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Now here’s an unusual combination plate: Taco shops, music and poetry. Inspired as they gathered over burritos, a group of writers began blending words and sound in the mid-1990s.
The Taco Shop Poets haven’t performed in eight years, but they’ve gotten back together for a performance next weekend. In this week’s Q&A, Kelly Bennett interviews Adrián Arancibia about reuniting the poets, the impact of his upcoming 40th birthday and the role of the spoken word. He also answers questions about studying literacy movements and the way race interacts with the San Diego arts scene.
San Diego Explained, our video series, examines “last hired, first fired,” the approach to educator layoffs that leaves newer teachers in big trouble. Schools with more greenhorns are especially vulnerable.
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Taxpayers, Can You Spare a Dime?
In a story headlined “Broke Town, U.S.A.,” the NYT looks at the state of cash-poor cities and ponders the “forecasts of apocalypse.” San Diego, of course, gets a mention.
Did They or Didn’t They?
Did a chance meeting in Coronado change world history by prompting a scandalous love affair? That’s the legend, at least. The future King Edward VIII is said to have met his future American bride in the Crown City in 1920, possibly setting off the romance that led to Edward’s abdication and the crowning of his brother, as depicted in “The King’s Speech.”
Sorry, local history lovers: It’s a myth. As I write in a post for KPBS, a historian discovered conclusive evidence that the 1920 meeting — I’m picturing sly glances and lingering handshakes — couldn’t have happened.
That’s probably just as well. Does Coronado really need any more reason to feel special?
Help Us Find Crime Trends
Keegan Kyle provides ways to check out crime in your neighborhood and asks for your assistance: Do you see anything that we should check out? Have crime rates or the common types of crime changed? How does crime around you compare with the rest of the city?
You know what they say. Opinions are like … oh, never mind. Let’s just conclude that everybody has one. We now round them up in our regular Voices feature. In the latest edition, we find commentary about a hyperkinetic councilman, homeless vets and dead cockfighting chickens.
Oh, Say Can He Photograph
Sam Hodgson, our resident Kiwi, looked up and saw red, white and blue. Lots and lots of blue. He captures a beautiful sky with an airplane and American flag too.
What We Learned This Week:
• A Taxing Debate: There’s talk that a two percent tax/fee on hotel visitors — that’s on top of the 10.5 percent they already pay — will be extended and expanded, with the proceedings helping build an expanded convention center. Why did I just call it a tax/fee? Because there’s debate over which one it is, and the answer could make it illegal. (Note: We’ve corrected an error in this week’s first post about this issue.)
• Four Billion Dollars and About as Many Complications: The City Council went for the gusto: it agreed to allocate $4 billion to redevelopment projects. We dig further into the week’s news in the big debate over the future of redevelopment in the state and city. The school district wants a piece, thinking it could spend it on more than buildings, and it wants it early. No sale, says the mayor.
Also: We wondered why school districts aren’t eagerly standing behind the governor as he tries to hammer a stake into redevelopment. After all, schools are expected to benefit if that happens. The explanation has a lot to do with confusion and trust.
One more tidbit: the U-T reports that the legislature may vote up or down on redevelopment by March 10.
• A Crumbling Art Vision?
Unexpected property tax bills could spell big trouble for the arts organizations that call the former Naval Training Center home, even though buildings were rehabilitated just for them.
The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to enjoy over a cup of warmer-weather iced tea):
• Going Behind the Statistics: The number of students identified as disabled is slipping in San Diego schools, falling by almost 10 percent in just three years, even though enrollment has been pretty steady. Are there actually fewer disabled kids or is something else going on?
• Fixing a Park: A park in City Heights is pretty and seemingly inviting unless you look closer: its design seems to make it potentially dangerous for visitors, especially families. Now, there’s an effort afoot to turn it into a friendlier and safer place.
Quote of the Week:
“It’s impossible for this park, when it’s finished, to be beautiful.” — Jim Brown, an architect who designed an alternative proposal to the Border Patrol’s for Friendship Park, which sits along the border and straddles San Diego and Tijuana.
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.