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I’m very pleased to announce we’ve added some new talent to Voice of San Diego. In the next two weeks, Sara Libby will run the newsroom as managing editor and Lisa Halverstadt will begin as a writer.

Libby comes to us from Talking Points Memo in D.C where she is leaving her job as associate editor managing the coverage of the 2012 presidential campaign. We had to negotiate her coming here as she bounced between Tampa Bay and Charlotte covering the national political conventions.

Before TPM she was deputy politics editor at POLITICO. She’s a graduate of the University of Southern California where she was editor in chief of the Daily Trojan.

She’s bright, clever and has a knack for condensing ideas into good stories and she’ll help our talented writers be clear and efficient.

I asked her to give me some thoughts to share with you:

“I’m so thrilled to be part of such an ambitious and community-centric place that approaches journalism in such an honest way. I’ve spent the last few years covering politics, which can sometimes amount to a lot of fighting and noise that loses sight of real people and how they live their lives,” she said.

One of the writers Libby will manage is Halverstadt, who comes to us from the Arizona Republic where she’s been covering the city of Glendale and the remarkable ownership saga of Arizona Coyotes, the hockey team whose burden on the city has become a national story.

Halverstadt is a very inventive and productive reporter and she’ll be running an effort we’re calling the Daily Facts. She’s going to keep the leaders of our local agencies honest, explain and examine their policies  and be your guide to understanding the complex deals they draw up.

Stay tuned. I’m very excited about what she will do.

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A not inconsequential note: This means that our staff is now majority women. I will not make any jokes here.

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The new staff doesn’t represent an expansion. In case you hadn’t heard, we’re bidding bon voyage, in a couple of weeks, to senior writer Rob Davis.

In early 2006, Davis was the first hire Andrew Donohue and I made together. And we never regretted it. He’s one of the best writers in town — his sentences always crisp and authoritative.

We had some epic debates in the office in those early years. But some epic collaborations.

I’ll never forget when Davis and I produced perhaps Voice of San Diego’s best headline ever: “Mad China + Nukes = New Airport?

As officials were pushing to study local military bases as sites for a new airport, one of them theorized that a hostile China, with nuclear weapons, would cause military leaders to decommission their local bases. That would then free one of them up for use as an airport.

An epic argument and Davis’ coverage of the airport push was equally epic. His work tracking the environment, water supply concerns and the evolution of the local daily newspaper has been a major feature of this service for years. He exposed conflicts of interest at CCDC that led to the downfall of its chief and put a councilmember on the spot for using an astonishing amount of water.

He’s going to be traveling the world. As he put it on Twitter: “Two months in the South Pacific, then South America in January, with no return ticket. My wife and I are off for a good explore.”

You should follow his feed on Twitter. He may be a good writer, but he’s also a great photographer. I bet he captures some interesting things.

Rob let us know months ago this was coming up. He’ll be here through Oct. 5 to help with the transition.  

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We added yet another attraction to Politifest next week. San Diego school board trustee Scott Barnett and Taxpayers Association CEO Lani Lutar will debate Proposition Z, the measure that would add $60 to property bills within the San Diego Unified School District for every $100,000 worth of property that you own.

Also, if you can’t make it, FM 95.7 and AM 600 KOGO is broadcasting live from Politifest Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. So, to review, Politifest has:

• A mayoral debate.

• A school board debate.

• The SDG&E Idea Tournament (finalists announced Monday. Thanks for voting, members.).

• Prop. Z debate.

•The SDGLN.com City 101 Speed Sessions, explaining public affairs.

• A kids area, New Children’s Museum scavenger hunt

• A beer garden (hosted by Stone and Public Policy Strategies).

• more than 80 political and community booths.

• A band.

If you missed Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s endorsement of Politifest, it was pretty funny.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. You can contact me directly at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!): twitter.com/vosdscott.

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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