For a while now, it’s seemed like only one City Council member — the hyperkinetic Carl DeMaio — has tried to insert him or herself into the city’s budgeting process. The mayor’s office, which comes up with the proposed budget, was left to do a lot of the heavy lifting of number-crunching and figuring out how to deal with a big fat deficit. But now the council is coming to life.
This week, council members told the mayor how they would like the city to spend its money, Liam Dillon reports. You might think this is the council’s job, but it’s actually a fairly unusual thing for them to do and an indication of the seriousness of the city’s financial problems as it faces a deficit variously estimated at $57 million or $130 million.
Hundreds of Teachers Can Breathe Easy
San Diego schools are rescinding layoff notices for hundreds of teachers thanks to savings in administrative costs, but the school board didn’t go further by using redevelopment money to cancel more pink slips.
In other education news, the district will soon strengthen graduation requirements so that they meet the standards set for admission to the University of California and California State University systems.
Join thousands of San Diegans who get the day’s news in their inboxes every morning. Get the Morning Report now.
Taking Roll When the Kids Aren’t Actually There
When I was a kid, the teachers took roll unless they assigned a student to do it, which always seemed like an exciting chore. (Yeah, things were a bit on the dull side back then despite our wardrobes of peasant skirts, platform shoes and green pants.) But nowadays, some classes are online, making it harder to figure out who’s there and who isn’t.
This is important since attendance translates into money for schools. “Schools must either slog through extensive paperwork to prove kids are putting in enough time — through an independent study system designed long before online learning — or keep kids in regular classes for most of the day before cutting them loose to go online,” Emily Alpert writes.
Critics say the current system is fossilized and has to change.
KPBS’s Gloria Penner Discloses Cancer Diagnosis
Longtime KPBS employee Gloria Penner, one of the most visible employees of the public broadcaster, is taking time off to battle cancer. In an email, Penner said she was diagnosed last month. “I am weighing my options for therapy, and I’ll soon decide which route to take so that I can start treatment quickly, recover and resume some of my duties at KPBS,” she wrote.
Ex-Detective Investigates a Council Bid
A retired detective and grand jury foreperson wants to run to replace Councilman Carl DeMaio, CityBeat reports: “He’s a charming and convivial grandfather who has what the U-T described as ‘the oddest résumé this side of Forrest Gump,’ because it also includes building pet coffins, consulting on soap operas, designing theater stages and serving as a one-time body guard for Barbra Streisand.”
DeMaio, who represents some of the northern stretches of the city, is a mayoral hopeful.
‘The System Is Quite Insane’
A former San Diego schools administrator bashes the last-hired-first-fired seniority system that causes a domino effect when layoffs come, the New York Times notes, resulting in what a recent report called “a cascading process of ‘bumping.’“
“The system,” the ex-administrator said, “is quite insane.”
Out of Africa
The U.S.S. Independence, which Wired News describes as “the newest ship the U.S. Navy has for coastline warfare,” is taking its first trip. To Libya, perhaps? Nope. It’s heading here to San Diego, where it’s expected to hang around instead of head to Africa. Another similar ship is also here.
The Navy says it’s too far away from Libya. But Wired News talks to a Navy officer who said there’s another reason. “The ships are so new and so high-profile that, ironically, bureaucratic imperatives keep them out of the fight. No Navy planner wants to be responsible for any malfunctions — in software, communications, propulsion or weapons systems — that might be on display in an initial combat deployment so soon after their commissioning.”
He Didn’t Fret over Frets
An acoustic guitar player is performing at the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium today, and not just because science types need a break from their microscopes and brain scans. He’s unique: a brain disorder robbed him of his ability to play properly, but he was able to relearn guitar with his left hand, relearning his “musical signature”
“I didn’t approach my comeback to just become some novelty act,” he said. “I’m playing some pieces better than I ever played before, and that took a lot of effort, concentration and perseverance. Not many people have had to say, ‘I learned to play the guitar twice.’”
Also in arts, blogger Dani Dodge lets us tag along as she visits an international trade show for artists and galleries in New York City. Locals were in the Big Apple to boost their profiles.
Lend Us Your Eyes (but Not His Ear, Thanks)
Our series of aerial photos includes sky-high views of Mission Valley’s a shadow-wrapped football stadium and a baseball game that appears to be next to a school or recreation center. Our photographer forgot exactly where he took the latter photo. Exactly how thin was the air up in the sky anyway?
Also in images, check out the NCT’s photo of the latest prank on the now-infamous Kook girly-surfer statue: yesterday was Vincent van Gogh’s birthday, and someone (or someones) dressed up the statue as the painter, including a painting on an easel and a papier mache severed ear nearby.
Mayor Jerry Sanders was among those in attendance at the Lady Gaga concert this week, but — as he tweeted — he didn’t “make paws” as directed. (And no, I’m not going to explain what that means for the hopelessly unhip but you can hear Gaga explain it in this video — she usually calls it the “monster claw.”)
He didn’t wear a meat dress either, in case you’re wondering. Thank goodness: it would have been really embarrassing — OMG! — if hizzoner and Lady Gaga both showed up in the same prime-rib miniskirt.