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John de Beck is the school board’s wildcard. And now his old friends are trying to trump him.

His rabblerousing has not only lost him the love of the teachers union (he’s a former teacher and union leader himself) but the union has gone as far as endorsing a Republican who’s offered up plenty of anti-union rhetoric himself.

Longtime politico Scott Barnett told me years ago that labor unions are “shifting public wealth to one segment of the populations — public employees — at the expense of the public citizenry.”

The union’s backing can be golden: It pulled off a big upset in 2008 when it supported challenger John Lee Evans over incumbent Mitz Lee. The big question in this race will be just how much support the union offers Barnett, we explain in a piece on de Beck’s personality, sharp tongue and electoral challenges.

More:

  • Doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital were some of the first in the world to have to figure out how to treat the deadly staph infection MRSA after two local boys became ill. That’s according to a new book that details the disease that once only hospital patients with weak immune systems.

    We interview the book’s author for more on the disease, the two San Diego boys and the elephant that contracted the disease at the Wild Animal Park. 

  • We journalists are always taught to write what we know. But we don’t always tell you what we don’t know — which can be just as instructive.

    Liam Dillon tries to do just that in a post breaking down what lingering questions remain after our story this week exposing a bizarre business partnership between the city of San Diego and an Indian company to build a landfill in Mumbai that city officials say was the doing of a rogue administrator.

    Among the questions: How does a high-level official sign nine contracts without anyone else knowing about it? How much money was the deal worth to the city?

  • Lately you’ve seen Rob Davis investigate the city’s water rate structure and a pension investment deal that was later determined to be illegal. Well, his soul needs a little nurturing now. Davis is itching to write about something positive and he’s looking for help tracking down a good story. 
  • Fact Check time: Is San Diego indeed a national leader in pedestrian deaths? Find out.
  • In the latest installment of the People Project, Sam Hodgson peers through his lens and finds a Fallbrook psychic

Elsewhere:

  • The drama keeps coming from the Tri-City Medical Center: Two days after firing its CEO, it brought him back. (UT) And a board member was accused by the attorney general of improperly accessing painkillers when she worked at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas earlier in the decade. (NCT)
  • Local architect Douglas Kot wants to make San Diego a hub for green building, he tells the UT in a Q&A. 
  • A UCSD professor’s research on the tiny, isolated Havasupai tribe in Arizona has led her former school, Arizona State, to pay the tribe a $700,000 settlement and offer other assistance, The New York Times reports. The tribe says blood samples they gave researchers were supposed to be used to study diabetes. But they were used to study mental illness and “theories of the tribe’s geographical origins that contradict their traditional stories.”

    Therese Markow, a geneticist who is now a UCSD professor, said progress often occurs in genetic research that does not seem related to a particular disease. “I was doing good science,” she told the paper. 

  • The NFL has changed its draft format so that the first round begins tonight in primetime. That means the Chargers begin to prepare for the post-LT era under the bright spotlights.

    With the NFL draft come plenty of predictions, but here’s one I had never seen: One guy is already predicting the 10 worst picks of the first round, before they’ve even been made.

    And yes, the Chargers are on his list. 

— ANDREW DONOHUE

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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