If you’re a teacher with a special education credential, California public schools won’t hire you to teach a regular class. But if you’re a general education teacher in San Diego Unified, officials here can assign you to teach special education kids along with the other children in your general class.

But, as the district has made the controversial move to rapidly include special education kids into general classes, it hasn’t mandated training for those teachers.

“General education teachers have suddenly been faced with students with emotional disturbance, who scream or run around classrooms,” reports Will Carless. “They have been asked to teach children with severe autism, who may be extremely hard to reach without specialized intervention techniques and methods. The range of scenarios runs the gamut from the benign to the potentially hazardous.”

This is the second installment of Carless’ running exploration of the district’s special-education shift. He’s asking for, and receiving, help as he goes along, so join the investigation and conversation.

Poor Residents Stuck without Advocates

The city of San Diego is withholding funding for advocates for those who live in low-cost housing, potentially leaving poor residents in the lurch. “With no housing advocates, the final safety net for city residents living in substandard conditions is Neighborhood Code Compliance, the agency that investigates building code violations and has the jurisdiction to fine noncompliant property owners,” reports Speak City Heights, a local media collaborative.

But city code enforcers can’t assist when it comes to pest infestations. Renters who try to call for help are sent to the county, which sends callers back to the city. Residents who seek help for mold and mildew face big challenges too.

Even trying to get help in the first place can be a brave move for those who rent and suffer through problems like broken windows and nonworking heaters. One woman says she didn’t make a fuss because she’s undocumented, not working and couldn’t afford to move.

Getting Ready for ‘Occupy San Diego’

• Photographer Sam Hodgson was on hand Tuesday evening as organizers worked out the details of Friday’s Occupy San Diego protest, which is tied to the big one that’s making waves on Wall Street. Organizers discussed topics ranging from legal matters and communicating with the police (some didn’t like that idea) to food and entertainment.

• There’s debate over whether the Occupy movement has a coherent message. So what, asks Jack Shafer, a Reuters press critic and the Morning Report’s favorite curmudgeon other than itself: “As long as cameras are counting bodies and recording slogans, the harder work of defining the message can be postponed. The more important task is to introduce people who share frustrations to one another.”

• Under a headline titled “Occupy the Mortgage Guy’s Street,” our Scott Lewis wants to make sure we don’t forget our own roles in this sordid game too.

“One thing that’s been a bit lost is it wasn’t just Wall Street that created the mortgage bubble and resulting meltdown. Wall Street may have been the drug smugglers, but a whole bunch of people were the dealers and users. It was a culture.

“It was a culture we got to know quite well in San Diego.”

He warns against falling into the same traps of the past:

“As we reflect with scorn on what Wall Street did, let’s remember what we did too and pledge not to do it again.”

Councilwoman’s Allies Are Restless

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, “a Democrat unafraid of angering the Democratic base,” has disappointed environmental and labor types by not always going their way, CityBeat reports in an extensive story about her. “Sherri is a friend with an inconsistent record,” says one environmental activist.

Lightner’s decisions, which seem to reflect her independence, may leave her a bit stranded when election time comes in 2012: “Whether those folks become actively engaged on behalf of her campaign remains to be seen,” CityBeat says.

Admiring the Hotly Anticipated Art Exhibits

Check out our photos from the new local museum exhibits, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Mingei Museum, that are part of a big regional look at post-war Southern California art.

Ex-Mayor’s Listen-to-Me Tour

Dick Murphy, the mayor who resigned in disgrace in 2005, has a new book out in which he “portrays himself as a well-trained, hard-working man who believes in walking through doors that God has opened for him,” CityBeat’s John Lamb writes.

There’s a big omission though: it doesn’t say a word about how Time magazine declared him one of the nation’s three worst mayors shortly before he quit. CityBeat notes another omission too: Nothing about the woman who blew the whistle on the city’s pension mess.

Murphy does write about a decline in public confidence in the city during his first term, but he doesn’t blame it on the people at City Hall: “The hostile press coverage eroded public confidence in City government, further inflaming an already-incendiary situation.”

That same press, meanwhile, continues to provide coverage of his book, titled “I’m Still Here!” No, that’s not it. It’s “San Diego’s Judge Mayor: How Murphy’s Law Blindsided Leadership With 2020 Vision.” KPBS interviewed him yesterday.

12 Pot Shops on Closure List

Twelve medical marijuana shops have to shut down after the city attorney targeted them because they were too close to schools, the Union-Tribune reports.

Three Mexican Restaurant Chains Try Bankruptcy

One of my friends looks at me with disgust when he hears that I go to Chipotle on a regular basis and avoid the more authentic hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants in town. I’m afraid to tell him if I ever go to Acapulco, El Torito or Chevys Fresh Mex. But I may not have the chance to avoid his judgmental eye: all three chains, each with three local restaurants, have filed for bankruptcy and may shut down, NBC7 San Diego reports.

Drop by Our High School Journalism Conference

Our second conference for high school journalism students, along with teachers and parents, is set for Oct. 22. It’s free. As our post puts it, “Going online with student news brings a host of advantages: lower cost, more frequency and relevance, and a learning environment closer to the real world. There are new things to consider like crowdsourcing, engaging readers, the complexity of analyzing real-time polls, and the mix of blogging and longer stories.”

Darned Kids Won’t Stay Off My Lawn and Now This

CityBeat’s roundup of intriguing San Diego material on YouTube grabbed me with this summary of one video: “Dude pulls a gargoyle on an SDPD cruiser.” Oh boy! Alas, it has nothing to do with an actual stone gargoyle, but instead shows a young guy crouching on top of a police car gargoyle-style.

Every generation has its fads, from marathon dancing to Rubik’s cubes. Let’s hope gargoyle-ing doesn’t become one, although it sure would be an improvement on planking.

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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