Saturday, June 30, 2007

Leave the blogging to the professionals.


To my knowledge it has never happened but if a confused person were to visit, enter the word "blog" in the domain-specific, Google-driven search engine they would quickly find a number of Technology websites that contain very questionable material.

The problem is very common to unmoderated sites. I would strongly recommend the deletion of such sites or, at the very least, an adjustment to the posting criteria.

For the record, I had absolutely nothing to do with the content found there and I am contacting you within moments of discovering it.

Have a great weekend.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Let the legal billing begin.

Grace Han Stanton
Perkins Coie, LLC
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4800
Seattle, WA 98101-3099

June 29, 2007

Dear Grace,

This letter is to confirm receipt of your letter dated June 26, 2007. I would have responded earlier but, as you know, email addresses at domain registries are notorious farming ground for spammers. I don't normally check that email account and found your email and attachment by chance late last night. To ensure timely delivery of future email messages and attachments, please use, as this line of communication is directly related to matters concerning community interest in the performance and financial stamina of the Edmonds School District.

I will attempt to address your apparent concerns one-at-a-time and in the order they appear in your letter. For clarification's sake, I am assuming that you are referring to the Edmonds School District when you use the acronym ESD15. My response assumes this to be the case, even though during my six years with the District, I have never heard them use ESD15 in that manner.

You mention in paragraph one that "in light of my resignation", Marla requested control of While I did not resign, I can appreciate you have a client to protect and making mention of this inaccuracy may bolster future defenses by your client. I did not resign but was constructively terminated.

While it is true I was the Planning and Property Management Specialist for the Edmonds School District, I was not directed to register nor was I ever compensated for time spent working on My web development responsibilities with the District were confined to the creation and maintenance of The registration of was done on my own time, at my own direction and while using my own equipment. I was interested in reducing the noise in and around my cubicle. Every time a prospective developer would call Bret Carlstad and ask for more information about the District's available property, he would recite the entire domain address numerous times and always end up spelling portions rather slowly. With all of the calls being received, it made personal sense to shorten the address and reduce the amount of time spent filling our work environment with background noise. I would recommend that you or your client contact Bret Carlstad to confirm that he never provided such direction and that all of his web concerns were restricted to the official web site at and its associated sub-domains.

All information that was once contained at can also be found at All of the original web pages are hosted on the District's server. Of course, on June 7, 2007, when my access to voicemail, email and my assigned hard drive were terminated unexpectedly, I could no longer verify if any of these documents still exist. I am optimistic that District staff can easily recover them with the new password assigned to my user account. As a dedicated community servant, I would be happy to meet with the District's network support staff and show them precisely where all of those web pages reside.

While it is true that the District's logo was used to promote the District's available properties, all such websites located at have been deleted. Of course, anyone with web development experience can tell you, deletions may not always occur until the site is updated. That update occurred recently and it is my understanding that all logos and District-related documents at no longer exist.

For the record, I have had a number of meetings with Marla Miller to discuss the creation of an Operations website at and would have released the domain in the process. She repeatedly expressed no interest in doing so. I have all such email communications and would be happy to share them with you when this matter goes to court. Let the record also show that at no time did the District ever pay for the registration of the domain, the hosting of the site, or the maintenance of the many web pages. The use of was provided as an extension of the many attributes that I brought to the District.

Your assertion that is being used to promote my personal real estate business is preposterous. It is and shall remain a conduit whereby staff and community members can have an open and honest conversation about matters of importance to them. The index page for provides a direct link to staff email, as a convenience, and a domain-specific search engine driven by Google to expedite the manner in which District-specific information is found. The index page also clearly states that the Edmonds School District does not maintain the site and is not responsible for its content. If users cannot read the disclaimer, the rest of the website would be illegible as well. Quite frankly, the suggestion that this website would confuse the end user is nonsensical and rather insulting to the intelligence of's visitors.

The Edmonds School District is an educational organization and uses the edu suffix. is not an educational organization but rather a not-for-profit, community forum promoting and discussing issues related to a public resource, namely the Edmonds School District. When time allows for the processing of the countless comments and responses, more not-for-profit views and comments will appear shortly.

I appreciate your deadline of July 6, 2007, and have given you an additional week to develop your legal case by responding as promptly as possible. I apologize if this letter is not the response you were expecting. My attorney is out of the country and my response is provided to expedite the conclusion of this issue.


Mark Zandberg

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Two 10s for a 5?

Washington State Law requires that an appraisal be obtained by a public agency before purchasing property with public funds. It does not say that you have to use the lowest appraisal or the most qualified appraiser. The auditor's report may actually verify that the District's purchase of the new support site was lawful. But was it right?

There are legal ways to rob banks, invade other nations, raid pension funds and kill people. The legality of the act does not justify the result.

Was it correct for District staff to conceal or disregard an appraisal from an exceptionally-gifted and highly competent appraiser? An appraiser the District has actively utilized for more than a decade. An appraiser that is regarded as one of the best - if not the best in our region. An appraiser selected by the District because of his exceptional qualifications and experience. An appraiser that went through the RFQ process and beat out all other contenders for the honor of performing District appraisals?

Who is Judson Clendaniel? I haven't spent a lot of time researching his work history, because it isn't very lengthy. He was a real estate agent at one stage in his career and then recently moved toward property appraisals. I have asked around and his impact on the industry has apparently gone unnoticed. Maybe I am asking the wrong people. Maybe I am biased toward work I know to be of the highest quality. Clendaniel just isn't well known in my real estate circles. I am not saying the man is incompetent, but why would his appraisal - paid for by the seller - instantly outweigh and cast aside the District's official appraisal?

Don't get me wrong. I have the greatest respect for Clendaniel. He served his client well. He managed to write such a compelling appraisal that the District had no other choice than to throw public money at the seller. The District was so bowled over by the enthusiastic manner of his assessment they just couldn't help but throw an extra $2,300,000.00 in his direction. Clearly, I am in the wrong profession.

Another troubling element is the Old Woodway transaction. Why wouldn't the District hire Clendaniel to appraise Old Woodway? Afterall, he has such a gift with words and could have gotten twice the actual value for the site instead of the paltry sum the District managed to capture.

Call me simple, but in my world there is a big difference between what is right and what is legal. The auditor may deem the transaction to be legal, but was it in the best interest of the public?

Questions to ask your school board:
1. Why disregard the NW Valuations appraisal dated May 23, 2005?
2. Why not hire a review appraisal or negotiate with the District's appraisal?
3. Why accept the seller's appraisal as the best determination of value?

Mark Zandberg, Moderator
Former Planning and Property Management Specialist
March 2001 - June 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Caution: Contents may contain typographical errors.

Good morning,

I understand many of you received an e-mail this morning that raised questions about the validity of claims the District may have acted inappropriately with regard to recent real estate transactions.

I also understand that you were told typographical errors were being corrected and that a minimally-adjusted report will be released shortly. In defense of public agencies everywhere, how long does it take to correct a few typographical errors? I suspect something else is afoot. I could be mistaken but I am more inclined to think that typos would be rectified in days – not three-and-a-half months. The report posted online is dated March 15, 2007. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t trouble you with old news. Your time is too important.

Perkins did not handle “appraisals”, they handled one appraisal. Perkins handled the single appraisal to protect the results from public disclosure laws. Try to ask your public records agent (Marla Miller) for a copy of the appraisal and you will be told something about ‘Lawyer-Client work product’.

The fact there is a single appraisal is part of the problem. The District invited very few people to bid on a site with a rather nasty building attached. Once the District identified the front runner, they then removed the building from the equation. Just think about all of the developers that would have loved to bid on a vacant piece of dirt bordering Woodway. That would have driven the price considerably higher. That higher price would have gone directly into the Capital Fund.

The corrected auditor’s report is slated for circulation shortly – right after they rally the dozens of public servants together to check and double-check the spelling of names.

I ask you to stay tuned and read the auditor’s report when it comes out. While we all make mistakes from time to time, I have greater faith that upon review of the facts, the questionable conduct will float to the top.

Let’s not lose sight of the other real issue at the New Administration site. Take the time and money (30 cents) and ask for the cover sheet from the NW Valuations appraisal of May 23, 2005 and the Judson Clendaniel appraisal of early June 2005. You will see an escalation of $2,300,000.00 over the span of ten days or so. Worse still, the Clendaniel appraisal was commissioned by the seller and his price is what you paid. If you are afraid to ask, have a friend ask. As long as they are a member of the public, they are entitled to the information.

I care about the District. I live in the District. It is only through challenging poor choices that real improvement can happen. I hope future property issues will be handled with greater care and consideration – to the benefit of the District, that is.

Mark Zandberg, Moderator
Former Planning and Property Management Specialist
March 2001 - June 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mark Zandberg & Hansa

1. Hansa was named on March 27th, 2001. Mark Zandberg started with the District on the same day.

2. Hansa means "Supreme Happiness". Mark Zandberg was supremely happy working for the Edmonds School District and local community.

3. Hansa was 235 pounds when she was born. Mark Zandberg was approaching 235 pounds when he started with the District.

4. Visitors to the Woodland Park Zoo more than doubled with the arrival of Hansa. Productivity in Property Management more than doubled with the arrival of Mark.

5. Hansa liked peanuts. Mark Zandberg worked for peanuts.

6. Mark’s many playground installation projects brought laughter and joy to countless children. Hansa didn’t have to install any playgrounds to achieve the same effect.

7. Hansa died of unknown causes after six and a half years. Mark's career with the District also died of unknown causes after six and a half years.

8. Specialists claim Hansa's enclosure was too small. Cubicles in the ESC are 9’x9’.

9. A necropsy will reveal the cause of death for Hansa. The State Auditor and local media outlets will reveal the cause of death for Mark's career.

10. Hansa's body will be cremated. Mark’s 539 accumulated vacation hours are toast.

It was fun while it lasted. Thank you for the great memories and good luck.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blogging for a better tomorrow.

In the interest of providing an opportunity for our community and school district staff to have an honest and uninhibited discussion on matters of importance, this blog has been created. Rather than hold our tongues and pray for positive change to happen by a stroke of luck, the process can be helped along.

Shortly, this blog will have the functionality to allow anonomous posting of new information, as well as comments to posts contributed by others. While the comments will be moderated, the conversation can flourish without regard for identifying authors.

I look forward to continued service to our community.

Mark Zandberg, Moderator
Former Planning and Property Management Specialist
March 2001 - June 2007