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“I’m not leaving the Sweetwater folks $34 million in the hole,” said Marc Litchman, a controversial figure who holds the title to Sweetwater Union High School District land.

Marc Litchman

Marc Litchman

While Litchman’s statement might appear friendly to most, it flaps like a toreador’s cape in the face of the district.

The $34 million refers to Sweetwater’s cumulative purchase price of the L Street property in western Chula Vista.

When the district purchased the property in 2005, it quickly transferred the title to Plan Nine Partners/California Trust for Public schools, a 501(c)3. Litchman is CEO for both entities.

The nonprofit status of the trust allowed the district to purchase the property with tax-exempt bonds.

Critics say that the exchange agreement between Sweetwater and Plan Nine was designed to keep L Street out of the public’s hands. They also contend that the annual fees and expenditures of Plan Nine are excessive and needlessly drain money from the district.

According to the agreement under which the title was transferred to Plan Nine, the purpose was “to develop a modern administrative center, corporate yard and adult school facility.”

Ed Brand

Ed Brand

Under former superintendent Ed Brand, the district gambled on a real estate venture to prepare three pieces of district property to be flipped to developers for high-density housing.

To that end, Sweetwater chose to hire a team of consultants, E2ManageTech, to work with the City of Chula Vista to get zoning changes and develop apartment plans for district-held property, including L Street.

E2ManageTech was also tasked with meeting with Litchman's attorney and modifying the cumbersome L Street agreement. E2ManageTech is gone now — but Litchman isn’t.

After the district wrote over a million dollars’ worth of checks to E2ManageTech, they bought out their contract in September for $750,000.

Were the results of this huge expenditure worth it? Only one piece of the district’s property was entitled and no developer bids materialized.

The first step the district took to undo the agreement was to stop paying Plan Nine’s annual fee.

The result was not what the district hoped for — Plan Nine’s attorney sent a notice of default letter to the district and copied the two banks carrying the L Street bonds.

On July 18, the attorney for Plan Nine Partners wrote:

“The Trust and Plan Nine Partners entered into these transactions as an accommodation to the District with the intent and stated purpose that educational facilities would be developed within a reasonable period of time….

“Eight years later, none of this has happened. The District has abrogated the Exchange Agreement, refused to provide [Plan Nine Partners] with any reasonable or alternative plan for paying off the Bonds thus relieving [Plan Nine Partners] from the liability related to the L Street Property and the Bonds…

“The District’s failure to fulfill its obligations under these agreements poses a considerable threat to the non-profit status of the Trust and [Plan Nine Partners], thus undermining the tax- exempt status of the bonds.”

The other result was that Litchman sallied forth in the South Bay to engage community members in discussions about the best use for the L Street property.

Litchman, who is critical of the district’s “speculative real estate deals,” believes the district should develop L Street for public benefit.

He has gained support from several soccer leagues in the South Bay for a soccer stadium, training center, and public school, and has held discussions with prospective developers. The district didn’t seem to like that. So, in early October, the district responded to Litchman by dangling dollars.

Tim Glover

Tim Glover

According to Litchman, interim superintendent Tim Glover, CFO Karen Michel, and an attorney for the district traveled to Los Angeles to meet with him and the attorney for the California Trust for Public Schools. The district offered fees for 2012–2014.

Though the district ultimately reneged on the deal, it was an expensive feint. Aside from staff time, lost work time, attorney fees, the district is also obliged to pick up the tab for California Trust’s attorney.

Litchman likens the Plan Nine Partners/California Trust relationship with Sweetwater to “a bad marriage from which neither can escape.”

In August, Sweetwater posted its position on the "bad marriage":

“Currently in discussions with [Plan Nine Partners] and the [California Statewide Communities Development Authority], the District has proposed termination of the relationship with [Plan Nine Partners]. With the consent of [Plan Nine Partners] and the consent of all other parties, including the [development authority], the District proposes to replace [Plan Nine Partners] with its own non-profit corporation, Sweetwater Financing Corporation.

“This is subject to obtaining tax-exemption status for the Sweetwater Financing Corporation from the Internal Revenue Service…. The district looks forward to receiving the tax-exempt status for the Sweetwater Financing Corporation in the next few months.”

Litchman says that after watching all the costly errors the district has made as stewards of district property, he’s not going to walk away.

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Comments

shirleyberan Nov. 19, 2014 @ 7:45 p.m.

Let me be the first to thank-you for this new. I realize now exposing wrong doing takes time. Reading now.

4

joepublic Nov. 19, 2014 @ 7:55 p.m.

Was this trip to LA authorized by the school board? Did Glover and his team ever publicly report back the results of these negotiations? I'm guessing it was all done in closed session. My next question would be, why? This is the public's business, after all.

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oskidoll Nov. 19, 2014 @ 8:20 p.m.

And the core principle of the Brown Act is that "The public's business be done in public." Sigh

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shirleyberan Nov. 19, 2014 @ 8:34 p.m.

First, Litchman is a professional thief. Still reading.

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shirleyberan Nov. 19, 2014 @ 9:10 p.m.

In 2005, Ed was Superintendent who knew the 34 million dollar property was transferred to "turned over to" Plan Nine Partners/Trust Fund (do what they want) Litchman self appointed CEO.

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anniej Nov. 19, 2014 @ 9:53 p.m.

Again I ask - WHY ARENT WE WAITING FOR OUR NEWLY ELECTED BOARD?

I, for one, want to see our new Board open up this can of worms in PUBLIC for all to see and hear. Gone hopefully are the days when taxpayers dollars are spent behind the cloak of 'Closed Session'. We want this whole Property deal made public - no secrets. That is what the candidates promised and that is what we are looking to them to honor, their word.

Bad Marriage - ah, no, I would liken it to a tawdry affair. The legally committed parties are the taxpayers and the District - Mr. Lichtman, well he was brought into our partnership with the District by none other than Ed Brand to satisfy some 'need' Brand had.

Ed Brand filled out 700 forms two years in a row in which he indicated Sweetwater Union High School District Property Management. When these were questioned by the antagonists all of a sudden 'it was an error'. Now, doesn't it make you just wonder?

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eastlaker Nov. 19, 2014 @ 10:05 p.m.

The Ed Brand Era of Real Estate Speculation will not go gently into that good night.

Specters of deals gone bad will be haunting us taxpayers for decades to come--so why isn't Ed Brand called to account for any of this? He was never in the game for the students, it was always for himself--how can any of this be remotely considered legal?

So, when the district tries to disentangle from his schemes, the district is on the hook for more legal fees? Litchman, so it seems to me, is basically trying to hold the district hostage until he gets what he wants. Since when is this type of extortion legal?

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Sjtorres Nov. 20, 2014 @ 4:55 a.m.

One of the many results of SUHSD breaking the law with regard to Mello-Roos money.

The District keeps raising Mello-Roos taxes disingenuously and using Mello-Roos taxpayers as a cash cow for all sorts of illegal shenanigans.

On that topic, keep an eye on Nick Segura who campaigned on a plan to move (illegally) Mello-Roos dollars out of their Community Facilities Districts (CFD) into other parts of the SUHSD.

The shenanigans will continue until a lawsuit is brought by the taxpayers.

3

anniej Nov. 20, 2014 @ 6:32 a.m.

SJTorres - While Mr. Segura is not my area representative I am having difficulty believing he would have made this part of his platform while campaigning.

Those community members who pay Mello Roos taxes agreed to do so with a specific intent in mind - their communities. It is their money, to be used for their specific needs and west side folks should have no claim to it. Besides, the majority of the old Board AND the new temporary Board have been continuing to borrow from the Mello pot - very few of the Mello taxpayers have stood before them and complained. Where are all of the Eastlake folks?

Perhaps our community would be better served if we allowed the new Board members to sit at the dais and vote on a few items before 'problems' are forecast.

**** several agenda items tonight identifying expenditures of Mello funds will be voted on

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eastlaker Nov. 20, 2014 @ 7:01 a.m.

anniej, you are absolutely right--with the new board soon taking over, why is there any big rush to push things through--unless certain people are afraid the new board would not be in favor of these items.

And, if these certain people fear the new board would not be in favor, doesn't it stand to reason that there is something questionable about these items?

So--why push for a vote on several items--I think we will need to really examine what is on the agenda tonight. This could be a last grasp for fiscal shenanigans from those who should know better, but are trying their best to slide a few deals through.

Sickening, yes.

We need a wholesale examining of everything Sweetwater is embroiled in. All the lawsuits, all the charters, all the consultants--all the WASTE!

Unwieldy as Sweetwater is, a many-headed Hydra, perhaps--we need our new representatives to take command of matters and remove the obfuscators, the deadwood, the Brand loyalists, the schemers and the cheats.

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Visduh Nov. 20, 2014 @ 7:06 a.m.

It would be comforting to know that Ed Brand is being investigated by the DA and FBI (yes, these shenanigans undoubtedly cross the line into violations of federal statutes, too.) But there's no indication of that being the case. Bahnee D lost her appetite for prosecuting SUHSD corruption before she had even finished the last round, and can probably justify her inaction on the grounds that the new board needs to be seated and settle in before any more scrutiny. That, of course, is nonsense in that old crimes have little or nothing to do with actions that this new board might or might not take. At this point it appears as if Ed will again slip away, free of any prosecution, which would be the ultimate in being "called to account" for his schemes. We can all safely say that the criminal investigation of the district is far from complete. Complete or not, it appears to be finished.

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anniej Nov. 20, 2014 @ 7:13 a.m.

Visduh:

DO YOU HEAR THAT?

NEITHER DO I.

the fat lady has not sung....................

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erupting Nov. 20, 2014 @ 8:21 a.m.

Amazing,we ask the interim board to not make deals for this community yet they continue to meddle where they do not belong. We need our new board that has no ties to past deals to clean this financial boondoggle up for this community. I find it interesting that the COE board refused to look at this when it was brought to them by the agitators at one of their board meetings,but now all of the sudden they want to help. Could it be that they were remiss again for not intervening to begin with? They sure want to make it disappear now that is evident,even after assuring the public they would leave their hands off financial dealings. They had no intention of letting the new board handle this without their leadership. I believe it's called cover your ass time,and they should have intervened long,long ago. I think this will come back to bite them,for their lack of oversight in so many debacles in Sweetwater. They have not done their jobs and now they care?

5

Visduh Nov. 20, 2014 @ 8:41 a.m.

All five members of that board should be turned out of office when they come up for reelection. You can be sure that all of them would like another term, and another, and another. That is unlikely to happen, because this boondoggle in So County is under the radar for voters in the rest of the county, in the main. (I live north, but I'm an exception.) So, what are the chances that Mark A will have to face a strong challenge next time around? He might, but not because of dereliction of duty while a member of the SUHSD board. And probably not due to him being part of a hands-off, do-nothing COE board that said and did nothing while corruption and mismanagement were raging in three So County districts. Oh, if they're ever asked they'll reply that they had no legal standing to act or meddle or interfere or lead or complain publicly. But the mission of the county offices of education are to provide oversight to districts. A good attorney could have made a case for their early involvement as easily as their attorney did for keeping them on the sidelines. If you remember, even when it was time for the county board to step up, they were reluctant, waiting for a judicial order. No, they wanted nothing to do with controversy then. So, why are they acting now when they should have the brakes on? That's the puzzle.

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eastlaker Nov. 20, 2014 @ 9:22 a.m.

They are trying to act to protect someone or something. Maybe themselves and their reputations, maybe Ed Brand has the goods on them, maybe there is something/someone else involved.

Whatever it is, it stinks to high heaven. Like the old dead skunk of note.

What could it be? Would any Sweetwater contractors/suppliers have contributed to the campaign war chests of any of the County Board of Education members? Does anyone owe anyone else a favor or two?

Just what is the corporate memory of the County B or E with regard to Sweetwater? Years of hands off, letting Sweetwater run their own financial system. No one from the county apparently bothering to take a look at what Ed Brand was up to--which might partly account for the fact Brand could make the 2005 deal with Litchman. The people who were supposed to be watching Brand had allowed him to arrange his own financial empire, which then evolved into his own real estate empire...courtesy of all of us taxpayers in Sweetwater.

Or is it something more than this?

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AlexClarke Nov. 20, 2014 @ 9:50 a.m.

The whole bunch of them are a bunch of self serving crooks who are only lining their pockets at taxpayer expense. They should be investigated using the RICO provisions. I doubt that any of them could stand the light of day.

7

oskidoll Nov. 20, 2014 @ 10:57 a.m.

I continue to wonder why the transfer of property to the so-called 'trust' (now there's a word for you!) can't be undone because there was never a public hearing by the board of Trustees (that word again) as required by law to declare the property surplus.

Simply put, we the people never had the opportunity to comment on the proposed surplus status which is a pre-condition of disposing of any property owned by the public (that would be us). I would think that absent the requisite process, the transfer is null and void and Mr. Lichtman can just go away.

It also appears that 'fast' Eddy is indeed good at sleight of hand with the 'arrangements' for the properties (all in the 'package) and it is likely he is or has been personally profiting from whatever arrangements he facilitated so deftly.

With regard to the County Board of Education, we know that those folks and the superintendent they employ are certainly not even caretakers as they bask in total denial of their responsibilities toward the pubic they are supposed to serve. At a minimum, we south county voters should turn our so-called representative, Lyn Nealon out of office as soon as possible, as she is part of the do-nothing crowd at the County. I believe she will be up for office in 2016, along with another one we should remember with our 'no' votes at the polls, her honor Judge Espana. Yep, there is much yet to be reckoned with.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 20, 2014 @ 11:44 a.m.

oskidoll, you have an interesting point--was the initial deal in 2005 legal?

I, personally, have begun to hate to write about these property deals because they have so many legal and ethical questions surrounding them and are difficult to explain fully. But property issues, in which I am including the purchase--or not--of a new district office on the east side. seem to be driving the district as much as student need. So we must pay attention to them.

Plan Nine/California Trust maintains that one of the benefits of the 501(c)3 is that the status protects district properties from other local agencies acquiring them at a discounted price. The other benefit is there is flexibility in the disposal of surplus property.

In other words, 7-11 committees are not necessary to declare property surplus.

This can be countered with ethical and logical arguments. As you have observed, the initial deal doesn't seem to have been brought to the public.

Then, is it ethical to say the district, using public resources, has purchased a piece of property but squirreled it away and is not going to ask the question--is this property surplus?

And then there is the fact that the district did hold 7-11 meetings to consider whether or not the property was surplus. Putting aside the flawed nature of the meetings, this sends the message that the district saw as its duty and its choice to ask whether or not the property was surplus.

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oskidoll Nov. 20, 2014 @ 12:12 p.m.

Nice analysis Susan. I would hope that the public's right to KNOW and to comment on the status of property the public owns would TRUMP any so-called 'benefit' of the 501(c)3 status of the holding which on its face is designed to secrete the arrangement. Your term 'squirreled away' is apt, by the way.

It seems to me that if the District would like to determine that public property is in fact not needed for educational purposes, (one criterion for determining if it is in fact surplus) it is begging the question to try and 'hide' it from other public entities that would be otherwise entitled to bid on the property. It appears that the logic of the Plan/Nine California Trust regarding the benefits of their convoluted arrangements is to HIDE from public view what the public needs to know! Isn't that an admission of attempts to get around the rules?

And YES, the district DID hold the somewhat flawed, as you note, 7-11 meetings which does indicate that the district was aware of its obligation to determine if the property was surplus --- and then proceeded to flaunt its action in the public's face by its subsequent deal with Plan Nine!

The whole point of public ownership, I would think, is that it is PUBLIC ownership and does not belong in a quasi-private holding . Thanks for taking the time and effort to work your way through the morass fast Eddy and his ilk created.

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Jmbrickley Nov. 20, 2014 @ 6:33 p.m.

"Plan Nine/California Trust maintains that one of the benefits of the 501(c)3 is that the status protects district properties from other local agencies acquiring them at a discounted price. The other benefit is there is flexibility in the disposal of surplus property."

This is exactly what is/was wrong with Sweetwater entering into a "partnership" with Plan9. The whole intent was to circumvent the "prescribed by law" procedure. The initial purchase was always intended to be a "for profit" property purchase. Using public money for profit making speculation is not allowed. Ed skirted the law by having Litchmen form a "non-profit" solely for the purpose of bypassing these laws.

The second problem I see is that most, if not all, senior administrators at the district office turned a blind eye to all these suspect activities. Both back at the time of the purchases, and during Ed's most current tenure as Superintendent. The clean-up at Sweetwater Union HSD goes a lot deeper than just 5 new Board members.

Diane Russo is on record as having said what I have written is true.

5

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 20, 2014 @ 11:48 a.m.

shirley, I agree with you...these property deals hurt the brain, it takes me days to recover from writing these stories...

though in my own peculiar way I find them fascinating.

dare I say, there is quite a bit more to come.

7

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 20, 2014 @ 11:57 a.m.

Visduh,

I'm not good at telling jokes...or writing them. I have a lot of one liners in my head.

Like, what did one fox in the henhouse say to the other....

Or, how many foxes can a henhouse hold...

Or, what did the fox on the outside of the henhouse say to the fox on the inside

Or, where did all the hens go..

Well, as you see I can't seem to make any progress,

but maybe truth is a layered thing and article after article we actually do make progress...

7

anniej Nov. 20, 2014 @ 3:12 p.m.

I am reminded of the hope so many of us had a few MONTHS back when the 'temps' took their seats at the dais. FINALLY, AT LAST we had a Board that would listen to us, consider what we had to say and stop the madness.

Well,,,,,,, that hope was dashed meeting 1 - we begged, we pleaded not to fund anything to do with the new District office - but alas, the insanity continued and the new District office was approved. Since then we have continued to be ignored and the money has continued to be spent - the question is why? Why did the County folk care so little?

Our representative Ms. Neylon has missed meetings, yet paid - question is why did she agree to sit on our Board? We down here have long memories and we have many friends and family throughout this City and County - we will not forget how horrible it has been to have been betrayed by 2 Supers ( the gandara and Brand) and two Boards - the only Board member who stood with the antagonists was Lopez.

Sad legacy to leave behind to folks that had such high hopes.

8

Wabbitsd Nov. 21, 2014 @ 12:30 p.m.

Does Neylon bring along her son because she can't find babysitters? And if she doesn't bring him along, does she leave early because she has to pick him up? You have to wonder why a woman with a child care issue that seems so difficult to solve would want to spend precious time on such a board. Surely the District could find some other representatives when her term is up?

6

oskidoll Nov. 20, 2014 @ 3:17 p.m.

And let's not forget another 'elected official' who sat in the South County Rep seat on the County Board of Education and did nothing to assist....hmmmmmm....I think he was just defeated in the run off for mayor! That person couldn't find it in himself even to return calls seeking assistance for the travesties unfolding at SuhSD. He wouldn't even LISTEN!!!

6

Visduh Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:17 p.m.

That family has had a highly "checkered" history, and it is time for all of them to retire from or leave public life. That includes any sort of employment in school districts, elective office, or any other sort of public employment. Somehow they all managed to get jobs with the school district, and one even rose to the position of superintendent. They might have done good things and have earned some sort of acclaim, but that's not at all what happened. But will they quit and ride into the sunset? I doubt it. After all, none have been convicted. Or have they?

5

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 20, 2014 @ 3:32 p.m.

For historical purposes, Bertha Lopez and Pearl Quinones voted against the consultant contracts for the property deals. As I recall, it was always a 3-2 vote.

7

shirleyberan Nov. 20, 2014 @ 3:35 p.m.

I know Susan, you are so strong. This will end in litigation eventually. You named the correct defendants but will it be Union lawyers to recover the stash or someone like Mike Aguire when he's done wiping the floor with utilities?

3

oskidoll Nov. 20, 2014 @ 4:05 p.m.

Speaking of litigation: I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that if the requisite public hearing to declare a property or properties 'surplus' was never held, doesn't that negate every deal that went down without the public hearings? That may seem too easy, but it does seem quite logical to me. Just sayin'.

7

anniej Nov. 20, 2014 @ 4:25 p.m.

Perhaps you might ask that question to the Board tonight at Sweetwater High - 6:00

6

oskidoll Nov. 20, 2014 @ 4:29 p.m.

It also seems to me that EVEN IF the County Board of Education was not in a position to take official action, as they claimed, they did and do have a 'bully' pulpit from which to shame or preach to the districts in their jurisdiction when so much is going amiss.

It also seems to me that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction has the same 'bully' pulpit. (a platform from which to lecture or preach, even if one does not have legal authority). No thanks to Tom Torlakson for so conveniently ignoring the SUHSD mess.

7

Visduh Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:21 p.m.

A "bully pulpit" can have major impact. But to have one, it is necessary to care, have some sense of right and wrong, and also a notion of what needs to happen instead. None of those nonentities, those empty suits and skirts, ever thought they would actually have to govern, or have to take stands, or have to WORK. Not one of them, or their invisible superintendent, had a leadership bone in his or her body. Just a big, costly and self-important bureaucracy with the mission of self preservation.

5

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 20, 2014 @ 4:41 p.m.

oskidoll, there are certain factors that bring into question the surplus declaration for the Third Avenue Colony project.

It is a strikingly curious, if not telling, fact that the city of Chula Vista voted on November 19 to accept the Colony proposal and change the zoning on Third avenue when the 7-11 committee did not even vote on making the property "surplus" until December.

Then there is the 7-11 committee itself. One appointee never showed for either of the meetings. One appointee was David Malcolm. One appointee was Kevin O'Neill who owns property on the street right across from the project and who urged the city council to accept the project at the November 19 meeting. There is more to come about the committee.

Then there is the fact that the consultants, E2ManageTech, who designed the Colony were bought out by the district. There is more to come on that as well.

So, though many people would welcome an appropriate development on Third...I am wondering if a newly seated board might want to revisit the disposition of "surplus" property.

Litigation, aside....

6

oskidoll Nov. 20, 2014 @ 4:53 p.m.

More good work Susan...as we 'follow the bouncing ball' down Ed's yellow brick road all the way to the land of OZ, where the great orchestrator tries to hide behind the ordinary curtain. Thanks again!

I completely agree that the newly seated board should take a good hard look at the disposition of 'surplus' property...and take steps to undo it all, based on the premise that no public hearings were held!

6

shirleyberan Nov. 20, 2014 @ 5 p.m.

oskidoll - I second that (emotion) reality check. Good Luck Tonight.

5

shirleyberan Nov. 20, 2014 @ 7:13 p.m.

I don't know who is going to nail this down yet (attorneys). My daughter is turning 23 and Ed never tried to meet her. Guess it would have been awkward after theft of her inheritance.

4

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 20, 2014 @ 8:23 p.m.

Regrettably, I could not be at the board meeting. This is an interesting tweet from the district.

Dr. Ward thanks current board 4 double duty serving on 2 boards. Welcomes new board & asks them to consider Dr. Glover as permanent supt.

7

anniej Nov. 20, 2014 @ 10:31 p.m.

Finally we as a community are able to look forward. Our newly elected Board will be sworn in on 12-5. I for one can not wait.

I attended this evenings Board meeting and watched as our 'temps' and 'you know who' voted to spend millions - millions that could have waited for our newly elected Boards consideration. While they defended their actions as being in the best interest of the students, it was obvious they did not nor have not had a clue since they arrived. All they have done is spend spend spend - with a bit of lecturing thrown in for good measure.

I am the first to admit that I do not have all of the answers to all of our problems but compared to their actions I am a rocket scientist. WhenEVER any Board comes before the tax paying public with 50+ consent items - HOUSTON that is the definition of rubber stamping.

Oh and I almost forgot - Mr. Randy Ward blessed/honored us with his appearance - yes, the same Randy Ward I wrote that email to about 4 years ago seeking help from the alleged corruption - what I received as a response could be compared to a 'don't call me I'll call you' response.'

Hopefully many of you all will attend the early December meeting - we need to welcome OUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS AND CELEBRATE A NEW BEGINNING!!!!!

8

Wabbitsd Nov. 21, 2014 @ 12:34 p.m.

Interesting take, anniej. My take on the County Board is that the whole lot of them are woefully incompetent and rarely spend much time really studying any issues. They do seem to be pretty impressed with themselves, however.

5

Jmbrickley Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:14 a.m.

When some of the first words to come out of the "appointed" school board was that they would make no significant spending while they served waiting for the new board to be elected, they went ahead and spent, or otherwise committed, millions of dollars on questionable projects, programs, and ventures. They have encumbered the communities of Sweetwater with a vision of educational improvement that the voters of Sweetwater never had a direct say in.

Not only has this temporary Board saddled the South Bay with new debt and commitments, they even brought in one of their cronies from the County Office to run the district as the new temporary superintendent. Dr. Glover may be a really nice guy as some have said, but even he has taken an approach to doing his job that leaves many residents of the district questioning his commitment to providing a light steady hand until a new board is elected and can do a suitable search for a permanent superintendent.

And now, Dr. Randy Ward, the man who did nothing meaningful or helpful during Sweetwater's crisis has the nerve to recommend Dr. Glover as a permanent solution to our Superintendent needs. Randy Ward, the man who after years of disinterest and lack of concern, now professes to have the solution for Sweetwater. Unbelievable! The sooner these carpet baggers from the County Office are ALL gone, the better off we all will be.

I do have one lingering concern regarding the newly elected board. They just may take his advice. That would be a real shame.

8

Ensenadamaria Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:56 a.m.

The culture this district exists in is one of corruption, nepotism and back scratching. While Tim has calmed things down he has not cleaned our house. Those that were pulling the strings still do. We do not need a front man we need a strong take charge superintendent.

9

Wabbitsd Nov. 21, 2014 @ 12:35 p.m.

Sadly, that is the general situation in most of our school districts here in San Diego.

4

eastlaker Nov. 21, 2014 @ 10:14 a.m.

I was not able to be at last night's board meeting. anniej and Mr. Brickley, I share your deep disappointment in the rubberstamping and the lack of concern for Sweetwater's future.

Dr. Glover is a wonderful human being, a great educator--but I believe the input he was receiving was not of the highest order. Ensenadamaria, perhaps you are right, and there are people pulling strings who really control things.

That must change. The pullers of strings need to be named and shamed and run out of town. Then have not done us any good, they have nearly destroyed a school district.

Would some of those pullers of strings have been members of a 7-11 committee from last December? The meeting that didn't really meet all the legal requirements? The meeting that was held to shove some things through--just like last night's board meeting shoved some things through?

Here's another little tidbit I read in the UT this morning: that poor beleaguered San Ysidro school district was offered a settlement by the solar company they are now deeply in hock to--but none other that Dan Shinoff who represents them in this matter, declined. And is still billing, billing, billing. Who do you think he is really representing? Isn't that grounds for disbarment?

Hasn't Mr. Shinoff represented Sweetwater on a number of items? Should we possibly look at everything he has done, because it looks like it all could be more than crooked?! And isn't he a great friend of Ed Brand?

If I am wrong, please tell me where and when, because I would rather know the truth than live in darkness.

4

Wabbitsd Nov. 21, 2014 @ 12:37 p.m.

Mr. Shinoff's firm represents MOST of the school Districts here in San Diego. I think it would not be an understatement to say that Mr. Shinoff, and his firm have found a perfect formula for staying on as District Counsels. they protect and preen the feathers of the Board Majorities. My personal opinion, of course.

5

dbdriver Nov. 21, 2014 @ 3:46 p.m.

Regarding the rubberstamping, I, too, was not able to attend. I haven't heard much of the meeting from the board-docs site yet, but the one I did listen to involved the South Bay Community Services.

Mary Adato questioned this amount, and the "Board" did nothing but approve it across the board. Nary a question in sight.

$75,000 approved back in June to assist a declining Chula Vista High, approx. 500 students, from July 2014 to June 2015.

5 months in, they are asking for almost $30,000 more to continue the program, as they "under-estimated" the amount necessary. By my calculations, we'll be seeing their hand out for more in 2 months.

And NOBODY on the dais questions this???? Not even "Fiscally responsible" lone survivor McCann?

6

eastlaker Nov. 21, 2014 @ 10:38 a.m.

A quick google of Sweetwater and Shinoff leads me to believe that the new board needs to find new legal representation immediately. Shinoff seems to be best at bleeding school districts dry--the merit of the lawsuit may or not exist, but he always makes money. So that is why we continue to argue in the courts over the long improved girls softball field--this is simply insane.

I am hoping we get some intelligent people on the board, who cannot be bought, threatened, cajoled or otherwise "influenced" to go along with how things have been in Sweetwater for the past 30 some years. I won't say forever, because I do know that at one time Sweetwater was a well-run, respected school district, with responsible, honest leadership. I hope that day is returning.

4

shirleyberan Nov. 21, 2014 @ 10:46 a.m.

Can hardly wait to see who gets what in the divorce Litchman. May the most evil lose Ed.

3

oskidoll Nov. 21, 2014 @ 11:12 a.m.

Even in the face of Randy Ward's 'kiss of death' in recommending Tyler, I would think that the jury is still out because he must take his direction from the board, and we know who is presiding there now! Once the new board is seated, and gives their direction to the Sup (rather than the other way around as it has sometimes been in the past) we will see how much 'cleaning' of the district's house will take place. Interesting times ahead.

5

theyknowmeascoach Nov. 21, 2014 @ 11:30 a.m.

How did Tom Glover get the job of district athletic director.

2

johndewey Nov. 21, 2014 @ 1:35 p.m.

theyknowmeascoach: I heard he got the district's Chief Compliance Officer's job. Could he be both?

1

anniej Nov. 21, 2014 @ 6:27 p.m.

Well,,,, as I sat here eating my antipasto salad I see a clip of John McCann being shown on 7/39 TV chasing after Mr. Kevin O'Neill's vehicle and throwing an object. What is interesting is this, McCann DENIED throwing anything yet there it was on film -

Of course McCann claims It was all O'Neills fault - yet again that film showed John McCann running behind a moving vehicle like a child in the super market throwing a temper tantrum because they could not have their favorite cookie. In this case rather than throw himself on the floor and kick and scream McCann throws an object, maybe a rock, at O'Neill's car.

Interviews with both men clearly are indicative that McCann's portrayal of O'Neill paints a picture of O'Neill that is far from the truth. O'Neill physically threatening - give me a break. McCann emotional, what is new.

WHEN ANY ADULT FAILS TO BE ABLE TO CONTROL THEIR EMOTIONS, WHEN ANY ADULT RESORTS TO THROWING THINGS - it is time to call in the couch doctor.

Just my opinion

8

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 21, 2014 @ 8:33 p.m.

anniej

The title of this NBC7 news piece says it all about candidate encounter between John McCann & Kevin O'Neill:

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Petty-Politics-Sinking-To-A-New-Low--283559791.html

4

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 21, 2014 @ 8:38 p.m.

ps

It was interesting that interim superintendent Tim Glover was meeting with John McCann and Kevin O'Neill happened in for dinner. Such a populated city Chula Vista is, such a small world.

7

anniej Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:12 p.m.

Ms. Luzzaro - Thank You for the link - watching it affirms our appreciation for our 5 new Board members. From what I have seen doubt if any of them would EVER resort to such irrational behavior.

Yes it is a small world, one of the antagonists found themselves in the same situation about 10 days ago - THERE WAS JOHNNY DINING AT THE SAME RESTAURANT AS THEY AND THEIR SPOUSE.

7

Visduh Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:26 p.m.

Was Johnny getting a free Veterans Day meal? Many eateries offer them, although I've never taken advantage of it. I dislike lines, and I can afford to buy my own dinner.

4

anniej Nov. 21, 2014 @ 9:37 p.m.

Visduh - no,,,,, he was getting a free dinner on us, the taxpayers what do you want to bet? Surely Mr. Glover was left to pick up the check.

As always, just my opinion

8

VigilantinCV Nov. 21, 2014 @ 10:52 p.m.

If anyone can watch that news clip of McCann and O'Neill and make a defense of either one of them, I would like to hear it. In my opinion, both of them showed a complete lack of intelligence, integrity, and leadership. I weep for Chula Vista.

3

anniej Nov. 22, 2014 @ 6:10 a.m.

VigilantinCV - in my opinion O'Neill did nothing wrong. He knows McCann, was driving by and said some thing to him - McCann then in typical behavior allegedly bangs hits the truck, O'Neill drives around and asks what his problem is, McCann then picks up a rock and begins chasing the truck banging on it some more.

I guess O'Neill could have stopped his truck the first time and had McCann arrested for property damage.

I would recommend you research the UT story a few years back and read what McCann allegedly attempted to do in yet another parking lot against a fellow politician.

Guess I had better refrain from any Christmas shopping in the Eastlake mall - goodness knows what anniej's car might be subjected to.

**as always just my opinion!

8

erupting Nov. 22, 2014 @ 7:40 a.m.

All I want for Christmas,is a new board that will work for the public not themselves. I want the self serving temporary board gone. I want them to take Tim Glover with them. Nice guy but we need strong leadership,and someone who thinks independently and has his own opinions and strength. Im fearful that the new board may feel they need Glover because of the newness of their situation. Glover is good at putting you at ease until you find out there is no real strength in his spine. This is the opportunity to really clean house. The gifts of public funds through the property deals need to be dealt with one way or another,otherwise it will continue.

4

oskidoll Nov. 22, 2014 @ 10:58 a.m.

Hmmmm....according to the nbc newsstory, "McCann was outside the restaurant to take a call from the Registrar of Voters, concerning his city council race." It was dark, so likely after the 5 p.m. close of normal business hours for a public entity.

I would like to know if the Registrar of Voters also called Mr. Padilla, or if there is some favoritism here. (Remember Elvira, who testified to the Grand Jury that she frequently gave Pearl Quinones 'heads up' type of phone info about others who were filing for public office?). The rest of us peons wait for the vote tally info to be posted on the Registrar's website.

7

Jmbrickley Nov. 22, 2014 @ 11:19 a.m.

The incident took place down in front of the Shell station, at least 150 yards away. Due to the distance as well as the time passed, their meet-up had to have been purely coincidental. In hindsight, I bet Kevin just wishes he had simply driven by.

Instruments have begun picking up a significant increase in seismic activity here in the south bay. We need to heed their warnings.

7

shirleyberan Nov. 22, 2014 @ 11:27 a.m.

O'Neill can still file a police report. Was his truck damaged? McCann is on video throwing a rock, not okay, and lying about it. Show everybody, news is telling it.

6

Bvavsvavev Nov. 22, 2014 @ 12:39 p.m.

It is so good that McCann is gone from the Sweetwater board. Let's hope he does not win the CV City Council race. This type of irrational behalf he displayed in this video is the norm for him. Whether it be calling the PD during a board meeting to report the theft of his lawn sign, filing a restraining order against a parent, video taping the public during a board meeting, having an attorney send threatening cease and desist letters to parents that speak out against him, filing complaints with the employer of a parent who speaks out, now this. Those that voted for him or know and support him, how do you justify it? He was a very ineffective trustee as proven by the above actions and his voting record and siding with Brand. His prior record as City Councilman was also marred by controversy. I only hope our new trustees aren't as hungry for attention as McCann is. He seems to think any publicity is good publicity.

7

eastlaker Nov. 22, 2014 @ 12:34 p.m.

The last word as reported on SD Rostra is that all votes have been counted and McCann and Padilla are tied. So, if that was the call from the Registrar of Voters, it is a very good question, oskidoll, if Padilla also got that phone call.

Also, if that indeed was the gist of the call--that all votes were counted and he was in a tie with Padilla--McCann's state of mind (never all that even-keeled) might have taken a turn for the further unbalanced. At which point, Kevin O'Neill becomes an attractive target for McCann's frustration.

Yes, there is definitely some pathology here. McCann is a bit more tightly wound than your ordinary cuckoo clock.

But back to the bigger issue, has anyone asked Steve Padilla if he was called at around that time?

5

oskidoll Nov. 22, 2014 @ 1:34 p.m.

eastlaker: the nbs news report about the altercation said it took place on Tuesday (that would be Nov 18). At that time, McCann had a slight lead. The tie count was not reported on the Registrar of Voters website until Thursday evening Nov 20.

I agree that whatever the specifics of the altercation, McCann IS a public official (I know, too bad for us) and should be expected to behave better than he has on several occasions when his volatility has erupted. I also think O'Neill could and should have behaved better as well and driven away instead of engaging McCann in any way. Talk about a couple of brats!

So glad O'Neill lost, and hoping that McCann has taken his last public office paycheck and family benefits payout. I wonder how the US Navy Reserve copes with his outbursts?

4

eastlaker Nov. 22, 2014 @ 3:36 p.m.

Thanks for the info on the timeline. I somehow missed the exact date of the latest McCann parking lot debacle!

About how the USNR copes with McCann's outbursts--I'd have to think McCann manages to control himself in that environment, because I do not think he'd get a decent fit rep if he pulled this stuff while in uniform.

5

Wabbitsd Nov. 22, 2014 @ 6:10 p.m.

I think you may be giving both of these men more credit than they are due. I saw Mr. O'Neill on the news, and it sure seems to me he has McCann's number, and knows how to push his buttons, and enjoys doing it. But who wouldn't? That being said, in My view,McCann acts like a spoiled brat of a child. Calling 911 was ridiculous. He sees nothing wrong with wasting taxpayer resources at the drop of the hat. Put that on top of how he behaved while serving on the board, and it is ASTOUNDING that the Republican Party couldn't find someone better to represent their interests.

6

oskidoll Nov. 22, 2014 @ 6:19 p.m.

And think of what McCann might do when, or if, seated on the CV Council...calling the cops at a moment's notice...after all, they will be working for him. What a travesty. I would hope the Mayor and balance of the Council would put some handcuffs on him and his ability to throw his opponents under the bus.

6

shirleyberan Nov. 22, 2014 @ 1:02 p.m.

He's a sociopath. He uses the system for his agendas and nobody counters it. Why not? He calls the police first to get support for abuses. Offensive action beats a stunned, confused lazy defense. What? Nothing? If a man threw a rock at me in my car I would give a detailed police report and he would at least take a trip to jail, in his case hopefully on camera when he gets out too. Instead you guys let him get to his seat on your city council unconcerned with law breaking. What?

5

Visduh Nov. 22, 2014 @ 9:12 p.m.

If that tie vote stands, as impossible as that seems, they'll have to decide it with a coin toss, I think. So, there's a 50% chance he'll lose. But I did read a report somewhere that the registrar of voters is going to "reconcile" the vote for that council seat, and as they review the tallies, might detect some discrepancies which would affect the outcome. What I think all that means is that they're gonna recount all the relevant ballots and do it very carefully and deliberately. It would be, or should be, very embarrassing for the loser to demand a recount, and have their count shown up as incorrect. Sadly this could go either way, but at least so far Johnny isn't elected.

If McCann wins and serves on the council, his every action will be watched and closely noted. So, even if he wins this one, it will likely be his last. The USNR probably only notes his political career with passing interest. But if he goes bonkers on the council, they might be obliged to evaluate him for fitness, and if he is found deficient, discharge him. It would serve him right.

6

anniej Nov. 23, 2014 @ 7:59 a.m.

It is rumored McCann has been virtually camped out at the Registrars office. Wondering how many times he played the 'War Vet' or 'sympathy' card. Hopefully he took a box of donuts and coffee to help wash away the nausea.

9

oskidoll Nov. 23, 2014 @ 10:26 a.m.

It doesn't matter how big a tent he brings to the Rov's office, he is only entitled to exactly the same service and reports from staff as his opponent. Here's hoping the ROV staff is playing fair and not allowing itself to be manipulated by Johnny's wheedling, whining, and demands. Remember, the ROV is a County office, and overseen by Supervisor Cox and other Republicans. Didn't Mrs. Cox, as in CV Mayor, have a major beef with Padilla the last time around? Bears watching very closely.

6

eastlaker Nov. 23, 2014 @ 11:30 a.m.

You may be right about there having been a beef between Cheryl Cox and Steve Padilla--but several months ago when Mayor Cox attended a Sweetwater Board meeting, McCann as chairperson demonstrated a singular demeanor when introducing her prior to her presentation. As in, inappropriate and just plain weird. My memory tells me it went something like this, "My old colleague is here, ohhh boss!" Mayor Cox just looked at him as one would have patience with someone clearly out of their league. Someone called out, "Former, former!" And McCann just kept grinning like this was some sort of exceptionally funny joke. No sense of what is appropriate, no sense of respect, no sense of how an adult goes about handling things.

Short version: I highly doubt the Coxes have a terrific opinion of John McCann.

7

oskidoll Nov. 23, 2014 @ 12:23 p.m.

Let's hope that the votes are counted fairly and that the ROV is even-handed in its communication and treatment of all candidates.

As an aside, I wonder if Elvira got 'spoken to' , or if the Rov staff had some ethics training, after the Grand Jury testimony showed how Pearl had cultivated Elvira's friendship with guest slots at banquets and parties and then Elvira would routinely call her with info about who had filed for what office! That testimony was fascinating to read.

6

Chris_Shilling Nov. 24, 2014 @ 10:51 a.m.

Shinoff: I have made it clear I do not believe he or his firm should be representing government agencies and receiving taxpayer money. One example of why is his representation of the Otay Water Board. Shinoff admitted in open session of a Chula Vista Board of Ethics meeting that he had been a party to the board’s violation of the Brown Act, when the board met at a board member’s private residence and agreed to authorize the board members to use Shinoff’s services privately, at the expense of the district. No notice was given and nothing was reported out. This was all audio recorded since it was admitted to in open session of a BOE meeting. Complaints were filed with the District Attorney’s office, but the DA chose to do nothing.

The new Board: I am glad that everyone is so optimistic. I am hoping that they will bring in the change that is needed as well. Just remember we were optimistic when the interim board was brought in, when Brand was placed on leave, and when Dr. Glover was brought in, yet we still have nothing to show for it but a lot of disappointment. I understand politics, and the politics behind the newly elected board members, and it gives me a reason to show pause. We will see what happens.

Neylon and Espana: I agree that what they have done needs to be remembered and I will be happy to do my part in 2016 when they are both up for reelection. However, it is very hard to unseat a sitting judge in a countywide race, so I do not know where the money or manpower to do it will come from. Also if AFT backs Neylon again, which I do not see changing, it will take another minor miracle to defeat her.

The McCann Incident: Well… I am not surprised. What an embarrassment. Saying he "threw" something doesn't begin to describe what the video shows.

5

eastlaker Nov. 25, 2014 @ 8:07 a.m.

Your responses are all well-reasoned--I really hope you stay with this fight for education in the Sweetwater District.

What you have to say about Shinoff is astounding to me. It is so apparent to me that the endemic corruption goes very deep and some pillars of society might well be involved. Yet another reason why Ed Brand could boast that he could basically do anything he wants and get away with it.

Chris, you have a great deal to contribute to this effort. All of us who believe in public education and a society based on equality need to keep plugging away at all this. Or our children and children's children will have a very dim future, indeed.

3

joepublic Nov. 25, 2014 @ 8:50 a.m.

Chris_Shilling: I totally concur with eastlaker’s comments. Have you considered the city council seat? Recent actions that benefit developers and ignore the public's wishes make it clear that, like Sweetwater, the city of Chula Vista could sure use your thoughtful approach.

3

Chris_Shilling Nov. 26, 2014 @ 12:07 p.m.

Thank you very much. I try to stay informed on all of the issues that affect our community. I really just want to make a difference.

4

bankalchemist Dec. 5, 2014 @ 11:20 a.m.

Ed may be gone but the damage lingers and his SAOS practices are still in place. Ed was instrumental in the ultimate demise of the Ventana National Bank (IO) project in 07-09 when he and Tom Hassey were trying the same gamesmanship with a multi-state four bank startup. Ed was the proposed Chairman for the San Diego Bank Group so nothing is any different here. I am just surprised that the board brought him back and gave him full reign with total budget control.

2

eastlaker Dec. 5, 2014 @ 1:01 p.m.

Ed himself said that the board members would never be mistaken for Mensa members. It was probably pretty easy to manipulate them, as most of them had substantial greed and/or monetary issues (allegedly...one must always be aware of McCann's propensity for the threatened lawsuit).

While I wouldn't actually call the lot numbskulls, I believe they never wandered very far off the range. And according to many reports, Brand maintained control over information, dealing it out to some and not to others. He probably kept the really good stuff to himself.

1

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