Chula Vista news & stories

Sweetwater Schools Chief Walks Away Before Q&A on Dirt

The dirt pile on Southwest High School’s athletic field will be gone by Monday, August 20, but the mound of questions raised about the Sweetwater Union High School District’s leadership remains undiminished. On Friday, August ...

Sweetwater School District Kids Face Bus Cuts

Sweetwater Union High School District had unhappy parents lined up out the transportation-services door on August 6. The district is facing a $27 million budget shortfall. As a result, last March the board voted to ...

Dust Devil Settles in Southwest High’s Dumped-Dirt Debacle

Sweetwater Union High School District’s dirt story continues to be significant. Potentially contaminated soil dumped at Southwest High School poses questions that many would like to have answered: Why have district leaders sought to mislead ...

Dirt Dumped at Southwest High School's Campus Still Under Investigation

Sweetwater Union High School District students return to campus July 25. Some people might wonder what the district has done with the 10,000 tons of dirt on the Southwest High campus, reported on by Channel ...

Questionable Contract for Southwestern College?

Southwestern College has gone through a series of upheavals in the past few years and is still the subject of a San Diego County district attorney investigation. Southwestern’s former vice president of business and finance, ...

Local Coastal Commission Meeting Won't Address Chula Vista Bayfront Plan

The California Coastal Commission will meet in Chula Vista on Wednesday, July 11; however, the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan will not be addressed until their August meeting, which will be held in Santa Cruz. ...

Friends of Chula Vista Parks & Recreation Back Buck Martin

At the June 28 Chula Vista City Council meeting, the council reviewed a plan to consolidate the library and the parks and recreation department — the decision to do so was made last week. The ...

Toxic Dirt Trucked to Southwest High School?

A large pile of contaminated dirt was reportedly deposited on the Southwest High School campus in the spring of 2010. After 10News.com reported the story last week, the district shrouded the dirt pile in plastic ...

Sweetwater Union HS District Board Meeting Skips Public Comment

The Sweetwater Union High School District board is beleaguered. Two trustees, Arlie Ricasa and Pearl Quiñones, and former superintendent Jesus Gandara are under indictment. Two additional boardmembers, John McCann and Jim Cartmill, are the subjects ...

Sweetwater Union High School District Borrowing on Bond Funds?

At the June 11 Sweetwater Union High School District’s board meeting, Fran Brinkman and other members of her group (which reported corruption concerns to the district attorney) will ask trustees: What is going on with ...

Cross-Border Campaigner

AMLO Calls Jaime Bonilla to Mexico

It’s been only a few months since controversial South Bay water board president Jaime Bonilla stepped down from the Otay Water District, but it’s easy to see that his former position is just a speck ...

Chula Vista Elementary Schools Seek Funding, Hire Consultant

Asking some South Bay voters to approve a school bond measure is a risky proposition. Bond-related corruption charges for Southwestern College and Sweetwater Union High School District have muddied the waters, but the Chula Vista ...

Hippocrates’ Helpers Educated Here

Students graduate feeling ready for their new careers, and they hit the ground running once they’re employed.

A Political Scientist’s View on Sweetwater School District’s Turmoil

The May 14 U-T editorial titled “A Circus In Sweetwater” — referring to the ongoing turmoil within the Sweetwater Union High School District — makes some incorrect and undemocratic assertions. The editorial acknowledges that the ...

Occupy Sweetwater Activist Cleared of Allegations Made by Boardmember

For weeks, activist Stewart Payne has had headlines written that pertain to him: “Violent Threats By Occupy Sweetwater Result in Restraining Order” (San Diego Rostra), “Keep Payne Away” (The Star News), and “Court Protects Sweetwater ...

Security Guard at Sweetwater Union HS District Meeting Had Cancelled Gun Permit

JDS Exclusive Security Services was contracted by the Sweetwater Union High School District to provide guards for the May 7 board meeting. The company also provided guards for the April 16 meeting, after which John ...

Sweetwater Union HS District Rescinds 19 Layoffs, but at What Cost?

Like many school districts in California, Sweetwater Union High School District has been hit hard, financially. In anticipation of a $20 million shortfall, in March the district sent out over 200 pink slips to teachers, ...

Sweetwater Boardmember John McCann Calls Cops on Recall Activist

Tensions within the Sweetwater Union High School District continue to escalate. The April 16 board meeting had an overflow audience of unhappy people, but an odd conflict between boardmember John McCann and recall activist Stewart ...

Chula Vista Community Church

Phil Golden of Chula Vista Community Church says he likes to preach on John 3:16. And he won’t skip over John 3:17.

Recall Committee Activists Ape Sweetwater Union HS District Board

The first signatories of a petition to recall Sweetwater Union High School District trustees Jim Cartmill, John McCann, and Arlie Ricasa gathered at a press conference in front of the district office on the evening ...

Coalition Seeks “Better Bayfront Plan” in Chula Vista

A petition drive for a revised bayfront plan has been launched in Chula Vista by a coalition of individuals, community groups, and a local business, Marine Group Boatworks. The “Better Bayfront Plan” proposes a 35-acre ...

Oversight Board Meets to Disband Chula Vista’s Redevelopment Agency

The dissolution of Chula Vista’s Redevelopment Agency began in earnest April 9 when the newly appointed oversight board met for the first time. The board is charged with, among other things, paying off the defunct ...

Chula Vista Considers West-Side Apartment Complex

Chula Vista’s Design Review Committee will soon consider a six-story apartment complex on the city’s west side. The “Urbana” proposal includes 266 apartments and is situated on H Street between Third and Fourth Avenue. Last ...

New Southwestern Affidavits Released

The district attorney’s office raided two more homes March 22 in connection with the South County school district’s scandal. Affidavits, signed by district attorney investigator Vincent Giame, provided the basis for searching the homes of ...

iPhreaks

It was shortly after 6 a.m. and still dark outside. Dozens of cars populated the parking lot, but I couldn’t locate any bodies. “There,” I said, when I caught the pink flash of a young ...

Good Intentions Gone Awry at Veritas

San Diegans were shocked last December when local headlines linked prominent South Bay figures to a plot to smuggle Muammar Gaddafi’s son out of Africa and into a Mexican resort near Puerto Vallarta. The alleged ...

The City Was Offering Up to $70,000 at 0% Interest

On October 12, 2011, my husband and I signed two hours’ worth of paperwork and forked over a $2450 earnest-money deposit on a four-bedroom, four-bath townhome in Chula Vista. For years, we’d fantasized about escaping ...

Results of Southwestern College Investigation

Southwestern College’s long-awaited forensic investigation was released last week. The report focused on the awarding of Proposition R contracts and the activities of the Southwestern College Foundation. The report is remarkable in what it does ...

Southwestern College Votes for Pay Increases and Campaign Donation Cap

Southwestern College had a packed board agenda and packed house on March 14. The meeting, which lasted beyond midnight, suggested that all is not well in Camelot. The most contentious item on the agenda was ...

An Inspection of Lincoln Club Endorsements for Chula Vista City Council

In 2010, the Lincoln Club endorsed Larry Breitfelder, Republican and founder of the Chula Vista Taxpayers Association, for a council seat. Breitfelder is running again in November against Democrat Pamela Bensoussan, but it appears the ...

The Dire Limits of Health Care

In the fall of 2010, Raul Carranza arrived on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles by way of Eastlake High School and Southwestern College, pursuing a psychology degree. By the following January, ...

Reforms in Progress at Southwestern College

Southwestern College and Sweetwater Union High School districts have been engulfed by bond-construction scandals and district attorney investigations. Many anticipate a fresh round of indictments in the near future. Southwestern superintendent Melinda Nish and trustees ...

Sweetwater Union HS District Votes to Buy iPads for 7th-Graders

On the recommendation of Sweetwater Union High School District interim superintendent Ed Brand, the board voted February 21 to purchase iPads for all seventh-graders in the next school year. Trustee Bertha Lopez cast the dissenting ...

Bond Oversight Committee’s Suggestions for Sweetwater Union HS District

Bernardo Vasquez is the chair of Sweetwater Union High School District’s Proposition O Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. The all-volunteer committee with rotating membership has been attempting to keep track of the district’s 644 million proposition ...

Borrego Bonanza

The broaching of the subject is inevitable: in any extended conversation, I’ll always find a way to sneak in a “Have you eaten anything good recently?” And, quite often, that little question bears fruit. A ...

A Shocking View into Former Sweetwater Superintendent Jesus Gandara's Past

People are wondering: What was the board thinking when they hired former Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent Jesus Gandara? Did the executive search committee not provide boardmembers with enough information? And how many superintendents ...

Money for Sweetwater Union HS District Board Members Under Microscope

Approximately 500 parents, students, and teachers attended the Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting on the evening of January 30. A cacophony of angry voices filled the Hilltop High School gymnasium. Lauren McLennan, a ...

Did Election Tampering Help Create Sweetwater Union High School Board?

At the January 30 Sweetwater Union High School board meeting, the Vega report was released. Parents, teachers, and students have been demanding the report for months. It appears their suspicions had substance. Attorney Greg Vega ...

Calexico Unified School District's Similarities with Sweetwater

A tipster recently brought to the Reader’s attention the fact that Calexico Unified School District is beginning to look like Sweetwater Union High School District. To begin with, Calexico’s district counsel is GCR, LLP, the ...

Southwestern College Foundation Under Investigation

In a closed session on January 11, the Southwestern College board suspended their Proposition R program manager, Seville Construction Services. The board also suspended BCA Architects, which was hired to design Southwestern College’s now-infamous corner ...

Chula Vista’s Tourism Marketing District Scrutinized

Tuesday night, January 10, the Chula Vista City Council wrangled for four hours over whether or not the chamber of commerce (aka the Tourism Marketing District) was doing an adequate job promoting motel/hotel businesses. Finally, ...

Sweetwater's Funds for Education

Last week, Sweetwater’s interim superintendent Ed Brand suspended the Funds for Education Committee, saying, “I can stop the grief right here.” This is the second time Brand’s private-sector fund-raising efforts have ended in controversy. Brand ...

The Rich Relationship of Sweetwater Union and Seville Group Inc.

On January 4, Sweetwater Union High School interim superintendent Ed Brand suspended the services of Seville Group, Inc, the program manager for Proposition O. Managing $644 million of bond construction money, the company came into ...

Charges Filed Against Current and Former Sweetwater Union HS District Officials

Two press conferences were held today pertaining to charges against current and former members of the Sweetwater Union High School District. At 10:00 a.m., district attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that charges were filed against five ...

More Contractor Coziness with Southwestern College Officials

There is a connection between the Sweetwater Union High School District’s alleged corruption and Southwestern College’s. Affidavits recently unsealed by the San Diego County district attorney’s office help make those connections. Paul Bunton, CEO of ...

Secret Coziness Between Seville Construction Services and Southwestern College Revealed

Affidavits were released on December 28 that detailed the San Diego DA’s motivations for the December 20 raids on former and current trustees of the Sweetwater Union High School District, contractors associated with them, and ...

Woo-hoo! Chula Vista U!

Will Harvard or Notre Dame come to a South Bay university site as Sweetwater school district boardmember John McCann suggested in November? Will taxpayers vote for another bond to build a university? Will the City ...

Former Southwestern College VP Alioto Linked Again to Contractor?

The legacy of former Southwestern College vice president Nicholas Alioto is not a closed chapter, as attested to by the following: Alioto’s house was searched by the San Diego district attorney’s office on December 20 ...

Southwestern College Leery of “Pay for Play” Perception

Southwestern College issued a statement on December 22 that calls for “procedures and protocols…to ensure the integrity of the contract selection process.” The statement continued, “No employee associated with construction or general acquisition shall accept ...

The Heat Rises for Sweetwater Union High School District Trustees and Associates

While attention from the district attorney’s December 20 raids was focused on Sweetwater Union High School District trustees, the agents also searched the homes of former of Southwestern College officials. Both districts were recipients of ...

Wonderful Wagashi

It’s amazing what you can learn sitting at your friendly neighborhood sushi bar. Back in 1999, when we were still living in the greater Los Angeles area, I took on a consulting gig here in ...

Sweetwater Union High School District Boardmembers' Homes Raided

Today, December 20, district attorney investigators raided the homes of several Sweetwater Union High School District boardmembers and Henry Amigable, who served as a bond construction program manager for both the district and Southwestern College. ...