Thursday, April 24, 2008

Patrick O'Toole needs to prosecute serious perjury offenses

Tanya Mannes of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote on June 20, 2007:

"Patrick O'Toole, a Public Integrity Unit prosecutor, spent months investigating Jason Moore, who had been an aide to former [Chula Vista] Mayor Steve Padilla... He concluded that Moore ultimately took the two hours off. But he believed Moore lied about the timing of when he turned in a request for personal leave... Yesterday, Moore, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of contempt of court, a misdemeanor."

“People can't come into the grand jury, swear to tell the truth, and then lie,” O'Toole said.

Well, yes. And they can't obstruct justice, suborn perjury, falsify court documents, or violate the Labor Code. But that is exactly what current Chula Vista mayor Cheryl Cox has done.

Which makes it all the stranger that Bonnie Dumanis has refused to investigate Richard Werlin and other Chula Vista Elementary School District figures who have sworn to tell the truth, and then lied--about more important issues than two hours off work.

Ironically, Moore was accused of taking two hours off work to spy on Cheryl Cox and David Malcolm at a Cox fundraiser. The irony is particularly heavy in this case because Cheryl Cox herself pressured a whole slew of public employees at Chula Vista Elementary School District to commit perjury. Much of the perjury was done to cover up falsification of documents, which Cheryl Cox, Patrick Judd, Larry Cunningham, Pamela Smith and Bertha Lopez made necessary when they voted to cover up crimes by dismissing a teacher. The dismissal was itself a violation of Labor Code section 1102.5

The Chula Vista Elementary School District board chose lawyers, Parham & Rajcic, and Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, who could be depended upon to use illegal tactics to cover up the board's wrondoing. Obstruction of justice is all in a day's work for these law firms.

The fact that Cheryl Cox has more power now than when she was a CVESD board member makes it all the more important that she be answerable for her crimes.

Steve Castaneda found not guilty, is reelected

NOVEMBER 5, 2008


Steve Castaneda has been reelected as Chula Vista City Councilman, but Patrick O'Toole has disappeared from the Public Integrity Unit.

Precincts Reporting: 100.0%
SCOTT VINSON - 46.88% (24876)
STEVE CASTANEDA - 53.12% (28183)


After the jury came back with a "not guilty" verdict yesterday in the case of Chula Vista city councilman Steve Castaneda, who was accused of hiding his "intent" to buy a condo while testifying during a grand jury investigation that found no wrongdoing, prosecutor Patrick O'Toole said, "It was a case from our end that we thought had to be brought -- that the obligation to tell the truth under oath is one that we're going to fight for."

I've been waiting for a long time to hear someone in Bonnie Dumanis' office say "the obligation to tell the truth under oath is one that we're going to fight for."

I'm pleased to hear that O'Toole is finally going to do something about Chula Vista Elementary School District trustees and administrators who obstructed justice and committed or suborned perjury. The District Attorney received my complaint in 2005.

Here is the story from Fox News:

Councilman Found Not Guilty of Perjury in Condo Charges
Last Update: 4/23/2008

A Chula Vista city councilman accused of lying to the county grand jury regarding his personal interest in an apartment complex that was being converted into condominiums was acquitted Wednesday of six of 10 perjury counts.

Prosecutors will decide later whether to retry Steve Castaneda on the remaining four counts on which jurors deadlocked.

"I'm very happy that I'm vindicated. I'm very happy about the fact that I can now go on with my life," Castaneda told reporters outside the courtroom.

Defense attorney Marc Carlos said jurors gave it their best shot -- deliberating for five days after a two-week trial -- before coming to a decision.

"They've had hundreds of exhibits and thousands of pages of grand jury testimony, and that's as good as they can do and there's nothing there," Carlos told reporters. "I think (District Attorney) Bonnie Dumanis should do the right thing and step up and dismiss the remaining counts. They've spent a lot of money on this case and it's gone nowhere."

Prosecutor Patrick O'Toole said: "It was a difficult case. Everybody knew that going in. It was a case from our end that we thought had to be brought -- that the obligation to tell the truth under oath is one that we're going to fight for."

[Blogger's note: This is apparently Mr. O'Toole's way of saying, "If we want to go after someone for political reasons, a perjury charge is a perfect way to do it. You can always say someone is lying, no matter what the facts are. Hardly anyone gets charged with perjury even when they do it in a case where a crime has been committed, but, hey, the law is there so why shouldn't I have some fun with it?"]

Monday, April 14, 2008

10,000 years of Chula Vista History by one of our favorite educators

Click HERE for original story about one of our Chula Vista educators.

Peter Watry, Hero in Education

On July 31, 2004, Bill Brochtrup presented Peter Watry, a retired economics professor, with the California Lottery's “Heroes in Education” award on “The Big Spin®” show.

A year ago, Watry created a presentation, entitled “10,000 Years of Chula Vista History,” for local students. Several times each week, he delivers this presentation to third and fourth graders throughout the Chula Vista School District.

At these presentations, Watry teaches the students about the diversity in the people who have called Chula Vista home over the years, and describes, in great detail, what life must have been like for each of them. Watry captivates the students with the assortment of visual aids that bring history lessons to life. He shows the students artwork and pictures, and allows them to handle historic artifacts like Indian arrowheads, hats and flags. At the end of each visit, he reminds the students that Chula Vista is constantly evolving and that they should appreciate the history being made around them every day.

On hand to honor Watry was Bill Brochtrup who has starred in such television shows as Dharma & Greg, Murder She Wrote and Picket Fences. Brochtrup is best known for playing the extremely efficient public administrative assistant, John Irvin, on the popular television series NYPD Blue.

The California Lottery’s “Heroes in Education” award has been presented monthly on “The Big Spin®” show, since 1999. The Lottery partners with celebrities to present these awards which recognize special individuals who volunteer time and resources to their schools and communities.

The Current Chula Vista Educators Board of Directors


Peggie Myers
President 07-09
State Council 06-09
Full-Release CVE Office 427-1063

Monica Sorrenson
Vice President 07-09
Liberty Elementary School 397-5225

Nancy Potts
Treasurer 07-09
Valley Vista Elementary 479-7171 Ext. 5339

Barbara Dunwoodie
Secretary 07-09
State Council 05-08
Hilltop Elementary 422-8323 Ext.3333

James Groth
State Council 07-10
CTA Board

Allan Insko
PAR Chair 06-09
Sunnyside 479-0571 Ext. 5051

Joyce Abrams
Area Director A 07-08
Chula Vista Hills 482-7066 Ext. 2341
Click HERE to see Ms. Abrams PERB complaint.

Norma Pacheco-Davis
[new member--NOT involved in wrongdoing 2001-2005]
Area Director B 07-08
Los Altos 690-5880 Ext. 3848

Penny Martinez
[new member--NOT involved in wrongdoing 2001-2005]
Area Director D 07-08
Valle Lindo 421-5151 Ext. 5254

Andra Johnston
Area Director E 07-08
Salt Creek 397-5494

Executive Director Mary Ellen Berumen
[New executive director--not involved in decisions of former executive director Tim O'Neill]
427-1063 Ext 205

Area Director C 07-08

Bargaining Chair 07-09

The teachers of CVESD aren't told the truth about their union, Chula Vista Educators

See all posts about Peg Myers.

You wouldn't know it from the stories in the San Diego Union Tribune over the years, but Chula Vista Elementary School District works closely behind the scenes with the leaders of its teachers union, Chula Vista Educators.

Peggie Myers, CVE president, and her close friend Robin Donlan, have even used the same law firm as CVESD. Not just that, but CVESD paid the law firm on their behalf. The district recently went back to this law firm when it discovered that illegal tactics were necessary to get what it wanted in the Danielle Cozaihr case and other cases.

It should be noted that Chula Vista Educators did not help Danielle Cozaihr, who was awarded $1 million in a recent San Diego Superior Court case. Peggie Myers, Jim Groth and the rest of the CVE board have generally worked to help the district when it is violating the law against teachers.

You might have thought that former CVE president Jim Groth was out of the picture now that he's on the Board of Directors of the California Teachers Association. But, no. He's still on the CVE board of directors.

It should be noted that two teachers on the board of directors had NOTHING to do with the wrongdoing from 2000-2005. I'm hoping that Norma Pacheco-Davis and Penny Martinez will help usher in a new era of honesty and openness for Chula Vista Educators. Perhaps they can bring back Robyn Higginson, who wasn't supportive of CVE's violations of the Labor Code.

It was obvious all along that Lowell Billings didn't believe in site-based management

Chula Vista Elementary School District's Superintendent Lowell Billings apparently watched closely and learned from his predecessor Libia Gil, who promoted a system she called "site-based management." Billings continues to promote the system.

But the system as implemented at CVESD always involved top-down decisionmaking, never democracy at the school site.

It also involved laziness and neglect. So things would often get out of hand at various schools, and then the district office would swoop in and fire people, or, if they were political allies, bring them back to the district office for their own protection.

But now Lowell has a new problem. The school that is trying to make its own decisions is a charter school. They don't seem to think that principal Erik Latoni should make all the decisions.

Once again, Lowell wants to swoop in and take control. He is threatening to to terminate the charter of Feaster Elementary School because the people who run the school actually work at the school. Instead of "site-based decisionmaking," this is now being called "a conflict of interest" by Mr. Billings.

It's not ideas that matter at CVESD, it's words. And the meaning of the words changes whenever the people in charge feel it's necessary.

It's probably worthwhile to note that CVESD recently rehired Daniel Shinoff of Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz. Apparently the board was impressed with Shinoff's work at MiraCosta College. I notice a striking similarity in the arguments used to attack Feaster Elementary and the arguments used to justify the actions of the majority-bloc of trustees at MiraCosta.