The big story hasn’t been written yet, but the Sweetwater school board fired superintendent Jesus Gandara last night to an outburst of applause in an anticipated meeting that ran into the wee hours in a larger than usual venue.

Our media partner NBC San Diego has video of the board’s announcement and San Diego Rostra has a small item about it, too. Read the play-by-play on the Twitter accounts of Ashly McGlone, a Union-Tribune watchdog reporter, or on the feed of SoBayBoardMtgs.

On Facebook, Sweetwater Education Association posted a post-vote picture of Gandara’s empty seat and a shot of the protest signs.

The U-T has done of a masterful job of breaking, reporting and owning (as competitive journalists put it) this story. Our education reporter Emily Alpert rounded up their coverage of Sweetwater’s many scandals.

Library Bill Still Due

Funny thing about that new library/charter school that’s being built downtown: it’s not paid for. In fact, library boosters have only raised 15 percent of the money needed to finish building it.

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Another $28 million needs to appear from somewhere before January, or the city will have to either delay it or find the money somewhere else.

Our commenters are already using this news for city-bashing purposes, saying it will find an excuse to dip into municipal funds by claiming it’s too expensive to stop and start library construction.

How much is $28 million? Well, it’s not far from $38 million — the entire library system expenses for the 2010 fiscal year. On the reverse side, the library takes in $1.5 million in revenue, including a few of my overdue fines.

Fatality Takes Cal Trans Workers Off Line

The death of a Cal Trans worker on the job yesterday, the third in the region since May, caused the agency to take all of its highway maintenance workers off the job for a safety review, the U-T reports.

A Dome to Rule Them All?

Here’s an idea: build a new football stadium, put a dome on it so meetings can be held inside regardless of the weather, and voila! You’ve got an expanded convention center without much muss or fuss, just as long as the American Association of Water Bottle Manufacturers or whatever doesn’t want to visit when the Chargers are playing. Heck, it could replace that doddering old Sports Arena too!

Sound good? Not to everybody. There is indeed talk of a domed stadium/meeting place, but a mayoral spokesman says it’s not to replace the city’s $500 million convention center expansion plans. Commentator Scott Lewis puts it this way: “Don’t go off getting excited that a new stadium will save money on this aspect of boosters’ dreams. To them, it’d just be icing on a bigger convention center cake.”

Hillcrest to Lose Mural but Gains Yarn:

Hillcrest’s mural by street artist Shepard Fairey, the one that got zapped by a graffiti vandal (irony alert!), won’t be around much longer because of construction. But just a block away, there’s new art thanks to a “yarn bomber.”

Also in arts, we’ve got more about the well-known backcountry artist we visited recently.

Socking It to Escondido

The San Diego Sockers, once hugely successful, have had a hard time getting back on track after folding in 1996. But the soccer team is still around — they resurrected themselves in 2009 — and now the U-T reports that they’re looking at relocating to Escondido. The team is reportedly interested in even paying for the arena where they’ll play games.

“The city wouldn’t have to pay a dime,” the Sockers general manager said. Wow. Wouldn’t it be nice if San Diego could get a deal from the Chargers like that? It would also be nice if someone gave me a million dollars. You can file both dreams under “fat chance.”

Refugees Celebrated

On Sunday our photographer Sam Hodgson presented his work alongside two well-known photographers at the Museum of Photographic Arts to help commemorate World Refugee Day. Sam showed and discussed images from the project we completed last year about Har Sin, a refugee from Burma who is deaf and learning formal communication for the first time in his life.

Newspaper Rips Anti-Circumcision Measure

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board isn’t big on initiatives. “The process is easily misused. Given enough time and money, a motivated promoter could qualify a turkey sandwich,” it says.

Exhibit A is San Francisco’s anti-circumcision measure, the paper says, claiming that “it’s no one’s business” whether a parent chooses the procedure. “Worst of all,” the paper says, the campaign has been linked to a San Diego man whose anti-circumcision comic-strip has been derided as anti-Semitic.

It Pays to Read the Small Print

A few years ago, a Bay Area attorney got a job with the San Diego-based law firm Luce Forward and sent a new agreement to a client, who later tried to convince the court system to throw it out.

Not so fast, a state appeal court ruled last week. As University of San Diego law professor Shaun Martin explains on his blog, “The Court of Appeal isn’t going to look fondly upon you if you try to get out of an arbitration clause with your lawyer because the engagement letter ‘had too many pages’ so you didn’t bother to read it.”

Wow. I’m going to think about this case the next time I instantly click past some annoying “terms and conditions” screen. But really, what could go wrong?

Speaking of closely paying attention to fine print, this week’s edition of Fact Check TV dings a City Council member for offering inaccurate numbers about pensions, while another City Council member got his facts wrong about lifeguard training.

Over on the radio side of things, we look at the winners and losers in the redevelopment debate.


Scientists from UCSD have developed a device that could eventually allow smells to waft your way from your television or cell phone. The researchers successfully tested their technology with two perfumes — “Live by Jennifer Lopez” and “Passion by Elizabeth Taylor.”

The plan is to allow TVs and iPhones to waft 10,000 different scents at viewers and users.

This is great news, since it gives me yet another excuse to sit on the couch all day. Instead of going outside, I could smell the salt of the ocean and the rose garden of Balboa Park from the comfort of my own home.

Wait a minute! Why does it smell like despair in here?

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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