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All signs point to a hazy future for John Collins, the superintendent of the Poway school district, which serves students in a large chunk of inland North County.

The district is one of the most respected in the state, one reason why Collins is among the most well-paid public officials anywhere in California. But the district has faced heavy fire, both internally and from the outside, over an incredibly expensive 2011 loan.

Collins and the board apparently aren’t getting along, VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reports, and both sides have lawyered up. We’re waiting to learn what they’re fighting over.

• Remember a year ago when there was a huge fuss over the City Council’s appointment of Sherri Lightner as council president to replace Todd Gloria? Not much came of all the hoopla, and the council voted unanimously this week to give Lightner another term in the semi-powerful spot. Now, the San Diego school board has replaced its appointed president position, held by board member Marne Foster, with Mike McQuary. McQuary, who joined the board with barely any effort at all, will now run the show at meetings.

The school board rotates through the seat.

Culture Report: This Mural’s No Lemon

A big mural depicting Lemon Grove’s past is in jeopardy, but preservationists are trying to rush to its rescue. VOSD’s weekly Culture Report has the story along with details about art in school, a “gypsy brewer,” photography museum outreach to Alzheimer’s patients and much more.

7th and Market Passes Test

Legislator Lorena Gonzalez and business booster Mark Cafferty sparred on Twitter over controversial plans to build a tower with a Ritz Carlton and a Whole Foods downtown. As Andy Keatts explained earlier this week, the project hit rough water over union objections and may be a preview of the kind of jockeying we might see a lot of if Gonzalez ever gets a bill through the governor to allow more City Council oversight of Civic San Diego decisions.

The 7th and Market project got a crucial approval Tuesday.

Big Plans, Bigger Plans, Biggest Plans

• The U-T profiles efforts to revitalize southeastern San Diego and pave over vacant properties by changing zoning for thousands of acres of land. However, “even the strongest supporters acknowledge it may take 20 to 30 years for many of the goals in the two community plans to be met.”

Changes could be coming to Seaport Village too. (NBC 7)

• After describing Lindbergh Field as “traveler-friendly and cool” (sure, if you never set foot in the wretched Terminal 1), U-T columnist Logan Jenkins ponders what we’re going to do when we need to move the airport out of its ultra-convenient but geography-squashed current home. Now, a new plan envisions an airport way up the road at Camp Pendleton, one that would serve three counties.

Jenkins says boosters don’t understand the military’s hold on us. “For the rest of my lifetime,” Jenkins writes, “San Diegans will do as we have done for my whole lifetime. We’ll look and look and look — and not leap.”

Law & Disorder Roundup: Cops Under Fire

Police chiefs tell the NY Times that a larger focus on cop misconduct is making their jobs “more difficult, far more political and much less secure.” Mayors have sacked or pushed out several high-profile police chiefs in recent years, including San Diego’s own William Lansdowne.

• One of the strangest facts about fatal shootings by cops is that no one tracks them on a national level. That means no one knows if numbers are going up or down or why. There is tracking, however, when cops are killed.

Now, Harvard University researchers are calling for deaths at the hands of police to be officially tracked through the public health system just like certain diseases. (LA Times)

• A proposed ballot measure to support expanded legalization of marijuana is gaining more support. (Sacramento Bee)

When the Rains Tortured Tijuana

KPBS takes a look back at the destruction wreaked upon Tijuana during 1993’s storms. One canyon flooded, killing 39 people. Now, with El Niño storms potentially on the way, the city is trying to prepare. In many slums, houses are perched on hillsides and constructed out of flimsy materials.

Tide, ho! (CBS 8)

Quick News Hits: Shopping at Whole Paycheck

• The U.S. Supreme Court could give the GOP a boost by requiring election districts — even down to the city council and school board level — to be based on the population of people who can vote, not children and undocumented immigrants. If the court goes in this direction, areas with large numbers of those populations, like Democratic-friendly urban cities, could end up with less political power.

• SeaWorld is getting extra time to fight the state Coastal Commission in court over its ruling that it stop breeding killer whales and moving them in and out of the San Diego park. (LA Times)

• The $120 million pedestrian bridge joining San Diego to the Tijuana airport is scheduled to open today. It’ll cost $18 each way after Dec. 18, but you may benefit from cheaper flights compared to U.S. prices. (LA Times)

• KPBS profiles a United Way program that recruits college students to help parents get their kids to school on time.

• Speaking of the store known as Whole Paycheck, the San Francisco Chronicle recently went shopping and found that yup, Whole Foods Market prices are higher than those at rival Trader Joe’s. Shocker! Now, the paper is wondering if those cheaper items are knock-offs of products of other companies and made by those other companies too.

Trader Joe’s refused to return the Chronicle’s calls (et tu, T.J.?), so the paper compared products on its own. Turns out a lot of Trader Joe’s foods appear to be identical or virtually identical to those made by Annie’s, Crystal Geyser, Muir Glen, Wallaby and more.

Jeez. Don’t tell me my jars of Trader Joe’s cookie butter are a knock-off too. Wait, who ate all my jars of cookie butter and left me here alone to listen to my arteries close?

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

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

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