National City Planning Commission
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Political pressure is building in National City to allow Alliant International University to take over some classrooms previously dedicated to National City Adult School.

On August 5, the National City Planning Commission voted to table the consideration of a conditional use permit to Alliant International University/Sweewater Union High School District until September 16.

At the August 5 meeting, commissioners expressed reservations about changing the intended purpose of the adult school site, about parking problems at the site, and about the city’s commitment of redevelopment funds for the specific purpose of building an adult education center.

Further, the commissioners wanted to give the public more time to consider the benefits and/or consequences of the proposal and Sweetwater/Alliant time to prepare a response to commissioners’ concerns.

However, the commissioners’ unanimous decision is being challenged.

The CEO of the National City Chamber of Commerce, Jacqueline Reynoso, wrote a letter to the commissioners, on behalf of the chamber’s Economic Development Committee, in which she instructs the chair of the planning department: “This is a time sensitive issue that needs to be acted on quickly. [Alliant was supposed to begin instruction August 26.]

“We are aware that there is a 10 day noticing period before the Planning Committee can convene. If we begin the process tomorrow, August 9, 2013, the planning commission may issue notice of a special meeting and public hearing for no later than Monday, August 19, 2013. Calling for this meeting immediately will allow the Planning Commission to convene and make a determination in time for the National City City Council meeting that is scheduled for Tuesday August 20, 2013.”

The planning commission did not follow the prescribed timeline; however, on August 19 they are going to take up the question of whether or not to convene a special meeting in order to consider approving Sweetwater/Alliant’s conditional use permit.

In an August 14 interview, Reynoso stated: The planning commission’s job is not to look at politics or the memorandum of understanding [between Alliant and Sweetwater], their job is to consider if it’s an allowable use of space.”

When asked who was on the Economic Development Committee, Reynoso said there are over 500 viable members and it depends upon who shows up to vote. She said she could not recall who was in attendance; however, she promised to forward minutes from the meeting that were being drafted. (As of the posting of the story she has not forwarded the minutes.)

Reynoso did say that superintendent Ed Brand attended the Economic Development meeting as well as National City mayor Ron Morrison.

When asked if the committee voted to support Alliant because they felt Alliant would bring some economic benefits to National City, Reynoso answered, “No, we just want to see the community have another higher-education option.”

Aside from being CEO of the chamber of commerce, Reyonoso is listed as a trustee on the website for the for-profit United States University in Chula Vista. According to a Don Bauder article, the university was fined $700,000 in April 2013 by the federal government “for falsifying records so students who could get Pell Grants."

Brian Clapper, who is a director on the National City Chamber of Commerce, said in an August 14 interview that he objected to this “hurry up” meeting. “The process has not at all been transparent; all the cards aren’t on the table.

“We need this adult center. Students in our community need the classes to learn English, to gain citizenship, to become medical assistants, to take math courses. Why are they pushing this on the second lowest economically sound city in the county? Why are they pushing this down our throats?”

Clapper says he was recently warned by another member of the chamber that he better go along with allowing Alliant into the Adult Center. His response was, “I have a mind and a heart of my own.”

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Comments

oskidoll Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:01 a.m.

Let's hope that National City's Planning Commission will consider ALL the facts at the upcoming meeting; 1) including the exact language of the land lease which provided the site courtesy of the Metropolitan Transit District (NC Councilwoman Rios is a member of the MTS Board and should be able to obtain a copy of the lease); 2) reported use of Redevelopment $$$ to build the facility --- what were the conditions made by the Redevelopment Board at that time --- the site was built as an Adult School; 3) the extent to which the Sweetwater District has already decimated the FREE Adult School programs that once occupied the site, including ESL, entry-level career training, basic skills, etc 4) the DETAILS of the Alliant proposal, including the costs of the PRIVATE college classes proposed and how students will be enticed to take out pricey loans, in addition to any available financial aid in order to pay for limited classes of dubious worth that are proposed

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dbdriver Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:21 a.m.

Agreed oskidoll.

And I hope they do not succumb to any pressure to rush such investigation.

Why is almost everything Sweetwater works on "Time Sensitive"? They do not have to have classes starting so soon. They could easily have classes start in the Spring, to allow time for all these processes to be set in place properly. What is the phrase? P*ss poor planning on your part does not constitute an urgency on my part.

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eastlaker Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:35 a.m.

Precisely!

They want to railroad this through BECAUSE it won't stand up under examination. Which points to the great likelihood that they are attempting to pull yet another fast one...

This community needs to learn from past experience and give a loud "NO!" to the schemer and his schemes!

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joepublic Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:25 a.m.

The nerve of Ms Reynoso to be telling the Planning Commision what their job is. Based on what I've read about their last meeting, it sounds like they know exactly what their job is and acted to protect the public they represent. Let's hope the commissioners don't allow themselves to be bullied. By the way, everyone should read the Don Bauder link. Pretty shady outfit. Is Ms Reynoso still a trustee of United States University?

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oskidoll Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:55 a.m.

I must wonder if Ms Reynoso is speaking only for herself or for the National City Chamber of Commerce? Has the Chamber deliberated on this issue? Seems to me that she has a responsibility to differentiate between her presence as an official rep of the Chamber or as an individual who perhaps has a vested interest in the high-cost private 'colleges' of dubious reputation.

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anniej Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:30 a.m.

Trustee for a University that was fined for falsifying records for Pell Grants?

AND WHAT PRAY TELL OF THE THE STUDENTS INVOLVED IN THAT CORRUPTION? WHERE ARE THE NOW?

We have a Chamber representative and Mayor rushing to get the Alliant deal passed, disregarding the fact that Ed Brand failed to follow the rules and regulations of how things should be done in National City. What, Ed Brand, Ms. Reyonoso, and the Mayor do not believe the community of National City should be protected by following written National City law? I sure would like to see Ed Brand attempt to do the same thing up north in his gated community. No way would the Mayor of Escondido or a member of that Chamber allow such tactics.

Surely the residents of National City deserve better representation

Please take the time to consider the cost difference between taking the classes at Southwestern vs. Alliant. Why saddle these young men and women of this community to be saddled with major debt? Yes why? What is in it for those who are hell bent on pushing this thru.

Perhaps Ms. Reyonoso and the Mayor should explain why this is so important - ALLIANT IS GETTING FREE RENT! AND THE STUDENTS ARE ENCUMBERING THEMSELVES IN MAJOR DEBT.

SO WHY????????

9

Reader2 Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:39 a.m.

What I still don't understand is how you can offer a 4-year degree in 10 classrooms. I'm told that to get some types of financial aid you need to be taking a full-time course load. Are there any counselors out there that can shed some light? Another question: Where will the students take the Introduction to Biology Lab class? Adult schools only have computer labs?

Then there's their Cancellation Policy: The University makes a every reasonable effort to offer courses as announced. However, the University reserves the right to modify the class schedule ( fair enough) or to cancel courses if necessary. Hmm, if classes aren't filled and are canceled, where does that leave students who need a full-time schedule (12 or 15 units) to get their scholarships?

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oskidoll Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:48 a.m.

anniej --- you are on target! As the Bauder article earlier this year confirms, these high-priced so-called 'universities' are all about the money...put another way, it's about their recruiters getting 'butts in seats'.... They are usually just a couple of steps ahead of the law, but by the time they are closed down, they are running again under another name and the 'students' are left with massive debt and little marketable skills.

Why don't the elected officials in National City INSIST that the robust Adult School programs be restored? They should ask ED why he decimated the Adult School program and instead is touting what the community does NOT need, or deserve.

Now, that would be worthwhile civic action because the FREE adult school programs REALLY do good (isn't that what public education is supposed to do?) and improve the community social fabric and the lives of the residents.

Oh, and by the way, there is a Southwestern College Educational Center campus in National City. Check it out! There is an award-winning dental hygiene program there and other career preparation opportunities as well as regular classes to begin college studies that will lead to transfer. Southwestern College is a low-cost public community college, not a private high-cost diploma mill.

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Julian_Asange Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:28 a.m.

The free adult school programs are good for the social fabric and are GREAT for the economy. Adult schools teach classes that have South Western College equivalents - so they earn college credit. Students taking these classes are on a career path. Check them out:

http://www.swccd.edu/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=4647

There are some 30 classes including Computers (basics, CISCO, A+ ...), Automotive Services, Accounting, Child Development, Culinary Arts, Floral Design, Medical Terminology, and many more. That's what the National City Chamber of Commerce should be championing!

7

oldchulares Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:05 a.m.

Question: Alliants old name was United States International University. Reyonoso is trustee for Unites States University.

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???????

8

angrybirds Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:23 a.m.

see the dirt pit is getting bigger and bigger. skeletons are starting to come out....Reynoso you sure you want to jump into the snake pit with fast eddy?

7

CV_Parent Aug. 16, 2013 @ 1:52 p.m.

Grand Jury....hello, please look into this. National City stand your ground! Nothing good can come out of the shady university. I read these things and tell myself I am reading fiction as I can't believe this stuff is really happening. I know it is but it's just so unbelievable. I am so glad I no longer work for the district of shame and that my children are adults now.

6

angrybirds Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:07 a.m.

Oh Fast Eddy better pull up them knickers dude you got caught with your pants down. You are screwing the kids you say you care so much about. You are not in this for the kids you are in it because you are going to get some kind of payoff. How much cut did you offer the Mayor of NC and that Reynoso chick? Hmmmm inquiring minds want to know. Will the planning commission do the right thing? Hmmmm inquiring minds want to know. Will they be bulldozed by Fast Eddy and his slick talking? Will they do the right things or slide into the same pit as SUHSD?

BTW Fast Eddy get your board member mccann off the airwaves he really isnt that important for people to know even when he takes a bathroom break. What about the other dude? Has he said I am sorry that I caused the accident? Cut it out already enough is enough. BTW if SUHSD is his only job to get back too I wonder what he does with the other 30 days of the month.

7

dbdriver Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:20 a.m.

I have yet to see any police report about the accident (Hasn't it been long enough yet???), but from what I've read from earlier reports, McCann was going north on Old Telegraph Canyon Road, turning onto Telegraph Canyon Road. He was then hit by the other vehicle on the front driver side of the vehicle. I never saw which way he was turning, so I don't know the exact direction for the point of impact.

However, Old Telegraph Canyon Road is a small dead-end street that has a stop sign to come out on to Telegraph Canyon Road. There is only 2 ways he could have been hit. Either turning east onto Telegraph Road. Or, crossing 2 lanes of traffic to bypass the center divide island to turn left.

Either way, McCann has to make sure traffic is clear on his left before entering traffic that has a speed limit of 45mph, with no stop sign or light on their part.

5

eastlaker Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:21 a.m.

Welcome to the new Center for Shell Games, brought to you by Fast Eddy and Friends!!

Opening soon in a strip mall near you!!

You pays your bucks you gets your diploma/certification/credential!!

Qualifying students may apply for loans and grants, and carry those loans for decades!!

Who needs to save for a down payment on a house or condo when you are still paying off those school loans...too bad Fast Eddy got away with tearing down all those adult school programs so he could turn around and install the for-profit "schools"---

Can we all keep our eyes on Fast Eddy and his friends, as this plays out? Because I wouldn't be too surprised if there are "understandings" in place to ensure comfy corner offices for select members of this corrupt bunch!

Sweetwater Union High School District, Where Quality Education is Fast Disappearing!

Sweetwater Union High School District, Where the Students are Commodity #1!

Sweetwater Union High School District, Where the Board of Trustees Couldn't Figure Out Right From Wrong If Gabriel Himself Was Blowing His Horn!

8

shirleyberan Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:38 a.m.

Can ACLU be called in to attend meetings and speak?

5

oldchulares Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:43 a.m.

Angrybirds. Yes I saw him on the news again last night. Looks like he is really beating the bushes to try to drum up the sympathy vote but for what. Nobody is going to vote for this guy when it was his time to put up or shut up looks like all he did was hold out his hand for more money from all of those builders. And what is with channel 10 and that Joe Little he needs to find some real news like this reporter Susan Luzaro lady.

5

anniej Aug. 16, 2013 @ 3:20 p.m.

dbdriver - regarding McCann and his latest attempt at press coverage. I found it quite despicable that the coverage by Joe Little would, in one breath state it was McCanns fault and then in the next report that John McCann saved his own life because he voted for paramedics to be part of fire and rescue. I am sorry did McCann single handily vote this in? That would be a NO! Typical McCann painting himself as the preverbial hero, a bit self serving wouldn't you agree? According to the sources the police department does not do prelimary accident police reports, so who is Little getting that from McCann himself?

Look, I am happy that McCann was not severely injured, he is a human being and deserves the best life has to offer, as do we all. HOWEVER! this guy is the definition of glory hog in my opinion. Some are even going so far as calling him pitiful, and they are allegedly in his own camp - so if those you consider your peeps are laughing behind your back, what do you expect from those you betrayed by not returning Sweetwater to its good name the same 'those' you told you would not accept contractor monies. See Registrar of Voters for confirmation, just type in McCann - there it is.

In a recent article in a LATINO newspaper there is McCann signing the agreement between Alliant and SUHSD - yep McCann, Brand and Mayor Morrison. So, was McCann used again? Did the others on the board realize the community would not sit idly by and allow students of the SOUTH BAY to be used - I am of the opinion, yes they did.

McCann and Grossman - is this the best the party has to offer? If so, they had better step back and realize this nonsense will fly when pigs do. Our communities need political leaders who lead by example. Leaders who serve, leaders who are in office for the community - looking to do good for the students, residents and taxpayers. We will not vote for pompous arrogant persons - we will not vote for persons who had the gall to write a book defaming the following segments of our society - persons of color, women, gays and lesbians. A person is defined by his actions and by his documented written word. And PLEASE do not attempt to justify the ignorant written word with 'he has changed'. To be blunt he was a grown --- man when he wrote the book BIG MOUTH. You want to view modern day bigotry read it.

See you all at the Planning Commission meeting Monday night!!!!!!!!! I am told they represent the the best interests of the entire city.

In closing I would like to remind all those reading CELL PHONE USAGE WHILE DRIVING IS AGAINST THE LAW - drive safely!

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dbdriver Aug. 16, 2013 @ 4:07 p.m.

I remember Little also "broke" the story of un-patriotism at a previous board meeting, which he did not attend, where Occupy Sweetwater members jeered when McCann "realized" that the Pledge of Allegiance had been overlooked. That same meeting where 2 other news channels actually were there and did not report any such nonsense. Oh, and he also "discovered" the threat to McCann's body and the restraining order event that happened approx. 4 months before that.

Does the McCann residence have Little on speed dial?

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oskidoll Aug. 16, 2013 @ 3:44 p.m.

Perhaps the NC Planning Commission would be interested in seeing a list of what classes and programs were offered at NC Adult School, compared to what is going on there now (aside from Alliant, of course.) I would be very enlightening to see the scope of what the community has lost in the way of educational opportunity.

Such a gap cannot be filled by Alliant, or any other for-profit similar 'university' because they don't care to serve the same clientele as the free Adult School programs did. Anyone have and old schedule of Adult School classes they can bring to the meeting for 'show and tell'?

5

Ensenadamaria Aug. 16, 2013 @ 3:59 p.m.

oskidoll I too encourage that info to be posted for review.

LETS ALL REMEBER TO BUCKLE UP!!!!!

6

eastlaker Aug. 16, 2013 @ 10:17 p.m.

Yes, because "it's going to be a bumpy ride"!!

5

cvres Aug. 16, 2013 @ 5:05 p.m.

So it looks like national city morrison is sidekicking for superintendent Brand. I ask again--what is in this for these south county cities that are welcoming so many of these diploma mills? I think the one down on Bay Blvd in Chula Vista might even get some special zoning priveleges. What does Morrison get? Certainly not employment.

5

cvres Aug. 16, 2013 @ 5:05 p.m.

This article doesn't tell the meeting time.

3

anniej Aug. 16, 2013 @ 5:22 p.m.

Cvres- It is scheduled to begin at 6:00, the SUHSD/Alliant issue is one of the last items on the agenda.

5

anniej Aug. 16, 2013 @ 7:50 p.m.

This is off topic, but yet another example of how are monies are being spent.

Item K1 page 3-4 of Monday nights 'school board meeting' s a request by Ed Brand for an additional $165,172.00 for - A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR. Now, this is on top of the $50,000.00 that the board approved in the 12-10-12 meeting.

Do our board members know who is being investigated? Could it be community members? How would we know?

Also there is more money being spent for training regarding employee confidentiality. So lets bring this full circle. A whistle blower comes forward and reports to the press that our fire alarms are in need of upgrades, and within approx 60 days Brand needs an additional $100k + for a private investigator on top of the approximate $110,000.00 he has approved for a past investigation.

To the whistle blower who came forward on the fire alarm issue - WE THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

6

anniej Aug. 16, 2013 @ 8:18 p.m.

More on the PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS:

5/06. Husson asked for $2,300.00. No reason given

8/11 Brand asked for $30,000.00 Food Services investigation

12/11 Brand asked for $34,000.00 Food Services and Castle Park investigation

4/12 Brand asked for $50,000.00 Food Services investigation

If the taxpayers were told why before, why not now???????

6

eastlaker Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:53 p.m.

Do we know who was hired in the past? Does it look like another attempt to find a job for one of Fast Eddy's friends?

Why is the amount requested so much more than the amount requested in April of 2012? Surely inflation hasn't increased that dramatically.

anniej, I am leaning towards thinking that the investigation is to try and locate the source(s) of the faulty fire alarm info AND any other info that has become public knowledge despite the best efforts of Fast Eddy and crew, as you suggested.

I am hoping that those of us who are endeavoring to bring honesty and transparency to this district are not being "investigated". That would smack just a bit too much of the old East Germany or the Soviet Union...surely Fast Eddy isn't trying to be that despotic!

5

VigilantinCV Aug. 16, 2013 @ 9:40 p.m.

C'mon, everybody! Surely you know by now that Joe Little is the "go-to guy" in Chula Vista for any spinner from the inside cabal - whether it is to tear down someone outside the cabal or to flatter someone's ego inside the cabal. Joe was a member of the Growth Management Oversight Commission in Chula Vista when he landed a job with Channel 10 as their roving reporter. He has been faithful and it seems ever-loyal to that cabal.

6

oskidoll Aug. 17, 2013 @ 2:36 p.m.

Well, that is news to me (pun intended!) Thanks VigilantinCV for your assistance in clearing up our confusion as to why such a two-bit politician as John McCann 'merits' so much air time on Channel 10. Little (pun intended) did I understand that he is so well connected that he has his own personal shill in the news biz, one with a TV camera yet!

I am disappointed that Channel 10 is so easily snookered by McCann's narcissism and ever-present addidtion to publicity. Even if the on-air guy is a buddy, surely the station management (at a minimum, the assignment editor) should have some critical thinking input into the stories they choose to cover.

Perhaps they might be interested in the REAL drama playing out in National City, a David vs. the 'big guy' Golliah (AKA ED Brand and CO) with regard to the siphoning off of public facilities to promote and house yet another high-priced private so-called university in a site that formerly served thousands of low-income residents who depended (past tense) on the job training, English language, and other basic skills once offered there. Now THAT would be a worthy story.!

Stay tuned for another installment in the continuing drama in the South County....will the ire of parents, common citizens, and oh, those taxpayers be enough to triumph over the rat-infested cabal of cronies determined to control events in their favor and for their personal benefit?

Will anyone CARE that the land is actually owned and leased to the School District by the public entity (MTS), and the building was built with public redevelopment money for the express purpose of public adult education? Will the TV reporter make that point?

OR....will Mr. Little continue to show us installments of the no-so-endearing saga of the recouperation of a man injured in an automobile crash that was allegedly his own fault, and who is such a publicity hound that he would have us all believe he somehow merits to be on our TV screens as often as possible, however miniscule or convoluded the story?

Do stay tuned!

5

eastlaker Aug. 17, 2013 @ 4:28 p.m.

OK, Listen Up Everybody!!

Latest news: Fearless Leader Ed "Fast Eddy" Brand has decided to make coaches pay for usage of facilities during the off-season. So those school kids won't have access to weight rooms, tracks, and so forth, unless they fork over the bucks...

Is this remotely legal?

Is the Board of Trustees aware of this? Are they/have they signed off on this?

Can anyone tell me why Sweetwater has to have a superintendent who is so clearly out of control that there is simply no logic whatsoever to his decisions? (Except, of course, the hoarding of more and more money...is there a secret funnel to a big hole in the ground where he is sending all of this? Does it connect to any other Ed Brand entity/scheme/corporation/partner/scam/bank?

Is there no one in authority out there who will call him on his abuse of our educational system?

5

jibaro Aug. 18, 2013 @ 6:50 a.m.

" Can anyone tell me why Sweetwater has to have a superintendent who is so clearly out of control that there is no logic whatsoever to his decisions ? "

Yes,eastlaker, I can answer your question. This community elected the 5 people who hired him.

1

oskidoll Aug. 17, 2013 @ 5:02 p.m.

eastlaker....do you know if the coaches are running their own private sports camps or clinics? If so, they should rightly pay rent for the use of district facilities...the same logic applies to Alliant and any other private entity wishing to occupy district facilities.

However, if the coaches that are hired by the district to coach athletic teams are arranging for their team members to engage in off-season, legit activies such as conditioning, etc. I see no reason why student-athletes, or their coaches, should be paying to use district facilities in the off-season.

4

eastlaker Aug. 17, 2013 @ 5:16 p.m.

The information I have is from the Safeguarding Education in Chula Vista website. Apparently this is filtering down from various coaches, so if you know any of them, and are wondering, please call them and get some further information.

4

anniej Aug. 17, 2013 @ 7:45 p.m.

Any of us who have children or grandchildren that participate in sports is well aware that many of the teams gear up for their seasons by participating in tournaments, meets etc. Just this morning I attended one of those tournaments. The team I was watching was made up of a schools team. The team they played against was a 'travel team' made up of players from middle and high school players who play for our district, with the exception of one. Now that 'one' lives in the district and his parent and grandparents live in Chula Vista and pay property taxes.

The travel team issue is a complex one, yet I do not believe in throwing the baby out with the bath water. I guess what I am trying to say is this, IF a team is a s school team, which most of them are then allow them to use the facilities for free. IF they are a true travel team then charge them.

One additional issue needs to be addressed and that is the issue of bus transportation for teams. I am told that for the most part schools are expected to hire Charter buses. They have been told that the transportation dept. simply does not have the personnel to transport our teams with the exception of football and one other. HMMMMM, does Title IX ring a bell to anyone? Soooooo, Ed Brand is expecting students and their schools to pay for their Charter busses out of ASB - in other words, we who fund the ASB's can anty up yet again. Now I understand that budgets have been cut, HOWEVER when one takes into consideration that Ed Brand, Jim Cartmill, John McCann and Arlie Ricasa have chosen to give Alliant free rent there seems to be a disconnect. Brand will say 'oh, but it is a non profit' and anniej will respond 'oh, but have you seen the big money those that run the non profit are paying themselves'.

A few major turnouts at board meetings with angry parents/taxpayers demanding Ed Brand be sent packing is what is needed. Parents showing up in the hundreds demanding answers to our many legitimate concerns from board president Jim Cartmill, John McCann and Arlie Ricasa. Quinones, the wild card of late, you never how she will vote, just when you think she is voting in favor of the students, education and taxpayers she switches it up and follows John McCann??????????????? By the way where is she on the Alliant issue? Why hasn't she come out in favor of Southwestern?

This is all so mind boggling.

But I will tell you one thing, when NOT if the players change and a true accounting is done those sat idly by and watched while our accounts were deflated will be held responsible, one way or another. Class action law suit, can a community levy such charges based on the votes of board members?

As I mentioned in a commentary I posted on the Star News, I am beginning to feel as though certain board members are in essence paying this community back for having the audacity to go to the legal authorities.

6

anniej Aug. 17, 2013 @ 8:23 p.m.

Open letter to the SUHSD Board:

*. When the community said the change orders were out of control - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said SGI was overcharging - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said Bonnie Garcia was overcharging - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said Food Services needed to be investigated - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said Castle Park ASB funds needed to be investigated - RIGHT

*. When the community said campaign contributions were suspect - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community demanded Gandara should be fired - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community questioned credit card usage - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said Grand Canyon was wrong - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said Funds for Ed was suspect - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When the community said Super was borrowing from Prop O and not paying the money back - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When community said open boundaries would result in overcrowding - THEY WERE RIGHT

*. When BOC questioned the IPAD purchases - THEY WERE RIGHT

Soooooo, WHAT DO WE NEED YOU FOR? We are doing your job and for free!

Soooooo, when the community says Ed Brand and all of his back room deals are not good for our students what do you think the odds are THAT WE ARE RIGHT?

7

Greenville Aug. 18, 2013 @ 2:45 p.m.

LaLucha, you may be on to something. I remember when A-------'s name stopped appearing on watchdog articles, and then those articles about SUHSD stopped appearing. The name finally resurfaced on police blog stuff, ambulance chasing, and the like. To me, a retired journalist, this was a sure sign of displeasure on the part of her editorial staff.

3

helenfarias Aug. 18, 2013 @ 8:36 a.m.

I am hearing that coaches at a westside high school (who will remain anonymous at this time due to concerns of retaliation) have been told by the AP of Activities that the school's teams will have to pay for the use of facilities during the off-season. For example, a baseball team that wants to use the field for conditioning during the fall or winter will have to pay the district office to do so. According to my sources, this will be the new district policy for all schools; however, I have not confirmed whether or not this has been approved by the Board.

On a related note, the district's transportation department has upped their fees by several hundred percent. Schools that once paid a few thousand dollars for bus fees are now being billed tens of thousands of dollars (formerly under 10k now up to 30k). All programs, whether academic or sports, that use district transportation will see an enormous increase in bussing costs. This is putting highly successful programs at risk because the schools simply don't have the budgets to accommodate the price increases. My understanding is that this is happening because the district slashed the transportation department's funding and they are now being forced to raise prices in an effort to remain functional.

One possible way around the team issue may be for the ASBs of each site, or the SSCs, to grant teams a fee waiver for using the facilities. I'm not sure what can be done about the bus costs.

In true SUHSD management fashion, the district office appears to be putting the needs of the of students last. If Brand truly valued the students of this district, he would spend his time finding ways to protect and grow the programs and activities that have already been proven to increase student achievement and build positive school and community culture. Instead, he seems to finagle schemes that will benefit his cronies and himself.

5

eastlaker Aug. 18, 2013 @ 11:33 a.m.

It has occurred to me that perhaps part of the transportation funding issue is in retaliation for the mention (at a board meeting during the public comments portion) that Sweetwater was not following the rules regarding certified drivers on mountain routes and other issues.

Ed Brand does love to punish those who speak the truth.

4

Greenville Aug. 18, 2013 @ 2:50 p.m.

This is true at our site. Late busses for after school programs now cost close to $40,000. We might as well buy the bus! We're also paying upwards of $90,000 from out site budget for the DWAST teachers. And we only see them about once a week or so. That's $130,000 from one site's budget. Susan, this is a good one to look into. It's not illegal, just unconscionable.

2

oskidoll Aug. 18, 2013 @ 3:56 p.m.

Greeenville, please tell us what the DWAST teachers are for? I am not familiar with that acronym. Thanks!

1

Susan Luzzaro Aug. 18, 2013 @ 8:52 a.m.

helenfarias,

The slashing of transportation funds is crucial to keeping key programs going. Has this happened in the recent negotiations? I am very interested to see how negotiations are going with the new categorical funding formula.

5

Greenville Aug. 18, 2013 @ 2:54 p.m.

Susan, we had two late busses last year for under $10,000. Now we have one for $40,000. Without the late bus, many of our students cannot stay after school for tutoring and extra curricular activities--especially when it starts to get dark in the afternoon. So, we are one bus down, and out $30,000 for after school programs deemed essential for a program improvement district.

2

anniej Aug. 18, 2013 @ 10:02 a.m.

helenfarias - I was contacted by a coach on the east side last evening and advised that ASB's do have the ability to 'wave' the costs. The point is this, why should we, on behalf of our children, be expected to fund one more dime towards ANYTHING when our board, under the presidency of Jim Cartmill and vice presidency of Arlie Ricasa, followed up (literally) by John McCann and the mandate of Ed Brand is offering free rent to Alliant University, hiring private investigators costing hundreds of thousands, hiring an attorney to review the bills submitted by other attorneys and hiring a company to come in and train district staff on the importance of confidentiality in other words 'no whistle blowing, even if it is in the best interests of students and taxpayers.

What has happened to the HUGE account balance that WAS in the Mello Roos account?

I am hearing that Brand has announced the building of two new schools on the East side. When was this discussed at a board meeting? Yet there is a new sign up, placed within the past couple months - under whose authority? Oh that is right Brand is his own authority - three of the board members Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa followed by John McCann (literally) gave Brand ALL power up to, I believe $250k - WHY??????? How will these schools be paid for? Using what monies? We do not have enough money to build these new schools, check the balances for yourself.

We have been abandoned, and at the end of the day, Ed Brand will get into his big truck and tell Siri 'take me home' - their accounts are empty and now my retirement is fully funded. As he looks in his rear view mirror seeing the South Bay disappear from sight I can almost hear the words - SUCKERS!!!!!!!

How did we let it get this bad?

6

eastlaker Aug. 18, 2013 @ 5:53 p.m.

We have requested forensic accounting going back 10 -15 years--but the County Board of Education hasn't supplied us with that information.

Here is what I can recall:

I did hear that the county made some inquiries, the result of which was that they didn't think Sweetwater should have their own accounting system anymore. The abuses were a bit too much--but we have not been informed exactly what those abuses consist of. (We can probably make a few educated guesses).

So, by this time--August 2013-- Sweetwater is supposed to be 'back in the (monetary) fold' of the County Board of Education. Or fast approaching that return.

Could this have something to do with why Fast Eddy is working all sorts of further schemes for money to be returned to the District? I'm of a mind to think so.

What say all of you?

2

oldchulares Aug. 18, 2013 @ 10:57 a.m.

Why are we hearing about these charges that teams are being forced to pay from coaches and not from the head of athletics? Was this voted on by the board? Didn't I just read where superintendent Brand believes our teams do not have the ability to compete against schools in the north? How will limiting their practices make them more competitive? Many parents on the other side of the freeway may have the money to pay the fees but why should any parent have to pay for what once was covered by the taxes we pay on our homes? Does anyone have any solutions to these problems?

6

oskidoll Aug. 18, 2013 @ 1:23 p.m.

Vote the Bums out! That is the only solution. They can be subject to recall at any time, but we know just how difficult that process is to accomplish.

Trials for the four indicted ones coming in February. Let's look forward to justice there. Convictions for a felony means they cannot continue to hold office. We can hope!

Otherwise, three are up for election in 2014 - Cartmill, Ricasa, McCann. The first two are also among the indicted. Perhaps McCann will choose to run for another office instead.

In the meantime, you are doing a good job of unmasking the stupidity, flagrant abuse of authority, and questionable spending of the public's money. Keep it up, good people. It is frustrating as hell, and of course, we all have better things to do than to keep up the rant. Remember, we DO have the right to speak and to assemble, as much as those in power would wish otherwise.

Don't forget to pat yourselves on the back. I am impressed with your stamina and persistence.

6

anniej Aug. 18, 2013 @ 3:28 p.m.

Greenville I know for a fact that some board members read these comments. Will they DEMAND answers from Ed Brand regarding fewer busses on one hand and SUBSTANTIAL increases to our school sites on the other? If not, why not?

Again, yet another example of we the taxpayers overpaying. Why are our tax dollars being used to subsidize Alliant? We are giving them free rent and staff support - staff whose salaries are paid for with our tax dollars.

Greenville, please know you are doing a service by providing this information. We, the community, can not correct what is obviously broken if we have not been told it is broken. Thank You for educating us!

Where is this increase on board docs, I mean the specifics - WHERE IS HOW THE MONEY/EXPENSES EACH SCHOOL PAYS DOCUMENTED FOR PUBLIC REVIEW?

School site council members, time to begin asking the tough questions and ask for written documentation.

6

eastlaker Aug. 19, 2013 @ 9:15 a.m.

A few thoughts--regarding the missing $80 million from Mello-Roos...would Fast Eddy have made payments to Alliant and some of the other groups he has been wheeling and dealing with?

Could payments have been made on some of the real estate schemes we have learned about--or perhaps a new scheme or two?

Does the $50,000 HR fee mean that they are starting a search for a new superintendent? (if only...)

Has Sweetwater 'returned to the fold' of the County Board of Education's accounting system, and if so, did the county's system clear up some of the muddy areas--resulting in the "loss" of $80,000,000 that was really part of a shell game?

In short, what is going on here?!

When will we get the truth, the full story?

When will the lies and the dissembling end?

How long do we, the public, the taxpayers, have to put up with the complete disregard we are shown?

Pigs at the trough show more restraint than Fast Eddy and his cadre.

2

anniej Aug. 19, 2013 @ 10:06 a.m.

those of you concerned with the alleged fees being charged our athletes for use of facilities during off season I would draw your attention to this evenings board agenda - specifically K-1 page 6 of 14 for $48,000.00 and page 11 of 14 for $65,000.00. These are the amounts that are being paid OUT OF OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETICS BUDGET GENERAL FUND . The monies are being PAID TO BORDER VIEW YMCA and SOUTH BAY YMCA to:

recruit coaches from each middle school for seasonal sporting events

Can someone tell me why we are paying an outside agency to manage this endeavor? How much of the $113,000.00 are the coaches ACTUALLY being paid.

COACHES COME FORWARD, ANONYMOUSLY OF COURSE. Share with us how much you all are being paid.

4

helenfarias Aug. 19, 2013 @ 9:38 p.m.

Coaches are paid their regular salary and a stipend. The stipends range from about $2500 to $4500, depending on the sport and grade level. Any coach will confirm that the stipend does not come close to full compensation for the time and effort put into team management; our coaches do it for the benefit of the kids, not the money. Too bad our district office can't say the same.

3

bankalchemist Aug. 19, 2013 @ 12:13 p.m.

who hires or conducts the reference checks on all the special investigators that FAST EDDY is spending so lavishly on? Three request in consecutive years for Food Service investigations? Ed does not need to worry about whats in the food he needs to just not eat it anyway. See if he keeps the investigations warm it shows he is doing his "job or best efforts" and then he can go around and make others lives miserable.

5

eastlaker Aug. 20, 2013 @ 7:18 a.m.

Perhaps a portion of the newly requested PI fees is to investigate the Private Investigators. Then we can investigate those who investigate the investigators, ad infinitem.

And so goes our tax money down the drain!

3

oskidoll Aug. 19, 2013 @ 12:28 p.m.

There may be a pattern emerging here.

First, Fast Eddy has South Bay Community Services make telephone calls to recruit SUHSD juniors and seniors for Alliant. I think it is a fair guess that he paid SBCS something to do that work on his (and Alliant's) behalf.

Now, he proposes to pay South County YMCAs to do some recruiting work, too. Seems like he is spreading the SUHSD 'wealth' --- your tax money and mine --- around town, perhaps to garner favor and good will of the leaders and board members of those organizations. Check out the boards of directors for those organizations....they include a host of community 'leaders', opinion-makers and some political players as well.

Wonder which community service group he will try to co-opt into his camp next?

5

eastlaker Aug. 19, 2013 @ 4:46 p.m.

I guess all those membership fees were for the access to some of these community leaders--what a surprise...

5

oskidoll Aug. 19, 2013 @ 5:10 p.m.

Yes, eastlaker, you are on target. Fast Eddy continues to spend District dollars (our tax money that should go for actual education for our kids in grades 7-12) trolling community organzations and their leaders for access and likely 'quid pro quo' arrangements to support his strange and dubious causes.
As we have conjured in the past, perhaps it is all a diversionary side show to distract us from the whereabouts, and possible disappearance of the multi-millions $$$ in Mello Roos funds, his real estate capers, and goodness knows what else in his bag 'o tricks.

5

eastlaker Aug. 19, 2013 @ 5:47 p.m.

I am actually rather surprised he hasn't billed the district for a personal trainer and a gym membership, but maybe he has, and with all the accounting tricks we will never know!!

4

eastlaker Aug. 20, 2013 @ 1:07 p.m.

Meanwhile, as we find out that the National City Planning Commission decided NOT to hold the special meeting, resulting in the NC Adult School facility NOT being made available to Brand's scheme-of-the-moment...the Fearless Leader Himself proclaims that the students will be bused from Sweetwater HS to a North County campus.

While the news report said that Alliant would bus them, we really do not know what the payment plans are. This, while transportation fees skyrocketed for Sweetwater's own students and their activities, and buses have been cut!

And, as was pointed out last Monday night at the SUHSD monthly board meeting by Bertha Lopez, the board has NOT approved the agreement with Alliant University. Yes, there was a signing of something and a photo op with/for John McCann (who seems to believe that any publicity is good publicity...)but it was NOT voted on by the Sweetwater Board of Trustees.

Amazing. Remarkable. Yet another 'Brandiose' scheme, flawed, expensive, problematic and corrupt, being shoved down our throats. Thank goodness the National City Planning Commission is awake and aware enough to be on guard for this one. We can only hope someday Sweetwater's own board might be able to do the same.

Until then, the battle continues.

Sweetwater Union High School District, holding the dubious record of "District Most Likely to Subject its Students, Teachers and Taxpayers to Bad Planning, Obfuscation, Disinformation, Fraud, Waste, Abuse and Treachery."

5

bvagency Aug. 20, 2013 @ 3:57 p.m.

And as the obfuscation of funds continues at the district level, school sites are suffering! Case in point - Eastlake High. The lack of maintenance and overall poor appearance of the school is embarrasing. The grounds and classrooms are dirty, the technology is old and dated, the dirt patches are ugly, etc, etc. ; there are about a dozen roving teachers without classrooms - they borrow a prep period teachers class, then move on to the next; kids have to walk through a parking lot to get to their portable classrooms, and because its so crowded, more portables are on the way; classes with 40-50 kids; confirmation that due to increased charges by the district for transportation, the school wont be able to pay for busses after the first semester; coaches and ultimately kids, may have to pay for using the school facilities when their season is not in session.

How does this happen at a school in a community where the ASB fund has over $700,000, and we pay into a mello roos fund that at one point had over $180 million in it? Its because district leadership is taking money from mello roos for things outside the intent and purpose of this fund. The mello roos fund is down to $78 million!! Its because the district taps into the schools' ASB fund for other purposes! Its because Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa, John McCann, Pearl Quinones and Bertha Lopez have allowed Ed Brand to do what and how he pleases with no oversight!!

5

eastlaker Aug. 21, 2013 @ 7:21 a.m.

It is obvious that this Superintendent and this board do not place their emphasis on the tasks they are charged with accomplishing. They 'Go Their Own Way', lurching from one messy scenario to another yet messier.

It is public irresponsibility, at the very least.

Ed Brand never considers the consequences of his actions and decisions in terms of how they affect others--he is only concerned with greedily getting what he can for himself, and perhaps keeping his minions under control with various loose promises. (More the fools they for believing him).

Yes, Eastlake High School looks unkempt. The grounds are a mess. Open Boundaries as a policy is a quick way for allowing the best schools to rapidly go downhill, especially if there is not rigorous attention to problem areas, and even more rigorous problem-solving.

One of the problems at Eastlake High School is that they have had 5 principals in 7 years, if I recall correctly, the latest having just recently arrived.

I suggest that all concerned parents and guardians introduce yourselves at the earliest possible moment, and mince no words in declaring your concerns. Let the person in charge know what your expectations are as parents, taxpayers, community members. Be specific when you explain just what it is that needs addressing, correcting or simply being brought to light.

We are not fools, and should not be treated as such.

0

eastlaker Aug. 20, 2013 @ 5 p.m.

Sure wish we could see the final reports from the old Sweetwater accounting system and compare them to the initial reports from Sweetwater as it is incorporated into the County Board of Education's accounts.

Does anyone think things will line up?

4

oskidoll Aug. 20, 2013 @ 8:03 p.m.

So....Fast Eddy pursues the Alliant project WITHOUT BOARD APPROVAL? The Board is the only body that can legally authorize such agreements as MOUs and contracts. Apparently, Ed is not informed.

There are no procedures, no protocols, no processes in place. It is a true monarchy with King Ed at the helm. God save us!

5

anniej Aug. 20, 2013 @ 8:54 p.m.

I continue to ask WHY? WHY have Jim Cartmill, John McCann, and Arlie Ricasa continued to allow Ed Brand raise havoc upon our community?

I would challenge any of them to take the time and review the stories that have plagued our district - who is at the center? Ed Brand, yet the board with the exception of Bertha Lopez and now Quinines sit idly by.

Their reputations hang in the balance. With every negative story, with every negative result, with every negative back room deal those on the board, who allow him to continue, are sealing their fate. All of this negative press will follow them

Many believe Brand is doing anything he can to hold on - is he promising, what is he promising? Where do Brands loyalties lie? Ask the folks who lost money in his failed bank. He has no true allegiance other than to SELF.

The Grand Jury testimony has done much to educate about the ills of SUHSD. Those ills will be plastered across the front pages of all news organizations, will be on every TV, and talked about over the radio air waves - and NO correspondence from any entity, including SUHSD legal firms, will be able to STOP THE TRUTH!!!!!!

5

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