I want to thank the dedicated members of the community who attend every board meeting and represent the interests of the public.
Mr. Brand: You say, "The reporter did not bother to seek clarification or comment from anyone in the district administration." You've got to be kidding. Mr. Vasquez, who chairs the district's bond oversight committee has been trying for months to get clarification from the district administration to no avail. You also wrote, "We demand that you retract the story and offer an apology..." Question: Who is the WE you refer to? Your consultant firm? Remember, you are INTERIM. In fact, you even call yourself a consultant (I understand that's so you can rake in your retirement as well as ripping the public off for $20,000 a month.The Reader has been a consistent source of truth about this corrupt district, and for that the public is grateful. It is you, not this reporter who owes the community an apology and a retraction of your ridiculous comment.
Dr Brand, I've just returned from the Sweetwater board meeting where trustee Lopez told you it was unacceptable that you had not provided the bond oversight committee with information on Proposition O spending for six months. You said you would get the information to the committee right away. The actions of the meeting verify the reporting in this article.
The article is posed as a question--a question about district transparency--that is why there is a question mark in the title and a question in the middle of the story.
You identify the people who carried concerns to the district attorney's office, concerns which have resulted in indictments, as "district detractors." Many people in the community consider them their voice.
As your letter says the reporter only consulted detractors that means you consider Bernardo Vasquez, chair of the bond oversight committee a detractor. That is most unfortunate for the committee and for the taxpayers.
The Sweetwater saga has gone on too long. When is the DA's office going to act. Indicted board members should be tried, if they are guilty they should not be making decisions on behalf of the district.
An interim superintendent should not be making such sweeping plans (charter schools, etc) while the district is in this situation--it's taking advantage of the compromised situation the district is in.
Just what can Brand and McCann be doing now? Strategizing? Trying to dig themselves out of a hole that is approaching the size of the Grand Canyon? Strategize that!? Not remotely possible.
It is time for one and all to come clean. This school district needs to concentrate on what is really important--the education of the young people. We need to show them that ethics matter, that doing your best matters, that working for the public good isn't a joke--it is important. All the shysters and self-serving empty suits can depart. We'd like the honest and hard-working people, who have a view to building a better community, to stay.
The article quotes Mr. Vasquez, "When do we start standing up and waving the red flag?".
I wonder if this lands him on McCann's anti-American list, or maybe frighten Mr. McCann into seeking another restraining order.
There is a definite need for some forensic accounting. I would hope that someone is on that now.
And, as you said, in the best interest of the district, we need some people who are 100% commited to serving the public, not themselves.
While I can recognize that the past several years have been challenging with the reductions in budgets, I can also see that funds have been 'misallocated' -- items have been funded that should not have been funded.
I think that IB programs need to be strongly analyzed to make sure that when we as a district spend money, there is value. We need to see the results from that program as well as from the Compact for Success. What are the numbers? When students are admitted to the state university system through Compact for Success, what are graduation rates, attrition rates, drop-out rates, return rates? GPAs? What are the performance levels? All this information should be available to the public so that we can do cost/benefit analyses. And I say this as a person with a background in humanities, not business. But we need to make sure that what we do is not a waste.
This is part of the transparency that I would like. There is no need to make everything a big mystery unless someone is trying to hide something.
Yup, looks like he is re-branding, hahaha. New suit that is actually tailored, hair cut, and makeup for being on-camera...sure looks like he is job hunting.
The crookedest superintendent around hasn't stopped scrounging for all he can get.
Yes, you got it!!
Several more violations of the Brown Act (which are now added to the already long list)--shouldn't this mean that it is time for other authorities to step in and take over? Brand is clearly out of control. The board is disfunctional. The people who are responsible enough to want to accomplish business are not being allowed to.
The system has been hijacked by self-serving politicos whose biggest interest is in keeping the scam going.
This must end.
Whoa! The meeting of 6/11 was recessed prior to Public Comment !!!! So the public was denied its Brown Act rights to be heard during an open meeting of a public agency???? As of today (6/12) there is no notice of a resumption of the 'recessed' meeting of 6/11.
And who is Dr. Brand to 'decide' that he only agrees to place an item on the agenda (his quote in UT article) only if and when he has the ok of three board members? That smacks of collusion of board members, which is absolutely prohibited by the Brown Act. He just does not have any authority to do that.
Further, the Brown Act, as well as the SUHSD own by laws, stipulate that any member of the board (singular) or any member (singular) of the public may provide agenda items.
Please call in the 'Brown Act' police here and arrest Dr. Brand and Co. There are flagrant violations here.
Susan - Once again you have done an awesome job investigating and reporting on the news in the South Bay. You and The Reader have earned this community's respect and appreciation. Please keep up the good work.
A grand jury could question, but they need to know which questions to ask.
It makes you wonder what screening process the district used to hire this agency, if any.
Talk about detail oriented investigative reporting wow. It is a pleasure to see fact based reporting for a change. Everyone has been questioning the one sided reporting thus far by the UT and Star News. KUSI and Channel 10 appear to be neutral as does the Reader. Everyone says it's the political environment at present. That scares me if that's true. I believe McCann's history of playing the victim will be over today politics or not.
I agree. Great reporting, well written article. I used to think the Reader was just about food and entertainment. Now, I am so impressed by the reporting I read it regularly for the news.
If a student brings any weapon to school, even a 1" blade, that student will be expelled. A BB gun, loaded or not; a pellet gun, loaded or not; it doesn't matter. School safety is paramount.
So, here we have an adult without a gun permit, bringing what I believe was either a loaded 9mm automatic pistol, or a loaded .40 S&W automatic pistol, or a loaded .45 APC into a public SUHSD school board meeting and no one is responsible?
Dr. Brand hired this guy, to insure safety for the Board members. What about the public? What about the young children present at the meeting? If Dr. Brand isn't responsible for the safety of the board meetings, then who is?
The guy had a GUN in his holster. I have pictures of him that night that clearly show the gun. I looked at the gun that night, and this was no plastic replica. There was a magazine in the gun. To assume that it was "unloaded" is ludicrious.
Clearly, the President of the Board, Pearl Quinones, has lost control of her own Board room, Clearly, Dr. Brand, the Superintendent has lost control of providing a safe environment for the public.
Sweetwater Union High School District school board meetings are no longer safe to attend. If I can't feel safe while I'm exercising my 1st Ammendment rights because there might be unlicenced gun totten lawbreakers in the room, provided by the very leadership of the District to enforce new draconian rules of conduct at the meetings, where will I be able to safely give voice to my concerns?
As long as I'm on the subject of gun totin', the whole situation at Sweetwater is beginning to resemble a B-grade spaghetti western. You know the plot, the outlaw gang controls the town; harasses, intimidates, threatens the townfolk. Then a few good citizens try to take their town back, and the bad guys bring in a few "hired guns."
Grossly over stuffed is correct. Brand had the nerve to show up at the court hearing to support McCann's position. But guess what the judge said no need. We already have the paperwork that substantiates Mr. Paynes claim. Brand left In a puff of smoke. It was the highlight of the day. Daddy Brand could not protect Johnny Boy.
McCann was represented by an attorney at the hearing. According to a May 10 U-T report, “Sweetwater superintendent Ed Brand approved the legal expense. He said the affair may cost the school district around $2,400 in attorney’s fees for McCann.”
Brand HAS TO GO, that $2400 should come right out of his fat butt.
I have never in my life heard of a $2400 charge for a RO which are done pro se 99.9999% of the time.
Thanks again Susan for another great, fact based, well written article!
The editorial board of the UT must not have read any of the supporting paperwork from the indictments or the Vega report. McCann and Cartmill's names are scattered throughout those documents. And if they aren't involved, why do they continue to vote with the indicted Board members and refuse to discuss campaign reform, or any other issues that might begin the process of returning ethics to Sweetwater? Because they want the campaign contributions flowing freely into their coffers for the next election - that's why. To use a cliche - if they aren't part of the solution they are part of the problem.
The Southwestern College Board has been acting with integrity and transparency to rectify past wrongs and move in a new direction. I applaud their efforts.
The Sweetwater Board is trying to continue with 'business as usual". Time for change.
I liked what Mr. Luna had to say, and I would add that by signing the recall petitions people are just saying they think the public should have the opportunity to vote on a recall. Giving people the opportunity to vote is a democratic principle that this country is founded on. Cartmill, McCann, and Ricasa are not up for election for two more years. Many people in the South Bay don't want to wait that long to restore ethics and integrity to Sweetwater.
Garrett Harris 6 p.m., April 20
Brandon Hernández 5 p.m., April 20
Dorian Hargrove 4:30 p.m., April 20
Don Bauder 2:30 p.m., April 20
Jeff Smith 2 p.m., April 20
Matt Potter 12:30 p.m., April 20
Ian Anderson 10 a.m., April 20
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