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Cindy Marten
San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The U.S. Senate is all set to consider San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten as the next deputy secretary of education. Her nomination by President Joe Biden’s team has been widely viewed as a given, a mere formality and then back to your scheduled programming.

But others, including the local chapter of the NAACP, were quick when the nomination was announced in January to register their opposition.

In a new story, Kayla Jimenez highlights the concerns raised by former students, advocates and attorneys not just in recent weeks, but for years. They’re particularly critical of Marten’s handling of harassment and abuse complaints on her watch and the district’s opposition to transparency that has kept those cases hidden from view.

Many of the attempts to solve these problems within the district have come from the outside. A state lawmaker, for instance, proposed legislation aimed at improving the internal process for complaints. The San Diego County district attorney launched a new system for reporting abuse that allowed students and other stakeholders to bypass the administration altogether.

The district detailed a number policy changes made during Marten’s tenure intended to better address how abuse and harassment complaints are handled. The district has also defended its practices in legal filings.

Still, records requests can take years to fulfill, if at all. Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx reported in January that officials were trained on how to delete emails permanently

Faulconer Promises to Lead California With Leadership

In his run for governor, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has attempted to differentiate himself from his Democratic opponent as the guy who’s gonna bring people to the table and demand results. 

But time and again as mayor, Faulconer would tout his prowess as a leader while sidestepping any meaningful discussion of the details of a specific issue. In a new story, Andrew Keatts pulled out one such example. 

For years, the residents of Barrio Logan and the shipbuilding industry have been at odds over development regulations intended to shield the mostly Latino community from air pollution. Faulconer had been vague about what a compromise might look like, and eventually the talks fizzled out. 

There was a break-through last summer thanks to community leaders, environmental activists and the shipbuilding industry who took it upon themselves to resolve the intractable debate.

Convention Center Shelter to Ramp Down

In two weeks, the city is set to start moving out homeless San Diegans who have for months found a temporary home at the Convention Center.

Mayor Todd Gloria pledged at a Friday press conference that the city has a landing place for each Convention Center resident who has not yet been connected with a permanent home.

“Let me be clear, no one at the Convention Center will be forced back onto the streets,” Gloria said. “Shelter residents have been notified of this and their service provider staff will work with them in the coming weeks to identify the best option for them.”

Those options will include reconfigured shelter tents in East Village and Barrio Logan which will be operated by nonprofit Alpha Project, and the upper and lower levels of Golden Hall to be operated by Father Joe’s Village. Some Convention Center residents will also move to Father Joe’s Paul Mirabile Center and PATH Connections shelter.

Gloria and other local leaders said Friday that the large-scale phased moves involving about 600 homeless San Diegans will play out over the week of March 22.

Since the shelter opened last April, the city reports that it has temporarily housed more than 4,000 homeless San Diegans and linked nearly 1,300 with permanent or longer-term housing, including in two hotels the city purchased with the help of state funds.

More Politics News

  • Speaking of leadership: Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby dissect San Diego City Council President Jen Campbell’s view on what her job is and how it’s chosen on the latest podcast. Campbell recently told KPBS that the Council president is “an administrative post” and lamented the public campaign her opponent waged. Normally, the selection process plays out in private. 
  • In this week’s Politics Report, Lewis and Keatts consider the future of the Building Industry Association, long a major player in conservative politics, as it seeks a new CEO in a much evolved political landscape. They also round up interesting bits from the week, including Mayor Gloria’s response to a shocking video of the shooting of a homeless man by police officers. Also, Randy Dotinga has a dispatch on the local connection to a big HBO show coming out.
  • Lawmakers in Sacramento passed a bill intended to help schools reopen and the reaction was tepid. In the meantime, state Sen. Toni Atkins is carrying a bill that would continue to exempt large projects from the state’s landmark environmental law. And a new California study reveals that half of workers in San Diego are considered “low wage” with about a third making less than $15 an hour.  
  • Mikey Knab of Business For Good SD and Matthew Vasilakis of the Climate Action Campaign argue in a new op-ed that San Diego’s once-in-a-generation franchise fee deal is an opportunity to reset the city’s energy future

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

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