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Does Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent Ed Brand have something to hide regarding the memorandum of understanding between Alliant International University and the district?

Why else would he have stonewalled public record requests to see the memorandum from community advocate Maty Adato since May 16 and the San Diego Reader since April 23? Both requests asked to see the memorandum of understanding between Alliant and Sweetwater, among other things.

A letter composed and signed by Brand was sent to Adato and the Reader, saying that the requested information would be ready on June 28. The day came and no records were produced, and emails and phone calls to the clerk of the board were not returned.

The district’s deal with Alliant is tinged with cronyism.

Brand obtained his degree from United States International University (USIU) in 1983. One of Brand’s good buddies is former Sweetwater coach Gary Zarecky. Zarecky left Sweetwater to become the men’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director at USIU/Alliant in 1985. He remained at Alliant through 1991.

Brand brought Zarecky down in 2011 and gave him a $35,000 contract to work on his Funds for Education Committee. The committee, which was going to squeeze funds out of district vendors, was disbanded.

Observers have speculated that Zarecky, who currently coaches at DeAnza College, will play a part in the partnership with an Alliant sports program or with the new breakaway California Interscholastic (CIF) section that the U-T wrote about in May.

When the Alliant memorandum of understanding was brought before the Sweetwater trustees in May, board member Bertha Lopez questioned various clauses in the agreement. She read aloud a section that sounded more like a musing than an MOU: “Will Alliant or Sweetwater manage and control an athletic program? Will Alliant fund it or will Sweetwater fund it? Will they [Alliant] allow admission to CIF Section ll?”

Another longtime friend of Brand’s, Sweetwater economics teacher Tom Hassey, held a pizza party June 27. Hassey bought pizza for students and former students while representatives from Alliant were in attendance, presumably so they could answer potential students’ questions.

Hassey and Brand attempted to start a bank together in 2008.

According to the Alliant International website, the annual tuition for the not-for-profit university is $16,350. Brand told trustees at a May 13 board meeting that the Sweetwater/Alliant program will be open to students with a 2.0 grade-point average and that various tuition benefits will be conferred to Sweetwater students or graduates. He also advised that students who established need could apply for federal assistance (FAFSA) loans.

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oskidoll June 29, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

HMMMMM, looks like Brand is orchestrating a spin-off, to provide work for pals Zarecky, Hassey, and possibly Cartmill as part of the deal -- perhaps as a motivational speaker. Wonder if McCann gets a slice of the pie?

I seem to recall that Zarecky was also involved earlier on, perhaps in 2001-02 with Mike Inzunza and the failed Blurb magazine. Mike and a pal (could have been Mr. Z) were arm twisters in a sales pitch meeting ito get folks to buy big ads in the magazine, which was to go to SUHSD students.

One of the 'advantages' of the big ad buy commitment in Blurb magazine was 'access' to the then superintendent --- who was, you got it --- Ed Brand. Anyone who 'declined' was asked 'who is your boss? who do I go to, to go over your head?"......


eastlaker June 29, 2013 @ 6:52 p.m.

All the hallmarks of a Brand scheme are here--the jobs for pals, the government funding, and students getting the short end of the stick and more empire building for the grandmaster of disaster, Fast Eddy himself.

What does it take to get the documents the public is entitled to? Court orders? Then (as was suggested earlier in the comment section of another article), what if the documents appear to be altered. How can anything be verified with this bunch, as they continue to operate as if they are completely outside any laws, rules, regulations or ethical boundaries.


helenfarias June 29, 2013 @ 7:26 p.m.

Unfortunately, Brand did not do his homework regarding financial aid via FAFSA. The new FAFSA guidelines that recently went into effect state:

If you enroll in higher education for the first time on or after July 1, 2012, in order to be eligible for federal student aid, you must have either a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (such as a General Educational Development certificate (GED) or a homeschool education).

You no longer have the option of becoming eligible for federal student aid by passing an approved test or completing at least six credit hours or 225 clock hours of postsecondary education. For more information, see the basic eligibility requirements for federal student aid. (http://studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/recent-changes)

If Brand and his crew would have bothered to ask the teachers and counselors who work closely with the seniors, they could have advised him of these changes. Yet, as usual, District leadership devalues those who are truly the experts and instead seeks input from people who have a self-serving agenda.

To break it down, juniors and seniors who wish to be concurrently enrolled in Alliant classes will not be eligible for financial aid such as Pell grants or government sponsored loans. These students will pay the full cost of Alliant classes (per the MOU). How does this serve the 56% of Sweetwater students who are Title 1? Or any of the families who don't have a huge discretionary budget?

It is important to note that there is no fee for students who are concurrently enrolled in Southwestern Community College. Let's hope Brand's scheming doesn't undermine that partnership, as it truly does serve the students and the community.


eastlaker June 29, 2013 @ 7:57 p.m.

What you say is correct about high school students. However, this is now also aimed at graduates of Sweetwater who haven't been organized, motivated or interested enough to apply to colleges even after they have graduated. Those who might be considered to be "a captive audience"...maybe afraid to apply elsewhere if they have a GPA of 2.0. They know they will be accepted at one of Fast Eddy's 'deal-based' institutions of higher learning...

Of course, they also would be accepted at the community colleges in this area, and I think within the state of California. And those community colleges are not going to charge them an arm and a leg...

Anyone also notice that it looks like the student loan interest rate is going to double. And when Congress gets around to dealing with that, they could make the rate return to previous levels. So it might turn out to be just fine. Point being, any instability in student loans renders students nervous and anxious for good reason. If Fast Eddy and pals are going to be lending money to students, does anyone trust them to go about things honestly? Because since when has that happened? Captive audience of students with 2.0 high school GPAs applying for need-based college loans to attend diploma-mill type institutions.

Can it get much worse? Taking advantage of young people who really are vulnerable because their family members may be unfamiliar with higher education--and talking them into loans which they can't really afford. While pretending to be looking out for their interests.

Vintage and classic Fast Eddy.


Greenville June 29, 2013 @ 10:44 p.m.

Attended some meetings with the UCSD extension a few months ago. Seems like they were working on offering entry level courses on our high school campuses in south bay. For Free.


erupting June 30, 2013 @ 12:38 p.m.

Helen, Brand knows but doesn't care. I believe you let the cat out of the bag,watch your back gal. I wonder how many students are in our Grand Canyon classes?


shirleyberan June 29, 2013 @ 7:34 p.m.

Is there legal people in school union? Why is this free for all and no legal action for honesty like there is supposed to be? Someone else to vote out?


eastlaker June 29, 2013 @ 8:56 p.m.

As each new scheme appears and evolves, those of us who are deeply concerned with education in this school district and beyond this school district will do our best to make it clear to everyone affected what the flaws in these schemes are.

We will continue to call upon legal authorities, educational authorities, governmental authorities and anyone who will listen so that we can get all the messes straightened out--and get people in these positions who are there for the right reasons.

Shirley, we are trying to right some wrongs, and keep other wrongs from taking place. When good people work together, much can be accomplished.


shirleyberan June 29, 2013 @ 7:40 p.m.

helenfarias Ed didn't have to pay for his expensive education


shirleyberan June 29, 2013 @ 7:46 p.m.

We were rather poor and he thought of himself more worthy , no compassion for me, "stupid girl" he made me live with, guys a loser bully dumbass


anniej June 29, 2013 @ 8:14 p.m.

This is an open request to Jim Cartmill: STOP THE MADNESS!

YOU Sir are the president of the board and have the power to bring the Alliant deal to a halt, that is IF the deal has not been signed, sealed and delivered. Now, IF it is a done deal then trust me Sir YOU will be held accountable as it was your WORD given to the community 'the dance had just begun'. What has a man if he can not be judged by his word?

Do you Mr. Cartmill not find it as deplorable as we do that Brand has consistently, upon his return, attempted to broker ill fated schemes that have blown up in this boards face? You know this already, but allow me to remind you - BRAND DOES NOT LIVE OR PAY PROPERTY TAXES IN THE SOUTH BAY - YOU do - we Sir are your communitiy, we are your neighbors, and we deserve better. Do we not deserve honest answers? Do we not deserve the facts that the 'original' Alliant agreement holds, or did Brand gamble on Public Record Requests being done away with under the Governors new budget and that was the real reason for the delay given to The READER and Ms. Adato

How many unsuspecting students will learn far too late that Alliant is more expensive, how many parents will mortgage their child's educational future before they realize they could have gone to Southwestern for much less?

Mr. Cartmill, all eyes are on YOU!


cvres June 29, 2013 @ 8:40 p.m.

I can only vote. And if need be send money to a p o box for a t-shirt. Stop the corruption.


anniej June 29, 2013 @ 9:08 p.m.

You are doing far more, every time we share the storieS with those who do not know we are, each of us, doing what we can.

The movement is shifting into 3rd gear, I am encouraging all to take bvagency's advice and. check out the facebook page that was referred to. Pass the link on to ALL.


anniej June 29, 2013 @ 8:54 p.m.

'How was your day E. B.'?

'Just another day down in my kingdom where I have total control over ALL. Those who pay homage and I call friend are protected NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO. Those who have the power to control me, fear me - for I know all they have done and where it has been hidden away. Money, more money that is what I seek students/education/parents be damned. I will leave when my pockets are full and their funds, all of their district funds are empty. And to think they, they gave it all to me - ALL THE POWER and ALL THE MONEY'


WTFEd June 29, 2013 @ 8:56 p.m.

Ed is smart. Do not underestimate him. He has managed to get away with this stuff through internal bullying and intimidation and by a Board who lets him do it. I have decided to low key it a bit as I do not want Ed to get rid of me now with my retirement at stake. I have worked too hard for my family. The man is smart but not that smart. His ego will eventually trip him up. What has to come out is who else has been assisting this crook get by with bureracratic murder. I can tell you people internally just are wondering what is next? You know the line people away from 1130 Fifth Avenue need to start organizing. It is easier when you are away from the bunker. Anybody who has been around this District for awhile knows the history of corruption and deciet. Who was there through all of this Diane Russo!!!!!!! We have got to start holding people accountable. When I see some of the paperwork still it makes me wanna puke. We have done the slight of hand for so long that most now just accept it is the way things are done. Just do your job. He will be gone soon. He is like a cockroach and is hard to get rid of. Do not count this bastard out.


anniej June 29, 2013 @ 9:14 p.m.

WTF ed - well your new pic about sums up all that has been is still wrong with Sweetwater. Tread carefully, and never, ever use your district computer to post or surf the net. I do not count him out I JUST WANT TO COUNT HIM GONE!!!!


shirleyberan June 29, 2013 @ 9:57 p.m.

Ed and I are Half Siblings. He was adopted as a baby So we wouldn't know any difference


shirleyberan June 29, 2013 @ 11:18 p.m.


A sociopath would hate his Sister for being stupid enough to want to help him. Never again Ed-hope you pay but I know it's my mom and dads money you wasted too


shirleyberan June 29, 2013 @ 11:21 p.m.

You took them to the cleaners . You put yourself at risk. Slime


Susan Luzzaro June 30, 2013 @ 9:02 a.m.

Helen, thank you for your comment. That is a very useful link. Susan


Bob_Castaneda June 30, 2013 @ 9:23 a.m.

Taxpayers and REAL advocates for a better education for our students - brought about by a Superintendent that leads by example - are currently powerless to make change. As some of you know, Pearl Quinones and I are friends; she mentioned to me some time ago that Ed Brand was seeking to get his old job back. For the record, I was unequivocal and adamant with my strong opposition to bringing this fellow back.

Brand needs to go!

Cheryl Cox, once she leaves the City of Chula Vista due to term limits, hopefully, could and should replace Ed Brand. The South Bay would be well served to have her - and her leadership - at Sweetwater as their Superintendent.


A real and needed fresh start by a local, proven leader.


eastlaker June 30, 2013 @ 10:33 a.m.

Rarely have I seen that many non-sequiturs in such a short read.

There are several things I could recommend, but most importantly, I'd like to know who you are calling powerless?

And why should the public, the taxpayers want to hand anything over to Mayor Cox, as we haven't heard one thing from her on this subject.

Get real.


Jmbrickley June 30, 2013 @ 11:59 a.m.

There are many, well qualified, and honest people who are part of the Sweetwater family. I for one do not want someone with no educational background running this school district. As good as their intentions might be, their lack of educational experience would be a hinder.


oskidoll July 1, 2013 @ 12:31 p.m.

According to law, the role of the Governing Board is to set policy; supervise, hire and fire the CEO; to be a bridge to the community.....not to actually run the day-to-day operations of the district. It would be good to have a mix of folks with different skills, including business, finance, as well as education. Now, all we have are board members who are good at stonewalling, lying, taking bribes, and talking out of both sides of their mouths...they have no useful skill banks and are unfit for the job they think they should hold because they are entitled.


joepublic June 30, 2013 @ 9:39 a.m.

As the Reader has reported, representatives from local assemblymembers' offices have been attending Sweetwater school board meetings and taking notes. Hopefully this recent clear violation of the public's legal right to obtain information will prompt them to act. I understand that the courts are the venue for filing PRA complaints, however political pressure from elected officials couldn't hurt and might actually be more expedient. By issuing a statement condemning illegal actions such as denying the public's right to know, they would at least be telling us they're on our side. I would also like to see the local mayors, city council members, as well as county officials follow the assembly members' lead and step up to the plate for the communities they represent. Maybe it's time we direct some energy towards contacting them.


anniej June 30, 2013 @ 9:52 a.m.

I will buy you a pizza if you sign on the dotted line and encumber yourselves with an over priced debt. The other guys bottom line is not as high as mine - oh but alas, no free pizza there.


eastlaker June 30, 2013 @ 11:04 a.m.

Pizza-pie-in-the-sky for the unwary.

It is frightening that there might be some young people who are without guidance when it comes to their futures, to such a degree that they will take the Hasseys and Brands of this world at their word. Believing this is their one and only shot at an education.

When someone is a liar and a cheat, where do they go from there? Into partnership with Ed Brand?


johndewey June 30, 2013 @ 10:58 a.m.

eastlaker wrote: ["And why should the public, the taxpayers want to hand anything over to Mayor Cox, as we haven't heard one thing from her on this subject. Get real."]

I agree with eastlaker's take on replacing Ed Brand with mayor Cox. One can only guess that her (and others') silence on these matters is due to "political caution". This is why, as others have written, our next superintendent should not be a political player. Furthermore, when we stop treating school district superintendents like corporate CEO kings, the whole system will improve, in my opinion. Post the job with a salary equal to the highest paid teacher pro-rated for extra time spent on the job, take away all credit cards, free meals, cars, all perks, etc., and you just might get someone to apply that really wants the job of overseeing the education of our kids rather than pursuing their personal ambitions.


bvagency June 30, 2013 @ 11:24 a.m.

I also have to agree on the above takes on Mayor Cox. It has been frustrating that our own City of Chula Vista leaders ( city council and mayor) have refused to publicly acknowledge a problem at Sweetwater. Why is that? Because they likely value their political will over that of the Sweetwater community's will. We certainly dont need another superintendent that values their will over that of the populace.


shirleyberan June 30, 2013 @ 11:44 a.m.

Sorry for my rants - knowing the true story has knocked me down - so hard to think about


anniej June 30, 2013 @ 1:35 p.m.

No need to apologize, you are amongst friends. As the song sings THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR.


Woodchuck June 30, 2013 @ 11:47 a.m.

Whether it is recruiting kids for Alliant or recruiting kids for Grand Canyon University, why, if these plans are so brilliant is it necessary to "recruit" (with free food!) at all? Brand and his partner Hassey need only to put out a notice and students would answer the call. I think there is more to the story hiding behind the wizard's curtain . Someone standing to gain financially seems probable. The long arm of the law did not reach quite far enough in the South Bay Saga of corruption. The story should be read by all. Thanks Susan


Visduh June 30, 2013 @ 11:52 a.m.

Susan, up until now you have been remarkably restrained in your reporting on SUHSD and the other educational districts. But I'd say that this piece shows that you are now starting to express your opinion of Sweetwater. "Does Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent Ed Brand have something to hide regarding the memorandum of understanding between Alliant International University and the district? Why else would he have stonewalled public record requests to see the memorandum from community advocate Maty Adato since May 16 and the San Diego Reader since April 23?" is not straight reporting. Neither is "The district’s deal with Alliant is tinged with cronyism." This is not to say that I disagree at all with your appraisal of the situation. Something has happened to have you and the Reader take the gloves off, and I suspect it is Brand's stonewalling of the public records request.

Under the circumstances, this can only improve the Reader's coverage of the many and unfolding scandals in So County.


Jmbrickley June 30, 2013 @ 12:03 p.m.

Please! No more politicians running Sweetwater.


oskidoll June 30, 2013 @ 12:03 p.m.

Woodchuck -- you are quite perceptive. With 'Brandscam' there is always more behind the wizard's curtain, with trails to money in Ed's pockets and his pals' pockets, too.

Quite the opposite philosophy behind the Brown Act and Public Records Law: that the public's business be done in public!

We need to open the curtian and expose the ringmaster!


anniej June 30, 2013 @ 1:32 p.m.

Just received a telephone call - this community is a wealth of information. It appears that Jim Cartmill and Tom Hassey go back a very long way. Apparently there is a very long history shared by these alleged 'band of brothers'. Based on this information I guess I could conclude that the pizza party was no surprise to Mr. Cartmill, Hmmmmmmm

Note to The Just - interested?


shirleyberan June 30, 2013 @ 3:27 p.m.

Googled The Brown Act - and used the Attorney General email because I could


mko June 30, 2013 @ 8:33 p.m.

A School District is also a business. The Ideal Board would have members with a broad range of skills. A Board made up of only educators might not have the skills in Finance, Construction, Human Resources, and Transportation that are necessary to carry out the primary mission which is teaching.


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 8:06 a.m.

mko - I agree totally. A board that is representative of businesses that a District is involved with would STRENGTHEN the core.

Who knows, perhaps such a selection process would generate board meetings where questions are asked by board members prior to their spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Susan Luzzaro June 30, 2013 @ 8:42 p.m.

Visduh, you have called me out and you're right--I believe the public record act is essential criteria for democracy. You are an ardent follower of politics, so I can't tell you much more than you already know about the recent budget act and the attempt to disembowel the public record act. At first the assembly was sending up an amended bill to save the p.r. but the senate was not going to pass it. According to Senator Steinberg, if he heard of ONE CPRA violation by a public entity, then the senate would reinstate the PRA. Ultimately, the ship righted itself. But I would still like to see that keen eye on compliance.

I encountered major derailments and delays with Southwestern College PRAs when Chopra was the superintendent and Alioto was the vice president. Both are now indicted for alleged corruption.

I asked for communications in my PRAs between the program manager/vendor and the administrators. I was told there were none, but when the DA raided homes and took computers and cell phones it turns out...yes, there was a lot of communication.

Sorry to be long-winded and to be wearing rose-colored glasses. But, if the PRA functioned as it should have for me and for the numerous individuals and media representatives who were inquiring about things that looked suspicious, how many $$$ would the public have been saved? Thank you for reading...closely, Susan


oskidoll June 30, 2013 @ 9:01 p.m.

It takes committed reporters and members of the public to stay the course. I applaud Susan's perseverance and others who are not willing to be dissuaded by those public so-called servants who would deny the public the information to which we are entitled by law. Thanks to you for taking them on for us! Our journey is not yet over...it may never be...but we must continue to seek the truth about how the public's business is being done...or not.


bbq July 1, 2013 @ 6:39 a.m.

First and foremost, thanks to all for their analysis and opinion on these subjects, I have not been around as long as many of you. A couple of my thoughts: SUHSD is a Business, it's product is 7-12 education, as such the expansion of product offerings to K-12 Charter schools and 13-16 Education is poorly advised, especially while the main product 7-12 is in such disarray. I am a believer in operating the district as a business, using the "Professionals" we currently employ both in the adminstration offices, and in the schools. Proper vetting of all employees and Board is required due to the past practices, Conflict of Interest counciling and declaration forms. The only way to have this is with a Board which has the aspects of a "corporate" Board of Directors composed of Leaders who have business credentials and education experience. We currently do not have anyone on the board with enough business sense to control the Big ED. they all sit in awe of him and his "Connections" and he just continues to manipulate them with visions of grandure (Brandure?). This district is out of control financially, minimal reserves, down over $40 Million in three years, San Diego County Board of Education, it's time to review the Budget, the accounting and the financial rating forms of this district, Dr Alt is just the puppet delivering the paperwork but the ED pulls the strings. Public as said by many others Beware of strangers bearing gifts, in this case beware of the incumbant bearing gifts, time for new blood at SUHSD and it is not recycling another South Bay Politician. BBQ


Jmbrickley July 1, 2013 @ 11:09 p.m.

I respectfully disagree! Education is not a business. Educating our children is not a business. and running a school district is not a business. Period!!!!!! We are not in the business of producing widgets! We are not in the business of producing a product! We educate our public's children. Education is not a business, it's a process. It is because so many people WANT to treat it like a business, that the public losses focus on what is important. In order for each child to be educated in the most beneficial way, you can not run this system as if all children are a product. Enough with education is a business and needs to be run as such. PERIOD!


oskidoll July 1, 2013 @ 8:22 a.m.

"Brandure" it is...along with BS (Brandscams).


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 8:54 a.m.

I responded earlier this am to a post by mko. As I sit here overlooking our wonderful cities ( I can see them all from this spot) from my modest home that overlooks Main Street I am overwhelmed with a sense of pride to live in such a great community that is filled with such wonderful people's of all ethnicities.

When it comes time to support our candidates for board can we all commit to supporting the candidate and NOT the party, the organization or the union. While we all have our affiliations they do not define the person the person does.

The students, the future leaders of this nation are depending upon us to promote the candidates that will stand for education, fiscal responsibility, parental representation and fair employment practices. It is imperative that we do not splinter off, that we stay united and never loose sight of what got us to this point.

Board members who are there for the right reason - TO SERVE! NOT USE FOR PERSONAL OR POLITICAL GAIN.


Reader2 July 1, 2013 @ 9:35 a.m.

Annie, I've been thinking about school boards as a stepping stone to higher office and I've come to the conclusion that if someone has the drive to run for an elected office, starting as a school board member would give them useful experience. What matters, as you say, is that they are there to serve. I may be naive, but I think our board members would have had a better chance of winning higher offices if they had served the public so well that their reputations would have garnered them the financial support and the votes of their constituents. At least I like to think so.


oskidoll July 1, 2013 @ 9:57 a.m.

Not ONE of them who has run for higher office in the past (Ricasa, Cartmill, Sandoval) has ever been elected. Guess their so-called 'service' on the SUHSD board didn't work in their favor. That's one reason we still have Ricasa and Cartmill as incumbents. Reason enough to sign the petition for term limits.


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 10:47 a.m.

Reader 2 - you are correct, SERVING as a school board member would be valuable experience. However, for some strange reason what have seen, and continue to see is, that in the majority of cases persons are sucked in to the mess, the ugly side of politics and it becomes 'if you give/get me this, I will give/get you that'.

It is indeed sad that in the mess of all of this alleged corruption what has been lost is any real conversation on students; they seem to no longer be part of the equation. Number one on the list of priorities when the new candidates are elected - student education.


Wabbit July 1, 2013 @ 4:36 p.m.

Hi, annie...I think a lot of times, people are ego-driven and all the attention and the new "friends" are a temptation that many cannot resist. The folks who are intent on corruption often start by offering their "Gifts" to a board member's favorite charity...why, there is no direct connection there! The person then basks in all the attention from the supporters of the charity for their part in getting the donation...and it grows from there. They do favors and small things and then finally ask for payback.

It's depressing and ugly that this is allowed to continue for so many years. What a horrible example of civic leadership for the young people currently in the schools.


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 6:07 p.m.

Wabbit- the real depression and ugliness is this - THEY SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH WHAT THEY ARE DOING - imagine that! In my world, being indicted in the largest corruption case in San Diego history is not a good thing! Having my name associated with contractors who have plead guilty in the case - ouch!!!!!

Jim Cartmill, John Mccann, Arlie Ricasa or Ed Brand would/will/have (depending on which one we are talking about) tell/told you/me - the community does not know and if they do, do not care.

Let us not forget, according to their blogger representative, timtim, 'the group of naysayers consists of, I believe his most recent count was 16.


eastlaker July 1, 2013 @ 6:15 p.m.

Regarding timtim, I would guess his assessment on the naysayer count would indicate problems in the area of math analysis.


Jmbrickley July 1, 2013 @ 11:11 p.m.

Serving on a school board should not be a stepping stone to higher office. It should be a calling to serve!


Wabbit July 3, 2013 @ 2:26 p.m.

There are pros and cons to each side of that--if someone excels at this position and is tapped for a broader responsibility, that's fine. But there should be a balance on every Board...there should be citizens who have no other calling but to offer their time to the appointed board.

I think the most evil combination are Board Members who double piggy back their business onto the District's business, and there are far too many of those kinds of Board Members in all the region's districts.


oskidoll July 3, 2013 @ 3:07 p.m.

Perhaps we should seek out those who are very, very, good and ethical at what they already do by the way of personal income. Be wary of those who are looking for 'subsistence' existence via health benefits and whatever else they can 'barter for' as a board member. Also be wary of the 'political' ladder climbers. they ALWAYS have a need for extra income, it seems. (Of course, the 'ethical' part would also disqualify Ricasa, who supposedly has a 'day job'. )


angrybirds July 1, 2013 @ 10:50 a.m.

Just had the best laugh of my life. I read the letters to the editor for the Star News and saw 3 people supporting mccann. What a freaking joke. Maybe they should go to one of these meetings to see what a dweeb he is. I am still laughing about their comments. Everyone on this blog should send letters to the editor of the Star News about this last melt down he had among all the others, [email protected]


eastlaker July 1, 2013 @ 11:28 a.m.

You must be referring to the print edition, as I can't find any letters to the editor in the online edition.

I will have to try and find a copy.


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 12:07 p.m.

angrybirds - I can understand friends sticking up for friends or their friends husbands, but I say again we should not be using 'how good a friend someone is' as criteria for electing politicians. Mr. Mccann has failed to deliver on all that he promised so many during his campaign. Case in point campaign contributions from contractors he stated he would not take - it appears, while saying those words he had already accepted some. Grand Jury testimony clearly indicates he became one of the cast of characters we are attempting to replace long before he was elected - there was the meeting with Alvey and Bonny Garcia - are there others? Will more be exposed in the trials, stay tuned.

I wish Mr. Mccann well in his soon to be new role - that of regular Joe aka John Q. Public.


eastlaker July 1, 2013 @ 11:19 a.m.

In the interest of learning a bit more about Mr. Hassey, a couple of items appeared on the KPBS website in response to Gandara leaving in 2011. Priceless. Both comments made by bankalchemist, one 6/24 and the other 8/2, 2011. Apparently Mr. Hassey and Mr. Brand have created some reputations for themselves that somehow never made it into community awareness here in south San Diego county. But--our board of trustees haven't had the best interests of the community and the students in mind for a very long time. That needs to change.


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 11:29 a.m.

eastlaker - ah yes I too have read the comments from named blogger. It appears that these two have allegedly made quite a name for themselves while gathering at the home that over looks Blacks Beach. The bank scheme that allegedly left many backers near bankrupt has also added to their reputations outside of Sweetwater.

Looking forward to the day when new blood fills the three board seats that will be part of the next election.


Reader2 July 1, 2013 @ 12:37 p.m.

Just listened to an interview with Cindy Marten, SD Unified's new superintendent, on KPBS' Midday Edition. It was only 15 minutes long - listen to it. What an intelligent and articulate woman! She has a vision for quality schools in every neighborhood, she believes in listening to the community because "the neighborhood knows what it needs" she believes in data and accountability, including checking university graduation rates not enrollment rates, to measure the district's success ... ll that and she respects teachers. What a breath of fresh air! I'm very happy for SD and I wish her much success. Can we clone her? ;)


Reader2 July 1, 2013 @ 12:43 p.m.

You'll have to wait until 1:30 for the audio file and transcript to be uploaded to the website. The video that appears there now doesn't include the parts that I quoted above.
Could the link be uploaded to the Safeguarding educaion Facebook page? She outlines what we should ask of any future board member and superintendent.

Here's the link http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jul/01/cindy-marten-takes-over-sdusd-superintentent/


eastlaker July 1, 2013 @ 5:57 p.m.

Just finished listening to the interview. Based upon what I heard, she seems to be a good person for the job, as she is dedicated, interested in the students, more than ready to get to work on the problems and yet considerate of a promise she made to the 3rd grade students at school where she was the principal.

She does not seem to be critical of the Common Core, and I have heard some things about that are which somewhat concerning, mostly having to do with data mining and all the school children's work being part of information that can then be sold.

But, on the whole, she seems like a very strong person who is ready to get to work!


shirleyberan July 1, 2013 @ 1:30 p.m.

Did u see that student loan rates were raised from 3.2 to 6.8 today?! Congress could've stopped it but didn't. OMG Maybe they can reverse it, but so nuts


shirleyberan July 1, 2013 @ 2:42 p.m.

Where do you find a new Southbay Superintendent? They revealed Cindy Marten was chosen without public knowledge - apparently legal but why is appointment of that much power OK without other input?


oskidoll July 1, 2013 @ 3:28 p.m.

Customary practice is to launch a bonafide search. The process usually includes gathering input from stakeholders (including the taxpayers) as to the qualities and experience desired for the person to lead the District. That results in the development of a 'profile' of desired characteristics. Sometimes a firm is hired to conduct a national search, and to assist with advertising and processing applications.

Usually, there is a selection committee, composed of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, that a) reviews written applications and resumes; b) recommends an assortment of applicnts to be interviewed; c)invites finalists to public forums where the public is invited to provide written evaluations of the finalists. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the actual selection and appointment.

According to the Brown Act, the appointment MAY take place in Closed Session, because it is a personnel matter. However, they should certainly take the recommendations of the stakeholders into consideration.

In the case of Sweetwater, you may recall that the Board (errr...was it mcCann?) had Ed waiting in the wings when Gandara was fired. There was no 'search' (although one was promised) for a full-time permanent replacement....Brand was eased in and stayed on.... more than irregular, if you ask me.

I think San Diego Unified's case was unusual in that there was no announced search, as far as I know, and it seemed the Board just decided to select/hire Marten. there was a great deal of criticism because the item was not on the board agenda, even for closed session, so I believe they had to do it over.

It is up to the Board to oversee the selection, (and determine the process, but the more transparent the better...although we did get Gandara through a national search, so go figure!)


eastlaker July 1, 2013 @ 6:07 p.m.

Yes, I have to wonder about that 'national search', as it did connect to Soccoro, Texas, ancestral home of Pearl Quinones with possible additional connection to Trujillo, the former Sweetwater Superintendent who personally profited from selling district computers to person(s) unknown in Mexico. So--would have been interesting to see just who was on that short list! Or if anyone else had been on that short list!


eastlaker July 1, 2013 @ 9:43 p.m.

Wasn't Trujillo Gandara's 'advisor' for his thesis?


shirleyberan July 1, 2013 @ 5:34 p.m.

Can you guys get the Sweetwater Community College Summer or Fall Class Schedules to the kids or at least advise that the education isn't worse because they don't pay high prices- same classes - the teacher makes the difference not the higher tuition. Most kids take a year or two to decide what they want to major in anyway - best place is Junior College, don't u think Susan. Nice of you to let me know u think I'm not cray-cray. Anniej sweet too, but I do still have a bit of an anger problem.


anniej July 1, 2013 @ 5:53 p.m.

I do not see it as an 'anger problem', but rather a 'hurtful situation'. I believe we as humans are able to recover from 'anger' far quicker than 'hurt'.


shirleyberan July 1, 2013 @ 8:55 p.m.

More info about Possible Free UCSD Extension - like Greenville suggested - Really 40 million in 3years and for what changes in actual education - hope the evidence is found - still bothered bbq


bbq July 2, 2013 @ 9:52 a.m.

Any word on the release of the Alliant University agreements?

Again Ed Brand "I always follow up ..... " to quote him as said to my face or on the phone...

Public Records? ... at Sweetwater, it is "Public Schmublic"...

Another drama in the story of Sweetwater Union High School District ... "As the Cesspool Turns" BBQ


shirleyberan July 2, 2013 @ 10:01 a.m.

Looking online for UCSD Extension - haven't found free yet but blah - says they hold some classes at Alliant on Pomerado Rd - go figure . Students can attend any of the Community Colleges No Matter What District they live in- Grossmont was good for me and they've been growing adding new buildings and classes - just saying


shirleyberan July 3, 2013 @ 6:35 p.m.

I nominate anniej for next Superintendent- Already know who she is - Still have to read who cares - blogs then will suggest most likely to not cheat cause you have already spoken and to my thinking should go for school board , obviously not science of any kind. Get applications ready - I guess you have to help Mercado cause McCann wants to fight dirty like a 2 year old.


shirleyberan July 3, 2013 @ 7:01 p.m.

Lovely Luzzaro - can hardly wait for you take on deception and contempt of court? For non disclosure. Tell me what to file to explain non-compliance of public disclosure law- love talking to real judges


shirleyberan July 3, 2013 @ 7:04 p.m.

Somebody in San Ysidro under indightment was burning documents today


shirleyberan July 4, 2013 @ 10:56 a.m.

And now we know the former adult Ed site is Alliant location - correct? File a motion to stop this continuing fraud.


bbq July 8, 2013 @ 6:01 a.m.

It has been a great long fourth of July weekend, relaxing having fun, volunteering, etc. Now back to the Indictments and issues of the day. First I will ask the question again, any Alliant Documents? Any additional info on Alliant recruiting? Halsey, Brand, McCann stuff?

I kept an eye out for John et. al. at the CV Firefighters Assoc. Pancake Breakfast on the Fourth, but none to be found.

Sounds like San Ysidro School District had some extra-fireworks over the weekend, think anything incriminating was burned? No need to answer, I think it is obvious.....

Finally to JMBrinkley's reply last week about education not being a business, I respect your opinion but a $350 Million per year organization IS a Business, and as such is subject to the abuse we have seen in the SUHSD. There is too much opportunity for the BS and floating of money and capital.

As I was stating in my previous comment the business side, operations, must be handled by a talented business staff who have goals, limits and controls set by an effective Board of Trustees. The product side, education, must be handled by a talented group of Educators who also have goals, limits and controls set bt an effective Board of Trustees. Neither the Business or the Product side should have the ultimate decision making capability, both need to be led by an effective Board.

Public's input is first excersized by voting for people that can be an effective Board, who can set the Vision and Controls in place for the District. The Public input can then be used to influence the Board in the directions that the Public wants, by attending Board meetings and interacting with the Board, no free rides.

I know for many this seems utopian but that's how it works in the world outside the Twilight Zone of Sweetwater. \ BBQ


Letter to the Editor July 8, 2013 @ 9:05 a.m.

Alliant International University is a not-for-profit university with longstanding commitments to community engagement, diversity, and education with a practical focus. We serve some 4,000 students in six California cities and three international locations. We are pleased to be working with the Sweetwater District to bring four-year college programs to a location in the South County that we hope will be convenient for students who may not have the time or resources to attend classes farther away.

Superintended Ed Brand's personal connections to our university are distant and indirect; he received a degree from one of our predecessor institutions 30 years ago. Alliant works with educators, practitioners and organizations around the world based on shared interests in serving students. The proposed collaboration with the Sweetwater District is an innovative approach to expanding access to higher education. We look forward to working with all of the District's educational professionals on this important project and would be happy to provide additional information about the project, our mission and our range of educational programs to anyone who is interested.

Sincerely, Geoffrey M. Cox, PhD President, Alliant International University


Reader2 July 8, 2013 @ 9:18 a.m.

A few questions: I would like to know if students can transfer credits to SDSU.
What is the cost per unit? What classes will be offered, where and when? Thank you.


SurfPuppy619 July 8, 2013 @ 11:30 a.m.

What is the cost per unit? SKY HIGH!!!!!!

As with all of these so called "non profits" they pay outrageous sums to the employees, far more than state schools, and laugh all the way to the bank.

On a better side, USIU, aka "Alliant" has Jamie Foxx as an alumni!


bbq July 8, 2013 @ 11 a.m.

Dr. Cox, Thank you for your response, at this point our frustration is not aimed at you or even the project, it is with the SUHSD for their lack openness and information on the project. If there are no secrets than why does it feel that way.

A few questions, What are the dates the "agreement" to pursue the Alliant at Sweetwater was signed or agreed to by the superintendant?

What Sweetwater High School District Facilities were offered to Alliant and when were they to be available to start classes at Alliant at Sweetwater?

Are there any any student number Quotas or Goals spelled out in the agreements?

As Part of any agreement has Alliant University lowered the academic standards to accept Sweetwater students?

How many students at Alliant are attending on student loan type financing? What Bank or Financial instution services the majority of these Loans?

How many Sweetwater officials, teachers etc. will be a part of the future staff of Alliant U at Sweetwater?

I am sure there are many more Questions the community would like to ask, How about coming down and speaking to us in a Community Townhall?

Thanks BBQ


anniej July 8, 2013 @ 10:20 a.m.

Alliant University - the issues the South Bay have regarding the MOU/contract/promise/deal, whatever you want label it is with JIM CARTMILL, the board, and ED BRAND. Our public records requests are being answered with (in my venacular) - there is nothing to give you. PLEASE!!!!!!! With Alliant scheduled to begin moving in JIM CARTMILL and ED BRAND dare to insult us with such a response.

My opinion, Ed Brand will benefit from this partnership.

Many of our students can ill afford the cost of your classes, especially when the costs at Southwestern are substantially lower. Our parents, our students have NEVER received a taxpayers paid for ROBO call encouraging them to sign up with Southwestern.

Non profit you say, we are all too familiar with non profits that SUHSD is involved with - they are, after all mentioned in the Grand Jury transcripts which will play a major role in the largest corruption case in San Diego history.

Rather than you answering this communities concerns perhaps JIM CARTMILL and ED BRAND might take a stab at being honest. I mean historical data shows they are financially very close - Brand did, after all, lend CARTMILL monies for his bankruptcy.


angrybirds July 8, 2013 @ 10:22 a.m.

Hey I guess that Adato Lady wants to have the paperwork she requested. You guys should get it to her if you want to be on the up and up. Cause it sure looks like these SUHSD is hiding something that they did wrong.


oskidoll July 8, 2013 @ 11:32 a.m.

To Alliant University: BBQ spelled it out quite well in his post above.

You should understand that NOTHING Ed does or proposes is what it appears on the surface, there is always a 'catch' and something in it for himself and his pals.

Please do answer the specific questions that have been posed. As you do, I hope you come to understand that we are the public, taxpayers, that the law says have standing and a legal interest in the matter. (As a private institution, you may not be aware of the law and the sensitivity that we taxpayers have to being treated in such a cavalier manner.)

Further, we are ENTITLED to the Documents that the District/Board uses to do business...hence our Public Records Request. I believe the legal phrase is "Ducus Tekem" or something like that...it means 'bring the documents with you to court'.

If you do not already know Ed's reputation, it is not good. Watch your backside and look over your shoulder.


oskidoll July 8, 2013 @ 3:51 p.m.

It's 'duces tecum' used with a subponea to compel the production of documents for the court. My Latin is rusty.


oskidoll July 8, 2013 @ 1:30 p.m.

Part II: Oh, and Alliant -- If you are planning to set up your business in any of OUR (taxpayer-owned) Sweetwater facilities, please be prepared to pay fair market value for the rent and maintenance of the facilities. You may be non-profit, but you are not entitled to a subsidy from us if you use our taxpayer-owned and run buildings.


eastlaker July 8, 2013 @ 3:42 p.m.

It seems to be that the fireworks are just beginning!


shirleyberan July 8, 2013 @ 6:23 p.m.

Dr. Cox- I'd still like to know if you took over the site where the actual low income and diverse go to get actual not for profit needed classes. Your advertising is obviously aimed at encouraging a variety but once the contracts are signed, they are gonna find out you're just another high-priced school and they are stuck under contract with a high bill, whether they like your school or not. Why is the Superintendent still avoiding answering simple questions do you think?


Reader2 July 9, 2013 @ 8:32 p.m.

Well, Alliant's silence speaks volumes. What a shame.


bbq July 10, 2013 @ 5:45 a.m.

I went on the Alliant University website and found announcements for seminars for students wanting more info on Alliant at Sweetwater, unfortunately they are both on Thursday evenings and I have other commitments, perhaps some of you could attend and see who from the district attends and what the "OFFER" or Incentive is for students. I am interested in the costs and financing, allong with the classes offered at the "New" Southbay Site.

July 11, 2013 | 6:00 pm Castle Park High School | Cafeteria 1395 Hilltop Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91911

July 18, 2013 | 6:00 pm Hilltop High School | Cafeteria 555 Claire Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910

Just keeping Ed Honest. BBQ


shirleyberan July 10, 2013 @ 8:52 a.m.

Honest isn't in the brother Ed vocabulary - uncover what you can to get truth out of this poop and tell the unsuspecting innocents - turn about is fair play


shirleyberan July 10, 2013 @ 9:23 a.m.

Can somebody get the community college class schedules to hand out in front of these meetings (outside), or a one page flier stating alternate route? My printer is out but I could be there. Just stating less expensive but just as good - nothing angry - just Location and financial aid office room number - cost per unit about 33$ ... their program to guarantee entry into SDSU or USD after completion of continuation to 4 year college program of classes


shirleyberan July 10, 2013 @ 9:30 a.m.

Not USD -UCSD if you take enough science and math - easy to get counselor assist


shirleyberan July 10, 2013 @ 9:59 a.m.

Cal State anywhere cause kids want to explore and learn how to b on their own - maybe I can write something that makes sense later - more logical way to do college


oskidoll July 10, 2013 @ 12:54 p.m.

Current SUHSD students may attend Southwestern for nothing, with the permission of their parent(s) and high school counsleor.
Students who are no longer in high school pay California Community College fees,currently $46 per unit for California residents. There are Board of Governors fee Waivers (BOGW) for students who are financially eligible.

There are new associate degrees with guarantees specifically for transfer to California State Universities, such as SDSU, San Marcos, etc. Not sure if the former TAG agreements (Transfer Agreement Guarantees) are still in place with UC.

Clearly, the public community college is the better deal from the outset, and students (and families) will not be saddled wtih so much debt.

Why Ed is promoting costly (and possibly less rigorous) alterntive pathways for SUHSD students is the $64 million dollar question. It would be interesting to attend these 'information' sessions hear (and possibly record) what is being said and promised, and to get copies of the literature. No need to be confrontational, that probably wouldn't work to help our cause anyway because in the end, students and parents do have a choice.

We need to learn why and how Ed is positioning a questionable, and expensive, option so favorably. And, a good question would be, "Why not have such informaion sessions to include representatives of Southwestern College?' At one time, there were annual 'college night' fairs at local high schools. What has happend to them? Do they still exist? If so, why is Ed giving Aliant special status and entree' to our kids and their parents?


bbq July 10, 2013 @ 1:33 p.m.

Bingo.... That is the real question...

The thought process and the public vetting of this scheme is where it all falls apart in my opinion!

The whole discussion of the MOU documents (HA HA) signed by the Board and the speed of the "Deal" spell out improper actions on the Staff and the Superintendant.

If this is such a great thing for our students, where is the public outcry and support, the only support is from Ed and his cronies.

As reported the other options are available, why does this, Alliant U seem to be the prefered option that gets special treatment? BTW are they paying for use of the Facilities for the seminars? or are we subsidizing the Alliant U recruiting effort?

retorical questions.... BBQ


dbdriver July 10, 2013 @ 2:35 p.m.

According to Ed that night they agreed/voted/began dancing, Alliant is allegedly going to be offering SUHSD students "scholarships" to help reduce student costs, in exchange for the use of the facilites. Ed felt that was a good trade off. Though, what ends up happening if there are no students signing up, I don't know what is offered in trade then. Would be nice if there were some sort of document provided that would spell out such details. Oh, wait...they voted and agreed on that non-existent document.


oskidoll July 10, 2013 @ 2:42 p.m.

"Ed felt it was a good trade off." Hmmm, so now, it is ok for Ed to give a gift of public funds (fair market value of rent of a facility WE TAXPAYERS own) in exchange for some 'promise' that has not been reduced to writing (again, bring and show the DOCUMENTS) that will somehow benefit SUHSD students?
Sorry Ed, not on my dime.


eastlaker July 11, 2013 @ 5:25 p.m.

Exactly, as it is not Fast Eddy's to give. Despite his delusions, he has not been proclaimed emperor of Sweetwater, nor does he rule by divine right.

Ineffectual oversight on the part of the County Board of Education and the State Board of Education does not mean that he is free to conduct himself as if no rules apply.

Just why the majority board keeps allowing Fast Eddy's excesses is where the real story can be found (in my opinion). That is where the real corruption could probably be found, if any of the entities involved care to really look.


shirleyberan July 10, 2013 @ 10:48 p.m.

Thank you good people for explanation of the hidden truth - he never used his own dime if he didn't have to that I ever saw when we grew up in the same house. Looked like he thought he was smarter than everyone and it meant everything, never remorse, taker, don't expect any apology or truth till legal gets it. Early Ed was athletic, then sick mind man can't be hidden dysfunction. Excellent jod USIU newly Alliant at Ed's involvement for your ongoing non- disclosures is my bet.Use him as your best alumni.


Reader2 July 12, 2013 @ 4:28 p.m.

Bbq - I went to Castle Park High for the Alliant meeting, but it had been canceled. If they had mentioned the cancellation on their website, I would have saved myself the trip.


eastlaker July 12, 2013 @ 7:11 p.m.

Well, that is an interesting development. Were there others who had also driven there for the meeting?


shirleyberan July 13, 2013 @ 3:17 p.m.

I think Ed would say - The Best Defense Is A Good Offense. Glad it ain't the slam dunk he assumed. People see you scamming - probably gonna need a new approach. Hmmm?


oskidoll July 14, 2013 @ 2:23 p.m.

Agenda alert for Monday, July 15: Nuggets include - Closed session eval of superintendent - Approval of $3,000 contract for Capitol PUblic Finance Group LLC from the General Fund; - Appointment of Robert Carriedo and Bob Strahl to the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee; - Increasing Hassey's teaching appointment from .6 to 1.0 at Chula Vista High; - Approval of 'other' employment for Marco Quinones at SOH for wrestling


eastlaker July 15, 2013 @ 9:22 a.m.

Is Marco Quinones Pearl's son?

Can anyone enlighten further on Robert Carriedo and Bob Strahl? Because my guess is that Brand's goal is to dilute the effectiveness of the Bond Oversight Committee by packing it with his minions.


eastlaker July 18, 2013 @ 12:08 p.m.

I've been wondering the same thing!!

Can anyone update us?


Reader2 July 19, 2013 @ 12:04 p.m.

She's fine. She's working on a story. Did everyone read the Alliant MOU? It's on the district website. Some Alliant classes seem to overlap with what's offered at South Western. On of the many questions that was not answered was whether another university will accept Alliant credits if students choose to transfer. Also, in the MOU it states that Sweetwater will be responsible for getting a permit from the City of National City. I think the city will meet the first week in August to make that decision. Can someone fact check?


dbdriver July 19, 2013 @ 2:33 p.m.

I notice that Alliant has a clause that they can terminate the agreement...didn't Sweetwater think they could use such a clause?

I note that as part of the agreement, Alliant is basically offering $1,000 per academic year per full time student enrolled. They have a minimum limit of 50 students with a minimum 15 students per course. Out of 4 courses limited, if 3 of the 4 have the required 15 students, having less than 15 students in that 4th course would drop the entire program. So, they have a minimum of 60 required (not 50).

So Alliant is offering up to $60,000 (or possibly more) to Sweetwater Students in exchange as full and complete compensation for all services, support facilities, utilities and related costs. What is our market value for this property, and is this really a good value to exchange?


eastlaker July 20, 2013 @ 4:51 p.m.

Doesn't sound like Sweetwater is getting the better part of the deal. Sounds like Brand is giving away the physical plant, etc.

Personally, I am hoping that all the Sweetwater students are smart enough to steer clear of this mess!


oskidoll July 21, 2013 @ 11:35 a.m.

Again, I will ask, is the physical plant, (and related expenses) Brand's 'to give' away? Don't they belong to the taxpaying public? Someone else inquired about the agreement (was it with CalTrans or MTDB) for the District to use the land the National City Adult School was built on?
The devil is really in the details, and in this case, I think the devil has been far too busy 'gifting' public funds to a private entity.


shirleyberan July 23, 2013 @ 6:13 p.m.

Thank You for being knowing, Honey I know u have a lot of stories - write try not to kill yourself


eastlaker July 27, 2013 @ 9:59 a.m.

So Alliant is positioned as the "fall-back" school for Sweetwater students, ready to grab all the government funding it can get it's hands on. Just wondering, what is in it for Ed Brand.

I have to think there is something.

Ed doesn't work for nothing, you know.


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