Illustration by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten likes to talk about the importance of having “courageous conversations” that acknowledge shortcomings. But under Marten’s leadership, the district has frequently worked to undermine transparency and any meaningful outside review of the work she’s done.

Relying on interviews and documents, Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx report that the district in 2019 devised a way to permanently delete sensitive emails from its server and held training sessions with top-level staff.

A district spokeswoman acknowledged that the trainings took place but said the purpose was to show staff what a permanent deletion looked like, so they could avoid doing it. One official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, said the training came in response to public records requests and seemed designed to keep certain conversations private.

Two months before top-level staff got an invite to a training session about the district’s “new email policy,” San Diego Unified entered into a court-approved agreement to keep emails for at least two years, as part of a lawsuit with Voice of San Diego.

The California Public Records Act requires that public agencies hang onto records for at least two years, but officials had planned — without the approval of the Board of Education — to start deleting emails after six months.

President Joe Biden has nominated Marten to be his deputy education secretary. She’ll need to go through the U.S. Senate first. 

Appellate Court: No, Restaurants Can’t Be Open

The state’s 4th District Court of Appeal on Friday overturned a San Diego Superior Court judge’s ruling that had allowed restaurants to open for in-person dining in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home order.

“The trial court erred by entering an overbroad injunction that was unsupported by the law and which violated the due process rights of the state and county,” one of the justices wrote.

Strip clubs had challenged the order preventing in-person dining, and San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wolfheil surprised observers across the state by going beyond those establishments in his order and allowing all restaurants to open.

“The effect of the ruling by the appellate court is that the county returns essentially to the status quo before Wohlfeil’s order,” the Union-Tribune wrote. “Restaurants can offer only take-out and delivery, and all dining — whether indoor or outdoor — is prohibited.”

Meanwhile, a federal appellate court denied a church’s request to overturn the restrictions as they pertain to church services.

Politics Roundup

  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced a new bill to cap fees that delivery companies charge customers for food and whatnot. Sara Libby writes in the Sacramento Report that some gig companies are raising their prices, even though they argued during the Prop. 22 debate that they’d be forced to do so if the ballot measure failed. It passed. Los Angeles and San Francisco already have fee caps in place, and now members of the City Council are calling on Mayor Todd Gloria to implement similar restrictions. La Mesa City Councilman Colin Parent is asking officials there to consider implementing a fee cap as well.
  • In the Politics Report, Scott Lewis broke down radio host Carl DeMaio’s new website attacking former Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
  • After years of running elections, Michael Vu was promoted to San Diego County’s assistant chief administrative officer. (Union-Tribune) 
  • The Los Angeles Times found that leaders of the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, “seeking to capitalize on the darkening public mood, allied with radical and extreme elements early on to help collect signatures.”

In Other News

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

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