Caldo Pomodoro is one of several restaurants in Carlsbad remaining open despite state and county restrictions against in-person dining. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Plenty of restaurants around the county are defying state stay-at-home orders. But Carlsbad is notable for having such a high concentration of restaurants that openly flout the public health rules.

As Kayla Jimenez and Sara Libby report in a new story, many of those small businesses insist they’re engaging in constitutionally protected speech and therefore doing nothing wrong.

They’ve been cheered on by Supervisor Jim Desmond and other conservative politicians. And at the advice of a local attorney, they’ve begun posting signs in their windows alerting the public to a “peaceful protest.” 

Their legal argument is thin. But as one law professor specializing in the First Amendment observed, the casting of small businesses as freedom fighters is more of a PR strategy meant to persuade the public that its actions are noble.

In fact, some of the businesses claiming to be engaged in civil disobedience have made clear that their decision to stay open is a financial one, not a political one. The owner of an Italian restaurant posted another sign saying, “Takeout business alone is not sustainable for our employees…”

Meanwhile, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has agreed to step up enforcement against businesses and other entities that are not complying with coronavirus-related public health orders.

Cindy Marten Leaving for Job in Biden Admin

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten announces school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten was a shock of a choice to lead the district when she was tapped for the role in 2013. She had generated lots of positive press leading Central Elementary in City Heights, but had never had a job more senior than principal.

Now, pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, she’ll have a much more senior role: deputy secretary of education. The district tapped area superintendent Lamont Jackson to serve as interim superintendent, the Union-Tribune reported.

It’s one more big disruption to the school district as it faces perhaps the biggest disruption in its history.

Marten is a gifted and eternally optimistic orator who can spellbound audiences talking about the promise of education. But her tenure at the district has had its share of controversies and scandals. 

Early last year, VOSD’s Will Huntsberry assessed her signature effort, called Vision2020, meant to deliver a quality school in every neighborhood. Though the district passed more rigorous course requirements and the percentage of Black and Latino students who graduate with a higher GPA has gone up, “the achievement gap remains stubbornly unmoved by several key indicators. Many underserved student groups are still under-performing — across a wider range of more complex metrics.”

Nowhere are the district’s problems on starker display than at its schools in southeastern San Diego. Perhaps that’s why the school board trustee who represents that swath of town cast the lone vote against extending Marten’s contract in 2019.

Here’s What You Should Know About the Vaccine Rollout

A health care worker administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a La Costa Glen Retirement Community resident. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Vaccines are starting to arrive in San Diego but it’s gonna be a long time before we’re all good to go. California’s vaccination rate is lagging behind other states, in part, because of its confusing and complicated system prioritizing who gets inoculated. 

Insert a deep, existential sigh. 

Keeping in mind the dysfunction of this moment and of our system generally, MacKenzie Elmer attempted to answer some of the big outstanding questions on vaccine distribution

Starting with: When can I get vaccinated? The short answer: Your health care provider is supposed to let you know when that time comes. In the meantime, officials have been asking people to stop calling their providers. 

Elmer also explains how eligibility is determined, what’s up with the second dose and what’s up with those allergic reactions you might have heard about. 

KPBS is tracking the rollout of vaccines on its website. 

Politics Roundup 

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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