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School district's attorney attempts to silence critic Robert Moreno | Wed, Jul 17 2013 02:12 PM

An attorney for the Sweetwater Union High School District alleges that a letter to the editor authored by Kevin O'Neill has libelous and malicious content toward one of its board members.

Daniel Shinoff, an attorney for the district and appointed by Dr. Ed Brand, sent a cease and desist notice to O'Neill and his attorney Sean Cahill, which contends that a letter published July 5 in The Star-News contains false and damaging statements.

“Included in the letter were false statements intended to harm the reputation of Mr. McCann including accusations of abandonment of a military position and a false accounting of the events at the last school board meeting,” Shinoff’s letter states.

McCann said in an interview that O’Neill is maliciously attacking his military service.

“He is making libelous statements about my military service, which has nothing to do with the school board,” McCann said.

O'Neill's July 5 letter read, in part:

"Secondly, the ready abandonment by a Reserve Naval officer of his duty station (the Board meeting of 17 June) to pursue a bogus agenda — "theft" of a $2.50 three-year old campaign sign is repugnant."

The cease and desist notice comes after O'Neill's attorney last week delivered a letter to board president Jim Cartmill seeking to censure McCann in anticipation of legal action against McCann.

Cahill wrote at the time:

“Therefore, prior to seeking legal redress against Mr. McCann, Kevin O'Neill herby requests the Board to immediately censure John McCann and adopt a resolution not to pay for his indemnity or defense related to this matter as a result of Mr. McCann's 1) abuse of process: 2) improper posting of a campaign sign and 3) his inappropriate conduct in abandoning the June 17, 2013 board meeting…”

McCann called the censure "frivolous."

O'Neill said he doesn't want the district involved because this is an issue between him and McCann.

"I don't think it's proper that the district defend him," O’Neill said.

O'Neill's attorney said in the letter that O'Neill is trying to repair his reputation from a school board incident in which McCann called the police on him for allegedly stealing a campaign sign.

"As the result of Mr. McCann’s outrageous, malicious and inappropriate conduct, Mr. O’Neill has suffered damages to his personal and professional reputation as well as related economic damages,” the letter states.

O’Neill is a member of the district’s bond oversight committee.

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John Brickley Says:

Fri, Jul 19 2013 08:52 AM

As an elected public official, John McCann has an obligation to not only represent the public, but also the lend voice to their concerns and desires for a responsible government.

Month after month, the school board meetings are crowded with frustrated, disappointed, and fed-up petitioners who have come to believe John McCann does not, nor has he ever represented their best interests. All too sadly, John McCann has proven himself to place his own agenda above that of the public.

The public wants schools that work and are safe for children to attend. The public also wants sound fiscal policies and results with the taxpayer's money. John McCann just wants his sign back. To hell with the public.


Fran Brinkman Says:

Fri, Jul 19 2013 08:40 AM

I as a tax payer do not want to continue to pay for McCann antics that get him into legal problems. It's obvious that Mr. mcCann has some serious issues. The constant agitation with a member of the public is getting out of hand.My tax dollars have already been abused over his imagined threat by Stewart Payne and the ridiculous law suit that he lost. Over $6,000 of our monies. If McCann had to pay his own way this would stop. Thanks for your attempts Mr. O'Neill to make McCann pay his own way,but Brand owes him because of the Grand Jury testimony. I bet the board wasn't even asked. Alas it probably would have been a 4:1 vote anyway.


anniej Says:

Thu, Jul 18 2013 08:46 PM

It is clearly evident that what sets O'Neill apart from Mc Cann are several things. Leadership ability is at the top of the list - O'Neill not only speaks his mind, but will take the time to back it up with clear succinct facts. If one takes the time to review the comments he has made both at BOC and board meetings one will find that he is a true fiscal conservative when it comes to our tax dollars. He supports quality education for all, and as evidenced in his words believes tax dollars should be spent in the classroom. He is blatant when asking for back up, conclusive evidence to support agendized district expenditures. I am at a loss as to why his logical thinking is seen as a threat to Brand and certain board members. I have no doubt that IF Brand AND the majority of the board would take the time to listen to O'Neill they would learn a few things. But that is the problem, in my opinion, if one does not TOTALLY agree with Brand and the majority of the board they are seen as the enemy. O'Neill is NOT the enemy, he appears to simply want to return SUHSD to the respectful district it once was vs. the school district involved in the largest alleged corruption cases in San Diego's history.


sosocal Says:

Thu, Jul 18 2013 01:37 PM

When this community has real issues to deal with, real problems, and very real leadership issues within the Sweetwater Union High School District, once again we are being brought off track by one John McCann, poster boy for the "Me First" brigade of self-indulgent goldbrickers. Mr. McCann loves to promote himself, but can anyone actually point to one thing he has accomplished? Can one thing be named? I didn't think so. Except, that is, for creating public stirs that take up time, energy and public funds. Talk about a lack of self-awareness...coupled by a completely out of whack self-concept, that would be Mr. McCann. If he had one iota of an inkling of a clue of what he is supposed to be doing on the Sweetwater Board, it would be an improvement. As it is, he is good at rubber-stamping what Mr. Brand wants. I guess he must think it will pay off for himself sometime down the line. Because what he has done so far hasn't done the students any good.


anniej Says:

Wed, Jul 17 2013 04:28 PM

What continues to be frivolous is/was Mr. Mccanns CONSTANT need for attention.

Unless you are from another planet Mr.O'Neill made it perfectly clear that the post Mccann abandoned was his seat on the dais during a very important presentation on school security and the safety of our students at a school board meeting. Four freakin cars showed up to take possession of an outdated, allegedly illegally placed campaign sign. Yet here he is once again crying 'victim'. In my opinion, it is crystal clear to the residents of the South Bay that Mr. Mccann does not have the emotional where with all to serve in the capacity of any office. He appears to be emotionally not strong enough to listen to, and then take into consideration opposing opinions. Perhaps someone should take Mccann aside and give him the 411 the elections are next year John, we have not made it to 2014 yet.

As a taxpayer I am concerned that Mr. Mccann, once again, is costing the taxpayer monies. The letter Mr. O'Neill received cost money, and our wallets are where those monies came from. The same wallets that paid for PRO that was taken to court AND TROWN OUT BY THE JUDGE i might add - and it cost us over $6k. Fiscal conservative???? In my opinion Mccann presents himself again as weak. NOT what I am looking for in a political representative.

As I sit here I am reminded of the promises Mccann made. You all heard them - the promises of.reform, transparency, a return to fiscal responsibility. But alas I forgot this is the man who is known for his questionable behavior and his little red camera (remember the Hilltop meeting?). Alas, his history on the board could have been so different, if only, yes, if only he would have lived up to all of his promises. He let 'the gandara' go BUT he brought back Brand.

As a side note - confirmed that there is an Alliant SUHSD meeting tomorrow with the president of Alliants office. Signing of MOU? And to think how many of us stood up at that microphone just three days ago at the board meeting and asked questions, yet Mr. Jim Cartmill answered not a one, nor did he announce the meeting tomorrow.

Ever get the feeling we are getting PUNKED?

The words above were my opinion, yes, the opinion of one of the alleged antagonists


Maty Adato Says:

Wed, Jul 17 2013 03:31 PM

Why is it that when Mr McCann is accused of childish behavior he has to remind everyone if his military service. Aren't graduations and promotions enough for us to be reminded of this. His behavior was unacceptable at this meeting.


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