Like a lot of people around town, the woman who will soon run San Diego’s school district believes there’s a lot wrong with it.

“As she says, the school system cannot demonstrate what a quality school is,” our Scott Lewis writes. “She says schools need more money, but they can’t offer any way for taxpayers or parents to measure the return on their investments in the system … she said the school system is spending money on things it shouldn’t and does not know exactly what it is that it is trying to build.”

It may seem mighty refreshing to hear someone in education be so open about its failures. But Lewis writes that you won’t hear something — blame. Cindy Marten sees problems and promises solutions but she won’t say who’s at fault.   

This might be a brilliant strategy, one that helps her avoid alienating potential allies before she even takes over. 

But for now, it sounds like a case of an immaculate perception.

Revamping Redevelopment

The Centre City Development Corp. is gone. So is the Southeast Economic Development Corp. 

But is the demise of redevelopment, which killed off these and other urban-renewal agencies, good for San Diego? That’s a good question, one that we’ll be trying to answer in the coming months.

First off, we have a story about the status of a new organization with the cryptic name Civic San Diego. It rose from the ashes of the two defunct agencies, but it has somewhat different roles, as our Andrew Keatts explains.   

Pundit Blasts Fletcher for Yet Another Switch

Bill Whalen, a former speechwriter for Pete Wilson (the San Diego mayor-turned-senator-turned-governor), is not impressed by ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (the Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat). 

“It’s a free country — one Nathan Fletcher has fought for, in combat, to his considerable credit — and he’s free to switch teams,” Whalen writes in a commentary for The Sacramento Bee. “Not so forgivable is the cynicism this move invites … The hope here is Nathan Fletcher proves us cynics wrong. And there’s an easy way to do so: Don’t run for office.” 

Quick News Hits

• We have more Dear Superintendent suggestions (image-based messages for the incoming schools chief) and another Stumblr entry (photos of decrepit local sidewalks).  

Also, check our summary of the week’s most interesting comments on the VOSD site.

• U-T San Diego profiles a “pleasant” prisoner Charles “Andy” Williams, the student who killed two and wounded 13 in the 2001 Santana High shooting in East County: “Because his case did not go to trial, this is the confession we never heard in detail. And because it happened in San Diego County’s front yard, it’s our right to hear it.”

An explanation for the murders, though, remains as elusive as ever: “We can analyze Williams’ account of March 5, 2001, and say that much of it makes no sense. He says it doesn’t to him, either.”

• The DEA’s local chief talks to the U-T about drug trafficking: We have “always been a gem, and will always be a gem for drug traffickers to bring drugs into the United States,” he said.

Our Scott Lewis is skeptical, as he wrote on Twitter: “So what are we trying to achieve then?”

• The U-T uncovers a scandal in the district that runs middle and high schools in the South Bay: “What began eight years ago as a deal to develop a new administration complex for Sweetwater schools has cost the district $40 million, with no new district headquarters in sight.”

• Hundreds of goats are “pretty darn effective” at creating a fire break in the back country’s Cleveland National Forest, the U-T learns. How do they do it? By chowing down on the brush.

• An online magazine called The Morning News turns to non-New York City residents for some helpful translation services: Which neighborhoods from cities around the world are most like those in and around the Big Apple?

Seattle’s Capital Hill, for example, is most like NYC’s East Village, says a writer. L.A.’s Venice is Queens (!). And Washington D.C.’s Adams Morgan is West Village.

San Diego isn’t on the list. Maybe it should be. Morning Report readers: Can you translate our city’s enclaves into their equivalents in NYC?

Is Hillcrest more like Chelsea or Greenwich Village? Where do Carmel Valley and Rancho Bernardo fit in? (Are they like Westchester County? The Hamptons?) And which local neighborhoods are our Park Slope, Soho and Hoboken?

Here’s hoping that we don’t have an equivalent of Flushing.

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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