Controversial Sweetwater Union HS District board members win re-election

Bertha Lopez, Pearl Quinones won by more than 8%

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Two controversial school board members won re-election Tuesday night. 

Bertha Lopez and Pearl Quinones are two of the five members on the embattled Sweetwater Union High School District Board.

Both of their homes were raided late last year by investigators from the District Attorney's Office as part of an investigation into a contractor bribery scandal.

The board was also blamed by opponents for dropping contaminated dirt at Southwestern High School. 

Despite the negative attention, Lopez and Quinones both won re-election by more than 8 percent in their respective races.

"I'm shocked because I didn't think that the electorate's memories would be so short," said former Sweetwater candidate Andrew Valencia.

George Cameron was the first runner-up to Quinones and emailed the following statement to 10News:

"I am baffled that Pearl was re-elected to her seat given the indictments that surround her and the recent campaign issues cited by the other challenger, Jesseca Gonzalez-Saenz. In my view, these results highlight a few things. One the one hand, irrespective of the noise surrounding Sweetwater, there is a segment of the South County community that is uniformed regarding school board representation, while on the other hand, there were 49,000 voters who were informed and did not choose to re-elect Ms. Quinones - hardly making her victory an affirmation of her leadership. Unfortunately, these votes were split among the three challengers, thus making it easier for Pearl to be re-elected."

Saenz-Gonzalez was the second runner-up to Quinones.

"We got 75 percent of the votes," she said. "The only unfortunate thing is that they were split."

10News contacted Quinones and Lopez. 

Only Lopez responded but she did not address any of the scandals.

"I am honored and appreciative that the voters of Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach and San Ysidro have confidence that I will continue to represent the students, parents, teachers and staff in the Sweetwater UHSD," she said. "My reform priorities will be academic excellence, providing all students with the support they need to meet their educational goals; fiscal accountability, making sure that we stop wasting money on new initiatives that are not well planned and having an external audit on Prop O funds;  transparency with the community, re-establish trust with district teachers, staff, parents and our students… Reform and accountability from all involved."

Saenz-Gonzalez was not as confident about that future. She said she expects Quinones to be convicted when she stands trial next year.

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