Bill Stewart served as a Southwestern trustee for four months.
  • Bill Stewart served as a Southwestern trustee for four months.
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The latest at Southwestern College is the sudden resignation of trustee William Stewart, who gave an exclusive interview to the student newspaper, the Sun, on March 1. He told news editor Thomas Baker that he was quitting in protest; he said he is frustrated with the district’s lack of transparency and lack of shared governance.

Stewart, who is a realtor and a professor of philosophy at San Diego City College, was elected in November 2012 and began serving in December; his campaign rhetoric was optimistic. He told the Sun in October, “I think I bring to the board a very student-centric perspective because the questions are: how are the students being served? Is our budget best focused on meeting the needs of our students?”

Barely four months later, in his letter of resignation addressed to the faculty and staff of Southwestern, Stewart wrote:

“I hoped to bring a level of board oversight that was unprecedented in this district…to provide you, the stake holders, with a true sense of assurance that the numbers with which you were provided were real and reliable. I wanted to provide you with a board member that with certainty could tell you that income projections were reflective of most likely case scenarios, and not worst case scenarios, which can lead to significant underestimations in projected funding.

“I wanted to provide you with assurance that the information on our college expenses provided accurate information on real time savings, and did not look artificially inflated due to positions that were on the books but were not filled. In my judgment, such accurate numbers should not be withheld from anyone and certainly should not be withheld from the scrutiny of the board. Such real numbers should be used as the proper framework by which to plan the future and to work with its employees and their bargaining units. It is my opinion that Southwestern has a precious resource in its employees, not dangerous adversaries.”

Last week, faculty members protested to the board that incorrect data was being used to drive the education plan — which in turn is driving the Proposition R facilities plan.

Prior to Stewart’s resignation, a special board meeting — which many fear will pertain to pink slips — was called for March 4

Southwestern articulation officer Veronica Burton commented on Stewart’s resignation and on the state of the campus: “Losing Bill Stewart is very discouraging. He brought a positive perception to the governing board and the overall college. One of the many things I liked about Bill was that he was not a career politician looking for a stepping-stone to the next appointment or seat. He is an honest man who believes in community service and that was his reason for running for the board.

“We have all worked so hard to make positive change and this is a huge setback. We are once again making news because of questionable practices at Southwestern. This further perpetuates the atmosphere of lack of transparency and trust. This is disgraceful and another of many sad days for our campus.”

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Comments

EugeneVDebs March 2, 2013 @ 3:37 p.m.

Another one bites the dust...

Thanks, Bill, for your sacrifice -- we don't take it lightly.

There must be a better way to run a college than slash and burn. I wonder if, given the trend at the school to use trickery and deception, it wouldn't be better to just give in and admit you don't know what the hell you're doing. I'd respect some admission from the Administration that you've run the school into the ground and you need help that isn't in the form of bullying.

But no, instead we get deceit, threats and more threats -- so many that you've run off an excellent upstanding citizen who can't imagine lying to the public.

Is this a good role model for our students?

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eastlaker March 2, 2013 @ 4:06 p.m.

The resignation of William Stewart should send a clear message to everyone that there are systemic and pervasive problems--still--at SWC.

How to solve the problems, or at least begin to solve the problems? Get accurate financial data out to the board members and the public.

Stop hiring expensive consultants whose only ideas are utterly bizarre and extremely wasteful. Tearing down all the buildings in the center of campus in order to build an amphitheater? Are you joking? What sort of delusions are these people operating under?

I know that reasonable people exist. I know that there are reasonable people who care about Southwestern College. I know that those reasonable people would do a far better job at managing, administrating and planning for the future than what is being done now.

It is just that reasonable people are not getting a chance to do their job.

As a community, we need to rise up and give a strong message that we will not tolerate fevered schemes where public funds and education are concerned.

Fevered schemes are entertaining in a screenplay, but we need meaningful allottment of funds in a reasonable and orderly fashion in order to build for the future.

All those who wish to continue their delusions, whether they are of grandeur or of any other sort, should do so on their own time and dime, not the public's.

What was Ms. Nish thinking when she hired consultants for outrageous fees?

Just in case anyone is in doubt--public education in Chula Vista and its surrounding area is in trouble, and it won't get any better until those "in charge" come clean about all the financials...and the public's input is valued and listened to. We care about our schools, we care about the taxes and bond monies that we pay. We care about good people such as Mr. Stewart who want to do a good job and carry out the public trust, but who are saboutaged.

Ms. Nish, you are a disgrace.

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Nickdanny March 2, 2013 @ 4:53 p.m.

Mr. Stewart was one of the strongest advocates for Board transparency and administrative accountability at Southwestern College. One of our community's most admired Board member, Nick Aguilar, spent several years trying to combat these very issues and did so at the cost of his health and reputation. Who wants to put a good person through that?

Here we have 15 people on trial down the street for making decisions in just such an environment, we have people inside the campus on pins and needles (the way Nish likes them) because they do not know if they will even have a job in July, and the new Facilities Master Plan is just a fast track for Nish and her consultant/construction friends to fill their wallets with, how could Stewart remain in an environment where he cannot even challenge some of this because he cannot get good numbers?

I guess what will be interesting now is how the current Board and administration attempt to discredit former Trustee Stewart to gain political traction. From his own comments it is clear that deciding important issues concerning jobs (pink slips"), resource allocations and Prop R funding without adequate access to information was not something, under the current leadership, he could do for the folks that elected him.

And this Board? Take money from the community to elect them and then become the Board the community had to eject in 2010. Who are these people?

As a community member I hope that this Board does not even try to appoint one of their little click to the Board. This should go to a special election. There is going to be a special election in June anyway, for the 79th California Assembly District.

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anniej March 2, 2013 @ 5:15 p.m.

Nickdanny- time for CAMPAIGN DONATION LIMITATIONS, Your by laws regarding this issue are as bad as Sweetwaters.

THE TIME IS NOW, do what Maty Adato is fighting to do, bring respectability back to the voting process of the South Bay. CHANGE THE BY LAWS.

Ms. Nish, is poking a tiger - it is time for the tiger to roar and bring about change. It is important to comment, but words are simply that, until and unless action accompanies the words.

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Nickdanny March 2, 2013 @ 5:06 p.m.

Someone just sent this to me, it is Nish's dissertation abstract (from December 2012). Goodness I guess her administrative "leadership" is not an accidental process. She spent several years researching how to isolate opposition and force them out of an institution. And her use of the term "organizational values" are really nothing more than "her values."

Realigning: A grounded theory of academic workplace conflict (posted Dec. 13, 2012). Melinda Nish Ed.D

This is a grounded theory that explains conflict in the academic workplace. The core variable is realigning, which is a basic social process that individuals experience in social organizations, such as workplaces. Realigning is the process by which certain behaviors are employed to bring individuals back in alignment with the system’s core values or to realign individuals to a change in the organization’s core values. The aim of realigning behaviors is to diminish the impact of the individual who is perceived as not being in alignment and include actions to erode, isolate, and separate that individual. Therefore, realigning may include removing an individual from the organization. The theory explains the conditions, stages, and processes in which realigning occurs. The primary condition of social organizations is existence of core values at the organizational level. Organizational core values determine the context in which conflict arises. Conflict in terms of core values leads to the stages of the realigning process. The four primary stages and processes are presented here as changing tides, countering, justifying, and, resolving. The significance of this theory is that it is centered in the concept of organizational values, which provides a holistic understanding of workplace conflict rather than looking only at individual behaviors. The theory presents a framework within which to understand how conflict arises, the purpose of conflict, the forms conflict takes, and the consequences of conflict.

P.S. I am stunned. This is the President at Southwestern College, oh my.

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Visduh March 2, 2013 @ 8:10 p.m.

Note that you have to study all that academic gibberish very closely, reading it word by word, sentence by sentence, to make anything coherent out of it. If anyone wanted to see what an Ed.D. degree does to a person, this is it.

Any hope that I held out for some real reform at SWC is gone. It is just operating in the same pattern as Sweetwater, as it has been for many years, and with all the changes of faces and names, is just the same old cesspool of corruption it was years ago.

3

anniej March 2, 2013 @ 5:08 p.m.

Many believed Ms. Nish was the answer to turning things around for the better.

Wow, what a disappointment. Surely if she TRULY cared this would NOT be the story we are reading.

Ms. Nish, those that fought so hard to bring about change are not liking what we are hearing. You were charged with fixing what was broken, not making matters worse. You did NOT fix the alleged corruption, the community along with the DA did.

So let me ask you WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THE STUDENTS, EMPLOYEES, and TAXPAYERS? We know what you have done for some - give them raises - but what about those that feed the pocket books of the few, what are you doing for them? It appears FIRING THEM, and that is not acceptable!!!!!

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johndewey March 2, 2013 @ 5:34 p.m.

Nickdanny writes: "She (Nish) spent several years researching how to isolate opposition and force them out of an institution." Hmmm, this sounds very familiar.

3

oskidoll March 2, 2013 @ 6:16 p.m.

It appears that Ms. Nish is afflicted with what some call the 'first-time president's syndrome' wherein he/she loses sight that they are new at the job and think they rule by fiat. These first-time presidents believe they must control all or be seen as incompetent. However, if they were wiser, they would understand that they should seek wise counsel in order to survive.

Another first-time president who failed to understand this was Serafin Zasueta, who came into the job and immediately became King. He trashed any semblance of humility and ordered everyone about. We know what became of him after he authorized spending public (college) funds illegally on a bond campaign. The really telling point is that he lost it all for a mere $6,000, when he might have personally come up with that amount to settle the debt and not put the college at risk. So goes it!!!!!

Now Ms. Nish forgets that she does not know everything, and should not expect that of herself. Instead, she should humbly and politely seek assistance from those in her employ who have some useful skills. It is regrettable that she does not 'get it'.

Further, the Board of Trustees should insist that she provide ample and verified documentation for actions she proposes. They are ultimatley responsible to the public.

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Susan Luzzaro March 2, 2013 @ 7:11 p.m.

Serafin Zasueta. Thank you oskidoll. It's good to know that people remember and give context to what has happened at Southwestern.

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lkyoder March 2, 2013 @ 8:46 p.m.

What's scary is that Zasueta seems to be doing just fine, still cashing in as a consultant and held up as a model educator. http://www.lbcc.edu/Foundation/governors3.cfm (scroll to bottom of page) Public education is broken. . . .

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oskidoll March 3, 2013 @ 9:51 a.m.

Thanks for the link. It seems "Dr. Z" continues to inflate his resume, now claiming to have been 'valdevictorian' of his UCLA doctoral class. Last I heard, his doctorate was from the California School of Professional Psychology (now Alliant), and that he did some post-doc work at UCLA. He also spent a summer at Harvard, and then wanted to wear a Harvard hood at the SWC commencement. His lips move and he makes something new up. Same ole, same ole....

3

WTFEd March 2, 2013 @ 8:58 p.m.

Well what do you know. Is the South Bay Region cursed with bad luck or self inflicted wounds? I have friends at our sister in Southwestern College. We are joined at the hip because of the corruption charges and consultants. I heard from my friends over there about the mood at the Master Plan unveiling. Not a jovial affair like it should have been.

First let me just say all of us bloggers should give a shout out to Susan Luzarro for her reporting over the years on Sweetwater and Southwestern misdeeds and screw ups. Let us not take her work for granted. Thank you.

I totally understand the problem here..it really is not that complicated. We have a Board here at Sweetwater who pretty much lets Ed Brand (except for Bertha Lopez) get his own way carte blanch or a Board does not have the foggiest idea of what is going on with a Superintendent acting like a cowboy entrepreneur and “innovator”. This behavior puts the District at risk. Go back to the sleeping tiger “L” Street.

The Southwestern Board needs to assert itself and do not let the Superintendent run rough shod over its employees. Look I am not a Union person saying this. I am a friend of good education who is trying to run under cover from Ed Brand. For one, I would do a Public Records request and find out how much the Facilities Group was involved in this master plan. Was there any type of community input sought on the spending proposed of the bond funds for this? Those who feel left should document how they were left out and go to the press and maybe the Bond Oversight Committee and hammer the Administration if they have a case.

I feel the pain of those who feel isolated. I have heard the stories of how Ed Brand attempts to bully our employees through intimidation. I am not just talking teachers here. I know all to well how the process of isolation and discreditation works in bureaucracy. Do not get invited to a key meeting when it is clear that your past responsibilities would say you should be there. It is the most insidious disgusting type of behavior that can happen to a long time devoted employee. Just because you dared to raise an issue.

Oh the hallway and quite chatter about what shoe is next at Sweetwater. It is driving me crazy. Our Board made a huge mistake. Look their legacies are on the line anyway when that trial starts…the best they can do now is to get an exit strategy, pay him off or best yet find a way to terminate for cause and without payout Mr. Ed Brand.

In closing Melinda Nish from these press accounts sounds a lot like Ed Brand and her predecessor Chopra. Hopefully at least she will not be dumb enough to get into legal hot water. WTFEd is not happy about Southwestern. Please Board of Trustees for Southwestern. Assert yourself and put Melinda Nish in her place.

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SameOldSWC March 3, 2013 @ 11:13 a.m.

Yep. Nish is nothing more than Chopra in a skirt (or pant suit, as the case may be). She also needs to be jettisoned just like Chopra and Zasueta before her...

3

Sjtorres March 3, 2013 @ 9:08 a.m.

Now the long knives come out from the unions to go after the new college president. Look, Stewart was/is a union flunky. Most of the other board members are also union hacks. They really think that schools exist for the employees instead of the students. 99% of the negative comments you hear about Nish are coming from union hacks and their associates. Take the school away from the union employees and give it back to the students!

1

oskidoll March 3, 2013 @ 9:57 a.m.

Sjtorres....please do not be lured by the temptation to blame it all on the unions. I believe that is NOT the case here, nor is the case at SUHSD.

The SWC unions have been an important part of the rebuilding process at SWC and the interim pres. Whittaker got everyone on the same page, everyone literally 'gave at the office' to help stabilize the budget. Former prez. Hernandez, who now sits on the board, did the same.

Southwestern folk believe in their institution, are truly committed to their students, and have been through much together...now is not the time to try to pit them against each other with the tired anti-union rant and bias you propose. It just ain't so.

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anniej March 3, 2013 @ 10:14 a.m.

Oskidoll: while I am not, nor have ever been a union member I do believe that they play an important role in ensuring fair play.

Having said that, I do believe that there is work to be done in improving unions - of utmost importance is the perception that they are there to protect poor performing employees. I personally would like to see standards put in place where the union as a whole offers measurable standards that are fair resulting in quality workers receiving compensation that they have justifiably earned.

4

cvres March 3, 2013 @ 10:16 a.m.

Sjtorres,

Uhhh, was it union hacks that were sitting on the governing board or the oversight board when all the Prop R shenanigans and indiscriminate squandering of public funds was going on? That's not the way I remember it.

Was it union hacks that let Zasueta use student monies to promote Prop AA? Again that would be a no.

I think it was union members who were at the base of bringing these problems to light.

5

Sjtorres March 3, 2013 @ 10:18 a.m.

Oskidoll, I'm not blaming anything on the unions. I'm merely pointing out the fact that the unions generally run SWC for the benefit of the employees (and trades) and not with a focus on education and the students. And when the union flunkies like George Stewart and Larry Lambert et al don't get absolute control, they stomp off and rant like adolescents.

1

oskidoll March 3, 2013 @ 10:43 a.m.

OK Sjtorres, I will be more direct. THIS issue does not have one DAMN thing to do with the unions. Why do you think it is constructive to imply that it does, even as much as you dislike some of the union players?

THIS issue is about an attempt to mislead the board and others with information that is incomplete or just wrong. That is NOT the union's doing, now is it? I completely agree with cvres above.

For the record, I am not enamored with some of the power and protections unions have in the public sector today. However, the current topic is completely unrelated to those issues. Please stay on topic.

5

Sjtorres March 3, 2013 @ 10:57 a.m.

You're wrong again. Wake up. It's about budgets and protecting jobs. Jobs. Union jobs. There's a lot of dead wood at SWC and not a lot of money to keep subsidizing the poor performing employees. Writing is in the wall that it may be necessary to let the underperforming employees go due to budget issues. Well by golly the unions just can't allow that to happen! So the character assassination of President Nish begins with gusto. With the union employees leading the charge.

1

EugeneVDebs March 3, 2013 @ 2:32 p.m.

sjtorres <-- IGNORE permanently -- travels around the net on tour with tea party ideas

1

oskidoll March 3, 2013 @ 3:35 p.m.

EugeneVDebs ...Thanks for clearing that up for us! sjtorres has earned a place on the permanent 'ignore' list.

0

cvres March 3, 2013 @ 10:20 a.m.

...The aim of realigning behaviors is to diminish the impact of the individual who is perceived as not being in alignment and include actions to erode, isolate, and separate that individual. Therefore, realigning may include removing an individual from the organization."

I am very surprised to hear this language was in Nish's thesis. Many of us hoped she would bring campus peace. This excerpt sounds like someone who was brought in intentionally to impose order and austerity.

Do hiring committees or boards look at dissertations?

5

eastlaker March 3, 2013 @ 11:11 a.m.

The type of 'leadership' described and delineated in Nish's thesis seems rather similar to the Nazi seizure of power to me. Separation, marginalization, elimination...

I really don't think that those tactics are warranted, ethical or appropriate. So was she hired with this sort of thing in mind? Rather omenous, if so.

It is time to take a stand against the marauders who come dressed as educators, yet for whom education is only a means to line their pockets. Or a means to power. Sickening.

4

johndewey March 3, 2013 @ 11:46 a.m.

Sjtorres: Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions. An important link between working conditions and productivity has long been established. Let's hope the teachers' union continues to work hard for both working conditions and thus student achievement. By the way,  instead of attaching negative labels to people, why not comment on Ms Nish's dissertation abstract? Also, your name calling diminishes any chance you might have to convince anyone of your ideas or positions. 

2

anniej March 3, 2013 @ 1:33 p.m.

Sjtorres: I ask this question in an effort to fully understand your point of view. How would you explain the raises that were given to the administrators in comparison to the pink slips that will soon be handed out?

5

EugeneVDebs March 3, 2013 @ 2:33 p.m.

Get back to the point, People, and ignore the tea partiers!

What: Special SWC Governing Board Meeting When: tomorrow, Monday March 4 at 6 pm Where: L238 in the Library Complex

4

anniej March 3, 2013 @ 3:54 p.m.

EugeneVDebs: Republican, Tea-party, Independent, Democrat - each of us is a part that makes the whole. It is time to put the labels aside and come together for what is right for the students, teachers, employees and taxpayers of the SouthBay.

6

SouthBayVoters March 3, 2013 @ 6 p.m.

There is a consensus at Southwestern College and in those of us in the community who live care about our college. Everyone agrees that the complete budget information needs to be shared with all those who make decisions about it. This is only reasonable, isn't it?

What a tragedy that a conscientious man who have to quit his job so publicly in order to get this message across. Bill Stewart was just trying to do his job. I hope he will reconsider his resignation; his business experience and experience with other colleges made him a very valuable contributor to the betterment of the college and our South Bay.

Now our other elected officials on the board must work without him. It must be hard for them, because I am sure they do not want to be forced out of their jobs, too, because they also need the information. Can they even ask for budget info now without fear of "isolation and expulsion?"

The board members that we voted in must stay in and must keep insisting that a line-by-line budget be made available to them, so they can do their jobs conscientiously.

Democracy depends on all parties participating--all voices being heard. Shared governance depends on this, too. if we want our local college to keep its accreditation, we need the truth and the whole truth--now.

4

anniej March 3, 2013 @ 7:16 p.m.

SouthBayVoters: it astounds me that we have allowed matters of the education of our youth to get so out of control. Dummy me, I thought those board members were suppose to be voting in the best interest of all, not the few. When I say youth, I say it respectfully, since compared to me most are youth in my eyes.

There are some board members, that our votes have put into office, who continually fail to do their due diligence in educating themselves on board agenda items, budget included. They are content to simply go along, it's easier that way you know. Easier than rolling up their sleeves, studying the issues, researching different points of view and voting their conscience.

I am a product of the 60's - you know "hell no, we won't go" - "power to the people" and so many more LINES IN THE SAND THAT WE DREW. Where are the students, the ones who are paying the tuitions (even if thru their parents), what say they?

Attention will not be paid until attention is drawn - this article is the foundation, but more, much more is needed.

4

WTFEd March 3, 2013 @ 9:30 p.m.

WTFEd says slow down a bit and just let us think a bit. I think we need to separate out the Melinda Nish and lack of transparency with the resignation of the Trustee. Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye. I think what we are finding is that old cultures take time to die away. Southwestern has done many more things in terms of getting things back on track..unlike Sweetwater. What the Board needs to do is take charge of Melinda Nish and perhaps enroll her in a charm course or something. "How to Smile 101 Even Though You Don't Mean It" It would be a start.

For those of you who are praising this Mr. Stewart I would at least suggest you look at his background and qualifications to serve. I really don't know. I just say don't be too quick to jump to conclusions. Did he really want the job and was his heart in it? After just a few months in office? Very strange.

Well I got to go to work over at you know where tomorrow. I wonder what is next over there. I am under the radar and right in front of their eyes!!! Don't you love paranoia!! I used to be paranoid in college but it was for a different reason..hint hint April 20!!

1

EugeneVDebs March 4, 2013 @ 6:01 a.m.

If you read Bill Stewart's letter of resignation, you can see what sort of qualifications he has and what sort of person he is. (First off, he's not a professional politician.) It's easy to view someone as a quitter rather than face the difficult challenges touched on in his letter, which is a blueprint for inquiry.

SWC's history of problematic administration is not short-lived. There's a history of troubles. The language being used in the S/P's dissertation viewing employees as needing realignment is more than scary -- it's disturbingly reminiscent of 1984's Thought Police.

While I don't believe we have a Chopra & friends on our hands, the community is right to be aware and participatory. That is, the job of the S/P is to run the school; the job of the GB is to watch over the school including the S/P; the job of the people is to watch over them all. None of us can do our jobs without all the information.

What: Special SWC Governing Board Meeting

When: this evening, Monday March 4 at 6 pm

Where: room 214 on the SWC main campus

. . . p.s. you all are right, I meant trolls --

5

Nickdanny March 4, 2013 @ 11:47 a.m.

WTFEd, I had the same questions. So, I did a little research. Stewart is a father of two children, who will be graduating from high school in the near future, and he has a home in Bonita. He pays taxes, has been successfull as a businessman (in real estate) and is an respected college professor at City College. He developed the Honors Program at City College, which has sent a number of students forward to prestiges universities. He is not a career politician nor has he been particularly involved in teacher union politics. He and his wife developed an arts outreach program for students in the San Diego area. This guy is the real deal!

On the other hand, the other Board members seem much less attractive. Peraza is a politician, who has run in previous campaigns and lost. He does consulting work on various contracts, including construction consulting work (yikes). He was an assistant to Filner but somehow that went nowhere. Community members mentioned that they had helped him get the appointment in August 2011, including heavy coaching on his interview questions.

Hernandez has a degree in counseling, was a Dean at the college, then a VP in student support. She applied for the college presidency in 2003 but the campus wide hiring committee listed her below the top ten candidates. However,the Board at the time ignored the hiring committee and rejected over a dozen other better qualified candidates and gave it to Hernandez, over the protest of campus continents. In 2006, she resigned in protest, supposedly because the then Board hired a VP, who was one of the top three candidates selected by the hiring committee but not Hernandez's choice, and she felt that they were usurping her power. How ironic! She is selected over the head of the official hiring committee to be president, and resigns when the Board selects a top VP candidate that is not her pick. Seems that her fight for the Board was a grudge match against the previous mess, Salcido. After Hernandez's win she just sides with the president and still identifies with that position. This I learned from a number sources and they were all consistent.

One of the other Board members has been on the Board since the late 1990s, and the Board has undergone three grand jury investigations on her watch. Community members say that she mouths the same stuff she has for ten years; "We must just support what the President says" (zasueta, chopra, nish--fill in the blank). Two of the three Presidents listed have been indicted in the past decade. Seems a Board like that could just phone it in.

Stewart actually looks like the best candidate among them and took his task seriously.

6

angrybirds March 4, 2013 @ 12:37 p.m.

Dude I understand your frustration but why resign? Wont you do better being a board member? I think what the administration has to understand is they have to give you the information that the board demands.

I think you could have served the students and staff better being a board member than quitting. That doesnt serve anyone and now you can never make a difference.

1

angrybirds March 4, 2013 @ 12:41 p.m.

Oh yeah another thing, if you know the information is flawed then why not demand the accurate information? Dont walk away it takes someone with some major balls to stand up to these corrupt administrators and demand that they do their jobs in the correct fashion. Dude you could have made a difference and sorry to say I think you took the cowards way out.

1

oskidoll March 4, 2013 @ 12:53 p.m.

Technically, according to the Board's own policy and state law, it is the role of a community college governing board to set policy, hire/fire the CEO, and be a bridge to the community. It is the designated role of the CEO to implement the board's policy and broad directives, and run the joint on a day-to-day basis.

When it becomes evident to the board that the CEO is running amok, it is the board's responsbility to set the ship on a better course. The trick for them is to not micromanage with the 'running the joint' part the CEO is supposed to do, but to keep the CEO on a tight enough leash that he/she does not run too far amok.

4

EugeneVDebs March 4, 2013 @ 1:41 p.m.

Agreed, the board must assert itself if it wants to get all the information. The community at large can help this effort by letting the board know that we expect as much.

I'm still creeped out by reading Nish's dissertation abstract. I've read a bit about the popular business model of the past decade and a half -- business as battlefield -- and had assumed this was the model she followed, but I had no idea such inhumanity was afoot in this day and age.

War is peace Freedom is slavery Ignorance is strength

Next, we will be instructed to use Goodthink and Doublethink to show we are proper productive work units.

6

eastlaker March 4, 2013 @ 4:01 p.m.

Yes, it is as if the Dark Side of the field of sociology and psychology is leading the way...I guess no one wants to lead from their strengths anymore, but instead chisel away at the foundations of the opponent's strengths. Makes me wonder if her Phd. dissertation committee ever questioned the negativity of her thesis. If they didn't, they were certainly remiss.

Sure wish we could change that negativity--especially when it comes to local schools that are being undermined while we taxpayers are paying substantial property taxes as well as for several bonds simultaneously.

Here's hoping that forensic accounting will eventually appear and save the day. (I am only being slightly facetious). We need a major effort to bring back healthy, positive leadership to SWC, Sweetwater and San Ysidro.

2

Visduh March 4, 2013 @ 2:01 p.m.

Yes, it would have been better if he had not quit after such a short time on the board. And he would have probably been an influence for better information and better decisions. He didn't just quit, he told the voters why he was leaving, and if any of them pay attention, they'll put pressure on the existing members to do better. Then they'll replace the jerks on the board when the next round of elections occurs. IF they are paying attention. But for decades SoCounty voters haven't paid any attention to the actions of the candidates they elect and reelect. Will this bring some change? We can hope, but I doubt it.

4

cvres March 4, 2013 @ 2:39 p.m.

I agree with Visduh's point--resigning in protest carries weight. Ironically, there are indicted board members at Sweetwater who should have considered resigning.

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WTFEd March 4, 2013 @ 9:13 p.m.

OMG what I am hearing today at our District. I can not even say because by doing so it could call me out. I am paranoid.

Now that I have my blinders off it just seems like we go out of our way to piss off people. Look no matter what you think of the Board members this is a dysfunctional Sweetwater District. As far as Southwestern goes they need a time out again and figure what to do. Melinda Nish is not Ed Brand. Melinda seems arrogant but arrogance will not get you in jail necessarily. She is salvageable.

Ed deserves a orange jump suit at a minimum security prison somewhere near Yuma. Hot in the summer like the hell where he will be going some day for cheating and lieing while taking the taxpayers money.

Shaking down contractors for contract renewals, gambling with the public money in a complicated real estate deal on "L" Street, and using your positons for personal gain that is flying under the radar. That is another issue. That is why we have Federal and State Agencies who have access to information take a look. That is what Ed Brand deserves.

I have sensed that some in his supposed inner circle are cracking. I sense that they know the inevitable is coming some day. You don't want to be there when all of sudden a bunch of burly guys with black shirts show up at 1130 Fifth Avenue and start taking some computers or even worse yet breaking that gate in front of Ed's home in Escondido and knocking at his door or maybe knocking it down. What will the neighbors think?

Mr. Brand your day will come. You will find out who your friends are. Like most dictators the rats will jump ship and all you will have to do is mutter "respectfully submitted" by yourself behind bars.

1

Sjtorres March 4, 2013 @ 11:46 p.m.

I informed you thusly. After tonight's board mtg it turns out that the fuss is all about union jobs after all.

So much for education being at the forefront of priorities at our schools.

1

EugeneVDebs March 5, 2013 @ 7:34 a.m.

TROLL

One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

Trolling refers to any Internet user behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else in order to provoke a response.

A troll is a catch all term for trouble maker. There are many ways to make trouble.

Trolls are internet users who start fights and make personal attacks on users. They are known internet trouble makers. Trolls are often referred to as cyber bullies. (sources below)


Free speech means the right to speak. This right does not mention trolling -- the internet hadn't been invented in the 18th century, and so the added effects of such powerful anonymity did not occur to the founders.

If you do not actually respond reasonably to reasonable points made to you, that is, if you are not engaging in discussion but are only focused on inflaming emotions by ignoring the actual discussion and engaging in harassing behavior, you are trolling. I also see that you are trolling at the Sun newspaper under the name hector.

Even though I am responding to you now, I will ignore your attempts to bait us. I invite others to do the same, though of course this is a personal choice.

You do not have to agree with anyone, but the level of discourse you use is base and an attempt to harass and demean. I may change my mind if you decide there may be a better use of your time than harassing those whom you misrepresent time and again. I invite you to join this and future discussions rather than troll them.

Sources: Urban Dictionary, Know Your Meme, Network Etiquette.

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EugeneVDebs March 5, 2013 @ 7:11 a.m.

I was able to locate a copy of "Realigning: A Grounded Theory of Academic Workplace." I am here to say that I was fooled by the abstract making it sound as if new methods of torture or something like it are being proposed.

It's actually a study of various ways in which workplace bullying affects an institution; the ways in which it occurs; the ways in which it is handled; and, if my guess is right since I haven't finished it yet, ways in which to best utilize the findings.

The abstract makes it sound exactly as Machiavellian as listed above. An advisor could have suggested she add something about it being a study on workplace bullying and how it works in academic institutions -- anything but the message it currently sends.

I'll submit a better review when I finish reading it.

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Nickdanny March 5, 2013 @ 7:38 p.m.

Thanks Eugene. Did not get a full copy. Look forward to the review. It is interesting that the abstract does not reflect accurately the content of the dissertation. Having read a number of abstracts it is unusual to have such a determined statement that fails to address the heart of a paper. What is also interesting is how the current practice of her leadership lends itself to the Machiavellian interpretation. A lack of transparency and shared governance, as sighted by campus constituents, leads right to the darkest analysis of her work.

I read statements coming out of the campus today, and it all seemed Like PR blah, blah, blah. The District negotiators were clear-- take a pay cut or there will be layoffs. After last night's decision, it seemed that the District was saying that they were working for no pink slips all along. None of Nish 's budget statements say that at all. 5 percent cuts or pink slips. That was it. She backed herself and the employees against the wall. A bad strategy. Peraza's "spin and grin" statement today acted like " what's all the fuss, we were going to do this all along," and yet he was telling lots of people weeks in advance that it was a question of principle for him to support pink slips. Just odd. I guess it is like that old saying " if you are being run out of town, march boldly in front of the crowd like you are leading a parade."

Shared governance and transparency, the Ed Master Plan and Prop R/Facilities Plan spending issues did not go away last night. Wonder what will happen here?

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oskidoll March 6, 2013 @ 12:57 p.m.

What I find puzzling, even problematic, is how the Ed Master Plan and Prop R/Facilities Plan got so far astray from reality. Wonder if there was a scope of work the consultant(s) were to perform, and if so, what were the specifications? Was it an open door to 'dream up' new plans, without any requirement to use data/evidence as a guide? Seems strange to spend so much money and get such 'seat of the pants' results.

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oskidoll March 6, 2013 @ 1:22 p.m.

FYI, Here's what SWC VP Tyner wrote to the Reader in July 2012 about the RFP process for the Master and Facilities plans: " ktyner July 15, 2012 @ 2:27 p.m. Response to July 11, 2012 San Diego Reader article, “Questionable Contract for Southwestern College,’ written by Susan Luzzaro

Dear Reader:

I am writing in response to the July 11, 2012 San Diego Reader article, “Questionable Contract for Southwestern College,” written by Susan Luzzaro, and wish to provide information about the process that Southwestern Community College (SWC) followed with regard to Request for Proposals (RFP) 134: Educational and Facilities Master Plans, since this information was not included in the San Diego Reader article. The details about the RFP 134 process are contained in an addendum to the publicly posted July 11, 2012 Governing Board agenda. (http://bit.ly/NkkdeA)

In the interest of due diligence, encouraging fair competition, and transparency, the District followed an RFP process to identify the proposal that best fit the needs of the District and to procure the best value contract. The process was rigorous, fair, and conducted in compliance with the law (Government Code 53060 and Public Contracts Code 20111 – 20651). Thirty-one firms were sent the RFP, seven firms attended the pre-proposal meeting, and four firms submitted proposals.

As the co-lead of this RFP process, I can attest to the thoughtful manner in which all proposals were evaluated. An extensive review process was conducted using pre-established criteria provided in the RFP. Teams from three contracting firms were invited to interview with the RFP 134 Interview Committee.

RFP 134 Interview Committee was responsible for selection of the contracting firm to be recommended to Dr. Melinda Nish, SWC Superintendent / President, for submission to the SWC Governing Board. This Committee was composed of six members including administrators as well as two faculty representatives of the Academic Senate. Superintendent/President Nish was NOT part of the RFP 134 Interview Committee. The the final selection of a contracting firm by the RFP 134 Interview Committee was a unanimous decision.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the facts about the process used for SWC’s RFP 134: Educational and Facilities Master Plan. We look forward to the development of an exceptional plan that will guide SWC into the future.

Sincerely,

Kathy Tyner, M.S. Vice President for Academic Affairs Southwestern College"

So, has anyone seen the RFP and did it outline the minimum specifics and scope of work the consultants were supposed to perform? If so, how did we end up with so-called plans that are apparently so far off the mark?

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oskidoll March 7, 2013 @ 1:14 p.m.

It also occurs to me that any discussion about the future of any program of study is a proper function of the program review process. That process is also part of the accreditation requirements.

Did the consultant go 'lone ranger' and attempt to predict future course programming absent input from program review findings?

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eastlaker March 7, 2013 @ 8:34 p.m.

Good point.

Time to document all the ways in which Ms. Nish has been ignoring processes that are in place, and make sure those in charge of accreditation are aware.

I am tired of public education being gutted, especially when for-profit institutions are wining and dining our politicians (see U-T's watchdog report online today on who has accepted the most gifts).

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