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A support teacher at a San Diego elementary school will probably be safe during the next round of budget cuts: the principal plans to keep her on staff. Still, the teacher took time to tell a crowd in the school library that she’s valuable. And then she added something else a bit unexpected.

“This has been an extremely uncomfortable couple days for me, she said. “I thought I’d be able to handle it. I wanted to come in here and say, ‘Whatever you decide.’”

At Serra Mesa’s Juarez Elementary, where parents and staff members are grappling with budget cuts, her emotions are far from uncommon. This year cost-cutting is more local and more personal than usual, putting people like the support teacher into unique positions.

If the school does nothing, it’ll lose two teachers. It could decide to cut support positions instead, like the school clerk or health worker.

More People, Less Water Use?

Could San Diego possibly be using less drinkable water than it did 20 years ago, when the city had more than 200,000 fewer people? Mayor Jerry Sanders made this claim during his State of the City speech, and San Diego Fact Check finds that it’s true: all those low-flow showerheads and water-saving toilets apparently made a big difference.

But Sanders missed the target in another claim during his speech. He said that an average of one tech startup a day — including weekends — is launched in San Diego. But those numbers are a bit off, making the claim misleading.

Ways of Making Them Talk:

The city’s white-collar union says sure, it’ll negotiate toward a big settlement that could finally put an end to the collective freaking-out over San Diego’s financial mess. The city attorney proposed this idea last week. But there are five other employee groups in the city that need to agree to play ball before everyone reaches for the end game. The police union, for one, doesn’t seem interested since it already negotiated a two-year contract last year.

Mark your calendar: the white-collar union’s president (a former councilman himself), a councilman, a former city attorney and an economics professor will join our Scott Lewis on Feb. 8 for a discussion about the city budget. Please join us.

Lewis provides the details about the forum and includes other tidbits about local government affairs — including a clarification requested by the city attorney — and says he thinks the talk of a big settlement is positive.

Housing Company Under Fire:

The LAT has published a series of investigative stories targeting an affordable housing company that has received funds for two projects in San Diego County. The company is being investigated by the feds for allegedly funneling money to politicians in return for getting affordable housing project contracts.

We’ve been tracking another affordable housing company that’s done work locally and been plagued by controversies.

Don’t Give them an A for this Effort:

The U-T debunks some of the claims made by the people who want to make major changes to the way San Diego schools are run by, among other things, expanding the size of the school board without letting voters decide who the new members will be. We earlier checked a claim by a petition gatherer — there’s a movement to put these changes on the ballot — and found it to be misleading.

To the Beat of the Rhythm:

Behind the Scene TV looks at the science of rhythm, which isn’t just a musical matter. Activities from talking to walking also involve rhythms, says a local musician/composer, who joined us and NBC San Diego for a conversation with two neuroscientists.

Also in the world of arts: Thanks to my faulty memory, yesterday’s Morning Report said that a blogger who made a stink about the U-T’s art coverage had belatedly heard about an art critic’s layoff. That wasn’t the case. My apologies.

Det. Fish in the House!

The NCT got a little celebrity-obsessed the other day: it explored North County’s “long history of famous, and sometimes infamous, residents,” from Bill Gates and John Wayne to Barbara Mandrell and Jason Mraz. The story mentions dozens of names but misses a few, including Tina Turner’s allegedly abusive ex-husband Ike (a San Marcosian who died in 2007, setting off an epic court battle) and the late Gale Gordon of Escondido, who played a long-suffering character on “The Lucy Show.” More trivia: The actress who played Buffy on “Family Affair” died in Oceanside of a drug overdose in 1976.


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A cult celebrity might be among the current bunch of well-known denizens. The NCT says the lantern-jawed Abe Vigoda, who’ll turn 90 next month, is thought to live in Rancho Bernardo. The veteran of “The Godfather” and “Barney Miller” is still acting. He was in 2010’s funny candy bar commercial with Betty White. And a few years ago, he made a suave appearance in a “Sex and the City” parody with a bunch of senior-citizen sitcom actresses.

He’s still got it, ladies. Bad news for all the older gents who never did.

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

Randy Dotinga

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

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