Morning Report: Meet the School Board President

Morning Report

Morning Report: Meet the School Board President

Mayor defends stadium deal in the newspaper, county socks away $170M for mentally ill as the sick suffer, all about a 'Godzilla' El Niño, drones vs. aircraft, cliff divers and an elephant on a mission to breed

Mario Koran is up today with a profile of Marne Foster, the president of the San Diego Unified School District board. He talked to the former principal of the successful School for Creative and Performance Arts, who says Foster used political muscle to meddle in affairs and end her job at the school.

It’s one of the facets of Foster, who is passionate, outspoken and a rule challenger, if not a rule bender or rule violator.

“Yet, Foster has been a consistent voice for black students who have been chronically over-punished and undereducated for decades in San Diego,” Koran reports. “She has had major impact on schools in her area.”

Foster did not cooperate with the profile but in a previous interview gave us an insight to her thinking: “I’m a politician, because that’s the job I said yes to. But I’m a mother first, who loves her children dearly. Different from some people, I do fear one person. I fear God. That’s who I’m concerned about and that’s who I answer to.”

Mayor Defends Stadium Offer

In a U-T commentary, Mayor Kevin Faulconer offers a sort of closing argument for his proposal to build a new football stadium with $350 million in city and county taxpayer money. His point: The decrepit current Mission Valley stadium is too expensive to maintain.

He makes a case that it’s a good deal — but also reminds us the Chargers haven’t taken it.

“Mayor is laying out a barely acceptable –yet best possible– deal city could hope for and acknowledging NFL has to force Chargers into it,” wrote Scott Lewis.

As Falcouner notes, the stadium could cost $282 million over the next 20 years.

Readers might assume, from reading the commentary, that if we’re going to spend $282 million without a new stadium, why not spend $350 million instead on a new one? But the $282 million includes paying off about $54 million in debt for the existing stadium. The debt doesn’t go away when a new stadium is built.

Restaurants Wrangle with Minimum Wage Hikes in Other Cities

Some of the fiercest resistance to a minimum wage hike in the city of San Diego came from restaurant owners and even a union leader, who were worried about the effect on tipped workers. One of the restaurateurs’ points was that many servers in nicer places earn far more than people working in the kitchen because of tips. Yet a minimum wage hike would boost their wages — because they make minimum wage — while someone in the kitchen making just over the minimum wage might see no change.

The New York Times explored this weekend how restaurants in other cities that have boosted the minimum wage are dealing with it. Tips are ending or changing. But it’s still a deeply engaged tradition. The San Diego minimum wage hike to $11 per hour will be on the June ballot and there’s no word yet on a state bill that might make it moot and raise the wage to $13 eventually statewide along with a mandate to automatically increase it with inflation over time.

What’s a ‘Godzilla’ El Niño?

The L.A. Times explores the possibility that we could face a “Godzilla” El Niño this winter.

It helpfully explains why things have been so bad in the last few years: “California’s drought has been worsened by an insidious mass of relentless high pressure sitting atop the Gulf of Alaska, scaring off the cool, wet storms ferried by the jet stream away from the West Coast.” A monster El Niño could puncture the high pressure system, but scientists say even deluges over the winter aren’t likely to kill the drought.

For now, “while the consensus among many forecasters is that El Niño is strong and headed toward getting stronger, it’s still possible something unexpected could occur.” So we journalists may not have to keep remembering how to type ñ.

U-T = LA Times? No, Not Yet

The U-T’s reader representative talks to editor Jeff Light, who says only 3 percent of recent stories in the paper were from its sister paper, the Los Angeles Times: “So, I guess if you are anti-L.A., you should be pretty happy 97 percent of the time.”

That quote is in the early running for weirdest thing someone’s said this month.

Quick News Hits: Big Love

• San Diego County is a hotspot nationally for encounters between drones and aircraft. (NBC 7)

• “While San Diego County struggles to keep up with demand for mental health services, more than $170 million has collected unspent in a special fund to help with the cause,’ the U-T reports. The money is in a reserve fund that’s several times bigger than recommended.

• The Assembly speaker may be San Diego’s own Toni Atkins, and local legislator Lorena Gonzalez almost instantly became a major force in Sacramento. But the L.A. Times finds that the state legislature is low on women in general, with their numbers dipping over the past decade or so.

• The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is looking for a new chief executive again. (City News Service)

• Watch out: Roadwork downtown is going to shut down parts of Broadway over the next few weekends (but not Labor Day weekend). The project will make way for a rapid bus.

• Thanks to social media, people from around the world are flocking to Sunset Cliffs to illegally jump off the “Arch”: “Daredevils of all ages, but mostly teenagers, get a running start, then hurl themselves off the 20-foot cliff and splash into the sea that churns over hidden rock outcroppings,” the U-T reports. Serious accidents seem to be rare, but officials are sounding the alarm about the dangers.

• A 7,500-pound elephant named Vus’Musi from the zoo operation formerly known as the Wild Animal Park is on a mission: He’s heading to Fresno to meet two lady elephants.

You know how it goes: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a cargo truck.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.


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