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Southwestern College has gone through a series of upheavals in the past few years and is still the subject of a San Diego County district attorney investigation. Southwestern’s former vice president of business and finance, Nicholas Alioto, has been charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor.

What many hoped for, on campus and off, was that the administration would avoid the appearance of impropriety. But heads are shaking and tipsters emailing because of the July 11 agenda.

The new superintendent Melinda Nish came to Southwestern in January 2012 from Coast Community College District. The former interim vice president of business and finance, C.M. Brahmbhatt, also hailed from Coast Community College District and was hired in November 2011.

Brahmbhatt’s interim vice president’s salary was $13,500 a month, expiring June 30, 2012.

In May of this year, Brahmbhatt shifted from being interim vice president to consultant for Cambridge West Partnership, LLC; he contracted for $60,000 from May through July 31, 2012, “to advise and assist in the preparation of the 2012–2013 budget.” (Coincidentally, May was the same month the board approved a 5 percent reduction in pay for classified and certificated Southwestern employees.)

Brahmbhatt’s financial disclosure 700 form filed with the college states that he is a partner in Cambridge West Partnership, a business the form describes as “Planning and Facilities Master Planning.”

Just before Brahmbatt’s contract expired again, the college went on a search for a company to prepare an educational and facilities master plan. Cambridge West Partnership was selected. From July 12, 2012, to July 11, 2013, the company will earn $425,000. (Cambridge’s bid was also the lowest.)

Ken Careghino is a former partner in Cambridge who continues to work as a consultant for the company and commutes from New Hampshire. In an interview on July 9, Careghino said, “C.M. [Brahmbhatt] is a newcomer to the company, but the company has years of experience with education and master planning. We are just finishing up work in Kern and Bakersfield.” Careghino named a long list of colleges or districts Cambridge has done work for, including Coast Community.

Careghino believes Cambridge was selected because they look closely at the educational needs of colleges. “All our facilities plans are based on the education plan. Some companies put the cart before the horse and develop a facilities plan before they even look at the educational needs.”

A facilities and master plan will be the beginning of a new vision for Proposition R construction.

Because of the many problems with the Proposition R construction and the infamous corner lot that was “unveiled” in 2010, Prop R work has been suspended.

Careghino said he was somewhat aware of the past problems the college has had and could see why there might be “a bit of a rub” when looking at Brahmbatt’s previous employment with the college; however, Careghino believes the college “is under a microscope” and that Cambridge was selected based on their extensive experience.

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anniej July 11, 2012 @ 8:05 p.m.

WHEN???????????? will these people learn?

here is a 411 for all would be profiteers - the sleepy little area called the south bay has awakened from the nightmare of corruption.

WE WILL NO LONGER SIT BY AND ALLOW CORRUPTION, THE GOOD OLD BOY/GIRL NETWORK TO SURVIVE. we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. the collaborative efforts of many including whistle blowers brought an end to certain individuals reign - our baby teeth were cut on the sweetwater and southwestern scandal we are much wiser as we learned much.

in others words do not attempt to reinvent the pay to play wheel. we are still here and are not going any where. as a matter of fact we are branching out and forming new alliances creating our own little watch dog network.

the only task left to tackle is national coverage, but trust me we are working on it - and if the past is any indicator as to just how determined we are, be forewarned.


erupting July 11, 2012 @ 8:25 p.m.

Melinda Nish we were hoping you were the real deal,but itseemsyour taking SWC back into the muck and mire that was there before you came. Careful your staff is not as complacent as you might think. The old ways are over. Look around the South Bay it's changing no more pay to play gal.


Jmbrickley July 12, 2012 @ 8:05 a.m.

Just the fact that C.M. Brahmbhatt didn't complete his term as interim vice president of business and finance before he jumped on the consulting gravy-train with a fat, almost 50% raise lets me know the old "business model" is alive and well at SWC.

Superintendent Nish brings one of her "good ol' boys" down from CCCD, sets him up in a cush job, agrees to bump up his salary, and then hires his (ah-hmmm) new company to a fat contract says all I need to know.

Appearances are everything, and it appears to me C.M. Brahmbhatt was installed at SWC for the sole purpose of securing that contract.

"Careghino said he was somewhat aware of the past problems the college..." And there you go folks, someone just lit the candles on the cake. How can a company be "somewhat aware" of the past problems of a college and tout themselves as the expert the college needs?


HereWeGoAgainSWC July 12, 2012 @ 8:43 a.m.

So, all of you SWC employees who needlessly voted for (and ADVOCATED for) the 5% pay cut, how do you feel now??? Your intentions MAY have been noble, using your hearts, rather than your brains & eyes, to make such a foolish decision, but little-by-little the folly of your decision is surfacing. Jobs aren't being saved. How many of the classified staff are being threatened with reduced contracts, and how many part-time faculty are not getting assignments? Imagine going from a 12-month contract to an 11-month contract ON TOP OF a 5% pay cut. That's around a 13% reduction!! Thanks SO much to those who voted for the pay cut!! Ugh!

It's "business as usual" at SWC. SOME of us recognized the pay cut was going to lead to misuse of OUR hard-earned money, but others (including the shameful UNIONS!) should look at their pay stubs each month during the next year and think of C.M. and his INCREASING bank balance! Oh yeah, wasn't it C.M. who was running the show at the "Big Table" where the pay cut was negotiated? Double Ugh!!

What do you say for yourselves now, CSEA and SCEA? Which bus are you going to throw us under this year? Who cares about the administrators? They make too much anyway...including the RAISES certain VPs can now receive. Triple Ugh!!!


anniej July 12, 2012 @ 9:46 p.m.

HereWeGoAgainSWC: it is a darn shame when people take strides for a NOBLE effort and are slapped in the face for it. NO VP's should receive any raise, not one red cent, until and unless the SWC employees are returned to their previous pay.

i hear your frustration, i wish i had the answers, apparently SWC is not returning to days of old when education was the priority - NO instead SWC has made a uturn. i am assuming respect and integrity did not quite equate to the benefits of 'pay to play'.

just my opinion


eastlaker July 12, 2012 @ 9:22 a.m.

Ok--let us be very clear. It is a good idea to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest or somewhat murky history when many eyes are upon you. It would be even better if those in charge would remember to do that even when no one is watching.

But--as others have said, we are watching. We are not interested in being the cesspool of southern California, thanks very much. We want our schools to be free of corruption from top to bottom, just like we want our community to be run by people who will not sell out for promises of higher political positions.

We want people who actually represent the best interests of ourselves and our friends, neighbors and subsequent generations. We do not want things done the easy way, if that brings more corruption. Do it right this time, or go home.


HereWeGoAgainSWC July 12, 2012 @ 9:39 a.m.

Thank you VERY much, eastlaker, for the succinct and meaningful commentary. Regarding "those in charge", let me remind the public that Nish's bosses are the SWC Governing Board, with two seats up for election this fall. Let's see what the incumbents may have to say, and, more importantly, DO about this situation.

Perhaps it's time to infuse NEW BLOOD on the board and bring in folks who can reel in (or perhaps cast back into the sea of the unemployed) Nish and her obvious behavior of blatant cronyism. Whatcha gonna DO about this, Roesch and Peraza? Wanna come back to the board? DO something meaningful to STOP THE SWC MADNESS!


SWC_Teacher July 17, 2012 @ 5:26 a.m.

Humberto Perraza voted against the proposal.


joepublic July 12, 2012 @ 11:13 a.m.

I became suspicious of the new superintendent, Melinda Nish, when she saw no problem with cutting teachers salaries at the same time wanting to raise the vice-presidents' pay. She heard everyone saying, union leaders included, that raising VP's salaries wasn't a problem, but the timing was wrong. She decided not to listen. Well, now we have another issue with this Brahmbhatt/Cambridge contract. Ms Nish, the public has learned many lessons from Southwestern's unscrupulous past, and our memories are fresh. Mr. Careghino is absolutely correct, the college is under a microscope, we are watching your every move, and this one is unacceptable.


cvres July 12, 2012 @ 4:40 p.m.

Hmmm the vp of finance becomes the budget consultant and while he's the budget consultant he/his company bids doing a facilities master plan.

Hmm was he part of setting the 5% cut too?

Yea, now I have a lot of confidence in the SWC situation. I bet I can predict what comes next.


anniej July 12, 2012 @ 9:39 p.m.

let us not forget the sweetwater board member who is under indictment on felony charges - who was put on a temporary leave - while an investigation was done - she is employed at southwestern. pdf's, provided by the union trib clearly show said board member sending emails negotiating alleged favors on southwestern time, using southwestern documents, and with southwestern technology. in the real world, this is grounds for termination, but not at southwestern, no at southwestern she was asked to take a leave but was paid her full salary during that leave.

what is it going to take to clean up the south bay?????????????? it is time to vote them all out of office - one by one vote them out - in their place bring in regular folks WHO WILL REFUSE ANY TYPE OF INCENTIVES in trade for their vote.

we have all heard the saying 'going to hell in a hand basket' my friends currently we are in corruption hell.

just my opinion


HereWeGoAgainSWC July 12, 2012 @ 9:53 p.m.

Ain't it the truth, anniej?? Sheesh! And all of this is taking place while SWC is still dancing on the hot coals of the risk of losing accreditation. Oh, Governing Board, are you paying attention, or are you asleep at the wheel??!!

It didn't take Nish long to get herself "out there" in the corruption circles of the south bay, did it? All of the improprieties reported in this article occurred during her FIRST SEMESTER at SWC. Ol' C.M. Brahmbhatt isn't the only crony whose services Nish has enlisted either. We'll see if additional graft surfaces from those other connections.

Here's a nice ironic twist to this situation. This conspiracy theorist has a feeling Nish knew there'd be trouble brewing soon, as she hired Sweetwater's very own Lillian Leopold, the slippery spin doctor for notorious former Superintendent Jesus Gandara (We all remember HIM, don't we??), on a six-figure salary to be the public information officer at SWC. How's that for more cross-pollination of Sweetwater-SWC corruption??!!

I completely agree, anniej. Let's get to the ballot boxes and chase the rats from the south bay. That's our only solution. Start the campaign against them NOW! Are you listening, Roesch and Peraza?? The drums are beating...

Many thanks to Susan Luzzaro for her excellent work bringing these issues to the minds of the public. Kudos to Susan!!


anniej July 12, 2012 @ 10:20 p.m.

HereWeGoAgainSWC: boy that is a long 'handle' to type - ha ha.

you are absolutely correct, the south bay owes Susan Luzzaro a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. for several years now she has brought us the stories about the plague of alleged corruption at SWC and sweetwater. all one has to do is 'google' either one of these districts and there is The Reader - Susan Luzzaro coverage.

the hiring of leopold, allegedly a hook up by one of sweetwaters board members who personally knows a certain person at SWC. let us not forget that she was complicit in all that 'the gandara' did - as she was the mouthpiece for the bandit from socorro, texas. surely she knew exactly what was going on yet failed to report it. what in the hell were ricasa and cartmill thinking when they brought 'the gandara' here?

the legacy that all of these people will leave - pretty deplorable to say the least. hard to believe that professionals could stoop so low. hmm, maybe that is the problem - they are not professionals -

just my opinion


mayan July 12, 2012 @ 11:26 p.m.

Do not underestimate the campus -- we can be very slow to waken but when we do...look out.


anniej July 13, 2012 @ 10:16 p.m.

Mayan: i am going to hold you to it! it is time for the people to take back what is our right - HONESTY from our public officials. a bit naive, i know, but one has to have faith that change can come from action.

i was a part of the 60's and 70's!!!!!!!!!!!! i believe in power of/to/for the people.


Visduh July 13, 2012 @ 8:10 a.m.

It now may be impossible for SWC to hire an honest, capable president. I mean, who in heck would want to be associated with an operation with the sort of record it has made for itself over the past two decades? If you take the job, you will be forever after associated with and stained with s***. The board can try, try, try to get a CEO with the proper qualities, but ends up settling for someone who will sell his/her reputation for a pile of lucre. The most important step she should have taken, and did not take, was to let everyone know that fat salaries for her cohorts and immediate subordinates would stay frozen until further notice.


anniej July 13, 2012 @ 10:18 p.m.

Visduh: what is it about the south bay and corruption?


Visduh July 20, 2012 @ 8:28 p.m.

Annie, I've hinted at the answer to your question and have been attacked as racist for it. So, let me say that it is cultural, and that the "mordida" driven culture has massively leaked across the border and established itself in the US. If you get into a position of authority and/or discretion, then you milk it for all it's worth in favors, gifts, jobs for relatives, and outright payoffs. The nasty influence of that sort of ethic is not unlike all the untreated sewage that comes across the border every day (and has been coming for decades) to befoul the coastline.


oskidoll July 20, 2012 @ 8:39 p.m.

Well, that seems an easy answer, but it is not. It's too easy to go to the ethnic answer, but that is an easy out. Think about the poor folks in Scranton, PA, who have gone 'belly up' this week. Once lived there, and it is a cesspool of corruption. One could pay a couple of hundred to get one's property taxes lowered...no wonder they have nothing in the coffers. Not 'mordida' but other corruption...call it what you want...mafioso... or mordida, or just plain greed. Those city officials were for sale for a long time...it 'cost' several thousand dollars to 'buy' a job as a police person or a fire fighter...forget a job with the school district...also jobs for sale there.

The saying is that we get the government we deserve, and that is the truth. Doesn't matter the ethnicity...it takes vigilance to protect the public from the public officials. As they said about Nixon, 'a public office is a public 'lust'....Dont' mention Dick Cheney here.

In the 'good old days' most folks cared about what was going on in public meetings. Today, few care to even spend the time. God bless those who do and those who care enough to call them out.


Visduh July 21, 2012 @ 9:58 a.m.

Actually, oskidoll, I grew up in a place much like Scranton. One ethnic group/religion dominated local politics and created a political machine not unlike Tammany Hall in NYC. To keep that corruption in power and to make it at least relatively palatable for the outs, all the other groups got a slice of the pie, but theirs were just much smaller. It would have been all but impossible for the groups on the outs to challenge that machine, and could only have happened if all of them united around a slate of candidates and made sure everyone voted. That wasn't in the cards. There was also the role of the largest employer in town, and how it liked predictability in local politics, and the way it could use its influence when necessary for its well being. It was plugged into that machine. BTW, that dominant group was NOT Latino, Hispanic, or anything like those.


johndewey July 14, 2012 @ 9:15 a.m.

anniej: There's probably corruption in a lot of places that goes unnoticed. But the south bay fortunately has a solid core group of vigilant, civic minded citizens, keeping a keen eye on the actions of our elected officials.


anniej July 14, 2012 @ 7:20 p.m.

johndewey: those 'civic minded citizens' you speak of could sure use a hand - mass attendance at the board meetings would help. the board and interim looking out and seeing disappointed taxpayers who are willing to attend and voice the opinions would send the clear message - that the south bay, as a whole, is fed up with 'business as usual' at the district.

we need 4 new board members, a new superintendent, and 'some' new district personnel - at the very least.


mngcornaglia July 15, 2012 @ 3:09 a.m.

Does Dumanis have this infomation? Is she interested at all?


ktyner July 15, 2012 @ 2:27 p.m.

Response to July 11, 2012 San Diego Reader article, “Questionable Contract for Southwestern College,’ written by Susan Luzzaro

Dear Reader:

I am writing in response to the July 11, 2012 San Diego Reader article, “Questionable Contract for Southwestern College,” written by Susan Luzzaro, and wish to provide information about the process that Southwestern Community College (SWC) followed with regard to Request for Proposals (RFP) 134: Educational and Facilities Master Plans, since this information was not included in the San Diego Reader article. The details about the RFP 134 process are contained in an addendum to the publicly posted July 11, 2012 Governing Board agenda. (http://bit.ly/NkkdeA)

In the interest of due diligence, encouraging fair competition, and transparency, the District followed an RFP process to identify the proposal that best fit the needs of the District and to procure the best value contract. The process was rigorous, fair, and conducted in compliance with the law (Government Code 53060 and Public Contracts Code 20111 – 20651). Thirty-one firms were sent the RFP, seven firms attended the pre-proposal meeting, and four firms submitted proposals.

As the co-lead of this RFP process, I can attest to the thoughtful manner in which all proposals were evaluated. An extensive review process was conducted using pre-established criteria provided in the RFP. Teams from three contracting firms were invited to interview with the RFP 134 Interview Committee.

RFP 134 Interview Committee was responsible for selection of the contracting firm to be recommended to Dr. Melinda Nish, SWC Superintendent / President, for submission to the SWC Governing Board. This Committee was composed of six members including administrators as well as two faculty representatives of the Academic Senate. Superintendent/President Nish was NOT part of the RFP 134 Interview Committee. The the final selection of a contracting firm by the RFP 134 Interview Committee was a unanimous decision.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the facts about the process used for SWC’s RFP 134: Educational and Facilities Master Plan. We look forward to the development of an exceptional plan that will guide SWC into the future.


Kathy Tyner, M.S. Vice President for Academic Affairs Southwestern College


eastlaker July 16, 2012 @ 9:15 a.m.

Why am I not convinced regarding this process, despite your well-crafted letter? Because you likely had assistance from a legal team (nothing wrong with that...)? Because if the 'insider deal' was already understood, it is still possible for committee members to go through the motions, or to say they went through the motions, and merely conclude what they always intended to conclude. Again, when relationships are too cozy, they call attention to themselves. And this relationship is more than just too cozy.


anniej July 16, 2012 @ 9:43 p.m.

Ms. Tyner: with all due respect - where was all of this responsible evaluation of proposals and awarding of contracts earlier on? please understand the taxpaying public of the south bay are sick of being spun. the proof is in the puddin' - the only problem is SWC is looking to use INSTANT puddin' and expecting us to buy into the belief that all is well at SWC. two recent decisions sort of exposed that the yellow CAUTION flag is still raised.

1- the hiring of lillian leopold, the very person who was the spokesperson for 'the gandara'. while i understand she was trying to keep her job under his reign, it sure would have saved alot of grief from the alleged corruption if she would have participated in a whistle blowers action.

2- the bring back of ricasa, it is my understanding that the alleged use of of southwestern's fax machine, computers, email, letter head is prohibited and grounds for dismissal. so why was she brought back? did the board not review the union tribune pdf's? i mean there it was in black and white, allegedly typed by her own hand - or are you trying to make us believe that it was not your southwestern fax machine, computer, email, or letter head that she allegedly used?

we here in the south bay will no longer be duped - enough is enough!


Visduh July 21, 2012 @ 10:02 a.m.

annie, you need not preface your comments to this educrat with "with all due respect." She's just an overpaid mouthpiece for the district and its administration. She is entitled to make her comments in this blog, and those are subject to support or criticism, but her position accords her only civility, maybe courtesy, but no respect that she has not earned.


Susan Luzzaro July 15, 2012 @ 5:02 p.m.

Ms. Tyner, thank you for your comment. The process was not the focus of the article. And, if I am not mistaken, the addendum was posted late. Nor did the article state or imply that Nish was part of the RFP process. However, I am certain that your response will be of interest to readers. Susan


HereWeGoAgainSWC July 15, 2012 @ 11:59 p.m.

Good luck getting SWC administrators to stick to the issues, Susan. The VP's response is all-too-typical of how the administration does business. Smokescreens, diversionary parlor tricks, deflections of fact and truth distortion are the tools of the SWC administration trade.

Their modus operandi: "If you can't dazzle 'em with your brilliance, baffle 'em with your bull excrement..."


Visduh July 20, 2012 @ 8:31 p.m.

Whenever they proclaim transparency in decision-making you can bet it was just the opposite, hidden from view, and designed to benefit the chosen few.


johndewey July 16, 2012 @ 8:43 a.m.

Ms. Tyner misses the point entirely. This college needs to go a long way to regain the public's trust, and by contracting with the company that one of their former vice-presidents partially owns, is a giant step backwards. It's not the process in question here, it's the problem of insider advantage that the college evidently sees nothing wrong with.


HereWeGoAgainSWC July 16, 2012 @ 10:01 a.m.

AMEN, johndewey, AMEN! Your point is very well-taken and is a direct bullseye hit. The public trust in SWC is shot to heck, and Ms. Tyner's response is a prime example of the "leadership" (note the quotes) problems that led to SWC accreditation woes.

Just because faculty were on that farce of an RFP committee, that's no guarantee to prevent or prohibit "under the table" deals that may have taken place outside the committee. Faculty were on the committees that hired past presidents like Zasueta and Chopra. Where did those committees' efforts take us?

Ms. Tyner, don't try to divert attention from the facts with your attempt to place some of the responsibility on faculty. Check the identified negative accreditation issues. The SWC faculty were NOT at the heart of the "ding" SWC received from WASC. Hold up the mirror and share it with Nish and the others at the top of the pyramid to see where the real problems lie. Oh how so many of us long for REAL leadership (without the quotes) at SWC.

Of course the board is on the hook here, too. Let's not forget the November elections. Peraza...Roesch...are you reading and listening? Did you see the razor-thin margin by which your buddy Valladolid won her seat last time against someone who was a near-unknown entity? That's a sign of how UN-liked incumbents are nowadays. House-cleaning seems to be a perpetual process among SWC board seats. To interested responsible community leaders: Step up and show your concern by throwing your hat in the ring for a board seat. We need you!


EyesWideOpen July 16, 2012 @ 3:01 p.m.

While I don't agree with some of the decisions that have been made at SWC, I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Give Nish a chance before you start lumping her in with the likes of Chopra and Zasueta...she hasn't even been here a year and walked into a huge mess. She is smart, hard-working, and I believe looking out for the best interest of the college.

As for the contract for the Educational and Facilities Master Plan, even if this company was the best bang-for-the-buck or the most qualified, it wouldn't have been my choice to go with them. It wasn't hard to predict that we would see comments like the ones we're seeing here. The president and the board gave you a soft ball pitch…what an easy target, even if your concerns are based on perception of dirty dealing rather than reality.

I was at that board meeting and it was not well attended…I'm pretty sure that most all of you that commented were not in attendance. I'm not sure why you are bashing Peraza when he is the one constantly questioning these contracts and voted no on this particular one. These negative comments are wearing me out...I'm going to wait until I have something to complain about while I keep my eyes wide open.


eastlaker July 16, 2012 @ 4:21 p.m.

What is sticking in the craw the most, is the way that educators agreed to pay cuts, and now there is a guy who switched teams from SWC employee to very highly remunerated contract worker--and there is all sorts of money for him. While I respect your opinion, it is this item that sticks out like a sore thumb and begs for attention.


bonitaresident July 16, 2012 @ 9:21 p.m.

EyesWideOpen - I have no reason to doubt the facts presented in this article. Based on those facts I believe we have reason to worry. Then there is the question that remains to be answered why was Arlie Ricasa brought back if things have 'changed so much'?


cvres July 16, 2012 @ 5:43 p.m.

Suppose Sweetwater supe Ed Brand had a company that did Facilities Master Plans and after he steps down as interim he is given a contract to decide the educational and facilities direction for Sweetwater?


eastlaker July 16, 2012 @ 5:54 p.m.

That is kind of like what is happening now, because we are paying "Ed Brand and Associates", as per his contract. Again, this is also a problem, because the district needed to apply for 'special dispensation' to allow his exemption to continue beyond 1 year, and they were late in making the application. So---Ed Brand and Associates shouldn't still be in the position of interim superintendent...

But I get what you are saying...he could hire his permanent replacement, with an under the counter deal so that whatever version of himself he wants to sell to Sweetwater again, they will buy, no questions asked. And, to my mind, that would be a problem. But then, I see many problems with Sweetwater and SWC. Must be time for new (rose-colored) glasses.


anniej July 16, 2012 @ 9:46 p.m.

Cvres: please!!!!!!!!!!!!! don't give me him any freakin' ideas.


Visduh July 16, 2012 @ 7:29 p.m.

The corruption starts with the boards, and will end when the boards are voted out and replaced with members whose interests are educational, not political. When these self-aggrandizers who dominate the boards are no longer allowed to pursue their personal goals, things will change. But how many "reform" slates have come and gone from the SWC and Sweetwater boards with no real change, no reform, and no honesty?


bonitaresident July 16, 2012 @ 9:16 p.m.

Visduh - Much discussion around town regarding the person who is going to run against Pearl Quinones. While I prefer not to jinx it, if the person I am told is running against her is voted in and Arlie Ricasa is found guilty we would then hopefully find ourselves with the pendulum swinging the other way.

Then there is the issue of the recall. If Jim Cartmill and John Mc Cann are recalled victory will be realized. The task then will be deciding who will take their places. I know Karen Janney would be an excellent candidate to take Jim Cartmill's place. They ran against each other; hers was a grass roots effort while his financial support, in the thousands upon thousands of dollars came from those looking to prosper under the bond program of Prop O. She after all was terminated by this very board under Dr. Gandara's reign. Persons like Karen Janney did not show the same lack of integrity that Dr. Gandara so valued; which is undoubtedly the reason for his drive to terminate her. Many like Karen Janney were driven out by Dr. Gandara and this board; it appears that the headlines of the past year or so are indicative of the real reason they were let go.


SWC_Teacher July 17, 2012 @ 5:25 a.m.

Given the recent history at SWC and Sweetwater, C.M. Brahmbhatt and Cambridge West should not have submitted a proposal. Given this same history, the SWC Governing Board should not have considered a proposal from "insiders"--even if it was the best and the cheapest.

It's clear that administration and the Board still don't get it. The ONLY exception is Humberto Perraza. He was the only Board member who spoke--and voted--against it. We should remember this when we vote in November.


anniej July 17, 2012 @ 7:02 a.m.

SWC_Teacher: it is apparent there is still more work to be done at SWC and sweetwater, well, it has not even taken the first step to regaining its credibility thus far, in my opinion.

it appears that change will only be brought forward thru the ballot - oh, and via the DA's office (sorry had to throw that in). it is imperative that persons like yourself share your opinions and voice your concerns regarding the issues that pertain to SWC in formats such as these. while i live down here, i am embarrassed to say i have little expertise on the majority of the players at SWC. facts and data regarding the issues are what is needed. sweetwater, well, that is another issue - hell, i could write a book on the cast of characters in that true life horror film.

are you aware of the RECALL efforts for mccann, cartmill and ricasa? there is a facebook page RECALL SWEETWATER that provides information on how to help the effort - if you and others you know should be so inclined.

hopefully by working together we will soon see the day (after the elections) where education is the primary focus of these two educational institutions.


EyesWideOpen July 17, 2012 @ 6:16 p.m.

Aren't school boards an antiquated idea from the 1700's? It gave local communities control over the education of their children back when communication was practically impossible. Today school districts are too large and the issues too complex to keep local control by laypeople. Let's just eliminate school boards altogether. CSU and UC's seem to make it work without local boards, we can too. We spend way too much time, energy and money on a system that is broken before we ever get started.

Good luck with your recall, Sweetwater. You deserve change but that is a tough way to go. Even if you can successfully get a recall election for McCann, Cartmill and Ricasa, do you have candidates you can endorse to replace them? Not that many qualified people are willing to put their political necks on the line for either SUHSD or SWC these days.


anniej July 17, 2012 @ 8:35 p.m.

EyesWideOpen: "but that is a tough way to go" - well, anything worth having is fighting for, and while i am not a part of the RECALL i do support their efforts, and do believe integrity is worth fighting for. oh goodness, i used the words 'fighting for' before i continue on let me clarify that word - I DO NOT MEAN 'fighting for' IN THE VIOLENT SENSE OF THE WORD. that is all i need, a TRO filed by mccann because he felt threatened by anniej; and the expenditures of even more south bay tax dollars used for his legal representation against me in court.

as i often share with my children, i am a product of the 60's and 70's. yes, i was one of those "hell no we won't go" - (as if i was going anywhere) . my dad, who served two tours in vietnam, who loved me dearly, had visions of putting me up for adoption vs claiming that this zealous hellion was his pride and joy - oh the memories........ ha ha i believe in showing up, i believe in speaking up, and i believe in putting up (time and effort to ensure change). persons like my father, and his father and most likely many of your fathers fought to protect our rights, as well as many fathers, brother, uncles and cousins today - and they fought to make this nation great! they did not fight for the right for alleged corrupted public officials to use the system vs serve the taxpayers.

as i sit here and think about the validity of communities having control over the education i consider the options - and am not of the opinion where i would want others to have that control. lets face it, the system is broken at sweetwater and SWC due to the public falling asleep at the wheel. the masses voted and then trusted that those given the power would use their expertise to establish the best education possible. what we never banked on was the alleged corruption that has been exposed. what we never banked on was a board president who would seek out a past superintendent who initially left under a cloud of suspicion i.e. grand jury that looked into prop bb. when 'the gandara' was retired not fired FOR CAUSE we applauded, we celebrated. he was gone, he was outta here. little did we know that a second legal opinion had been kept from the other board members by john mccann, then board president - that second opinion had to do with the fact that 'the gandara' could have been fired for cause. why hasn't john mccann ever answered the question "WHY DID YOU KEEP THE SECOND OPINION FROM YOUR FELLOW BOARD MEMBERS?" another question i continue to ask is this:

HOW THE HELL DID BRAND FIND HIS WAY TO OUR BOARD MEETING AT 2:00 am that eventful day? who had the discussion with him? who invited him? surely it was NOT john mccann????????????

what was it my grandmother use to say "honey, that is like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and that is the way i feel with brand heading up this cast of fools. are they fools anniej?


Visduh July 20, 2012 @ 8:40 p.m.

Eyes, are you proposing that the state just run the schools from a central bureaucracy in Sacramento? Oh yeah, it would cut out all the cost of having boards, board meetings, superintendent salary contracts, duplicate management of schools, and all sorts of things like that. But do you REALLY think that pack of idiots who have made a miserable mess of the entire state government and economy can do better? If you do, you belong in a parallel universe, but definitely not this one.


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