Image from Ed Brand's video  explanation of open boundaries
  • Image from Ed Brand's video explanation of open boundaries
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Although no meeting notice has been posted on the Sweetwater Union High School District website, several reliable South Bay community members are passing around the information that the Sweetwater board will hold a special meeting September 6. The purpose of the meeting is purportedly to begin the process of offering interim superintendent Ed Brand a contract.

Brand has been serving on the board on a temporary basis since last June, when ex-superintendent Jesus Gandara was given a juicy severance package. (Gandara is currently under indictment for several charges involving corruption at Sweetwater.) Brand has been receiving $20,000 a month and five weeks’ paid vacation as an independent contractor.

According to a June 29 Union-Tribune article, last year, “Brand took home $240,000 in pay on top of $118,080 in pension. Under the new [state] rules, retirees in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System who choose to go back to work [for] an employer in the system will now be limited to $31,020 in earnings per fiscal year — whether they are on staff or, like Brand, a consultant doing the work of a staff person.”

Though Brand has been interim superintendent for just over a year, his tenure has been marked by conflict. The most recent conflict came with his “open boundaries program,” which parents believe is negatively impacting their children’s education.

Under the program, students can attend any school within the district, regardless of where they live. Parents who live on the east side of Chula Vista report that this program, which was introduced at the beginning of this academic year, resulted in overcrowding, delays in students receiving textbooks, and traffic problems.

Parents were disappointed when Brand backed out of a meeting planned for August 30 and instead posted his explanation about open boundaries on the district’s website. Another meeting has been scheduled for the second week of September.

If the board calls a special meeting on September 6, they are required to post the agenda on the district website 24 hours in advance.

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erupting Sept. 2, 2012 @ 9:02 a.m.

It's unbelievable that this board will vote to give Brand a contract but we all know they will. Brand is repeating his actions that got him fired in San Marcos. He's brought his cronies back as consultants, he even hired one of their wives as a teacher in the new charter school(McLaughlin. Brand, McCann,and yes folks Cartmill are asking for donations for Burt Grossman's campaign for Board of Trustee vs Bertha Lopez. Since Lopez got rid of the crook Gandara (which McCann takes credit for) the board and Brand have been seeking candidates to run against Lopez. Yes, that 5ft package is dangerous to all of them. At the last board mtg. She wanted to know why McCann's legal fees that were close to 8,000 were paid for by the district. I bet that answer will never come. McCann lost his bid in court against a citizen he didn't like and the judge saw through the scam. Thus McCann should pay for his own attorney. I bet Brand gets the same parachute clause in his contract that Gandara's exit clause had(tax payers pay attorney fees whether guilt or innocent) I can't wait to see this contract,it will probably be the largest give away in district history.Brand is at war with the Eastlake parents and totally disrespectful to them(with board backing) fighting the BOC and now on a spending frenzy of our tax dollars(new charter school on the horizon) God help us all.


anniej Sept. 2, 2012 @ 1:13 p.m.

"although no meeting has been posted" - surely Ms. Luzzaro you jest, suhsd is, in no way interested in keeping the taxpaying public involved in sweetwaters business. secretive, behind closed doors, under the table, obstructionist, shell games - but a few of the synonyms used to describe and define the business of suhsd.

opening up the boundaries has created a mess, if you take the time to review the commonly asked questions on brands message you will note that the population numbers brand gives are from 2008. perhaps he lost track of time as well as integrity this is almost 2013. why not give the attendance numbers of 2009, 2010, and 2011

communicating with the taxpayer via internet vs personal forum - ah hello, this is not a job that you phone in - ESPECIALLY WHEN you are getting paid $240.000.00 a year. and then there is this issue of 5 WEEKS VACATION PAY, when did that happen, when did the board vote that in?

come on south bay, WAKE THE HELL UP, brans is looking to solidify this contract because he sees the writing on the wall - he no longer is simply facing 'the antagonists' he is now facing:

the men of integrity that currently serve on the bond oversight committee - such a disappointment these guys are to brand, for they will not be dictated to - hell the group has FORGOTTEN MORE about construction, business, construction management, and laws pertaining to building then brand will ever know. and that just bugs brand to death. hopefully the welcomed new members will bring with them the same integrity, but not worry any plants will surely be identified sooner vs later.

the elections, brand has allegedly been hard at work denying any relationship with candidate grossman, even though he is out there beating the bushes at every function he attends promoting 'his guy'. i am hearing administrators have been asked for donations for the past nfl player who team mates allegedly referred to as 'a guy who was not known for telling the truth'. hmm now i get the connection. google offers an abundance of info - don't you just love the internet. offers up the info and allows you to connect all of the dots. but then there were all of those brand/grossman meetings on brands calendar.

the concerned eastlake folks. their childrens lives have been negatively impacted. the students education negatively impacted, their very own community now dealing with even more traffic. and he respects you by sending you a web message. HOW DO YOU LIKE BRAND NOW???????

BRAND WANTS THE CONTRACT SO HE CAN DO WHAT HE DID UP NORTH - when he is let go we will be forced to buy out his contract. you wait and see, our weak board will most likely allow him to write his own contract - 'you tell us what you want and it is yours' just like they did with 'the gandara'. mr cartmill this is an open suggestion for you: write the contract as if you solely were paying for it. remember this is a business that you are suppose to be overseeing.


anniej Sept. 2, 2012 @ 1:18 p.m.

parents who had transportation pulled out from under them. add them to the UNhappy camper list.

board members who have raised the ire of the entire south bay community - a community just itching to clean house. ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH BRAND OR PAST CORRUPTION THEY WANT GONE. and yes johnny boy this definitely refers to you, after all, YOU JOHN MCCANN brought brand here that night WITH NO COMMUNITY INPUT and we remember when you stood in many of our living rooms promising not to take contractor donations, even though you had already taken said contributions. (check registrar of voters for verification, pay particular attention to monies donated by paul bunton companies (bca) and mr flores - these names ring a bell? they should both pleaded guilty in the pay to play scandal that plagued sweetwater and southwestern).


cvres Sept. 2, 2012 @ 1:34 p.m.

I think Sweetwater has too many of the same people and the same problems recirculating. It's time for a new superintendent--fresh air.


bonitaresident Sept. 2, 2012 @ 3:22 p.m.

I was told that John Mc Canns wife has told some people that her husband is interested in replacing Dr. Brand. Why would she be saying that?


erupting Sept. 2, 2012 @ 4:12 p.m.

Probably because John was a day late,and tried to take credit for Gandara when it was a done deal once Lopez made her press statement about Gandara. Obviously Mrs.McCann is smarter than her husband,she seems to realize that the public is fed up. I don't think John will do anything but vote for Brand's contract,after all he wears the uniform as we all have been told over and over and over.


SydneyJean Sept. 2, 2012 @ 6:30 p.m.

Ed Brand came back to the SUHSD because Sweetwater was in his blood. While I think that his intensions were good, his year is more than up and he has failed to be what folks had hoped he would be. The Board of Trustees needs to take a step back and look at what they may be getting ready to do. The fact of the matter is the Board needs to look for someone with fresh eyes that has the ability to get everyone one in the same direction. There is a reason the Board let Ed Brand go previously. They need to be collaborative and get community and staff input as to what the expectations are. They need to not go to the same "superintendent search company" as it seems this group seems to get regurgitated superintendents, freshen up their resumes and poof, we have another castoff. The Board has a unique opportunity to start fresh, get all stakeholders involved and begin the healing process for everyone. Let's see if this decision will not be based on taking care of someone who "we like"' but rather on doing the right thing. The staff and community deserve this much. Come on folks we need a fresh start.


eastlaker Sept. 2, 2012 @ 7:57 p.m.

I appreciate your thoughts, yet I would ascribe a rather more bleak view regarding why Ed Brand returned to Sweetwater. Put simply, Sweetwater is the only place Ed's arbitrary, unilateral and pernicious decision-making could be tolerated. But he is finding out that--even here, he will no longer be tolerated.

Brand has been assuming that the public here in SUHSD consists of ill-educated and lackadaisical sheep who lack the gumption to stand up for what they know and believe to be right. He is wrong--we will not tolerate his corruption and conspicuous disregard for the public weal.


anniej Sept. 2, 2012 @ 7:29 p.m.

people are always asking how in the world this cast of characters all ended up at sweetwater - here is but a bit of what is sweetwater politics. after reading you should, like me, realize exactly what is going on.

  • pearl quinones, indicted board member was a child of socorro, texas
  • 'the gandara' aka jesus gandara was found in socorro, texas by jim cartmill and arlie ricasa.
  • 'corruptor at law' (my opinion) aka bonny garcia was sweetwaters x legal mind.
  • john nunez, x city council member of rosemead, california and the recipient of a campaign donation from pearl quinones - but here is the corker - all of those who donated monies into her campaign - well the monies she donated into his campaign came out of her campaign fund. no, i am not kidding.

so let me complete this circle for you - jim cartmill and arlie ricasa travel to socorro, texas to bring jesus gandara back here where pearl quinones resides and is a board member. bonny garcia allegedly backed by 'the gandara' becomes the main legal counsel for the board. john nunez, the city council member gets bonny garcia hired as the legal counsel for his city. then john nunez is 'accused' of making an off color remark about a colleagues wife and is then accused of sexual harassment. when nunez's bid for re election to the city council fails he then applies for unemployment benefits as an unemployed council member AND GETS IT. and what else did bonny garcia do for us? well he brokered 'the gandara's' sweet retirement deal when all along john mccann allegedly had in his possession a legal opinion (which he failed to deliver to his other board members) which stated 'the gandara' could be fired for cause.

now doesn't all of this make you warm and fuzzy about the persons running our district?

no wonder the community is voting for CAMERON and LOPEZ for the SUHSD board, they will be the:

BROOM AND DUST PAN TO CLEAN THIS DISTRICT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 2, 2012 @ 8:31 p.m.

anniej--even though I had reported on it, so much washes through the brain that a person forgets --which is to say, I had forgotten that Dr. Brand has already had a contract buy out in north county...

It's good to have people remember and remind the readers about the chronology of events.


Jmbrickley Sept. 3, 2012 @ 6:58 a.m.

Susan-- Ed Brand was also bought out of his contract when he was superintendent at Sweetwater before he landed in San Marcos. Between the two districts, I would think he has pocketed between $800-900 thousand dollars. Just think of it! Almost a million dollars to be fired. By the time Brand has worn out his welcome here in the south bay for the second time, his plan is to get all he can on the way out.

"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

George W. Bush


anniej Sept. 2, 2012 @ 10:49 p.m.

susan: it is a shame that any of us have to take any amount of time exposing the truth. one would think when elected into office as our board has been; or hired as our superintendent has been that they would have the integrity and sense of public responsibility to do what is right - oh wait a minute, that is right anniej needs to be reminded she is not in 'wonderland' she is in the south bay - where very little about the leadership appears to follow the golden rule.

"it's good to have people like me" no, not at all, it is good to have news organizations like The Reader who report news vs. play politics. YOU have been reporting on southwestern and sweetwater FOREVER, and all of the folks down here appreciate your fair and unbiased reporting of the facts. reminds me of the days of huntley/brinkley and mike wallace - so few good reporters left. The Reader has become very popular down here, it seems to be the only real news we get. the 'other' paper (?) is all about providing the subscriber with the 'other papers' agenda - and to add insult onto injury YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.


Jmbrickley Sept. 3, 2012 @ 6:42 a.m.

There is an online "public vote of no-confidence" located at:

If you would care to add your voice to the growing number of people who are fed up with the actions of this "consultant," then please join us by adding your name to this effort.

Thank you,

John Brickley


anniej Sept. 3, 2012 @ 10:42 a.m.

Jmbrickley: hopefully all reading this post will forward it onto their contacts and those contacts will do the same. if you believe sweetwater students and taxpayers deserve better, please take the time to vote and pass along to ALL YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!


Visduh Sept. 3, 2012 @ 9:36 a.m.

Generally, in fact almost every time, when a school administrator like Brandara starts to take his/her fat STRS pension, that's the end of the public education career. The fact that Brand is willing to lose his unearned income in order to go back to employment with a school district tells us much about him and the employer. (Precisely what it tells us is not clear, but some generalizations are in order.) A dictionary definition of "megalomania" includes such things of illusions of grandeur and wealth, along with a desire for power. Doesn't that describe him, his behavior, his attitude toward the public and the parents, and his career to date? He can be freely described as a megalomaniac from here on out.

In the short run he may appear to succeed, but this situation in SUHSD cannot long endure. And what he's doing is setting up the board for an even bigger fall than if he helped the district get a really good, honest and capable "supe" and then went away quietly. But that's not Brand. In fact, if he continues as he is, the next thing could well be criminal charges filed against him.


fflintstone Sept. 3, 2012 @ 10:27 a.m.

I share everyone's concerns about Brand continuing as superintendent. His agenda is not student centered or fiscally responsible. I sincerely hope that, if the Board does give him a contract, they do not include compensation for his having to "unretire" from STRS.


anniej Sept. 3, 2012 @ 10:37 a.m.

Visduh: you have defined the real brand. i am quite sure he reads these comments, i wonder if he will take pause and realize that you have given us all a glimpse into his immediate future. the person he allegedly has on speed dial, i am thinking certain members of the community do as well. brand brags that he has eyes and ears out in the community, silly little man - has he forgotten 'the antagonists'? the difference, their eyes and ears are/have shared DATA not simple words.

the pendulum is swaying - the public, as with 'the gandara', has had enough. let us give pause and think about 'those' who 'the gandara' took down with him. any guesses on who the 'those' will be in brand's case?

it was a little over a year ago when i typed similar words about 'the gandara' - we deserved better then and we deserve better now.

as you have reminded me Visduh i was a supporter of brand's i SOOOOOOOOOO wanted to believe. it is disheartening to put your faith in someone only to have it destroyed - silly little me.


joepublic Sept. 3, 2012 @ 3:36 p.m.

I watched Brand's "explanation" videos linked to this article. They are little more than hire me campaign pieces. The only thing missing is "I am Ed Brand, and I approve of this message". What a farce!


eastlaker Sept. 3, 2012 @ 5:40 p.m.

Yup, looks like he is re-branding, hahaha. New suit that is actually tailored, hair cut, and makeup for being on-camera...sure looks like he is job hunting.

The crookedest superintendent around hasn't stopped scrounging for all he can get.


Alex_Anguiano Sept. 3, 2012 @ 6:50 p.m.

If a special school board meeting is called for to offer a contract to a superintendent, it would be an illegal meeting. AB 1344 took effect January 1, 2012 as a response to the scandals in the City of Bell. However, district administrators are aware that calling for a special meeting would violate the law. Guess I’d better remind the Board anyhow. Hopefully, it is just a rumor that is being circulated. This should only happen at a regularly scheduled public meeting. Come on Sweetwater, let’s do the right thing.


“Secondly, in efforts to increase transparency, district boards will no longer be authorized to call a special meeting to deliberate the salary, salary schedule, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits to a local agency executive. Subsequently, after January 1, 2012, any action by a Board to approve or renew the contract of a local agency executive must be taken at a regular board meeting and cannot be approved at a special meeting of the board. However, this provision does not prohibit a local district board from calling a special meeting to discuss the district’s budget.”


“SEC. 9. Section 54956 of the Government Code is amended to read: 54956. (b) Notwithstanding any other law, a legislative body shall not call a special meeting regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits, of a local agency executive, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 3511.1. However, this subdivision does not apply to a local agency calling a special meeting to discuss the local agency’s budget.”

More info:


anniej Sept. 3, 2012 @ 9:04 p.m.

Alex_Anguiano: since when has 'following the letter of the law' been standard operating procedure at sweetwater? they do what they want, when they want, to whom they want, whenever they want. they have enough brown act violations to keep the da busy for at least a year - do they care - NO.

take for example john mccann's protective order against a well respected member of the community. we all remember the robo call right? in that call mccann presented himself as the hero stating he would vote NO on the agenda item that would have paid for the legal fees of those board members under indictment.

well folks i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this fiscal conservative PRETENDER had the district pay for his legal fees in his protective order case. i believe the total tax dollars spent on that bogus allegation was some where around $6,000.00 but here is the corker THE JUDGE THREW IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!! so why were our tax dollars used for his defense? what makes him so special? oh, that is right this is johnny boy mccann we are talking about, it appears he, for some reason, perceives himself as SPECIAL - and what does that make all of us? he has enough of his own money to pay for his attorney, and let me repeat again, the case was THROWN OUT OF COURT...............................


Nichole Sept. 3, 2012 @ 7:01 p.m.

His videos don't even address the actual issues or impacts!

Please vote on the no confidence petition and get the word out to friends, family and neighbors! It's time to end the disfunction!

Also - check out the community Facebook page at:


anniej Sept. 3, 2012 @ 9:24 p.m.

nikkivs: it is glad to see the voters on both sides of the 805 waking up and coming together to bring about change. this irresponsible financial behavior has been going on for far too long.

this election will no doubt prove to be most interesting. many in the community are relaying stories of being approached by john mccann and jim cartmill regarding their choice to replace quiones and lopez. brand allegedly has been bragging on his candidate grossman - you know what the say when 'good old boys attend football games together who knows what will come of it' - not to mention the meetings he has had with grossman.

quionones continues to skip down the yellow brick road as if all is well, all the while her old supporters are jumping that sinking ship - hip hip hooray they sing "cameron has entered the ring". cameron, ah yes, a well respected x superintendent of national city, he played no games, was not into using his seat but rather served the students. how refreshing, like a fresh load of tide laundry. but never fear quinones will be able to read all about it when the jury of her peers renders their verdict. i do believe the ut delivers to the state pens. but here is the thing quinones truly believes that the three guys on the board are backing her.

take a good long look at quinones' voting record, the majority of the time she voted with the pac - the only board member who has voted in favor of the students and taxpayers - why that would be bertha lopez.

lets see how many of those contractors will be putting money into the candidates promoted by the board and superintendent. no doubt the online registrar of voters web site will be logged onto on a regular basis - those inquiring minds simply want to know - who and how much? REMEMBER WHEN THE BOARD LED BY INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT BRAND HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE IN CAMPAIGN DONATION LIMITS? TERM LIMITS? what did they do? - why what they ALWAYS do -

NOT A DARN THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!


jibaro Sept. 4, 2012 @ 5:04 a.m.

Brand is the "product " of the Board. The Board is a "product " of the way we elect trustees. Limit campaign donations and elect trustees by area. Hold the feet of candidates to the fire on stance regarding aforementioned .


bonitaresident Sept. 4, 2012 @ 8:10 a.m.

jibaro-- Brand is his own product. He has not changed much over the years, only gotten worse.


jibaro Sept. 4, 2012 @ 1:17 p.m.

Brand does what the Board allows him to do. Think big picture and long term. Howling at Brand is like howling at the full moon, might make you feel better, but does little good. I can not understand people who want to get rid of Brand now, ONLY TO HAVE THE SAME IDIOTS SELECT A NEW SUPER. What, pray tell, has given you or any one else the idea that the current Board majority would conduct an open and inclusive search for Brand's replacement. Brand has got to go, although it is abundantly clear that it will not be until the make up of the Board changes.


eastlaker Sept. 5, 2012 @ 6:06 p.m.

However, we do not want Brand to get any more entrenched than he already is. If we can convince the board that offering Brand a contract is the worst possible thing to do, perhaps they will not offer him the contract.

But that would necessitate that the board is capable of cogent, independent thought--and there has been little evidence of that, thus far.

Additionally, I really don't want to see Brand bleeding this district of any more money, especially if that money is going into Brand's pocket.


anniej Sept. 4, 2012 @ 8:34 a.m.

ALL - would like to bring your attention to a blog by bvagency that was sent to The Reader:

Dr. Edward Brand has made several questionable decisions since his return as Interim Superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District. Most recently, he eliminated bus routes and increased walking distances for students in excess of 3 1/2 miles, opened school boundaries throughout the district causing significant overcrowding at certain schools, spent over $500,000 to remove a pile of dirt from a school campus, authorized the spending of millions of dollars in mello Roos & Prop O Construction funds to purchase iPads, used district funds to start and fund a charter school for pre-school and elementary school students, authorized the borrowing of Mello Roos funds to cover district payroll and operating expenses, and is planning to start another charter school that focuses on elementary aged during the next school year.

The elimination of bus routes has put students personal safety at risk as they battle increased vehicle traffic, walk long distances with heavy backpacks, and are exposed to criminals and sex offenders during their travel to and from school. This decision was made to save $800,000 in the budget. This $800,000 savings was negated when over $500,000 was spent on the removal of unauthorized contaminated soil placed on the campus of Southwest High School.

The overcrowding caused by the open boundary decision has created crowded classes that are not conducive to student learning, created significant traffic & logistical problems for teachers and staff and caused many class changes for students after the 6th week of instruction.


anniej Sept. 4, 2012 @ 8:36 a.m.


Under Dr. Brand's leadership, Mello Roos funds continue to be used outside of the disticts they were intended to serve and for purposes that do not fall into the authorize uses for these funds. The use of nearly $2 million in mello roos funds iPads for all 7th graders is one example of the abuses the mello roos funds. At the July 2012 board meeting, Dr. Brand convinced the school board to vote to increase mello roos funds by an additional 2%. This was done without notice to the public and solicitation of public input. The district also continues to borrow from the mello roos funds to the tune of $67 million to cover payroll and operating expenses liking funding charter schools that do not serve the grades 7-12 student population Under Dr. Brand's leadership, the district has not engaged in any programs designed to improve academic achievement. Dr. Brand attention is focused only on raising money to fund programs unrelated to academic achievement and the financing of political campaigns for board members to support his non academic agenda.

If you are resident/taxpayer of Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, San Ysidro, or areas of San Diego served by the Sweetwater Union High School District, a parent of a sweetwater union student, a teacher or other employee of the sweetwater union district, you should sign this petition to register your vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the Interim Superintendent Edward Brand. Your vote of NO CONFIDENCE will send a strong message to the board members who are considering awarding this superintendent a new 2 year contract. By signing this petition, you send the message to the School Board Trustees that you want them to start the National Search for a New Superintendent as they promised to do over a year ago. The time for unity and courage is now! Together this community can affect postive change for our students.


Wabbit Sept. 4, 2012 @ 1:02 p.m.

Brand gets 5 weeks vacation as a "contractor?" I thought the status as a "contractor" meant that they didn't get benefits?


eastlaker Sept. 6, 2012 @ 5:08 p.m.

Just one more of the many ways he has managed to manipulate the system for his own personal gain--and the students', the teachers' and the community's great loss.


Visduh Sept. 6, 2012 @ 5:58 p.m.

Shows how little YOU know! He can negotiate any sort of package the elected board will accept. They accepted quite a bill of goods from him.


anniej Sept. 4, 2012 @ 8:18 p.m.

it is time for the board to come to the realization that little is being done regarding education being the priority at suhsd. instead our superintendent is focused on schemes - schemes that are doing nothing to help student achievement or manage our tax dollars wisely.

board members, surely you all are tired of being challenged to do what is best for the south bay. we are looking to you change the current direction in favor of the students and taxpayers.


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