The Sweetwater Union High School District’s June 18 meeting had unexpected guests: Kamaal Martin from state-assembly member Shirley Weber’s office, Vivian Moreno from San Diego city councilmember David Alvarez’s office, and Albert Velasquez, a field representative for recently elected assembly member Lorena Gonzalez. (Velasquez stated he was not there in an official capacity.)
The guests’ experience included yet another bizarre incident from the annals of Sweetwater.
The mood of the evening should have been upbeat, as superintendent Ed Brand announced that the recent budget passed in California allows for a full restoration of ROP and adult-education programs. Instead, the meeting turned sour.
The incident began after community and Proposition O Bond Oversight Committee member Kevin O’Neill laid McCann’s red campaign sign down in front of the dais. O’Neill called McCann “opportunistic” and charged that McCann’s 2010 campaign signs had been put up in public-right-of-ways just prior to the recent Sweetwater graduation ceremonies. (McCann is using his campaign signs from 2010 to pre-campaign for 2014.)
McCann demanded that O’Neill return his property (the sign) and went on to complain that O'Neill’s campaign signs for water board had been in public right-of-ways. (O’Neill ran for the South Bay Irrigation District in 2010.)
O’Neill fired back that McCann’s signs had probably been paid for by the $20,000 in vendor campaign donations McCann had accepted. O’Neill proceeded to use the remainder of his two minutes’ public-comment time to discuss corruption charges and the recent release of the San Diego County Grand Jury transcripts.
When O’Neill departed, community advocate Kathleen Cheers picked up the sign and told McCann she was putting it in her car and would turn the sign in to Maxwell Street, where city code enforcers take signs that have been improperly placed. Then Cheers took the sign outside and locked it in her car.
Meanwhile, a district presentation began on safety, including possible scenarios for schools in case a shooter arrives on campus.
Briefly thereafter, McCann tapped Brand on the shoulder and took him to another room, presumably to make the call for the Chula Vista police cars that arrived within minutes. Ultimately, four cars arrived.
McCann then went outside to talk to the officers to gain their assistance in retrieving his campaign sign from Cheers’s car. McCann then began to take pictures of the car that contained his property.
Meanwhile, a district presentation was being made on the budget.
A momentary flurry of concern passed through the audience as police officers entered the meeting and escorted Cheers outside. After being questioned by the officers, Cheers relinquished the sign. She was told by officers Castro and Tugashon that she would not be charged but that theft charges would be filed against Kevin O’Neill.
Shortly after the incident, Martin, Moreno, and Valasquez went home.
This wasn’t the first time McCann has called police on a meeting night. In April 2012, he called the police as a result of an alleged altercation with community advocate Stewart Payne. The judge eventually found no merit in granting McCann’s request for a permanent restraining order against Payne. McCann’s legal maneuvering cost the district over $6000 in attorney fees.
(revised 6/20, 6:17am