Five minutes ago, the Fort Worth schools board of trustees voted unanimously to name J. R. Martinez to fill the empty and new District 8 seat. Martinez will serve for a year, until the regular election in 2013. Fourteen people started out vying for the seat, with the board whittling that number down to five. See Blotch “Monday Night Fights FWISD Style.” For those expecting fireworks, there were none. It went so smoothly that one would have thought it was rehearsed.

Martinez had a few more than a dozen supporters in the board room, many of whom spoke in his behalf. All five of the finalists were interviewed by the board; the candidates were looser than the board members whose questions were stiff and awkward. All were reading from what seemed a text. The candidates answered thoughtfully and with candor. Refreshing.

Then the board adjourned — over the objections of Trustee Carlos Vasquez — into the back room to “discuss” the process. Vasquez said that was illegal. Legal guru Bertha Whatley overruled Vasquez and off they trooped to the back room for an hour. Then they came back to vote. And it was one weird vote. President Juan Rangel asked each one to name the person that was his or her preference. They all named different ones. T. A. Sims named Martinez for the right reasons: he said the board should listen to the voices of the district. In an earlier version of this post I said that Sims was the only one to name Martinez. I was wrong. Martinez was named by four members, including Vasquez, president Juan Rangel and trustee Ann Sutherland who stated that she had changed her mind. I apologize for the error.

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Then Vasquez, made a motion to appoint Martinez. He got a second from Judy Needham, Rangel called for a vote and what do you know, Martinez was appointed 8 to 0. What? All of those board members had other favorites and in a quick turnaround, Martinez was in.

If anyone came away from watching tonight’s democracy in action, there’s no way to believe that the board didn’t make deals behind those closed doors. Everyone got to name their favorite but Martinez was who they were going to vote for.

There’s no doubt the Spanish handwriting is on this district’s walls. It is a minority/majority district, with more than 60 percent Hispanic district-wide. District 8 is over 65 percent. it was fair and right to name a Latino to the post. Now, the board is getting closer to reflecting the district with three Hispanics, two blacks, and four whites. Still needs some changes, but it is getting there.

And there is no question from his credentials that Martinez is qualified. And oriented toward children. And intelligent. We wish him well.

But if anyone thinks this was a “democratic” process, they need to go back to civics class. It was staged. And not very well at that.


  1. Betty, awesome coverage as always! I agree with you in that this whole meeting was staged! And if each board member truly stuck with their candidate of choice, why then was it a unanimous vote for Martinez? Wouldn’t the vote be deadlocked at 4-4? This continues to leave me FRUSTRATED that the board continues to blatently, without shame, F with the public’s intelligence! I am not complaining about Martinez being in; what I hate is how this damn board continues to run on nothing more than personal agendas! And then to listen to Vasquez object about another “discussion”, was so apparent he was afraid that someone didn’t get his “Martinez memo” and would be swayed in the back room to change the deciding vote at the last minute! After all, Sutherland seemed wishy washy.

    I’m glad that Martinez is in, but at whose expense? You had 3 votes for Troy from Needham and her two cronies, Moss and Jackson. What a surprise they ALL voted the same huh? The big hoopla about Manning possibly getting all the White votes, which was no surprise at all that the only White vote came from the only known racist in the bunch…Robbins! And then you have the 2 Hispanics (Rangel and Vasquez)who HAD to vote for Martinez of course, b/c that was already decided over cocktails. But then there is Sutherland, who stated she changed her candidate choice and went with Martinez! And of course, you have poor old Sims, who reminds me of someone who gets easily scammed by “unethical contractors”, which in this case, the “unethical contractors” were Vasquez and Rangel. Oh PULEEEZE!!!!!! Was this already decided in the board room really, or at happy hour? Needham probably made a deal with Dansby to get another brother on the board, in exchange for even more power to run things her way! And the so-called transparent ones (Sutherland, Vasquez and Rangel), probably cut a deal with Sims to be the deciding vote! DEALS, DEALS AND MORE DEALS! WHAT A FARCE! Don’t get me wrong; I am glad a Hispanic took the seat, considering the demographics of the district in question, however, I fear it is yet another political move to gain someone something! This whole district 8 process, reminds me of Dansby’s “non-transparent” hiring process, which was nothing but one giant crapfast, and a solid indication that PERSONAL DEALS continue to be the catalysts behind this failing district!

    I sincerely hope Martinez will not turn out to be someone’s cronie! Beware Martinez, as you will run for re-election in 2013; the Devil, aka Needham, will try to entice you with her dirty money for campaign dollars to come to her darkside, in exchange for your support on issues that exacerbates her evil power that she rules this district with! However, in retrospect, and I hope I am dead wrong, you may have already gone to the darkside, if you made deals with Vasquez and Rangel! The Hispanic community will be watching you very closely!

  2. Congratulations JR!! Needhams stranglehold on the Board slips by one more. Hope minorities in District 2 notrd that once again, Tobi Jackson voted the way her handler, Judy Needham did. Latinos and Blacks must come together to get rid of this self-serving drone.

  3. Betty,

    I respect you but your reporting on the issue is a little confusing and misleading. Every board member did state their preferential candidate. Rangel=Martinez. Robbins=Manning. Sutherland=Martinez. Needham=Troy. Sims=Martinez. Moss=Troy. Jackson=Troy. Vasquez=Martinez.

    Mr. Rangel explained the procedures before the board members stated their preferential candidate and Dr. Vasquez helped to clarify. If a candidate received four or more votes, they would then have a motion and second to support that candidate. If there was not a candidate who received four or more votes, they would take the top two vote getters and have a vote on those two.

    J.R. Martinez received four votes. That is why you saw Vasquez make a motion with Needham’s second and then a unaninomous vote.

    In reporting you say they did not state their individual preference and that is not true.

    You say Dr. Sims is the only one to state Martinez as his preferred candidate. That is not true.

    You say Dr. Vasquez did not state his preference but made a motion instead. That is not true. He stated his preference, Martinez had 4 votes (including Dr. Vasquez’s), then he made the motion.

    If we are going to have a discussion about the process and lob criticisims it may be best to get the facts straight.

  4. Touche. I did not see or hear the ohers name Martinez. Ann Sutherland said she had changed her mind. I stand corrected on the seconding by Needham.
    However, I stand with Carlos Vasquez. The enire process should have been in the open. The open meetings act allows for back room discussion for personnel issues, real estate deals and grievance hearings, unless the person filing the grievance requests an open hearing. It may be silent on such things as appointing someone to fill a vacant elected seat, but in such cases, the board should opt on the side of transparency. Meantime, I apologize for getting some facts wrong.

  5. I have been following the comments posted on all FWISD related stories for some time and although opinions differ, the common thread is a dissatisfaction with our school district and belief that its governance is in the hands of of those who put their own personal and political agendas first and have gone unchallenged for far too long. If you are interested in coming together as a community to figure out how we can take control of our district back, please email me at The next election is a year away, let’s be prepared.

  6. Reply to Molly:

    Miss Molly, you are so correct! Our district has been running on empty promises to its constituents for many years! I, like you, have followed ALL the stories and have commented with a “fine tooth comb”, regarding this incredulous district. I happen to be an employee of this district for some time now; it appears central administration and board members have been functioning on personal agendas for years! The reason we have heard more about FWISD in the last couple of years, is due to the AHHS fiasco and the firing of Joe Palazzolo, as well as the ridiculous repositioning of Sharon Herrera, former district Diversity trainer. Of course there are many other contributing factors, but these two educators were exemplary beacons, whose lights were dimmed by people in fear of losing their high dollar jobs, or worse, getting arrested for fraud! If you truly have kept up with Betty’s articles and subsequent blogs, you will note that the major fear employees, parents and students are reluctant to come forward and report concerns, is fear of retaliation, bullying, losing their honest jobs, forced to transfer and so forth. Our district and its leaders have always operated with the mindset of intimidation, regardless of the many sugar coated promises made to the contrary by administration at the highest level. There have been MANY of us working behind the scenes for the past two years, trying to draw attention from TEA, Prosecutors, the Mayor, City Council, legislators, and even the U.S. Dept of Ed! NO ONE has truly made a concerted effort to help clean up our disheveled district…NO ONE! And I can also tell you, based on experience that the media is no help either, especially FTW Star Telegram and most all of the major news station entities. ALL of these companies, especially the Telegram, refuse to report the truth and resort to puff pieces in favor of the district. Betty has been the only one, who has reported the truth, yet nothing changes, in fact, it keeps getting worse! The more crap that is unearthed, the more “non-transparent” our district becomes! I would love to contact you, as I am sure many others out there would love to do as well; however, you need to understand that our district is filled with corrupted individuals that stop at nothing to get you discovered and punished…IT’S THAT REAL AND THAT BAD! Perhaps if you shared more info about yourself, what your experience is with FWISD, and why you are willing to help organize an effort to “come together as a community”, maybe some of us might be more inclined to reach out for help! Nothing personal, but many of us have fallen prey to sly promises, linked by sly people, too many times!

  7. Good golly Miss Molly…my instincts were correct after all! Take heed Weekly readers and FWISD concerned employees/parents, that a little research and a year membership with a website discovered that “Miss Molly” is an email address based in Sunnyvale California! Conveniently, there was no name, public records, social networks or web results for Miss Molly! Let’s see…who could it be that has associations from California? Johnson? Needham? Mary Bull? WOW! As I stated before “corrupted individuals stop at nothing to get you discovered and punished.” As I have said many times, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t…” Nice try minion!

  8. Frustrated and Maxx: Check out “molly’s” post on the “Disconnects” story – my $$$ is on her being a Needham plant.

  9. I want to begin by commending Carlos Vasquez for being the ONLY Board Member to “get it right” when he publicly opposed going into executive session prior to the vote. once again, FWISD has failed to receive legally correct advise from the legal team of Bertha Whatley/Tonya Dawson. There is a reason TEA took over Whatley’s former “client” Wilmer-Hutchins ISD. With the appointment of J.R., I now challenge Mr. Dansby to finally step out of the shadows and begin acting like a leader – like a Superintendent. You are now being paid the big bucks – earn them! Take decisive action. End Connects NOW! End the senseless litigation NOW. Immediately release ALL retire/rehires rather than wasting one more DIME on buy-outs. Finally, CLEAN HOUSE!! Stop making excuses and act!

  10. We are still waiting to see a difference. All of MJ’s fools are still here – still in power – still dragging us down.


  12. Did anyone catch the article on Wednesday in the Startlegram about FWISD’s high rate of substitute teachers? It read that FWISD has the highest % of teachers calling in for substitutes in the entire county! The % comparison to other districts was almost triple! Why write a story about this Eva Ayala, when you know the reason, but fail to report it! Based on a lot of other stories I have read from the Startlegram, FWISD is NEVER shown in a negative light! Know why? Because FWISD has friends in all areas of the media! The powers at the district ensure that nothing and no one ever writes bad stuff. It’s not rocket science why teachers are always calling in sick or take personal time. Because they are sick and tired of working in hostile environments runned by bullies, who in turn get managed by other bullies in administration! Wake up Fort Worth, the writing on the wall has been there for years and no one wants to admit the district is a joke; it is in peril and no one gives a damn! In my opinion, Ayala wasted her time and the print about a district that will never change. If you, Ayala, care anything about your city, start reporting the truth so people will stand up and do something, anything!

  13. One has to ask whose comments in that story were more ridiculous: Dansby’s; Monge’s; or Sutherland’s. The jury is still out on Mr. Dansby, Monge is ever employee’s favorite parasite. Personally I just love elected officials with character: on one hand there is Tobi Jackson – ran as a reformer but has never deviated from Needham’s direction, Always late, never informed, ever willing to cover-up. Then there is Sutherland. Totally threw Palazzolo to the dogs, claims that was not her intent, but does absolutely NOTHING to rectify her “mistake”, chosinf instead to hide behind attorney’s for the District. Of late, has even taken to defending Reyna.”I would have expected an occasional shortage, but 1,600 in a month is just enormous,” said Trustee Ann Sutherland, who brought the issue to the attention of administrators after concerned teachers approached her.” REALLY?

  14. Yes Befuddled and Insider, I too read that rediculous story from the “F-Star”. I once heard that Ayala was a great journalist, but that may have been long ago, before this district and her bosses started to limit what and how she writes her stories. I don’t think that she personally is a bad person, and I want to believe down deep inside perhaps she wants to alert the public and let them fill in the blanks for themselves. However, I continue to hear she and everyone else at that rag cannot cross FWISD! I have to think that a big reason for that is Barbara Griffin! She apparently has a strong hold on most TV stations as well. So far, this district is tripping all over itself to appear to be transparent, but in my eyes, they are becoming more evil in their ways. I am also disappointed about Sutherland! I had faith and hope that she was a voice of reason, especially when it came to Joe, but all I hear and see now is she is tapping dancing to the same song that Dansby and Needham are dancing to! The district is now making sure she never comments anything negative, unlike before, when she and her cohorts wanted Johnson out! Sutherland is first and foremost, a politician! Maybe she cares about her district, but it’s evident she, like the others, don’t give a damn about teachers and employees. Its all the same BS, no changes, old regime, old board members…no one is worth the time and energy to support anymore. They are ALL in it for themselves and DAnsby is ruling just like Johnson did. Disgusting!!!!!!!

  15. I challenge any one of them….Board members, Reyna, Monge, Dansby, Robert Ray, Maria Sanchez, or Gutierrez to step into the classroom as a full time teacher for an entire 6 weeks. I’ll run the “admin” portion of it for “discipline” in the front office like it’s run in our schools. Then when they complain about the lack of admin support, I’ll send them to OPS for a “fit for duty” treatment and/or have my “friends” to document false statements about them to curb their complaining. That’s how bullying and intimidation have reared its ugly head here in the glorious FWISD. Shameful!!! Superb teachers are leaving due to the lack on integrity shown by all those mentioned above. You certainly are a poor reflection of your upbrining. I’ll bet your families are so proud of you.

  16. I am Mollie Lasater’s son. “Miss Molly” is not Mollie Lasater. Mrs. Lasater and I do not know who “Miss Molly” is, or who “Miss Molly” is affiliated with. I am posting this because my mother is not tech savvy enough to respond, much less to set up an email in California. I am dissappointed that people will speculate without facts in a public forum.

    I am a resident of District 8, and I attended the meeting on Monday to speak in favor of Isaac Manning for the appointment. The vast majority of the attendees, including several neighborhood leaders, spoke in favor of J.R. Martinez. Mr. Martinez is well qualified for the post and was properly appointed. I congratuleted him, and I think he will do a good job.

    Edward Lasater

  17. Mr. Lassater, all due respect, but it was only one person who hoped it WAS NOT your mother! If it were me, I would probably be more upset about being called a “Needham cronie”! The comment about “California” was made about “Miss Molly” possibly being Mary Bull, recent rehire to our district, who has a less than stellar reputation, not your mother. Mary Bull was let go as the Superintendent from the Vallejo Unified School District…that’s Vallejo, as in California! For a better explanation on Mary Bull, check out Betty Brinks story by searching for “Mary Bull”.

  18. Mr. Lassater, At the risk of “speculating” I have a question: there is a certain former school board member who is a current part time (2 days a week) employee of FWISD. This high school grad makes over $60,000 per year – more in her part time position than most full time teachers with a Masters. Is it true your Mom offered her a $40,000 campaign contribution if she would run for the Board again? Did Needham offer Vasquez $$ for his campaign if he resigned from the Board? The weakest link in FWISD is still the Board. Why are two whistle blower lawsuits STILL going on? Why are other employees – even those allegedly assaulted on campus – having to fight for simple justice? Why is Connects still in place? Why is Reyna still employed? Why is an admitted pedophile still employed? Many think Tocco was a bad Superintendent. I would submit the light has yet to shine on M.J. Many blame Needham. At least Needham is CONSISTENT in her evil. The current Board remains impotent and dysfunctional. Vasquez was the ONLY one who objected to going behind closed doors to deliberate during what was supposed to be a public meeting. Sutherland couldn’t wait. Dr. Sims was a breath of fresh air by rejecting the push to vote for race, but Jackson continued to “vote” whichever way Needham told her, and Robbins remains a blatant racist. And what about the Board Member who made the motion to terminate Palazzolo – known whistleblower for a second time – only then to claim that wasn’t her intent? Why has she yet do nothing about her “mistake”? For my money, Sutherland is a typical politician – a liar. I believe she knew exactly what she was doing but lacks the character to admit it. But that’s me. Joe HAS to believe her B.S. – hope is all he has. We shall see. The next thirty days will tell the tale: New Board Member; New Superintendent. Will Mary Bull remain? Will the lawsuits continue? Will retire/rehires remain? This District needs a house cleaning. It seems more and more obvious that a public trial is the only way to begin the cleansing process. Sorry if we “speculate”. Well Sutherland, regained your moral courage yet?

  19. It’s never going to be “right”, no matter what! FWISD needs 3 Hispanics, 3 African American and 2 Whites on the board! I say Needham needs to get off the board and the brown and tan need to get together to bring in a minority, Black or Hispanic ! Statistics show Hispanic enrollment in FWISD is the MAJORITY, followed by African American and then White! Why can’t the board resemble what this district is comprised mostly of? Because the bigots on the board, Robbins, Needham and Jackson feel out numbered (if you count Rangel) and they DON”T like that feeling at all! It doesn’t feel so good when the shoe is on the other foot huh Needham? This whole city is about who has the most money and stands to gain more of it! This BS racial issue within our city, as well as our administration and board is nothing new! Teachers, employees and parents, have always been left in the dark, except when election times come and then they want OUR vote! THEY (district and politicians) instigate the racial divide, when it is convenient for them, in terms of political and personal gain. it is this city, who always says that minorities don’t apply for higher paying jobs or go out and vote, so WE mnorities can’t complain if we don’t get represented well. BS to that! We DO apply and try hard to get out and vote; however, we usually get dismissed or discarded! Minorities have always and will always be oppressed, especially in an ass backward city like Fort Worth! It’s not a wonder why the city’s mantra is “Where the West begins!” Oh yeah, the rich, powerful and morally bankrupt WHITE west right? Nothing will ever change, as long as minorities continue to be placed in a little box marked “Do not open till Christmas”! Our district, city and state needs a big racial overhaul!

  20. I did a little research on FWISD’s very own website, under board members financial contribution disclosures. Don’t ask me why, but it was there and I dared myself to read it! It is amazing to me the info I found on some of the board members; who they contribute to and who contributes back to them! Jackson has a multitude of corrected statements for failure to report certain contributions. Needham…OMG…it’s not a wonder she feels so invincible! Most ALL of the people who she contributes to and vice versa, are heavy politicians!!! Granger, Hutchinson, Frank Moss, district judges, Tx House reps, Senators, Joel Burns, Mayor Price, Dickerson, Larry Shaw with UEA, the new trustee, JR Martinez, the DA, Manning, and most surprising, contributions to and from Vasquez, Sutherland and Rangel! Oh, and most recently to Mitt Romney!!! I was sickened after reading all of her info that I didn’t want to read on anymore! And we wonder why this corrupt board is still alive and well after all these years? It is an inbred process, by which they ALL operate under…I believe it’s called “Bad politics”!

  21. Oh…I almost forgot to include one name that has been mentioned on here, and whose son wrote in defense of: “Mollie Lasater”! She contributed a couple of times to Jackson! Additionally, UEA’s Shaw did not contribute to Needham, as I alluded previously, but did, and handsomely at that, to Jackson instead! But rest assured, Jackson contributed to Needham and vice versa… a lot! So maybe the proof will be in the pudding in 2013, if Lassater wants in! By the looks of things, it’s not too farfetched, considering where she likes to drop her money and who has her back! Incidentally, anyone notice how Needham did her usual pop-in and out act during the board mtg tonight? I think she deliberately is absent, when important things occur, like JR installation and exec mtg for Palazzolo and Chavez issues!

  22. this made me want to throw up…Frustrated wrote ” there is a certain former school board member who is a current part time (2 days a week) employee of FWISD. This high school grad makes over $60,000 per year – more in her part time position than most full time teachers with a Masters.”

    it all comes down to who is in bed with who….just sickening

  23. Like most of the Principals and senior administrators in FWISD who allegedly slept with Tocco, Boyd, Torres, or Dansby to get where they are, That is why military people like Van Valkenberg and Palazzolo are such a threat to this corrupt house of cards. Dansby is part of the same group of sick, weak, individuals. THAT is why nothing has changed nothing and why we are still operating as Needham ISD.

  24. You already know thus considerably when it comes to this subject, produced me personally consider it from a lot of various angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated unless it’s one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. Always care for it up!