Sgt. Harris listens to Stewart Payne's report, May 7
  • Sgt. Harris listens to Stewart Payne's report, May 7
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JDS Exclusive Security Services was contracted by the Sweetwater Union High School District to provide guards for the May 7 board meeting. The company also provided guards for the April 16 meeting, after which John McCann claimed he was threatened by Stewart Payne, one of five people who took corruption allegations to the district attorney.

The incident was detailed on these pages on April 17.

JDS security guard Jorge Sanchez was present during the conflict. He subsequently provided McCann with a statement that enabled McCann to request and have granted a temporary restraining order against Payne. (Though, the night of the incident, Sanchez told this reporter that he didn’t call police because “at no time did I feel it was necessary.”) The hearing will take place on May 9.

At the May 7 board meeting, Payne presented documents to the board from the state’s Bureau of Security and Investigative Services that demonstrated Sanchez, who was wearing a holster the night of the April 16 incident, had his firearm permit cancelled. (The bureau confirmed May 8 that Sanchez’s permit had been cancelled.)

When the board did not act on the matter, Payne took his concerns to Chula Vista police, who were stationed outside the Sweetwater board meeting. Sgt. Kelly Harris took the complaint and said he would give it to Sgt. Michael Walden of the Special Investigations Unit the next day.

Sgt. Walden said in an interview on May 8 that he had verified Sanchez’s permit was cancelled “for personal reasons.” Walden said it was unlikely that there would be an investigation because it was a “stale misdemeanor and was not in the presence of an officer.”

Walden said if there was a gun in Sanchez's holster, it might not have been loaded. Why not ask Sanchez if he had a firearm and if the firearm was loaded? Walden said in the case of a cancelled license, he doubted that a truthful answer would be forthcoming.

He said, however, if there were a similar incident, in the presence of an officer, “by all means we would take enforcement actions.”

JDS did not return phone calls.

In the interest of full disclosure: The author has provided a statement for the May 9 hearing based on her observations and the April 17 interview with Sanchez.

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joepublic May 9, 2012 @ 9:32 a.m.

It makes you wonder what screening process the district used to hire this agency, if any.


erupting May 9, 2012 @ 9:35 a.m.

Talk about detail oriented investigative reporting wow. It is a pleasure to see fact based reporting for a change. Everyone has been questioning the one sided reporting thus far by the UT and Star News. KUSI and Channel 10 appear to be neutral as does the Reader. Everyone says it's the political environment at present. That scares me if that's true. I believe McCann's history of playing the victim will be over today politics or not.


anniej May 9, 2012 @ 10:51 a.m.



savesweetwater May 9, 2012 @ 11:09 a.m.

I agree. Great reporting, well written article. I used to think the Reader was just about food and entertainment. Now, I am so impressed by the reporting I read it regularly for the news.


anniej May 9, 2012 @ 9:53 a.m.

makes you wonder who, at the district, knew these guys?

REALLY MAKES YOU REALIZE THAT SWEETWATER really does not give a ruddy rat about the taxpaying citizens in this community or their children. CHILDREN ATTEND THESE BOARD MEETINGS - and now we learn that wanna be cops, toting their big guns, attached to their big thighs ARE NOT EVEN TRAINED OR AUTHORIZED TO DO SO.

what in the world is going on - i have heard of a police state - but if you are going to police me - POLICE ME WITH REAL POLICE. ah, hello dr. brand - now what was that you said back in june? something about returning sweetwater to its former greatness. well it seems as though YOU HAVE FAILED.

at mondays board meeting REAL POLICE, WITH BIG GUNS, ATTACHED TO THEIR BIG THIGHS were present - and yet their ability to handle a REAL CROWD, a crowd of about 300 - not the 12 that mccann referred to as large and hostile - was in keeping with their professional training. now i am not disparaging all security firms, i am sure there are many that are excellent. but this rag tag group associated with mccann's perceived threat of being in fear for his own safety. gotta make you wonder, no, gotta make you know that mccann, truly is not a person who deserves to be in public office. if he can not professionally conduct himself when dealing with a group of 5, 3 of which are women and 2 of men whose average age is about 51 verbally and without HE HIMSELF provoking what HE perceives to be an incident then it is time for him to change his facebook page description to 'proud father and loving husband' (both of which i am sure he is) and leave it at that. no more office for him, not as school board member, not as city council member, and most assuredly NOT AS MAYOR OR ASSEMBLYMAN. your pasture is waiting john, it is time to go. there are plenty of other little bulls out their grazing that would love to hear your war stories.

but this fiasco - it is the last straw.


Jmbrickley May 9, 2012 @ 9:59 a.m.

If a student brings any weapon to school, even a 1" blade, that student will be expelled. A BB gun, loaded or not; a pellet gun, loaded or not; it doesn't matter. School safety is paramount.

So, here we have an adult without a gun permit, bringing what I believe was either a loaded 9mm automatic pistol, or a loaded .40 S&W automatic pistol, or a loaded .45 APC into a public SUHSD school board meeting and no one is responsible?

Dr. Brand hired this guy, to insure safety for the Board members. What about the public? What about the young children present at the meeting? If Dr. Brand isn't responsible for the safety of the board meetings, then who is?

The guy had a GUN in his holster. I have pictures of him that night that clearly show the gun. I looked at the gun that night, and this was no plastic replica. There was a magazine in the gun. To assume that it was "unloaded" is ludicrious.

Clearly, the President of the Board, Pearl Quinones, has lost control of her own Board room, Clearly, Dr. Brand, the Superintendent has lost control of providing a safe environment for the public.

Sweetwater Union High School District school board meetings are no longer safe to attend. If I can't feel safe while I'm exercising my 1st Ammendment rights because there might be unlicenced gun totten lawbreakers in the room, provided by the very leadership of the District to enforce new draconian rules of conduct at the meetings, where will I be able to safely give voice to my concerns?


Jmbrickley May 9, 2012 @ 10:03 a.m.

meant to say" gun totin' lawbreakers"


Jmbrickley May 9, 2012 @ 10:07 a.m.

As long as I'm on the subject of gun totin', the whole situation at Sweetwater is beginning to resemble a B-grade spaghetti western. You know the plot, the outlaw gang controls the town; harasses, intimidates, threatens the townfolk. Then a few good citizens try to take their town back, and the bad guys bring in a few "hired guns."


savesweetwater May 9, 2012 @ 11:05 a.m.

LOL! Love it! What a great parallel... I know it really isn't funny - it is actually very sad, but sometimes you just have to laugh.....


SydneyJean May 9, 2012 @ 9:20 p.m.

Jmbrickley, more like Blazing Saddles.


anniej May 9, 2012 @ 10:33 a.m.

Mr. Brickley: you speak of rights, i believe you are kidding yourself Sir. pearl quinones, board president is doing everything in her power to take away the right of FREEDOM OF SPEECH -

she refused to change the venue which would have allowed more taxpaying community members to attend

she is now at every board meeting limiting the comments to 2 minutes

she is picking and choosing which items can be addressed

now i know that you are a very intelligent person so i don't have to tell you, but lets face it brand is the one directing these meetings. he is most likely telling her, "do this pearl and IT will keep their comments regarding your felony indictments to a minimum".

them few good citizens, well they do not need guns to take the town of sweetwater back, no, they have Constitutional Law - State Law - yes, it will take longer, but you and i know it is just a matter of time before they are all lead out of town single file - i can picture it now - stuart payne will be riding the big horse - behind him tied to a long rope will be john mccan - no doubt calling out and needing to be dragged like a spoiled child "this just ain't fair, i served in the war" - behind him will be brand "ah, blah, blah, blah, RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED", then we will have cartmill filling order for vitamins on his IPAD 2 as he treads along, behind him will be ricasa "but i was voted one of the most influential women of the year" (and you say that to say what - the voting committee had not learned of your indictment?) -------- trailing behind, at the very end, will be pearl quinones "ah, mr. payne, could you ride a little slower, my hair, my hair - the dust is getting in my hair" ------- and off in the distance will be the few that support them welcoming this bunch into their new town BUT WITH THE CAVIAT - YOU MAY NOT HOLD ANY OFFICE ITS NOT THAT WE DON'T TRUST YOU, ITS JUST, WELL, WELL, WE DON'T TRUST YOU


savesweetwater May 9, 2012 @ 11:19 a.m.

So, the Sweetwater District hires a company without doing due diligence , and pays to bring in someone who doesn't follow the law and tells different (diametrically opposite even) stories to different people.... does anyone see a pattern here? This is how everything happens in Sweetwater.

The leadership in the district has lost control and is NOT looking out for the best interests of the district staff and students. This community, any community, deserves better.

ps - wonder if someone in district leadership has a friend who works at JDS?


anniej May 9, 2012 @ 5:42 p.m.

the district, especially pearl quinones and brand need to be held responsible for - what did you politely call them "diametrically opposite stories" - i could not agree more.

it is time for the taxpaying citizens to send a clear message - you will stop with the inconsistent stories - AND STOP NOW.

one would have thought that they would have learned by now that it is wrong to lie to the community.


cvres May 9, 2012 @ 10:21 p.m.

I agree with the many comments made by Visduh, the longer the DA delays, the more problems there are for the people who live in these communities and more importantly for the people who caused this investigation in the first place.


anniej May 9, 2012 @ 11:17 p.m.

Cvres: yes it is clearly apparent that the district is looking to silence those that were named in the da's request for those searches. it would make their lives a heck of alot easier if they did not have these interested community members monitoring things.

i am wondering what the next strategic move will be to muzzle those that have been dubbed 'the antagonists'.

this whole situation is simply unacceptable.


Visduh May 12, 2012 @ 9:10 p.m.

If the board, Brandara, and others involved with the district really thought that there was a danger of something like a riot breaking out, or if people were in real physical danger, the task would have been to get enough sworn law enforcement personnel there to protect them. That would have involved primarily the Chula Vista PD, but also could have involved cops from other PD's from cities within that district, such as National City, and the sheriff who is responsible for Imperial Beach, plus the SDPD (San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.) With all of them contributing, there would have been no need to hire guns.

This starts to look like something that happened in the power grabs by Hitler, Mussolini, and other dictators around the world in the last century. This whole picture screams for the attention of the DA, the attorney general, and the state board of education, along with the state superintendent of public instruction. All of those agencies and office holders are sworn to uphold the laws and to keep the peace.

What would have happened if someone had actually gotten violent at the meeting? Would those rent-a-cops have known what to do? Would one or more have drawn his large-caliber handgun and opened fire? The situation there could have become very nasty very quickly, and have had tragic consequences. What have we come to when a school board has to hire guns to menace attendees at its meetings? Saying that this is simply unacceptable is a gross understatement.


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