Comments by bbq

33% of the profit? No problem — hey!

Ed and Ms. Russo out-smarted themselves on this one.... They backed themselves (and Us, the taxpayer) right into the corner with the Balloon payment due on "L" St and the desire to have the Ed Brand Executive Adminstration Campus of Sweetwater at Eastlake, (New Admin Campus). They were in such a hurry to cover their Butts in 2011 (When the board brought Ed back) that they would have agreed to anything to keep the shellgame quiet!!!! Now however we all know about the real estate shellgame and how much it has cost the district, not only in money and prestige, but also distraction from the business of education, so no more hiding. They proably thought there was little chance of "Profit" depending on how you account for it with the "L" St deal $15 Million in the red, the future accounting of this if it continues will be very interesting. As they say hindsight is usually 20/20, the recent and current Board Members did not and do not have a clue as to what their roles are and were in the fiasco. Where were/are the Lawyers who should have approved any contract like this, where is/was the open accountability and public review, where is/was the facility review that we have been paying $2.4 million for over the last three years? I suspect all of those things were behind closed Doors in Ed's Office or more likely at a Steak Lunch in a Dark Resturant we paid for... It's time to review the past, control the present and plan the future, keep watching closely and vet your candidates for the Nov. election. BBQ, CAVE
— August 1, 2014 6:37 a.m.

Cartmill for Sweetwater board — get real

As I only know Jim Cartmill as a member of the SUHSD Board of Trustees, I am sure he has friends and loved ones that do not deserve to be dragged into the issue of weather he was or will be a good member of the new Board, I feel the same of Bertha Lopez. The real question is who, what and where were these individuals as the two terms of Ed Brand and one of Jesus Gandara were going on? Yes, I know it maybe unfair to lump the two together but neither handled the situations very well. Jim has been involved with the district since the beginning of the "Property Speculation", it appears that his eyes were bigger than his ability to judge the Real Estate Market... His undieing link and faith in the Superintendents was at least sickening and at most negligent of his feduciary responsibilities to manage the district. His desire to rejoin the district seems to be more about vanity, personal gain (He needs three months to be vested in the State Health Care Plan) and not about fixing the district!!! He's had plenty of time to complete that. As Dr Phil Says "The best prediction of future behavior is past behavior..." As for Bertha, even though she objected to and often was the only desenting vote to a "Brandian" topic or issue, she was still an ineffective Trustee, she should have demanded topics be removed from the agendas if she had not been given the proper background information, she should have expanded her group of advisors and been more inclusive of the public and been more prepared on all of the issues. Again I could say the same of the other three former Board members, but I ask not only Jim and Bertha but all of the voters in the SUHSD isn't it a time to make a clean break from the past, good ol'boy network, elect five New members of the board, continue community forums and develope a new stratigic plan for the future of the district? Even though I can only vote in my district I will be picking the five best candidates to work with, for the future of the SUHSD and the region. BBQ, CAVE
— July 18, 2014 9:52 a.m.

Ed Brand’s time at Sweetwater is over

As the changes occur at SUHSD, we need to be sure all of the current issues are documented and remain open. Throughouit this ordeal of mis-management, corruption and lack of vision within the district I have always advocated open dialog with the Board, staff, teachers and public. I hope this is the chance to move forward. The real question that by working with the Interium Board, Dr. Glover, Mayor Cox's Initiave and candidates for the Board of Trustees is a creation of a "Road map to the future of the SUHSD". This "Plan" must include all of the current known internal business failures such as: Real Estate Speculation, Financial Audits wrt Mello Roos, Internal Loans and transfers, Prop "O" spending, Review of the facility usage and class overcrowding, Open Boundrary, Facility Projects and Maintenance, these allong with the Academic Failures within the district, Poor ESL results, 2/3 schools on Academic Probation, Less than well rounded students and curriculum. I am sure that there are other issues that members of the SUHSD Team can easily come up with to add to this list. So where is the start of the list and what is the priority? I assume that the next few weeks will be critical for Dr. Glover and the continuation of the Mayor's meetings will assist but from all I have seen the readers and commentators to the reports in the Reader have to continue to lead the charge. CAVE (Citizens Active for Value in Education) is alive and is still needed to monitor the future actions of the SUHSD BBQ, CAVE
— July 8, 2014 11:51 a.m.

New Sweetwater boardmembers pitch in to money pit

Interesting discussions going on, in my first statement I was trying to combine the issues and methods of the SUHSD Adminstration with some tongue-in-cheek humor about Ed being humbled by this bad deal. I go back to a statement from Ms. Michel about arbitrage, (the use of government funds solely to invest it to make money with it). How is the "L" St. real estate scam not arbitrage? Ed himself said that they only bought it because they could not see the value **ever** going down.... What were the original intentions/plans for the three properties bundled together with a behind closed doors discussions with the city to modify the zoning? The information that has come out about this is as many of you think only a scratch on the surface. I too believe that this runs much deeper than is evident at this time and the Friends of Ed will regret their participation. So as we continue to track this issue what of the undiscovered issues, and the known issues that affect the district that are not being pushed and followed? I call the current and recent past Adminstration and Board management style, "Crisis Management" which by my experience is if management keep enough things in turmoil no one will ever know what they are doing or that they don't know what they are doing. We can only hope that the temporary Board can cool the jets of the outgoing Superintendant, keep the district from overspending it's budget and place some temporary restraints to only act on items to keep the district running. BBQ
— June 11, 2014 6 a.m.

New Sweetwater boardmembers pitch in to money pit

Thoughts of a Meeting Contrite, a word meaning “sorry, remorseful, ashamed…”, something I never thought I would say about Ed Brand, however on May 28, 2014 at the Sweetwater Union High School District Board Meeting during a statement by Dr. Brand, he almost got there. Item K-1 on the Sweetwater agenda involved a part of the twisted Real Estate Mess that is “L” St. The item was for Board approval to join (Pay for) legal defense against an active IRS audit of the Bond Issue used to fund the “L”St Property. We would be joining Plan Nine Partners, PNP, to defend the Tax exempt status of the bonds, (This is a big issue if you are an investor, and a creditability issue for the District). During the discussion Dr. Brand finally said that this would be the first step (of about 20) in resolution of the Mess created in 2005 when He and the sitting Board (including Mr. Cartmill) decided that Real Estate speculation was in their Job description. As reported before in other articles a failed joint venture with regards to zoning and development with the city along with an ill-advised Buy-Lease back deal with PNP, left the district holding the bag and paying excessive fees to PNP, ownership of the property is still a bit of a question. At the meeting, Dr. Brand actually admitted that with hind-sight it was not a great thing to have done, wow where did that come from? Perhaps the House of cards finally shook enough to make realize the mistake, or that the new Board members might really ask some harder questions, but it really doesn’t matter. Dr. Brand you finally did what many of us have been asking you to do since the “L” St. debacle started about 3 ½ years ago, admit you made a mistake in 2005 with the purchase, be open to the public about the plans to market 3rd St, 5th St, and ‘L” St. properties in order to finally buy the new Administration Complex in Eastlake. I for one might have been upset but at least with understanding of the overall goal. Dr. Brand, I am hoping that your final few months prior to retirement will find you taking time to: - Repair the holes in the public’s trust in the Sweetwater Union High School District. - Push for completion of the Facilities use Studies, - Explain the 2014-2015 Budget Spending vs. Revenue, - Lay some ground work to beef up the academic programs at the ¾ of our Schools in academic crisis. - Explain the uses and disbursement of funds. - Develop a schedule and plan to put to rest deferred maintenance issues, especially those at the Mello Roos School Facilities (the funding is there, fix the properties). Please, leave the district in a condition, that it can rise again for all of the schools and all of the Students. BBQ
— June 10, 2014 12:45 p.m.

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