You’ve heard of “abort, retry, ignore”? Try this out: Reassigned, retired, removed. Those are the fates affecting many of the 87 San Diego Unified principals who’ve left their jobs since Superintendent Cindy Marten took over in 2013.

As VOSD’s Mario Koran reports, the principals on the move account for about half of all those in the district. Some became principals elsewhere in the district, some retired, some moved to vague “special assignment positions.” Why does this matter? “The principal churn highlights a central tension her administration has brought on: Marten promised large-scale change when she took over as superintendent. But the possible consequences of so many changes can be unsettling.”

Or worse. Marten’s decisions have put her in the firing line as she faces criticism in high-profile cases. But a school board member says she knows what she’s doing and tries to help principals who need assistance: “She doesn’t just come in there with an axe and cut them down. But if principals can’t make changes, then she’ll move them.”

• La Jolla’s Bird Rock Elementary is getting air conditioning, but not because the school district suddenly decided to prioritize spending money on a comfortable environment for learning rather than new stadiums. Instead, parents paid for it themselves.

It helps, of course, that the school has a healthy foundation, VOSD’s Koran reports. As we’ve reported, private funding for public schools has helped campuses in wealthier areas avoid cutbacks, raising questions about inequality across the San Diego district.

Local Politics Roundup: No New Taxes!

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is sticking to his bid to repair roads without new taxes, KPBS reports. We’ve explored how insufficient his road-repair plans actually are.

An assistant to County Supervisor Dave Roberts has dropped his lawsuit against former co-workers who accused the supervisor of misconduct and mentioned the assistant specifically. The U-T has an update on the status of the various legal cases. (U-T)

The city’s private ambulance provider is being fined $230,000 over poor response times. “The penalties might have been higher if the fire department had not stopped tracking responses for the first six months of this year because of computer glitches,” the U-T reports. For background, check our coverage of the city’s ambulance response-time problems.

Hey, Is That Carol from Accounting?

Paraphrasing won’t do this story justice, so we’ll quote the entire first paragraph from the U-T: “Internal affairs investigators for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are questioning employees in San Diego about allegations that a supervisor has been using government time to recruit workers for ‘private sexual “swinger” parties’ at his home.”

Allegedly, the supervisor invited co-workers to join him and his wife, also an agent, for sexytime at their house. The problem? This is said to be coercive and an abuse of power. The U-T dug up this detail: “The parties take place while their kids are watching a movie in their rooms. “Kids are told that mom and dad are working on a project with the other couples and not to disturb them nor knock on the bedroom door for at least an hour.”

Where the Border Fence Stops

The on-and-off-again border fence with Mexico begins in the ocean where San Ysidro and Tijuana meet. But where does it end? MSNBC went to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to find out. The reporter meets a woman who “technically lives north of the border, yet her house sits south of the fence.” The fence, by the way, is a series of 18-foot-tall steel pillars.

“With each new strategy,” the story says, the woman “has been left stuck in the middle, frustrated with the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and penned-in by a fence that does little to keep them out.”

Migrations from Mexico might reach a new low this year, a report says. (KPBS)

More Taxpayer Payouts for Pensions?

More conservative investing by the state pension plan for public employees may stick taxpayers with a higher bill. (L.A. Times)

• The U.S. House may crack down on the money that representatives — including the five from San Diego County — can spend on things like office decorations and auto mileage. Spending on private flights would be limited. (Politico)

How NIMBYS Cost Workers Money

Over at Vox, urbanist pundit Matthew Yglesias (a friend of VOSD and 2013 speaker at one of our events) says workers are making less money while home owners are making more. He blames NIMBYs for this. (NIMBYs, as we know, are those annoying “I got mine, now you get out” people who aren’t you or me.)

Of course, not everyone wants to own property with the potential for extra responsibilities and costs. Still, he writes, “across the vast majority of America’s valuable land we’ve made it illegal to build rowhouses or apartment buildings. And so the land’s value only increases, the rents going to its owners accumulate, and workers lose out.”

Culture Report: Reaching Kids (and Parents) With Art

In this week’s VOSD Culture Report, our Kinsee Morlan sings the praises of the New Children’s Museum, which enlists artists to reach kids with their work: “Getting artists to design something that little people will actually understand and enjoy is a huge risk and a challenge, but the museum has succeeded far more often than it’s failed.”

One hitch: The museum can be hot, and parents are sometimes uncomfortable. Turns out it’s a long-standing problem linked to the museum’s design.

Also in the Culture Report: Art in South Bay, urban design, Day of the Dead, museum apps, Adult Swim, drone-based photography (catch it while it’s legal), and (squee) Margaret Cho in the house.

Streetwise, Second Might Be First

The news site crunches some numbers — and some numerals — in a search for the most popular street name in the U.S. The answer isn’t entirely clear. The most popular might be “Main” or perhaps “Second.” Whatever the case, it appears there are more Second Streets (and Second Avenues and Courts, Boulevards and Drives) than Firsts.

Wait, what? How can that be? Shouldn’t First be first, at least among numbered streets, or at least tied for first with Second? Nah, says: “a Second Street can be the logical next street after a Main Street.”

Whatever the case, the original city planners of San Diego were a bit unoriginal when it came to street names. We have plenty of those on the most-popular list, including streets named after numerals, trees, natural features and presidents. But, as a nifty 1964 story in the Journal of San Diego History explains, we also ended up with roads named after birds, gems and literary types (hello, Xenaphon Street!). Later, and this is true, came Mission Valley’s Caminito De Pizza.

The story notes that we lost a Haraszthy Street to a freeway. (Gesundheit!) The author hoped to see its return. Well, to borrow the real name of a street in Serra Mesa (not making this up either), Haveteur Way!

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

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