San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher speaks at a press conference about the coronavirus pandemic. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

Forget the chisme.  

Late last Sunday County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced he was ending his state Senate campaign, though not stepping away from the board of supervisors, to pursue treatment for post-traumatic stress and alcoholism. That announcement sparked a lot of speculation, rumors and gossip. 

But as the days went by, we learned more and what unfolded has shaken San Diego politics to the core. If you haven’t followed it closely, though, here are the deets.  

The story: A former Metropolitan Transit System employee, Grecia Figueroa, filed a lawsuit against Fletcher and the transportation agency, for sexual harassment, sexual assault and retaliation. Fletcher was chair of MTS at the time of the complaint’s allegations. He resigned as chair on Tuesday. But he says that he engaged in a “consensual interactions” with Figueroa.  

Read more: Andrew Keatts broke down the accusations in the lawsuit in a story here.  

It’s easy to get lost in the scandal and gossipy nature of these types of stories, but while we learn more, here are some facts you shouldn’t ignore and questions to ask.  

What Did MTS Officials Know When They Fired Figueroa?  

MTS headquarters at the 12th and Imperial trolley station. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz
MTS headquarters at the 12th and Imperial trolley station. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

Figueroa was fired from her public relations job at MTS on Feb. 6, 2023, according to the complaint. This was the same day Fletcher announced he was running for state Senate and a little over a week after her last communication with Fletcher, which happened during a board meeting, she claims. 

The complaint goes on to describe that when she was fired, she was not told why and was required to leave without getting her personal belongings.  

MTS released a statement Thursday that said she was fired because of “ongoing performance concerns.” It also states that “decision makers” charged with firing her were not aware of her allegations against Fletcher and that the agency’s executive management first learned of the allegations when the lawsuit became public on March 28.  

But that doesn’t say they didn’t know about something happening between Figueroa and Fletcher. So, what did they know?  

Why Is MTS Combining its Investigation with its Response to Figueroa’s Lawsuit?  

In that same statement, the agency said the law firm Paul Plevin Quarles would handle the probe into Figueroa’s accusations. (Note: Two the sexual assault incidents she describes in the lawsuit happened at MTS headquarters)  

That law firm is also handling the agency’s response to the lawsuit, though.  

As we explained, in other words, the investigation into the allegations is part of MTS’s legal strategy as a defendant in the lawsuit.  

Keep an eye out: We will have a story on Monday that unpacks what that means and more.  

It’s Crickets from Many Elected Officials. Why?  

The Politics Report explores why few officials are commenting on the scandal. Read the Politics Report here.  

(Note: The newsletter is available to Voice of San Diego members only. You can support our work here and gain access today.)  

Tell me: What questions do you have? What would you like to know that hasn’t been answered yet? Email me at  

Goodbye Coral Trees  

View of tree stumps at Seaport Village on March 27, 2023.
View of tree stumps at Seaport Village on March 27, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

On Monday, I walked to the Embarcadero Marina Park North and was surprised to see that the large coral trees in that area were cut down. I tweeted about it and got a lot of questions.  

Some people were angry that the large trees had been cut down. The Port of San Diego told me it’s part of a landscape project and that the coral trees are not well-suited for the marine environment. That’s because the soil in the area around the bayfront is high in salt content, which causes the trees to dry out and potentially fall, they said.  

The Port plans to plant new trees in the fall.  

The Weather Sucks, But the News Doesn’t Have to  

We are in the middle of our spring fundraising campaign and need your help to reach our goal. As a nonprofit news organization, we rely on the public to donate so we can keep producing the quality journalism you consume every day.  

It takes a lot of work (and I mean a lot) to provide you with journalism that holds leaders to account and brings attention to issues that some would rather fly under the radar. Please consider donating today at Gracias!  

More Chisme to Start Your Week 

  • In the latest VOSD Podcast episode, Keatts and I go through the lawsuit and timeline of events. Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.  
  • Mayor Todd Gloria’s homelessness czar, Hafsa Kaka, is leaving after less than two years on the job. Lisa Halverstadt unpacks the news and writes that the job hasn’t been an easy one to hold for anyone. Read more about her departure here.  
  • Halverstadt also recently wrote about the lack of detox facilities in the region. She had an interesting follow up in the Morning Report about how much the county sees increasing detox bed access as a priority as it addresses the fentanyl crisis. Read the Morning Report here.  
  • Education reporter Jakob McWhinney profiled a class this week, but not the kind that you’d think. He sat in on a class that prepares students to become American Citizens. He also created a fun quiz to test your knowledge. Click here to read his story.  
  • Voice contributor James Stout reports in a new story that thousands of people in San Diego are now paying a higher fee on the money they owe victims in criminal cases despite a state law intended to do the opposite. Read the story here.  

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Managing Editor, Daily News Andrea oversees the production of daily news stories for Voice of San Diego. She...

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