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Stories by Susan Luzzaro

Another Sweetwater board meeting mired in disagreement

Failure to elect oversight committee member

Sweetwater Union High School District board meetings often last five hours and are characterized by conflict. The April 9 meeting ended in a meltdown over the selection process used by the district to choose members ...

Sweetwater board votes to cut occupational programs

Students vow to continue protest

On April 9, the majority of the Sweetwater Union High School District board (John McCann, Arlie Ricasa, and Jim Cartmill) voted to cut the district’s Regional Occupation Program/Career Technical Education and adult-school programs. Funding for ...

Latest plans for ill-fated L Street land deal

Who can say no to soccer?

During public comment at the March Sweetwater Union High School board meeting, Jacqueline King, a resident of Chula Vista who has worked in real estate development for 36 years, addressed the trustees regarding the district’s ...

Before the DA's investigation of Sweetwater school district...

Lawyers paid for with school funds

In November 2012, the San Diego Grand Jury began investigating corruption allegations that encompassed three South Bay school districts: Southwestern College, the San Ysidro School District, and the Sweetwater Union High School District. The investigation ...

Sweetwater school district board seeks to silence opposition

Superintendent Brand calls someone’s boss

Is there a concerted attempt by the Sweetwater Union High School District to silence or stifle criticism? That’s what many public speakers told the trustees during the March 11 board meeting. The meeting was prefaced ...

Sweetwater school district cuts program and teachers

Abstained vote becomes a “yes” vote

The March 11 Sweetwater Union High School District meeting opened with a presentation “On Civility,” which was delivered by one of the district’s attorneys, Dan Shinoff. While Shinoff discoursed on the Constitution, Frederick Douglass, the ...

Sweetwater Union High School District & Realty Co.

Should the troubled district change their name?

The Sweetwater school district owns several properties that it is trying to flip into condo/apartment developments. The properties, located in western Chula Vista, are on L Street, Third Avenue, Fifth Avenue (district headquarters), and Moss ...

Southwestern College trustee resigns in protest

“Another of many sad days”

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 ...

Southwestern faculty questions college’s education plan

Is inaccurate data guiding the way?

Members of Southwestern College's faculty are concerned that the college’s master education plan is based on inaccurate data that may inform the administration’s pink-slip plan or presage the closing of programs integral to student needs. ...

Southwestern College may trim faculty to reduce costs

Teachers’ group resolves to fight

The threat of pink slips has reared its head at Southwestern Community College District for the first time since l987. Only a few months ago, when voters passed Proposition 30, a tax to fund K-12 ...

Sweetwater school board to address campaign spending limits

Activist succeeds after warning of legal action

At the Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting in January, Maty Adato finally resorted to the “A” word — she told the trustees she had retained an attorney. Adato, a Sweetwater parent and one ...

Sweetwater school district’s weird, failed real estate deals

District property to be apartments or soccer stadium?

In 2005, in conjunction with a nonprofit group called California Trust for Public Schools, aka Plan Nine Partners, LLC, the Sweetwater Union High School district borrowed $25,415,000 and $8,235,00 in variable-rate bonds to buy property ...

New Sweetwater Union financial officer has controversial past

Alleged “personnel problems,” unaccredited degree

In a February 1 phone call, Sweetwater Union High School District spokesperson Manny Rubio acknowledged that the district has hired Dr. Albert Alt as their new CFO. Rubio said Alt was selected after “a couple ...

Sweetwater board votes to open second charter school

Superintendent Brand sees it as money-maker

At the January 28 Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting, the majority of trustees voted to support superintendent Ed Brand’s push to open a second charter school; following up the Stephen W. Hawking Math ...

Sweetwater's gathering storm

Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista has an excessive spending habit and may be in serious fiscal trouble soon.

Sweetwater board succumbs to public outcry

Still, meeting time to be slightly earlier

On Monday, January 28, concerned parents, teachers, and community members packed the Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting. One reason for the big draw was the district’s proposal to move evening board meetings to ...

Sweetwater board meeting times may change

Indignation ripples through the South Bay

The official Sweetwater Union High School District calendar says the next board meeting will be held on January 28 at 6:00, the usual time board meetings are held. However, over the January 19–20 weekend, an ...

Sweetwater U partnership opposed by Freedom from Religion

Foundation objects to “Christian worldview”

The Sweetwater Union High School District voted in 2011 to move forward on a university-related project. Superintendent Ed Brand told the Reader in a December 2011 interview that the district was surveying the residents to ...

Serious supporters of Sweetwater trustee Pearl Quiñones

Surprising allegations, questionable tactics

It’s no secret that the allegations of long-term corruption in the Sweetwater Union High School District have roiled the South Bay waters. A recent U-T article even calls on South Bay politicians to discuss the ...

Documents hint at Sweetwater board’s diners’ club

High school student investigated 10 years ago

The latest round of indictments handed down by San Diego’s criminal grand jury is so extensive, people wonder if corruption is just another name for South Bay. Fifteen defendants from three separate South Bay school ...

Southwestern College professor Philip Lopez dies

Heart attack befalls teacher/activist/accordionist

Friday, December 14, on the eve of his 65th birthday, on the last day of the fall semester, Southwestern College English professor Philip Lopez suffered a heart attack and died. Many people consider Lopez an ...

Sweetwater school board avoids campaign donations talk

Confronted three times in past year

After the fanfare was over at the Sweetwater Union High School District meeting on December 10, after San Diego mayor Bob Filner stood by recently reelected Pearl Quiñones's side as she was sworn in (referring ...

Developer gets cracking on unapproved Chula Vista project

Chula Vista residents who have been battling the city and the developer about a proposed 284-condo/apartment complex in eastern Chula Vista were alarmed last week when earth-movers appeared on the scene. Barney Reed, a spokesperson ...

Sweetwater University to “Open” Soon?

Last year, the Sweetwater Union High School District board voted to support a vaguely worded concept about an institution called “Sweetwater University.” The latest gambit for Sweetwater U is online college courses offered to high ...

Mayor Cox Cozy with Chula Vista Developer

Although the Chula Vista Redevelopment Corporation has come to an end, the legacy of a past redevelopment project continues to play out. In June of 2011, the U-T published an online story titled “City-subsidized building ...

Another Closure at Chula Vista’s Otay Ranch Center Mall

Another store in the Otay Ranch Center mall will be closing its doors soon. Coldwater Creek, an upscale women’s clothing store, and Coldwater Creek Spa, a full-service salon, will be going out of business on ...

Shades of Sweetwater at Calexico Unified School District

As the San Diego County grand jury opens an investigation this week into allegations of corruption in the Sweetwater Union High School District, new intrigues play out in Calexico with Sweetwater’s former attorney firm, GCR, ...

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 ...

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