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Just as the nation’s buzzing about the wonders of early education, California is shutting thousands of children out of preschool to save money.

Plenty of studies show that going to preschool can lead to amazing results later in life: less crime, fewer dropouts and more success. The Obama administration is even offering states millions of dollars to amp up their early education programs.

But Emily Alpert reports that the cash-strapped California is actually cutting back on public preschool programs, slashing budgets by 11 percent or more this year. The state also upped the income bar for families to get free preschool.

As Alpert points out, “California is already seen as a bit of a laggard when it comes to its littlest learners.”

The Third Balboa Park Option: Close Cabrillo Bridge

While San Diegans are already imagining a lovely, car-free Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park, no one can agree about how exactly that will happen.

There’s an option that isn’t getting discussed that much: simply closing the Cabrillo Bridge, which brings cars into the park from the west, to autos altogether.

Though that extreme idea would get the job done – and put an end to the need to build a much-debated bridge bypass – museums and other cultural institutions within the park are afraid a closure would drive down the number of visitors.

Issa to Perry: Texas Isn’t All that Awesome


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Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, didn’t seem ready to hop on the Rick Perry-for-president-express when he ripped the Texas governor’s “Texas miracle” catchphrase in a San Diego speech last week. Issa said Perry’s addition of jobs came because California “drove them out.” (Union-Tribune)

Issa also makes an appearance in The New York Times under the headline: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself.”

The in-depth profile includes this paragraph: “As his private wealth and public power have grown, so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”

Lori Saldaña Returns

“It’s official: I’m running for Congress in the new 52nd District,” Lori Saldaña announced over the weekend. (Union-Tribune)

The former Democratic assemblywoman, who was termed out in 2010, will challenge Republican Brian Bilbray for the proposed 52nd District seat that covers Poway through Clairemont, La Jolla, downtown San Diego and Coronado.

Other possible contenders include businessman Bobby Nascenzi and former San Diego City Councilman Scott Peters.

Dirty, Filthy Fish

If you catch a bass, perch, rockfish or shark in San Diego, do not eat it. Do not.

The U-T’s Mike Lee reports that the largest-ever study of toxins in California sport fish show concerning levels of PCBs and methylmercury at several spots along the San Diego County coastline. Contaminant loads were heaviest in San Diego Bay.

Contaminated fish are especially harmful to children, people with compromised immune systems and anyone who eats large quantities of local seafood.

And what’s to blame for the spike in contaminants? The changing climate, fishing and most especially, pollution.

Empty Houses in North County

More houses sat empty in North San Diego County than ever before in 2010. (North County Times)

The U.S. Census found that the region’s vacancy rate rose from 2.5 percent in 2000 to 3.5 percent in 2010. Even so, economists said the number is low, especially compared to San Diego County, which is at 4.5 percent.

• Still, North County is expected to grow plenty. And one company wants to create a massive quarry in a Temecula mountain to provide the asphalt and concrete for that growth.

The land, though, is considered sacred to the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. That’s sparked a political battle between two heavyweights. (Los Angeles Times)

“The Pechanga Band’s presence adds a twist to usual David-versus-Goliath disputes that play out in many far-flung towns over proposed mines, landfills and prisons, providing a counterweight to the political muscle of Granite Construction, a multimillion-dollar Northern California construction company that contributes generously to local and state politicians.

Adding to the intrigue: Normally pro-development Temecula is fighting hard against the quarry.

Remembering a Fallen Officer

In case you missed our weekend post, Sam Hodgson took some moving photos of the funeral for SDPD officer Jeremy Henwood, who was shot to death last weekend.

Jurassic Kook

If a giant shark couldn’t destroy the Cardiff Kook last summer, perhaps a pterodactyl can carry it off once and for all.

In the latest attempt to humiliate to much-maligned bronze statue, which depicts a young boy surfing awkwardly, a team of mystery street artists erected a full dinosaur scene with a volcanic backdrop around it.

But the showstopper, the thing that caused a steady stream of people to the North County beach community, was the giant pterodactyl sweeping down to swoop the boy away.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video. And now take a look at KGTV 10 News’ slide show of some of the Kook’s various looks over the years.

Please contact Nina Garin at ngarin@hotmail.com.

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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