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Each afternoon, schoolchildren in southeastern San Diego can visit a teen center and turn their brains off for a few hours. Or, if they’d like, they can keep their minds occupied with video games or the internet. It’s their choice, no pressure.

By appealing to kids without overtly pushing a message, the center represents a groundbreaking approach to after-school activities meant to create a welcoming place for children where they’ll be open to learning, rather than have it forced upon them.

Another way to boost young spirits is to help them feel proud of their schools. But warped hallways and cracked walls don’t help.

San Diego schools are thinking about diverting money to help campuses that won’t receive any of $2.1 billion in recently approved bond money. But critics are afraid fuzzy financial math will leave students in the lurch.

Also in education, it appears that San Diego schools have found room for displaced teachers by shrinking class sizes. Sounds great, right? Not everyone thinks so.

Meanwhile, a local contractors association says it plans to sue the school district over a labor agreement; more details are expected today.

And now to an economics lesson: Housing prices can do one of three things — go up, go down or stay the same.

Easy, right?

Wrong. A single local housing report can produce three different takes on what exactly is happening. But they aren’t necessarily incorrect.

Also on the housing front, audits suggest the city has done a poor job of supporting affordable housing. Between 2006 and 2008 alone, an un-updated fee could have cost the city $2.79 million. And that’s not all.

The homeless produce plenty of emotions in local residents: Sympathy. Fear. Disgust. There’s also the old stand-by: Get a job!

But few of us hear from the homeless themselves. Now they’re speaking in a series of videos produced through our partnership with the Media Arts Center.

The first batch profiles transients who inhabit downtown’s nighttime tent cities.

In commentary, former mayoral candidate Steve Francis says city leadership is fiddling as the budget burns: “We’re in crisis mode, and we need to start acting like it.”

And our cartoonist thinks SDG&E’s wildfire prevention plan hides an ulterior motive.

Elsewhere, the U-T writes about Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña’s desire to replace County Supervisor Ron Roberts and the state’s willingness to grant the city more time to figure out its plans for the $185 million schoobrary. But the interim state librarian’s patience has limits.

And KPBS-FM reports that San Diego isn’t getting $28 million in federal stimulus funds for cops. Mayor Jerry Sanders says that’s because the crime rate is low here.

Speaking of mayors, yesterday’s Morning Report included brief references to notable ones from San Diego’s past. Other colorful characters include the brothel-visiting mayor (nabbed in a raid with the chief of police!) and the missing mayor-elect (who avoided a subpoena by vanishing).

Those were the days.

— 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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