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Stories by Susan Luzzaro

Sweetwater Schools Forum Makes Policy Clear as Mud

Concerned Sweetwater Union High School District parents and residents lined up to ask superintendent Ed Brand questions at a November 8 meeting. They wanted an accounting of the money they have paid into the 17 ...

Former Charger Seeks Seat on Sweetwater Schools Board

Though many people want to see corruption and mismanagement cleaned up in the Sweetwater Union High School District, few people stepped into the November 6 election. One interesting candidate who wants to try his hand ...

Chula Vista Ethics Meeting Draws Mayor and Three Police

An unprecedented board of ethics meeting took place in Chula Vista on October 24. The audience — which came to the hearing regarding a complaint filed against council member Pamela Bensoussan — was so large ...

More Chula Vistans Gather to Fight Lake Pointe Project

Residents angered by the Chula Vista City Council’s vote to change the general plan to accommodate a 284-condo/rental development are gathering forces. At an October 17 meeting, residents opposed to the Lake Pointe development said ...

Sweetwater Board Takes Heat at Meeting

The first meeting that Ed Brand presided over since being appointed superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District took place on October 15. Brand sought board approval for a conflict-of-interest bylaw change. His proffered ...

Sweetwater’s Ed Brand Seeks to Remove Committee Members

Fresh out of the chute as new superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District, Ed Brand recently sought to remove all of the members of the Proposition O Bond Oversight Committee, save one — ...

New Chula Vista Comedy Club, Strip Club, What’s the Diff?

The opening of a nude-dancing establishment on Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista has caused many Chula Vista residents worry and embarrassment over the past couple days. In an interview on October 8, owner/operator Randy Welty ...

Nudie Bar Opens Across Street from Chula Vista’s Bayfront

Chula Vista’s bayfront development got a sudden jumpstart October 8 when a new place called EyeCandy opened on Bay Boulevard. The establishment features nude dancers and soft drinks. EyeCandy, visible from the freeway, is located ...

Chula Vista Project Raises Ethics Questions for Council Members

Residents who live near a proposed development called Lake Pointe in the eastern part of Chula Vista were stunned that the city council voted last week to change the general plan to accommodate a 284 ...

Sweetwater School Board Awards 2-Year Contract to Ed Brand

At 3:06 on the morning of September 25, the Sweetwater Union High School District board of trustees voted 3-2 to award Ed Brand a two-year contract with a compensation package higher than the superintendent of ...

Sweetwater Interim Superintendent Ed Brand Resigns

The Sweetwater Union High School District has been without a superintendent, or interim superintendent, for close to a month now. At the last board meeting, president Pearl Quiñones told the public to direct all district ...

Chula Vista East Side's Mello-Roos Mess

Chula Vista’s east side residents pay more school taxes than the west side.

Chula Vista West Side's No-Mello Divide

On the west side of Chula Vista, passage of Prop E stands to further bisect the community.

Sweetwater Authority Votes to Fluoridate South Bay Water

Sweetwater Authority, the South Bay water agency, voted on August 22 to add fluoride to areas the district serves — they include National City, western portions of Chula Vista, and Bonita. According to general manager ...

10News and Sweetwater's John McCann, True Patriots?

Many people believe a 10News report broadcast at 5 p.m. on September 12 deliberately misinformed the public. On September 10, the Sweetwater Union High School District held a special meeting with an ambiguous agenda that ...

Sweetwater Schools Board Aborts Meeting Agenda, Not Brand

The Sweetwater Union High School District board room was packed to the gills again on September 10. Frustrated parents, teachers, and community activists demanded to know why a special board meeting was called with an ...

No Confidence Petition for Sweetwater's Ed Brand

After 6:00 p.m. on September 7, the Sweetwater Union High School District posted on the district website that there will be a special closed-session meeting on September 10 at 6:30 for the purpose of “public ...

Sweetwater Interim Superintendent Ed Brand to Get Contract?

Although no meeting notice has been posted on the Sweetwater Union High School District website, several reliable South Bay community members are passing around the information that the Sweetwater board will hold a special meeting ...

The iPad Proposition

Sweetwater Union High School District bought iPads for all their seventh graders. Besides not measuring educational success from the computers’ use, there is no plan as to how to pay for them.

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 ...

Fraud Possible in Calexico Unified School District Bond Expenditures

Sweetwater Union High School District and Southwestern College continue to be subjects of district attorney investigations related to school bond expenditures. Calexico Unified School District had concerns about bond-related activity, so superintendent Richard Fragale and ...

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 ...

Solar Power Company Sues San Ysidro School District

President Obama’s 2008 election brought money and emphasis to alternative energy in the United States. For some former lobbyists and politicians, this emphasis became an entrepreneurial opportunity. A 2009 article in the Sacramento Business Journal ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Gregory Gillispie Discusses Gabriela de Cueto's Arrest in Mexico City

The alleged international smuggling plot involving Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi’s son and Canadian consultant Cynthia Vanier continues to coil around itself like a snake. In pursuit of the story, Canada National Post writer Stewart Bell ...

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 ...

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 ...