Seven years ago, I drove from my apartment in Los Angeles to downtown San Diego for a job interview.

I was unemployed at the time. Being unemployed means living in a constant state of terror — that you won’t be able to pay your bills, that you’ll get sick while uninsured, that everyone thinks you’re a failure. But after the interview and the hour or so I spent wandering around downtown, I got back on the northbound 5 mildly terrified that I’d actually get the gig. Most of that was because the job itself, doing technical writing for a software company, was a role for which I was laughably unsuited. (Thankfully, the software company agreed.) But part of my apprehension came from that hour exploring the area near the company. If this is San Diego, I thought, count me out.

What a difference seven years makes.

This week, Voice of San Diego is rollin’ into our new downtown office like:


It’s a pretty good time for downtown San Diego, and not just because it has a sudden influx of impossibly attractive, talented journalists.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal checked in and found downtown’s goin’ off:

San Diego mirrors a national urban revitalization trend that has played out in cities like Louisville, Portland and Los Angeles with millennial and Gen X buyers and renters, as well as empty-nester baby boomers, turning away from long car commutes and higher-maintenance suburban homes to more walkable, denser city neighborhoods. Developers and real-estate agents say the latest wave of urban-bound residents tend to be wealthier and older.

The Navy Broadway complex is maybe, finally, getting started, plus Maker’s Quarter, the IDEA District and a new plan in the works to fund a Convention Center expansion.

If you’d plopped me into the downtown San Diego that’s in the works now for a job interview, I just might want to stay a while.

What VOSD Learned This Week

When San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten dropped 61 pages of documents she said proved School for Creative and Performing Arts principal Mitzi Lizarraga deserved to be removed, she left out major context – including that Lizarraga had received a glowing performance review, and that a vice principal who suspended trustee Marne Foster’s son was also removed.

Lizarraga and the vice principal are listed in a lawsuit filed this week by a counselor at the school, who says all three were retaliated against by Foster.

One amusing thing in that story about the context Marten left out was an email from Foster to Lizarraga about one of her son’s suspensions. If the principal didn’t reverse the suspension, Foster wrote, “I will try this case in the media.”

Public officials and other folks seem to be fond of insisting on a “trial by media” when they want more attention on an issue, or decrying a “trial by media” when they disapprove of coverage. (Foster wasn’t an elected official when she wrote the email, just to be clear.)

It’s a favorite line of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s, too.

Before video of a disputed police shooting in the Midway district was released, Dumanis insisted she wouldn’t engage in a “trial by media.” What she meant, though, was that she wouldn’t try the officer involved in the shooting in the media. (Or in court.) She had no trouble spelling out, via public statements and press conferences, all the things the victim had done to deserve his fate.

And, while we’re talking law enforcement and accountability, Kelly Davis spotted a very surprising Hitler cameo in the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board meeting agenda.


Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office is partnering with the nonprofit Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation to lure more development to southeastern San Diego. His office plans to help bring in more money to boost infrastructure in the area, and to devote a staffer to helping developers cut red tape.

One big piece of red tape developers often must contend with in California is the state’s environmental law, CEQA. There’s a fight over it brewing in Lakeside, where business owners think the county is letting a megastore breeze through certain CEQA requirements.


San Diego Unified has a new plan to spend the next $800 million in school bond funds. On tap are major repairs and air conditioners, but also new athletic facilities, technology and solar panels.

Not included in that figure are two big prospective construction projects: the rebuild of Memorial Prep, and a new school in Mission Valley that isn’t a sure thing but is moving forward.


This week’s great El Niño deluge might have taken your mind off the fact that we’ve been seeing some enormous tides lately, called king tides, and they’re bigger than ever. Matt Baldwin dove in (heh) to how climate change is contributing and how scary things might get in the future.

What I’m Reading

• Reveal has a very depressing investigation uncovering how temp agencies oblige companies that don’t want to hire black workers.

 The puzzle that is Megyn Kelly. (Vanity Fair)

 The devastating systemic failures that came before a father’s decision to drop his daughter off a bridge. (Tampa Bay Times)

• The Supreme Court has said juveniles can’t be sentenced to life in prison without parole. That hasn’t helped Taurus Buchanan, convicted of throwing a single deadly punch at age 16. (Marshall Project)

• Two totally awesome interviews that both deal with Hollywood’s treatment of women: Jennifer Lawrence and “Creed” director Ryan Coogler. (Glamour, Variety)

• A horrifying story of a woman who was raped by an L.A. sheriff’s deputy, then victimized again as the department went to great lengths to evade responsibility. (Buzzfeed)

Line of the Week

“Ms. Bee was giving her own explanation of the sensibilities of ‘Full Frontal’ when something caught her attention. She glanced at the transom window above her door and saw a maintenance worker perched high on a ladder, his rear end pointed directly at the glass.

‘There it is,” she said. ‘That’s the show.’” – From a New York Times profile of Samantha Bee, whose new show “Full Frontal” premieres soon.

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

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