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A few weeks ago, we got a blast from the not-so-distant past.

The Public Policy Institute of California and a UCSD professor released a study that showed that a batch of reforms pushed through the San Diego Unified School District by former superintendent Alan Bersin actually worked.

These reforms were focused on reading — the idea being that young children needed to spend more time doing it and doing it well and that would affect their whole education. Our reporter Emily Alpert speculated then that the study would reignite the debate about Bersin’s legacy at the school district.

But in a piece today, Alpert explains that debate did not need to be reignited.

 “Bersin is still a player in the school district he once led — if an invisible one,” writes Alpert. He was a polarizing figure who tested the limits of what a district leader could push teachers to do.  Now the school board’s leadership, supported by the teachers union that despised Bersin’s changes, have begun taking the district in the exact opposite direction he did. And in light of the evidence of the benefits of his vision, some are wondering if they haven’t overcorrected.

In other news:

• The two sides of the debate over whether the city should raise the sales tax by a half of a percent in exchange for complex reforms of disputed impact, are both making predictions about what will happen if the measure fails or passes.

In fact, the argument about Proposition D has basically become a debate about which is side is more credible. We have one group unwilling to specify just what will happen if the new tax revenue doesn’t come in. “Oh man, it will be ugly though,” the mayor and majority of the City Council tell us.

And on the other side, two City Councilmembers, both known to be thinking of a mayoral run of their own, are telling residents to call the bluff. All we have to do is believe in them and they’ll figure out a way to make it work without cuts to our services.

This is what it’s come down to. Both sides now have a little more than a month to really make the case why we should believe in their vision for the city.

• We have a post up from Randy Dotinga (aka History Man) about Charlie Chaplin. We’ve been talking about Chaplin, the legendary comedian, because the La Jolla Playhouse has a show coming up about him and his extraordinary life.

But History Man found a San Diego branch in Chaplin’s life. His post has two stories in it: one about a possible murder, the other about a disastrous bomb hoax at the San Diego Union building. You’re just going to need to click to figure out how those two are related.


• Not long ago, I was at a Chula Vista campaign forum where Democrat Juan Vargas, who’s soon to be returning to Sacramento as a state senator, spoke. He told the business-friendly audience that he, a one-time advocate of California’s famous anti-global warming law, AB32, would support its suspension. AB32 sets targets for alternative sources of energy and air pollution reduction that has consequences for utilities and even home construction dreams.

The measure is supported by some labor unions (and not others) and the California Republican Party. CityBeat did a good roundup of the outreach to some minority groups on the issue.

But we found out last week that Sempra Energy and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders now stand on the other side of the proposition defending a California law they say is on its way to creating more new clean-tech jobs

• There were many Charger fans unable to watch the team blow out Jacksonville on television yesterday but also unwilling to “take on the traffic, to finesse and/or finance the parking, to deal with the drunks, to commune in lengthy concession lines and to leave Qualcomm Stadium with a much lighter wallet.”

That’s how Tim Sullivan put the challenge of actually attending a football game in a solid column in the Union Tribune Saturday. He captures the dilemma the NFL is facing as fans seem to prefer staying at home or going to a bar to watch games. And with some simple math, he outlines how easily the Chargers could have made sure their fans saw the game on TV. As he points out, the team must feel like blacking fans out hurts them less than that investment would have.

• Speaking of this, Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña is trying to funnel the frustration about the blackout into frustration that the NFL would even do something like that to fans considering the millions local governments put into stadium projects for the league’s benefit. At least, she is on Facebook.

• Oh and, photos from this week’s game are all the more important this week. So don’t miss Sam Hodgson’s collection of pics from the game, including a worrisome one featuring rookie running back Ryan Mathews. (The U-T reported late Sunday that Mathews was OK).

• A UCSD study that shows a link between childhood obesity and a common cold virus is getting nationwide attention.

• You might have heard something about U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray and some cigar parties he apparently hosted with lobbyists. Not quite sure what’s going on? The U-T’s Logan Jenkins has a new post trying to make sense of it.

• Finally, the world keeps talking about the newest paleontological find in a San Diego construction site. This one, of course, was the whale discovered at San Diego Zoo.

Imagining the Zoo and Balboa Park under water is not easy. Sure wish they would have been better about archiving photos three million years ago.

Please contact Scott Lewis directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow him on Twitter:

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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