Yes, San Diego housing prices went up by a seemingly impressive 5.9 percent in January compared to a year earlier. Yes, San Diego did better than most of 20 other urban areas tracked in a new report. And sure, the feds are going gangbusters in trying to help homeowners out.

Still, if your house is worth $200,000 less than when you bought it, this news isn’t likely to make you dance around the cul-de-sac like your pants are on fire. (And anyway, the homeowners association frowns on that kind of thing. Check the CC&Rs.)

“It’s the timing factor that bothers me — they’ve had three to four years to come up with these solutions,” a mortgage broker tells us in our story analyzing the state of the real estate market. “If they started working on these things two or three years ago, we’d be way ahead of the game right now, or at least even. But we’re still in the reactive mode.”

Radioactive is more like it: Would you want to sell a house now?

In other news:

  • Every week, Emily Alpert performs an incredible service for parents and others interested in what’s happening at the San Diego Unified school board but unable to go to meetings. She does go and sends out tweets about them. But they’re not boring updates about boring meetings.

    Instead, she serves as a guide — reminding you why something is important and capturing the intrigue of certain dialogue.

    Last night, for example, she caught the board in a conundrum. Bids for a building project at Hoover High School, under the district’s labor agreement, had come in too high. Two previous bids for other projects under the worker pact had come in lower.  As the dialogue continued, Alpert noted to her followers that the board could decide to scrap the labor pact on this project. Or they could re-bid and see if they just needed to try again.

    We were all on the edges of our seats. The board decided to re-bid it rather than sidestep the labor deal in a 3-2 vote — a pretty common ending these days.

    Again, follow her here. She’ll still write up the important stuff and do her in-depth work, but this is a way to take notes and share them with you.

  • You might have assumed the board would get mobbed by partisans taking sides on a proposal to allow students to go off campus to get abortions — and some other medical services — without parent permission.

    Nah. It passed unanimously with no fuss.

  • Also: A proposal to cut down on training time for teachers — eliminating those minimum days that drive parents bananas — and use those days for teaching kids went nowhere.
  • We’ve created a nifty map that shows the average experience level of teachers at San Diego schools. There’s plenty to ponder in this map: Poorer schools have more inexperienced teachers, but so do charter schools. And there’s a lot of variation.
  • Also in education: “The San Diego Unified School District is offering to pay $155,000 to wrap up a complaint about its failure to monitor groundwater near an inactive landfill underneath one of its school sites, something it has long argued the county should have been responsible for.” The school in question is Bell Middle School.
  • A house on Mansfield Street in Normal Heights (not too far from DiMille’s Italian Restaurant and the Adams Avenue Bookstore, for those of you who know the area) was the epitome of a dump. Trash overflowed inside and out, and a continuing parade of people played loud music and hooted at passersby.

    Not anymore. This house, which sits near a park, church and elementary school, has shed its reputation, thanks to its new owner. He’s opened a barber shop in the house and, as our story says, “his effort highlights the impact that one business can have on one section of town, even in a recession.”

  • The Photos of the Day take second looks at a top cop and an ex-con. The first one likes toy cars, and the second one. . . ooo, look, doggies!
  • Finally, there’s a new edition of Fact Check TV posted here.


  • “Issa Salomi, the 60-year-old El Cajon man who was kidnapped while working as a linguist for U.S. forces in Iraq arrived on U.S. soil last Tuesday night after being held captive for two months — reportedly by a Shiite extremist group,” the U-T reports. He’s currently in Texas.
  • The U-T says SDG&E’s new smart meters are damaging televisions — especially older ones — when the power comes on after they’re installed. One lady says she had to cough up $500 to repair her television (that must be one expensive TV), and only got SDG&E to pay for it after some insisting.
  • CityBeat tracks the legal hot water that a local man got into after making an apparent threat against presidential candidate Barack Obama back in 2008.
  • Quick: What’s the most expensive U.S. city to do business in? Well, there’s Los Angeles, of course: pretty pricey. And New York and San Francisco.

    And then there’s. . . San Diego? Yup, it’s in fourth place among the most expensive cities on a list compiled by the tax firm KPMG.

If someone brings up this unpleasant factoid while talking to you about moving a business to San Diego, we’ve got the perfect response: “Hey, look over there! Is that Tiger Woods?”


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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