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The scene is as weird as it is disruptive: The state tells schools they’re headed for massive cuts. The schools send a big batch of teachers layoff warnings, sending local education into an uproar.

Then, later on, it turns out the budget’s not as bad as the state forecasted and many of the layoffs are restored.

San Diego Unified is sick of it.

Despite advice to the contrary, a group of board members wants to trust the governor’s optimistic budget this year. There’s a big risk to that bold move: If voters don’t approve his tax plan, schools could be left without the ability to lay off teachers, one major tool for closing deficits.

• The teacher layoff process can be agonizing. Check out our video explainer on how the process works.

• Juarez Elementary tried not to lose any of its 10 teachers. We’ve been following the Serra Mesa school closely to see how it’s affected by the money mess. Parents and teachers thought a week ago that they’d been able to spare at least one of the two teachers that could be cut, and we thought we were done following them.

But a budgeting error left everyone back around the table, and this time that teacher couldn’t be spared.

• Teachers in the much smaller National School District in National City are taking matters into their own hands. They are readying for the first local teachers strike in 15 years, and “the labor impasse is raising larger questions about how much leverage districts and unions have during these troubling times for education funding,” the Union-Tribune says.

Down and Out in Rancho Santa Fe — and DC

• The five zip codes that saw the biggest drop in median housing prices in 2010: Rancho Santa Fe, Cardiff, San Marcos, La Jolla and Mission Beach/PB. And the five that had the biggest increase: Golden Hill, Logan Heights, City Heights, Spring Valley and National City. The U-T maps it all out.

• As the story of the nation’s financial implosion has been told, one San Diegan more than any other has been asked to help narrate it: USD law professor and author Frank Partnoy. His latest contribution in The New York Times is a takedown of the financial crisis’ equivalent of the 9/11 commission report: “the report is a confusing and contradictory mess, part rehash, part mishmash, as impenetrable as the collateralized debt obligations at the core of the crisis.”

Head to the Gem

• If you’re looking to get your mind off collateralized debt obligations or housing prices, here’s something you can do: the Balboa Park Beat has eight reasons to visit the park this month. First of all, it’s Museum Month. Second of all, Buzz Aldrin is coming. (I learned from this post that he now has two claims to fame — that whole moon thing and, even more impressively, he was on “Dancing with the Stars.” A man for all generations.)

I’m going to add a ninth to the list: The Old Globe is doing “Death of a Salesman” in its theater in the round. I saw it last night and, though a theater novice, enjoyed it.

• If that still doesn’t make you feel better, at least you probably haven’t had the year that Tiger Woods did. Both Tiger and local fave Phil Mickelson both got beat out over at that other big park at Torrey Pines, as Bubba Watson grabbed first place at golf’s Farmers Insurance Open.

The Police Blotter

• The Geezer Bandit took his show on the road, heading to Santa Barbara to knock over what’s thought to be his 13th bank. While there have been imposters since the elderly outlaw surfaced, authorities think this was the real deal. But News 8 says it believes the bandit isn’t such a geezer. “For months now News 8 has theorized the Geezer Bandit is actually a younger master of disguise.”

• Police say a man planning on blowing up a Detroit mosque is from Imperial Beach. (Associated Press)

Do You Want Walmart?

• That’s the question we’re asking in this poll.

• My longtime colleague and friend Scott Lewis and I often agree on a lot. We tend talk about those things a lot on our VOSD Radio show. We mixed it up this weekend and debated the City Council’s attempt to make it a whole lot harder to build a Walmart Superstore in San Diego.

One of journalists’ favorite tools is pulling up an old statement from someone and contrasting it with that person’s current argument. After using it for years, I had it turned on me for the first time ever. Let me just say this: Boo! What a distasteful tool.

The Redevelopment Battle

In the radio show, we gave our Goat of the Week to the city’s downtown redevelopment agency for this public records battle.

Mayor Jerry Sanders put a new twist on the redevelopment debate in The New York Times over the weekend. As the governor has tried to kill redevelopment, we’ve heard a number of arguments for it: jobs, economic growth, affordable housing and the completion of major projects.

The mayor now is suggesting that without continued redevelopment, downtown would slide backwards towards what it used to be: “Downtown was a really tough place, and now it’s one of the most vibrant downtowns anywhere. We stand to lose that, and that’s the very thing that is keeping residents in a place like downtown. We need the tax base to stay there if we are going to keep what we have.”

Stay Classy

At times like this, we could really use historical perspective from an unbiased, tough newsman who’s watched San Diego change for decades.

We’re in luck. The man who played the legendary “Anchorman” Ron Burgundy is coming to town for a charity event at the Blind Lady Alehouse, according to NBC 7/39.

So what would Burgundy say about our current struggles? Pick one for yourself.

You can reach me at or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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