San Diego schools trustee Scott Barnett told his colleagues earlier this month it was time to call off the teacher layoffs and admit that the district was insolvent.

A decision like that would hand over control of the district to the state, and there were some consequences to his remarks. First, the president of the board told him to relax. All they had to do was stay on the same path: rush to sell land, keep the proposed teacher layoffs in place and get some concessions from the teachers union.

The teachers union, though, has been experiencing some drama. And shortly after its departing leader warned that its current leader was going to cave to the district, the current leader assured members he was not going to concede anything. Finally, district staff, who first warned about insolvency last year, are now scolding Barnett and sounding the alarm about how freaked out Wall Street is over his remarks about insolvency.

What the heck is going on? We decided it was time to pull together a Reader’s Guide. Will Carless walks you through everything from how we got to this point to what’s at stake now.

Politics Make Strange Bedfellows: Teachers Union and DeMaio Bash Fletcher

The American Federation of Teachers, a national union, has jumped into the mayoral race, sending out a mailer about how conservative Nathan Fletcher is despite his departure from the Republican Party. (San Diego Rostra)

The message echoes the same one Councilman Carl DeMaio’s campaign is trumpeting as loudly as it can: Look at all of these things liberals should be concerned about with Fletcher.

While it may seem odd for DeMaio to bash someone for being too conservative, as Liam Dillon explains, the goal is to produce a November runoff between DeMaio and Congressman Bob Filner.

“DeMaio has sent at least four separate mailers attacking Fletcher from the left, an effort to blunt the newly independent assemblyman’s standing with liberals,” Dillon writes.

Filner’s quite happy about the help from DeMaio.

What We Learned This Week

Mayor Wants Getting Public Records to Be More Costly: Though his communications director admitted that the mayor had not done a study on the costs the city incurs for providing public records on demand, he is proposing new fees on records delivered electronically.

All four major mayoral candidates oppose the fee.

How to Understand Proposition A: I was just thinking how complex ballot measures are getting these days and I came up with an idea: We should elect a group of people who can represent us and spend the time to learn about and decide on new laws. We could call them lawmakers.

Something to think about. In the meantime, San Diego voters have to decide on Proposition A, a measure that would prohibit the city from requiring so-called project labor agreements. What are those and what does the measure do? We explain the most controversial parts of it all in this reader’s guide to the initiative.

Brain Research Is Cool: People have long believed that music will help students succeed in other areas. Now, scientists at UC San Diego want to prove it. They’ll be following a group of youngsters as they learn music, karate or nothing to see what happens to their brains.

The research could affect the way we help struggling students.

What Each Mayoral Candidate Wants to Do About Schools: We finished a series of analyses about each mayoral candidate’s take on local schools.

There’s the ambitious plan from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, DeMaio’s lead-by-example approach, Filner’s I-know-education take and Fletcher’s philanthropy-focused idea.


Mogul Starts Funding Independents Everywhere

A new “Super PAC” has formed in San Diego to fund independent candidates across the country. The U-T reports that billionaire co-founder of Gateway Ted Waitt has seeded it. The committee has begun airing this ad in support of Nathan Fletcher.

Waitt was part of a group of local business leaders who recently announced that they were “moving to the middle” and were inspired by Fletcher’s denouncement of the two dominant political parties.

Top Five Comments of the Week

Dagny Salas posted her choices for the best reader comments of the week.

My favorite is Benjamin Katz’ take on the mayor’s proposal to add a new fee for copies of public records.

“They have spent tens of millions of dollars on IT ‘modernization.’ If they had actually modernized successfully, pulling public records should be cheap, quick and easy,” Katz wrote.

What to Read

Salas also pulled together her sweet reading list on topics not necessarily focused on San Diego. This week’s list includes a fascinating take on how one politician is innovating modern communications with Twitter.

Quote of the Week

“I wouldn’t marry Carl DeMaio.”

Nathan Fletcher, explaining his stance on same-sex marriage to CityBeat. We explored his shifting on that topic here.

Quote of the Week, II

“We’re pretty confident that we’re going to be facing Bob Filner in the general.”

DeMaio campaign manager Ryan Clumpner explaining the campaign’s decision to relentlessly attack Fletcher for his conservative stances.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. You can contact me directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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