Sweetwater school district board seeks to silence opposition

Superintendent Brand calls someone’s boss

Nick Marinovich
  • Nick Marinovich

Is there a concerted attempt by the Sweetwater Union High School District to silence or stifle criticism? That’s what many public speakers told the trustees during the March 11 board meeting.

The meeting was prefaced by a lecture on civility given by Sweetwater attorney Dan Shinoff. During public comment, former adult school teacher and community advocate Fran Brinkman asked the superintendent and trustees, “How dare you lecture us on civility?"

Brinkman recounted a litany of actions she alleges have been used to intimidate or reduce the public’s right to speak. Her list included: changing board times, cutting time allotted to speakers, moving public comment to the end of meetings, removing chairs from the board room, censoring board tapes, paying the legal fees for one trustee’s “bogus” restraining order, and calling the employers of public speakers.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, more than five speakers expressed outrage at the idea that district superintendent Ed Brand would call someone’s employer.

Kevin O’Neill, who sits on the district’s Proposition O bond oversight board, explained to the trustees that a woman who had addressed them at a February meeting subsequently learned from her employer that Brand had called her boss, a captain in one of the branches of the armed services. According to O’Neill, Brand spoke to her captain about the woman expressing her opinion.

O’Neill used his three minutes to remind the trustees about First Amendment rights. He said, “This action is beyond the pale, and though this woman chooses to take the high road, if it were me, my attorney would be talking to your attorney.”

Later, during public comment, a woman who identified herself as having spoken about an information technology issue at the last meeting began her speech by reading a statement that said the opinions she expressed were her own — not her employer’s.

A similar concern was brought to the trustees’ attention by bond-oversight chair Nick Marinovich.

On February 21, Marinovich received a letter from the district’s attorney, Dan Shinoff, that read: “It has come to our attention that your conduct at the District’s most recent board meeting warrants our involvement. It is important that civility is maintained at all times when the Board is conducting their business.”

The letter inaccurately referred to a board meeting. A clarification letter followed from Shinoff; the warning was in regard to a bond-oversight meeting.

In a March 15 interview, Marinovich, said, “This is the first letter of reprimand I have received in my entire life.” Marinovich worked for the County of San Diego for 32 years.

“Sending letters like this just makes the district look foolish. They are not going to deter me from doing my job. The letter was not warranted. It is in reference to the entire bond-oversight committee — not just myself — asking hard questions of a district representative about iPad expenditures.”

Marinovich was recently named executive director of the California League of Bond Oversight Committees.

Brand and trustee Jim Cartmill did not respond to emails requesting comment.

Via email, trustee Bertha Lopez responded to the comments made at the March 11 meeting: "It is an inappropriate that a member of the public comes to comment on a matter before the board and the result ends in district staff calling their employer! Private citizens have the right to free speech and they are protected.... It seems that instead of finding ways to resolve concerns or to clarify issues, the best course of action is to silence individuals."

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No doubt when Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa and John Mccann decided to bring Brand back they believed it would quiet the community. Brand came in promising changes, what we received instead was more of the same - the only difference between Brand and 'the gandara' - Brand is smarter.

Brand intimidating the female, nice, intelligent, professional, community volunteer is UNACCEPTABLE! But as they say this is how this board rolls - they try to intimidate.

Those that are speaking out in favor of the students and fiscal responsibility- will not be intimidated!

What has Cartmill, Mccann and Ricasa done to prevent Brand from lashing out at future speakers - not a thing!

My fellow neighbors, at least on the Prop O front we are being protected. Gone are the days when Ricasa's husband sat on the Bond Oversight Committee. Gone are the days when sorority sisters and other districts NOW INDICTED board members serve - now we have EXPERTS overseeing our bond dollars. And Brand - HE OBVIOUSLY HATES IT!!!!!

Phone. Bully How old school. Old school. How old boy network.

Bertha talks the talk, but does she (when she votes) really walk the talk? Let's not forget that she's under indictment, too. Vote all the bums out, including Bertha.

The Brown Act entitles members of the public to express their opinions on any matter related to the District. How DARE the District's counsel attempt to intimidate any member of the public from so expressing their rightful right to speech. This is yet more evidence of the District's disfunction. and attempt to squelch the public right to comment on the actions of a public body, clearly in violation of the First Amendment and the Brown Act. It would be so refreshing for the District to welcome public input of those who pay the bills.

This is beyond remarkable. We have a district that gambles with the public's money, has not figured out ways to help the students be successful, and makes people afraid to express their opinions? Is the only solution the next election? Say it isn't so.

I assume the District has a zero tolerance policy on bullying? I also assume that this policy applys to students and adults working for the District. Unless there is a special exemption for the superintendent, the board should have no choice but to intervene in this matter. Deeds speak louder than words so let us see if their position on bullying is real or just window dressing. If they choose to look the other way, I don't know how they would have the moral imperative to disciple a student.

Visduh: yes Lopez is under indictment. - her votes however speak for themselves. See board docs for confirmation. She CONSISTENTLY STANDS ALONE with her votes - see board docs for confirmation.

Oskidoll: the person who Brand chose to attempt to intimidate is one of the nicest people one could ever meet. She does however, have more integrity in her little finger than Brand does in his whole body - her intellect extremely apparent.

The question remains why would Mccann, Cartmill or Ricasa sit idly by and allow our superintendent to carry himself in such a manner? It is now CLEARLY EVIDENT - our board does not value EVEN THE BEST COMMUNITY MEMBER. This is not the first person that has been the victim in alleged such incidents - the fact that the board allowed it in the past gave Brand clearance to continue acting as if he was no better than a hired gun.

ROP teachers received their pink slips today - wonder if Brand was out with his favorite broker looking for more property to house the district office on while our teachers and students were being handed the bad news. Do we really need another L street? Surely there is not a financial advisor, who just might happen to be related to a member of the board who is helping, surely not!

We lost how many millions under the watch of Cartmill, Ricasa and Brand on the L street deal. Has Mccann even bothered to look into the situation? Does he know all of what happened??????? Does he care???????? They actually have already purchased two parcels of land for their new district office and now they want to add a third?????????

anniej, someone must have promised John McCann that this trustee thing would be a piece of cake gig, and that he could sleepwalk through his term and then waltz into the mayorship. So it looks like McCann took this person at his/her word, and isn't giving up on the sleepwalking part of the deal...despite all indications that the climate is changing--things are really heating up.

Either that, or he is tied to Brand's coattails in such a way that it is impossible for him to act independently and honorably. More's the pity.

Our trustees need to locate their spines and stand up for the students and teachers of this district, (not to mention the taxpayers), as you say.

I am wondering now as the countdown is inching closer to April, will the weight of these indictments start having an effect on our trustees? Will Ed Brand start to realize that his unholy coalition could dissolve...who will be left to prop up the schemer? Will it benefit anyone?

Maybe the scouts are already out there looking for a new super. (Just don't go anywhere near Soccoro, TX...).

If Brand has the goods on the trustees, and that is why they do his bidding like mindless toadies, can't they figure out that they can turn it around on him...

Brand's tactics of intimidation, disinformation, misinformation, coverup and stonewalling really do point to someone who must have a great deal to lose should the truth get out.

There is no other reason to act in this manner.

Therefore, it is time for the truth. No one needs to go to Brand for protection--that isn't in his power. Never has been. Never will be, despite what he may have tried to lead people to believe.

eastlaker: what has happened and continues to happen has nothing to do with our board members not having spines it has everything to do with collusion.

That may well be--but--with some spine, maybe the collusion would end.

Maybe someone could see there is a better way than Brand's way--and bring some daylight into the affairs of Sweetwater.

Oh Boy, a New Web string, I've just sort of signed off the last one by telling my fellow blogees that I sent an E-mail directly to Dr. Brand (civilly) to ask for a face to face meeting. I was worried about sending this E-mail since all of these blogs and issues have been distracting me from my job. I am afraid that if the good Doctor wanted to he could call my employer and suggest that I was waisting company time which I guess I was.

However I believe that there is little more important than our right to free speech and the right to proper Public Education.

These are the foundations of democracy (Look at Afganistan, and the supression of women) and when either are challanged they have to be defended.

We are in such a situation, our High School District is nearly hijacked, by people that do not respect our rights to freedom of speech, who see their way as the only way and others that only see their possible future grandure (sp).

I stand by my request to Dr Brand (with all Civility) and the Board of Trustees to have a face to face meeting, perhaps a televised debate, maybe with the Union-Tribune as the moderator, (if Dr. Brand (Civil intent) and Sir Manchester, so deem it) to get through all this crap.

All of the kids in the South Bay Deserve so much more than we as parents, citizens, teachers, adminstration, elected officials and intellegent adults are offering and giving them at his time.

By the way for those of you north and east of us keep your eyes open!!!! Respectfully and with all Civility, BBQ

Employees have faced this type of intimidation for years and are afraid to speak out against questionable educational practices that have been forced upon our students. When a highly respected teacher at my site questioned the implementation of poorly planned curriculum, a district leader called our principal and told him/her to discipline this teacher.

Hooray for Marinovich ONeill and Brinkman! Sounds like a law firm. A Serb(?), Irishman and a German. What diversity. They are true heroes.

Where is the UT on all this? I would ask for Dr. Brands emails and phone records on the calls for the citizen. This is out of the playbook of Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon.

oneoftheteachers: Now according to Brand he is loved and admired by the staff at SUHSD - he, with a straight face spins the tale that all is well within the district and that he only problems are 'the antagonizers'

Much truth will come out in the trials, included will be the definition of Brand - opportunist and betrayer.

WTFEd- appears several new, professional, well respected, well known and highly influential persons seem to agree with those that initially rang the alarm. They have friends who have friends and so the story goes - and the professions some of those friends have are most interesting. Much attention is being paid to the important issues I.e. L STREET by these professionals - at the last meeting one of the speakers commented that their requests for information on this subject are not being provided. You know the legal world just hates that kind of thing, it tends to heighten their curiosity - what is that saying 'those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing'. I keep bringing L STREET up for a reason.

Who needs the UT - we have The READER bringing us the facts

anniej, the reason I have started to include the Union-Tribune and Sir Manchester into this is for the same reason you brought Ms Cox into the disscussion in the previous blog string, to show the inter connection and duplicity of this whole mess.

While I agree with you, the Reader and Susan Luzzaro are doing a great job keeping the district in the public eye, as it isn't too difficult, just wait until their mouth moves next, the problem with telling to many tales is sooner or later they get confussed and mixed up.

However, I wonder where the more Main Stream ie Big Media is on any of this? The second biggest District in the Area, $350 Million per year Budget, a major employer, if (when) all this implodes who's going to pick up the pieces?

Where is the County Schol Board on all of this? We have not heard a squeek or peep from them, are they afraid of the big bad wolf too? (Dr. Brand, (with all civil intent)). Who is guy (?), an Itallian or Mexican Don, I'm not worried I can call "da boys from detroit" (Just Kidding, Gotta laugh or you'll cry at this stuff). It is a sad state of affairs that we are even close to this.

I will now appeal to Dr. Alt, the CFO of the district, who I also tried to contact last week, and am expecting a call from on Monday or Tuesday. I hope he will walk me through some of the financials of the district with specific interest on real estate assets, debts and accounts receivables (I may be an Engineer but I'm an MBA too). If I do not hear from him I will assume that "Fearless Leader" (The ever Civil, Dr. Brand), directed him not to speak with me. (oh I like Cartoon metaphors).

So I/we a/the citizens have to take up the challange to reveal the misappropriation and misrepresentation within the SUHSD, that our governmental and "media" checks and Balances refuse to. All I have to say is I am disgusted enough to take it/them on.


It's stunning that that the district has kept Al Alt even after learning of his past. There is no hope for your district.

I'm not sure that in a business this CEO would have been fired by now. It would surely happen if this mismanagement and bullying got press coverage and negative press coverage at that. There have been some instances of dreadful decision making along with intimidation that didn't get reported in the Wall Street Journal, and they were ignored until the company failed.

I fully agree that Brand should be gone again already. But it will take a new board to replace him. After all, after all the Texas-connection misery, these same bozos rehired him after he was fired unceremoniously from the supe job in San Marcos. They knew what they were getting, they wanted what he offered, and paid him 'way too much.

Out of all the Sweetwater stories that Ms Luzzaro has reported on, this perhaps is the most important and troubling as it exposes a major root of the problem, and it's pretty rotten. Kudos to all those who have spoken out, and stand up to Brand's intimidation. If one person is allowed to be silenced, then we are all victims of Brands intimidation.

Anniej: I agree, we can count on the Reader. Forget the UT.

oneoftheteachers: It must be so hard to work in this district. To have your professional opinions silenced by threats of discipline is absolutely unacceptable. The public owes those teachers who do speak out, either individually or through their union reps, a great deal of gratitude. They are on the front lines working with our sons and daughters everyday. They know the best practices for educating our kids, as they have for decades. To be threatened with disciplinary action for voicing a professional opinion goes against all of the principles of our democratic educational system. It is disgraceful and should be illegal.

I do not believe that there will be any change until there is a different board majority.

I do not see any one of those on the dias who will suddenly have an epiphany, or that Brand will go away --- except in our dreams.

Watch the upcoming trials closely...their outcomes will be of huge importance for future direction. IF any member is found guilty of a felony, they may no longer serve in any elected capacity and their seat(s) would be vacated.

Remember that Ricasa and Quinones are also indicted for what I believe is the more serious crime of extortion, along with perjury by declaration and failure to report gifts, etc.etc. for which Cartmill and Lopez have also been indicted. Ideally, all four would become felons and unable to "serve" (I use the term loosely and quite uncivilly) one minute more.

IF the trials do not result in felony convictions, the ballot box is the next opportunity for change. We can launch a recall campaign (not easy to do, as we learned in the previous attempt) or wait until the next cycle when Cartmill, Ricasa and McCann are up. Again, it takes organization, effort, and money. The money part is is why the incumbents are so unwilling to commit to any kind of limits on campaign contributions because they are in the catbird's seat and know it.

We have learned that the County Board of Education is without a backbone, and probably beholden to Brand. Don't know what affliction the State Department of Education has, but they seem to be inert as well.

Ultimately, it is up to the people (us) to make choices about who governs our public agencies. It is time to choose more wisely by putting plans in motion to make changes if the court does do it for us.

PS The UT has not been part of the 'mainstream' media ever since Manchester took over, and perhaps for some time before that. Sad but true.

Too all my fellow bloggers, I agree with many of your points however we all need to be very carefull not to paint with too broad a brush that all teachers are on the front lines working to the full benefit of our kids thus deserve our undieing gratitude, like anything there great good average and subpar teachers. Is their input to the business important absolutely.

Just as if we use too fine a line between a fine upstanding Trustee vs all of the rest, that we do not create the same uncompromising ineffectual log jam of Hoo Ha, that we have now.

While I really hate the term, "Win, Win" situation or solution, there is reasonable compromise, intelligent negotiation, and peaceful co-existance which I believe is the ultimate goal. Allong with an efficient modern progressive working High School District.

I am not sure what will transpire prior to getting to that point, but we better be planning some type of peaceful transition whatever the outcome in April because someone is going to be upset!!! If we weren't in the middle of budget season, pink slip season, contract season, circulium (sp) season, real estate issues, ethics issues, I would not be as concerned........ but what's going to happen in the Possible vacuum, just Sir McCann and Dr. Brand (remembering my Civility) in charge of all that money, I'm sure the staff will run out of copy paper and pens (Joke, Mr. Quarter Master McCann, sir). I think they are licking their or each others chops, we need to put in a restraining order to prevent any spending or budget changes without a full board in place.

Where is the transition plan, County Board of Education? By the way when does that Esteemed group meet and have public comment time? I think a little disgust and heat may be required over there this Month.

I could keep going but I've found a way to Quote Roadrunner and Coyote, you know the end of any segment is Coyote falling off the cliff until you can't see him for a couple seconds, then..... "Poof" and a cloud of dust, How about us? Where is our cloud of dust? VIVA LA SUD DE SAN DIEGO BBQ

BBQ - it is interesting that you have raised this issue. I too had typed a similar point of view but chose to not hit the enter button.

In a nut shell - well, before I go there let me state I HAVE ABSOLUTE RESPECT FOR TEACHERS, I could NOT do what they do. We are fortunate to have many good people that are employees of SUHSD.

I am bothered by the fact that the majority seem to suffer from 'if it isn't affecting my bank account, I simply do not have the time or energy to attend board meetings and speak out.' I get it, the teachers have a tough job, but what about those persons who consistently show up and speak up against ALL that is wrong within SUHSD - do they not have responsibilities?

Having said that I believe it is important to recognize those teachers, librarians and bus drivers who HAVE, on a CONSISTENT basis, attended board meetings and spoken out. While few, they have my utmost respect.

But where are the rest? Where are the many? I often speak of those good administrators who stay away out of fear of loosing their jobs - I get that - but what of those who have union protection - WHERE ARE THEY?

While I am acknowledging those I respect, Mr. Anguiano is at the top of the list. He has served those he represent in an outstanding manner. He too has suffered for his opinions - let us not forget he was challenged to a fist fight by a backer of one our board members. Anguiano has been called despicable names, yet he continued to fight for the students and the employees.

SUHSD is in dire straights, and it is going to take ALL ENTITIES joining together to bring about the change that is needed. Remember, you may not have a student in the district - however PROPERTY OWNERS DO PAY TAXES!!!!!!

Good points about the need for a transition plan BBQ.

According to the CBOE's website (www.sdcoe.net) the regular meetings appear to be held on on the second WED of the month at 6 p.m. at the HQ at 6401 Linda Vista Road, SD, 92111. The second Wed of April is April 10.

The person who represents the South County (area 2) is Dr. Lyn Nealon, who is in her first year of her first term. The website lists her phone as 858-292-3515 and her email as [email protected]

By the way, the SDCOE website states that their motto is "Our job is to help school districts.. (I am NOT making it up.)

Oskidoll: perhaps Randy Ward has not been shown that motto - when I contacted him BEFORE 'the gandara' and the rest were indicted, before the antagonists were forced to contact the DA and FBI, he emailed me with the following statement "we have NO authority over SUHSD" - REALLY???????????

Don't confuse authority with assisting school districts. While I think there is some point at which the county BOE can step in to take over some district functions, that doesn't mean that it can just call Brand and order changes, or more likely cease-and-desist. The county department provides certain services to the school districts on a basis of doing it more cheaply and more effectively than can the individual district offices. Payroll is a case in point. The only district that I'm aware of in the county that has its own payroll is San Diego City. All the others apparently use the county system.

I do think that the county board could go on record as being concerned and or dismayed by the goings on in Sweetwater (and for that matter, Southwestern College). It has a bully pulpit that isn't being used. Same for the state board and education department. Even the So County supervisor could call for resignations of the indicted board members. Those big names making noise would get reported, and maybe it would awaken the many, many brain-dead voters who don't know, don't care, and don't vote.

Visduh, lets not forget City Council members in Chula Vista! Not only is the mainstream media staying away from this district, all local politicians are as well. SD County Board Supv Greg Cox, CV Mayor Cheryl Cox, IB and NC Mayors, IB, CV and NC city council - where are they? I have not heard any of them speak out against the embarassment that is this Supt and Trustees! I cant imagine Brand holds any sway over them, more likely this district is so cancerous they just want to stay away!!

If you get a chance listen to Mayor Cox' State of the City Address. She gave it last Tuesday,12th. She spoke about CVESD and then Sweetwater. It should be up on the City Website. It is an E ticket ride as she compared the two and about all she could say about Sweetwater was that it had dedicated teachers and staff and about a 20% drop out rate.

When you compare the two, CVESD with some 44 campuses working with the same demographic and tax base seems to have found a way to maintain reserves and win awards for the product they put out. The difference is stark and can only be attributed to the failure of upper management.

mko - I have no doubt Ms. Cox had to think long and hard to find any saving grace regarding SUHSD - the employees.

You are right, when you look at CVESD and then compare it to SUHSD one wonders - how could two like worlds be soooooo different - the answer - LEADERSHIP!!!!!!!

The Star-News also has an article on the State of the City Address, but you may have to search for it, as it is no longer listed on the first page of the website. Several other articles of interest, including reporter Allison Sampite-montecalvo's parting statement.

AnnieJ, my friend, I was not condemning teachers, without them I would not be able to write even this badly, Any english teacher would easily tell I am an engineer and did not pay very good attention in english class due to my punctuatiuon or spelling.

My point was not to detract from teachers but to use them as an example of broad bursh generalizations, we all have a tendancy to do this. I really believe that some of our situation will require a scalpel to correct.

I have never gotten so involved with an issue like I have with this district and I am not prepared to back off as of now, They, the adminstration and Board do not know what they have started however I am in until the end.

Help me find the next concrete step!!!! Do we need to prevent the depleted board, McCann and Brand from running amok? BBQ

bbq, if my comments appeared to indicate you were condemning teachers, then I failed miserably to make my point.

Welcome - it is taking collaborative effort to gather all of the data.

The longer the superintendent and board members remain, the more we dig, the more calls we receive - like pieces of a puzzle - one by one the pieces are put together until like Leonardo Di Vinci we have a masterpiece of alleged corruption.

A brief comment more to follow tonight. Basketball takes a front seat to this corruption. My comments on UT should not be misinterpreted. Susan Luzarro is a true hero at keeping this subject alive. Let me tell you people at our District read the Reader. Ed probably has the IT people send out the storm troopers if we dare access it at work. After hearing this latest whatever you call it-let me just say us employees must watch our back. UT gets more of the Republican crowd to pay attention when they are not celebrating the military lauding the Pope, or bashing Mayor whats his name. I heard the other day from another mole like me that Ed the Terrible has some connections with brass over there.

In this small burg that is SoutH Bay, There are many roles the citizens play. Invested in prop O on property tax day.. or voter bubbling in a candidate on Election Day.

One wants to believe that free speech is for real And one can speak one's truth with "civil " zeal. But an employee always has something to lose When one's boss is called, even if one pays union dues. Therefore The Delta in the photograph behind.. Symbolizes: beware to ye who speak your mind!

Montana64 - point well taken. The delta, aren't t we all sick to death of hearing about Brands delta.

I've got those Sweetwater Delta blues!!!!!

Did you ever think Jesus Gandara would look like a choir boy compared to Ed Brand? Maybe we need a money tree at the next Board of Trustees meeting to collect money for Ed's bail when he is charged with multiple counts of embezellment and misuse of public funds. Embezellment and misuse of public funds is a lot worse then knowing but forgtetting to report those expesive meals on 700 Forms. Who knows what has been hidden with all the shake down of contractors, non-profit adventures, and real estate speculation at public expense. I say we get a rally together at the door step of the District!!! Srike while the iron is hot and that pig who is feeding at the trough. Rather than eating caviar at District expense he will have to get used to bologne sandwiches in jail. I hear the food however is better at Work Furlough. That orange jumpsuit on Ed and is just not his color!!!!!Maybe he can share a cell with the City Manager of Bell. They could swap war stories. I AM NOT KIDDING ANNIEJ BVA ERUPTING ET AL. we need a RALLY!! Let's organize and maybe I can come out of the closet. I can not believe the District has not figured out who I am. There are more than one mole who is feeding me information. Watch out Ed. You would be surprised. You have every right to be paranoid.

WTFEd please quit screwing with the public the public if you have what you say you have you could end up a hero if not a wealthy man. Use the federal whistle blower laws to come clean and convict Dr. Brand (with all Civility).

I believe you stated that you were already in contact with an attorney, use that connection to resolve the situation. I realize it is a risk to your livelihood, but I too risk my job and programs I am seriously involved with to continue this hunt for "Truth Justice and the American way", Neither nof us is a Superman but all of us together can keep this issue from stiffling our future. I would like to retire sometime and know my Children have the ability and education to keep me alive for at least a few years.

Follow your convictions

Why is it that every time I read a post by WTFEd I get this creepy feeling ?

Jlbaro - reading the truth about SUHSD gives us all a creepy feeling, we all have our points of view about those that have control over the education of our children and our tax dollars. I have no doubt WTEd is speaking aloud the points of view of many. There are many currently, wearing orange jump suits, who have done what is being done to us.

Marinovich is not being honest. Shame on him.

mko: Regarding your comment on Mayor Cox's speech, I'd say probably nothing compares to how terrible Sweetwater has been managed, and as far as we know, the elementary district's superintendent isn't using intimidation as a means to control the ranks. However, to cite Sweetwater's drop-out rate (20%) in the context of comparing districts, is a bit of a stretch. Elementary kids CAN'T drop out. Like bvagency, I am disappointed that none of our elected officials, in any of the city's that SUHSD serves, have done anything to intervene. By the way, I congratulate trustee Bertha Lopez for speaking out in this article.Where are the rest of them?

Speakthetruth: What are you referring to?

AnnieJ.- no matter what position one takes, they need to make sure their house is in order before they stand up and profess that they are beyond reproach. It's in the public courthouse records. Those in the opposition should clean house and carry on their good work for the students of the district. Beyond reproach? Never been reprimanded? I beg to differ.

Speakthetruth: I reread Marinvich's comments above and I do not see what you are referring to. I do not see him or any of us stating that we are perfect. What I read, and this is my simple take on the comments - is that he sees a situation that needs to be corrected.

Heck, if one has ever worked they have been reprimanded, but again I am not seeing in this posters comments what you do.

Your insinuation, whether or not it is fact, borders on Ed Brand like tactics, attempting to silence public opinion via intimidation. Not a good thing! Have you been to any BOC meetings? Have you bothered to educate yourself on the positive changes Marinovich and other committee members have brought about? The matters of what this man speaks are important, very important.

Hopefully you will lend your voice to the movement that is demanding change of the personnel that run this district I.e. ED BRAND and the majority of the board - in doing so you will be helping to bring about positive change for the students of the district and we taxpayers. That should be what unites us - the movement towards positive change.

Oh, my, Mr./s. Speakthetruth--is it the iron fist in the velvet glove approach? Or is it the tire iron in hand approach? Or is it the attack from behind approach? Maybe the finger in the face, invading personal space approach?

Every citizen has a right to speak out. You do not get to decide if someone is "worthy" or "unworthy" of stating an opinion.

Have you been hired to sit in judgement on the rest of us? If so, please tell us all about your qualifications.

Truth, justice and the American Way--always something worth supporting. I'm thinking justice is what we really need in Sweetwater, and truth will lead the way. The American Way. Remember--free speech? Brown Act? Public access to public records? Ring any bells?

Johndewey: Regarding other officials intervening - what might they do? What message have WE sent to said officials when we, as a community, reelect a board member even after we read with our own eyes that we were being sold out. I refer to "I do for those who do for me".

Parents with children in the elementary school districts ARE taking action - they are clamoring to enroll their kids in the charters of C.V. Elementary that offer middle school education. To those who will say 'oh, but look at SUHSD's charter' - I will simply say when you offer FREE day care and offer IPADS to K - 3- of course you are going to have enrollment. And let us NOT FORGET, we financed this charter and Brands new charter - and at the same time Mar Vista, which had been in Program Improvement for 10 years, is looking to close and reopen. Hello, the majority of our schools are under Program Improvement and yet Brand, John Mccann, Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa are lending our dollars to Brands pet Charters and telling us "trust us, we will get the money back". And we are to trust him because ?????????????

To those of you who are relatively new to the movement to take back our district I would like to recommend that you email this READER article to all of your friends and neighbors. EDUCATE THEM, ask for their support in passing the article along to their relatives and to their friends. EDUCATION FOLKS, we now are in the business of educating the SOUTH BAY regarding the blatant disregard JOHN MCCANN, JIM CARTMILL, and ARLIE RICASA has shown in turning over FULL CONTROL to ED BRAND!

When you see RICASA, MCCANN and CARTMILL out in our community - ask them WHY???????? Why have they abandoned fiduciary responsibility, rational educational decisions, and why ED BRAND would ever believe he could bully a community volunteer under their watch. Ask them WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF BRAND - WHAT POWER DOES HE HOLD OVER YOU?

L STREET FOLKS - much truth lies in the L Street deal.

anniej, hear hear.... I am still very worried about the impending vacuum and the many unaware citizens in our community, and those that are already sucked (bought off/ bought in) into the dark side. There's a difficult road ahead, for us all To Dr. "Civil" Brand, to Quote Bugs Bunny, "maybe ya Shoulda toornd left at Cuckamonga" BBQ

Speakthetruth, your name implies that you are above reproach, however the way you just replied is as full of inuendo as everything else concerning the SUHSD, I am sure even you Mr, Truth, have something that someone may think is wrong in your past, god knows I propably do.

The real issue is not Mr Marinovich's credibility, or being beyond reproach, it is how Our School Officials treat us the public (their Shareholders and Customers).

Mr. Marinovich has every right to express his opinion on anything to do with the District, even as the head of the Prop O Review Board, he volunteers his time to be on that committee to keep an eye on contracts that were let under suspicous circumstances, I happen to be glad he's there, a lot of so called professionals keep changing the plans and scope of the projects, kind of shooting from the hip as we go along,

Changes without all of the proper review signatures (?). The only changes to any of the original agreed upon designs should be due to unknown or unsafe conditions found during construction, and then we should be consulting the Engineering Company for why there was an issue.

Adding projects due to desires verses original plan is very costly, finish the first plan before adding on, Contractors love when you add something, they can now charge you a higher fee to recoup on items they under bid to get the job.

Back to the original issue Mr. Truth the lack of respect the Board and Dr."Civil" Brand pay to you and me is beyond appalling. Remember follow your own advice about throwing rocks and be sure you are also above reproach. BBQ

Wowy this is crazy. You know I gave Ed a chance for years. He's smart intelligent and manipulative as I found out just recently. Who is speakthetruth. Tom Hassey? Is it Richard Nixon channeling through John McCann? Didn't Hitler have the Big Lie. You know repeat something that is not true often enough that people begin to believe it. Kind of like when Ed Brand says its all about the kids. I heard Ed looked pretty bad at the last meeting. It must be those massive Chicken Burritos at Chipotle that are putting on the lbs. Employees are talking. When is the other shoe going to drop. Look to "L" Street. Think Ed and Jesus will look good in Orange Jump Suits. Who will bitch slap who in their cell together?

I was paying attention during the Civility Power Point and I could swear that after slide 35 on PTSD caused by upcoming Board meetings, there was a slide that talked about staff feeling threatened if they speak up and what recourse they have under the law. Did anyone else notice it? I made a mental note to find that information once I got home, but I don't see that slide in the district website. Also, a picture IS worth 1,000 words. When I saw the building being discussed, on Boswell Rd. in Eastlake, I couldn't believe my eyes. There's no money for our kids, but there's money for a giant, shiny, new admin building??? Here's a link to the picture: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/users/p...

Reader2, Thanks for the picture, I was sure I'd been in that building, my HOA management group is on the first floor of the place, it's a dump, at least the first floor is, the moldings on the wall torn out, the ceiling tile in disarray, like something wrong with the plumbing or electrical or IT connections.
Just the thing a "Bargan", that Ed, Excuse me, Dr. "Civilized" Brand would think about buying.
Again where's the fiscal responsibility? Where's the plan? Where are the hidden parking places so we can't tell who's in the office or not? I am waiting to see who, if anyone over there contacts me today and you can be assured that it will all be public record. I may even go buy a new tape recorder, do they still have those things?

SUHSD adminstration and Board, I'll be watching you, watching me watching you, (I don't see a key for infinity, silly me). BBQ

Funny how a story like this will cause people to bring forward similar stories. Thanks to those on and offline; I will look for a frame to incorporate your experiences.

Meanwhile L Street, as many have observed, is important. I believe there is a lot more to say and hope to put it together soon.

Reader2 - What is that saying "a picture says a thousand words" - the very thought of John Mccann, Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa, Pearl Quinones or Bertha Lopez even giving a second thought to such a proposal of Brands to purchase yet MORE land MORE buildings is beyond comprehension. The fact that Cartmill reported out NO action was taken is indeed troubling- what that boils down to is "Brand will attempt to bring it back".

It is pretty bad isn't it, that we, the public, have to serve as the watchdogs of our own tax dollars - I thought that was the responsibility of the board members.

One might want to turn the above linked picture into a poster - the heading?


In re: Shinoff's allegation that SUHSD staff complain about the environment they encounter at board meetings:

It seems to me that the Board and Ed Brand are responsible for creating an environment wherein their malfesance generates ire among the public who wish to exercise their legal rights to comment about that same malfesance.

It's not the fault of the taxpaying citizens and parents that they are unhappy. It is the fault of the District for creating the unhappiness.

See the latest poll on the Star-News website!

To my fellow bloggers, Last week I sent out a couple of requests for live conversations with Dr "civility" Brand and Dr. Al Alt, CFO SUHSD, well Dr Alt gve me a call this afternoon and I will say we had a good conversation about where he sees some of the issues concerning the district finances and asked what I thought he should cover in some upcoming community outreach seminars planned for the next month or so.

He was preparing to address CFDs, Mello-Roos Reserves, District borrowing from said funds, prop O etc. He asked what other topics I thought should be covered from a financial point of view, I said an accounting of unused or under used properties, including "L" st, Current mortgage status, bond issue status (Where do we and how much money does the district currently owe).

He sounded very earnest about open conversation with regards to the current status of the District. I spent a bit of time explaining my point of view, the lack of communication between the adminstration of the district and the people/citizens, i.e. the soundbite info on almost everything.

I will tell you the conversation was open and seemingly candid, not practiced or planned. He has the benefit of the doubt from me and I stated that to him. I hope that he has not stepped in the poop so to speak when Dr "Civility" Brand returns.

I am still hoping that Dr Brand (Civilly) will contact me later in the week and I can continue advocating for the public. Send me your ideas and I will be happy to ask the questions. BBQ

bbq: let us remember who is steering this ship - it is Ed Brand - if one considers the control he has over the board and everyone else, what would make Mr. Alt any different? Many good people have/had the greatest intentions - they do however have mortgages to pay. Mr. Alt does present himself in a most professional manner - having said that I must remind myself and you ED BRAND hired him. Brand hires NO ONE HE CAN NOT CONTROL.

Let us not forget the person who spoke at the board meeting who stated that the District is failing to give him information that he has been requested on L street - I have no doubt you will be told by Mr. Alt sooner or later "that was before my time".

L street was the districts dirty little secret, Remember when I spoke of pieces to the puzzle? L street is one of the puzzles being put together.

Perhaps you might ask for names of all banks that hold paper on L street. Ask why we were only told of Union Bank. Ask for copies of all 900 forms to date. Ask for the IRS filings.

Remember, the real estate firm that handled L street is the same one we are using for the Eastlake office building and the Faivre street property, hmmmmmmmmmmmm

You stated you met with Brand way back when and he promised to work with you, based on your comments at the board meeting it appears Brand spoke empty words.

I guess what I am trying to say nicely, is, don't be disappointed - but when you are, disappointed, that is - hey, welcome to the club.

anniej, I am not walking in naive, however you have to start where the crack of light is. I agree there is still a lot here to meet the eye here. If all that ever happens is swing for the fence for the homeruns, you make a lot of noise but still strike out a lot, (please don't get me started on sports metaphors, Cartoons are bad enough).

As I said Dr. Alt may get an ear full from Dr. "Civility" Brand when he gets back, for even talking "outside" the "club" so to speak. Could be the first time he gets to see Dr. Civility Brand's true Colors!!! Who knows?

I realize that you are giving me and reminding me of experiences we have both had with the district, but I believe that each individual has an opportunity to make their impression or play so to speak.

So I choose at this time to be reasonable ask the right questions and see what type of answers come back. At that point we will know where Dr. Alt stands, Oh have no illusions that he won't be a company man, but there is still integrity in action, words and deeds, without full agreement and possibly disclosure, with either "Side" here.

For me other than an Clear review, (I won't use Honest as that word has other context attached to it) of the current situation and future plans for the district, there isn't anything I want. Depending on what transpires that could change, maybe the Board or Dr. Civility Brand's job (?) I/we could be their worst nightmare. BBQ

bbq. I will keep my fingers crossed for you - let us know

anniej, Thanks for the support, you ladies have my cell phone, please call me and help compile a set of financilal questions you would like to hear about in the townhall forums planned for early April with Dr. Alt. They could be addressed here in the comments or through me. I am trying to get a proper channel of dialog set-up if that is possible.

There is no doubt in my mind how hard you and eastlaker, et al work to keep the district on their toes and thinking straight.

I just hope there is a chance to remove a bit of the edge and anamosity to really turn the iceburg, so to speak, I too can get riled to the point sub-civility, but I attempt to avoid "Taismanian Devil" Moments where I get too spun up. BBQ

Here are my suggestions from an earlier blog. I believe that specific questions possibly generate more specific answers, or at least demonstrate an expectation for specificity. Remember, the 'devil is in the details.' We need to avoid receiving 'glittering generalities' in response to our requests for information. This is a wonderful opportunity for the District to demonstrate some accountability.

We should expect, request, demand that Ed and Co present a written monthly status report (bullet points, not bs narrative) on major issues that affect the District. Perhaps he might host a workshop and ask community to help define those issues if he can't come up with them on his own. I'll start:

1) Status of each and every program improvement school, with problems identified, a list of objectives, tasks, timeline and persons assigned;

2) Status of Adult Education, with a list of each and every program, proposed outcome, etc;

3) Overcrowding in some schools...Develop a list of each and every impacted school, show teacher/pupil ratio, plan to ameliorate (Ed...that means fix), timeline, persons responsible, etc.

4) Real estate projects...Develop a list of each District-owned property not currently in use as a school site. Explain its current and proposed use. date and cost of purchase. Explain plans for future use.

5) Bond status, projects, costs, outcomes, projected completion (including IPAD expenses)

6) Special Projects (such as charters) with cost-benefit analysis

7) Grand Canyon University - timeline, goals for participation, anticipated numbers to be served, etc.

That would be Brand's accountability report card each and every month to show progress on each of the items on the list, which should appear as a matrix on the District's website.

Excellent. I would also like to mention the "Compact for Success" program.

SDSU has been trying to limit and tighten access in the past several years, and when I have tried to find out what is behind this, I have heard things such as the continuation and graduation rates of students accepted under the Compact are not equal to continuation and graduation rates of the entire population of students. So that the GPA for admission (under Compact for Success) is rising or is already higher than it used to be, to compensate for the higher "drop out" rate.

I think it would be beneficial for the students, their parents, teachers and the general public to see this data, so that if there is a trend, it can be addressed in a manner that informs those who are affected most directly--the students.

I think that the Compact for Success can be a great motivator for some kids, and a great fall-back position for other kids--but if SDSU intends to re-evaluate it, we should all know the whys and wherefores.

I have heard that there have been students who had completed every requirement of the Compact for Success and then were denied admission. One student in particular appealed the decision and was admitted, but for a later semester. If situations such as this are to occur, all students should be made aware from the outset...otherwise the whole thing is misleading.

And if Sweetwater students are having problems with keeping up as students at SDSU, that should be noted and addressed.

This is the sort of thing a truly dedicated superintendent would be working on, and not spending time going on property tours with real estate agents. In my opinion.

oskidoll, I included those in the E-mail I sent to Dr. "Civil" Brand last week but I will include the financial ones to Dr. Alt. I personally do not think it is unreasonable to ask and expect some answers to these types of questions with the current state of the district. I also believe I said that on the other blog. But as Anniej pointed out and I agree there will be hesitation and most likely a "Company" spin on this stuff but let's wait and see. BBQ

Thanks for your efforts. I believe it is entirely reasonable to ask and expect answers of those who spend the public's money as a matter of routine 'best practice'. Thanks again.

bbq I really applaud you trying to be civil in all of this and giving the district the benefit of the doubt but some people in the community just can't be down with your strategy. These people have thrown away millions of mulah on stupid consultants and land deals gone bad. How can we give them the benefit of the doubt when they treat all of us like we are stupid. Shouldn't they be spending the money on kids education and not property. They don't have enough money to make payroll so they borrow from the mello funds but we have money for property? It just doesn't make sense at all. Something stinks in this district and it starts with brand and then the board. You know i attended a meeting and this lady kept on saying that Brand would be a great used car salesman and you know something she was right and we keep on getting the clunker.

Angrybirds, I hear what you are saying and I fully agree with you, I am as frustrated with the seeming lack of management and responsibility in the district as anyone. Dr. "Civility" Brand is not high on my to be trusted list, not only due to his public actions, but his lack of follow up on items he asked me to do for him 14 months ago, just as Jesus Gandara, never followed up on items offered to help the district 4 years ago. I am not a rookie to this cause, just a bit more patient, although that is running out.

I am working this angle since the door has been opened a crack, I am trying like a good salesman to get my foot in enough to start a dialog that can be used by both "sides" to engage in solutions rather than battles. I have been frustrated before in many attempts to engage one side or another in these types of situations, but I have to put on a diplomatic hat, not my most comfortable one by the way, and try this road for a bit.

I am still waiting to hear from Dr. "Civility" Brand, himself, but certainly not holding my breath. I am watching with great interest as the time passes to see what our Elected and Paid officials are doing, also what and how they will tell us about it. My understanding from Dr Alt is the district is planning some fiscal townhalls shortly, now would not be too soon for most of us, but as long as we have a chance send your questions to the blog and I will forward them on to Dr. Alt. If this is all I do its better than doing nothing.

Gotta try to communicate in both directions, sometimes slow ;;;; BBQ

Thank you bbq and I will send you my questions soon

Superintendent Ed Brand has acted like a big shot his entire life. I am his oldest sister, we are a year and a half apart and were never close as brother and sister, because he was bully-boy and distant. As probate executor he alienated my whole family from me so he had better control over family property and resources after each parent died. He is the only son and eldest of four and we were taught to worship his greatness early, continuing on while he was the only kid in our family to get assistance for education. He was average but in high school football and well liked, managing to earn a PhD in education, ensuring his future. Imagine my disappointment when I realized the kind of person I had actually grown up with. He has caused me great harm, and it has been extremely difficult to get over and I am happy to be sharing now. I told him on one of our last phone conversations that he has no soul, and see other interpersonal interactions prove me right. Honestly, when I was 17, I said "shit' and he dared me to say it again or he would do something, so I said it again and he lunged at me, grabbing my throat! I don't believe in censorship either. Peace and Love to the Enlightened Ones!!

Shirleyberan, it must have taken quite some courage to come forward. Thank you for joining the conversation.

Shirleyberan - no doubt you spent a great amount of time deciding on whether to share. While I can not speak to Ed Brand, the brother I can speak to Ed Brand the Super - and I have no doubt you have read my comments and are aware that I believe he has MORE THAN FAILED the students, the taxpayers and the employees of SUHSD.

I have long offered the personal opinion that he is ALL about SELF - WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?

Many have long suspected that there must be a reason why, Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa, Pearl Quinines, and now John Mccann seem reluctant to vote against him. At the last board meeting he looked as though he was about to burst a cranial blood vessel when Quinones had the nerve to vote against him - and this was not the first time he visually showed signs of being furious.

There are many rumors in the SUHSD mill regarding what has happened to those who have crossed, or had the nerve to disagree with Brand.

The dynamics of family is often difficult - yet at its roots, who knows us better than family?

I wish you peace and much happiness - as I tell all I know - we only go around one time - there are no "Pay It Again Sam's" (line for the infamous movie Casablanca) - You deserve happiness!

Words of wisdom for Mr. Brand - What Goes Around, Comes Around!!!!!!!

Like a Greek tragedy/the story unfolds/ The sweet water family/ oh brother where art thou Shakespeare or Sophocles History bent on repeating itself/ The chorus, an oracle ---sister ----your story is sadly no surprise.

anniej: Your comment about Brand bursting a blood vessel because Quinones was going against his wishes reminded of something I read (pretty sure in the Reader) that said Brand would walk away from the job if he didn't have unanimous support of the board. Well, what's he waiting for?

Joepublic: Ah yes, we have been asking that very same question for some time now. We all know that Betha Lopez has been most outspoken regarding her concerns over Brand. She wants a Super who is focused on our students education - he (Brand) seems more interested in another bad land deal, charter schools, IPADS, eliminating ROP and Adult Ed, and bullying well respected community volunteers (by calling their employers).

Where are the other members of the board? GOOD QUESTION!!!!!

We did however appreciate Pearl Quinones standing up for the ROP Program and Adult Ed - hopefully the rumors are false - hopefully Quinones will not allow Brand to bully her into voting for the new district office in Eastlake by promising to reinstate ROP/Adult Ed. Our community desperately NEEDS both programs, but we do NOT need any more Brand BAD PROPERTY DEALS. Do I hear an AMEN?

Hey, all, I actually heard back from Dr "Civil" Brand, He sent me an E-mail and he definately knows who I am. I would say his response to me was "civil" but a bit curt. He said that he was "okay" with me working with Dr. Alt on the questions for the financial Townhalls the district was planning.

He commented how He/they the adminstration has improved communication through "Education Summit" (?), "Principal Coffees", and "Budget Workshops", I've attended a couple of Budget workshops and Principal coffees, but they were less workshops more "woe as me", although I will push back on citizens for lack of attendence, maybe we can get through this.

He also went into his normal you never acknowledge the excellent things SUHSD does like "Compact for Success", award winning fine arts and athletic programs and even a State champion in Decathlon (I assume he means Academic Decathlon).

My reply to these wonderful things as I see all of them being school site based programs, with little support from the adminisitration, I backed this up as my Boys were members of League champion sports teams and the 2010 Academic Decathlon Team from Olympian HS, and until we won district in AD, it was the students, school and the Parents that did all of work. I also stated that these programs are realitivly inexpensive for the results but are always fodder for the budget discussion. (Heck, that's what got me started in this mess in the first place the threat of cutting the budget for sports transportation in 2009 by Grandara & Russo) My boys, wife and I have been very active at our school site, setting up booster clubs, applying for 501c3 status, etc.

Dr. Brand what you claim as your success, is due to great site staff, students and parents like me.

In the end he suggests we don't blame each other, I don't have anything to be blamed for, and I only blame him and the board for not doing their jobs keeping the district under control and communication open and civil. I'll keep working for the future.... BBQ

BBQ - Again, thanks for your efforts to communicate our dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs to the SUHSD administration. The Compact for Success, Education Summits, etc., are really OLD news. We have NEW problems that have been iterated above and which you have commincated to Ed. Seems he would rather sweep the NEW problems under the rug and fill the room with smoke and rest on a few laurels that others won.. Again, a competent superintendent would present the public with a factual analysis of each issue, with strategies to address the problems and specific progress reports. And, as you point out, WE don't have anything to be blamed for, unless Brand considers exercising our right to speak publicly and to expect top-notch performance from those receiving top-notch salaries to be blameworthy. There is more than enough blame to go around, and WE are not the culprits. Let's see if Brand and Co can produce legitimate and specific information about the 'state of the district' as uncomfortable as the true facts might make them all.

bbq, was wondering if you brought up L street aka Plan Nine Partners?

You are right, the programs and successes of our District are due mainly to the efforts of the students, staff, and involved parents.

The Compact for Success was truly outstanding, and Brand was congratulated and thanked for those efforts. If we as professionals are content to be known for what we HAVE done - then in truth we are saying we have nothing more to give, we are played out.

In my opinion that is what Brand has done and continues to do, rest on his laurels of the Compact for Success. But as the song goes 'WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR OUR STUDENTS LATELY'? It appears nothing - he earns the big salary, but what are we paying for?

I was contacted last evening about alleged intimidation - the person said they were being targeted - the person was looking to share. When I offered to help this dedicated person they stated they were going to try and work it out on their own. The story was a reflection of alleged bullying at it worse - but then we, the community have seen bullying in action for ourselves when a public speakers boss was contacted.

My friends and neighbors our students deserve better. All associated with the district deserve better. We the taxpayers deserve a better return on our hard earned dollars.

There is much in the works -

Soon, soon.........

I spent no time deciding whether to share and have read your rants Annie. I haven't read the reader in a long time and don't give a shit about how smart you think you are. you are pissed and repeat yourself without solutions. Get it together and oust the mothers if performance is corrupt, did it before. There light at the end of it You are why talking gets pointless. Go read a book. But, thanks to the poet Montana64!

I don't accept being attacked by anyone, especially when you don't know me. I have no contact with my "brother" I guess I need to explain, don't know his friends or many in laws. If you hate human stories so much I'd question your motives. I do know Ellen Hall if she still teaches there. Our girls are friends. Is the best use of social media a hostile venting fest. That's probably I've never participated.

OK Its who what where when and why, my bad

All I was trying to say is people don't change that much. He is consistently underhanded from way back and I think he has been very lucky to play the spineless co-workers. I'm trying to get Reader to publish a small article and have no interest in tit-for-tat here unless you address me specifically. I don't live in South Bay but am San Diegan and only care about the kids everywhere. He's wasted enough of my time.

My daughter says I misinterpreted Annie _ I felt like I was being accused and lectured because I must be like him. Sorry Annie. And Goodnight

Shirkeyberan - I really feel pretty lousy right now because it is obvious I hurt you, that was the polar opposite of what I intended to do.

I attempted in my own way to reach out and say I am sorry for your pain, I failed and I hurt you. Again I am sorry.

Annie - I couldn't accept the love. Yesterday I spent the whole day catching up on articles and comments. Depressed today, and sad as a scared little kid. Didn't get names straight in all of it. The family was dysfunctional and I tried to protect the image they wanted but eventually I became truth-telling, that things were not as they appeared. I am all about hope and change too. The majority of the comments posted are from honest and caring people who see the future is now, find the how. If classes are not getting funds, teachers will take money out of their own paycheck and try to stop the bleeding with a band aid. Wherever the jobs are, probably science and technology to advance with the rest of the world, our kids remain pretty under-educated. Enough excuses, Superintendent Brand, you didn't catch up with the times because you don't live in the reality that they have a right to better treatment. Why would you agree to hire a known fox to guard the kids funds?

Ed - You could apologize to the people you have stressed out of their minds so we can all just get along. Ask the right people for assistance if you can't find a safe way out by yourself. A lot of people still want you to be OK.

shirleyberan: today when I read your comment I too was sad and depressed - i felt worse than you could even imagine that i had hurt you. Here you were reaching out understanding our dilemma yet you believed I did not value your input. Truth be told I was worried that you would be retaliated against.

Your words ring true, the majority of the posters are from honest people who care - some of these same people have faced attempted intimidation and more - simply because they spoke out.

You are now one of them, even though SUHSD students are not your communities students you still care.

Accept the love, you deserve it. If you knew me, you would know I say these words in earnest.

Thanks for helping bring out my personal best Annie.

Shirleyberan, we were always good. I Thank You for asking. Your kindness in reaching out defines you. I believe all people enter my life for a reason Our conversation has reminded me of the importance to choose my words carefully. You didn't need me to bring out your personal best, something tells me you are down right pretty darn special just the way you are.

Shirley I know your brother. I have got to know who I think is Anniej well maybe not. Anyway What I can tell you is the regulars here on this blog care about the District its students and are probably good and honest people and would not want to hurt you. I finally saw the light on your brother earlier this year. I was fooled well sort of. I should have known. He is a bully. I can only imagine it must be like a living hell. How does he live with himself? The atmosphere at work just is not good. Your brother is a classic person who addicted to power and money. A PowerMoneyholic. Does Bernie Madoff ring a bell? It is an obsession and a belief I will never get caught. Often a fatal flaw. When will it all end? You know us Sweetwater Employees ought to figure out a way to use code to get together to form a plan to expose what we know. Law Enforcement does not look kindly on those who know but do not tell. Most of us know there is more stuff going on. Please respond back. We must figure out some kind of clandestine way to organize. You want to join us Shirley?

Shirley it is me again. I want you to know seriously the people who blog here I know for the most part are good people. I am not absolutely sure about who Anniej is but 95 sure and she is one of the most caring about all this despite what may seem gruff. She is the farthest from wanting to hurt somebody. Your brother is a horses ass. A big one at that. Please we are here to help you. What an embarassment it must be to have a brother who is such a jerk. Shirley are you reaching out for some help? Love to meet you at least over the phone. We have to figure out a way for Ed to not find out. He has spies or at least I think.

WTFEd - I have already been through his personally led crusade to ruin my world over time. And - he couldn't let family $ slip through his fingers to my share of inheritances. He blamed me for our mother's death because I had a drinking problem. My mom died of obesity and quitting blood pressure medicine, causing a fatal stroke in her sleep when she was only 51. I believe his real motive was manipulation of the rest of the family who don't challenge him. I got what was almost a fair share then with the help of a lawyer and he was rather co-operative. I didn't know right after that he had his friend/lawyer (Wellman) write a will for my dad to sign, cutting me out so that neither me nor my daughter could inherit. His 2 witnesses were his housekeeper/babysitter and her husband. That's a bad guy and I had to become unchained. I represented myself till the trial when I didn't know what the heck I was doing and they knew as it dragged out I'd be tired of it - especially since during those 3 years - a bit of breast cancer got cut out - delaying the end. I couldn't prove what he had done in court but I saw the evidence. His lawyer tried to make me miss my opportunity to contest that will by telling me I didn't even need to appear and sending me notice late so I'd miss initial hearing. Lovely. I know anger causes cancer and all kinds of health problems and was determined to forget him but I picked up a damn reader. He's really hurting himself and the powers that create Karma will take care of this. Give it just a bit, you and I aren't the only ones checking this shit out. Thanks for your concern, will keep in touch goodheart.

WTFEd - I read you trying to defend the man you used to know.

I think:

don't do anything that makes you appear to be the crazy one

do not risk your job

make a list of any retaliatory actions to whistle-blowers (illegal) the more the better - to take to labor relations?

Anniej - Good grief girl you are the right. Name names. This situation is so complex. I'm just a character witness for one guy.

Susan Luzzaro - a journalist or someone building their case needs names and specific suspect activity, Correct? These good teachers need clarity, please.

Shirleyberan: been at this for close to 3 years - the more we dig the more we find. Amazing how much of it goes back to our Supers first tenure.

That makes sense. Probably the example for what happened next. Thought he'd wise up. This is for Montana64: Mine took it all the two users of a young mother gave in to their greed

Title Mine - was supposed to look like haiku

WTFEd - the collective consciousness is together on topic - until now I have not commented with a drink in my system. But the anniversary of our mom's death is April 1st, 1989 and I wish I would have been able to say, My Mamma didn't raise no fool, but she did. No Joke. My daughter says I shouldn't comment so much. Maybe.

All, I am posting on all of the recient SUHSD Comments, I have been in contact with Dr. Brand and Dr. Alt. They are planning some Financial Townhall meetings for April, I have volunteered to help compile a series of questions you would like answered by Dr. Alt. I will forward and review these with him and probe for meaningful answers as best I can working as a community liason. Read some of my other comments and you will understand my frustration with the district, but without dialog we are stuck where we are. Please send answerable questions ie minimal political inuendo, just to make it easier to get a reasonable answer. The sooner the better, I would like to have a formal list to Dr. Alt on Monday April 1, what better day than that, so please post by midday Sunday March 31, 2013. BBQ

BBQ--what I would like added to the list is an analytical update on Compact for Success--my position was stated in an earlier post probably a couple of weeks ago, so I will give you a slightly different version here.

Year by year data--by school--number accepted into SDSU, number enrolled/matriculated, number of those who stopped attending, number of those who continued, graduation rates, number of those needing remedial classes, number who were able to jump into regular college classes.

Number of transfers to other schools. Number who returned to SDSU after a break...

Because, when SDSU wanted to reduce/eliminate Compact for Success, they were basing that on the performance of Sweetwater students. If those students are having problems, shouldn't we address the problems?

Maybe have a gathering of those Sweetwater students who plan on attending SDSU and mention the data? Tell the prospective students that if they encounter difficulties or have questions, there are people who can guide them?

Thank you BBQ! Here are my earlier topics reframed for discussion in a financial context:

1) What is the real cost for each school in program improvement status? Include expenses and costs to address each PI issue for each school, as well as ADA loss for each student who elects to attend a different school.

2) What is the real cost to accommodate each student who elects to attend a different SUHSD school when he/she leaves a Program Improvement school? Please include all expenditures for each 'receiving' site by name, and include items such as staff training, extra campus security, additional supplies, supervision, etc.

3) What is the Adult Education/CTE budget? How does it compare to each year in past three years? How many students are served each year? How many will be served in 13-14 fiscal year? If there is a difference, please explain.

4) Real estate projects: For each District-owned property not currently in use as a school site or District operational site, explain current and proposed use(s). Provide terms, date and cost of purchase., debt service, utilities, taxes (if any) and contractual relationships with non-District parties. Explain plans for future use, anticipated revenue, and projected cost/benefit analyses.

5) Status of each bond project, current projects, costs, outcomes, projected completion (including IPAD expenses)

6) Itemize all Special Projects (such as charters) with cost/benefit analysis

7) Grand Canyon University - timeline, goals for participation, anticipated numbers to be served, etc. Include costs of accommodating GCU personnel on District-owned site(s), and 'promotion' or marketing of GCU to SUHSD personnel, parents, and students.

8) Provide detail of legal costs of Shinoff's presentation on 'civility'... inlcude hours billable for research preparation, and presentation and travel.

9) Provide a list of all consultants, including costs, terms, scope of work, length of contract, etc.

Thank you. It is my understanding that the public agency is accountable for its expenditure of public funds. All of this informaiton should be provided as a routine part of the Distirct's business. Perhaps once the answers are provided this time, plans can be made for monthly or quarterly reports.

One more thing--the California Department of Education website has a great deal of information on the subject of bullying.

I encourage one and all to take a look and then try and make a tally of how many of the bullying techniques Ed Brand has used while being employed by Sweetwater UHSD. My personal tally is that he is well over the 50% mark.


The topic is on the home page, so it must be considered to be of some importance. One would think that even district superintendents would be encouraged to abide by the policies.

Thanks for adding to the questions for Dr. Alt, I will be monitoring the comments through the weekend and compiling the list. BBQ

bbq- you might want to ask board president Mr. Cartmill whatever happened to that committee John Mccann recommended. The one that would "study" campaign contribution limitations. I seem to remember that Ms. Adato, (the community member who advised the district she would be seeking legal counsel regarding their refusal to bring it forward) volunteered to sit on the committee.

No doubt they are still "considering" the committee idea -

SINCE WHEN DOES A SCHOOL BOARD NEED A COMMITTEE TO STUDY AN AGENDA ITEM THAT IS BEING MANDATED BY THE VOTERS? ------ when the school board is associated with one of the largest alleged corruption trials in San Diego history.

My fellow voters remember this if you ever find yourself in a voting booth and you see the name John Mccann - remember rather than vote for the limitations he chose to 'STUDY' it.

ILOVEYOUANNIEJ! I can't think anymore but you go girl!!

This is what it means to me. He took all the money I could have had as a kid, as an adult, for the people I could have and would have helped over my whole lifetime. I would never, knowing what I know now, be accomplice to the catastrophes. Happy Easter! Thanks for the Lessons Ed. Love to see you in count sometime.

anniej : I knew you were smarter and stronger than me - all caps emphasis is kinda yelling - If you want my input I will figure out the online private talk thing, can't imagine otherwise

ED - You Know what you said to mom before she made the fatal mistake. You know the ignorant crap you have said to me over and over. You know how you controlled dad and everbody we knew. My late husband you said would never have a job was an important internet inventor and we were married for 20 years. Look up James Beran Senoir. Bro

I have to be out of this for the re-birth weekend. I am not religious and thought I was already done till at least Monday. Don't expect honesty, transparency, integrity, redemption

shirleyberan - I seriously doubt that I am smarter than you - truth be told, at my age, some of those straight A brain cells have died off a few years back.

I too lost my mother a few years back, this week she would have been 83. My dad died when I was in my early 30's - I was his baby girl and the thought of him, to this day makes me cry.

Shirley, I can tell you are in pain, and I am concerned. Please know that my message is an earnest attempt to connect with you and let you know that you are cared about. I would like to share a very personal story with you. My youngest brother is in prison, for life. Approximately 22 years ago he shot and killed a man. The man he killed was my parents best friend - Mr. W----- was a very good man. My brother was a drug addict who was always looking for the easy way out, and because of his selfishness a wife, grown children and grandchildren were sentenced to live the rest of their lives without him. I tell you this in an attempt to connect with you and let you know that while E- B---- is your brother you must find a way to let go of the pain that you believe he caused you.

I am one of four - and while my other siblings have chosen to carry the burden of what our youngest brother did and detest him for it I have chosen to accept the fact of who he is and what he did. I make no excuses for him - he is where he belongs. I pray for Mr. W------ family every night. I hope I am not over stepping my boundaries when I say I believe you are hurting yourself emotionally - and Shirley, trust me you have a great deal of life left to live. I will say to you what I recently said to one of my siblings, you will never find happiness If you continue looking out the rear view mirror. Please do not be angry with me for saying that. I have lived the past many years trying to make up for the sins of my brother, pushing myself to be the best I can be.

I believe I speak for all when I say our issues with with our super are professional. One of the things those of us who are in the trenches value is the importance of family - that is a line we will not cross. I have and most likely will say things to my brother that are hurtful, but those things are between us.

I know the next few days will be hard, please know you are in my prayers.

This was not an easy comment for me to post because I did not want to offend or hurt you.

bbq: First of all, thank you for your time, energy, and labor in the interest of public service. However, why do you think that this district, through their representative, Dr. Alt, would be willing to come forward with honest answers to the public's questions when they have ignored the questions and pleas for transparency made by the dozens of people who have attended school board meetings for years? You are to be commended for taking the time out of your life to do public service, and for that I thank you, as I have thanked all of the "antagonists" that have been there for years.  

Thanks to Susan Luzzaro and all the members of the public who post here in the interest of righting wrongs, stopping the waste and misuse of educational funds and working to improve our community.

What has been put forward here proves beyond any doubt that bullying is harmful and is part of a pattern of behavior that only gets worse in time--unless measures are taken to call people on their bullying behavior, get them to "own up" and straighten out.

The harm Ed Brand has done on a personal level, an institutional level and a community-wide level is mind-boggling. It is now time to put out the cease and desist to Ed, purveyor of multiplicities of schemes that harm others and benefit himself.

If Cartmill, McCann, Ricasa and Quinones can't see the pestilence they have been feeding, they are indeed blind to the truth. Ms. Lopez, thank you for always standing up for the educational community of students, parents and teachers, even when the other board members have openly mocked and ridiculed you from the dais. Perfidiousness--defined as a deliberate breach of faith or trust--thy name is Cartmill, McCann, Ricasa and Quinones, and of course, Ed Brand.

JoePublic: Of course we are all frustrated and have become cynical as we continue to seek straight information and fair dealing from our public officials. It is easy to become jaundiced, that's for sure.

Thanks to BBQ, it seems the District is now 'inviting' him to submit and frame topics for discussion at some yet-unscheduled 'fiscal town hall' meetings. If we do not respond to the 'invitation' to suggest topics for discussion, we will surely deserve what we will get --, (which will likely be pablum unless we keep their feet to the fire.)

By providing the framework for the questions we hope the District will answer in a straightforword manner, at least we can set the terms of the conversation with polite, yet definitive and specific expectations. If the District 'blows us off' with glittering generalities and no specific data, we will have at least demonstrated the extent of our interest and they will have demonstrated again, their distain for responsible and transparent management of our resources.

This is Ed and co's opportunity to come to the table and act like the professional stewards of our public District to which we taxpayers and parents are minimally entitled.Although we should not have to frame the questions for them, I applaud BBQ for leadership to get a dialogue going.

Oskidoll, Thank you for summing it up so well, I look at this as an opportunity to ask the questions we would like answered. My intentions are to make a single list of the questions and submit them to SUHSD through Dr Alt and also to The Reader either through the Editor, Susan Luzzaro or these comments. I also intend to attend the Town hall meetings either personally or via proxy with the list of questions to ensure they all are addressed properly.
What more can we do, but try to open up the proper dialog with the District. This forum is great for venting and getting people involved but really not for solutions, I'd like to start working towards constructive dialog if nothing more to be heard by a wider audience, no offense to The Reader or anyone in the current dialog, but as many of you have said you have been at this for many years and while Gandara is gone there's still little change.
Please support this attempt to open some dialog and hopefully two way communication with the district beyond the "USA Today" "Television News" sound bites that we have been getting from the District for many years. Please post your questions in the next 24 hrs or so, I'd like to send them to Dr. Alt, on Monday April 1, 2013.
If you wonder if I'm a shill for the district look up my comments, Thanks BBQ

Quick matter, as long as you are asking--forensic accounting dating from Ed Brand's first go-around as superintendent up to the present time.

I just have a feeling that all sorts of accounts might be in disarray.

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