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The fallout over schools trustee Marne Foster’s resignation is spilling into unexpected territory: the district’s Pools for Schools initiative.
The pools plan “as envisioned, would bring 10 or so pools to local school kids funded partially with $20 million school bond dollars,” writes VOSD’s Ashly McGlone. But Foster’s conduct and her relationship with officials at the Jackie Robinson YMCA near Lincoln High School, caused concern among national YMCA officials, according to the search warrant docs released in the Foster case last week:
Michael Brunker, executive director of the Jackie Robinson YMCA near Lincoln High School, told an investigator with the district attorney’s office, “as a result of the media attention associated with the fundraiser, Marne Foster and the appearance of a potential conflict of interest, the YMCA has backed off working with SDUSD regarding the use of YMCA pool facilities to the dismay of many who had worked to develop an agreement,” the Dec. 10 search warrant says.
Local YMCA officials confirmed to McGlone that the pool planned for the Jackie Robinson YMCA was off, but attributed it to legal complications, not Foster. Plans for swimming pools at other school sites are also up in the air.
• The U-T has an update on the plan to replace Foster. An appointment will be made within a month. But trustee John Lee Evans assures us he and his colleagues won’t decide everything behind closed doors.
The End of Rocky’s Road
Oceanside Assemblyman Rocky Chavez picked a weird place to announce he was dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate: the stage of a debate between Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate. The L.A. Times’ Phil Willon wrote on Twitter that Chavez shocked the crowd by making the announcement on stage, then getting up and walking away.
Chavez “said he left to give a GOP a better chance to win” the seat, Willon wrote.
Last year, Chavez told me he had high hopes of being able to woo serious donors. But in the end, he didn’t come close to raising the kind of money you need to mount a serious Senate challenge.
There are already two Republicans in the race for the Assembly seat Chavez was thought to be vacating: Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern, and Phil Graham of Encinitas, who happens to be former Gov. Pete Wilson’s stepson. They aren’t happy with Chavez’s decision to come back.
From the City That Brought You the La Jolla Bird Poop Saga …
We have a fish poop problem.
That’s the gist of a letter from the city water department outlining its concerns about a massive fish farm proposed off the San Diego coast.
The city currently monitors ocean water around the Point Loma sewage treatment plant, to make sure the plant doesn’t dump anything bad into the ocean. If millions of fish are swimming around – and, yes, pooping – nearby, that might complicate the monitoring process, triggering a costly bureaucratic mess.
The Navy has its own concerns about the fish farm.
The worries brought up by the city and the Navy “add a new dimension to the obstacles” that the project’s backers will have to contend with to get the fish farm approved, Ry Rivard reports in a new story.
• Another group that’s weighed in on the fish farm, the Coastal Commission, is in the midst of its own drama. County Supervisor Greg Cox, San Diego’s representative on the Coastal Commission, weighed in (sort of) about the effort to fire the group’s executive director. (KPBS)
Meet the Chargers’ New Good Cop
The Chargers announced Monday they are hiring local developer Fred Maas to be a special adviser for the team’s stadium search, specifically for the Chargers’ potential pursuit of a citizens’ initiative for a project.
Maas first came on the scene to help clean up the downtown Centre City Development Corp. redevelopment agency after a scandal chased out then-leader Nancy Graham in 2008. He then became a key confidante of then-Mayor Jerry Sanders, including serving as Sanders’ unpaid adviser on the stadium search.
Maas comes to this role as more of a good cop character than Mark Fabiani, the Chargers attorney who has played the role of civic villain over the past year. As the Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee notes, Mayor Kevin Faulconer had wanted to hire Maas last year to help him with the stadium search, but Maas demurred.
— Liam Dillon
San Diegans Will Vote on Minimum Wage Hike
The San Diego City Council on Monday opted to send a minimum wage increase to voters in June.
“If approved by a simple majority of voters, the proposal would make the city’s minimum wage $10.50 as soon as the election results are certified, and then increase it to $11.50 on Jan. 1, 2017,” according to the Union-Tribune. In 2019, the wage would go up based on the consumer price index — a process Scott Lewis explained here.
The proposal doesn’t include any carve-outs for certain businesses or industries, the Union-Tribune reports, though many business owners argued folks who make tips should be treated differently.
It’s still not clear whether any groups will fund a serious opposition to the measure. Last year, the then-director of The Lincoln Club, a business-boosting group inclined to fight just such a measure, said he wasn’t sure the group would weigh in.
Quick News Hits
• The Union-Tribune is locked in a fight with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power over whether the agency should have to release information about who got turf-replacement rebates. (L.A. Times)
• California’s secretary of state released his “List of Generally Recognized Presidential Candidates for California Primary” – sexy title, right? – and it looks like San Diego businessman Roque de la Fuente has made the cut.
• Cal State faculty members, including those at SDSU and Cal State San Marcos, plan to strike for five days in April if a new labor deal isn’t reached by then. (City News Service)
• San Diego has seen a high number of wrong-way crashes so far this year. (10News)
• The Poway Unified School District board will consider removing the legally troublesome “me too” pay raises from associate superintendent contracts Tuesday night. If approved, the new contracts for the district’s chiefs of business and learning support services may get a raise contingent on a satisfactory evaluation. Previously, the associate superintendents automatically received the same raises they negotiated with the district’s managerial group. The new contracts won’t apply to Tracy Hogarth, associate superintendent of personnel, who announced her retirement Monday, effective June 30.
The Day in Burrito News
Sushi burritos are a thing that exist, and they’re becoming popular in San Diego.
The mash-up sushiritos might be delicious, but they are not Japanese, Japanese officials want everyone to know. Japanese authorities plan to certify what they consider authentic Japanese restaurants in the U.S., and sushi burritos are likely to get you cut from the list, writes VOSD Clare Leschin-Hoard in a new piece for NPR.
Meanwhile, political polling firm Public Policy Polling released the results of a recent survey. Most of the questions were pegged to the presidential race, but voters were also asked: “Do you consider a burrito to be a sandwich or not?”
Sixty-six percent of respondents correctly answered no.