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What does it mean when a public lobbying firm says that a key objective is to “isolate and expose extremists”? Public records recently obtained from Southwestern College offer a rare peek into the strategies of Focuscom, a San Diego–based marketing company.

After winning voter approval in 2008 for Proposition R, a $389 million construction/reconstruction bond, Southwestern College embarked on an ambitious corner-lot construction project replete with fountains, conference rooms, a food court, and a new building for administrators.

But, during the past year, the college has also suffered from negative publicity related to class cuts, professor suspensions, violations of First Amendment rights for students, and, finally, in January of 2010, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges placed the college on probation. Southwestern’s administration appears to be worried about whether financially strapped taxpayers are going to continue to approve their ambitious building agenda.

On March 9 of this year, Nicholas Alioto, Southwestern’s vice president of financial affairs, signed a letter of agreement with Dan Hom, president of Focuscom Inc., for a Proposition R public outreach plan. The 11-page plan pitches the need for services in this way: “Despite overwhelming approval of Prop R (71 percent), any controversy surrounding the development of this site could be detrimental to other projects in the proceeding phases of development.” (The corner lot is the first of three phases.)

Focuscom’s key goals are: “Maintain momentum that led to approval; isolate and expose extremists; identify, cultivate and engage diverse supports; manage the media.”

Regarding strategy, the plan will “direct ‘simple and unfiltered’ messages to target [the] public.” The strategy continues, “By focusing on vision and values, we can avoid detailed public debate regarding specific land use issues and avoid getting caught in the minutia launched by our opponents…. By staying 'out of the weeds' and focusing on the broader vision and values, we can begin to establish/reinforce trust and confidence in SWC College as the local leader in land use decisions.”

According to the game plan, the public can expect to be engaged by this Prop R outreach on Facebook and via Twitter, YouTube, newsletters, coffee klatches, and more. Hom’s plan promises that newspaper stories will be pitched, op-ed pieces will be written, and letters to editors with “Names culled from supporters lists will be used (with permission) to draft and submit letters to the Editors." Focuscom will even provide blog management and polling.

There is some contradiction as to who is paying for the Prop R outreach. An email query answered by Southwestern chief of communications Chris Bender said that the cost of the program was $100,000 and that Seville Company, the group that manages the bond program, was paying for the services. However, the letter approving the contract with Dan Hom is on Southwestern stationery and is signed by Southwestern’s vice president Alioto. It reads, “As we discussed, I am approving this 1,000 hour plan.”

Photo: Dan Hom

Credit: swccd.edu

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David Dodd Aug. 18, 2010 @ 4:20 a.m.

"What does it mean when a public lobbying firm says that a key objective is to “isolate and expose extremists”?"

The simple answer: Alioto and Hom are going to make certain that the Construction Firm money donated to the campaign to pass Proposition R isn't going to go to waste on "extremist" things like more and better teachers, supporting more student enrollment, and staying off of probation. This is a typical development scam. Stay on 'em Ms. Luzzaro.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 7:14 a.m.

Reply to #1 Yes, you have hit the nail on the head RFG!

SWC is clearly trying to focus public awareness on "crapola" instead of it's educational accountability problems. Empire building at it's worst...

The use of educational money (Proposition R) to spin Public Politics and elections should be challenged, ASAP.

Maybe Parents, Students and voters should ALSO hire some WELL PAID Group to support Quality Education; Oh, they already thought they did that, by paying the outrageous salaries of the SWC Board, who now must hire others to protect the Board from their own folly!

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David Dodd Aug. 18, 2010 @ 7:25 a.m.

Founder, I agree, and, and they should, of course, call the challenge, "Operation Sugarmuffin".

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nan shartel Aug. 18, 2010 @ 7:32 a.m.

Operation Sugarmuffin...that has a nice ring to it!!

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 18, 2010 @ 8:07 a.m.

Thanks for the comments Refried, Ms Luzzaro is a bit too formal...and operation sugar muffin a bit too sweet for the whole picture that is emerging. I had an interesting time speculating about how a pr group for a college administration would define "extremist"--not to mention what tactics would be used to isolate and/or expose. Susan

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VigilantinCV Aug. 18, 2010 @ 8:16 a.m.

So it is Dan Hom behind the curtain at SWC! About six years ago he almost won a council seat in Chula Vista. He had the endorsement of every sitting council person plus many others. He liked to document his experience by relating how he had built a business, something to do with golf, into a $4M business. Then someone discovered that actually the business had financially crashed and burned ending in bankruptcy. The air went out of his campaign balloon and he was not elected. He was later a Director of the Lincoln Club, worked for Porter Novelli, started Focus.com, his own PR business and is a Director on the Foundation of SWC.

Now it looks like the SWC Administration has signed a contract with Focuscom/Dan Hom using public money to be sure we see things as they want us to see them. There is much to ponder here.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 8:43 a.m.

  • $ELF HYPE 101 -

It now seems that the SWC's Board, has taken up "Spinning" because the next election, looks very tough, to be winning

Getting others, to "pump them up", bigger than life in the hopes of rising above, all their own strife

Instead of standing proudly on their own past educational ability, they realize, that what they have done to date, is just a BIG liability

Now, they are starting to plan ahead, more for themselves it's clear than, for the education of all the Students, we hold Dear

Flood the Voters, with a multimedia mishmash from Focuscom to prevent all, rational discussion courtesy of Mr. Hom

I believe that the Public, will see through this real quick and not fall for this, multimedia "UN-CHEAP" trick

Now that the SWC Hype War had begun, I expect to see a huge new "phony" group of Bloggers in support of SWC

If I am right, and the Voters become angry this Fall then SWC's Board Members, will also take a big fall

then sometime soon, maybe early next year all this mischief, then will become crystal clear

Seeking expensive media coverage, in order to save just their own skins instead of working better with Faculty, Staff and Students to make amends

Or if this "1,000 hour plan" is not nearly enough, it is too late for SWC"s Board to ask Mister Hon, for a Media rebate

By paying $100 dollars per hour for 1000 hours of this media hype the time for Voters to make big changes on the SWC's Board, in now RIPE!

Many bloggers are now out of work, need rent money and are looking for a deal but if they offered to pay me to promote SWC on the sly, I would squeal

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David Dodd Aug. 18, 2010 @ 8:54 a.m.

I'll guarantee that the Reader won't print their fluff, and I guess we'll see about CityBeat, they SEEM smart enough to smell a rat here; but recently, the U-T is not above printing whatever they're paid to print, or anything that they get for free.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 9:10 a.m.

Reply #6 Yes, Mr. Hon is also working for Jack-In-The-Box, to "facilitate" their plan to rebuild and expand their location on Upas St in North Park.

If he is getting paid $100+ per hour, I can see why he was smiling all through both the long presentation and the heated comments period, where all the nearby residents and even some business Owners described just how "Jack" was not a being good neighbor... He mentioned that there would be other meeting ahead and he and his staff looked forward to working with Residents... Now we know why - Big Money!

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 9:25 a.m.

Reply #5 Might I suggest that you post "the letter approving the contract with Dan Hom is on Southwestern stationery and is signed by Southwestern’s vice president Alioto. It reads, “As we discussed, I am approving this 1,000 hour plan.”

Perhaps you could add it as a .jpg to the bottom of your Blog

It would be interesting for all of US to see it and comment upon; especially those that know their way around a contract... and I bet like the old saying, "where theres smoke, there's fire", this is probably not the first (or last) contract with Focuscom or another related entity, that will turn up "the heat" on SWC... to continue the analogy, SWC IS PLAYING WITH FIRE, and we all know what happen's when you do that, you get burned and then maybe even fired at the next election! The winds of change are blowing and if they fan that fire, LOOK OUT SWC...

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Woodchuck Aug. 18, 2010 @ 10 a.m.

OMG I have a family of skunks living in my backyard that smell way better than this deal. Thank you, Susan, for being the REAL community watchdog.

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SanDiegoBorn Aug. 18, 2010 @ 10:28 a.m.

Wow! A lot of insiders blogging on this page. So far "inside" that they know Mr. Hon and have a personal axe to grind...eh Flounder? Just poking fun. It's entertaining stuff. So entertaining that the author blogs her own article. Actually, calling it an article is a little bit of a stretch. What happened to the Reader's reporting that takes you through endless pages car stereo, weight loss and body piercing advertisements. What? South County is only good enough for journalism's equivalent of a "Dear Abbey" post?

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 10:38 a.m.

Reply to Blogger #11 Woodchuck, your sweet comment came from heaven

Please spread the good word about what you're heard

Susan needs all the help she can get to help voters sink this City ship

Now we will all find out, just what Woodchuck can really do when Woodchuck chucks "Blog wood", at SWC for me and you.

+ I'm glad to have yet another person perceive the quality of Susan's writing about this stinky situation in Chula Vista's Education System!

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ramrod Aug. 18, 2010 @ 10:40 a.m.

Although Dan has been a great friend and I really don't agree with a lot of his political views. Look at the positive part of this. Southwestern College needs to be revitalized! I believe we need to maintain high quality facilities for our resident students in the South Bay. We all know this political garbage has been going on for years. Not to say it is right... " But it is what it is." Instead of looking for the negative of Prop. R, look at the positive aspect. After all Prop. R. was approved by voters!

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 10:52 a.m.

Reply #12

I'm surprised, it took so long to hear someone, change the song

so let's see what you have to say and look at it another way:

"have a personal axe to grind...eh Flounder?", yes, I think I can recognize a Hatchet job when I see one and speaking of jobs, I think you are the ONLY one working for someone else instead of yourself.

and

your "Just poking fun" comment, actually refers to quite a different kind of "poking" , which is only fun if you are the one doing the "poking" and I'm NOT joking!

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SanDiegoBorn Aug. 18, 2010 @ 11:03 a.m.

Whoaaa, easy there Flounder. Didn't mean to touch a nerve. All I'm saying is that, to date, there are 15 post and you constitute 6 of them. It's just an observation to the number and length of your posts. I don't know if you are a pro or someone with an axe to grind, nor do I care. What is evident is that you are what social media participants call a "Blog Hog." Say your piece and get on with it already. Again, just pokin' fun at your hoggin' of space :)

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 11:10 a.m.

Reply #14 Ramrod, your handle serves you well, and you are right, "Prop. R. was approved by voters!" So what?

That said,

the issue here is BIG PUBLIC MONEY SPENT ON HYPE, INSTEAD OF EDUCATION; anybody remember voting for that?

This has nothing to do with your "friend" or "a lot of his political views"; except that he is charging SWC's Board $100,000 to help put MASSIVE MEDIA SPIN on their next election! To me, this is just another perfect example of yet another SWC insider dipping into the Public's Prop R. MONEY TILL with their own, VERY BIG BILL!

BTW: If he were really caring, he would do it for free, since he is also a Director on the Foundation of SWC (according to an above post).

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 11:24 a.m.

Reply #16 SanDiegoBorn

You have nerve implying that you've "touch a nerve"! And speaking of your down home-ish ,"just pokin' fun at your hoggin' " that is just name calling as far as I'm concerned (see #15 above).

So instead, how about posting some real facts or even some personal opinions

except about the Writer and or that "the Reader's reporting that takes you through endless pages car stereo, weight loss and body piercing advertisements. What? South County is only good enough for journalism's equivalent of a "Dear Abbey" post?" meaningless comments.

Let us know, what you know, about spending public money on Media Hype instead of Education and or why the SWC's Board's decisions are so far off the reality map, that people like US are now outraged enough, to blog about it and cause the SWC's Board to spend even more Education money on ELECTION SPIN?

BTW: Your usage of, "social media participants" makes you sound like, an insider in the know about Media Issues, instead of someone interested in maximizing Educational $.

I'd be interested in your comments, if they relate to the topic and are not just toxic.

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joepublic Aug. 18, 2010 @ 11:46 a.m.

First of all, I appreciate how the author puts so much relevant information in so little space. #12 should click on all of the author's articles and they will find many lengthy ones as well. Regarding the real issue and not the irrelevant name calling/ blogger bashing, I ask why, since Prop R was already approved by the voters, did SWC adminstrators approve the spending of precious funds during these hard times? What a waste!

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 11:58 a.m.

Reply #19 How would you suggest one find out the answer to that great question?

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SanDiegoBorn Aug. 18, 2010 @ 11:58 a.m.

Dear Flounder, aka Hog, aka author of 8 of 18 posts:

So sorry touch a nerve about implying that I touched a nerve that instigated two more of your driveling posts. Had I known this, I would have been like everybody else on this blog and mocked you in my head.

As far as being an insider on Media Issues, if occasionally participating in blogs, having a Facebook and Twitter account constitutes being a "media insider," then yes, guilty as charged. Judging by the length of your posts, obnoxious use of capital letters and cheeky "BTW" you're an insider too. So tell me? Do you hog space on Facebook as well? Don't get very many Friend Requests do we?

As far as commenting on the article. The article I read talked about a PR firm getting a contract to do outreach with...gasp...wait for it...the public. What a novel idea? Public Relations...working to inform the public...Now That Is News! A school by my house is doing construction and I got informed by some PR dude that they were in fact, going to do construction in case it might inconvenience me. They also went door-to-door to remind of of construction and had a nifty little flier that showed me what was going to be there. If that is a crime, then send those schmucks to jail...How dare they inform me on what they plan on doing.

Flounder, you are just as guilty of engaging in a little banter as I am. Heck, you even converted my use of the word "poking" to mean something else. So in that spirit, may I suggest that you go off and perform an anotomically impossible act to yourself ;) Just "poking" fun.

Late.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 12:37 p.m.

21 SanDiegoBorn

Name calling, has no place here, and slanting, what we hold dear

no matter, what trip you want to lay; let's see, what the Admin has to say.

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Duhbya Aug. 18, 2010 @ 12:40 p.m.

Founder, you are surely not a bounder, and although your verse might occasionally flounder, I can't think of a more well-rounder(ed) poster on this board of sounders.

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hugh3517 Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:01 p.m.

I seem to remember that the bond was pitched against a backdrop of leaking plumbing, crumbling walls, exposed electrical, and a facility generally falling apart for lack of maintenance. If this project is legit, it should stand on it's own feet. None of the fancy dancing we've gotten used to from this bunch.

Lastly, if Mr. Hom is an employee of the district, how can he be used as a consultant? Is this not a conflict of interest? Toss the arrogant incumbents.

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VigilantinCV Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:07 p.m.

14 you say you are a friend of Dan Hom. Can you tell us if David Malcolm and Dan Hom share an office in San Diego as I have been told?

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:19 p.m.

Founder, I think your suggestion earlier in the day about posting the docs is good. It would bring clarity and insight (to those who are able to arrive at clarity and insight.) There are other docs that would put some questions away as well. I have to give this some thought. Oh, and I quite liked the play on words with canard...

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:23 p.m.

Reply #23 just Blogging my Best, like Thee

We should all promote, for better College education not more building, construction and property vacation,

that is why, getting SWC Administration back on track, will required giving all those without their eye on the ball, the sack.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:35 p.m.

Reply #24 Can you imaging voting on Prop R. if it said,

"Allow for the Media Hype and Spin of the Publics understanding of all the issues surrounding the Educational considerations of College Administration, which is in need of Major Repair"!

Yeah sure, the voter would surly have voted for that in a landslide!

+

As "a Director on the Foundation of SWC (according to an above post)", I think means, that Mr. Hon does not receive money DIRECTLY from SWC, but he is an "Insider" with access to the Board of SWC; if this is not correct then perhaps someone that knows, will correct my interpretation of his title.

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:45 p.m.

southwestern college and foundation board of directors

Founder you're correct Hom is not an employee. The Southwestern College Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 associated with the college. I tried to bring the link (above) with me onto the site but it didn't work. The search words above will give the names.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 1:56 p.m.

Reply Susan #26 Thanks for writing about all these tricks!

Expenditure, of College Educational money, is quite dear to me as I have seen, it's wasted much too often and that makes, me very angry.

and as for the usage of the word "canard", it's like being caught "up" in your own petard,

I'm very happy you really got a bang out of it, and I trust your Readers, also enjoyed that bit of wit.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 2 p.m.

Reply #29 Try and add a single space before the link and then add two spaces after the link, as that has helped other to get their link to post properly; plus it sometimes takes a moment or two to "work" normally...

Good Luck

Your Readers need all the help they can get, from You!

BTW: There are a huge number of these 501 c 3' ORG's in San Diego that not only promote public opinion but also publicly support for the "other" Non-Public entity. Perhaps after the election, that would also make a great story for your Readers!

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a2zresource Aug. 18, 2010 @ 4:12 p.m.

Thanks to the author, who should be doing Southwestern College's students a big favor by sending a copy of her Southwestern College articles to the resident associated students organization.

I don't know nada about SW probation status or why it's there per WASC, but the time I spent as a student rep on City College's accreditation reports to WASC tells me that if the campus student government is not involved under state law's "shared college governance" for community colleges, then that's a darn good reason to at least be threatened with WASC probation status. Without students paying attention and watching what's going on through mandated policy making with shared governance, it is possible that a there could be a recurrence of the San Diego Community College District Foundation fiasco and subsequent lawsuit, but with different names in a different district.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 4:23 p.m.

Reply #32 Please tell US more of what you believe should be the Right Path to discover yet more of what's up with SWC's putting

"Building More"

before

correcting it's Accreditation problems

and how that may relate to "the San Diego Community College District Foundation fiasco and subsequent lawsuit"; I bet like me, many don't have a clue or know what questions to ask!

"Forewarned is forearmed"...

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a2zresource Aug. 18, 2010 @ 4:39 p.m.

RE #33:

Community college students have to participate in shared governance. It's the law according to the California Education Code. It means that there must be at least one student on every college committee, including the ones that developers most likely want not observed too well by the public, students, or the campus journalism department.

Many moons ago, the San Diego Community College District Foundation walked away from SDCCD with about $10 million in funds (1980s?). The lawsuit was Nellie G. Anderson et al v. SDCCDF, and when it settled, SDCCDF paid SDCCD the $10 million, which had grown to about $40 million at the time, so the scam paid out roughly $30 million to the ex-SDCCD chancellor, student trustee and others in on the Foundation action. I believe the numbers are about right, but I'm doing all this from faded memory...

I think it happened back then because NOBODY WAS WATCHING.

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Founder Aug. 18, 2010 @ 4:50 p.m.

Reply #34 Another great post!

Does anyone know if SWC has a Student on it's Board and if so, what is their take (no pun intended) on what going on now at SWC? + It would not be funny, if that student Rep (if they do have one) was an atypical Student, one that was not representative of the entire student body and or elected by them in an open Student election.

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 18, 2010 @ 5:47 p.m.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-01-25/bay-area/17835587_1_foundation-directors-school-s-foundation-college-administrators

Hey, the single space double space seems to have worked. This is another interesting story, relatively recent, on Foundations. Thanks for the tip. Susan

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eyeonswc Aug. 18, 2010 @ 9:03 p.m.

Extremists? Who are the extremists?? The irony!

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eyeonswc Aug. 18, 2010 @ 9:07 p.m.

I don't know whether to call it cynicism or hubris. The SWC board along with Alioto and all those who are lining their own pockets to the detriment of the South Bay's young people keep plowing ahead with their own greedy agenda. I can only hope that enough of the voting public is informed enough so that November 2d spells the end to this sad chapter for the only higher education institution available in the South Bay.

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 6:46 a.m.

Reply to #38 Any thoughts about how to increase the number of voters that will get interested in the SWC issue?

If voters can learn more about SWC, participate in discussions and or debate, then they will be better prepared to vote intelligently, instead of being hoodwinked by media spin that only benefits those paying for the spin...

Since SWC is an educational institution, I'm hopeful that all of it's Students, Staff and especially it's Faculty become engaged in this discussion. They have the most to gain by helping Voters understand just what the real issues are and the reasons that they are so important; not just to current Students and SWC employees but future South Bay Students as well.

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ramrod Aug. 19, 2010 @ 9:33 a.m.

All of this garbage smells politically motivated. I'm pretty tired of this. I think all of you need to take a step back. Which is typical of special interest groups. I'm tired of the process!When everything is said and done your opinions really don't matter and that's a fact. Wake up and smell the garbage.....

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 10:01 a.m.

Reply #40 Thanks but no thanks!

If you are content to "Wake up and smell the garbage....." that's OK by me,

but

don't expect others to do the same; there are lots of Students out there that don't deserve to be stuck with a "garbage" educational experience, especially since it is being funded by public tax money!

In these tough times, they should be getting MORE, NOT LESS educational value!

It's up to the voters to insure that we are getting what we have been taxed for and I for one, did not pay to provide anyone with a "garbage" educational experience.

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David Dodd Aug. 19, 2010 @ 10:04 a.m.

"All of this garbage smells politically motivated."

Political? How so?

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VigilantinCV Aug. 19, 2010 @ 10:23 a.m.

ramrod says: " I'm tired of the process!When everything is said and done your opinions really don't matter and that's a fact." How prescient! If his friend , Dan Hom, does all he has promised to do all that any of us will get is SPIN! SPIN! SPIN! You would like that wouldn't you, ramrod?

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 11:08 a.m.

Reply #43 Right On...and no matter what he thinks, You can be sure that Dan Hom would be smiling, all the way to the Bank!

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ramrod Aug. 19, 2010 @ 11:26 a.m.

First of all Prop. R is earmarked for building, repairing, and upgrading SW College facilities. Unless you know something, I don't know? As far as Dan being my friend, he is. He has $100,000 contract from a $ 389 Million dollar bond, " Big Deal"! I know Dan is not on the SW Foundation Board anymore. I also know that he has helped raise thousands of dollars for the Foundation over the years. ( Funds are earmarked for scholarships.) I have know reason to spin anything! I just know Dan has been involved in many projects in the South Bay that has helped our community prosper. So Founder, Refried, and of course Vigilante what motivates you? ............. Do your homework and actually make a difference in the community!

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a2zresource Aug. 19, 2010 @ 12:12 p.m.

RE "Do your homework and actually make a difference in the community!"

Exactly.

Students at Southwestern College need to know the truth about just how many college committees there are on that campus, and that one or more students need to be regular contributing members of each one. Ultimately, there will be a number of executive and faculty search committees where students will not be working members, as that may interfere with faculty senate rights, but on everything related to campus spending of public money, curriculum approval, 5-year construction master plan, and all the rest, student participation in community college shared governance as required by law helps to insure compliance with the re-granting of accreditation some time in the future. If the campus journalism department is asleep on this, then any student who wants to make a name for herself or himself can fill the campus blog void here at the Reader.

I know for a fact that smart students on those community college committees, the ones who not only point out problems but offer up effective solutions, are exactly the same people who deans and department heads find private tuition for at highly-competitive private universities on transfer. It does pay to be exceptional.

Anyone who thinks none of this matters can keep believing in it, but as a former City College student president myself, I counted it as a good year if I could save California community college students a few million$ in avoided fee increases, even if I had to make trips to Sacramento to get something killed in an education subcommittee. It pays to speak up, even if 98% of us can't or won't take the time to do it. It's the definition of LEADERSHIP, and it does get rewarded, hopefully not to the point of being corrupted.

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elliott Aug. 19, 2010 @ 12:51 p.m.

Ramrod, I'm not sure everyone in the South Bay appreciates the toll road--even before it filed for chapter 11. Wasn't Hom the Co-chair of citizens for 125 the promoters of the project?

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.

Reply #46 It is always inspiring to me that some folks actually take some of their personal time and devote it to "UN-SPIN" and I think that is exactly what you referring to.

Now, the next question is:

How to best inspire some SWC students to seek POSITIVE CHANGE?

Any thoughts?

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 12:55 p.m.

Reply #48 Great question and I wonder how much he made on that voter approved "building project"?

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VigilantinCV Aug. 19, 2010 @ 1:15 p.m.

oh, make no mistake about it Dan Hom is a very busy fellow - especially at SWC! Remember he was the wizard who convinced this community to pass a $389,000,000 bond issue in the first place. Wish someone would tell us how much he was paid for that SPiN JOB! Now he is reaping the harvest.

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piledhigheranddeeper Aug. 19, 2010 @ 3:03 p.m.

My primary focus is to educate and uplift my students as best as I am able! My students deserve my best efforts, and they deserve the best efforts of the institution. It is a sad state of affairs that the institution apparently has other foci, concerning Bond measures and re-elections. General mis-management has resulted in drastic course reductions and lay-offs, making it harder for students to get their education in a timely manner. The Board continues to make decisions that make no sense to anyone, even when reasonable alternatives are presented by faculty, classified employees, and students.

Yes, the school is nearing 50 years old, and many buildings are in need of modernization. What I see happening, however, is that public bond money is being used by the Board to build monuments to itself, i.e. the "Raj Mahal" slated for the corner lot. The same could be said for the entire Otay Mesa facility.

In my humble opinion, we should mothball these satellite campuses (or even rent them out for space!), and circle the wagons here at the main campus. As it is, we will have lots of pretty new classrooms with no students in them.

The focus of SWC Board should be to serve students, and to help them to "get where they are going" in their education and careers.

I don't know what the Board will do next...I've given up trying to anticipate their actions based on reason alone, because I'm disappointed every time.

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a2zresource Aug. 19, 2010 @ 3:33 p.m.

RE #48:

Wow.

You just issued a call for a war council to plan a campaign.

Strategically and practically, students have a lot of leeway to be both creative and borderline in approaching how to gain leverage over a corrupt or inept district governing board. It helps to know the terrain: what things are in the California Codes that community colleges should be doing but aren't? How does a community college student government capitalize on district's lack of leadership in not complying with the law?

Now, EVERYBODY who really knows me that I would not have written that unless I already had a plan in my back pocket for a righteous student takeover of campus... and it could start with something as innocent as an application to start an evening college student government, or as "sacred cow" as advocating for safety as top priority under the National Response Plan, including an all-hazard approach to the on-campus authority of a student president under California Education Code section 76060 and California Military & Veterans Code about topics that are better left sealed until the eve of battle.

The best way to build esteem Is with a campus-wide winning team

Go team!

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 4:24 p.m.

  • Ph.D -

Reply #51 PH and D Your blog, entry brought, tears to the eyes of me

A caring Professor, can change many students young lives, if they don't have to put up, with Administrative "Jives"

We all will surely support all College employee's that think and act like you, putting quality educational excellence on top of the list you do

Please encourage, all of your fellow employees, to get involved, and together, perhaps we can all finally get, this problem solved!

Get them to post here, and make all, of their feelings known, instead of waiting, for the Board, to throw them a bone.

Together, working with voters, who knows just what we will see, maybe someone will receive a honorary Ph.D.

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Founder Aug. 19, 2010 @ 4:50 p.m.

Reply A2Z #52 I could, not have said, it better than you!

and if it would not make you sad, I also suggest that you add:

The best way to build COLLEGE esteem Is with a campus-wide winning team

"Go Team", that's what all the SWC cheerleaders will all soon say, when the voters make all the Colleges old problems, go away!

So please Faculty, Staff and Students, tell us what we can do, to help all of you, work together, to get rid of this screw...

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David Dodd Aug. 19, 2010 @ 9:41 p.m.

"As far as Dan being my friend, he is. He has $100,000 contract from a $ 389 Million dollar bond, " Big Deal"!"

Was his deal part of Prop "R"? Funny, I didn't read that in prop "R".

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Founder Aug. 20, 2010 @ 7:55 a.m.

Reply #55. I believe the voters wanted Prop R. money spent wisely on improving and providing classroom facilities to better aid in student education, instead SWC's Board has decided to do something quite different, which is (from an previous post above), "that public bond money is being used by the Board to build monuments to itself, i.e. the "Raj Mahal" slated for the corner lot. The same could be said for the entire Otay Mesa facility."

while at the same time

"General mis-management has resulted in drastic course reductions and lay-offs, making it harder for students to get their education in a timely manner.".

The Board has obviously decided to feather it's own nest (by constructing a new Administration Building) before putting the College on a sound Educational footing; no amount of spin will be able to change the fact that the Board has been completely focused on spending Prop R. money on itself ("empire building").

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VigilantinCV Aug. 20, 2010 @ 11:35 p.m.

HEADS UP! The chicanery at SWC just made the 11 o'clock news telling us to expect an article in the UT in the morning. Bravo, Susan Luzzaro, for being the first to shed important light on this outrage.

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Founder Aug. 21, 2010 @ 7:41 a.m.

Reply #57 Please give us an update as I don't subscribe to the UT, but am interested in what their article says...

Educationally Factual or SPUN fluffy?

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VigilantinCV Aug. 21, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

College VP raised money from contractors he oversees

The soiree raised money for Southwestern board members he wants to retain

By Tanya Sierra , UNION-TRIBUNE

Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 6:33 a.m.

Journalism that upholds the public trust, regularly

Who we are

Staff writers Jeff McDonald and Tanya Sierra, data specialist Danielle Cervantes and team leader Ricky Young. Send tips to watchdog@uniontrib.com, fax documents to 619-260-5094, follow us on Twitter @sdutWatchdog.

The vice president of Southwestern College hosted a political wine-and-cheese fundraiser at his home, at which many of the invited guests represented companies that do business with the college under contracts he oversees.

The fundraiser was legal, experts say, but might give the impression of a pay-to-play setup where contractors would have to give to the political campaigns in question to maintain the college’s favor.

The fundraiser was to support two incumbents on the college district board who are facing a robust challenge from union-supported candidates displeased with the current administration.

Nicholas Alioto, the vice president for business and financial affairs, said he invited a broad range of contacts to the May 20 fundraiser for trustees Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid in an effort to get them re-elected.

Click link to read article in UT

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/aug/21/ethical-questions-arise-over-political-fundraiser/

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Founder Aug. 21, 2010 @ 9:30 a.m.

Reply #59 "The fundraiser was legal, experts say, but might give the impression of a pay-to-play setup where contractors would have to give to the political campaigns in question to maintain the college’s favor."

Wink, Nod, Wink Wink!

I'm sure if folks showed up and said they would NOT donate to the reelection fund their work load would get much smaller real quick...

This kind of activity, especially with money involved, is why our City, our County and our Country is in Hot Water right now. The SWC's Board is proud to meet with it's Contractors and happy to accept every penny they can, from them. I'm sure now they will be able to work better together, since they all now understand the way the game is played.

What is wrong with that picture?

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Susan Luzzaro Aug. 24, 2010 @ 4:51 p.m.

Some of you had expressed an interest in seeing Focuscom's outreach plan. It is posted below the article. Thanks for your interest, Susan

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Visduh May 22, 2011 @ 9:31 p.m.

I can only ask which is worse, SWC or the Sweetwater Union High School District? Both smell to high heaven, both try to manage the public input, both have or had autocratic CEO's who seem/seemed to think they are/were divinely selected to run their operations.

Is it something in the water in South Bay that keeps these scholastic agencies in endless turmoil? Sheesh, a few years ago folks said we had problems here in Vista with the schools. That was mild compared to these goings-on south of I-8 (actually south of Hwy 54.)

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