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Three days after election day, when Southwestern College school-board incumbents Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominquez were voted out of office, the board called a special meeting. The meeting — called for by the board only 24 hours in advance — was held Friday evening, November 5. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate superintendent Raj Chopra.

Even with short notice, the boardroom was packed. Members of the audience spoke against the proposed evaluation. One faculty member asked the board, “Why has President Chopra continued to receive raises and contract extensions when he has effectively dismantled our college?”

The timing of the evaluation was criticized because less than a month ago, Chopra cohosted a fundraiser for outgoing board president Salcido at the Coronado Cays Yacht Club.

Trustee Nick Aguilar made two motions at last Friday's special meeting. His first motion was to postpone the evaluation until after the initial report on accreditation progress was received from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. His second motion was to postpone the evaluation until the new board was seated. Both motions died for lack of a second.

After several hours in closed session, the board returned to the meeting. The college district’s attorney announced that Chopra’s evaluation had been completed and placed in his personnel file and thus would remain private. (Outgoing trustee Jorge Dominguez did not respond to an email inquiry regarding the criteria used for the superintendent’s evaluation.)

A revised agenda for the regular November 10 board meeting includes the item “public employee/dismissal/release.” Some people speculate that the board will offer to buy out the superintendent’s contract.

Pictured: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Raj Chopra

Image source: swccd.edu

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Comments

VigilantinCV Nov. 9, 2010 @ 10:06 p.m.

This renegade Board, with the exception of Nick Aguilar, can only be expected to add insult to injury, They have never acted responsibly on behalf of students so why would anyone think they would start now? Salcido and Dominguez have been voted out but they will try to take care of the thugs they hired. It will likely cost a lot of money but not getting rid of Chopra and Alioto will further damage SWC.

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a2zresource Nov. 9, 2010 @ 10:33 p.m.

Things get curiouser and curiouser.

If the incoming initial WASC accreditation progress report were placed in Chopra's personnel file, would it thus remain private as well?

I mean, I'm not predicting what might happen, but this WOULD seem to fit the pattern here, wouldn't it?

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emmitsmith Nov. 10, 2010 @ 4:54 a.m.

Terri Valladolid, has a chance to make a new start here, but it appears to be business as usual. She was was voted back in on the good reputation of her husband's name and saved by the hair of her chinny-chin-chin against new-comer, yet extremely impressive Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez, but still doesn't seem to get it. She is disillusioned that this President/Superintendent has somehow been good for the college. Of course, it took her 6 years to realize that Zasueta was a crook, so her sizing up skills are not the best. One huge concern is how much damage she and Roesch will join in on letting Salcido and stooge Dominguez do on their way out before the new board is sworn in. Perhaps there were some hanging chads that could be looked at. Jesseca should ask for a recount of the votes in her race against Valladolid. Let's continue to clean house so that the college and the students have a decent chance.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 10, 2010 @ 6:36 a.m.

For those who have been following the issues but haven't yet seen the vote:

SOUTHWESTERN COM COLLEGE SEAT NO. 2

Precincts: 221 Counted: 221 Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1 TERRI VALLADOLID 39036 51.14% JESSECA S-GONZALEZ 37299 48.86% TopBack

SOUTHWESTERN COM COLLEGE SEAT NO. 4

Precincts: 221 Counted: 221 Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1 NORMA L. HERNANDEZ 40928 53.81% YOLANDA SALCIDO 35131 46.19% TopBack

SOUTHWESTERN COM COLLEGE SEAT NO. 5

Precincts: 221 Counted: 221 Percentage: 100.0%

Vote for: 1 TIM NADER 28300 36.34% JAIME MERCADO 21438 27.53% WILLIAM MC LEROY 17729 22.77% JORGE DOMINGUEZ 10399 13.35%

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ElProfeLoco Nov. 10, 2010 @ 7:22 a.m.

For those that may not already know, Southwestern College (SWC) has had many major problems under the regimes of Pres/Supt. Zasueta and Chopra: accreditation problems (still), violation of civil rights (harassment, intimidation, free speech issues, threatened arrests of students, faculty and staff), votes of no confidence (by students, faculty and staff), misuse of public funds, etc.

Lame Duck SWC Board Pres. Yolanda Salcido has been a continuing disaster with her micro-managing, (illegal) meddling, poor choices of Pres/Supt. (Chopra etc), questionable money relationships with contractors, etc. Supt. Chopra has been the perpetrator or cause of many of these disasters.

SALCIDO FINALLY BEEN VOTED OUT OF OFFICE, but some of her Board lackeys, stooges and fellow travelers remain: notably Terri Valladolid and Jean Roesch, and to some extent Jorge Dominguez.

Speculation is/was that Salcido may have tried to give Chopra an iron clad contract ammendment and "golden handshake" via her recent surprise short-noticed Board meeting.

The SWC Board has received an infusion of needed new, and maybe/probably competent, talent. But it remains to be seen if Vallodolid and Roesch can finally be neutralized and out voted (and that is a dire need at SWC).

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a2zresource Nov. 10, 2010 @ 9:46 a.m.

RE #5:

See earlier article "Public Records Suggest Southwestern College Used Public Funds Frivolously" and extensive comments:


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joepublic Nov. 10, 2010 @ 1:50 p.m.

The good news in this article is the chance that tonight's agenda item "public employee dismissal/release" might be Mr. Chopra, but the thought of offering him a buyout is disgusting and would be an unfair public expense. Mr. Aguilar is right. The evaluation of the superintendent should take place after and be contingent on the accreditation progress report. Also, waiting for the newly elected board to be seated would be giving the public what they voted for. Then again , when has this board ever cared about the public's interest?

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 10, 2010 @ 4:51 p.m.

For those who peruse this site, A2Zresource has done some useful research on Southwestern and accreditation much of which has been posted, as is mentioned in #6.

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Pancho Nov. 11, 2010 @ 1:26 p.m.

This seems almost as shady as when the City of Chula Vista asked-out former city manager Dave Rowlands.

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Founder Nov. 13, 2010 @ 9:11 a.m.

The Good news is there is some new blood on SWC's Board!

The Bad news is I don't think there is enough to make the changes required to set SWC on course for Educational improvement!

Buying off/out the President in order to get him away from public scrutiny is just another coverup in progress that the Voters should not be subject to...

I call upon each and every Board member to come to the Aid of SWC and make public any documents and "behind the scenes DEAL$" that are not in SWC's Students best interests... I suggest that everyone "follow the money"...

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David Dodd Nov. 13, 2010 @ 1:47 p.m.

Re #10: The positive thing about it was that at least there was some change, apparently voters are trying to give them the message. When I read the election results I had to grin about that. Maybe it'll make the remaining board think about what their priorities should be.

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