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Santa's little helper is watching Carlos Davalos | Sat, Sep 28 2013 12:00 PM

When my knee jerked it smacked my jaw, which had dropped to the floor after reading a story by Susan Luzarro on the San Diego Reader website.

Luzarro wrote that Sweetwater Union High School District staff this week had withdrawn a request to fund a private investigation firm, ESI International Inc., which has already performed at least $65,172 worth of services at the behest of Superintedent Ed Brand.

It wasn’t the cost, or the request for an additional $100,000, that had my eyes bulging. Instead it was the revelation that an investigator had paid a visit to a member of the community who has been consistently critical of the superintenent and the board.

“According to (Kathleen) Cheers, the investigator wanted to know where she obtained the information she used to make a point at a bond meeting,” Luzarro wrote.

Yikes! I’ve watched enough TV shows and movies to know that when a dick comes sniffing around your home, someone’s in trouble.

But after sleeping on it, my apprehension gave way to relief.

I believe Brand’s consulting firm is doing work for Santa. He isn’t using ESI to spy on political enemies, real or imagined. Instead he has hired them as subcontractors to check who has been naughty and who has been nice.

Given that we’re on the cusp of holiday season, it makes perfect sense! Kris Kringle must have farmed out research and inquisiton to the lowest bidder. And Brand probably came in with a winning proposal.

Sure, there is a giant loose end, like why would the district pay for Santa ops? But that hole in my theory can be filled in later.

Given that the district has had problems with employees in the past — teachers busted for inappropriate behavior, cafeteria workers allegedly stealing from the workplace — it’s not unreasonable to discover the district may have hired an investigative firm to conduct background checks or even criminal investigations.

As to why ESI and company would spend time talking to a non-employee about a public matter ... well, that’s another hole that can be filled in later.

I know that to buy my theory you have to suspend disbelief and have faith in magic and Santa Claus. But what’s the alternative? Believing that a school district would spend tax dollars checking up on people who frequently question or challenge their policies and decisions? Surely whoever would commission that study would go right to the top of the naughty list.

Fortunately, Santa LLC contracted with a public entity, so once all the appropriate contracts and reports are brought to light we’ll learn who has been bad, who has been good and why.

It won’t be long. As of today there are only 88 days until Christmas.

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sosocal Says:

Thu, Oct 03 2013 11:48 AM

Can we please make sure that all the scheduled material witnesses will be available for the upcoming trials? I would sure hate to find out someone is on an around-the-world cruise when they are scheduled to appear...not that anyone associated with the compound mess that is Sweetwater would ever try to evade or avoid anything.

Would they? Why would they?

Fran brinkman Says:

Thu, Oct 03 2013 07:34 AM

Cartmill is the great pretender. He is totally on board with what ever Brand does. People should not be shocked, he has always been a wlolf in sheeps clothing. Between Cartmill and Brand they will need a new bond to get us out of debt.

sosocal Says:

Mon, Sep 30 2013 07:45 PM

I like your theory, Mr. Davalos.

It does give Ed Brand the benefit of the doubt.

And while it might be only 88 or 87 days until Christmas, how many days is it until the 15 indicted ones go to trial?

When the songs are being sung, will Ed Brand join in the chorus? Will he be singing a solo? Or will he have checked into the infirmary with a case of laryngitis? or sudden onset memory lapses?

bernardo vasquez Says:

Sun, Sep 29 2013 01:45 PM

Its unfortunate that Ed Brand sees a need to spend close to $200,000 for a private investigator to do internal investigations, much less investigating a community member. Spending this much money outside of the classroom when there are so many needs in this cash strapped district just shows where Ed Brands priorities are - not with the kids, but in intimidating his own employees and community members. Its time for Ed Brand to go!!

anniej Says:

Sun, Sep 29 2013 12:23 PM

A very important point that needs to be made regarding this story is the following: Cheers addressed the board regarding the PI showing up at her door - Ed Brand had sent him. While she had told the Bind Iversight Committee members and Calhoun, the SUHSD facilities in charge person, how she had found the info on their website she thoughtbitnwas important to SHOW Jim Cartmill the date stamped info - Cartmill could not be bothered - he instructed her to show Dr. Brands assistant without so much as even a cursory glance. Is Jim Cartmill representing and protecting the rights of the taxpaying public - it is obvious he could care less. Hard lesson learned by Cheers, as she so wanted to believe in Cartmill!

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