South Bay politiscape on election day

Rindone’s rich, Bensoussan gets big-boy help, McCann cries foul

Chula Vista City Council candidate John McCann questions the funding source for this hit piece
  • Chula Vista City Council candidate John McCann questions the funding source for this hit piece

Chula Vista’s election primary has been low-key. Most candidates have compiled modest campaign contributions and campaign mailers have been, for the most part, innocuous.

One factor in the minor-key campaigning is that a candidate can no longer win flat-out in the primary. The two highest vote-getters for the mayoral seat and council seats one and two will advance to the November general election.

This factor translates to candidates guarding their resources. It also has meant that some Chula Vista yards sport signs for two candidates for the same seat.

If money alone were to win a mayoral position, Jerry Rindone would take the June election. He has collected $50,548, followed by Mary Salas, who received $24,462, and Pamela Bensoussan, who checked in with $20,655.

However, other factors may shape tomorrow’s election results, including the use of high-powered consultants.

Political consultant Tom Shepard, once anointed the kingmaker by the U-T, is working on Bensoussan's mayoral campaign.

Shepard has worked for a long chain of Republicans, but, according to a 2012 Voice of San Diego article, he fell out of favor with Republicans when he went to work for former mayor Bob Filner. He resigned during the Filner debacle.

As of May 22, Bensoussan, a Democrat, had paid Shepard & Associates $4000 in consulting fees.

Art Castanares used to be the chair of the county Democratic party. In 2006 his work as a consultant was credited with the win of Republican Cheryl Cox for Chula Vista mayor. In 2012, Castanares went to work for Carl DeMaio’s mayoral campaign in San Diego.

In the Chula Vista primary, Castanares provided $3000 in campaign literature services for mayoral candidate Jerry Rindone. He also provided $2250 in campaign literature services for council candidates Scott Vinson and Mike Spethman.

The role of campaign consultant Asher Burke in the Chula Vista primary has also influenced the campaign landscape.

Burke, according to CalWatchdog.com, is an aide to Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for governor. Wikepedia credits Donnelly as being the organizer of the California Minutemen.

Burke is listed as a principal for an independent expenditure committee. The activity of the committee has been reported on recently by the Reader’s Matt Potter and Dorian Hargrove.

A PAC named “San Diego Public Safety Advocates” (“A coalition of law enforcement associations supporting Robert Brewer for District Attorney,” according to the Facebook page) financed an anti–John McCann campaign. McCann, a Sweetwater Union High School board member, is running for seat one on the Chula Vista City Council.

Public Safety Advocates also paid for a mailer supporting Jason Paguio, who is running for council seat one, and Mike Spethman, who is running for seat two

According to Paguio’s May 22 campaign filing, he paid Campaign Services Group $1728 for campaign literature work. Asher Burke is listed as a principal for the Campaign Services Group.

A May 30 U-T article says a complaint has been filed about this alleged conflict of interest.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Ah yes, the anti John Mc Cann movement. I donated, just got sick and tired of hearing his self promotional speeches regarding his military service. WHEN HAVE YOU HEARD OF A VET 'USING' HIS SERVICE. Most are silent heroes - proud they served - McCann has a 'canned' speech that the South Bay has heard over and over and over again in the past 4 years. But there is hope - he has a new 'gig' it is his alleged comments to perspective voters recently - 'he has been 'chosen' by God to survive his recent accident because,,,,,,, wait,,,,,,, 'he still has work to do'.

Yes Mr. McCann you do, it is called getting a job and relieving us of the burden of your do nothing candidacy as a Sweetwater Board member.

A NO vote for John McCann is a YES vote for the South Bay - no matter what party you are associated with!!!!

just my opinion

AnnieJ - John McCann Is obviously a young uneducated delusional Twit.

Except that in his mid-40's, he's not young at all. Sadly, we do hear of veterans using their service records to sell their candidacies. Our long-time and overweight No County supervisor, "Bulldozer Bill" Horn, proclaimed his service as a "combat Marine". Then there was party- switcher Nathan Fletcher, trading on his service record. Brewer, the candidate for DA, makes sure that everyone knows he was an Army Ranger. And so it goes.

All of that is fine, but military service cannot excuse poor performance in an elected position, cannot excuse failure to deliver on promises made, and cannot excuse lack of character.

I do think that McCann has over-reached with his claims of military heroics and self-glorification. It is my understanding that as a reservist, he was called to active duty and served only in rear, support positions. I really don't recall that he saw any 'action' or was in any forward position in any danger. And by golly, we are all quite sick and tired of his constant proclamations about his military service. True heroes don't brag!

Well, your boy McCann came in #1 for Seat 1 on the Chula Vista City Council, so he will be in the runoff in November. Sweetwater High School District's gain is City of Chula Vista's loss!

Point well taken Visduh about military duty- on point the Public Safety Advocate committee also gave money to Horn. Early results seem to point to a runoff between McCann and Padilla. But, I suspect you too have watched results change overnight. However, if the top two go forward--the early numbers look significant.

So the silly season will continue,

I am a well known antagonist of John McCann, however in this situation I have to put on my ethics and honesty hat by saying that politics make for strange alliences.

Any perception of conflict of interest, means there is a conflict of interest, so in this case the twisted finances and cross interest associations are very troubling for me and others I have talked with.

All I can say is while I support the elimination of John McCann from local politics based on his performance, I cannot support the thought of any misconduct to his ouster.

To my fellow politically active citizens, we need to be alert to the cross purposes of funding sources in order to not get tied to a particular group or direction, especially if they may follow questionable practices.

Let's retake the politicial processes and the citizen guided aspects of the South Bay, the right way and stray towards honor, moderation, and openess.

Mr. McCann and others will slowly bury themselves in their own hubris.

Best to all, BBQ, CAVE

Noble thoughts for so early in the morning BBQ. Ouch I wanted to sleep in.

So the results are interesting in the mayor's race. Mary Salas with 43.75, Rindone 39.33. Yet, his signs and mailers were more prevalent. And the big division, although the mayors aren't directly involved in this, was the idea of district unification. Early last year Salas raised uniting CV elementary and Sweetwater. Many thought she had committed political suicide as she continued to defend it while Rindone wrote an op ed against it. I did hear early on she had more name recognition.

Because Rindone has a strong background in education, he has been seen as the educational candidate. Though some teachers told me they saw pictures of him at a Susie Mitchell fundraiser that put them off. Mitchell is a consultant helping Dr. Brand go forward with charter Stephen Hawking.

McCann 38.48%, Padilla 32.78%. So McCann will be off the school board, but will he be on the council? Both Padilla and McCann have been on the CV dais before.

Aguilar took seat two easily with 48.11, barely saw signs of her campaign. She will run off against Dan Smith with 17.8 %. I believe when I read Smith's nomination papers that they were signed by John and Myssie McCann, need to double check that.

Salas, Padilla, Aguilar appeared together on signs and mailers. That appears to have been a successful strategy.

One result I wonder about: Coronado did not pass the school bond. Is that because people are more wary of bonds or is that unique to Coronado?

Coronado schools always rank high--my opinion is that people think that the reallocation of funds won't really affect that. Additionally, I think that the percentage of families with school-age children is quite low, and the base of support just wasn't there for the school bond.

School bonds are always a crapshoot, although this new law that permits them to pass with 55% instead of 2/3 has made them much more frequent. One of the selling points of the law that modified Prop 13 to allow less than the 2/3 super-majority was the oversight of bond expenditures. It would be nice to think that other districts are aware of how toothless the Bond Oversight Committee really is if the district board and administration just decide to ignore it, and that is one big thing that came out of the Sweetwater scandal. (SWC, too?) $30 million is a pocket change size bond issue, and I'd have figured it as a shoo-in. But eastlaker is probably correct. The number of voters in Coronado with school-age kids is low, and the others figure they pay enough in property taxes already. Oh, the school district there has been doing a lot of bragging, and bragging can backfire.

Maybe Coronado knows something about their school board others aren't aware of. McCannagain thanks the citizens for his "overwhelming victory", he says he's all about transparency and ethics. Something's way off. The next vote gets a bigger turnout, does it matter?

So does he step down from his post at Sweetwater today?

His term is not up until the new board is seated at the December board meeting after the November election. (unfortunately)

I could not go to court this afternoon, but Robert Moreno, for the Star News, has reported that suspended Sweetwater trustee, Jim Cartmill, has been given 3 years probation, 40 hours community service and up to $4,000 fine.

According to Moreno, Judge Espana, stated that Cartmill can run for the board again in November.

just amazing! Judge Espana must be truly deranged to state that he can still run for the board in November during his time of 'probation' for the crimes he committed during this term of office on the same board. Unreal! I wonder what the District's own bylaws say about that possibility?

What right does she have to override State law and the District's by-laws. I thought if you were a felon you could never run for office again? I am so confused and he needs to step down now and if hopefully not, he runs in November, it will not be as an incumbent. But a criminal. I just hope people have been paying attention. Gosh…..

How much attention were they paying in November, 2012 when both Bertha and Pearlie were under indictment, and won reelection? Not much. If the voters in So County don't wake up, you might see ol' Jim back on the board again. It's not likely, and he would probably decide that he'd had enough, but if he and others decide to mount up to do battle with the "powerful" and evil teachers union again, anything could happen.

However, in Nov 2012, Pearlie and Bertha were 'only' under indictment and both claimed innocence. Cartmill, today, has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced. One hopes that is a significant enough difference and that Cartmill is at least intelligent enough to understand the import of having pleaded guilty to a crime against the very district. I do not understand how the District by laws would allow him to run in November, especially as he will be on probation for a period of three years after having pleaded GUILTY. One can only wonder about Judge Espana's intelligence and total ignorance of the law in these cases.

"Judge" Espana comes across as having all the ethics of a typical Baja judge, one who rules as his/her party dictates. We can all wonder why she has treated these offenses so lightly, and why she has no sense of outrage at this corruption. I don't think this is a matter of intelligence or grasp of the law. It runs deeper, and doesn't hold out much hope for the courts getting tough on corruption. She's part of a culture that thinks such activities are normal, and expected of those in positions of authority, hence not criminal, except in a technical sense. And I'd guess she rather admires those who managed to abuse the system for so long. What other explanation can there be for her rulings, sentences, and efforts to keep these crooks in office?

The bio that was given to our principal this morning to read for John McCann was long and laborious. Part of it stated that he was a decorated war hero. He also requested that he be acknowledged for two terms as a city council member.

Accidentally flagged - trying to understand how so many people think all this bad behavior by brand and the board of destruction is worth expanding all over town.

Indebted to Robert Moreno again for reporting/tweeting from the courtroom. According to him Espana cited this code in her ruling:

  1. No person convicted of a misdemeanor under this title shall be a candidate for any elective office or act as a lobbyist for a period of four years following the date of the conviction unless the court at the time of sentencing specifically determines that this provision shall not be applicable. A plea of nolo contendere shall be deemed a conviction for purposes of this section. Any person violating this section is guilty of a felony.

What is WRONG with that woman? Does she not see the harm the corruption has done to the South County? I am appalled at her stupidity. WHY on God's green earth would she think that Jim Cartmill, or any of the others for that matter, should be eligible to 'serve' as trustees again? Please, God, make sure she is not elected again as a so-called 'judge'.

Ensenadamaria - I was at the Rancho Del Rey promotion ceremony at SleepTrain today - I too heard the decorated war hero intro line - this is new, he went from 'serving' to 'decorated war hero'.

So here is my question what medal would he have received? Might he have confused his 'Service Medal' with decorated war hero? I do not believe servicemen/women are ALLOWED to claim awards UNLESS it is true. Court Martials have been in order for anyone who claims decorations of medals they did not receive.

Now here is a thought - IF anniej decided to volunteer, if she then cooked and served her infamous 'chili' to the troops, she too would get a 'Service Medal'.

RECOMMENDATION - BIO should simply state loving husband and father - perhaps proud graduate of the District - but as for the rest of the minutia - HEAR ME CLEARLY, IT IS A TURN OFF AND WE DON'T CARE!!!

During my research on my father's Navy ribbons from WWII, I have learned that those who participated in various military campaign efforts (such as the Philippine Liberation, American Theater, National Defense, World War II Victory medal) were awarded service ribbons and/or medals that commemorated their participation in specific efforts, and deservedly so. Those can be considered 'decorations' that were awarded to groups of service members.

However such decorations are different from certain individual awards that are bestowed for individual heroics, such as the Purple Heart, etc.
I suspect that whatever 'decorations' McCann may have received belong in the former category and not for individual heroics as he would have us believe when he uses the 'war hero' title to puff up his service record. I truly doubt that he is a 'hero' in any sense of the word...he may have gone and participated per his orders, but a hero??????? not likely.

Correct. The term "decorated" in military and usual civilian parlance means that a special, individual award was made. There are also unit citations that entitle any member of a decorated unit to wear a special framed ribbon. The Presidential Unit Citation is highly prestigious. But for any member of the military to call service medals such as the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terror Medal, the Operation Enduring Freedom Medal "decorations" is a real stretch. If he received some commendation medal, or a Bronze Star, Silver Star, etc., he could claim to be both a hero and a "decorated" veteran. Since I have no notion of just what medals and/or unit citations he's entitled to wear, I have no idea of whether he is making untrue claims.

You mean the accident that he turned left against 3 lanes of traffic and it was not his fault. The accident that he said he saw God and changed his ways. That buffoon actually went to my neighbors and said that....I was sitting with a chela in my hand and couldnt stop laughing. Next thing I know he is going to see the Virgin Maria on the side of school building. Give me a break

Yes, that was very interesting, wasn't it? The news reports were quite different, and then they disappeared. Then there was the threat McCann's attorney (paid for by the district?) sent to an individual who was merely discussing the event in a reasonable manner.

Why be so defensive...?

First, I am not a McCann supporter, I did serve 35 years in the US Army with three deployments and here is my take on the situation. First, in my opinion a "decorated" war hero would have received 1) a Medal of Honor 2) The Navy Cross 3) A Silver Star 4) A Bronze Star or 5) A Purple Heart. Any other medal (decoration) is pretty much at the unit's discretion. Some awards are time sensitive example; Good Conduct & Service related. According to McCann's bio he is in the Supply Corps, I believe at one time I read his duty position was that of a Contract Officer. I don't know about the Navy but in the Army some units gave out awards like candy, little or no verification of the events stated on the Award Recommendation Form. Also, Officers many times were given "higher" awards than the Enlisted. I saw an officer get a Bronze Star for a years service and he never went "outside the wire" (off the compound). Short story long, any award McCann has should come with a Nomination Form, the Army uses DA Form 1256 and the award itself. Not sure about the Navy but it should be similar. It would be interesting to verify his awards because he could be in violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 which states "it a federal misdemeanor to falsely represent oneself as having received any U.S. military decoration or medal. If convicted, defendants might be imprisoned for up to six months."

You named the Navy Cross, what about the Distinguished Service Cross ,Air Force Cross and Coast Guard Cross? They are the other service equivalents of the Navy Cross. Don't they count? All Service cross medals are awarded for "extraordinary heroism" and are the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the respective services.

danfogel, yes they do count. Since McCann is in the Navy I tried to tailor this to the Navy. I certanily mean no disrespect to any of the other Armed Services, again I was trying to make this Navy specific.

Today I was told that a speech given yesterday claims John is now a Lieutenant Commander. Voter information states he is a Lieutenant so it seems odd that all of a sudden he received a quick promotion. Beginning to worry about the boy maybe that hit on the head has not healed.

Whatever he may claim to be...rank or war hero, needs to be verified. He is wacko!

eastlaker - it's hard to tell with Judge Espana's seemingly arbitrary and capricious moves in this matter, isn't it? As I read the reports, I think it is more likely that Cartmill continues to be either 'suspended' or 'removed' (perhaps because he pleaded guilty?) but according to her honor Espana, will be eligible to run again in November 'to let the voters decide if he should continue to serve' or words to that effect. Seems to me that she has again dodged her judicial responsibility to actually RULE in the best interests of the community she is supposed to be serving.

Yes, well, it is pretty clear she is part and parcel of the "get along to go along" mentality, which is what brought us here in the first place.

Too bad we needed to find out the hard way that Espana is morally negligent in the fulfilling of her duties (which of course is only my opinion).

About McCann--I did hear some time back that he made one of the greatest deals in Chula Vista history by selling a smaller house and buying a larger house in a better neighborhood for the same amount of money.

I have never heard of anyone else being able to do that. Could he have had help from someone? I mean, has he ever shown any ability to make deals like that while on the school board? It is quite a feat, an accomplishment! Why doesn't he mention this in his well-padded resume?

Just to be perfectly clear--I am not trying to offend anyone. I just think that when John McCann accomplishes something, the world should know.

Eastlaker connections it's all about the connections. Strange bedfellows made in John's initial run for the board. Has anyone ever looked into the money he received and from who?

Eastlaker - perhaps he (McC) did not accomplish it all by himself. As olchulares suggests, there are connections. Perhaps Ed helped with the connections, who knows? It seems obvious to me that McCann does not have any visible means of employment, other than whatever he earns in the USNR and his stipend from the SUHSD. He would have to file a form 700, annual statement of economic interests, during his time on the board, and those are considered public documents. It would be interesting to peruse his most recent statement, as well as for a few years back.

Now that some of the hubbub has died down, the inimitable Fast Eddy has sent out a press release about the Sweetwater Athletic Hall of Champions or some such. They are asking for donations for display and some names to get things going.

Does anyone think this is the best way to spend money when we have all sorts of real problems? IMO, a hall of fame for district athletes isn't a terrible idea, but it is something that is done when you have solved the big problems...and we are nowhere near that point.

It is another Ed Brand distraction, and another opportunity for a friend of our own Fast Eddy to glom on to a paying job.


Who ok'd this nonsense? McCann, Cartmill & Ricasa, right? What about defunding this and applying the funds for students who are actually trying to learn something, and have not yet graduated?

You can read more in the Star-News, which published the press release untouched, as far as I could tell. Perhaps because, after all, where does one begin to dissect the idiocy of this particular move. Anyone care to add anything?

He (ed) is forever an unremorseful theif, period.

Misspelled thief, as in desperado, plunderer, pickpocket...

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader