Visduh

Comments by Visduh

Condition: bleak

Ken, you are absolutely right about school districts not being in the property development business. Yet that's exactly what this one was doing. As a fellow No County reader, I've been closely following the story of massive corruption in three So County school districts for, oh, at least two years. These Sweetwater property deals were part of, but certainly not all of, the cause of corruption in the district. You may recall that there was a huge scandal in the Capistrano district several years ago wherein a rubber stamp board (seven members strong, not five) allowed the superintendent, Fleming, to build a new district hq building that was many times larger than needed, and resembled the Taj Mahal. His excuse was that the space rentals would pay for it in full. Well, things didn't work out that way, and soon board members were recalled, and others were voted out. Fleming was facing some charges of acting to intimidate parents who opposed him, although he never went to trial. But his "distinguished" forty year career as an educator ended in disgrace, extinguished by his arrogant overreach. The district is still dealing with fallout from the scandal with factions bitterly opposed to each other's agendas. State law should prohibit school districts from engaging in these shady deals. They should be required to auction off any excess real property as soon as the property has no planned use or reuse. Trying to make a killing on property sales just distracts the board from its mission of running schools, racks up legal fees, and opens the door to abuse.
— January 17, 2015 8:26 a.m.

Condition: bleak

In the past few days, there has been no mention in the Reader (that I've seen) about the sentencing of Manny Paul in US District Court on his guilty pleas to the bribery and extortion he did when "supe" in San Ysidro. Unlike the wishy-washy Ana Espana, the federal judge actually sent him to the pokey for two months, and gave him a "severe scolding." (Hey, anything is more harsh than the sentences she handed down.) Is he likely to have any remorse due to the scolding? LOL Thirty-eight years in the district, and he is bagman for illegal campaign gifts, and then burns records? This is just another case of the actual criminal charges and subsequent plea bargain only touching the tip of the iceberg of corruption. Don't tell me he was caught red-handed on his only offense! No, he and plenty of others were totally corrupt for years or decades. The same was true in Sweetwater and Southwestern, where, if anything, most of them got only a spank on the wrist. These recent baby steps taken by the new Sweetwater board, and a host of other similar actions taken in neatby districts are just the beginning. Undoing the Sweetwater real estate deals and recovering the monetary loss could take not years, but decades. They've only just begun. And there's the ever-present danger that any of the corrupted districts could backslide into the old ways. Couldn't happen? Oh, I beg to differ. The tangled mess of real estate developers and under-the-table bargains, along with just out-and-out payoffs, may be almost impossilbe to rectify.
— January 16, 2015 8:42 p.m.

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