The Star-News


Santa's little helper is watching

Sat, Sep 28 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos Davalos

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Luzarro wrote that Sweetwater Union High School District staff this week had withdrawn a request to fund a private investigation firm, ESI International Inc., which has already performed at least $65,172 worth of services at the behest of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