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Sweetwater Board Members Recall Falls Short; Attention Turns to McCann

A campaign to recall members of the Sweetwater Union High School District has fallen thousands of signatures short.

A campaign to recall Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees members Arlie Ricasa and Jim Cartmill has failed, an organizer of the effort announced Monday.

Roughly 18,000 signatures, or 10 percent of the voting electorate, was needed to put a recall on the ballot, but only 10,000 signatures were collected for each of the board members, said Gene Chavira, a teacher at Mar Vista High School.

"The process has taught us a lot about the logisitics of a grass roots recall campaign," stated Chavira in a press release. 

Had enough signatures been collected, petitions would have been due to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Monday. The campaign started in April.

Summer break and inexperience kept the Committee to Recall SUHSD Cartmill, McCann, Ricasa 2012 and its 12-15 members from being successful, Chavira said.

"You can't recall the school board over the summer like that. It just shut us down," Chavira said. "Once summer hit, there was a seven or eight week period where it just sort of shut down. Teachers went on vacation, so when we do it again, we'll make sure we do it when there isn't a summer break."

Members of the district's teachers' union, the Sweetwater Education Association, endorsed the recall and helped circulate the petition, Chavira said.

"We said we'll try to do it with people power and generate enough interest from community to get it done. It didn't work out that way in the beginning, but as we've gone forward, we have mechanisms and experience to do this now," he said.

A petition to recall Trustee John McCann will be circulated until Sept. 24, and has received about 10,000 signatures.

"It might be easier cause one of the problems was people had to sign three petitions instead of one," Chavira said. "We're not sure if it will be easier or harder. We'll find out."

Additional recall petitions may be sought in the future, Chavira said.

Last December, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and sheriff deputies raided the homes of . A month later DA Bonnie Dumanis , including three current Sweetwater board members. 

Ricasa was charged with  for building contracts.

Trustees Pearl Quiñones and Bertha Lopez, whose homes were also raided, face reelection in November.

 took place for former Southwestern College officials.

After charges were filed, Ricasa was from her job at Southwestern College but she is back at work as the college's EOPS Director.

Per state election code, a rebuttal from each of the three who faced recall prepared statements included with circulated petitions.

In his rebuttal, Cartmill called the campaign to unseat him an effort by union special interests. Ricassa argued that the recall was about "politics, not education," and that as Americans everyone is allowed the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

McCann argues that he shouldn't be unseated since the District Attorney's Office didn't raid his home, and at the time the scandal took place, he was in the Navy serving in Iraq.

See attached PDFs of recall petitions to read the full list of rebuttals from board members. to see a list of evidence the DA's Office claims to have been found before the Dec. 21 warrant sweep.

Given all the corruption allegations, do you think Sweetwater trustees should be forcibly removed from office? Is recall premature without conviction? Tell us in comments.

Erupting September 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Ricasa was also charged along with Quinones an Dr.Gandara the past Supt.Lopez was not charged with anything. The recall effort was because of the boards voting records on issues that affect my tax dollar. That is whyMcCann and Cartmill were in the mix. Take a look at the campaign contributions that that these people took from district contractors,that wined and dined them,and even paid the costs of Ricassa's daughters beauty contest. And if you take a look at the indictments you will see Bertha Lopez was a whistle blower on them all. Take a look at the Alvey report and you will see McCann and Cartmill's name(I believe it's called election tampering) Lopez is the only honest one and votes for the benefit of the students and community

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