Thursday, January 31, 2013

Depressed Chopra Fails to Appear at Arraignment Hearing

*By Nickolas Furr and Lina Chankar

Residents of the Southwestern Community College District who expected to see former SWC president Raj K. Chopra and former vice president Nicholas Alioto arraigned in court on Wednesday were sorely disappointed.

Gary Cabello and his ex-lawyer outside court / Photo: Marshall Murphy
For the second time in a month, Chopra failed to appear in a San Diego Superior Courtroom for his arraignment hearing. Defense lawyers again cited Chopra’s health as the reason for his absence. Chopra is claiming “severe depression.”

Alioto, summoned from Wisconsin, did appear, along with the 13 other defendants of the “South Bay Corruption Scandal,” an investigation San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis called the worst of its kind in county history.

Also present were former SWC trustees Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez, EOPS director Arlie Ricasa, former administrator John Wilson, and former interim president Greg Sandoval; Sweetwater trustees Pearl QuiƱones, Bertha Lopez, and Jim Cartmill; former Sweetwater superintendent Jesus Gandara; San Ysidro School District Superintendent Manuel Paul; San Ysidro trustee Yolanda Hernandez; financier Gary Cabello; and Jeff Flores, the president of Seville Construction Services. Hernandez, who failed to appear on Jan. 9, has already been arraigned.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chopra, Dominguez, Salcido Indicted as Corruption Case Widens

Arlie Ricasa / Photo by Marshall Murphy
*By Nickolas Furr and Lina Chankar

This was an online-only piece done for the SWC between Fall 12 and Spring 13 terms. Several students were involved and did this on their own time, without class involvement.

Former Southwestern College Superintendent Raj Kumar Chopra and former trustees Jorge Dominguez and Yolanda Salcido have joined four other current and former college leaders as defendants in a widening corruption case that now involves 15 people from three South Bay school districts.

A San Diego County grand jury handed down 232 criminal charges against elected officials and school contractors in what has become known as the “South Bay Corruption Scandal,” an investigation San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis called the largest of its kind in county history.

Fifteen defendants were summoned to Superior Court for arraignment Monday afternoon, six who had previously been charged and nine who were new to the indictments. The grand jury investigation resulted in indictments of administrators from Southwestern College, Sweetwater Union High School District and the San Ysidro School District.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Melbourn's Storm" -- Lore Magazine

LORE volume 2, number 2

My short story, "Melbourn's Storm," is now in print, in the periodical LORE, volume 2, number 2. If you are looking for a little dark reading, check out the book -- now on sale at the LORE website and on

...and in case you do pick up a copy of the book, or you already have, how about stopping by Amazon to do a real, honest review? Nothing will do a publisher better good than a good review or two.

(And need I point out to the morally sound readers of this blog not to write a bogus one? I thought not.)

Twelve great tales inhabit these pages:

"Enshrined" - Bridget Coila
"Finny Moon" - Keith P. Graham
"Congregate" - Steve Rasnic Tem
"One in a Billion" - Colin Heintze
"Asylum" - Stephen Mark Rainey
"The House of Dreams" - Nyki Blatchley
"Electric Souls on a Starless Planet" - J.P. Boyd
"Lost in Darkness" - Jeremy Harper
"Melbourn's Storm" - Nickolas Furr
"Can Spring Be Far Behind?" - Jeff Samson
"Tumor is the Night" - Corey Mariani
"Nzambe" - Denise Dumars
Plus an awesome cover by Christopher Allen!

So if you get a chance, pick it up. If you can, write a review. If you can't, let me know what you think. All y'all readers who have stuck with me know how much I treasure your feedback. Thank you!