Just in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, there’s talk of a breakup in Point Loma.

No, the neighborhood isn’t thinking about leaving the city of San Diego. (La Jolla’s the one that’s been discussing that nuclear option for decades.) Instead, Point Loma parents are mulling independence — of some sort — from the San Diego school district.

“We’re tired of just having a voice. It doesn’t go anywhere. We can give feedback until we’re blue in the face. Until we sit at the decision-making table, we’re done,” one parent says.

The parents in Point Loma have a variety of options, from full independence to some sort of other arrangement. A new law could help them make a break for it, but a variety of challenges may stand in their way. For one thing, many of them seem happy with their schools even as they gripe about a lack of power.

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Fake Name, Fake Pitch:

He said his name is “Jeff Smith.” That’s not true, and neither was the professional petition gatherer’s claim about a proposal to expand the size of the San Diego school board and bypass voters.

According to the U-T, “Smith” offered this to passersby at the Target in Mission Valley: “Want to help San Diego schools? Get more accountability on the board? Get more teacher voices on the school board? Sign here.”

San Diego Fact Check says his claim about teacher voices is misleading.The petition gatherer later fessed up to giving a fake name to the U-T reporter: “‘This is very competitive, people are cutthroat. People get up at 3 a.m. to stake out a place to work,’ said the worker, who declined to disclose his real name. ‘This place is a gold mine, but I don’t want to mess things up. I’m not trying to give anyone bad information, I’m just doing my part to get this to a ballot so the people can decide.’”

Two of our commenters are unhappy with our Fact Check story. One says “the fact that a paid signature gatherer gave misleading information to get a signature (that’s how he gets paid) isn’t newsworthy,” while another complains about slamming a guy who’s “trying to earn a living for his family.” Reporter Emily Alpert, who wrote the story, responds: “It’s appropriate for us to let people know the facts.”

The school board ballot measure is in the news at City Hall too. City Council President Tony Young wants the council to discuss it.

Other big cities mingle city politics and education (New York and L.A. come to mind), but San Diego doesn’t. The mayor and council have tended to stay out of school affairs, although the mayor has visibly thrown his support behind the new measure.

The proposed measure would force the council to pay attention to education. It would change the city charter and require the council to hold an annual hearing on student performance.

CityBeat, meanwhile, urges readers to not sign petitions supporting the measure. It says several provisions are “non-starters” and attacks backers for their union-bashing: “The teachers union at times puts its members’ interest over the interests of students, as was the case when the union opted to shorten the teaching year in lieu of a pay cut. But blaming the union entirely for the state of local schools is nutty.”

This Claim Will Give You an Excedrin Headache:

Now here’s a stunning claim: Federal health care reform means that you’ll need a doctor’s prescription before using your own money to buy over-the-counter drugs like aspirin and Nyquil. U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray made that claim in a U-T commentary last month.

Imagine: Everyday over-the-counter drugs require a doctor’s signature. Sure is funny that we haven’t heard about this before. There’s a reason: the claim is false. Bilbray’s office acknowledges the error, which is based on a misreading of new rules for people who have certain types of health plans like health savings accounts.

‘Bomb Factory’ Homeowners Aim at County:

In the NCT: “An attorney for the owners of the “bomb house” property near Escondido has demanded at least $500,000 for his clients’ loss and distress, according to a claim filed with San Diego County.” Forget it, says the county.

Dollars for Cans:

Four 24-hour public port-o-potties in downtown get quite a lot of use, and advocates for the homeless say they’re crucial in helping keep downtown clean by giving transients a place to relieve themselves other than streets and alleys. City officials want to help with funding, but it’s not as easy as it sounds: there have been bureaucratic roadblocks. (CityBeat)

Wax Off:

A reader wonders: Can she curbside-recycle waxed cardboard, which is used to hold things like soy milk and soup stock? Nope.

How Do You Say Goal in Spanish?

A San Diego native named Natalie Vinti is one of several Americans on the Mexican national women’s soccer team. “Most of them, like Vinti, struggle to speak Spanish,” the LAT says, “can’t remember the words to the national anthem and had never visited Mexico City before making the team. The arrangement, however, has been beneficial for both sides.”

Sword Losers:

In a story about how nerds (and particularly schizophrenic nerds) like to kill people with swords, Slate notes the 1979 case of a 34-year-old San Diego man who murdered his mother with an antique saber. “He killed her, he said, to protect her from a nuclear holocaust — although it’s worth noting that he was, at the time, rehearsing a role in a local production of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, in which the title character plunges a sword into his mother’s breast.” The bizarre case inspired the 2009 Werner Herzog film “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done,” which was filmed in San Diego. (One note: the Slate story says the murder happened in a suburb. It was actually in Pacific Beach.)

That’s What She Said:

A story about new California laws on the La Mesa Patch.com local news site became a runaway Internet hit with hundreds of thousands of readers. How’d it happen? An Internet consultant writes that after an appearance in the Drudge Report, the story’s “positive feedback loop was magnified exponentially and the cycle was repeated on a bigger scale.”

Huh. I’m definitely using that as an explanation the next time I finish off a pint of ice cream in one sitting.

This Is the Year, I Totally Swear:

Arts blogger Dani Dodge checks in with local artists about their New Year’s resolutions. Among other things, they want to “be more prolific,” “give and receive,” “keep my head out of the box at all times,” “create a new body of work this year” and “GET BETTER!”

Not a single person chimed in with my own inspiring personal resolution: lower everyone’s expectations. Please do your part to help me achieve this goal!

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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