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On June 20, about 400 people packed Southwest High School’s gymnasium for a Sweetwater Union High School board meeting. Several hundred people packed the meeting, many wearing “Stop Corruption” buttons.

Community member Kathleen Cheers set the tenor for public comments when she asked the board: “Who goes to Hooters on a district credit card?” Cheers was referring to superintendent Jesus Gandara’s credit card, which was canceled by board president John McCann in April.

The most heated moment of the meeting came when McCann yelled at speaker Martin Casas, “You and your people have attacked me, my military record, and other veterans.”

Casas, a teacher in the district, said he was unclear what McCann meant by “you and your people.”

Background to the conflict comes from a letter sent to the Fair Political Practices Commission by retired educator Fran Brinkman. In the letter, Brinkman asserts that the district has promoted McCann’s political aspirations by arranging for him “to present a speech regarding his military service on at least twelve opportunities” and “produced at the public expense a full color biographical insert regarding Mr. McCann which was distributed with graduation ceremony programs.” It’s rumored that McCann is interested in returning to the Chula Vista City Council.

At 7:00 p.m. the board went into closed session. At 2:00 a.m., McCann announced that the board had unanimously approved a separation agreement with Gandara. It will cost the district $500,000 to buy out the next 18 months of Gandara’s contract.

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Comments

VigilantinCV June 21, 2011 @ 5:40 p.m.

Gandara made out like a bandit! I have heard that he is allowed to take vacation and leave until September 1 when he vests in STRS and will, then receive a lifetime pension. How is that for pandering to greed?

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Visduh June 21, 2011 @ 7:32 p.m.

In a comment to an earlier article, I think I said that a fat buyout of this crook's contract was the most likely outcome. But I really, really hoped it wouldn't be the case. Jeez, there are times I wish I wasn't right. But good riddance to the scum. And we can only hope that this example will "scare straight" some of his colleagues in other districts who abuse the position and trust they've been provided. But don't count on that!

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SouthBayParent June 22, 2011 @ 9:45 a.m.

As a member of the committee that advised the Sweetwater District on where the $15million could be cut from their budget, I am OUTRAGED that they suddenly decide it is okay to pay $500,000 to someone who messed up and violated their contract.

WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON???

There isn't enough money to pay for sports, there isn't enough money to have librarians, but there is enough to pay some guy who uses THEIR credit card to pay for Hooters?!?!?

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Visduh June 22, 2011 @ 10:38 a.m.

You should be outraged. But what you are seeing has happened several times, sometimes at even greater cost, all around the county and the state. Vote the bums--all the board member bums--out!

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cvres June 22, 2011 @ 10:48 a.m.

I think Visduhs right. Lay the choice of the superintendent and the extension of the contract at the feet of the board members who are responsible--a lot of 4-1 votes indicate Lopez did the right thing. As for the rest of them, I second Visduh--Vote the bums out.

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Susan Luzzaro June 22, 2011 @ 3:08 p.m.

Surf Puppy, I noticed you posted on the last Sweetwater Stringer that you weren't too fond of Ed Brand. The district just hired him as the interim superintendent.....

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Visduh June 23, 2011 @ 8:44 a.m.

Yes, Surfup, where are you while all this is going down? The whole thing, now culminating with them bringing Ed Brand back as the interim supe, is surreal.

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joepublic June 22, 2011 @ 3:43 p.m.

I agree with SouthBayParent, the buyout is outrageous, and on top of it we'll be spending $17,000 a year on the retirement of someone who probably should be heading for prison. Visduh's right also. All of the bums must go! Perhaps the biggest bum/crook is Bonifacio Garcia , the school districts $83,000 a month lawyer. Check out this link and read how he has been ripping off taxpayers for years. http://www.bonifacio-garcia.itgo.com/

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SouthbayCitizen June 22, 2011 @ 7:09 p.m.

The settlement with Gandara and the incredibly high price tag associated with it is financial reward from John McCann -- as a thank you for Gandara colluding to be part of his campaign team both this past fall to get elected to the Sweetwater Board and for his impending run for both the Chula Vista City Council and then the Mayor's race. Yes, key note speaker at no less than 12 graduation ceremonies --with a full glossy biography of military service paid for by the District--while running for the seat this past summer ----and two District-paid robocalls to every parent reminding them to have their kids get shots straight from John McCann. Do you know that McCann tried every possible angle to get out of his service in Iraq and now touts it every time he talks to more than one person? McCann is the most ruthless, conniving, self-serving politician the southbay has ever seen. We need someone with morals, not blind ambition.

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bankalchemist June 24, 2011 @ 12:20 p.m.

he is to receive his retirement and the district has engaged another member of the ali ba ba and the 40 thieves hall of fame Ed Brand who walked with his retirement in 05 after the district was sued for wrongful dismissal of another teacher and paid out $600,000 for that mistake. Since that time Ed has grown his marketability by being Chairman of the Board for a failed banking launch which cost $3.5 million dollars 06-08 and is now back with long time slick as owl shit crony Tom Hassey. bankalchemist.

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VigilantinCV June 24, 2011 @ 2:21 p.m.

Who lost 3.5 million? bankalchemist, it sounds like you probably lost money on what proved to be a risky investment. What did Dr. Brand have to do with it? You sure are skimpy on details and long on dubious statements.

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bankalchemist Aug. 8, 2011 @ 9:23 a.m.

no we were consultants and the 22 organizing members of the Board of Directors manage their on funds as a test of fiduciary responsibility to the regulators and prospective shareholders. Ed Brand was the Chairman of the group and for over 3 years directed this fiasco of cronies. NO the only ones who lost money were the initial investors trying to launch the project.

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Missionaccomplished June 24, 2011 @ 9:28 p.m.

It's still not over. Dr. Brand is only an interim Super and hopefully will place a hold on Gandaya's appointments until review, mainly O'choa. Bonnie Garcia has to go and Q needs to be voted out in November.

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Missionaccomplished June 24, 2011 @ 9:50 p.m.

The most heated moment of the meeting came when McCann yelled at speaker Martin Casas, “You and your people have attacked me, my military record, and other veterans.”

Casas, a teacher in the district, said he was unclear what McCann meant by “you and your people.”

As John McCan't is a known Bilgebray Repuke and immigration restrictionist, it's a no-brainer.

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Twister June 24, 2011 @ 11:06 p.m.

Too much noise; not enough facts and references. We must, at all costs, resist the attempt to be baited--that's how the bums can out-maneuver us. If they can spook us into foaming at the mouth, they've won!

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VigilantinCV June 25, 2011 @ 5:28 p.m.

Hear the exchange between McCann and Casas in the clip above and decide who is perpetuating myths if myths exist. Maybe John is hearing voices we don't hear?

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VigilantinCV June 25, 2011 @ 8:40 p.m.

Sorry the video link earlier did not work. Please try this one:

http://www.thestarnews.com/

For some reason I can't post a live link.

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Fred Williams June 26, 2011 @ 5:05 a.m.

Try putting a space or two in front of the link, like this:

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Fred Williams June 26, 2011 @ 5:45 a.m.

I've been following McCann's career ever since he tried to swindle Chula Vista into paying for another Chargers Stadium.

When this "hero" ran for the Assembly in 08, his masters raised over a million dollars for his campaign.

Then after trying to get out of it, he got deployed to Iraq (BTW: he's a supply clerk) and even tried to get his wife appointed to his seat on the council. While there, he got fawning coverage in the UT.

He's BAAAACK and now he's on the school board, showing why he should never be entrusted with public office again. He brags about his "accomplishments" but they translate into being a big supporter of redevelopment and getting really cozy with developers, religious zealots, and anti-immigrant fanatics.

McCann is not someone who should represent the public any more.

This Martin Casas, however...he's a math teacher and seems pretty articulate. How can we help HIM into office? Just from seeing a few seconds of him on video, I can tell he'd be way better than the current crop of political hacks running the district into the ground.

Best,

Fred Williams

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elliott June 26, 2011 @ 12:31 p.m.

Thanks Fred Williams for getting Vigilant's video up. Revealing clip. I understand that McCann's wife is on the Republican central committee along with Derek Roach the private detective who has launched so many smear campaigns in Chula Vista.

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VigilantinCV June 26, 2011 @ 5:02 p.m.

John McCann is difficult to understand. He wants to climb the political ladder no mystery there. He won two terms on the Chula Vista City Council easily because not many people really knew him and he had no real negatives. When he tried to win the 78th Assembly seat that changed. Many more people became aware of his raw ambition and ruthless brand of campaigning. Then in July 2009 he was ordered to Iraq with an Army Unit as a Supply Clerk. His wife, Myssie, was furious that John wasn't allowed to name his replacement (her) and singled Rudy Ramirez out for her wrath. When John came back he wanted to be seen as a war veteran and claimed Ramirez was disrespectful of his military service and was anti-American. It seems to me that he perceives his military service as a ticket to elected office. As Board President he gave a dozen or more speeches to graduates - all stressing his military service and his vision of being Mayor of Chula Vista. I think he has overplayed this hand. Over 630 people have watctched the clip of his rant at the Board meeting and it isn't being accepted as he hoped it would be. He can't seem to grasp that people are not disrespecting his military service but are, instead, objecting to his blatantly exploiting his military service for political gain. A subtle difference maybe but a powerful one.

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