It would be mighty odd if a candidate for San Diego school board introduced a plan to fix the mess at City Hall. But the reverse — a City Hall type proposing ways to improve the city’s struggling public education system — has become routine.

In the latest example, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis wants to expand the school board to nine members, four of which would be appointed by the mayor. She wants that to appear on the ballot in 2014.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because a group tried something similar with a ballot initiative last summer. But they failed to gather enough petition signatures.

Dumanis says she never read that initiative, “but spoke with those who were behind it,” Liam Dillon reports. “She wouldn’t reveal who advised her on education issues beyond an unnamed group of teachers, parents, students and others interested in reform.”

Many details about her plan, which includes many other reforms, don’t yet exist. It’s not clear, for instance, how she’d fund a new city education department; the city’s facing a $32 million deficit.

• Schools trustee Scott Barnett tweeted about Dumanis’ announcement last night. He first joked that maybe he should put out a plan to fix the city. Then he acknowledged that he’d done that many times. Then he said he welcomed the DA getting involved and hoped everyone would talk about schools.

Labor leader Lorena Gonzalez got into it as well, blasting the idea. And conservative commentator Tony Manolatos indicated he had seen some polling on the earlier idea to expand the school board.

A Taxing Fact Check

The fate of the state’s redevelopment program is up in the air thanks to the state supreme court’s support of its demise at the hand of the legislature.

Cities love redevelopment because it gives them millions and millions of dollars to spend on building things like affordable housing and stadiums. Jay Goldstone, the city of San Diego’s chief operating officer, recently told a TV station that urban renewal is a good idea because it boosts the economy and produces jobs, meaning the state gets more money from income tax.

The state’s “largest revenue source is income tax” he said.

San Diego Fact Check finds that he’s right.

The Play’s the Thing for This Lawyer

By day, Tom Haine tries to catch the consciences of crooks, not kings, as a lawyer for the Border Patrol and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

After work these days, Haine moonlights as a director with a passion for Shakespeare. We tag along as he works with a team of actors to rehearse “Hamlet” at a small theater in Point Loma.

His work in courtrooms has certainly helped him figure out the workings of the theater. “In a trial, he says, you become the director, the producer and the actor all rolled into one,” Kelly Bennett reports. “Stage fright is not an option when you’re ‘in front of 13 people who are always looking at you, plus a judge, a clerk, court reporter,’ he says.”

News at the Speed of a Brief

• The AP wraps up the story of Benjamin Arellano Felix.

“Wednesday’s half-hour hearing was an anticlimactic finish to the U.S. government’s pursuit of the head of an organization that smuggled hundreds of tons of cocaine and marijuana to the United States,” writes Elliot Spagat.

• A meeting between the owner of the Chargers and the owner of a company that wants to build a stadium in downtown Los Angeles did not go well, writes the L.A. Times’ T.J. Simers. He’s got some tough words for Spanos, too.

• And Spanos said on XTRA Sports 1360 yesterday he had no interest in the two plans for stadiums in L.A.

Oopsy Daisy at the U-T

It happens to the best of them.

A few years ago, the Washington Post forgot to renew its website domain name and folks there stopped getting their email. Oops.

This week, it was U-T San Diego’s turn. A glitch connected to its switch to a new name and new domain ( caused all comments made before late Monday evening to disappear. Those comments are gone for good, the paper says. Oh man!

Now if only we can figure out a way for a glitch to get rid of the U-T’s lamest comic strips. (“No, Garfield didn’t eat some bad lasagna. He was accidentally deleted and is unrecoverable. Meanwhile, Mary Worth got waylaid by a coding error on the way to shuffleboard.”)

Mayor Ignores City Attorney on Stadium Renaming

You know the name of that stadium in Mission Valley? You may think you do, but things changed during a few recent football games on national TV when it briefly switched from Qualcomm Stadium to Snapdragon Stadium.

That was A-OK with Qualcomm, which wanted to promote one of its products. Legally, though, it may have been iffy.

The Reader revealed yesterday that city attorney’s office told the mayor a name switcheroo was a no-no. But, as the U-T reports, the mayor allowed the deal anyway.

The mayor’s office isn’t talking except to say the deal was a great idea.

Slow News Day? Try No-News Day

For one brief terrible moment on Wednesday evening, the entire community was left with only a handful of stations offering local news, weather and sports at the same time. It was all due to a “total system meltdown,” as a Channel 8 insider described it, that pulled the station’s local news show off the air, the U-T reports.

Please share your memories of this dark day. I, for one, will never forget the horrible feeling of not knowing what the weather is like outside without having to leave the couch or switch the channel.

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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