The electoral and judicial processes will soon produce an opportunity for this community to select one or more of us to serve as a Trustee for the Sweetwater School District. I address those who have risen to the challenge to answer the following questions.

WHY IS IT THAT FOR SO LONG THE MAJORITY OF TRUSTEES HAVE LIVED IN BONITA/EAST CHULA VISTA? Is it because other neighborhoods within the boundaries of the Sweetwater School District do not have community members who are willing and able to serve as a Trustee? I think not!

District wide elections for seats on the Sweetwater School Board have and will continue to produce such geographically disproportionate representation. It is time for this very large school district to be divided into areas with an elected representative from each.

I am just saying…….bring representation closer to the people being represented.

WOULD A REASONABLE PERSON BELIEVE THAT A DISPROPORTIONATELY LARGE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION MADE TO A CANDIDATE FOR A SEAT ON THE SWEETWATER SCHOOL BOARD FROM…..

— vendors currently doing business with the district, or hoping to in the future,

— wealthy individual{s} with a “personal “ agenda hoping for an uninformed electorate,

— unions that place member welfare above that of our children,

— political parties who view board seats as a “vetting“ process for future party stars

WAS MADE BECAUSE OF A LONG AND DEEPLY HELD INTEREST IN THE EDUCATION OF THIS COMMUNITY’S CHILDREN? I think not! Put clearly defined limits on the amount of money that can be contributed to a candidate’s campaign for a seat on the Sweetwater School Board.

I am just saying…..the education of our children is too important to be trusted to vendors, rich egos, unions and party hacks.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE WAY THE LAST TWO SUPERINTENDENTS WERE SELECTED AND THE RESULTS THAT HAVE FOLLOWED? I think not! The process for hiring the next superintendant must be inclusive and open. Extra care must be put forth to include in a meaningful way a wide variety of stakeholders who live in this community. This process presents a unique opportunity to bring the community together and a big first step in changing perceptions of the Sweetwater School District.

I am just saying….the hiring of a superintendent to lead this district on a day to day basis, face and resolve ongoing issues and plan for the future is a number one first priority.

Who possesses the courage, wisdom, and leadership skills to answer the challenges raised by these questions? And, upon the completion of their term, whether elected or appointed, WILL STEP ASIDE AND NOT RUN? This courageous act allows the next election cycle to be incumbent free and elections by area with a clearly define limit on campaign contributions.

I am just saying…..then, and only then, will we have a school board elected by the people of this community who will represent the best interests of the children of this community.

Bob Strahl
Retired Educator
Chula Vista Resident since 1970

Comments

anniej Sept. 12, 2012 @ 8:33 p.m.

Mr. Strahl - you make many excellent points. i do feel it is necessary to take the very community we live in to task by asking the question where is the community? while the alleged corruption has been going on for years it came to the forefront when five community members went to the da. four of those five live on the east side - at the time none of them had any children in the district, now one does. i am the one who lives on the west side. i do see your point Sir, however with all due respect i choose to see us as one community and i see the 805 as a freeway - nothing more. but this is my perspective and i am but one. there IS the perception that east side schools are better, that east side athletic teams are better, that east side teachers are better. but are they really? my home school is a west side school. the year my youngest graduated 2 of her friends went to MIT, 1 was offered a full ride at the Naval military academy, 1 was given a scholarship to UCLA, 1 went to NYU - this to name a few. they were taught by excellent west side teachers and were led by excellent west side coaches. now, true, the west side schools do not all look as nice as the east side schools but last time i checked it wasn't the brick and mortar that enabled any child to obtain a worthwhile education.

it is the integrity or lack thereof of the majority of the board members. ms. quinones lives in national city, a west side city within or community. she is under indictment for how many felonies? our board members are not involved in the alleged corruption, pay to play or mismanagement because of their zip code - they are involved because they personally have made the choice to use their office for personal and political gain vs serve the community. ms. lopez on her own went to the da with her concerns regarding the alleged corruption - she lives on the east side i am told.

i do agree we need a superintendent who has integrity, who will use their expertise to benefit the students. john mccann should have never, ever brought ed brand back - as you remember brand was involved in the grand jury investigation regarding prop bb - the grand jury did recommend an investigation - shortly thereafter brand and a few other heads up and left..................................

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anniej Sept. 12, 2012 @ 8:34 p.m.

rather than calling press conferences to malign the community john mccann should be calling press conferences to advise the community why brand has chosen to abandon our children. why are we the taxpayers being held hostage by persons such as mccann who took and took and took campaign contributions from contractors when he pledged not to. why did mccann take a campaign contribution one year after he won the election from a contractor who plead guilty in the pay to play corruption case. why did cartmill take over $20,000.00 from the management company overseeing prop o as a campaign contribution.

i see this as a poor choice issue - for you see i too once voted for a few that i want gone. little by little people are learning the truth, those east side eastlake folks are now seeing their neighboring board members for who and what they are - USERS vs SERVERS.

*first came to Chula Vista as a Navy brat at the age of 13 - back in 1961

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Jmbrickley Sept. 13, 2012 @ 12:02 a.m.

Nice post Bob. Part of the issue is that contractors, partisan political parties, and even the trustees themselves have a vested interest in who gets elected to these "community, non partisan positions." Large school districts deal in large sums of money. For the amounts of money in play, it makes no sense for any of these players to back someone who is only going to be in that position for just a few short years. The contractors want stability in the board because that will mean more business for them. The political parties, like you said, need a vetting arena to put their candidates in front of the public for more than a few short months. And, let's face it, being a board member of one of the State's largest school districts has got to be not only an ego trip, but has the potential for even higher office.

Term limits, campaign limits, campaign literature limits, and a whole lot of other 'Limits" need to be instituted, but don't hold your breath waiting for this current board to do it.

As to the need of new blood, from the five corners of the district, it's hard to break into the old established status quo. The political machine is well oiled in certain parts of the community.

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jibaro Sept. 13, 2012 @ 7:52 a.m.

Think big, think long term, folks.....with time and commitment, a change in the way we do business would be so good for this southbay....five years from now, we might finally be DONE with the scandals and the uncomfotable board meetings and community members fighting with board members and a superintendent at every board meeting. It's getting old, it's time for healing, and it's time to look to the future instead of being stuck in this mess.... the "status quo" NEVER has to stop a needed change! Can this southbay demonstrate the determination, patience and commitment to make this a long term goal?

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anniej Sept. 13, 2012 @ 9:13 a.m.

jibaro: Thank You for reminding us what we have to look forward to. WHEN, not if, we get to that point, we will look back on all of this and focus on the positive. for me those positives will be:

*lessons learned - i will never take government for granted - meaning i will never again believe i am doing my duty simply by stepping into the cardboard box and marking my candidate. no i have learned a hard lesson. if we want the best from government then we must be willing to be a part of the process. it is important to attend board meetings or at least listen to them on line. it is important to follow the issues that involve not only our nation but our community. prop o's oversight committee - i have seen the good (present members and a few from the past), the bad (did not have a thorough understanding or expertise of the issues at hand) and the ugly (the hand picked by the past and interim superintendent). prop o - these are our tax dollars, all of us should know how they are being spent.

*life long friends - who would have thought that this journey would have opened the doors to new friends? while i have met many persons in the past 3+ years approximately ten (10) stand out. funny, one of them i was introduced to in the suhsd parking lot - where she was promoting john mccann - ah, the difference a couple of years can make. and yes, i do from time to time tease about that initial conversation. this is one time when i wish i was wrong.

*understanding the process, the players - i have never been a union member, but have believed in them. 3+ years of observations have educated me on why they are needed. 'the gandara' and interim brand are poster boys for why employees need protection. now please understand while i do understand the importance of unions that is not to say that the unions are without problems. unions should NOT protect inept workers - we the taxpayers should be getting what we pay for - no exceptions - i do not care how long you have worked at your job. i have the utmost respect for teachers - those that are making a difference should be compensated for it - those that are simply collecting a paycheck - should be shown the door. while i use teachers as an example, my personal comments apply to all.

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eastlaker Sept. 13, 2012 @ 5:02 p.m.

As part of an extended reading program, I ran across an interesting case--Mary Anne Weegar. Some of you may be familiar. This took place during Brand's first "stretch" as superintendent, and involved him in a capacity as a committee member for the County Board of Education. (So his ties with them go back, which is probably why they are deaf to our cries for help). It involved a massive lawsuit, as Ms. Weegar was trying to get the district to follow the rules of categorical budgeting. She was fired, filed suit, won a settlement of $600,000 or so, which was reduced to about $5,000. A lawfirm of Stutz, et al was involved, as was an attorney whose name crops up often in the category of attorneys + lawsuits that drain educational funds from our children.

Interestingly, Ms. Weegar's attorney stated that a shot or shots were fired at him, breaking a car window, I believe--and he said it could only have been related to the Weegar case.

S0--that explains a great deal. We are not facing simple bumbling. We are facing people who use bumblers, but are really on the lookout for major bucks.

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