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In the early months of 2012 Jesus Gandara, former superintendent of Sweetwater Union High School was charged with perjury, bribery, and other charges. In February, El Paso Commissioner Willie Gandara, Jr, nephew to Jesus, was charged with drug trafficking.

Now, the El Paso Times again informs us that on July 2, Gandara's son, Jesse, who serves as a council member in Socorro, has had his home and office searched by the deputies of El Paso County Sherriff's Office.

According to the El Paso Times report, authorities "exited the home soon after carrying a laptop computer.""'The warrant is in connection with a criminal investigation,' said city information officer Dave Garcia."

The name Garcia rings another bell and some have wondered if Garcia might have been the former spokesperson for GCR law firm. (An email requesting information was sent too late for the mayor to repond.) Bonifacio Garcia and other principals from GCR formerly served the Sweetwater board as general counsel with a $1.4 million contract until January 2011.

Whether it's the right or wrong Dave Garcia, GCR was connected to Socorro. An April 20 2011, entry on GCR's website reads, "GCR's presence in Texas continues to expand with the successful representation of the small city of Socorro in Western Texas. The city recently found itself in a David and Goliath battle over the proposed dumping of more than three million gallons per day of sewage effluent from another community directly into an irrigation canal in the city."

Jesse Gandara has served on the Socorro city council since 2004.

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joepublic July 3, 2012 @ 11:36 a.m.

There have been a lot of raids, investigations, allegations, indictments, etc.,etc.,etc., in both Texas and here in San Diego. WHEN is somebody finally going to be tried? It seems like it's taking forever.


Visduh July 3, 2012 @ 12:06 p.m.

Oh, joe, you are so impatient. Swift justice for these miscreants? Not to happen here on Bahnee D's watch. She probably has little desire to actually convict those so far charged, and isn't showing any sign of looking for more corruption or digging any out. Look for plea bargains at best, where they resign, plead guilty to a single misdemeanor, and get probation. Oh, and those with public jobs will be able to keep them and earn their pensions.


anniej July 3, 2012 @ 1:06 p.m.

Visduh: on this i will have to agree to disagree - remember that hot line? many many used that hot line calling in all kinds of tips - those tips are most likely taking a great deal of time. the mess of sweetwater is like a sticky spiders web, and trust me there is whole lot of yuk stuck to the web that needs untangling. something tells me there is more to come, some who have been unscathed so far - well, lets just see how this extermination plays out. i personally have faith in Ms. Dumanis and her team - i believe what justice can be served will be served.

just my opinion


Jmbrickley July 3, 2012 @ 12:07 p.m.

Let us not forget the consultants from Soccorro that came to Sweetwater to praise all the shady programs and methods of Gandara. What was the name of the City Manager of Soccorro who said we needed an Independent Study High School? Didn't we pay him $70,000 or something so Charlene Lemons and the Gandara could fudge the tests scores for the District?


anniej July 3, 2012 @ 1:12 p.m.

Jmbrickley: and then there was the law suit - lemons vs Bertha Lopez - there is a popular consensus that 'the gandara' dreamt up this suit as a means to shut board member Lopez up - you see 'the gandara' liked, demanded, preferred all of his little board members sitting there being seen and not heard, like minions - 'the gandara' just could not take her persistent questioning of the integrity of certain issues. if only she would just shut the hell up - that was the look on his face at board meetings. well, thank goodness she did not - and now everybody sees 'the gandara' and the minions for who they were/are and what they did/did not represent.


erupting July 3, 2012 @ 12:09 p.m.

This article reminds me of a movie I saw as a youngster, The Bad Seed. Wow the inter connections continue. Dollars to donuts the Garcia connection is correct. I'm just thrilled we are hopefully done with Garcia in this district. Know that if Gandara was still here so would Garcia. Too bad Garcia could not be indicted along with the rest of the Sweetwater fraudulent four. But as they say what goes around comes around,it's only a matter of time.


angrybirds July 3, 2012 @ 12:23 p.m.

I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree does it. In reading all of these articles you start to wonder when are the trials going to start and when are these people going to start serving time and paying back the money they stole.


anniej July 3, 2012 @ 12:50 p.m.

hmmmm, dumping of sewage in april of 2011 in socorro - dumping of toxic dirt under 'the gandara' reign here at sweetwater. connection? of course it is 'the gandara' connection.

gcr presence in the representation of socorro, texas - gcr presence in the representation of sweetwater - and goodness knows what that brought sweetwater. lets see, it brought us alvey, it brought us massive legal bills, it brought us back door submissions of bills, it brought us a dummy organization that was allegedly being used to funnel monies into board members campaigns, it brought us 'the gandara's' sweetheart retirement deal. i could go on, but why?

and who do we owe for this mess? let us take a long look at the majority of the current board members - let us take a moment to thank them - for their obvious complicity in the mess that is now sweetwater. they sat there month after month, board meeting after board meeting; year after year they sought and took bonny garcia'a advice - you all be the judge - did we get what we paid for? i think not, far from it. their voting record on all of the issues are available on board docs, that my neighbors serves as the evidence - read and decide for yourselves.

a special THANKS to jim cartmill and arlie ricasa for traveling ALL OF THE WAY TO SOCORRO and liking what they saw when they saw 'the gandara' - too bad they did not choose the simply task of googling him. 'the gandara' - bonny garcia ------ in my opinion they did more damage to this school board than any other.


bonitaresident July 3, 2012 @ 6:42 p.m.

Anniej - You and many others have been following this story since its beginning. I am a late comer to commenting but I too follow district business and for a lack of better words I will say business is not looking good. I find myself echoing the chants of many of my neighbors when they say the time has come for change. I concur. Recent personnel changes within the district line up has many of the residents on the east side questioning the rational of the superintendent. Persons being moved to the district office way before their time - the underlying reasoning used suspect. No doubt the elections will help to rid us of those not deserving of their positions. What is needed is new blood, and a reassessment of all who hole the title of leaders.


VigilantinCV July 3, 2012 @ 6:56 p.m.

VigilantinChulaVista This is all a lot of talk if the recall fails to qualify for the ballot. I am not feeling optimistic.


anniej July 3, 2012 @ 7:42 p.m.

VigilantinCV: what is not a lot talk are the facts that surround those attempting to be recalled. they can run but they can not hide.

1- ricasa is being charged with how many felonies? 2- mccann did keep the second opinion from the board members regarding the fact that 'the gandara' could be fired for cause. 3- cartmill and ricasa brought 'the gandara' here without even bothering to do a google search. 4- ricasa, mccann, cartmill took thousands upon thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the very people working on prop o. i.e. mr. flores, mr. buntons companies (he has more than one that donated) --- both of these two plead guilty recently. 5- allowed bonny garcia, the legal representative of their choice to negotiate the sweetheart deal for 'the gandara's' retirement. 6- mccann's bizarre behavior the night of the hilltop high meeting. 7- mccann acting out by turning off board member lopez's microphone 8- mccann alleging that there was a stated threat to him after a board meeting, then asked, and was given paid legal representation for the fiasco - using our tax dollars. according to the judges comments it appeared that mccann's statement that ridiculous night differed from the statement he wrote for the court. 9- the borrowing of prop o monies 10- now the borrowing of mello roos monies 11- the ipad mess - you know spending all of these millions when, in fact, the district never had a plan.

i could go on and on - but why bother you know the facts as well as i.

one thing for sure all of the above have been exposed for who and what they are and who and what they stand for - speaking of which

can someone please explain to the community why john mccann and jim cartmill are not jumping up and down over the interim superintendent and cfo' strategic plotting to double dip. now i could have sworn that mccann was dead set against such shenanigans - oh, but that is right he brought brand here - but even though - why are they allowing this to happen under their watch? why did they vote for the lucrative contracts?

no doubt the future political careers of the above named three are ------- O V E R --------------- and rightfully so in my opinion. when they took their oaths of office they failed to understand that the word serve meant serve the students and taxpaying public NOT THEMSELVES.


Susan Luzzaro July 3, 2012 @ 8:26 p.m.

jmbrickley, much to my chagrin, I didn't know about consultants from Socorro. I'd be curious to know what they were for and how much they cost.


Susan Luzzaro July 3, 2012 @ 8:30 p.m.


I remember early on you said you didn't think these cases would move forward through the DA's office. I have heard a lot of people lately echoing that idea.


eastlaker July 5, 2012 @ 6:03 p.m.

Please excuse me if I repeat myself--why do we not hear anything from the mayor's office on the subject of all the problems in the SUHSD? How about the County Board of Education maybe putting in a good word for those of us wanting responsible and honest people in charge of the educational system in the South Bay? Anyone from the County Board of Supervisors want to speak up, and promote good local honest representation?


Why not?

Are there too many connections getting in the way of honest government?

I suppose we can say, at least our civic leaders haven't been hauled away on drug trafficking charges. Small consolation--it is time we hear some supporting voices from our civic leaders.


anniej July 5, 2012 @ 7:28 p.m.

Eastlaker: you speak of too many connections getting in the way of honest government - yes, many are questioning just what in the heck the role of the county board of ed truly is? from my vantage point i seem them doing nothing.

the connections you mean like the fact that sweetwaters cfo is facebook friends with a certain person at the county board of ed? and this person also just happens to be a good friend of brand as well.

and then there is the concern that 'certain' info asked for from the county board of ed - well it appears that brand and cfo are allegedly receiving 'heads up' calls.

so, tell me, who is paying the bills of sweetwater and the county? i believe that would be the taxpayers - and as such they SHOULD BE WORKING FOR US. good old boys and girls club appears to be in full swing - well time to bring some folks in that can break up this club.

where is the head of the county board of ed? MIA as is the majority of the board. time for some answer folks.


eastlaker July 6, 2012 @ 1:27 p.m.

Should a group of citizens from this district try and set up a meeting with someone at the County Board of Education? If we could get some press/media to attend, maybe this would help. It seems like we are a few voices crying in the wilderness--I think we will need to be more vocal and work to stay front and central in this, because I'm pretty sure the people running things are assuming we will just get tired and go away.


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