Chula Vista news & stories

Sweetwater Union and Chula Vista Elementary districts to merge?

“It is a very complex process, and there are more questions than answers right now."

School-district unification raised its controversial head again at a January 28 Chula Vista City Council meeting. Councilwoman Mary Salas, who is a candidate for Chula Vista mayor in November 2014, moved to agendize a council ...

Classroom shenanigans in Sweetwater school district?

Teachers and public question need for charter school at Castle Park Middle

Administrators at Castle Park Middle School created controversy in August 2013 when they spent thousands to improve the school’s appearance for secretary of state Arne Duncan’s visit. Another controversial Castle Park makeover is now under ...

Sweetwater district corruption trial postponed

Defense attorney Pfingst requests delay

In a Chula Vista courthouse on January 24, Paul Pfingst, defense attorney for Jesus Gandara — the former Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent indicted on corruption charges — asked for a postponement of the ...

Final competition of Chula Vista robotics league

A game slightly reminiscent of basketball

The Vex Robotics League of Chula Vista held its final competition for the year at Sweetwater High School on January 18. While many praise robotics programs for their connection to the new educational buzz word ...

Chula Vista park trail stuck in bureaucratic muck

Fairy shrimp discovery leads to quagmire of legal pondering

The county and the Sweetwater Authority are still trying to figure out which agency is going to be responsible for moving a closed trail around a newly discovered patch of fairy shrimp, an endangered species. ...

Picket at Sweetwater trustee Cartmill's home

Superintendent Brand on Hawaiian holiday…skipping his evaluation?

Sweetwater teachers who are on the verge of a strike over health benefits, class sizes, and campus safety issues picketed board president Jim Cartmill’s house early January 18. There are only 30 days left for ...

Man suffers fall on Chula Vista trolley platform

Commuter back-up on southbound platform

Shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, January 17, paramedics and firefighters responded to a report of a man who had succumbed to a head injury after a fall. The incident occurred at the Palomar ...

Free spay clinic for South Bay dogs

Only for chihuahuas and pit bulls, whose populations have boomed

Increases in the chihuahua and pit bull populations have led the Chula Vista city government to offer a free spaying clinic specifically for South Bay owners of those breeds of dogs. “A serious pet-overcrowding issue ...

No process yet to replace Sweetwater trustee Ricasa

Only three board members show up at special meeting

No one was surprised to see that the Sweetwater Union High School District board failed to agree on a process to replace former trustee Arlie Ricasa at a January 14 special meeting. (Ricasa pleaded guilty ...

Defendant bites back, sues IRS

Government said Three Rivers Provider Network founder stashed away money

In March of last year, a curious lawsuit was filed in superior court against the Internal Revenue Service; the plaintiff was "John Doe Company." Now, two healthcare-related publications, Healthcare IT News and Modern Healthcare, have ...

No tough justice for former Southwestern College official

John Wilson’s 16 counts reduced to a single misdemeanor

South Bay judge Ana España and district attorney Bonnie Dumanis do not appear to be on the same page. In a widely viewed January 2012 news report, Dumanis declared that “the widespread corruption uncovered in ...

Homeless in Chula Vista

Increase of over 16 percent from ’12 to ’13

In November, shortly before Thanksgiving, the City of Chula Vista sent heavy equipment and personnel to clean out homeless encampments in the Lower Sweetwater Valley. Tractors and trucks worked all day and then returned about ...

Chula Vista resident files class action lawsuit against Target for network breach

One San Diego resident has taken aim against big-box retailer Target and the retailer's recent admission that their credit card database had been compromised, revealing the credit card and pin numbers for nearly 40 million ...

Few details on Sweetwater district's student-data-sharing deal

Was South Bay Community Services "holding up money" for agreement?

A data-sharing agreement between Sweetwater Union High School District and South Bay Community Services/Promise Neighborhoods continues to be withheld from the Reader and the public from whom the data was collected. South Bay Community Services ...

Chula Vista's UltraStar theater to close

Bye-bye, dollar hot dogs and bargain tickets; hello AMC

There will be less options for low-budget South Bay moviegoers in 2014 when the UltraStar Cinemas movie theater in Chula Vista shuts down early in the year. "We've been purchased by AMC," said Cheryl Dodge, ...

Sweetwater school district invites more suspicion

Former felonious port commissioner David Malcolm appointed to committee

The Sweetwater Union High School District has four pieces of property it wants to sell. At the December 9 board meeting, Tom Calhoun, the executive director of facilities for Sweetwater, gave a presentation on asset ...

Sweetwater trustee Arlie Ricasa to resign

“I accepted gifts...with a value of $2099 and I did not report them."

Sweetwater Union High School District trustee Arlie Ricasa, who had initially been charged with 28 felony and misdemeanor counts in the South Bay’s schools corruption case, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor today, December 18. Early ...

Santa and Grinch visit Sweetwater District meeting

Teacher negotiations at impasse, trustees may resign Friday

The continued presence of three JDS security guards at Sweetwater Union High School District board meetings is a monthly reminder of the deteriorated relations between the district, the public, and teachers. Even with the presence ...

Former South Bay schools officials have day in court

Sweetwater and Southwestern administrators make pleas in corruption cases

On December 6, readiness conferences began in the South Bay courthouse at 1:30 p.m. and lasted until 4:00. All of the Sweetwater Union High School District and Southwestern College defendants appeared in court with the ...

Sweetwater district spent big for Arne Duncan visit

$17,000 stage, $3000 worth of flags, $5000 in banners

When Arne Duncan visited Sweetwater’s Castle Park Middle School in September, it created quite a stir — not because he is the U.S. secretary of education but because there were concerns that the school, and ...

All Things BBQ: Lil' Alex BBQ

A little bit about a new-ish Chula Vista barbecue joint and a lot about why there's no rushing barbecue.

Another entry in the barbecue-without-a-smoker category is Lil’ Alex BBQ (4020 Bonita Road, Chula Vista), a self-described “mesquite wood grill” where the meats get their smokiness from a smoky grill instead of the authentic barbecue ...

Gloria Allred files sexual harassment suit against Eyecandy Showgirls in Chula Vista

Celebrity lawyer will represent clients who felt pressured to buy nude lap dances from so-called "fatties."

Even as her sexual harassment lawsuit against ex-Mayor Bob Filner gropes its way through the courts, Gloria Allred is taking on a new challenge: suing hippy strippers for pushing their portly product on queasy customers ...

Sweetwater teachers may strike over district policies

Health-care plans, class sizes, trust at issue

Sweetwater teachers held demonstrations at the October and November school-board meetings. For over a month, many teachers have been “working-to-rule” (performing no unpaid jobs) and picketing before and after school. Outside the November 18 board ...

Sunny Donuts and the incoming Dunkin's

As America's favorite donut chain prepares to descend on San Diego, a local franchise preserves the past in perpetuity.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ imminent arrival in San Diego is understandably big news; perhaps even more so now that the company has officially returned to California with the opening of a store in Barstow! San Diego’s glut ...

Future Chula Vista sewer bills discussed at breakfast

Percentage increases may be hard to stomach for some

Chula Vista sewer bills were a surprisingly popular topic at city-council member Pat Aguilar’s Third Thursday breakfast. Over 25 people attended the November 21 gathering to listen to city engineering staff discuss two unpopular proposals: ...

Chula Vista school admin moves forward with Common Core Standards

Resistant parents say they are ignored and harassed

The Chula Vista Elementary School District had their first public hearing November 13 on how to deploy 4.6 million state dollars to implement “Common Core State Standards” and the “Smarter Balanced Assessments.” The rollout of ...

South Bay skaters hit the slope

"We scream 'car!’ if a car is coming."

In high school, Joshua Aguirre would gaze across the 805 freeway from Hilltop High’s campus at a steep incline that curved wide at the top, had a sharp turn near the bottom, and ended in ...

Sweetwater Athletics Hall of Fame scrutinized

How much spent? Who chose Ed Brand’s name for award?

Most people were expelled from the October 23 Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting. So, public comment allowed prior to specific agenda items was not so public. To several trustees and apparently superintendent Ed ...

South Bay schools defendants get day in court

Felonies dropped against former Southwestern superintendent Chopra

Readiness hearings for Southwestern College, Sweetwater Union High School District, and San Ysidro School District defendants were held October 29 in the South Bay courthouse. Defendants indicted in pay-to-play corruption cases had been ordered to ...

Memelas' Thai tacos disappoint

Confused Mexican-Thai fusion in Bonita hits all the wrong notes.

My imagination went bonkers over Memelas (3001 Bonita Road, Chula Vista). One look at the sign that said TACOS + THAI + ROCK was all it took. Visions of hypothetical molé drunken noodles and chicken ...

Cops kick out public from Sweetwater board meeting

Trustees retreat to back room upon realizing massive turnout

Only one month after Donna Frye, on behalf of Californians Aware, addressed the Sweetwater Union High School District board on potential Brown Act violations, the superintendent and trustees swept the meeting room clean of anyone ...

Donna Frye asks Sweetwater school board to make information available to the public

While she’s at the meeting, trustees allow an earlier public comment

Donna Frye attended the September 23 Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting to offer superintendent Ed Brand and the trustees some legal advice. Frye volunteers for an open-government, nonprofit organization called Californians Aware (CalAware). ...

South Bay mayoral candidate forum held in San Ysidro

Disregarded candidates invited; Faulconer and Fletcher no-shows

Forty-eight people sat in the audience as mayoral candidates answered questions about the South Bay on Wednesday, October 16, at San Ysidro High School. The gathering, hosted jointly by the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce ...

Teachers for Sweetwater district face insurance cost hike

Ongoing negotiations to determine class sizes as well

The Sweetwater Union High School District has been plagued with problems but has managed to stave off labor unrest — until now. In an October 14 interview, Roberto Rodriguez, president of the Sweetwater Education Association, ...

Sweetwater school district's real estate deals gain momentum

But will sales of surplus property help the financial situation?

The Sweetwater Union High School District's financial picture looked grim at the September 23 board meeting. During the budget report, it was established that the district continues to spend and holds the minimum that the ...

Unreasonable search of Olympian High School students?

Alleged stolen wallet and “misidentified” suspects raise suspicions

Two young women were chatting as they walked around the track during P.E. at Olympian High School on Friday, September 13. It was third period and no doubt both 14-year-olds, were looking forward to the ...

SOS — Save Our Sealife — in Chula Vista

Discovery Center faces closure this month

The Living Coast Discovery Center, formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center, announced on October 1 that it will close its doors on October 28. A South Bay landmark, the center includes exhibits of ...

Mar Vista Middle School on the cheat?

L.A. Times reveals another blemish on Sweetwater Union High School District

Mar Vista Middle School, in the South Bay and part of the Sweetwater Union School District, was one of 27 California schools stripped of its scores on the state's Academic Performance Index over claims of ...

Sweetwater school board questions funds for investigators

Superintendent Brand’s request scrutinized. “Why is he so paranoid?”

Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent Ed Brand’s request for funds to employ a private investigation agency, to be used at his discretion, was withdrawn by staff at the September 24 board meeting. Brand argued ...

Logan Heights at OnStage Productions

It’s too bad they don’t give a Craig Noel Award for Audience of the Year. I sat in a sure nominee recently at OnStage. High school students packed the house. They hung on every word ...

Southwestern College Foundation's Nathan Fletcher connection

Lorena Gonzalez, Humberto Peraza, and Machiavelli?

The Southwestern College Foundation held its annual gala on September 21. The cost for a seat ran from $200 to $15,000. The keynote speaker for the event was Nathan Fletcher, candidate for mayor of San ...

Chula Vista parents protest switch to Common Core State Standards

They don’t “believe the hype”

When U.S. secretary of education Arne Duncan came to Chula Vista on September 13, the fanfare at Castle Park Middle School was spectacular. Oversized pictures of Duncan’s face were waved on sticks while students wearing ...

Anti-war protesters visit Juan Vargas’s Chula Vista office

Invited in for a sit-down

On this auspicious day, September 11, on the corner of Third and F Street in Chula Vista, six protesters chanted “No justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East!” and “Money for jobs and ...

Clark Silva and his Rock Icons

Painting portraits of rock and roll stars comes naturally to this Chula Vista metalhead.

Clark Silva’s acrylic-on-panel Rock Icons attract people’s attention with their simple color palettes and minimal designs. Each portrait captures an important figure in rock history, especially Silva’s favorite genre: heavy metal. The artist laughs knowingly ...

Sweetwater school district backs off on Alliant International University plan

Public records detail student recruitment strategy

Sweetwater Union High School District has withdrawn its application with National City for Alliant International University to be housed on the Adult Education Center campus. Martin Reeder, principal planner for National City, confirmed in a ...

Chula Vista school hurries to get ready for Arne Duncan

We’re painting the roses red

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is paying Sweetwater Union High School District a visit. Duncan is on a Southwest bus tour and will be at Castle Park Middle School September 13. Why Castle Park Middle? ...

Nobody hurt at Southwestern College

Accidental shooting by police

On August 23 a Southwestern College campus police officer’s weapon went off accidentally. An anonymous source reported that two people were almost hit. The Southwestern daily crime log for that day reported that at 10:02 ...

Charles Page is always thinking.

Chula Vista artist has a mind that won't quit, and he just "wants to make you think."

Charles Page’s head is exploding with ideas. All the time. Whenever the Chula Vista artist opens his mouth, words fly out as he tries to explain whatever notion is running through his mind at the ...

Sweetwater underwriters reel in the big one — a grand jury indictment

South Bay's bond bombshell blows big time

Sweetwater Unified underwriters indicted over a billion dollars in back-room construction bond deals. San Diego DA's office calls it the largest public corruption case they've ever prosecuted.

National City Planning Commission prodded to decide on making space for Alliant Int'l University

“Why are they pushing this down our throats?”

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 ...

Alliant University leaves Sweetwater school district property in National City…sets up at Southwestern College?

Trustee is not happy

Many are still perplexed by the vaunted opening of "Alliant International University at Sweetwater" in National City. A couple weeks ago (July 20), an Alliant sign was hung over an office door, and Alliant counselor ...

Living Coast Discovery Center Trail

This short hike and visitor center are perfect introductions to coastal birds and marsh habitat.

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