You may have heard about the school district’s last-in, first-out rule, which allows veteran teachers to avoid layoffs that target rookies instead. But what about other kinds of school workers?

Well, they have a similar policy that also pushes new employees out, regardless of the quality of their work.

The process is called “bumping,” and it’s designed to protect “seasoned school workers when their jobs are cut or hours are reduced,” Emily Alpert reports. “If a longtime worker doesn’t want to take a shorter work week or leave, they can snag a job from the newest person with the most hours in their job. And if they’ve climbed the San Diego Unified ladder from one job to the next, they can bump back to the kind of job they held before.”

Petition to Decommission Redistricting Commissioners

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, is following up on weeks of complaints about the city’s redistricting commission by suing to throw out the existing board and appoint a new one. Read the full lawsuit. Krvaric is suing as a private citizen, though his press release ends with a quote of him using “we,” as in, “We believe San Diego deserves better.” Maybe there’s a mouse in his pocket?

Dinging City Hall

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A grand jury says the city overstated costs of the current City Hall in order to justify spending hundreds of millions on a new one. Councilman DeMaio had strong words of assent: “I hope this is a nail in the coffin for the project and that we move toward more common sense alternatives.” (U-T)

My Granny’s Flat? Well, So’s Your Mother! Oh Wait…

California cities have long been wrangling over whether to allow “granny flats” — add-on apartments attached to (or next to) single-family homes. They help homeowners get more bang for their buck out of their property and can provide some helpful separation between, say, grandma and the rest of the family. (I prefer familial separation that’s in miles or even fathoms instead of yards, but that’s just me.)

Now, the city is poised to change its policy and allow granny flats of as much as 700 square feet. The plan is to boost the number of affordable housing units in neighborhoods like Barrio Logan. Critics — including folks who live in the college-student-filled area around SDSU — are already raising the alarm.

Voilà! From $2.5 Billion to $1.8 Billion

How did the city reduce the money it owes for health care for its retirees from $2.5 billion to $1.8 billion? Very carefully. We’ve created a graphic that shows the options facing the city.

Shadow Inventory Casts a Big You-Know

The NYT takes a look at an issue we’ve been following for quite a while: the “shadow inventory” of homes owned by banks that “threatens to deepen the housing slump and create a further drag on the economic recovery.” The story says 25,168 homes in San Diego are either possessed by banks/lenders or in foreclosure.

Fact-Checking Solar Power and Teacher Tribulations

Would it take all of the Mojave Desert to provide enough solar power to light up San Diego? And is it true that zero teachers actually got laid off locally over the past few years?

One answer is barely true and the other is flat-out false. Find out which is which by checking out the latest edition of Fact Check TV, in which we fight a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the… Oh wait. We’re just fighting for truth on the show (we don’t have all day, you know). And luckily for you, we don’t have any superhero leotards: our hosts know their six packs, but not a thing about six-pack abs.

Witchcraft Expert’s Bewitching Walls

Last week, we introduced you to a UCSD history professor who studies the saints and witches of the Middle Ages. Our photographer was utterly possessed by the vibrant colors and mid-century design of her house, and he’s posted several more photos from his visit.

I contacted the professor to ask her about the unusual interior design of her Mission Hills home. “We seldom buy new stuff if we can avoid it, but do a lot of rehab and recycling — the maple floors throughout the house were recycled from the demolished General Dynamics factory,” she said. “The same goes for the furniture: we purchased most of it used and then fixed it up. We like to mix midcentury pieces with Japanese influences. We prefer simple, minimalist forms combined with rich, saturated colors. In fact, we’ve named our home ‘Chitra Bhavan,’ which in Sanskrit means ‘The Palace of Colors.’”

And by the way, a big boo from this UCSD history major to the cranky commenters who complained that taxpayer money goes to support the professor’s research. (She works for a public university.)

Perhaps they think historians should study something besides history. Or maybe all liberal arts majors should be eliminated altogether. Then how would Trader Joes ever find college grads to hire?

Another Guest That Never Leaves

Councilman Carl DeMaio’s cell phone app, which allows residents to report problems to the city, apparently has a lot of staying power: a user says he can’t get it out of his Android phone. CityBeat also compiled a list of problems with the app.

Wild Animals

The Union-Tribune Editorial Board says there’s an overpopulation of feral pigs and calls for trapping them. On the other hand, the gray wolves are still underpopulated and should be protected.

Looks like the board was didn’t like the traditional ending (wolf beaten, pigs safe) of “The Three Pigs and Other Funny Stories” at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park.

Top Gun Movie Turns 25

The quarter-century anniversary of “Top Gun” is coming up, and Oceanside — where some of the movie was filmed — is already getting ready to celebrate.

There are plenty of local ties to “Top Gun,” was inspired by training at the Miramar Naval Air Station. Journalists have reported that disgraced ex-Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (now spinning his landing gear in federal prison) inspired the Tom Cruise fighter pilot character, but the U-T says that’s not true.

Like the stars of the movie, I also feel the “need for speed.” It’s time to head out in the Chevy and start zipping up I-15 past Miramar with “Danger Zone” playing on the car stereo. During rush hour, I might get up to 20 mph. Just call me Middling Gun!

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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