Sweetwater board candidate stumps on civility

If he wins, Jim Cartmill will take the dais as a probationer

District boardmembers called on police to evict the public from an October 21, 2013, meeting.
  • District boardmembers called on police to evict the public from an October 21, 2013, meeting.

Campaigns usually don’t get ugly until election day nears, but disgraced Sweetwater former trustee Jim Cartmill, has already come out mud-slinging — against community advocates.

Cartmill is running for seat 3 in the Sweetwater Union High School District. This district election could be a national anomaly because all five seats are up for grabs in November.

The wide-ranging corruption trials, which involved contractor gifts and trustee votes, resulted in four out of the five board members either resigning or being removed from the board.

After serving only one term, the fifth trustee, John McCann, is leaving the district in a bid for a Chula Vista City Council seat.

Cartmill was originally charged with nine counts of corruption, which included: wrongful influence, two counts of accepting a bribe by a member of legislature, conflict of interest, two counts of filing a false instrument, perjury by declaration, gifts from a single source in excess of the legal amount, and perjury by declaration.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of accepting gifts over the state limit. He was sentenced April 2014 to three years of probation, a $4589 fine, and 40 hours of community service. He was also obliged to step down from his trustee seat.

If Cartmill is elected in November he will still be on probation. On September 16, Cartmill sent out an email soliciting campaign donations. In the email, he appeals to people who are tired of the “coarsening of civil discourse.” He includes a sound bite from a Sweetwater board meeting and writes:

“Here is a small example of public communications during a board meeting (in front of children, students and the general public) that will give you an idea of how a small minority of people can bully and intimidate others.”

Spliced into the email is a truncated audio recording from an October 21, 2013, board meeting in which community advocate Maty Adato expresses her anger for the way the public was treated.

Cartmill’s email neglects to mention that on that night the Chula Vista police were summoned by the district to sweep the public from the boardroom. The entire crowd of parents and teachers was forced to stand outside for hours and listen to the meeting through a loudspeaker.

When Adato was finally allowed back into the boardroom to address an agenda item, she first expressed anger with the way the public had been treated, then went on to criticize the district’s use of Mello-Roos funds.

Cartmill’s campaign email excises Adato’s comments about Mello-Roos and only splices her protest against the way the board meeting was being conducted.

Adato said in a September 24 interview, “It’s no surprise that Mr. Cartmill would characterize me and other community activists this way. After all, we are the ones who took our concerns about corruption to the district attorney, which resulted in his removal from the board.”

Just after some trustee’s homes were raided by agents from the district attorney’s office in December 2011, the Reader reported “Community activists Fran Brinkman, Stewart Payne, John Brickley, Kathleen Cheers, and Maty Adato set today’s actions in motion when they took their complaints about former Sweetwater superintendent Jesus Gandara to the district attorney’s office.”

Gandara was sentenced in June to 220 days in jail for a felony pay-to-play charge.

On September 24, Cartmill sent out a second campaign-solicitation email. He encloses quotations that might indicate the support he hopes to attract.

In the first email, Cartmill refers to detractors as “nattering nabobs of negativity.” He borrows his quote from Spiro Agnew, vice president to Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1963.

In the September 24 solicitation, Cartmill opens with a biblical quotation: "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." He then goes on to enumerate his accomplishments, among them, he lists “sweeping campaign reforms.”

Adato argues that Cartmill impeded campaign reform. An August 19 Voice of San Diego piece tells it this way: “Community advocate Maty Adato said the proposal was on the board agenda five different times for two years before it was finally approved in January [2014].

“Adato said former SUHSD board president Jim Cartmill sat on the resolution for months before finally signing it and bringing it to the board. ‘He takes credit for getting this passed, and in my opinion that’s an insult,’ Adato said. ‘We [community advocates] met with the attorney and did all the work.’”

Foot-dragging by the board was the subject of a 2012 Reader article. When Cartmill ran for the board in 2012, district vendors contributed heavily to his campaign. Seville Group, Inc., then project manager for Proposition O, donated $20,000 to his campaign.

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Ah yes, the antagonists are painted as 'nut jobs' by those who the hands of justice reached and tapped on the shoulder and said 'follow me to the court house for a mug shot'.

Wake up parents and voters that live in Mr. Cartmill's district. You deserve better representation! I will pass along this excellent article by Mrs. Luzzaro to as many people as I can. It is time to force retirement on this fellow.

It definitely is time for Cartmill to 'retire' from his 20-year gig as a worthless SUHSD trustee. Clearly, he has not measured up to a position of the public TRUST.

It is interesting how he can rewrite, and redact history! Clearly, the mind and work of a snake oil cum vitamins salesman, without other visible means of support. What a huckster!

Throw the BUM out and keep him away from the public trough.

Cue the theme from "The Godfather"...as the warbling accordion music softly plays, let us think of Mr. Cartmill's real accomplishments.

He voted every single time, in absolute lock-step, with the Brand/Gandara/Brand administrations which were rife with corrupt dealings.

He did not call a halt to any of the horrifying wastes of attorney fees when Mr. Garcia was charging top dollar the moment he started his car in his driveway in the L.A. area and drove down here. He did not call a halt to any of the poor usages of attorney fees and other related legal fees for law suits that were unwarranted. (Fighting a girl's softball field for over 10 years when it was clearly mandated by Title IX...and then, when all of us thought it was over and done with , we just recently learn that the board filed an appeal in 2012, which they, of course, LOST! And we end up paying half a million dollars more! This, all will be interested to know, AFTER THE FIELD HAS BEEN INSTALLED AND HAS BEEN UP AND RUNNING FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS--something like a $1 million job...)

I could go on and on.

Mr. Cartmill apparently does not understand what it is a board member of a school district is supposed to do, which is unfortunate, because he has been doing it (or not doing it) for the past 20 years.

Great Day In The Morning...I hope all have awakened, and know better than to vote for Cartmill, who is clearly not capable of the discernment required to do the job as board member. Or if he does have the discernment, he long ago chose to ignore it and vote with those whose financial support could be counted on. Too bad the latter is what is called corruption.

But let's all be polite, while Cartmill and pals play burn the tax and bond funds, as the public isn't paying attention.

Except we now are paying attention. I have a campaign slogan for you, Mr. Cartmill:

Honestly, if you want Honesty, you don't want Cartmill!!

Obviously, Ms Adato had every right to speak out in the manner that she did. Mr Cartmill's omission of what preceded her comment in his campaign pitch is about as sleazy as it gets. oskidoll, your comments are right on, however we don't have to throw the bum out, he already has been thanks to Ms Adato and the other concerned citizens who went to the DA. If it wasn't for a weak judge, he wouldn't be on the ballot.

joepublic.... Jim Cartmill does not GET IT that he no longer 'owns' that seat he has warmed for 20 years. He needs to get the message that we, the public do NOT want him there again.
And when Judge Espana is up for election, we should make sure she gets that very same message and throw her out of her chambers too. She is the reason we even have to deal with Cartmill on the ballot now.

I am wondering how many other School Boards have such a picture in their history? Are you counting the number of security personnel - both private (paid for with our tax dollars because we are such a bad bunch) and Chula Police Dept.? What you are seeing is not the totality of the security that evening - oh CONTRAR! their were others in the front of the Board Room and also some outside.

IF Jim Cartmill would have had the decency to hold the meeting at a venue that could hold the numbers in attendance at, let's say a Chula High Performing Arts Center, all of the money on SECURITY would not have been needed - not that it was to begin with.

This picture defines the majority of our past Board's dysfunction. It is almost as bad as McCann calling out the Police Force over his illegally placed campaign sign - the one a community member (Kevin O'Neill brought to the meeting taking McCann to task for blanketing the City with his campaign signs). I will never forget what the Sgt. said when I was escorted (by other police personnel) over to speak to him "a sign is what they needed ALL of us for"? "Sir, this John McCann we are talking about, I can't believe he called you". yep a 64 year old grandmother anniej had taken the sign and put it in my car, intending to turn it in to the Chula Vista Public Works Dept. "Well Sgt. You see I am standing on principle, I put the sign in my car, which will force Mr. McCann to have to take his time to go down and explain his actions to the City". Sgt. - "Ma'am, is there any way I can convince you to give us the sign". Me " With all due respect no". Just then the 4th patrol car pulled up and I thought Chula Vista's finest had better things to do than deal with John McCann's childish behavior or me standing on principle.

Yes folks this story written by Ms. Luzzaro and my interaction with John McCann that evening are truly indicative of just how bad things had spiraled out of control under Jim Cartmill and John McCann's lack of leadership - both incidents reflect just how preposterous it is that either McCann or Cartmill have decided to run for anything other than 'father, husband, son or brother of the year' 'again'!

If memory serves me, that was an OLD campaign sign at that.

Jim's release of the audio was a big blunder. Mrs. Adato is liked and thought well of by many people. Looks like he was trying for some payback for her being part of the group that started this criminal ball rolling. Guess he forgot that sermon in the Bible about vengeance that he preaches to the youth about. He should have left politics when he pleaded guilty.

oldchulares: Yes, he should have left or been forced to leave politics when he pleaded guilty. I hope it has sunk in that this is a man that pleaded guilty and is on probation for his crime. In most cases, people would avoid the services of someone or an establishment "on probation" for criminal activity. I guess it's up to the voters to do what the inept judge Espana didn't do to keep this criminal out of public office.

Jim Cartmill and John “Custer F- -k” Mc Cann are hack politicians, hypocrites, crony opportunists, self-servers, lairs, double dealers, and cowards. They have a total lack of concern for the health, safety and well-being of the students and teachers. The uncoordinated transfer and bumbling development of the ill-planned Stephen Hawking Elementary School to Second Ave. between Palomar and Orange Ave to replace our successful R.O.P. program center is a perfect example. It took little account of the general welfare of the students on their part. The automobiles and trucks on the street create total safety, traffic congestion planning failure. Space does not exist for the number of parents pushing baby carriages, walking small children, leaving children in vehicles with their engine on while running to deliver other children. Loading, parking and double parking is strangling the neighborhood with unfortunate environmental impacts. This is the most congested school, residential and business area of the city with the most hazardous intersections. All we got from Jim Cartmill and John “Custer F- -k “Mc Cann was confused, vague, or irrelevant responses to our concerns. They did not even bother to study the traffic problems likely to be created because it wouldn’t have made any difference what the study showed to their self-serving interest. Jim Cartmill and John “Custer F--k” McCann were not focused on their primary educational mission for high school students. They ruined our Regional Occupation Program due to poor administrative planning and lack of consideration of meaningful public participation. Privatizing elementary education makes no educational or economic sense. These two people are low and most contemptible flawed human wrecks and are deeply troubled. Sweetwater Union High School District deserves better.

I have to believe the main reason that Sweetwater under Ed Brand all but wiped out the R.O.P program is that they were very interested/motivated/paid off to usher in the new era of the "For Profit" schools.

Remember, it was around this time that Brand was trying to link up with all sorts of questionable educational institutions...and handing over students' private contact information to these same institutions.

Brand was trying to turn Sweetwater students into more of a revenue stream for himself and pals.

The fact that Jerry Brown had decided to reallocate some of the funds didn't help...because it gave Brand the excuse he was looking for. You see, in the sick mind of Ed Brand and all those who have gone along with him (and any who still continue to go along with him), Sweetwater students are only numbers for state reimbursement and objects to take financial advantage of.

Why have a nice R.O.P. program, when you can charge students an arm and a leg plus interest to learn the same thing--and get "bonus" payments for it!!!

Of course, this is merely my take on the matter. Perhaps there is a better understanding of what has gone on in Sweetwater. If so, I really hope to learn what it is!

In the meantime, jerrythomas, I wonder what Ed Brand is doing these days with all his time? I wonder if he has any other tricks up his rather large sleeves.

Keep speaking out, don't let what has been lost and destroyed be forgotten!

Definition of cluster f- -k cluster f--k noun a mess, a really bad situation. What a clusterf--k!

a disturbance causing confusion; "ruckus"; "commotion". The kid dropped the dishes and caused one big clusterf--k. something messy, messed-up or disorganized. After the party, my whole house is a clusterf--k.

an ill-organized, clutter of equipment and people, all of which create a commotion. This job site is a complete clusterf--k. an unorganized mess, which will be difficult to organize again. Some examples of "cluster f--ks": a car pileup, a messy room, an unorganized meeting. Everything is going wrong. Full of confusion or uncertainty. This whole situation is just a big clusterf--k.

(n): When circumstances become so outrageously f--ked-up (see f--ked-up) that they cannot be repaired, fixed, ignored or blamed on someone else. This engineering project has turned into a total cluster-f--k. .

An organized operation or activity that goes terribly wrong as a result of middle-management incompetence.

Coined by American and Allied soldiers during the Viet Nam Conflict. Majors and Lt Colonels in the Army and Air Force are the equivillent of middle management. Often, the aquisition of supplies and orders for troop movements were originated by these officers. The insignia for each of these ranks is a small round Oak Leaf Cluster (Majors have a gold cluster, Lt Colonels have a silver custer). When an operation went wrong, it was often blamed on incompitent middle management giving stupid or contradictory orders. Hence, cluster f--k.

jerrythomas I am quite familiar with the term and while many will probably agree with you I think McCann fits the bill more than Jim. Jim is very smart and very calculating. Both need to get out of politics as neither one of them has done did-dally squat.

iknowthetruth,using these words for a name,or mantra doesn't make it so!

I'm concerned over the voting areas. I believe area #2 has the largest population. I believe Cartmill and his church are in the same voting area and is pretty small. Can anyone shed some light on this factually. I'm concerned because of the old saying forgive and forget. His church community alone could possibly win the election for him,because of the number of people running for the seat. After listening to Cartmill's tape and his commentary,I felt like he was trying to put his demise by the DA's office as a mistake because of the nattering nabobs. I felt as though he was trying to shift the blame on us somehow. It truly made me angry to have him go after Maty in such a cheap way. He attempted to misuse her word to help himself. My neighbor suggested making a sign and standing on the corner of his church on Sundays and letting them know what a liar and manipulator he is.

Erupting Jim Cartmill is in area 3. This area comprises Eastlake Middle and High, Olympian and Otay Ranch, and Rancho Del Rey Middle. We will have an area 3 candidate forum - Jim has confirmed attendance - on Thirs Oct 23rd. More info to come.

iamtruth - perhaps you should change your name to one that is more reflective 'ispeaknotruth'

Cartmill evidently will never take responsibility for what the Sweetwater Board has done, has not done and has allowed to take place.

What we need is an enormous chart listing each and every error made.

The biggest problem is, would the errors be listed in chronological order, or order of degree of negative impact?

Then, we can list who voted in favor or against each item.

At that point, we can show to the world what Jim Cartmill's record is, in black and white, without the "patriotic" red and blue to discolor and distort the truth.

It is very obvious that Mr. Cartmill pays no attention to this community's real educational needs. He only pays attention to what he thinks he can get for himself, while trying to appear like someone far different from what he is. Sad. For his own sake, I hope he starts realizing what truth is.

Iamtruth, you are so wrong. I am still here Bertha is not.

OK. You're correct. Same with the two ladies not being friends as you mentioned. You're correct as well. That's why both of my last 2 posts were deleted, right? And that's why you responded right away to the rumor and defended it when nobody else did.

This is too easy.

Erupting, first off the voting districts are more or less even by population, thus giving the goofy borders, they do not reflect any real differentiation with Mello Roos or any other "Special Districts". The confusing part is the Map on the District website defines the districts as A - E and we all seem to refer them as Seats 1-5, purposeful deception?

By the District map I live in district "C", Eastlake, Otay Ranch and further east, I think this is the same as "3" or seat 3. I will be out on Olympic Parkway at 805 with Anti Cartmill and Anti McCann posters, both as said political self important hacks, kind of like the Paris Hylton of the South Bay.

The only reason I can think of for Mr. Cartmill to run again has to be ego and the need for a few more months "Service" to achieve full vesting in the Calif. Education Health benefits, important for someone who is "Self-Employed" As for John McCann where else can he get a job with his illustrious back-ground?

BBQ, CAVE or is that "nattering nabob" Jim, if you even bothered to read the paperwork given to you by the Adminstration staff you would have seen the holes in the reports, if you'd have been a "Trustee" you would have questioned them before rubber stamping them (Obvious Oxymoron)

Tuesday October 7 5:30PM-7:45PM candidates for SUHSD Board areas 4 and 2 will be at South CV Library, 389 Orange Ave to speak with voters who live in these areas. We will be using both room A and B in the literacy section of the library so meetings with area 2 and 4 candidates can be in different rooms. Southwest Chula Vista Civic Association is hosting this meeting. All residents of these areas are welcome to attend. Area 4 basically is attendance area for Castle Park high and San Ysidro High. Area 2 is attendance area of Hilltop and Bonita. Voter registration forms will be available. Information: 425-5771

Theresa, what a great community service, thank you to Southwest Civic...

are all the candidates from the two areas going to be there?

Exactly...if that doesn't indicate his true moral position, well--perhaps Cartmill's subconscious is more truthful than his conscious self.


So lets respond to Jims claims in his campaign website

  1. 3 schools nationally ranked. What about the 75% of district schools in Program Improvement?
  2. Believes in local education control - unfortunately too much. He gave too much control and did not do his job in overseeing Jesus Gandera and Ed Brand as both wasted millions in unpopular program cuts, diversion of funds into pet projects, wasting and borrowing of Prop O funds and Mello Roos funds.
  3. Supports visual and performing arts - but did not support ROP or adult ed
  4. Stopped mello roos taxes in 2013 - this is an absolute joke! He voted for increases every year and only questioned in 2013 when community members began to vehemently question mello roos spending at board meetings and when prior CFO Alt Alt recommended they not be increased.
  5. School bond transparency - another absolute joke! I was on the bond committee for 4 years and he did and questioned nothing as far as repeated bond program change orders, SGI exorbitant billing, etc. He approved every change order submitted by contractors that contributed to his campaign, and approved all of SGI's invoices. The bond committee should get credit for the transparency not Jim!
  6. Stopped bond fund borrowing - another joke! He approved it every year until the community reached a fever pitch on this practice. He sat through numerous years of this practice occurring and did nothing until the community repeatedly questioned this practice!!
  7. Supports a forensic audit - such a liar! He did not support it as numerous community members called for one over the years even while he was President and had the authority to do so! Now he does ?! Hmmm, I don't believe it!!
  8. Opposes open enrollment - baloney he does! He let Brand do it for years even as we appealed to him as Board President to stop it! He never opposed it and never even commented on it even with his daughter at Eastlake High feeling the effects.

This man is not genuine is his campaign claims. Like I once told Ed Brand in person and at a board meeting, your actions speak truer than your words. Jim, same goes for you! Your campaign claims are false, misleading and do not represent your actions on the board for all those years. Your colors have not changed. You had your chance and you let the community down.

Do not vote for Jim Cartmill!

Cartmill has either taken complete leave of his senses, or he is a devious, lying and scheming manipulator of history and the truth. Neither persona is fit for the dais!

How on earth can someone who claims to be a 'pastor' tell such lies and make sins of omission (that would be the truth part) in his campaign statements.

Shame on him! Don't forget he has had TWENTY YEARS to make a difference - instead he pleaded guilty AND IS STILL ON PROPATION for enriching himself and defrauding the public he was supposed to be serving.

Yes, I wonder who gets "credit' for crafting the bit of disinformation that was released as the Cartmill campaign broadsheet and plea for donations.

He is about as honest as the proprietor in Les Miserables, the one who sings "Master of the House"...pretending to be so honorable, and pilfering and lying about it all the while. A veritable whited sepulcher.

Bvsvav - this FACTUAL DATA should be copied and provided as hand outs at all candidate forums. Voters need to know the truth!

Hard to dispute facts - what is that saying - THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE??????

Nice throw eastlaker. Had to look it up. An evil person pretending to be holy or good; hypocotyl.

Darn it - Hypocritical!!! hypocotyl is a germinating seed that grows I see now

Hypocrite: One who does not practice what he preaches! That is a great definition of Jim Cartmill!

iamtruth I am not going to take the bait. I have the power of credibility and I am still here collecting my salary and building my pension. You and your friend are gone.

My friend? He's my friend? your rumor is just that rumor. Not true.

We just hang out at Barona casino together once in a while.

FYI I see that the SUHSD Board Agenda for October 2 meeting is posted. It includes yet more contract funding for South Bay Community Services ..this time for $120,000. Is there any way to learn the details of the contract -- for example, how much is for direct costs and how much for administrative overhead that goes to the generous salaries enjoyed by the CEO and others in the 'inside' management?

Well,,,,, we know Shirley Horton is getting a rather large cut. - I am sorry, I thought this was suppose to be a Non Profit - guess that is code for BIG EXECUTIVE SALARIES.

BIG EXECuTIVE SALARies are right, annie j. Let's ask for each contract with the SBCS how MUCH goes to those salaries! Kathy Lembo, Shirley Horton, and others at the top of the food chain that is SBCS.

Yes, and is there a way to determine if people are on site or not? Because, believe it or not, I have heard that, many times, people in the top administrative positions spend more time 'out and about', and claim that is a great part of their job--when really, it is just what they want to do.

If their time is being billed to a specific contract, they need to show on a timesheet the 'billable' hours on a date and time. I do not know how to check if they are actually doing the work on that specific contract that they might claim for billing purposes. I would like to see the hourly rates charged for those billable charges.

However, I am equally concerned about the 'overhead' or 'indirect charges' included in the contract funding. That is frequently a percentage of the total package, and that money goes straight into the organization's coffers where it likely helps pay the inflated salaries of those at the top.

Ensenadamaria - now you have me curious

The Governor vetoed Lorena Gonzalez's bill.

Yes--apparently he didn't see the real need. Or, he was prevailed upon by those who really like campaign contributions. Disingenuous of Gov. Brown to say that top administrators shouldn't be singled out for different treatment. The reason they were singled out for different treatment is that they can be corrupted far to easily the way things are now run. If they are corrupt, the world is their oyster--and who is going to stop that comfortable arrangement? Not Gov. Brown. Does he still need campaign contributions?

The real test in this election is whether the previously brain-dead voters in SUHSD have finally realized that they've been reelecting a nincompoop and crook to the board. There's every possibility that Jimbo will win because the benumbed voters will recognize his name and have no understanding of what has happened in these past two years. He should get just about no votes at all, and it will be most interesting to see what happens when the ballots are counted.

Visduh - hopefully the voters have come out of their self imposed comas. Time for he and McCann to move on out of politics. I understand McCann was a no show at one of the forums this week - rumors are running rampant - what is the real reason?

anniej, maybe both of them have finally come to face the truth of the matter. They are washed up completely, OR SHOULD BE, and might as well quit the pretense. But if McCann can play his war service card one more time, and if "the Rev" can play this civility card, both might be elected by So County voters. This election will be an acid test for the electorate in the area--if they elect either of these clowns we will know without a doubt that they are brain dead.

Yes, anniej, the report was that McCann "had a conflict in his schedule" despite the fact that the debate had been set up for quite some time. I know of no one who really believes the bit about the scheduling conflict.

Cartmill keeps trying to carry on as if the past couple of years' worth of charges, depositions, pleas and court appearances just didn't happen.

We can only hope that voters are aware, awake and ready to elect people who will serve the schools instead of serving themselves and their campaign donors.

What is so confusing to me? Is that isn’t against Sweetwater’s by-laws to allow Jim Cartmill and Bertha Lopez back on the board? I am sure I heard about it or read it in the papers that if a Board member was convicted while on the board they could not longer serve. So if that is the case why is the district not speaking up? If they win and then the district was to say something WE that tax payers would be the one to suffer with another election. While I pray that the community as woken up from the dead and will vote in new fresh faces there is always that name recognition that voters see when there are so many candidates. I hope so see commercials in the next few weeks showing the county of San Diego that there are two convicted candidates trying to get on the board again. Do we really need this? NO!!

In just one more surreal aspect of this whole mess, Judge Espana (aka The Uninformed and Willfully Ignorant) ruled that they could run again. When she was confronted with the Ed Code that said if they were to plead guilty they would not be eligible or if they were found guilty they would not be eligible, Judge Espana said she 'was not aware of the Ed Code'.

So, because of her ignorance (!?) this was allowed to happen. I have not heard of Judge Espana being called out by anyone--except the public--on this. Apparently IGNORANCE BY A JUDGE IS AN OK EXCUSE!

There, got that off my chest.

And you are very right. It is confusing. It does not make any sense. It should not have happened. But that is the state of affairs here in Chula Vista, in Sweetwater.

Obviously, things need to change.

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