School board trustee John Lee Evans spoke up last week to defend Superintendent Cindy Marten from charges she removed a popular school principal from her post because she refused to give special treatment to school board president Marne Foster’s son.

To make his case, Evans brought up an unrelated incident he said exonerates Marten. He only offered vague details at the time, but now Mario Koran has filled in some of the blanks: During a June school board meeting, Foster apparently tried to get the district to promote a family friend — and Marten refused.

Andrew Keatts pointed out a flaw in that reasoning last week:

How dare you say the superintendent buckled to political pressure when no one was looking? Here: evidence she held strong when everyone was!

— Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) September 18, 2015

• Indeed, the school board is circling the wagons around Superintendent Cindy Marten. In a new analysis, Scott Lewis explains the bigger picture for the district: Decisions about who leads district schools are the most impactful decision Marten makes as a leader. And unless the district can produce evidence that a popular principal was removed for legitimate reasons, “it means that Marten, in her most important role, was willing to make the pursuit of a quality school a lower priority than a school board member’s petty personal complaint.”

Behold, a Local City That Actually Embraces Smart Growth

When San Diego city planners thought about maybe, possibly making it easier to build more housing near a new trolley stop in Bay Park, residents there all but brought out pitchforks.The city quickly scrapped the idea.

That’s been about par for the course – Logan Heights wants more smart growth but can’t seem to get it, Encanto has had a trolley line for years without seeing much development focused on it and Hillcrest keeps fighting against new development despite its urban location.

Then there’s San Marcos. As Maya Srikrishnan reports in a new story, the North County city is quietly setting a high bar for getting smart-growth projects done. It’s embraced the idea of focusing growth at light-rail stations, and is planning ahead for shuttles that would connect various neighborhoods to transit stations.

“If we’re ever going to do an urban node in Southern California, this is going to be it,” said one developer. “Thank God we found a city that agreed with us.”

• The L.A. Times gives a rundown of some of the notable points in SANDAG’s new 35-year blueprint. The plan envisions less suburban sprawl, and light rail that can take San Diegans all the way to the beach. Let me put this in a way that massively understates things: That will be, um, difficult to pull off, given the firestorms mentioned above. 

Faulconer Chooses Team Jacob

The Toni Atkins-Marty Block faceoff isn’t the only intraparty showdown ’round these parts.

State Sen. Joel Anderson is still challenging Supervisor Dianne Jacob for her seat on the County Board of Supervisors. Anderson’s challenge started off strong – he got backing and tons of cash from the county Republican Party.

But Mayor Kevin Faulconer has landed on Team Jacob, he announced Monday.

“I appreciate Dianne’s dedication to serving her constituents and her enthusiasm for addressing challenging issues facing our county.  I’m proud to join dozens of other community leaders in supporting her re-election,” Faulconer said in a statement.

Remember, though, that if the Jacob challenge doesn’t work out for Anderson, he has a backup plan: He’s also raising money for a state Assembly bid.

We Read Social Media So You Don’t Have To

• Longtime radio host Chris Cantore announced on Twitter that he’s out of a job after the station that hosted his morning show, KPRi, was sold. The U-T gathered the outpouring of posts about the station as it now will become a Christian music feed.

• The good news for Jack Griffin – CEO of Tribune, which owns the San Diego Union-Tribune – is that he probably won’t see the many, many, many jokes being made online about his unbelievable interview with Chicago Business, in which he assumes young people will eventually ditch their phones and iPads and read good ol’ printed newspapers.

• Lots of people are making “Mars has water and California doesn’t!” jokes. One L.A. Times reporter even threw in this handy sketch:

You’re welcome, @JerryBrownGov. #drought #Mars — Joel Rubin (@joelrubin) September 28, 2015

• Several local mayors and other officials are in D.C. this week for a water roundtable, writes the Union-Tribune. Is there a way to filter out all the “Golly, can you believe little ol’ San Diego folks get to go to the big fancy capital?” tweets from local leaders from my feed?

Quick News Hits

• We’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the big Haggen closure will mean: 6,000 California workers are poised to lose their jobs. (NBC San Diego)

 Three rookie SDPD officers shot and killed a man who pointed what turned out to be a replica gun at them. (Union-Tribune)

 KPBS interviews San Diego’s new fire chief, who says the department needs to become more diverse.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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