To make their point that the county of San Diego is failing to meet our needs, critics of the Board of Supervisors often point to the fact that it is one of the only counties in the state without a fire department. After all, for a place that burns up so frequently, that might seem like a worthwhile investment.

But the county does actually have something that looks like a fire department. At least, there is something called the San Diego County Fire Authority.

The county argues it does have a fire department. We just decided to see once and for all if it was true.

Like most of our fact checks, this is a lot more difficult than it may seem at first. It turned into an interesting story we’ve decided to tell as a Q&A.

• San Diego schools have been integrating students with disabilities into their neighborhood schools and into ordinary classes over the last couple of years. The idea: Break away from what was at times unnecessary segregation and breathe life into stagnant test scores.

The effort has been a big success in some places. But, as you might expect, it hasn’t been seamless in a school district that is trying to give more autonomy to individual schools, handle budget cuts and find a new leader.

Education writer Emily Alpert explains that parents are pleased that the switch occurred but they, along with teachers and principals, still have concerns with how it’s being put into practice.

• Last year, I remember being alarmed by Rich Toscano’s local jobs graphs. The rates of lost jobs, unemployment and other trends in the different sectors of San Diego’s economy were getting bad very quickly. At that speed, it seemed like it would be a long time before it could ever reverse course. But now, it looks like it really has. Look at the graphs now.  

• Not a week passes by where I don’t wish we had an investigative reporter focused on South Bay politics (perhaps you can help us get there someday?). This U-T story gets us up to speed on the slugfest that has become the Democratic primary for state senate in a district that stretches from Chula Vista to Boulevard.

• The Boston Herald came to profile San Diego’s Bill Walton. It begins with a startling quote: “Bill Walton is grateful he’s not dead, but it wasn’t too long ago, he says, ‘that I went from thinking I was going to die, to wanting to die, to being afraid I was going to live.’”

We featured Walton and his new life in March.

• Nick Canepa, the U-T sports columnist, claims there’s no evidence Chargers Coach Norv Turner prefers to run the ball more than pass it, as former RB Ladainian Tomlinson claimed when he vented recently. But we dredged up the data and compared the last three years with Turner to the three years before that when we fact checked — and verified — Tomlinson’s statement. Turner may not prefer the pass over the run. But he certainly changed things here.

• The U-T by the way, had an update of the new rendering of a downtown stadium and the Chargers suggestion that the team may need up to $600 million in taxpayer support to make it a reality. Am I really the only one who finds that artist rendition of the new stadium lacking? It seems like kind of a weak stab at an architectural drawing. It looks like someone took a generic stadium design and photoshopped it into a picture of downtown. Ch. 10 had the rendering up first. In their post, they had a quote from the man behind the drawing who explained it this way: “It’s a sketch that I wouldn’t call real but it conveys the idea that we have about what the building is.”

• The U-T’s Karla Peterson looks at NBC 7/39’s Marty Levin and his career as an anchorman. I’ve gotten to know Levin through our news partnership with NBC San Diego. He gave Andy and I some tips on our stiff Fact Check TV persona. He’s a pro whose cadence and voice, when walking you through the news, is almost musical. We’ll miss it every day.

• Finally, there are lots of good photos and videos of dogs surfing Saturday. And if that doesn’t make you smile on a Monday morning, few things will.

— SCOTT LEWIS

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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