Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced on Thursday he is bringing on a new chief of staff. Exiting that top spot in the mayor’s office is Stephen Puetz, a political campaigns consultant by heart who has served as chief of staff since he helped Faulconer win the mayor’s race. Consulting is what he’s going back to with a gig that will let him work on prominent campaigns across the country.

Incoming is Aimee Faucett, a stalwart of local politics well known among San Diego’s political insiders.

Faucett has been busy in the number two spot at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, led currently by former mayor Jerry Sanders, where she “maintains major influence on San Diego’s right-of-center policy agenda,” Scott Lewis writes. The change in leadership comes as the mayor faces his rockiest time managing problems like the homeless crisis, expanding the convention center and redeveloping the Qualcomm Stadium site.

Recently, “Faulconer’s most ambitious and uncharacteristically risky political moves resulted in failure,” Lewis writes.

County’s Cash: San Diego Explained

Once flirting with bankruptcy, the County Board of Supervisors has long worked to increase the amount of money in reserve. Supervisors have succeeded. The county is sitting on about $2 billion in savings — m0re than just any county in the nation. Some people are wondering if supervisors shouldn’t put some of it to good use, perhaps … to help with a crisis of homelessness?

Lisa Halverstadt and NBC 7’s Monica Dean broke down the savings and the push by some to increase spending in our latest San Diego Explained video.

DA Hopeful Lambasted by Crowe Family

District attorney hopeful Summer Stephan is on the defensive after the family of Stephanie Crowe penned a long and brutal letter imploring county supervisors not to appoint Stephan interim district attorney, according to the scoop from NBC 7 San Diego’s Wendy Fry.

The 1998 murder of Stephanie Crowe remains one of the county’s most troubling open cases. The district attorney initially charged Crowe’s brother and his friends with the murder and their confessions are now textbook examples of unethical coercion. It compounded a nightmare for the family. A later conviction of Richard Tuite was also thrown out after he spent years behind bars.

The Crowe family methodically attacks Stephan’s contention that she did not make many of the crucial prosecutorial decisions that turned out to be so wrong.

The road to the temporary job and permanent elected position is mostly laid out for Stephan. Supervisors will consider who to appoint interim district attorney next week.

Diversion for Military Drunk Drivers

Even as a Navy man stands trial for his part in a 2016 incident where he is accused of speeding while intoxicated and driving his car off the Coronado Bridge, killing four people, California lawmakers want to help military members avoid DUI convictions by diverting them into treatment programs. SB 725 would allow active-duty military members that have been diagnosed with a short list of disorders or traumas to avoid conviction by agreeing to supervised treatment, the Union-Tribune reports. The bill is popular and could clear the legislature soon.

Lightning Round

• Civic San Diego’s former financial officer says he was fired for asking questions about accounting discrepancies at the city-owned nonprofit. (San Diego Reader)

• Councilwoman Barbara Bry is co-hosting a fundraising event for Mike Levin, a challenger for Darrell Issa’s congressional seat.

• The Chargers held their last practice in San Diego. It was a touching moment for some, I guess. (ESPN)

• Next City takes a look at what the next steps are for efforts to combat homelessness in San Diego amidst the probable failure of the mayor’s plan to increase homeless funding.

• Weed for Warriors aims to allow injured veterans access to cannabis, for free. (NBC 7)

• President Trump’s border wall is shockingly getting wrapped up in environmentalist lawsuits. (Union-Tribune)

• Fish tacos. Liking Jason Mraz’s music. Wearing flip flops to work. All fads with deep San Diego roots, but we aren’t done; next up, we launch doing yoga with bunnies. (San Diego Magazine)

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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