South Bay’s high school district fired its superintendent, but he’s not leaving cheaply. His severance, vacation and sick leave pay is more than $400,000, the U-T reports, and he’ll even be able to vest in his pension.

How’d this happen? It’s because the district didn’t fire him for cause. That’ll show him.

• The U-T reports that the San Diego school board spared jobs of arts and music teachers.

• One board member walked out of the meeting in a huff but not before accusing a colleague of “being political on 99.9 percent of every vote this board takes.”

Don’t blame the kids for the school system’s failures, writes Scott Himelstein, president of San Diegans 4 Great Schools, an organization that wants to add appointed school board members and change other things about the way the system is run. He’s writing in response to an opinion piece by Vladimir Kogan, who argues that the data show that San Diego Unified is not failing its students, at least compared to other, similar California schools.

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No Budget, No Money (for Now)

State legislators aren’t getting paid because there’s no final balanced budget, the LAT reports. There should be a lawsuit filed in three … two … one.

Surfing Madonna Will Cost Its Creator

The artist behind the now-famous Surfing Madonna illegal mosaic in Encinitas will pay to remove it, the U-T reports. But it might stick around town, and the artist says he won’t sell it.

Maybe It’s a Con that’s Comic

Attempts to raise taxes on local hotel guests without actually raising taxes — at least according to an official definition — would require a vote, says commentator Scott Lewis. The extra money would expand the convention center. “What we’re watching,” Lewis says, “is the incredible contortions that come from people who want to impose a tax to build a public facility but don’t want to actually make the case for it to the voters.”

Exodus Not So Large

The police chief says the police department lost 345 cops in recent years to other departments because they got better pay, equipment and benefits but only gained 35 transfers. San Diego Fact Check finds he’s wrong.

By the way, our Fact Check feature is inspired by PolitiFact, which was a star of last night’s “Daily Show.” PolitiFact caught host Jon Stewart in a false statement about FoxNews, then he parlayed that into an amusing discussion of their massive list of FoxNews fibs.

New Voters No Panacea for Dems?

Vlad Kogan also had another counterintuitive perspective this week. He tells local Democrats, Don’t only go out and register voters if you want to win locally, at least judging from past races.

“Getting new or lapsed voters to the polls is not only incredibly expensive and difficult, but will provide little help for local candidates if these voters simply cast a ballot in the big national and statewide races but then sit out the local contests.”

We’ll have a response to that from the San Diego County Democratic Party later today in our opinion section.

Capturing Tijuana

A trip south of the border provided our photographer with a chance to capture glimpses of Mexican life.

Arts Report

Did you see yesterday’s Arts Report? It’s our weekly compendium of proof that San Diego has a thriving, rich arts culture. Abundant, vigorous and beautiful, in fact. Get it in your inbox once a week.

Must Be a Library Fan

While driving through Hillcrest two days ago, I saw a car with a license plate that said “Read a [expletive participle] book.” So I did.

I wondered, though. Was the driver heading to a city library branch? Nope. They’re all closed on Mondays. A bookstore? Maybe, but Hillcrest’s gay bookstore has turned into a boutique (although you can still find used bookstores near Fifth and Robinson) and at least two bookstores in nearby downtown have closed since 2010 (Borders and Wahrenbrock’s).

Hmm. Maybe this is why we aren’t on Amazon’s new list of the 20 most literate cities in the country. Or it might have something to do with that yellow thing in the sky we see so often. Very distracting.

At Reddit, they’re discussing the best public places to read a book in San Diego.

Fried Treat Appalls and Intrigues Nation

News about the county fair’s new fabulously bad-for-you food — deep-fried Kool Aid — is a huge hit on the internet, with folks weighing in all over the place from Time Magazine to ABC News. “It makes me want to vomit while reminding me of summertime and childhood,” writes one blogger. Funny, “summer camp” has the same effect on me.

So how do you deep-fry Kool-Aid in the first place? The inventor, says Time, “simply mixes the powdered drink with flour and water to create a bright red batter to plop into a deep fryer.”

No Safe Buzz from Booze

A new UCSD study says it’s impossible to drink and then drive safely. Even people with a blood-alcohol level of 0.01 percent — that’s way under the legal limit of 0.08 percent — are much more likely to be involved in accidents than cold-sober people, the NCT reports. A CHP officer, however, tells the paper that his agency tends not to consider alcohol to be an issue in crashes until a person’s level reaches around 0.05 percent.

Sociology professor David Phillips, a co-author of the study, is one busy researcher. As we told you last December, he’s a master of grim statistics: he’s found mortality trends related to birthdays and New Year’s Eve and discovered that it’s possible to be scared to death. (Not by the very idea of deep-fried Kool-Aid, mind you.)

Just last year, he reported that fatalities rise at teaching hospitals during the month of July, possibly because a lot of new rookie doctors come on duty then.

Take-home message: Wait until August to go up and fix that roof. Or better yet, take the easy way out and just move.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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