Marne Foster, the president of the San Diego school board, wants money for her two adult sons, including one who lost his financial aid for college. So, as Mario Koran reports, she threw a benefit concert and launched a fundraising campaign. One flier told people that their donations would be tax-deductible.

The executive of the nonprofit taking the donations would not answer Koran’s questions about how that works.

Is this kind of effort legal, ethical and conventional? After all, politicians often face scrutiny for efforts that direct resources to themselves or their families. Koran talked to an expert who explains where the lines are.

Foster is standing her ground: “Sometimes, what happens is that when you fight for all students, folks go after you… I sleep well at night.”

S.D. Schools Will Invest Big in Solar

The district Foster helps oversee, San Diego Unified, is planning to spend millions on solar energy in a bid to save money down the line. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt dug in to the investment and explains how much the district has already done with solar. A project to reduce the electricity needs of the district’s refrigerated food storage space alone will cost almost $1 million.

Special Podcast: Women on the Move

VOSD’s Caty Green sat down with Felena Hanson, the founder of Hera Hub, a co-working and networking space for women that’s gotten extensive media attention. In a conversation recorded for podcast, they talked about helping women in business to become their own bosses, and her experience within San Diego’s business climate.

Wait, the City’s Giving Orders Now?

Every once in a while during the Chargers stadium saga, the city acts like it’s a player, not a bystander. This may have happened again. According to the Orange County Register, “San Diego officials have chosen Sept. 11 as the deadline for the NFL’s Chargers to agree on a new stadium in Mission Valley and thus commit to staying in San Diego.”

This is right in line with the city’s script. As the mayor drives toward a January special election on the Chargers stadium proposal, the City Council would have to begin discussions about the election in September. And since the mayor and his counterpart at the County, Supervisor Ron Roberts, have said they won’t do the vote without an agreement with the Chargers, well, an agreement with the Chargers would have to happen in September.

• Roberts told a sports talk station that he thinks the team would grab a chance to move to L.A. He didn’t have any comments about whether they should be cautious about letting the door hit them on the way out.

Law & Order Roundup: Big Cost in Cop Settlement

• The L.A. Times recaps the emotionally excruciating testimony of the father of Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes, who grew up in San Diego.

• City News Service reports that the city “is poised to pay nearly $1 million to settle claims by two women abused by a former police officer, who later pleaded guilty to criminal charges and spent five months behind bars.”

• State legislation in the works could make life easier for marijuana shops. (CityBeat)

• Inewsource profiles an Escondido undocumented immigrant who vanished into “the alternate legal universe of the immigration justice system, which some describe as capricious and opaque.” Not so fast, government agencies say.

• The San Diego Police Department has had a big diversity problem, but things may be changing: In “August we anticipate an academy of 50 recruits,” the department tweeted. “Largest in at least 7 years. This class has potential of being 60% minorities and or women.”

Build, Baby, Build

• Plans are afoot to build a 39-story tower in downtown’s East Village. (NBC 7)

• Solana Beach residents are fighting a big proposed homes-and-businesses project along Highway 101 (aka the Coast Highway). They say it’s too tall (35 feet) and too big for little Solana Beach. (Coast News)

Bon Voyage, Time Travelers!

• Somebody on Reddit dug up this 1947 “ Map of the United States As California Sees It.” This is pretty nifty (if you manage to ignore the Mexican stereotypes), reminiscent of the famous 1976 New Yorker cover that suggests the world basically ends at the Hudson River.

The best part: There are four California harbors marked “World’s Finest Harbor,” including San Diego Bay, home to the “Entire U.S. Navy.”

• There’s talk that Los Angeles could land the 2024 Olympics. That could mean we could get a bit of Olympic fever ourselves: Back during 1984’s event, some equestrian events were held at Fairbanks Ranch. You can check out a bunch of photos of jumping horses here. Don’t miss the 1980s-style short-shorts on bystanders, and drop by this photo album for a look at Andre Agassi with a rather amazing mullet and another pair of unfortunate shorts.

• Not too long ago, I came across a panoramic photo of downtown San Diego taken in 1914 from a skyscraper at E Street and Fifth Avenue. (Click to enlarge it and see if you can spot the Bull Durham tobacco sign and the recently built Cabrillo Bridge, awaiting the exposition in 1915.)

The U-T heard about the picture and took a photo from the exact same spot a century later. They then published both photos together, pointing out various landmarks like buildings that still exist.

Now, my sleuthing skills have turned up another panoramic photo of the downtown skyline, this one from 1908. Click it twice to enlarge it, and see if you can spot the swastika on a billboard. The symbol hadn’t yet developed its horrific 20th century connotations.

To get your bearings, find the huge building on the right side of the second panel. That’s the U.S. Grant Hotel on Broadway, which still stands tall (well, tall-adjacent) today. You can also spot ships in the bay, drug stores, a horse-and-cart crossing the street, a cyclist and much more.

We were a bustling town on the move in 1906, more than doubling in size in the first decade of a new century. By 1920, we’d be the 93rd largest city in the country, ready and raring to give Peoria, Ill. (No. 91), a run for its if-it-plays-here money.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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