It’s no secret that the allegations of long-term corruption in the Sweetwater Union High School District have roiled the South Bay waters. A recent U-T article even calls on South Bay politicians to discuss the region’s negative image. Concerns are growing that, while the wheels of justice slowly grind along, the pot is beginning to boil.
In the recent election, Jessica Saenz-Gonzalez was a candidate against Sweetwater trustee Pearl Quiñones. In November 2012, NBCLatino ran a story titled “School board race in California turns ugly.” In the story, Saenz-Gonzalez alleged that a supporter of Quiñones’s campaign had harassed her and her children and thrown rocks at her car. Saenz-Gonzalez said she filed four complaints with the Chula Vista Police Department.
The reporter, Diane Guevara of KNSD, also interviewed Quiñones, who stated, “[Saenz-Gonzalez] doesn’t have a platform, so she’s just trying to run on something that [is] going to discredit me.” In the interview, Quiñones admitted that a certain young man who had been working for her campaign was implicated as the harasser by Saenz-Gonzalez, but Quiñones declined to give his name because he was a minor.
In December, another incident roiled the South Bay waters. Alex Anguiano, president of Sweetwater Education Association, addressed the Sweetwater board about comments he deemed menacing from someone he referred to as “witness #4.” Witness #4 refers to Jimmy Delgado, a witness who gave testimony in a failed restraining-order hearing launched by trustee John McCann against parent and activist Stewart Payne.
Anguiano also told the board that Jimmy Delgado heads the Latino Political Action Committee of San Diego, which contributed $1000 to Pearl Quiñones in the recent election.
All of these developments took a new turn January 7 in the entryway to the San Diego Superior Courthouse, following the hearing of 15 defendants in the Sweetwater case.
Relevant to the incident in the courthouse entryway is the Chula Vista police incident report regarding the alleged parking-lot altercation after an April 2012 Sweetwater board meeting. The following excerpts are from Delgado’s statement:
“When Mr. McCann approached Mr. Payne, Mr. Payne did not shake his hand and aggressively pointed his finger in Mr. McCann’s face….” Later in the statement, Delgado states that he advised Payne “it was always wise to put your hands in your pocket when you felt that you might become aggressive….”
According to many people who witnessed Delgado at the courthouse on January 7, Delgado doesn't follow his own advice. Maura Larkins, who was at the scene reporting for her San Diego Education Report blog, wrote the following account:
“San Ysidro Schools employee Jimmy Delgado provided some drama after the hearing by aggressively pointing his finger in the face of Alex Anguiano, president of Sweetwater Education Association, and threatening to sue him if he said anything untrue about Delgado. Apparently Mr. Delgado was angry that Mr. Anguiano (and the large group of Sweetwater teachers accompanying Mr. Anguiano) were NOT supporting Pearl Quiñones. The teachers were quite miffed with the arraigned board members and with former superintendent Jesus Gandara, another defendant.”