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It had been unclear exactly how School Board President Marne Foster reacted to her son’s negative evaluation to college produced by a high school counselor. Foster disputed a Grand Jury report about it. We had gotten only accusations from the principal of the high school he attended and the counselor who wrote the evaluation.
But Thursday, Mario Koran obtained internal emails that show Foster was furious over the evaluation written about her son by a counselor at the School for Performing and Creative Arts, or SCPA, and demanded action at the highest levels of her son’s school.
District policy bars school board members from giving direction to staff members. But in an email to former Chief Student Services Officer Joe Fulcher, Foster wrote: “I am writing you and decidedly bypassing SCPA leadership as a result of extreme lack of confidence, distrust and disgust! There have been several issues over the years that fall under student support services at SCPA – BUT THIS IS IT!!!!!”…
Then she demanded three things, including that a new evaluation be done. Fulcher came up with a plan to address her concerns. The plan was not revealed in the emails we obtained and they were heavily redacted. But eventually a new evaluation was done and the principal was later removed, an act the superintendent maintains was done independent of Foster’s concerns.
Koran’s piece is the most complete picture yet of what happened.
At What Price Water?
A new desalination plant in Carlsbad is helping to assuage fears that Southern California will turn into a barren dust bowl where residents feud over access to water. But that assurance of more water will come at a price; a price no one yet knows, Ry Rivard reports. The San Diego County Water authority estimates water bills will only go up by a few bucks at first. “Water officials say they don’t know how much the water will end up costing average users in the long run,” Rivard writes.
Some water districts are trying to soften the sticker-shock of pricey water by spending one-time funds to make the water temporarily affordable. After that, the only limit is that water costs can’t increase by more than 30 percent over the 30 year life-span of the existing water agreement.
‘Good luck. Your going to need it.’
A group who is extremely critical of police agencies received a message on Wednesday heavy with profanity, defending police and calling police protesters from Ferguson “animals.” In an era of internet anonymity, the message style is unfortunately common; less common is the digital fingerprint on the message that indicates the message originated from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. A department representative said it appears to have come from the department and officials are investigating, Liam Dillon reports.
A Rift on the Left
Environmentalists and political progressives believe San Diego needs better transit options, and SANDAG is the governmental body responsible for making that happen. SANDAG wants to pay for new transit projects in part by raising the sales tax, a tricky maneuver which requires approval from two-thirds of voters. While anti-tax conservative groups might be the most typical opposition to such a proposal, Andrew Keatts reports the resistance now is actually from liberal groups who balk at giving SANDAG any more money.
One prominent environmentalist thinks SANDAG should reallocate existing money to transit project before being given any new funds. Another thinks environmentalists would only end up fighting for “table scraps” from SANDAG’s plan. Yet another wants to find a compromise. “It’s possible a split among environmentalists – between those who’ve taken a hardline stance against highway expansions and those taking a more centrist position – could become an obstacle,” Keatts writes.
Test Scores: San Diego Explained
Last week, we saw results from new standardized tests challenging students throughout San Diego County due to its different approach to solving problems. But some students are struggling far more than others, and you won’t be surprised to learn the widest variations break down between ethnic and economic groups. Scott Lewis joined NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to compare recent test results from schools throughout the city in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Poway Unified Wants New Blood
In an unfamiliar show of (almost) unity, the board of the Poway Unified School District on Wednesday night rejected staff’s recommendation to tap three familiar consultants that worked on the district’s derided $100 million-turned-$1 billion capital appreciation bond deal of 2011 for an upcoming unspecified Mello Roos bond sale. In the end, the item died after longtime board member Andy Patapow unsuccessfully attempted to approve the item. The board asked staff to bring back other consultants for consideration, and also asked to see an existing $625,000 contract with Dolinka Group. Board President Kim Beatty summed up the discussion saying, “Democracy in action.” To catch the entire debate — which included staff defense of the CAB and consultants — click here.
San Diego is setting up another meeting with NFL, NBC 7 reports. They also mention the NFL wanting to set up a spectacular “town hall” style meeting in San Diego, which could probably be broadcast on sports television in its own right.
Carson, the city trying their darndest to steal the Chargers from San Diego, put their city clerk on suspension this week after fears arose he might go crazy and kill everyone at City Hall. It remains to be seen whether this amounts to a firing offense in Carson; the city clerk is currently the subject of a recall effort, the Daily Breeze reports.
• We’re still fighting in court to get private surveillance video of a police-involved shooting released to the public. Councilman David Alvarez wants to know where the buck stops on the decision to release videos held up by the police department.
• Former Voice of San Diego reporter Will Carless has been tracking down Catholic priests who were accused of sex crimes, but who never faced criminal justice. Instead, Carless finds, the church sent priests to South America to continue their “ministry” out of public view.
• Caltrans wonders if some flashing lights might put a stop to inebriated drivers who kill people by driving on the wrong side of the freeway so they’re going to test the idea out on I-15 in San Diego. (NBC 7)
• National City Police, perhaps realizing that no one will ever be able to see them, are interested in capturing police body camera videos. (Star-News)
• Long-expected layoffs at Qualcomm have begun. (Union-Tribune)
• A rare all-volunteer signature gathering group is trying to send a big Carlsbad development project over the city council’s heads, right to the ballot. (Coast News)
• In the year of Balboa Park’s centennial celebration, the city of San Diego is being sued for allowing the park’s Starlight Bowl theater to fall into utter disrepair. (San Diego Reader)
• Instead of being eaten, these South Korean dogs will be put up for adoption in San Diego. (LA Times)
That Costs Extra
Whale watching in California: It’s all fun and games until a 40-ton humpback whale decides to belly flop on your tandem kayak. (YouTube)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.