging an employee’s integrity? If she cannot behave in a professional manner, she should resign or be voted out.”


    I found it quite humorous that David had completely forgotten his prescient columns written back in July about “the newcomer” to the board. I hope he stays on track the next few days while I’m going through withdrawals.

    1. SouthofDavis

      iPad Guy wrote:

      > For example, the assertions that “the parents sent the student back to the team”
      > or “Nancy Peterson sent her husband….” when there was no way David could know
      > that either of these people “got sent” by anyone since both are fully capable of
      > making their own decisions

      If the Petersons did not “send” (or want) their daughter to play for coach Crawford they would not be complaining that she was cut from the team (they would have been happy).

  15. jimt

    Maybe the district can recoup the $22000 by selling the story to Holllywood, with all the details, to inspire a
    drama/soap series with all the goods–never-ending one-upmanship by passionate and righteous antagonists, snippy and snide comments, sniping, hatching plots, payback, snubbing and snapping in the supermarket aisles, vallley-gal teens and tomboys, sports teams, hard-driving coaches and gung-ho parents, sliips and falls, frumpy teachers, spike shots, pacts, alliances, and crusades, parking lot brawls with pulled hair and smeared makeup and maybe a black eye, neglected and bewildered husbands, neighbor-against-neighbor, all presided over by gleeful lawyers, with glimpses of their trips to bahama beaches providing a respite from the Davis storm.

    1. PhilColeman

      Just before retiring for the evening, I had the same thought. How could I get the movie rights to this? It’s a cash cow. Government TV has never been syndicated, this will drive House of Cards off the air.

      Later, however, I decided that no producer or director would believe such an incredible story. The plot line even exceeds the generous boundaries of Reality TV.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Yes, when you add in 5 successful coaches removed, fired, or transferred… the cheerleading coach quits… and administrators / principals are removed.

          1. Paul Thober

            This story needs assault, murder, sex, embezzelment or some other tabloidesque feature to be Hollywood-ready.

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