Funny Business in Sweetwater
I was alerted to a story by the U-T regarding scores of change orders being made to construction contracts at the Sweetwater Union High School District.
In the article, several residents raise concerns about the oversight (or lack thereof) regarding the district’s spending of Proposition O funds. Within the last few months however, there has been a Recall Ricasa blog circulating its way around various South Bay politicos (I assume much to amusement for some, consternation for others). The blog, as given by the name, is an attempt to begin a recall process on Sweetwater School Board Member (and Democrat) Arlie Ricasa.
The blog’s authors seem to have created a dedicated effort to not just highlight funny business within the Sweetwater School District, but also to paint a bleak and direct picture of Arlie Ricasa as being the main link in the corruption train in the South Bay. Now, I’m not going to spend all day telling you the stories that go on in this region of the county… a lot could be saved for a reality show that would make “The Hills” seem contrite in comparison.
However, the Recall Ricasa blog does seem to do some due diligence by providing Union-Tribune articles to posts regarding Ricasa’s FPPC investigation, recent financial woes of the MAAC Project (Ricasa serves as chair of the non-profit), and highlights other mismanagement within the Sweetwater District.
The blog writers do throw quite a few allegations of corruption at Arlie Ricasa. A few of their posts are borderline. For instance, the one with a picture of Arlie Ricasa and Hosni Mubarak is a bit much, but you look at the facts presented, and it does make the government watchdog in all of us stop and think.
I will admit, the scary bite of reality for Mrs. Ricasa is the blog’s notation of her lack of communication regarding the allegations. Her only response on record was a January 4, 2011 quote to the U-T saying that the investigations between the MAAC Project and her own were separate, and that she’s “not dealing with the day-to-day details.”
As a voter, I would want my elected officials to provide financial oversight (whether its for a non-profit or a government agency), and I’d want them to get involved in the day-to-day details. Arlie Ricasa’s own admission that she’s not involved was bad form on her part and knowing her election history — she may decide to run for higher office again — any of her future political opponents should take notice of this blog.
When someone is elected into office, every day is like reciting the Miranda rights: everything that is there in black and white can (and will) be used against them. For Arlie Ricasa, this becomes especially true.