The principal of a San Diego campus says she was removed from her job because embattled school board President Marne Foster didn’t like how her son, a student, was treated. Now, we have more insight into what actually went on: Superintendent Cindy Marten tells us that yes, the situation over Foster’s son played a role.
“It would be wrong to say that’s not part of the story, but that’s not the whole story,” Marten said in her first interview about a widening scandal over conflicts between Foster, school employees and the district.
“The new information settles one mysterious point about how the situation evolved,” VOSD’s Mario Koran reports. “But it doesn’t necessarily exonerate Marten from the possibility that she turned a blind eye while a school counselor was punished for writing accurate information about Foster’s son.”
The counselor says she was suspended for nine days without pay. Another counselor shared the unflattering evaluation of Foster’s son with Foster, but that counselor apparently was only punished with a reprimand.
Meanwhile, some community members are rallying around Foster and blaming the media for spreading misinformation.
• The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education met for three hours in closed session Tuesday night to discuss the controversy. John Lee Evans, the vice president of the board, announced afterward that the district would release three years’ worth of information about what happened that led to the removal of Lizarraga and the suspension of Abagat. Evans also announced that on the agenda for the next board meeting was the initiation of an investigation into Foster’s fundraising effort and a claim filed against the district for $250,000. It had been filed by the father of Foster’s son but he claims it was written by Foster herself.
Politics Roundup: Supe Seeks Advice on Vote
• County Supervisor Bill Horn is seeking advice on whether he can vote on the mammoth and controversial Lilac Hills housing project in the Valley Center area, VOSD’s Andrew Keatts reports, a month after our investigation pointed out Horn’s possible conflict of interest.
• The little city of Solana Beach has a new planning director who faces a big challenge as he tries to cope with state rules regarding affordable housing. VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan has the story: “California’s coastal communities are notorious for their expensive housing and community resistance to new, higher-density housing projects.”
• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins dips into the big and potentially expensive and damaging feud between Democratic politicians Toni Atkins and Marty Block: “As a practical matter, Atkins and Block are progressive policy clones. Both drink from the same wells.
“Labor could play a major role in deciding which of these two hangs in there. The Democratic Party can’t see positives in an uncivil war between the pro-Block Senate and the pro-Atkins Assembly,” he adds. “I’m putting my money on this game of chicken ending before Election Day.”
• Local and regional water officials are fighting some more: San Diego water officials are questioning the Metropolitan Water District over its plan to develop one of the world’s largest recycled water programs. It’s not the first time the two groups have fought — Ry Rivard explained their long beef here.
• The 2012 municipal pension initiatives in San Diego and San Jose: Compare and contrast.
Urinetown Isn’t Just a Musical
More public restrooms are on the way to downtown, the city says, it claims the fuss over the Portland Loos is missing the bigger (and more sanitary) picture.
Meanwhile, as the homeless problem festers in downtown, the city of Los Angeles has declared a “state of emergency” and is devoting $100 million toward services to help the homeless.
Culture Report: A ‘Pathetic’ Centennial
It often seems that San Diego has the unique ability to be aggressively average when it comes to things like vision and execution. We get by on our looks instead of our brains. Case in point: VOSD’s weekly Culture Report reminds us that Balboa Park is still celebrating its centennial although you (and a lot of other people) might not have noticed. “Pathetic,” says one critic, and he has lots of company.
Also in the Culture Report: Happier tidings about Mozart, Trolley Dances, the Adams Avenue Street Fair and more.
Quick News Hits
• VOSD’s Ry Rivard is moderating a free confab on the future of water Wednesday, as part of the La Mesa Conversations. For more info, click here.
• An NBC 7 investigation raises questions about whether nuclear material was mishandled at the now-defunct San Onofre nuclear plant.
• The NFL commissioner is going to take a bigger role in the whole L.A. relocation saga. (L.A. Times)
• The Creation and Earth History Museum, a Christian creationist institution in Santee for decades, is stung by its failure to convince a local museum council to accept it as a member.
“We did everything we were supposed to do. So why didn’t we get the votes? Prejudice against the Lord Jesus Christ is what it comes down to,” an official tells World Magazine.
The museum, which claims humans lived with dinosaurs, is devoted to “scriptural and scientific evidence that reinforces the biblical account of creation and support the body of Christ.” We should all be able to agree on this: At least one of the sides in this debate is positively prehistoric.
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 (asja.org). Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.