San Diego schools Superintendent Cindy Marten is still in what might be called a honeymoon phase.

But she’s starting to manage expectations. Eight years, she tells our Mario Koran. That’s how long we should expect it to take to revamp the district.

Koran explores the ghosts of superintendents past that are haunting Marten’s first few months. San Diego has churned through superintendents and each has left us with a lesson that Koran captures.

From reformers to unions, Marten has managed to keep most of the stakeholders in the district hopeful. But how long can that last?

Might be interesting to watch how Marten’s rhetoric evolves since this long on-stage interview she and I had months ago before she started the job officially.

Meet San Diego’s Elections Chief

For years, the county of San Diego has flirted with trying to go with all-mail elections. In other words, we would get rid of Election Day polling stations and just do mail-in ballots.

But state lawmakers have not yet allowed it.

In a Q-and-A with Randy Dotinga, Michael Vu, the registrar of voters, explains the costs and why the county isn’t saving money even though so many of our registered voters send in their ballots via mail.

Vu says we’re a long way from online voting, though. And he explains some differences between San Diego and Cleveland, where he rose up the ranks.

Wait, What Does That Mean?

We’re on a one-org mission to bring planning and development discussions to the people. To me, how we decide what gets built and where will be the dominant issue of the next decade.

Andrew Keatts decided to take one step to make sure we were all on the same page with even just the words that are commonly used in planning circles.

Do you know what discretionary approval and ministerial review actually mean? Check out Keatts’ first installment of the glossary.

There’s far too many for one post, so what other land-use terms do you think are used often but not often understood? Let us know.

• Keatts was on the KPBS Midday Roundtable with the Reader’s Dorian Hargrove and the Daily Transcript’s Deal Calbreath

What We Learned This Week

• The next mayor will face four major issues right away. For instance, the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant needs another special waiver. What if it doesn’t get it?

• One thing that will help the next mayor: The city’s pension bill will be about $11 million less than this year’s was. It’s still $264 million.

• What all those numbers mean on your water bill (and why they’re getting uglier).

• Our choices for the best local journalism (that we didn’t do) and the best quotes of 2013.

• And of course, we chose our Voice of the Year and other voices of note.

News Bits

• We can’t seem to figure out where to put a violent sex offender when he’s released from prison.

• San Diego Magazine has a list of the best events to come in January.

• The music director at the San Diego Master Chorale, also sometimes known as the Voice of San Diego, by the way (we’ve worked that out), is leaving. (U-T)

• Some great discussion erupted under Lisa Halverstadt’s explanation of what’s happening to San Diego residents’ water bills.

• San Diego County’s library system has opened the first-of-its-kind 24-7 kiosk.

• The County and the group Wildcoast have created an app to help you determine the water quality of your favorite beach on any given day.

A final note, Voice of San Diego met its fundraising goals for the year. We started 2013 with 1,345 active members. These are people who have renewed or donated in the last 12 months. We ended 2013 with 1,739, a growth of 29 percent.

For all of you helping pay for this service, a hearty thank you and Happy New Year. We have a long way to go but for now, we’ll take a break from campaigning and focus on delivering the in-depth reporting and investigations you expect.

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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