Solutions for Change, a North County homeless advocacy organization, has gotten a lot of attention for refusing government funding — or losing it — because it would not bend from a sobriety requirement it holds clients to. Conservative news outlets and Rep. Darrell Issa have highlighted the group and bemoaned its lack of funding as government overreach.

But as Lisa Halverstadt found, there’s more to the story.

“Nonprofits like Solutions for Change are being pushed to get on board with a countywide system that would give them less control over who they serve. Regional leaders see the fledgling system as a crucial tool in reducing San Diego’s growing homelessness crisis. Solutions for Change, on the other hand, sees it as a threat.”

Rep. Issa is in the news for another reason. National political commentators went nuts when one of Issa’s rivals shot a photo of him peering down from the roof of his North County office during a protest. He looked like he may be trying to avoid protesters, but he declared via Twitter that he was just taking photos. And he showed he did mingle with the gathered mass.

The U-T compiles the tweets and attached photos in a story and talks directly to Issa, who’s grumpy: He “called me an ‘operative’ for his opponents, and ‘It’s interesting that the paper has become as small as your words,’” tweeted U-T reporter Joshua Stewart.

Lincoln High Gets a Principal! Sort of

After the San Diego Unified School District announced that it was going to keep searching for a permanent principal for Lincoln High School, parents and students were outraged. Parents demanded a specific principal, and now they’ve got him. Jose Soto-Ramos has been appointed interim principal. Oddly, the district also announced that it would not be continuing the search for a permanent principal.

So not much interim about it except maybe his job is on thin ice.

The uncertainty was too much for one Lincoln student whose frustration at the school board meeting Tuesday night ended up provoking trustees to clear the room.

From the district’s announcement:

“The internal designation to appoint Mr. Soto-Ramos as the Interim Principal was based on the panel’s recommendations to ensure that his new role would be paired with the necessary district supports for a successful school year,” said Bruce Bivins, a San Diego Unified Area Superintendent. “To that end, and based on the panel’s recommendation, the district is in the process of securing a strategic partnership with UCSD’s (sic) Dr. Heather Lattimer, who would bring strategic support to Mr. Soto-Ramos.”

(Lattimer is with the University of San Diego.)

The district also announced that Superintendent Cindy Marten had chosen Maureen Magee to be the new director of communications starting in July. Magee was the education reporter for the Union-Tribune for many years.

Politics Roundup: Soccer Star Misses Goal

Via a tweet to his 1.33 million followers, soccer star Landon Donovan thanked Councilwoman Barbara Bry for supporting a special election for the SoccerCity project. Oops: She’s actually against holding a special election.

The soccer stadium’s project supporters want to hold an election this year and think the regularly scheduled elections in 2018 will be too late. Opponents want to wait even if it kills the project. The City Council will discuss all this on June 19. An earlier meeting, though, may influence the debate: The City Council is likely to decide before that if the mayor’s hotel room tax hike for a Convention Center expansion should provoke a special election this year.

If that happens in November, SoccerCity has a much better shot at getting the earlier vote too.

• “California cities that are falling behind on housing production goals set by the state would be forced to remove some of their development restrictions under legislation from a Bay Area state senator.” (LA Times)

Convention Center Official: Nope, There’s No Debate

San Diego’s convention center wants to expand so it can handle more conventions. It’s far from alone.

Here’s a partial list of cities that are expanding their convention centers or, like San Diego, are considering whether to do so: Seattle, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Denver, Las Vegas, Austin, Anaheim, Columbus, Louisville, New York City, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Ft. Lauderdale, San Antonio, Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and Lexington.

Sounds like there’s plenty of potential for a glut of space. It might seem like there should be a debate over whether building an expansion here is a good idea.

I raised this question via Twitter in response to a gushing U-T editorial that didn’t even address the issue.

In a tweetstorm, local attorney Gil Cabrera, the convention center’s vice chair, responded to my query about whether we need the thing. “Probably because everyone involved in Convention Center business strongly believes we do need it,” he wrote. “Need for expansion isn’t actually controversial. The location of the expansion is where there are some disagreements.”

Border Report: Congressmembers Stand Up for Deported Vets

Seven members of the U.S. House are heading to Tijuana this weekend to support veterans of American military service who can’t become citizens and now live south of the border.

South Bay’s Rep. Juan Vargas “has reintroduced three bills aimed at preventing veterans from being deported and at helping those who have been deported to access medical services,” reports our contributor Brooke Binkowski in this week’s VOSD Border Report.

Also in the Border Report: Border Patrol agents say they’re being sickened by spilled sewage, “coyotes” who bring migrants across the border are raising their prices, and the Border Patrol is turning 93.

Culture Report: Say Hello an Art Carnival

This week’s VOSD Culture Report highlights  a new event coming to Mission Valley this week: It’s “Wonderspaces,” touted as a carnival-like “pop-up museum of extraordinary experiences.”

“Wonderspaces introduces a new, somewhat risky business model for showing art,” our Kinsee Morlan reports. “Big upfront costs are involved with staging large pop-up art exhibitions, but if enough people buy tickets, organizers and artists could eventually turn a nice profit.”

Also in the Culture Report: “Top Gun” has a sequel (but it’s not clear if we’ll be part of it), the Quartyard pop-up park is moving, a pizza joint is hiring the homeless, and more.

Quick News Hits: Just Add Cinnamon

To our north, the Inland Empire is turning into the promised land for megawarehouses. But the environment is paying a price, Grist reports.

Chula Vista’s Saint John’s Episcopal School is closing after 66 years because of too few students and other factors. It has an enrollment of about 280, the U-T reports.

Local retailers and restaurants often fear bike lanes will tear into their bottom line because they take the place of parking spaces. But are bike lanes really bad for business? The U-T takes a look and finds that research suggests “bike lanes, even when they displace parking spots, make little impact on the numbers of customers for local businesses. If anything, cities have seen positive results overall from promoting cycling in commercial corridors.”

• Scripps Institute researchers have discovered a kind of sea worm that looks so much like a Spanish delicacy that it inspired the creature’s scientific name: Xenoturbella churro.

“X. churro is 10 inches long and feeds off of mollusks, such as clams,” NBC 7 reports. “The new species is orange-pink in color, but sometimes may appear to look more on the purple side, with four deep longitudinal furrows — just like a churro.”

Psst! Nobody tell the fair people in Del Mar about this. The last thing we need is to see this summer is a booth hawking fried sea worms. Unless they’re delicious, of course.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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