Bernardo Vasquez Opposes Transparency – Bond Oversight Member Yet to Disclose Finances and Potential Conflicts of Interest

Southern Exposure Southern Exposure 18 Comments


As of October 15th, 2012, Bernardo Vasquez, an insurance salesman, still has not turned in a statement of economic interest (Form 700) with the Sweetwater Union High School District.

The School District in an effort to increase transparency started requiring Proposition O Bond Oversight Committee Members to turn in Statements of Economic Interest this year. These statements were due by September 30th. Committee members were given ample notice about the requirement and the committee itself voted in agreement with this new policy. At the October 15th, 2012 School Board meeting Vazquez blasted the trusteesm resisting the notion that being involved in a $644 million bond of public money required him to disclose his financial dealings. His message: If the Board didn’t think he did a good job, then they should remove him.

The School District was rocked by several scandals involving Prop O contractors while Vasquez was the president of the Bond Oversight Committee. Vasquez seemed to be asleep at the switch during his tenure. Now that the scandals have become public and efforts like turning in financial disclosures to the District are required, he has now become a divisive vocal critic of the District.

Many questions loom from Vasquez’s lack of financial disclosure. The community calls for complete transparency of Vasquez’s finances. How would the public know if Vasquez was or wasn’t wined and dined by contractors without the required disclosure? A complete list of Vasquez’s clients should be made public. Who are his clients and are any of them contractors, employees of contractors, politicians, current or former high ranking officials at the Sweetwater District?

The community demands to know this information. Vasquez needs to come clean. If not, the School Board should remove him.


Comments 18

  1. Sigh–yet another attempt to discredit the very people who are trying to bring transparency and legitimacy back to Sweetwater.

    The disinformation is flying fast and thick these days, and fortunately the public is catching on.

    Brand himself (or perhaps, “his eminence” as he might prefer to be called) as been on both sides of the form 700 issue.

    As Brand and his band of merry men are starting to see that the public knows they steal from the public and give to themselves–not even close to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor–they take measures that are seen to be more and more desperate as they strive to hang onto those perks of position and authority.

    Go ahead, keep trying to smear the honest citizens who are speaking up for the taxpayers of Sweetwater.

    It might all just become evidence when all the truth becomes public knowledge.

  2. southern exposure: Mr. Vasquez BEGAN the waving of the yellow flag regarding the alleged corruption at sweetwater school district – you know the one that involves all of those contractors that john mccann and jim cartmill took campaign contributions from. i.e. jim cartmill took $30 k from the management company who recently plead guilty, and john mccan took contributions from paul bunton’s company another person who plead guilty – so the real question is why didn’t jim cartmill and john mccann stand up for the communities tax dollars that were being squandered? well, it appears they, jim cartmill and john mccann were BENEFITTING from the alleged corruption wouldn’t you agree? think about it why would any contractor pour monies into board members campaign? – i am thinking it was part of the PAY TO PLAY scandal which resulted in the indictments. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO GO TO S.D. REGISTRAR OF VOTERS AND PREVIEW THE MONIES THESE TWO RECEIVED – as well as arlie ricasa, in the last election. now, for the record the donations and the acceptance is not illegal, however very unethical, wouldn’t you agree?

    so……i am wondering why southern exposure failed to document for the reader WHAT financial gain Mr. Vasquez has received – the answer would be NONE!!!!!!!!!

    let us take a trip back thru time when sweetwater was the focus of a grand jury investigation under the tenure of ed brand and jim cartmill. and arlie ricasa. there are those names again, jim cartmill and arlie ricasa – current board members who consistently appear to vote as a block with john mccann. newly found info points to PAY TO PLAY even back then.

    john mccann, what happened to that white horse he was riding when he claimed he would ride in and clean up the district? this past monday night john mccann and jim cartmill refused to delay a vote that would have included a limit on campaign donation contributions. i am waiting for your response southern exposure ————– or perhaps you might care to comment on mccann’s reported meeting with alevy – hmmm another key player in the PAY TO PLAY scandal.

    Mr. Vasquez is highly respected by the South Bay community – he has stood up for the taxpayers bond monies AND MELLO ROOS monies – why have john mccann and jim cartmill refused to do so? under their leadership ed brand met with bernardo vasquez and appeared to want to persuade that borrowing from prop o was a good thing – why would mccan and cartmill allow such a thing?

    much attention is being paid to our current BOC – THEY are being hailed as an example of what BOC’s should be. members of our BOC have been asked to sit on the state advisory BOC panel – funny you failed to mention that in your rhetoric – but then why would i ever want to expect facts? as i was educated by Thor in my last posting that comments such as this are NOT news stories, they are opinions – and we all know what they say about opinions right?

    southern exposure – perhaps you might want to check out the FACTS that i referred to and ‘holla back’

    Mr. Vasquez, the community knows the truth about what is going on – members of the BOC have no authority to hire or to fire contractors, unlike mccann, cartmill, ricasa, and ed brand. no doubt ‘little man who wants to be king’ sees your integrity as a threat. rather than trying to tear you down he should be congratulating you on going to the authorities – perhaps that is the problem, you did what he did not have the integrity to do…………….

    and these have been my opinions sprinkled with PERTINENT DOCUMENTED FACTS………………………………….

  3. What is Vasquez hiding? We all know he was hand picked by Dr. Gandara to do his bidding on the Bond oversight committee. If the other members are willing to disclose their financial dealing then why not this guy? Seems like he is hiding something

  4. Asleep at the switch is an understatement! I have been following the School Board and the issues with the Bond. I would describe his performance as a deer in the headlights. Bernardo was in the thick of all the problems as the President and was appointed by Gandara. He’s been on the committee for almost four years and we never heard a peep from him until after all the issues were exposed. Now he is scrambling calling for transparency for others, but none for himself. The height of hypocrisy.

    At meetings he didn’t even seem to understand basic finance and bond concepts. These potions should have some requirements, like knowing how to read a balance statement and understanding finance. These positions should be NOT be political appointments like Bernardo. Also there needs to be tighter ethics controls to get rid of people like Bernardo when they are not willing to provide full financial disclosure to the public.

  5. Thousands of politicians and public servants up and down the state fill out a 700 form to provide transparency in handling decisions regarding public money. By not turning in his 700 form to the school district it sends the wrong message. It leaves him open to questions about his role, if any in the corruption regarding contractors at Sweetwater. In my opinion I have long believed that Mr. Vasquez has questionable ethics. The lack of disclosure confirms my suspicions about him in my mind.

  6. So, we have heard from the “Amen Corner”!

    It is amazing to me that all of a sudden, the biggest issue in Sweetwater isn’t Brand’s overly generous compensation package, or his unilateral decisions which send the entire district scrambling to cope with busing problems, enrollment problems and extreme disorganization….or even his history of high-handedness and inability to discuss matters without losing his temper.

    And no, the biggest issue isn’t the fact that two board members are under indictment–oh no…

    Suddenly, the biggest issue has to do with filling out a form that is not a requirement for being a committee member for Bond Oversight. So let’s just ask why that may be–could it be that having a functional Bond Oversight Committee scares the living daylights out of Brand, Cartmill, McCann, Ricasa and Quinones?

    Those of us who have seen all the smokescreen maneuvers before know full well that they are the methods of cowards and cheap discreditors of the ethical and hardworking citizens doing their level best to do right by the citizens of the Sweetwater UHSD.

    To simplify for those who are better acquainted with the “Spark Notes” version of education–cheap tricks won’t fool us, as we happen to really know who is trying to hide what.

  7. Wow, what crap again. This has to be the most uninformed paper paper in San Diego. I suggest that the readers get the true whole story by listening to the Sweetwater Board meeting tape available in disc form or pull it up on your computer at your leisure. Then you can make an informed decision about what really happened. The smear tactics that this paper puts out for little man McCann is really offensive. It appears that Bernardo has gotten to McCann again, poor John. Could anyone tell me why McCann is taking Burt Grossman to all the football games and social events, knowing about the book that Grossman wrote. That is truly scary. Maybe people should take a look at that. It certainly tells you a lot about Grossman and anyone who would support him. Truly a disgusting book.

  8. 1) One of Rostra’s own was nominated for a Taxpayer’s Association Media Watchdog award for a story here on some of the alleged corruption in Sweetwater, before the raids and indictments. We’ve had other posts about that ongoing saga.

    2) Is this the biggest issue in Sweetwater? Likely no, but we don’t necessarily specialize in stories that already receive significant coverage in the mainstream media. Every regular Rostra reader is well aware of the corruption investigation and indictments, because Rostra readers see the mainstream press and follow politics. What we often do cover are items of interest that may not be seen elsewhere.

    3) The corruption indictments, last we checked, don’t involved McCann and Cartmill. Fact.

    4) The post is clearly a combination of opinion and fact. At no point does it express that Vasquez is corrupt. It clearly states that documenting his financial interests is of the author’s interest and in the interest of the community.

    5) It would seem that a release of Vasquez financial interests would prove to the community there are no conflicts on his part. Are we missing something?

  9. I do not claim to be an expert, but with regard to #5 on your list, Thor’s Assistant, there is something you have apparently missed.

    You might wish to reread anniej’s post. Mr. Vasquez is an unpaid volunteer, who has pointed out problems with Prop O funds, and has requested further information from Brand and the Board of Trustees. The Bond Oversight Committee has received little to no cooperation from Brand and the Board with regard to all the records they need to do their job as completely and accurately as they would like to do it.

    Attacking the honesty of people who are honest can be interpreted as, well, not an act of the highest order.

    As Ed Brand’s opinion regarding the use of the 700 form seems to vacilate with the very winds that blow, perhaps Mr. Brand should clarify why he wants the form now, but didn’t in the past. If he can formulate his thoughts without sputtering and turning red, that is.

    Cheap tricks will always be cheap tricks, no matter how trumped up they may be.

  10. This is a well written article and raises important questions about someone who had oversight of $644 million of public money. I hated Dr. Gandara and it was the best thing when the Board got rid of him. Brinkman, Janney and their harem of hate have no credibility when they oppose good government solutions like financial disclosure.

    PS. Dr. Brand is doing a great job cleaning up the mess in our schools created by Bertha Lopez and Dr. Gandara.

  11. Well Thor, they can sign a no conflict of interest form. I took the recommendation of listening to the tapes of this meeting — holy crap there is no control. A lady spoke (don’t remember the name) but she said that BOC are not legally obligated to file this form since they do not make any decision. This is very true, they are volunteers and nothing else and this woman also states that if they require this committee to file than they better require every parent who participates in any district organization that makes decisions. Reading all the posts and articles on this district I wouldn’t file any of my personal information. They might end up with a horses head in their bed.

  12. so let us analyze this issue – how does southern exposure know that Mr. Vasquez has not filled out the 700 form as of october 15th? surely southern exposure is not speaking directly to brand, surely ed brand is not southern exposure, surely ed brand is not attempting to intimidate a BOC member who refused to bless the continued borrowing of prop o funds.

    this BOC issue has gotten the attention of many inquiring minds, i am reminded of this type of attack when others were speaking to the authorities regarding ‘the gandara’. there were similar attacks on those who tried to end ‘the gandara’ reign, that information too was discussed with the authorities and it appears they saw such attacks as most troubling.

    why are ‘certain persons’ afraid of persons like Mr. Vasquez raising legitimate issues regarding bond tax dollars? WHAT ARE THESE ‘CERTAIN PERSONS’ TRYING TO HIDE? i am thinking that the state boc board will be very interested in this posting by southern exposure – wondering if they will see it as intimidation. more bad press, surely this is not what brand wants…………….

    attacks such as this one only strengthen the resolve of those who seek to restore honor to the sweetwater district.

    Gordo, Tifffany, and Jose – as a side note – i am curious about your thoughts regarding brand double dipping – you know the same double dipping so many of you are against? i am curious how you feel about brand being given a 2 year contract (he is now 58) a part of which states that WE, THE TAXPAYERS, will continue to pay for his medical, dental and vision benefits UNTIL THE FREAKIN’ AGE OF 66 – when he is eligible for medicare? yes, no doubt ed brand is thanking john mccann, jim cartmill and arlie ricasa for that sweet deal. so,,,,, Gordo, Tiffany, and Jose – what say you to these FACTS?

    storing up on my red licorice – i will have a front row seat at the trials – yes it took persons who align themselves with the integrity of Mr. Vasquez to shine the light on the alleged corruption at sweetwater – again i ask why weren’t john mccann and jim cartmill leading the charge – why were they instead taking huge amounts of monies in campaign donations from the very contractors who have plead guilty and will testify in the upcoming trials? why do they continue to fight against campaign donation reform? yes why? no doubt some of what will be shared will be about the campaign donations
    given to board members, even those who were not indicted.

    Gordo, Tiffany, Jose – why weren’t any of you involved in meeting with the authorities about the alleged corruption?

  13. Thor:

    1- one of your own nominated for a Taxpayer Media Association Watchdog award for a story. might i ask the name of the person and the title of the story?

    2- i would love to see a story (comment) on ed brand’s newest contract on this web site. dare ya (ha ha)

    3- you are correct Sir the ‘current’ indictments do NOT include john mccann or jim cartmill. surely, the revelations regarding the many thousands of dollars into their campaigns will bring forth interesting facts at the trial. i look forward to those revelations being addressed here.

    4- where are the members of the community who demand to know. NONE of them are showing up or speaking up at the board meetings, – NOT EVEN SOUTHERN EXPOSURE, perhaps they are worried about their reputations if they were viewed to be aligned with certain board members.

    in the mean time the community of the South Bay stands firmly behind Mr. Vasquez. we show up, stand up and speak up – to/at the board meetings and BOC meetings. we are not embarrassed to support persons of integrity publicly.

  14. Maria, interesting that you attempt to paint Ms. Lopez with the same brush as ‘the gandara’ – truth be told it was jim cartmill and arlie ricasa who flew to socorro, texas and brought ‘the gandara’ here. truth be told it was Ms. Lopez who met with DA and blew the whistle on ‘the gandara’ – (see UT pdf files for verification) early on. truth is when members of the community went before the board to ask for help they were ignored – the only board member to listen was Lopez.

    brand cleaning up the mess? perhaps we are speaking of a different brand – i am speaking of the brand who resigned a month before the tax paying public was told. brand abandoned the students of the south bay OVER MONEY – he is now one of the highest paid supers in the nation – all thanks to john mccann, jim cartmill and arlie ricasa. where are all of you fiscal conservatives on this issue, have you even read his contract?

    and,,,,,,,,, what about the mello roos monies being borrowed to keep the district afloat? Mr. Vasquez would not agree with brand that borrowing from prop o was a good thing to do and look where it got him. now that Vasquez is raising the yellow flag about the mello roos monies there is retaliation. yes folks, ONLY AT SWEETWATER.

  15. Oh by the way Maria if you actually knew how this committee worked then your comment would be warranted. The only ones that make decisions regarding the $644 million bond is strictly the board of trustees. The oversight committee has nothing to gain or to lose. People before you make comments, even you Thor make sure you state facts and not innuendo.

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