This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 23, 2008 10:39 AM. The previous post in this blog was Has all of Portland been rezoned illegally?. The next post in this blog is They didn't teach it in Catholic boys' high school. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pen pal

Remember John "Obama" Branam -- the Goldschmidt protegé at the Portland school district development office whose unsuccessful City Council campaign (on taxpayer "clean money") provided us with months of entertainment? Well, he's back at work, apparently sending out notices to folks. But with a Virginia return address! Here's a sample, sent to us by an alert reader (who doesn't like Mr. Branam). Somebody's selling something. Anyone know what it is?

Comments (6)

My guess is that they sublet out the work described in the postcard for a "directory" to some logistics company in Virginia who will collate the information and print it up.

While it seems fishy (and I'm sure there are local companies that could do the same, if not better work) it's probably not as sinister as it's being made out to be.

However, this is a Goldschmidt Disciple we're talking about, so sinister works can't be far behind...

I got three or four virtually identical mailings from the same company, except they were putting together a "directory" for my high school back in Illinois. You're urgently requested to call their toll-free number so that they can "update their records" on you (and coincidentally, try to sell you a copy of said directory). My guess is that it's a way for them to try to get around the restrictions of the Do Not Call list.

Yeah...directory compilers....you get listed for free....they're trying to get you to buy one. Harris does it all over the country.

Caveat emptor!

"Yeah...directory compilers....you get listed for free....they're trying to get you to buy one. Harris does it all over the country."

No, I think MachineShedFred is right; PPS outsourced the directory compilation to Harris. My graduate school did the same thing and used the same company.

Agree that it would be better if PPS used a local company (might even get a better yield, since locals know the city and PPS alumni better).

PPS did this more than ten years ago (some schools did it individually around 2004). The deal was that it would cost the district nothing. Harris did the work and got paid by folks buying the directory of their high school. (Some closed high schools were combined because there were not enough alums to justify the costs.)

The project did something that was not available at the time by creating an alumni directory under a single system rather than twelve or more different systems using several computer, paper, microfiche, high school administrative records programs. The district was losing staff and drastically cutting money from classrooms, including the records section, and did not have the capacity to do the work. But it was clear that PPS needed to find some way to know who graduated from the district and where they were then.

(One thing that always comes up: The directory folks have a record of successfully suing folks who use the directories for commercial purposes and they are not afraid to bring a lawsuit. They track the books constantly. Also, confidentiality is a part of the contract as well. They do this for colleges around the world.)

I do not know what the contract is with Harris or another company. I'd guess that Branam got the best deal he could so that the district can get an updated version of the previous set of directories. In some contracts the individual schools get some money as well. The schools do not have the staff or the parents to do the work to go through the records. Reconnecting the hundreds of thousands of PPS alums with their schools is the goal.

I bit on one of these at the first go around Lew is talking about. Ended up ordering the directory too. A sucker is born every minute... me, in this case.

Clicky Web Analytics