Sweetwater underwriters reel in the big one — a grand jury indictment

South Bay's bond bombshell blows big time

Bond underwriter Gary Cabello’s sad face might be due to being indicted by the grand jury.
  • Bond underwriter Gary Cabello’s sad face might be due to being indicted by the grand jury.

In August 2006, Jesus Gandara was selected as Sweetwater Union High School district’s new superintendent. According to a grand jury witness, on his first day on the job, Gandara found time to go to a bayside restaurant and drink tea with two bond underwriters and a Sweetwater trustee.

Three of the four men who sat down for tea — Jesus Gandara, former trustee Greg Sandoval, and bond underwriter Gary Cabello — are among the 15 who have been indicted in what the San Diego district attorney has called the largest public corruption case the DA’s office has ever prosecuted. Gandara, Sandoval, and Cabello have pleaded not guilty.

More than a billion dollars in South Bay school bond construction money set these players in motion. In 2006, Sweetwater Union High School district passed Proposition O for $644 million; in 2010 Southwestern College passed Proposition R for $389 million.

Trustee Pearl Quiñones was part of a "very bizarre meeting" with Jesus Gandara regarding how to divvy up the bond underwriting.

Trustee Pearl Quiñones was part of a "very bizarre meeting" with Jesus Gandara regarding how to divvy up the bond underwriting.

The grand jury transcripts offer the public a unique opportunity to look at the shenanigans involved in landing a piece of the underwriter action.

The fourth man who sat down for tea that morning, and the one who reported the meeting to the grand jury, is Jeffrey Kinsell, a principal in the bond finance company Kinsell, Newcomb, Dadios.

Kinsell was not indicted in the South Bay corruption case. However, in April 2013, in an unrelated case, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Kinsell’s finance company and the city of Victorville with defrauding investors on a municipal bond.

When Kinsell sat down for tea with Gandara, the $644 million bond had not even been suggested to the voters. But to better jockey into position for more of the public dollars, Kinsell put a minority face on his company.

Kinsell explained to the grand jury that in 2006 or 2007 there was “a guy by the name of Gary Cabello and his partner, Luis Ruiz Dana, and they wanted a job. And I said let’s not give you a job, let’s start a new firm to take advantage of the minority status that we could sell, and make the two partners in charge of Alta Vista. I would be a partner, my partners Dadios and Newcomb would be partners as well, but the five of us would start this firm and we would market our abilities in the finance world with the minority status.”

Kinsell also told the jury that 55 percent of what his company does is “prospecting” for potential clients. Cabello, according to the transcripts, knew everyone in the South Bay, hence he was the perfect prospector.

Kinsell describes Cabello as “like a Santa Claus. He was 5ʹ8ʹʹ and weighed 320 pounds. And always had difficulty handling money.”

So Cabello and cohorts began to work the South Bay — donating to charities, buying tables at educational foundations, and even donating $50,000 to Friends of Proposition O.

District attorney investigator Vince Giame told the grand jury that Cabello’s 2006 expense report for Sweetwater prospecting totaled $4446.43, for 2007 he spent $3219.45. Two weeks before Sweetwater’s board voted on the bond deal, Alta Vista spent $1357.08 on a dinner for some Sweetwater decision-makers.

Along with entertaining, Cabello partially footed the campaign bill for Sweetwater trustee Pearl Quiñones in her 2006 bid for National City mayor. Political consultant John Wainio told the grand jury that Cabello paid his public relations company to employ Quiñones’s campaign manager Bob Castaneda.

After the bond passed, Alta Vista and Sweetwater’s ex-superintendent Bruce Husson, who was a consultant to the bond campaign, hosted a Friends of Proposition O victory celebration in San Diego’s exclusive University Club. The average voter, of course, was not invited.

Landing the proposition was one thing, but then how do you reel in the big one? How do you make sure your bond company is chosen and gets a hefty portion of the sale?

As the U-T San Diego reported June 14, Michelle Durgy, a finance officer for the county at that time, was part of the Sweetwater panel that interviewed the underwriters. Sweetwater’s then-chief financial officer, Diane Russo, told Durgy that Alta Vista had to make the cut, had to be one of the underwriting companies that was chosen.

Gary Cabello and Jesus Gandara, former superintendent of Sweetwater Union High School, pose with football fans.

Gary Cabello and Jesus Gandara, former superintendent of Sweetwater Union High School, pose with football fans.

Ultimately, the panel picked three companies with the recommendation that the smallest portion of the initial bond sale go to Alta Vista.

Another grand jury witness, Jason Richter, whose company was hired to give financial advice to Sweetwater, was summoned from Los Angeles to a very unusual meeting with ex-superintendent Jesus Gandara, ex-trustee Greg Sandoval, and trustee Pearl Quiñones.

Richter told the grand jury: “Frankly, it was a very bizarre meeting. It kind of started with the superintendent and Mr. Sandoval making statements that were largely innuendo about too many cooks in the kitchen, and this was regarding the number of underwriters…. For periods of time they would speak together in Spanish, which I don’t speak….”

The upshot of this “bizarre” meeting was that one of the large underwriting companies was dropped, and the percentage that Alta Vista received was upped to 40-to-50 percent according to Richter’s testimony.

Alta Vista also wined, dined, and took administrators and employees from Southwestern College on lavish golf excursions. At Southwestern, as well, Alta Vista won a portion of the bond sale. Later, when Cabello went to work for another underwriting company, Cabrera Capital, he was able to take Sweetwater and Southwestern’s business with him.

In May of 2012, California Watch reported that “in the past five years in California, five major underwriters donated $1.8 million to help pass 111 ballot measures authorizing $15.5 billion in debt…. Overwhelmingly, bond underwriters who donate to these campaigns were granted contracts by school districts.”

State legislation is being considered that would regulate this relationship, though school districts are lobbying heavily against it.

Trials for the 15 South County trustees, administrators, and vendor /contractors indicted by the grand jury begin in February 2014.

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And so the 'alleged' corruption began. 'The gandara' had slithered into town and was seen as a conduit to what ultimately became the 'largest corruption case in San Diego City/County history'.

Ah yes, and the board wonders why we want them GONE!!!!!!!! Did they sit back and simply watch our District unravel? NO! they allegedly took an active role!!!!

Wonder how many of our indicted board members will plead out? One thing for sure, after 4 years of this treachery anniej will be in court every day - let members of the board plead their case in front of the very public whose children's education and whose tax dollars they swore to protect.

Remember the words of Richard Nixon, "I am not a crook" - well, facts and history has proved differently.

Ms. Luzzaro Thank You for such an in depth factual piece of the puzzle, the mess that has now become SUHSD.

There were countless opportunities for the Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees to speak up and say and do the right thing throughout these many years of truly loathsome goings-on.

Bertha Lopez did speak up. She was rewarded by the other board members and two superintendents in effect working to 'lock her out'. In fact, this current board still keeps information from her. Allegedly.

John McCann loves to show up smiling when the cameras are running, but if he is such a good guy, why doesn't he ever act like a good guy--in real life, not in pictures?

This district is still playing fast and loose with Mello-Roos and Bond funds. The machinations are ongoing, the pretense, the sham still there for all to see. Those who are fooled are fewer and fewer in number, however.

Again, I say to all who are approached by this Sweetwater crew: don't sign on for what they are trying to sell. Unless you are as crooked as they are, you will get caught up and not know what hit you. Do not donate to any 'foundations' they may be promoting. Do not, for your own good, fall into this bottomless pit of deception, fraud and self-service.

Bertha Lopez lives in Eastlake. Are you related to her?

Lincolnette - you are misinformed, Lopez lives in Bonita. John McCann and Jim Cartmill live in Eastlake.

Lincolnette,are you related to McCann,or just a Lincoln Club member?

None of my relatives live within hundreds/thousands of miles from here. Believe it or not, some people think beyond familial/ethnic lines.

Think 'first principles'. Think concepts of right and wrong.

Hard to believe Cabello got a honey of a deal from the DA but I guess the information they garnered was worth it. What a scam Alta Vista was. These are interesting facts that I had not heard before.

What I have read in this story is bothersome. I voted for most of these board members. Never did think that Gandara fellow was a straight shooter. I also voted for John McCann and believed things would get back to normal when he got rid of the guy but from what I have been reading lately it seems Jim Cartmill doesn't want to do right by us and fire Mr. Brand. I will tell you what this bunch had better not expect any more money from me. The way things are looking they should all be fired. Nothing but controversy since Mr. brand got here.

Another MAJOR South Bay Story follow the money story by Susan...

As I've said before South Bay residents should give you a medal...

Founder - Medal? At this point I am trying to figure out how to make her a board member, or better yet Superintendent. Then we would know true transparency. She has been the South Bays beacon for factual news for many years, too many for me to count.

February, 2014 could not get here soon enough. I agree with Oldchulares that perhaps it is best to throw them all out with apologies to Bertha, who really seems to be trying to make a better school district. In the meantime, the effort to gather signatures to get the two simple reforms of district elections and term limits for board members seems to be stuck in neutral. We need to show the County Board of Education that we want CHANGES to SUHSD politics and that business as usual can no longer be tolerated!

Thank you to those above who have said complimentary things...

I will say -- if people had time-- the grand jury docs are quite an interesting read.

Founder, I follow your comments and appreciate your history of going to the pulse of things. Thank you

Just so people are aware, word has it that on September 13, Sec. of Education Arne Duncan will be visiting Castle Park Middle. There is a plan for some sort of town hall meeting. Expect to see Board members and Brand smoozing for photo ops. You know McCann won’t be able to stay away. With Duncan there the normal players are not going to be able to act in their usual manner, might be a good chance for people to ask real questions in front of the Sec. of Education that people much higher up than our school board need to hear.

My husband moved our family to Eastlake because it was a beautiful new community and because it had a reputation for good schools and athletic opportunity. What started out great has spiraled out of control. We had great experiences when our kids were in elementary school our middle and high school experience has been terrible. Eastlake middle and Eastlake high are overcrowded and dirty. Our athletic programs are being charged. Where are the board members we have been told live out here?

So sorry that your kids had a bad experience in middle & high school in Eastlake!

"In August 2006, Jesus Gandara was selected as Sweetwater Union High School district’s new superintendent. According to a grand jury witness, on his first day on the job, Gandara found time to go to a bayside restaurant and drink tea with two bond underwriters and a Sweetwater trustee."

Looks like Jesus was working his "magic" right from the get-go. On day 1 he is engaged in activity that will result in criminal indictments. Who brought him to SUHSD you ask? Greg Sandoval (indicted), Jim Cartmill (indicted), Arlie Ricasa (indicted), and Pearl Quinonez (indicted). Hmmmmm... I am seeing a pattern here. Something about birds, feathers, and flocks.

Those four board members brought an "alleged" crook to SUHSD, who on his very first day on the job began steering SUHSD down the path of what today the DA's office says is the largest public corruption case in the history of the county. His first day!

Since then what has John McCann brought to us that indicates he is working to clean up this mess? Nothing! No sooner did he take office, as president no less, he he jumped into Jesus's pocket and supported his every decision. He may not be one of the indicted, but he is certainly culpable in many of the decisions Jesus made during John's tenure.

For me, I have some serious doubts about some of the charges against Bertha and Jim. At the very least those two seem to be making some effort to bring all of this mess into some type of control. Time will tell.

I want the Grand Jury to do a thorough investigation on all. If you've known Ms. Bertha Lopez' history (before & during her tenure as a board member) you know that she has gotten away with a great number of shenanigans. Not all can put you in jail, I know. Some people are opportunists and takers. You can't imprison them all.

Lincolnette Thank you but this is a much bigger issue than our family it is an issue that affects all of us who live in Eastlake. With all of the taxes that I pay I just do not understand why my secondary schools are so crowded with students from the west side and I can not accept how bad our schools look for example the performing arts building at my sons high school which is Eastlake. Where are my taxes being spent because obviously it is not at our schools. What about my Mello taxes, where are they going? After reading this story I think I now see that the school board has been up to no good. Who ever is there now will not be getting my vote next time around. Right now I am embarrassed to have so many questions but I can assure you I will be getting to the bottom of the answers.

Lincolnette - Welcome to the conversation. I believe the Grand Jury investigation on THESE individuals is complete. We now wait for the trials of all of the individuals indicted, and there are many.

While I, along with the rest of the community, must wait to see the evidence presented at trial - it is important for me to personally speak to why I stand behind Mrs. Lopez. It was in fact Mrs. Lopez who went to the DA before all of the indictments - it appears she realized what was going on and would not be a part of it. There was a group of individuals who, in their naïveté, went before the board approximately 4 years ago. She was the ONLY board member who listened and chose to meet and review the I formation they had. Why did the other board members choose to ignore concerned citizens?

In 2010 a new face arrived in the scene, that of John McCann. While I did not support Mr. McCann there were others with whom I have since aligned myself with who vehemently challenged my opinion. These others promised that if elected. McCann would lead the charge to restore SUHSD to its reputation of old. Alas, this is one of the few times in my life I wish I had not been right but I was. Reprieve time when McCann allegedly led the action to send 'the gandara' (past superintendent) packing. I Thank him for that.

Present time - our district continues to be in the news, the majority questions the actions of current super Brand, and the lack of leadership and representation of our board. So, the question remains did we trade 'the gandara' in for 'the brandera'?

Perhaps you might want to reread this story and make note of the fact of the board members names who are mentioned - I do not see Bertha Lopez's name?

Again welcome, we need as many informed community members as possible if we are to vote out board members up for reelection next time around - John McCann, Arlie Ricasa and Jim Cartmill and take our district back!

Ensenadamarie - I live and pay taxes on the west side, but notably NO WHERE near the amount you pay. Your concerns about what I believe you indicated were your home schools Eastlake Middle and High are shared by many of my friends who are undoubtedly your neighbors. I have heard and seen first hand the condition of your Performing Arts Theatre - in need of work indeed.

Why, why are west side students inundating east side schools? It is because Ed Brand opened up the flood gates, and the board with the exception of Lopez and Quinones seem to have no problem with it. John McCann and Jim Cartmill, too are your neighbors AND board members, and yes many of the Eastlake folks have been demanding answers but, to date, none have been given. Arlie Ricasa, while on the east side does not reside in Eastlake. For the record, Lopez - east side but not Eastlake and Quinones - National City resident.

Charges for off season athletes is new to the discussion. Yet ANOTHER unanswered question the entire community has asked - this one too remains ignored, as if the issue does not exist.

You are correct in your assessment that new blood needs to be voted in. In 2014 3 board members will face the voters - their platform for reelection? - well 2 of them have been indicted and while McCann showed promise in ousting 'the gandara' he appears to have failed to lead and turned over all power regarding student education and total control of our tax dollars to Brand. To sum the madness up, we have been abandoned!

Finally, Mello Roos, while I do not pay them, others I know who do, are concerned, very very concerned!

Jmbrickley: Apparently the "get-go" got going well before the "official" hiring of Gandara. Way before. How could anyone pull off a meeting like that on day one without a whole lot of insider pre-planning going on.

He rode in on a trike! On welcome back day, leader of the pack-was the song they played. Little did we know--how apropos, carpet baggers drinking tea, ripping off our community. And 2006 seems so long ago, not even the beginning of our woes. Oh how I regret voting for prop O!

For all my voting life, I have faithfully supported bonds and other legislation in support of education that were placed on the ballot. As a public school teacher, I put my X where my beliefs were.

As of today, I will never vote for another bond or tax increase that benefits SUHSD until I have proof that these crooks are gone and not simply replaced with a different group of scumbags.

"Trustee Pearl Quiñones was part of a "very bizarre meeting" with Jesus Gandara regarding how to divvy up the bond underwriting."

Aren't these decisions supposed to be made at a SCHOOL BOARD MEETING?

Looks like she was scamming for herself there.

Hey board members when are you going to get your heads out of Brands ass. You know he is going to take you down and leave right? He is going to get in his car and drive up the 15 and leave you all with a bigger mess to clean up. See what happens when you are a brown noser most of you get indicted by the DA. DO YOU PEOPLE NOT SEE HE DOES WHATEVER THE HELL HE WANTS AND DOESNT CARE WHAT YOU THINK. Hmmmm Jimbo when are you going to do something about this out of control dictator. You think maybe he is reading Hugo Chavez's memoirs?

Hey Johnny Boy I hope you are feeling better and ready to get rid of another superintendent. It might look good on your mayoral resume that you are actually trying to clean up the mess you created when you brought Brand here. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SHIT PILE YOU ALL CREATED BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE.

knowthetruth - The Castle Park community is looking for people to join the demonstration and hold signs that will speak the truth to Arne Duncan of what Sweetwater has done to the programs that use to help the community. My cousin just found a flier on her car outside of her local market. Does anyone know anything about this?

Lots of odds things going on at Castle Park Middle, word has it Fifth Avenue had to contact the school to tell the principal to stop spending money from the ASB account for his own personal projects. There was 120K in the account two months ago, now it is somewhere just over 30K. The ASB advisor from the past few years just moved schools and the new one has no idea that there was ever that money in the account in the first place. The principal appears to be using the money to promote himself to Duncan. There is a picture of the principal and Brand on the school’s website, birds of a feather flock together. Using other people’s money for personal gain, while others have been indicted for the same thing in the same district. Why won’t some people learn and how did these people ever get put in charge in the first place?

Does she live in the area where the ROP use to be located? Are they the ones organizing this?


Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians forget moral principles. Whether we believe in GOD or Karma ethics is the foundation of every religion.

You need to chew on this as others of us are.

knowthetruth - Please tell me NOT again. Does the name Castle Park High ring a bell? I seem to remember ASB funds allegedly being misappropriated there as well. That principal as I seem to recall he is working in Barstow or is it Riverside?

Why is any money being spent on Duncan? Surely he knows this is not an affluent area, so why the hype? Monies do not make a community - it is the integrity of the people that reside in the community.

I am now hearing TShirts have been ordered, could this be true? What our students will be dressed up like monkeys to impress????

Is this why the community is planning on turning out with signs to protest Duncan, because they know their children's ASB funds are being used for pompous arrogant self promotion. You know that 100k+ that our board was being asked to spend on private investigators? Well perhaps we need to have them investigate the old ASB person, the principal, and Ed Brand.

OK folks, so it appears we need to get the word out, Brand is choosing to spend our students monies to Impress a politician. Wonder how many people will be phoning Duncan's office to question these allegations? Wonder how many news organizations will be there asking the question - HOW MANY TAXPAYERS DOLLARS WERE SPENT FOR DUNCAN'S VISIT? HOW MANY ASB DOLLARS WERE SPENT FOR DUNCAN'S VISIT? And finally WHERE THE HELL DID THESE KIDS ASB FUNDS GO???????

"Ah hello, is this Arne Duncan's office? May I ask your fax number? I have some newspaper articles that you might want to read prior to meeting with SUHSD. Oh you didn't know about the indictments and upcoming trials? - and by the way before I let you go I am curious why on earth Mr. Duncan would choose SUHSD, why not one of the elementary districts - none of their board members have been indicted, their superintendents are not under fire".

Can you imagine the repercussions of this on Duncan, a poor communities kids forced to spend their ASB funds on his visit?

Board members, what is going on? Did you know this?

So this is history, or almost--at least we have to hope come February. So my question is--can I feel the bond I voted for , prop alphabet soup abcdefeg--prop o, is being administered correctly?

MY other question is--if we don't support bonds how will schools be taken care of?

They will be taken care of. Once the crooks are gone there will be a lot of money available that is currently being spent on friends... Er, consultants and advisors.

cvres - who knows? Mello Roos, where are the Mello funds?????

As long as this bunch is in I will NEVER EVER vote for another bond measure. I understand I am not alone.

Jmbrickley - I am not in agreement, there will be few dollars left - unless you happen to know where some gold bars are buried.

Mello? Where is the missing Mello?

90,000 dollars is a lot for t-shirts! The ASB students have to approve each expenditure. Someone needs to get an accounting of how this money was spent. There should be a paper trail for the approvals and the checks.

The way I hear it is if you check all those student signatures they all won't match the students but will look a lot like some adults on the campus. What I have been told is the principal said he was using the money for "beautification", he has been painting slogans on the walls of the school in big five foot tall lettering. I heard he was told to stop painting over some windows of classrooms but did it anyway. I have not seen any of this so maybe someone else can verify what the school looks like.

The requirements for expenditures goes beyond simple approval. It must also be for the benefit of the student body. Most of suhsd's asb's are run in violation of the whole concept of proper asb function.

farmgirl, knowthetruth, and Jmbrickley You all bring up some good points. Unfortunately, people in this district are put in high positions only to make the same mistakes again and again. The Castle Park Middle Principal has had money troubles at the previous site he worked at with the mismanagement of money and spending. This is not news. If people are really interested in the management of school funds you should look at it for yourself. It is public record. One fact remains to be true the Principal at Castle Park Middle is out for his own personal gain. He has been trying to sell his “Granger Turnaround Model” for personal gain all over the United States bringing other districts to visit his CPM campus. A model which was created on Sweetwater District time with the input of other district employees. Shouldn’t this model then belong to the district? He also, used a full time science teacher from his campus to develop PowerPoint presentations and to start writing his book. Should tax payers be flipping the bill for his personal gain?

Would like to Thank all of those who care enough to speak the truth about what was/is REALLY going on.

When the stuff of SUHSD breaks, there ain't going to be enough room for all of the FOX and CNN news trailers in the District parking lot. Who is going to be the first board member of the PAC of three who will claim I HAD NO IDEA!!!!!???????????

Going to need pictures of those painted windows - they had better be darned sure that paint comes off with water.

The students of Castle Park need no beautification to make them shine - they are stars in their own right. What does it say about the principal and Brand that they are only choosing to do all of this so called beautification now that Arne Duncan is coming to town? It appears THEY ARE LOOKING TO MAKE THEMSELVES SHINE?

Oh the mess of all of this when the truth is exposed - South Bay Community Services had students doing what again? ASB funds spent how again? Prior approval documentation not available why again? Proper signatures not received under whose authority again?

Didn't the ASB person and the Principal get let go from Castle Park High over similar issues?

John McCann and Jim Cartmill self proclaimed fiscal conservatives in agreement of all of the above why again?

I believe the 'stuff' is getting ready to hit the fan BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!

Never seen anything like this. Jim telling us you commenters are a few angry people does not seem to fit what I am reading. Looks like some of this information is coming from people on the front lines. History books will tell you it is the grunts who have the straight skinny.

DoingTheRightThing and anniej – The more facts one sees the more everything makes sense. The reason Duncan is coming to Castle Park Middle is because the school is part of the huge Promise Neighborhood grant ($30 million) South Bay Community Service received from the Federal government. In the year the application for the grant was submitted, Castle Park Middle had the highest percentage of free or reduced lunch students in its history. I am sure it is a coincidence that for that one year there was an overflow of poorer students at the school during the principals first year at Castle Park Middle, just in time to receive huge amounts of federal dollars. Then the principal uses district and/or federal money for a personal assistant (science teacher) to publicize his personal educational consultant aspirations and to ghost write his book that includes an educational model that is the intellectual property right of the district. Why is Brand not asking for the district’s money back? Or does he personally get a cut also. I wonder if Duncan will ask for some of the Federal monies back himself. Misappropriation of funds, whether district of Federal, should result in an investigation and if evidence is found, a prosecution. Brand knows all of this. The question is why he is doing nothing about it. Does he benefit from all the money himself? Or is he just giving the Castle Park Middle principal just enough rope so that he can start an investigation at just the right time to deflect larger district problems (wag the dog).

knowthetruth - Do you know who I am? If you trust me and feel comfortable in doing so - we need to talk.

knowthetruth, I am interested in the information and protect my sources.

[email protected]

As Old Chula Res says--the comments on these articles are endlessly fascinating and informative.

DoingTheRightThing you are right about the current CPM principal. He like Brand is an arrogant bully whose primary interest is self promotion regardless of whose money he spends or who he tramples on the way. An audit of the ASB funds will vindicate the former ASB Advisor and show that the real culprit is the principal.But since he is Brand's boy,you can bet that he will suffer no consequences. Many of NCM's best teachers are fed up with him and are staying only because of their commitment to the students and the hope that a new board will replace him

ZORRO I agree, you are absolutely right about the character of the principal at CPM. I think you meant CPM teachers are fed up, and you are right again. He has already pushed many of us out to make room for his former Granger Colleagues who fully buy into him and his hype. He has helped support the move of an elementary charter school onto his campus in hopes of making CPM a charter. He would fully enjoy running a charter school this way he would be able to fully bully teachers into doing what he wants. He yells at teachers and physically intimidates them. Maybe after the Arnie Duncan visit Brand will begin to recognize that his “boy” is not exactly fit for the job after all.

It's so sad to read that the district is so dysfunctional. Maybe that's why Arne D. is coming. He may have heard about SUHSD and may want to see for himself.
Nobody has posted anything about Alliant lately. Did they pack up and go back north? Ms. Luzzaro, do you know anything?

Read the new article in the Star news written by Alliant's president where he defends his college's astronomical cost for a year of college. If students were getting a much better education for this enormous cost, that would make sense. Then he tries to say that financial aid and grants will pay for your tuition. Where does government get the money to pay financial aid? Out of our paychecks! Go figure!

I took much time reading up on the principal of Castle Park Middle yesterday. One thing I found very interesting he is all over the Internet, quite unusual for a principal who is in it for the good of the students. I, ME, I - it appears he solely is responsible for the improved scores and attendance of the students at CPM - you know one of those Johnny on the spot super heroes.

I guess he is ignoring the hundreds of thousands of South Bay Comm Services monies that the district is POURING into CPM, guess that does not count. Hmmmm wonder how absolutely wonderful ALL of the schools would be doing if they had that much money to operate with.

I see a board presentation on the horizon - 'gotta justify this money, gotta prove how wonderful MY program is, gotta show how well 'my boy' is doing'.

Everyone wants educated students, everyone wants motivated teachers, NOONE can stand arrogance. Slow down there johnny wonder this is not about you - you would be far better served if you took some of that air out of your pompous interviews.

Having said all of that I would like to state for record that I acknowledge there is a minority of teachers who, in essence, should have retired their teaching credential long ago - hey, as hard as it is believe there is even such a thing as bad superintendents - hell we have had two back to back - go figure - but again they are the minority and what rings true about these allegations are comments I have heard from educators I trust when I phoned them yesterday. Amongst the principal category it is well known the CPM principal is to our super what the credit card was to 'the gandara' - USED for self.

EGO, can be a very destructive factor in ones life.

NOW, where is the ASB money, THAT is the smoking gun.

I agree with your comment that some teachers should retire their credential. Every profession has people who may not be effective in their job, however the question I would ask anyone in charge or in the role of leadership is what are you doing to help them get better at what they do? If you are demoralizing them, ignoring them, yelling at them then you are part of the problem. No one deserves to be treated poorly in the workplace. No one deserves to be bullied.

Yes, Sweetwater UHSD, Dysfunctional is thy name!

That is what happens when the leadership is corrupt and/or absent.

What is it that we want from our school district leadership? What about "Leadership"! What about encouraging all that is good in the students, supporting good choices, intelligent decision-making, responsible actions, reasonable and sensible courses of behavior! All very basic stuff.

But--how can we say we are encouraging that in the students when the examples available are completely in the opposite direction?

Cheating, stealing, self-promotion, bleeding the students' funding dry, so that these miserable hoggish administrators grab everything for themselves.

Can we please get this entire nauseatingly rotten bunch thrown out, and sent where they belong, as in incarceration--so they perhaps take a moment to reflect on where they went wrong.

I hope that the Feds are watching, learning, taking notes, names and all available data for the big hammer that will come down hard.

I and many others have been fed up with this bunch for so long--it is time for justice in the strictest sense.

The CPM principal does everything for show. He clearly spent all of his money trying to create a “college going environment,” which really looks like a college carnival. If you look into the principal’s past you will find he spends freely to impress visitors at the expense of his students. I worked with him at his previous middle school where he did the same thing he is doing at CPM. Leopards don’t change their spots. We were expecting a visit from someone he wanted to impress so he poured all of the ASB funds into a “workout room” leaving our ASB account dwindled down to very little. Then, after spending all of our money he moved on. I might add that my school is located in a low income area. It is no secret across the district that he and the former CPM ASB Advisor did not see eye to eye on spending the ASB funds. While attending an event at my school he openly talked negatively about the CPM Advisor making it clear he wanted her out of the picture. It has been my experience that when this principal wants something done he doesn’t like to hear the word NO, nor does he like to be told he can’t do something. I heard the former ASB Advisor had a long and successful career at CPM prior to the new principal’s arrival interesting that she is no longer there. I hear his new ASB Advisor is a new teacher and was hand-picked by him this should be a perfect arrangement for his spending habits. It’s always nice to have a “Yes Man” on your team.

Anyone who has lived at least forty know the term yes man. I have got to say the stories about Sweetwater are getting worse. I believe I am doing my part and shared this on line Reader with several people in my congregation yesterday. Many are having difficulty comparing the man we thought we knew with the lack of leadership on these reports. While confrontational is not his style what I can not figure out is why there is not one statement by Jim answering these claims. Some say he has been gagged by his attorney but something is not right here.

anniej - I do not, perhaps in the future. Ms. Luzzaro - I have already contacted you. So many new names here now with lots of people saying the same things. Where there is smoke, I guess there really is fire.

I hear that the guest list for CPM's block party will be of great interest. I understand a couple of the football friends of the principal will be in attendance.

Is it true this South Bay outfit is spending my taxes?

knowthetruth - here we are this weekend celebrating the working man/woman and this community is reading how SUHSD treats it workers. Hard to freakin believe!

CPM students part of a larger demographic in the district that NEEDS educators who care, NEED administrators willing to do the hard work for the STUDENTS ultimate success, dependent on a principal who is there for all of the right reasons.

So to sum this up we are once again learning of a principal and ASB person who are allegedly spending student earned monies without the proper documentation, on items not intended by the rules, and with the ultimate goal to impress Arne Duncan so said principal and superintendent Brand can play the educational imposter.

Does Duncan know what is going on with the trials, with the indictments, with these allegations of tax dollars and ASB funds being spent on beautification? Guess what?

These allegations have raised the interests of some very important people.

Please document the facts, and do not keep the documentation on school grounds. Pictures will help. Protect yourself, it is alleged principal was absent the day the 'anti-bullying zero tolerance bylaws' were reviewed. I even read where friends that were in law enforcement were in attendance during one of his meetings. Oh my, hopefully that was an exaggeration - if not that off duty law enforcement officers name should be documented.

The walls are going to come tumbling down soon, it ain't going to make a bit of difference that you were once the fair haired jock in Brands eyes, when he is gone so will the gravy train. And just like the CPH principal and ASB person - role will be called and certain persons will answer. BYE BYE!!!!!!! Doubt my words, ask around - what happens when the ill functioning Super leaves? So do those who were involved in no good.

And this one can take to the bank - ANY person who misused children's ASB funds, taxpayers dollars, and educational funds will pay this time around. There will be no hiding the skeletons, oh no, not this time.

One would think that educated persons would be smart enough to look at the history of those who went before them and learn - what we have here is a person who has attached himself to the coat tails of a super who will not be here very much longer. I look forward to the new board when board members will INSTRUCT Ed Brand to RESPECT the public. To SIT UP STRAIGHT! GIVE THE BOARD PRESIDENT THE SPEAKER CARDS, and LISTEN - and, by the way ED YOU ANSWER TO THEM, for the short time you will be here remember ED THOSE PEOPLE YOU USE TO SCOWL AT - you work for them!!!!!!

erupting - what a joke, football friends? Might one be the author of a book called 'BIG MOUTH'? A person who has issues with minorities. gays/lesbians, and women! A man when asked about marriage proclaimed it would be better to get a dog, you can always return a dog and not have to split your assets. Don't it just make you proud that such persons are allegedly in the 'Brand click'?

Keep those friends close Mr. Principal, as you may just need the hook up when the walls of integrity come tumbling down.

When oh when will the users ever learn, those tax dollars they are spending they are ours!

News Flash, I was informed late last night that Dr. Brand has been bringing his son to work this week. He has shown him his good work at Castle Park. I understand that his son is done with school and looking for a job. You don't think the South Bay Guidance Center or SUSHD would need another employee. No, not even Brand could possibly believe that he could do that.

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