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On December 12, the Sweetwater Union High School District board was asked to consider a resolution that would place a $500 limit on campaign contributions from individuals or committees to trustee candidates. The resolution died for lack of a motion.

In November, community member Nancy Stubbs had asked that the resolution be agendized. Stubbs pointed out that the San Diego Unified School District limits donations to $750, and the City of Chula Vista sets the limit at $300.

Last night, urging the board to consider the resolution, Stubbs told trustees, “We have a bad reputation right now. And this is a really good way to clean it up.”

Stubbs argued that the November 2010 election demonstrated the need for campaign restrictions.

“When over 70 percent of some candidates’ campaign contributions came not from the community they represent but from vendors, the perception is that the board is more responsive to the vendors than to the community. When over $150,000 total was contributed to three board candidates by vendors of the district, and coincidentally those board members won, the perception is that the vendors bought the right votes.”

Stubbs’s remarks referred to the campaigns of trustees Jim Cartmill, John McCann, and Arlie Ricasa.

Community activists and teachers who attended the meeting were stunned by the board’s refusal to act. When asked if she was surprised that trustees let the motion die, Stubbs said, “I knew they couldn’t get off the gravy train.”

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joepublic Dec. 13, 2011 @ 4:25 p.m.

It really shouldn't shock anyone that McCann, Cartmill, and Ricasa would oppose limiting campaign contributions. What is surprising is that neither Lopez nor Quinones gave Ms Stubbs' resolution even token discussion. What could have silenced them? Well, according to the audio tape and sign-on-san diego, this wasn't last night's only bombshell. Sweetwater's conversion to district voting was stopped dead on its fast track, aiding Lopez and Quinones in their upcoming bids for re-election. Later, behind closed doors, Dr. Brand was given the permanent position he's sought all along. This reeks of the same wheeling and dealing we're used to in the political swamp called Sweetwater.


Visduh Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:05 p.m.

I knew it! I knew it! The fat guy is back in the saddle running a school district. If anyone had any doubts in regard to the corruption and empire building in that district, those moves should permanently remove them. As I've said before, the only way to clean up SUHSD is to kick all the board members out and start over.


anniej Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:26 p.m.

wondering out loud here - just whose idea was it for the board to simply sit there and say NOTHING - NOT A WORD. no motion, no discussion - NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!! i am thinking that brand himself came up with that strategy - why, well the board never used that strategy before.

does the board care that they are painting a group self portrait - a portrait using green, the color of money.

remember what happened to the southwestern board - they could not withstand the pressure that came with exposure of back room deals and the exposure of all of their dirty laundry.

OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


anniej Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:15 p.m.

that is an interesting thought - no limit on campaign contributions in trade for no redistricting. perhaps that is why cartmill chose to turn on the light bulb - a few months ago the community was crying out for the board to slow down and open redistricting up for community input via a public forum. but cartmill, mccann and ricasa were gung ho to speed forward. now he and mccann believe it needs more thought.................. please! could it have been the comment from the caucasian man who stood up and asked for an explanation - "you say that you are taking the action of redistricting in order to alleviate a law suit concerning lack of representation for the latino demographic - yet the 2 board members who will be negatively impacted are in fact the ONLY TWO LATINAS ON THE BOARD".

last nights board meeting was as close to government in a dictatorship as one would ever see.

the community is reeling from the board - all acting as cowards. the least they could have done is open it up for discussion - but no, instead they sat there mute. i guess money does rule the board after all.

can you imagine those campaign contributions in the future? just think it will be all of those involved with the 'sweetwater u' proposal. the writing is on the wall.

the boards new campaign signs should read 'SHOW ME THE MONEY and YOU too can own a part of sweetwater u".

time to vote them out.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:42 p.m.

joepublic, you reference the audio tape. Not everyone knows, and many don't have the time or the heart, but if you go to the website for Sweetwater Union High School District and go to board agendas you can listen to the board meeting the day after it happens. It's a useful democratic tool--though attendance is better.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:51 p.m.

Visduh, I think many people were surprised to learn that Brand was given a 3 year contract by unanimous vote.

I assume this means Brand is collecting retirement from Sweetwater from his previous years and the Carlsbad buyout.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 13, 2011 @ 5:53 p.m.


There were so many newsworthy events last night. I hope they all get the coverage they deserve.


anniej Dec. 13, 2011 @ 7:08 p.m.

you are sooooooooo right!

campaign contribution limits - board chose to simply not comment - NOT ONE SINGLE WORD.

limiting personal bio in voting pamphlet - mr. mccann believes that more is better - not a surprise, then he can do more to promote all he has done for his country. (while i sincerely appreciate all active and retired military personnel I HAVE NEVER KNOWN A SINGLE ONE TO SELF PROMOTE THEIR SERVICE LIKE HE DOES.

3 year superintendent contract - NO prior notice that the board would even be discussing hiring dr. brand. the taxpayers are on a 'need to know leash' and i guess the board has decided we simply did NOT NEED TO KNOW until the deal was made. now the cost of that decision, what was the real cost? what was the golden goose?

the community member who stood up and revealed that he had been intimidated, disrespected, and accused of ill doings. his comments on the audio ARE A MUST LISTEN TO.

there were other revelations, but i believe it would suffice to reiterate the importance of all reading your article to sign onto the SUHSD board docs and listen to the recording of the meeting for themselves.

all computers in the south bay are a buzz - the emails being sent out and passed along the friend to friend, family member to family member, voter to voter - POWER TO THE TAXPAYING VOTERS. it is, after all, the ONLY power we have.


savesweetwater Dec. 13, 2011 @ 7:04 p.m.

The Board is more interested in financing their future campaigns than in promoting ethical democracy. Why does it take so much more to run for election in Sweetwater than other cities and districts? The current board likes that scenario because it gives them an advantage. They have already lined up lots of district vendors to contribute to their next election. Potential new candidates don't have that ability. Where does the current superintendent stand on this issue? We need change at all levels so that the district leadership actually models the ethics we expect of our students.

Whatever my feelings may be about the selection of Ed Brand as new district superintendent, my full condemnation is reserved for the Board members. They have absolutely no respect for the community they supposedly serve. The Brown Act is regularly ignored and community input is included only at the most superficial of levels. People of South Bay - this Board needs to be replaced by Board members who are actually interested in improving the education of the students in our district. Look at the agenda from last night - what items directly related to instruction in our 7-12 district. Not much. The Board is sooooo busy playing politics that they have forgotten what their job really is.



anniej Dec. 13, 2011 @ 7:13 p.m.



it is time to begin anew, from the foundation (board) all of the way to the top!

your observation regarding the business of the board last night was dead to rights - VERY LITTLE HAVING TO DO WITH EDUCATING THE STUDENTS, much to do with political posturing.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 13, 2011 @ 10:19 p.m.

I'd like to correct my earlier comment about Brand and retirement on two points: he left San Marcos not Carlsbad and received about $400,000 as a lump sum.


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 13, 2011 @ 11:50 p.m.

Brand left??? More like escorted out for trying to pull strings in the teacher hiring process at a local K-6 school for one of his cronyism buddies.


Visduh Dec. 14, 2011 @ 8:02 a.m.

In a county that had a minimum of corruption, these antics by a school district board would be investigated, and the criminal acts would be prosecuted. But our girl, Bahnee Dee, the DA, is nowhere to be seen or heard on local corruption. Too bad for South County and all of us. This kind of abuse in one district just emboldens others to do the same.


anniej Dec. 14, 2011 @ 9:36 a.m.

the polyanna in me has to believe that justice will prevail - investigations take time - and with the many scandals brought to light in the past year it would make sense that there is a great deal to sort thru.


Ponzi Dec. 14, 2011 @ 8:30 a.m.

Not on topic, but worthy of note: The Christian Right and Mormons are trying to take over school boards nationally. It is a widespread conspiracy to govern who teaches and what is taught in schools.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 14, 2011 @ 8:37 a.m.

Visduh, I do know that there has been an ongoing investigation into several Sweetwater problems by the D.A.'s office. The investigation began at the end of the Gandara regime. Many have expressed hope that there will be some resolution soon.


Visduh Dec. 14, 2011 @ 7:32 p.m.

I'll believe that when there is an indictment, or charges are filed. Until then, anything that comes out of the DA's office can at best be seen as a smokescreen that is part of the SD mayoral campaign.


anniej Dec. 14, 2011 @ 10:13 a.m.

the parents/taxpayers/community of the south bay need to take a step back and reflect on what is occurring in our district.

consultant after consultant being hired - folks this is your money they are spending and on what? lets take sweetwater 'PU' i mean sweetwater u for example. this concept brought about by john mccann - i am sure he believed this idea would serve him well - he believed it would make himself out to be a visionary (NOT) and therefore help him in his future political endeavors. so he pitched it to the superintendent and a brotherly union was formed. fric and frac - skipping thru town down that yellow brick road promising great things. but HELLO, our entire district is under program improvement.

what these two gentlemen and the rest of the board is failing to realize is this, the taxes we are paying for sweetwater is for students 7-12 not k-16. they have failed to properly educate our 7-12 graders - instead they have packed these students into classrooms where teachers are overwhelmed with the large numbers. no longer does an educator have time to spend quality time with those they are charged to educate, no longer does an educator have time to build relationships with their students, no longer does a student have the opportunity to ask for one on one time with their teacher - ALL BECAUSE OF THE STUDENT - TEACHER RATIO. rather than focus on the individual teachers expertise and ability to teach the district has chosen to hire 'consultants' to come in ONE AFTER ANOTHER - each one having a different pitch or spin. a pitch or spin they are told to follow then low and behold yet another 'consultant' is brought before them telling them "forget what that guy/gal told you, because MY STRATEGY is better than theirs was". go on board docs, take the time to add up the massive amounts of monies that this district has spent on 'consultants'. OH, TO THINK OF HOW DIFFERENTLY THOSE MONIES COULD HAVE BEEN SPENT - IN THE CLASSROOM, ON THE STUDENTS.

do the research, review all of the board meetings since june - name me one idea, step, strategy that has been brought forth to correct the program improvement issue - not one. mr. anguiano stated at the board meeting he was going to sacramento - i would like to recommend he take this sweetwater pu i mean sweetwater u issue with him - use that as an example of just how out of touch the board is. truth be told they are operating WAY OUT OF THEIR LEVEL OF EXPERTISE., and the data proves that. we, suhsd, are failing and all due to incompetent leadership.

time to vote these impostors out of office and vote in competent leadership. but more importantly it is time to do what the charter school parents did - THEY STOOL UP AND DEMANDED TO BE HEARD AND DEMANDED CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 14, 2011 @ 8:35 p.m.

Ponzi, just curious--do you know of any school boards in the county?


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 14, 2011 @ 8:41 p.m.


The proof will be in the pudding, as they say in cliche, but I like to point out Southwestern College. When it came time to vote, people in the community heard about the issues even if they hadn't made it to a board meeting


anniej Dec. 20, 2011 @ 5:09 p.m.

well, well, well

the da serves search warrants - surprise, surprise, surprise - NOT

fellow south bay residents - stand up and be counted - attend the next board meeting and demand change - NOW



SpeakForChange Dec. 20, 2011 @ 11:17 p.m.

I am a current student of the Sweetwater Union High School District, and as an active member of my school's Associated Student Body and other clubs as well, I witness extreme amounts of corruption, favoritism, and discrimination. As a victim of all three, I am very disappointed in the effort of chosing who runs our community's schools. I understand that there are many controversies in our educational system, however I believe character and attitude of staff and admin. of a school determines the opporunities of success that can be provided for us students. Money is crucial and a sensitive subject, but if there is no will to show up at school because of the unequal and inappropriate actions of the administration, the district cannot pay for motivation. I highly suggest some reconsideration in high school administration! Some one needs to speak up, because IT ISN'T RIGHT!!


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