Bernardo Vasquez plays a video for board trustees announcing the Sweetwater-Alliant partnership — posted to YouTube before Monday's meeting, when the partnership was approved
  • Bernardo Vasquez plays a video for board trustees announcing the Sweetwater-Alliant partnership — posted to YouTube before Monday's meeting, when the partnership was approved
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The Monday, May 13, meeting of the Sweetwater Union High School District was raucous…again. The potential agreement with Alliant University was one source of contention.

Trustee Bertha Lopez said while she supported choices for students, she was concerned about numerous details in the memorandum of intent that had been disclosed to board members. Though the memorandum was on the agenda, it was not made available to the public.

Trustee Pearl Quiñones said she supported creating educational opportunities, but she couldn’t vote for a university when the fate of Sweetwater's regional occupational program was still uncertain.

Numerous public speakers raised concerns about the process of approving the university — district leadership created an advertisement and posted it to YouTube on May 3, ten days before Monday's vote.

Board president Jim Cartmill counseled the audience and his associates to not be so upset. Here is a partial transcript of his words: “There’s a term used in the private sector or the business world called ‘NDA’ or ‘non-disclosure agreement,’ and usually that’s typically done when they are just starting the dance….

“This is a memorandum of intent. It is not a contract. It is a memorandum of intent. Intention is a lot different than commitment. Ask anyone that’s been dating that wants to get married. Intention is a lot different than commitment. Tonight we are beginning the dance. This is not the finish; this is the beginning of the conversation…. At some point in the future I would imagine that we do have a full-fledged agreement or commitment if we can get to that point and then by that time we will have much more community input and that’s why I would speak in favor of this….”

Trustees Arlie Ricasa and John McCann voted with Cartmill to pass the motion and sign the memorandum of intent.

On May 15, the district released this statement: “The Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees approved on Monday a new partnership with Alliant International University, an accredited, not-for-profit university based in Scripps Ranch. The collaboration, called Alliant International at Sweetwater, will establish an Alliant satellite campus within the Sweetwater District to provide enhanced access to college degrees and professional development for the South Bay community.”

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bbq May 17, 2013 @ 11:38 a.m.

If you read the agenda item and go with the rest of what was said by Dr. Brand and Jim Cartmill, this is not an MOU or NDA. With firm committments as to what facility, start dates, costs or fee structures, the dance was not just beginning. I look at everything said at the board meeting as fiction if not bold faced lies.

I accused our Board of Trustees of being Elitists, just because they and their kids went to University right out of High School does not mean that should be the only track for all kids.

By eliminating most of our vocational training and our ROP, Adult school safety nets and setting up a four year degree program we eliminate options that many of us "Baby Boomers" had. Our Kids already have a college safety net at our excellent Community College System.

As I have stated before does the Board really think that Engineers, Doctors and Surgeons were born able to Build, Diagnose and Fix things without the practical tools that were discovered in vocational classes like Wood, Metal, Cooking and Sewing? We had to take these as part of our Middle School requirements. Now our schools don't have the facilities or the Craftspeople to teach them and our Board of Trustees is so into the college track that they don't care or can't see it.

I really have a hard time understanding the goal of the SUHSD, first they cannot take care of the Program Improvement issue, which appears to not be on anyone's radar screen and now they are empire building with our tax dollars for most likely their own profit.

Please Board and Dr. Brand show us your overall academic plan for the average student in the district for grades 7-12, then show us the 13-16 planning of most of the students,

Again as I have said before to Dr.Brand and others if you would allow some public discussion of these "Ideas" and "agreements" with the pros and Cons you might get some public support before you steamroller it through at a Board meeting.

Always open for conversation, BBQ


angrybirds May 17, 2013 @ 11:49 a.m.

These google alerts are great I get at least one a day on the SUHSD. These people are better than watching a soap opera, who needs TV just get google alerts on these idiots. Do they really think the public down there are stupid? These people are complete dumb ---- to say the least.

Lets see if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck then it is probably a duck. So quack quack you people are pathetic.


bankalchemist Aug. 21, 2013 @ 8:13 a.m.

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY.....just think of the income opportunity if you turned this into a reality TV show like Duck Dynasty. Fast Eddy can play the resident duffus that everyone comes to love over time. He can always be conspiring against this fellow members to only step in it or have it fly back all over him as each episode concludes.


Reader2 May 17, 2013 @ 12:04 p.m.

I can't believe it! I take it back,.... yes, I can. "The beginning of a dance" my a...! You guys just signed a marriage contract. Now we can look forward to the costly and messy divorce. But in the meantime, this marriage of convenience will cost the district plenty. I don't believe for a minute that there will be "no fiscal impact." And how does it benefit the kids???? But I guess I'm being naive. It's not really about the students, is it? Reading this is no way to spend my lunch! I just lost my appetite.


bbq May 17, 2013 @ 12:22 p.m.

Angrybirds, I hope that by saying "These People" you are refering to the Board of Trustees and Dr. Brand, if you mean the few of us that stand up at meetings and call out the Hypocrisy of the Board/Brand Amigos, I cannot agree with you. The few have usually been the forefront to any Movement for change, it takes commitment and bravery to stand up to BS and then be ridiculed by Board Members under pseudonyms (for timtim, false names). I appreciate you piping in with your comments and still hope for someone to write-in why this Alliegence with Alliant is a good thing and handled properly by the District. Remember if all you are ever taught is "the evil United States" you might just be a Jihadist, ie if you only have yes men, you never see the other side. Always open for discussion, BBQ


angrybirds May 17, 2013 @ 12:40 p.m.

BBQ 100% the board and brand. Just remember when Brand smells money and a way to cash in when his contract is up he is there with his hand out. Does anyone want to bet me that he will be doing some kind of consulting with Alliant etc. when he leaves this district.

BTW BBQ I try and attend these meeting and have a great respect for the people that stand up and ask the questions to try and make sense of things they are amazing. It is a shame that this idiotic board does not even listen because some of the questions asked could have kept their asses out of hot water. Tisk Tisk but I guess that is why they are being investigated in the first place right? They let the dumbass superintendents they hire drive the boat and all they want to do is keep the wind blowing in their hair.


oskidoll May 17, 2013 @ 12:55 p.m.

If this were a desirable alliance (pun intended), there would be no need to be so sneaky about the proposal and what the board agenda really committed the District to do and to spend. Why did you have to be so sneaky about it?

"SNEAKY: Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: underhanded, dishonest
Synonyms: base, contemptible, cowardly, deceitful, devious, disingenuous, double-dealing, duplicitous, furtive, guileful, indirect, low, malicious, mean, nasty, recreant, secretive, shifty, slippery, sly, sneaking, snide, stealthy, surreptitious, tricky, underhand, unreliable, unscrupulous, untrustworthy."

That about covers it, Ed. We are not impressed, amused, or fooled.


anniej May 17, 2013 @ 1:43 p.m.

The dance, as Jim Cartmill referred to it, well it appears that Cartmill, the guy and Alliant, the gal went TO the dance then LEFT the dance and conceived a baby - the agreement. Pretty fast work if you ask me. I thought there were laws like the Brown Act that should have served as "protection".

We have been slapped in the proverbial face by Ed Brand, Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa and John Mccann by their arrogance.

Remember this if John Mccann decides to run for another office. We need him as a leader about as much we need another sermon by Jim Cartmill.

Boy is anniej taking it from those who tried to warn her about being reeled in by Cartmill. The real Jim Cartmill has stood up, and google wll forever define him.


bbq May 17, 2013 @ 2:27 p.m.

timtim, That's vulger! I've been BBQ for a very long time, I've been teased before, not recently like about 30 years, but do not take it personal.
I will again ask you to defend the Board and Brand if you think that they doing a acceptable job managing and guiding the district. If you can belittle people with an opinion different than yours surely you should be able to state your position on these subjects clearly in a comment.
So again I'm calling you out to make a real stand on the numerous issues brought to us by the mis-management, mis-direction and malfeasance of the Board/Brand amigos.

I am open minded and really want to know what you think about SUHSD, I would like to hope there is something good about what's going on.


WTFEd May 17, 2013 @ 6:16 p.m.

These people are smoking the stuff that entails both short and long term memory loss. I have specific internal information that totally refutes this supposed "soft"committment to Alliant. The problem is if I out them they might go after me. The DA needs to know how this man lies and where there is smoke there is fire. An MOU in the the case of Sweetwater here is a contract and give me a break. When Cartmill says it is in the courthship phase please this goose was cooked and eaten by that fat ass Superintendent. When you see the face of Cartmill there saying this I have been told it is like seeing Clinton say "I did not have sex with that woman". We are also getting jobbed on this deal. Then blubber butt wants give jobs at Alliant to Sweetwater teachers. We can call it the "Kiss Ed Brand's Ass Club". I have had it. I tried to stay away from comments as it was making me mad. Now I am madder.


joepublic May 17, 2013 @ 7:03 p.m.

Like anniej, I thought the Brown Act protected the public from acts such as this. Does anyone know the law, and is there a chance that legal action could be taken in our behalf?


oskidoll May 17, 2013 @ 8:49 p.m.

It's up to the District Attorney to take action in cases of violations of the Brown Act. (Anyone can read the Act online.) Unfortunately, there are no Brown Act 'police' is up to the public to complain to the public agency (in this case, this very board of trustees) when violations occur. Who is going to pursue action against the District on behalf of the public? Where is the DA?

The intent of the Brown Act is 'that the public's business be done in public". In this case, it appears that is marginally so, if at all.

The agenda must be posted 72 hours in advance of the meeting. It appears that the technicalities of the act have been followed, but the characterization, or description, of the item may have been deliberately misleading or incorrect. Therein may be recourse for the public, or the DA, to pursue. Was it a 'done deal' by the time it was on the agenda? Did the Board act upon a contract after the fact?


anniej May 17, 2013 @ 10:03 p.m.

The Alliant video was up on the districts website and Utube BEFORE the meeting and was then taken down during the meeting AFTER a speaker showed it-

I just listened to an audio tape of Jim Cartmill, I listened to it several times, how/why would/could he?

Please be sure to forward this onto all of your email contact lists.


erupting May 18, 2013 @ 7:53 a.m.

This is definitely the twilight zone. Cartmill's last comment stated that the public would have much more public input into this. What a liar! Some members of this board met with fast Eddy and pre approved the deal. Obviously they left Bertha out of the equation,the only member with genuine questions. If there are still believers in Cartmill this should take care of the matter,what a liar!!! It's scarey how they continue to be this bold when under indictment,and have had the public on theier backs for months. If I hear one more time Cartmill's mantra about I only requested a table for a charitable group I will vomit. I bet when the Grand Jury testimony is unsealed there will be more than him wanting to be popular with a charitable group that I bet donated to his campaign.


joepublic May 18, 2013 @ 8:56 a.m.

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. —Rod Serling


cvres May 18, 2013 @ 9:01 a.m.

Oskidoll, I wasn't sure what state agency would follow up on Brown Act violations, but I'm glad to hear it's the DA's office. I'm hoping they are still looking at this district and are not under the illusion that the only potential for criminality was under the Gandara regime.

As I recall there was a grand jury investigation that included Brand and the first bond proposition. I can't recall the details but I know the district didn't come out looking good.


oskidoll May 18, 2013 @ 11:50 a.m.

CVRES - It is my assumption that the DA would be responsbile for enforcement of the Brown Act because the Brown Act is a State law. The SUHSD is a public agency within San Diego County. The DA is the chief law enforcement officer for San Diego County.

As I wrote earlier, there are no 'Brown Act' police except for the public. Inquiry with the DA's office might be helpful to learn just how a member of the public can bring a complaint about Brown Act violations. It wouldn't hurt for a member of the public with 'standing' (someone who lives in the juridiction of the SUHSD, is a taxpayer and /or parent) to file such a "letter of complaint" about the violation with the SUHSD and cc the DA's Office. At a minimum, that would put BRAND and Co on formal legal notice.


oskidoll May 18, 2013 @ 3:52 p.m.

Also, the Brown Act specifically forbids 'serial' conversations among board members outside of public session. In other words, in addition to the prohibition that no more than TWO board members may meet and discuss the board's business outside of a formal meeting, they may not individually have SERIAL conversations about any topic of the agency's business. An example of serial conversations would be: Cartmill talks to Ricasa; Ricasa talks to McCann; McCann talks to Quinones, etc. (No one probably talks to Bertha!)

That also means that Ed may not have the same conversation with more than two board members....period. He may answer individual questions from all five, but may not discuss individual board members' concerns or positions on a given topic. Seems to me that there have been 'side conversations' going on that are outside of the public meeting, perhaps in violation of the Brown Act.


anniej May 19, 2013 @ 9:38 a.m.

oskidoll - surely board president Jim Cartmill is well aware of the do's and don't s - yet it continues with him leading the board. It appears that Quinones and Mccann weren't the only board presidents that were being dictated to - we now can add Jim Cartmill to the list.

I received a google alert advising that the City of Imperial Beach is hosting a forum in which SUHSD board member(s) will be presenting. Hopefully there will be a question/answer period. All of the communities of the South Bay need to demand answers from this rag tag group that has deceived us. And "IF" Mccann attempts to deflect the L Street issue with his 'when I was on the city council', let us remind him JUST HOW MANY YEARS AGO THAT WAS - And ask him 'what have you done regarding the issue since you have been on the school board' - NOT A THING but help cover it up......... Ask Jim Cartmill why did he hid the truth about Alliant behind his 'dance' speech, why did he authorize Ed Brand to have another credit card? Ask Arlie Ricasa how she could expect us to listen to her 'respect Dr. Brand speech', the same man who phoned a community members employer simply because the community member had the nerve to speak at a board meeting, ask her why she used her position for alleged personal financial gain and benefits.


oskidoll May 19, 2013 @ 6:23 p.m.

Brown Act alert: If there are going to be more than two SUHSD elected trustees present and speaking at any upcoming forum, and they will be discussing district business, the meeting must be agendized by the SUHSD district and duly noticed so the public will know it is 'meeting'.

Such a forum is not a 'ceremonial' or purely social event, which is the only exception to needing an official public notice.

Let's keep their feet to the fire to follow the rules...a meeting is a meeting is a meeting.... EVEN if no formal action is taken and even if the 'sponsor' agency is not SUHSD.

Such a meeting should be recorded as possible evidence of Brown Act violation in progress.


Susan Luzzaro May 19, 2013 @ 6:44 p.m.


Thanks for bringing the IB meeting to the public's attention. I'm the last to know--when is the meeting? Thank you


anniej May 19, 2013 @ 7:02 p.m.

Susan Luzzarro - this is very interesting Ms. Luzzaro, because other than the google alert I received, I have found nothing.


erupting May 22, 2013 @ 8:14 a.m.

Wouldn't it be great if more than one person filed a Brown Act Violation,with Leon Schorr the DA that's handling the case against our board. He is the person to send the complaint to. Get the form on line from the state web site. Action speaks louder than words,especially from the tax payers.


bbq May 22, 2013 @ 10:55 a.m.

When is an MOU not an MOU? Looking at agenda items in the district archives then reading the text of these two items shows a distinct difference in the agreements and their intent.

May 14, 2013 agenda item: F.8 Approve agreement between Alliant International University and SUHSD to participate in the establishment of Alliant International University at Sweetwater

April 17, 2006 agenda Item: B-02.* Approve MOU between Alliant International University, Sweetwater Union High School District and Southwestern Community College.

The May 14th agenda item is not nor should be considered an MOU. It does not lay down a "Convergence of will" between SUHSD and Alliant University to establish Sweetwater University, it approves the establishment of Sweetwater University.

The use of the word "participate" is a redundant wiggle word and could easily be removed from the agenda item wording and not change the intent or outcome of the approval. Deliberate obfustication (sp) of the item is if not illegal at least contemptable. Mr Cartmill what have you to say?

Definition of MOU A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between two or more parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement. Whether or not a document constitutes a binding contract depends only on the presence or absence of well-defined legal elements in the text proper of the document (the so-called "four corners"). The required elements are: offer, consideration, intention (consensus ad idem), and acceptance. The specifics can differ slightly depending on whether the contract is for goods (falls under the Uniform Commercial Code [UCC]) or services (falls under the common law of the state).

Resulting call for action I believe that we need to see the actual agreement with Alliant to establish if the "Four Corners" exist. If so the actions of Dr.Brand and the BoT exceeded the Brown act and acceptable actions of the Superintendant.

Oh by the way in the April 2006 agenda item the agreement was pdf attached to the announcement, 10 days later I still don't see the paperwork for the Alliant/Sweetwater agreement. Hiding something? BBQ


bankalchemist Aug. 21, 2013 @ 8:16 a.m.

in the MOU or NDA is there a SAOS (slick as owl shit) for FAST EDDY?


anniej May 22, 2013 @ 11:45 a.m.

TO ALL - I agree with 'Eupting', ALL of us should file Brown Act paperwork with the DA's office. Most of the time Brown Act violations are really not prosecuted, but this is Sweetwater, being led by Ed Brand, board president Jim Cartmill and Vice President Arlie Ricasa - bringing up the rear is 'do nothing' John Mccann. We are on our own folks, time for all of us to take this bull by the horns ALL THE WAY TO THE DA's office.

They snub the law, and while they may not have gotten the message yet, NONE OF THEM ARE ABOVE THE LAW.


angrybirds May 22, 2013 @ 11:45 a.m.

A new headline should read: SUHSD got caught LYING yet again, but it is business as usual here in the south bay. Ricasa, Cartmill and McCann let this happen since they are "dancing together".

This is such an in your face I can do whatever I want attitude it is pathetic. They are laughing at the public and we are letting them, lets see who will laugh last though.


oskidoll May 22, 2013 @ 12:32 p.m.

If there is an actual 'agreement' approved by the Board in a official meeting, it must be produced to the public. It should not take a 'request'...However, it may take filing a formal "Public Records Request" with the District if it is not being produced. It was not a closed session agenda item, so they cannot claim that is is privileged.


anniej May 22, 2013 @ 1:32 p.m.

Oskidoll - but Brand can delay the release.

Why wasn't the agreement/partnership provided to the tax paying public with the agenda item? What is Brand trying to hide?, whatever it is it appears that the three board members who voted for it are part of Brands hidden agenda. Cartmill, Ricasa, and Mccann will be held accountable so, please, do not demean yourselves with another dance or respect speech.


Jmbrickley May 22, 2013 @ 3:50 p.m.

Do not get angry. There is no rational reason for anyone to get angry at someone else if they do exactly the very thing you expect they will do. This board continues to do as they damn well please. Stop getting angry. Instead, do something constructive. File Brown Act violations. File a lot of them. Here's how:

  1. Read the Brown Act. Know of what you say:

  1. Read about how to file a complaint:

  1. Use this form:

The process will take about 1-2 hours. You do have a couple of hours to help clean up this mess, don't you?


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