Sweetwater's Maria Castilleja at a board meeting, filling in for superintendent Ed Brand on July 15, 2013
  • Sweetwater's Maria Castilleja at a board meeting, filling in for superintendent Ed Brand on July 15, 2013
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Sweetwater Union High School District has withdrawn its application with National City for Alliant International University to be housed on the Adult Education Center campus.

Martin Reeder, principal planner for National City, confirmed in a September 5 email that Alliant University/SUHSD had withdrawn their conditional use permit application and that “There will still be an item on the 16th [of September] due to the item being continued to a specific date. However, it is just to let the commission know that the item has been withdrawn.”

Although a campus location had not been secured for university use, superintendent Ed Brand organized a signing ceremony on July 18 with Alliant president Geoffrey Cox and installed an Alliant counselor on the National City Adult School Campus.

The tuition at Alliant, a private university, is $608 a unit, and attendance is often dependent on government-subsidized loans. Alliant president Cox receives $368,158 a year, including benefits, according to the college’s most recent 990 tax filing.

A public record request by the Reader reveals the district was engaged in extensive marketing plans — using public employees and public resources — to bring students into this private university — even before the memorandum of understanding was signed.

The public record dates from June 19 and is from Sweetwater's Maria Castilleja, the executive director of curriculum and instruction. The email calls the importance level: “High”

It’s addressed to 13 people; one additional name is redacted. The first person of the 13 people addressed is Robert Bleisch, a principal at Castle Park Middle, who has been working with the South Bay Community Services utilizing a Promise Neighborhood grant.

The email begins: “Yesterday we brainstormed ideas to advertise the Alliant International university at Sweetwater to our recently [sic] graduates…. We agreed on the following:

"3- Principals committed to contact a cohort of students (50) to encourage enrollment at Alliant in the next 3–4 weeks.

a. HH. [Hilltop High]. SuHi [Sweetwater High], CPH [Castle Park High] committed to contact their students asap.

"4- Manny [Rubio, district spokesperson] will be provided with the list of 2.5–2.9 gpa students and a list from a few schools that show seniors who indicated community college as their choice (BVH, [Bonita Vista High], ORH [Otay Ranch High], MOH [Montgomery High]). In addition, he will get the labels with names/addresses (DONE)

"5- Roman will forward to Manny and Maria the list of seniors/plans after 2013 for SUHI [Sweetwater Union High School]

"6- Robert Bleisch [principal of Castle Park Middle] will work with the advocates to do home visits or phone contacts.

"7- Lead principals will contact other principals to move forward the informational meetings ta [sic] the sites.

"8- Manny will organize the sign in [sic] MOU ceremony with media.

"9- Manny will contact the Latino media to share the information regarding our Alliant satellite at Sweetwater.

“Allaint [sic] would like to start classes at the end of August, therefore we need to move forward with our plans.”

Castillejas was unavailable for comment on September 6.

When asked what list he used to market students, Manny Rubio responded that it was “just a list of students.” He said he still has a hard copy of it in his office, but hasn’t used it.

When asked if the parents of the students on the list had given permission to have their children contacted, he responded, “No.” Although the item says “DONE,” Rubio said that his office decided “it wasn’t the best strategy” to access students’ names and addresses for the purpose of recruitment. When asked if any letters went out from the district about Alliant, he said he wasn’t sure about the rest of the district; he was only sure that his office didn’t do a mailing.

Rubio said that about 20 students are now attending Alliant on the Scripps Ranch campus. Rubio noted that with the exception of 2 or 3, these students are the first in their families to attend college.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Ensenadamaria Sept. 7, 2013 @ 6:20 p.m.

Hey Shirley - nice to see your name. Hope all is well.


anniej Sept. 7, 2013 @ 5:51 p.m.

My my my my my my

It appears that much was hidden from the public.

It also appears as though new questions regarding South Bay Community Services need to be answered. Several allegations regarding insider dealings just might need to be brought to the table.

When is enough enough - NOW!!!!!!!


anniej Sept. 7, 2013 @ 5:56 p.m.

Why is Tom Hassey on the list??????????


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 7, 2013 @ 5:58 p.m.

Thanks Shirley. Hope all is well with you.


shirleyberan Sept. 7, 2013 @ 6:43 p.m.

Ensenadamaria and Suzz (and of course Anniej) Appreciate those well wishes! I think I'm getting better, I never give up trying.


anniej Sept. 7, 2013 @ 7:18 p.m.

Shirleyberan - Why hello there! Here we all are still, fightin' the good fight!!!!!! Hope this hot weather breaks soon, whoever said old people like not weather, WAS NOT OLD!!!!!


eastlaker Sept. 7, 2013 @ 7:24 p.m.

Just out of curiosity, how many violations have been committed in Ed Brand's pursuit of this venture with Alliant?

How many lies?

How many lapses of judgment?

How many times were actual laws broken?

Now, we know that our most of the trustees have been aware of all this, and how many times has our trust in these individuals been misplaced?

And of course, now we have the upcoming bit of street theater with the Arne Duncan visit.

I can only hope that Mr. Duncan gets the real story, and that Brand and the rest of his partners in crime are dealt stern justice.


eastlaker Sept. 7, 2013 @ 8:03 p.m.

Also interesting to note: the target demographic is the group with a lower than B average, which happens to be the group which would have just missed making it into SDSU via the Compact for Success.

What strikes me is that this group would be particularly vulnerable, which is what makes targeting them particularly low.

Targeting students who are relatively unsophisticated, who have just missed making the B average needed for the Compact for Success. Making money off the students you are supposed to be helping.

Kind of makes me wonder if Brand and crew set out with the intent to be completely revolting individuals, or if it just happened while they were pursuing that Almighty Dollar.


oneoftheteachers Sept. 8, 2013 @ 4:35 a.m.

If you ask high school students what they plan to be when they grow up, most of them will answer "doctor or lawyer." This includes students who can barely construct a sentence. We have filled their heads with the dream that anyone can go to college, but we have been remiss making them understand the skills and resources it will take to graduate from college. Students with a C average in the Sweetwater District are not prepared for a university and need to take remedial classes at a junior college in order to have a chance at obtaining the skills they will need to obtain that dream of becoming a doctor or lawyer. Even in the best case scenario where these students, saddled with debt, obtain a bachelors degree from Alliant, what is it worth? We all know that Alliant and its predecessor, USUI, are "buy a degree" institutions. After all, Brand obtained his doctorate there. I encourage you all to read his dissertation, which is NOT impressive.


eastlaker Sept. 8, 2013 @ 9 a.m.

Maybe Brand's dissertation could be made available via a link or a pdf file. It would be most interesting to determine just what his thinking looks like on paper, as it is so very convoluted and unprepossessing when put into action.


Visduh Sept. 8, 2013 @ 12:24 p.m.

Many years ago, when working as a volunteer in some AVID classes, I'd often hear the same career "goals" from high school students. (AVID is a program that gives students with high potential for college study some extra attention and teaches them how to study and why they need to apply themselves. Usually they would be the first in their families to go to college. For the most part AVID, when handled properly, is successful for the majority of the students who participate.) After hearing those answers of "doctor" and "lawyer" and NEVER such things as "engineer" or "businessperson" or for that matter, "teacher." I questioned the AVID teacher as to why there was not some realism being provided. I pointed out the fierce competition for the few seats in medical schools, and the intellectual rigors required for the study of both medicine and law. His reply was that it was not his job to "burst their balloons" and kill their nascent hopes for such careers. And who knows, he claimed, who might just make it to such lofty accomplishments? I still think it was irresponsible for anyone involved in a program like that one to fail to point out to those kids just how unlikely it was for them to aim so high. As long as many students really think they are college material and that a costly degree from Alliant or any other such institution will be the key to a career of riches and success, such people as Brand and his cronies will prey on them.


eastlaker Sept. 8, 2013 @ 7:10 p.m.

Very true.

Wish you could speak to all the Sweetwater students. It is great to have goals, and also very good to have some reasonable steppingstones along the way to your goals.

Young people deserve honest advice from people who really do have their best interests at heart. Not biased "guidance" that results in debt, meaningless classes and wasted time.


Visduh Sept. 9, 2013 @ 9:09 p.m.

I do get into high school classrooms from time to time, but not to spout my opinions or beliefs. I've offered to speak in them as a volunteer or guest speaker, and have had few invitations. There is a sort of educational/cultural cabal at work that decides what high school students can be told, and most teachers and administrators toe the mark. I have a hard time describing what I mean, other than as politically correct and guardedly optimistic in a totally egalitarian way. That means that there's a void of practical advice and reality in so much of what the kids hear or see.


anniej Sept. 7, 2013 @ 8:23 p.m.

eastlaker - oh, but lets not loose sight of Brands mantra - 'it's all about my wallet, I mean the kids'.


shirleyberan Sept. 7, 2013 @ 8:24 p.m.

eastlaker - Ed had a choice to have compassion but he chose not to.


shirleyberan Sept. 7, 2013 @ 8:30 p.m.

I see on the news the little ones are really suffering in classroom heat. Wonder why that's still an issue.


oskidoll Sept. 7, 2013 @ 8:53 p.m.

The clown parade in Ed's circus continues.


Trojan80 Sept. 7, 2013 @ 9:24 p.m.

“Robert Bleisch [principal of Castle Park Middle] will work with the advocates to do home visits or phone contacts.”

These advocates are hired under the Promise Neighborhood grant. In reality these advocates were hired to work with students and families in an effort to serve the underserved. Yet, Robert Bleisch had them calling to promote Alliant who charges almost $700 a unit? I wonder if the president of South Bay Community Services is aware of Robert Bleisch’s misuse of grant funds.


knowthetruth Sept. 7, 2013 @ 9:40 p.m.

And on Friday Arne Duncan will be on the campus because of the Promise Neighborhood grant and every one of the people who are mentioned in this article are going to be there to shake hands and have a photo-op after they have all been in collusion to misuse those same Federal monies, what gall!


Julian_Asange Sept. 7, 2013 @ 11:26 p.m.

Trojan 80 - I'd say she knew: read an excerpt from a previous article by Susan Luzzaro: In an August 6 interview, Kathryn Lembo, CEO of South Bay Community Services, said Promise Neighborhood was not recruiting for Alliant. She said the grant, which was modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone, is intended to foster education from “cradle to career.” She said academic advocates from the program contacted families in the catchment areas, which includes some Sweetwater schools, to advise them of post-secondary opportunities and to help them with financial barriers.

She said, “We were not doing outreach [for Alliant]; we just got all the new information on Alliant in July…it was an opportunity for an early college program free to the students. We wanted to let people know that Hilltop High School and Olympian High School were going to provide general education courses that were free and the fall classes start August 26. Lembo also said, “We only called houses where children who were 12th- or l1th-graders lived.”

(Sounds to me like double speak)

Read more: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/aug/06/stringers-sweetwater-superintendent-ed-/#ixzz2eHPGIBmT


oskidoll Sept. 8, 2013 @ 12:38 p.m.

If Ms. Lembo had personal student record information from school records, she is in violation of the Federal Family Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) that is supposed to protect our students from such use of their inform ation to recruit for ANYTHING. She admitted that they had already called (past tense) 'houses where children who were 12th or 11th graders lived." Hmmmm...that would not be CPM students, now would it?


Missionaccomplished Jan. 1, 2014 @ 11:46 p.m.

Limbo is on the following list:

70 nonprofit CEOs paid more than $200K - U-T San Diego m.utsandiego.com/news/.../nonprofit-ceo-compensation-salaries-san-dieg...‎ Dec 16, 2013 - These San Diego County nonprofit CEOs all make more than $200,000 in salary, bonus and other pa


shirleyberan Sept. 7, 2013 @ 11:45 p.m.

Rubio - there's two ways to look at the first in the family to attend college. That is: to be proud; or to be deceptively representing that Alliant is the best choice for a family struggling because none of them could afford college. You know they will likely regret what you've done to "help". Parents will try to pay and student loans are burdens. No way scholarships or grants cover this private school conspiracy. Their better path was a logical, less expensive, community college. Congratulations.


shirleyberan Sept. 8, 2013 @ 12:45 a.m.

I mean, logically the better path... Tired of trying to explain or make sense of nonsense.


oldchulares Sept. 8, 2013 @ 8:10 a.m.

This is how my money is being spent on house calls? i am making a phone call tomorrow to demand an audit of this Promise Neighborhoods and the Sweetwater district. We need to right this ship. I have contacts in DC and I am going to call on them.


WTFEd Sept. 8, 2013 @ 8:28 a.m.

Maybe this is why Ed Brands son is "job shadowing" him pr position at Alliant? Is it any wonder our API scores are down for most schools? This is a gift of public funds violates personal privacy and is simply bad public policy. Is it any wonder this crap goes on? Less we forget it was Ed who called a private citizen and parent employer about her "testimony". Please find Ed a job in the private sector to support those kids in college.


Greenville Sept. 8, 2013 @ 9:05 a.m.

When is Mr. Duncan visiting? Will Susan be there? Can we present him with a packet of the UT and Reader stories? He went to school. Perhaps he is capable of connecting some dots for us?

Oh, and Maria...you should be investigated by the credentialing commission. Not a bad idea. Think I will give them a call.


anniej Sept. 8, 2013 @ 9:19 a.m.

Greenville - see the contact info below


knowthetruth Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:43 a.m.

Here is a link to Arne Duncan's bus tour.


Looks like SUHSD is the only district putting on a show (pep rally), the rest of the visits are focusing on real world, every day activities. I just heard this morning that on Thursday, the day before the visit, the students will take time out of school to practice marching around and chanting slogans. But remember, it is all for the kids. Also, I heard something that I will not believe until I see it. What I was told is that recently at CPM, they were having some sort of assembly with the students and as they were waiting for all the students to show up, one of the administrators starting having one group of students chant "Castle" and the other half chant "Park", but right in the middle the administrator said instead of "Castle Park", he said "Impeach Obama". Then he said just kidding to the students. I was told that students had their iPads out and someone must have this recorded. Can anyone confirm this? I know there are a lot of strange things happening there, but this can't be true, can it?


eastlaker Sept. 8, 2013 @ 9:12 a.m.

The Star-News has a new article online which should not be ignored:


I hope the link works.


anniej Sept. 8, 2013 @ 9:18 a.m.

[email protected]

Please help get the word out that we need an accounting of our Sweetwater tax dollars.

It is important to provide facts, not simply vent frustrations. His office does read, and they have responded.


shirleyberan Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:08 a.m.

Terrible abuse of power by people in positions of trust. The guy at the top who gave the order should be held accountable. Hi Ed.


Ensenadamaria Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:39 a.m.

Julian_Asange Lembo knew exactly what she was getting into when she partnered with Ed Brand and Robert Bleisch. Right now she is trying to dig herself out of the hole she dug with money that she received that are federal funds. Claiming oops is about as insulting as Brands now infamous 'my bad'

Anniej, while emailing Duncan is a start more needs to be done. We need to blanket the State and Feds with our emails until something is done.


oskidoll Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:42 a.m.

Alliant personnel are quoted in the Star-News article that the Scripps Ranch location is only temporary and that they plan to be back in South County at a school site for spring semester, possibly at Sweetwater High School.

Rest assured that this is only a temporary setback for Ed's grand scheme for a rent-free site for Alliant, the nexus of his 'Sweetwater U' grand empire, possibly his exit strategy and next career step when he is finished as Superintendent. Dr. Cox, president of Alliant, makes a handsome salary, somewhere in excess of $300K per year, and that fact has not been lost on Fast Eddy.

I think it was particularly odious that Ed and Co have targeted for recruitment to pricey Alliant those very students should be directed to the low-cost local community college, Southwestern. At one time, high school students were invited to attend SWC at NO COST with the permission of their parent and counselor, and could take up to six units a semester while still in high school. It may still be free, or at least low cost. It is also odious that students (and our financial aid tax money) will pay $600 + per unit to Alliant when the students could go to Southwestern for nearly nothing!

Even more troubling is the cavalier disregard for student privacy rights by the District under the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA). How did Ms. Lembo and Co. get ahold of telephone numbers for high school students? Secretary Arne Duncan, as head of the US Department of Education, may have oversight responsibility for how institutions respect the FERPA rules.


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:50 a.m.

As readers will note, there is a name redacted from the first email. I questioned the district and the district responded that it was a personal name and claimed the CPRA code section 6254 was applicable. Below find another view from the First Amendment Coalition.

  1. Personnel, medical, and similar files (Government Code § 6254(c)). This exemption is routinely invoked when the public agency believes a request seeks information pertaining to identifiable public officials or employees that is private, sensitive or controversial. But in fact, the information may only be withheld if its disclosure “would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” (Government Code § 6254(c)). That is, and is meant to be, a high threshold. - See more at: http://firstamendmentcoalition.org/public-records-2/cpra-primer/cpra-primer-exemptions/#sthash.jkvRFZZW.dpuf

knowthetruth Sept. 8, 2013 @ 11 a.m.

What I read is "; Tom Hassey ( __ );

The blank space between the parentheses must refer to Tom Hassey since it falls between the semi-colons that break up the recipients of the e-mail. I don't see it as a missing name but a missing description of Tom Hassey.


dbdriver Sept. 8, 2013 @ 8:13 p.m.

Quite possibly a personal email address for him. The blanked out portion looks like it missed the very tip of a lower-case t and the end portion of possibly an m. As in [email protected] something . com. Just a guess.


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:57 a.m.

This is also from the First Amendment Coalition site. Note #2. Sweetwater has already disclosed this person's name to all the other people who received the original email.

C. Exemptions are not mandatory. 1. Despite the existence of an exemption, an agency may allow inspection unless disclosure prohibited by law.41. 2. Thus, if an agency has disclosed the information sought, it may have waived right to claim exemption (Government Code § 6254.5). - See more at: http://firstamendmentcoalition.org/public-records-2/cpra-primer/cpra-primer-exemptions/#sthash.jkvRFZZW.vQAmgTRl.dpuf


oskidoll Sept. 8, 2013 @ 11:03 a.m.

Good work Susan! Please keep on their case for full disclosure. They are hiding something else. Wonder who the redacted name might be and why its reveal would constitute an unwarranted invasion of PERSONAL privacy?


mko Sept. 8, 2013 @ 11:09 a.m.

For those of you that don't know her, Ms. Castilleja is foremost in the photo at the top of this article. She has acted as Dr. Brands willing lieutenant in this sorry affair. Her emails are available to read by clicking on the link at the bottom of this article just above the posts. The distribution on both emails show the upper echelon of Sweetwater leadership who seemed to be comfortable with pimping a private, tuition based school and poaching the students with grant money. The legality of this is questionable but the impropriety and amorality of their scheming is not. Southwestern and San Diego State must feel like a spouse who has caught their mate in flagrante delicto. Is it any wonder why other agencies don't want to work with this District? Dr. Brand's evaluation is likely to be on this months Board agenda. It has been delayed in order for Mr. McCann to return after his accident. He is likely to be the swing vote on an extension of the Superintendent's contract. I urge all to let the Board know your feelings on continuing the leadership of Dr. Brand.


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 8, 2013 @ 11:24 a.m.


As there are no email addresses at all, why would one be redacted? I will follow up tomorrow and report back if I am wrong. Thanks, Susan


anniej Sept. 8, 2013 @ 11:55 a.m.

knowthetruth - less we forget, it was but a few months ago that Brand was introducing Hassey with some big fancy title - when eluded to at a board meeting board meeting Jim Cartmill found no problem with the title, and was perceived as defending it - but of course he was, it was, after all, Tom Hassey and Ed Brand lent Cartmill 50k to help,him with his bankruptcy - a loan Cartmill initially shrugged off as it it never happened.


oskidoll Sept. 8, 2013 @ 12:04 p.m.

Anyone who waits for McCann to show up and 'do right' might as well be waiting for Godot!

Of course, he is in this up to his ears, and a willing accomplice to Ed's grand scheme for Sweetwater U....Ed has bought him off with who know what promises for the future, perhaps raising money for his next political campaign, a cushy job at "Sweetwater U" ---there are any number of possible scenarios.


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 8, 2013 @ 12:25 p.m.

Not to belabor a point, rather to extend the discussion. One of the concerns for journalists and the public seeking public records in the recent past has been that public officials conduct their business on private emails, using for example cox.net instead of sweetwaterschools. There was an important ruling in California this year that says those emails, even if they are on private email addresses, belong to the public:

Judge plugs ‘private email’ loophole in CA public records law (March 20, 2013) Peter Scheer–In a big victory for open government, a Superior Court judge in San Jose has ruled that the state’s Public Records Act applies to government officials’ emails and texts about government business–EVEN IF those messages are sent or received using the officials’ private email or text accounts, rather than accounts belonging to the government. The decision by Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg rejected San Jose’s argument that local governments can’t be held legally responsible for digital messages that reside in computer servers that they don’t own, lease, use or control. Judge Kleinberg reasoned that government officials, when emailing and texting about government business, are functioning as agents of the city. The officials’ ownership and control of the messages is imputed to the city. The decision is consistent with FAC’s 2012 suit against the city of Auburn. That case ended in a settlement in which Auburn agreed to adopt policies requiring city officials, when emailing about city business using their personal email accounts, to “cc” the emails to a city mail server where they would be stored in a searchable archive. In recent years more and more government officials have turned to personal email accounts as a back channel for official communications, believing that those communications are shielded from disclosure under the Public Records Act. The new decision, Ted Smith v. City of San Jose et al., suggests that belief may be misplaced. - See more at: http://firstamendmentcoalition.org/2013/03/judge-plugs-private-email-loophole-in-public-records-law/#sthash.tJjZLWco.dpuf


Visduh Sept. 9, 2013 @ 8:53 a.m.

For anyone to think that the mere use of a personal email account to discuss public business would shield it from scrutiny was an unrealistic expectation. For a long time, if an investigative body were looking for evidence, it could find it if enough effort were expended. This was an obvious loophole that needed to be plugged, and I'm only surprised that it took this long for a court to do it.

This is reminiscent of organized crime, going back to the Prohibition era. The gangsters (or at least bootleggers, if you don't think of them as doing a real wrong) knew that telephones could be tapped. The rudimentary technology to do that was available to the cops and was used. So the gangsters didn't use their own phones to engage in forbidden activity, rather relying on fact to face contact or pay phones. (In those times, one public coin phone could be used to dial another public phone, and by prearrangement, they could talk "privately.")

Our elected officials, and those employed by public agencies, should never be allowed to conduct the people's business in private or on the sly. Oh, it is tempting, but those folks can work out in the open if they want to. They should never be allowed to use tools employed by criminals to avoid public scrutiny.


mko Sept. 8, 2013 @ 1:41 p.m.

Thank you for the above information. I have taken to quoting that ruling in my PRAs for the last couple of months. Since I regularly do not get documents in District files, it should come as no surprise that I have yet to get them to even acknowledge a duty to disclose private emails.

I want to believe that the members of the Board will rectify the situation and will do what is best for the District. To those who might choose to grant Dr. Brand an extension of his contract I leave with the following quotation from Hugh White (President pro tem of the Senate 1832) "When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power."
Mr. McCann and the others can do the right thing and we should applaud them when they do. I for one will not play the "I told you so" game if they make a change. By and large, the education side of the District is functioning. It is the business side that needs help. This District has the talent in house to make our way until we find a replacement. All of us are fungible and to think otherwise is a delusion.


oskidoll Sept. 8, 2013 @ 3:27 p.m.

With all due respect, mko, please share what evidence gives you the ability to 'want to believe' that the 'Board will rectify the situation and will do what is best for the District?' I would like to be able to share your hope and confidence, but given the indictments and the board majority's unconditional support of Brand and his circus, I really just can't give them that much credit.

Also, please share the evidence that leads to your conclusion that the 'education side of the District is functioning'. Seriously? With 99 percent of the schools failing to make substantial progress, the open enrollment and subsequent over crowding, I just don't see it. I am sure teachers are teaching the best they can in dire circumstances, no argument there; but the remedies necessary take leadership and focus, both of which are sadly lacking.


shirleyberan Sept. 8, 2013 @ 2:27 p.m.

Sounds like spongeable. Yes. Choices must be made and lived with consequences


shirleyberan Sept. 8, 2013 @ 3:19 p.m.

I told you all last year Ed wasn't as smart as he pretended to be.


erupting Sept. 8, 2013 @ 4:15 p.m.

I believe the missing name is someone that the district doesn't want angry with them yet is important to recognize as a part of the communication process. Could it be Shirley Horton? She is employed by the South Bay Community Services? Isn't she one of the prospective Mayoral Candidates. I understand she is a supporter of John McCann and Burt Grossman who was highlighted last week by the UT as a CV Council hopeful. I also bet Grossman and McCann will be there when Arne starts shaking hands. They will not be able to pass up that photo opportunity. But they may have to step on Fast Eddy to get the chance. Sweetwater the gift that keeps on giving. Chulavistaresident where are you?


oskidoll Sept. 8, 2013 @ 5:37 p.m.

yes, erupting, I believe there is more to the 'missing' link/name in the email. I also wondered if it might be someone from SBCS, as they are so tightly involved in this undercover recruiting for Alliant. Perhaps Ms. Lembo, perhaps Ms. Horton, who knows?


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 8, 2013 @ 4:21 p.m.

On the subject of private emails--and their relevance. During the time Chopra and Alioto were at Southwestern I asked for emails specifically regarding the Prop R bid. It was more than a little interesting to me to see, after the DA's office raided houses and took cell phones and computers, that much of the information I and most likely other journalists had been seeking--was being conducted on private email accounts.

Had these emails been available to the publlic, maybe the public could have been spared a whole lot of grief and expense.


erupting Sept. 8, 2013 @ 4:46 p.m.

Susan, Brand does not let staff use emails in the district for what he calls sensitive materials. I'm shocked you got this. Even Cartmill has said he will talk on phone but no emails. Brand has told staff it can't be subpoenaed if it doesn't exist. I believe that they do use their private emails but we will not get it because they will deny it exists. Deanne says no responsive documents to most PRA's when in fact we now know it's a lie she tells because of Brand.


anniej Sept. 8, 2013 @ 4:57 p.m.

ALL of this time, ALL of these resources, ALL of this money spent on bringing Alliant to SUHSD.

Jim Cartmill, with our scores in the commode one would think the board would want ALL resources being spent helping our students learn - why are you spending our tax dollars on a University that pays its president close to $400,000.00?

Mr. Carmill this is a reflection on you and your integrity. Why have you abandoned those who have supported you? All eyes are on you.

Might someone who has expertise include in their email to Arne Duncan the data recently provided regarding our API scores. Ask Duncan why is this district allowed to use taxpayers monies to 'trap' unsuspecting students into expensive Alliant student loans. Ask how and why a school district with the scores we have are spending money and resources as if ALLIANT was the name of the school district we are supporting. And finally how can we offer free rent to a University?


eastlaker Sept. 8, 2013 @ 6:48 p.m.

Yes, anniej, and all the while we have been told that these deals with all these universities are not costing us anything!!

A likely story...

Wasn't there supposed to be a mere feasibility study when the Alliant rumors started flying a few months back? And yet--nothing is as was represented.


Shouldn't Sweetwater's leadership be ashamed for having been caught out in all these lies?

Apparently they are of the opinion that the voting, tax-paying public doesn't deserve the truth. But we will get to the truth, and Ed Brand, his cronies, henchmen, loyal voting majority and all others mesmerized by the plans of Fast Eddy will soon find their reality veering in a markedly different direction.


oldchulares Sept. 8, 2013 @ 8:13 p.m.

It was just recommended to me that we seek out a Federal Grand Jury. The source of the funds is what makes this issue Federal business. There is little tolerance for waste and even less for fraud in these times. Will make more calls back to DC tomorrow. Didn't I read where the FBI is aware of Sweetwater and their current legal status?


Visduh Sept. 8, 2013 @ 9:37 p.m.

The real need is to get the FBI on all this mess. There are rumors that they are looking, but so far we've seen nothing from that quarter. The feds can get involved when no federal funds are involved, due to mail fraud and other federal laws that are on the books. It would be best if the local "authorities" got on this mess in a big way, but since the indictments have some down, nothing has really happened, and the trials (if they ever take place) are scheduled for February. I don't trust the DA to really go after these crooks. The usual disposition of these corruption cases is a series of plea bargains where the wrongdoers leave office and get various slaps on the wrist and minimal fines to pay. But, by now, if there were to be pleas copped, we should have seen one or two big ones. Do the defense attorneys know that the DA isn't really going for blood? That would be my suspicion. So, as much as federal involvement would be a good step in the right direction, we have to look to the DA for some action, and action is what we don't see now.


montana64 Sept. 8, 2013 @ 10:29 p.m.

I learned a new word/ And, really it's cool/ Someone wrote fungible/ It's a great word for fools. Like Alliant's a college and so is Yale/ and an Alliant education equals an Ivy -no fail! and Dawg don't mean Dog---it something nice not insulting / But resorting to slang, can make leadership kinda culty. Ah but maybe we're all actors on a 20K stage/ and red windows in south bay have become the red rage./ sponging fungible funds =raiding ASB tills/ While social studies is fungible for English drills! Yes the fun's back in fungible--Duncan'll be thrilled~


oskidoll Sept. 9, 2013 @ 9:24 a.m.

The poor students are all fungible in Dr. Brand's crucible.


oskidoll Sept. 9, 2013 @ 9:25 a.m.

The poor students are fungible in Dr. Brand's crucible.


oskidoll Sept. 9, 2013 @ 8:50 a.m.

I'm thinking there is probably considerable Federal $$$ that flows into SUHSD for various programs and grants. Also, if the District is trolling for students to attend Alliant while ignoring the public community college in our own backyard, AND pushing the FAFSA and Financial Aid (the biggest part of the Financial Aid 'package' is the Federal Pell Grant, now somewhere in the $6000 range, if not more) the Feds may have something to start investigating. Then, there is the matter of the large Federal DOE grant to South Bay Community Services (several Million $$$ over a few years, I believe) that is allegedly being used to recruit students for the pricey private Alliant. Don't forget the probably illegal disclosure of all that student record data that should have been protected by the Federal FERPA law to SBCS staff so they could, according to Ms. Lembo, 'call houses where 11th and 12th graders live'. They caught Al Capone for tax evasion. The Devil is in the Details, as they say, and Ed is forgetting to cross some of his 't's and dot some of his 'i's.


angrybirds Sept. 9, 2013 @ 10:29 a.m.

I guess based on these emails we are hunting students you know preying on the less fortunate. These people are disgusting they are preying on the kids that need them the most. Leave my community alone, leave the kids alone go get rich somewhere else. I am going to take up oldchulares and call the Feds. This district is out of hand and you know I hope the grant money gets taken away. I hope all these people are in orange jumpsuits soon. This shit really pisses me off. HOW THE HELL DO THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS?


oskidoll Sept. 9, 2013 @ 12:30 p.m.

Thanks for taking up the banner Angrybirds! The District is in disarray and who knows what odious scheme will get our attention next --- they just keep on coming, don't they? Bottom line, it is the Board's responsibility to hire and fire the CEO and keep him/her in line. They are obviously derelict in their duty.


Woodchuck Sept. 9, 2013 @ 11:37 a.m.

FYI, I have Thomas Massey info as: Hassey Investments 2175 Avenida De La Playa La Jolla 92037 Mobile # 858 922-4996 email- [email protected] He handed me his business card at the Pizza Party recruitment event at La Bella's


oldchulares Sept. 10, 2013 @ 9:28 a.m.

The FBI are the folks that need to be called. They need to be asked to investigate and audit not only the Sweetwater district but also Castle Park Middle School, South Bay Community Services and the Promise Neighborhoods. This is going to take a little bit of time but the more information shared in your calls the better. Also continuing to email Arne Duncan's office with new information. I was told if we want the cavalry to ride in faster we need to get national attention on the airways. Begin sending emails to all of the major news organizations today.

FBI phone number. 858 320 1800


anniej Sept. 10, 2013 @ 2:04 p.m.

The Feds need to step in here. The community of Castle Park are deserving of the monies, however, having said that - of all the entities to be given any federal funds Sweetwater is NOT that district. South Bay Community Services and Promise Neighborhoods CHOSE to align themselves with Ed Brand and CHOSE to spend the monies in an unethical manner. Ms. Limbo does not live under a rock, neither does Ms. Horton - they are more than in tune with all of the alleged corruption that is associated with the board that Jim Cartmill is president of - they know the history of Ed Brand - the Grand Jury investigation, the excessive credit card spending, the loan to help Jim Cartmill out of bankruptcy, the relationship with Tom Hassey, the failed money making involvement - these and more PUBLIC RECORD - so why did these two successful women CHOOSE to subject their reputations to question? A question only they can answer.

And so now I am calling on Jim Cartmill, John McCann, Arlie Ricasa, Pearl Quinones and Bertha Lopez to do the right thing. I have no doubt many have taken the advice of Visduh and olchulares, I have no doubt that many many more will - employees who know the truth are most likely jamming the 858 area code as I type calling the FBI and asking fr an investigation and audit. You know the information these people have, are you willing to take the chance of a Federal indictment?

Regarding Castle Park Middle, rumors everywhere, employees who know the truth and have the evidence that is going to blow this thing up just like what happened at CPH and I am not just referring to The ASB issue. One thing about data, the FEDS don't take too kindly to it being 'massaged'.

END THIS, it is time to return the power to the board - it is time to recommend that Ed Brand resign and put this dysfunction to rest. Tell him to pick a reason for the resignation, any reason - It is time for peace and rebuilding - I see a whole lot of skeletons tumbling out of the closet if Brand stays, you all know what I am talking about.


oskidoll Sept. 10, 2013 @ 3:17 p.m.

Don't forget the opportunity for 'visuals' during Secretary Duncan's visit. TV cameras love the visuals, they make their story. Let them know ahead of time there will likely be some controversey for them to cover.

I'm thinking a few picket-style signs with salient messages:

""Promise Neighborhood $$$ go to recruit our students for high-cost private university" " $20K of OUR TAX MONEY and ASB Funds for a stage" " Unauthorized use of student contact info by non-district employees"" "Why is SUHSD not enforcing student privacy rights? "SUHSD Violates FERPA Law" "SBSC misappropriates Fed. Grant $$ to recurit for private university."

Don't forget the public street and sidewalks are public venues. We all have the right of free speech to protest. Ed may not be able to sweep this one under the rug.


shirleyberan Sept. 10, 2013 @ 5:17 p.m.

oldchulares -you got it - of course it will take whatever it takes - thank you for your help - things take time - the lie has gone on for too long but you are making awareness happen!!


montana64 Sept. 12, 2013 @ 7:11 p.m.

When ? Is AD at CPM? AM or PM?Where will we see the sage on the stage? Is public welcome or locked out/disengaged? How many free Ts? Will there be milk & cookies?


Trojan80 Sept. 12, 2013 @ 7:40 p.m.

AD is expected to be at CPM at 9:00 am but you will want to arrive early since parking should be bad especially with media and expected protesters. Don’t expect milk and cookies unless Brand is paying because Bleisch doesn’t have any ASB monies left.


eastlaker Sept. 13, 2013 @ 10:19 a.m.

Please take a look at the Opinion piece in the U-T on the CPM/Duncan/grant money situation.

Which of course does not address problems at hand.

Believe it is titled something like "Promise given, promise kept".


oskidoll Sept. 13, 2013 @ 10:36 a.m.

Of course, the UT will take Fast Eddy's side. Those editorial board people are nincompoops who only see what they want to see, and they will NEVER acknowledge that anyone who claims to be a political conservative can do any wrong. Similarly, they were taken in by Raj Chopra because he passed himself off as a conservative who was battling the 'evil' unions. Well, we know what happened there, don't we? Again, it was corrupt leadership that led to that mess.

Corruption and greed know no political boundaries, which is something the UT had better understand instead of looking at people and actions through what they think their political 'labels' are. The UT is not now, and as long as it remains the bully pulpit of Doug Manchester (politically to the right of Atilla the Hun) it cannot be expected to do 'fair and balanced' journalism. It is a news joke.

On the surface, the CPM and Promise Neighborhood and South Bay Community Services work seems noble...it isn't until the tentatcles that bind them all together are revealed that we begin to connect the dots and learn that everything is not as it seems. SBCS' Lembo is paid an astronomical salary....look at her staff people (Ms. Horton) and Board (Patty Chavez, who is also involved with the Barrio College Institute that is somehow now working with the Promise Grant). It appears there are lots of fingers in the pie.


eastlaker Sept. 13, 2013 @ 6:19 p.m.

I have come to the conclusion that the name redacted (as discussed earlier) is probably Ms. Horton's.

The question is, how much of this funding is going to overhead, and how much helps the students?

I fear the students are getting short-changed, as usual.


oskidoll Sept. 13, 2013 @ 6:48 p.m.

Bingo, eastlaker! Don't forget this is a multi-million $$ grant over several years....enough for Lembo and Co to spread around to their friends!


eastlaker Sept. 14, 2013 @ 2:57 p.m.

Please take a look at the U-T Opinion page online--several columns on what is wrong with education--looks like a planned presentation, anti-teachers, anti-teachers unions and seems to tie in with the Common Core/Duncan dog and pony show.


oskidoll Sept. 14, 2013 @ 3:46 p.m.

In Sweetwater, it is about corruption, plain and simple. Corruption at the TOP, folks....four trustees indicted for corruption (taking gifts and $$ from would-be vendors and not reporting it per government code).... Everyone seems to be on the take for campaign contributions which the very same Board fails to address. These corrupt trustees hire the CEO --- Superintendent Brand, and give him license to run all sorts of shell games with SUHSD Resources, OUR tax money that should be educating our kids. THAT IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH EDUCATION IN SWEETWATER!!!! Uncomfortable facts but that is our REALITY. The unions are not to blame for this mess....WE are to blame for electing such do-do birds in the first place.

Certainly, I agree there are some education issues that involve unions and their stranglehold on the legislative process, but those pale by comparison to the very real corruption of our so-called Trustees, their hand-picked CEO and his henchmen.. But let's not be enticed by those who would have us believe any of our mess is the fault of any union. We have Corruption at the top.....plain and simple.


eastlaker Sept. 14, 2013 @ 9:38 p.m.


But I am starting to think that there is a bit of organization behind those three editorials and the Duncan show.


anniej Sept. 15, 2013 @ 9:04 a.m.

The key to all of our issues are - the trials in 2014 and the vote of 2014.

Names are being bantered about in the rumor mill - but no clear candidates as of yet.

John McCanns political future swings in the balance. The next few months of votes will expose who he is representing -


oskidoll Sept. 15, 2013 @ 9:33 a.m.

Eastlaker, I agree that it is no coincidence that the UT Editorials, plus the Duncan 'show' all appeared at the same time, and it is likely that Ed and Co have orchestrated the messages to try to pin the blame for Sweetwater's educational issues on the unions and liberals. Remember, the so-called 'conservatives' will do their best to co-opt the conservative so-called press for its own purposes and propaganda.

Anniej, I agree that the upcoming trials and vote in 2014 are essential to righting the educational ship. The trials of the four indicted may remove some of our perps from office, but then we must see who is lined up to take their place. If, by some fluke, they manage to retain their seats, Cartmill, Ricasa and McCann's seats are open in November. In the meantime, WE must identify, encourage, and support those who WE think will be responsbile replacements....don't wait until the die are cast.

I do not, however, agree that we need the next few months to learn who John McCann represents....he is alrealdy 'exposed' for representing only himself and his base personal interests. His political future is very much in doubt, and if he keeps shooting himself in the foot he will take himself out. Remember, keep score and keep records. His record will make an incredible piece of campaign literature for his opponent.


oskidoll Sept. 15, 2013 @ 10:05 a.m.

An additional thought: South Bay Community Services must also be above scrutiny as they spend our Federal $$$, as well as our local taxpayer $$$ (courtesy of block grant from the City of Chula Vista)...they MUST be free of all politics as they work with SUHSD in the "promise neighborhood' grant and in other local grass roots endeavors.

It is ILLEGAL to spend the public's money on any political cause (as one former Southwestern College president learned the hard way) .... the FBI is always interested to know when anyone's hands are found in the public $$$ cookie jar and being spent to engineer elections.


anniej Sept. 15, 2013 @ 11:06 a.m.

Interesting little tidbit, Duncan's facebook page makes NO MENTION of their stop at SUHSD. Might that be due to the alleged corruption? Also, did you all notice that there was NOT much t.v. news coverage of the visit, alas, EB and BB's plans to play the highlights during today's half time misfired, MAJORLY!!!!!!

There is always the next life guys, but next time around try integrity, take the bullying out of it, and leave its all about ME in the playpen. Then ALL will celebrate your efforts.

Info continues to be sent to Duncan, just want to keep him informed of the 411 facts. Would hate for him to be caught off guard for the next round.


oskidoll Sept. 15, 2013 @ 11:48 a.m.

Good news anniej...thanks! I do hope anyone whose child(ren) were contacted with the Alliant recruitment message by South Bay Community Services using the FERPA-protected student contact info proviced by SUHSD will complain to the Feds. FERPA is a Federal law administered by the US Dept of Education (that's Arne's place!)


oskidoll Sept. 16, 2013 @ 10:49 a.m.

You all might want to check out the Form 990 posted on the South Bay Community Services website. It is dated 2013, and there appears to be a gap since 2010 in 990 forms. It is several pages long, but perusal reveals sources of funding, (mostly you and me as taxpayers) from the SUHSD $1,115,854; City of Chula Vista; National School District; County of San Diego; CV Elementary School District; State and Federal agencies....totalling in the neighborhood of $14 million.

It also reveals salaries paid to top officials, including Lembo at $191,717 plus an additional $35,836; and Horton at $120,382 plus an additional $3,357.

One wonders how these salaries compare to other social service agencies. One also wonders how often they are audited and by whom.

With regard to the Promise Neighborhood program, it would be useful to see the grant/contract with the U.S. Department of Education to learn more about the program's objectives and milestones, as well as duties of grant managers.


bbq Sept. 16, 2013 @ 10:56 a.m.

The lack of coverage and notes in sir Duncan's Face book or local media, just goes to show ya: If a Tree falls in the forest,. ie a DC Pol comes to Sweetwater, nobody hears it or cares. Pobre local politicians.... and so call movers and shakers... Let's get back to our broken (crooked) school system and their back scratchers...
Best to all, BBQ


anniej Sept. 16, 2013 @ 1:09 p.m.

How many of you are aware that there was a SPECIAL board meeting held (past tense) on Friday at 5:00? The same day Duncan was here.

Agenda item appeared to focus on Core curriculum and the need for back up materials i.e. books, etc.

So,,,, let me put this out there for discussion. Why is the board calling for 'special' meetings to discuss CORE curriculum?

Did the teachers know? If not, why not??????


anniej Sept. 16, 2013 @ 1:20 p.m.

Oskidoll - might I recommend that you post your interesting information on the Star News article regarding CPM.

All taxpayers, not just South Bay folks, need to be educated regarding how our tax dollars are being spent.


bbq Sept. 16, 2013 @ 1:25 p.m.

Books.... How passe, you mean it can't be done on an ipad.... Core curriculum, what happened to Shakespear, the "New" math, good old readin, writin, and arithmetic?
The only things "special" in this district is the people running it.... My ire is rising again. Best, BBQ


anniej Sept. 16, 2013 @ 3:49 p.m.

bbq - and rightfully so!

We, the taxpayers, continue to be shut out - the answer is WHY????

It's not as if we are paying the bills - oh, that is right, we are!!!!


eastlaker Sept. 16, 2013 @ 5:32 p.m.

New article in the UT on Sweetwater's safety plans...Brand presenting himself as the thoughtful planner...no mention of any of the financial machinations that are going on.

AND--all the comments disappeared from the Michelle Rhee opinion piece! Guess they were too critical. So those of you who said something, might want to say it again!


eastlaker Sept. 16, 2013 @ 7:12 p.m.

Interesting side note: Alliant University is now advertising online in the UT! On the same page as the article on the Sweetwater Safety Summit...


oskidoll Sept. 16, 2013 @ 8:44 p.m.

Now the plot thickens. Alliant/Sweetwater are paid advertisers in the UT...of course the UT will now LOVE everything Alliant and Sweetwater do! Look for more 'glowing' stories about Sweetwater and their pals. The UT/Manchester cabal knows no journalistic integrity. Birds of a feather......


eastlaker Oct. 3, 2013 @ 3:45 p.m.

You are so right--this past weekend there were at least two stories of Sweetwater. One about a teen mother going on via Compact who has been accepted into a PhD program. Another more general, about the Compact. So I guess it looks like Brand is doing his best to 'win the hearts and minds'!

Of course, the articles mention nothing that is controversial and do not go into any of Sweetwater's plethora of issues and problems.

Oskidoll gets the prize for predicting Brand...what do you think will be next?


Trojan80 Sept. 23, 2013 @ 9:24 p.m.

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


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader