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Southwestern College held a social gathering in May of this year at Frida’s, a Mexican restaurant in Chula Vista. The event was well attended by many local dignitaries, a plethora of contractors, and most of Southwestern’s boardmembers. They all came to see the unveiling of plans for the “corner-lot” project being financed by Proposition R.

Nick Aguilar, on Southwestern College’s Board of Trustees, refused to attend and wrote an open letter to governing board president Yolanda Salcido, calling the event a “frivolous expenditure” at a time when Southwestern students were suffering from course cutbacks. Those who did go to Frida’s were given two free-drink tickets and a selection of hors d’oeurves.

In his letter, Aguilar wrote, “To conduct a reception in an expensive restaurant with free hors d’oeurves and beverages instead of using campus facilities…is a clear violation of the public trust in the public’s reasonable expectation of the SWC Governing Board’s prudent stewardship of limited public educational resources.”

Chris Bender, Southwestern’s chief of communications, wrote in an August 9, 2010, email exchange that “the event was paid for by the business community. It was a business-related event and therefore our feeling was that business should cover the expense.”

However, a recent public-records release from the college conflicts with Bender’s answer. Raj Chopra, Southwestern’s superintendent, signed a check from Southwestern College Foundation’s account for $4,796.70 for the food and drinks served at the event. Chopra is listed as a member of the foundation’s board of directors on the college’s website. Also included on the website is information about foundation expenditures: “Funds are used to build the College’s endowment, to guarantee student scholarships for future generations, to promote success, and to enrich the student experience.” (Students were not invited to Frida’s.)

According to the released public records, another $1041 check for unspecified purposes was signed by college vice president Nicholas Alioto. Also, for services rendered from March through May of this year, the public relations firm Focuscom billed $10,580.81 to Seville Construction Services, Inc., the company managing Southwestern College’s $389 million in construction projects. Many of the services performed by Focuscom were related to organizing the May soiree at Frida's.

photo: Artist's rendering of finished corner-lot project

image source: buildswc.com

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a2zresource Oct. 21, 2010 @ 10:34 p.m.

The fact that students were not invited may be a factor in a continuing denial of Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation for Southwestern College.

As a former student representative on City College accreditation committees along with faculty and administrators in the last millennium, we had to demonstrate to WASC a commitment to shared governance that did include students in at least some aspect of future campus construction plans. As far as I can tell, San Diego City College is still accredited by WASC and has not had it suspended at any time since I was a student body president there decades ago.

Has anyone ever contemplated running Southwestern College as a charter school?


piledhigheranddeeper Oct. 21, 2010 @ 10:49 p.m.

Sounds like a good time was had by all in attendance, on my dime. Too bad I wasn't invited. Or any of my students, since they paid for it, too.


Pancho Oct. 22, 2010 @ 12:57 a.m.

We should all have a slush fund foundation. It's surprising that the leadership at Southwestern are still acting as if there was an endless pot of money to spend funds, even if it comes from their shady "Foundation." Isn't there someway to investigate the Foundation since it claims to hold non-profit status? I know you can't do the usual Freedom of Information Act request, but there should be a way to look into the IRS documents because of their non-profit status. All non-profits have to register with the state of California and file annually with the state some financial documentation.


longtimefacultydisgusted Oct. 22, 2010 @ 6:20 a.m.

I regret the fifteen years of payroll deductions ($30 and then later $35 per month) for the Foundation because I thought it was going for student scholarships. No more! I am sponsoring my own scholarship. The thought of Chopra and Salcido and their developer friends enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on my dime sickens me.


emmitsmith Oct. 22, 2010 @ 7:19 a.m.

The Foundation used to post its budget on the college website. Now it is a secret fund used to support events like this, where, by the way, campaigning for two present board members was done by college administrators with the enforcer of the policy on campaigning present - the VP of HR. None of those using these campus resources received a letter in their personnel file like I understand a faculty member recently did. Double standards for the Administration. Keep those extremists isolated and in line while we bilk the taxpayers of their tax dollars.


emmitsmith Oct. 22, 2010 @ 7:47 a.m.


This isn't the only event where folks aren't invited. We have all heard about the Foundation's Gala last spring where a teacher was barred entry. Last week there was a groundbreaking for the corner lot project. It was billed as a college community event where the public was welcome. It was really a campaign stop for incumbent board members. There were no teachers or staff up on stage to welcome the public as part of the college community - only the board members, the superintendent/president, a politician or two, and the "pay-for-play" winners for that project. Plenty of photo ops for the incumbents on the taxpayer's dollar.


joepublic Oct. 22, 2010 @ 8:59 a.m.

Mr. Chris Bender, frequently referred to as "Mr. Truthbender" has gone all the way this time. No straddling, both feet firmly planted on the side of deceit. I don't know if deceiving the press/public by a public official is punishable by law, but it sure should be cause for severe action by the college. Mr. Aguilar, thank you for protecting the public's interest. We need a few more like you on Southwesten's board. Mr. Bender, you should consider resigning your post as chief of communications. The public deserves the truth.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 22, 2010 @ 9:41 a.m.

a2z, that's an interesting point about WASC. I believe some of the reports are being wrapped up right now. As for construction, I believe there is a student on the bond oversight committee. However, the SWC oversight minutes are so weak it's hard to tell what's going on. Sweetwater Unified oversight has real minutes.


freespeech92104 Oct. 22, 2010 @ 10:05 a.m.

This is how the president of the college and the governing board act while the college is on probation! Instead of working together to fix the problems of the college and hopefully ensure accreditation, they are instead only concerned with spending the taxpayer's money to have a party to congratulate each other for their misdeeds. Meanwhile, vital accreditation issues are not being addressed.

It would be comic, were it not for the thousands of young folks in the south bay who depend on Southwestern to give them a stepping stone to a better future. The board (except for the one guy, Nick Aguilar, who stuck his neck out to bring this issue to light), the president, and his cronies disgust me.

If those folks aren't voted out this election, I think you can say goodbye to having a community college in the south bay.


Founder Oct. 22, 2010 @ 11:08 a.m.

"Nick Aguilar for Board President" should be the battle cry, for all those voters that did not get invited to dine on $WC dime!

Just how far do these Board Members have to go, to get South Bay voters PO'd?

✓ Slush Funds for private Parties ✓ Black Accounts for Board members and housing ✓ Not allowing Student to Publish THEIR Award winning paper ✓ Avoiding accreditation "Repairs" ✓ $PENDING College funds on Board member re-election ✓ Reducing the number of Course Offerings ✓ Squashing free speech on Campus ✓ Putting Building Buildings ahead of Student Education ✓ Paying Focuscom $100,000 to promote $PIN on Prop R funding ✓ $PENDING College funds on "Unveiling Parties" w/o Students, --Faculty & Staff

Did I leave anything out?

Sounds to me, like someone independent should take a good look at $WC's books. If they are doing one thing and saying another, then $WC's Elected Board may have big Tax/Legal issues beside it's other "Educational" Problems...


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 22, 2010 @ 3:28 p.m.

Pancho, you are right about non profits filing. It was only through the 990 form tax filing that I was able to learn about the $75,000 that was spent to support proposition R. One of the problems is we don't really know when their meetings are, who attends and who votes.

I am looking into the legality of the spending of bond money, the parameters. There has been some questions raised state wide.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 22, 2010 @ 4:28 p.m.

Hey Founder, looks like you've been keeping score!


Founder Oct. 22, 2010 @ 5:36 p.m.

Reply #12 I'm glad you noticed Susan, and I really hope that all your great $WC Blogs get passed around South Bay so that voters can read about what their elected $WC Board members have been doing with everyone's hard earned tax dollars!

When so many students are in need of a cost effective, quality education to prepare them for the tough economic times ahead, we now find that $WC's Board has been building Buildings for themselves to feather their own nest, while avoiding fixing the things that are keeping SWC from getting their accreditation!

It is time for these GREEDY clowns to GO!


eyeonswc Oct. 22, 2010 @ 9:03 p.m.

Hey! I want my money back really and truly. Why are the people who were hired to lead SWC not accountable? They act with impunity and they're proud of it. Why? How can we get them to pay back the money that they took that they're not entitled to... like the huge burgers and heaping stack of fries that Joe Figueira diligently prepares and delivers for Alioto...all on the college's dime?


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 22, 2010 @ 9:18 p.m.

freespeech, It's interesting you say that accreditation is not addressed. I just received a mailer today that assured me as a resident that everything is progressing well regarding accreditation. Odd, I never received these glossy mailers before....what money was spent on these in a runup to an election as opposed to registration time?

Certainly it is a campus full of great students, teachers, and staff so these things will carry the day.


a2zresource Oct. 23, 2010 @ 1 a.m.

RE "I just received a mailer today that assured me as a resident that everything is progressing well regarding accreditation. Odd, I never received these glossy mailers before....":

It would not be all that unusual for there to be some community outreach regarding accreditation efforts. If I recall, there usually are common accreditation standards to be addressed regarding how a community college serves it surrounding community, and certainly there must be some sort of policy at Southwestern College accounting for the presence of interested members of the public at that public institution. Communication to the public regarding restored accreditation would not be out of line but should be sensitive to pubic sensibilities of current economic conditions.

I wouldn't put tons of expectations on "everything is progressing well regarding accreditation" as that probably means that the College has finished its self-study report addressing the concerns that led to the loss of accreditation, and has submitted the study to WASC. Now it's up to WASC to review the self-study report and inspect by visitation -- at least I'd expect a WASC visitation would be required before there was a commission decision to risk removing/rescinding the prior loss of accreditation.

Now, if the mailer received was in any way misleading or untruthful... wow... a new low?


Founder Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:32 a.m.

Reply#14 Right On Perhaps you can call $WC and ask for a refund (using another name and calling from a pay phone if you are nervous) and then post they're reply!


Founder Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:45 a.m.

Reply #15 & #17 Any chance you can get that Flyer scanned and then post a link to it? It would be interesting for all of us to enjoy the glossy $PIN, to find out who designed it and who got paid to print & mail it (including total cost). The timing is very $U$PECT... I can't imagine that WASC would not be able to comment on where $WC stands in the process, which would better describe this "eleventh hour" ballot mailing.

RE: "Now, if the mailer received was in any way misleading or untruthful... wow... a new low?" The ballot box "win" is now everything; it may even be the difference between the current Board being exposed by the New Board members (for many things that have not even been "released" yet) and more of the $AME $WC Educational Money $iphoning by the current Board.

I'm thinking Focuscom did it, as part of its, "Isolate, Expose, Avoid" campaign*!


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:50 a.m.

a2z, That sounds like a reasonable analysis. It would be good if a SWC blogger could tell us where they are in the accreditation process. I just thought the timing was odd, as it's just before an election and the president and vice president have held fundraisers for several of the incumbents so they clearly want them to win. So a glossy flier saying all is well, even though it's not registration time seems like it was aimed more at voters rather than students.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:58 a.m.

Founder, I'll see what I can do with the flier. The spirit is willing but the technology trails behind.....


Founder Oct. 23, 2010 @ 10:19 a.m.

Reply #21 You might try and ask Focuscom to email you a copy or better yet, if they have posted it on a website you can link to!

I'm surprised that more SWC Faculty and Staff have not themselves done a better job about explaining, on your excellent Blogs, about just how they have been impacted by the current Board's Draconian rules, since they have the most (besides the Students) to gain with a new Board that has a more "Student Education First" attitude!

Why is that do you suppose; fear of being terminated?


a2zresource Oct. 23, 2010 @ 10:35 a.m.

The Southeastern Economic Development Corporation in southeast San Diego was given to sending out glossy heavy-stock PR postcards for no good reason on a fairly regular basis while then-SEDC president Carolyn Smith was doing her nearly-solo wheeling and dealing with area developers, one of which may have included a former SEDC president who was there when Smith was first hired decades ago. That lasted until Smith was ousted for paying out nice staff bonuses from funds not used to hire a financial director who could internally audit the relatively non-existent books and report findings to the board.

If sending out glossy, relatively detail-free mailers is a new practice at SWC, then I'd be both worried and curious... as we seem to be now.


truthhurtsright Oct. 23, 2010 @ 6:07 p.m.

What a bunch of happy horse caca. This group will go to no ends to try and get rid of a board that is doing a good job...reason...this board put a stop to their gravy train. Over $280,000 in overtime pay that no one ever had to approve. I would be pissed too! All self serving with no thought for the students! The WASC accreditation issue is all left overs from Norma Hernandez' tenure. Sure there was a plan, but she never put the plan into place which led to WASC being sick and tired of telling SWC to take care of the same issues from 2006 when Norma was President. Resulting on the college put on Probation. This board had truly dealt with the issues and the most recent report was just submitted and ACCEPTED by WASC! They conveniently forget to mention this. As far as the Frida's event being funded by Chopra...outright lie. Chopra cannot sign any checks from the College Foundation...it is an independent foundation not a part of the college. I am sick and tired of this group using the READER to try and push their agenda with nothing but lies. Even after this board gave them a raise, helped them pay for the health benefits, and had offered more classes than ever they continue to try and return to the "good 'ol days" when they controlled the agenda and the MONEY. It's time for you folks to get a grip and start thinking about the students instead of yourselves.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 6:48 p.m.


Either I am looking at a forged check signed by Raj Chopra from the Southwestern Foundation which was released to me as a public records request Friday, October 15 or Southwestern College has released false information.

This post has a fascinating correspondence to the flier received in the mail, as if the information came from the same person.

Both documents will be posted shortly.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 7:32 p.m.

truthhurtsright, Please give the readers your source for your statement that Chopra cannot write checks from the college foundation.


truthhurtsright Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:01 p.m.

I'll be waiting for you to post the check. Since I have forever to wait I might as well get into the Gafcon fund raiser for Norma. Nice job of trying to cover up the hypocrisy by throwing rocks at the present board for their fund raising and then turning right around and asking Gafcon a vendor that did not get hired by the district to do a fundraiser for Norma on Tuesday, September 24th which asked at the bottom of the flyer to "Please send this out to your contact(s)– specifically targeting those who have been trying to get work at the district." If this doesn't indicate "pay to play" I don't know what does?? And you have the nerve to criticize! I am not surprised since your whole dialogue has been a lie and a spin led by just a few unhappy malcontents. As I have spoken to many, many faculty myself, they tell me that SWC is in great shape and that the union does not speak for them. These faculty are scared by the likes of Phil and Andy that go around intimidating everyone which is why the few are allowed to control the agenda. The public can't be fooled by your made up lies because they can see the results this board has accomplished. In one week you folks can crawl back into your cave. truthhurtsright!


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:11 p.m.

Thank you for responding, I repeat my request, what is your source of information that Chopra, the superintendent, cannot and did not sign a check from Southwestern's college foundation? The club does not post its minutes, its income, or its expenditures. How are you aware of this? I await your response. Thank you.


truthhurtsright Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:11 p.m.


Why would I give you my source when all you have to do is post the check as you promised and show everyone that I am wrong?? No more bologna...post the check!



a2zresource Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:35 p.m.

RE "This board had truly dealt with the issues and the most recent report was just submitted and ACCEPTED by WASC! They [WASC and/or Southwestern College administration] conveniently forget to mention this":

Apparently the acceptance of the report by WASC has nothing to do with WASC actually removing the loss of accreditation by probation... or perhaps WASC won't formally announce a reinstatement off probation until some time next year, like August 2011. Obviously, they didn't publish a list in August of this year, so in any case, SWC administrators cannot claim such published probation-free WASC accreditation for the current academic year:


Let us check the list for 2011-2012 a year from now and see if "they" caught "their" omission by then.

Amending my previous statement, I am aware of no time since I was a City College student body president decades ago that San Diego City College has ever lost full WASC accreditation for placement on any form of probation, and I don't recall any time when it was formally listed as "warned" of pending probation either.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:40 p.m.

29As I have stated, my story is based on documents released by Southwestern College. I have told the public my source. They will be posted. But how do you speak with authority about how foundation funds can be spent and yet be coy about your source? If you were to tell the readers how you knew such intimate information it would actually support your argument.

Your post seems to be consumed by campaign. Please be assured that the reporting is much more concerned with how Proposition R funds, Southwestern College funds, and Southwestern Foundation funds are spent.


truthhurtsright Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:51 p.m.


You make great points. However, there IS a letter that I have seen that put the college on warning. This was during Norma Hernandez' tenure. It is disingenuous of her to not accept a large degree of the blame for the current situation and to go around pretending that the situation is the fault of the current board. You are correct on several points however... The submitting of the report does not take SWC off of current status...but it is one of the MAJOR steps that does. This is genuine progress. Remember that this report was a concerted effort by faculty and administration so it is genuine progress by all concerned. This is what my comment said. Not that SWC was off of status but was genuinely and effectively dealing with it.



truthhurtsright Oct. 23, 2010 @ 9:26 p.m.


I can see you are a concerned citizen and I am with you about the spending of public monies. Since I don't know what document you claim have been released by SWC then your claiming you have sources means nothing. I could site some source that you would not be able to substantiate either. However, it is not my intent to debate sources. I have been concerned and have kept myself informed with the expenditure of the bond funds as well. I can tell you from personal experience that I am happy with the way Prop AA funds were used and the new Prop. R is making the Corner Lot possible which has been something that previous boards have not been able to do...this project has been on the drawing board for four decades! I am happy that this is moving forward. As far as how Southwestern Funds are spent...this would be the budget which is available to you. I have been to several board meetings where the budget was discussed and it seems to me all the board members were in agreement and voted to approve it. And BTW, as far as I know, the board has balanced the budget every year for the last four years which as a citizen I appreciate very much. Regarding the Foundation...as I mentioned earlier, this is an independent organization and as far as I know, their focus is to raise monies to give to students. But the reality is that they have a board and they determine how they will allocate their monies. I AM concerned (not consumed) by what is going on in the election. When you post an article which accuses SWC of spending funds "frivolously", you are painting a negative picture of the college and of course the present board...some of which are running for re-election. And you do this without really any proof except "claiming" that you have evidence. I don't believe that you do. Like I said earlier...prove me wrong and post the check. Otherwise the readers should take this for what I suspect that it really is...a veiled and weak attempt to make the current administration and board look bad for political purposes.



Susan Luzzaro Oct. 23, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Here is my source. Please share your source #33

Response to Public Records Request From:
Michael Kerns View Contact

Luzzaro Response 10-14-10.pdf (167KB) Susan,

Please see attached.

Thank you.

Michael Kerns Vice President for Human Resources Southwestern College 619.482.6328


truthhurtsright Oct. 23, 2010 @ 11:06 p.m.

You must be mistaken or probably bluffing. Human Resources would not handle a public records request dealing with money...that would be the VP of Finance. At least, this was the person that I dealt with when I made several requests regarding expenditures. The VP of HR would not deal with this...so again I challenge you to produce the check paying for the event at Fridas that YOU SAID you would produce. Showing the readers that check would prove that you are right...that's all you have to do to prove me wrong...all this with me showing my sources over a comment is smoke and mirrors because the reality is that you don't have such a check. I again contend that Dr. Chopra does not write checks from the foundation as you claim...prove me wrong, show the check! Just as I thought...all a political ploy to move someone's agenda and it isn't hard to figure out whose agenda huh Norma.

Truthhurts....RIGHT. You have been exposed and I tire of your tactics. Bye


a2zresource Oct. 23, 2010 @ 11:23 p.m.

RE "You make great points. However, there IS a letter that I have seen that put the college on warning":

Interesting rumor, if it's about San Diego City College. On the other hand, Southwestern College most likely received such a letter BEFORE probationary status was imposed by the WASC community college commission and published by WASC in the August 2009 list of accredited institutions.

WASC informed Southwestern College months ago that it needed to make corrections regarding a total of 10 then-unaddressed recommendations. The accepted report by SWC due to WASC by October 2010 was supposed to address not only distance education (Rec. #5 mentioned as approved) but also the lack of SWC's Technology Plan integration with strategic planning, and other deficiencies (Recs. #6, #8, #9 and #10 conveniently not mentioned by SWC in the mailers). See


for details of the remaining 9 recommendations that led to probation for a roster of deficiencies that "deviates significantly from the Commission's Eligibility Requirements, Standards of Accreditation, or policies, or fails to respond to actions and conditions imposed by the Commission." In some cases, the failure to respond goes back to 2003; in others, back to 1996.

So far, Southwestern College has not made any accepted report to WASC on Recommendation 8, requiring "that Southwestern College develop and implement written definitions of an effective decision-making process" before adopting "processes and structures providing faculty, staff, administrators, and students a substantial voice in decision-making processes." Given the blog post content above on shut-out faculty and students, whatever has been done so far doesn't cut it.


a2zresource Oct. 23, 2010 @ 11:24 p.m.

Further information for student consumption: If Southwestern College can't get all deficiencies corrected in those 10 recommendations by October 2011, then United States Department of Education requires WASC to terminate accreditation. Credits earned before termination may transfer, but with the taint of substandard college administration that led to terminated accreditation. As for future students, you take your chances when you pay your money. Let the buyer beware.

The clock is running, and the apparent failure to address 4 of 5 listed WASC accreditation deficiencies on schedule by October 2010 is not at all a good sign of things getting better. Somebody at Southwestern needs to crack the whip.

I think it's time to audit the books and regulations, fully and completely, and to have the campus associated students organization address the student body pursuant to Education Code Section 76060 on current efforts to prevent the termination of Southwestern College accreditation by October 2011. Anything less is a cover-up.

If board members were up front about all of this starting in 1996, then it wouldn't be coming out here now.


a2zresource Oct. 23, 2010 @ 11:36 p.m.

Specific to Recommendation 8 in the WASC Action Letter:

Has Southwestern College EVER been in compliance with AB 1725?

From the looks of things, WASC never thought so and is still waiting on a response. For waiting since 1996, WASC must be pretty darn patient...


emmitsmith Oct. 23, 2010 @ 11:50 p.m.

Hey Truthhurstright,

Is that you Mr. Alioto?

People are not that dense to think that someone who left the college four years ago because the board decided they would play superintendent/president and hire their own VPs is responsible for what happened during the four years since. Much of what the college has been cited for has to do with the present board and the present atmosphere, not the one four years ago.

Great! The corner lot is being done - at the expense of present and future potential students' access to education. Yolanda Salcido, Terri Valladolid, and Jorge Dominguez chose to cut 429 class sections last spring in order to maintain a good bond rating. How about maintaining an economy by making sure folks can get their classes so that they can transfer or graduate and get out into the work force? How about maintaining access to education for the Southbay Community instead of telling them that a bond rating is more important than their getting their education? Balanced the budget? The board has taken in millions over the past four years and have amassed a $14 mil. reserve while cutting 40% of classes the past 3 years.

Either you are Mr. Alioto and are fearing for your job (I'd be more worried about doing time myself) or you have not been to a board meeting. If you had, you would definitely not want the present board to have anything to do with deciding how your tax dollars are spent. It is more difficult to watch a board meeting at SWC than it was to watch David Hasselhof dance on "Dancing with the Stars."


David Dodd Oct. 24, 2010 @ 2:01 a.m.

Yeah, emmit, I don't know if he's Alioto but certainly there was a ton of money earmarked for "counter-propaganda" and I'm guessing that someone's paying this off. Too much money out there to let the truth come out, eh? All comments by one identity and only here, what a joke.


a2zresource Oct. 24, 2010 @ 6:42 a.m.

RE "It would be good if a SWC blogger could tell us where they are in the accreditation process.":

See the WASC Action Letter of 1/2010 at


Compare with the public statement of October 14, 2010:


Administrators, faculty, and student representatives turned in the first part of their homework due on October 15, 2010, but according to the mailers received by SWCCD residents, only one set of deficiencies out of the five demanded by WASC was found acceptable. Best to get a copy of that OCTOBER 15 FIRST FOLLOW-UP REPORT to WASC's award of accreditation probation status to see if the other four deficiencies were either minimally addressed not to WASC's satisfaction or simply avoided. IF ALL had been satisfactorily addressed, THEN it is important news for administrators, faculty, students, and the voting taxpayers in SWCCD's jurisdiction, but these additional requirements received no detailed description in the WASC-demanded actions listed in SWC's statement PDF except to say that "progress has been made" with no word what was reported to WASC.

IF SWC had looked at the accreditation self-studies done by City, Mesa, Miramar, Grossmont, and all of the other regional community colleges that are NOT on probation for uncorrected deficiencies dating back to the mid-1990s, THEN SWC could have gotten it right over a decade ago, but I now suspect that making REAL progress in getting the job done somehow interferes with long-standing practices in SWCCD, including an unacceptable level of WASC-cited micromanagement by the governing board over campus administrators.

Without details, and in light of the shared governance deficiencies noted in Recomendation 8 on open shared decision-making processes, this is merely another symptom of why SWC's 2009 INSTITUTIONAL SELF-STUDY resulted in probation after WASC representatives first arrived on campus to inspect. The SWC statements include "Some of the recommendations we must address date from 1996 and 2003, and we are left with the challenge of resolving them. These recommendations were attended to with the seriousness and vigor needed to set our ship right. We know that challenges remain but are looking forward to the same participation and cooperation in the next phase" but without specific details, this is relatively meaningless on how those WASC-identified deficiencies were and will be addressed. Note the usage of "we must address" and "we are left with" in the SWC public statement PDF, indicating that things haven't been appropriately addressed YET, over a decade since first being made known to SWCCD.

The SECOND FOLLOWUP REPORT is due on March 15, 2011, with its own WASC inspection.

Overall, I concur that the mailer (if the same as or similar to the above public relations PDF) is merely election advertising with an implicit endorsement of incumbents and no opposition statements allowed.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 24, 2010 @ 8:16 a.m.

Bravo A2z, You actually got the flier and the report up, assimilated it all and formulated conclusions, quite a bit work. Thanks for bringing the readers through the material that would otherwise be distant. Susan


a2zresource Oct. 24, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

RE #42:

You and your Readers are welcome. I give credit to Thomas H. Billingslea, Jr. (former Legal Assistant program dept. chair at City) and the time I spent as an intern/clerk in his Chapter 13 Standing Trustee's office under the US Trustee. It was a challenge every time Mr. Billingslea would drop an unusual or bizarre bankruptcy petition file on my desk and say, "Give it the smell test."

Figuring where the SWCCD board seems to be driving all of this by October 2011, the contexts are actually quite similar.


emmitsmith Oct. 24, 2010 @ 9:05 a.m.


Sorry, but you are wrong about this. My past requests have been sat on by the TruthBender for two weeks or more and then are sent to Kerns - financial or otherwise. They have a system of delay as they hope the person requesting information goes away or they can figure out how to deny the request. Then when you get what you requested, it is much less than one would expect. All that is needed is one whistleblower to step forward and your friends may find themselves in a much different institution.


emmitsmith Oct. 24, 2010 @ 9:33 a.m.


You have pulled often from chapter one of "Propaganda 101." You feel that if you keep saying it out loud, soon people will start to believe your over used and worn out "horse caca." Let me see, you have used the board mantra of "it's just a few malcontents," the phantom group of the "many, many faculty," the people are intimidated by them, and many more. If you want to make a valid point, come up with something that is real and fresh. Faculty stand up to the "horse caca" because they are the hardest to retaliate against. To borrow from one of the "try this" statements from your textbook, "Many, many administrators, classified staff, and students" are also tired of the "horse caca" that they have had to put up with under the present board and Chopra.

Are you feeling vulnerable at your present job?


Founder Oct. 24, 2010 @ 10:01 a.m.

RE: truthhurtsright,

You just joined to post $PIN, so here is a new name you can use (from the Urban Dictionary):


A Phony Blogger; i.e., someone that is getting paid and or promoting Spin to disrupt a blog discussion.

This is the kind of BS Blogging that someone would suggest if they are desperate or listened to a media $PIN Company; I hope it is not Focuscom, as in this great Blog:

"Isolate, Expose, Avoid" also by Susan Luzzaro http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...


Founder Oct. 24, 2010 @ 10:14 a.m.

Phoboggers beware

About your $PIN we don't care

Post facts if you dare

from Haiku - A - Day http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/np-star/2010/aug/14/haiku-a-day/#c75431


emmitsmith Oct. 24, 2010 @ 10:33 a.m.

Re: Truthhurtsright

From Focuscom fund

To go spread Prop. 101

PhoBlogger be done!


joepublic Oct. 24, 2010 @ 11:23 a.m.

So "truth"hurtsright, in #24 and #32 you go from SWC's report as being ACCEPTED (your emphasis) by the WASC to it simply having been submitted. Then you twist doing what was required by the college (submitting the report) into being "genuine progress"! Also, what is your problem with letting readers know your source of information regarding Chopra's not being allowed to sign SWC Foundation checks! You must have gone to the same school of truth bending as the other masters of spin. It's people like you that have gotten this college into the mess it's in. Actually, the truth really doesn't hurt. You should try it sometime.


BettyCrock Oct. 24, 2010 @ noon

"Truth BENDING Hurts," but then the SWC Admin and board do it enough that they're probably numb to it by now. I like how this obvious shill targets union leaders like Andy and Phil as forces of intimidation when the admin is rife with efforts to intimidate faculty, staff and STUDENTS.

Hey Truthy Bender, what about sending four campus police to arrest students working for the Sun because they were checking out laptop computers to work on stories?

Hey Truthy Bender, what about a UT ad by Jorge Dominguez claiming that no classes have been cut when students held a rally one year ago to protest draconian cuts of 400 plus sections? They were met by cops, too, and four faculty members, three of which are union leaders, ended up being suspended for joining them.

And it's Andy and Phil who are intimidating people?

November 3, make sure to come to work early and get your stuff. It'll be on the curb.


Founder Oct. 24, 2010 @ 1:22 p.m.

Reply #50 Dear BettyCrock,

Your recipe for $WC's Campus Turnovers is perfect!

I hope you and your friends, give us many more...

All the South Bay voters deserve to know, what the Old Board has been "Cooking Up at $WC".


SWC_Teacher Oct. 24, 2010 @ 5:06 p.m.

So everything's hunky-dory at Southwestern College, and the only reason people think differently is because Andy MacNeill and I have intimidated the entire Academic Senate, the Council of Chairs, and the classified employees' union into voting "no confidence" in Raj Chopra. While we were at it, we intimidated WASC into putting SWC on probation, and when the accreditors cited the "climate of fear and intimidation on campus," they really meant to say it was Andy and I who are responsible, not Chopra and his hitmen. But that's not what they said, so they must have been intimidated. Apparently, we also intimidated student journalists into criticizing Chopra and the Board, and then we intimidated Chopra and the Board into trying to silence the Sun. At the same time, we intimidated the Board into putting 'way to much money into District reserves, even though we told them not to, and we also intimidated the Board into unneccesarily cutting classes, even though we told them it was, well, unnecessary. We also must have intimidated Jorge Dominguez into lying about not laying off any teachers and not cutting any classes, and we must have intimidated Yolando Salcido into writing fake campaign endorsements.

I sure would like to know how I got all this done since I don't have any kind of power that would allow me to intimidate anyone. One of my favorite fantasies is fitting a few individuals with a custom-made set of concrete overshoes at the end of the IB pier, but they're purely fantasies--as are the pitiful accusations made by truthhurtsright.

--Philip Lopez


Founder Oct. 24, 2010 @ 6:07 p.m.

  • SWC_Teacher -*

A reply to #52 I hope everyone is proud of you

Great Blogging Sir, Mister Lopez I hope all believe what you sez

I have never had the pleasure Perhaps when you get some leisure

I would enjoy shaking your hand I love folks that take a firm stand

I thank you for modeling the RIGHT WAY Let's hope your colleagues add to what you say

Together you can get the voters to give the Old Board the boot Then one and all should stand at attention and give you a salute

*from: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/np-star/2010/aug/26/rhyme-a-day/#c75457


saveourswc Oct. 24, 2010 @ 7:56 p.m.

Phil's comment (#52) says it all: there is no way just a few disgruntled employees could "smoke and mirror" all the stuff that's gone down in the past year.

It should also be too obvious to state, but everything that has appeared in The Reader, in The Southwestern Sun (http://www.southwesterncollegesun.com/), on the SWC Board Must Go! blog (http://www.swcboardmustgo.com/), and Save Our Southwestern College (http://saveourswc.blogspot.com/) is documented, unlike the railings of random rent-a-rants like "truthhurtsright." Funny--we're all kinda ethical that way....


a2zresource Oct. 24, 2010 @ 9:26 p.m.

OK Kiddies:

As part of an unrelated request RE Fitch Ratings training of San Diego City Council on debt servicing, I now have the four supporting City Clerk's documents located at:


Interested members of the Southwestern College academic community should feel free to download any and all of those documents, especially "Fitch - U.S. Local Govt Tax - Supported Rating Criteria Dec 2009" as it may help you to understand how SWCCD bonds are rated and why they got rated that way.

Southwestern College's accreditation probation and possible loss of accreditation may be significant factors in lowering the individual ratings of SWCCD-issued general obligation debt in the form of construction and other bonds, as it goes to the credibility of the District with respect to investors wanting to be repaid eventually.

This information may be significant for student and faculty participation in meeting accreditation Recommendation 8 as to open shared college and district decision-making processes.

Faculty and students may have to take the initiative in acquiring and using this information in those processes for lifting probation and keeping accreditation in the absence of an effective SWCCD response to Recommendation 8 on implementing such open shared decision-making processes.

Be an activist, intelligently.


amacneill Oct. 25, 2010 @ 2:39 a.m.

Thanks Phil for laying out how we have been intimidating folks into creating all of the problems at Southwestern. I'm particularly proud of the climate of fear we have created by getting you and three other faculty placed on academic leave after supporting students in a rally at which they protested the cutting of 429 classes - how dare they! Of course, we were intimidating the board enough at the same time for them to stash away another $500,000 to bring their reserves up to $14 mil. this year (the classes we intimidated them into cutting would have cost $1.4 to reinstate leaving them with about $12.6 mil. or 8% more than the prudent 5% reserve suggested by the state). We've done a heck of a job at intimidating the district into eliminating the reassigned time of the award winning forensics team advisers and the #1 college newspaper in the country's adviser while giving the president/sup a raise. Oh, and who can forget how we intimidated the district into banning the SUN from printing that #1 college newspaper in the country?

This has all been hard work and fun, but nowadays we're more committed to intimidating the general public into voting for a change at SWC. Already we were able to intimidate a group of students into going to the last governing board meeting in tears to stand up and explain why they would not be voting for the incumbents. Next, we're going to intimidate faculty and staff into continuing the excellent job they do of intimidating students into getting an education. You see, we weren't able to intimidate WASC into slamming the faculty, staff, or educational programs at SWC in their accreditation report. We were only able to intimidate them into citing the problems with the running of the college.

Well, gotta go. Off to intimidate my neighbors into voting for Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader, and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez for the Southwestern College Board.

  • Andy MacNeill

piledhigheranddeeper Oct. 25, 2010 @ 7:06 a.m.

"Phil and Andy" holloween costumes, anyone? Scare the kiddies?


freespeech92104 Oct. 25, 2010 @ 8:09 a.m.

hey 'truth' - even the handle you have chosen is reminiscent of the same Orwellian hypocrisy in common use by the current SWC board and president. Goes along with 'students first' and 'working together.' Yeah right.

I'll tell you where I've heard real truth, and it was during a board meeting! Naturally this was not while one of the folks up on the dais was speaking. Instead, it was during the literally hours of testimony from concerned faculty, staff, students and community members. Each person was allowed only three minutes, so it was emotional overload to hear so many people relate how SWC's troubles were affecting them - students unable to get the classes they needed, retired professors now ashamed of the school at which they spent so many years, and staff speaking up at risk of their jobs. We are not a few malcontents, nor are we controlled by the unions. We are the ones speaking truth. And the truth is - unless we vote out the current board, SWC will lose its accreditation, because the current board is not getting the job done.


Founder Oct. 25, 2010 @ 8:38 a.m.

Reply #54 -#57 Great posts by you all and thanks for the links!


Founder Oct. 25, 2010 @ 8:41 a.m.

Reply #58 Your post provided me with a great visualization of just how BAD the Current Board really is and how they are positioning themselves for a BIG FALL, this Fall!

Well Done!


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 25, 2010 @ 9:26 a.m.

Late Saturday night the basis for this article was attacked. A blogger going under the misnomer of truth said it was an outright lie that Chopra signed checks for the foundation. I have now received help posting the pdf files, thank you to the reader. Public records should by their very nature be public.

Southwestern's funding sources for a gala corner lot event to which students, teachers and staff were not invited are now available for all to see.

Click pdf file just underneath the story.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 25, 2010 @ 9:35 a.m.

I would also like to point out that bloggers were having a discussion about WASC actions and a flier that has gone out in South Bay recently. A2zresource graciously compiled WASC data and also posted the flier that was under discussion (see comment #41 for postings).

The question that was posed during discussion was whether this glossy two-sided mailer counts as campaign material. If that were the case college funds should not have been expended on it: preparation, print, and postage. It arrived during the crucial last days of incumbent campaigns.


joepublic Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:22 a.m.

I just saw the posted link in your article which clearly shows Dr. Chopra's authorized signature on a SWC Foundation check. "Truth"hurtsright, in #35 you say, "I again contend that Dr. Chopra does not write checks from the foundation as you claim...prove me wrong, show the check!" I doubt that you will acknowledge how wrong you have been proven to be. Your blogs were obviously the work of a tool for the administration and their supporters on the board. A person with any character would publicly apologize to the READER and the author of this article, but the fact that you do this type of dirty work makes me think you won't.


a2zresource Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

RE "Fitch - U.S. Local Govt Tax - Supported Rating Criteria Dec 2009" at http://sdreader.stickywebs.com :

I believe it to be an authoritative resource on how SWCCD bonds may change ratings (where a lower rating from SWCCD board inaction means higher interest rate and thus reduced funds for operations at SWCCD), which has a direct impact on the interest required to be paid from future SWCCD revenues, BUT it is no easy read.

Fortunately, there are also two PowerPoint presentations by Fitch Ratings that will make the rating critera easier to stomach. To put it politely, they were written as primers with city council members as the intended audience.

"Smart is the new rich."


piledhigheranddeeper Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:54 a.m.

Better start dusting off that resume', Mr. Alioto!


Founder Oct. 25, 2010 @ 2:27 p.m.

Reply #65 & # 66

Yes, I be worried that some savvy Lawyer will start looking into a Class Action Lawsuit against $WC...

BTW: We all knows what rhymes with TOOL, FOOL!


saveourswc Oct. 25, 2010 @ 5:36 p.m.

We have a new post regarding the college mailer: When Is News not News? When It's Business as Usual:



Founder Oct. 25, 2010 @ 5:37 p.m.

☯ *

Putting yourself out

Protecting all the Learners

It is the Right Way

*from http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...


joepublic Oct. 25, 2010 @ 6:31 p.m.

On election day The people will have their say See change on the way


a2zresource Oct. 25, 2010 @ 6:43 p.m.


Southwestern College is now on a 5-month clock to losing its accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges commission on community colleges.

While it is possible for Southwestern College administration, faculty and student representatives to meet the deadline in March 2011, the political issues of district governance over the Chula Vista campus have soured... [continued at...]


eyeonswc Oct. 25, 2010 @ 9:34 p.m.

Hi Susan,

Re: post 16. Yes! Free heaping plates, delivered. Why? What's the benefit and who's benefiting? Who's paying?

Sewer fat rats, that's what they are!


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:37 p.m.

So A2z,

Let me see if I'm understanding your points.

Regarding the bonds: although the college has not touched significant reserves in order to secure better bond ratings, the accreditation status may effect its bond rating. Ironic.

As you noted, one reason accreditation is at risk is #8 WASC report, failure to foster an atmosphere of trust.

And as I understand your new blog (see posting #71 for link) the future of the accreditation does not look good. In this reporting period, the district should have attained satisfactory reports on 5 of the problems... I have to hope the situation can be improved upon.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:40 p.m.

I have to share with all I've gotten several comments in my email about what a rich read this string of comments has offered.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:50 p.m.

And, I note, that quite a few people have put themselves out and put themselves on the line in this string of blogs...


a2zresource Oct. 25, 2010 @ 11:23 p.m.

RE bond ratings by rating agencies:

Generally, ANYTHING that raises investor concerns about a government unit's willingness and ability to service its outstanding debt is a concern at the ratings agency as well. The bonds are sold in anticipation of tax or other revenues to pay the bond-purchasing investors back.

If a government unit is found to lack professional competence and public confidence, those are major negative factors.

Positive factors include public willingness to raise taxes in the government unit's jurisdiction. It turns negative as unsustainable if there are too many taxes imposed in too short a time.

More positive factors mean a higher bond rating and less interest paid out from a greater investor expectation of getting paid.

More negative factors mean the interest rate goes up, meaning less for operations and improvements of facilities.

IMPORTANT POINT: when faculty and student inputs to avoid a dumb decision are ignored, ultimately this takes district money away from students via negative bond rating factors. The fact that WASC probation Recommendation 8 was up in the first group of things to be addressed AND SWCCD has really nothing to say about it says something about a lack of available funding for student programs and course offerings.

IMPORTANT POINT: If accreditation has already been blown, then students need to take mitigation measures to keep their earned units from being devalued at other WASC institutions if they can't graduate before the end of next semester, as a WASC move to terminate accreditation may hit shortly after that given the current "progress" being reported by SWCCD.

I see a slow-moving train wreck coming. It won't be pretty. It's been happening since 1996, when the first set of wheels fell off the tracks. To get back on track and prevent the crash, everybody needs to get on-board to not only write pretty words to WASC but also make the necessary changes in the administrative culture. Unless there is already an alternative admin-faculty-student consensus on all of the right things to do right now, the various accreditation subcommittees may not have time to finish their work AND get everybody dancing to the same happy tune by the March 15 inspection visit by WASC.

Hopefully I am totally wrong about that, but the truthy comments made above show me there is no such consensus.


David Dodd Oct. 25, 2010 @ 11:44 p.m.

I think that when you read the pompous-assed comment #56 from MacNeill and then you read this story:


You get the idea behind why he feels so empowered. After all, it's certainly ethical to send emails like this to faculty, especially if he can simply claim that he's so brilliant that he's beyond reproach. SWC has failed the public. Remove the cancers before it's too late.


amacneill Oct. 26, 2010 @ 1:20 a.m.

So, am I pompous because I disagree that I am the one intimidating folks (I wasn't the one cited for failing to foster an atmosphere of trust), or because of the manner in which I responded to your friend's taunts? You don't have your link sussed out, but I think what you were trying to link to was the story about the email I sent from my home computer on a weekend celebrating Labor Day and the Rodda Act - the bill that was signed into law by Jerry Brown that gave educators the right to collective bargaining (not something unusual for a union president at an institution of higher learning to do). There was also a paragraph about supporting Jerry Brown, which the district said went against their policy on campaigning.

No, I'm human like everyone else. I just think that there should be equal enforcement of the policy of not using school resources for campaigning. The VP who was given the task of calling me to his office and with putting a letter in my file was present when the college paid for the Frida's event at which during the program for the night, at least one college administrator stood up and campaigned for the incumbents. That was on the school dollar, er your and my dollar my friend and I don't recall the VP taking action in that case. Anyway, you miss the point, I'm not the one on the dais that has led this college to brink of losing its accreditation. This really isn't about me. It is about a community wanting a board that will return the focus back to education at SWC.

Andy MacNeill


a2zresource Oct. 26, 2010 @ 4:57 a.m.

RE #77 and http://www.10news.com/news/25123558/detail.html :

All kinds of things have been happening at and around SWC, it seems.

As an outsider who has young relatives with not-yet-transferred credits at SWC, I now have a clue where the "intimidation of faculty" angle is coming from.

One time at Fort Benning's infantry school right after Vietnam, I found myself with a rifle loaded with live ball ammo -- not blanks -- on a narrow range with trees and other things to hide behind, where brand new almost-infantrymen like me had to fire, advance, and provide cover fire while other fire-team members moved forward to cram a grenade into a bunker like we were playing Rollerball, and I remember thinking at the still-innocent age of 17: "#&@^$! One of us is gonna get shot in the back doing this and have his whole #&@^$ day ruined!"

One of us did manage a few days later to blow his right hand off while not using a small anti-tank rocket launcher correctly, but that's another story about what we Regular Army types referred to generally as "good training"...

Going to war creates situations like that all the time, and in the war of words going on at SWC since the accreditation self-study reports around 1996 and 2003, SWC failure to implement open shared decision-making processes and structures as required by WASC (while first failing to agree how to define what those things might be or look like) has seemingly worn people down until some have started shooting themselves in the foot.

Sun Wu Tzu says the successful general arrives early to take the high ground first and awaits his opponent to arrive late and attack out of breath and out of balance. Sun Wu Tzu also says that no people benefit from the hardships of long drawn-out conflicts.

If AFT is sending out thermonuclear hand grenades in the form of emails to computers that happen to be local District property, then AFT needs to reconsider how close its local representatives are if the union reps casually drop them on the ground and blow themselves up in the process of living and breathing AFT.

Stuff happens. Hoorah.


Founder Oct. 26, 2010 @ 8:14 a.m.

Reply #79 RE: #77

Great Channel 10 Link; I think the Media is now starting to smell some $WC BLOOD in South Bay...

It was very interesting to see that $WC gave Channel 10 the following quote (from the above link),

"Twice already this year, the College has reminded all employees of the State law and College policy prohibiting the use of College resources to campaign for any political candidate or issue. Such prohibition includes the College's e-mail and computer networks. We take this issue seriously, as we would any potential violation of election law. We are in consultation with our legal counsel."


$WC's OWN Board and or Administration has used College "Resource's" (BIG $, Staff, Equipment, etc.) BOTH to promote $PIN and also for their own Board Re-elections as described in a number of prior Blog comments above.

This is just more, "Do as I say but not as I Do" double talk, that is designed to squelch all Campus Freedom of Speech, except when it is in support of the $WC's Board, then everything A-OK...

Will they actually seek "legal council" against themselves? I think NOT!

That would be like falling on their own sword, something only the honorable do and don't think that describes any of them, in any way...

Maybe someone should start a listing of "all the ways" that $WC's Board and Administration have "Dipped Their Beak" into the Public's till, while trying to promote for their own re-election at the same time attempting to keep the Faculty, Staff and Students under their thumb...

Suggestion, pick a real juicy User name and then post some additional "dirt" that hopefully will be used to "bury" those that deserve it in the polls and if it is enough, perhaps law enforcement or the IRS will start asking their own questions (+ I doubt it will not be about just 1 email either)!


andrewj Oct. 26, 2010 @ 8:18 a.m.


What you read as pompous I read as humorous. And as I follow the SWC story it looks to me like the disproportionate abuse is on the other side.


a2zresource Oct. 26, 2010 @ 8:41 a.m.

Yes, it appears that the omitted facts in the SWCCD mailer and apparent endorsement of incumbent board members cannot be any sort of violation in the eyes of those who have a construction and bond-ratings agenda foremost while ignoring accreditation deficiencies that administrators, faculty and students at practically every other community college campus in California managed to get settled in the last two decades of the last millennium.

Given the timing and content (or lack of it) in the district's electioneering mailer, the district's noise about an apparently forwarded email looks like a diversionary smoke screen.

One wonder if SWCCD is just a sockpuppet for the Community College League of California.



Susan Luzzaro Oct. 26, 2010 @ 9:11 a.m.

I wrote in an earlier story Southwestern Suitors (I know I should put a link but must run in a minute) that the vice president held a fundraiser for the incumbents. I saw on one of the incumbent's websites that the president of the college Chopra co-hosted a fundraiser for the incumbents at the Coronado Cays. Then I read in board notes that the incumbents are going to give Chopra an evaluation in a short period of time...I believe the evaluation is coming early but I'll have to check that out. But it raised the question for me, how can you (Pres) have a fundraiser for the same people who are voting on your evaluation?


Founder Oct. 26, 2010 @ 9:18 a.m.

Reply #83 "how can you (Pres) have a fundraiser for the same people who are voting on your evaluation?"

It easy, if you already know what the outcome will be, because you have already "bought" the DECI$ION.

Chopra's evaluation will be "DONE" before the new Board takes their seats, adding to the BS that the current Board is shoveling upon SWC and everyone interested in QUALITY EDUCATION in South Bay!


a2zresource Oct. 26, 2010 @ 9:37 a.m.

From Community College League of California training for new community college presidents, referred therein as CEOs:

"Do I have to agree with and accept the recommendations of individual or collective constituent groups?

"The short answer to this question is 'No.' The CEO has responsibility for making decision or making a recommendation to the board of trustees.

"The longer answer is that the CEO must remember that he or she is an extension of the board of trustees and therefore upholds the spirit and intent of laws, regulations, and board policies. Using consultative processes to consider actions and make decisions will contribute to a more positive environment and strengthen how decisions are implemented. While agreement may not always be possible, constituency understanding is enhanced by providing written rationale or opportunities to discuss issues. How to foster understanding varies depending on the significance of the decision and to whom it applies."


Compare that training material for new California community college presidents and the current stance of a majority of current SWCCD board members regarding faculty and students at Southwestern College.

What the League fails to mention is that students ARE part of the electorate that put board members into office, and the board owes its allegiance to the People of California first and foremost, starting with the electorate.

In light of that League guidance, I don't see SWC saving its accreditation without a radical shift in SWCCD governing board politics, starting with the president of the College.


Founder Oct. 26, 2010 @ 1:48 p.m.

  • The Truth Will Set SWC Free -*

Reply #85 Great Post and that is no jive

Saving Accreditation Surely demands quick action

The President of $WC goes BYE BYE Because of too much of his secret BUY BUY!

Students get back their voice College Board has NO CHOICE

Voting Day is coming very soon SWC will adopt a new tune

Once all of the voters have had their say SWC will operate the RIGHT way

*from: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/np-star/2010/aug/26/rhyme-a-day/#c75636


Founder Oct. 27, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

  • Money Door -*

Adding to #84 Keep your eye on their Money Door

Are those that come in empty handed with BULL Leaving $WC with BOTH of their Hands FULL

They are not smart enough to NOT be leaving some kind of trail That once discovered may just prevent them from making any Bail

Those that are very Greedy really hold each other in AWE They all have forgotten that nobody is Above the Law

*from: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/np-star/2010/aug/26/rhyme-a-day/#c75677


a2zresource Oct. 28, 2010 @ 11 a.m.

Thanks to Susan Luzzaro for bringing this article to publication, and for essentially forcing me to re-visit accreditation issues that Drs. Jeanne Atherton and J. William Wrenrich had us address at San Diego City College in the San Diego Community College District beginning over two decades ago. Their approach was both collegial and professional, and students were involved in nearly all aspects of College and District master planning, governance, disciplinary actions and accreditation. Our student access to SDCCD decision-making processes and structures was great enough that we had little concern over not being on faculty search committees; after all, the faculty did not choose us as students once we met course prerequisites.

Shared governance may not be popular with some current chancellors and college presidents, but for the President of City College and the Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District when I was an active student representative, it did matter then.

John C. Gonzales, AA, AS 1988-89 Associated Students president San Diego City College


Founder Oct. 28, 2010 @ 12:12 p.m.

Reply #88

I can see why you were elected Student Body President!

Just imagine how many students at SWC are being "Educationally RIPPED OFF" by MO$T of the Current Board and the College President!

South Bay Voters PLEASE insure the quality of SWC and VOTE for CHANGE!


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2010 @ 6:05 p.m.

When I was in grad school I became very involved in the student government.

It was without a doubt one of the best experiences I ever had.

I ran for the President, but didn't win, but I was an elected senator and was also part of the managment team, being the treasurer. I look back on the experience as a highlight of my college education.

We also got to go to a couple of conferences every year, which was a nice break from school. We went to Chicago, and also went to Atlanta. Had to drive both times, and the Atlanta trip was a major haul. But we met the student leaders from all the major schools-Harvard, Yale, NYU, Columbia- and had a pretty good overall time.


Founder Oct. 29, 2010 @ 9:02 a.m.

  • Pork Clogged Pipes -*

Reply to #2 Nan I'm happy you are his fan

I like your usage of "a$$wipes" Because it also rhymes with "pipes"

The Educational Pipeline at $WC is clogged With all of the fiscal "PORK FAT" that their OLD Board has Hogged

One thing Voters never expected to have learned Was how all the students college credits got burned

Now the only thing that Voters can do that may provide a fix Is to give the old Board members seeking re-election the NIX

Everyone knows Pork only belongs on a spit and NO College Board should treat its students like shit

*from: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/encanto-gas-holder/2010/oct/25/keeping-southwestern-college-credits-if-accreditat/#c75819


a2zresource Oct. 29, 2010 @ 4:41 p.m.

RE "When I was in grad school I became very involved in the student government. It was without a doubt one of the best experiences I ever had":

And it cured me of any interest of running for any office outside school.

There's something about being an advocate for students eager to learn and advance themselves. It beats selling oneself to corporate interests that rarely venture on campus except to hand out credit card applications or free cigarettes.

EVERY SINGLE TIME I am back on the City College campus to do a little cash tutoring, I try to talk somebody into getting involved in student government. In hard times, showing one can find solutions beyond just pointing out problems is the best way I know of getting some dean's sponsorship to a competitive private university that would otherwise be out of reach, especially for the vast majority of students at City College.

I still miss living on campus at USD as I was in '92-'94 as the most ancient dude (35?) in the Valley undergraduate housing area... but then again, my current old age means I can't drink beer like I used to back then... Go, Torero intramural football!

Back on topic: I spent this morning talking to people at City College (including at least one administrator who remembers accreditation subcommittee work back in the mid-90s) who are in utter amazement of SWC's accreditation issues and the likelihood that it will be lost by this time next year.


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 29, 2010 @ 4:53 p.m.

EVERY SINGLE TIME I am back on the City College campus to do a little cash tutoring, I try to talk somebody into getting involved in student government.

Yep, that is pretty cool.

As I said, it was certainly one of the highlights of college life for me. I was surprised at how fun it was.

I still remember the very first meeting I attended-we met once per week on Wednesdays, I walked in and there was about 50 student body reps, and I was taking over for someone who had quit, the very first thing they did was everyone stood up and they read me this pledge and asked if I agreed with it and to say "I do", and then everyone started clapping. Then when other new Senators were elected we did the exact same thing.

Loved it!


Founder Oct. 29, 2010 @ 5:01 p.m.

Reply #93 I bet the current Board of $WC has NEVER said any kind of Pledge!


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 29, 2010 @ 6:56 p.m.

A newspaper in the area has suggested this is the result of an "overzealous" accreditation group...and that a number of colleges in the state have accreditation issues...must reread it, but I believe it says Grossmont-Cuyamaca has the same problem. Haven't looked into it yet but perhaps issues are different than probation.


a2zresource Oct. 29, 2010 @ 11:27 p.m.

Compton Community College lost accreditation in 2006. Searching the list below, I found no other California community college that has lost accreditation. Perhaps less than five of over 100 California community colleges appear to have warnings, and if there is another besides SWC on probation, I didn't see it. Perhaps someone else can have a look to see if I missed one.


As for Grossmont-Cuyamaca having the "same problem", I assume it must be the fact that both SWCCD and Grossmont-Cuyamaca have up-coming elections of board members. Both Grossmmont and Cuyamaca Colleges are WASC-accredited with no warnings. See the above link.

Personally, I know that Dr. Jeanne Atherton served as the Chancellor at Grossmont-Cuyamaca. After having her driving the accreditation process that I was involved in at City College earlier, I have no doubt that all campuses under her authority were driven to address all accreditation standards, at least until she left. I seriously doubt that the level of professionalism in that district has deteriorated significantly since then. If there is some article saying otherwise, I'd have to question the journalistic integrity of the author (due to partisan nature of election candidates) and credibility of the author's sources until someone can provide proof of problems worth noting.

Anyone who believes I am overzealous about SWC possibly losing accreditation is either covering their assets without concern for students' academic progress, or has no clue what the standards look like and what the accreditation process actually is. In my eyes, just being placed on probation is a slap in the face of any college's governing board, especially after more than a decade of being advised by WASC of what to do to make things better. If any UCSD, SDSU, or other local community college administrator disagrees with that, then that administrator should feel free to mouth off about it below, even anonymously if he or she can't stand the light of day.

As for vocational colleges and other educational institutions that shun WASC accreditation, they are what they are.


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 29, 2010 @ 11:34 p.m.

Compton Community College lost accreditation in 2006.

I remember when this happened, very bad management of the school, and not just this CC, but all the schools in Compton.

Compton High School has one of the lowest graduation rates in this state-just 20%.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 30, 2010 @ 7:41 a.m.

Here is the excerpt from the editorial that endorses 2 of the SWC incumbents:

While politicians often take way too much credit for the good things that happen as elected officials, in the case of the accreditation issue way too much blame is being heaped on this board. Some of the accreditation issues go as far back as 2003 – spanning several school boards and administrations. Consequences have come to a head this year. An over zealous accreditation board has notified 45 of the 110 community colleges in the state of accreditation issues, more than any other state by a wide margin. The accreditation board itself has come under scrutiny for their policies. Both Palomar College and Grossmont Community College are dealing with accreditation issues. Even one of the most respected and efficient colleges in the system, College of the Redwoods, has been put on notice. The point is that the accreditation issues are not the sole province of Southwestern Community College but are warnings being felt throughout the state. The good news is that the issues of accreditation are being dealt with in a responsive and effective manner.


Founder Oct. 30, 2010 @ 8:35 a.m.

Reply #98 This sounds like the High Priced $PIN of Focuscom trying to somehow infer:

"Innocence by Association" (which is Reverse $PIN of "Guilty by Association"):

  1. $WC is not the only one, see there are several others on the list!
  2. $WC and its current Board is being treated unfairly.
  3. (This is my favorite one) "the issues of accreditation are being dealt with in a responsive and effective manner."

Lets look at all three EXCUSES for not doing whats RIGHT for SWC: 1. Who wants SWC at the BOTTOM OF THE EDUCATIONAL LIST? 2. NOT - It's the Students, Staff and Facility that are being treated poorly! 3. Yeah $URE, with lots of $PIN, instead of Educational Excellence!

Given the above, hopefully the Voters will ask themselves one simple question, Are they getting a fair return from the EDUCATIONAL DOLLARS?

Since the overwhelming answer is NO, they should replace as many of the Current Board as they can because as everyone knows, A NEW BOARD SWEEPS CLEAN...

You get the picture,

NEW $WC Management = Much Better SWC For All!


Founder Oct. 30, 2010 @ 8:44 a.m.

Oh and bye the way, I'm happy to be the one to post the 100th comment on $WC's problems (and that's just on this one $WC Blog topic)! It is typical of the GREAT EFFORT that Susan Luzzaro has demonstrated, in helping shed some light on the current Board of $WC's "behind the scenes," wheeling & dealing with College funds, which has caused many to question their educational motivation, if any; since their main interest has been MONEY!

I think, SWC Students should create and then give an "Excellence" award to Susan for helping to make their college better, when most others just looked the other way and or helped themselves (and their friends) to College Resources!


a2zresource Oct. 30, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.

It appears that I am in the second century of comments here.

RE #98:

This only confirms my previous suspicions regarding integrity and credibility of the cited editorial letter.

Every community college receives at least some recommendations at some time for improvement over the five years between accreditation self-studies, but comparing Southwestern College's probationary status for decades of stonewalling to the other 45 other colleges receiving recommendations for better WASC compliance is more than minimally disingenuous. It just about crosses the line into fraud by public statement.

As far as I can tell, the only California community college that WASC will not grant accreditation to is Compton Community College. As far as I can tell, the only California community college that will no longer be grant accreditation if it does not get itself off of probation by its own efforts in the next five months is Southwestern College.

IF Southwestern College does not comply with ALL of the recommendations made by WASC at the end of its two-year probationary period, THEN WASC will not automatically extend that probation period but will instead, at the insistence of the US Department of Education, de-certify Southwestern College as WASC-accredited. Because of its probationary status, SWC has no more second chances left beyond 2011 to get this right, and the clock is running. I repeat: somebody at SWC needs to crack the whip.

As Compton College has been to the greater Los Angeles region, so apparently will Southwestern College be to ours. Time will tell.


Founder Oct. 30, 2010 @ 12:34 p.m.

Reply #101 Great $PIN Identification, A2Z

RE: "somebody at SWC needs to crack the whip."

I hope the new SWC Board Members use it liberally on what's left of most of the current Board and especially on the President until they ALL beg for forgiveness or resign...

Save SWC and it's Students, Staff and Faculty

Vote for ALL NEW SWC Board Members



Susan Luzzaro Oct. 30, 2010 @ 5 p.m.

Great comments. And poems :-) . The recent comments contribute immensely to the discussion that is going on in the larger community. I know some of you aren't readers of the UT but there was a good article that came out this morning on the vice president of the college, Alioto, going to Napa with contractors this last June. His expenses, by his own account, were paid for by the education foundation.


Susan Luzzaro Oct. 30, 2010 @ 5:02 p.m.

p.s. Over 100 is quite amazing--and there is a fullness and variety in the comments that one hopes is useful.


Founder Oct. 30, 2010 @ 7:41 p.m.

  • $lime Rhyme -*

Reply #103 I bet all the drinks were free

This Board really has to Go You can quote me, I said so!

Here is a real quick good Voter Tip The $WC Board's out to Rip

So vote for College Board change $WC now has Fiscal Mange

What I say is so true The rest is up to You


fltnsplr Nov. 1, 2010 @ 10:13 p.m.

This is typical of the greedy, unethical mentality that permeates the Governing Bored (with the exception of Nick Aguilar) and the all-new, lockstepping administration). About a year ago, employees in a number of important positions (Outreach, Fundraising, P.R., Arts Coordinator, etc.) were unceremoniously dismissed and replaced with party-line hacks who would unquestioningly do the bidding of Kommandant Chopra, who in turn owed fealty to the board which had hired him.

Interestingly, each of those employees had more experience than the so-called president of the college and his freshly appointed vassals put together. Chopra is a puppet who cowered in his office last autumn during the free speech demonstration which resulted in the suspension of four faculty members, and then ran like a scared rabbit (first stopping, of course, to sign the declaration of martial law proffered him out the window of board president Jean Roesch's Cadillac). Afterwards, he disappeared for three weeks; the official, threadbare explanation was that he had gone to India.

First of all, what was the college president doing by leaving the campus and traveling to a destination thousands of miles away in the middle of the semester without notice? Second, is it possible that he acquired magical powers from his sojourn on the subcontinent? I ask because he was spotted the very next evening in a classroom at Southwestern, communing with members of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce.

And who was in charge of the whole shebang for those three weeks? That's right, you guessed it – Alioto, of course! Back then, he used to sign his communications with "Nick, CPA," thereby simultaneously displaying the common touch and reminding various and sundry that he was, however, still a big bad accountant and deserving of professional recognition. Well, it turns out that he let his Wisconsin license expire in December 2009, and evidently has never been licensed in California. It's a good thing, too, because at the most recent board meeting (October 13), he managed to embarrass himself by insisting that the four million dollars labeled as "Excess" was a "different line," and as such it didn't belong to the college's surplus.

Actually, he probably didn't embarrass himself, because he's too ignorant to understand what he's really saying, which is "I'm stupid and proud of it!" Of course, like any right-wing subhuman, he believes that if you keep repeating the same statement more loudly each time, it then becomes the truth. You could almost feel sorry for someone like that, except that he's so mean-spirited. Sorry you're overweight, dude, but nobody asked you to blurt out that so-and-so was a "[expletive deleted] idiot!" in the middle of a board meeting, with that person in fact present.

I could go on (sadly), but I think I'll study the ballot choices instead.


fltnsplr Nov. 1, 2010 @ 10:53 p.m.

Concerning the editorial excerpt from #98:

That came from La Prensa San Diego, which is published by Daniel Muñoz, Jr. Unfortunately, he is not the man his father was; Muñoz Sr. started the paper in the 1970s to give Hispanics a voice, and to support worthwhile causes, especially those of working people. His son, however, gladly accepts contributions from the construction industry and appears to have not the slightest interest in the problems currently being experienced by faculty and staff at Southwestern College.

"Don't blame the Bored, waaahhh!"

"It's all Norma Hernandez's fault, that wicked thing!"

"See, other colleges have those problems too! Told ya!"

Well, Mr. Muñoz, or Mr. Bender (or whoever wrote that mealy-mouthed screed), for your information, of the three colleges mentioned (Palomar, Grossmont, and College of the Redwoods), as of August 2010, only Palomar was continued on Warning. Grossmont and College of the Redwoods have been returned to fully accredited status, and for some time, too.

It would help if these people were to check the facts, but as we all know, that's not likely to happen. Between their public pronouncements (sometimes printed on expensive, glossy paper) and the trolls they hire to muddy the waters online, I don't know what to think sometimes.

Incidentally, truthhurtsright and refriedgringo are absolute idiots. In my opinion, that is...wouldn't wanna hurt anybody's feelings by suggesting that they lack integrity or anything. :-) But, I verified it by going to this link and entering their information:



David Dodd Nov. 2, 2010 @ 5:06 p.m.

Re #107: "Incidentally, truthhurtsright and refriedgringo are absolute idiots."

Wow. And to think that just yesterday, I was only an idiot. Now, I'm absolute, in that no matter how negative I am, I'm certainly on top. Thanks for the crown. And thanks for the "private" message, too - I'd repeat it in here, but you used naughty words. Damn, I feel quite special today!

By the way, hope you're not re-elected this afternoon. Have a nice day :)


Founder Nov. 6, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

I'd like someone to post an "After Election" status report so that those of us that are interested, can get an update on what happened...



Founder Nov. 6, 2010 @ 5:19 p.m.

Reply #107 I'd suggest to you, that you stop with the name calling, as in your "are absolute idiots" and stick to the facts and your opinion about facts.

IMO Name calling is the lowest form of argumentation and does nothing except single out the name caller (you) as someone that has nothing credible to say...


a2zresource Nov. 6, 2010 @ 6:56 p.m.

I imagine that if there is a proof that I am a bigger idiot than any of the above, then they cannot be "absolute" idiots.

I concur that, in a thread that has public policy implications such as this, references to any alleged idiocy made in a humorous vein can be misconstrued. Personally, I would instead offer a couple of hours of free tutoring in a subject of the idiot's choice.

From all that I know, the Refried One is NOT an idiot... and he's pretty good in a phoblogger/sockpuppet hunt, especially so if his comment on not being re-elected hits the mark.


nan shartel Nov. 7, 2010 @ 12:08 p.m.

ummmm, u mean i'm not the only one not wearing a Jester's hat???

score one for the comics....hahahahahahahahaha

and ur suppose to invite me over when the puppets come to play

is phoblogger a fauxblogger guys????


Founder Nov. 8, 2010 @ 10:14 a.m.

Reply #113


*from: Urban Dictionary A Phony Blogger, someone that is getting paid and or promoting Spin to disrupt a blog discussion.


nan shartel Nov. 8, 2010 @ 12:02 p.m.

thx founder

that would get really irritating wouldn't it :-{


Founder Nov. 9, 2010 @ 7:06 a.m.

Reply #115 RE: "thx" .......Pho-Get-A-Bout-It

RE: "get really irritating wouldn't it" .......Yup it's a real PITA


nan shartel Nov. 9, 2010 @ 12:35 p.m.

those pains in the derrière can hurt lots Founder


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