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San Diego teens are turning into budding sociologists with the help of UCSD researchers who want a student’s-eye view of life at local schools.

The program, now in its third year, encourages high-school students to study each other by asking questions about a variety of topics, including race.

Educators might not be paying attention to the findings, however, potentially giving students an unintended lesson in how hard work and good intentions don’t always lead to real progress.

High-school students across the nation are facing a long, jobless summer. But federal stimulus funds are making a difference for poor young adults in the county: $10.5 million is supporting a Hire-a-Youth program that aims to put 3,000 people to work.

At City Hall, Councilwoman Donna Frye is asking about the status of multi-million-dollar loans from the city to redevelopment agencies. Her chief of staff, meanwhile, is moving to San Diego to run for her seat.

Also, we follow-up on a debate over CPR in San Diego by asking a local cardiologist why so many people still die of cardiac arrest.

Our profiles of local photographers continue with a look at the work of Sandy Huffaker, who contributes to The New York Times. He likes to head south of the border where he finds a special joie de vivre. In the United States, “we don’t talk to each other. So the contrasts are just infinite.”

Columnist Scott Lewis targets county supervisors and their addiction to an “arrogant” old-school patronage system. There’s a way out, but the beneficiaries of largesse could stand in the way.

Life as a 27th-round draft pick is a “whirlwind,” reports sports columnist Tom Shanahan, who checks in on local baseball star Kurt Steinhauer. Even negotiations went by in a blur. They took Steinhauer about an hour, mostly just to fill out the contract.

A Carlsbad landlord attests to the stagnant and sinking rents that we explored last week. And real-estate columnist Rich Toscano searches for an elusive statistic in the local housing market: The number of houses that are actually for sale.

In letters, one writer extends the city attorney’s majority-vote logic to the last mayoral election, while another says there are more problems in local schools than high-priced dinner tabs.

Elsewhere, the U-T reports that the San Diego City Council is settling two lawsuits lingering from the era of City Attorney Michael Aguirre. The cost is $450,000.

One notable detail: An attorney who’s defending the city charged nearly $100,000.

The U-T also reports the city has received a month-long reprieve in the battle over the seals at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla: “The reprieve could give the state Legislature time to adopt a bill that would let the seals stay.”

— RANDY DOTINGA

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