The Star-News

Alliant decision delayed

Sat, Aug 24 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Robert Moreno

The National City Planning Commission voted against having a special meeting to expedite a decision on whether or not it will grant Alliant International University a conditional use permit for a South Bay campus at 517 Mile of Cars Way, in the building of the National City Adult School.

The matter will now be heard at the Sept. 16 meeting.

Sweetwater Superintendant Dr. Ed Brand sat through part of Monday’s Sweetwater board meeting before showing up to the commission meeting to speak in public comments.

Brand said the district and Alliant have met the requirements needed for the university to be placed at the adult school.

“The purview of the commission is really to determine whether or not the staff in the Sweetwater District, in meeting with the staff of the city of National City, met its obligations,” he said.

“My understanding is in fact we did. We did show that there was ample classroom space, we did show that there was adequate parking, we did show there was easy freeway and trolley access for the facility use.”

Brand said such claims that Alliant is forcing students to attend Alliant is untrue. He said Alliant is just serving as another higher education institution where students can go.

Fran Brinkman, a retired teacher from the Sweetwater District, outlined seven points why Alliant shouldn’t be placed at the adult school. Among her complaints is that the university would trump the adult school’s purpose.

Brinkman said she sees no use for having Alliant at its proposed location.

“Alliant is not a good fit for the community and they offer no benefit to the district or to the city because they will not be paying rent because of your metro agreement,” Brinkman said in public comments. “Dr. Brand boasts that he will have Alliant University in the Sweetwater Union High School District regardless of what happens here.”

Brinkman said Alliant should set up shop at the L Street property that the district owns.

Brinkman also questioned Brand’s priorities by him being at the Planning Commission meeting and being a no-show at the school board’s meeting.

“Also, we should all be wondering why is Dr. Brand leaving a scheduled board meeting tonight at Sweetwater when he should be representing the seventh through 12th graders in the school district in order to advocate a private university.”

National City Chamber of Commerce CEO Jacqueline Reynoso said the chamber issued a letter Aug. 8 requesting that the date on a decision for the conditional use permit be Aug. 19 and not the Sept. 16 date.

She said the reason for the letter was to get a determination on the permit before students start classes at Alliant.

Reynoso said if  a permit was granted it would have made it on the City Council agenda for approval on the Aug. 20 meeting.

Sweetwater school board member Bertha Lopez noted in public comments that she sat through the night’s school board meeting and still made it in time for public comments.

Lopez said the school district shouldn’t get involved with the private university

“We’re in the business of educating kids seven through 12 in adult, and that adult school was basically made for an adult school,” Lopez said.

Community member Maty Adato said the permit decision does not constitute an emergency meeting.

“Having the commission consider an emergency meeting, in my opinion, is a slap in the face regarding the process,” she said. “This is not an emergency, it’s just plain and simple a lack of organization and planning,”

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