Today marks 10 years since Bob Filner announced he would resign after multiple women accused him of assaulting and harassing them. That was such a long-drawn out drama that spilled into the streets with recall campaigns and wrenching news conferences.
In contrast, Nathan Fletcher disappeared in an instant. He went from the most prominent politician in San Diego — the face of the county during COVID and a man on track to return to Sacramento as a state senator — to gone.
Filner made a dramatic exit with a speech he thought would curdle the cold blood of his enemies and ring in their ears for years. But nobody cared.
Fletcher, on the other hand, vanished. He has not made a public appearance even once since an accusation against him emerged almost five months ago. He has only released a couple written statements.
Nathan Fletcher… remember that guy? Former county supervisor, state legislator and husband of labor powerhouse Lorena Gonzalez? Ever present on social media commenting on baseball and giving endorsements to allies?
Well, he’s not gone. He’s waging the legal battle of his life. And it just spilled into a court dispute about what he can demand that Instagram hand over about his interactions, and direct messages he exchanged, with Grecia Figueroa, a former Metropolitan Transit System spokeswoman. She is suing him and MTS and accused him of sexual assault and the agency of firing her because of it.
Fletcher says those messages will show a consensual relationship. Only problem: He deleted them.
What happened: Fletcher’s legal team subpoenaed Meta, the parent company of Instagram, for all Figueroa’s records. Now, Figueroa’s lawyers are saying the request is too broad and they’re asking for the subpoena to be quashed.
Our Scott Lewis, who has been following the story, has two big questions.
One: Did Fletcher have “consensual interactions” with Figueroa, as he claimed, or was the relationship abusive and violent, as Figueroa said?
Two: Even if they were somehow consensual interactions, there was a power imbalance. Why was Figueroa fired from MTS? MTS officials have said they fired her for performance-related reasons. Figueroa says she was never informed of any problems with her work at the agency.
Read the story here.
What About that Storm Though?
“For most people west of the mountains in San Diego County on Sunday, the wind was like Waldo. Where was it? With tropical storm warnings came logical expectations of good gales. But in many spots, Hilary barely rustled leaves,” Robert Krier writes for us.
Krier talked to a weather forecaster to find out why Hilary didn’t hit as hard as expected in many parts of the county.
The short answer: Mountains. Hilary was spinning counter-clockwise, meaning its winds came out of the east. Those winds encountered the wall of San Diego’s mountains.
That’s normally what happens with the Santa Ana winds as well – and they can batter San Diego’s coastal region. So why didn’t it happen with Hilary?
Read Krier’s full story here to get the scientific explanation. The answer lies in the storm’s pressure, but also read Krier’s story for an excellent bowling analogy.
Five Years of Data. How Enrollment, Budget and Class Size Have Changed
The pandemic era has ushered in a windfall of cash for school districts, including San Diego Unified. Our Jakob McWhinney created a visual tour of how the district’s budget, enrollment and class size have all changed in the last five years and came up with some thought-provoking nuggets.
First: The district’s budget has exploded. It increased from $1.4B in 2017 to $2B in 2022. That’s a 43.5 percent increase. Factoring in inflation, however, cuts that percentage down to roughly 20 percent.
Second: The number of students enrolled at San Diego Unified is dropping almost as fast as the budget is increasing. The number of students have been cut down by 11 percent, from roughly 126,000 to 113,000.
What does that mean? First, it means the dollar amount of money per student has gone up — from $11,000 per year to $17,500.
So what’s happened with all that money? As McWhinney points out, class sizes have dropped – though that’s just as much related to students leaving the district as anything else.
Read the full story here to see the drops in each grade level.
In Other News
- Are you considering a staycation? CBS 8 reports on a new study that ranked San Diego third in the top 10 most expensive weekend getaways. It’s expensive to chill in paradise.
- An animal center in Rancho Santa Fe will be taking in 20 pets rescued from the deadly fire in Maui to help them find new homes. Nearly 850 people are still missing and authorities have confirmed that 115 people died in the fire. (City News Service, Union-Tribune)
- Mission Bay residents are fired up about illegal JetSki activity. They are pushing for more aggressive efforts to stop bad actors. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Scott Lewis.