Cops kick out public from Sweetwater board meeting

Trustees retreat to back room upon realizing massive turnout

Teachers in the parking lot held up signs and chanted.
  • Teachers in the parking lot held up signs and chanted.

Only one month after Donna Frye, on behalf of Californians Aware, addressed the Sweetwater Union High School District board on potential Brown Act violations, the superintendent and trustees swept the meeting room clean of anyone who wished to address them.

At 6:00 p.m. on October 21, the parking lot at district headquarters had filled with teachers protesting the administration's recent offer on health benefits. While the district, earlier in the year, offered to pay 68 percent of the rate for all employees, three weeks after open enrollment, the district offered a formula that will result in a reduced percentage and hit teachers with families the hardest. At the same time, the district wants a three-year deal where class sizes (which was inflated during the recession) remain the same. No salary increases were offered.

Teachers in the parking lot held up signs and chanted with a Halloween theme: the most persistent chant was “Brand’s gotta go.” Many teachers filled out white slips to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. Because of the large turnout, however, the majority of the people had to stand in the parking lot.

Two private security officers blocked the doors from the outside

Two private security officers blocked the doors from the outside

The double doors that serve as an entrance to the board room were ordered closed. Tom Calhoun, the chief facilities executive, blocked the double doors from the inside (people could exit through an exit door); two private security officers were directed to block the doors from the outside so no one could enter — even though it was a public meeting and some seats were still empty.

This reporter was not allowed to leave through the rear double doors, the normal exit. The only way out for the crowd in the board room was through a maze of desks that led to a single door propped open by a chair.

People in the board room were close to calling the fire department when the teachers, families, and students who were in the parking lot poured through the side door and filled the back of the room, chanting, “Respect our contract!” Trustee Jim Cartmill admonished people in the audience to lower their signs, then Brand and the board retreated to closed session.

Before they were ejected, the public sat down and listened to an impromptu panel of speakers.

Before they were ejected, the public sat down and listened to an impromptu panel of speakers.

Although the board room was empty of trustees, the audience sat down and began to listen to an impromptu speech. A young boy appealed for benefits for his family. Then, Roberto Rodriguez, president of the Sweetwater Education Association, explained the negotiation impasse. Nick Marinovich, chairman of the bond-oversight committee, gave an abbreviated report. Kathy Cheers spoke in favor of the teachers receiving the benefit package they were promised and urged the teachers to unite. Wanda Parise elaborated on the district’s chronic borrowing from Mello-Roos funds.

Six Chula Vista police officers and two private security officers showed up to vacate the room.

Six Chula Vista police officers and two private security officers showed up to vacate the room.

All was going well until six Chula Vista police officers entered the room from the rear offices, accompanied by two private security guards. Everyone except the media was ejected from the board room and then it was announced there would be no public comments.

This is the third time Chula Vista police have been called to a Sweetwater board meeting by a member of the board or the superintendent.

The board then went on to do “priority business”: they authorized spending an additional $1,126,800 for entitlement services on the L Street property, which was initially purchased for a district office in 2005.

Later, in closed session, the board authorized the purchase of new property on the east side of Chula Vista. The vote was 3-2, with Pearl Quiñones and Bertha Lopez voting against the purchase. The property is 103,000 square feet and sells for $97 a square foot.

Bernardo Vasquez spoke against the purchase earlier in the evening. He noted that it was ironic the district was making the purchase while denying teachers their agreed-upon health benefits. He pointed to the district’s chronic deficit-spending and low financial reserves. Vasquez also pointed out that 71 percent of the district's students were on the west side.

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This board voted to spend our tax dollars on yet another property for the purpose of a new district office. Lets see that would make the toal of properties purchased or traded to be three.

If we, the taxpaying public, try to be very kind to this board, we might be able to say that they must be easily influenced by their real estate friends, and simply have too much money on their hands, it just burns holes in their pockets!

Yet we know reserves have been spent to almost nothing, $40 - 50 million is MISSING from Mello-Roos accounts, Ed Brand keeps trying to make deals--sketchy, dicey, questionable deals--with sketchy and dicey groups and individuals, the Board pulls a bait and switch on teachers' and staffs' health benefits--the list really is endless.

If we were allowed to vote right now, wouldn't it be great if we could send them all packing?! But---we get precious little cooperation from most of the news outlets in this area. Remember, Ed Brand has his deal with the U-T, because he 'needed some time to get everything running on track, and the critics just made it so difficult'!!! So his pals at the U-T end up conspiring in a news blackout. Or if not a blackout, a soft-soap rendition that allows all of Fast Eddy's multiple sins to be washed away...nauseating.

And we have the local Star-News, which is very dependent upon local real estate ads. We know they don't really have it it their power to speak out with complete honesty, unless they want to lose all their ad revenue. And we also don't really know who the real estate advisors are who keep getting this board to purchase more and more property. Which should be a matter of public record.

So what do we do?

Prayer is always an option. Faith can move mountains, I have been told. I just hope it can move Ed Brand and all his corrupt friends and co-workers away to a place far more suitable--some state pen, perhaps.

As stated before, the SEA leadership has done nothing the last 3 years when the benefits increased $250 over that span, and now union extremists are popping off about a $300+ increase a month. Where was the circus the last 3 years? What has SEA leadership done to prevent this?

I strongly believe if SEA didn't protect teachers for ex. who had their credential revoked for immoral conduct or that come to work under the influence, that the board might cooperate more with the SEA. Yes, the rates the district proposed might be unfair (even though it's a negotiating session), but it's just as unfair for the SEA to protect these type of teachers who can endanger other students and colleagues.

Troll, we are not going to fall for your pathetic attempt at setting up a straw man.

Ed Brand is out of control and for some unknown reason board president Jim Cartmill, John McCann and Arlie Ricasa refuse to stop him.

It was stated last evening that our District is operating with 3% reserves and has been operating in a deficit for a few years. Yet after hearing this, John McCann (alleged conservative), Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa voted to spend over 10 million dollars to purchase property in Eastlake for a new District office.

Millions were spent last evening yet only 53k is to be used IN THE CLASSROOM, FOR STUDENTS. What does that tell you?

You want further proof of how selfish Brand is, it was reported last evening that he has spent many thousands of dollars on a Hall of Champions at L street. Where on L? Well, you follow L down and just after you pass Broadway look for the ugly, dilapidated building on the left - be careful when you pull into the parking lot, some of those pot holes are big enough to swallow your car. Oh, but here is the best part, Ed Brand had the nerve to name it after himself. Now, here is the 64 thousand dollar question, where on Board Docs can one find the agenda item procuring the money to be spent, where can one find the agenda item naming it after Brand. Do not bother looking, it is NOT THERE. Ed Brand spent our money WITHOUT BOARD approval. As I sat there watching the faces of the board members it was clear, they, like Schultz, 'knew nothing'. Now tell me how many of you are going to travel to L street to view this Hall? Well, if any, you had better hurry as the property will either be foreclosed on, sold, or torn down SOON! Yes Brand spent the money in the past 6 months and now we can just kiss it good-bye!!!!!!!!


timtim speaks of the wallets of the teachers, and what of ours, the taxpayers. Where was his concern when he voted to spend 10 million on a building in Eastlake that we can not afford? Where was his financial concern when he failed to demand why Brand spent the money on a Hall of Champions and why Brand spent our money naming it after himself? Finally why did he not question Brand as to how Brand was able to hire a PI firm when the board has yet to approve the expense.

Why did John McCann fail to ask any questions regarding this small reserves and the district operating in a deficit for years - but then I am assuming McCann knows how to read a budget. Silly me, he is too busy out promoting his bid for next years election. He has thrown his responsibility as a board member to the wolf, Ed Brand - McCann has failed the students, and failed the taxpayers.

Share the news with all you see John McCann, Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa are spending this district into insolvency.

His dip shit buddy Tom Hassey appointed him the Chairman of Ventana National Bank (InOrganization) which very quickly became (InDisOrganization) and subsequently failed. The group lost $3.5 million organizing the Bank with Ed Brand as its leader. It would seem as this commentary expresses Ed Brand is true to form.

That kind of non-communication by a mob defeats every purpose. WTF?

Those who were attended could not be described as a mob. The meeting started at 6. It was announced that at 9 the board would again go into closed session. Since the meetings are ended at 10, that left about three hours - HOWEVER! There were two presentations, the first took 1 hour. With 2 hours left and another presentation still to come it was clearly evident Brand had no intention on listening to the concerns of the taxpayers, teachers or other employees.

Yes, when blocked they did take gain entry, and yes we were boisterous, but mob - no never!

Community, students, teachers/employees SEE YOU NEXT MONTH RIGHT?

I am not a teacher, just a parent, resident and taxpayer. I was appalled on how the entire scene played out. First of all, Board President Jim Cartmill should have held the meeting in a larger venue like a school gym. He knew the teachers were coming out in full force, and his lack of moving the venue was a total sign of disrespect towards everyone who was present, not just teachers, but parents and community members as well. The large crowd was being unruly and disruptive, and it was difficult to hear the business being conducted by the board. What prompted everything was when Tom Calhoun blocked the door. This is where everything fell apart. Jim had no choice at that point but to call the meeting. His decision to just let a few people in was also a mistake. He should have allowed the entire board room to be filled with those that had filled out speaker cards, not one by one as he did. He would not allow general public comment, just comment on items he and Brand felt were urgent. There were only a handful of people allowed in to hear them conduct their business. Finally, it was cowardly of Jim to reconvene closed session at 9pm so they could decide to buy the eastlake property for new district HQ. He got what he was hoping for, a smaller crowd to report out to, as opposed to reporting out closed session items at the beginning of the regular board meeting at 6pm when the crowd was larger. As far as the purchase of the new district office, I'm not sure what Jim, John and Arlie Ricasa are thinking. They are leading this district down the path of financial destruction as all financial indicators are they should not be buying anything at this time! Once again, a disappointing show by our elected leaders. Many of us who have supported Jim, John and Arlie have completely lost respect for them. They have complete disregard for the community they serve. If they are not run from office due to their criminal actions, they will be voted out of office. Good riddance!! As far as Ed Brand is concerned, he has absolutely no respect for teachers, parents of his students, and ultimately the students themselves. I saw him walk up to two community members and show a total lack of respect towards them. I was appalled to hear his tone with them; I can only imagine what he is like with his employees. A man who is clearly an egomaniac who feels he is better than all. I cannot wait to see him gone so we have a leader who cares about the student, community and teachers.

Thank-you, I apologize. The board got what they wanted again without hearing or considering anything but their self gratification, closed session again.

It's Ed's Dictatorship. Get help from the police plan - don't provide adequate seating or room for the concerned who want to express an opposing opinion. They have done it before. Ridiculous. That's Planned Exclusion, Civil Rights Denied. Then of course they just need to vote amongst themselves, Alone. Sick and Twisted planned takeover, thieving. Another battle won in this war over progress in schools, or not.

shirleyberan - no need to apologize, we know you care about what is best for students and the taxpaying public.

This Board and Superintendent are to good governance and education as the Captain of the Exxon Valdez was to seamanship and the environment...

Just out of curiosity, is the county DA doing anything in regards to the numerous charges brought against members of this board? I am amazed at the snail-like pace at which these cases are proceeding.

aardvark, that's an interesting question. The trial is supposed to be in February I think but why is this partially indicted board able to make million dollar decisions? Couldn't these property deals wait until after guilt or innocence was determined?

Timtim. We are all angry and we have all been watching what the board does. The money is going to hurt, but using our kids to blackmail us into settling our contract is a bridge too far. (You probably didn't get that, it is a WWII reference, google it.) Annie- we are watching, we are reading and we are sharing these articles with our less savvy peers. Our anger is finally outpacing our fear of reprisal. You saw the opening salvo of our hurt, anger and frustration last night. We were not a mob. We were fed up with being treated poorly by this board. Enough is enough. Teachers are not an inconvenience or an expense.

Has this board not ever heard of leasing office space by the way? Lease the damn building and then sell off the rest of the land Hassey talked you into buying and then buy the new building. I cannot understand for the life of me how you can take $850 a month from my kids and think it is ok to waste $40 million on L street and now $30 million more for a new property.

A mob? From these photos, all you see are a group of adults with children who you'd assume are Sweetwater employees with their families protesting unfair bargaining practices on the part of their employer. Armed police officers? Really over the top, but I guess that's common in this district. More taxpayer money wasted. Will it ever end? By the way, isn't denial of public comment illegal under the Brown Act?

aardvark - next week all defendants are to be in court. Some charges have been dropped but there are enough to hold these alleged -- -accountable. Testimonies will expose the truth - the deals, the monies, the dinners, the gifts, the votes and the contracts.something tells me a certain someone will stop singing the song "I merely asked for a favor for a charity". Trials do begin in February.

cvres - yes, why is a school board allowed to spend millions when they are under indictment. It is important to point out that Lopez and Quinones have consistently voted NO on more property. Quinones has long questioned past real estate deals - new district office on L street - the mortgage for the 20+ million dollar property yet we do not own the title. That would be a Brand, Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa deal back in 2005. We then traded the city of Chula for yet another new district office on Third Avenue, that property vacant to this day. Then 'the gandara' came along and Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa paid thousands for yet another prospective new district office site on The Mile of Cars - ever heard of a fly over appraisal. So,,,,, here we sit - L street is worth about 12 million and a balloon payment is due, yet Ed Brand, Cartmill, McCann, and Ricasa once again go to the till for more money. The drawer is empty, no problem there is always Mello and employee/teachers benefits. What the hey, none of the four will be here this time next year.

Regarding last night - a competent board president and an ethical superintendent would have NOT chosen last night for two long presentations and would not have announced they were cutting the meeting short to discuss a property deal in Closed Session.

Why pray tell was that property deal being discussed in Closed Session? I could have sworn the money they are spending is ours.

gobigal - right is right and the teachers/employees are right. Mob is not an adjective I would use to describe them.

Continued attendance is needed. If we all join together, reach out to more parents with the facts WE WILL BRING ABOUT CHANGE SOON!!!!!

There is a Democratic process that has consistently been denied. Donna Frye, do you see serious illegality here?

Tim Tim--You are all Democrats?? If we are paying for the ACA then a new district office should be ok also?? Your logic defies, uh, logic. The voters did not elect you to act in lockstep and in secret. The Brown act is important to everyone but is a bother to the Sweetwater Board?? Bertha and Pearl did not get their usual kickback, does that mean that you and Jim, Arlie and Brand did?? Finally, the protests that night were about the union concerns but was much more than that. The community as a whole is sick and tired of the bad decisions, secret plans, questionable dealings, etc. that you and your board believe is in the community's best interest. If you were to do the right thing, then you would all resign.

timtim, While the issue of properly treating your Employees can always be debated weather it is shared costs, work conditions or wages, fudging on previous agreements is something to be avoided.

As for your comment: So if the elected by the community board members feel a new district office best serves the community...,

I would hope and expect that the Elected Board Members have done more than just "...Feel a...;" Making another capital expenditure on Real Estate... the current Superintendant's and a few of the board member's track record on Real Estate and dealing with contractors is not very good (L St. 3rd Ave, Prop 'O').

One would hope the "Financial Conservative" Mr. McCann at least looked at where the funds were coming from and what it means to a district with deficit budgets and little reserves. I guess Mr. McCann is a career politician, he thinks like he's in Washington...

One wonders if, ....that the last time the Board threw the "New District Office" around, the public did not like it then, why would the Board believe it's different now?

As many people have said to you, Mr. Brand and the rest of the Board of Trustees, Go Back to the basics of your Business, fix the educational issues, do not continue to build your empire, and stop spending money like you can print more in the basement..

The Board of Trustees were elected to oversee the district, not cow-toe to their employee or build thier own edifices with their names on plaques in the lobbies of new or renovated Buildings!

Or heaven forbid get special SWAG that's an oxymoron as SWAG, Stuff We All Get, cannot be "Special"... I could keep going but Lunch is over and I keep thinking about the Board, that the following Dogs only have one view, up the lead Dog's (Dr. Brand's) Butt....

On that thought, best to you, the missus and the little timtims, BBQ

Read more: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/oct/22/stringers-cops-kick-out-public-sweetwater-/#ixzz2iZPVwBSp

tim-tim- Why would Ed need a couple hundred thousand for his private investigator? I bet you'd also try and convince people there is no retaliation to fear for trying to make a change.

The job is to do what's best for teachers and students so why when they are duped do you blame how they were too trusting. Hateful behavior.

Shirleyberan. It appears the wrong Brand was hired.

After reading this continuing horror story, and all the comments, I am reminded that it is Halloween. I suggest that the four most terrifying masks this season would be Ed Brand, John McCann, Jim Cartmill, and Arlie Ricasa -- two egomaniacs and two indicted Board members. Could anything be more frightening?

timmy-tim - I can tell you have more problems than just wrong way politics. I unfortunately had to live the first 18 years of my life trying to avoid Ed's egocentric absolutes about girl inferiority, anyone not like himself. I finally know Ed is overcompensating for his lack of self- esteem. Your affiliation with each other is tick-ticking tim-timmy, with the help of the good people reading and writing about it.

Timtim- though I do not need to explain myself to you, it might blow your mind to know that not all teachers are Democrats. In fact some of us are card-carrying Republican soccer moms who grew up poor and worked our way through college to become teachers. I did not vote for Obama or Filner, and if I lived in the South Bay I probably would have supported McCann until he revealed his true intellect. I wasn't even in the union for more than a decade- it was the graft and corruption and culture of fear that Gandara brought to our district that drove me back to the union for protection from capricious reprisals from my supervisors.

I don't know how you can be a conservative and think that reserves below 3%, borrowing from Mello Roos and now buying a FOURTH property for the district office is in the best interest of our district. I would like us to stay solvent, who wouldn't?

I even don't mind paying a fair price for my insurance, though I did NOT support the affordable care act by the way. This has nothing to do with the cost of the insurance. This has to do with the district telling its teachers that it would pay a set amount, then deciding, after putting that into writing during bargaining that they had changed their mind and were going to pay a different amount based on imaginary numbers. I have no other insurance that I can add my family to in the next week. Brand knows this and is using my kids as blackmail. Either give in and allow our classes to be in excess of 40 in many places and take no raise for over 9 years- or take the benefit raise. That is blackmail. There is no other word for it. I will join a "mob" with my kids all day long to stand up to that.

I'm going to flag TimTim's recent comment.

Thank you Susan. I'm so tired of him. Can we go back to ignoring timtim? Let's not dignify his insults, sophomoric remarks, and generally low-brow comments with a response. If we do, we give him a sense of importance that he doesn't deserve.

A word to the wise: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln

Channel 10 on line is reporting that Tom Calhoun, person in charge of facilities appears to have spoken an untruth when he accused 10 News of yellow journalism on their fire alarm story. Calhoun advised BOC members that IF there was problem with the SUHSD fire alarms that the fire department would have called for fire watches. Several of the BOC team chose to take Calhoun at his word. WELLLLLLLLL, it appears that channel 10 has received documentation that the Natl City Fire Dept. did in fact mandate fire watches and mandated that those persons hired for the fire watches would be doing nothing else but monitoring for fires.

Now keep in mind this is the same individual Brand has put in charge of buying the new 10 million dollar property, really?????? If, as a person educated in facilities management, he has chosen to partake in what appears to be a coverup which has put our children in potential risk, then what is he capable of in an area that deals with this, OUR communities, NOT his tax dollars.

Monday nights meeting said it all, Ed Brand pointed to Calhoun and then pointed to the door - in other words GET IT DONE!!!!! Block an exit, against fire dept. rules no problem, Ed told him to do it. Is Brand calling the shots on the alleged fire alarm cover up?

Please forward the channel 10 story to all you know, this community needs to know

King Midas, he's not.... When four of the top items in the south bay over the last week or so involve issues that concern SUHSD and Dr. Ed Brand (Phd from a failing University with questionable lineage), it's not a recommendation of fine leadership, trust or business sense. It appears that everything he has directly touched turns to lead. Luckily or due to good employees the things he has not touched still shine....

His lead henchmen or courtisains (sp) so to speak do his bidding without batting an eye, never the one to tell the king he's wearing no clothes.

Mr Calhoun, will there ever be a true accounting and plan for the future infrastructure of the district? This was asked Last May... now you were caught with a lie about not fixing fire alarms and fire watches in schools where as a part of Prop O these alarms were to be fixed. Blocking a Fire exit???

To the board of trustees, an Oxymoron if I ever heard one, Dr. Brand is your employee, treat him as such and have him toe the line. Have you completed his annual review yet? With all of the bad press, failed schemes, the state of the budget, attitude of the staff, etc. I'm sure you all think he's the greatest employee ever.

To the teachers and staff, ie the worker bees, Thank You for your sacrifices, I do not agree with everything you do but understand the need to do it. Please stand tall, continue to do the best you can under the curcumstances, our kids deserve it....

To the rest of the people in the South Bay and the District, it's our money being wasted, it's our kids being abused, it's our community being plundered. If not those things the way our Board of Trustees and Employee are acting is unacceptable and reflects poorly on us all.


"To the rest of the people in the South Bay and the District, it's our money being wasted, it's our kids being abused, it's our community being plundered."

That says it all.

We need to get this situation under control. We have tried reason, logic, stronger words, group demonstrations...and we get nothing.

The big question in my mind then becomes, why is there no backup from the responsible authorities? Will we finally get backup on the fire alarm issues? Or will that be allowed to fizzle out by bureaurocracies staffed and headed by indifferent empty suits?

It looks to me as though San Diego has more than their fair share of empty suits. Those who love collecting the paycheck, but never really put in an effort. County Board of Education, are your ears ringing? Has Fast Eddy convinced you that he is untouchable?

Susan, you ought to get some kind of writer award for these pieces. You've been all over this issue since day one. Pulitzer? Do they recognize papers such as ours? At least a San Diego Press Club mention?

timtim has provided the readers with an excellent video. I would have missed it had he not posted it. It reminds the viewers how many problems the district is embroiled in. There's also a good interview with the guard and the president of the teachers' association. I hope everyone takes a look at it.

Board member McCann suffering from brain damage? President Cartmill referred to his daily therapy. Should a board member be allowed to remain when his ability to process what he is voting on has been interfered with in a car accident?

Late call tonight - hold onto your wallets folks - it is rumored that Mr. Calhoun is going around telling everyone that they are going to attempt to float a 500 million dollar bond next year. How much is this costing us?

Now tell me, how many of you are going to vote for it?

This community is not going to vote in one more red cent until and unless this group, including Calhoun is OUTTA HERE!

Did any of you hear an announcement at the board meeting from Calhoun that there were fire watches at any of our schools? Did not think so, he was far too busy barring the door per Brands mandate.

Get the word out NO MORE TAXES, tell everyone you know!!!!!!!

So--if McCann has not fully recovered from the car accident, yet wants the public to believe he is just fine--wasn't there a letter from an attorney stating that McCann was AOK, that vaguely threatened those who insinuated otherwise?

Very odd. Ok? Not ok? In therapy? Yet just fine? Yet needing Brand to tell him what to do next? Or has he always needed Brand to tell him what to do next?

Your school board has no excuse for looting what voters believed was going for education.

If I remember correctly, for a long time people (especially without kids) did not vote money for schools - then things changed once they figured out our kids are behind in the world, way behind by now. This will be an example of why no one trusts again. You will get through it, but it so insane while you are doing it.

Generally the teachers all work on phone banks to help pass bond issues. It would be more than foolish to get all of them so angry they storm the board meeting and then attempt a new bond issue.

Buildings not beings/Machiavelli machining. Outside hear the shouting/tomorrow timtim's pouting. Contracts violated/ real estate over-rated. Citizens denied/ their three minutes of communication. Paying for P. I's/ fevered pitch the frustration.

I still have not gotten over that sign above Ed's Door on Boss's Day. Now this! How about that Fire Alarm Story on Channel 10? The Bond Chair Marinovich is no idiot. I got to tell you for those who saw that story it is an OMG moment. The teachers union people at work are so angry. We knew there would be a problem for the Board meeting.

For those of us who have been around here for years we know it is par for the course to lie and hide. Deceive. Cut deals. Hope that nobody will notice or care. One problem this is now different. They are some smart people who have an eye on you. That Anniej is a Bulldog with a Pitbull personality. Those who find themselves protecting this idiot Superintendent will also pay the piper. You could lose your job along with the integrity you lost a long time ago.

SUHSD disintegrates further, conditions going from bad to worse. I must conclude that Fast Eddy is focused on grabbing all the loot he can before the trials in February.

The employees are dissed, Brown Act ignored, public process denied, school funds looted, the 'trustees' aren't, safety is jeopardized, Mello Roos $$ missing, CBOE in denial, real estate schemes underwater while students are crowded into 'open enrollment' schools to avoid having to attend schools with 'needs improvement' rating, wheels and deals galore, This is not a public school district, it is several seasons of 'survival' --- and what a reality show it is turning out to be!

For those like TT who have forgotten their civics: The tax money that supports the SUHSD comes from multiple sources --- our state income taxes (which all teachers pay, regardless of where they live) provide the general fund base; federal monies supplement in the form of grants; bond monies (which are ONLY SUPPOSED to fund construction projects and upgrades ) come from property taxes paid by those of us who own property in the SUHSD. The so-called trustees are charged with making POLICY decisions to give the District's management decisions, and with hiring the CEO to manage it all. Seems they have made poor choices. Nevertheless, we lowly citizens maintain our First Amendment rights of Free Speech, to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. We also retain our right to vote the bums out at the next opportunity if the court does not do it for us in February.

Grievances we have aplenty. We shall continue to petition the 'trustees' for redress at every opportunity.

I was told today the Administrators were given the choice of a pay raise. Ot no increases to benefit costs?

Which is it and why?

Gary Cabello plead guilty -

All of us that have been anxiously awaiting movement - well, here it comes. The price to defend this groups charges, big bucks! How many are going to be willing to gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars?, we will soon see.

One of the teachers - lets play


anniej, I think the answer to NAME THE DUMMY is all of us.... Your other blog is spot on about the big bucks, try this on for size, PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS, who works the most with PIs? You got it.... LAWYERS, do you think it would be difficult to "launder" the Defense Dollars through a PI Firm.
Where is the work order explaining the PIs deliverables to SUHSD?
How many times do we have to go through this Bait and Switch, hide the truth shinanigans (sp) from these two bit neo-felons and ED? BBQ

bbq...has anyone put in a Public Records Request for the Private Investigator contract and subsequent billings?

BBQ and Wabbitsd,

Thanks for the reminder of the need to be vigilant, watching for any scams and evidence that Ed is siphoning off District $$ resources to pay legal bills of the four indicted board members. (Cabello must have figured that Ed was not going to help him out, and so decided to plead guilty.)

The indicted trustees need Ed to help them through the next months of when their legal bills will surely escalate; and that is surely why they do not act to reign him in.

Here's a recap of the indictments:

Ricasa, 29 counts, including extortion; Quinones, 29 counts including extortion; Lopez, 20 counts; Gandara, 28 counts including extortion. Don't forget Sandoval who had his hand out for so many years....29 counts, including extortion.

Tick tock...Mid-February is less than four months away!

OOps....I forgot to include the 10 counts against Jim 'teflon' Cartmill...that makes a total of 88 counts against the indicted four SUHSD so-called current 'trustees'...

Many questions about this sensitive issue.

The insurance rate has been at the same level for everyone for years. Everyone in the district pays the same amount whether one is single, claiming one dependent (a married couple, or a single mom and a kid), or claiming two more more dependents. Now, the rate for a person with no dependents is down to $0. A person claiming one dependent will pay about $115 less a month than a year ago. A person claiming 2 or more will pay around $300 more.

1) Was it fair in the past that a person with no dependents and people with one dependent had to pay as much as employees with multiple dependents?

2) Is the "gap" fair when it comes to insurance payments with these two groups starting in 2014?

3) Most importantly, what are accurate solutions when it comes to dropping the costs of peoples premium with dependents?

This is not an opinion. These are facts that I am aware of and questions that need to be answered by many different people, including anyone who reads this. Please respond and educate the public with your opinions. That would include the author of this article.

question - from my perspective the issue is simple - an agreed upon amount was broken.

You speak of fair, how is it fair that Mexican Nationals receiving medical care in Mexico, but working for the district are receiving those benefits for FREE - family or not.

What procedures are in place to ensure all charges incurred are necessary? Whose charges is it to monitor charges, what is and isn't medically necessary?

This was whose idea? Do your homework and you will see that when a cost analysis is done this type of plan is but a run away train. For example, hysterectomies for men - and much worse.

question - and pray tell, how fair is it that monies set aside for retiree benefits were 'borrowed' and never paid back.

I would highly recommend your unions do an audit of their own regarding the districts ability to pay for future expenses for retirees - we are not just talking medical/dental benefits we are talking the actual monies paid out to retirees.

Wabbitsd, BBQ - yes public record requests have been done - no such documents exists.

Brown Act

How believable is it that those documents do not exist?!

More evidence of fraud, I would have to say.

From the UT this morning: **Two more defendants in the South County schools corruption case pleaded guilty Tuesday, both to misdemeanor charges.

Former Southwestern Community College District President Raj Chopra pleaded to a charge of not filing reports detailing income and investments for the 2009-2010 year. Chopra was initially indicted on nine felony charges. Five were dropped by prosecutors, two more were dismissed by South Bay Superior Court Judge Ana Espana Tuesday morning.

Micheal Attanasio, Chopra’s lawyer, said his client will likely get some form of community service and probation as a sentence. He called the resolution of the case a “terrific result for Dr. Chopra.”

Earlier in the day San Ysidro school board member Yolanda Hernandez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge. She was initially indicted on two felony charges of perjury and two of filing a false instrument.

A judge will decide whether Hernandez will be barred from holding office for four years after her term on the school board ends**

It appears that the other shoe is falling with two more defendents pleading out of the case, however they appear to have gotten "Sweetheart Deals". I would expect that the rest are smiling away, with expectations of similar deals...

I for one believe that our expectations for true transpearancy and high standards for our elected officials, and cleaning up of the District has been and will most likely continue to be compromised by a judge who does not see the whole picture, of institutional and inbred corruption that is a part of the SUHSD and South Bay Education cultures.

The entitlement culture of our trustees and adminstrators is outrageous and must be brought to light. Any elected official who puts their own Comfort, Future, and Fame ahead of the job which they were elected and failed to do their required due dilligency (Filing proper paperwork) should be prosecuted to the limit of the law, Not some dumbed down misdemeanor!!!

A slap on the hand will not resolve anything with regards to the Conflict of Interests within our governmental bodies. BBQ

Calling these pleas "Sweetheart Deals" is an understatement. Chopra was looking at some serious time if he was convicted on even one of those felony raps. Now he slides free with likely community service and probation, and not even a fine. Yeah, it is a "terrific deal", Counselor. Does he live here now, or is he back in Arizona? If he doesn't even live here, nobody will much care about his plea to a technical violation of the law. And as far as it affects his employment, at age 75 or so, nobody was going to employ him as a superintendent or college president again anyway. He's getting away with it.

The judge has dropped the ball here in allowing the DA to plead these down so far. I anticipated plea deals all along, because corruption cases like these seldom go to trial. But the DA isn't keeping up the pressure, and I've also anticipated that.

Bbq, welcome to the American justice system, where dumbed down sentences and compromises are the norm. As bad as the indictments are, quite frankly as long as the sitting trustees are barred from office, i will be happy! That will be the easier of the two ways to get them out of office, seeing as how our electorate in the South Bay has proven to be either uncaring, indifferent or ignorant to the corruption in our school district.

byagency, the kicker here is this line about Ms. Hernandez; A judge will decide whether Hernandez will be barred from holding office for four years after her term on the school board ends**

How much more havoc and plundering will happen if our so-called "Trustees" are not relived from office.

Again we (The People of SUHSD) are putting a lot of faith into the Prosecuters Office. An Office that appears to like Headlines but doe not have the strength of committment to follow through.

Based on the guilty pleas from the Bond agencies it's obvious they gave the Trustees cash and things of value. So how difficult is it to prosecute the indictees?

Ms Dumanis any thoughts? BBQ

Neither Chopra nor Yolanda Hernandez had accrued the huge number of counts against them as our SUHSD 'stars' have....Riacasa and Quinones are each charged with extortion and other crimes, with a total of 29 counts each; Lopez has 20 and 'teflon' Jim Cartmill has 10. (Chopra is gone, far far away, which is a good thing. We can hope the judge prohibits Ms. Hernandez from holding office in the future...perjury is .....lying under oath and ought not to be tolerated from any public official.)

While it would be wonderful to have a clean sweep of the SUHSD board being removed by the courts, Johnny boy has somehow evaded scrutiny up to now....however, he is up for election in November 2014, as are Ricasa and Cartmill.

Keep their feet to the fire and their egregious acts in the spotlight. It may be up to us voters to vote the bums out in November....we do have recourse at the ballot box.

Everything you say is true. But these softball pleas are a harbinger I fear, and you may find all ten (which is only one more than Chopra had) felony charges lodged against Cartmill dismissed and a misdemeanor plea accepted. Do NOT look for a sweep of the SUHSD "stars", as you describe them.

The ballot box is where the final resolution of this scandal must originate. But in the last election, two of those board members under indictment were reelected. No, the criminal justice system is not going to repair that broken school district. The voters need to wake up, get informed, and stop voting for incumbents for whatever reasons they do that. But there is massive evidence of a brain-dead electorate in the area, which offers little hope for any real reform.

Visduh, While I hear you loud and clear about the Judical (sp) System not cleaning up the district, I still fear that any candidates for the open positions have not heard that: We are fed up and not going to take it anymore

Beyond that we (The people of SUHSD) want Trustees who come out to hear our opinions about the issues, complete the due diligence for each issue and be able to defend their position.

We want integrity on our Board of Trustees and our paid adminstrative staff, no more hide the truth, bury the issue in closed session, bait and switch.

We want Trustees that are for restoring Education into our School District, not building edifices to themselves or platforms to run for future offices.

We want Trustees that are all about fixing what is broken, righting the ship and steaming forward into this 21st century.

These candidates will be selfless people that are willing to stand up and be counted on for their Integrity, openness, acceptance, understanding and intelligence. And be willing to explain their votes and decisions

Where are these people? It's definately time to start rounding them up to run for the Board of Trustees. Time to make the change. BBQ

Hear, hear!!

I have to believe part of the problem here in the southern part of San Diego County is that some "heavy hitters" in local government think that we are second rate, and we only deserve what is second rate.

Well, they are wrong.

We will just have to stand up and convince everyone that they are wrong.

Corruption does not represent us; thieving administrators do not define us; deceptive trustees do not fool us; deal-making that is for the benefit of those "in charge" does not impress us.

We must and we will stand up so that everyone who looks down on us will now need to look UP at us, as we will stand for the truth, for the best education for our young people, and for honest caretaking of our community assets.

Don't forget to keep Donna Frye and company informed. calaware

It does occur to me that Chopra and Hernandez are the 'little fish' in the bigger picture. Others indicted for malfeasance at SWC such as Salcido, Wilson, and 'fats' have yet to make their moves, and they do not have the 'bank of Ed' to help with legal bills.

While I would never condone perjury or failing to file required form 700s -- statement of economic interests -- by any elected, or appointed official (such as Chopra), it does seem to me that the DA staff has their hands full with the multiple indictments of 15 originally charged. Perhaps they cut the deals with the little fish in hopes better conserving their energies and limited resources, saving their big guns, and resolve, for those 'bigger fish' who are charged with multiple counts (for example: Ricasa has 5 counts of accepting bribes; 5 of filing a false instrument; 5 receiving gifts from a single source in excess of legal limits; 5 of perjury by declaration; 4 of conflict of interest; 3 of wrongful influence; and 2 counts of conspiracy. In addition, I believe there was at least one, perhaps more, of extortion.) Quinones and Sandoval are similarly situated. There are trials scheduled for mid-February for those who do not plead out, and it occurs to me that the SUHSD perps may believe they have the 'Bank of Ed' for legal expenses. Chopra, Hernandez, Cabello, do not have the employment power over Ed that the sitting board members do.

HMMMMM.....wonder what Sandoval and Gandara's bank accounts look like, or what Ed might have on them or vice-versa. Either or both might decide to turn on the others in return for immunity. Stay tuned: this could get very, very, interesting.

This will get interesting to the nth degree. But I'm not as sanguine as you are regarding the outcome. It is showing signs of heading for a conclusion that is "not a bang, but a whimper." I hope that you are right, and that the DA is going to turn the big guns on the really bad ones. The simple fact that the DA did not secure Hernandez' resignation from the board of the SY district tells me more than I want to know about the zeal that will/will not be put into rooting out these corrupt pols.

In short, I hope your optimism is borne out, but I really doubt it.

Let's all hope for the best possible outcomes: trials that remove the perps from office at a minimum, and jail time for those so deserving. Let's look beyond the trials -- what happens if Arlie, Pearl and Jim, and Bertha are all removed from office. What then? There is not a majority left of the board wiith McCann left? He would not be able to appoint to fill the vacancies. Some fear inside tells me then the County Board appoints to fill the vacancies? That would be terrible, as they are reputed to be in Brand's pocket. So, perhaps we need to be working to align ourselves with the County Board of Education to put forth desirable candidates for appointment to fill the vacancies? Then, come November, are elections. Johnny boy must be taken out and down.

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