Robin Williams has got nothing on math teacher Jonathan Winn.

As his 7:15 a.m. class begins at San Diego’s Crawford High School, Winn creates a ringing sound with a mallet and a bronze bowl. Then, suddenly, he erupts.


More than 70 students look on, ready to roll through differential equations and complex functions. This is at an inner-city school that faltered so much that officials broke it into mini-schools five years ago, a place where advanced calculus class used to draw fewer than a dozen students.

Its key to success: a teaching technique that’s “deeply personal and tailored to English learners who struggle with problems loaded with words.”

In other news:

  • For a man who runs a city facing one hairball of a budget deficit, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders sure has a big wish list. He wants a bigger convention center, a new city hall, a new football stadium and a new downtown library with a school built in.

    And I’d like a pony. But I digress.

    Sanders has said that the city won’t need to dip into its general fund — which pays for day-to-day needs — for their construction. He said the same thing yesterday but added a new talking point: the projects are so far away from breaking ground that times very well could change by then.

    The mayor also says he wants to cut 800 of 832 vacant positions, but that will only make a dent in the deficit.

  • We’d like to hear from you about how the city has responded to things like broken streetlights and dangerous potholes. Do you have any experiences to share?
  • Not too long ago, the editor of a newspaper in Spokane, Wash., spoke bluntly about pending staff cutbacks: “A smaller staff means a lesser paper. Doing more with less is corporate-speak BS and you won’t hear it from me. There is no way to make this pig look like anything other than a pig.”

    Our columnist James O. Goldsborough looks at the newspaper industry and sees a lot of oinking. In a commentary, he warns of a “vicious cycle” of doing less with less could lead to papers that cater only to the rich. If it takes that approach to save the printed editions, he says, he’d rather see them die.


  • There’s finally been a resolution to the legal battle between Caltrans and the San Diego Minutemen, which wanted to adopt a highway near the Oceanside checkpoint. (NCT) 
  • A local prosecutor is under investigation for withholding evidence in a North County rape prosecution, Channel 8 reports, and the victim’s mother says the alleged misconduct hurt the case.
  • “Things were not happy at the San Diego County Public Law Library,” writes USD law professor Shaun Martin in a blog post warning you about sending off those spontaneous, emotional e-mails at work.

    In this case, an employee mouthed off in an e-mail copied to his co-workers (you can read what he wrote in this PDF), got sacked and sued, taking his case all the way to a state appeals court.

    “More generally, this case is a concrete reminder that you should not — I repeat, not — send long, rambling e-mails to your work colleagues,” Martin advises, “… pause. Sleep on it. Take a fresh look at the proposed e-mail the next day. Ask a trusted friend to review it first. Make sure you really, really want to send it. Doing that may well save your job.


  • Our photographer went down to the bay front again yesterday and ran into this guy. His business card says he’s the 45th president of the United States.

    Oh my gosh. He’s from the future!

    Well, maybe not. An internet search suggests that he earlier claimed to be the 44th president, the one we have now. He also has some eccentric ideas and at least once wrote a letter to the editor.


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