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District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Thursday she will resign in July before her term is finished. This widely anticipated move officially clears the way for Dumanis’ preferred successor, Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan, to seek (and likely achieve) appointment to the DA job temporarily and run as an incumbent in 2018. Dumanis herself has described this all as a “smooth transition” of the DA office to Stephan, someone not yet vetted by voters.
The political class is complying with Dumanis’ wishes as bipartisan endorsements of Stephan flow in. Sara Libby, Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis combined Thursday on an article about the incredible anointing of Stephan to the DA post.
“Resigning early to give your preferred successor a leg up on an upcoming election is the same approach Dumanis’ good friend, the late Sheriff Bill Kolender, took,” our team writes. Kolender did the same thing to install current Sheriff Bill Gore into his office. There’s nothing illegal happening. Others could run for the seat and the county Board of Supervisors could appoint someone else to the temporary job.
In fact, the supervisors will go through the motions of taking applications for the position next month and decide who to appoint in June.
No other major candidates have stepped up to run in the 2018 election.
Dumanis also confirmed she is considering a run for county supervisor in the seat Ron Roberts will have to leave in 2018. She said that’s the reason she has to resign now — she could not remain as DA while she thought about running for that job.
She ran for mayor in 2012 and remained DA the whole time.
• Dumanis’ announcement came awkwardly after this story in KPBS. The station noted that Mexican tycoon José Susumo Azano Matsura, who was convicted of illegally investing in Dumanis’ mayoral campaign, wants a new trial because of a shoddy legal defense. In his petition, Azano revealed that Dumanis had an exchange of messages with former U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy about the case.
It reminded us all that we still don’t know why Duffy recused herself from Azano’s prosecution.
The Learning Curve: Overseeing and Competing with Charter Schools
Years ago, Thrive Public School had to fight itself into existence by appealing to first the county and then the state before it got approval for its plan to open and educate children based on a unique, individualized approach to schooling. Fast forward and Thrive has grown into a large school delivering education admired by many, even those who had originally tried to stop it from opening.
Mario Koran reports on how a bill in the California Senate would put an end to the appeals process Thrive used to eventually reach approval, empowering local school districts to single-handidly stamp out such innovation based on whatever reasons they claim. The bill is on hold for now, but it lays bare the pitfalls of a system “in which school districts are asked to authorize and oversee the same charter schools with which they compete for students,” Koran writes.
Who Pays for Water: San Diego Explained
We’re all used to paying for what we use when it comes to water, but once upon a time there were no water meters and people didn’t pay according to their usage. Fights over who pays for water have raged for decades, and now Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Monica Dean report the fight continues as water rates go up and powerful interests seek to make sure the cost of increases trickle down to someone else. We’ve got a brief history of water and what might happen in the near future in our most recent San Diego Explained.
Opinion: High Graduation Rates Are Real Deal
San Diego Unified School District board trustee John Lee Evans writes in a commentary for us, that students in San Diego Unified have proved critics wrong by reaching graduation in an astonishing 91.2 percent of cases. “Is someone cooking the books?” Evans asks. He points out the difficulty in calculating graduation rates among modern students who move around so much, and also confronts what he calls an implication that students who use online courses to catch up on credits are getting “watered-down curricula.”
“We follow the gold standard for rigor, which is UC approval for online high school courses,” Evans writes.
Evans’ piece is a response to our coverage of the graduation rate and efforts to understand how it was achieved.
Drawing Districts Is Hard
On a day in which Texas was found to have been drawing electoral maps which intended to diminish the power of minorities, KPBS reports on how the city of El Cajon is itself working on drawing new district maps as it prepares its own new system of district elections. “One of the reasons for the change is to increase the diversity on the City Council,” Claire Trageser writes.
While El Cajon moves forward with district elections, Oceanside and Vista also are mulling the same change in the face of lawsuits that claim their at-large way of voting is discriminatory.
Homeless Numbers Climb
Results are out from this year’s count of the homeless in January and some of the numbers are startling. “The unsheltered homeless population increased 14 percent countywide, while in the city of San Diego the number of tents increased 104 percent,” KPBS reports. “The number of unsheltered people downtown was 1,276, a 27 percent increase from last year,” the Union-Tribune writes. Lisa Halverstadt pointed out a presentation from Regional Task Force on the Homeless that goes into more detail on the new numbers.
• Our friends over at The Kept Faith podcast are back with a new episode featuring the longtime local sports broadcaster Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton.
• A previous Morning Report claimed Trump advisor Peter Navarro had lost four races in the 1990’s and 2000s. While that is true, he also lost another local race for city council in 1993, bringing the grand total to five.
• The New York Times paddles out with one San Diego surfer who prefers to catch his waves after the sun goes down, nevermind the sharks.