You could call music teacher Russell Shedd an anomaly. He thinks his pay is fine, he believes teachers should be evaluated (and possibly dismissed) based on how well they teach, and he says four months off is worth the long hours. But in one way he’s not a big exception: He’s been laid off, just like hundreds of his colleagues in the San Diego school district.

Never mind that he’s a powerhouse teacher at Scripps Ranch High. He may be on his way out, potentially to Texas, where they’re hiring. In a Q&A, he tells us how he’s feeling.

“This year’s different,” he says. “In the past it was just ‘Oh, this teacher got a pink slip, but they’re going to be back.’ But this year the kids know it’s different. They know that the impact is profound.”   

Reporter Will Carless found Shedd’s story as he’s fanned out this week across the district to tell the human story of the school district’s layoff crisis. Watch later today for the next installment.

The Non-Outsourcing of City Services

“Our employees have won I think all the bids,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith the other day in regard to the city’s efforts to put its services out to bid to private companies.

Is he right? Did city employees win those bids over their private counterparts? Yup, finds San Diego Fact Check. The claim is true

Voters Stayed Home by the Droves

The countywide turnout on Election Day was the second lowest for a presidential or gubernatorial election since 1980. (The lowest was a primary election for governor in 2002. Remember Bill Simon? No? Well, that might tell you why it was so under-exciting.)

The turnout among registered voters was about 35 percent, meaning that only about 22 percent of all residents who are old enough to vote did so.

More than twice as many people voted in the 2008 November election headlined by McCain vs. Obama.

Letters: Fletcher, Renegade Bicyclists, Seals

In letters, Jim Snook of Clairemont writes a message to Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who lost his campaign for mayor — “even in defeat you have done good Mr. Fletcher and that’s all that can be asked of any man.”

In a related story, I’d like to hire this letter writer to be my personal publicist.

Clifford Beck of Ocean Beach questions the new bike-friendly markings on local streets and says, “to grant the right to occupy the full lane of traffic to a bicyclist, I believe, will progress to a belligerency on their part that will impede traffic flow and incite confrontation.”

And Jane Reldan of La Jolla urges readers to support a plan to protect the seals at the Children’s Pool.

Arts Report: Trouble in Escondido

The former finance director of the forever-troubled Center for the Arts in Escondido tells the NC Times that she was fired for refusing to “cover up gross financial mismanagement” at the publicly funded facility.

This story is one of more than a dozen that made it into the latest Arts Report, our weekly roundup of all things artistic and cultural.

Quick News Hits

• SDG&E has settled with the city of San Diego over the 2007 fires and will give it $27 million, the U-T reports. The city had sought $60 million.

For background, check out our in-depth look at SDG&E’s potential culpability, the bills it faces as a result and the blank check it wants from rate ratepayers.

SDG&E’s paid out more than $1.5 billion in claims as a result of the fire; its insurance only covers $1.1 billion.

• There are few more academic-sounding titles than “Reinventing Evidence in Social Inquiry.”

But sometimes you can’t judge a book by its title. This one, written by a UCSD sociologist, has spawned a bitter battle that’s spilled over from the halls of academia to the courtroom.

The sociologist is finally publishing his book after the UCSD Social Sciences Department put a gag order on it, saying it harassed a colleague because it critiqued another professor’s research methods. The university has lifted the censorship, reports the UCSD Guardian student newspaper, but not until after the sociologist had to take out a second mortgage to pay legal fees.

• It’s been hazy lately around San Diego. And it’s not just because all the gaseous verbiage unleashed by election-season pundits is finally dissipating.

Why do the skies get all grey around this time of year? Science writer Cameron Walker turned to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for the answer in a post about the weather science behind June gloom.

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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