Richard Barrera is now the most high-profile labor leader in San Diego County. It’s a tough job. And yet he has decided to remain on the board of education of the San Diego Unified School District, which is a part-time, paid position.

The school board doesn’t just deal with pay for teachers, whose union sits on the Labor Council that Barrera will be answering to. It is also the last stop for labor grievances and other issues.

Will Carless chatted with some lawyers and reviewed the laws to see what kind of legal conflicts of interest might arise. They offer some scenarios that might lead Barrera to recuse himself or make piles of work for district lawyers helping him avoid conflicts.

Barrera says he’ll be the same board member he’s always been. And if he feels like he has to change priorities with his new job, then there would be a problem. He’s not worried about that.

In comments in response to the article, Voice of San Diego member Erik Bruvold wrote: “About 40% of unionized workers in San Diego County work for either a K-12 district or at community colleges. I am just sorta stunned that anyone with a straight face could think this isn’t a conflict.”

The Week in Filner

Breathe deep oh hotel owners. Turns out the San Diego Tourism Authority isn’t shutting down after all (U-T San Diego).

Mayor Bob Filner backed down and wired millions of dollars to the city’s Tourism Marketing District for immediate use after refusing to do so earlier this week.

Filner forwarded the cash on Friday after the Tourism Marketing District board voted to share nearly $500,000 in marketing dollars with a committee organizing the 2015 centennial celebration at Balboa Park.

Earlier this week, Filner said he wouldn’t release money collected from a fee on hotel stays to the marketing district because the board reneged on an agreement to pay 5 percent of its income to the centennial committee. We explained the problem with that argument in a Thursday post.

It’s been a good week for Filner. He got bipartisan support and the city’s employee unions on board with a five-year labor pact that keeps future pay increases from counting toward pensions. And he put in motion a new plan to sidestep regulatory agencies and solve the bird poop stench in La Jolla that has bedeviled local businesses and visitors.

But a small battle was brewing over sidewalks. The mayor did not include $1 million in his budget for a sidewalk assessment (even though he says he supports it), but our Liam Dillon counted a City Council supermajority that favors the spending. And The Stumblr of the day comes from Goldfinch Street.

• The mayor is now also the go-to-guy for East Coast reporters looking for immigration stories. We compiled a guide.

Get Your Sports Report Here

In our Sports Report, Active Voice contributor John Gennaro says the local sports media world is feuding. And the Padres got back a key player from suspension.

Day of Civic Innovation

If you care about the city and how technology might improve the way we do things or the way we understand them, you should go to this.

Local political leaders, including the mayor and Councilmembers Mark Kersey and Sherri Lightner, will gather with local geeks and activists to talk about how we can improve access to data and other important issues.

I highly recommend attending, even if you just want to catch up on what this is all about. This is a community that’s bipartisan and growing more and more cohesive.

No State Pot Agency

A plan to regulate medical marijuana statewide crumbled in the state Assembly on Friday.

Lawmakers weren’t buying a bill that would have created a regulatory agency within the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to establish guidelines related to the cultivation, sale and taxation of medical marijuana. Sponsor Tom Ammiano, a Democratic assemblyman, vows to pursue the legislation again soon.

I’ve written about the confusion surrounding medical marijuana rules, a subject particularly perplexing in San Diego.

Quote of the Week

“We are going to use the money that would have gone to the pension fund on services, infrastructure repair and reducing our reliance on one-time funds to balance the budget.”

— Mayor Bob Filner, on a five-year agreement with city labor unions.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!).

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

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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