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On August 8 the bond oversight committee for Sweetwater Union High School District's Proposition O convened a special meeting. The $644 million proposition was approved by South Bay voters in 2006. Nick Marinovich, chair of the Prop O committee, said the purpose of the meeting was twofold: to establish the fact that the committee is an independent entity, and to send a message to the district that the committee wants the long-standing vacancies on the committee to be filled.

Marinovich said in an August 9 interview, "The committee's boss is really the taxpayers, not the district. If we don't think something is right regarding the bond, we will call a meeting, we will call our own shots."

Marinovich said it came to his attention last week that the district had received a resume for the bond oversight committee last March. Marinovich said the district should have contacted the applicant by now.

This is not the first time that the district has passed over or neglected to contact applicants. Stuart Payne, a Sweetwater parent and community advocate, told committee members that he had applied to sit on the board four times and never received a response from the district.

The bond oversight committee was also concerned about who would do the screening to fill the vacancies. Marinovich said the process "had the feel to it that the superintendent [Dr. Ed Brand] was too hands-on in the selection."

Committee member Kevin O'Neill suggested that without a fully empanelled oversight committee, the district might have a problem spending future bond monies.

The committee lacks representatives from the senior community and from a taxpayers' association.

The district responded rapidly to the oversight committee's shot across the bow. Marinovich said August 9 that he had spoken with Thomas Calhoun, Sweetwater's Chief of Facilities Executive, and was assured that a diverse selection committee was in place, and that the vacant positions would likely be filled by the next board meeting. Calhoun did not respond to an August 9 call.

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anniej Aug. 9, 2012 @ 6:32 p.m.

"Calhoun did not respond to an August 9 call" - well it appears that brand's stance on NO MEDIA COVERAGE - unless it is favorable - continues. no doubt Calhoun will quickly learn that you either do it brand's way or you will be hitting the highway out of sweetwater.

i found it interesting that after Mr. Calhoun's synopsis on what is happening regarding BOC applicants was challenged by several who had/have been involved. i take you back to approximately april of this year when a S.D. Taxpayers Association representative spoke to the board regarding their applicant that person was never seated. last evening we were told that the Taxpayers Rep was now being slotted to fill one of the seats. so why did it take over 4 months for the decision to be made? i am thinking the 'no nonsense' stance of Mr. Marinovich, Mr. O'Neill, Mr. Butler, Mr. Vasquez, and Mr. Camarena clearly has something to do with it. brand has met his match in this group, they are no nonsense gentlemen who have expertise, honesty and integrity on their side, they can not, will not be bullied - THEY ARE ALL THERE TO SERVE THE STUDENTS AND TAXPAYERS - THEY ARE NOT THERE HOPING TO USE THEIR SEATS FOR PERSONAL/POLITICAL GAIN. what a novel approach...................... THAT IS LONG OVERDUE.

you just gotta love these guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


jibaro Aug. 10, 2012 @ 5:12 a.m.

Limit campaign contributions and elect trustees by area


anniej Aug. 10, 2012 @ 11:05 a.m.

Jibaro: while i agree with limitations on campaign contributions, i am still on the fence regarding elected trustees by area.


jibaro Aug. 12, 2012 @ 8:57 a.m.

anniej, how has that been working for us so far?


Jmbrickley Aug. 9, 2012 @ 8:01 p.m.

"...to establish the fact that the committee is an independent entity, and to send a message to the district that the committee wants the long-standing vacancies on the committee to be filled."

I attended the BOC meeting. One of the district's solution to high number of vacancies on the committee was to place a high school principal in one of the seats. Yes, you heard me right; a suhsd administrator on an oversight committee.

During the tenure of Dr. Gandara, many of these seats were filled with relatives or friends of some of the current suhsd board members. All were "whatever Dr. Gandara wants, Dr. Gandara gets." Under the tenure of the current superintendent, err... contractor, these seats sit empty because the district wants "the right people" on the committee. I believe they want their own people, eg. the principal, so they do no follow-up with any of the regular applicants. Dr. Brand himself has admitted to the fact of this practice.


bvagency Aug. 9, 2012 @ 8:08 p.m.

Jm and Annie, I can assure you that will not happen with this committee, no matter how hard the district tries. A principal will not serve, it is prohibited under Prop 39, and I guarantee you it will be fought vigorously if the district tries. You may have noticed the make up of the committee has become much more independent, as has the tone and approach. This has been in response to the Districts decisions and dealings with this committe. Stayed tuned as I really like the make up and approach of the committee!


anniej Aug. 9, 2012 @ 9:02 p.m.

Bvagency: i too "really like the make up and approach of the committee". these gentlemen are indicative of what the taxpayers should have had representing them ALL ALONG. unfortunately 'the gandara' had his own agenda, and so does brand.

allegations of continuous borrowing from prop o, and now the state matching funds - oh my - no wonder brand is fearful of this group - they would not hesitate to take action if they found any type of illegality going on. they not only know how to spell 'transparency', but know how to implement it.

for the record, in the past there were good people who served on the BOC. persons who believed that the district was above board and telling them the truth. they can not be faulted for that. having said that, there were OTHERS, under prop bb arlie ricasa's husband served ????????????, there was also an alleged sorority sister of one of the board members, then under prop o there was yolanda hernandez (name ring a bell? well it should, it appears that the superintendent of the san ysidro school board allegedly met with a contractor in the PARKING LOT of a well known restaurant where he was given over $2,000.00 for ms. hernandez's campaign fund - according to his own statement he then took the money went across the border and had signs made up for her - and to that i say "i was born of a day but it was NOT yesterday". also noted the contribution did not show up on the registrar of voters forms, neither did the expense of having those 'invisible' signs printed - as reported in the UT.

so what say all of you - are campaign limitations needed? when contractors can pour thousands into a school board candidates campaign as is reported was done to jim cartmill, john mccann, and arlie ricasa (see registrar of voters for 2010 campaign) do we not now understand why we have had the problems we have been plagued with?

the dawn of a new day began last year with Mr. Vasquez, Mr. Butler and Mr. Camarena - now with the additions of Mr. Marinovich and Mr. O'Neill this committee is stronger than ever. i for one am breathing a sigh of relief, at last all representatives on the BOC are there for the right reasons - i do not worry that they can be bullied or intimidated -


eastlaker Aug. 9, 2012 @ 9:03 p.m.

Three cheers for the oversight committee members!

Three cheers for honesty in public service!

Three cheers for the strength found in an informed and involved community!


cvres Aug. 9, 2012 @ 9:05 p.m.

Looking around the county, several bonds are going to be on the ballot, it has become increasingly hard to figure out how to vote. I want to see schools fixed or rebuilt so the kids have what they need. But I don't want to be fleeced.


bonitaresident Aug. 9, 2012 @ 9:21 p.m.

The community finally has something to believe in, a new Bond Oversight Committee. I am wondering what label Dr. Brand will pin on them?


erupting Aug. 10, 2012 @ 7:52 a.m.

We finally have the real deal a BOC with members that compliment each others skill set. The best part is that they all have integrity. They seem willing to shake the tree without fear of retaliation from Brand. Does anyone have more info on prop 39? Does it really say an administrator can not be on the interview panel?


joepublic Aug. 10, 2012 @ 8:30 a.m.

California Education Code: Section 15282(b)

No employee or official of the district shall be appointed to the citizens' oversight committee. No vendor, contractor, or consultant of the district shall be appointed to the citizens' oversight committee. Members of the citizens' oversight committee shall, pursuant to Sections 35233 and 72533, abide by the prohibitions contained in Article 4 (commencing with Section 1090) and Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 1125) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code.


Jmbrickley Aug. 10, 2012 @ 2:23 p.m.

After reading your post, I really want to know why Dr. Brand didn't know that the district's idea to place a principal on the committee was illegal. Or, maybe he did... and didn't care. One would think they would have consulted with an attorney before trying to float that idea past the BOC members.


eastlaker Aug. 10, 2012 @ 4:39 p.m.

I am leaning in the direction of Brand knowing, but feeling confident no one would call him on the 'lapse'. He operates with such a sense of impunity that I have to wonder why...just innate delusional behavior, or assurances from friends in high places?


anniej Aug. 10, 2012 @ 10:56 a.m.

Joepublic: your informative response to erupting is indicative of what we ALL could accomplish if we came together as the great community we truly are. time, yes it will take a little bit of time - but then as my daddy use to say "you are not going to get to the finish line by sitting in the stands watching".

has anyone sent joepublic's info to the BOC?

tell me, isn't it a shame that we the taxpayer seem to know more about policy and procedure than those who are paid to know? or is it that they know but choose to ignore?


bvagency Aug. 10, 2012 @ 11:31 a.m.

Annie don't worry the BOC knows this language.


erupting Aug. 10, 2012 @ 3:35 p.m.

Hey folks, is being on the interview panel considered as part of the BOC? If so why does the HR. dept. have anything to do with this.


erupting Aug. 10, 2012 @ 3:39 p.m.

Hey folks, is being on the interview panel considered as part of the BOC? If so why does the HR. dept. have anything to do with this. Please be sure jopublic.


joepublic Aug. 10, 2012 @ 4:11 p.m.

erupting: I posted the Ed Code section in response to Jmbrickley saying one of the district's solutions for filling vacancies was to place a high school principal in one of the seats. As far as the interview panel being a part of the BOC, I don't know.


bvagency Aug. 11, 2012 @ 10:44 a.m.

Gang, the district will have a retired SUHSD principal, and a member of the bond oversight committee on the panel. The principal will be vetted by the CBOC chair to check for bias. I assure you the sitting CBOC members will not allow a district plant to sit on the committee.


Jmbrickley Aug. 12, 2012 @ 11:48 a.m.

Can you share what seat this person will hold? Open seat? Senior citizens group? Which...?


bvagency Aug. 11, 2012 @ 10:46 a.m.

Also everyone be aware the Chula Vista Elementary School District will have a bond measure on the November ballot, just like Prop O. Spread the word.


bvagency Aug. 12, 2012 @ 3:44 p.m.

Jm, I am aware of at least one person that has put in to represent the taxpayers. Not aware of other applications.


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