Union Steps Up Attacks on Douglas County School District

October 7, 2013
By
Colorado Community Media

PRO-UNION BIAS?  Of the 27 news stories highlighted by a pro-union group, 20 of them were published by Colorado Community Media, owned by Macari-Healey Publishing

CASTLE ROCK – The crusade to elect pro-union candidates and seize control of the Douglas County School Board featured a double-header Friday – a demonstration outside of the administration building followed by a viewing of a controversial documentary, “The Reformers,” at ThunderRidge High School.

“You are invited to see THE REFORMERS at our Gen Membership Meeting, bring colleagues to join DCF at the mtg,” said the AFT (American Federation of Teachers), the AFL-CIO affiliated union seeking to oust the reform-minded board, in a text message.

The school district alienated the Douglas County Federation of Teachers when it refused to use taxpayers’ money to fund the union earlier this year. The union is fighting back – and seems to have a host of allies including the Colorado Community Media and “parent led” Strong Schools Coalition.

The Strong Schools Coalition posts media reports and news briefs under “DCSD in the News” – most are published by Our Colorado News, the website moniker of Colorado Community Media (CCM) which controls more than 20 small newspapers in the metro Denver and the tri-lakes area.

CCM is owned by Macari-Healey Publishing, the two members of the board of directors are listed as Gerard “Jerry” Healey and his wife, Ann Macari Healey, a journalism teacher at Castle View High School.

Of 27 news stories highlighted on the SSC website last month, 20 were published by CCM – the majority slammed the school district. The other articles originated from The Denver Post and EdNews Colorado, described by some as the public relations arm of the state teachers’ union.

SCC claims to have no ties to the union, but there is evidence to the contrary.

According to investigative report by Media Trackers, a Douglas County Federation of Teachers employee was spotted passing out SSC flyers in a school parking lot.

Susan Meek, an unsuccessful pro-union school board candidate in 2011, is vice president of SSC.  Her campaign spent $1,186 on ads placed in CCM.

In fact, CCM appears to be a preferred publication and online site for pro-union, liberal and Democrat candidate and left-leaning issue campaigns, according to finance records filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.

Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) paid $3,626 to CCM for campaign ads last year – her Republican challenger Lang Sias didn’t run any ads in the publication.

Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada) spent $1,952 on CCM ads – considerably more than $550 shelled out by her Republican opponent former Rep. Robert Ramirez of Westminster.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler invested $1,770 in CCM advertising, a pittance compared to $7,372 in ads to elect Democrat candidate Ethan Feldman who lost the race last year. The majority of Feldman’s ad buys was placed by 527 committee Citizens for Honest and Impartial Politics.

CCM has also benefitted from ad sales for issue campaigns.  The FASTRACK YES! Campaign spent nearly $8,000 on ads in 2004, and Accountability4Kids, a 527 committee funded by the teachers union, spent roughly $5,500 for advertising in 2009.

Those amounts pale compared CCM’s biggest benefactor – the Douglas County Democratic Party which has paid $33,972 to Macari-Healey Publishing’s CCM over four years, from 2006 – 2010.

“(CCM) is well positioned to capitalize on the hyper interests residents have about the communities in which they live,” said Jerry Healey in his bio.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

12 Responses to Union Steps Up Attacks on Douglas County School District

  1. October 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I wonder why so many receive criticism for union support, but few bat an eyelash when corporate sponsorship is uncovered. For instance, your article focuses heavily on the pithy contributions made by unions, but you fail to emphasize the excessive monies pumped into the Common Core by the likes of Pearson, Exxon, and various philanthro-capital organizations.

    Why?

    • Jackson
      October 8, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Maybe it is because labor unions are Communistic, while corporations are Capitalistic, and uphold American values including defending the Bill of Rights. Labor unions vote Democrat, and Democrat only, and and for many decades now, Democratic equates to Communistic, and Communistic is not only bad for educating children, it is detrimental to freedom.

      • WDM
        October 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

        Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jackson.

        Understand the difference now, Chalk Face? Corporations produce and employ people as a result. Public employee unions promise votes in return for better contracts, more benefits, etc.

        Pretty straightforward really.

        • October 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

          There are many union members that are very hard working, including myself. Consider yourself a corporate shill if you continue to pit hardworking folks against each other.

      • October 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        I don’t think you actually know what “communist” means. It’s evident in your reply. I suggest you do some reading and try to figure that one out.

        Beyond that, sponsorship is sponsorship. If it is unacceptable to you that unions support certain causes, then it should be equally unacceptable to accept sponsorship from major corporations. Sponsorship to a great extent affects ideology.

        I believe you hold a double standard.

  2. October 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Chalk – Its because its the powerful against the powerless. In this case, the unions run the schools nationwide with an iron fist. This is the first serious challenge to their command and control of a school district that hasn’t already failed in the US. They have lost 1.6M in revenue and they are mad as hell and want it back so they can keep sending it to DC to elect more Dems and keep the stranglehold. If this reform works (pay-for-performance, the ability to actually (GASP) fire shitty teachers – See movie Waiting for Superman, vouchers, putting the union dues back into the school and teacher salaries, etc) it will scare the crap out of teachers unions all over and shrill panic will in set in (wait, that has already happened).

    Regarding the contributions, its not the individual amounts, its the 100% – 0% ratio that is the point.

    Common Core is being attacked and proposed elimination by the DCSD Super so there goes that argument.

    • October 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Waiting for Superman is an ideological piece largely funded by the Walton Foundation. It is hardly a representative example of the issue at hand. We also have an abundance of evidence nationwide that merit pay, pay for performance, and other such incentives do not benefit students.

      I suggest you actually read.

      • October 15, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        You are a joke as are your arguments. Waiting for Superman was written and directed by a couple of liberals who got “schooled” when they discovered how the union thugs actually run the system. Davis Guggenheim directed and produced Algore’s An Inconvenient Truth fantasy flick.

        The only evidence you need on putting real world market pressures into the artificial union run system are charter schools and private schools. Apples-to-apples, they kick the crap out of the union shops. Have you ever seen the waiting lists for good charter schools? They have to pick by lottery. But if you had seen the movie and the tears of the poor kids who didn’t get picked you would know that wouldn’t you?

        Public sector unions should be abolished immediately. They are like a virus that only exists to gain more power and reward their members and leadership and funnel the money back to DC Dems.
        http://www.antolin-davies.com/conventionalwisdom/lobbying.pdf

  3. Gerard Healey
    October 8, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Macari-Healey Publishing Company bought the Colorado assets of ASP Westward, which included the Douglas County Community Newspapers in February of 2011. Macari-Healey Publishing Company had nothing to do with the newspapers between 2006 and 2010.

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