Cindy Marten, who will soon take over as chief of San Diego schools, has a surprise in her past: seven years spent teaching at a private school in University City.

As she told us in a chat in front of 180 people this week, that experience — as well as teaching in the well-to-do Poway district — gave her insight into the value of education.

“I just really deeply believe in the hope and promise of public education in America,” she said. “It’s not about having to write a check, or stand in line, or win a lottery or get a great ZIP code. Public education is for all of us, not some.”

• Not too long ago, real estate gurus blasted the San Diego school district in our pages for seemingly botching a real-estate deal. But the district turned out golden in the long run: It’s sold a property for $2 million more than in the previous deal.

Step on a Crack …

The Stumblr, our blog of photos of San Diego’s broken sidewalks, has passed the mark of 100 posts. We recapped its successes (a couple sidewalks were fixed) and where the city may go from here.   

• Meanwhile, our Liam Dillon reports that “there’s still a wide gap between the cost to keep San Diego’s streets, storm drains and buildings from deteriorating and what the city actually spends. This year the difference will stand at $84 million — close to the cost of running the city’s entire park and recreation department for an entire year.”

Our story explains how a decision by the mayor is having a cascading effect on funding.

The Killing

Prisoners at a San Diego County jail, led by a 6-foot-4, 215-pound gang member, thought the 70-year-old man was a child molester. So they killed him behind bars.

The man was not a child molester. He was mentally and physically ill, CityBeat reports, and was supposed to be in protective custody after being arrested for threatening people with a stun gun. Instead, he was attacked.

The CityBeat story is the final article in its jaw-dropping series about a rash of deaths in the county’s jail system.

• A member of the city’s gang commission tells CityBeat he was shocked when police told him there’d been just one gang-related murder this year in San Diego. He counts five.

Why does it matter? The city “uses different criteria to determine what is and what isn’t a gang-related crime. The discrepancy worries (him) because lower numbers can be used to claim that crime-reduction efforts have been more successful than they’ve been, and because the numbers can factor into where the city spends limited money.”

Padres, Is That You?

Our Active Voice blogger John Gennaro is impressed by the Padres’ recent winning streak: “The starting pitching had been rocky so far, but back-to-back wins by Edinson Volquez, two solid starts by Andrew Cashner and plenty of good work from the relievers have settled things down. Whether they stay settled will go a long way toward determining the future of the organization,” he writes.

Quick News Hits

• A new Poway school board member tells Pomerado News that she’s “frustrated” by a “culture of conformity” in the district’s leadership.

The school board member said she wanted to repair damage caused by the district’s unusual and costly borrowing scheme, which has drawn tons of negative attention after being uncovered by VOSD and others.

• A humdinger of a mayor’s race is shaping up in Escondido: Councilwoman Olga Diaz, a longtime left-leaning Latino voice in a city dominated by conservative politicians, will run against incumbent  Sam Abed in 2014, U-T San Diego reports.

• State Sen. Ben Hueso is behind legislation that would push for special driver’s licenses that would allow drivers to bypass long lines at the border, the U-T reports.

• CityBeat is endorsing City Council candidate Dwayne Crenshaw.  

So much for a cross-border Olympics: It might already be dead, says the AP. 

Dang it all. I expected to win a gold in the politician shot-put competition. You should see how far I can throw a president pro tempore!

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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Randy Dotinga

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

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