In 2016, students returned to spring classes at Miramar College, part of the San Diego Community College District. / Photo courtesy of San Diego Community College District

Carlos Turner Cortez was on the job for one day when VOSD education reporter Will Huntsberry called him up for a VOSD Podcast interview.

Cortez’s new gig is chancellor for the San Diego Community College District — overseeing roughly 100,000 students and 8,000 employees.

This week on the VOSD Podcast, Cortez lays out the state of the district at the tail end of a pandemic.

Right now, enrollment is down 8 percent. Better, he said, than neighboring districts’ 15 to 20 percent dips.

The non-credit division, meanwhile, is “popping at the gills.” It’s designed for short-term, intensive training to get folks equipped for work fast.

Also on Cortez’s mind is the region’s most vulnerable people who are part of the student body.

“We as a society do not do right by children who don’t have parents,” he said of local foster youth. “And I think we can do better and our community colleges should play an important part in that work.”

Part of that work, Cortez said, should include housing on college campuses. “If we build the housing … we could break even if not make money from it,” he said. “We have the land. All we need is the startup cost.”

Check out the interview to hear how Cortez wants to do it. The interview starts after minute 22 in the podcast.

That Building

If you need any information about the disastrous 101 Ash St. deal, look no further than last week’s podcast.

This week, we’ve got an update on how the city’s case against its former real estate adviser, Jason Hughes, who’s at the center of 101 Ash and other major real estate deals. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt joined hosts Scott Lewis and Sara Libby this week to explain how one law may be key to getting the city out of the deals.

Check out our full collection of stories about 101 Ash St. and all the drama thereabouts.

The Latest on Local Police Oversight

The city attorney for San Diego is writing Measure B into law.

That was the measure voters approved last year to strengthen police oversight by creating a new oversight committee with more power and independence. One of the key parts of the measure was giving the new committee its own legal counsel to conduct independent investigations. That was designed to avoid the conflict that has existed up until now: The city attorney represents the commission, but it also represents police officers when they’re accused of wrongdoing.

So now, activists are wondering: If the point was to remove the city attorney from the equation, why is the city attorney the one writing the law to implement the measure? Lewis and Libby discuss.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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