Sweetwater chaos reaches Judge España’s court

District argues that Cartmill and Lopez should be suspended from board

Thomas Warwick and Leon Schorr
  • Thomas Warwick and Leon Schorr

Sweetwater Union High School District board meetings have often been chaotic and indecisive. But did anyone ever imagine this chaos would be replicated in a South Bay courthouse?

On April 24, when Sweetwater trustees Jim Cartmill and Bertha Lopez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, judge Ana España ruled that they could continue to serve in their elected positions. España said she would take up the question of whether or not Cartmill and Lopez could run for reelection on their sentencing dates in June.

But on May 8, España entered the courtroom prepared to reverse her finding based on information submitted by the school district’s attorney, Randall Winet. Referring to California Code 1770.2, Winet argued that as soon as Cartmill and Lopez entered a guilty plea they should have been suspended from their office.

Winet emphasized the urgency of the situation, as Sweetwater has large financial decisions to make by the end of this month. He pointed out that there are currently only three seated trustees. Given the ramifications of the statute (1770.2), Winet said the San Diego County Board of Education needs to be able to appoint provisional boardmembers to replace Cartmill and Lopez.

Game over? Not yet, according to trustee Cartmill’s attorney, Thomas Warwick. Warwick told the judge he had been out of town and barely had a chance to review the material Sweetwater submitted.

España said to Warwick, “At your request I made a finding; I was not aware of the government code [that calls for suspension at the time a plea is entered]."

But, Warwick said he would prepare a brief that will demonstrate that in similar cases (state Fair Political Practices Commission misdemeanors), other elected officials have been allowed to remain in office.

“Eighty-six school board members [in Sacramento] violated the same code and were not removed from office,” alleged Warwick. He also suggested that if the judge changed her mind, it might have “a domino effect.”

If Cartmill and Lopez change their plea to not guilty, according to the statute, they would no longer be on suspension from the board.

A further extenuating circumstance was introduced to the proceedings. For personal reasons, Lopez’s attorney removed himself from Lopez’s case. A replacement attorney was appointed on May 7.

Both Warwick and deputy district attorney Leon Schorr said ultimately the removal of the trustees falls on the district. However, if the trustees do not agree to leave, it would be up to the state attorney general to remove them.

España set May 13 as the date to return to the question. In the meantime, Winet acknowledged in an interview after the court adjourned that, for now, España’s ruling is in place; a court order allows Cartmill and Lopez to continue to serve.

The chaos and uncertainty in the district is aggravated by several other circumstances. Trustee John McCann is making a bid for Chula Vista City Council June 3 and may need to vacate his seat. And, school-district superintendent Ed Brand’s contract may automatically rollover in June; yet, he has never been evaluated.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


I cannot believe these people just won't do the right thing. It's in Sweetwater's by-laws that they have to step down. This is just crazy. Jim you're time is up. Time to act like a man and step down so that the District can start healing. You're free loading days are over.

I wonder if all of the other defendants have been on the phone with their attorneys asking if the judge's admitted incompetence might have an effect on their cases. I believe there's one more resignation in order here.

The section of the law about which the judge is 'unaware' also states that when the trustees are suspended/removed that their remuneration (stipend and other benefits) also cease. Wonder if Ricasa, and Quinones have been removed from the Sweetwater dole? Have they returned their electronics to the district?

Even if the lawyers are able to convince Espana (doesn't seem to be too hard to do if you are representing those charged with looting the public treasury) that the state law doesn't apply, the District's own policy does.

Good Grief! We ought to appeal to Judge Danilesen in the SD main court, who created this mess when he shipped the South County corruption cases down to South County and into Espana's lap, for immediate assistance with another judge who is at least willing to read the law.

Sadly inept, monumentally stupid, a cacaphonic symphony of failure--why should things get any better in Sweetwater when the downhill roll has such momentum.

And apparently none of these people are the least bit embarrassed by their disastrously muddled actions.

It does get worse and worse. Is there anyone capable of leading honestly and honorably, so that Sweetwater can emerge from this ongoing nightmare? If so, now's the time. (McCann, not you).

Espana should be removed from the case she did not research the statues properly, if I were to bet her law clerk did the work and didn't know what she was doing. How many other mistakes in the case did that law clerk make. These 2 board members should immediately resign so the healing can begin, but they won't so they can get their monthly stipends and medical benefits this is not about the good of the Sweetwater District.

She certainly seems to be the poster child for inept judges in San Diego County.

State of California Commission on Judicial Performance, where are you now that we really need you? According to the website, maybe only one complaint away.

LightSaber, I could not agree more. The judge is a complete disappointment. I assume that she is a political appointment.

Susan - the government code is actually 1770.2. I hope they weren't discussing 1771.2, which seems to be something entirely different!


Cal. Gov. Code 1770.2: Upon the entry of a plea of guilty, the entry of a plea of nolo contendere, or the rendering of a verdict of a guilty either by a jury or by the court sitting without a jury of a public offense, the conviction of which would invoke the provisions of Section 1021, subdivision (h) of Section 1770, or Section 3000, the person found guilty shall not assume the office for which the person is otherwise qualified or shall be suspended immediately from the office the person then holds. During the time of inability to assume an office or of suspension from office, the person shall not be entitled to receive the emoluments of the office, including, but not limited to, the exercise of the powers of the office, the rights to be seated in the office, and the compensation, including benefits, prescribed for the office.

Ms. Galvez, My error, and I'll get it corrected. Fortunately, paragraph 3 expressed the intent of 1770.2. Thanks

By whose authority did Ed hire attorney Winet? Ed and John need to go as well. Doubt if we will see any change as long as they remain. Public consensus is turning against John and Ed is becoming public enemy number 1.

Ed has been the puppeteer all along....and public enemy number 1 as well. The perps would not have been able to do their damage if he had not been complicit.

Yes oskidoll, I believe that Ed is as guilty as anyone (or worse).

Oldcharles, I do not understand how you attack Brand and McCann on this issue they are doing the right thing how absurd to say who gave them the right to bring in Winet they are trying to get this judge to follow the law. Quit being so intent to attack them the 2 Board members in question should be your target.

LightSaber: seems to me that Oldchulares asks a fair question regarding the authority needed by Ed and/or John to direct atty Winet...regardless of the purpose. Now, if Ed and co had been at all transparent in their actions and advised the public of what and why was taking place, we might be able to better evaluate those actions with regard to propriety. I do think it is a stretch to give Ed and/or McCann any credit for trying to do the right thing...I don't think they would recognize the 'right thing' if it stood up in front of them. Insofar as they are acting on behalf of US, the taxpayers who pay the freight for legal and all other SUHSD expenditures, they do OWE us transparency and to cite the authority under which they now take action...I applaud Oldchulares for asking the question.

From 3 Stooges quotes - "Is it honest work?" "Does it make any difference?!" "No,no...no difference." And "You wanna cheat, cheat fair. Anything I hate it's a crooked crook." As well as "It ain't the dippin'. It's the countin' that's got me." Happy Mother's Day.

Sweetwater posted their agenda for May 19. It is a "working" document.

May 19, 2014 (Mon) Closed Session - 5:30 p.m. (Working Document until May 16)

Ms. Luzzaro - Yes, I reviewed it earlier today. Funny, (not really) - for some strange reason neither Ed Brand's performance review or the property purchase appear to be on either Closed or Open session, unless I missed it. Where have these two agenda items disappeared to? Out of sight until it meets Ed Brand and John McCann's pleasure? Hmmmmmmmm

IF Ed Brand and John McCann believe this is going to be approved via County Board of Ed votes, they had better think again. We want Brand gone, and do not want any non essential monies being spent until 2015.

AND, our voices will be heard!

ALL eyes will be on County Representatives temporarily assigned to our seats.

Will the teachers/employees of the District show up in support of the community? I certainly hope so.

anniej, I checked yesterday specifically for those 2 items, I could not find either one listed anywhere. I speculate they will leave the performance review off and push it out until it is too late and Ed's contract will automatically renew. We are running out of time.

anniej, someone told me that trustee McCann was interviewed by Joe Little channel 10 and 2 interim board members were appointed for Sweetwater. However, I have not been able to find that on channel 10's site, or Joe Little's. Do you know anything about this? The link is not coming up for me. Pretty important stuff.

Ms. Luzzaro: Found it, and forwarded it to you. Based on what I read McCann is looking for the County Board of Ed to send down at least two members of their Board to sit on the dais. He also made a comment that Ed Brands tenure needs to be reviewed, but only after Board seats have been fixed.

So here is the 64 thousand dollar question - how many of you believe John McCANNT has even taken the time to read the contract? If we don't give Brand notice by June 15th his freakin' contract automatically renews!

The key to us moving forward via McCANNT and Brand leaving.

*it appears the NO McCann CANNT signs are disappearing, the many community members who have come together to thwart McCann's future as a CV City Council member are looking for pictures or videos of the roaches involved. The efforts of the community seem to be working, the signs and mailers are accomplishing the mission - a spotlight on McCann's votes, and who he has historically aligned himself with, OH MY!!!!!! Phones are ringing with the request I WANT ONE!!!!!!

annie, mine was taken but I will replace it. Saw an episode of a gator show where someone was stealing trapped gators out of another hunters trap. They rigged up a small hidden camera and caught the poacher red handed.

I see no info anywhere about the County B of E stepping up. Wonder why the story is going nowhere?

Does it really take that long for things to happen in the local news after a weekend?

Shouldn't the county board of ed make sure the law of bully-scammer Ed is trumped.

calbear - as long as McCANNT and Ed Brand sit on that dais we draw closer and closer to becoming insolvent.

FOCUS should be on these two - they are dangerous - puppeteer Brand and little puppet McCANNT.

*just my opinion

As a normally upbeat individual, this situation is just "onward and downward" The latest in the U-T, that fine bird cage liner of breaking news. Our friend, Judge Espana says nothing by saying everything about 1770.2. Today it is reported that she believes that Ms. Lopez and Mr. Cartmill should be suspended from the SUHSD Board until at least sentencing. However 1770.2 does not give her the authority to force the situation one way or another. It is up to the district to enforce 1770.2 or their own bylaws, (it could also be enacted by a Lawsuit by a member of the community.)

It is also reported that the County Board of Ed, will not assign temporary Board Members until after the situation is resolved by either resignations of Lopez and Cartmill or after sentencing where they are removed from their seats.

Finally Attorney Randy Winet, asked Judge Espana to move up the sentencing to assist in resolution and getting the County to move on replacement of the Trustees, she refused leaving the sentencing until June.

What a bunch of Cat Herders, is there no one with any integrity in the South Bay anymore?

Lopez and Cartmill your grandstanding and attempted facesaving is ridiculous, it only goes on to the detriment of the district and what is left of your reputations. Resign together, let the County step in and let's finish off this horrible episode of Sweetwater History.

John and Ed, it's sad that you guys are have become the last men standing and exploiting yourselves as exemplary board members, this due only through the failings of your contemporaries. If this is what's left after herding the cats, I am glad I have not stepped in it.

Voters of Sweetwater Union High School District, we have a great opportunity ahead of us in the Fall. For the first time since the origination of the District, we have the potential for a clean slate and the chance to build a new district out of the ashes of the current situation.


Very informative post. Thank you. Really agree with your last paragraph.

Not only does Judge Espana continue to inflict pain on the community she is supposed to be serving in her judicial capacity, it seems she is now intentionally throwing roadblocks into the process. One wonders how she ever passed the bar, and who now should be overseeing and supervising her fitness for serving on the bench!

Her refusal to move up the sentencing dates for Cartmill and Lopez to facilitate a timely resolution of the very mess she has created shows me that she is either (1) completely indifferent to the havoc and chaos she has created for the entire SUHSD and for the County Board of Education as well, OR (2) she is deliberately doing everything in her power to give the perps even more time at the SUHSD pay window, as I am sure they continue to draw their stipends, health benefits, and use of official electronic gear.

In either case, she is a study in judicial malpractice. Shame on her and on judge Danielsen, presiding judge of the San Diego Superior Court, who threw these cases into the South County arena and Judge Espana's crazy courtroom.

I just checked the Sweetwater website, the meeting notice and the "working agenda" have been pulled. I looked at the profiles and the only two there are Brand and McCann. The other four show two vacant and two suspended. Are we on hold now?

Then how are you going to stop automatic contract renewal by June 15 if no board members but John and Ed here playing chicken, no evaluation = good evaluation in the alternate universe? No conflict of interest by Brand either if he says not. Judge Espana won't help; plays dumb but she's following orders from somebody. Current board members sentencing also in June, no county rescue even possible. Got signs to fit the danger, Fire?

If, in fact, the district (meaning Brand) sees those two as "suspended", then there can be no quorum and no business transacted. Doesn't that mean the COE steps in with at least two members taking seats, better yet four taking seats? I find it infuriating that this judge who "ordered" that those last two keep their seats now says she has no authority to order them off the board, or even suspended.

But all the while, neither of them resigns. Those of you who wanted to give Bertha a pass of sorts due to her diligence in the past couple years now might want to revisit the situation. If she resigns today, the COE will have to act. Let Carty hang around, and turn slowly in the wind. He's toast, he knows it, but his ego and sociopathic nature won't let him admit he's wrong.

While I hate to draw parallels with other parts of the county, I just have to. Here in my eponymous home town we had a city councilman who was arrested for spousal abuse a while back. His political career had been looking promising; he even challenged our entrenched supervisor, Horn, in the last election. While that councilman was never charged, and likely was utterly innocent of abuse, his political career was over, kaput. We had another councilman who pled guilty to workers comp fraud and was accused of some other offenses involved in issuing rubber paychecks. He tried to run for reelection and came in dead last, as I recall. We're no paragons of political probity at all, but when folks do bad stuff, they concede that they need to disappear, and if they don't, are not reelected. What a contrast to this ongoing misery in Sweetwater!

This is where the County Board of Ed should/ought/must recognize that it does have oversight responsibility for the school districts in its jurisdiction. Superintendent Randy Ward is, and has been, a wus in this whole matter, preferring to 'hear, see, speak' no evil about any of the wrongdoing in the SuHSD. What a shame...the CBOE does have jurisdiction NOW and should act to prevent even more idiocy by Brand and Co....oh, but then there are Brand's complicit buddies at the CBOE....if the CBOE continues to drag its feet, they should be investigated in the complicity. As far as Cartmill is concerned, he is going to hold on till the last possible stipend has been paid, the last possible health/insurance premium paid, and the last message sent on his BlackBerry or whatever electronic gizmo he continues to hold in his hands. Don't know what Bertha's excuse is, but she is not earning any points with even those who might have otherwise been in her corner. A pox on all their houses!

Today's Mill carries a piece that reports a woman judge--a DIFFERENT woman judge--has ordered the COE to appooint four trustees to fill the vacancies on the SUHSD board. So, it took a judge to break this logjam of inaction. BTW, the court hearing was in response to a suit files against the COE by Sweetwater. Odd, huh? So, Brand's hiring of an attorney to pursue the matter approximates doing the right thing. The article today described the suit as intended to "prompt some legal guidance on replacing board members." Her honor also described the matter as "exigent", meaning that something needs to happen NOW, not weeks or months from now.

Ahh, the poor county board. These non-entities who are responsible for very little and who are little known by the public are actually going to have to go to meetings where there are some real stakes involved. They'll actually have to earn their stipends for a change, and take some heat for unwise behavior. Will this seal Brand's fate? We can hope, but don't expect any specific outcome. One thing is certain, and that is that this fall Sweetwater will get a new board and a "new birth of freedom." Can the local voters expect more wisdom this time around, or will they just elect more of the same sort of wheeler-dealers? An intelligent approach is long overdue, but without information being used, and an end to the block voting, don't expect much.

Regarding the hearing - why didn't the San Diego County Board of Ed NOT send their legal representative to the hearing?

Is Brand attempting to appoint who HE WANTS. Is there someone at the County who is working with him? Is Brand bullying Ward or working with him?

No matter what the case, SOMEONE, should have been there to speak for the San Diego Office of Ed don't you think?

As. I stated on the UT, if Brand and McCann appoint who THEY want rather than the community be given the opportunity to recommend who THE COMMUNITY wants - All FREAKIN' HELL IS GOING TO BREAK LOOSE - and it is all going to be aimed at the San Diego County of Ed.

Please join me in writing the County Board, each one of them, and respectfully ask why didn't they send a representative to Court? Also voice your opinion on Brand or McCann selecting the temps - we, the voters should have a say don't you think? I can think of a few names that garner respect and integrity - Jaime Mercado, Maty Adato, Karen Janney, Mr. Tarantino. ANYONE WHO IS A FRIEND (or pretend NOT friend of Brand's like Grossman) or McCann's should be eliminated.

anniej, there is some misunderstanding here about the term "appoint." Either my understanding is incorrect (always possible), or yours is. The next step here is that the five-person county board meets or confers and "appoints" four of its five members to occupy the vacant seats on the SUHSD board. My understanding is that they will serve until those seats are filled in the fall election. I admit that the Lopez seat and the Quinones seat are open until 2016, not this fall. But I don't think that those interim trustees will quickly undertake to appoint members of the public to the unexpired terms. And the best thing they could do would be to put the two seats referenced above up for special election in November.

If they did try to start filling the open seats and replace themselves, they would be wading into a political firestorm, and you need to remember that these folks didn't seek election to that county board so that they could rock the boat. They will seek the easiest way out of this mess, and that will be to allow all four seats to be filled by election in November.

While we are frustrated by the apparent unconcern displayed by the COE and its board, remember that it isn't illegal to be lazy or want to avoid controversy, or to want to duck responsibilities as much as they can. Seats on that board are a sinecure, a "job" that has a paycheck but requires no work.

Those folks you have mentioned should file to run for the vacant seats. They can do that right now in the case of McCannt's seat, Carty's seat, and Ricasa's vacant seat. And if the new board goes for special election on the other two seats, those can also be filed for.

Visduh, thank you for a good review of the current situation, which reminds us of the process stated in the law for filling vacant seats when the school board does not have a quorum to do so. Thanks to Lopez, Cartmill and McCann, who refused/neglected to appoint replacements for Quinones and Ricasa, that is exactly where the SUHSD board is now. If Lopez, Cartmill and McCann had acted in the best interest of the people they are supposed to serve instead of refusing to act at all, SuHSD would not now be in the 'exigent' situation described by the latest judge (who at least is able to grasp that very fact that eludes judge Espana.)

I do disagree with your philosophy however that the members of the CBOE should be held harmless because, according to you, 'it isn't illegal to be lazy or want to avoid controversy, or want to duck responsibilities as much as they can. Seats on that board are a sinecure, a 'job that has a pay check or requires no work.'" Where does it say anywhere that the CBOE members don't have to be responsible for anything? I believe the law says that the County Sup of Schools (whom the CBOE oversees) is responsible for oversight, especially fiscal, of the school district (that would include Sweetwater) in the board's jurisdiction. I believe the CBOE Board members took an oath of office that probably didn't mention doing no work or having no responsibility.

I for one expect more of my elected officials when they sign up for and run for a position as a representative of the public interest and taxpayers. The County Board of Education is complicit in the Sweetwater mess and should not be let off the hook for their responsibility in allowing the mess to fester so long.

oski, what you saw as my philosophy was my cynicism showing through. Those county ed departments and boards could provide some real leadership and seldom do. I cannot think of a single thing in this county in the past thirty years that came out of that office. There is a huge leadership vacuum there, and the board always takes a hands-off approach. Should we demand more from them? Absolutely. Should those board members hide out in their office on Linda Vista Road, draw their stipends, and duck their responsibility? Absolutely not. This time the COE didn't even send an attorney to court. Why? Probably because the supe was just waiting for the authority of a judge to act, and advise his board of what was expected. Under that approach, there was no need to send anyone! But, what this meant was that it took a judge to tell the COE what its job was and how to do it. Why do we elect people if they cannot use their own authority to act? After all these years, the COE doesn't know when/how/why to take action when it is called for? That's the conclusion we can reach. And that means that we pay millions a year to run an operation of educational bureaucrats that do little or nothing to advance local education.

Thanks for the clarification Visduh...I appreciate your points about what we should expect from the CBOE vs. what we have in fact gotten for our tax money. Randy Ward and co are pathetic passive players in this whole ugly scenario and could have done much to prevent the morass. So sad.

I am hearing Brand is in the fight wanting to appoint. Hopefully I am wrong but I am concerned. Brand wants this new building and he wants to continue to rule - no matter what his 'I am leaving in October' verbiage states. Let us not forget the warning of well respected Ruth Chapman who once attempted to warn us 'If Ed Brands lips are moving, he is lying'.

The community has lost faith in McCann and it appear he too has had his puppet strings re knotted. Looking to him for any help is like yelling into the wind - no results. McCann wants to prove me wrong then have a press conference and recommend the 4 I mentioned to take over the seats.

The last thing we need are more puppets, more pay back favor 'temporary' Board members sitting at the dais doing Brand's bidding.

Remember Visduh, this is Ed Brand and John McCann we are talking about - and the reason this issue has been raised is due to the fact that the County sent 'NOONE' to court on Friday - WHY????? Are deals being made behind closed doors?

One last thing - I believe Winet is also one of the County's Board of Ed attorneys - hmmmmm

So as we go into Memorial Weekend, what is likely to be happening? The community meeting set up by Mayor Cox is now in conflict with the Sweetwater Board Meeting, as Ed Brand saw a chance to split up all the interested parties. Not really an ethical move, but since when has Ed Brand ever done anything with great ethics?

The trending belief is that Brand is trying to finagle being able to stack the board with some people who would do his bidding--and this is, of course, an enormous problem. Brand should not be given any chance for additional power gathering. He needs to be removed. The man is a loose cannon, working only to fill his own pockets, curry favor to those with more power and money and endeavor to undermine the public school system we taxpayers are supporting. His interests do not coincide with the best interests of the students. But Brand couldn't care less about the students. For him, it is all about deals.

When do we get to find out what the Sweetwater books really look like? When do we get to find out the ins and outs of all Brand's real estate deals, which have been made behind the backs of all of us taxpayers?

When can we get rid of the negative influence of Brand? How can we get rid of the negative influence of Brand?

Visduh you were right - Neylon, Hartley, Jones and Anderson will join John McCann at the dais.

Are any of them known to have personal integrity of a substantial amount?

I'd say it is hard to know about their integrity. Virtually nobody knows anything about them. Other than Neylon, who had been mentioned in comments weeks or months ago, and described as unwilling to do anything to become involved in the mess, I know nothing. The name Mark Anderson rings a bell, I think from the last election in this part of the county.

It is sad that we still cannot assume that anything will be done right by that newly-constituted board. They should know that Brand is "supposed" to be evaluated, and that his contract will self-renew if they do not act to stop that from happening. You'll soon know what's up if they waffle on his continued employment with the district. While Brand's days with SUHSD are numbered, and while he could make it easy on everyone by tendering his resignation to the board at the next meeting, he probably will hang on to the end. Odd, in that he was quoted, and not too long ago, as saying that when the job was no longer fun, he would leave. If he's actually enjoying all this agony, it tells all of more than we want to know about him and his sanity.

My personal opinion - I observed them during a couple of the recent meetings regarding geographical representation - one thing I can tell you THEY ARE MOST PROFESSIONAL WHILE I SITTING ON THE DAIS. They, unlike John McCann, look at all speakers when they voice public comment - they, unlike Ed Brand, do not smirk and whisper when community members step up to the podium.

I am encouraging as many as possible to attend and voice concerns. It is important that they are made aware that we do NOT want Brand and McCann spending ANY large amounts of monies on ANYTHING that is not used in the classroom FOR THE STUDENTS.

Hopefully they will vote to issue Brand a letter - 'you have until February of 2015 - after that it is up the NEW Board to decide if you stay'. If John McCann fails to agree with this, well then we know the fix is in don't we?

Neighbors, Ed Brand has spent MILLIONS on two separate sites for a new District office dating back to 2006. Are we going to add a third property or are we going to send the message - you Ed Brand are not the real estate tycoon you paint yourself to be and we are SICK of you spending our monies EVERYWHERE but in the classroom.

anniej, maybe you could do something that I've seen done here in Vista. Some group wants something done, so they make up signs for audience members to hold up, and often that involved kids, and at the right time in the meeting, would all stand up and hold their signs so that the board had to see all of them. Now, there was no physical threat, but sitting up there and looking at a couple hundred signs has to be unnerving. Have these four ever been at a county meeting where anyone made harsh comments, or packed the audience with partisans? Have they ever had to look out at a sea of faces that expect something from them. I doubt that. Their meetings were, I think, models of decorum and restraint.

So, have the audience ready with signs that read something like "Fire Brand", or "No Extension for Brand", or "Evaluate Brand First", or even "Take Charge." Send as many people up for public comment as possible who all have a short, sweet message. That would be that Brand should get no extension until he's fully evaluated, and that a real, thorough evaluation is expected (or demanded). That would get their attention for sure.

That should be especially effective with this group who never have to deal with gut-level issues.

Mayor Cheryl Cox has joined with other local Mayors in hosting a community forum - the topic, education. It is scheduled for next Wednesday - so what does John McCann and Ed Brand do? They reschedule our Board meeting next week from Monday to Wednesday


Will these two stop at nothing to gag public input? Where is the transparency John McCann speaks of?

Last evening I received an email which allegedly shows a picture of John McCann operating a motor vehicle AND using his cell phone. It occurred while community members were putting out NO MCCANN signs. While I am 64 and I do OCCASIONALLY have recall issues - I could swear there was a law implemented prohibiting drivers from engaging in actions that would distract them and potentially cause injury to others.

Rumor has it this picture has been sent to several news sources - OH MY! 'News at 11:00'? Wonder if Joe Little is available?

Now I have had such an experience as last year John McCann drove up to me standing on a sidewalk holding a sign - you all remember me commenting about that - at the time he was using his little red camera, the same one he used at the Hilltop meeting.

Silly man - childish actions are just that - childish!!!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I for one am skeptical of our good Mayor Cox, she is stepping into the SUHSD issues at a critical time, "when all is a mess it is time to Reward the non-participants".... I say this as it has been rumoured that she is interested in the Superintendents job....I say, sorry Ms. Cox, but "No more inbred Southbay Politicians..." too much nepotism and favors...

Two, I have to think that the County Board of Education Members will not be likely to rubber stamp anything out of this district, I think it will be approve what is needed to operate the business of educating our kids, not comforting our adminstrative staff.

Ed will hang on for as long as he can in hopes that another weak board is elected and "Brings him back or saves him again". Allong with the "Ed Brand Sports Hall of Fame", he must want to have the "Ed Brand Adminstration Centre (sp, intentional) of Sweetwater" to be remembered by not the L & C St. Money pits....

The best solution here is offer Ed a short term contract ie less than a year with proper release clauses with reasonable compensation, the worst thing would be to have Ed think He is in the drivers seat here, if he threatens to leave, take him up on it.

The best and only thing we can do for the District is attend meetings, review documents and be sure we the people are heard. Protecting the district falls back to our diligency to review budget reports and Prop O expenses for shoddy mistakes and double dealing.

Again way to much floating in the pool, we need to keep on the Board as ever, and start preparing our November candidates....


BBQ, for the sake of the district and its students, let's pray you are correct in assuming that these new board members take control of the district and return it to its mission. But, given their inaction and staying out of sight up until yesterday, I would not want to depend upon them to right the ship. They could very well show up and rubber stamp every item that Brand puts on the agenda or consent calendar. At this moment in time, it is simply impossible to know what they will or will not do.

Visduh - great suggestion! Hopefully word will be passed and signs will be raised. However I am thinking Brand and McCann being Brand and McCann will have the paid security officers either remove them or not allow community members in attendance to hold them up. BUT,,,, we will try.

Good ideas....remember that signage is considered part of our individual First Amendment right to freedom of speech. signs are considered an extension of that right. If the participants are otherwise orderly, the persons holding the signs should be allowed to do so, especially in a meeting of a public agency that is being held per the Brown Act. GEESH!

oskidoll - with all due respect, allow me to remind you what Ed Brand said a few months ago when the meeting was not adjourned. The public reminded the Board of proper protocol and. Ed Brand's response 'I?/we?can do whatever I?/we? want' ( can't remember if he used the word I or we ).

Brown Act you say, remember Donna Frye drove all the way down here to graciously offer Brown Act training - to no avail.

Thanks for the reminder anniej -- however at this meeting, and those to come, Ed will NOT be in charge because the four new temporary members of the Board will be at the dais.

I think they will not be likely to tolerate such arrogance and willful arrogance by Brand, and he may be on better behavior because they will comprise a majority of votes of folks necessary for any extension in his contract. Remember, he has something he needs from them.

He may need to march to a different drummer during their presence. This may be a brand new ball game.

In the meantime, I suggest, with all due respect, that those in attendance who wish to exercise their civil rights of freedom of speech via signage do so with confidence, and not cower in fear of what Dr. Brand 'might' do. I think Visduh's suggestions about the signs is a great one...they will convey the public sentiment to the temporary board members in addition to what ever might be said during public comment. If the members of the public are not disruptive, they have every right to be present and hold their signs.

The temp board members are now part of the district web site. However, McCann is now the president?? How did that happen? Don't they need to vote on that or is it because he is the last man standing?

If they are following Robert's Rules of Order, the vice president takes the role of the president when the president is not able to serve. I don't know what the new board members might wish to do about the officers of the board once they are seated.

oskidoll - when it is convenient for them - they do follow Roberts Rules of Order. John McCann being President of SUHSD board OMG - the only thing better in his eyes would be President of the U.S.A. - fortunately that will NEVER happen. If the community has its way - by December 31st of this year his political career will be but a bad bad memory for the voters. How he has gotten this far is simply B. E. Y. O. N. D. comprehension.

In my opinion he has become a MAJOR embarrassment for the Republican Party. Fortunately the REAL Party members not only know the truth but quietly are now speaking of it. Their voices put into action via the voting box. True patriots vote for what is BEST for the country, not the party.

With the announcement that Ed Brand is going to announce his retirement at tonight's board meeting, one wonders what flurries of activity that will engender. Let us hope there is going to be a search for a superintendent. Let us hope that those who have volunteered to step in and assist Sweetwater--such as Jaime Mercado-- will not be ignored.

We need to clear up all the mysteries--and make sure that all the communities that contribute to Sweetwater UHSD are listened to.

Maybe this can start with better phone and front desk behavior from all those representing Sweetwater in schools and at the district. Let's just say that there have been many times when I have gotten the distinct impression that those at the front desk are just trying to get parents and community members to "go away". Not the way to present themselves, or the district.

While I would love to join the 'happy dance' and parade that are forming in celebration of Ed's so-called second retirement, I am cautious about Ed's sincerity, given his past record. Perhaps he is attempting to finesse the balance of the time on his contract (remember they don't have to let him stay at all) and perhaps finagle an extension. At this point, everything and anything are possible with Fast Eddy.

Remember also that he and his henchpeople can do a lot of damage between now and whenever he lets the door hit him on his formidable backside on the way out...and the new interim board should be reminded not to give him free reign and certainly to hold his feet to the fire for whatever time he has left on the clock.

Right you are, oskidoll! There must be an angle to this somewhere for Fast Eddy. But--did I hear correctly that those speaking up at the board meeting were admonished by the new board members for acting like elementary students! And this is the group that has pledged to listen to the public!

The contempt in which South San Diego County is held must be vast, because I have never heard of a school district and school board members being so completely disrespectful of their voting and taxpaying public. And yet this goes on for years .

The 'ties that bind' must run very fast and deep. Again, I say it is time to sever them once and for all. No more secret land deals with unknown participants. How sickening all of this is.

People who happen to have bought houses in South San Diego County do not deserve being disregarded, ignored and publicly disrespected BY THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING THEM!

And what about those drop-out rates, now that all students are tracked by number? What are the real numbers? Why do we never hear about the real state of affairs in Sweetwater schools...we get the puffery, and the watered-down charges, but not the truth.

What is happening with the ridiculous turf war between Chula Vista Elementary School District and Sweetwater UHSD? Who can slap together the most charter schools the fastest? Is that some sort of new reality show? Public dollars being thrown to the winds as adminstrators scramble for kiddies to fill these "schools". As the administrators lie and say the charter schools do not cost the districts anything.

We want real answers here, not some mealy-mouthed, un-thought-through attempt at placating those of us who know that public education in Sweetwater and its environs is still in deep, deep trouble. Where you find Ed Brand, you find trouble. (Time to remind people of the failed bank?)

Always remember, Ruth Chapman was right! "If Ed Brand's lips are moving, he's lying!"

I heard the Ch10 news a few days ago - lawsuit has been filed to discover where is a missing 26 million of your school money. Maybe he's running from the paper trail again.

Nevermind. 26 mill is about Gandara and contractors. The Ed money is about real estate, probably a separate legal matter of 40.(?)

I leave on vacation, and this time come back to see that things are getting better, albeit slowly. This new board is now trying to reclaim funds paid to the crooked contractors, something that the old board should have done, but did not do. Brand decides to leave, but on his own terms and timetable. At least he's leaving, and has the decency to resign. (I know, I know, using the words "decency" in the same sentence as "Brand" is very strange.) The So County voters now have the opportunity to start afresh in the SUHSD, and could make it a model of good governance. The record of those voters is very poor, and could very well end up electing a new board that is no better than the old one.

This turnaround, if in fact there is any turning away from the corruption of the past, could have started nearly two years ago if the indicted board members had just resigned immediately. That is what would likely have happened in most districts in the county and state. Yet, NOT ONE of them had the decency (here I go using that word again) just to quit. Why is that? The only explanation is that none of them thought they had done anything wrong. Ol' Pearlie was quoted at one point as "looking forward" to going to trial! You can't make this stuff up.

I'd be interested to follow the future careers of these convicted, removed and disgraced "trustees" over the next few years. (They should be disgraced, but in that community, who knows?) I doubt that will be possible. What kind of story will Cartmill tell his followers and believers? Ans: probably that is was all just a misunderstanding and that it was due to the evil teachers union. Actually, that's what all of them will use as an excuse. Yes, folks it was the nasty Republican DA allied with the union who came to So County and persecuted all those innocent Hispanic folks! Wait a minute. Is Cartmill Hispanic? Chopra? Uh, no, that doesn't explain all the cases, does it? And what does the future hold for Brand? He has plenty to hide, and we can hope that his conduct is being investigated. Don't bet on that happening.

I suspect the former board did not sue the contractors because, after all, the members (including McCann, I believe) had already solicited and taken their money! It wouldn't have been kosher :-) With regard to the new interim board, I think we ought not to expect more than the bare minimum 'maintenance' from them...don't expect them to be the reformers everyone wants. I think they will allow Brand to 'carry on' as long as he doesn't irk them too much, and we are stuck with the status quo until after the November election when new members take office in December. At least we don't have Cartmill, Quinonez, Ricasa and Lopez to jump on Ed's real estate bandwagon...what the interim board chooses to do, or not do, with the proposed real estate deal for new District Offices will be quite interesting. Also, their choice for an interim superintendent (should Fast Eddy REALLY leave when he promises to) will also be of interest. Don't forget that Laura Duzyk, Assistant County office of Ed superintendent for finances and Fast Eddy are tight.

If Ed Brand is not audited, held accountable after all his years in the muddle, dodging, there is a very badly broken justice system here.

SuperintendentSuperDodger, millions of dollars out of kid's classes, granted to Ed by Ed, no doubt in my mind. Looks like his old behavior pattern.

I have a couple of comments about the May 28 Board Meeting;

First it's the contrite behavior of Ed Brand! The definition of contrite is remorseful, or sorry, Ed was sorry for the issue of "L" St. He said if he knew then what he knows now he would not have entered into the Real Estate speculation that was "L" St, 3rd St and 5th St. My question as the district is not allowed to invest Bond or reserve funds in risky schemes, called arbitrage is not the scheme to purchase, manipulate the zoning in partnership with the City to raise the value of the property originally planned to build new administration facilities not arbitrage. All involved in that scheme should be held to public review, Dr Brand, the sitting board at the time of the purchase (Mr. Cartmill was on that board) and the members of the city council (John McCann) and zoning board?

Perhaps we are starting the resolution of this issue, who knows, I think we will find more skeletons in the closet, it is interesting that we now have the permanent "Ed Brand Sweetwater Sports Hall of Fame in the "L" St Building, perhaps it was needed to ensure the minimum District occupancy of 60% to keep the Lease/Buy agreement active, I must be too suspicious.

Second comment is the perception of behind doors conversations with the new board members when before any comments by the public were heard it was moved and seconded by John McCann that he be the Board President, it was voted on and here we go.....

Third, I will apologize for my personal behavior to the new board members but the actions with poorly laid out District documents and the redaction of other "normal" District documents like the fund borrowing documents usually supplied by Ms. Michels were back to hiding information from the public, raising the frustration of the outspoken members of the community.

More of the same ol'Sweetwater.

I have sent a personal letter to the three Board Members present at the meeting and hope they are open to meeting outside the contentious Board meeting atmosphere.


BBQ -- The Brown Act will not permit three or more board members (or any majority) from meeting outside the publicly noticed meeting. They can, however, meet in a 'workshop' type session if it is properly noticed to the public. They are also prohibited from having 'serial-type' meetings on the same topic. As I said in my previous post, I do not expect this interim board to take any courageous steps to reform the status quo during their time on the dais. I predict they will 'maintain' and take minimal actions to keep the necessary work of the district moving forward. So far, we have seen no courage or initiative from the County Office of Education...remember, they had to be sued to even make the interim appointments!

If you remember that those folks run for that board just because it is out of the public eye, isn't expected to make any decisions that really affect schools directly, and doesn't have people commenting angrily at its meetings. Maybe one or two of them will decide to step up and actually run the district. I saw a recent editorial in the Mill that decried the past lack of leadership in SUHSD and said that what was needed now was some true leadership. A good place to start would be for one, two, three or four of those new trustees to decide to earn their stipends for once, and actually pull on the tiller and start the district on a new course. I don't think anyone owes that board an apology for anything he or she said during the comment period at the last meeting. Oh, and why were not all four of them present? I suppose there was some plausible excuse, but it may have been cowardice on the part of the absent one.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad