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Plenty of people think San Diego city employees make too much, especially since “gold-plated pensions” entered the local lexicon.

They may but today, UCSD grad student Vladimir Kogan takes a look at the numbers by comparing San Diego to nearly 900 other cities.

It’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison when you have limes, bananas and a kumquat or two. But Kogan takes this into account and reaches a conclusion about whether there’s a real risk of “brain drain” due to salary cuts.

In San Diego schools, officials want to boost young brains by keeping classes small. They think they can do it with federal stimulus money, but that’s far from guaranteed.

It doesn’t help that the feds have been sending mixed messages.

Also in education, San Diego schools are finding places for 185 teachers who have positions but no jobs (or is it the other way around?).

Teachers and others are monitoring the state budget, but a lot more goes on in Sacramento than just budget talks. That’s why we’re beefing up our coverage there this summer.

In partnership with the University of California, we’ve assigned an intern to keep an eye on the local delegation and monitor possible impacts in San Diego.

Our first story profiles an assemblywoman’s attempt to return power to the people — specifically the right to control development at downtown’s Navy Broadway Complex.

One major hurdle: Fine print dating back to the year when Walter Cronkite turned 13.

In other state-related news, San Diego expects its redevelopment agencies will have to shovel $44 million back to Sacramento to help close California’s $26 billion budget hole.

That might not work and the state could come calling for more. “We are prepared, if we have to, to cut public safety,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders.

A quick question: When do you get to call yourself a “state senator”?

A losing candidate got the answer wrong, but changed his tune after being told to knock it off.

As we mentioned yesterday, Sacramento’s most famous part-time resident came to the (apparent) rescue of the La Jolla seals. Our cartoonist imagines that it all went down with a little help from a harpoon.

For a multimedia experience, listen to this background music while enjoying the cartoon.

The seals are also a hot topic in letters, where a writer solicits opinions from her kids about the seals and finds they agree on the solution.

Speaking of sea creatures, the Padres have a whale of a dilemma: the team is full of holes.

Sports columnist Tom Krasovic has an idea about how to fill them, but you might not like it much.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times has posted an obituary of San Diego business icon John Barry, “who made a San Diego product called WD-40 into a national sensation.”

The Times quotes current WD-40 president Garry Ridge, whose efforts to keep the company’s signature on everyone’s garage shelf we profiled in one of the classic editions of People at Work.

“He had a saying: ‘Don’t be like a blind dog in a meat house,’” Ridge tells the Times about his departed mentor.

San Diego CityBeat profiles council candidate Felipe Hueso, the older brother of Councilman Ben Hueso, who’s mulling a bid for state assembly.

The elder Hueso’s past — including tax problems and bankruptcy — could be a problem. Even his bankruptcy attorney filed a claim against him, CityBeat reports.

Finally, if you missed it, check out the U-T commentary by a local journalism professor about the importance of watchdogs who bark. Loudly.

“Sometimes, a little intimidation is what we need around here,” writes Dean Nelson, who calls for “more yelling” from media organizations.

We’ve been yelling, and we’ll keep on doing it.

Anyone got a lozenge?

— RANDY DOTINGA

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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