Arlie Joins the Club

Arlie Ricasa, long viewed as a “maverick” and an independent minded member of the Sweetwater Union High School District Board, has decided to become a part of the corrupt old-boy network that is slowly running the district into the ground, campaign records show. They also provide an explanation as to why the district built two $10 million gymnasiums while the district is critically overcrowded in virtually all of its schools. Ricasa received $2,500 from Rudolph & Sletten, the construction company that built the gyms, and $9,000 from the Bahia del Sur committee, the Political Action Committee controlled by Joseph Martinez, the architect for the gyms. Fellow board member Jim Cartmill also received $5,500 from Rudolph & Sletten and $6,500 from Martinez’ Bahia del Sur Committee.

Ricasa also received $2,482 from the South Bay Committee, the Political Action Committee ran by Sweetwater District Principals and Administrators and at least $4,100 in individual donations from Sweetwater Administrators. Evidently more and more of them are realizing how to get promoted in the District-contribute to Board members reelection campaigns.

Another $2,000 was given to Ricasa by the Sweetwater Education Association (SEA), the District’s teacher’s union. The SEA website made no mention of the donation and the union membership had no input into the donation nor were informed of it in any way, further evidence of the decline of union legitimacy under its present leadership. One can only wonder, a $2,000 donation for what? Yes, she’s got a nice smile and gives good speeches but what has she really done to provide a quality environment where teaching and learning can take place? We are dying to know.

Developers and business interests gave Ricasa another $8,900, reflecting private industry’s growing realization that donations to Sweetwater Board members are good investments, considering the millions that they control. Enough campaign donations will guarantee a private company a place at Sweetwater’s feeding trough of public funds,

Its hard to believe that Ricasa could have raised more money in 2002 than the $51,996.84 that she collected for her election in 1998. Most of that money came from individual donations from members of FILPAC, the Filipino Political Action Coalition. But FILPAC donations took a back seat to the more traditional funding sources in the Sweetwater district in 2002 as Ricasa received $58,356 in election year 2002, an obscene amount of money for a school board race. But Sweetwater School board members are hot investments right now, considering the $285 million dollar annual budget they control, and the price of a hot investment can only go up.

Board Member Donor Data Base, 2002

Arlie Ricasa's Form 490, Campaign Disclosure Statement Summary Page ,2002