San Diego’s largest school district and its Board of Education made it clear what kind of leader they wanted to fill their open superintendent spot.

Richard Barrera, the board’s president, in a March speech said he had no interest in any superintendent with “big ideas.” And the board decided to take the unprecedented step of vetting three finalists for the position in public, bringing transparency to the process but also potentially discouraging prominent leaders elsewhere from applying out of reluctance to let their current employers know they might make the leap. Clearly burned by the Terry Grier era, Barrera says we don’t need any ladder climbers. And teachers union President Camille Zombro advised that the last thing the district needed was some “highfalutin” leader.

So who are the three finalists in the low-falutin race? Education reporter Emily Alpert has learned a lot about them and takes us through their background and what kinds of things we could expect if they won the job.

In other news:

• With the election behind us, City Hall reporter Liam Dillon will be out of the country for a couple of weeks. But the show must go on downtown. Several major questions will be considered over the coming week and we’ll be all over them. Liam gave us (and you) a primer on what to look for:

Tuesday: A key step in the push to raise the amount of tax revenue the city’s downtown redevelopment agency can raise and spend comes before the City Council. The increasing of the Centre City Development Corp.’s cap may sound bureaucratic, but much rides on this decision.

• First, there’s the Chargers stadium. A new stadium won’t happen without an increase to the agency’s cap. Chargers boosters are expected to pack council chambers.

• Second, last time they discussed this issue council members outside downtown delivered passionate defenses of services in their neighborhoods. (CCDC sequesters certain tax revenues inside of downtown that would flow to other neighborhoods and other government agencies if the cap is not lifted.) Why, they asked, should downtown benefit at their expense? A new report from the city’s Office of the Independent Budget Analyst might blunt that argument. It expects the whole city to benefit if the cap is increased.

Also, keep in mind that the council isn’t deciding if it will increase the cap on Tuesday. Instead, they will choose whether to spend $500,000 on a 12- to 18-month study examining the implications of a cap increase.

June 24 and June 30: Since October, the city has been negotiating with a Portland developer for a new City Hall. On Thursday, the city is expected to receive a new cost estimate and less than a week later a council committee will discuss the project with an eye toward putting it on the November ballot. The most recent cost estimate was $432 million, but proponents say the project saves the city money in the long run. Opponents say cost savings are inflated.

June 28: The schoobrary’s day of reckoning. After 30 years of talk, the City Council is expected to make a final decision on building the $185 million downtown main library/charter school hybrid. We have a bunch of background. Private donors face a $32.5 million funding gap, a total some believe they’ll make and others don’t. We also showed the importance of the schoobrary’s budget and six council votes. For a full schoobrary explainer check here.

• On the housing front, Rich Toscano has a new post in the continuing series on whether San Diego has shadow inventory — homes in foreclosure that, for whatever reason, haven’t made it to the market for sale. The thought is that if there are thousands out there waiting to hit the market, then we’re in for an interesting ride. As he notes, new data published in the Union-Tribune indicates that more than 9 percent of all mortgages in San Diego are delinquent. That means many many San Diegans aren’t making their house payments.

“[B]arring large increases in the scope and effectiveness of the government’s housing bailout programs, it seems likely that this inventory will eventually have to be disposed of in the open market,” Toscano writes.


• One of the votes San Diegans should have paid attention to on Election Day was actually occurring in Santa Clara. Voters there approved a new stadium deal with the San Francisco 49ers, one that puts the city of Santa Clara on the hook for $114 million, significantly less than what the Chargers have hinted they would need for a similar project in San Diego. The San Jose Mercury News has a good story and better pie chart breaking down the cost and the challenges to putting a budget together.

• The U-T reports that one of the lifeguards bizarrely fired by Imperial Beach after paddling out during a polluted water warning to commemorate the death of a friend has been rehired.

• Local government officials frequently bag on the state government for taking their cash to close the state’s deficit. Now officials are putting some bite behind their bark, gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would stop the state from raiding funds for roads, public transit and other services. (U-T)

• Cockfighting is a brutal bloodsport that San Diego officials have been intent on stamping out for five years. But a pair of recent cases shows cockfighting is alive and well in the county’s rural stretches, and a Humane Society official says it needs to be more than just a misdemeanor in California if law enforcement is going to have an impact. (U-T)

• Finally, earlier this year we explained how laidback OB’s famous patience for the homeless was running thin. Now, it’s gone to a new level. The OB Rag noticed a new development in the dialogue: one local worker selling “Please Don’t Feed Our Bums” stickers. (U-T) The basics: There’s a new brand of young, aggressive homeless who live that way by choice, not circumstance, and they’ve riled quite a debate among OBecians and local businesses.

It’s one of the few debates that beers at the new Pizza Port probably can’t settle.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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