Southwestern College may trim faculty to reduce costs

Teachers’ group resolves to fight

The threat of pink slips has reared its head at Southwestern Community College District for the first time since l987. Only a few months ago, when voters passed Proposition 30, a tax to fund K-12 ...

EugeneVDebs March 4, 2013 @ 1:41 p.m.

Agreed, the board must assert itself if it wants to get all the information. The community at large can help this effort by letting the board know that we expect as much.

I'm still creeped out by reading Nish's dissertation abstract. I've read a bit about the popular business model of the past decade and a half -- business as battlefield -- and had assumed this was the model she followed, but I had no idea such inhumanity was afoot in this day and age.

War is peace Freedom is slavery Ignorance is strength

Next, we will be instructed to use Goodthink and Doublethink to show we are proper productive work units.


Nickdanny March 4, 2013 @ 11:47 a.m.

WTFEd, I had the same questions. So, I did a little research. Stewart is a father of two children, who will be graduating from high school in the near future, and he has a home in Bonita. He pays taxes, has been successfull as a businessman (in real estate) and is an respected college professor at City College. He developed the Honors Program at City College, which has sent a number of students forward to prestiges universities. He is not a career politician nor has he been particularly involved in teacher union politics. He and his wife developed an arts outreach program for students in the San Diego area. This guy is the real deal!

On the other hand, the other Board members seem much less attractive. Peraza is a politician, who has run in previous campaigns and lost. He does consulting work on various contracts, including construction consulting work (yikes). He was an assistant to Filner but somehow that went nowhere. Community members mentioned that they had helped him get the appointment in August 2011, including heavy coaching on his interview questions.

Hernandez has a degree in counseling, was a Dean at the college, then a VP in student support. She applied for the college presidency in 2003 but the campus wide hiring committee listed her below the top ten candidates. However,the Board at the time ignored the hiring committee and rejected over a dozen other better qualified candidates and gave it to Hernandez, over the protest of campus continents. In 2006, she resigned in protest, supposedly because the then Board hired a VP, who was one of the top three candidates selected by the hiring committee but not Hernandez's choice, and she felt that they were usurping her power. How ironic! She is selected over the head of the official hiring committee to be president, and resigns when the Board selects a top VP candidate that is not her pick. Seems that her fight for the Board was a grudge match against the previous mess, Salcido. After Hernandez's win she just sides with the president and still identifies with that position. This I learned from a number sources and they were all consistent.

One of the other Board members has been on the Board since the late 1990s, and the Board has undergone three grand jury investigations on her watch. Community members say that she mouths the same stuff she has for ten years; "We must just support what the President says" (zasueta, chopra, nish--fill in the blank). Two of the three Presidents listed have been indicted in the past decade. Seems a Board like that could just phone it in.

Stewart actually looks like the best candidate among them and took his task seriously.


oskidoll March 4, 2013 @ 12:53 p.m.

Technically, according to the Board's own policy and state law, it is the role of a community college governing board to set policy, hire/fire the CEO, and be a bridge to the community. It is the designated role of the CEO to implement the board's policy and broad directives, and run the joint on a day-to-day basis.

When it becomes evident to the board that the CEO is running amok, it is the board's responsbility to set the ship on a better course. The trick for them is to not micromanage with the 'running the joint' part the CEO is supposed to do, but to keep the CEO on a tight enough leash that he/she does not run too far amok.


oskidoll March 6, 2013 @ 1:22 p.m.

FYI, Here's what SWC VP Tyner wrote to the Reader in July 2012 about the RFP process for the Master and Facilities plans: " ktyner July 15, 2012 @ 2:27 p.m. Response to July 11, 2012 San Diego Reader article, “Questionable Contract for Southwestern College,’ written by Susan Luzzaro

Dear Reader:

I am writing in response to the July 11, 2012 San Diego Reader article, “Questionable Contract for Southwestern College,” written by Susan Luzzaro, and wish to provide information about the process that Southwestern Community College (SWC) followed with regard to Request for Proposals (RFP) 134: Educational and Facilities Master Plans, since this information was not included in the San Diego Reader article. The details about the RFP 134 process are contained in an addendum to the publicly posted July 11, 2012 Governing Board agenda. (

In the interest of due diligence, encouraging fair competition, and transparency, the District followed an RFP process to identify the proposal that best fit the needs of the District and to procure the best value contract. The process was rigorous, fair, and conducted in compliance with the law (Government Code 53060 and Public Contracts Code 20111 – 20651). Thirty-one firms were sent the RFP, seven firms attended the pre-proposal meeting, and four firms submitted proposals.

As the co-lead of this RFP process, I can attest to the thoughtful manner in which all proposals were evaluated. An extensive review process was conducted using pre-established criteria provided in the RFP. Teams from three contracting firms were invited to interview with the RFP 134 Interview Committee.

RFP 134 Interview Committee was responsible for selection of the contracting firm to be recommended to Dr. Melinda Nish, SWC Superintendent / President, for submission to the SWC Governing Board. This Committee was composed of six members including administrators as well as two faculty representatives of the Academic Senate. Superintendent/President Nish was NOT part of the RFP 134 Interview Committee. The the final selection of a contracting firm by the RFP 134 Interview Committee was a unanimous decision.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the facts about the process used for SWC’s RFP 134: Educational and Facilities Master Plan. We look forward to the development of an exceptional plan that will guide SWC into the future.


Kathy Tyner, M.S. Vice President for Academic Affairs Southwestern College"

So, has anyone seen the RFP and did it outline the minimum specifics and scope of work the consultants were supposed to perform? If so, how did we end up with so-called plans that are apparently so far off the mark?


oskidoll March 6, 2013 @ 12:57 p.m.

What I find puzzling, even problematic, is how the Ed Master Plan and Prop R/Facilities Plan got so far astray from reality. Wonder if there was a scope of work the consultant(s) were to perform, and if so, what were the specifications? Was it an open door to 'dream up' new plans, without any requirement to use data/evidence as a guide? Seems strange to spend so much money and get such 'seat of the pants' results.


angrybirds March 20, 2013 @ 10:07 a.m.

Can someone please tell me why these people were able to get free legal advice on our dime. We pay for the Grand Jury and now we have to pay for people to tell the truth also. Tell Mccann and Brand to use their own money to defend their lies and stupidity. BTW isn't Grand Jury testimony confidential? Well their is Brand at his best securing that nothing is said that shouldnt be said. Confidential means nobody knows your going to testify so how did Brand offer to help these so called employees. This pompous ass that plays G-d really needs to go and quick.


WTFEd March 20, 2013 @ 3:13 p.m.

Heard about at work Got my Ipad out and here I am. No way am I going on our Internet What next? I am so angry. Goin to see Ed some day but thought I would wait as he is self destructing. More tonight when I get home.


VigilantinCV March 20, 2013 @ 8:45 p.m.

If you were not concerned about the students in SUHSD, this clash of the titans would be the best show in town. Almost everyone by now knows that Cheryl Cox wants Brand's job when she has "saved" the City of Chula Vista by the end of her Mayoral term. mko is working diligently at furthering Cheryl's takeover of the SUHSD.


eastlaker March 21, 2013 @ 6:13 a.m.

We know that the salary for the superintendent of Sweetwater is on the healthy side.

We know that the city of Chula Vista is actively planning and working for a college/university and has set aside 300 - 400 acres for a campus.

We can surmise that if this college/university is founded and built, there will be many contracts given out.

My conclusion is that, no matter who is the mayor of Chula Vista at that time, or who is superintendent of Sweetwater, or even who is in charge at Southwestern CC, there will be some competing interests.

If this is to take place--and it could be a great opportunity, in the good sense, for Chula Vista--we really need to cap and control campaign contributions, and soon.

Furthermore, those politicians who stonewall on campaign contribution reform are telling all of us an enormous amount regarding what we can expect from them.

Where is Mayor Cox on the subject of campaign reform? Where is Mayor Cox on the subject of the corruption in Sweetwater? In her State of the City address, she did mention that Sweetwater's test scores were pretty good, but she didn't mention anything about the leadership fiasco, the bullying, the questionable way the board meetings are run...(no real discussion, public input is frequently limited and the public is derided by sitting board members, many of whom behave in an extremely unprofessional manner).

So, how altruistic is Mayor Cox? She started out as an educator; her husband is a politician with the county of SD; I am sure she knows the score in many ways, and that is what makes me wonder. If she wants to head Sweetwater, what might her vision be?

But before the day comes when that subject is explored, we have a great deal of cleaning up to do here in Sweetwater.

Ed Brand needs to be contained before the contagion gets any worse. What deals is he plotting now, outside of real estate, for-profit education, charter he done with that China project? How many more ideas does he have for bleeding Sweetwater dry, then perhaps declaring bankruptcy on the district and heading up north after making sure his retirement package is untouched by any bankruptcy proceedings?

Don't you just love that phrase "good faith"? Do you think that means anything to Ed Brand?


bbq March 23, 2013 @ 9:24 a.m.

Hey, all, I actually heard back from Dr "Civil" Brand, He sent me an E-mail and he definately knows who I am. I would say his response to me was "civil" but a bit curt. He said that he was "okay" with me working with Dr. Alt on the questions for the financial Townhalls the district was planning.

He commented how He/they the adminstration has improved communication through "Education Summit" (?), "Principal Coffees", and "Budget Workshops", I've attended a couple of Budget workshops and Principal coffees, but they were less workshops more "woe as me", although I will push back on citizens for lack of attendence, maybe we can get through this.

He also went into his normal you never acknowledge the excellent things SUHSD does like "Compact for Success", award winning fine arts and athletic programs and even a State champion in Decathlon (I assume he means Academic Decathlon).

My reply to these wonderful things as I see all of them being school site based programs, with little support from the adminisitration, I backed this up as my Boys were members of League champion sports teams and the 2010 Academic Decathlon Team from Olympian HS, and until we won district in AD, it was the students, school and the Parents that did all of work. I also stated that these programs are realitivly inexpensive for the results but are always fodder for the budget discussion. (Heck, that's what got me started in this mess in the first place the threat of cutting the budget for sports transportation in 2009 by Grandara & Russo) My boys, wife and I have been very active at our school site, setting up booster clubs, applying for 501c3 status, etc.

Dr. Brand what you claim as your success, is due to great site staff, students and parents like me.

In the end he suggests we don't blame each other, I don't have anything to be blamed for, and I only blame him and the board for not doing their jobs keeping the district under control and communication open and civil. I'll keep working for the future.... BBQ


montana64 March 22, 2013 @ 9:04 p.m.

Like a Greek tragedy/the story unfolds/ The sweet water family/ oh brother where art thou Shakespeare or Sophocles History bent on repeating itself/ The chorus, an oracle ---sister ----your story is sadly no surprise.


shirleyberan March 26, 2013 @ 5:39 p.m.

That makes sense. Probably the example for what happened next. Thought he'd wise up. This is for Montana64: Mine took it all the two users of a young mother gave in to their greed


Strange South Bay Bedfellows

Supervisor Greg Cox endorses Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO for the San Diego-Imperial County Labor Council

On April 4 San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox endorsed Lorena Gonzalez for the 80th Assembly District Seat. The district ...

Woodchuck April 4, 2013 @ 9:32 p.m.

Power and control are the driving force behind the Greg and Cheryl endorsement of Lorena Gonzalez. Steve Castaneda is clearly the better candidate, especially for Chula Vista, but is an independent minded leader who did not back down when the Dumanis thought police tried to oust him from politics. I believe the Cox's are afraid of someone who may not play the games they do. Steve has all the residents needs in mind, not just the labor council and unions. For a better representative for the South Bay, Steve has my vote.


Visduh April 9, 2013 @ 9:11 p.m.

There can be nothing good coming out of this ongoing saga of corruption, illegality, and self-dealing, except for one thing. With these clowns under indictment, I just betcha there are dozens of school board members and school administrators elsewhere in the county and state who were dealing with temptation and who are now toeing the mark like never before. It's called being "scared straight." Will the San Dieguito district play fast and loose with its half billion dollars of bond money, OR will it be very, very careful to do it all by the book? I'd expect the latter. Those affluent and elitist types who run that district do NOT want any investigations, indictments, or lawsuits by parents. And we can, in part, thank the Sweetwater and Southwestern boards for that. Too bad that you only get religion and put in smoke alarms when you see your neighbor's house burn down. Too bad that "honest" people are kept honest only when they fear going to jail.


Bob_Castaneda April 9, 2013 @ 4:47 p.m.

The problem with "they" going over the cliff, which they will, they take a BOATLOAD of public bucks with them!


joepublic April 9, 2013 @ 3:30 p.m.

anniej: You're right, the public has (once again) been kept in the dark about an important issue. I looked at the board agenda for tonight's meeting and couldn't find anything relating to it. Why not? As this article states, the public spoke about it at the last meeting, and I believe I saw a previous article about it. It's on the public's mind, and questions are being raised by the taxpayers. Where are the answers? Where are the school board members? What's the big secret?


anniej April 9, 2013 @ 11:43 p.m.

The board meetings at SUHSD are as dysfunctional as dysfunctional can be. Case in point one of the agenda items, tonight, that had to do with a new Bond Oversight Committee member. It was shared at the meeting that the selection committee for new members recommended two. A man and a woman, ( I do not want to use their names as part of my commentary out of respect). The woman who was recommended was listed the gentleman was not. He was there this evening. There he stood the perfect candidate recommended by his Chamber of Commerce, an outstanding long time volunteer in the community of National City, WHY he asked was he not selected? You could tell he was hurt and confused. This gentleman, based on his lengthy previous volunteer work, obviously takes community service seriously. No answer from Dr. brand who had, allegedly axed his name.

Then Bertha Lopez read previous information from a past board meeting in which it was stated that the superintendent would have nothing to do with the selection process. The obvious question WHY DID BRAND AXE THIS MANS NAME? Brand refused to answer. Lopez asked again, no answer. Then Lopez advised the board and the community that she had received an email in which one of the BOC candidates stated that Brand began to speak of Burt Grossman. Hmmmmm, you mean the same Grossman who ran against Lopez. Yep, that is the one. Soooooo, it appears that the rumors just might be true Brand just might have been a part of Grossman running against Lopez. Interfering with the election process, undo influence?

But heres the corker, Arlie Ricasa then decides to lecture, I mean lecture the audience and Lopez on the importance of respecting Brand, Ricasa reminded the audience and Lopez 'we hired mr. Brand'. The lecture continued for about 3 minutes. Now remember Lopez had just pointed out that Brand had taken it upon himself to eliminate a viable selected BOC member, yet, Ricasa chose to lecture Lopez on respecting the very person who had broken board rules. AM I IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE???????

Ricasa, who is facing how many FELONY INDICTMENTS wants to lecture the community and Lopez on respect. I am sorry but HOW DARE SHE?????? PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

The person that Ricasa should have been reading the riot act to was Brand, but that is right she ALWAYS votes the way Brand tells her to.

Board members, each month more and more VOTERS are seeing first hand the obvious dysfunction of this board. The majority of our board are choosing to spend our hard tax dollars in the most questionable ways, and could care less.

The NOW OF SUHSD, the questionable illegal behavior, Brand may refuse to answer the community and Lopez, but I know an authority he will not be saying no to.