oskidoll July 16, 2012 @ 11:52 a.m.

You can always ask them that question. Here is a piece copied from their website

What is the jurisdiction of the San Diego County Civil Grand Jury? The San Diego County Civil Grand Jury has jurisdiction over all local governmental entities within the County of San Diego.


anniej July 16, 2012 @ 11:15 a.m.

Greenville: while i do not mean to speak for them, a group did go and speak before county board of ed last week. the result - well lets put it this way, like schultz in hogan heroes - they know nothing they do nothing.

according the county board of ed they basically have no control over sweetwater.

i wrote to the president of the county board of ed approximately 2 years ago, his emailed response was basically "we have no control over sweetwater".

so folks, i guess that about wraps up that idea -

Anderson Cooper has an investigative unit - that is my next step!

can you imagine that guy when he gets all of my attachments with all of The Reader and Union Tribune articles? i think my opening line will be "you have to read this to believe it" - and i will end with "no, we are not the sister city of bell, california; but we sure as hell feel like it".


eastlaker July 16, 2012 @ 10:29 a.m.

Where to begin...the county Board of Education has been informed of all of this and more. They prefer to sit on their hands. Apparently there are some long-standing friendships that mean more than honesty and truthful public service. Or, maybe they like to think of it as biding their time until they can retire, pensions safely in hand, and someone else has to clean up the mess that accumulated on their watch. I wish things were as simple and easy to deal with as you suggest. The soil is still probably as toxic as the first testing indicated, but the $15,000 Sweetwater spent to retest appears to 'whitewash' the dirt. I am highly skeptical of any information that Brand or his paid lackeys provide. If Brand, etc, were honest, they would not have had to manipulate the agenda at the board meeting, thereby eliminating the public's right to speak. Brand is a thoroughly despicable character and the sooner he and his minions are gone, the better. This board and Brand have had ample opportunity to act in an honorable fashion, and they have failed miserably. To coin a new phrase, "They do not serve, who only serve themselves."


Greenville July 16, 2012 @ 9:12 a.m.

Has anyone considered sending a delegation of citizens to a SDCOE board meeting? I'm pretty sure they follow Robert's Rules of Order and would accept public comments about the countless examples of crime, corruption and mismanagement that have surfaced over the past year or so. Take a rep from the media with you to emphasize your concern.

And at risk of beating a dead horse...someone had to let those trucks onto campus. There are people living in those homes overlooking the field. Has anyone talked to them? And speaking of the field, if the district has $500,000 to move the dirt, I say let's keep the dirt and use the half million to recondition that and other fields!


erupting July 16, 2012 @ 8:40 a.m.

I for one am glad that we have a no fear Prop O committee now. I recently read that Mr. O,Neill was involved in questionable Brown Act Violations by the Chula Vista City council. It will be interesting to see what these guys do from here on out. Ido not believe Ms Russois going to be able to control this team. I truly would like to know where the dirt came from. Someone ther knows. Maybe someone should ask Armstrong. The district let her go maybe she would be willing to talk. Where did Channel 10 disappear to?


Susan Luzzaro July 15, 2012 @ 5:14 p.m.

I believe it is worth noting that I have requested a copy of the original soil test/s that were performed. My request was forwarded to one of the district's attorneys.


eastlaker July 15, 2012 @ 3:05 p.m.

Again, this clearly demonstrates that the people who have been and currently are "in charge" in this school district are:

1) Incapable of honestly explaining what the situation is; 2) Uninterested in informing the public regarding the severity of the situation; 3) Completely unable to truly rectify the situation; and therefore 4) Acting the only way they know how--by throwing money at the problem. Money that really is not theirs to throw, as they have thrown teachers out of jobs--because they have run out of money.

Can we please stop this bunch of bunglers before they do any further damage?


eastlaker July 30, 2012 @ 7:48 a.m.

Question of the hour: "Is the district spending money elsewhere that should be going to schools like Southwest?"

Further questions: "How is all the district money being spent? In the financial arrangement that 'regularizes' Mello-Roos and other fund payments from the county, are the funds being reinvested by the county prior to being turned over to the school district? Because, according to the pamphlet on Mello-Roos (linked to in a previous article's comment section), Mello-Roos funds are not supposed to be reinvested. But--if the county of San Diego is using the Mello-Roos fees to stabilize their own finances, and then divvying out the funds when it is convenient, there is another reason why the authorities do not want any of this stuff looked into.

Pretty sure that more straightforward accounting measures should be implemented, and that all of this should be a matter of public record, no redactions necessary, thanks so much.

So, getting back to where the money is spent...we still do not know who is investing the school district's funds, but if that is outsourced, and I am pretty sure it is, someone is making bank off the funds for schools. Again, we need to clean up and simplify--and not approve any further bond issues until everything is laid out in black and white for all to read and double check.

My mind keeps going back to that figure of over $50 million for debt management. What if that is just a payment to a firm for managing district funds? When the district is really not supposed to be investing and reinvesting, they are supposed to have funds available as needed and plan sensibly. Not indulge in a fantasy life with 'Other People's Money'.


oskidoll July 30, 2012 @ 10:10 a.m.

In re: Grand Jury -- gives the entire scope of purpose for the San Diego County Grand Jury. Here are some salient excerpts:

"The Grand Jury may inquire also into written complaints brought to it by the public... the Penal Code requires the Grand Jury to inquire into the williful or corrupt misconduct on office of public officers."


cvres July 29, 2012 @ 9:21 a.m.

So Brand and Russo knew in March that this was impacting the safety of the fields and impacting the kids.

This mirrors the callous decision taken by the board (recommended by Brand?) to cut bus routes without considering safety issues.


erupting July 29, 2012 @ 9:43 a.m.

Well well it appears that this dirt story shows that Dr Brand is a dirty liar. Sorry for the puns but the deception this whole time has only made people angry. This article adds more clarity to what happened. Mr. O'Niell you've proven your bravery by releasing this information. Dr. Brand will be coming for you. Watch your back. Too bad the district couldn't have been honest from the start,it would not have been as big of a deal. When is This board going to get rid of Dr. Deception or are they going to go down with him.


anniej July 29, 2012 @ 10:10 a.m.

arllie ricasa and jim cartmill brought us 'the gandara' who lied to us and failed to put our students first.

john mccann brought us brand - who now it appears lied to channel 10 about the soil.

now ABOUT THE TRACK - bonita vista high athletes run on a dirt track with clumps of grass cropping up - southwest's track not usable BUT....................... otay ranch high is getting a new state of the art track at a cost of 1 million dollars. now before i am lam blasted let me make it clear - i do NOT begrudge the athletes at otay ranch their new track. however issues such as this is why parents want to send their to other than their home school.

brand will defend the new track by saying they are using mello roos funds just like he defended using mello roos to pay for the infamous IPADS. you see according to brand since east side students (who parents are paying mello roos) are transferring to west side schools (where i do not believe there are any mello roos) he is allowed to use mello roos funds for west side students IPADS. i am sure some reading this will think i got my east and west side mixed up I DID NOT.

east side west side - i use this adjectives simply to paint the stories picture to give an accurate accounting of what is going on. in truth students are students, and all students and their parents should have the confidence that all students are receiving the same education, have similar facilities and the same benefits NO MATTER WHAT SIDE OF THE 805 YOU LIVE ON.

here we are being lied to by those charged with protecting our children, where are john mccann, jim cartmill and arlie ricasa? why aren't they answering to these messes. word has it the board president is calling for a board meeting this week - so start calling tomorrow asking when it will be - remember special board meetings only require a 24 hr notice.

in closing, think about it, think about the MASSIVE, i mean MASSIVE amount of tax dollars i.e. prop bb, prop o, and mello roos that this district has been given fiduciary responsibility over - now ask yourselves have we gotten what we paid for - NO, NOT BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION.

i will echo what many of you have more succinctly stated - until the majority of our board members are gone it will continue to do be business as ususal - bertha lopez can NOT do it alone.


eastlaker July 29, 2012 @ 12:04 p.m.

Really? Eastside students transferring to westside schools? Is there any proof of that? I'd love to see any proof of that. Just another crop of lies eminating from the well of deception that is Ed Brand and Associates. This alleged human being/corporation has outdone himself in creating rationalizations for his actions. What a poor excuse for a superintendent, and what a sorry day it was when he decided to enter the field of 'education'.


anniej July 29, 2012 @ 1:17 p.m.

Eastlaker: those in attendance at that board meeting sat there in disbelief, no facts or data to prove his statement were provided. but then silly me, when are they?


anniej July 29, 2012 @ 10:25 a.m.

Erupting: Mr. O'Neill needs to worry about john mccann the 'little man who wants to be king' - the rath of mccann will surely be unleashed. mccann is known to act irrationally in situations such as this. he allegedly goes after those who speak out. having said that, my money is on Mr. O'Neill - he, a most respected, most knowledgeable professional who has entered the fray simply wanting what is best for the students and taxpayers of the south bay. mccann entered the mess of sweetwater with one intent "how will this help me become king (mayor)"?

mccann is at the end of his suicide mission,his political career over. he would never admit that he has been brought down by his own hand.


Jmbrickley July 29, 2012 @ 12:22 p.m.

On June 18, 10News first reported on the Southwest dirt pile and stated that soil testing revealed the dirt was contaminated. Interim school-district superintendent Ed Brand told 10News that he had inherited the problem from former superintendent Jesus Gandara — who has been indicted for bribery and other charges connected with the district. Brand told 10News, “I can’t tell you specifically where it came from. I believe it was a group of volunteers that brought the dirt in.”

Really, Dr. Brand? You expect us to believe that this was a problem with overzealous volunteers?

The paper trail comes to a completely different conclusion.

On April 29, 2011, then Principal, Maria Armstrong signs a Permission to Deposit Dirt form, giving Southland Paving, Inc. permission to dump dirt on Southwest High School's property. (ref. PtDD Form)

This dirt is dumped by numerous DUMP TRUCKS. (ref. Resolution 4121, Mar.12,2012)

In a letter to Lora Duzyk, Assistant Superintendent, SDCOE, dated January 27, 2012, Dianne Russo, Interim Deputy Superintendent, SUHSD states, "Last year, without notifying the district or obtaining district approval from either Planning or Maintenance Departments, the Southwest High School administration had an enormous amount of free, untested soil placed on the edge of the football field." (ref. as stated, Letter signed by both Dianne Russo and Dr. Brand)

SDCOE replies in a letter dated February 28, 2012, sent specifically to Dr. Brand granting an emergency waiver to deal with the dirt. The letter states "The site staff had the free, untested soil placed at the school without obtaining appropriate district approval but was unaware that it contained large rocks and stones and was dumped over the main drain." (ref. as stated)

On March 12, 2012, at the regular board meeting, Item R-9 specifically states "... the Southwest High School administration had an enormous amount of untested soil placed on the edge of the football field. Southwest High School received the untested soil for free, but did not obtain the required approval from either maintenance or planning departments prior to having the soil unloaded." (ref. Resolution 4121)

Sometime prior to July 17, 2012, some of the dirt had been hauled. However, hauling was ceased on that date after 1,771 TONS of dirt had been hauled. (ref. Letter from Dianne Russo to Larry Moore, Branch Manager, Advanced Chemical Transport, Inc.)


Jmbrickley July 29, 2012 @ 12:27 p.m.

Sounds to me like there were a lot of dump trucks involved in the volunteered work. When he gave his interview to Channel 10, Dr. Brand knew the scope of this "dirt dumping." He knew the WHO, the WHEN, the HOW, the AMOUNT, and just about everything there was to know about the problem, with possibably the exception of where the dirt actually came from. After reading some of the soil testing reports, I have some serious reservations as to the toxic levels of various substances. Not because of what the various pages state, but rather by the huge number of pages redacted. It appears to me, we only recieved the "feel good" pages.


Jmbrickley July 29, 2012 @ 12:33 p.m.

One additional thing. Can anyone provide us with the further career exploits of Maria Armstrong, ex-principal of Southwest High School, the very person who created this mess? Can anyone shed any light on what Dr. Brand's leadership and direction in this matter were? What did Dr. Brand do about this serious breach in district protocal?


dbdriver July 29, 2012 @ 12:55 p.m.

Armstrong has been stationed with the Director of Curriculum's department as a Principal on Special Assignment, since her replacement from Southwest. In recent Boarddoc records show her being reclassified as of 7/1/12 to a Teacher (STBD) (Site to be determined?)


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