The San Diego Housing Commission had good intentions: It hired workers to get rid of lead paint from local homes, removing a potential health hazard that threatens young children.

But the agency is acknowledging that it may have made a major error by sending the resulting lead-contaminated waste to the city-owned Miramar Landfill instead of a landfill designated to handle hazardous waste.

That’s not all. The agency, as we report, may have done this for 10 years.

An investigation is under way.

In other news:

• As we report, “A Senate committee has subpoenaed San Diego FBI agents in its investigation of whether the government mishandled information about the alleged Fort Hood shooter prior to the deadly November attack, but the Justice Department’s defiance has prompted the committee to issue new threats.”

The committee is threatening to hold top U.S. officials in contempt of court.

• The latest batch of San Diego housing numbers are out, and they spell good news for home sellers (but not for home buyers): local home prices went up for the 11th month in a row.

Prices are up more than 10 percent from March 2009 to March 2010. That’s one of the biggest increases among 20 cities measured.

We take a step back and examine the trends in housing, jobs and the local economy as a whole. The question is whether the recovery is here for good or simply a temporary bump rooted in government intervention.

By the way, we call this analysis, which we do every month, a “data party.”

Now there are two words that don’t normally go together. Still, I can picture attending a data party on some Saturday night: I’d wear a three-piece suit, eat petit fours and twice-baked potatoes, and talk about double-digit unemployment.

Numbers, get it? I’ll be here all week. (Editor’s note: Maybe not after that last paragraph, buddy.)

• Analyst Rich Toscano takes a look at those new housing numbers and coughs up three charts with lots of pretty colors.

• The San Diego school district is trying to figure out what to do with its mini high schools on the campuses of San Diego High and Crawford High. Money has dried up, and test scores are inconclusive, but staff members are trying to save them and their unique approach.

• If you missed our school board forum last week, you can catch up by listening to audio of the debate.

• Our fact checkers have found another falsehood, this one spouted by the secretary-treasurer of a local coalition of labor unions.

She said the county is laying off 600 people. That’s a whole lot, and it would make the county one of the largest local entities to lay off people in recent years. But it’s not true: it looks like fewer than 50 people will actually get laid off — as in no longer have a job, involuntarily.

Why does this matter? Because it’s part of a pattern: politicians and others in the public eye keep exaggerating how many workers have actually gotten laid off by local government bodies.

This makes cities, school districts and the county look like they’ve made much more painful cuts than they actually have.

• The Photo of the Day catches a glimpse of a preschool-age  superhero. Faster than a speeding merry-go-round and able to leap tall stuffed penguins in a single bound. . .


• The U-T reports that marijuana dispensaries have begun receiving notices that they have to close down as code inspectors methodically remind each of them that the city doesn’t yet know how to regulate them. For background on what the city has to deal with, you can review our San Diego Explained on medical marijuana.

• San Diego CityBeat reports on angry tenants at one of County Supervisor Bill Horn’s North County apartment buildings. CityBeat also says a young gay activist denies that he donated $500 to Horn’s campaign; records say he did. The man’s mother, who’s donated to Horn herself, works for a “big player in San Diego County land use.”

• The father of slain teenager Amber Dubois is working with legislators to push for a state rapid response team that would leap into action when children go missing.

He’s also pushing for a bill that would specially mark the driver’s licenses of sex offenders. (NCT)

• “An independent investigation into claims that Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda violated campaign financing laws dating back six years has found the complaints lacked merit and were politically motivated,” the U-T reports.

• The ultra-rich investor Tom Gores, whose Platinum Equity firm bought the U-T last year, is in the hunt to buy the film company Miramax with his brother, the LAT reports.

• Finally, the American College of Medicine has ranked the “health and community fitness status” of U.S. cities. San Diego is stuck in 13th place.

No. 1 is Washington D.C., followed by Boston Minneapolis-St. Paul and Seattle. Sacramento (!) is in seventh place.

Really? Sacramento, where they last felt a breeze when the local citizenry ran the legislature out on a rail? Where cigar smoke from the governor’s tent is the leading cause of local air pollution? Where lip-flapping about politics is the main exercise most people get when they’re not staggering around in the tule fog?

I demand a recount.


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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