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CPRA Request of Southwestern College & Blackwater

Citizens Oversight (2009-03-16) Raymond Lutz

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More Info: Blackwater, Blackwater Otay, Private Mercenaries

Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs) Committee
1265 Avocado Blvd, Suite 104, #335
El Cajon, CA 92020

March 16, 2009

Governing Board
Southwestern College District
900 Otay Lakes Road,
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 421-6700

This request for information is supported by the California Public Records Act (CPRA) which provides that the public have access to documents, and the request relates to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) No. M4039.09 with Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc. (apparently now known as Xe, Inc, pronounced “Zee”, but referred to here as “Blackwater”) to establish an agreement to use privately owned facilities in the Otay Mesa Area (7685 Siempre Viva Road, San Diego, CA 92154) and to allow for-profit Blackwater to use school meeting rooms.

Please provide any and all correspondence, meeting reports, meeting attendance logs, emails, phone conversation records, etc. between board members and/or district staff with Blackwater, its employees, agents, and representatives. One document to be included in this request is the one referred to by Dr. Jorge Dominguez at the March 11, 2009 meeting. In addition, we wish to be advised of any future correspondence which occurs during the negotiations process, and informed of any meetings where this issue is placed on the agenda.

We also wish to know if previous meetings of the board where this topic was discussed were recorded, and if so, we would like to have access to those recordings.

In an effort to minimize cost to the district, we would suggest that this information be provided in electronic form, and returned using email, to which we will actively confirm receipt. Please email to Otherwise, if the volume of records to be returned will incur any significant cost (over $25), please contact me first so I can arrange to scan the original documents at your site. Please discuss logistics for acquiring audio or video recordings with me by email or phone.

Since this is an active item on the agenda of the board, we would appreciate your timely response so we may study this material. Maximum delay allowed by the CPRA is ten days.


Raymond Lutz
Coordinator, Citizens' Oversight Projects Committee.
Former Candidate, 77th State Assembly District

Email Response

'> From: Gail Brown <>
'> To: "''" <>
'> Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 08:54:20 -0700
'> Subject: Public Records Request
'> On behalf of Raj K. Chopra, Ph.D.
'> Superintendent/President

'> Mr. Lutz,
'> Please be advised that we are still working on compiling the information relative to your request. We expect to have the information available on Friday, April 3.
'> Thank you,
'> Gail Brown
'> Secretary to the Office of the Superintendent/President
'> Southwestern College
'> 619-421-6700, Ext. 5833

We note that they managed to produce the information on the day just before spring break, making it quite difficult to process the information prior to the meeting proposed for April 15.


Raj K Chopra, Ph.D. superintendent/President

Governing Board
  • Nick Aguilar
  • Jorge Dominguez, Ph.D.
  • Jean Rousch, Ed.D
  • Yolanda Salddo
  • Terri Valladolid

April 3, 2009

Raymond Lutz
Citizens' Oversight Projects Committee
1265 Avocado Blvd., Suite 104, #335
El Cajon, CA 92020

Re: Response to Public Records Request

Dear Mr. Lutz:

This letter is in response to your March 16, 2009 Public Records Act ("PRA") request to the Southwestern Community College District ("District"). The District has made the following determination as to whether your request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in its possession.

You requested "any and all correspondence, meeting reports, meeting attendance logs, emails, phone conversation records, etc. between board members and/or district staff with Blackwater, its employees, agents, and representatives." The District construes the request as seeking correspondence between District Board or staff and Blackwater, District Board meeting minutes which mention Blackwater, conversation records, minutes and attendance logs of meetings between District Board members or staff and Blackwater.

Only those writings which meet the definitions contained in the PRA and are not otherwise exempt from disclosure by the PRA are being produced (Cal. Gov. Code, ยงยง 6252-6255). Some of the documents you have requested are not subject to disclosure under Government Code section 6253 because they do not meet the definition of public record, are exempt from disclosure pursuant to Government Code sections 6254, subdivisions (a) and (k), and 6255; are protected by applicable privilege and/or are not in the care, custody or control of the District.

Primarily, writings are not disclosable public records if they are preliminary drafts, notes or interagency or intra-agercy memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business. To the extent the request seeks information regarding an on-going deliberative process of District staff and Blackwater in negotiating a facilities use agreement with Blackwater, the public interest served by not disclosing outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record. Enclosed with this letter is a copy of the existing, nonexempt public records kept within the District's care, custody and control and which are kept in the normal course of business.

The document referenced by Dr. Dominguez at the March 11, 2009 Board meeting is not a public record subject to disclosure under the PRA. Nevertheless, in the spirit of cooperation and transparency, the District is willing to allow you to inspect that document at the District offices. In agreeing to provide such access, please note the District is not agreeing to any similar arrangements with regard to any future PRA requests.

You also requested to be advised of any future correspondence which occurs during the negotiations process, and to be informed of any meetings where this issue is placed on the agenda. The minutes of the March 11, 2009 meeting will be available to you after they are approved by the Board t its upcoming April meeting. The District will make copies of any future public records available upon request, pursuant to the PRA, and will provide notice of all Board meetings, pursuant to the Brown Act. At this time, the District is not willing to promise communication or notice beyond what the law requires.

Finally, you requested access to recordings of Board meetings in which the Blackwater MOU was discussed. Please contact Mary Ganio at (619) 482-6301 to schedule an appointment to access the meeting recordings, as well as the document referenced by Dr. Dominguez at the March 11, 2009 meeting. Please note that this item will not be on the Governing Board agenda for April 15, 2009. Also, please contact me if you should have any further questions or concerns.



Raj K. Chopra, Ph.D. Superintendent/President



attachments consisted of
  1. Jan 28, 2009 Memorandum to Members of the Governing Board, submitted by Mark Meadows, Ph.D., VP for Academic Affairs. This was the cover letter to the MOU No. 4039.09
  2. MOU No. 4039.09
  3. The NDA mentioned by the MOU.
  4. The "Excursion Waiver" mentioned by the MOU.
  5. A meeting notice regarding discussion with Blackwater scheduled for 8/21/2008 at 11:30 AM.

All these documents were already accessed electronically except for #5.

Angelica Suarez

Subject: Updated: Range/Classroom Use - SWC Police Academy
Location: Otay Mesa

Start: Thu 8/21/2008 11:30 AM
End: Thu 8/21/2008 12:30 PM

Recurrence: (none)

Meeting Status: Accepted

Required Attendees: Johnl Wilson (Bus Ops); Pamela Swanegan; '';'; Maria Beltran

Optional Attendees: 'Brian Bonfiglio'

Importance: High

*Update reflects a change in start time.

Mr. Bonfiglio: I left a message on your voicemail regarding the change. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any, questions. I can be reached at 619-216-6754.

Thank you!

Maria Beltran


RE: Discussion on potential use of range and classroom.
Address: 7685 Siempre Viva l Road, San Diego, CA 92154

Suppressed Document

The following document was acquired but the copy was poor.

'>From: Angelica Suarez
'>To: Brian Bonfiglio
'>Hi Brian -- I've ....for the modification.
'>Dr. Angelica Suarez
'>Vice President for Student Affairs
'>Southwestern College
'>900 Otay Lakes Road
'>Chula Vista, CA 91910
'>(619) 482-6315
'>------ Original Message -----
'>From: Brian Bonfiglio
'>Sent: Wednesday, March 11, ... AM
'>To: Angelica Suarez
'>cc: Priscilla Pasana, Maria Beitran
'>Subject: RE: MOU Proposed Revisions
'>I have made the appropriate modifications to our existing MOU and have provided my copy to
'>our corporate counsel for his, and our COO's review. I would expect a quick turn around on
'>this for Marks signature.
'>In the absence of we... (garbled) to present you an MOU today I wanted to let you know that
'>modifications made to section D, subsection 1 and 2, will reflect that we, the Agency, waive
'>the use of any/all conference rooms on college grounds and that no reimbursement for use of
'>our personnel will be required. There were additional modifications made but I though these
'>two were noteworthy in mentioning.
'>As you know we have more than adequate conference room space and that since your staff will
'>be provided a key and have access to our indoor facility we will not be required to have any
'>personnel present during your training.

'>That being said, I did, and still do, appreciate the offer of goodwill and am open to do
'>whatever it takes to (garbled) our future law enforcement officers here in the great State of


'>Brian Bonfiglio
'>Vice President
'>U.S. Training Center, Southwest
'>7685 Siempre Viva Rd.
'>San Diego, CA 92154
'>Direct: 619-671-0910

'>From: Angelica Suarez
'>Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 9:47 PM
'>To: Brian Bonfiglio
'>CC: Priscilla Pasana; Maria Beltran
'>Subject: MOU Proposed Revisions

'>Hi Brian... would you review the attached proposed revisions to the MOU ... and let me know
'>if you and your legal department would be amenable to these revisions. I apologize for all
'>the issues that have surfaced and sincerely appreciate your assistance in helping us meet the
'>training requirements for our students. Please let me know which clauses are a "must" for
'>Dr. Angelica Suarez
'>Vice President for Student Affairs
'>Southwestern College
'>900 Otay Lakes Road
'>Chula Vista, CA 91910
'>(619) 482-6315

email from Lutz to Ganio, confirmed by Ganio.

'> From: Raymond Lutz []
'> Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 12:27 PM
'> To: Mary Ganio
'> Subject: Questions re: Blackwater
'> To: Mary Ganio, Southwestern College
'> Hi Mary:
'> Please accept the following electronic request as if it were presented to you as
'> a hardcopy document, and please confirm it when you receive it.
'> Thank you for the information you provided today. I have several questions:
'> 1. What is the disposition of the MOU? Is the "Old one" still in force until the renegotiated one is
'> completed?
'> 2. Please describe the estimated schedule for completion of the negotiations, etc.
'> 3. Are students going to the Blackwater Otay facility at this time? When did they start, how
'> many times, etc?
'> 4. Regarding the document provided to the Governing Board at the March 11th meeting and
'> read (partially) by Board member Jorge Dominguez, Ph.D.,who is "Mark" referred to in the
'> email (who would be signing the MOU)?
'> 5. Changes to the MOU were started PRIOR to any approval to renegotiate by the Governing
'> Board. Who started the renegotiation and why?
'> 6. The email provided was between Suarez and Bonfiglio. Board member Jorge Dominguez,
'> Ph.D. had a copy at the board meeting. How did he get a copy? To whom was this also
'> distributed?
'> 7. The email included an attachment, but the attachment was not provided for my inspection.
'> Please provide it.
'> 8. Since this document was distributed at the board meeting, I hereby request it "WITHOUT
'> DELAY" in electronic format. I refer to the following sections of the California Code ("the law").
'> When this document was provided to the Board of Governors, it became a document to which
'> the public must have access. (In other words, this email was between Suarez and Bonfiglio, and
'> then it was provided to the Board of Governors. When that happened it became a public
'> document.)
'> PLEASE NOTE that we are requesting your reply in electronic format. PLEASE RESPECT THIS
'> REQUEST PER 6253.9. To date, you have ignored this law and our request, and have
'> artificially delayed your response. YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED "WITHOUT DELAY".
'> Access to Records Concerning Open Meeting Topics
'> 54957.5. (a) Notwithstanding Section 6255 or any other provisions of law, agendas of public
'> meetings and any other writings, when distributed to all, or a majority of all, of the members of
'> a legislative body of a local agency by any person in connection with a
'> matter subject to discussion or consideration at a public meeting of the body, are disclosable
'> public records under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section
'> 6250) of Division7 of Title 1), and shall be made available
'> upon request without delay. However, this section shall not include any writing exempt from
'> public disclosure under Section 6253.5 [election petitions], 6254 [internal docs], 6254.7 [Air
'> pollution info], or 6254.22 [Health Plan Details].

'> 6253.9. (a) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, any agency that has
'> information that constitutes an identifiable public record not
'> exempt from disclosure pursuant to this chapter that is in an
'> electronic format shall make that information available in an
'> electronic format when requested by any person and, when applicable,
'> shall comply with the following:
'> (1) The agency shall make the information available in any
'> electronic format in which it holds the information.
'> (2) Each agency shall provide a copy of an electronic record in
'> the format requested if the requested format is one that has been
'> used by the agency to create copies for its own use or for provision
'> to other agencies. The cost of duplication shall be limited to the
'> direct cost of producing a copy of a record in an electronic format.
'> We hope you will respect the law concerning public access to these documents.
'> Signed,
'> --Raymond Lutz

Media Form edit

Title CPRA Request of Southwestern College & Blackwater
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Raymond Lutz
Pub Date 2009-03-16
Media Link
Embed HTML
Note Blackwater In Southwestern College
Keywords Blackwater, Blackwater Otay, Private Mercenaries
Media Type PDF
Media Group Request Letter
Curator Rating Highlighted
Author Name Sortable
Publish Status Published
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LetterToSouthwesternCollege_requestingBWCorrespondence.pdfpdf LetterToSouthwesternCollege_requestingBWCorrespondence.pdf manage 88 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:23 Raymond Lutz Letter to Southwestern College Requesting Blackwater Documents.
c00022-blackwater-swc_meeting_notice2008-08-21_provided2009-04-03.pdfpdf c00022-blackwater-swc_meeting_notice2008-08-21_provided2009-04-03.pdf manage 165 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:23 Raymond Lutz Meeting Notice from Angelica Suarez about SWC/Blackwater meeting to occur on August 21, 2008
c00022-response_from_southwestern_college2009-04-03.pdfpdf c00022-response_from_southwestern_college2009-04-03.pdf manage 23 K 26 Jun 2014 - 21:23 Raymond Lutz Cover letter response from Southwestern College
Topic revision: r9 - 11 Mar 2015, RaymondLutz
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