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Sweetwater teachers who are on the verge of a strike over health benefits, class sizes, and campus safety issues picketed board president Jim Cartmill’s house early January 18.

There are only 30 days left for the board to fill a seat vacated by Arlie Ricasa and as of Friday, January 17, no special meeting notice was posted.

Meanwhile, word has it that superintendent Ed Brand has gone to Hawaii for two weeks.

Community advocate Maty Adato expressed concern at the January 14 meeting that Brand zipped through 2013 without an evaluation.

At the recent meeting, Adato stated: “According to Brand’s contract, he should have been evaluated by the board in May; that was never completed. Then we had to wait for Mr. McCann to return to his board seat so Dr. Brand could get his third vote. [Trustee McCann suffered a traumatic car accident in July 2013]. To this day, [Brand’s evaluation] has not been on the agenda again. So, technically, you’re in violation of his contract and board policy 2140a.”

Board Policy 2140a states: “The Board of Trustees shall annually conduct a formal evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance in order to assess his/her effectiveness in leading the district toward established goals.”

Brand was awarded a contract in September 2012 that provided for a $252,000 annual salary, $750 a month for mileage, 28 paid vacation days, and health and welfare benefits until he is eligible to receive Medicare

With written notice and board approval, the superintendent may use unused, accrued vacation days to undertake outside, third-party professional consultant work and speaking engagements

If the board decides to terminate him before the two-year contract is up, Brand gets a buy-out of his remaining contract.

Administration BP 2140(a)


The Board and Superintendent shall establish an appropriate schedule for the annual evaluation process….

Evaluation criteria shall be based on district goals and success indicators agreed upon by the Board and Superintendent prior to the evaluation. The evaluation shall provide commendations in areas of strength, provide recommendations for improving effectiveness, and serve as a basis for making decisions about salary increases and/or contract extension.

(cf. 2110 - Superintendent Responsibilities and Duties)

The Board and Superintendent shall annually consider what evaluation method(s) will best serve the district and agree on the specific written instrument to be used. Prior to the evaluation, the Superintendent shall be responsible for preparing and distributing to the Board for its review a report of progress toward district goals, the Superintendent’s self-appraisal of accomplishments and performance, and a review of action taken to address any Board recommendations from the previous evaluation.

The Board shall also review the Superintendent’s current contract and any relevant Board policies. Each Board member shall independently evaluate the Superintendent’s performance. The Board shall determine who will summarize and combine the individual evaluations to create a consensus document and how that consensus document will be formatted. The evaluation shall be a composite of individual Board members’ opinions, but there shall be only one final evaluation representing the Board’s collective judgment.

This final evaluation shall be provided to the Superintendent for his/her response. The Board shall meet in closed session with the Superintendent.

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Reader2 Jan. 18, 2014 @ 9:07 p.m.

What was Cartmill's response? Did leave his home to talk to the picketers?


anniej Jan. 18, 2014 @ 9:47 p.m.

We are facing a total melt down of our District - board members in the midst of court proceedings, one stepped down - more to follow? and what does Ed Brand do he leaves for vacation and allegedly leaves word with is staff he is not to be bothered. Is he due a vacation? Yes. However one would think IF he had the best interest of our students and the community at heart he would not have left until the board vacancy had been settled. Ms. Quinones could very well have been skyped into Tuesday nights meeting - why wasn't she? It would have taken all but 20 minutes. In my opinion Brand had this whole thing planned. Cartmill was to go along with Lopez while McCann was to call for the special election. Then three (3) days later Brand would allegedly get on a plane to Hawaii. Are you feeling hoodwinked?

Mr. McCann has everything to win and everything to loose. IF he were a smart man he would urge Cartmill to call a special meeting and vote for the appointment. They do not need Ed Brand. The voters are NOT happy with the games being played.

Next time there is a picket line, let the community know and we will ALL turnout. At their homes, at their businesses, wherever attention can be brought to this serious situation. Let the students know as well.


Missionaccomplished Jan. 20, 2014 @ 9:38 p.m.

Was it only teachers picketing? Any classified staff?


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2014 @ 11:23 p.m.

You are right, anniej--more gamesmanship from the bunch that wouldn't know how to be honest if their lives depended on it.

It is disgusting to see their contempt for the public, for the teachers, for the students--for all the tenets and goals of having an educated populace. This bunch is very pleased to keep the public uneducated, uninformed and paying through the nose for all their whims.

This needs to end, and soon.


oneoftheteachers Jan. 19, 2014 @ 8:46 a.m.

28 paid days of vacation? Teachers receive ZERO paid days of vacation and NO OVERTIME for the hours we work in the evening and on weekends. We have not had a pay raise since 2007 and have agreed to furlough days and increased class size during the recent lean years. However, money, a lot of it, is coming to our district and Brand and his board STILL want to keep class size at 182 student contacts per teacher each day and they STILL refuse to share money provided by the State with the teachers. What are they planning to DO with this money? Buy an expensive new district office? Pay for the legal bills of the indicted members of the Board of Trustees? Hire more of Brand's cronies as consultants?


erupting Jan. 19, 2014 @ 8:54 a.m.

Cartmill's wife looked strained,but offered the teachers something to drink. Class act unlike her husband who is a Brand lackey. Amazing Cartmill wasGandara's lackey as well. He still hasn't learned. What a costly experience to not have learned the the first time. I guess he will have the opportunity again through Brand's schemes.


Visduh Jan. 19, 2014 @ 9:45 a.m.

I fully agree with Edward Price. These quarter-million-dollar-plus salaries for school superintendents are justified on the basis that "that's the going rate." But digging a litlte deeper, they are described as 24/7 jobs that allow the supe no rest, and no time off. So, it seems utterly outrageous to me that Brand is taking a trip to Hawaii while school is in session. With some narrow exceptions, which don't fit his situation at all, the supe needs to be on the job every day that school is in session, and during the run-up to the start of the school year. While I cannot so testify, I'd guess that if anyone could/would check, they would find that every other supe in the county--and there are many--is on duty now, in mid-January. It is not as if there are no time slots that he could use. There's a week now at Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas/New Years, a week in the Spring, and of course about two months of summer, in which to take his out-of-town vacation trips.

The bigger question is whether picketing the trustee's house will have any effect at all on him or his votes. Remember that Jimmy is under felony indictment now, and that the shoe (whatever that may sound like) must soon drop. Even with all the wobble so far, I still don't expect to see him on the board much longer.


oskidoll Jan. 19, 2014 @ 10:15 a.m.

I agree with Visduh! Especially the question 'whether picketing the trustee's house will have any effect at all on him or his votes.' Instead, it has the potential to backfire and raise anti-union sentiments in favor of Jimmy at the next ballot if he manages to survive his present troubles at the courthouse.

What in the world are the pickets trying to accomplish? Draw attention to the fact that they are unhappy? It would be good to remember that nothing occurs in a vacuum. It is not that the teachers do not have legit issues...they do...but perception is everything and picketing just adds to the perception of shouting and demanding union rabble. Teachers, like everyone else affected by the current SUHSD structure, will be better off only if, and when, the remaining board members and their maestro, Brand, are gone.


Visduh Jan. 19, 2014 @ 1:11 p.m.

oski, your comment about the picketing backfiring is right on the money. One of the ways this pack of crooks has managed to stay in power is using the "powerful" and "protective" teachers union as its foil. (When does the lamestream media ever NOT put the word "powerful" in front of "teachers union." Now everybody (at least in So County) knows that the teachers and their union are the bad guys, and that guys like McCann wear white hats and stand for right and justice. Yeah, right. This thing of teachers picketing has always had me wondering. Mass picketing came out of the union movement in the 30's and 40's (maybe earlier) and it was intended to intimidate when used at industrial facilities. And it worked then, and can still work in some settings, I suppose. But for teachers who always want to be treated as professionals, using a tactic that was invented by steelworkers may not be the best way to get their point across. Just because they have a right to assemble peacefully, doesn't mean they should.


anniej Jan. 19, 2014 @ 10:31 a.m.

oskidoll - desperate times, call for desperate measures. I would be willing to define 'teaching to the rule' as desperate. I would be willing to define the disrespect shown our teachers as desperate.

Shining a spotlight on the dysfunction - if a few more community members saw the protest and began to research the issues, learn of the trials/corruption, understand the fact that the man behind the beautiful home and gracious wife is NOT what they thought he was then it was in fact, a good strategic move.

Think outside the box - more spotlights, more innovative ideas that will expose the truth about what our board and superintendent are doing is definitely NEEDED!!!!


Helenfarias Jan. 19, 2014 @ 11:23 a.m.

For those who think that picketing a board member's house is too radical, or strategically unsound, I would remind you that for three months teachers have shown up en masse at the "appropriate venue" to voice our concerns over the District's blatant breach of contract regarding contributions to healthcare, as well as their complete and total disregard for good faith bargaining. At each meeting, we were, literally, shut out. President Cartmill ignored the Brown Act, ignored our request for a change of venue, and ignored the hundreds of employees who had a right to publicly address elected officials over the current crisis in the district. We have emailed Board members, to no avail. We have called the Superintendent, to no avail. The Board and Brand have tried to silence us, but we will not go gently into that good night.

The Board President may not hear us in a public meeting, may continue to dismiss us picketing in front of schools, may refuse to admit the impact that working to the rule is having on the ability to smoothly operate the district, but he will have a hard time ignoring us when we peacefully assemble in front of his home.

We thank Mr. Cartmill for kind gesture of leaving us water, but it isn't water that we want. We want a fair contract and we want the healthcare rates we were promised.



cvres Jan. 19, 2014 @ 12:05 p.m.

The vote to give Brand a contract was 3-2------if I remember correctly. Would it only take 3 to vote him out or would it have to be a majority.

More about the safety issues pls. I've seen several spots on the nightly news about fire alarms. Is that the issue?


eastlaker Jan. 19, 2014 @ 2:23 p.m.

That's one of the issues. Another is the standard for bus drivers and buses has not been upheld. Drivers are certified for various types of driving, and Sweetwater has a habit of ignoring such things.

Further, I am sure if you really look, there will be other violations to be found, as upkeep and maintenance dollars have been spent on pet projects, not where they were supposed to be spent.

In fact, Sweetwater's financial history is a bit of a mystery--approx. $100 million in missing funds...where does it all go? Who gets the benefit from it? Not the students. Not the teachers.


oskidoll Jan. 19, 2014 @ 3:01 p.m.

Not to mention toxic dirt piles on one high school's track! How about severe overcrowding...I think that counts s a safety issue. I recall there were also several 'oops' in construction where beams/joists didn't quite fit together correctly, not to mention serious building code violations. I'll bet there are issues in each and every school in the district, a result of not-so-benign neglect while Ed and the Board fiddled their own tunes, speculating on dubious real estate deals.


shirleyberan Jan. 19, 2014 @ 2:46 p.m.

Peacefully picket the County Office of Education in Linda Vista or some office in charge of oversight. Media will see you. The guys home should probably be off limits.


Wabbitsd Jan. 20, 2014 @ 8:39 a.m.

Missed seeing your comments, shirleyberan! was worried about you!


Bvavsvavev Jan. 19, 2014 @ 2:54 p.m.

And those of us in the Mello Roos communities need to keep asking and demanding transparency on how those funds are being used. The district borrowed close to $120 milion from the mello roos fund from July-December 2013 to pay for day to day operations. Thats about 75% of their expenses having to be borrowed from this fund!

Because the financial records are so unclear, its hard to confirm that they have been paying quarterly interest back as required by law.

Then, with the termination of CFO Al Alt, who along with interim CFO Rick Knott, were restoring transparency to the districts financials, there are even more questions about district finances. Brand, with the boards approval, hires insider Karen Michel as temporary CFO, apparently with retired CFO lurking in the shadows. Funny business certainly continuing in the district.

Cartmill is a bit off on his perception of himself. He approached me during a break at the last board meeting. He apologized that he had unfriended me on Facebook because his wife was mad at me for tagging him on a critical article and post i posted. His is a family FB page and i should not have posted what i did. I reminded him he is a public official, and if his FB page is public, he should not be surprised. He walked away reminding me that he has been in the ministry for 20 years. So Jim, you being in the ministry makes it ok for your actions that have led to criminal charges? Please dont use that as an excuse or crutch! Be honest and do the right thing! I can care less about your religion! Make sure your moral compass is reset!!


joepublic Jan. 19, 2014 @ 3:34 p.m.

In response to, and with all due respect to those who are criticizing the teachers' strategy to demonstrate in front of Mr. Cartmill's house, I have to agree with anniej who wrote, "desperate times, call for desperate measures". Before anyone casts judgement, they should keep in mind the following:

Mr. Cartmill is Dr Brand's superior and therefore must take responsibility for his subordinate's actions.  By his silence Mr Cartmill condones Brand's threatening those who exercise their right to speak out by contacting their employers and complaining that they are "misbehaving". By his silence, Mr. Cartmill condones sending private investigators to outspoken citizens' homes without warning. By his silence Mr Cartmill condones the superintendent's punishing district employees who criticize and conversely rewarding those who "go along".  By his silence, Mr Cartmill condones allowing bargaining to reach a point where teachers are forced to drop their children and spouses from their health care insurance. By his silence, Mr Cartmill allows schools to be unsafe. Mr. Cartmill has consistently ignored the public's and the teachers union's requests for larger venues for school board meetings so that people wouldn't be forced to stand out in the cold facing armed guards hired to keep them out. Yes, these are desperate times, and since there is absolutely no communication going on at board meetings, or at the bargaining table, the teachers contacted Mr. Cartmill at his home where he can't hide behind the, "we're not allowed to respond to speakers during communications", rule at board meetings. From what I've heard and read, it was a peaceful demonstration by very frustrated people, who surely would've rather been doing something else. When you consider all that's transpired, the teachers' action pales in comparison to how they've been treated.


oldchulares Jan. 19, 2014 @ 5:06 p.m.

Jim bringing up his ministry is wrong. He has to know these same people are talking. It was one thing when all of this first started but once charges were filed he became one who did wrong. No amount of preaching is going to take that away. Husbands and fathers are suppose to protect their families not lay troubles at their doorstep. I read here that Ed lent Jim money for his company do the authorities know this. Whose job is it to watch the Mello bank.


eastlaker Jan. 19, 2014 @ 6:15 p.m.

RE: "Whose job is it to watch the Mello bank"

There is no entity created by the Mello-Roos legislation that is in a supervisory capacity regarding the funds that are garnered from all the districts. There is no oversight. All the Mello-Roos districts are supposed to be clear in their plans and projects, and all information is supposed to be available to the public. Except in Sweetwater this does not happen.

Sweetwater is the Black Hole that vacuums up all sorts of funding with nary an explanation to be given or had.

Obviously this is not the way things should be run.


anniej Jan. 19, 2014 @ 6:16 p.m.


We have a $10 million deficit

We are using $10 million worth of tax dollars to purchase a new District office on the east side and then pouring in another $8 million for upgrades

The majority of our schools are in Program Improvement

There is massive overcrowding at east side schools while west side school numbers are on the decline.

Teachers are prepared to strike

Class sizes are growing

More and more consultants are being hired

A CFO the community trusted was fired

We continue to pay the note on L street, land we do NOT own

We are buying IPADS yet we do not have the ban width to support them

The truth regarding our fire alarms was hidden from us

Attempts are being made by Ed Brand to intimidate community members via calls to employers and PI's

Certain campuses i.e. Bonita High are falling apart

A community member alleges that Ed Brand is speaking untruths about the CPM charter

Our public school tax dollars are being used to pay Brands pet charter expenses

L street and Prop O are being audited by the IRS

NOW, - tell me again why we are paying Ed Brand $250k plus benefits?????????????????????????


eastlaker Jan. 19, 2014 @ 6:46 p.m.

We are paying Ed Brand his $250K plus benefits because his scams are still in motion, and his puppets are still in place.

His greed is boundless, his wrongdoing equally so.

His behavior is a slap in the face to all those who believe in public education.

If anyone reading really wants to think about it, Ed Brand seems to be determined to destroy this district. Why, we ask? He must feel that we who live here deserve nothing but contempt, that we deserve to be robbed blind.

How can such arrogance go unchecked? Unstopped?


Bvavsvavev Jan. 19, 2014 @ 6:40 p.m.

Additional items on the fire Brand list:

  • lied about the Southwest High Dirt fiasco
  • walked off the job to force the trustees to give him a contract
  • opened district boundaries and caused severe overcrowding at east side schools and undercrowding at west side schools
  • questions about the creation of the Ed Brand SUHSD Hall of Fame
  • argued to create a Sweetwater section for sports because he didnt feel our schools could compete in the San Diego Section
  • tried to secretely purchase the old North Island building in March 2013 for a district office till he was called out on it during a board meeting
  • embarrassments and lies with Grand Canyon U and Alliant U
  • premature disbanding of a great adult ed program

What more is needed on the fire Ed Brand list? I tell you what more is needed - Jim Cartmill needs to be found guilty for his criminal actions and little man McCann needs to be voted out or run for CV City Council where he definately will not win!!


Missionaccomplished Jan. 20, 2014 @ 9:49 p.m.

And I'm sure there is more in the period he served previous to Gandara!


PencilPokinVelma Jan. 19, 2014 @ 7:33 p.m.

I am a principal and I NEVER get evaluated. We use the formal evaluation on older teachers when we want to try and fire them just before they retire so the district won't have to pay their retirement and health care. We get a bonus for that!


miagd Jan. 19, 2014 @ 9 p.m.

To joepublic, helenfarias, anniej and all others who supported picketing in front of and around the neighborhood of Cartmill. A big thank you. To shirleyberan, there have been major picketing efforts at the SUHSD board meetings, to no avail. To visduh, oskidoll and all others who thought it was a bad idea, I want to ask what are some suggestions you have for this situation? You seem to agree that the what is happening in the SUHSD is out of control. What do you think would catch the attention of the people who have continually turned their backs on what matters to the students in their district? When the DA says it seems like the worst corruption case ever and attorneys in the know say it's a slam dunk against the district and NOTHING HAPPENS? Grass roots efforts are not always successful but if the suits can't do it and the desire to prevail is still there, what choice is there?


oskidoll Jan. 19, 2014 @ 9:33 p.m.

I certainly understand the frustration we all feel. However, I also believe that the ultimate answer is always at the ballot box. In order to win the hearts and votes of the general public, it is important to remember what resonates with them. I am not so sure that union agitation is the answer in these times when unions are not necessarily the most popular with those we must work hardest to convince ( although I certainly agree that the teachers have been dissed. ) We ALL have been dissed!

It is acknowledged that the board is corrupt, and it follows that the superintendent is also. It will be our job to convince those who are not involved as closely as we are that change is necessary.

The goal, in my humble opinion, is to win the hearts and votes of the parents and those who pay the bills at the next election. The truth is not always easily evident, and we will have to work hard to make the case for change, strange as that may be.

Once the trials (or pleadings of those yet to be processed) have happened, we will have a more clear blueprint of what is ahead...i.e. how many seats are vacant and what the November elections will hold.

I believe this is the time to be strategic in actions. However frustrated we may feel, political strategy will be best served if we do not offend those upon whose votes we will depend to win back the district.
The teachers are not the only voices to be heard in this matter. What good does it do to picket out of frustration? How is Cartmill's heart going to be changed? These are the questions to ask.


miagd Jan. 19, 2014 @ 10:07 p.m.

100% agreement. What I am asking for is the same as you in your last two sentences. HOW??? Short of that, it can't be left alone and forgotten. Lots of questions, but the most important may be if Cartmill has a heart!


calbear April 29, 2014 @ 2:39 p.m.

Agreed miagd, in order for one to have a change of heart, one must have a heart.


eastlaker Jan. 19, 2014 @ 10:16 p.m.

How is Cartmill's heart going to be changed?

He must be in a state of denial.

I think that years ago he disassociated himself from the goings on in Sweetwater...he goes through the motions, goes along with each and every scheme and scam and tries to pretend to himself that everything is ok.

Except it isn't.

I really do not think that anyone can get to Cartmill, or what is left of him, because he must have walled himself off decades ago. Whatever kernel remains must be inert by this time. What a shame. And yet he still has the temerity to "guide" others.

Well, Jim, surprise me. Surprise us all. Find your lost integrity and see what it tells you to do, if it still draws breath.


bbq Jan. 20, 2014 @ 5:45 a.m.

Eastlaker, et al, This board and upper adminstration, what's left of it, has become so single sighted, self-important and protective, that Ethics, Integrity and rational thinking has gone out the door. They are all in self-preservation mode and as a group rounded up the wagons.

It would be great if while out on vacation Ed would re-evaluate his tenure at Sweetwater and walk away before more damage is done, not likely as he has so much to gain by completing his contract or being fired. There is no doubt that our Board of Trustees not only let Gandara out on a sweetheart deal, but they negociated a sweetheart deal to get Ed back! To quote Homer Simpson "DUH".

I am sure that Ed will not stand up to his pledge/threat to resign if the Board stopped Rubber stamping his Agenda at Meetings, like last Tuesday. Again he will not resign due to his lack of ethics, his blustery oratory, and pompas ego. Oh Well another Promise/threat not completed by Ed.

As for some of the middle/upper adminstration, I do not feel they are completely caught up in the Ed Method, but I can see some of them starting to worry "what's next?" and trying to get some of Ed's Golden apple....

To "normal" School site staffers (Not Ed's chosen one's, CPM comes to mind), other staffers and teachers, my heart goes out to you to have to cow-toe to a bully with no real protection or recourse as provided by an open Board, you are just pawns in the Ed rage at the public or anyone who questions his plan or logic.

As I have said before it is now time to organize, obviate the disfunction of the Adminstration and Board, and take back the District, fix the fundimental issues, try to fix the recient scandals, provide value to education in the District, and mostly teach our and our neighbor's kids how to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

CAVEperson, BBQ Citizens Active for Value in Education.


anniej Jan. 20, 2014 @ 8:04 a.m.

miagd - as I read your post above I could feel your deep frustration, then I read PencilPokinVelma's words and I sat here shaking my head.

Is this what it has come down to? Successful businesses - and trust me this IS a business - are so, and remain so, when all parties are working towards a common goal. In our case we have but one goal - educating students. Our superintendent Ed Brand is failing at that and miserably so. Additionally he has failed at unifying ALL members of the SUHSD family.

I TOTALLY support your peaceful walk in front of Cartmill's house and would recommend more innovative actions. In my opinion the purpose being served is drawing attention to the Issues at SUHSD? Why not walk at the corners of busy intersections in Eastlake, Bonita, Plaza Bonita, down at the foot of H street, at the Plaza shopping center in National City, at the Pier in IB, Main Street central in San Ysidro and Third Avenue in Chula Vista.

I do however respectfully question why the union has not done more. YOU, the teachers and your union are being painted as selfish and greedy to the voting public. The community is not being educated. Take for example - the peaceful walk - where was the TV coverage? - where was the unions response to Mr. McCann's call for a special election. SUHSD can afford an election but we can not afford to negotiate with our teachers? Something is wrong. We can afford to expend $18million on a new district office but we can not afford to negotiate fair employment benefits?

In truth there is NO SUHSD family, we have become splintered factions. WE, the VOTERS, WE the PARENTS have allowed this to spiral out of control. We were foolish enough to believe that simply because someone refers to himself as a minister that he is righteous, we fell for the titles of ------ of the Year, we trusted based on words. - WE FAILED TO DEMAND THE ACTIONS THAT WOULD HAVE PUT VERBS IN THE CAMPAIGN PROMISE SENTENCES.


dbdriver Jan. 20, 2014 @ 9:31 a.m.

I agree that this needs to be more visible than just picketing at one residence. Recent protests at the board meetings that have been visible via news only paints the union and teachers as rough and out of control.

The message needs to be taken to the public at shopping centers, signs on street corners, etc. Tables with volunteers could be placed outside Costcos, Walmarts, Targets, Home Depots, movie theaters, etc. Information with questions like: where have their Mello Roos funds been going?, why are we spending money on new facilities and why are we paying for land we don't have title to? why have the public been lied to in examples of the fire alarms and piles of dirt?

We need to use the news in a calm orderly fashion.


theyknowmeascoach Jan. 20, 2014 @ 8:50 a.m.

Ed is in Hawaii downing Mai Tai's and we are here not knowing what our future holds. I can't speak publicly but I am in favor of firing him and voting the Eastlake guys out. In order to keep our jobs we smile and shake their hands. Behind the scenes most feel the same way. Some thought things would get better when Dr. Gandara was fired but it hasn't happened.


bbq Jan. 20, 2014 @ 9:43 a.m.

TKMACoach, While firing Ed, would be quick, I think it would be expensive, as stated in my previous comment, better would be to take over the board with "Thinking" Trustees, not the self-important followers we have currently, sorry for Bertha fans, she falls into the group not as deeply but she's part of the problem.

You will notice I did not say Like-thinking, I said "Thinking", I prefer to have active thinkers with varied background and ideas, with different prespectives on Education and the business of education, to that of a homogenious group of "Rubber Stampers".

Coach, I do not know where you live or stand on the East/West divide but the issue here is not either side, it's the fact that our whole public education system at Sweetwater is dysfunctional!

"Open boundaries" has put "Education Flight" on the front Burner! The movement Eastward because of the perception of "better" facilities, Better Teachers, etc. all it does is thin the required resources out, away from the Neighborhood school, diminishing the local school environment, School Spirit, etc.

The planning or lack of planning for Common Core and the I-pads are evident that our Adminstration is big on Words/Ideas but is weak on Follow-up. They focus on frills when the issues of Failing Schools is right in front of us. The Band wagon approach of "Charter Schools" is BS, with proper leadership every school in the district can succeed.

At this point the Genie is out of the bottle and I do not know an easy method to restore faith in the Neighborhood schools, look at Lincoln High in the SDUSD, a great facility with no faith in the program. I believe a District wide approach through proper Leadership is better than a single school at a time (Charters), spend resources ($$$) to change and fix the weaknesses, not buy more stuff ie Admin Building...

Sorry to rant, but please, drop the labels ie "the Eastlake guys" there are many of us on the East who want what everyone wants, Quality, Honest and Value in Education. So rather than worry about where a candidate lives, look for what he/she stand for, what they bring to the board and if they represent your ideas and goals.

Best to you, BBQ, CAVE, Citizens Active for Value in Education.


theyknowmeascoach Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:20 a.m.

Bbq my description was not an intentional slight of the Eastlake residents since I live out here too. Trying to find civil descriptions for Jim and John are difficult.


bbq Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:25 a.m.

TKMACoach, Thanks, I got a good chuckle.... I know what you mean.... I am just trying to be civil and prompt more thought and discussion... BBQ


shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:21 a.m.

Put a video from C.A.V.E. on You Tube, Twitter, Facebook ...?


bbq Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:29 a.m.

SB, I do not do those things, What I would rather do is plan a public meeting in the next few weeks... kind of a Starbuck's Whistle stop tour and stump, stay tuned. Perhaps we can invite Mr. McCann and Mr. Grossman, and Mr. Shinoff. Dialog is good. BBQ


eastlaker Jan. 20, 2014 @ 5:13 p.m.

Just take care that you and your message would not get co-opted, undermined or lost in the shuffle.

You would need someone very adept at moderating to handle something of this nature.


shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:46 a.m.

BBQ - I don't either but the kids do. I love your take the signs out and display everywhere. Need people who can speak on top issues, selling personal information, discarding democratic process...


bbq Jan. 20, 2014 @ 11:23 a.m.

SB - Perhaps you are right about the social media, but a solid idea from the community will speak louder than I will.

You list issues, I agree, but many, are symptoms of the overall disfunction and while not as appearent as they should be to the public, they will clean up with a change of Board and Adminstration.

The bigger issues come down to what the citizens/public want in their school system, what they want in their neighborhood school, ideas on how to fix the schools on probation.

I am a believer that there are solutions to these issues that no "Expert" has thought of yet. It's an idea sitting in some lay-person's mind, how to touch our kids in a different way. Give the students pride and drive to succeed in whatever field or occupation they desire. Give the communities a rallying point and identity.

Nothing the Sweetwater District is doing right now accomplishes those goals.

This is all about Community/Communities, Living the Diversity we have in this Region and District; Asian, Islanders, African, Hispanic, European, Middle Eastern, just a few....

For the umpteenth time open communication, between ourselves, our district and especially our kids is the best way to fix the SUHSD situation.

BBQ, CAVE, Citizens Active for Value in Education.


oskidoll Jan. 20, 2014 @ 11:25 a.m.

In the marketing business, the objective is to decide 'what do we want the prospective customer to do?' and then craft the message asking the customer to do just that. It is called 'the ask'.

The upcoming elections will be all about just that.

However, we do not yet know the specific answer to that question (elect so-and-so in order to restore ethics and rid Sweetwater of corruption) because the court scene has not yet played out. We do not know who the so-and-so's are and who the competition will be. A winning campaign is clear about the message and the ask.

Frustration is growing, that is obvious. However, is it possible to save the energy and angst until a clear picture of what we will be asking the voters to do emerges? Otherwise, the messages and efforts (such as picketing a single target seeking asking for just one thing for one group) will be fragmented, those on the fringes confused or turned off.

In the meantime, raising money for the battle ahead would be a good focus. A campaign committee to form a Political Action committee can be organized. A core strategy group can be formed to identify allies and make network connections. There is organizational work to be done before the noise-making should commence.


Bvavsvavev Jan. 20, 2014 @ 6:01 p.m.

Oskidoll, a number of folks have talked about getting a core group to discuss what you propose. It just has not happened. Lets make it happen! I agree that we need to organize, identify the specific issues and message points we want to get across, how we are going to do it, create a PAC if needed. But we need to do this soon.


shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2014 @ 2:09 p.m.

sorry oskidoll I accidentally flagged - just wanted to say they didn't just picket in front of one house, at least that block wouldn't have enjoyed the day.


shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2014 @ 3:14 p.m.

Wabbitsd - just saw that I was missed, am liking your input too. New Year, Good Start. Hope we can all get this thing righted. Don't like strike but Ed's not fired, or indicted for perjury or anything yet. Prob wouldn't convict him either, apparently well connected.


PencilPokinVelma Jan. 20, 2014 @ 6:44 p.m.

Well, you teachers want to organize, but by the time you get done with those classes tomorrow you will be too tired to cause any more trouble. And you had better get all five parts of the learning target up there, because that is how we do our walk-through evaluations. It is easy to tear apart a teacher if they were too lazy to get it all written up there properly for each class. And we like to do walk- through evaluations on a Tuesday after three day weekends, because teachers are more likely to get lazy, and we get in there and bust them with a bad evaluation, especially the older ones that think they are so experienced. Those are the teachers that cause all the trouble. Yeah, you just organize all you can, but we will get you, because we can read your emails.


oskidoll Jan. 21, 2014 @ 11:43 a.m.

PPV: What you describe is a mean-spirited 'gotcha' attitude that is also a power-play by admin. So sad that our schools cannot be staffed by a team all focused on positive outcomes, rather than looking to knock folks down. By the way, many of us on this blog are not teachers. We CAN organize all we want (and will do so) without asking anyone's permission or having our email privacy violated. Now that is democracy and you will just have to live with it.


iluvrubberrooms Jan. 25, 2014 @ 10:23 a.m.

Funny. The only principal that might put a heavy stock in evaluating someone based on a mundane learning target would be the one at Southwest Middle.

This appears to be a joke. Nevertheless, evaluating a teacher based on just a learning target is inaccurate. Classroom culture, relationships, improvement of test scores, and evidence of learning around the classroom is much more important when evaluating a teacher. Parents opinions also take heavier stock than all, followed by a combination of average students and administrators who evaluate them. The pro-SEA teachers opinions, who compromise of the majority of the votes for the specific schools teacher of the year, and who never see their colleagues in action, take the least stock by far.

I also disagree about the older teachers causing the most problems. I've seen employees between 20-80 cause problems. You see this age range in the parking lot hollering, banging on the fences, and banging on equipment in the district office before and during the district meetings. It simply comes down to the employees who don't like to work and be held accountable that cause the most problems. Not the age range.


shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2014 @ 6:46 p.m.

I Hit the flag again spinning this page. Still not clear what the goal is. 20something days to get a new board member but the Jim and Ed plan is to plant someone in the seat after the luau? Or is it to pretend to hold a vote? Is that first thing and try to inform more voters of specifics?


eastlaker Jan. 20, 2014 @ 8:23 p.m.

Any of you know any Castle Park graduates of the Class of 1973?

Apparently John Fox, the Broncos coach, is one. He is a bit busy these days, but I wonder what he would think of what is going on in the Sweetwater district?

When people get a good education, or the basis for a good education, they can rise to the challenges they face. They have confidence. They have leadership skills.

They know how to bring out the best in people.

How many others have emerged from Sweetwater with the right tools to go on and make a success of themselves?

Are we making sure that today's students are getting the same chances--or has this board, run seemingly by the "Know Nothing" party wasted what should have been ample opportunities for the students via utterly stupid real estate ventures, selfish bribe-taking, who knows what financial shenanigans and a corrupt mindset that defies description?

I certainly would not want on my conscience the fates of thousands of students who feel they have been short-changed.

We need to make sure these students are given the resources they are entitled to--Ed Brand should not be taking everything for himself and all his pals/cronies/co-conspirators.


miagd Jan. 20, 2014 @ 10:10 p.m.

SUHSD has alumni in both a Hall of Fame and a Hall of Shame. There are students who, in spite of this horrid situation, are succeeding. That's the way life rolls. It's the students who most need help who are being hurt by larger class sizes and low morale among teachers. PPVelma is right. Teachers are being targeted. I don't know when teachers became the bad guys? eastlaker, I'm thinking that EB/pals/cronies/co-conspirators simply have lost a conscience. How they can sleep at night is beyond me. Sigh. Feeling very sad.


shirleyberan Jan. 20, 2014 @ 8:47 p.m.

Where's the signs for Mati Adato or are people and Union split? Will there be an election at this point?


bbq Jan. 21, 2014 @ 10:09 a.m.

This is a paraphrased copy of an opinion piece by Diane Ravitch on the San Diego Unified School District in 1/22/14 Voice of San Diego,


***…But I do not see test scores as the highest possible measure of success. Districts can get higher test scores by investing heavily in test prep, by coaching kids to pass the tests, by cheating, by narrowing the curriculum and dropping the arts. They can get them by threatening to fire teachers if scores don’t go up.

These kinds of activities might raise test scores, but they don’t improve education. They corrupt it.

…you won’t find any such measures in our nation’s best private schools, which are free of this mindless test-score mania. Schools that want to offer a good education focus on the curriculum and the wellbeing of children, not just test scores. They respect teachers, and they value their experience….

…does not regurgitate the failed strategies of the so-called “reformers” who are now in charge of the U.S. Department of Education. She does not believe that teachers will work harder if they are threatened or urged to compete with one another for a bonus. She believes in teamwork and mutual respect….

…I am also impressed by the cooperative spirit that characterizes the relationship among the school board, the administration and the teachers’ union. San Diego is trying to forge a new paradigm for school reform, which the leaders call “community-based.” That means reform relies on collaboration at every school among parents, students and staff. Is it hard to do? Yes. Is it better than whips and threats? Yes….***

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could look each other straight in the eye and move towards this “Community Based” format, end “Education Flight” caused by the Open Borders Policy? Wouldn’t be nice to work with respect instead of threats? Where are the rest of the reformers? Teachers, Staff, Administrators, Board members, Citizens, Students?

BBQ, CAVE Citizens Active for Value in Education


shirleyberan Jan. 21, 2014 @ 6:05 p.m.

I can facilitate a meeting - rules are - stay in your seat and speak respectfully when it's your turn, don't forget to listen too. I dont work at a school either. That's all I have right now.


LightSaber Jan. 23, 2014 @ 1:40 p.m.

It is my intel that Mr. Cartmill's deal with the DA is he will be allowed to plead to a misdeameanor and will be allowed to stay in office until Nov 2014 so he can qualify for lifetime medical through the district. Unfortunate for those employees who are seeing increases in their medical insurance while he benefits. Why wouldn't he be required to resign like Riscasa unless something is up. Worth watching!


anothereastlaker Jan. 23, 2014 @ 5:15 p.m.

That is just so wrong in so many ways if it is true.


anniej Jan. 23, 2014 @ 7:15 p.m.

I would encourage Mr. Cartmill to use the remaining 10 months in SERVING the community vs. Ed Brand.


eastlaker Jan. 24, 2014 @ 12:24 a.m.

Yes, that would be a good idea.

Is Cartmill smart enough to figure that out?


LightSaber Jan. 24, 2014 @ 6:32 a.m.

If you are interested in the Cartmill issue check with the District on this, if he vests for medical in Nov. 2014 and his plea deal allows him to stay on until Nov. unlike what Ricasa had to do then I will leave it to your judgement what happened. Do not underestimate Cartmills intelligence.


bbq Jan. 24, 2014 @ 7:26 a.m.

Lightsaber, I do not think anyone has doubted Mr. Cartmill's intelligence, his judgement, ethics, and chosen alliances are another matter....

With this latest concern over his "Vesting" for Medical Insurance, doesn't it just cast that much more doubt on the why he has been on the Board of Trustees in the first place?

I have said this before, I am sure that when he first went after the Board position he had noble reasons and desire to make things better, but over time he got corrupted, by the "Power" and ability to "Broker" so much money. He has become the worst type of Public Servent, one that is wholly in it for themselves as witnessed by this potential "Vesting" issue.

It is sad that he stuck his hand into the cookie jar, one more time and got caught, does he deserve the pension/lifetime insurance, absolutely not! This is not about the actual crime, but the dis-service, bad reputation and Public Distrust he has brought to the Sweetwater Union High School District and all of our current Elected Officials.

Those things along with the mis-management during his Tenure on the board, many as Board President. That Mis-management will take years if not generations to repair. Are the reasons he does not deserve any more Public Largess.

It's obvious now that he's just been in it for himself and his Buddy Ed Brand.

Let him go to trial, let the public decide if he deserves his pension/insurance, I think most will convict him for the weak willed, self-agrandizing poser he has become....

BBQ, CAVE Citizens Active for Value in Education


oskidoll Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:06 a.m.

BBQ: When Cartmill first ran for the Board (in the early 1990's, as I recall) he had no real day job, or no visible means of support. He was a Campus for Christ representative, which certainly didn't pay much. The Board position paid a monthly stipend, limited by state law, and benefits for him and his family. No one questioned his sincerity because of his ministry. Remember Elmer Gantry, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Tammy what's her name of TV ministry huckster fame?

Well, now we know better, don't we? Judging by the photo of his seemingly large home and the success of his 'let's talk health' motivational speaking and nutritional supplements biz, he seems to be doing quite well...not to mention the campaign contributions generated on his behalf by dear friend fast Eddy. Oh, and the reputed $50,000 'loan' from fast Eddy.

But he still wants the benefits for the rest of his life? At best, it is a selfish over-reach. At worst, it is an extension of the criminal taking. I so agree with BBQ...LET HIM GO TO TRIAL....MAKE HIM GO TO TRIAL...


bbq Jan. 24, 2014 @ 12:19 p.m.


I strand fully corrected, no one ever told me there were full time professional School board trustee positions in my life planning and vocational advisory classes .
However it appears that Mr. Cartmill, Ms. Quinones and Mr. McCann had different advisors than I did. Perhaps we should look to remove renumeration and benefits from the Board positions?

With this new information I now understand why Mr. Cartmill was so against Term-limits and district area seats on the board.

To quote Bluto Blutowski (John Blushi) from Animal House "S__T twenty years of School Board down the drain...." if you remember the final credits he went on to become a US Senator, no such luck Mr. Cartmill, McCann or Ms. Quinones...



oskidoll Jan. 24, 2014 @ 1:52 p.m.

See Board ByLaw9250, Remuneration, Reimbursement and Other Benefits. Most districts provide a monthly stipend for board members, which is capped according to a formula based on ADA (average daily attendance) of the district and limited to a 5% increase each year. Given that the SUHSD is the largest secondary school district in the state, I am concluding that the board members' stipends are relatively high, although I do not know what they are. The compensation paid to SUHSD board members is not stated anywhere I can find, but should be available from the superintendent's office. If they don't want to provide that info, they are in violation of public records law. I also see in Board Bylaw 9250 that any member elected after a certain date (1981, I think) and who serves 12 years on the board, is entitled to district health and welfare benefits for life. The bylaw also states that the board member must pay for the coverage (my words) but that would make it possible for Cartmill to purchase coverage at the group rate the District enjoys for its employees. Also, FYI, in some districts, board members are entitled to take the cash equivalent 'in lieu' of benefits if they are already covered through other employment or a spouse. It has become a common practice, although the district's bylaws do not speak specifically to such.


Qar Jan. 24, 2014 @ 3:20 p.m.

Based on enrollment and Ed Code, the stipend/salary is "not to exceed $750.00 per month." Not exactly high, but they know this going in. To my knowledge, most districts have done away with "in lieu" payments for benefits for board members health coverage. Strictly anecdotal though.


anniej Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:40 a.m.

LightSaber - NO, I do not underestimate Mr. Cartmill's intelligence. But I do question his allegiance to the students and taxpayers.

For the majority of my involvement in the mess of what now defines SUHSD I have believed Mr. Cartmill would do the right thing. Even when I discovered that Ed Brand and Tom Hassey had lent him money for his bankruptcy I continued to hope.

It appears I WAS WRONG. Words can not define the depth of my disappointment.

Fliers, small business cards, signs community wide, especially on the ease side - it is time for this community to get an education about what is REALLY going on. Pool small contributions and lets get them printed - time to shine the light on Mr. Cartmill and Mr. McCann.

Why hasn't Mr. Cartmill called for a special meeting to discuss the vacant Board seat? Ms. Quinones is back, so what is he waiting for - marching orders from Ed Brand, it appears so.

Any of you following what is happening at San Ysidro? Teachers, those educators (San Ysidro) will be you if you don't get organized, put some verbs into the verbal minutia and get the word out to the community. Tax dollars being used for a new District office when we have a $10million deficit. All factions need to come together and bring about long lasting change! If we do not act and act now we will become the second District to face a takeover by the State.

Civil lawsuits against those board members whose votes spiraled are spiraling us into insolvency. There is a precedent. That on top of legal fees, OH MY!

If the board members are not prepared to show up, speak up and stand up as our elected representatives, Then have the decency to RESIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just my opinion


oldchulares Jan. 24, 2014 @ 3:43 p.m.

Why were my tax dollars used to transport District employees for a tour of the new district office on our students school buses before anything has been finalized?


anniej Jan. 25, 2014 @ 12:16 p.m.

I am at a loss, what oldchulares posted above is true. Two bus loads of persons from the District office climbed onto yellow buses, with the word 'school' and the red lights covered over (buses that our tax dollars, schools, parents, and the ASB fund). They (persons whose paychecks are funded by our tax dollars) were 'toured' over to the 'proposed' new District office building. You know, the one our $10 million dollar deficit can not afford to buy.

What I want to know is WHY and HOW is this possible in a District that practices fiduciary responsibility?

We have not purchased the building, or have we? In truth do we really know what Tom Calhoun and Ed Brand are doing behind our backs with our tax dollars, remember these are not their tax dollars, as they do not live or pay property taxes here.

To all of the District employees that Brand and Calhoun just might decide to rile up over my comments. While I value you and believe you deserve a good working environment I value our students educational environments MORE. Some of our students are having to wake up each morning and go to rat infested campuses and walk into delapidated classrooms, on campuses that mirror a third world country, this is wrong.

Ed Brand, Tom Calhoun, Mr. Cartmill ( Board President) this is unacceptable. I would recommend that you all get into your nice cars and use your OWN gas and take a tour of Bonita High School - then tell me a new District office takes precidence over our students campuses.

Mr. Cartmill, Mr. McCann, Ms. Quinines and Ms. Lopez how do you justify a new Istrict office when you have a $10 million deficit and are borrowing from the Mello Roos fund each and every month?

  • while I used Bonita High as an example, there are other campuses in need i.e. Eastlake High

shirleyberan Jan. 25, 2014 @ 2:36 p.m.

anniej - I really didn't push a flag but it happened. Wanted to say it sounds like child endangerment - again (no fire alarms) I volunteered in my daughter's classroom about every day of elementary school in case of any kind of fool. Can someone inform social services and at least bring some outside attention where needed?


eastlaker Jan. 25, 2014 @ 2:38 p.m.

"Other People's Money" is the easiest to spend, isn't it, Fast Eddy?

Would you agree Pres. Cartmill?

How about you, McCann?

These partners in all sorts of deals must really get a kick out of going out of their way to do the opposite of what this community wants and needs.

What a bunch of unethical lumps.

I pray every day for that forensic accounting report going back a couple of decades, to Fast Eddy's first incarnation as Superintendent--you know, the one that was cut short due to the investigations of wrong-doing, that never proceeded? Guess that was just one more in a long line of Fast Eddy's deals. Under the rug? On the QT?


shirleyberan Jan. 25, 2014 @ 2:46 p.m.

eastlaker - easier to protect the status quo philosophy of taking from the poor.


shirleyberan Jan. 25, 2014 @ 2:48 p.m.

Or should I correct that and say from the unsuspecting and hard working.


shirleyberan Jan. 25, 2014 @ 2:58 p.m.

Did it again - trying to explain - I've been watching Robin Hood movie and obviously there needs to be a new sheriff.


shirleyberan Jan. 25, 2014 @ 3:53 p.m.

Sorry for my blurbs of disconnect - but there were almost 50 in her kindergarten class, so many kids, too little resources.


LightSaber Jan. 28, 2014 @ 6:25 a.m.

Susan you asked about Aliotos sentencing time on Jan 30th , you are correct it is slated for 1:30pm. I wonder if Southwestern will attend to hear that he is slapped on the wrist. Lots of issues in this county now which has taken the focus off of this case.


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