Teachers and supporters gathered outside the December 9 meeting
  • Teachers and supporters gathered outside the December 9 meeting
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The continued presence of three JDS security guards at Sweetwater Union High School District board meetings is a monthly reminder of the deteriorated relations between the district, the public, and teachers. Even with the presence of Santa Claus and the Grinch, there was no levity at the December 9 meeting.

Speculation is rife that after four board members have their day in court on Friday, December 13, some will resign. Former trustee Jaime Mercado asked the board to consider appointing him to a vacancy, should it arise. Aside from his years of service in the district and as a board member, Mercado told the board that the grand jury quizzed him for eight hours and found his record impeccable.

Negotiations between the district and teachers went to impasse the same day as the board meeting. Teachers from the bargaining team told trustees that the district has been wasting students’ and teachers’ time with regressive bargaining.

Sweetwater Education Association president Roberto Rodriguez articulated this additional bargaining concern in a December 11 email:  "As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, I think it's important to emphasize the responsibility of school districts to keep students and staff safe. In our current bargaining we are seeking a commitment from the district to install working phones in every classroom and doors that lock from the inside for every classroom. However, as you well know, the fire alarms have become a concern since we presented our proposals to the district as well."

The district’s proposal includes increasing student-teacher ratio. (An MOU in which the teachers accepted an increase in class size ratio will be over in January.)

A freshman from Bonita Vista high school told the trustees all of her Bonita Vista classes have at least 30 students. She said the class size makes learning more challenging and she opined that she did not even know her classmates’ names. She concluded her speech by saying if the teachers strike, she will support them by staying home.

A teacher dressed as Santa Claus presented the trustees with their holiday wish list and superintendent Ed Brand with a lump of coal.

Counselors, who have a separate union, have not settled with the district, either. A counselor from Sweetwater High School told the board that, beginning in January, she will be taking a 10 percent pay cut because of the district’s position on health benefits.

Teachers and community members expressed frustration and anger throughout the evening that chief financial officer Albert Alt was fired. Although numerous people told the board that Alt had earned their respect by being straightforward about budget issues, the board voted 3-1 to hire Karen Michel as interim chief financial officer. Trustee Bertha Lopez cast the no vote. Trustee Pearl Quiñones went home ill earlier in the evening.

Michel gave the board the bad news for the first interim 2013–2014 budgets: “The district is deficit spending and the deficit is 10.8 million dollars,” said Michel.

This is the fifth year in a row of deficit spending. Brand assured trustees that the budget gap could be closed in three years. Lopez asked the board to consider having the FCMAT (fiscal crisis and management assistance team) audit the district’s finances.

After trustee Arlie Ricasa said that it was not good to be looking at deficit-spending every year, she moved to certify the first interim report. Trustee John McCann acknowledged as well that the district needed to look at closing the gap caused by deficit-spending; then he seconded the motion to certify. The vote was 3-1, with Lopez voting no.

Some of the district’s future financial assumptions are dependent on the sale of surplus property. A board presentation was made on the district’s real estate assets.

To the surprise of many, including Lopez, the district has established a “7-Eleven committee” and the committee has been conducting meetings to deal with the district’s property.

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eastlaker Dec. 11, 2013 @ 5:47 p.m.

Where to begin?

So Board Member Lopez is not getting all the information she should be getting. Yet another tactic by the majority board members lead by Ed Brand to make sure she is marginalized and uninformed. This is a problem, and should be addressed. This should not be allowed--but it is the tip of the iceberg of Ed Brand's wrong-doing.

Let us hope that Mr. Alt is assisting in the inquiries...

Thank you Ms. Lopez for requesting an audit of the district's finances. Let's hope that actually takes place, and soon.

The students and teachers of Sweetwater deserve so much better than they have been given. I really hope that the damage Ed Brand (and all who have gone along with him) has done can be corrected. I hope that no student has been permanently damaged, although I am sure there are quite a few who are very cynical when it comes to those claiming it is all for the students. We all know Ed Brand is all for Ed Brand. A hollow, vacant, ethically challenged individual who has no business being in the position of superintendent of schools.


bbq Dec. 11, 2013 @ 6:26 p.m.

So as we all now know that the district is in deficit spending to a tune of quote:
Michel gave the board the bad news for the first interim 2013–2014 budgets: “The district is deficit spending and the deficit is 10.8 million dollars,” said Michel.

After a good meeting with Dr Alt last Feburary where only 4 citizens showed up it was appearent that since Gandara and Brand's return we've been dipping into reserves to the tune of over $10 Million a year, and thus now no reserves.

Why in heavens name are we in negotiations for a $10 to 14 million Adminstration building? I tried to hear Mr. Calhoun's presentation on the Board website and found the quality of the tape unacceptable, where are the minutes and transcripts? Is the powerpoint presentation available? Frankly let's get out of the real estate speculation business before buying noneduc ational facilities!! It is completely messed up that our superintendent and Board are so out of control.

I did have a conversation with the San Diego County Office of Education, District 2 Representative, Dr. Lyn Neylon. Unfortunately the Sweetwater District still has at least two years of subpar financial reports before the County Office of Education can step in. (Also look at my comment in the previous string about appointing replacement board members)

People it's time to have the power that have control know that,"We're mad as Hell and not going to take it anymore"

Let's have a good planning session and fight the good fight in the new year. Best, BBQ


anniej Dec. 11, 2013 @ 7:17 p.m.

There is an OPINION written Ed Brand in the C.V. Star News. If you want to read some fiction take a glance.

No doubt this is Brands precursor for the new bond he and Caloun continue to try and sell.

Well here is a 411, we are NOT voting for one more red cent to be MISused or MISspent by Ed Brand.

Did you hear that Ed Brand, not one more red cent!

Can you imagine what the San Diego Taxpayers Ssociation is going to have to say about this absurd idea? Our CURRENT Bond is being audited by the IRS, and contrary to what was stated by Mr. Calhoun at the board meeting a call to the IRS revealed a contradiction. No Mr. Calhoun the IRS does not regularly audit all Bond Monies. Seems like SUHSD stood out for some reason.

Ringy dingy - we ARE fact checkers!!!!!!


eastlaker Dec. 12, 2013 @ 12:47 a.m.

It was with great amazement that I approached the article in the Star-News. Imagine, a newspaper running a puff-piece from Ed Brand at this time! The photo looks like it is at least 15 - 20 years old. Eddy was really trying to put his best foot forward...

We can only hope that no one is buying Fast Eddy's line of clap-trap this time, or ever again.

Fast Eddy must lie awake at night, going over all the possibilities for new and enhanced revenue streams. One can only hope that he is cut off from the proceeds of the citizenry's hard-earned money ASAP.

Let's hope the IRS put their A team on this one. Let's hope, for the survival of Sweetwater Union High School District, that the big Scammer has run his last scam.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:57 a.m.

BBQ, that's very useful information from Neylon. So what is the total of subpar years a district could have before the county stepped in ? Thank you, Susan


bbq Dec. 12, 2013 @ 10:43 a.m.

My understanding from Dr. Neylon was two years of subpar Financials the County Office of Education would send in an overseer for the financial aspects of the district.

At this time due to the financial stress in San Ysidro, they have a County employee working there now.

I have not looked for the official policy, just what I was told.

At this point I do not believe Sweetwater has filed a subpar financial evaluation. BBQ


erupting Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:28 p.m.

Her comment was that she did not know who the other 7-11 members were. Board docs audio portion is now available.


oldchulares Dec. 12, 2013 @ 2:20 p.m.


Good choice by Lopez choosing O'Neill, honest good guy. McCann on the other hand chose David Malcolm. Malcolm years back plead guilty to a felony charge of conflict of interest. Many years later he got the charge reduced to misdemeanor and record was expunged after paying a great of money. Ed choosing Grossman makes no sense at all.


oskidoll Dec. 12, 2013 @ 2:34 p.m.

Now that is SCARY....David Malcolm, Mr. scummy with the 'for sale' sign up again, after he looted the Port District? Next we'll have Steve Peace (Mr. electric degrgulation czar when we all paid through the nose) in the group, and everyone hold onto what's left of your wallets. YIKES!


bbq Dec. 12, 2013 @ 2:37 p.m.


Ed's choice is obvious, he likes to think himself the sportsman and Mr. Grossman is the ex-athlete.

The appointment is to have another Brand Toadie on the review committee. It's also to get Mr. Grossman some name recognition and some Education Cred, proir to next year's election where Mr. Grossman is expected to run for one of the vacated spots.

All of these steps appear to be Ed's modus operandi for remaining in control. Let's not be fooled again!!!!! BBQ


bbq Dec. 12, 2013 @ 2:42 p.m.

Chulateacher, I am assuming that when you say "Ed Code" you mean Education Code, not some new system of The Dr. Brand stacking the deck to remain in power and continued mis-direction of our education and Mello-Roos Funds! BBQ


erupting Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:48 p.m.

I believe Ms Lopez said she didn't know who the other members of the committee were. The audio portion of the mtg.is available by now.


bbq Dec. 13, 2013 @ 5:44 a.m.

Chulateacher, First I do not believe that my "Ed Code" response was an attack on you, just a comment on the absurdity of the whole situation. If you cannot laugh at the irony of your statement, I don't know...

As for Bertha, I cannot answer for her and your point is well taken.. however the situation still does not change that at least in my CAVE man opinion, the fox or foxes are still watching the Henhouse....

By the way when you are are calling out someone for throwing stones be sure you are not backing some one who threw first... ie Ed and the boys.

It is very easy to catagorize your critics as crarkpots, nay-sayers and CAVE People. I personally, have made many attempts to open up meaningful dialogs with the district and Dr. Brand only to be catagorized as a CAVE person. BBQ


bbq Dec. 13, 2013 @ 6:40 a.m.

Chulateacher, When one starts with all due respect or ends with just kidding.... your thought is as full of BS and venom as it would have been straight up, so just be straight up next time..

So, your a fan of Ed and Mr. Grossman, good for you, open dialog is a wonderful thing and I encourage it rather than belittle it ... Frankly, I do not have any real opinion of Mr. Grossman, having never met the man, just the Ed Connection, perhaps sometime soon....

Frankly I do not see any of the Board or Dr. Brand a "Threat" I am just commenting on how I see the situation.

Hopefully, the 7-11 committee can come up with some resolution to the ill concieved "Land Speculation" that the district has engaged in. Our District needs to be conservative and prudent with regards to "deals", prior to purchasing more non-educational facilities, a complete review and resolution of the current situation must occur.

As for my background to question the direction of the district; My experiences with the Sweetwatar Union High School District are as a consumer of the services, community representative and a taxpayer, as such I am allowed to criticize what I percieve is Bad Service and poorly managed establishment.

The good Dr. Brand is running rough shod through the district only listening to himself speak, showing distain for the public, who happen to pay his expensive salary.

What is the return on investment for our community and for the product, our students?

The sitting Board do not have the ethics to admit they were caught up in the "Pay for Play" scandel, and now are just admitting to "Know" they were covering up for the issue and copping pleas.

This Board currently seems to be full of over reaching, under questioning, rubber stampers, who have never asked anyone but the faithful Ed followers what they think about the direction of the district. Where are the thoughtful keepers of the public trust?

Perhaps we have a bit too much "Education Cred" running the district and not enough "Outside" influence?

As said before "A wise man knows what he does not know" as such he asks questions and does not always take the word of the "Expert".

We often talk of ethnic diversity being a good thing when it comes to society, what about diversity in ideas, backgrounds, experience and education give better solutions to issues, and improves a business, let's be diverse.

Just my opnion, any time you or the board would like to discuss the issues in an open forum, you can find me here with the CAVE people. Best BBQ


knowthetruth Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:24 p.m.

I am not sure how Grossman would qualify for 6 out of 7.

•The ethnic, age group, and socioeconomic composition of the District. Grossman is White, in his forties and is a former professional football player who made more money in one season than most people who live in the district will make in their lifetime. Unqualified.

•The business community, such as store owners, managers, or supervisors. I am unaware of Grossman being a store owner or a member of the business community. Unqualified.

•Landowners or renters, with preference to be given to representatives of neighborhood associations. The Grossman's were renting a house in Otay Ranch, they no longer live there. Grossman was not a representative nor involved in the neighborhood association while there. Unqualified.

•Teachers. •Administrators. Is neither. Unqualified.

•Parents of students. As far as I know his children are in elementary school, he is not a parent of a student in the district (please let me know if I am wrong here). Unqualified.

•Persons with expertise inenvironmental impact, legal contracts, building codes, and land use planning, including, but not limited to, knowledge of the zoning and other land use restrictions of the cities or cities and counties in which the surplus space and real property is located. I do not know his background in any of the above.

So how is he so qualified?


erupting Dec. 13, 2013 @ 11:12 a.m.

You still haven't listened to the audio portion of the board mtg.that is obvious. When a wise man makes a mistake he corrects that error.


anniej Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:17 p.m.

Chulateacher - Grossman most qualified? Based on what criteria? Being Brands friend?

Regarding Ms. Lopez NOT knowing about 7/11 committee - perhaps you might want to listen to the audio of Mondays board meeting - Ms. Lopez was asking WHO were the other Board members recommendation for the 7/11 committee.

Dr. Brand is this you pretending to be a Chulateacher? Betcha!

Just because the parent from the east side commented she would vote for Lopez if she were to run for president is that any reason to get your tight whiteys in a knot?

COMMUNITY - join me in calling for the firing of Ed Brand!!!!

bbq - keep on keeping on - we will win!!!!! We are standing up for the students and taxpayers - a just cause!!!!!!!


anniej Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:29 p.m.

Community - I would recommend that the entire community read Grossmans book. It says it all.

'Why marry? Buy a dog, if you tire of it you can return it to the pound and do not have to split your assets 50/50 with a dog' - paraphrase. Many more disturbing thought and quotes can be found within, written by HIM!

There was a one page summation of many of his quotes that was released during the last election - out of his own mouth.

While he does have the right to his opinion, I do as well.

Ed Brand wants Grossman on the new board, my opinion. Read Grossmans book, then join me in asking the question REALLY????????


anniej Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:46 p.m.

Seems chulateacher is NOT a Chula Teacher. Chula teachers are more than capable of discussing facts and opinions.

For the record, I HAVE respected and appreciated the votes of Ms. Lopez in the past 4 years. I would highly recommend that all listen to the audio of Board Docs, those audios say it ALL. Dr. Brand can NOT hide from the documented proof provided on the audios.

WHY was Dr. Alt fired? Because he was ATTEMPTING to give the give the tax paying community the truthful answers they deserved. Because he was attempting to be transparent about the Mello funds. Truth? Transparency? Total foreign concept to Ed Brand.

I have not seen the evidence before Judge Espana regarding Bertha Lopez - I would not disrespect the court or the DA by speaking to what I do not know. What I do KNOW is what Bertha Lopez has done via her votes - it equates to safeguarding the education of our students and the taxpayers dollars.

What will tomorrow bring? Stay tuned.......


anniej Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:53 p.m.

Chulateacher - Dr. Brand, you know I said NO to meeting with him why ask a question you already know the answer to.


Susan Luzzaro Dec. 12, 2013 @ 3:57 p.m.

my apologies to all. I am working on a longer piece about the 7-11 and the article above attempted to cover a lot of ground. I was trying to get the right audio and mount it from board docs, but right now I couldn't get them to play. You will find Lopez's comment under the asset presentation. Lopez asked Mr. Calhoun to name who else was appointed and who did the appointing.

I will try to flesh this discussion out in a longer piece soon.



Duhbya Dec. 13, 2013 @ 6:49 a.m.

Surely a teacher knows the meaning of "hypocrite". Here are 2 lines quoted from one of your above posts:

"I will leave the stone throwing to you guys"

"I don't really like to attack people I've never personally met."

Guess the key word there is "really".

If you "really" are a teacher, let's hope that you're student-less.


erupting Dec. 13, 2013 @ 11:27 a.m.

The district attorney took anniej seriously. If you are Fast Eddy know you are next. The district will become an educational institute again not a bank account for Brand and company. I'd like to know how you feel about your benefit package offer Chulateacher?


Wabbitsd Dec. 16, 2013 @ 3:44 p.m.

I do hope you are not an English Teacher.


oldchulares Dec. 12, 2013 @ 4:07 p.m.

We seem to have more problems now that Ed is back versus before not that Dr. Gandara was a prize. With board members going to court tomorrow and probably leaving like the Southwestern group time to put someone in charge of this shipwreck that all sides trust. Ed is not that person.


anniej Dec. 12, 2013 @ 4:22 p.m.

chulateacher - you are here blogging, why?

This obscure blog? Surely you jest! The news reported on The READER is followed by many.

I do not post to find or make friends. Having said that, when was the last time a parent came up to you and said Thank You and the other antagonists for helping to shed light on the 'alleged' (gotta say alleged) corruption that resulted in felony indictments?

My views are my own, I am legally entitled to them - as are you.

I am a simple person chulateacher/Ed Brand. Call me whatever you like, it will not deter me.

Point of fact - I have commented against corruption and mistruths. Those I have spoken against well documented.

Happy Holidays to you and your family as well! We are indeed blessed to live in a country that allows us to 'agree to disagree' whether by voice or the typed written word.


oskidoll Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:46 p.m.

chulateacher = timtim=toady........don't take their bait, it expends too much of the valuable energy we will need to put honest folks in office whenever our next chance at the ballot box arrives.


shirleyberan Dec. 12, 2013 @ 5:58 p.m.

Chulateacher - you sound like a spoiled baby with name calling right out of your own sick mealy mouth. You will be found out too, siding with high level corruption that is now being exposed for what it is. Anniej is nothing short of heroic when she speaks unpopular truth. You are another bully FOE - friend of Ed. Can't stand it, you get out of the kitchen b.


shirleyberan Dec. 12, 2013 @ 7:01 p.m.

anniej - what I have been trying to tell you is there are just plain bad people, here is another one, and using "all due respect""no disrespect"while being extremely disrespectful to you and bbq. That sure doesn't negate the speak, a "teacher" that enjoys cruelty, pretty ignorant. She/he can't see how real teachers are paying for Brand's endgame? I can be mean spirit but I don't get a kick out of it like that. Oh Yes, Ed made me this way. Gotta read chulateacher. Many people here are truth-seekers and truth-tellers and will not be distracted from the goal of making wellness happen.


anniej Dec. 12, 2013 @ 9:36 p.m.

shirleyberan - Thank You you are most kind. You and I both know that the majority who come here and share opinions about SUHSD are persons who value education, fiscal responsibility and the great employees of SUHSD. Then there are those who are in it for self. They have lost sight that each and everyone of us need to pay it forward - to them it is about title, power and money. Funny, I do not recall going to even one viewing and seeing any of the three being carried to the great beyond. Hopefully they will come to learn this truth sooner vs. later - I mean when was the last time you heard of anyone talking about their bank accounts, their titles, or how much power they had ON THEIR DEATH BEDS.

Tomorrow after the SUHSD folk leave the court house and find themselves home they will be able to be honest and say when I knew better did I do better? I know one of the six consistently cast her votes for the students and taxpayers - but what of the others - why did/have they continued down the dark path? What was in it for them?

Let is all remember, no matter what tomorrow brings our work is not over. Ed Brand must go -


jibaro Dec. 13, 2013 @ 5:40 a.m.

Chulateacher has made some interesting observations. It's got me thinking. Thank you for your contribution. Sorry about personal attacks. Sad. A BIG WOW !! Anniej has not read Grand Jury testimony re Mrs. Lopez ! ! ! ??? Anniej has read everything about Sweetwater, and thank God she has, but not the testimony given under oath. HUM....


eastlaker Dec. 13, 2013 @ 6:40 a.m.

anniej, you are so right about the need for Ed Brand to no longer be superintendent of Sweetwater UHSD. The amount and degree of crookedness emanating from that guy...and to think that he has skated thus far.

My fervent hope is that Mr. Alt is in a position to illuminate all the dark corners of Sweetwater finances, and that we will finally know where all our bond and other funds have gone--and if they are retrievable.

The fact that Brand is still acting sure of himself may be evidence he is merely "whistling past the graveyard" to use an old expression. Brand probably has received assurances from some people in power and authority, but let's hope that even they and those assurances will be long gone when more truth becomes known.

Whichever toady it is who is self-identified as "Chulateacher" will need to find another job. Because we know s/he isn't what s/he claims to be.


anniej Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:57 a.m.

Jibaro - much respect sent your way. Perhaps I did not make my position clear, I have personally observed Ms. Lopez on the dais, I have listened to each and every vote for the last 4 years that Ms. Lopez has cast. THOSE VOTES are what I base my opinion on.

IF other Board Members would have been jolted back into the world of integrity, seen the error of their ways and voted on behalf of the students and taxpayers, for the past 4 years, then perhaps my opinion of them too would be different. But, alas, we will never know.

Today all of the speculation, all of the supposed inside gossip, all of the 'news' generated out of the District office regarding the indictments will end. Today we the funders of the District will see and hear for ourselves what the punishment for 'alleged corruption' really is.

Remember we have two more tasks - Ed Brand has got to go and next November people of quality who value honesty, integrity and professionalism need to be voted in.

Jibaro - you speak of what I know and what I have read?


jibaro Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:16 p.m.

Anniej, with much respect for your efforts, have you read the Grand Jury testimony regarding Mrs. Lopez ?


dbdriver Dec. 13, 2013 @ 10:11 a.m.

I have recently been wondering about Lopez. I do know that she did accept gifts like the others involved. I don't know what her epiphany was, but I do know she cooperated with District Attorney at the beginning of the entire investigation.

Like anniej, I see that she has questioned policies in favor of staff, students, and public. She consistently votes in opposition, most often by herself against the other 4, She doesn't speak about her reservations and then vote in favor of an item. (I haven't heard the complete audio from the last meeting, but Arlie and John voiced their reservations about our deficit spending to the tune of 10+ millions annually, then gave their approval????) I've seen her involved in district activities involving the students. One parent recently mentioned she went out of her way to visit students attending a summer arts program at camp in Cuyamaca.

Part of my wondering about Lopez takes me along the pathway of time to after houses were raided. It did take me by surprise that, after her assistance, the DA charged her with the 19 counts. (Yes, thank you Tim Tim for your constant reminder.) I had supposed the DA would have been lenient for all the assistance provided, but she did do the crime.

I then saw that she plead not guilty along with all the others. Interesting strategy, but I think that if the others are found not guilty, then she would be as well, despite what her detractors insist.

Now, with all the plea-bargaining that is going on, I still wonder why she hasn't come forward. As the case continues, I think of all the rats jumping ship, getting lesser charges. I've wondered why she hasn't gone that way, and I got to thinking. Maybe if she jumped ship too soon, the other "I did nothing wrong" defendants might realize that the ship is going to crash into the iceberg ahead severely and jump ship too soon as well.

We may lose Lopez to this game of Chicken, but others will fall as well. Then again, these are just the rambling thoughts of a stark raving mad CAVE man.


bbq Dec. 13, 2013 @ 10:54 a.m.

dbdriver, While Bertha did not cow-toe to all of Ed's wishes and held her head high at Board meetings, she is still under indictment and subject to the same laws as the rest of the gang.

I am awaiting to hear the outcome of the court meeting today to find out just how little the DA's office and the Judge thinks these charges are now worth.

The damage done to the SUHSD, the integrity of our elected and public officials along with the respect for the judicial system may be huge.

Even more interesting will be the amount of money the District ends up paying of the Trustee's legal bills....

Best to all, CAVEMAN BBQ


erupting Dec. 13, 2013 @ 11:35 a.m.

bbq, not one dime will be paid by the district.


eastlaker Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:08 p.m.

I hope you are correct, but that is one more reason we need to view all of Sweetwater's financials. We really have no idea where they are spending the money.


oskidoll Dec. 13, 2013 @ 12:14 p.m.

erupting: I also hope you are correct, but how do we know that Ed has not found a way to siphon district funds into their lawyers' pockets? He, and they, are so slimy. I absolutely agree with eastlaker about the financials.


shirleyberan Dec. 13, 2013 @ 1:23 p.m.

There will be no advances in protection of children (and teachers) at school until the unnecessary properties are sold to recover those funds.


eastlaker Dec. 13, 2013 @ 4:15 p.m.

Parsing your message isn't difficult. Your intense need to shame Ms. Lopez merely indicates a grave need to deflect...whatever makes you unhappiest about yourself.

In this photo, Ms. Lopez' face shows she is serious, composed and facing everything with courage.

She is showing great courage.

Once again, a big "miss" for you.


anniej Dec. 13, 2013 @ 6:38 p.m.

Jibaro: why OF COURSE, I have read every word that was published. Interesting that you should focus on only one of those under indictment. Brands bidding?

Have you read the first pages of the search warrants - my name is listed.

See you at the next BOC meeting.


BFDDiane Dec. 13, 2013 @ 8:58 p.m.

This is amusing. Anniej I have followed you. You must be either pretty awful or have the truth.

The District staff can not figure out what is going on. Need bunker. Got the mentality.

Survive pay attention look around. Why does Chula Vista Elementary seem so good. Same demographics pretty much.

It is our leader versus a real leader. I know got friends over there.

More flys in the ointment to come. Follow.


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 11:43 a.m.

Chulateacher, By painting Ms. Lopez in the corner aren't you forgetting the rest of the "Pay for Players"? Where is your "it should all be equal and let's not forget..."?

I have not heard you say peep one about the Dr. Brand followers, Just the push back for Ms. Lopez, what's up with that?

They have all been accused of the same crime but the only one who is, to use your own term, "A Threat" is Ms. Lopez? Could that be she is not the same as the others, not following the "District ie Dr. Brand's Line"?

Just a Thought about equality and vengence....

Best to you, CAVEMAN, BBQ


anniej Dec. 16, 2013 @ 11:58 a.m.

You have put into words what the community is speaking about. Hidden agendas are making a mockery of what once was a community with a great reputation. Looks like favors owed are now being called in -

Brand has got to go! Those who believe otherwise need to explain themselves.


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 12:49 p.m.

Chulateacher, If you go back to anything I have written in the past you will see a running trend of not blindly defending Ms. Lopez. I have always kept in mind and stated that she too was caught up in the indictments and when everything is done, she will be a part of the whole miserable never to have happened situation.

However I will say that as an indicted Board Member she did stand out from all of the others including John McCann, (not indicted) by asking questions of the Dr. Brand, et al and responding to citizens directly. That is something to notice and respond about.

No matter what the outcome of the "Pay for Play" no one on the existing Board or the upper echelon of Management in the district has Ethics enough to be in the positions of trust they currently hold!

With that I hold on to my right to free speech and will use whatever forum I can to make people notice, learn and make a choice as we come out of this mess caused by the current and past trustees and management of SUHSD.

Best CAVEMAN, BBQ BTW I like the Caveman, part, Thanks Ed,


oskidoll Dec. 16, 2013 @ 12:40 p.m.

Speaking of the four board members who stand indicted and who were supposed to appear in court Friday 12/13 for a readiness hearing in Judge Espana's courtroom prior to February trials ....anyone know what happened?


dbdriver Dec. 16, 2013 @ 12:54 p.m.

There was an article/video on NBC website. Cameras weren't allowed back in the area where discussions were taking place. Allegedly, defendants did not like hearing what their lawyers were telling them. 4 were offered plea bargains, but would have to admit to one felony each. The remaining 2 (Lopez and Cartmill) would have to admit to one misdemeanor.

Accepting the plea bargains would mean they would have to resign. Those with a felony would have to resign by State rules. Those with misdemeanor were fine by State rules, but per the bylaws of the school board, they would have to step down.

Beyond that, I haven't heard anything. Been hoping to here more details myself.


Visduh Dec. 16, 2013 @ 1:10 p.m.

dbdriver, what you report is very like what I have expected as far as timing and the bargaining down to a single count. The severity is more than I was expecting, and that may be why they haven't taken the deals yet. But removing three of them from office at the same time should result in a new, three-person majority who can strike an independent course. How much things would change is open to conjecture. Removing four is even better. We can hope that there will be a special election to fill the seats with individuals who will replace the appointees. But who knows just how this will play out?


oldchulares Dec. 16, 2013 @ 1:17 p.m.

I received two emails that were sent out. We are being asked to accept misdemeanors for those that remain. I am angry why would a person I thought was a pretty good guy desert his neighbors like this. It looks like the tongue wagging is true Ed is out there promising jobs. The other email showed proof that Jim and Mrs. Ricasa have had charges against previous campaigns before. She had to pay a fine. Why would anyone suggest that we agree to misdemeanors it is plain wrong.


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 1:20 p.m.

Too Bad, So Sad....

If what dbdriver has said is true, the egos of these people, to believe they could possibly have the Public's Trust to stay in their positions on the board, is on par with Dr. Brand's ego. I guess as they say Birds of a feather...

Please see many of my past comments, about the lack of Ethics and the pure selfishness of these people!

Now it's time to start moving on and find the Citizen/Board members who deserve the public's trust and use it to move this District back to respectability....

Caveman BBQ


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 1:28 p.m.

From Personal post, Wednesday Dec 11th about County Board of Education Ability to act on SUHSD Board in case of no Quorum:

*To be fair I recieved a return call from Dr. Lyn Neylon this afternoon and had a nice talk with her.

The upshot is that the County Office of Education is aware of the goings on at the Sweetwater district, unfortunately there is not much they can do until a couple of things happen, First the convictions come through and there are no longer enough board members to have a quorum, at that point the county board appoints interium Board Members. Please note this only happens if there is no longer a Quorum on the Sweetwater Board.

Again if the Indictees juggle the system in a certain way and all do not recieve sentencing at the same time and say 2 are still on the board when the first two are sentenced, they still hold the selection of replacements. We need to inform Judge Espana of this possibility so the penalties fit the crimes. I certainly do not want McCann and two soon to be convicted Board members to select their own replacements.

The only othertime the County Board steps in is when a District has two failing audits in a row, at that point they put in an overseer of the district financials, Like currently in San Ysidro. Sweetwater has not had a bad financial review yet, but I think it's comming. Best info, BBQ*

Caveman BBQ


oskidoll Dec. 16, 2013 @ 1:33 p.m.

Thanks for the update. Of course Ed is promising jobs to the board members who have to resign! That has always been his stock-in-trade...payola of you will. Ricasa already has a good day job; so does Bertha; Cartmill is always 'available' if you get the drift; Quinones has no other visible means of support except whatever her pension (I think she was a classified employee, not a teacher in the San Ysidro district. She has always been 'well connected'.) Hmmmmmm

Of course, one or more may choose to go to trial....but I think that has a low probability. According to the State School Boards Association, the process for filling multiple (majority) vacancies in a local school board at one time is for the County Board of Education (see, they actually DO have some responsibility here) to appoint some of their own board members to fill the vacancies until an election can be held. That is probably the best possible scenario we could hope for....although I think Ed would be safe until new bodies are elected to fill the seats given his cozy relationship with the County Office of Education.

By the way, make sure to see the UT report on the non-profit CEOs who make more than $200K,,,,South Bay Community Services exec Kathy Lembo is on the list. The SUHSD contracts with SBCS for at least $1 mill each year, and that organization is cozy with Ed and Co in the Castle Park Promise Neighborhood project debacle.


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 2:49 p.m.

Chulateacher, Bad mouthing your own union, they are protecting you!!! I guess you really aren't a teacher (Board Member, Ed Himself, or just a FoE).

Let's not confuse the issue at Sweetwater by bringing in editorials about other issues and other districts, we have enough of our own!

I know you do not need me to list them all for you, but here are a few: L Street, majority of the Sweetwater schools on Program improvement, Singular College Prep curriculum. (sp), Alligent University debacle, indictments, Misused Mello-Roos.... ad nauseum...

Admit that there is a public trust issue and work to open up discusion and solution.... Isn't that what a Public Servant or employee should do?

If the path the Sweetwater District is on is the right path, please help me understand it, not say "We must be OK, just look at them, they are worse than us" or be defeatist about it and say it's not my/our fault it's theirs.

Personally I don't really care who's fault it is. We are here at the moment, I would like to hear clearly from the Superintendent and Board of Trustees how we are going to get better with a truthful analysis and open dialog for fixing all of the issues once and for all.

Please stop finger pointing at others and point it at yourself, Ed, Senior District Staff and Board of Trustees, you are the people responsible for this mess and the state of the district... No one else!!!!

Caveman BBQ


oskidoll Dec. 16, 2013 @ 2:14 p.m.

FYI, Lembo's salary is in excess of $200K per year. However you slice it, she's in an elite, highly-compensated (with our money) group. I'd say the gun is quite hot by any measure.


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 3:23 p.m.

Information is better digested without vinegar.


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 3:51 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 4:09 p.m.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 4:38 p.m.

Too bad chulateacher - you got us censored. See you Eddy.


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 4:43 p.m.

Hope Ed Brand's groupies can do better.


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 5:13 p.m.

What happened in San Ysidro? No pay raise for teachers in 9 years? 24% pay cut?


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 5:38 p.m.

Waah, told you baby can't take the heat.


anniej Dec. 16, 2013 @ 5:52 p.m.

While I had suggested that chulateacher was Ed Brand himself my opinion has changed. My opinion now - Burt Grossman - but I guess it could be said they are one in the same. Grossman working to his verbal 'contract' with Brand. What was it that Brand allegedly said to a BOC aoplicant - 'I would like to find something for Grossman here at SUHSD'

I have made no secret of my opinion of Ms, Lopez. Those laws she is alleged to have broken, she like the rest will have to take her case up with the judge. I have publicly stated I do not want to see any of them serve jail time, but, it is not for their sake it is for the sake of the taxpayers that will have to pay more taxes to house them and, most importantly it is for the sake of their families. I do know that Lopez is the ONLY board member to have met with the DA's office early on and share concerns. What of the others? Where were they? Jibaro - chulateacher where were the other board members?

Jibaro prefers to speak of the now - so, allow me to ask what of the firing of the CFO? What of Ed Brand bringing back Dianne Russo? What of the $10million deficit? What of the L street debacle - $34 million investment of Ed Brands now estimated by some to be worth a mere $8 mil

I am wondering how Ms. Limbo is going to take her being bashed by someone I am of the opinion of is attached at the hip to Ed Brand. Oh, this was NOT a smart move. But hey, we the CAVE people tried to raise the yellow flag on the Arne Duncan visit and the monies spent, we tried to alert all to the federally protected data being shared, we have tried to raise concerns regarding the partnership of Ms. Limbo (Promise Neighborhoods) and Ed Brand (SUHSD) - and now we are seeing for ourselves what is happening - Limbo is being thrown under the preverbial bus. Hmmm, somewhat like the CPM students, parents and good teachers!

Name calling of me matters little - I have no importance I am but one. What I am looking for are persons who defend Ed Brand to tell us why?

Uniting with Ed Brand? In case certain persons have not yet had the light bulb go on - there are some mighty big problems that are getting ready to be exposed. All of the name calling is not going to help your case as to why you aligned ourself with such a person.

In closing I would like to offer up the following - fact check - chulateacher - jibaro try fact checking.

Arlie Ricasa has found herself in trouble before. I refer you to her Assembly run - fine of $2,000 regarding questionable loans.

Jim Cartmill had a bit of an issue when he ran for CV City Council - it appears his name was linked to someone charged with an issue regarding a couple of campaigns.

When you know better, you are SUPPOSE TO DO BETTER.

Why did Arlie Ricasa and John McCann voice concerns about the budget yet they and Jim Cartmill voted in favor of it at this months board meeting. Lopez voted against it. Chulateacher - jibaro. What say YOU?


shirleyberan Dec. 16, 2013 @ 7:22 p.m.

Obsessed with hate like Ed chulateacher.


gobigal Dec. 16, 2013 @ 7:25 p.m.

As a teacher I have to say no one I know is using the children like pawns in a custody battle. My professional colleagues and I still do everything we can for kids all day long. I personally stopped doing the things I did out of courtesy to the adults. I spend my prep time grading and planning- not attending meetings. My papers take longer to grade because I don't take them home any more, but they are done quickly and the kids get the feedback they need, though it is no longer in fun bulletin board form. We are not hurting kids and I object to the thought that we ever would. If I don't do extra and it engenders conversation with a parent who noticed, then I have done my job.

And as a side note- I was not even a SEA member for over a dozen years. Ironically it was the return of Dr. Brand and in particular the scary principal he gave us that pushed me to join. Heck I was even happy when Dr. Brand came back. I really thought he was one of us and would have our back. Like many I am so hurt and saddened by the direction our district is going. I love Sweetwater and I hate this dissent.

If I said to my students that I was going to weigh a test for 20% of their grade, then at the last minute told them it would be 80% of their grade unless they agree to give me their cell phones for the next 3 months- that would be unethical and I would be disciplined. How anyone can defend Dr. Brand using a huge uptick in benefit costs that his own advisors told him was not necessary in order to beat concessions out of his staff is beyond comprehension. Wrong is wrong.

Dr. Grier is a proponent of putting money in the classroom. It is an insult to him to compare Dr. Brand's problems to his- Dr. Brand just took back all the money our schools have to help in the classroom (SEI, Title I, LEP...). I have met Dr. Grier and Ed Brand is no Terry Grier.

Yes even Bertha is a criminal- but she seems to be the only one who has the backbone to ask a question or stand up for common sense. We will all be relieved when the new board is seated.


eastlaker Dec. 16, 2013 @ 8:02 p.m.

Spoken like a true professional.

Sweetwater UHSD is fortunate to have you working here--thank you for your efforts on all fronts.


theyknowmeascoach Dec. 16, 2013 @ 8:01 p.m.

Sweetwater has been taken over. I have joined others in marching to the orders of Ed Brand then Dr. Gandara and now Ed Brand again but it is now time to speak up. Both men care little for the kids and both have used job security to silence us so they can push forward their plans. He does not care about these kids it is all about him. I know Big Mouth personally he brags of a connection to Brand. Being used by Brand would be a better description. Many of my fellow coaches support the efforts of those Brand wants to silence and we also want them to follow thru with their promises to rid Sweetwater of Brand and his pet squad.


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 8:40 p.m.

I just wrote a wonderful response to gobigal and lost it. Gobigal thank you for perserveiring (sp) to sum up the situation for an employee of the district.

I completely understand working in a toxic environment as the teachers and many of the site administrators are currently forced to do.

The teachers et.al. who continue to be concerned and work for their students need to be commended,

Those that are continueing to do their public responsibility should be congratulated

and those going through the motions for a paycheck should be understood.

The current Board and Upper District Adminstration are completely responsible for the lack of confidence of any of their decisions. All of them hold the ability to correct the situation.

Dr. Brand, offer your unconditional resignation due to your heavy handed, ill concieved failure to fix and move the district forward from your original and Mr. Gandara's continued poor decisions.

Board indictee's as a unified group, state and realize that you have lost the public's trust to be our decision makers. Perhaps, just perhaps this will be forgotten and you will not get angry glares in the local supermarkets.

Friends of Ed, I can only hope you see your downfalland like an addict, recover, follow the reason you became Educators, for the kids and help lead the SUHSD to a future.

Without desent, there is no change. Dialog is good, do not forget it!!



bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:30 p.m.

chulateacher are you back? Please leave anniej alone with your innane responses to her opinion.

How about telling us, BBQ/CAVEPEOPLE why the current path of the district is acceptable!

Why, When I have asked direct questions to you and the FoE I get ignored, What's up with that?

Why, When I am trying to engage in open dialog I am ignored, what's up with that?

AlI have ever asked is to have an open dialog with the proponents of the current admistration and board of the SUHSD. Other than Dr Alt been turned down.

Have I been irate and in The Ed's face on issues? Yes, but the arrogance and audancty (sp) of Ed and the board at the public's only forum to express our disgust with their edicts is beyond frustrating, it's disrespectful to those that have entrusted you/current adminstration to the education of our future, I will not deny.

chulateacher please give me a real reason to think that the SUHSD is on a path to give our student's a chance in the future...

Please give me and the rest of the CAVE-People specifics, please note: pure college prep, Alligent and Blindly following common core do not cut it, what about overcrowding in the few of the District's non-failing schools, Mis-appropriation of district and Mello-Roos funds, and finally the mis-trust of the current Board and Adminstration?

Chulateacher, man/woman up and tell us your rational for support of the current so called leaders of SUHSD.

As I have said before convince me/us with the truth as you see it. Again reasonable discourse is the way to enlightenment.

I do believe that I/we are reasonable to open if biased ideas, I for one will unashamedly admit to the bias to the lack of real conversation wth our formally trusted elected and hired officials.

Chulateacher give the hope that reasonable discussion is in the future for the messed (f'd) up SUHSD.

May you see your truth and be able to express it.

Want to be convinced, CAVEMAN BBQ


theyknowmeascoach Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:20 p.m.

Hey Chulateacher Burt is quite proud of the nickname given him by Sports Illustrated just ask him. Not following you calling me Annie think I am missing something here.


Reader2 Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:42 p.m.

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. ~ Mark Twain


eastlaker Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:56 p.m.

There is also George Bernard Shaw: "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."


bbq Dec. 16, 2013 @ 9:50 p.m.

Thanks for the Twain insight, while I know you and Mr. Twain are right, I would love to have the stupid obviate the situation.

chulateacher, another feeble attempt to find hilliarty (Sp, fun) with the irony of the situation, sorry if you feel it is belittling you, re-read the above bbq comment.



anniej Dec. 17, 2013 @ 8:43 a.m.

theycallmeacoach - guess there are worse things you could be called. Mr. Grossman and I have a bit of a spit fire relationship.

While I welcome you to the comment board I would like to recommend that you NEVER ever share anything site specific to your school. There are those who monitor these boards and allegedly report back to Brand I am told.

For the record, COACHES have played a very integral part of the majority of my children's lives. Sorta like unsung heroes, teaching student athletes life skills - respecting rules, fair play, respect for fellow and opposing players, importance of balancing education time and playing time. To you and all of your colleagues I say Thank You. Goodness knows you don't do what you do for the money.


anniej Dec. 17, 2013 @ 8:58 a.m.

anniej is who she is, and she is what she is. Goodness knows it is not like I hide what I think or temper my opinions or thoughts.

For the record I have never called Mr. Grossman a big mouth. I have however erroneously referred to his self authored book as Big Mouth - Mr. Grossman sent word I was in error and I stood corrected (UT post).

FACT CHECK: if you do an Internet search of 'Burt Grossman big mouth' you will find that Google has its own dedicated entry - Burt Grossman followed by a slew of pictures.

READER 2 - EASTLAKER --------- voices of reason. Thank You


bbq Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:38 a.m.

As I review this string of comments, What happened to all of Chulateacher's responses and comments? Who edited the blog? Just wondering the policy for this and the ability to reshape the blog by misquoting and changing the meaning of responses. BBQ


Ensenadamaria Dec. 18, 2013 @ 7:20 a.m.

bbq Maybe 'the grinch' stoled them??? (see title of article)

While I am here, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Seasons Greeting! In a couple of weeks we will be welcoming in a New Year! Lets hope for the sake of the students that this year THEY are the priority of all.


eastlaker Dec. 18, 2013 @ 1:08 p.m.

*NEWS FLASH***************

Arlie Ricasa has accepted a misdemeanor charge and resigned.

So, this must mean that the board will fill her spot...any thoughts as to what is going to be taking place?

Do you think that Cartmill is going to be next?

Can the public request a competency hearing for McCann?


bbq Dec. 18, 2013 @ 1:33 p.m.

I heard the same from a very reliable source. The biggest fear now is the piece-meal method of resignation allows Dr Brand to hand select the Board replacements as a quorum remains at the Table.

Even after her "resignation" Arlie still haunts us. All one can do is hope the Trustees can find some ethics and not blindly follow. We'll know when the "replacements" show up, hey wasn't there a football movie called that, Hmmmm, BBQ


oskidoll Dec. 18, 2013 @ 4:55 p.m.

The only way there can be a competency hearing is per the 'quo warranto' process that the state 's Atty General must approve. It has be to be formally requested. I am not sure who would initiate, perhaps the County Board of Education or a petition to the Atty General. Once found incapable of serving under this legal process which must be by a trial judge, the public official can be removed from office. See my prior post on this subject.


eastlaker Dec. 18, 2013 @ 1:20 p.m.

Also, I recently came across some basic Mello-Roos info that might be helpful for one and all.

Apparently Sweetwater school district is second in the county for Mello-Roos "revenue", after Poway. Of course, Poway is a unified school district...Chula Vista Elementary is number 3.

Unfortunately I could not get the link to work.

The gist is that Poway comes in at $42 million, approximately. Sweetwater is $24.3, while Chula Vista Elementary is $14.3, which means if Sweetwater/CVE would be combined, they would still be #2 at $38.6 million.

Let's think about that for a minute. $24.3 million for 2012-13...and what has happened to that money? I guess it is part of the missing $40 - 50 million, right?


bbq Dec. 18, 2013 @ 1:42 p.m.

eastlaker, first 30% of the Ipads are bought with it, but other than that, we have not allocated to purchase land for an Additional Middle school, the east side campus' maintenance is abmismal, we do not have the facilities that our near-by Districts have, Technical/vocational training shops or Swimming Pools.

I do not know if the district is still paying down the existing properties, but I was once told at a community forum by Mr. Calhoun that we were going to "Save" the money so the next Building could be completed without taking out a bond or loan.

Looks like our Board and Management cannot keep their hands out of the cookie jar.

Where is the long term plan for facilities and technology for the district? Ed? Board? Mr. Calhoun? Asked for never seen...



shirleyberan Dec. 18, 2013 @ 3:10 p.m.

It appears the area has been invaded by Jock-Straps. Good luck with that, making Holidays Happy.


shirleyberan Dec. 18, 2013 @ 4:02 p.m.

Oops - I wasn't talking about theycallmecoach, sorry. I was thinking about Ed and Co. Seems that chulateacher advocating for Burt Grossman is likely Burt, wannaB city council next year? He will hopefully find other work.


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