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Shelia Jackson, the San Diego school board member whose actions have raised questions about whether she lives in the area she represents, voted to extend a district contract last year for a company that employs her daughter.

Jackson’s daughter Kendra earns $72 an hour working for a consulting company that’s helping the district roll out its $2.1 billion school construction and renovation bond. Kendra Jackson is 23, according to her myspace.com page. She has a district email, a desk in the district offices and a district employee as her supervisor.

“Public officials are barred from entering into contracts that enrich their spouse or dependent children. That usually doesn’t include adult children,” Emily Alpert reports. “However, Shelia Jackson may have a financial stake in what her daughter earns because she uses her apartment for business and sometimes stays there.”

Jackson recently said she’d been splitting time living with her daughter and a San Diego school district educator. Both “have gotten work in San Diego Unified,” Alpert writes.

Filner Misses Mark on Mexico by a Mile


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“I’ve gone to the last 10 State of the City addresses; I think I’ve heard Mexico mentioned in one of them,” said congressman and mayoral candidate Bob Filner in an interview with CityBeat. He says one of his priorities is a better U.S.-Mexico relationship.

His claims are “seriously flawed,” San Diego Fact Check finds, so much that he deserves the most severe fact check verdict of all: “Huckster Propaganda.” That means the claim is not only inaccurate but the person who made it knew that and said it anyway to gain political advantage. Filner hasn’t been to many of the speeches, and Sanders has mentioned Mexico in four of his six.

No Grocery Strike for the Moment

A mediator ordered the major local supermarket chains and their employee union to head back to negotiations after workers agreed to allow a strike, the Union-Tribune reports. Since the next negotiation is Aug. 29, it looks like there won’t be a strike this week.

Vons, meanwhile, has made the statement that strike talk “needlessly alarms and confuses our employees and customers,” the U-T says. Pray tell, what part of hey-there-might-be-a-strike leaves people dumbfounded? Perhaps they also need instructions about using coupons and feeling melons. Uh, hey Vons, what’s a unit price?

Behind the British-ism and More

Are members of local preservation organization Save Our Heritage Organisation all Anglophiles? Do they try to impress people by adopting fake snooty British accents? No, I guess that’s just me. (“Pip pip, old chap!”) The British English spelling of “Organisation” is the brainchild of the organization’s founder back in 1969. “I guess he thought it was more historic,” SOHO’s executive director said.

We’ve got another tidbit or two about SOHO, which has become the major obstacle for those who like a plan to remodel Balboa Park and remove cars from a big chunk of it, among other things. It makes much of its money by running two local city-owned historic homes. It also gets grants and membership dues; its budget last year was about $1 million.

Sunday in the Park with One Mighty Organ

The Balboa Park organ pavilion’s stars — its architecture, its organ, its civic organist — all make appearances in a compilation of photos from photographer Sam Hodgson’s visit during a recent Sunday performance. If you missed it, check out the story also.

Talking Teacher Layoffs

On Wednesday, drop by an in-person discussion about teacher layoffs featuring education reporter Emily Alpert, the vice president of the San Diego teachers union and an attorney who pushed a civil rights suit in Los Angeles that argued that poor kids lose out when seniority rules.

Checking Chargers and Chicken Claims

Will the state’s war on redevelopment hurt the chances for a Chargers stadium downtown? Is California more lenient on cockfighting than other states? Fact Check TV is on the case.

Local Economic Stimulus Alert

Pundits continue to mull over presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s plans to demolish his $12 million La Jolla house and build a newer, bigger one. A Washington Post blog post says the news “could very well reinforce the idea of a guy who comes from a completely different economic class than most Americans.”

The Post has a photo view from the beach (the post drew 1,200-plus comments), wonkette.com offers a satellite view and one of its commenters questions whether it really has just two bedrooms (as Politico reports a Romney campaign official as saying): “My 4-bedroom house is roughly the size of his beachfront porch.”

The U-T says the home has three bedrooms.

Frank James, writing on an NPR blog, sees a possible bright side to all this: “Maybe Romney can turn this La Jolla house into a political positive. He could always say it was his attempt to do his part to kick start the housing industry.”

Journalistic Non-Explanation of the Month

The Union-Tribune offers a detailed look at the alleged misstatements in the New York Times front-page takedown of North County Rep. Darrell Issa. (The story suggests his businesses — he’s the second wealthiest member of Congress — may have benefited from congressional decisions.)

One apparent (and still-uncorrected) error comes in the NYT story’s first paragraph, where it says Issa’s Vista office is “overlooking a golf course.” The nearest golf course is a third of a mile away, although there once was a golf driving range near the office. It appears to no longer exist.

The U-T notes that the news organization Politico got a strange comment from the NYT’s Washington bureau chief: “I don’t think it implied — at least to my mind — that Issa’s office overlooked the golf course. I think it is trying to give a sense that this is a building in a cool area.”

“Cool area”? Right along busy Highway 78 and near a big shopping mall? I’d hate to see the NYT’s definition of an uncool area.

Snow White and the Dwarf Planet

A few years ago, astronomers discovered a distant dwarf planet in the solar system and nicknamed it “Snow White” in a nod to its apparent color. One of the astronomers was the guy who annoyed kids worldwide by helping kill poor Pluto’s planethood with the help of North County’s Palomar Observatory. (We interviewed him last year.) He didn’t make a big deal out of the discovery of Snow White but said it might still turn out to be interesting.

It is. A UCSD professor has found that Snow White isn’t white but actually appears to be red, Science 2.0 reports. That’s a surprising finding considering that it is covered in water ice, and suggests it once had an atmosphere, more than now, despite being way out in the boonies.

So now it seems like it’s time to give the planet a new nickname, maybe in honor of one of the seven dwarfs this time. What are their names again? Dizzy, Cranky, Boozy, Miserly, Touchy, Snippy and Surly? No wait. I’m getting them mixed up with my old bosses.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

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

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