There’s been a lot of hoopla over the past few years about the supposedly sorry state of the San Diego school district. Local elected leaders even called for the appointment of new trustees (leaving voters out of the loop) in order to bring new, less union-friendly blood to the board.   

That plan went nowhere, and so did attempts by district critics to gain influence on the board by winning two school board races in the November election. The ideological makeup of the board is about the same as it was before.

But there’s a new face: Marne Foster, who’s been close-mouthed, at least to us, about her positions. She was sworn in at a school board meeting on Monday amid an unusually festive atmosphere.

Was something in the in the air? Our story ponders why everybody seemed less gloomy than usual.

Candidates Line Up for Council Seat

There’s yet another elected position open: the City Council seat that serves much of southeastern San Diego. Tony Young, the incumbent, is quitting to take another job.

Several candidates are already running.

As the U-T notes, “they include businessman Brian “Barry” Pollard, who Young defeated in his 2010 re-election bid, and Bruce Williams, Young’s senior policy and community affairs adviser.”

The U-T focuses on another candidate in a new story: Dwayne Crenshaw, a local activist who serves as head of the organization that runs the annual gay pride parade and festival.

He ran for the seat but failed to win in 2002 and 2004.

When Unwinding Isn’t Relaxing at All

Our Liam Dillon spoke to our news partners over at NBC San Diego about the challenged raised by the demise of the city’s urban-renewal program known as redevelopment. At issue: tens of millions of dollars.

That appearance prompted a telling Twitter back-and-forth between Dillon, City Councilman David Alvarez and Deputy City Attorney Brant Will.

WWII-Era Memories of Balboa Park

Ruth Hayward, a sculptor and one of our favorite local folks here at Voice of San Diego, sends us memories of visiting Balboa Park during World War II.

She recalls the carousel (it wasn’t where it is now) and its brass rings, the smoldering dump (it’s now at Miramar) and the Army encampments.    

• Hayward is one of the stars of our weekly Culture Report, an aggregation of arts and culture news. You can catch up on stories about an orchestra bankruptcy, the relocation of a restaurant icon who’s a favorite of local media types, and an “art hoax.” (San Diego has a long history of fantastic hoaxes. Check our look back at the most memorable frauds here.)

Where the Homeless Are: Here

Which urban areas do homeless people flock to the most? Based on my travels, I’d guess the Bay Area, particularly San Francisco and Oakland. Right? Nope, says a federal report. The top three hot spots, by the numbers (not percentage of the population) are NYC, L.A. and … San Diego (!). KPBS has the details.

The U-T has more on a reported rise in homeless vets.

The various swirling numbers will give our Kelly Bennett plenty to work with as she begins her quest to understand the scope of homelessness in San Diego.

Step Right Up and Buy the LA Times. (Please?)

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a local edition of the Los Angeles Times gave the Union and Evening Tribune a run for their money. Staffed by energetic young reporters who weren’t solidified into their journalistic careers or the go-along/get-along San Diego way of doing things, they gleefully shook up the joint.

But the San Diego County edition of the paper to the north couldn’t make it financially, and it folded.

Fast forward to today: Hundreds of local readers unsatisfied with the U-T under new ownership are pining for the LA Times to return. (For background on the U-T, read my recent column.)

But don’t expect the LA Times to make any sudden moves. Its parent company is coming out of bankruptcy and seeking to sell, Bloomberg News reports.

U-T publisher Doug Manchester, who seems to have been interested in just about every print publication in Southern California outside of your family’s Christmas letter, has reportedly been a potential suitor.

Manchester did buy the North County Times, so there’s a precedent for his following through beyond just expressing interest in papers. However, he also failed to snap up the Orange County Register. And despite intensifying rumors over the past few months about the certainty of a deal, he hasn’t bought the Riverside newspaper either.  

When the Music Stops, Who’ll Be Left Standing?

San Diego politics at the moment are a bit like a game of dominoes, just with the various pieces getting to stand up instead of falling down. Our story explains who’s running, and potentially running, for which positions.

Bob Filner started things by being elected mayor. That means there’s an opening in Congress, which may be filled by a state senator, whose job may be filled by a state assemblyman, whose job may be filled by… a labor leader? A Chula Vista councilman?

This could go on for quite a while, until every single person in the county gets to hold public office.

As for me, I’ve got dibs on being appointed city clerk in Lemon Grove. Back off, buster! The glory is all mine!

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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