Today’s lesson: Don’t let the San Diego school district balance your checkbook. 

Not too long ago, officials discovered that they weren’t short $180 million. It was $106 million instead. Turns out that’s only the tip of the district’s money-management problems, according to a new preliminary report we obtained that says millions have been misallocated. The report also says the district has trouble tracking the costs of individual employees.

One school official says it might be forced to move around $15 million in its budget — not a painless move. School officials say the problems are being fixed. 

In other news:

  • If you’re reading this, chances are decent that you’re on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or — heavens — all three. Maybe you’ve got a blog too. If so, consider yourself a step above the average biotech firm.

    A local consultant estimates that only a handful of thousands of biotech companies worldwide have Twitter accounts.

    Why the tweet-o-phobia? Simple: Biotechs make medicine. And despite all those annoying erectile-dysfunction ads on TV, there are strict restrictions about the promotion of drugs in this country. Biotechs don’t want to break the rules. But critics say they have an obligation to reach out to consumers through social media. Federal regulators, who’ve been silent on the issue, are planning meetings on social media to address the issue soon.

  • As we reported earlier this week, a downtown condo complex has a stinky and potentially dangerous problem with sewer gas. The city installed a “flapper valve,” but the homeowners association prefers a “p-trap.” What’s the difference? We’ve got the scoop on how pipes keep gas from escaping from condo buildings, and even your household sink and toilet.
  • During his big speech last week, Mayor Jerry Sanders briefly mentioned 1890s city water politics to make a point about how there’s always some grump who opposes progress. But he missed the colorful (and litigious) story of the 19th-century brouhahas over bringing water and wealth to our parched city.
  • Also on our site today: We bring you a roundup of local census coverage, including statistics that say one in five adults from ages 18-65 in the county doesn’t have health insurance. Countywide water use dropped by 13 percent in July and August, outpacing the mandated cuts. And we offer our Photo of the Day — a view from Imperial Avenue.
  • Elsewhere: San Diego hasgreatly boosted the money it spends on street repairs and is repaving 150 miles of road. But there’s a whole lot more to go. (KPBS)

    More trouble in the Bob Watkins saga: The airport board chairman Bob “is running a business under the Lindbergh Field flight path in apparent violation of San Diego zoning laws.” (U-T)

  • Also: San Diego County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler is in a snit with the state. (NCT)

    SeaWorld might be up for sale (AP)

    A report warns the county will be short 70,000 housing units by the year 2050 unless politicians get cracking. (KPBS)

    And the Reader remembers when a flu pandemic hit town and businesses fought to keep a general quarantine — and possible ruin — at bay.

  • Finally, it’s the time of year when Santa Anas strike. As mystery author and permanent San Diego resident Raymond Chandler put it, they “curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch … every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.”

    Like, say, triple-digit temperatures. A Santa Ana was responsible for San Diego’s hottest day on record 46 years ago, when the mercury reached 111 degrees on Sept. 26, 1963.

    If you’re chronologically gifted enough to remember that horrendously hot Thursday, drop me a line. And stay cool, or at least far away from those pesky carving knives.


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