“You can make this happen.” That was what San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Marne Foster told district Superintendent Cindy Marten after Foster revealed her plans to sue San Diego Unified for $250,000 in connection with an unflattering college evaluation written for her son.
“That’s weird you are going to file a claim against the school,” Marten replied. The claim eventually came, but Foster’s name wasn’t on it. Instead, the name of the father of Foster’s son appeared. The father later told our Mario Koran that he was told by Foster to sign a blank document and “didn’t think twice.”
The revelation that Foster had pressured the superintendent to pay for what amounted to her son’s college tuition came on Thursday as part of a search warrant unsealed by a judge in Foster’s criminal proceedings. Foster agreed to a plea bargain on Tuesday, which requires her to resign and serve probation in return for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor of accepting illegal gifts as a public official.
• At least one school official doesn’t think San Diego Unified should have done much differently in the handling of the Foster ordeal, and that most folks have other school issues on their minds. School board trustee Richard Barrera, who’s “always been one of Foster’s biggest champions,” Koran writes, believes Foster’s actions were “handled the right way” by the district.
Now that Foster is out, Barrera doesn’t think the resignation of his choice candidate has any serious impact on how people view the school district. “Few people express interest” in Foster’s legal troubles, Barrera said. What happens next is to “fill the seat with the right person,” he said. Only one person, LaShae Collins, has committed to running for Foster’s school board seat so far.
Meanwhile, in the Classroom …
Last year, we found that Memorial Preparatory school in Logan Heights was the local school most avoided by San Diego parents. Grand visions of knocking the place down and building another school in its place have been expressed by community leaders, but the project may come at great cost and with some uncertainty of outcome. Koran joins NBC San Diego’s Monica Dean to break down what the plans are for Memorial Prep in our most recent San Diego Explained.
• Meanwhile in Balboa Park, San Diego High School may be forced to relocate or shut down in eight years if a solution can’t be found. Fixing it through the current charter review process is not going to happen. (Union-Tribune).
Lilac Hills Developers Turn to Voters
Lilac Hills Ranch developers have decided to get their large housing development in Valley Center approved without the County Board of Supervisors: They want to ask voters o pass it at the ballot box. Maya Srikrishnan writes that means the developer will need to gather 70,000 signatures, the costs of which experts say could easily reach into the hundreds of thousands. But getting the project approved by voters would allow the developers to sidestep two issues that have dogged the project; one being Supervisor Bill Horn’s ineligibility to participate in the vote, the other is recent changes to environmental review requirements.
“If a project gets enough signatures to put it on the ballot, a city council can approve it without going to voters and without a California Environmental Quality Act review,” Srikrishnan writes.
Open Up, City Attorney
Gil Cabrera, a candidate for city attorney, thinks San Diego’s next city attorney needs to embrace the public’s input into legal decisions the city attorney’s office makes. “It is important that candidates have a proven track record of transparency and a plan to continue moving the ball forward,” Cabrera writes. Cabrera goes on to promise a written policy on which legal opinions are public and private, and to make public as many legal opinions as he can. Cabrera calls the exemptions often used to conceal the city attorney’s legal opinions “overused.”
Letter: Fish Farm Is Boosting Seabass Population
Robert Fletcher, board member of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, responded to our report of troubles at a fish farm operated by Hubbs, where some white seabass have been found to grow horns, develop deformations or are blind. “This program has been of huge benefit to the white seabass stocks off the coast of Southern California,” Fletcher writes. “White seabass from the program have survived as long as 15 years in the wild and been caught as far as 340 miles from their original release site.”
• San Diego’s upscale restaurant The Marine Room is used to serving hungry guests, but a hungry sea lion pup who insisted on booth seating was a new challenge for them. (KPBS)
• Former Mayor Jerry Sanders will stay on as the head of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. (KPBS)
• San Diego is one of the few markets where Amazon is now delivering booze to your doorstep on short notice. (NBC 7)
• Rumor has it the Chargers might ask for $400 million in public money to build a new stadium, and ask the city to pick up the tab for any cost overruns. (Bleacher Report)
• This guy on a kayak in La Jolla reeled in a 74.2 pound fish (which one commenter suggests could be a world record). (Union-Tribune).
Help for Brew Noobs
First there were laundromats so you could do your own laundry. Then, bike repair shops where you repair your own bike, and do-it-yourself dog-washing shops where you rent the tub. Now as we reach peak San Diego, we have a company providing do-it-yourself brewing, where you come into the store and make your own beer in two visits. The whole process takes around six hours and someone from the aptly named local beer club called QUAFF will try to help make sure your self-styled beer isn’t a disaster, according to San Diego Magazine.
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or quaff him on Twitter: @loteck.