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Bellflower Unified’s Current PR Firm Boasts Playgirl Magazine as a Former Client


By Brian Hews • [email protected]

July 16, 2022 ~ When HMG-CN exclusively reported in late June the results of a Bellflower Unified audit by the state of California that found what could be only described as complete incompetence and negligence by both Bellflower Unified School District’s (BUSD) board and administration, many were shocked, but not surprised.

The blame lay everywhere, with the superintendent’s actions creating a perfect storm of mismanagement, encompassing a failure to communicate the district’s financial situation coupled with some on the board that had abandoned their oversight responsibilities.

The audit found:
The superintendent did not clearly communicate its financial position, which caused the board to spend less and amass an unheard of $83 million reserve, failing to meet student needs.

The district did not provide mandated services to students with disabilities and did not adequately mitigate disruptions to students’ education during the pandemic.

The district did not consistently comply with transparency laws. Failing to respond to public records requests in a thorough and timely manner, thus limiting transparency and the public’s opportunity to address the board when it did not disclose required information about its closed sessions.

The next day, the BUSD Board did not renew Superintendent Tracy McSparren’s contract.

Two days after the report, HMG-CN received a massive 2,209-word statement defending the actions of Bellflower Unified from the Blaine Group and owner Devon Blaine.

Unknown to many, and highly unusual for a public school district, BUSD had retained Blaine’s company, a pricey Beverly Hills public relations firm with a small client list and a corporate address near Rodeo Drive.

Blaine did what she was supposed to do, obfuscating the results of the audit writing, “like any audit, personal or governmental, there may always be things found where further improvement or correction may be recommended despite prior best efforts by Bellflower USD which can and should be acted upon. As the State Auditor offers in its mission statement, the goal is improvement, not criticism for criticism’s sake.”

The long missive contained several statements contradicting the findings of the audit such as, “Districts cannot obtain healthy reserves without having sound practices. Reserves are also public funds. We do use a conservative approach and our sites do an outstanding job of budgeting based on identified needs,” and “the budgeting process for a large, active school district in California is no simple matter.”

HMG-CN sent questions to Ms. Blaine asking for her financial experience related to school districts without response.

But it took delving deeper into her client list that will have Bellflower teachers, staff, and parents questioning why BUSD retains Blaine and who was responsible for vetting her company.

Current and former clients of Blaine include Dr. Irene Cassourla, a noted sex therapist and woman’s sexual problems doctor, who wrote the book Nice Girls Do. A review of the book read, “there’s really no good reason to not have a fantastic sex life, and it is really eye-opening to find an “expert” who writes to the masses with complete confidence!”

Another was Kevin Trudeau’s Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About. One noted website wrote, “You may wonder why I would even waste my time writing about this book. I wouldn’t have except that I have been inundated with calls and appointments from patients that have read this book or seen the infomercial and are really afraid of dying immediately from toxins in their shower water.”

But the one client that will have everyone involved shaking their head , and one that is displayed proudly with its iconic logo plastered on Blaine’s site, is the famous Playgirl Magazine.

Playgirl Magazine featured full male frontal nudity and was marketed mainly to women, although it also had a significant gay readership. In 2010 the magazine went quarterly until 2016, with the final issue in December 2016.

One could only guess what advice Ms. Blaine gave the pornographic magazine.

“I never thought I would hear Bellflower Unified in the same sentence as Playgirl Magazine, but here we are,” said a concerned parent and Bellflower resident, “obviously Ms. Blaine has some kind of connection with the higher-ups at Bellflower Unified.”

One source at BUSD told HMG-CN that it will take time to clean up the mess that McSparren left but it will get done, including examining the relationship with the Blaine Group.

Emails into Blaine went unanswered.

A screenshot of Blaine’s client list, click on image to enlarge.