Jaime Mercado
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The preseason campaign games are upon the Sweetwater Union High School District. As early as June 4, “John McCann for School Board” signs dotted the roads that led to graduation ceremonies. Not to be outdone, former trustee Jaime Mercado planted a huge sign across the street from district offices — and that’s where the games turned ugly.

Mercado served as a Sweetwater board member from 2004–2008. Many people who have been reading through the San Diego County Grand Jury transcripts that detail the level of corruption in the district have commented that Mercado never let contractors buy him a cup of coffee, never went out to dinner on a vendor’s dime, never had lobster butter dribble down his chin.

One grand juror asked Sweetwater’s former Proposition O program manager, Henry Amigable, about ”a particular individual who refused to accept dinner invitations across the board from anybody.”

Amigable answered, “The only time I interacted with Jaime Mercado was at events, fundraising events that he would attend or a board meeting. I would stop by, you know, to try to get five minutes of his time….” Amigable said Mercado’s refusal was rare in all the districts Amigable has worked in.

Mercado was a principal in the Sweetwater district and then a board member during Ed Brand’s first stint as superintendent (1995–2004). When the U-T published Brand’s grand-jury transcripts on May 30, the paper included this excerpt:

“I made the conscious decision that I did not believe that I could work with that gentleman [Mercado], nor did I want to, so I sought employment elsewhere,” Brand testified. “He made it pretty well known publicly and otherwise he was going to do everything in his power to make my life miserable. It’s never been my interest to be where I’m not wanted.”

Fast forward to June 2013 and Mercado has decided to run for the board again — with Brand as superintendent.

Recently, Mercado secured permission to put a large campaign sign (approximately 4´x6´) in the front yard of the owner of the house that sits directly across the street from the school-district headquarters.

Leery about campaign-sign security because many from his last campaign were destroyed, Mercado reached an agreement with the owners of the Fourth Avenue home; the Zanders were paid $20 to allow Mercado to put up his sign in their yard every morning at 6:30 for five days.

On the morning of June 7, Mercado put up the sign at 6:30. A special board meeting had been called for 7:45 a.m. and several people on their way to the meeting witnessed a Sweetwater economics teacher, Thomas Hassey, trying to take the sign down. Finally, he only succeeded in breaking the sign.

In 2008, Hassey and Brand were both part of a failed attempt to start a bank. (In an interview earlier this year, Hassey told the Reader they tried to start Ventana bank just when the economy turned bad.)

After the special board meeting, Rick Zander told the Reader that he believes in letting anyone have signs in his yard. “It’s the American way,” he said.

Mercado has filed a report with the Chula Vista police; in the report, Hassey is accused of damaging his sign.

(updated 6/10, 3:30pm)

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Visduh June 10, 2013 @ 12:01 p.m.

If we didn't know better, we might think that Mercado was hoping that someone would be seen and identified trying to remove, damage, or destroy his sign. In addition to everything else in the SUHSD, there has been a long history of campaign sign vandalism, and this is just the latest episode. Will the CV cops do anything? We will soon know, won't we?


eastlaker June 10, 2013 @ 12:04 p.m.

Yes, well, friends of Ed Brand have never really known how to comport themselves...Brand himself has a reputation as a bully and general 'operator' or operator wanna-be.

We wouldn't tolerate this from students, and we have teachers employed by this district encroaching on private property and attempting to remove a sign? Seems to me there are a few violations there.

It is time for honesty to return to Sweetwater. Mr. Mercado, there is work to be done in Sweetwater, work that Ed and his cronies don't seem to know how to do.


Bob_Castaneda June 10, 2013 @ 2:38 p.m.

Jaime Mercado is an honrable man and deserves your vote and support. I say this because i consider him a friend of mine and of all that care passionalely about educating our children.


jibaro June 10, 2013 @ 3:52 p.m.

Friends with both Mercado and Quinones ? Oh Bob, Ohhh Bob !


montana64 June 10, 2013 @ 3:05 p.m.

Lobster dribble,---timtim quibble/ Mercado's not on the market! His vote not for sale---quiver & quail Tear down his sign ---before clock in-time! Pulitzer perchance or---just another DANCE...


erupting June 10, 2013 @ 8:36 p.m.

I like your post, and you got his number.


erupting June 10, 2013 @ 3:15 p.m.

Tim Tim, we noticed your signs all over the South Bay during graduation week. You are right to get a jump on it you will need it when you decide what your going to run for. I suggest dog catcher. You were supposed to be at an elementary school district giving an award but you didn't make it. Was that because you heard that someone put up a clown poster of you on 805 and needed to get it down to save face so to speak. Property damage is inappropriate for anyone at any age at anytime. Glad to see your over being angry with Brand and can start in on someone else again.did you expect Mr. Mercado to just turn the other cheek. Not the Jaime we all now and care about. You better pray he doesn't run for your seat, remember people just read about the real you in the Grand Jury testimony.


VigilantinCV June 10, 2013 @ 3:39 p.m.

A political sign in a yard 4'x 6' far exceeds the legal size-limit for such. I recommend smaller signs for your real race. I love the fact that in Chula Vista many people participate in our political races by putting candidate signs in their yards. BUT -- I hate to see that privilege abused. So people like me sometimes make "citizen's arrests" and take down illegal political signs, particularly ones on public property.

When I see illegal signs on private property, I call Code Enforcement, and they take care of it.


oskidoll June 11, 2013 @ 11:09 a.m.

Political statements/Signage on personal property is protected by the First Amendment. I think it can be as big as the entire garage.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 4:45 p.m.

VigilantinCV - regarding the John Mccann signs I would ask WHY IS JOHN MCCANN A former COUNCILMAN FOR CHULA VISTA KNOWLINGLY BREAKING THE LAW??????

It is a shame that during a time of cut backs we are having to send City personnel out to correct an issue that should never have occurred in the first place.

No doubt the pictures taken will come back to haunt him, the question will be asked WHY DID YOU DO IT???


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 10:59 p.m.

Because John McCann is not above doing anything that may garner himself a little bit of recognition.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 4:56 p.m.

I am sure it is troubling to Ed Brand, Jim Cartmill, John Mccann, and Arlie Ricasa that the public is celebrating Jaime Mercado as a hero once again. Mercado drove Ed Brand out once before, no doubt the placement of Mercado's sign was a strategic move to cause Brand indigestion

Whatever the issue that Mercado faced regarding his employment, am I wrong that it was a confidential matter? So, it appears, that Ed Brand, in his effort to tork Mercado off has obviously divulged confidential information. So it appears that Brand told John Mccann, who has now added leaking confidential employee information to the list of laws he is breaking. OH MY!!!

Jaime Mercado would not even accept a free cup of coffee from a vendor. John Mccann and Jim Cartmill not only accepted BUT ASKED! Arlie Ricasa asked for money as well. Quinones, not much left to say.

JAIME MERCADO FOR SCHOOL BOARD!!!!!!! First item on the agenda SEND ED BRAND PACKING!!!!!!!!!!


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:01 p.m.

John McCann is a porker of the first degree.


eastlaker June 10, 2013 @ 5:59 p.m.

Oh please. You are joking, right? Where does one begin...?

So good that you are feeling brave again, timtim. Wouldn't want to think that you were intimidated.

Regarding the "war hero" status of John McCann, that is decidedly debatable. I have had the good fortune of meeting a few true war heroes, from WW II on up to the present, and the one thing they have in common is that they don't toot their own horn. (In case anyone is paying attention, that would be a good lesson to learn).

To answer the question, why would Jaime run against John...why not? It isn't as if McCann has ever done anything this community is grateful for.

To reiterate: McCann gave $500,000 to Gandara, when Gandara could have been fired for cause (remember the missing report? we do). McCann brought Ed Brand back--need we say more? McCann has not once stood up to do the right thing--he always goes along with the Loyal Voting Block, proving either a lack of convictions, or a lack of discretionary powers, or both.

Delusional, deluded John McCann--this community sees what he does not. We need representation with courage, intelligence, foresight, willingness to work, and a balanced sense of reality.


eastlaker June 10, 2013 @ 6:24 p.m.

If you want to debate numbers, if we are few, it looks like you are on your own here.

Regarding looks, I'm not quite sure what you are getting at. Are you saying that we look Italian? I myself haven't seen 'County fair ride operators' is quite some time. You may have to update me on their look!

Regarding signatures, do tell, who was it who made sure to report those who were trying to get signatures? Wasn't that John McCann?

Yet another blot on the old escutcheon.


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:03 p.m.

Why do you use the phrase "Cleared of any wrong doing?" Shall we infer that he was being looked at by the GJ as being a regular lawbreaker?


Visduh June 11, 2013 @ 8:51 p.m.

The fact that McCann was not charged, at least yet, doesn't imply he was "cleared of any wrongdoing." Indictments can come along at any time.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 5:47 p.m.


Hopefully all have read Ed Brands Grand Jury testimony in which he states John Mccann asked Brand to ask SGI for money. Then there is Rene Flores's testimony in which he states Brand asked for Jim Cartmill and John Mccann.


oskidoll June 10, 2013 @ 5:57 p.m.

timtim...Yourf alter ego, McCann, a ."war hero"? In your dreams. Mc Cann has not necessarily been 'cleared' of any wrong doing, it is just that he is not YET among the indicted.

Seems he is on a slippery slope, puting his illegal signs on public property...that is a very big no-no, and he, as a former city council member, certainly knows better. It's just that he does not give a DAMN about rules and the public's right to participate in public discourse about a public agency THEY OWN!

McCann is imploding as we write.

AND...if this is a non-issue, as you claim, why are you participating in this blog? Go get a life....one that is far, far, away from so-called public service. You stink at that.


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:11 p.m.

timtim... one thing you need to get into that thin skin of yours. John McCann is done in this town. Done! Finis! The End! Caput! He is washed up as a viable candidate for anything that requires a public vote. Toast! If this GJ testimony doesn't sink his boat, then the public will eviscerate him in any election he runs in. He is everything that is wrong with Sweetwater and a whole lot more caca. He needs to pack it in. He is done, washed up, tossed out like yesterday's trash. So move along little man. Your horse has left the barn.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 6:12 p.m.

Lets us for a moment put aside the indictments, the asking for money from contractors, the temporary restraining orders.

Might someone explain why Bertha Lopez has been the ONLY board member whose votes for the past 3 years have been in favor of ALL students, ALL employees and the taxpayers of the South Bay.

Perhaps the other board members might want to explain their votes.


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:13 p.m.

go to bed John, it's over. You have had yer day and that was so yesterday, it's laughable.


eastlaker June 10, 2013 @ 6:27 p.m.

Try to educate yourself. You might be able to accomplish something.


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:16 p.m.

wow, you are so lame you have to repost yer lame posts... what's the matter, no one cares about you anymore? Why don't you go home and tell the misses you ain't gonna be a bigshot much longer.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

One of the testimonies to the Grand Jury was a gentleman who captured the information on computers and cell phones.

Here is a scenario for you - the DA or FBI serves The READER with a search warrant in an attempt to identify the IP address of ----, who has in this commu ity forum leaked a confidential personnel matter and a CLOSED SESSION confidential item.


Julian_Asange June 10, 2013 @ 10:10 p.m.

McCann, I mean timtim, who sounds like the uneducated one here? "30K that could've went to kids"

You should be serving the community instead of wasting your time trying to defend yourself and your godfather Brand. This is so pathetic...


cvres June 10, 2013 @ 6:53 p.m.

guess timtim hasn't read McCann's grand jury transcripts. troubling stuff.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 7:10 p.m.

anniej will not be silenced by any person(s), no matter how low they may stoop to attempt to silence her. Quite to the contrary, anniej is more resolute than ever - as grandmother use to say "you never want to get a Pollock angry by bringing their children into anything"


Visduh June 11, 2013 @ 8:54 p.m.

Polack? As in Polish? Check the spelling of nicknames.


Duhbya June 12, 2013 @ 7:35 a.m.

Maybe she was implying that shes does indeed have a strong backbone, unlike a.........




bbq June 12, 2013 @ 7:53 a.m.

I would assume that, because it is Capitalized, "Pollock" is a Family Name. Thus the saying means, "you can do what you want until you bring my (Pollock Family) children into it, now it's personal".

anniej continues to call it as she sees's it, for that I give her Kudos. She also would not stoop to the level implied as to using an "ethnic" slur.

BTW she does not need me to back her up, she does fine on her own. I also do not blindly follow her every word, but I will say she's in it for the long haul and I respect her for it.



anniej June 12, 2013 @ 8:07 a.m.

Visduh: granny is rolling over in her grave - would like to say it was a typo, alas, it was not, I WAS WRONG!


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:19 p.m.

johnjohn... go away. Your just a troll. You do know what a troll is, don't ya johnjohn?


WTFEd June 10, 2013 @ 9:11 p.m.

timtim We can only guess who you are. I have my suspicions. It does not really matter in the eyes of the one who really matters you being a religous man. You can hide behind your failed logic of it is just those few who show up at Board meetings. You know malcontents. Paint them as the villians rather than the real ones. You sound like Nixon when he talked about the "Sllent Majority".

What is disgusting is your use of personal information about an individual and then put it up on a blog. Look I have ethics. I could get access to some very personal information and put it up on this blog about kids, grandkids, and close friends of District staff and elected officials who have been involved in this debacle. Doing so would hurt people who through no fault of their own are related or just been a friend for years. They were not the ones who are corrupt. Yet you attempt to personally attack a citizen. A TAXPAYER!!

Live with yourself. Wallow in your dillusion. You are sick.

I may have to reconsider the exposure of some very intimate and personal information about District staff in this blog unless you cut it out. The War has escalated. You better quit bring up personal sensitive information about citizens. I mean business.

I do not want to hurt innocent bystanders but game on. Think about it.


jibaro June 11, 2013 @ 4:47 a.m.

WTFEd.."I could get access to some very personnal information and put it up on this blog,, " For many of us, this is a very disturbing statement on many levels considering where you work.


anniej June 10, 2013 @ 9:22 p.m.

Not sure why it was inferred that I was eluding to Mr. Jaime Mercado running against John Mccann, when, in fact, it IS the HONORABLE Mr. Kevin O'Neill who will be running against John Mccann. Let us not forget there are three seats we will be voting for.

Kevin O'Neill is a candidate The Party can be proud of. Integrity restored. Mr. O'Neill attempted to school the current leadership of the importance of honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility - but to no avail Fortunately, for the students for the taxpayers he is willing to serve the community he so dearly loves.


Bye, Bye Mccann!!!!!!!!!


erupting June 10, 2013 @ 10:02 p.m.

Is someone acting like they are Fast Eddy, because they are angry because Brand told the Grand Jury they wanted campaign debt monies. How childish.


joepublic June 10, 2013 @ 11:19 p.m.

Does anyone have more information regarding the failed attempt to start a bank by Mr. Hassey and superintendent Brand?


Reader2 June 10, 2013 @ 11:30 p.m.

Please be more helpful. I couldn't find any information, either when I googled it.


Reader2 June 10, 2013 @ 11:23 p.m.

timtim, I hope you're not McCann because you would be embarrassing not only yourself (war hero comment), but your wife, daughters, and your church (the insults). You sound like a petulant child. As far as the 300K citizens not writing comments, I was one of them. I have my life (job, family, interests) that keeps me pretty busy. I finally got involved after going to a board meeting and seeing the total disrespect for the community. I didn't want to feel impotent and powerless so I started educating myself. We voted all of you in to take care of school business. We take care of the kids at home, you make sure they're educated. I thought that was the general agreement (compact, if you will) Call me naive, but I thought it really was all about the kids for all of you. You hold the education of children -our future- in your hands. Just stop and think about that for a moment. Think about the enormity of your responsibility. For once I hope that our kids are more interested in social media than in the news. What's been happening here is very sad. What's come out in the grand jury testimony would make anyone - child or adult- feel hopeless. On the other hand, I'm heartened by the small? group of selfless individuals who have been fighting the good fight. (Apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 2 Tim. 4:7) Thank you to all those who have chosen to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. Keep shining your light!


Jmbrickley June 10, 2013 @ 11:24 p.m.

I wonder just how much it would cost to rent one of those billboards you see along the freeway for a couple of weeks the next time johnjohn runs for office and put his mug in his bozo face on it with all his nefarious doings at sweetwater on it? hmmmm...


sukaduka June 10, 2013 @ 11:44 p.m.

This is for all the people who support the corruption at SUHSD. It's time for a change and the only one who has the courage to confront Brand is Mr. Mercado. I am glad that Mr. Mercado is back.


Jmbrickley June 11, 2013 @ 8:34 a.m.

Yet, another example of Ed Brand's business acumen.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 7:47 a.m.

the bankruptcy I have referred to, of Jim Cartmill, where Ed Brand and Tom Hassey lent him money - see page 7


we as taxpayers look to our elected officials to represent us as independent thinkers. it is concerning that those who are charged with the education of our children are forming personal relationships that have been/are being taken as undo influence.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 8:12 a.m.

joepublic: sorry, I thought it was Reader 2 who asked for the failed bank info. see above post for the actual legal documentation.


joepublic June 11, 2013 @ 8:25 a.m.

anniej: Thank you for the information, and I'm sure glad the Reader took the personal attack down. Totally inappropriate.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 10:08 a.m.

joepublic - personal attacks of me matter none - bringing my family into it, unacceptable. i am responsible for my comments, THEY ARE NOT!

hopefully a lapse in judgement by timtim that will not be duplicated.

i do appreciate The READER taking it down.


FatCatSegat June 11, 2013 @ 8:32 a.m.

So the lines are drawn! On one side black and white and on the other side the many shades of grey. Smoke and mirrors. Explosions and slight of hand. As far as my uneducated eyes can see, people did wrong, people need to be held accountable. All the rest is all subterfuge. People are quite passionate about their personal feelings, understood. Name calling and insults? C'mon man. If you aren't open to other people's opinions then aren't you being a bit obstinate? Is your point of view the only valid one? Isn't that the way the road to tyranny is paved?


dbdriver June 11, 2013 @ 8:48 a.m.

Agreed. Members of the public should refrain from taking bait from those who seek to instigate trouble. This thread is starting to resemble a playground argument. Nobody wins. We need to keep our focus.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 9:37 a.m.

june is here folks, in approximately 8 months the trial will begin. in the meantime it is important to remain diligent and stay focused on the issues. one of the main issues is educating the masses. many new groups are starting up and their focus is notification of the south bay as to the documented issues. segments of the Grand Jury testimony being forwarded on via facebook pages or fliers.

cards being printed in Tijuana to be handed out while standing in line at the bank, mickey d's, pop warner/little league games, or waiting in line for a family Sunday breakfast. upcoming parent/teacher night when school begins once again.

posters at overpasses, loved that one! i would recommend only legal activity, perhaps you might choose instead an onramp.

all South Bay communities coming together for the benefit of the future leaders of the world - our youth. National City and Eastlake are are really getting organized, YAHOO!!!!!

it matters not what role we choose to play in the efforts of cleaning house at SUHSD, as long as we choose one. each of us is important, but remember, we will not succeed unless we stay focused on the task at hand.

ATTENDANCE AT BOARD MEETINGS - if you can - is one of those roles - it matters not if you choose to speak, your very presence SPEAKS VOLUMES!

the billboard idea, I am in, just let me know who to make the check out to.


bbq June 11, 2013 @ 9:56 a.m.

Looking at the attachment to anniej's comment, has this loan been paid off or was it prior to the latest incarnation of Ed Brand? If not isn't it a conflict of interest for Mr. Cartmill to have been a part of the hiring or re-hiring process of Dr. Brand? Where are the signed Personal Interest Documents?

With the possible perjury of Mr. Cartmill's statement, one would think there would be an opening for recall or at least call to question his ethics statement when he signed on as a Board Member.

For that matter, "Loaning" one's address to a out of town Building Contractor, would also be a conflict of interest, weather it's your house or someone in your family. Ms Ricassa (sp), don't you think so?

The picture gets clearer and clearer, as the stuff floats to the top. I really have to wonder where the office of elections or DA is/was with regards to any of this, oh, I forgot in the pockets of the incumbents.

How do these people walk around the community, certainly not with their heads held high.

The fix is in our hands, vote out the ethic-less, and bring in people that will look us (Taxpayers) in the eye.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 10:04 a.m.

bbq: the loan occurred during brands previous SUHSD superintendent position. i believe the document provided is dated. at that time cartmill was a board member and hassey a SUHSD employee and brand the super.

initially when first exposed cartmill appeared to distance himself from the facts, as if they did not happen. he was, however, during a board meeting presented with the documentation - no comment by cartmill has ever been given regarding the loan.

while not illegal, i find it very concerning. i would prefer to have SUHSD's business handled by our board members without feelings of obligation to the superintendent.


oskidoll June 11, 2013 @ 11:07 a.m.

Anniej....about the loan. It may very well have been illegal. The FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) might be a place to inquire.


bbq June 11, 2013 @ 12:21 p.m.

The FPPC should be involved with the issue of Ms. Vargas at the board of elections ...

I used to be "Amazed" by the scope of all of this, now I'm simply "Amused" that all of these folks thought they were above the rules and regulations, not to mention laws.

I also am flabbergasted by the nievite of the citizens of the region. Allowing this to go on for so long. I think my favorite part is this transcends, Party, Ethnicity, and Income, we've got a bit of each.

Thank you Ed for quitting the first time so The Gandara could soil your little pond and we could get a clear view of who/what/where this UNETHICAL mess started, it all started with you Ed!!!

As you said in the Transcripts, (paraphrased) "...if you knew how badly (Gandara) messed up (your little ponzie scheme) at SUHSD was, you'd have never come back"... well welcome to your nightmare. Now quit and get out of the way....

Ed, Always the best to you and your toadies ... BBQ


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 1:09 p.m.

bbq: As I read the pdf i became most upset at the fact that a Registrar of Voters employee was actually calling Jim Cartmill to alert him to the fact that Karen Janney had just pulled the paperwork to run against him. Is this why Cartmill was given money by SGI? Did Ms. Janney's candidacy frighten him? I was told, by a contractor, that he personally engaged in pulling up Janney signs as a means of proving himself to "the gandara". We can read these tea leaves, "the gandara" worked very well with Jim Cartmill AND John Mccann, AND Arlie Ricasa, AND Pearl Quinones - doubt if the same could have been be said of Janney. Her commitment to youth has a long, very long history.

Is there a code of ethics at the County Registrar of Voters that is adhered to?

Hopefully a full blown investigation is being done - employees are there to serve THE people, ALL PEOPLE - not just the people they have formed personal friendships with.


CarlinLawGroupAPC June 11, 2013 @ 4:05 p.m.

Dear timtim [part 1 of 2]:

I'm the lawyer for Stewart Payne in the litigation you reference in your comment inquiring whether anyone is helping him "pay the district the 40k in layer fees he was ordered to pay the district for his friviousless lawsuit he filed against the district that was tossed out." While I do not have the time or space to correct all of your erroneous statements, by this post I will endeavor to correct some of them you have been making relative to Mr. Payne's litigation efforts on behalf of the District.

First, let's be clear that Mr. Payne was not asking that a single penny be paid to him in his litigation. Unlike many at Sweetwater, Mr. Payne is not looking to further his self interest. To the contrary Mr. Payne sought to have a construction contractor PAY BACK TO THE DISTRICT the $17+ million the District is paying them on a no bid lease leaseback contract on the Montgomery Middle School construction Project. Mr. Payne's legal arguments were not frivolous but instead were founded upon a good faith argument for the application and clarification of existing law, namely that Sweetwater was legally required to solicit sealed competitive bids on its lease leaseback construction contracts and award the contract only to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Mr. Payne’s legal arguments are the same arguments raised by the California State Allocation Board. Please don't reply with an ignorant “low bidder” criticism of the competitive bidding process that has been the mainstay of California public contracting for over 150 years. Remember in public contracting the lowest responsive and responsible bidder can only be awarded a job if they can provide payment and performance bonds issued by an independent surety guaranteeing up to the full amount the contract that the work will be done on time and in strict conformance with the plans and specifications which are subject to continuous daily inspections by more than one independent inspector authorized by the California Division of State Architect. Recall California statutes and case law indicate that sealed competitive bidding is required to prevent fraud, favoritism and corruption, stimulate advantageous marketplace competition and avoid the misuse of public funds. []. Based on the evidence contained in the Grand Jury transcripts Sweetwater is the poster child for why California school districts should NOT be allowed to award construction contracts in any manner other than sealed competitive bidding with award only to the lowest responsive and responsible contractor who can provide 100% payment and performance bonds.[to be continued on next post]


CarlinLawGroupAPC June 11, 2013 @ 4:06 p.m.

Dear timtim [part 2 of 2]:

Second it was the District that initiated the litigation you reference by filing a validation action on May 30, 2012. On July 18, 2012 Mr. Payne filed an answer to the District's lawsuit. On September 13, 2012 Mr. Payne filed a cross-complaint against the contractor seeking to recover the $17+ million the contractor is receiving from the District. The District would not have incurred the attorneys fees you reference had it not elected to voluntarily participate in this process. While Mr. Payne was required by law to name the District as a party in his action, the District could have elected to take no action and allow the contractor to whom it is paying $17+ million defend against Mr. Payne’s lawsuit. Thus the attorneys fees incurred by the District were incurred by its own choice. What is worse is the attorneys fees incurred by the District were incurred trying to AVOID having the contractor pay back $17m to the District!?!

Finally, can you send me a copy of the document that supports your assertion Mr. Payne was ordered to pay the District’s legal fees? No you cannot because no such document exists. Mr. Payne was never ordered to pay the District’s attorneys fees. On February 1, 2013 I paid $44,639.50 to the construction contractor’s attorneys to cover their attorney’s fees for prevailing on their motion that asserted Mr. Payne’s cross complaint against them violated their right to free speech when it asserted they were awarded the Montgomery lease leaseback contracts on account of campaign contributions. On March 22, 2013 the contractor’s attorneys then paid me back $44,639.50 in return for my clients’ dismissal of their appeal of the Superior Court’s granting of the foregoing motion against Mr. Payne.

Next time a taxpayer offers to litigate against a contractor to have millions of dollars paid back to the District, please ask the District's attorneys NOT to incur attorneys fees trying to oppose that effort. That to me sounds like frivolous litigation by the District...


jibaro June 11, 2013 @ 4:24 p.m.

Steward, hope you are not paying this guy by the word.


farmgirl June 11, 2013 @ 4:19 p.m.

Just as a reminder...the board members under Gandara were enjoying their dinners, tickets, wine with the contractors while also being treated to dinners and lunches on the district credit card. During the Gandara reign, they did not have high grocery bills, that is for sure.


CarlinLawGroupAPC June 11, 2013 @ 4:20 p.m.

Dear timtim [postscript]:

How would you know the amount of attorneys fees the District incurred in its lawsuit? That information is subject to the attorney client privilege and would only be known by the Board of Education, Superintendent and District accounts payable staff. Hmmm....


Jmbrickley June 11, 2013 @ 4:57 p.m.

It's getting to be desperation time for timtim.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 4:45 p.m.

CarlinLawGroupAPC - Thank You for taking the time to clarify this issue. Several attempts to vilify Mr. Payne have failed, thanks to your comments we can now add this one to the list.

Additionally, on a personal note, I would like to extend my appreciation for your efforts in helping to expose the truth regarding what has been/is going on at Sweetwater, WITH OUR TAX BQND DOLLARS.

Community, pease read Mr. Carlins comments carefully, included is a wealth of information.

Why doesn't this District want our mones back, a total of 17 million greenbacks. That could go a very long way in helping our students don't you think? Could it have anything to do with back room deals that involved current board members?

Thank You again Sir!

timtim, the beans you spilled - they were confidential. Yet another reason why John Mccann is not fit for any office


erupting June 11, 2013 @ 4:56 p.m.

Thank you Mr. Carlin for the detailed explanation. We appreciate knowing the truth. But never fear we know tim tim well. He is a flea and we all are aware of that. I truly enjoyed your last comment as I'm sure the rest of the bloggers understand as well.


Susan Luzzaro June 11, 2013 @ 5:41 p.m.

Mr. Carlin, thank you for providing the Reader's readers with contextual information regarding the lease-leaseback litigation and Mr. Payne. It seems interesting, indeed, if what you assert is true--that what has been blogged in this thead would be privileged district information.


Jmbrickley June 12, 2013 @ 7:39 p.m.

Your figures are irrelevant. The fact you even knew of the litigation is enough for me. You had access to confidential information that was known to only a very few select insiders. And for them to breech this "public trust" by either sharing the confidential information with you, or as I suspect, you being JM, is a violation of the oath of office and the laws of California. Either way, johnjohn is toast.


eastlaker June 11, 2013 @ 6:11 p.m.

Just when you think you have heard it all, there's more...so the district did not want $17 million back, when they were claiming poverty to the extent that teachers were pink-slipped and programs have been shut down. Interesting. Must mean more back room deals--the FOEs (Friends of Ed) are evidently abundant and must get their 'fair share'.

I don't suppose we could find out which contractor this was.

It seems that Sweetwater just LOVES to pay those attorneys, however. Possibly the board members feel sorry for all those law school grads who are out there looking for jobs.

Can we find out just how much Sweetwater has paid out in attorney fees since Fast Eddy came to town the first time around. I wonder what the school system would have been like if those funds had been actually spent on the schools and the students. Guess that is too much to ask.


Jmbrickley June 12, 2013 @ 7:42 p.m.

Here's another "fact" for ya. You seem to be the only person sticking up for John McCann. That would suggest you are either JM himself, or his missus. Actually, you could be both.


oskidoll June 12, 2013 @ 10:44 p.m.

I'm going out on a limb here....the 'missus' is probably more literate. However, that's not much to applaud, as it appears that together they do not have a few brain cells to rub together.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 7:23 p.m.

The information leaked last evening is clear cut evidence that Jim Cartmill, John Mccann, and Ed Brand are running scared. They see the long arm of the law that will soon reach out and touch each one of them, one way or another.

July folks, July one month away, like building blocks, when you begin pulling individual ones out, the rest will tumble and fall.

All that is being reported is being catalogued.


Many thanks to 'antagonists 2' - let us know how your Eastlake meeting goes. The menudo served at the National City meeting was 'out of this world' delicious!!!


Jmbrickley June 12, 2013 @ 7:43 p.m.

You're welcome. I can be antagonizing when I want to.


Jmbrickley June 12, 2013 @ 7:45 p.m.

You really think that? I just can't wait until the repercussions of Ed's testimony play out.


anniej June 11, 2013 @ 8:34 p.m.

Name the board member, who, while running for Chula Vista City Council, received campaign donations from a person who was accused of money laundering relating to said donations.

We are still waiting for the campaign donation limitations proposal from Jim Cartmill, John Mccann, Arlie Ricasa, Pearl Quinones and Ed Brand. HOW MANY MONTHS HAS IT BEEN? Community activist Ms. Adato has been attempting to have the issue brought up for a vote, but alas, nothing so far.

Why wouldn't our illustrious board members want to vote for limitations? Could it be that John Mccann and Jim Cartmill have Brand out there asking as we speak? Let us not forget Brand told the Grand Jury that Mccann asked him to do just that approximately 2 weeks after John Mccann brought Brand back. Rene Flores, stated It was John Mccann and Jim Cartmill

Guess we should THANK Ed Brand for letting the community know just who the real John Mccann is and what he is all about


eastlaker June 12, 2013 @ 11:16 a.m.

Says someone with absolutely no credibility whatsoever.


bbq June 12, 2013 @ 6:06 a.m.

My good man timtim, I once again call you out, please give me something, one iota, of how the situation of the current Superintendent and Board at SUHSD is a good thing for the community.

You are awesome at belittling and ranting against other commenters, especially anniej, but have never said what you believe in, just like John McCan't. The only thing I have heard him say was "every parent want's their child to go to college". Pretty broad brush...

I believe every parent wants their child to get an education, be a productive member of society and be happy. We/you/FOE/Board/Brand need to refocus on the level of Education our Children recieve while under our care in the 7 - 12 model at SUHSD. Not expand a failing model into a reduced content 13-16 Model.

If we do not offer a choice in education that includes the trades and hands on experience, those things will wither on the vine.

I return to my "Elitist" claim against you, Brand and the Board, as played out in the Testamonies, Egos, Actions, and Votes of the FOE. The idea that Bertha, Jim and John will come out of this OK just adds to the disillusioned "Elitist" attitude, if they have not already been hurt by the situation they must have concrete for souls and as evidenced, little empathy for people who do not see life as they do (Privelaged?).

Sometime I would love to hear John McCann and Brand speak about what their vision of the Future of the District is, not about their wonderful accomplishments from the past.

As always I continue to offer you constructive criticism, and wish you well in your disillusioned and not so complicated future. BBQ


eastlaker June 12, 2013 @ 12:13 p.m.

BBQ, I agree with much of what you say, but wish to make a minor point. When you claim that Brand and his docile followers (including timid timtim) are "elitist" because they cut ROP/CTE/Adult Ed programs and have made plans to turn over some of that space to charter school programs with links to "Sweetwater U" alignments--yes, that may appear to be elitist.

But what it really is, is greedy. They are going after money, trying to find another "revenue stream" (such a popular term these days). Now, that would be a "revenue stream" for the schools, ostensibly, but possibly also has further connections for Brand, the FOEs, the Loyal Voting Block and any and all obedient admin types who will be looking for jobs outside the school district in the near future.

You see, by calling Brand and his cronies elitists, you give them credit for more than they deserve. They are not doing anything for the elite student-athletes in their plan to down-grade competition with the insular CIF section 11. They are not doing anything for the best students in this district--because they are trying to encourage them to start accruing student debt years before that is at all necessary--if indeed it is necessary at all.

No, this isn't elitism. It is Greed, Selfishness and Self-Interest, the creed of Sweetwater's current regime. Elitism, you see, still has tinges of something good, and this bunch is no good.


bbq June 12, 2013 @ 12:43 p.m.

eastlaker, You are absolutely correct with the greed aspect, however they still look at their little ed-dom through their eyes only, thus the "elitist" claim.

By being "elitist" they feel and act (as evidenced in the transcripts and actions) "above" us common folk, they are obviously "smarter" than us, (certainly not more intelligent) Their actions just should not/cannot be questioned by we poor common folk, we just do not understand, they deserve our "idolation" of them.....

They sit on their thrones at the Board meetings and thumb their noses at us, shuffle the name cards, mispronounce our names proclaim their understanding of the "Dance Card" and approve whatever "King Eddy" wants.

Their selective understanding of the situation reminds one of Marie Antounette over her understanding of famine: "If there's no bread, Let them eat cake" or the great Bugblatter Beast of Planet Trall (Hichikers Guide to the Galaxy) who believes if you cover your face with your towel (read the book) and can't see him, he can't see you, so if they selectively can't see us, obviously we can't see them.

A long winded reply to a statement I agree with... Best BBQ


eastlaker June 12, 2013 @ 1:01 p.m.

Yes, they do seem to think that their dominion over Sweetwater UHSD is an established right...

But it is patently obvious that they are not smarter than we are. They are not more numerous.

They are simply inhabiting positions which are temporary by nature, and they are mistaking those temporary positions for a universal authority that is not theirs.

So, corrective measures must be taken! The public needs to recognize that their tax monies are essentially being stolen--because these resources are not going to the education of the children in this district.

We have some long-standing problems in this district--some of them having to do with party/family connections that lead to inside knowledge that leads to the desire to hang on to power bases, yet the actual community has been long forgotten. Lip service might be paid, but when corruption rules, no one wins.

So let's agree to rid this district of the entities that do not serve this district, but serve themselves.

P.S. I loved all the Hitchhiker's Guide volumes!! Should be required reading in high school, at least over the summer!


anniej June 12, 2013 @ 8:02 a.m.

bbq - as always, you come to table with thought provoking, rational thoughts - your concerns, added to the list of many. I still find it unbelievable that we are discussing student education, a cause all parties should be united on. We, the taxpayers, the parents in these communities have been given a real education on the subject of representation. Who would have thought ANY person would have used their position for self, let alone a group of elected school board member and two superintendents.

What is that saying 'all that glitters is not gold'. The past deeds of those I speak is a real eye opener. The signs were there, the documentation - yet, we (myself included) failed to do our due diligence in vetting those we vote into office. Troubling pasts of irrational behavior and questionable circumstances are documented, all one has to do is take the time to research.

It is almost over bbq, no more will we come to The READER and release our frustration of alleged corruption, no instead we will come and celebrate the accomplishments of students, all students, young and old (Adult Ed) and the fiscal responsible decisions of board members like Mr. Kevin O'Neill, a well respected man of integrity.

There are others I would like to see sitting up their at the dais, hopefully they will announce their intentions soon.

In closing I would like to bring a thought to the community table for discussion. It is time to set aside The Party as the major consideration and vote instead for THE PERSON. Our own local history is proof positive that Party does not make the candidate.


oskidoll June 12, 2013 @ 11:56 a.m.

McCann is a bully and would-be despot. Best to keep him away from any authority and/or public money. See how desperate he is! The more desperate he becomes, the more out of control. Implosion is likely.


bbq June 12, 2013 @ 12:54 p.m.

oskidoll, With the use of implosion, does that mean he just becomes so irrealavent he gets even smaller than he already is to the point he is so small that "Poof" he just vanishes? or by implosion do you mean, he finally makes a "real" public statement that is so loud and irrealavent he just sucks in on himself and a pile of politician scat is all that remains?

Oh to call McCann a bully is to unbelievable, always running home to Mama Eddy and the FOE, a would be despot I can see.



eastlaker June 12, 2013 @ 2:48 p.m.


That link is a blog posting stating that McCann cancelled Gandara's credit card, but goes on to say that McCann should give the pink slip to Gandara instead of to the teachers...and asks that if the Union-Tribune hadn't been running stories on what was going on in Sweetwater, would McCann have done anything at all.

Hardly what I would call a ringing endorsement of McCann. More like a "better late than never" kind of response.

If John McCann wants accolades from the public, he needs to do more than that...and didn't Brand even get a credit card after the public had been told that district credit cards were a thing of the past?

Great Day In the Morning! If that link is the best you've got to support John McCann, you don't have much to go on. Given all that has gone on, all the pay-offs, all the land deals, all the attorney fees, all the pleas for money from contractors, all the poor performances from this board...and McCann thinks stopping one credit card is going to turn it around for him.

And timtim claims that 'put a stop' to Gandara. Sadly, this does not bear up under examination.


erupting June 12, 2013 @ 5:25 p.m.

Oh, what comedy or more likely delusions of grandeur. After hearing about your job loss I can understand your erratic emotional behavior. I also know those political signs that you put out during graduation to remind people who you are can be costly. Ido not want you to suffer that loss on top of your job so I want you to know that I delivered them to the same place that you had ours taken.


Jmbrickley June 12, 2013 @ 7:34 p.m.

Whether or not he is guilty of anything legal is not the point johnjohn. John McCann is a blatant opportunist, who brings nothing to the table except his appetite for publicity and money. John McCann has brought NOTHING of substance to SUHSD since the very first day he took office. In fact, all he has brought to SUHSD is woe upon woe. Get over it! The public is done with him. Absolutely done!


oskidoll June 12, 2013 @ 2:28 p.m.

Just because you haven't yet received a ticket does not mean you have not been breaking the law! Time, timtim, TIME is on our side, while the clock ticks, ticks, ticks, on for the fuse on your implosion. And you put a stop to Gandara how? Paying him hundreds of thousands $$$ to go away when he should have been fired for cause without a penny!!!! Oh...I forgot, you like to 'play' hero, manifested by your 'heroics' in bringing Brand back to the table to take even more $$$ in even more schemes?????? TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK


bbq June 12, 2013 @ 2:39 p.m.

timtim, McCann, whoever you are, weather you are indicted or not, your good friend Dr. Brand, who you did bring back and Gandara who you did give a sweatheart package to, (not your money, not a worry!), will throw you under the bus, as Ed already has in his testamony, saying (paraphrased) "...Two weeks after I came back, McCann asked me to ask SGI for a $20K donation to his campaign..." by the way if it's not ture will you testify against Ed at his purjury trial?

So I will ask straight up, have you/McCann ever received Campaign Donations from ANY district contractors or from ANY other members of the SUHSD Board or Adminstration, or ANY political party or PAC?

If not you/McCann are just spineless to stand up against the FOE (Friends of Ed), if so you are just as culpable (guilty of poor judgement) as the rest of the Board and every vote can be looked at as suspect, ie influenced by Money.

By the way whatever happened to the Campaign Funding Reform bylaws for the Board? It's not convenient right now is it, all of the incumbants will need every cent to try to get re-elected.

When timtim/McCann stands up and faces the community with real answers, he might be able to walk the walk and talk the talk, not just play lip-service to Ed and FoE.

Once again a little common sense and you will be a free man, free of lies, free of debt to others, free to have your own opinion and ideas! What a thought free of being a Toady...

Unclutter your life, talk to your inlaws... BBQ


anniej June 12, 2013 @ 4:20 p.m.

Let me make this perfectly clear, WE GOT RID OF 'the gandara' - John Mcccann, the everlasting opportunist did NOT want to deal with the fall out, he knew the community was going to be turning out to DEMAND the termination that night and so, in truth what did John Mccann do -

HE GAVE 'the gandara' A PAID FREAKIN VACATION!!!!!!!!! When 'the gandara' walked down the center isle that night, he had a smirk on his face - of course he did. Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa had traveled to Texas and brought back the alleged thief, and now he was leaving with is pockets full knowing his full salary would be delivered to him in Socorro THANKS TO JOHN MCCANN

The real question is why John Mccann did not simply terminate 'the gandara' for cause. WHY???

It is my understanding that Mccann has been given the word, he is spoiled goods - former supporters have no confidence in his ability to win or lead. FAR TOO MUCH BAGGAGE that can NOT be explained.

and, just think the trials haven't even begun yet. Can you imagine the fall out once they do? Can you imagine the damning statements that will be made regarding ALL OF THOSE CAMPAIGN DOLLARS.


Julian_Asange June 12, 2013 @ 7:19 p.m.

I can't believe timtim can't even defend himself. Looks like he didn't even read the link he sent because it's mostly negative. I know you already mentioned it, Eastlaker, but it bears repeating. Read for yourself: For as much kudos to McCann as I would like to give, I must be fair. Although McCann is in his first-term and has been president of the Sweetwater school district for just 4 months, some of these charges have even occurred under his watch. If the U-T had not uncovered this story, who would have brought it to light? And would this still be going on? ... In regards to the outrage against Jesus Gandara, I offer a plea to John McCann. I know he’s the new guy on the board and, as president, he’s working to balance the budget without having to layoff teachers. Mr. McCann, forget giving pink slips to teachers, and hand one to Jesus Gandara instead.


eastlaker June 13, 2013 @ 6:07 p.m.

I will try this again...an earlier post possibly ran afoul in some way and then disappeared.

Yes, if this is the best McCann can come up with for support, I would say he is being "d*mned with faint praise"--meaning, not really an endorsement, of the ringing variety.

Why, we well may ask? Because McCann has always sided with the status quo. Not one to buck the system, even when the system is about as corrupt as can be, McCann votes right along with the Loyals Cartmill and Ricasa.

Why be so tightly knit as a group to the extent that there is no deviation, not even STANDARD DEVIATION? I'm not a great mathematician, but I know it isn't an accident that people vote in unison 100% of the time. That is called planning, and when it happens as often as it does in Sweetwater, I am betting there are some Brown Act violations taking place.

If McCann is so proud of the fact that he has yet to be indicted, I wonder if it has occurred to him that sometimes cases are built up piece by piece, and evidence accrued points to a conclusion at the very end. Building a case.

I wonder what McCann is thinking about now?


Susan Luzzaro June 12, 2013 @ 8:10 p.m.


would you like to meet at Marie Callenders for lunch one day next week? Susan


Susan Luzzaro June 12, 2013 @ 8:16 p.m.


would you like to meet meet at Marie Callenders for lunch next week? I am issuing these invitations separately, not intending for this to be a meeting with timtim.


anniej June 12, 2013 @ 9:48 p.m.

Ms. Luzzaro :

I am thinking I might contact The READER and schedule that lunch off line.

Perhaps we could go to Bacci's and get some lobster, that is still kicking. To accompany the meal I might stop by BevMO and order a bottle of fine wine to accompany our fine meal; while we are at Bacci's it might be fun to look at some jewelry. Are the Padres at home next week? We could then end the interview in a box seat. Oh what fun we could have - and all at my expense - no tax payer monies used.


anniej June 13, 2013 @ 9:01 a.m.

While there are obviously many things broken at SUHSD, one entity that is working on behalf of the students and the taxpayers is the Prop O Bond Oversight Committee. Throughout its implementation there have been committee members who have served with dignity, however there were 'plants' - those who were put into office with the intention of circumventing honesty, transparency and fiducial responsibility. Currently, however, ALL members are resolved in their efforts to serve. I would highly encourage all to attend a monthly meeting at your convenience - there you will see a group of committed persons working hard to ensure our bond dollars are spent wisely in providing quality schools and facilities. If attendance is not possible visit their website and.read the minutes of their meetings.


Edgar Guerrero

Terry McKearney

David Butler

Bernardo Vasquez

Dr. John Grubb

Kevin O'Neill

Nick Marinovich


dbdriver June 13, 2013 @ 11:13 a.m.

I'm not sure if you are whom some people here assume you are, but if you are said person, then what would mean that you are an example of one of our "fine" district leaders. You need to lead by example.

If you are not whom some people believe, then I apologize for any confusion. However, you still need to lead by example, no matter who you are.


bbq June 13, 2013 @ 11:30 a.m.

timtim June 12, 2013 @ 7:55 p.m.

Anyone notice that Kim Jong has been silent in North Korea since......you guessed it John McCann was deployed over there...coincidence? I think not

timtim, I think you may be on to something here, McCann finally has someone he sees eye to eye with while standing up.... both in stature and in retorical, hysterical, threats and BS....

They could be long lost twin brothers even in hair style, I can't wait for the next "Team America" puppet film _ perhaps "Team Sweetwater"? I'd include some dialog but if you've seen the original, it would not be fit to print.

Hey go take a nap when your wife's family (the relatives) come to visit....pretty much the same when you sit on the dias at Board meetings...



bbq June 13, 2013 @ 12:02 p.m.

timtim if John McCann ever made a statement or went outside his comfort zone to get opinions from other than FoE and political allies he would possibly be an OK type of person.

You are the one that keeps putting him on a pedistal to have the barbs thrown at him.

If he is indeed who you think he is, he would be out and about working on cleaning up the mess he has helped create, not hiding behind what once was. Our district and community needs Leaders with vision for the future, but, like the other Board members, I am sure John has no vision for the district or our community, other than his own self interest...

Hey, this is the first time you've come out to play when called, In the past I have asked reasonable questions of you and Mr. McCann, will either of you ever answer any of them?



bbq June 13, 2013 @ 12:36 p.m.


I have rethought a bit about your last few comments, you are right I am being a little hypocritical, I am sorry, I should not use other peoples appearance or inability to announciate a cohearent thought in my comments.

However is it not Hypocritical to stand on your past every time something does not go your way?

Is it not Hypocritical to call yourself a Community Leader and only blindly follow?

Is it not Hypocritical to Promise change (Clean-up?) in the District, and fall into "it's just the way we do things around here"?

Is it not Hypocritical to belittle your competition or fix the contest by spending more and littering the community with your campaign stuff?

We should both (all Three including John) take a higher path and respond to some of the important issues?

Number One who is looking out for the Community, the kids, the employees and the taxpayer?

It was John McCann's job and if I were to rate him now he's a "Needs Improvement" a best, more likely on "Report or Corrective Action Required."

Best to you and all the little timtims... BBQ


dbdriver June 13, 2013 @ 2:22 p.m.


The first part of my statement was indeed directed to you, based upon an assumption that you are a specific board member. If you are said person, then attempts to aggravate members of the public are beneath your position.

The second part of my statement, apologizing for any confusion if you are not said person, should probably have been more clear as to whom it was directed to. Yes, in part, it could be to the general public. But it also could refer to you, as a part of the general public, to take the high road and refrain from attempts to belittle, or insult others.

As for "acting the victim", I would sympathize with your issue of correction and defense, however, when you make such opening statements as "Are you losers really that trapped in your little bubble that this is now blog worthy news?", I find it very difficult to see you as such a victim.


anniej June 13, 2013 @ 3:56 p.m.

With the trials of those indicted on the forefront, with more and more legislative politicians paying attention and voicing concern, with elections coming up next year it is clearly apparent that certain members of the board are attempting to take the focus OFF of the issues that plague the students and taxpayers by endorsing a certain persons comments.

Let us review what we would welcome comments on, for example why Jim Cartmill has failed to bring to the board a policy that would include campaign donation limitations. Ms. Maty Adato has met with Mr. Cartmill, and was promised a policy would be forthcoming, within a week. It never happened. Then right before the next board meeting yet another email promising the policy. No policy. That was over a month and a half ago, and now in 4 days the board will meet again. This issue was brought before the board approximately 2 years ago by a different member of the community. It was not voted on, as a matter of fact, there was NO DISCUSSION, NOT EVEN ONE WORD, and so it died for lack of motion.

Fast forward to 2013, the month of May, the Grand Jury testimony is made public - while we realized the whys of the lack of interest by the board we now suspect why Jim Cartmill is failing to bring forward campaign reform He is up for reelection in 2014. as is John Mccann and Arlie Ricasa. Would they dare to replicate their past choices by ASKING for campaign contributions from contractors and vendors yet again? Well let us consider, that according to Ed Brand, John Mccann did just that, within two weeks of Mccann bring Brand back to replace 'the gandara'. According to Rene Flores of SGI not only did Ed Brand ask for John Mccann but he also asked for MONEY for Jim Cartmill - and the year in which he asked, WAS NOT A FREAKIN ELECTION YEAR FOR EITHER OF THEM.

And so I will offer up, nothing has changed at Sweetwater and nothing will change at Sweetwater until and unless we are able to FIRE Ed Brand and either have those who fail to vote in favor of education and fiduciary responsibility found guilty or vote them out.

Plans are being made to vote Jim Cartmill, John Mccann and Arlie Ricasa OUT next election time, just in case the judicial system is not able to remove them.


No doubt Mr. Cartmill is feeling the heat, many are questioning his delay in acting.

Why was the committee to 'study' the issue not ever formed?

Mr. Cartmill we are waiting, you need to justify your lack of action.

I have no malice for any of the parties that I have spoken out against in truth, I JUST WANT THEM GONE I want them replaced with persons who come to the table to serve our students and the taxpayers - we have, for far too long, had persons sit on the dais and use. THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW!!!!!


Reader2 June 13, 2013 @ 5:53 p.m.

Thank you for keeping the focus on the facts and relevant issues. Sometimes reading these blogs is better than watching any soap opera (and I don't mean that as a positive thing). These are real issues - real lives at stake. Oh, by the way, Assembly member Shirley Weber has had to cancel her coffee chat scheduled for this Sat. in Bonita.


anniej June 13, 2013 @ 6:25 p.m.

We have watched while Ed Brand, Jim Cartmill, John Mccann and Arlie Ricasa VOTED AWAY ADULT ED AND ROP AS WE KNOW IT. Instead Jim Cartmill, John Mccann, and Arlie Ricasa voted to denigrate these two successful options in favor of Ed Brands elementary charter school. Folks, we are paying for this elementary charter, Ed Brand is not, he does not live or pay taxes down here. Brand, who FOR YEARS, spoke out against charter schools all of a sudden had an epiphany and decided that an elementary charter was the way to go. It all has to do with the money folks, he wants the per head count paid by the state - in simple terms. What needs to be discussed is how much is being spent on a charter that is taking money away from our middle and high school students.

Let us compare our district to the Chula Vista Elementary district, THEY ARE FINANCIALLY SOLVENT, WE VOTED IN A BOND RECENTLY BECAUSE WE TRUST THEM, AND THEIR STUDENTS ARE EXCELLING. So much so that THEIR middle school charters are successful, and the need ever growing. The super of CV Elementary district is respected and trusted - he is focused on serving the youth and the taxpayers.

With one breath we are told by Ed Brand and the board, we are broke, then with the next they are asking for thousands upon thousands of dollars for memberships into organizations such as Chambers of Commerce. I first spoke against this expense back when 'the gandara' was here, I have spoken against it since Brand has been back. Why was Bertha Lopez the ONLY board member to speak out against such spending?

These are the issues we need answers to - and we want answers we do NOT want speeches.

How can we live in a district where our Elementary School Boards are respected and heralded and our Middle/High School Board is seen as corrupt?


oskidoll June 13, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

John McCann is the antithesis of everything a public servant should be. He is a braggart, self-centered, know-it-all, smart-aleck, superior to all, liar, messianic brat who believes he is entitled to a place at a well-compensated table....just because he is his own 'wonderful' self. Somewhere along the way he must have started believing his own campaign literature! Unfortunately, until and unless he trips up legally, we have to wait to turn him out of office.

Stay vigilant, and do NOT expect him to change. That would be, as I have said in prior posts, 'expecting sober behavior from a drunk'. Keep nailing him for every missstep and save the evidence. We will need it all for campaign flyers. Ditto for Cartmill and Ricasa and Quinones, except they are already in the club of the indicted and the DA has a head start.


dbdriver June 14, 2013 @ 11:02 a.m.

Excellent positive news! Great teamwork from everyone involved, from the superintendent who initiated the program, to the teachers and counselors who taught and guided the students, down to the students commitment to complete the necessary requirements.


Reader2 June 14, 2013 @ 9:58 a.m.

It's nice to see that one of the many great things that happen at Sweetwater got national press. Let's keep the momentum going. When the board votes for the new budget on Monday, I hope that there will many positive things for the local press to print. Hint, hint. ;)


eastlaker June 15, 2013 @ 11:43 a.m.

Not that I want to be Debbie Downer, but this Board has disappointed before...just when you think they have reached their nadir, they somehow manage to find a way to go lower. Defies logic, physics and any sort of sense of decency, but that is Sweetwater under the leadership of Ed Brand.

Don't be too crushed if they disappoint yet again.


anniej June 14, 2013 @ 11:06 a.m.

The agenda for Mondays board meeting will be posted today, approximate time 5:00. Please be sure to review the items and familiarize yourselves with not only the actions the board will take, but also HOW AND WHAT THEY WILL BE SPENDING OUR TAX DOLLARS ON.

It is time for the community, as a whole, to begin to spend time educating ourselves on all aspects of Sweetwater in preparation for next years elections. We know WHO we do NOT want, now lets decide on WHO we DO want.


bbq June 14, 2013 @ 2:26 p.m.

At risk of once again being called a "Mal-content" and "Hypocrite", first I would like to congratulate on SUHSD on getting some "Good" Press. The National Journal article paints a good picture of our district from the perspective it was written and for the Students that qualify and use the Compact.

Attached is a paraphrased note I wrote to Noreen Kahn, the author of the National Journal Article:

*Noreen, I would like to thank you for the article for the ‘Compact for Success” at Sweetwater Union HSD and SDSU. While I agree it is an innovative program, it has all but devastated any non-college track program in the system.

It really reduces choices of our students to conform to the College track system verses the “traditional” role of High School to expose students to a broad based curriculum which includes things like, Metal shop, woodworking, automotive, cooking, all of the more Hands-on training and skills. I am a Mechanical Engineer with an MBA but what convinced me to be an Engineer(?), the afore mentioned skills and, hands-on classes in Middle and High School.

The Sweetwater Union HSD recently cut all funding for ROP and Training Classes in the district, ...saving $3-6 Million dollars out of the $340 Million Budget, can you say 1 – 2%, not a good bargain if you look at the big picture.

I am sure I will be branded a mal-content for not gushing over this innovative program which helps 1500 of approximately 8000 High School Seniors be accepted to University, however without a full broad based curriculum many of our Students have been short-changed on the fundamental experiences that guide a course of study in University that will become a meaningful career.

I have heard a Trustee in the District say “ …every Parent wants their child to go to college..” ... I wish for my children to get an education, be a benefit to the community and be happy. Without choices in the formative Years (7 – 12 Grades) I do not believe my Children got a “complete” Education in this District.

So before other districts jump on board a program like “Compact for Success” be sure that you have programs that fulfill the needs of the 80% of your students that do not make the “Compact for Success” standards. Don’t become an “Elite-Single –Track-System” that college right out of High School is the only track.

Sweetwater has become that district, ... ...by the course availability deemed appropriate and the direction of the Superintendent, the Board of Trustees and to Administration.*

Once again at risk of being chastized by timtim- if you don't look at the "costs" of a "Great" program with regards to the rest of the world (80/20 Rule) how can you determine if the program is truly "Great" or meerly "Good". I would say "Compact for Success" is a "Great" program but at what cost to our other 80%? Looking at things from a different perspective..... BBQ


anniej June 14, 2013 @ 8:18 p.m.

bbq - while the compact for success was a good opportunity for those students seeking a college education, at the risk of being perceived negative, i would ask HOW LONG AGO DID BRAND ESTABLISH THE COMPACT? i would ask, and what about the non profits that were going to fund all of these scholarships? when i attempted to procure the names of the recipients under 'the gandara' i was told that was confidential. we all know how embarrassing it is to say that our child qualified for a scholarship, we wouldn't want ANYONE TO KNOW of our childs accomplishment would we? oh, but wait a minute, i believe that Brand himself testified to the Grand Jury how the non profit was being abused. well, my, my - i never!


dbdriver June 14, 2013 @ 5:41 p.m.

Reviewing the agenda for the upcoming meeting. It looks like they are now trying to insert an education company calle Boston Reed into the Montgomery Adult School site. Looking at reviews online.


Reader2 June 14, 2013 @ 10:19 p.m.

I Googled it too. It looks like Montgomery Adult has been having classes in Imperial Beach all along.
Boston Reed College Catalog Montgomery Adult School 170 Palm Avenue Imperial Beach, CA 91932 TBA SAT: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM

If I read the board documents right, it looks like they're going to fire about 100 people. It doesn't make any sense.


eastlaker June 15, 2013 @ 12:22 a.m.

More outsourcing. Means that students will end up paying...and that there were deals behind closed doors. More empire-building by the one and only Fast Eddy, Impresario of Educational Feats of Strength and Sleight of Hand! Master of the 'they'll never know what hit them' school of management! Get your ticket, it'll be a sell-out!


dbdriver June 16, 2013 @ 1:10 p.m.

Ok, this looks like another agreement to be voted on, with just basic details listed. No posted agreement for the public to review. Again with the "no fiscal impact." Of course there are fiscal impacts. We're giving them classroom space.

Oh, silly me. This looks like another Alliant "Beginning-of-the-Dance" Letter of Intent Deals.


anniej June 14, 2013 @ 8:01 p.m.

ED BRAND WILL BE EVALUATED IN ITEM #6 OF THE CLOSED SESSION MONDAY EVENING. please plan to attend and voice your opinions.

after reading the many many pdf's that have been provided by the union tribune i would like to offer my opinion on a few items i have read:

  • it appears that selection committees meant nothing to 'the gandara' - if he did not like the committees choice, he simply tore it up and brought forth his own choice. this is interesting since, as reported by the north county times that was ONE of the controversial reasons why ed brand left his position as superintendent up there. additionally we have had our own RECENT issue with this same situation - it was the prop o bond oversight committee new member selection process. in april it was reported that a selection committee had sent forth 2 candidates for the vacant positions, however, ed brand, for whatever reasons chose to bless but one of them. a Mr. Clapper, who is highly regarded in the south bay did not receive the blessing. the question remains, WHY DID ED BRAND INTERJECT HIMSELF INTO THE PROCESS WHEN HE HAD ADVISED THE COMMUNITY THAT NEITHER THE BOARD OR HIMSELF WOULD BE INVOLVED.

  • throughout the grand jury testimonies a name keeps popping up Ed B, (aka Arlie Ricasa's husband). according to certain persons who testified they kept track of the goings on at sweetwater via Mr. B. he seemed to have an inside tract regarding contracts, who was mad at who, etc. so my question is simple why? why is a board members spouse viewed as an integral piece of the puzzle. surely closed session items are not shared.

  • how long has Jim Cartmill been on the suhsd board? since 1990. we are talking 23+ years. under his representation we had Ed Brand (first time around) leave after a Grand Jury investigation. we had 'the gandara' brought here by Mr. Cartmill and Ricasa, now we have THE LARGEST ALLEGED CORRUPTION CASE IN SAN DIEGO HISTORY and finally we are dealing with Ed Brand yet again. am i the only one who is of the opinion that the time has come for Mr. Cartmill and Ms. Ricasa to turn in their board member seats? their ability to represent long ago left as priority, it was replaced with "what is in it for me"?

it is time, time for the community to demand that our board once again replace our superintendent. with each month comes more and more financial decisions that are, at the very least questionable; and the very worst dire. i understand that will have to pay him, what is new? perhaps if board members like Jim Cartmill and Arlie Ricasa were not stale, perhaps, just perhaps they would have chosen a true leader. but instead, there was something about good old ed that these two indicted board members liked. we know Brand helped Cartmill out of his bankruptcy, but there is more. and what about Ricasa, yes what about Ricasa?

more to come folks, much more.


anniej June 14, 2013 @ 10:40 p.m.

for the record, Arlie Ricasa has been on the board since 1998. she has attempted to use her position as a spring board for assembly, but apparently the planets did not align and her bid failed. did the planets know, what we are just now finding out? apparently so -



eastlaker June 15, 2013 @ 12:05 p.m.

Exactly--and what do we--and they--have to show for it?

Massive corruption. Financials in disarray. Real estate deals that are costing millions, that should NEVER have happened. Utterly hopeless decision-making. Destroying job training and career path programs so they can be converted into more money-making schemes for Ed Brand's pals. Can it get more sickening? How about more deals with for-profit institutions, so that Sweetwater kids are steered into costly college credit situations that are COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY! Oh, and let's not forget the CIF Section 11 campaign that is still lurking off-sides...

I don't know where to look to find a sorrier bunch--and yet this collection still tries to lecture the public on respect. What a joke that is.

Yes, I am preaching to the choir here, but every once in a while I see the need to run a tally of all the ways this board, lead by Fast Eddy the Overachiever in Sleaze-based Economics and Education, has fallen short. Of course, this isn't even close to being a complete tally--just a few of the highlights.

Challenge: who can make the most complete list of all the failings of this Board and the Ed Brand/Jesus Gandara/Ed Brand Leadership Team??? Winner gets to name their reward of choice from among these: dinner at Baci's...paid entry fee for beauty queen of choice...new 501(c)3 "Support Your Favorite Attorneys"...weekend getaway to Soccoro, TX, home of champion dealmakers...other options possible!


oskidoll June 15, 2013 @ 12:47 p.m.

It is despicable that the comprehensive SUHSD Adult Program, which once won a NATIONAL award for excellence, has been dismantled. Seems Ed and toadies do not want to serve those who are with the least power with essential services that will enable them to compete economically and contribute to our society.

BUT INSTEAD, Ed and Co contract with pricey private alternate providers. Adult students will incur massive debt to get the same (we hope) training they used to receive for NO COST! And, options will likely be very, very limited.

Ed must not be paying attention to what is going on in Sacramento, as the most recent and likely scenario for funding adult education statewide will be delivery via a countywide consortium. SUHSD will not even be able to participate in that UNLESS they maintain the same level of spending on Adult Ed that they had in Fiscal Year 2012-2013 (the one just ending.) OOPS...So our adult students, those who need to obtain a GED or entry-level job skills will be SOL while Ed and Co wheel and deal with the private schools, some of which are clearly for-profit!

I believe that as a society, we are collectively educated and prepared for the future only as well as the LEAST well prepared members. That does not say very much for the future of our community and our society. Why does Mr. Ed feel so free to throw people away in such a cavailer manner?


eastlaker June 15, 2013 @ 1:12 p.m.

Excellent points, all of them.

About that last question of yours...just why is it that the Grandiose, Magnificent and Munificent Ed Brand finds it so easy to throw people away?

When military leaders make decisions that end up costing lives, they are sometimes called butchers--or at least criticized for failing to balance lives lost versus potential gain.

Shouldn't we hold The Great Brand responsible for all the lives which have been negatively impacted by his decision-making? I think so.

All these people who have counted on programs continuing...who have depended upon these stabilizing elements that were in reach, but no longer are--what will these people do?

Will they drive up north to Ed's house and knock on his door, and ask him what they are supposed to do now?

I am sure Ed would have Security out...and wouldn't answer the door anyway.

Who does Ed answer to? Apparently no one. Ed gets to gut the school district, make contracts with for-profit institutions, creating havoc with every wheezy breath he takes.

Who allows him to do this? The Loyal Voting Block of McCann, Cartmill and Ricasa--who are complicit to the hilt in all of this carnage.

There is something seriously wrong with Ed Brand that he would do this to communities, schools, people. It would take a panel of shrinks to sort him out.


anniej June 16, 2013 @ 8:29 a.m.

Ed Brand answers to the board, well sort of, and they apparently agree with all that he is doing. Or should I say all that they know he is doing. Lets face it, we have a group who is mired in attorney debt, 500k maybe more. They are not paying much attention to the goings on at SUHSD, instead they are attempting to shrug it off with words of "I am guilty of asking for a dinner for my favorite charity" - really, I have read all of the transcripts the UT has released to date, and based on what I have read the trials will do much to expose the true larcenous nature of this group.

It is time for a new board folks, the pretenders like Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa, and Pearl Quinones can retire to the ranks of "when I was a member of the SUHSD board", you know like Mccann does with his "when I sat on the City Council speeches" - somewhat to akin to the stories many of our dads told "you know, back when I was a kid I had to walk 10 miles through knee high snow to school WITHOUT ANY SHOES". Like all of us their families will listen, eyes rolling, mouths yawning, and mind chatter going "here we go again".


anniej June 16, 2013 @ 8:59 a.m.

This is the demographic of fellow neighbors we have been missing. The antagonists are growing and rightfully so, we will succeed in bringing about the much needed change for all students in the SUHSD. No longer will we tolerate the corruption that has plagued our district FOR YEARS.


Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa, John Mccann, Pearl Quinones and Ed Brand - WE WANT OUR DISTRICT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Julian_Asange June 16, 2013 @ 1:22 p.m.

I went to a bakery in National City and what did I see in the window? - a big sign asking people to attend the board meeting tomorrow - Monday. It's great to see how people from all over the district are taking notice of the transgressions that we're so tired of.


eastlaker June 16, 2013 @ 1:26 p.m.

This rubber stamp board needs to find some backbone, some ethics, some sense of why they wanted this job in the first place.

Ed Brand--well--he just needs to go away to a place where he no longer has anything to do with taxpayer funds, setting up "non-profit" organizations, schemes of any kind involving hijacking our educational system and working to mislead the public regarding what he is doing. Oh, and for good measure, I don't think he should be allowed to try and set up another bank either.

Will the upcoming board meeting reveal cracks and fissures in the traditional board alignments, as Brand is up for evaluation? Will John McCann howl? Will Cartmill complain? Will Ricasa and Quinones show any shame after all the testimony regarding perks and favors and campaign contributions?

Or will they all still be thick as thieves?


Reader2 June 16, 2013 @ 2:15 p.m.

Thank you for the link. The article is in Spanish and although Google translate isn't great, it's good enough.

Here’s the first paragraph: CHULA VISTA - Around 7000 students and 80 teachers of Adult Education will be affected if closure of Adult Schools, in communities of the South Bay, is carried out.

Wow - 7,000 students?! I didn’t realize it was that many. I wish they would all start going to board meetings and read these posts. That’s how I got started.

We need to reach out to the Spanish speakers. How about we use Google translate to post some of the more important details? I’ll get the word out to some Mexican friends who are really angry about the mello roos.

   Speaking of which, did you see/ hear the KPBS report about mello roos overcharges in North County? Here's a link (cut and paste) http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/12/homeowners-overcharged-thousands-special-property-/

There’s an interactive map, too: http://maps.inewsource.org/mello-roos/


oskidoll June 16, 2013 @ 2:02 p.m.

We ought not to hold our collective breath for any positive change. Sorry, but we have seen that they have no ethics, no shame, no understanding of what 'doing the right thing' means. Unless and until they actually FIRE Ed (for cause, no payout) and select a bona-fide educational leader who they direct to put the district's ship on a straight course, they are all 'fiddlers' while the District implodes.

Holding their feet to the fire means constant and repeated complaints made in the official forum of public comment. Glad to hear there are new folks upset enough to attend the meeting. Hope they go on the record. Individual stories are a good 'hook' for media attention. That puts a face on the damage Ed and the Board are doing to individual lives by their arbitrary and capricious decisions.

I would also suggest that anyone addressing the board remind Ed and the board members that any member of the public should be respected, listened to, and looked at during the comment. When Ed tries to 'shuffle papers, look away, pretend he is mentally 'elsewhere'...he needs to be publicly censured by the person who is addressing the Board. "Dr. Brand, with all due respect: I am speaking to YOU and to the Board. I expect the common and professional courtesy of your attention......."


oskidoll June 16, 2013 @ 4:18 p.m.

FYI, at one time the SUHSD Adult Program was one of the largest in the nation, and in the state. I believe that there were more adult students than students in the secondary schools! (Certainly more than 20,000 each year.)There were comprehensive adult programs in Nactional City, Chula Vista,San Ysidro and Montgomery sites that were specific Adult Schools ---those properties seem to be central to Ed's plan of having the high-priced private vocational schools instead.

Additionally, adult students were served in other sites throughout the District, including churches and elementary schools (for example, parents of students who wished to learn better English or how to help their children with schoolwork). Courses covered the gamut: GED preparation;ESL;adult basic education, vocational skills, 'life' skills, and personal development skills. Small fees were charged for materials in the personal development classes, such as art. Summer classes offered high school students a chance to make up vital credits they might have been missing for graduation.

There were on-site principals, vice principals, counselors, even food service at some locations as a 'laboratory' for students learning cullinary occupations.

It was a comprehensive program, offering classes during the day and at night. I suspect it fell out of favor with Ed because the State did not pay as high a rate in compensation for adult learners, and because the clientele wer not traditional high achievers...instead, they were those who were seeking to improve their lives one step at a time. The District did a great job of managing such a huge program and keeping it cost-effective. Adult School teachers were paid a lower rate than their 'regular' school counterparts. They were a dedicated and passionate lot.

As a result, the students became more valuable members of our community thanks to the opportunities provided in the Adult Program.

Thanks to Ed and this selfish, selfish Board of Trustees, our community's adult learners are now SOL. Sigh,


anniej June 16, 2013 @ 7:03 p.m.

Brand not only disrespects the speakers but he shows actual contempt for them.

Let us consider the fact that persons looking to speak fill out their cards and turn them in. They are then sorted, all cards for a particular agenda item gathered together. The meeting is begun, an agenda item is called and any cards for that particular item pulled - then one by one the speakers for that agenda item are called. The speakers stand at the podium and are IGNORED, then, next agenda item.

So, please, can anyone, explain to me what in the hell Brand is doing up there, other than disrespecting the community. Yet there sits board president Jim Cartmill adding to the insult by not instructing Brand to listen. Perhaps Arlie Ricasa might give Brand a lecture on respect since she considers herself an authority.


oskidoll June 17, 2013 @ 11:13 a.m.

It is unlikely that any of the Board members would 'direct' Brand to pay attention to the speaker during Public Comment. It is up to the speaker to 'call him out' on it. It might be effective to ask the Board President to 'stop the clock' on the speaker's time until such time as Dr. Brand can finish whatever he is doing and manage to pay attention. That would interrupt the entire process enough to get their, and perhaps his, attention.


dbdriver June 17, 2013 @ 11:23 a.m.

UT has an article showing the State is not cutting Adult Ed funding.

The article mentions Sweetwater is discussing this tonight. I don't see this particular point on the agenda. I see the "agreement" with Boston Reed. Unless it is talking about the other items in that category talking about extending certain agreements. It still doesn't look like the discussion is anywhere close to the budgeting of Adult Ed.


oskidoll June 17, 2013 @ 1:39 p.m.

It seems that Ed has a scheme (read shell game) up his sleeve about Adult Ed. Seems he is likely to 'gift' the former Adult Ed. facilities to private vocational educational enterprises... hope he hasn't thrown the Adult Ed baby out with the bathwater. The last I heard, future Adult Ed funding will flow from the State ONLY IF the district maintains the level of spending on Adult Ed in 2012-2013.
Ed prefers to play with the big-money folks, like the private schools (Grand Canyon U., Boston Reed). Wonder how they are showing their 'gratitude' for access to the SUHSD market, especially now that Ed has removed the 'low-cost' district funded competition? Another big SIGH!


bankalchemist Aug. 21, 2013 @ 1:48 p.m.

Fast Eddy is certified SAOS (slick as owl shit) so he has this natural way of protecting himself and finessing others. The only way to beat him or get ahead is to find someone better at the game than he and lure him into a deal that even Fast Eddy can not give up.


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