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In 2008, voters approved Proposition R, a $389 million bond for Chula Vista's Southwestern College. As construction plans begin to take shape, contractors, subcontractors, and consultants are lining up before the Southwestern Governing Board. Some entrepreneurs are also lining the campaign coffers of incumbent board members Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid, who will be fighting to retain their seats in November.

Nicholas Alioto, Southwestern’s vice president of business and financial affairs, threw a fundraiser for Salcido and Valladolid May 20, 2010. The campaign-disclosure statements from January 1 through June 30, 2010, for Friends of Salcido and Friends of Valladolid contain numerous contributions dated May 20. Donors from that fundraiser include: Focuscom, Consulting and Inspection Services, Native Landscape Inc., HAR Construction, Owen Group, and the infrastructure PAC of the Association of General Contractors.

Of particular note on both candidates’ disclosure statements are the generous donations of $2500 from Seville Construction Services Inc. Seville was selected in October 2009 to provide construction management not only for the $389 million Prop R funds but also for remaining funds from Prop AA (which paid for construction of Southwestern facilities in Otay Mesa and San Ysidro).

Another generous donation came from business owner Christopher Rowe of Echo Pacific Construction. He gave $1000 to the campaigns of both Salcido and Valladolid on June 2, 2010. In an April meeting, Southwestern’s board approved an agreement with Echo “for $68,500 for pre-construction, $318,500 for construction management services, and $458,050 for general conditions.” This agreement was funded from Prop AA. On July 14, 2010, the board awarded Echo another contract for the Prop R corner-lot construction, preconstruction costs, and “fixed lump-sum fee general conditions costs” — a contract totaling over $4 million.

A generous mystery donor for both candidates was Design Acquisition Corporation. An internet search for this company comes up empty. But if you enter the address listed on the campaign-disclosure form for Design Acquisition (210 Hammond Avenue, Fremont CA), the search will produce BCA Architects. In a board meeting on April 20, 2010, BCA was awarded a contract “to provide architectural services for the Corner Lot Parcel Project at a fee equal to a maximum of 5.75% of the cost of construction estimated at Fifty-Five Million Dollars plus normal and customary reimbursables and services.”

(Note: the cost of the corner lot seems to be rising fast: $55 million in April 2010 as opposed to $59 million in August 2010.)

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Comments

ChulaVista3891 Aug. 12, 2010 @ 9 a.m.

It is interesting that the author fails to disclose that she is a personal supporter of Norma Hernandez, who is running against the incumbent board members at SWC. It is also interesting that she is not disclosing to the public that her friend Norma received her single biggest individual donation from an architect buddy of hers names Martinez, whom she gave a job to when she was SWC President. She gave that contract to her buddy against the advice of her own staff at the time and the College ended up having to pay the architects sub-contractors so that SWC could open the facilitity because the architect apparantly couldn't make the payments. Now what has she promised this bad problemed architect in order to get such a juicy donation?

Also of note it that her friend Norma got her biggest donations from the single largest "contractor" of the the College - it's faculty union. The College spend 80% of its money on staff and that makes the union contract the biggest economic item that the board votes on during any year. It's no wonder that some of the faculty there are so interested in seeing their former peer win a seat on the board. When the public sees a list of the top 25 paid faculty and how many hours a week they are actually teaching versus how much they are being paid, it will make the recent scandals on public pay pale in comparison!

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Founder Aug. 12, 2010 @ 9:49 a.m.

Folks in Chula Vista need to get their Financial Act together!

They need to learn much more about where their educational tax money is going and specifically what benefits the students of Chula Vista are receiving vs. what benefits the Business's of Chula Vista are receiving, like securing VERY lucrative contracts with guarantied add-ons, that will then more than totally reimburse them for all their Political donations...

Faculty pay should also be examined in these tough times and adjusted to reflect our current financial reality; it will take many years, if not a decade or more, before we return to the level of wealth we all remember from a few years ago. All hiring and Union contracts must accept some modification, in order to fairly "adjust" the duties and salaries of ALL employees to increase the percentage of money spent on actual student education vs. the cost of running the Business of education.

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Chulavista01 Aug. 12, 2010 @ 10:33 a.m.

What happened to unbiased journalism? Are these the only two incumbents in the election? I'm pretty sure they are not. What about Norma Hernandez? Rumor has it that Greg Sandoval is advising Hernandez in her campaign...the same Sandoval that resigned from his seat as VP of Student Affairs at SWC for sexual harassment (Google it)…the same Sandoval that I believe is promised a job back at SWC if Hernandez wins. Mrs. Luzzaro you should try and become a better investigative reporter, then again I guess that's hard when you support those you failed to mention.

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 12, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m.

Darlings # 1 and #3, I do not support any candidates in this race. Is it too late to file? I might support myself. The more I look into things and the more public documents I look at the more concern I have.

BTW, 1 & 3, you wouldn't either of you be paid to put this spin out would you? The information looks so ready made, as if waiting in the wings. Just curious because I just picked up some documents that pertain to public at outreach Southwestern . I'll share later.

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 12, 2010 @ 11:35 a.m.

O Founder, when I get a little more time I'll post something that relates to your points.

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Founder Aug. 12, 2010 @ 12:59 p.m.

Reply #5 Thanks

I think there is a trick to somehow connect related blogs so that all the similar comments can be "seen" by new Readers to the newer story, but I have not figured out what that is, Yet!

So, you might consider posting the link for your last story on SWC here, so that all your Readers can begin to see the complete "picture" of Educational WASTE in the funding of the "Business of Education" in South Bay and probably our entire City...

If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, then wasting any Educational money should be seen by the voters as "Criminal" and not condoned!

Vote for High Quality Student Education instead of Personal Profiteering!

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joepublic Aug. 12, 2010 @ 2:07 p.m.

Commenters #1 and #3 either just don't get it or are attempting, rather poorly, to distract from the main point of the story. As I read it, the article is questioning the relationship between those feeding at the Prop R trough and those who are feeding them. We have a serious problem when School Board members are awarding contracts to those who are financially supporting their reelection.

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ChulaVista3891 Aug. 12, 2010 @ 2:24 p.m.

Susan...calling me darling feels sowewhat condescending. I expressed genuine concern. You writings clearly are anti-SWC leadership so you should expect some questioning. Joepublic says that "We have a serious problem when School Board members are awarding contracts to those who are financially supporting their reelection." He is right. The board awards jobs and working conditions to hundreds of public employees and we should be concerned that the SWC teachers, who only teach a maximum of 15 hours per week for about 8 months, are the biggest funding source for Norma's campaign. That is a s big an issue as the incumbents getting their money from the building contractors. The whole system is an issue. --and no, I am not being paid to blog. That is an obnoxious statement.

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AlejandroO Aug. 12, 2010 @ 2:50 p.m.

It is old news that the construction industry and others, support incumbents or candidates for open seats in local municipal, county, and school board elections. In the case of school boards, their support helps elect people they hope will authorize construction projects (subject to voter approval) for educational facilities. In the case of Southwestern College, those voter-approved buildings which Board members Salcido and Valladolid authorized have made state-of-the-art educational facilities possible for our family members. I hope the construction industry continues to support Board members who do this. It does not bother me that some of those who support Board members also get work from the competitively bid projects that create jobs for local workers.

So, let me see if I get this right. The construction industry supports college Board members who ask the voters to approve public bonds to build educational and training facilities for our community members to earn an Associate Degree that will prepare them for jobs that pay an average (in San Diego County) of over $51,000 per year- twice what a person with only a high school diploma will get. Along the way, local workers will earn family-supporting wages.

And, there is something wrong with this picture?

It seems to me that we need more Board members like this, not a candidate for the Board who while the Superintendent/President of the college approved faculty pay hikes the college could not afford and booster faculty salaries to nearly twice the average South Bay salary of $46,000 per year.

This reporter is covering the story from the wrong perspective.

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BettyCrock Aug. 12, 2010 @ 3:53 p.m.

"we should be concerned that the SWC teachers, who only teach a maximum of 15 hours per week for about 8 months"

I agree that this is a real concern that these people who work a maximum of 15 hours for 8 months are calling themselves SWC teachers because at SWC, teachers actually have a 35 hour work week for all 10 months of the school year. This doesn't include grading, prep, committee work and other community activities and meeting.

Teachers on the whole make an average of 20% below comparably degreed professionals and choose to do it to help the people of our community achieve their goals.

And the public knows that teachers aren't the problem. It's fat cats who leech off taxpayers dollars and administrators who make over $100,000 a year. This includes Raj Chopra who makes $240,000 a year.

It's board members who sleep with administrators and vote on their re-hire as independent consultants for hundreds of thousands a year.

It's a cabal of leeches and carpet baggers who are more than willing to cut classes and services while hiring consultants and while wallowing in perks and kick backs.

This is the truth, and anyone with any sense and ability to read knows it.

For more on the failure of the current board and admin, head to http://saveourswc.blogspot.com/ for the facts.

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Chulavista01 Aug. 12, 2010 @ 3:58 p.m.

Well sugar muffin, I don’t know what public outreach you’re referring to, but very interesting comments…is that a threat “ready made and waiting in the wings” for someone else? Who are you trying to bring down now with your supposed “investigative reporting?” I thought good journalists should (a) get quotes from at least three credible sources, and (b) remain unbiased by sharing both sides of the story.

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David Dodd Aug. 12, 2010 @ 4:10 p.m.

"Sugar Muffin"? Name calling in here has reached an all-time low.

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Chulavista01 Aug. 12, 2010 @ 4:21 p.m.

10 it's funny that you tell us to visit the Save Our Southwestern College blog site for the facts, and they have an invitation to a Norma Hernandez fundraiser right on the front page. It's obvious that SWC is being openly attacked by supporters of the incumbents' opponents.

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Founder Aug. 12, 2010 @ 4:54 p.m.

I for one would like to read some positive blog comments about things voters should consider, instead of so much "name calling", which as any first year college student will tell you, is the "Lowest form of argumentation"...

How about some examples and or other concrete issues that we can all get our teeth around and most importantly, "Learn from"?

I look forward to hearing from both sides now... Educate US!

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David Dodd Aug. 12, 2010 @ 4:56 p.m.

Wait, let's get back to that "sugar muffin" thing...

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areyououtraged Aug. 12, 2010 @ 6 p.m.

Read the accreditation report. Educate yourself about this institution of higher learning. You'll discover that SWC was placed on probation mainly due to problems related to administration and the Governing Board. http://www.swccd.edu/2ndLevel/index.asp?L1=68

What an insult to read the absolutely absurd and utterly ignorant comment that SWC instructors "only teach a maximum of 15 hours per week for about 8 months." Let's take English for example. A full load is 15 units: 5 classes at 3 units, with a cap of 30 students, although many instructors over-enroll because they feel sorry for students who can't get classes due to cuts. That's 150 students.

You can read the MANDATORY course outlines here: http://www.curricunet.com/southwestern/. Students are required to write several essays and various other graded projects. Full time instructors work well over 40 hours per week, often spending nights and weekends grading papers. Most instructors devote a lot of time to improving their courses each semester through professional reading, conferences, research, and keeping up-to-date on current events in order to offer engaging lessons and activities for students. Instructors must perform a minimum of 28 hours of professional development and there is an expectation that full time instructors will serve on committees.

I'm certain any teacher at SWC would be happy to allow interested individuals to shadow their activities during a typical week to discover the truth.

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BettyCrock Aug. 12, 2010 @ 6:31 p.m.

13, your "sugar muffin" remark tells us all we need to know about you.

SWC is under attack, all right, from developers and their shills on the board and in the administration. Read the whole Save Our SWC blog, and the truth become apparent.

And Founder, the candidates running against the incumbents have plenty of positive things to say. Two are educators and one is the former mayor of Chula Vista who now works for the Attorney General's office. When these three people speak about SWC, they actually discuss students and classes. In other words, they care about what goes on inside buildings, not just the buildings themselves. They want to reform the structure of the college, so it's first priority isn't cutting classes and suspending teachers, but developing programs and promoting a culture of mutual respect and collaboration.

Go to a board meeting at SWC and count how many times the incumbents mention students or education. Ask anyone on campus why the Chopra administration spends $100,000 on a PR shill but fails to mention that the student paper, the Southwestern Sun has once again won national recognition for the work of its students, especially for their work exposing Chopra and the board for who they are.

People out there are fighting for the future of the South Bay's only higher ed institution, and they will tell you to vote against the incumbents.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 12, 2010 @ 6:52 p.m.

"Sugar Muffin"? Name calling in here has reached an all-time low.

It could have been "corn fed swine" !! Now that would be a new low!

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David Dodd Aug. 12, 2010 @ 6:53 p.m.

"Sugar Muffin" is officially the name of my very next punk band.

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rubengrita Aug. 12, 2010 @ 8:17 p.m.

"Name-calling" whining? Sounds like classic Nick Alioto to me (VP of Business at SWC and Chopra's chosen heir to the throne--despite the fact that Alioto's big degree is CPA, which means nada in academia, as it should).

Bottom line: it's way easier to call names than it is to tell the truth--just compare the relative length of posts.

That's our problem, readers of The Reader: how much do you want to know? how much are you willing to read? Power has sound-bites on its side. . . .

http://saveourswc.blogspot.com/2010/08/swc-in-news-again.html

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David Dodd Aug. 12, 2010 @ 8:29 p.m.

Well now sugar muffin, all I really want is that everyone in this thread, henceforth, call everyone else, "Sugar muffin." Really, is that too much to ask for, sans links from developers or anti-developers?

Bottom line? Bauder covers this sort of thing at great length. Although I would certainly enjoy his stuff much more if commenters referred to each other as, "Sugar muffin", because that is the funniest thing I've read on the internet in at least a complete school year.

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ffinzini Aug. 12, 2010 @ 8:58 p.m.

Comment number one is teacher bashing, something that Southwestern College's administration have been practicing since Chopra arrived at SWC. To suggest that time in the classroom is the only time that teachers spend on the job is misleading and incendiary. No one puts in more time than teachers. SWC teachers take on committee work, peer evaluation, student counseling and much more not to mention grading papers and planning lessons. They don't walk into the classroom cold. I suspect this was written by Alioto himself or maybe Bender who was hired at taxpayer expense to be a PR guy for Chopra et al.

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emmitsmith Aug. 12, 2010 @ 9:42 p.m.

The college is putting on a free picnic for the community to involve them in the snow job going on there. Meanwhile, the district canceled a BBQ for staff and teachers just last week. Why? It wouldn't allow staff to take the time off to attend and teachers don't return to the campus until next Monday. The idea was to foster an environment of trust and respect. How do you do that when no one can show up?

Speaking of fostering an environment of trust and respect, Mr. Alioto insisted on going on record to bar leadership from the teachers and classified staff from the stage to welcome back their colleagues at opening day activities - a decades old tradition in a program put on by the Staff Development Committee (made up of teachers and staff). That was, of course, until the next Accreditation Oversight Committee meeting where it mysteriously disappeared from the minutes without explanation. How is that meeting Recommendation 8 - "that the college set as a priority fostering an environment of trust and respect for all employees and students"?

See all Accreditation recommendations here: http://www.swccd.edu/Pdfs/Accreditation_Oversight_Committee_Overview.pdf

This administration and board is going in the wrong direction. They can build as many buildings as they want and take as much money from the construction companies as they want, but that will not help SWC remove the "probation" status from its accreditation. They need to take accreditation seriously or those buildings will remain empty. Of course, one board member described meeting accreditation recommendations as putting on nice clothes to attract a pretty girl, it's all about perception and putting on appearances. (you can request the June board meeting audio records through Chris Bender on this - be prepared to wait a long time).

Let's get these people out of there and get back to education. That's what the community needs and what the community wants.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 12, 2010 @ 9:43 p.m.

RF,

Ha, that is such a funny post, sugar muffin! Dude, you are funny and erudite.

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ChulaVistaObserves Aug. 12, 2010 @ 10:46 p.m.

I am a professor at Southwestern College. I have also worked on planning Prop AA projects, and I was involved in the early stages of Prop R planning. I can state the following based on my experiences: There is a lack of transparency on Prop AA funds and their distribution, and there has even been a greater lack of transparency on Prop R planning. Several staff and faculty were told to be ready to be involved in Prop R planning committees...but suddenly, we were getting reports on awarded contracts and project outlines. This is especially true for the corner lot project. Most of the planning on this project happened without any sort of combined effort between administration, faculty, staff, and the public. It happened behind closed doors.

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eyeonswc Aug. 13, 2010 @ 7:03 a.m.

Susan does it again with integrity and facts. And I'm certain she is not finished. Chopra and company, be very afraid. You have all been blinded by power and wealth at the expense of working family children making every effort to get ahead. You have been profiting and usurping their right to an education. But you have finally been exposed. It's almost laughable how quickly one of your lackeys responded to Susan. You did it by attacking her, attacking Norma Hernandez, and by attacking teachers. You DID NOT address the point she was made because you can't, because Susan is right.

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 7:12 a.m.

Thank You, to all those that posted factual comments, and I urge the rest to give the name calling a rest; hopefully that will be "food for thought"...

I was most interested in these issues that were brought up above:

  1. Funding of various Projects (AA and R) paid for with our taxes.
  2. Decisions made behind "closed doors".
  3. Board directing Faculty, Staff and student to "Not" be involved.
  4. More about "accreditation" and why that has not been "fixed" by now.
  5. More about the Southwestern Sun and it's stance on the above issues.
  6. The Public's involvement in all the above, welcomed or restricted?
    • I'd also like to add this, important topic:
  7. What is the best way to involve more voters in this discussion ASAP?

This blog has the potential to "HELP" shed some light on a murky situation and I for one welcome all your helpful comments; especially those without any name calling as they detract from what this blog is all about, getting the most Bang for our educational Buck.

p.s. Here is that link to the last SWC blog that some may enjoy:

Southwestern College's Proper Snack Bar By Susan Luzzaro | Published Thursday, July 22, 2010 or http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

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Sweetone Aug. 13, 2010 @ 7:22 a.m.

I am wondering why this article didn't make the headline news from Chris Bender at Southwestern College? He should be posting all sides of the public opinion with respect to the developments at Southwestern College. Isn't academia supposed to be able to discuss all avenues of a problem without scurrying off to throw rocks at the opposing side?

Why are the administrator people so afraid of the truth coming out? Their pocketbooks....that is why.

Their unethical alliances with contractors who are putting money back into their campaign accounts....that certainly smells like a conflict of interest to me! The teachers are very open about who they support and why. The admins are not.

If there was transparency at the top levels, this article wouldn't have struck such a strong chord with the administrators...they wouldn't pay any attention to what was said. But as one can read.....they are all cowering in the back rooms....maybe with more catered luncheons at the public's expense too...to discuss the new 'spin' for diverting attention from these latest facts.

Maybe Chopra will have a new building constructed to divert attention from the political fund raising.

The bottom line is how is the new building or political shenanigans going to provide education for the students? The new buildings are not opening classrooms or providing instruction for the student population. These students want and need the education to further their own endeavors in life.

Thank you Susan for writing an investigative report on the continued corruption at the top echelon of Southwestern College.

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David Dodd Aug. 13, 2010 @ 7:27 a.m.

"The bottom line is how is the new building or political shenanigans going to provide education for the students?"

The bottom line is about $$$$! I'm having a difficult time figuring out how this is somehow overlooked by the commenters.

By the way, respectfully, may I call you, "Sugar muffin"?

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 7:56 a.m.

Reply #30 Great question, Re: Chris Bender at Southwestern College, I don't know anything about him, but hopefully someone does and will ask him to join US!

If the SWC faculty will not join the "debate" because they are afraid for their jobs and or institutional standing, then SWC has an even greater problem that needs to be addressed, Freedom of Speech!
+ I encourage all Readers to call SWC and ask that the Board Rep., the Faculty Rep., the Staff Rep. and the Student Rep. "be allowed" to give us their members view point and if they choose not too, then there is indeed "something rotten in Denmark"...

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 8:16 a.m.

  • Please, Without Sugar On It -

Reply #31 RFG, having some fun?

How about "Just", telling us about the money and not trying so hard, to be "so" funny?

Tell us instead, what you would suggest, let us know and get it off your chest,

I believe that you really DO care, despite your not attending school there.

Thanks in advance, for all the Reader posting that you do, I for one, am looking forward to, hearing more from you!

Let's all do our BEST, to "Un-Fix" Southwest,

because, wasting Public Money, is today, not at all, funny...

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David Dodd Aug. 13, 2010 @ 8:28 a.m.

Well, Founder, where you find companies that long to build things and donate to the elections of certain people, you find certain people willing to take their money. In Mexico, we call that business. In the U.S. they call that corruption.

Who am I to judge, sugar muffin?

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 8:50 a.m.

Reply to #34 here again is just a bit more:

Caused I'm sure, in no small part by not thinking, from their heart,

the BIG, "educational crunch" at SWC, requires a financial diet, it's clear to me,

I'm surprised, that all the voters, don't start to cuss, by what SWC's Board, is trying to feed US!

Show US all of "our" money, that has been wasted upon their BIG budgeted meals, then the SWC Board will surely learn a good lesson, just how the Public feels...

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PapayaPrincess Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:01 a.m.

I'm so surprised by some of the comments here. Luzarro writes an article detailing ties between campaign donations and contracts awarded by the college, and some folks respond by saying we should take a look at teacher salaries? By slamming faculty unions? There may be a lot of connections mentioned in Luzarro's article, but I don't see one between teachers, construction company donations, and board members.

Give me a break. If you want to talk about lowering teachers' "level of wealth" and misrepresent them as lazy do-nothings, find the appropriate forum and stick to the topic at hand.

Or, we can talk about the health benefits of fructose vs. glucose. Let's hear it for unprocessed sugar!

--Natural Sugar Advocate, The Papaya Princess

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:11 a.m.

Don't get me going about muffin cakes...actually way way back in blog time I used the word darlings as a little levity along with running for the board to try to defuse what appeared like ad hominem attacks rather than arguments of substance.

To the substance. # 9 raises issues--don't we need contractors and builders and board members to promote the contractors and contractors to support the board members. It seems to me that Board members at a community college should be elected for how they deal with students, how they deal with faculty how they perceive the needs of a campus to help it thrive. What is the primary goal of the institution--education. So should a board member get elected just because they have the largest donations from construction workers? There does not seem to be a good correlation there.

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:14 a.m.

reply #35& #36

I think, what you both are saying, is this: "It's not Personal, it is just Business",

if I were a voter in Chula Vista, I know I would surely be kinda pissta...

That is enough, of what I said, I better quit while I'm ahead.

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BobPlasma Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:20 a.m.

SWC is now just like the US gov. in miniature. Special interests and corruption. Period. I've been at SWC for 10 years now and have seen the GB continue to go through presidents until they find the one that suits their personal agendas. They've found one. Chopra's a lap dog for the self-important, local-politician-wanna-be GB members who want to line their pockets heading into their sunset years. They're doing it on the backs of students. Cut class offerings, claim to be serving students with bogus and fluffy GB newsletters and other releases and trot the lap dog Chopra out there to consistently utter inane comments that sound like 'Rubba buuble blibby blather crumply student success flanky whoopy wobbley. Thank you." What an impotent, so called president. As long as he can guide the upper administration's yacht into calm waters where the oasis of money can be found, he's their man. How sad to see a grown man emasculated by three boss ladies who direct his every move. And oh yeah, here's a "lousy $15,000" raise, as Chopra put it. He should have lost favor with the entire community when people are losing jobs and he calls his raise a "lousy $15,000." Hey Chula Vistans trying to get by in this economy, a "lousy $15,000" would certainly come in handy eh? What a blow hard. While the entire American capitalist democracy has peaked and is clearly in decline and no matter what Glenn Beck and country music songwriters say, hopefully the South Bay will rise above and vote for change. Incumbency is the problem. It breeds stagnation and corruption (even the WSAC accreditation team could see that). Money and special interests ARE the American system. We can only hope that the community votes for new ideas and weeds out the current crop of greedy, power hungry suckers on the community teat.

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VigilantinCV Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:23 a.m.

Keep digging and let us know what you find. We all covet a new 4 year university but we can't even run what has been a fine junior college. We can't even get back our accreditation. This is not old news!

I want to know more about how they shake down developers for fat campaign contributions to keep their incumbent "rubber stamp" board members in office.

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:30 a.m.

Reply #38 Welcome Aboard, Ms. PP, How about this recipe:

Add liberal amounts of Concise comments to sage advice, then Discuss well; Yields one a tasty Blog treat!

Optional: Add Rhyme to taste

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:37 a.m.

41

Great post and I salute you for your candor...

Suggestion, get all your fellow employees and as many students as you can to add their online voices; then perhaps this blog will take top honors and be printed up in the next Reader adding to the "BUZZ" about some of the real issues facing Chula Vista voters!

Fighting GREED makes Sense, but only for US!

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 9:46 a.m.

Reply #42 I'm with you, "Follow the Money"...

..From an prior post:

When any public institutions (and especially schools) have a dismal track record of paying big bucks for Outside Services while at the same time cutting back on their "CORE" activity (like offering educational classes for their students) then I believe that the Public is entitled (and Right On) to question their Boards "Direction" and even ask for an investigation if those answers don't pass the smell test!

Educational Dollars should go toward education, not to Big PR or any other Big Companies (Building) contracts! SW's Board needs some remedial education themselves, on being responsible to the Students and Faculty they serve!

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Nickdanny Aug. 13, 2010 @ 10:29 a.m.

Ahhh, #1 I am afraid, among other things, you do not have your facts straight. Joe Martinez was hired by then Superintendent/President Serafin Zasueta not Norma Hernandez. All one needs to do is request information from SWC under the California Freedom of Information Act to discover that Martinez’s contract was directed under Zasueta’s leadership not Hernandez’s. Also, I went to the SD Registrar of Voters and examined the Financial Disclosure documents for all the candidates in the SWC Governing Board face and there is NO Joe Martinez listed in Hernandez’s list of contributors. Wow, it seems like there is some real politicking going on here, and an assumption that readers will not check statements that are made in these blogs. I encourage everyone to go to the Registrar of Voters Financial Disclosure section and really read who got what monies from where.

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Nickdanny Aug. 13, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.

9, Interesting ideas, however constructing buildings and cutting classes may be of service to your family, but not to the two students in mine. And I don’t really care how “old the news is” about incumbents receiving financial support from contractors whose BIDS they approve, it is still of real concern to a number of us, INCLUDING the other bidders who DID NOT RECEIVE contracts, of which for Prop R there were many. What goes on behind close doors with “political consultants” and these BIDS can reveal that in fact it is a specific group of contractors that can get funding and are knowledgeable about how to “low-bid” in order to get Governing Board approval. Just a thought.

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Nickdanny Aug. 13, 2010 @ 10:33 a.m.

I really encourage everyone to head down to the Registrar of Voters and check out the Financial Disclosure statements for all the SWC Governing Board candidates. It certainly came as a big surprise to me. The biggest surprise, however, can be found in the disclosure statements of candidates Valladolid and Salcido (who I have supported in past elections) who each received EXACTLY $17,500 in campaign contributions between May 20 and June 2, 2010. And the list of contributors reads like a “greatest hits” of awarded contracts (and sub-contractors) voted upon by the SWC Governing Board in the past three years. Here is a sample of the list:

Seville Construction Services Inc. $2,500 to each candidate Christopher Rowe (General Contractor for Echo Pacific Const.) $1,000 to each candidate Gould Electric, Inc. $1,000 to each candidate Owen Group, Inc $2,500 to each candidate Consulting and Inspection Services $1,000 to each candidate Infrastructure PAC of the Assoc of General Contractors $2,500 to each candidate

I do not oppose construction in our area it is vital to our growth and to our economy, and in fact my own family had a construction business for years in the Midwest, I support this industry. However, this mingling of monies and contracts with political campaigns is a problem for many Americans, including myself.

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 13, 2010 @ 10:34 a.m.

Founder, I stayed awake lay wracking my brain for a good rhyme I thought of ways to mangle lines with crime, and slime and even time...

then fortunately for everyone I went to sleep.

Yesterday you mentioned that in times like these we need to look at the whole budget and it's true. I picked up some public records requests and one was the superintendent's contract. $204,000, retirement allotment starting with $20,000 a year, reducing by $5,000 each year, but going away if he gets vested or 5 years. Automobile/flat transportation reimbursement $1,000 monthly. Entertainment flat reimbursement $14,000 annually, Annual housing $28,000 and so on. Some Chula Vista council members chose not to take a car allowance because the budget was in such bad shape. These small things will not save the budgets put set the standard and I am a beleiver in small things adding up...

Also the invoices for consultant labor on Prop R show that some salaries are running at $165.00 an hour. The month to month consultant labor and subconsultant fees appear to be astronomical.

Also like to take this tiny space to correct my words, I meant in my last post constuction companies, not construction workers.

Thanks for all your brokering comments, Susan

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

Reply 46,47 & 48 Great points all!

Big Money + where it goes & who gets it, gets everyones attention in a hurry!

You might also tell US what was NOT funded perhaps because there was no money in it (no pun intended) ....

Keep up the good work PLEASE

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m.

  • The Truth will Set SWC Free -

Reply #49 what you wrote is really fine!

Please spend your time, on facts not rhyme,

and please, leave the rhyming to me while you work more on SWC.

There is so much more to know, like the inside, on their dough,

who bought what and got bought, is the info that is sought.

With hundreds of folks in their business mix, it will be fun to learn all of their tricks,

there must be lots of folks on the College Staff who can provide info that won't make US laugh,

plus maybe some of the Faculty will speak like a Professor happy to be a Geek!

If they all can make us proud and give US the word, we can say we just heard it, from a little bird;

So please keep doing what you are really great at and we'll together, put a bell, on this fat cat!

With all of the waste going on and the big problems it has spawn;

you really have your work, cut out for you, that is now certain, to discover just who or whom is behind, their BIG curtain!

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VigilantinCV Aug. 13, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m.

46 This no longer funny if #1 is not telling the truth. That post sounds awfully close to Administration and if they can't make their case without rewriting history (incorrectly) I am suspicious of anything they say! This is no sugar muffin,.....just a horse dumpling coated in powder sugar which doesn't make it a donut either!

Thanks for the facts.

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Founder Aug. 13, 2010 @ 12:48 p.m.

Reply #52 and also, thanks go to you,

for acknowledging real blogging at it's best; the search for SWC truth, is all our Quest!

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 14, 2010 @ 9:13 a.m.

Founder, just to say you out did yourself in poem #51. I'm going to buy a rhyming book :-)

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Founder Aug. 14, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

Reply to you, #54 This may be just what you're looking for:

Haiku - Seventeen Syllables -

Seventeen syllables Perhaps Haiku is for you Five then seven then five

Maybe something fun that's without Rhyming instead which will make you smile

  • Time Rhyme -

or just call all the people you know, one at a time and ask each of them, to give you a good word to Rhyme

then with much practice, you will begin to see, that you are now making, better Rhymes, than me!

But please do not forget, your true calling and allow SWC to keep stalling!

I'd like to see some of the Students "Work" here, instead of just complaining, and drinking beer,

together, you would be able, to enable real change instead of just allowing their Board, to keep acting strange!

So, Good Luck, to both SWC and to You, I for one, am glad, you're doing, what you do.

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nan shartel Aug. 14, 2010 @ 4:14 p.m.

founder

is u a sugar muffin???

yummy!!!

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nan shartel Aug. 14, 2010 @ 4:20 p.m.

wait...i just looked it up (sugar muffin)..urban dictionary...that's me!!!

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Founder Aug. 14, 2010 @ 7:50 p.m.

Reply #56, #57 & #58 Besides the S & M words

What do you think about what's happening at SWC and how is that affecting it's students?

What is your read of the SWC's Board decision of "Empire Building"; (building more buildings), instead of offer accreditation approved classes?

Oh, plus one for the road, if someone you knew was attending SWC, what if anything, would you suggest they be doing before the next election?

Thanks for your insight, I'm hopeful that the good voters of CV would be more interested in that than S & M.

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VigilantinCV Aug. 14, 2010 @ 11:23 p.m.

It is all about DIVERSION in PR speak. Trust me they don't want people to be thinking about or noting what they are doing at SWC. They will hire expensive PR consultants with our own money to tell us what we should think.

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Founder Aug. 15, 2010 @ 8:07 a.m.

Reply #60 You are most likely right, "THEY WILL hire expensive PR consultants with our own money, to tell us what we should think."

THEY have been, they are and will probably continue "TOO" do so

but

it's up to all of US to honestly keep the public's awareness focused upon them, as they do what they are doing; because in reality, we the voters are the ones keeping them in Office and allowing them to DO what THEY are doing! Each of US needs to, ask questions, review their PUBLIC records, demand answers and then spread THE word to other voters.

"The Truth, will set SWC Free"...

The reason they were elected, was to provide SWC's students the best education that our Public money can buy; but If they have and are, continuing to spend large amounts of valuable "educational" dollars NOT ON EDUCATION BUT "SPIN" (about themselves and their lucrative Contracts for their BIG Supporters), then that will only make it easier for US to illustrate, what they are really focused on, is spending "OUR" money on themselves to buy PROTECTION FROM THE TRUTH...

Media is a two edged sword and it can cut both ways; I think that MEDIA will cut through the BULL and expose all those that need exposing, to public scrutiny! That will be educational, not only for SWC, Chula Vista's voters but for all of San Diego's tax payers and maybe even some Lawyers...

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nan shartel Aug. 15, 2010 @ 9:39 a.m.

59

just looking at it straight on Founder without any further insight into the situation

as far as the donations go...i doubt that $1000 or $2500 is a generous enough donation to claim a contract

but i do see that the usual cronyism may be rearing it's ugly head...locking out other bidders more then donations to the effort would

as far as buildings and more buildings are concerned and making it the "BIGGER AND BETTER" that constantly get thrown around at the public at large...better use of the existing building for education should be considered

i question the HIGHER in higher education when no one can afford to send their kids to these colleges...but let's build bigger ones

we r in a time where money (if it's available) need to be carefully considered and used in ways it REALLY would make a difference

building the wallet sizes of PR companies and Big Business contractors and the like doesn't teach young people anything

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Founder Aug. 15, 2010 @ 5:05 p.m.

  • Agreed with You -

62

I agree with you!

Building more, is just opening the "College Door", to Contractors that only want build, yet more,

buildings always includes, these project cost overruns, (big budget additions), that always eat into funds,

in these rough and tough, economic times, such loose spending will, cause many fiscal fines,

I leave it, up to all those that want to know, exactly what's happening, to all their dough.

Our future and our students education, deserve no less, than to provide Project oversight, and give it our Best!

Just whom, can the voters, in Chula Vista trust, to reign in spending, before SWC goes Bust?

This is the real answer, we all want to learn, in order to give those new folks, their fair turn.

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AlejandroO Aug. 15, 2010 @ 5:52 p.m.

You have to love blogs like this that enable rants unrelated to the story Ms. Lazzaro posted.

As Vladimir Lenin, co-founder of the Soviet State observed, if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the "truth." There are certainly enough statements in some of the above comments alluding to the supposed impoverisment of faculty (who also make over $100,000 per year) and characterizing "lack of transparency" in bond construction decisions that qualify for this characterization.

Instead of focusing on Ms. Hernandez's well-known multiple deficiencies as a community college superintendent/president, the issue Ms. Lazzaro raised was the propriety of Board candidates accepting support from contractors- a point I addressed above.

Unfortunately, unprofessional, personally incestuous, and corrupt relationships between two members of the Sweetwater High School District Board and their roles with the past executive leadership of Southwestern College has had a toxic impact on the college to this day.

From where I see it, this tempest about financing the elections of incumbent Board members is a canard.

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Founder Aug. 15, 2010 @ 6:14 p.m.

Reply # 64

"This tempest about financing the elections of incumbent Board members is a canard"...

But which usage, will indicate the Truth and which will Not, for SWC:

"Canard" (dictionary usage):

  1. An unfounded rumor or story.

  2. A small winglike projection attached to an aircraft forward of the main wing to provide extra stability or control, sometimes replacing the tail.

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nan shartel Aug. 18, 2010 @ 7:02 a.m.

then perhaps it's the tail wagging the dog here Founder

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Founder Aug. 24, 2010 @ 11:06 a.m.

Seriously speaking #66 (you don't have to say that out loud:-)

SWC's Media "tail" is wagging and it may even try "spinning" circles,

but

as they say, down South,

"That dog won't hunt"...!

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fltnsplr Sept. 17, 2010 @ 5:29 a.m.

Reply to #64 – AlejandroO, you aren't very good at your job, which I suppose is to support the corrupt administration and governing board at SWC. Your ability to compose an interesting sentence is no better than your skill at employing propaganda techniques.

Let's look at one of your cross-eyed paragraphs for a moment.

"As Vladimir Lenin, co-founder of the Soviet State observed, if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the 'truth.' There are certainly enough statements in some of the above comments alluding to the supposed impoverisment of faculty (who also make over $100,000 per year) and characterizing "lack of transparency" in bond construction decisions that qualify for this characterization."

First, there should be a comma after "co-founder of the Soviet State," since the phrase refers to what Lenin observed; second, that statement is followed by a classic run-on sentence; third, there's a misspelling, unless "impoverisment" has somehow entered the English language; fourth, concerning the "supposed impoverishment" (correctly spelled, for future reference), over 150 part-time instructors were laid off last spring); fifth, not many instructors make six figures, pal, though a school dean might pull down $110K with twenty years' service; sixth, don't tell me this isn't happening, because I've been laid off since December 2009 and haven't earned a penny from Southwestern College since; and seventh, your use of "supposed" reminds me of Alioto's profane outburst at a recent board meeting, for which he had to apologize. He mentioned a "hypothesized person" whom he had called a f***ing idiot in the meeting. Whether he meant Nick Aguilar, fellow board member, or Max Branscomb, publisher of the school newspaper, doesn't matter; he was yelling at an actual person and didn't have the cojones afterwards to confess that he did indeed say that to someone.

So much for English composition. Now let's analyze your propaganda techniques.

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fltnsplr Sept. 17, 2010 @ 5:31 a.m.

"Instead of focusing on Ms. Hernandez's well-known multiple deficiencies as a community college superintendent/president, the issue Ms. Lazzaro raised was the propriety of Board candidates accepting support from contractors."

Let's assume for the moment that Norma Hernandez is not perfect. Few people are. However, your attempt at influencing the average reader's opinion is pathetic. What are her many deficiencies, and by how many people are they well-known? Are any of these people holding important positions in their communities or businesses? Are any members of this anonymous horde what you might call movers and shakers, or profound thinkers? Have any of them distinguished themselves in any field whatsoever? How interesting that you would use that particular quotation of Lenin's to begin your insightful analysis. You'll see what I'm getting at soon enough.

Finally, let's examine your brilliant third paragraph.

"Unfortunately, unprofessional, personally incestuous, and corrupt relationships between two members of the Sweetwater High School District Board and their roles with the past executive leadership of Southwestern College has had a toxic impact on the college to this day."

That sounds more like the current executive leadership's relationship to the governing board, not to mention everybody else. You should be careful which weapons you choose, son, because they might be taken away from you and used to your detriment. Give us some names and some evidence or shut your mouth. And speaking of toxic impact, the college was doing well enough until Chopra arrived. Ever since he assumed his position as the marionette whose strings are pulled by the board, the situation at Southwestern has been steadily deteriorating and accelerating toward oblivion. What part of stealing money from honest, hard-working people and giving it to one's loathsome associates don't you understand?

If you're the best they can come up with to confuse the issue, I'm not worried about this election. Unfortunately, however, you should be concerned about your career, because nobody's going to hire a person with questionable judgment who is also lacking in skills.

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Founder Sept. 17, 2010 @ 6:31 p.m.

Reply #68 & #69

I was a joy to read BOTH your posts and learn from your comments!

Please continue to educate US on the important issues and help separate the SWC "wheat from the chaff"...

You also might like to review the latest of Susan's SWC articles at: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

We need more folks like you to help SWC's true supporters educate the public!

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