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Marni von Wilpert gets Falck and Zoo to cough up for gay rights

Times of San Diego sells to Arizona State offshoot

“I recently attended the 2024 San Diego Equality Awards,” noted von Marni von Wilpert on Instagram. “This year marks Equality California’s 25th anniversary, and I was honored to help recognize Tony Hoang, their Executive Director, for EQCA’s incredible advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.”
“I recently attended the 2024 San Diego Equality Awards,” noted von Marni von Wilpert on Instagram. “This year marks Equality California’s 25th anniversary, and I was honored to help recognize Tony Hoang, their Executive Director, for EQCA’s incredible advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.”

Behest chasing

Controversial San Diego City ambulance contractor Falck USA gave a total of $5000 on May 16 at the behest of San Diego City councilwoman Marni von Wilpert to Los Angeles-based Equality California, per a May 30 disclosure statement. In addition, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, a taxpayer-subsidized city tenant, also transferred $5000 to Equality on May 16, according to a May 30 filing. “I recently attended the 2024 San Diego Equality Awards,” noted von Wilpert on Instagram. “This year marks Equality California’s 25th anniversary, and I was honored to help recognize Tony Hoang, their executive director, for EQCA’s incredible advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.” 

Wilpert recently recounted coming out as a lesbian to a New York Times reporter, per an October 11, 2023 KPBS dispatch. “‘When the reporter asked me, “Are you a member of the LGBTQ community?” I didn’t want to hide it,’ she said. ‘It’s not anything I’m ashamed of.’ She said in many ways it was an easier way to come out, like ripping off a Band-Aid. She said she was told to brace for an onslaught of hate emails and calls that never came. Instead, she said it’s been nothing but love and thank you notes. ‘It was very interesting to come out as a politician because everyone assumed it was political,’ she said, ‘but it is not. But it is very freeing to be able to say that I’m out.’” Both Falck and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance are listed as Silver Sponsors of the May 17 event.

Marni von Wilpert’s coming out was ouchless.

San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell has said he will “soon launch a comprehensive analysis to determine whether to stick with the alliance model, bring ambulance service completely in-house or go with some sort of hybrid approach,” according to a May 9 Union-Tribune report, setting up a potential battle at city council over whether to save Falck’s lucrative ambulance contract.


Masters of deceit

Prospective students seeking to get into UCSD are being misled about the quality of online courses offered there, a June 6 report by the California State Auditor says. “Online courses and programs have become increasingly common in higher education,” the document notes. “Many colleges work with third-party vendors known as online program managers, which assist in the development and implementation of online programs.” 

But abuses are rampant. “Some programs describe certificates or awards of completion using terms that sound similar to academic terminology but do not have the same meaning because they do not confer academic credit. For example, UC San Diego contracts with an [Online Program Manager] that uses the term MicroMasters for an open enrollment data science program that does not result in a master’s degree nor provide credit toward a master’s degree at UC San Diego.”

Adds the report: “Compounding the problem of using this misleading phrase, a UC San Diego representative for the MicroMasters program misrepresented its value when we inquired about it in the guise of a prospective student. He stated that although the program was not required for applications to UC San Diego’s online master’s program in data science, it was beneficial to the admissions process. However, according to both UC San Diego’s director of digital learning and its associate vice chancellor, an applicant’s completion of the MicroMasters program is not taken into account during the admissions process for UC San Diego’s master’s program in data science. 

"The director of digital learning stated that the campus would review the website and speak with program representatives to ensure that information provided does not suggest a connection between the MicroMasters and master’s programs. She later stated that the program representative may have given incorrect information because the campus had not adequately communicated details about the differences between the two programs to all involved parties. 

"Such omissions in communication could lead prospective students to believe that there were additional benefits, such as positively influencing the decision for admission to a degree program, that do not actually exist.” Auditors also discovered that UCSD wasn’t accurately reporting its online dropout rates. “San Diego Extension tracks only the number of students who complete the program, but it does not keep a record of those who drop out or withdraw.”

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Times of Arizona

San Diego State University, long atop a growing heap of non-profit news providers here, faces a major new challenge with the surprise purchase of the Times of San Diego online news operation by an Arizona State University affiliate, per a June 5 announcement.

Chris Jennewein’s Times, they are a-changin’ owners.

“Times of San Diego has been acquired by Newswell, an innovative nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening local news outlets,” says the statement by Times of San Diego founder and editor Chris Jennewein, who once ran the Union-Tribune’s website. “Times of San Diego will continue to be based in San Diego with local reporting and editing, while gaining access to shared resources, best practices, industry innovations and new opportunities for revenue and digital advancements essential for growth and sustainability.” 

The abrupt ownership change brings a host of uncertainties for the future of local non-profit media, including SDSU-run KPBS, which in past years has relied on corporate and downtown lobbying interests for much of its funding. Arizona public records show that Newswell incorporated on March 29 of this year, and is barred under its articles of incorporation from outright political action. “No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall neither participate in nor intervene in any political campaign (including the publishing or distributing of statements) on behalf of any candidate for public office,” says the document. 

But with Newswell being set up to furnish “charitable fundraising services for promoting research, education and other activities relating to journalism and broadcasting,” according to its articles, the switch from for-profit to non-profit status under Arizona State University aegis is kindling fundraising fears of non-profit influencers.

Another concern is Arizona State’s growing ties to artificial intelligence giant OpenAI. “By providing access to advanced AI capabilities, these tools are leveling the playing field, allowing individuals and organizations -- regardless of size or resources -- to harness the power of AI for creative and innovative endeavors,” ASU said in a January 18 news release announcing that the school would be “the first higher education institution to collaborate with” the artificial intelligence behemoth.

In April, Times of San Diego’s Jennewein, spoke out against California legislation favored by the California News Publishers Association that would force Google and Meta to pay news publishers a fee for use of their content. “Google and other big tech companies aren’t stealing news, they’re bringing readers to it,” Jennewein was quoted in an April 21 Washington Post dispatch as saying. “They’ve built an ecosystem that makes the news far more accessible to everyone.”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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“I recently attended the 2024 San Diego Equality Awards,” noted von Marni von Wilpert on Instagram. “This year marks Equality California’s 25th anniversary, and I was honored to help recognize Tony Hoang, their Executive Director, for EQCA’s incredible advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.”
“I recently attended the 2024 San Diego Equality Awards,” noted von Marni von Wilpert on Instagram. “This year marks Equality California’s 25th anniversary, and I was honored to help recognize Tony Hoang, their Executive Director, for EQCA’s incredible advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.”

Behest chasing

Controversial San Diego City ambulance contractor Falck USA gave a total of $5000 on May 16 at the behest of San Diego City councilwoman Marni von Wilpert to Los Angeles-based Equality California, per a May 30 disclosure statement. In addition, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, a taxpayer-subsidized city tenant, also transferred $5000 to Equality on May 16, according to a May 30 filing. “I recently attended the 2024 San Diego Equality Awards,” noted von Wilpert on Instagram. “This year marks Equality California’s 25th anniversary, and I was honored to help recognize Tony Hoang, their executive director, for EQCA’s incredible advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.” 

Wilpert recently recounted coming out as a lesbian to a New York Times reporter, per an October 11, 2023 KPBS dispatch. “‘When the reporter asked me, “Are you a member of the LGBTQ community?” I didn’t want to hide it,’ she said. ‘It’s not anything I’m ashamed of.’ She said in many ways it was an easier way to come out, like ripping off a Band-Aid. She said she was told to brace for an onslaught of hate emails and calls that never came. Instead, she said it’s been nothing but love and thank you notes. ‘It was very interesting to come out as a politician because everyone assumed it was political,’ she said, ‘but it is not. But it is very freeing to be able to say that I’m out.’” Both Falck and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance are listed as Silver Sponsors of the May 17 event.

Marni von Wilpert’s coming out was ouchless.

San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell has said he will “soon launch a comprehensive analysis to determine whether to stick with the alliance model, bring ambulance service completely in-house or go with some sort of hybrid approach,” according to a May 9 Union-Tribune report, setting up a potential battle at city council over whether to save Falck’s lucrative ambulance contract.


Masters of deceit

Prospective students seeking to get into UCSD are being misled about the quality of online courses offered there, a June 6 report by the California State Auditor says. “Online courses and programs have become increasingly common in higher education,” the document notes. “Many colleges work with third-party vendors known as online program managers, which assist in the development and implementation of online programs.” 

But abuses are rampant. “Some programs describe certificates or awards of completion using terms that sound similar to academic terminology but do not have the same meaning because they do not confer academic credit. For example, UC San Diego contracts with an [Online Program Manager] that uses the term MicroMasters for an open enrollment data science program that does not result in a master’s degree nor provide credit toward a master’s degree at UC San Diego.”

Adds the report: “Compounding the problem of using this misleading phrase, a UC San Diego representative for the MicroMasters program misrepresented its value when we inquired about it in the guise of a prospective student. He stated that although the program was not required for applications to UC San Diego’s online master’s program in data science, it was beneficial to the admissions process. However, according to both UC San Diego’s director of digital learning and its associate vice chancellor, an applicant’s completion of the MicroMasters program is not taken into account during the admissions process for UC San Diego’s master’s program in data science. 

"The director of digital learning stated that the campus would review the website and speak with program representatives to ensure that information provided does not suggest a connection between the MicroMasters and master’s programs. She later stated that the program representative may have given incorrect information because the campus had not adequately communicated details about the differences between the two programs to all involved parties. 

"Such omissions in communication could lead prospective students to believe that there were additional benefits, such as positively influencing the decision for admission to a degree program, that do not actually exist.” Auditors also discovered that UCSD wasn’t accurately reporting its online dropout rates. “San Diego Extension tracks only the number of students who complete the program, but it does not keep a record of those who drop out or withdraw.”

Sponsored
Sponsored


Times of Arizona

San Diego State University, long atop a growing heap of non-profit news providers here, faces a major new challenge with the surprise purchase of the Times of San Diego online news operation by an Arizona State University affiliate, per a June 5 announcement.

Chris Jennewein’s Times, they are a-changin’ owners.

“Times of San Diego has been acquired by Newswell, an innovative nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening local news outlets,” says the statement by Times of San Diego founder and editor Chris Jennewein, who once ran the Union-Tribune’s website. “Times of San Diego will continue to be based in San Diego with local reporting and editing, while gaining access to shared resources, best practices, industry innovations and new opportunities for revenue and digital advancements essential for growth and sustainability.” 

The abrupt ownership change brings a host of uncertainties for the future of local non-profit media, including SDSU-run KPBS, which in past years has relied on corporate and downtown lobbying interests for much of its funding. Arizona public records show that Newswell incorporated on March 29 of this year, and is barred under its articles of incorporation from outright political action. “No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall neither participate in nor intervene in any political campaign (including the publishing or distributing of statements) on behalf of any candidate for public office,” says the document. 

But with Newswell being set up to furnish “charitable fundraising services for promoting research, education and other activities relating to journalism and broadcasting,” according to its articles, the switch from for-profit to non-profit status under Arizona State University aegis is kindling fundraising fears of non-profit influencers.

Another concern is Arizona State’s growing ties to artificial intelligence giant OpenAI. “By providing access to advanced AI capabilities, these tools are leveling the playing field, allowing individuals and organizations -- regardless of size or resources -- to harness the power of AI for creative and innovative endeavors,” ASU said in a January 18 news release announcing that the school would be “the first higher education institution to collaborate with” the artificial intelligence behemoth.

In April, Times of San Diego’s Jennewein, spoke out against California legislation favored by the California News Publishers Association that would force Google and Meta to pay news publishers a fee for use of their content. “Google and other big tech companies aren’t stealing news, they’re bringing readers to it,” Jennewein was quoted in an April 21 Washington Post dispatch as saying. “They’ve built an ecosystem that makes the news far more accessible to everyone.”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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