It has been a terrible week for Mayor Bob Filner.

He denies it but it appears his deputy chief of staff, Allen Jones, has left amid concerns about the way Filner was interacting with staff. There may be other departures.

I rounded up the horrible week in news for a mayor who had been on a roll with a big, bipartisan labor deal, a solution to the La Jolla Cove stench and a big new hire.

In that round up, I forgot to mention his awkward joke at a gathering of mayors that made news. He thanked Oakland’s mayor for taking all of the prisoners after a court order.

Apparently the silence it provoked was broken when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson pardoned Filner, joking he was a “rookie mayor.”

Central Elementary’s Budgets in Four Graphs

Earlier this week, we fact checked Cindy Marten’s statement that the school she has been running for many years, Central Elementary, lost and lost millions of dollars over recent years.

We found the claim barely true.

The school’s budget had actually risen but the amount Marten could control had fallen by quite a bit, though not “millions” plural.

Lisa Halverstadt took it a step further Friday with four graphs that help illustrate Central’s experience with money over the last several years.

The exercise has helped us really understand how the district’s money woes have played out for one of its most talked-about schools.

Marten, of course, will be in charge of a much bigger budget in a couple weeks when she takes over as superintendent of San Diego Unified School District.

A New Balboa Park Look, and the Mayor and I Meet Sir Richard

Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama is transforming. I saw it Thursday and absent-mindedly walked in the middle of a loopy road that will lead cars off the Cabrillo Bridge and out of the plaza. I was told to get off of it.

The Balboa Park Facebook feed has an updated view.

I was leaving the panel I moderated featuring Mayor Filner and Richard Branson, the billionaire innovator. It was a discussion on the drug war following a screening of the movie “Breaking the Taboo.”

U-T San Diego’s Diane Bell wrote up the panel nicely. Here’s the three of us:


Maybe Don’t Try to Be Silicon Valley

Kelly Bennett’s quest to understand innovation in San Diego and what could hinder it is going along splendidly. I trust you saw her fantastic piece the other day about whether we can keep tech startups in town.

Friday, she posted an intriguing follow-up: It’s OK to worry about this. But let’s not try to be Silicon Valley. That we could even pretend to give that a go might be foolish.

We could do something different, though.

University Heights Growthers vs. Anti-Density Advocates

We’ve talked about this a lot: We’re watching a clash between smart-growth advocates and no-growth advocates proceed.

And it played out this week in the comments section of Andrew Keatts’ piece about the mayor’s decision to support some in University Heights who want their neighborhood to be part of the great downzoning proceeding in uptown neighborhoods.

Dagny Salas gathered the best of the back and forth into its own post. You have neighbors pleading for no more density and others worrying what that will mean for home prices and urban character.

Tensions are high but the discussion is as smart as these can go.

What We Learned This Week

• Getting a teaching job in La Jolla is something that a lot of district teachers want. But principals are only allowed to consider the top five most senior teachers for any open position. The teachers union has spiked a big push to change that.

• I was on KPBS’s Midday Roundtable, which has been shortened to 30 minutes. I talked about the state’s brush with reducing access to public records. Check out our reader’s guide on this ridiculous move that was wisely walked back.

“Midday Roundtable,” by the way, is the program once known as “Editor’s Roundtable”. It has gone through many changes over the years. Not sure I’m a fan of the new format but I’m going to trust them for now.

• The Convention Center’s parking lot is not the best in the West, as one person claimed.

• City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has put a veteran of attacks against Mayor Filner in charge of his public affairs.

• We got a window into how hard it is to get permits for a brewery’s tasting room and how much easier it was for Ballast Point to just do a full restaurant.

This is what it takes to get a street light if you want one. Choose your own adventure.

Quick News Hits

• The Wall Street Journal covered the beginning of construction of the new Carlsbad desalination plant. You might want to chase that with a gulp of my “four things to know” about the big water deal we made last year.

Whatever you may think of our U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, the news site Buzzfeed, which is staking a claim as the most socially savvy of news orgs, says Issa is amazing at Instagram. See why here. Even newly elected Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is an admirer of Issa’s pics — she made a Twitter tribute to Issa by slapping a prominent mustache on her profile photo, just like his.

• City Heights’ Farmers Market is five years old. It wasn’t easy for it to reach this ripe old age.

•In Vanity Fair, JJ Abrams writes a spotlight on Kamala Harris. He mentions her looks as though he hadn’t heard about the president’s foot-in-mouth moment.

• We have a new post in our Stumblr blog of bad sidewalks.

Quote of the Week

“It’s a wonderful community, but it’s very difficult to plan for when your main street is divided like Berlin.”
— Leo Wilson, chair of the Uptown Planners, speaking about the odd placement of University Heights on planning maps.

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!).

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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