San Diego Unified is supposed to integrate its schools. It has a slew of different programs that let parents choose where to send their children. Some of the programs attempt integration, some just offer families more choice. These programs might seem to be good ingredients for diversity.

As a little school in North Park reveals, racial and socio-economic integration hasn’t always happened. If every public schooler in the neighborhood went to Jefferson Elementary, the school would almost racially mirror San Diego Unified as a whole.

But kids who actually come to Jefferson are mostly Latino and African-American. The vast majority are poor enough to get free lunches.

It turns out that when parents in this seemingly integrated neighborhood went through a school selection process, they ended up resegregating themselves.

And Presto, an Aguirre Suit Vanishes

The city has killed off a lawsuit filed by former City Attorney Michael Aguirre that challenged hundreds of millions of dollars in pension funds promised to city workers. The current city attorney said in a statement that “we pursue cases that have a chance of success.” This one apparently didn’t fit the bill because courts haven’t been sympathetic to similar arguments elsewhere. (Union-Tribune)

The End of Starlight?

Balboa Park’s Starlight Theatre, which is once again facing bankruptcy, is well known for the way its performers freeze when a performance is interrupted by planes flying overhead. Judging from remarks from our commenters, the overhead interference is part of the problem..

“Freezing the action while they passed overhead was cute the first time, annoying the second time… and there was never a third time for me,” writes Pat Seaborg. “I got used to the planes then,” says William Smith about attending shows while in high school, “but now don’t think I could stand it.”

Meanwhile, Joe Jones offers a sarcastic jibe: “Gosh. A local arts group run into the ground by enthusiastic, well meaning, relatively clueless people. That’s a first.”

Behind the Scene TV has more about the Starlight.

Filner Talks Shop

Rep. Bob Filner, the only leading Democrat running for mayor, tells the U-T that he wants to preserve pensions for city employees with no special pension perks for cops, firefighters and lifeguards. He also says “I will demand concessions from the employees, but not put the whole thing on the employees.”

A few more tidbits: Filner says “I will do anything to keep the Chargers here. But I will not sell out the city taxpayers.” He hints that redevelopment in downtown has outlived its usefulness: “We have transformed downtown. But I want to get that out to the neighborhoods now.” And even though he and a Republican candidate both challenged two of their rivals to debate next month, he says “I’m not worried about the other folks right now.”

A Hovering Hassle, Residents Say

Hovering police helicopters are annoying residents of University Heights, the San Diego Reader reports. “I settled here because of the beauty and quiet and have enjoyed my peaceful life. Except for the last two or three years,” one writes in a local newsletter.

In a Q&A on its website, the San Diego Police Department answers this question: “Why do helicopters frequently fly over the University Heights and Normal Heights areas?” It says police helicopters try to avoid the area, but others — such as traffic helicopters and those serving hospitals — are often in the general region.

In a 2004 San Diego Magazine article, a retired attorney and critic of police helicopters questioned whether they’re necessary, saying they’re noisy and “make people feel unsafe because they assume there is a very, very bad guy nearby, when it’s often a routine traffic stop.” But the police sergeant said the helicopters responded to 7,600 calls in 2003 that resulted in 980 arrests.

Judi Curry of Ocean Beach also has a problem with helicopters flying over. (OB Rag)

San Diego’s Lurking Speed Traps

Ever seen a speed trap here? Apparently, they’re out there. San Diego County ranks 20th on the National Motorists Association’s list of American and Canadian places with the most speed traps per capita with 3.2 per 100,000 residents. That makes for almost 100 in the entire county.

Radio Show Tackles Books and Investigations

VOSD Radio takes a closer look at our recent investigations into affordable housing and a school board member. It also checks in on two new books: one by a San Diego mayor who resigned in disgrace and another by three political scientists titled “Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego.” The U-T has comments from the ex-mayor and from one of the political scientists about the books.

We’re Not Fact Checking This One

An ad agency is attaching lime-green fanny packs to bicycles around San Diego and other cities, leaving an unusual message on attached tags: “This is a complimentary fanny pack. When worn as a fashion accessory by a man, it makes for excellent birth control. No man has ever been seduced while wearing a fanny pack in the history of the fanny pack.”

The tags then suggest an alternative form of birth control, one that you can buy at your local drugstore. No, not a bag to put over your head, although that’s yet another option.

This Baby Star is a Star Baby

A researcher from UCSD and colleagues are boasting of a bouncing new baby star: they’ve discovered that a star near our solar system is only 40 million years old. The red dwarf is a newborn in space terms and may be the nearest young star to us. Scientists think it may have planets similar to Jupiter and Saturn rotating around it.

Forty million years old and still an infant? Let’s hope these astronomers don’t bore us with baby pictures on Facebook for another 100 million years until the star’s in preschool.

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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