A few months ago, news outlets around the country caught on to a hot story: a UCSD professor and colleagues were developing a cell phone GPS application designed to help migrants cross the border.

Even though the software hadn’t been developed yet, the story kicked up a fuss. Should taxpayer-funded university types be trying to help people violate the law?

It’s a question that UCSD officials are trying to answer. The university is investigating an art professor over the work and looking into whether he broke laws in helping students to overwhelm a university website.

The professor seems a bit mystified that the university is on his case. This is the work, he says, he was granted tenure for just a year ago.

In other news:

  • Here’s how our latest story about education innovation begins: “The meeting came to order. Wriggling second graders gathered into a circle on the rug, jostling and toying with each others’ hair. Scrawled in a child’s handwriting on the agenda: ‘Smelt it delt it.’”

    Come again? (Or, in this case, maybe that’s not a good idea.) What on earth is going on at Innovations Academy charter school? It’s an approach called “positive discipline,” and the idea is that kids “will become more independent, cooperative and thoughtful instead of merely compliant, learning the how and why of following the rules.”

    We’ve got more details, including an explanation of why kids were dealing with the eternal smelt it/dealt it issue, which I think Socrates was the first to consider. Or maybe it was Richard Pryor. One of those.

  • Our real-estate blogger only has one chart to show us today. Must be the earthquake’s fault. But it’s a doozy: It shows how “the median price per square foot of existing homes sold in San Diego County, after having gone pretty much nowhere since last fall, rose dramatically in the month of March.”

    Toscano’s middle name is Caveat (it’s actually Esteban, which may mean “caveat” in Spanish), and he throws a few of those in.

    But “it would appear that the rally is back on,” and if Toscano thinks so, it might actually be true.

  • What are local doctors getting accused of? Our story, based on data from the state, has the answer: the agency “overseeing licensed doctors received about 450 complaints from San Diego County last year, most alleging cases of negligence or incompetence, according to state medical board data.”

    We’d like to do more than tell you about the report. Do you know about any doctors whose actions have been overlooked? Call or drop us a line

  • “San Diego now controls the land it needs for a proposed $753 million Convention Center expansion after the Unified Port of San Diego approved a $13.5 million lease transfer between a private developer and the San Diego Convention Center Corp,” we report.

    Meanwhile, Mayor Jerry Sanders tries to explain the gap “between the port district’s $4.7 million appraisal of the property and the $13.5 million the Convention Center Corp. has agreed to pay.”

  • So think about this: The port district wanted to buy land to help the Convention Center expand. But the City Council didn’t have to give an OK.

    Why was the City Council left out of the loop? We explain.

  • We’ve got a whole host of citizen blogs now on the site (let us know if you’re interested in having one) in the People’s Post. Doug Porter has a tasty one called Food Craft, and in his latest post he talks to the guy who runs North Park’s The Linkery restaurant, who once wrote a blog post titled “Why 95% of U.S. Restaurants Suck and How We Learn Not To Notice It.”
  • The Photo of the Day is getting sleepy, very sleepy.


  • The family of the Poway couple shot to death on Easter, allegedly by a neighbor who was then killed by deputies, wants to take the D.A.’s office to court. Family members think the D.A. didn’t do enough to try to prosecute the neighbor over a previous stabbing incident; the D.A. says it did what it could. (U-T)
  • CityBeat interviews Jeff Light, the new editor of the U-T, and finds he was not happy that it took the paper 70 minutes to get around to twittering about Sunday’s earthquake. He also talks about refocusing on journalism, launching a major newspaper campaign and going beyond ordinary editorials.

    Light also confesses to not liking Macs very much. Huh. He’s dead to me.

  • Here’s something you don’t see every day: head honchos accepting responsibility for one big blunder. “The operators of the state’s electric grid apologized Tuesday for making two key mistakes that caused 291,000 homes and businesses to lose power early Thursday morning,” the U-T reports. Those homes and businesses were here.
  • CityBeat gives the U-T a firm thwacking in an editorial accusing the paper of botching its ballyhooed coverage of sex offenders, saying it “needs to take more time and be more careful with data-based stories and seek broader context from a more diverse array of sources.” CityBeat also runs an extensive story on the issue. 
  • Rep. Bob Filner, whose district includes parts of Imperial County, and Sen. Barbara Boxer are due to appear this week in Calexico, which suffered some $20 million in damage in Sunday’s quake. 
  • Finally, Slate takes a look at how we make navigational mistakes by assuming we can figure out where places are in the world. One of the most common slipups: assuming that San Diego is west of Reno.

    This is all very interesting and all. But how does better understanding geography help me find my car in the Horton Plaza parking garage, where I can never remember if I’m a fruit or a vegetable? (No snotty remarks, please. That means you too, Mom.)


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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