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With a financial doomsday in their sights, parents on the warpath and a credit rating agency on a snit, two San Diego school board trustees called for the district to dump plans to save money by closing a dozen campuses.

One trustee hasn’t released his alternative plan, although it sounds like he’ll want employees to suck it up and give up part of their salaries. (Check out the telling photo of him getting an in-your-face scolding by a teacher in public.) The other trustee wants to put pressure on the state and push for higher taxes.   

Meanwhile, the credit rating agency Moody’s announced it’s downgrading the district’s long-term credit rating because it hasn’t done enough to make cuts. A district official brushed off the downgrade’s impact, saying it doesn’t mean much now and won’t mean a whole lot in the future. 

• A new edition of San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC 7 San Diego, illustrates what would happen if the school district runs out of money. Remember that this isn’t a new discussion: district officials have long been talking about the prospect of insolvency.

New Details in Officer’s Trial

We’re learning still more disturbing details about what the police department knew about former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos, who’s accused of sexual misconduct.

A prosecutor told a judge that “investigators had found photographs of scantily dressed women on Arevalos’ work computer. She said Arevalos took the pictures while patrolling downtown San Diego in December last year and then emailed them to another traffic officer in the Police Department,” Keegan Kyle reports. “It echoed a tip that investigators reported receiving shortly after Arevalos’ arrest in March this year. According to an unsealed search warrant in the case, a person who knew Arevalos told investigators that the officer had a well-known history of police misconduct and kept lewd photos of women he met during the course of his job. The person said they last saw the photos 15 years ago.

Lawsuits Loom in Medi-Pot Fight

A new lawsuit targets the federal move to close down California’s marijuana dispensaries, while another challenge is on the way, the U-T reports. “The short of it is, the feds can’t tell California what to do,” an attorney for the pro-pot group that’s suing tells the U-T.

The paper also says “there’s a growing move by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and others to develop defensible statewide regulations for collectives, which are trapped between state and federal law.”

Here’s our much-praised recent San Diego Explained on that very trap.

Library Building Won’t Be Chopped Due-y

A recent LA Times article raised the prospect that the new downtown library might go ahead and open without its auditorium if boosters don’t raise enough money to finish construction. That would be a bit unusual, since one of the new library’s selling points is that it would provide a big gathering spot for the community; the city librarian mentioned this aspect in a recent Q&A interview with me.

But a mayoral spokeswoman said the $6 million cost of the auditorium isn’t enough to make up for the $25 million that still needs to be raised. Meanwhile, a top library booster insists the fundraising is going great, while a councilman is publicly saying there’s a “good chance” the $185 million building might never open.

Get a Tire-Like Grip on the Big Road Plans

Today’s the day that local officials are expected to approve a plan to spend $200 billon on transportation over the next 40 years. We’ve been covering the fuss over the plan for almost a year, examining angles from debates over public transit in a county that doesn’t like to use it to the effects on actual people. We’ve compiled a reader’s guide to help you get up to speed on what’s at stake and how the future might look.

• We’re trying to do a lot of similar reader’s guides. VOSD member Omar Passons made us blush with this compliment about the guide we published to help you understand what’s going on with city road repairs: “This is a really terrific piece that makes a very complex issue straightforward to digest. I remember it was an article like this about some other important issue in San Diego a few years ago that really elevated VOSD for me.”

Passons is a donor. Are you?

The Charts Look Pretty, the News Not So Much

Our economic guru Rich Toscano is back with a chart-happy look at local home prices, and they show bad news if you’re a homeowner: prices dropped for all three price tiers in August.

Still, the charts are pleasant to look at. Think of the high points as blufftops and the slides as cliffs, and a couple of them look like abstract drawings of the scene at Blacks Beach. But hey, where are all the naked people? Stupid drawings.

Putting Crown Point in its Place

What’s that they say about what happens when you assume? You make an “assu” out of “me”? I assume that’s the way it goes.

Anyway, in yesterday’s Morning Report, my faulty memory incorrectly located Crown Point Junior Music Academy in Point Loma. The school, and Crown Point, are in Pacific Beach. We regret the error.

When Half Your New Music Is Aged 164-Plus

Contrary to what you may have heard, orchestras often do try to focus on newer classical music instead of just the older stuff from dead white guys. The problem: a ton of it is still ancient and still by those DWGs.

Our Kelly Bennett explains: “Often, orchestras use the 19th century work of Beethoven as a midpoint, choosing half of the pieces they’ll play from older composers (Haydn, Mozart, Bach) and half from after (Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Strauss). But Beethoven died in 1827, nearly 200 years ago. It’s tough to label the composers who immediately followed him as anything close to new or modern.”

Now, the La Jolla Symphony’s conductor wants to make things more modern by moving up that midpoint by about a century to the life of a guy named Igor Stravinsky, whose work you might know from the Disney movie “Fantasia.” We’ve got more about the ideas of conductor Steven Schick, along with links to other coverage of him.

The Man from Smackover

A few months ago, a newspaper in southern Arkansas took note of a hometown boy done good: he’s Nathan Fletcher, the assemblyman, San Diego mayoral candidate and native of a town called Smackover.

Um… Smackover? Sounds like the tiny town’s name was born in a sibling rivalry of some sort. (“Johnny’s looking at me! Mom, can I give him a smackover?”) Sadly, that’s not the case. There’s dispute over the name’s origin, but it may refer to an English pronunciation of the French words for “covered in sumac” — “sumac couvert.”

Sumac refers to a variety of plants, including poison ivy and poison oak. Jeepers! The next time I write about Fletcher, I’ll feel like I’m gonna need an ocean (sing along with me!) of calamine lotion.

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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