eastlaker June 14, 2012 @ 5:15 p.m.

Taking a look at that list, it seems that those schools were very problematic and the students were "underperforming".
As opposed to this situation, in which the Superintendent and the Board of Trustees are the ones underperforming.

And Brand and Associates is being paid $20,000 a month to underperform. Terrific!


matyadato June 14, 2012 @ 5:18 p.m.

I felt compelled to blog on this story and to thank two people who actually led the way to try and get the resolution passed, one is Ms. Nancy Stubbs who brought this before the board in November and the board stayed quiet, very quiet. There was never a vote taken nor discussion and the other person was Mr. Perno who also tried to get this on the agenda to no avail. I thank them for giving me the insight to pursue this issue further.

Now I find it strange that Mr. McCann in an email to the UT stated he wanted a resolution to end gifts to board members and he wanted the item placed on the agenda. If that is so I wonder why he did not vote to have an exception or exemption before voting on this particular item. The only one that voted NO was Ms. Lopez so a question comes to mind was this for positive press or did he just want to limit gifts but have the thousands of dollars keep rolling in from vendors and contractors to the campaigns.

Regarding the closing quote from Dr. Brands email he quoted from Mr. Lee Ioacoca "Lead follow or get out of the way" I take that in stride because I am trying to lead, I will never follow you nor this board of trustees and there is no way I am getting out of the way until the students, staff and community can be proud of this district once again. What a shame it has come to this and all because Dr. Brand and the board dont see fit to play by the rules yet again.


Toxic Dirt Trucked to Southwest High School?

A large pile of contaminated dirt was reportedly deposited on the Southwest High School campus in the spring of 2010. After reported the story last week, the district shrouded the dirt pile in plastic ...

cvres June 27, 2012 @ 11:31 a.m.

When is the district going to get it right? I wonder if they have opened themselves up to lawsuits?


eastlaker June 27, 2012 @ 1:23 p.m.

When, indeed?

As has been mentioned many times, there is a serious lack of intelligent leadership in Sweetwater. I've seen better and more coordinated efforts back when I was still watching Saturday morning cartoons, and that was from animated characters on the screen.

So--one company claims they were allowed to dump dirt, and that dirt was just fine. It was all the other companies who later added to the dirt that brought in the toxic stuff. Really? Were truckloads of dirt just allowed onto school property with no supervision or clearances then?

What time frame are we talking about?

Why is it that everything is just a bit hazy when it comes to explanations for Sweetwater messes? Is it something in the water?


joepublic June 27, 2012 @ 3:37 p.m.

The article quotes Dr. Brand, Interim Superintendent: "I can’t tell you specifically where it came from. I believe it was a group of volunteers that brought the dirt in.”

For $20,000 dollars a month, the taxpayers deserve a better answer than that.

Then, Brand's assistant tells the Prop O committee something entirely different.

Shouldn't Brand and Russo be talking to each other?

Hopefully no one is harmed by this toxic dump, and if someone sues, it will be another in the list of the many shameful ways this district has wasted money that should've been spent on educating students.

By the way, that cheap plastic wrap just doesn't seem to convince. Well, at least it's the one and probably the only transparent thing we have in this district.


eastlaker June 27, 2012 @ 4:59 p.m.

I may be going out on a limb here, but--is it possible that a construction company would 'give' the dirt to a school, so that they don't have to dispose of it properly? Or, alternatively, is it possible that the dirt would be dumped at a school, so that another (possibly connected/related) company could then be paid to remove it?

If the company that 'donated' the dirt takes a tax write-off for it, and then a company makes money for the removal, the companies both win, and the school district and students lose.

But this is just what I can--suppose, I guess you could say.

Any further thoughts?


sohmusicparent June 27, 2012 @ 6:04 p.m.

One of our band parents had received an email from the previous principal regarding the field, as the field being closed off affected several student groups. Apparently, due to many years of neglect, the field was, and still is, hardened and uneven.

A previous coach had sought out private donors to assist in leveling the field. (Don't know whether donations were funding or dirt.) They (I'm assuming coach and principal) apparently got approval from a previous Asst. Superintendent of Facilities (gee, everyone is previous) to use the dirt to level the field and plant seed, plant donated palm trees, and create some sort of berm covered in iceplant and the school logo.

Of course, we don't know how much of this is valid, or if any of it was spin. This was from an email back in August. Back then, all we knew was that the dirt had too many rocks to be used.


Susan Luzzaro June 27, 2012 @ 7:21 p.m.

eastlaker, thank you for your comments. I did find that southland had other contracts in the area, but that finally doesn't tell us anything. The Southland spokesperson did say there was a contract and sharing it with the public would be the best solution for everyone.

Of course, the real problem for the faculty, students and neighbors is to remove the dirt.


erupting June 28, 2012 @ 8:16 a.m.

So the plot gets even dirtier. If the company can prove that the dirt they delivered was clean, who put the contaminated dirt on top? The plot only gets more mysterious. What is going on here. Why all the secrecy, we know it is contaminated? I can't believe this another twist in the story. So Brand knew the district had a contract to movethedirt to Southwest High School even if it was not on his watch. Could it be that the contaminated dirt came from another school and the districts hiding this. Why would the company not disclose where they picked it up if it was not a freebie to the district? This article is very disquieting. What the h---- is going on?


angrybirds June 28, 2012 @ 9:50 a.m.

OK so Brand doesnt know where the dirt came from? Do the residents of the So Bay have STUPID written on their foreheads! This district has ruined the football season for these kids among so many other things. We have kids doing PE on this field breathing in the dirt, we have residents next door breathing in the dirt as it flies away WTH. If this stupid A** board and the superintendent wanted to the right thing for the kids they are suppose to take care of they wouldn't have allowed it to be dumped there in the first place. THIS DISTRICT IS SINKING FAST AND THEY CAN'T SEEM TO KEEP ON TOP OF ALL THE LIES THEY TELL. WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT WE ARE THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE ENTIRE STATE.


eastlaker June 28, 2012 @ 11:04 a.m.

It is looking like the school district was trying to pull a fast one and combine contaminated soil from the above-mentioned school project with the soil dropped off by contract--and just hoped that they could get away with it.

When will these people (i.e. Brand, his adminstrative hench-people and the board members) learn how to act in a socially responsible manner? We all know they can't be fiscally responsible, but one would hope that they wouldn't be so callous as to put students (not to mention coaches, maintenance people and those who live in the area) in harms way, exposing them to chemicals labeled toxic.

What more do we need to know about how they go about 'doing their jobs' before they can legally be removed before they do even further damage?


joepublic July 16, 2012 @ 10:48 a.m.

Mr. Woods says the Department of Toxic Substance Control asked why the district was looking at the dirt, implying there was nothing wrong with it. He then goes on to say he wasn't certain they would put that in writing. Why not? This sounds like a few of the "good ol' boys" talking instead of a communication between public agencies that are supposedly serving and protecting the public. Their findings should be in writing and posted for us all to see.


anniej July 16, 2012 @ 11:04 a.m.

the dirt is here - the dirt is going the dirt is moving - the dirt is no longer moving the dirt is tested - it is bad the dirt is tested - it is not so bad the dirt is tested - well, it is sort of kinda bad

well the freakin dirt is still there, blowing in the winds of otay mesa, right into the condos of unsuspecting taxpayers and homeowners.

why is it that every single thing that brand touches seems to blow up in his face?

it is because he continues to try and outsmart the taxpaying public vs. simply speaking the truth and acting with integrity. then he goes on vacation and leaves russo to field the questions (which she apparently is refusing to do any longer - "russo did NOT answer numerous phone calls") and explain all of the bait and switch tactics.

the south bay has totally lost confidence in brand and is infuriated by the boards lack of presence on ANY of the issues.

i believe that a jury of their peers will take care of ricasa and quinones, and can not wait until jim cartmill and john mccann ARE GONE. at this point neither of them had better not set their aspirations on any public position - NOT EVEN DOG CATCHER.

the four are a total disgrace - THEY HAVE SOLD OUT THE STUDENTS OF SWEETWATER UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT - and basically abandoned the taxpayers of the south bay.


eastlaker July 16, 2012 @ 11:32 a.m.

anniej, I am starting to really wonder what is going on here in San Diego county. It is as if there is a communicable disease infecting the various 'leaders'--with Balboa Park being offered up to the biggest political donor...with Southwestern College still appearing to be in the hands of those undermining the public trust...and here in Sweetwater, with lists of problems, scandals, misappropriation of funds, probable (multiple) conspiracies, toxic dumping, lies, obfuscation, bumbling--and our fearless leaders with no shame carry on. They live to scheme another day.

It really looks like we are being abandoned. What a disappointment it is to realize this. We are being abandoned by those who are supposed to protect us. And they have become toxic specimens themselves.


anniej July 16, 2012 @ 3:01 p.m.

Eastlaker: the ONLY way we are going to get anything done is if more taxpayers start attending the board meetings and speaking out. discussions at Vons, dinner parties, or after a hole in one at Bonita golf course just isn't going to cut it.

it is one night a month, people where are you?????????????????? mccann and cartmill they are our neighbors - we need to hold them accountable. currently the only voice we have on the board is Lopez, but she can not do it alone - nor can the 'antagonists' - they need the masses - they are looking for reinforcements.

you know if john mccann took as much offense to the alleged corruption and cover up currently going on at the district level as he did to being called 'howdy doody' - oh hell, what am i talking about - this is john mccann - he took one of the antagonists to court after providing chula vista's Finest with a tape of the infamous comment and WE PAID FOR HIS LEGAL DEFENSE - and here i am expecting him to do what he was voted in to do. JOHN McCAIN, mccann is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

just my opinion


oskidoll July 16, 2012 @ 11:39 a.m.

Sigh! It seems the San Diego County Office of Education just does not understand its role. In order to help them get it, here is a section posted from a document titled "Statutory Functions of County Board of Education and County Superintendents of Schools", available at

IV. GENERAL DUTIES OF COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS OF SCHOOLS Education Code § 12402 describes the general statutory duties of the county superintendent. This section was significantly amended by the legislation enacted to implement the settlement of the Williams, et al v. State of California, et al. lawsuit. Section 1240 states that county superintendents shall: (a) Superintend the schools of his or her county. (b) Maintain responsibility for the fiscal oversight of each school district in his or her county. (c) (1) Visit and examine each school in his or her county at reasonable intervals to observe its operation and to learn of its problems.

While it seems the San Diego Office may not understand this statute, perhaps the Grand Jury can help dissuade them of the notion they are not responsible for these duties.


eastlaker July 16, 2012 @ 11:43 a.m.

Let us hope that is the case. How do we find out if the Grand Jury is paying attention? Or, as in film noir (of yore)...has someone gotten to them already?


anniej July 16, 2012 @ 3:03 p.m.

Eastlaker: you raise many good questions - it is my understanding that the new Grand Jury is getting ready to be seated. perhaps now is the time - 'antagonists' are you reading this?


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