San Diego Unified’s head of IT made a big deal of bringing in a tech company to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of services, then he took off to go take a job with the very same company, we report in a new story.
It turns out he “isn’t the only San Diego Unified official to leave an influential post at the district only to go and work for a company that won contracts under his tenure,” VOSD contributing writer Will Carless reports.
This kind of thing might not happen in the future. District officials, some of whom were dismayed by the “revolving door” for the tech official, want to reform the way things are done. But controlling where someone works in their next job is a dicey proposition.
Best Moments from the VOSD Planning Confab
We’ve compiled a few of the most interesting moments from our discussion Tuesday night about planning that featured local gurus.
One memorable moment came courtesy of San Diego’s new planning director: “I’ve worked in hundreds of cities as a consultant, and I was a mayor in one (Ventura), and every single developer I’ve talked to in every single one said this is the worst city to get a permit in that they’ve ever seen, and they all honestly believed it.”
• Never mind the “linkage fee” or the “affordable housing fee,” as we’ve renamed it. Foes like to say that increasing the fee that developers pay to boost affordable housing is a “job tax,” even though that actually sounds kind of nice. Now, a former mayor is going with “zombie tax,” the U-T reports, and he’s helping launch a petition drive — yes, another one — to kill the fee/tax/whatever boost approved by the City Council.
For Filner, New Lawsuit Is Quite Animated
The hits just keep on coming for our previous mayor. But this time around, a new sexual harassment lawsuit against Bob Filner comes with a twist: a professionally made animated video (via an attorney) that shows in sharp detail how he allegedly hit on a city employee at an event and put her in the infamous “Filner headlock.”
• Filner’s replacement, interim mayor Todd Gloria, is surprisingly mum about who he’d like to replace him in the mayor’s office, CityBeat reports.
The Challenges of Race Relations
• About a third of local Latinos surveyed say there’s “a lot” or “a great deal” of discrimination against Latinos here, KPBS and San Diego Magazine report. It’s not clear how that compares with other parts of the country or whether the number might be especially high or low.
• Our investigation into higher rates of a certain type of discipline being used against local Latino and black students sparked a blistering discussion among our commenters. Fingers were pointed at parents, at students, at the system and at us. Now, we have insight via the Center for Public Integrity into how another California city handles things: “One of America’s most liberal bastions — San Francisco — has cut student suspensions by nearly a third in three years but continues to struggle with grossly disproportionate suspensions of black students.”
Half of suspensions for “willful defiance” were among black students, reflecting a bit of the pattern we see here in San Diego schools. The San Francisco school board is going to consider not allowing students to be suspended for that violation.
Why not just keep suspending these kids to protect other students from disruptions? “Removing a student doesn’t work,” a school board member said. “With removal, the student just comes back more angry and more disruptive.”
Quick News Hits
• VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro ponders whether the Padres are poised to improve.
• “Five more officials have pleaded guilty in the South County schools corruption case,” the U-T reports.
• CityBeat explores how authorities have removed children from homes because medical marijuana was on hand. In one case, a child was removed from the home of a father who had a medical marijuana card and was arrested for having 10 pounds of pot — roughly $35,000 worth — in the house; it’s not clear why he had that much.
A county spokesperson says there’s more to it than just smoking pot: “If a parent is using medical marijuana, and they’re using as authorized, and there is no negative impact on the child or children in the home, then that’s great.”
• Yesterday brought the groundbreaking for a tiny freeway in South Bay that “will connect a planned, new Otay Mesa border crossing with state Route 905 and to state Route 125,” NBC SD reports.
• “Members of San Diego County’s large Chaldean community are clashing with one another in hopes of gaining power, and naming rights, to a Chaldean business community,” the Reader reports.
The battle is brewing in East County, where Chaldeans — immigrant families from Iraq — have a strong presence.
• Yesterday’s Morning Report misplaced the home base of the yoga clothing company Luluemon. While the company’s now-departed chief grew up partly in San Diego, the company is based in Canada. Sorry about the error.
• This is now my favorite Balboa Park bench too.
• Business Insider has a list of supposed “California sayings” that are distinct to our state.
Sure, “Sigalert” might be unique to us, along with “June gloom” and the habit of putting “the” before freeway numbers. But I’ve never heard anyone call something (like a burger or burrito) “the bomb” or “dank.”
I do know, however, that too many burgers and burritos can lead to endless Sag-alerts, and maybe even a jackknifed Morning Report scribe in Aisle 4.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.