Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Saturday, November 6, 2010
It began with Oral Communications - when people are allowed to speak their piece. Many did - including several new faces: students, teachers, and members of the public - and most gave the same message:
"It's wrong to shove this evaluation down the throat of the college, and it seems a blatant attempt by the outgoing board members - Salcido and Dominguez - to affect a change that the new board should undertake."
The board then retired behind closed doors, which is the policy for all personnel matters. After about two and a half hours, they returned to a still-full room. An attorney for the district read their action. To paraphrase broadly:
"The board has decided that Dr. Chopra's current contract will continue as it is, and no other change will take place."
They then adjourned with no other words and left.
This appears to be the second option I described as possible in the last column: allowing any action regarding Dr. Chopra's contract to be left for the incoming board. But several oddities trouble me - and many others that were there.
Dr. Chopra appeared to be gloating early in the meeting, though by the end, he did seem a little worse for wear.
The agenda for next week's actual GB meeting has been changed to include an item regarding Dr. Chopra's evaluation. This might hint at a further evaluation to come. I am not certain, but I believe that the attorney stated that the evaluation tonight covered the period up to August of this year - not including September and October, which is when some of the truly questionable actions of his has taken place - including actively fundraising for incumbents Dominguez, Salcido, and Valladolid. This seems odd to me, and it was noted that this seems very curious.
Allow me to state for the record: I may very likely be wrong about the dates mentioned. If I am, please correct me, and I will make the edits to this blog.
Lastly, there is the question of why? Why did this need to be done now? There was no urgency to have a meeting that ended with "no other action." Surely Dr. Chopra's evaluation could have been discussed in closed-door session before next week's regular board meeting. So what was the point?
Given the fact that this lame-duck board has already called one "special" meeting on Dr. Chopra's behalf, it is no stretch to assume that they might call another before the outgoing incumbents terms end at the end of November.
Is this a game? And why are they playing it? Let's have your theories and ideas in the comments section below.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Our esteemed Governing Board has decided to throw one last insult to the school, the students, the faculty, the administration, and the community.
Though they only evaluated Raj Chopra last May, they have decided to perform an emergency evaluation for him tomorrow night. There will be one of four outcomes of this evaluation:
1. They will fire him. This won't happen. The outgoing board - Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez - and Terri Valladolid, who will continue with the new board, don't have the self-respect or respect for the college that it would take to fire this angry, incompetent buffoon.
2. They will pass the decision on to the new board: Valladolid, along with Nick Aguilera and Jean Roesch, and board members-elect Tim Nader and Norma Hernandez. I don't think this will happen either, because it would mean Jorge and Yolanda would give away the bulk of their power to the ones that defeated them.
3. They will extend Chopra's contract. This is a very possible outcome, meaning that the new board would then have to reverse the decision of this one, and might mean a prolonged fight. But it could very much happen.
4. They will buy out Chopra's contract for a fat paycheck. Ding! Ding! Ding! If the board does as I suspect they will, they'll issue him a check behind closed doors, and he can have it in the bank first thing Monday morning. By Tuesday, he'll be checking the want ads for a school with no hiring standards, or with a governing board friendly to Yolanda.
What will happen? The school will be out several hundred thousand taxpayer dollars and we will no longer have a superintendent. That's half-good, but not good.
So the question is: who wants to lie down and let that happen? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that 4 of the 5 on the lame-duck board vote to buy out his contract - Valladolid, Salcido, Dominguez, and Roesch.
Jean Roesch needs to know that if she agrees to go along with this, when she runs in two years, we'll throw every bit of effort into sending her packing.
Terri Valladolid needs to know that if she tries to pull this, she'll have alienated herself from the rest of the board for the duration of her four-year term. Considering that she has a few frayed edges of a political career left, she might consider what will happen when she's just a bench-warmer for four years - she'll go from useless to laughingstock.
Jorge doesn't care about his legacy. He's had his butt handed to him in two consecutive elections and he'll never get elected to anything. But you'd think that a man with as much intelligence and gravitas would have the decency to do the right thing.
But I'm afraid he won't. He'll line up with the ones that disrespect him to pad the wallet of Raj Chopra - who couldn't even be bothered to give Jorge a "nice try" after his defeat, but had volumes to speak about Yolanda's courageous run.
And then there's Yolanda. There's nothing we can say or do to convince her not to spend all that money on a final "go screw yourself" to the college. All that will happen is that she'll appear to be exactly what I - and others - have said all along what she is: mean-spirited, disrespectful, corrupt, uncaring, and spiteful.
Tomorrow the Board is meeting in its usual location - Room 214 on the Chula Vista campus of Southwestern College. The first part of the meeting will be open to the public and the public should be allowed to speak during Oral Communication. The second part will be behind closed doors, as it is a personnel matter. The third part will be in public. The Board must inform us what happened at that time.
We're going to need people in seats. We need these lame ducks to realize they can't get away with this scot-free. We need people who will remember what happens, so in two years, or four years, we'll have a core group of people who know what we'll be fighting for then.
Once again we need you.
The meeting starts at 5:30 pm. I recommend coming early 15 minutes or so, to get a seat. If you want to speak, you'll need to fill out a yellow card for this. This is an emergency meeting, so it won't be run like a regular board meeting - and it's likely to be just a bit more lively.
Come join us. We can't let them get away with this insult.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
1. Norma Hernandez spent 31 years working for Southwestern College as a counselor, faculty member, administrator, and the president of the college. She is respected and loved by members of all the departments – and the public – and has made her belief in the importance and value of education known. In her words, “I am committed to restoring the vital educational contributions that Southwestern College can provide to our region.”
2. Tim Nader is a former mayor of Chula Vista, and a two-term city councilman. He spent seven years working as a criminal prosecutor for the Attorney General’s office. After his term as mayor he ran two different non-profit corporations. He spent time in Central Asia with a foreign aid program after 9/11. He returned, spent six years working as a child support attorney, before returning to the Attorney General’s office. He has vast experience in working with complex legal issues and understands how to oversee a multi-million dollar budget. He grew up in a family of educators and believes education to be a cornerstone to a strong community.
3. Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez is the CEO of the San Diego Learning Center, one of the fastest-growing supplemental education centers in the region. She has spent more than 15 years in the education field and founded SDLC in 2001. She has been a member of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for seven years, and was elected Chairwoman of the Board in 2010. In 2006, she was honored as Entrepreneur of the Year. She is also active National Latina Business Women Association/The Latina Chamber. She has opened five different SDLC locations, and implemented new, unique strategies to create a positive, individual atmosphere for the students she serves.
WHY SHOULDN’T I VOTE FOR THE INCUMBENTS? ACCORDING TO THEM, THEY’RE GREAT. WELL, TO START WITH… THERE’S THE INCUMBENTS’ DISHONESTY –
4. SWC is not in the worst financial crisis of its history. This is the refrain that the incumbents (Yolanda Salcido, Terri Valladolid, and Jorge Dominguez) used to slash classes and lay off employees. They estimated that without those cuts, that the school would be broke. Instead, the school ended up with a $14 million balance, and the “savings” caused by the class cuts could only be estimated at $500,000. What happened? The school was not in the financial crisis they claimed. It was making money.
5. Classes have been cut. Though the incumbents insist that no classes were cut, hundreds of adjunct faculty members were let go and their classes removed from the catalog. These included Basic Skills classes, core classes, classes necessary for students seeking certification, and – most troubling – dozens of classes necessary for students seeking to transfer to a four-year school.
6. Contrary to the incumbents’ continual lie, there were layoffs. Jorge, Yolanda, and Terri insist that “there were no layoffs.” Ask them who Linda Gilstrap, Silvia Lugo, Elisandra Singh, Nevada Smith, Fernando Poveda, and Richard Tibbits are. These are some names of laid-off faculty that I know off the top of my head. There are more – hundreds more.
7. Not only were there layoffs, but at least one employee was screwed over twice. Elisandra Singh challenged the board’s decision to lay her off and replace her with a Los Angeles-based contractor who got paid more and worked less than she did. An impartial arbitrator heard the case and said that the school, without question, should return her to her job and give her the back salary she had lost. The board voted to say “hell, no” to Ms. Singh and refused to give her her job back. They not only laid off employees, but they went out of their way to make sure they stayed laid off.
8. The incumbents are falsely claiming that SWC is “fully accredited” and that there are no problems. The truth is that it will be next spring before WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) makes any decision on the school’s status. SWC is “on track” to make the changes necessary, but they are not complete yet. Considering that much of the work left to be done must be done by the Board, we believe that a Board willing to participate in shared governance will succeed where this one will likely fail.
9. All three of them have lied and lied and lied about many different facts. They have done so in public, at fundraisers, in board meetings, to the press, and in paid advertising.
THE INCUMBENTS’ INCOMPETENCE –
10. The incumbents don’t know how to run a board meeting. Incapable of handling literally the most basic part of their positions, the Board has to hire a paid parliamentarian to tell them if they can do this, do that, say this, say that, vote this way, or hear what someone has to say.
11. Jorge Dominguez can’t stay awake for the meetings. I’ve shown you the pictures of him dozing through Governing Board meetings; you’ve seen them. What you may not know is that this happens so often that it has become a joke among the teachers and those of us who attend the meetings.
12. The incumbents don’t understand “shared governance,” a foundation of running a college. With shared governance, the faculty is allowed to participate in decision-making. At SWC, they are often locked out of the process entirely. Committees are usually headed by an administrator and a faculty member. At SWC, they are often headed by two administrators and no professor.
13. The incumbents believe that their 10:00 pm “bed time” is more important than getting work done. At board meetings, unless the press or a lot of the public are there, they simply end discussion at 10:00 and call it a night. Even if there are reports to be heard, work to be done, or problems to solve, they will simply push it back to another month.
THE INCUMBENTS’ DISRESPECT –
14. The incumbents have no respect for the members of the public, the students, or the teachers that attend governing board meetings. When members of the public speak to them, they can often be found doodling, looking down, looking away, whispering, or spending some time in the washroom.
15. The incumbents have no respect for the voters who looked forward to seeing them at the Candidates’ Forum in October. Every candidate for every seat was invited to an impartial candidate forum in October. The only ones who showed up were challengers – Tim Nader, Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez, Norma Hernandez, and Bud McLeroy. Not one of the incumbents thought their presence at the SWC Candidate Forum was important.
16. Yolanda and Terri don’t respect fellow Board member Nick Aguilar. Aguilar, who often opposes the others, is often ignored, alienated, and insulted by Yolanda and Terri – who seem to simply not want to hear what he has to say.
17. Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid don’t even respect Jorge Dominguez. Last year, a voting bloc of Salcido, Valladolid, and fellow board member Jean Roesch overturned the traditional position of Board President – which was supposed to be Dominguez’s position. Instead, they voted to give Salcido the position, and began their program of building an empire for themselves.
THE INCUMBENTS’ LACK OF CHARACTER –
18. Yolanda Salcido faked an endorsement from student government president Manny Lopez, and when he insisted at a board meeting that he did not endorse her, she refused to comment, apologize, or even look at him.
19. Yolanda Salcido has collected $100,000 in campaign contributions from contractors that come to her looking for million-dollar contracts.
20. Terri Valladolid was fined $1,200 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to file six required semi-annual campaign statements.
21. Jorge Dominguez was late filing various campaign statements and numbers, but wasn’t fined. At least he got his done eventually.
22. Jorge Dominguez announced his retirement last winter then ran for mayor of Chula Vista. Receiving only about 11% of the vote, he “forgot” that he was retiring.
23. The incumbents allowed administration higher-ups to fundraise for them, in a blatant show of conflict of interest. Superintendent Chopra held fundraisers for Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez. Vice President Alioto held a fundraiser for Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid.
24. Superintendent Chopra used official campus literature to help campaign for the incumbents. Using the “News from SWC” newsletter, Chopra attacked Norma Hernandez (without naming her) and tried to rebut (badly) every single point the challengers had brought up in the past two months.
25. The incumbents blame Norma Hernandez for their troubles. Norma was Superintendent of SWC a few years ago. At the time, the Board was micro-managing her at all levels. After they fired a vice-president, which they couldn’t do, she resigned from office – due to the constant interference she was getting from the board, also known as the incumbents. WASC issued a list of several things the school needed to do to keep accreditation, and most of them were laid at the feet of the board itself. Their response? To blame Norma, who wasn’t even involved.
26. Yolanda Salcido claims that Norma “sneaked away in the night.” Untrue. Norma Hernandez received a farewell celebration from members of the administration, student body, and the faculty before she left.
THE INCUMBENTS’ CONTINUAL SUPPORTING OF A CORRUPT, FAILED ADMINISTRATION –
27. The incumbents continue to support Superintendent Raj Chopra and Vice-President Nick Alioto, even though incidences of their malfeasance, corruption, and base stupidity continue to come to light. Chopra has been known to scream – literally, scream – at employees, including one (Elisandra Singh) who reported that he screamed into her face so close that he spat on her while doing it. They also gave him a $15,000 raise during their financial crisis (unlike Norma Hernandez, who took a pay cut during her tenure at SWC). And Alioto has come under fire time and time again for influence peddling, conflicts of interest, shady financial dealings, and more. Many of these can be found on this blog, and I’m not going to list them again.
28. The incumbents supported Chopra’s budget plan – the one that slashed classes, laid off teachers, and sent a couple thousand students home for the last time. When Nick Aguilar asked for a special meeting to discuss any other possible solutions, the rest ignored and supported Chopra’s apocalyptic vision of education.
29. The incumbents supported the administration’s attack on four professors who were deemed to have “incited a riot” during a student-led budget protest (even though one was nowhere near the place). This led to massive national media attention that reflected badly on the board and administration.
30. The incumbents participated in a bogus “investigation” to cover up the administration’s actions at that time. This “investigation” still claimed students and faculty responsible, though they were seemingly unable to find a witness who was there, not a student, not an administrator, and not a teacher – me.
31. The incumbents supported the administration’s plan to “expose and isolate extremists” – those being people that opposed them: students, members of the public, teachers, civic organizations and so on.
32. The incumbents supported the administration’s plan to shut down the Southwestern College Sun newspaper. Not one word was ever spoken by the board to condemn the administration’s actions to attack Freedom of the Press. This was the second time in one year that national media attention focused on the school, again reflecting badly on the board and administration.
33. The incumbents cobbled together an “evaluation” of Chopra, when it became clear to the public that he was incompetent. In doing so, they removed the faculty from the evaluation process – the first time that had been done in the history of the school. Even Jorge Dominguez denounced the evaluation – allegedly created by Yolanda Salcido – as being “totally unquantifiable.” He described it as, “how do you feel about the job he is doing?” and so on.
34. The incumbents ignored the faculty’s concern about that evaluation. They are on record as dismissing a faculty-created evaluation (one more similar to the one that SWC used before this) as ‘just a few malcontents.’ Those few malcontents were approximately 95% of the few hundred professors who participated and gave him a failing grade.
35. The incumbents continue to support Nick Alioto, even though he doesn’t qualify for his job. A requirement of his position of Vice-President of Business and Finance is a CPA license. He has never been licensed in California, and has let his Wisconsin license expire.
36. YOU CAN HELP BRING POSITIVE CHANGE! Change to Southwestern College and to the South Bay. You can make this happen today by voting for Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader, and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Hate is a strong word. It’s an ugly word. But sometimes it’s an accurate word. It’s a word that we teach our children not to use. But more importantly, we teach them not to hate.
Rarely does anyone say, “I hate you.” But too often they demonstrate hatred. They look at others with cold eyes and tight-lipped mouths. They stare at those they hate, not even blinking – because, to them, blinking is a sign of weakness, a lessening of the hate they feel. Or if they prefer not to stare, they simply refuse to meet your eyes, dismissing you as not worth looking at.
They speak to others in a condescending way, believing that they are not worth speaking to. They insult others – sometimes directly to their faces, and sometimes behind their backs. If they do speak to you, they do so through clenched teeth and closed mouths. They demonstrate hate without having to say it.
They disrespect you. They lie to you. They lie about you. They treat you as an object, something to be used, abused, and discarded when they are through with you.
You are nothing to these people.
The Southwestern College Governing Board has a lot of hatred to give. Whether or not you want it, whether or not you deserve it… they will demonstrate their hatred of you. They have done so in the past, they are doing so right now, and unless things change on November 2nd, they will continue to do so in the future.
Simply so they could keep a lot of money in the bank – money that should have been spent on classes and teachers – your father, the adjunct professor, was laid off. They did not care that without him in front of that class, there would be no one to teach his students.
Your children – the ones who are attending SWC to get their Associates’ degree, or the ones trying to get enough credits to transfer to UCSD, or the ones trying to get a certificate so they can get a better job – are the ones who are suffering.
All so the Board can have $14 million in the bank.
Your wife, who worked for the school, was laid off. She was qualified for the job she held. She very likely attended Southwestern College herself, and loved the idea that she could work for the people that had given her that important education. But like the professors, she was let go.
For her, it was even worse. The college still needed the work done, but she wasn’t there to do it. Instead, the administration hired a “consultant” to do the work that she had done. They paid them more, and worked them less. When they were finished, the consultants went back to Los Angeles, giving nothing back to the community that you and your wife belonged to.
And when you spoke up at a board meeting and asked about these layoffs, what did the Governing Board do?
They lied. They told you that there were “no layoffs of any kind.”
And then they lied to the Union-Tribune, and to The Star News, and La Prensa San Diego, and to any other newspaper and television that would listen.
“We had no layoffs.” Jorge Dominguez, Terri Valladolid and Yolanda Salcido have told everyone that. They’ve bought ads in those same newspapers, and sent flyers to your mailbox that read – in bold type:
“There were no layoffs of any kind.”
But your father, or your wife, is now unemployed and looking for whatever work they can get. You know better. You know there were layoffs. And you know that the Board is lying.
Your son, who is working for the Southwestern College Sun newspaper is labeled an “extremist” by the board, because he disagrees with what they are doing. He is one of those students who were told that they are running a lousy newspaper, because what they should be doing is making the college and the board look good.
Yet the Sun is given awards again and again, and is called “the best community college newspaper in America.” He is earning valuable work experience at the best student newspaper there is. He will have a very good note on his transcript: “staff member at the Southwestern College Sun.”
But if the board has their way, the Sun would cease to exist. And they do not care about your son, his experience, or his transcript.
And if your son is caught carrying a laptop computer out of the newspaper office to work on a story, the campus police can stop and threaten him with arrest. They did so this year to four journalism students – students who were doing nothing more than they needed to do for their class.
The board has $14 million in the bank. That’s what’s important to them. Not your son.
Your daughter has only one class left before she can transfer to one of the University of California schools. But because of the class cuts, she now has to wait. There are students from all over the district who are one or two classes away from being able to transfer, but they can’t. The class she needs is only offered one time, and hundreds of students are trying to get into it. If she’s lucky, maybe next semester she can get in. If not… maybe she can find a job without that education.
Ask around. You’ll find any number of daughters and sons in the same situation she’s in. This is not her fault. It is the fault of our administration and our board. They do not care. The board members buy ads in the newspapers, and announce that there have been “no reductions in the number of classes.”
Tell your daughter that – the girl who has been waiting for six months or a year to take that one class.
The board members are telling people now that the school is “fully accredited.” What they’re not telling you is that they are still on probation from WASC – the group that oversees accreditation in California schools. And unless the board takes responsibility for the terrible way they do things, SWC may very well lose accreditation next year.
And those credits your children have earned will suddenly be worthless.
Then tell all this to your husband. He works hard to keep the bills paid, to keep dinner on the table, to make sure that your children can go to college and get the educations that they want. Tell him.
At work, he hears some other talking about Southwestern College. Someone asks about the laid off teachers, or the students who can’t go to school anymore, or possibly losing accreditation. And someone else answers:
“I heard from Yolanda Salcido” or “Terri Valladolid” or “Jorge Dominguez – none of that happened. Those are lies, made up by extremists.”
Tell him when he comes home and your daughter is still waiting to get into that class.
And tell him it’s not right to hate. He, and you, and your children, and your wife, and your parents are all better than that. They are better than the Governing Board.
Because even though the board loves that money, and they really love their jobs, they don’t care about you at all.
Hate is a strong word, an ugly word. But sometimes it’s an accurate word.
On November 2nd, vote for those who don’t hate you. Vote for those who want to see the professors working, and the students learning, and the employees doing their jobs instead of Los Angeles consultants. Vote for those who won’t lie to you, and about you. Vote for those who believe that those millions of dollars should be spent and not hoarded. Vote for those who believe that they owe the college, not that the college owes them.
On November 2nd, vote for Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader, and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez. You can end the hate.
(Spanish translation by Marielle Ceja.)
Odio es una palabra muy fuerte. Es una palabra grotesca. Pero veces es una palabra muy precisa. Es una palabra que enseñamos a nuestros hijos a no usar. Pero aun mas importante, les enseñamos a no odiar.
Raramente alguien dice, “te odio.” Pero muchas veces demuestran desagrado. Miran a otros con una mirada fría y labios firmes. Los miran fijamente, sin tan siquiera parpadear – porque para ellos, el parpadeo es una señal de debilidad, un decremento al odio que ellos sienten. En cambio otros prefieren no mirar fijamente, ellos simplemente se niegan a mirarte como si no valieras la pena.
Ellos le hablan a los demás de una manera condescendiente, creyendo que no son lo suficientemente importantes para hablarles. Insultan a otros – unas veces directamente en su presencia, otras a escondidas. Si deciden dirigirte la palabra, lo hacen con dientes apretados y boca cerrada. Demuestran el odio sin tener que decirlo con palabras.
Te faltan al respeto. Te mienten. Mienten sobre ti. Te tratan como si fueras un objeto, algo que pueden usar, abusar y desechar cuando ya no lo necesitan.
¡No eres nada para esta gente!
La Junta de Gobierno del Colegio Southwestern tiene mucho desagrado por ofrecer. Te guste o no, lo merezcas o no…ellos demostraran su desagrado hacia ti. Lo han hecho en el pasado, lo hacen en este momento; a menos que hagamos un cambio el 2 de Noviembre, ellos continuaran haciéndolo en el futuro.
Esto es solo para que ellos puedan mantener su dinero y economía en el banco – dinero que debe de ser usado en cursos para estudiantes y maestros – tu padre, el profesor adjunto, fue despedido temporalmente. A ellos no les importo que si no estaba el enfrente de su clase, no habría nadie para enseñar a sus alumnos.
Tus hijos, los que atienden el Colegio Southwestern para obtener su grado académico, los que están terminando sus unidades para transferirse a la Universidad, al igual que los que buscan un mejor trabajo – son los que están sufriendo en todo momento.
Todo esto, para que la Junta de Gobierno pueda tener $14 millones en el banco. ¿Es justo?
Tu esposa, la que trabajo para nuestra escuela, también fue despedida temporalmente. Ella califica para el trabajo que tiene. Ella también muy probablemente atendió el Colegio Southwestern, y a ella le fascino la idea de poder trabajar para la gente que la ayudo a tener esa educación tan importante. Pero al igual que otros profesores, fue descansada.
Para ella, fue peor. El colegio aun necesitaba de su trabajo, pero ella ya no estaba ahí para hacerlo. En cambio, el centro de administración contrato a un “asesor” para hacer el trabajo que ella hace, o mejor dicho, hacía. Les pagaron más, y trabajaron menos. Cuando tales terminaron su labor, regresaron a Los Angeles, sin darle absolutamente nada a la comunidad a la que tú y tu esposa pertenecen.
¿Y cuando nosotros nos dimos a escuchar en la Junta de Gobierno preguntando acerca de estos profesionales que fueron despedidos temporalmente, que hizo la Junta de Gobierno?
Ellos mintieron. Y nos dijeron que no había “descanso de ningún tipo.”
Y después ellos le mintieron al periódico “The Union-Tribune”, al ¨The Star News,” “La Prensa San Diego” y a cualquier otro medio periodístico o televisivo que los hubiera escuchado.
“No tenemos despidos temporales.” Jorge Domínguez, Terri Valladolid y Yolanda Salcido les han comentado a todos. Ellos han comprado anuncios en esos mismos periódicos y enviados flyers y anuncios a tu correo electrónico donde dice con letras resaltadas:
¨No ha habido despidos temporales de ningún tipo¨
Pero tu padre, tu esposa están ahora desempleados y buscando cualquier trabajo donde puedan trabajar. Tú sabes mejor que nadie. Tú sabes que fueron despedidos. Y también tú sabes que la Junta de Gobierno te está mintiendo.
Tu hijo, quien está trabajando para el periódico “The Southwestern College Sun,” está siendo etiquetado como extremista por la Junta de Gobierno, solo porque ellos están en desacuerdo con lo que están haciendo. El es uno a los que se les dijo que están manejando un periódico vil y malo.
Aun que a nuestro periódico “Sun” se le ha reconocido una y otra vez, y es llamado ¨El mejor periódico colegial en América.” Esta ganando experiencia laboral muy valuable en el mejor periódico estudiantil que hay. El tendrá una excelente nota en su expediente: “Miembro del equipo en ¨The Southwestern College Sun.”
Y esos créditos por terminar que tus hijos han hecho con tanto esfuerzo, repentinamente no tendrán valor de ningún tipo.
Después, dile todo esto a tu esposo. El, que también trabaja para poder pagar sus recibos, para tener comida en la mesa, para asegurarse que tus hijos puedan ir al colegio y que tengan la educación que merecen. Díselo a él también.
En el trabajo, el escucha a otros hablar sobre el Colegio Southwestern, nuestra escuela. Alguien pregunta sobre los profesores que fueron despedidos temporalmente, de los estudiantes que ya no pueden ir a la escuela por falta de clases, o los que probablemente pierdan sus créditos que han hecho con tanto esfuerzo. Cuando alguien más pregunta, “Yo escuche de Yolanda Salcido” o “Terri Valladolid” o “Jorge Domínguez” – “¡Nada de esto ha pasado! Esas son mentiras, hechas por extremistas”
Díselo cuando llegue a casa y tu hija aun este esperando poder registrarse en una clase.
También dile que no es bueno odiar. El, tú, tus hijos, tu esposa, y tu familia son algo mejor que eso. Son mejores que la Junta de Gobierno.
Porque aunque la Junta de Gobierno ame ese dinero, y ellos también amen su trabajo, a ellos; ni tú, ni nadie les importa.
Recuerda que el odio es una palabra muy fuerte. Es una palabra grotesca. Pero veces es una palabra muy precisa.
El 2 de Noviembre, vota por esos a los que tu no odias. Vota por esos que quieren ver a los profesores trabajar, y a los estudiantes aprender. Para los empleados que hacen su trabajo en lugar de por los “asesores” de Los Angeles. Vota por los que no te mentirán, y no mentirán sobre ti. Vota por los que creen y saben que esos millones de dólares deben de ser bien usados en tus hijos y su futuro, y no acumulados o tirados a la basura. Vota por los que creen que le deben al colegio, y no que el colegio les debe a ellos.
Este 2 de Noviembre, vota por Norma Hernández, Tim Nader, y Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez. Con tu voto, podemos terminar el odio.
--Translated by Marielle Ceja
Sunday, October 31, 2010
A contractor, Echo Pacific Construction of Escondido, won a ‘Weekend With Nick Alioto’ in a silent auction they allegedly spent $15,000 to win. That weekend, which was spent at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa in late June, was only three weeks before the administration and board of SWC awarded Echo Pacific Construction a $4 million construction management contract on July 14.
Not a bad bit of gravy for a $15,000 investment, right?
(Visit our colleagues at Save Our SWC for another perspective on this situation and what you do to help.)
In addition to earning face-time with Nick Alioto, Chris Rowe, the president of Echo, also spent some quality weekend time with Henry Amigable of Seville Construction Services and Paul Bunton of BCA Architecture – the contractor who bought and “donated” that weekend “getaway.”
This proves that not only can one earn that precious face-time with an administration heavy-hitter, but one can also get it by donating a valuable gift, and that another can get one simply for being a higher-up at Seville Construction Services.
(I will also add that Amigable is part of the group that was overseeing the Focuscom PR campaign to “expose and isolate extremists” at Southwestern College and the South Bay.)
And, as Ms. Sierra’s piece points out, BCA, Seville, and Echo Pacific have – at the time of her report – donated around $35,000 to the reelection campaigns of Yolanda Salcido and Terri Valladolid – Governing Board incumbents whom Alioto himself has done active fundraising for.
If you haven’t read Ms. Sierra’s piece, you really should. When you get back, let me let you know of a few things that she may not have been aware.
The first is an interesting fact about the Foundation itself. In the piece, Alioto is quoted regarding the $1,800 that his part of the trip cost: “There wasn’t anything that wasn’t completely above board [sic]. The foundation paid directly for the costs.”
It’s interesting to note that during the October Governing Board meeting, when a discussion arose around which administrator oversaw the Foundation (but does not head up), the answer was unequivocally “Business and Finance” – Nick Alioto’s department.
In other words, Alioto spent a weekend with three contractors – all of whom had donated to the Foundation, and all of whom received contracts from the college. And Alioto’s $1,800 vacation was paid for by the Foundation, which he oversees.
Where the hell is the district attorney?
The second is that this isn’t the only time Alioto has done this. On September 27, Alioto hosted a golf tournament at the San Diego Country Club. Visit here to see the invitation.
This is the same type of event* as the “Havana Nights” gala.
*Though originally this was for the athletes of SWC, not the administration. I have been informed that this year the student athletes were allowed to participate – as caddies.
On the advertisement, you’ll see BCA, Echo Pacific, and Seville – along with dozens others – most of them contractors and construction companies. And at the end, you’ll see what it costs to play, and how much was donated from these contractors before the event even began…
Echo Pacific, Seville, and BCA had already donated $10,000 each before the advertisement flyer went out. Swinerton Builders had donated $7,500. Alta Vista Financial donated $5,000. And several others had donated $2500, $2000, or $1000.
In addition, for Title/Platinum Sponsors and Contributing Sponsors, a note is made – “Several sold, more are welcome.” These are $10,000 and $5,000 sponsorships. And at the low end are $500 single-hole sponsors.
Several are sold, more are welcome? Let’s do a little math.
Before the tournament even began, $50,000 had already been donated as sponsorships by named companies. If we conservatively assume “several” to mean 3 or 4 (I’ll figure it as 3.5), then we can add $54,250. It appears that before this golf tournament even began the Foundation had raised – from a very conservative estimate – over $100,000.
And how much did the 25 different companies on the invitation pay for the privilege of having their logos out there?
But wait, there’s more!
Want to know how a contractor who’s desperate for some drippings from the gravy train can donate to the cause four times?
1. Buy a sponsorship.
2. Donate to the silent auction, as BCA did this spring to set up that weekend.
3. Bid on the silent auction, as Echo Pacific did to win that precious Alioto face-time.
4. Participate in the tournament itself and pay for an extra foursome or two at $1,500 a pop.
Yes, it’s possible for those contractors to donate directly to the Southwestern College Foundation – which Nick Alioto oversees – four times per event. And they can “win” face-time with the same administrators who can help them “win” big fat college contracts.
And in case you’ve forgotten…
These same contractors are the same people donating to the reelection campaigns of our Governing Board incumbents Yolanda Salcido, Terri Valladolid, and Jorge Dominguez. It also bears repeating that Yolanda and Terri are the incumbents that Nick Alioto held a wine-and-cheese fundraiser for, and that Superintendent Raj Chopra has been fundraising openly for Jorge.
So I ask again… Where the hell is the district attorney?
The work has been done for you. Now how about just investigating it?
Friday, October 29, 2010
But, hey! It's what I do. If you find out about any others, make sure you let me know - and I'll do my part to make everyone know.
Now, let's finish what we started in Part One.
(Oh, hey! Did you see our video response to the administration's claim that anyone who opposed them was extremists? You haven't? Well, go here and let's solve that problem!)
TERRI VALLADOLID AND JORGE DOMINGUEZ ARE BOTH BLASTED FOR ELECTION IMPROPRIETIES
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) cited Terri Valladolid, Friends of Terri Valladolid, Evita Valladolid, and Elena L. Pascual – the board member, her controlled committee, and the committee’s treasurers, for failing to file six semi-annual campaign statements. The size of the fine - $1200.
Do you want to see it for yourself? Visit the FPPC site here. It’s a non-standard web address, but I’ve used it several times with no trouble.
Do you want to know Terri's campaign donations, debts, the totals in the war chest, and how much gravy those out-of-town contractors have ladled onto her plate? Terri’s election information here.
Jorge, on the other hand, has only been late filing – as opposed to failing to file. But he was late filing his FPPC ID number – and was nine or ten days late with his required 460 pre-election statement of October 1 through October 16. This is all basic election work due of all candidates spending a minimum of $1000, and should be part of So You Wanna Get Elected 101.
Jorge’s election information is here.
And isn’t it really weird that, according to information that she filed, Yolanda Salcido loaned $3000 to Pearl Quinones for 79th State Assembly 2010 – without any explanation required by the FPPC? I’m not certain if floating “loans” from one candidate to another is legal in California – but it sure is odd, particularly with the incomplete information she filed about it. Even more because a loan at this time of year would mean that she was helping Ms. Quinones pay off a previous campaign debt.
So is it any wonder that Pearl Quinones is one of the few people that will endorse Yolanda?
And keeping with the theme…
YOLANDA SALCIDO CROSSES THE 100K MARK IN CONTRACTOR PAY-TO-PLAY FUNDS – AND CONTINUES TO SEND YOUR TAX DOLLARS TO PASADENA
It was reported this week that the contractors and builders of Big Construction have now put over $100,000 in Yolanda’s war chest. And, lest ye forget, these are the same contractors who line up in front of these very board incumbents to hold out their hands for fat, fat contracts.
It would be a little less worse if all that taxpayer bond money was staying in South County. But lots and lots and lots of that money gets sent to contractors in places which are not in the SWC district.
Design Acquisition Corporation is out of Fremont. Consulting & Inspection Services, LLC is from Valley Center. Seville Construction Services, Inc. – the “point” company in the whole corner-lot construction project – is from Pasadena.
Yes, Yolanda Salcido has managed to outsource both jobs and tax dollars – to folks who are helping pay for her huge “can I buy that seat?” campaign.
Yolanda’s election information is here.
RAJ CHOPRA STARTS FUNDRAISING FOR JORGE DOMINGUEZ
Following in the deep footsteps of his duplicitous underling, Nick Alioto, Raj Chopra decided to use his office to directly help raise funds for Jorge Dominguez. It’s clear to everyone that these two men will literally do anything to try to keep their jobs.
Peddling influence and face time to fundraisers is a time-tested method of doing so. It’s just a shame that these creeps wanted to look back so far to this unique form of “inspiration.”
Here's what appears to be an internal memo passed around that proves Chopra's involvement in active fundraising.
AND FOR THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT THINGS LIKE QUALITY AND HIGH STANDARDS, THE SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE SUN WINS… YES, MORE AWARDS
On October 22, SCEA President Andy MacNeill circulated this bombshell release:
For the sixth consecutive year Southwestern College’s student newspaper, The Sun, was named America’s best community college newspaper by the National Newspaper Association at is annual convention in Omaha, Nebraska. The Sun was ranked #2 in America for all university and college newspapers, finishing just behind the University of Utah. SWC was ranked #1 for all college and university newspapers last year and three out of the last five years by the NNA.
Student journalists from SWC followed up that announcement by winning 39 awards at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges conference in Fullerton, one shy of the conference record held by Southwestern. SWC won the top awards for both its print newspaper and on-line publication. Three days later the San Diego Press Club presented The Sun and 26 of its staff members a total of 67 awards at its annual Excellence in Journalism banquet at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. The Press Club awards – a record total – were presented in collegiate and professional categories.
Earlier this fall the Society of Professional Journalists presented eight national awards to Southwestern journalism students in Washington, D.C. and 21 regional commendations. The Sun was also named America’s top community college newspaper by the America Scholastic Press Association and received top honors from the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association, California College Media Association and the Associated Collegiate Press this year.
“The South Bay can be very proud of its students for representing this community and Southwestern College is such a positive way to America,” said Diana Inocencio, the editor-in-chief of the Sun. “I have never seen a harder-working, more devoted team of students. We are very proud to represent our hometowns of Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, Coronado, San Ysidro, Bonita and South San Diego across the United States.”
(Oddly enough, today La Prensa San Diego newspaper published the same story – the exact same story. And they claim to have written it, without an acknowledgement that it was either a press release or a piece written by someone else. Yet I – and many others – received that email one week ago.
Yes, that does mean that La Prensa San Diego has committed plagiarism. I wonder who they endorsed.)
Okay really, does anyone need more proof that the Southwestern College Sun is really the best community college newspaper in the United States – and one of the best on any campus?
But let’s not forget: this Governing Board stands foursquare against the Sun. So who should you trust – the students and staff of one of America’s great newspapers, or our lying, cheating, outsourcing, corrupt, for-hire incumbents?
Stand up for honesty, integrity, truthfulness, quality, intelligence, and character. Elect Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader, and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez on November 2nd.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Voices of Southwestern College have spoken, and they want you to know this. No matter how many times the administration says it, it doesn't make it true.
Watch it on YouTube here!
My thanks to all of our on-screen talent: Janet Mazzarella, Diane Gustafson, Andres Cosio, Veronica Burton, Philip Lopez, Jessica Thomas, Ed Cosio, Bobbie Tugenberg, Anthony Bradley, Jackie Thomas, Carly Hersum, John Tolli, Norma Cazares, Heidi Newhouse, John Valdez, Anne Wolf, Randy Beach and Jake.
Patricia Bradley shot, edited, and directed it. Anthony put together the music. I am responsible for the words and concepts.
The SWC Governing Board and administration are responsible for the rest of it.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
It has been a busy couple of weeks in the news for our corrupt Governing Board incumbents. While you thinking about who to elect for governor, and for positions in Congress and the Assembly, and the high school boards, and what propositions to vote “yes” or “no” on, Yolanda Salcido, Jorge Dominguez, Terri Valladolid, and Raj Chopra have been scheming and doing anything they can to buy your vote – up to and including lying, cheating, and possibly violating election laws.
SUPERINTENDENT RAJ CHOPRA SENDS OUT CAMPAIGN MATERIAL AS “OFFICIAL” SWC NEWSLETTER:
This was one of Chopra’s most shameful actions. And given his career so far, that’s quite a feat. Using the “News from SWC” newsletter, he attacked a former President without naming her – which goes right along with Jorge and Yolanda’s attempt to deflect blame from their side onto Norma Hernandez, even though WASC has blasted the Board for current actions.
He also stated that they were fully accredited, attempting to pretend that they are not on accreditation probation. He made spurious claims about the budget, the state, and layoffs.
And the worst part of all this? The school paid for this bogus newsletter. Yes, folks, your taxpayer dollars paid for Raj to send out his personal opinions in the guise of official news. This is one of these things that will almost certainly end up being investigated.
Visit the well-informed blog, Save Our SWC, for more on this – including scans of the “newsletter” itself.
And the Southwestern College Sun has an in-depth look into the controversy.
RAJ CHOPRA AND THE ADMINISTRATION OUTED FOR SPENDING (MORE) TAXPAYER MONEY ON FRIVOLOUS CELEBRATIONS
San Diego Reader firebrand Susan Luzzaro reported that Raj Chopra authorized a nearly $5000 dinner at Frida’s for administrators and contractors, using money from the Southwestern College Foundation.
From the Luzzaro piece: “Chopra is listed as a member of the foundation’s board of directors on the college’s website. Also included on the website is information about foundation expenditures: “Funds are used to build the College’s endowment, to guarantee student scholarships for future generations, to promote success, and to enrich the student experience.” (Students were not invited to Frida’s.)”
Yes, money specifically allocated for students’ success were used to wine and dine those contractors – you know, the ones who donate money of their own to try to keep our incumbents in power.
Visit here for the whole story.
JORGE DOMINGUEZ PAYS FOR A DISHONEST UNION-TRIBUNE AD AND PHIL LOPEZ CALLS HIM (AND THE U-T) ON IT
On October 21, Jorge Dominguez paid for an ad in the San Diego Union-Tribune which laid out his dishonest claims for all to see, including these greatest hits:
'We cut no classes. We laid off no employees of any kind. We reduced the number of classes by zero.'
The best line I heard about his ad was, “They spelled his name correctly. Those were the only truthful words in the ad.”
See the ad here!
I feel a need to remind people that Christians who fib as much as that advertisement fibbed should expect a visit to a particularly warm climate once they've moved on.
Former SCEA President Phil Lopez ripped into both Dominguez and the U-T:
"Many of the issues that have created "turmoil" at Southwestern College are captured in the October 21 South County section of the Union-Tribune.
Citizens are concerned about "pay for play": SWC Governing Board members have approved multi-million dollar construction contracts from developers while accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the same people.
These campaign contributions allow incumbent Board members to buy expensive advertising like the campaign ad for Jorge Dominguez that was published in this newspaper. In his ad, Dominguez takes credit for the fact that SWC is "Fully Accredited." What has been omitted from his ad is that for the first time in its 50-year history, SWC has been placed on probation by an accreditation team whose concerns center on mismanagement by top administration and the Governing Board.
More disturbing are Dominguez' statements that there were "No layoffs of employees" and "No reductions in the number of classes." These claims are untrue. Cutting classes requires laying off employees, and Dominguez should remember that he voted to cut more than 400 class sections last Spring. In fact, over the past four years, incumbent Board members have cut classes by more than 40 percent--cuts which are far deeper than at any other local community colleges.
Dominguez and other incumbent candidates have stated that these cuts were necessary because of a "budget crisis." The facts--all available from the school's own yearly report to the State--say otherwise. Fact: The Governing Board has accumulated reserves--money in the bank--more than 2 1/2 times greater than what the State Chancellor's office recommends as a "prudent minimum." Fact: During the past four years, all of them bad budget years, SWC's reserves have grown from $10 million to nearly $14 million. Fact: Board members at Southwestern College have been putting money in the bank while drastically reducing educational opportunities for students.
In another editorial, the U-T offers voters some good advice: "Don't Trust Dishonest Ads." Incumbent Board members at Southwestern College have demonstrated, time after time, that they are not worthy of our trust."
Phil Lopez, Chula Vista
I'll put up the second half of this list - the long half - tomorrow.