Last year, when leaders of the Sweetwater Union High School District filled three high-ranking positions, they didn’t have to look far to find the right candidates: All three had worked for neighboring San Diego Unified.
In each case, they had help from Richard Barrera, a San Diego Unified board member who at the time also served as head of the local Labor Council.
Barrera confirmed that he made phone calls on behalf of all three employees before they were hired.
The Sweetwater school district is just now beginning to surface from controversy related to a corruption probe that ousted four of five school board members in 2014.
Last year, at least one parent saw the hiring spree as more of the same behavior that caused the initial problems: “(This) sends the message that the environment of cronyism and nepotism has not changed in Sweetwater,” the Chula Vista parent told trustees.
Barrera said there was nothing untoward about the calls he made. He saw the openings in Sweetwater as a good opportunity for employees he has worked with and knows well.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Watch for the heroes you wish for. This is not even an education or a community hero.
He opposes Charter Schools yet sits on the board of one and both his kids attend one. Strike ONE.
Being pro labor is his ONLY plus. Ball ONE.
He does not have a mind for the educational betterment of the communities. The YES vote in the leasing of the Innovations Academy site in Scripps Ranch of severely already overcrowded Schools, showed that. Strike TWO.
His 2014 vote to sell the 9.5 acre, 180 buildable units site in Point Loma to Monarch Development a devout Democrat Developer, at half the market price shows little business sense (or much political loyalty and why not, future visions of other benefits). Strike THREE.
Leasing the Scripps Ranch site to the SAME Monarch Development for a PITTANCE vs market rates is Strike FOUR.
How long will this guy be allowed to roam education halls in this town while SCREWING UP EDUCATION AND IT'S FINANCIAL FUTURE?
Anywhere else he would have been gone, long before the third strike.
Don't fool yourselves that people like Barrera help improve education. People that run their own agenda, ruin it. The teachers are generally good everywhere. What makes some areas exceptional is the parents and communities active participation in the school system, NOT the Barreras who are NO different that the religious fundamentalists they purport to fight against.
Fotis - it appears there are many kool-aid drinkers. No doubt good people who have chosen to follow the Pied Piper vs. chart their own course. I am wondering how many of those paying those Union dues have a true understanding of the PACS their dues fund?
It takes a great of time and work to research the issues our Boards face - far too many Biard members are seduced by the lure of a title and choose to follow vs lead when votes are cast - failing to do their due diligence.
Little do they realize when they loose their perceived status, they once again return to being like you, like me - simply one of us. And yes they will be remembered by the stories that were written about them - in this case a most negative light. Those that once made them feel important will forget their names and faces as they move up the chain. Those that were used - silly little people............
As one of my neighbors said yesterday after reading this story 'with what Barrera publicly stated in the Voice of San Diego about -, and -, and - who needs needs enemies - he exposed them for what they are and why they are there and it has nothing to do with education or kids'.
***** again, just my opinion
I'm sure that the Association of General Contractors appreciates this hit piece against the school board member it hates the most.
While Barrera's union affiliations are interesting, I would like to see a more comprehensive article detailing how the SD Unified School District has faired while he has served on the board. Is it's annual budget balanced? How much debt does it carry directly due to school construction bonds. How much debt does it have because of past union agreements with its teachers and staff.
If Barrera has leaned toward the interests of the teachers while serving on the board, but still helped maintain a stable financial situation for the district, I'm not sure what the problem is. On the other hand, if the school board has been driving the district's finances into a ditch, that would be more newsworthy than this particular profile article.
From its beginning the so-called labor movement (Unionization) has been about keeping out competition. First it was Negroes, women, children, and immigrants. It's done in a more sophisticated way today as the L.A. Times reports the losses of jobs due to increases in the minimum wage. The main agents provocateur of the minimum wage hike are union stewards.who have contracts that require all higher paid union members be paid a higher wage commensurate with increases in the minimum wage and to hell with everyone who loses their jobs whom are not paying union dues. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-garment-manufacturing-la-20160416-story.html Richard Barrera is right about education being the key to a higher income and knowledge of how low income people are screwed everyday by unions.
At the last board meeting, Andra Donovan reported that money had been approved, to defend San Diego Unified against a lawsuit by the Voice of San Diego.
Is this about a Public Records Request?
Barrera should have stuck with what he knew. Labor..Break a few legs, twist a few arms...not much to know.
But for him to choose his personal puppet, his friend, the woman he said was like Rosa Parks and Cesar Chavez rolled into one, Cindy Marten...I'll pause while you go back to the above picture...Barrera gazing into Marten's eyes...
Yet, as her personal puppeteer, he knowing nothing about education, the result, over three years..has been devastating.
First, Cindy fired Mitzi Lizaraga, at Foster's request. Cindy never held accountable by the board for this crime.
Cindy fired a hundred plus principals, hiring incompetent replacements, she proposed "voodoo education" with the wave of her magic wand.
She destroyed the Language Learner program.
Marten hired her best friend and principal with the lowest test scores in the district, Cruella "Staci" DeVille, to run the district, ...with a reign of terror.
Barrera...Puppeteers should know how to direct their puppets. You are a failure at that.
Well, it appears Mr. Barrera has confirmed what the SUHSD community has been saying for months - a true substantiated influence of SD Unified on SUHSD - THANK YOU MR BARRERA!!!! SUHSD Board members, looks like Mr. Barrera sort of ambushed you all - no longer will certain Board members be able to sit up there on the dais and claim no relationships with SD Unified and or the Labor he represents. Again, THANK YOU MR. BARRERA!!!!!!
This community fought hard for campaign reform a few years back, we stood arm in arm with Labor sickened over the influence big money had on our School Board elections. Then after we accomplish a $750.00 limit what happens? A PAC is formed and big Union dollars flow into our last elections. Legal - YES, ethical - you be the judge.
Campaign promises - oh we heard lot of them - Forensic Audit, Term Limits, Maintenance & Facilities reform, and a new ethical Superintendent. Happy to report WE DID 1 - an ethical Superintendent, whose primary focus is a quality education for our children. So, it looks like we are 1 out of 4. The price tag of Term Limits concerns certain members of the Board, yet these same Board members didn't even blink at the price tag of a new BOND.
Now if you ask certain members of our Board a PLA is the answer to the MAJOR concerns this community has regarding Maintenance, Facilities and Construction. According to a few of them changes have been made. Hopefully the soon to be released Prop O Audit will substantiate that claim (but dont bet your childs college education fund on it).
And then there is the new BOND that Mr. Segura is fighting hard for. Even after a presentation indicating there was not enough time, even after District personnel stated they are currently over worked - he is pushing for a new BOND to be brought back to the Board. Will he be able to vote on such a BOND? HMMMMMMMMM
And so, today is a sad day in SUHSD territory - because we see, while this communities hard work did accomplish a new Board - in truth, the 'majority' of them, are simple clones of what we had in the past. While there is much discussion of the positive attributes of one of them and the good intentions of another - NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED IN SWEETWATER TERRITORY - HOW SAD IS THAT!!!!
While some will attempt to paint me as anti Union, nothing could be further from the truth. i support and recognize their value - what I do speak against is undue influence and the attempt of the majority of this Board to paint a portrait of who they are, who they are there for and what they represent.
How on Gods green earth can certain Board members look at themselves in the mirror knowing they have become users vs. servers? Surely our students deserve better representation, surely we taxpayers have earned the right to have quality
representation. And while 1 of ours has publicly stated 'he doesn't care what people think', WITH ALL DUE RESPECT - HE SHOULD!
I agree, 100 %... Pro Union, but against personally ambitious egotists, who disregard the needs of both children and workers.
@Anniej Special interest groups that hijack public funds for their own benefit do seem to come in all shapes and sizes. We who maintain concerns over Sweetwater's future do see problems here. I know that unions are an important part of what makes things work here in the US, but too much power is too much power.
Sweetwater still needs that forensic audit. Sweetwater needs strong bond Oversight Committees. Sweetwater needs the school board members to cooperate with what the public is asking for. Should we approve another bond now. Absolutely not. I for one believe that there should be a citizen's group that studies all the past bonds from the past 20 or so years, comparing what was built against what was claimed would be done.
Why is it that the same projects keep reappearing in bond proposals, yet never get done?
We also need a Bond Oversight Committee for all Mello-Roos funds. It is a complete disgrace and shame that those funds have been used in ways that are clearly against all the rules and regulations--but--there apparently exists no entity that is capable of taking responsibility for the enforcement of the Mello-Roos rules and regulations. I guess it is all just a big splash fund for fun and games at the district?
SoCal - you raise many of the concerns that continue to cause the community to question their votes. Concerns regarding the financial stability - while we were advised Forensic would be too expensive, where is the increased Financial Audit Scope we would have expected Paula Hall to call for - not a word. Her answer, Mr. Kowba is now part of the Audit Subcommittee she heads - Kowba, as in SD Unified Kowba. Mello funds intermingled way back when - 2 1/2 years ago we were told break out would take 2 months. Prop O Audit of LAST YEAR recommended changes. - well, this years is in and the community is anxiously awaiting the results. Hopefully it will notify us changes have been made and things are on the right track - however with Paula Hall's recent Board meeting comments,indicating positive changes have been made, of which Kevin Pike concurred - if there has not been progress - well that too will be on the shoulders of Ms. Hall as she also 'sat' on the Facilities Subcommittee AND stated publicly at a separate Board meeting - she had accomplished what she set out to do, in reference to the PLA vote - so she would no longer be on that committee. Facilities/Maintenance community members, NOT THE BOARD, exposed there has been no Best Practices for Warranties - millions of dollars later the community exposes it - where was the self education of the Board, why didn't they uncover it? All of the PLA new BOND preparation I am sure.
So here we sit close to a year and a half in of the new Board being elected and we have little to show for it, not that a Superintendent who is admired and trust is unimportant.
What this story has laid out is simple THE MAJORITY OF THE BOARD (who have connections with Mr. Barrera) have been far too focused on promoting Big Labor vs. honoring their promises to we the tax paying voters.
The community now makes reference to the 'Odd Man Out' - the 1 Board member who walks to the beat of his own drum. A Board member who appears to dislike the taste of kool-aid and chooses instead PURE CLEAN WATER!
***as always just my opinions, and yes I know what they say about opinions.