I love writing this newsletter – even though it occasionally means that on my Saturday long run, I settle into a comfortable discomfort in which every step lands with What. Will. I. Write. What. Will. I. Write.

One of my favorite parts is gradually collecting outside stories throughout the week for “What I’m Reading.” I like curating lists. I like trying to scour different websites to find a diverse set of stories. I like sharing words.

So this week, I decided to get real meta and, in addition to that weekly reading list, I wanted to also share some of the newsletters that I read every day. Yeah, this is happening. My newsletter is listing newsletters – because it’s Thanksgiving week and I feel like getting crazy.

Broadsheet: This is a daily newsletter put out by Fortune magazine that is centered on the world’s most powerful women – including politicians and businesswomen. As my friend Aminatou Sow put it when she sold me on this newsletter, it helps to start your day with an injection of power ladies conquering the world. It includes general aggregated news involving women in positions of power, as well as commentary and advice on advancing in the workplace.

That’s What She Said: This is written by Anne T. Donohue, a writer who focuses on politics and pop culture, and I like this one because instead of being a roundup of links and aggregation, she essentially writes a new essay that’s exclusive to this newsletter. It is, without fail, laugh-out-loud hilarious. Subjects are wide-ranging and can include anything from Justin Bieber to Donald Trump to that time she worked at an American Eagle 10 years ago.

Lenny: Lenny is a newsletter that comes out weekly, or sometimes slightly more frequently. It’s founded by Lena Dunham and her business partner Jenni Korner. I’ll be honest – sometimes I skim through the letters and delete the ones that don’t appeal to me, but I love Lenny because when it’s good, it’s really good – whether it’s an in-depth interview, or a personal essay. The variety is also appealing – Lenny includes short stories, articles from heavy-hitter journalists and celebrities, drawings, artwork and more.

The Ann Friedman Weekly: This one’s written by my friend Ann Friedman, a journalist and columnist for New York Magazine who also co-hosts the baller podcast Call Your Girlfriend. Her curated list of reads is always impeccable, and she includes her own writing, homemade pie charts and GIFs.

California Today: I was a little wary of the New York Times’ California newsletter when it debuted, but I’ve been consistently surprised by how awesome it is. It’s always topped with a nugget of original reporting or analysis.

California Playbook: Politico’s take on California politics news is, admittedly, very Politico – meaning it’s very focused on insider-y news like whose consultant is leaving a campaign, what the latest polls say, etc. But if you’re a politics junkie, that stuff is pretty addicting – and Politico was the first to report the news that First Dog Sutter Brown was sick, so I trust that they have their priorities straight.

What VOSD Learned This Week

Marne Foster’s no longer on the school board, but the drama over her downfall is still unfolding. Mario Koran discovered that the school board held to none of the terms it promised the public when it OK’d an investigation into Foster’s conduct.

Koran discussed the board’s bizarre, retroactive approval of a huge legal bill for the investigation that was never made public on the latest VOSD podcast.


This week, we covered issues holding up development in the northern and southern ends of the county. In San Marcos, a piece of paper is putting the brakes on a housing development. The paper – a document filed with the state – says a water shortage is looming, which would mean there wouldn’t be water for future residents there. But the state believes officials calculated things wrong.

In National City, officials have worked hard to lower the bar to building there in order to entice more development. But developers still aren’t biting.


We know homelessness is exploding downtown, partly because there are far fewer SROs there than there used to be, and because services are clustered there. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the spike, though, including whether Proposition 47 has anything to do with it.

What I’m Reading

• I come from a deep blue state, but this essay about grappling with a love for your home even as it becomes more isolated and unrecognizable resonates nonetheless. (Medium)

• A heartbreaking essay on how to stay sane while black. (New York Times)

• As it defends itself against a lawsuit, the state of Michigan is making a stunning, infuriating argument that literacy is not a right. (Detroit News)

• This story on the aftermath of the Orlando shooting is gorgeously written, and though obviously sad, manages to be surprisingly uplifting as well. (GQ)

• A Missouri lawyer has had more of his clients sentenced to death in federal court than any other attorney in the country. His story shines a light on a deeply flawed system. (Guardian)

Line of the Week

“The ‘Lady’s Book’ then suggests that, from this year, 1847, henceforth and forever, as long as the Union endures, the last Thursday in November be the DAY set apart by every state for its annual Thanksgiving. Will not the whole press of the country advocate this suggestion?” – From the lady editor (she preferred editress) who successfully made the case for a national day of thanksgiving.

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

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