At Bell Middle School in San Diego’s Paradise Hills neighborhood, “Coffee with the Principal” will soon go beverage-less. Peeling paint and chipped tiles won’t be fixed anytime soon. And while other schools have foundations to help cover costs, Bell is still trying to put one together.

These are among Principal Michael Dodson’s myriad challenges, as our reporter discovered while serving as “Principal for a Day.” Or, as one student put it, “boss lady.”

Among other things, Dodson has to read hundreds of daily e-mails, confiscate skateboards, discipline students and keep an eye out for shirts that aren’t tucked in. As we watched, he kept an eye on educators while getting educated himself about the lives of students.

In other news:

  • Unlike a year ago, when they were at each other’s throats over budget cutbacks, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Council members seem to be all (or mostly) smiles these days.

    Even a potentially dicey mayoral request — that the council members find ways to cut their office budgets by $1.3 million — went over without a hitch. Council members largely blew off the request, but no one seemed to get steamed.

    What’s going on? Valium in the water cooler? Aromatherapy in the ventilation system? Or maybe everybody’s stuck in the elevator. We look into it.

  • Want to see what the hallway in the 10th floor of City Hall looks like? Don’t look here. Photographs, it turns out, aren’t allowed unless all City Council members give the OK because of the security risk.
  • A judge has thrown out a lawsuit that pitted the Union-Tribune’s former editorial cartoonist against the paper’s management. At issue: whether U-T brass tried to kill the ex-cartoonist’s deal with the current editorial cartoonist to create a new comic strip.


  • A clarification: Last week in the Morning Report, I linked to a Washington Post story about traffic-enforcement cameras. The story was about cameras that catch speeders, not red-light runners. As a result, my comparison of traffic-ticket fines here and in Maryland was misleading. Sorry about that.
  • A CBS News investigation finds that a “staggering number” of rape kits — evidence collected after a rape — have not been tested nationally. The San Diego Police Department couldn’t say how many rape kits haven’t been tested. It started counting them but stopped.

    Why did the department start counting in the first place? A police source told CBS that “we don’t want to be on the front page of the L.A. Times,” referring to the “negative attention Los Angeles received from its rape kit backlog.”

  • A private prison company is interested in building a prison in Otay Mesa — already home to a state prison — and may begin construction as soon as 2010. (CityBeat)
  • Remember the young San Diego man who became a sensation on the internet by repeating his father’s pithy remarks on Twitter feed? Now he’s got a TV deal. (Hollywood Reporter)

    “Behold,” says the blog Gawker, “a brilliant burst of light as a thousand unemployed bloggers’ dreams come true, and a writer who moved in with his dad and spent a lot of time on Twitter actually profits from it.”

  • Finally, a fledgling Del Mar group wants to stop plans to expand Interstate 5 from eight to as many as 14 lanes from Oceanside to La Jolla. (NCT)

    The organization is called PLAGUE. That stands for Prevent Los Angeles Gridlock Usurping the Environment.

    Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?


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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