Board of Education in University Heights on Oct. 24, 2022.
San Diego Unified offices in University Heights on Oct. 24, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

There could be some new faces at San Diego Unified. 

This week, San Diego Unified’s board approved a contract with the San Diego County Office of Education to manage a recruitment effort for many of the district’s top administrative positions. 

The positions include all six of the district’s area superintendents and leadership roles in its human resources and special education departments. The shakeup would see the district vacate all the positions, but those who currently hold them are being encouraged to reapply. 

A district spokesperson said the changes were intended to ensure the employees in those positions fit the modifications to them that have occurred in recent years, and to allow Superintendent Lamont Jackson, who recently completed his first year on the job, to more fully implement his vision for the district.

Read the full story here.

Hiring of New County Executive On Hold

San Diego County Administration Building / File photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

As Scott Lewis remarked Tuesday, Nathan Fletcher exerted significant influence over the county’s search for a new county chief administrative officer as Helen Robbins-Meyer prepares to retire. Rumors have swirled that a prominent Santa Clara politician is a finalist. 

But we’ll have to wait to find out. 

Chairwoman Nora Vargas and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer announced Wednesday in a statement that the CAO hiring process is on pause “to ensure that all San Diego County residents are fairly represented in the process. No vote should be taken until District 4 has representation on this board to make the final decision on who will lead the County.”

Fletcher represents District 4. County supervisors voted unanimously this week to urge their colleague to immediately leave office rather than wait til May 15 as planned. His staff and family have said he’s currently unreachable at an undisclosed out-of-state treatment program in the wake of sexual assault and harassment allegations. 

Read our coverage on this topic here. 

Council Committee to Review Homeless Camp Crackdown Pitch

Councilmember Stephen Whitburn speaks to members of the press at the Old Central Library that has been converted into a new shelter for women in downtown on Jan. 26, 2023. The new shelter has 36 beds and is being operated by Imperial Counties under contract with the City’s Homeless Strategies and Solutions Department and National Alliance for Mental Illness of San Diego.
Councilmember Stephen Whitburn speaks to members of the press at the Old Central Library that has been converted into a new shelter for women in downtown on Jan. 26, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The City Council’s land use committee is expected to decide today whether to forward Councilman Stephen Whitburn’s plan to crack down on homeless camps to the full City Council.

Whitburn’s proposed ordinance would ban unauthorized camping when shelter is available and bar them at all times within two blocks of schools and shelters, in parks including Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park and along waterways and some trolley tracks.

Whitburn and Mayor Todd Gloria have argued that growing homeless camps throughout the city threaten public health, safety and economic activity – and that unhoused people must be encouraged to accept available shelter and other aid.

Homeless advocates have argued that there aren’t enough shelter beds and services to meet the need and that ordinance will make life more challenging for unhoused residents.

Advocates including attorney Scott Dreher, who has filed lawsuits against the city that have resulted in multiple settlements that dictate how the city conducts enforcement, urged the City Council committee in a Wednesday letter to reject Whitburn’s plan.

“To be blunt, the entire exercise is a waste of taxpayer resources, as, without solutions, it will be challenged in the courts immediately,” Dreher and representatives of housing and homelessness advocacy groups wrote.

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the countywide group coordinating the local response to homelessness, also issued a letter opposing the proposal.

The Pitch Not Being Heard Thursday: As Whitburn has lobbied for new enforcement tools, he’s also rallied behind a plan to add safe spaces where unhoused people can go.  The city and its Housing Commission have been exploring whether an often overlooked parking lot in Balboa Park – and/or perhaps other locations – could host campsites where unhoused people could settle and access services and amenities like showers. While the city’s focus on Inspiration Point is drawing lots of attention, Whitburn and the city don’t have a specific plan to share publicly yet. Here’s what we know for now.

Also on Thursday’s Agenda: The committee is set to weigh in on Gloria’s push to explore housing or shelter developments at the former indoor skydiving center turned homeless service hub and the old Central Library plus a plan to kick off the process for a proposed Civic Center redevelopment.

The Learning Curve: A Father’s Plight

Jared Goossens gets ready to pick up his son Everest from an after school program at Hardy Elementary School in the College area on April 5, 2023.
Jared Goossens gets ready to pick up his son Everest from an after school program at Hardy Elementary School in the College area on April 5, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The latest installment of Jakob McWhinney’s Learning Curve newsletter is a double header. 

First up is a profile of a single father of a San Diego Unified student who struggled to find childcare. McWhinney reported that story earlier this week. The dad couldn’t get a full-time job because of his son’s constricting school schedule.

After a full year, his son finally got a spot in a free after-school care program. McWhinney explains how that came together for their family and hundreds of others. 

Then, McWhinney shares a story that caught his interest. A recent firing at Point Loma Nazarene University caused pushback from alumni. 

Read the Learning Curve here. 

Speaking of child care: KPBS reports that California awarded more than $30 million to seven child care businesses in San Diego County years ago, but some experienced delays and haven’t received all the money yet. 

In Other News

  • A second apartment building in Tijuana has collapsed, Telemundo reports. No one appeared to be injured. Voice contributor Sandra Dibble wrote last week that its imminent collapse had become a spectator sport, as the city’s hills crumbled under the weight of heavy rain and uncontrolled development. 
  • UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla was given a substantial raise, bringing his total annual earnings to $1.14 million, thanks to private donors in the San Diego region. The chair of the Board of Regents declined to say who donated the additional money, which convinced Khosla not to take another job. (Union-Tribune) 
  • In anticipation of an opioid manufacturers settlement fund, two San Diego City Council members are looking to host a roundtable later this year to gather input on how the money should be spent. (Times of San Diego)  

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Jesse Marx and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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