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Outside the La Jolla Von’s on sat a voluble paid signature gatherer working on behalf of “San Diegans 4 Great Schools” (SD4GS) to change the city charter to allow padding our elected School Board with four appointees. I stopped to chat with him about the measure.

The first thing he told me, unprompted and reverentially, was that the measure is being “supported by Dr. Irwin Jacobs,” the Qualcomm billionaire. (Someone over at SD4GS obviously has done some polling on positive name-recognition. I hear that Jacobs soon may appear at public gatherings to defend the initiative he has paid at least $150,000 to launch.)

Our man with the clipboard then said the measure is intended “to increase the number of seats on the School Board by four appointed people who will be unpaid, hopefully drawn from the ranks of parents with children in the public schools.” (This is the first time I’ve heard that claim.)

He told me that March 15 is the deadline for signature gathering for a June election. He said he doubted that initiative backers would have enough signers by then. But, he did think there might be enough signatures by April 13 to qualify for a November election.

(“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul…”)

He could not provide me with a take-home copy of the initiative’s actual language, but directed me to the websites of SD4GS, the Secretary of State of California and “”, in that order, perhaps to find the text.

Frances O’Neill Zimmerman lives in La Jolla.

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