In yet another case of waffling, the San Diego school board last night backed away from an explosively controversial plan it began one year ago to radically change how it allocates money for disadvantaged students. Now, the district won’t shift all of the money to the very poorest schools.

We’ve created a map to show you which schools would have gained and which would lost if the board hadn’t reversed itself. The map makes it clear that schools in southeastern San Diego would’ve gained the most.  

Emily Alpert found a bigger trend in the move. “Dropping the plan was the latest in a string of recent school board vacillations on everything from school closures to busing cuts,” she wrote.

You’re the Boss

Yesterday, readers had photographer Sam Hodgson’s ear. They gave him assignments, and he went out and tracked them down. 

• Kevin Flynn asked him to capture shots of the beautiful (the city’s canyons) and the decrepit (our shoddy roads) in Golden Hill. He did just that, finding some terrific similarities between the tiny canyons of the pavement that pock our streets and those prettier ones in nature.

• Another reader suggested finding someone who rides their bike to work. He found a father and two young sons in North Park who bicycle to work and school each day.

Moving in for the (buzz)kill, a commenter claims that father and one of his sons broke the law by riding two abreast, but another commenter says the rules aren’t so clear-cut.    

• When I read that our photographer dropped by a cookbook store that’s about to close, my mind went immediately to a shop in Kensington called The Cookbook Store. Could it be? Yup, that’s the one, and it’s indeed shutting its doors.

The owner, who wants to get a life, will still sell some cookbooks online. But the store will close on Christmas Eve.     

Fact-Checking the Spanos Fortune

Chargers owner Alex Spanos “is on the list of the 400 richest people in the United States, with a fortune estimated at more than $1 billion,” a columnist declared in the Daily Transcript last month while arguing that Spanos can afford the extra expense of building a new football stadium. 

San Diego Fact Check finds the claim is “mostly true.”

These Eyes Have It … Again and Again

Literature and pop culture have created several famous eyeballs, including those of Laura Mars (film), Bette Davis (film via Kim Carnes) and Doctor T. J. Eckleburg (literature), for instance.

Locally, we’ve had our own notable pair of peepers: a bold mural called “The Eyes of Picasso.” Well, make that murals.  Mario Torero, an artist, painted several versions of the mural around town, first on the side of a building at Third Avenue and J Street in the late 1970s, then later (more than once) on the side of downtown’s Carnation building. Last year, the mural returned once again, this time in Barrio Logan.

We came across the mural’s tangled history while working on a story about the challenges of keeping art alive in the East Village.

Hey muralist guy! Me next. My eyes are up here, and they’re like limpid pools, whatever the heck they are.

Opinions Galore

Our readers weigh in on the on the poverty rate in schools (above average nationally), the proposed “Wings of Freedom” dual sculptures (“a passive block to the true beauty of OUR bayfront!”), the quality of public education (it’s keeping the author here) and the school district’s lobbyist (isn’t that what our local state reps are for?).

The Wings of Freedom, by the way, got a mostly negative reception at a public meeting last night, the Union-Tribune reports. A final proposal has been delayed until January.

Strictly Quickly

• The port district’s board agreed to spend $60 million on the convention center’s $520 million expansion, the U-T reports, although it has lots of concerns. For background, check our story from last month about the financing of the expansion.

• Local politicians aren’t thrilled to hear that the first phase of a plan to build a cross-state high-speed train only envisions sending it as far south as Anaheim, the U-T reports. (Nobody wants to go to Anaheim if they don’t have to.)

Voters approved the plan in 2008. The train authority still has a San Diego stop in mind, but it’s not the first priority.  

In other rail news, Amtrak trains between San Diego and San Luis Obispo will now feature free Wi-Fi (at last!). (SF Chronicle) Amtrak says its California ridership is up about 7.5 percent, although that could be because the usual delays have kept some passengers from leaving the train for years.

• The Denver Post ranked 10 up-and-coming metro areas in several economic areas, like economic power, earning power, job creativity and brain power. San Diego did best (No. 1) in wooing venture capital dollars, attracting $594 million as of this year.

However, our unemployment rate is the third highest, and we have the most unaffordable homes by far. But they may be becoming more affordable: county housing prices in September slumped over the previous month by almost 1 percent, the NC Times reports. They’re “6 percent higher than a low reached in April 2009, and 38 percent below a peak seen in November 2005.”

• We got rid of anonymous comments on our site a while back. But the internet is still full of people who want to give you a piece of their mind without exposing pieces of their names. But staying hidden is getting tougher.

A researcher was able to use a common Google feature to unmask the identities of several anonymous bloggers, including “a San Diego man speaking out on his blog about Mexican drug cartels,” SecurityNewsDaily reports.

I’ll make it even easier for you nosy parkers who are dying to know who’s really who on the web. Remember that brilliantly perceptive anonymous blog post you read the other day? That was totally by me.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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