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Put up, or shut down. That was the message from the San Diego Unified school board to two struggling charter schools, writes Emily Alpert.
The board voted to send letters to the schools seeking changes after lists of accusations, ranging from “failing to hold open meetings” to “failing to report child abuse,” were leveled. The touchy subject has Promise Charter School’s parents and teachers taking sides. “Clearly there’s a lot of dysfunction going on in this school,” school board member Scott Barnett said.
But the school board itself is no high-functioning dream machine, either. Last month it voted to send layoff warnings to hundreds of teachers. Now, as we explained yesterday, it wants to take $7 million from San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency to cancel some of those planned layoffs (80 of them, says the U-T), in a move deemed off-limits by the redevelopment agency.
The mayor’s budget restores idled fire engines but cuts library and recreation center hours in half to just 18 and 20 hours per week respectively. Also, the services would lose 77 jobs each and free trash collection would be stopped for thousands of residents.
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The Union-Tribune’s Craig Gustafson quotes a retiree’s opinion of the budget: “What do you expect from a man who puts football stadiums ahead of the children of San Diego?” she said. “Part-time libraries are for part-time intellects of which we have so many at City Hall. … All I have ever hear is San Diego wants to be a world-class city. World-class city with libraries open two days a week? That’s disgusting.”
There’s similar chutzpah in a report issued by a San Diego grand jury. The report, entitled “LIBRARY CHARTER SCHOOL: The Law of Unintended Consequences,” alleges that school officials haven’t thoroughly planned for student safety in the school portion of the new downtown library now under construction.
Basic questions, such as parking for students and lunch-time seating, have not been answered, nor are there any security measures proposed to keep students segregated from library-goers.
Clearly, the best way to keep students away from other library-goers is to cut library hours.
Falling Fronds and Funding Flops: False Facts
Fact Check reported on Tuesday about how a claim that San Diegans are at risk for being hit by falling coconuts was false. While the False determination was, yes, true, many readers wrote commented about falling limbs, fronds and palm berries, including fronds falling on a toddler and a near-death accident. The potential for accidents seems more worrisome in a time when the city is not keeping up with tree-maintenance.
Keegan Kyle checks up on claims made in a letter from Representative Brian Bilbray’s office to a constituent, wherein Bilbray discusses a law that would eliminate most funding for Planned Parenthood. San Diego CityBeat criticized the letter, saying that the claims made in it were false. Check out Keegan’s new Fact Check to get to the bottom of it.
The city of San Diego was victorious at a state appeals court yesterday, where a judge ruled that the city can modify the details of a controversial benefit program known as the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, which was offered to public employees in years gone by.
The city wants to decrease the guaranteed interest rate the employees receive on funds in the affected accounts, but the police union has been fighting them in court over the issue for years.
Yesterday’s ruling was hailed by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith as a clear determination of the City Council’s ability to adjust benefits when needed. The police union’s attorney, Michael Conger, downplayed the decision by conjuring an image of a steak dinner with sides of vegetables. “The city won a victory over the parsley on top,” he said. Much of the meat of the issue will still have to be decided by a lower court.
The DROP benefit program was already the talk of the town before the court ruling, thanks to a release of pension data by city council member Carl DeMaio. The data suggests the number of retired public employees in San Diego who are collecting more than $100,000 per year increased significantly.
At least one commenter thinks DeMaio is double-dipping when he tallies up the numbers.
No Lack of Vision
It’s been a dizzying path to approval: the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan is finally set for Phase One construction. The project, an alphabet-soup of plans and organizations, has seen denials, approvals, public comment and public confusion as it has worked its way towards an acceptable plan to redevelop the North Embarcadero.
Much of the public outcry against the project came when a proposed park at the waterfront was suddenly taken off the plan with little explanation. The plan now includes a public park and plaza, where an artist apparently imagines you enjoying a breathtaking view of the Broadway cruise ship terminal. There will be a public meeting of a citizen’s advisory committee tonight.
Low Times for High-Seekers
It was all gloom and drama for supporters of medical marijuana at the city council yesterday, where council members voted 5-2 to re-approve a set of zoning measures aimed ostensibly at protecting public safety.
As “medi-pot” advocates watched in disappointment, some of them rushed the dais. Five of the advocates chanted slogans, sang songs (see the video in the link) and staged a sit-in that lasted for at least 45 minutes, causing the council members to leave chambers and the lights to be shut off. No one was arrested and police looked on as the protesters eventually got up and left the building.
Opponents of the zoning measures argue they amount to a de facto ban on medical marijuana, but council member Marti Emerald wasn’t having any of it. “For those who say this is a ban, you’re dead wrong,” she said. Meanwhile, SDSU’s newspaper excoriated the city council, calling the vote “a move to further thwart the will of California voters.“
Hail, Mary! What’s Your Number?
If you’ve ever listened to a San Francisco 49ers game on the radio, you’ve heard the voice of San Diego resident Gary Plummer, who has provided color commentary for the teams’ broadcasts for 12 years. You’ve heard the last of him in that role, though. After airing secrets about the 49ers’ staff’s habits of arranging meetings with female fans for the players, Plummer has been, well, sacked.
On a High Note
Find out what’s going on this weekend with our arts editor, Kelly Bennett, who will talk about her recommendations on KPBS this morning.
On our site, Valerie Scher talks with the directors, and interpreters, of two choral compositions of Bach that you can hear in San Diego this month. One is a thorough reinterpretation, the other is historically faithful, down to using replicas of centuries-old instruments.
Incrementum Ad Absurdum
“Because we are popping out kids on this urban island, we have to build a wider freeway for all the new homes in North County,” writes Scott Lewis, trying to reconcile others’ contradictory arguments about handling growth in the county. “Yet at the same time, we should direct the growth to San Diego’s urban core.” We need a comprehensive plan, he writes, not different interest groups working in isolation.