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You’ve got questions about the meltdown looming over the San Diego school district, and we’ve got answers.

First up, is enrollment really shrinking? It turns out that district-run schools have seen their enrollment dip by 15 percent since the fall of 2000. Have staff cuts kept pace? The ratio of students to what are known as certificated employees (like teachers and nurses) has jumped in 2010 and 2011 after remaining steady. 

Next, a lot of parents are confused: How did the district figure out which 12 schools — out of more than 200 — should be on the ax list of those that might be closed? One reader, after all, suspected that, “They actually appear to be targeting small, but high performing schools in more affluent sections of town.”

A district official explains the process, which involved an analysis of how full a school is, how popular the school is with neighborhood kids — what proportion of local families send their children there — and how much test scores are improving.

We’re working on a batch of other questions for today. Help us out if you know the answers.

Detective Didn’t Report First Misconduct Complaint

A San Diego police detective said in court testimony that he didn’t report a woman’s complaint that an officer tried to solicit a favor in return for ignoring a drunken driving accusation.

A police official told us department policy calls for officers to report misconduct complaints against their colleagues, but wasn’t sure if that applied in this situation.

Only 18 months later did the detective link the accusation to now-former officer Anthony Arevalos, who’s now on trial for sexual misconduct. The revelation raises “more questions about how the department monitors its own officers, who wield tremendous power and discretion,” Keegan Kyle writes.

Claim: No “D’oh” Bungle Behind Blackout

No single Homer Simpson-like bonebrain set off the giant power outage last month, an Arizona power official declared yesterday, the NC Times reports. “This event was not caused by the actions of a single utility worker. That is an unfortunate perception that emerged in early days,” he said.

So what did happen when the blackout unleashed sewage spills, threatened water supplies and left doctors and nurses scrambling to save lives as hospital generators gave out? It doesn’t sound like we’ll know until January, a sign that the people in charge don’t think this is an urgent issue. Is there any way to give them some spark?

Filner Doesn’t Impress an Assumed Ally

You might think mayoral candidate and U.S. Rep. Bob Filner would find a target-rich environment in the folks over at the alternative weekly CityBeat. He’s liberal, they’re liberal. He’s a Democrat, they’re … um, well, definitely not Republican.

But CityBeat is not warming to the famously cantankerous congressman. In an editorial, the paper said he comes across as “chaotic, clumsy, vague, acerbic and arrogant.” Plus: Cocky, petty and unrealistic.  He should, the paper said, “ratchet down the freakin’ attitude.”

Still, Filner is the only Democrat among the four major candidates. He’s got lots of name recognition, and many voters may never get a glimpse of him in action outside of TV commercials. But he may be in lots of trouble if he can’t win over an audience of journalists who lean so far to the left that they can barely stand up.

Hot Cars for Hot Wiring

As we told you, the rate of car thefts has dipped in the county in recent years, although we’re still among the worst places nationwide for the crime. The U-T has a CHP list of the most stolen vehicles in the county in 2010: Five types of Honda top the list (1996 Honda Accords are No. 1) while 1997 Nissan pickups are No. 1 among trucks.

Thieves don’t seem to have the new-car bug: the newest model on either five-car list is from 2006. Maybe the crooks are allergic to that new-car smell?

Get Up to Speed on Road Repairs

San Diego’s roads, buildings and sidewalks are crumbling faster than the city can repair them, even though — for once — it’s got the cash.

It’s a story we’ve been drilling into for weeks, and now we have a simple guide to help you understand the sorry state of San Diego’s infrastructure, which needs an estimated $840 million in fixes.

For one, you can check out our video explainer, featuring NBC 7 San Diego’s fetching Catherine Garcia and our own scraggly bearded Liam Dillon. (Get a haircut, hippie!) Our special report has more details about how there’s actually money to be spent, but it’s sitting around and not helping give our shock absorbers a break.

These reader guides on hot topics have been popular. What should we do next? Let our editor, Andrew Donohue, know by sending him an email.

Meet the Winners

Two of our arts contributors, Valerie Scher and Roxana Popescu, won first-place awards from the San Diego Press Club for pieces they wrote for us. Scher won for her profile of a salty mouthed symphony librarian and for a profile of a sculptor who’s immersed in nature. Popescu won for capturing the preparations for a San Diego Opera production. We’ve got links to other winning arts stories too.   

Find Local School Papers Online

Our second online journalism forum for high school students was a fun time. Many local schools have taken their student papers online, and you can check out links to them

How I Wonder What You Are

Our photographer captured images of little kiddos from Crown Point Junior Music Academy playing violin (and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”) at the big school board meeting. The Pacific Beach school may have to move to a different campus due to budget cuts.

Where the Pricey Pads Are

Quiz time! A San Diego County neighborhood appears at No. 14 on a new list of the 15 zip codes in the country with the most expensive average home prices. Is it: a. La Jolla Shores b. Fairbanks Ranch or c. Rancho Santa Fe?

The answer is c, Rancho Santa Fe, with a median home price of $2.95 million. If you’d like to know more about how the other .001 percent lives, check estately.com’s list of the 10 most expensive homes sold in the county in 2010. The one at the very top, on La Jolla Farms Road, is listed at a cool $10 million.

Maybe they grow money at the “farms” in the street’s name? If not, we may be talking about a big case of e-i-e-i-owe.

The Morning Report incorrectly located Crown Point Junior Music Academy in Point Loma. It’s in Pacific Beach. We regret the error.

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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