Yesterday, the release of the latest numbers from Dataquick created headlines throughout Southern California about how home prices were plummeting again.

But our analyst, Rich Toscano, took a different look at housing data and found prices are actually up compared to last year. Instead of looking at just the median price for houses, Toscano updated his regular analysis of price per square foot. And, according to that, homes are actually worth more than last year.

“And unlike last year, there isn’t a tax credit that’s about to disappear, meaning that current demand is more ‘organic’ (except inasmuch as it is influenced by artificially low mortgage rates — but those could be with us for a while yet),” he wrote.

A Failing School

San Diego High’s School of Communication was launched as a haven for students trying to learn English. But soon after, leaders and teachers abandoned that mission and focus. Its image as a place for students struggling with the language stuck and now it’s failing.

School Board President Richard Barrera wants to close it. It is one of the most challenged schools sitting right next to one of the most successful, the School of International Studies, also at San Diego High. Emily Alpert explains:

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“Flush with millions from the Gates Foundation, the massive San Diego High site was broken seven years ago into six small schools, each with its own theme and principal. The idea was to divide huge, anonymous high schools into smaller, more personalized schools geared to different interests.

“Nowhere have the mixed results of small high schools been clearer than San Diego High,” she wrote.

• In case you missed it, teacher Ramon Espinal guest blogged on Emily’s site yesterday. He offered a series of recommendations on how to handle the crisis in achievement for Latino students struggling with English.

• Emily’s hosting a series of posts on the achievement gap for Latinos. Before Espinal, Jerome Torres, a consultant to the San Diegans for Great Schools reform effort, wrote that schools in poorer areas needed better teachers: “Teachers in San Diego’s worst performing schools have significantly fewer years of experience than their counterparts in the school district’s best-performing schools.” Have thoughts on the achievement gap? Send them to Emily.

Studios Spurn Comic-Con

Yesterday Twitter was abuzz with this report from The New York Times that movie studios were not going to be marketing their new blockbusters at Comic-Con at nearly the level they did last year.

“Comic-Con, as a growing number of movie marketers are realizing, has turned into a treacherous place,” the Times wrote.

The story prompted Twitter user Jason Packman to quip: “A comic-con about comics? retro!!”

Then news broke, of course, that this much-anticipated “Western sci-fi” would be rolling out at the event.

Police Seal the Retiree Health Care Deal

The Union-Tribune reported yesterday that San Diego’s police officers union has agreed to the deal to cap and lower the medical benefits their retirees enjoy. It was the last employee group to sign off on a deal city leaders hailed recently.

For background, here is Liam Dillon’s explanation of the pact. And if you haven’t checked out Keegan Kyle’s visualization of how the deal saved money (and how much it still costs), you should.

Six Videos: School Yourself on Arts

We have all six of the videos from our Meeting of the Minds arts discussion the other night. Here’s a handy index. Even arts mavens reported they learned something from these discussions. Take a second to see what they make you think about.

Give to Filner for, er, Congress?

Congressman Bob Filner, who launched his campaign for mayor last week, is having a fundraiser next week. But the fundraiser is not for his mayoral drive, it’s for his Congressional campaign account. And it will be in Washington D.C. at Nationals Park.

The money can’t help him much in San Diego. As Liam Dillon explains, he’d have to go through a complex series of steps to get some of it into his mayoral campaign. More likely, he’ll transfer the money to another congressional campaign or the Democratic Party. Filner said he has canceled the rest of the planned fundraisers but “A sitting congressman has certain political responsibilities and obligations,” he said.

Circumcision Ban Stalls

In Santa Monica, a woman inspired by a San Diego man’s activism, has dropped her push to pass a law banning male circumcision in the city, according to The New York Times.

The Times had driven publicity to her cause a few days ago with this story. But the outrage from Jewish groups seems to have surprised her.

“The religious opposition really rose up, and I never intended it to be about that at all,” she told the paper.

Yes, activists (or “intactivists”) should probably put that in the “opposition that isn’t hard to anticipate” category.

You can contact me directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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