Congressman Bob Filner says he’ll be a great mayor for education because he’s Bob Filner.

He’s served on the local school board. He was a history professor at San Diego State. His kids attended city schools. With his extensive political experience, that makes him the right person for what he sees as the mayor’s role on education.

As we continue our series examining what the mayoral candidates would do about schools, our reporter Liam Dillon looks at Filner’s goals and notes that he’s “not provided much of a roadmap to show how he’d implement his education ideas.”

Here was Carl DeMaio’s plan on education.

Schools Insolvency Talk Is Scaring Wall Street

In other education news, a school board member’s announcement last week that he thinks the district is insolvent has caused some consternation, according to a finance official. “Within an hour, underwriters and financial analysts knew about it, and we’ve spent hours on phone calls trying to hold on to our ability to get bonds at the same interest rate we had budgeted,” says district finance guru Phil Stover. “We’re getting pummeled.”

The district wants to borrow hundreds of millions next month, so the timing of the insolvency debate isn’t fantastic.

• An extraordinary open letter from the outgoing vice president of the San Diego teachers union provoked quite a discussion yesterday. It even provoked the current leader of the union, Bill Freeman, to call our reporter Will Carless (something he hasn’t done in a while). Freeman told Carless there aren’t any plans to concede to the district on pay and benefits.

“It’s very unfortunate that Camille Zombro would do this during such troubling and difficult times,” Freeman said. “To take this divisive measure is very sad, particularly for someone who has supported her for many, many years.”

One commenter on Freeman’s post thinks Zombro achieved exactly what she wanted: To get Freeman to commit to not compromising.

On TV, the Issues in and Around La Jolla

In the latest edition of our video series San Diego Explained, our reporter Keegan Kyle and NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia visit Rose Canyon and talk about the issues facing La Jolla and surrounding neighborhoods. Four candidates are running to represent the region, known as District 1, including the incumbent, Sherri Lightner, whose independent streak has turned off her former labor allies.

The other rivals include Ray Ellis (a Republican who doesn’t entirely fit the GOP mold), Bryan Pease (an attorney best known for his animal rights work), and Dennis Ridz (a Republican who’s had trouble raising his profile against Ellis).   

Fact Check TV Tackles Filner Claim

Fact Check TV examines a rather bold claim by Filner: He says Prop. B, the pension reform initiative, will cost taxpayers $100 million in the first few years. We recap our analysis of whether he’s right.  

San Diego’s Shameful Homelessness

In letters, downtown resident Jim Abbott says the city is neglecting the homeless, who were the topic of a story in our pages earlier this month about how the East Village neighborhood deals with them: “It’s immoral that a city the size of this one can’t/won’t provide basic human services.”

Quick News Hits

• The Arts Report, our weekly look at trends and happenings in the local cultural world, recaps our big story about a new study into how music training affects the brains of kids. We’ve got links to other articles about arts funding, an 84-year-old dancer, the The Bach Collegium San Diego, modernist architecture, and much more.  

• The U-T examines an anti-Carl-Demaio mailer that accuses the councilman of kicking Latinos to the curb by supporting a law to keep them on minimum wage. DeMaio is an opponent of organized labor and pushed a measure that they say would have hurt the living wage requirement on city contracts, but the “mailer makes it sound like the legal mechanism was ethnicity, when it was not.”

A staffer at DeMaio’s council office accused labor of “race-baiting.” In a notable turn of phrase, local labor leader Lorena Gonzalez responded: “I am baiting people who make the minimum wage.”

• Michael Zucchet, the former councilman who served as mayor for a few days before being indicted in the strippergate scandal, has resurrected his career (he was exonerated) and now represents City Hall’s white-collar union. He was slated to help the city wind down its urban renewal efforts, which were snuffed by the state. But now he’s quitting the board in charge of the effort, saying he’s worried about “continued uncertainty and litigation,” the U-T reports.

The paper says “he was concerned that the board is voting without any legal counsel. He also said the protections against personal liability did not seem strong enough.” Here’s a link to his letter.

• The mayor’s hopes of putting a stadium deal together before he leaves office appear to be doneski. That’s the word from U-T columnist (and former City Hall reporter) Matthew Hall, who writes that Jerry Sanders has “talked a good game for two and a half years, but now he’s doing what the last mayor did: making it the next mayor’s problem.”

The column includes this tidbit: “Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a former Marine, says he’s ready for stadium negotiations because he has interrogated members of al-Qaeda.”

Turns out Fletcher has said this quite a bit. I wonder if he’ll threaten to banish people to a place full of misery and despair. What’s the next worst thing to Guantanamo? Oh, right: Orange County.   

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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