Here are two numbers to consider: $8.7 million and $855 million.

Possible Tiger Woods divorce settlement amounts? Nah. They’re the upper and lower ranges of how much the city of San Diego might save if voters approve a financial reform measure on the November ballot.

That’s quite a spread. And it’s a revealing one. The difference is so huge because the savings from many of the reforms aren’t set in stone. For one thing, many of them will depend on the results of labor negotiations.

In other news:

• Budget cuts have hit hard at San Diego schools over the last few years, and superintendents have come and gone, come and gone, and … well, you get the idea. Some critics say the district is a disaster area.

Amid all this uproar, student test scores are up. And not just by a bit: the kids are markedly improving.

If you see something interesting in the scores, which you can view online, drop us a note.

• Also in education, an epic debate has erupted over plans by the L.A. Times to reveal statistics that purport to show how effective individual teachers are (and aren’t).

“Most districts act as though one teacher is about as good as another. As a result, the most effective teachers often go unrecognized, the keys to their success rarely studied,” the paper says. “Ineffective teachers often face no consequences and get no extra help.”

We take a look at the debate in San Diego surrounding this kind of assessment.

• The San Diego Air & Space Museum has its eye on a big prize: a space shuttle.

The museum is one of almost two dozen institutions in the bidding for a retired space shuttle. We talk to the museum’s chief, who says a shuttle would be a boon for the community.

There are some big questions, though. Where do you put a shuttle? How do you get it here? And how much would it cost? (It’s $29 million for shipping and handling, since UPS doesn’t handle this kind of thing.)

Also, why is one of the shuttles up for grabs called Endeavour? As a favour (ahem) to curious readers, I looked it up: It’s named after a British ship, helmed by James Cook, that explored the South Pacific.

Hey, NASA: The Pacific is right here. So give us the Endeavour already. We’ll even try to spell its name right.

• We’ll let this story speak for itself: “San Diego’s City Council will return early from its vacation this month and talk about something of absolutely no consequence.”

Wow, are they finally getting around to naming a day after me? Naw, no such luck. This is even less important than that (I think I just blew my mind): the council will consider overriding a rare mayoral veto even though any decision to do so would mean bupkis.

• The Photos of the Day take a look at life in the football stadium before Saturday’s exhibition game, catching the preparation and anticipation. Plus some hair-extension enthusiasts. Er, I mean cheerleaders.


• Let’s say your salary is tied to those of people in other companies who have the same job. Then imagine that all of these salaries are public, so it’s not like there are big secrets.

Sounds like a system that’s guaranteed to push salaries higher and higher: if someone gets a nice raise, then you get one too, even if you didn’t do squat to deserve it.

Turns out that’s how things work for some local city managers, the U-T reports. There are “benchmarks that could cost taxpayers more and more as city administrators one-up each other’s pay.”

• There’s still a war on. Two of them, actually. In the weird parlance of warfare, they’re still costing the nation plenty in blood and treasure.

But the NCT finds that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are playing only minor roles in North County congressional races. The economy is a much bigger topic of discussion.

Maybe the wars aren’t a big issue because the races themselves are sleepy. Congressional incumbents almost always win re-election, and this year doesn’t appear to be any different locally.

• SDG&E is still having trouble soothing the fears of rural people who don’t want their power turned off if there’s a big threat of a wildfire. For now, a modified plan. (KPBS)

• A shark or sharks have been sighted off La Jolla, with one coming as close as 50 yards of shore. (CNS via KPBS)

• Finally, public radio’s “Marketplace” dropped by Escondido’s Stone Brewery for a suds-soaked story about how it hopes to become the first American craft brewer to start a business in Europe.

The radio show’s host is a fan of beer and made sure to try a sample or two (or more) during the visit.

Nice work if you can get it. Speaking of which: are any local massage establishments going international? Might be a story, dontcha know, and I’m just the guy to write it. [Perhaps these “ladies” can help? –Ed.]

Correction: Due to an editing error, the last link above originally linked to the wrong page. It has been corrected. We regret the error.


Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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