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The most consistent positive feedback I get for this newsletter is about the “What I’m Reading” section — people seem to like having a curated list of stories from different outlets that they can skim through, especially if they’ve been too busy throughout the week to get much reading done.

I love putting the list together, and I try to include a variety of news outlets, authors and subjects.

But the way I read news isn’t as scattershot as that, and there are a handful of journalists and columnists whose work I make a point to read. Now you can read them obsessively, too.

So, consider this a different kind of curated reading list, it’s one of writers, and not individual stories:

Rebecca Traister: Traister writes about politics, feminism and most recently covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign for New York magazine. Her work combines diligent and insightful reporting with real talk in a way that is invaluable. Case in point, this line from her recent look at Clinton’s post-election life:

But postmortems offering rational explanations for how a pussy-grabbing goblin managed to gain the White House over an experienced woman have mostly glossed over one of the well-worn dynamics in play: A competent woman losing a job to an incompetent man is not an anomalous Election Day surprise; it is Tuesday in America.

Lauren Duca: Teen Vogue has gotten a lot of attention in the wake of the election for what many were surprised to learn was substantive political writing. (Others who know young women are capable of caring about Congress and concealer simultaneously were less surprised.) Duca has played a big role in that. If you still feel some post-election outrage pulsing through you, read her Thigh High Politics column. Here’s a particularly great entry on Marine Le Pen and selective sexism.

Nikole Hannah-Jones: Simply put, she’s the best working journalist in America. Her work on education, segregation and inequality for the New York Times Magazine and others is unparalleled.

Anne Helen Peterson: I am a pop culture junkie. Give me pop music, reality TV and celeb intrigue. I am not ashamed of this, nor do I consider it to be a guilty pleasure. If you think that’s strange, perhaps you’re not reading the right pop culture writers. Peterson is a Ph.D. who quit her academic career to write in-depth, critical pieces for Buzzfeed on everything from how Jennifer Garner has cultivated a wholesome image to how Trump’s candidacy was sitting with a young breed of evangelical millennial women.

Kevin Clark: Over the course of a couple years, I read a string of amazing, hilarious sports features in the Wall Street Journal. One was about how Green Bay Packers players had become obsessed with the board game Settlers of Catan. Each time I’d think, what is this insanely amazing sports story doing in the Wall Street Journal? Well, turns out they were all written by Kevin Clark. Now he writes about the NFL for The Ringer.

What VOSD Learned This Week

It struck most observers in town as very strange when a high-profile study of racial profiling by SDPD was delayed – by a lot. It turns out, as the report was being finalized, researchers toned down harsh language and took out several troubling findings.

After our report published, City Council President Myrtle Cole, who generally avoids controversy, released a blistering statement saying that the study was presented to the Council in a misleading way.

Also this week, SDPD Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and Mayor Kevin Faulconer had a celebratory press conference announcing major crimes in the city are going down.

What those numbers obscured in a big way: The police staffing shortage means officers now take hours to respond to non-emergency incidents.


Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s effort to hold a special election over SoccerCity and a Convention Center expansion is facing some stiff opposition – and he has a newly feisty labor collation to thank.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, it seems like the City Council got together and decided to make hold the inaugural Announce Your Special Election Position in a VOSD Op-Ed Week. Councilman David Alvarez wrote that he doesn’t buy any of the arguments for a special election. Councilman Chris Ward wrote that he’s open to eventually supporting the TOT hike measure, but not in a special election. Councilwoman Barbara Bry wrote that she’s against both a special election and the SoccerCity proposal. Finally, Councilman Scott Sherman argued the city owes it to voters to hold a special election on SoccerCity.


A right-wing news website and Rep. Darrell Issa have taken up the cause of a Vista homeless nonprofit that decided to forgo receiving federal funding because it doesn’t want to be forced to comply with certain requirements. Lisa Halverstadt dug in and found there’s more to the story.

San Diego’s housing crisis, like its related homelessness crisis, is still raging. Alon Levy looked at housing production numbers for other Sun Belt cities and found San Diego doesn’t measure up.


The San Diego County Water Authority paid for a strange poll that floated a radical change to how Southern Californians get their water.

Meanwhile, there are several bills in the state Legislature trying to impose new regulations on water use.

What I’m Reading

 This is the best, most beautiful and heartbreaking piece I’ve read about the Portland attack. (New York Times)

 It’s a little awkward lately at the dinner table in one Nebraska swing district home, as a couple asks: Honey, which one of us should run for Congress? (Wall Street Journal)

 An intimate, terrifying look at the heroin epidemic and its impact on one West Virginia town. (New Yorker)

 When their mother was deported, four children struggled to survive – and stick together – on their own. (California Sunday)

 I’m a huge track and field nerd and have spent the last several weekends watching the NCAA track championship, the Prefontaine Classic and several pro meets. So this piece looking back on a race that was supposed to determine the World’s Fastest Man is my exact jam. (Vice Sports)

Line of the Week

“The one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women, from the female characters that were represented. It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest — with some exceptions. I do hope that when we include more female storytellers, we will have more of the women that I recognize in my day-to-day life. Ones that are proactive, have their own agencies, don’t just react to the men around them.” – Actress Jessica Chastain on her experience as a Cannes Film Festival jury member

Sara Libby

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

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