San Diego’s Response to Pothole Complaints Is Worth Complaining About: First, the good news. If you spot a pothole in your neighborhood, you can call the city to complain, and they’ll send a crew to fix it.
The bad news? As the city’s roads get worse and worse, it’s taking those crews longer and longer to respond to residents. Complain today, and a crew out should be out to patch your pothole sometime around mid-August.
Our Keegan Kyle dug into the city’s database of pothole complaints, and what he found isn’t pretty. The average pothole complaint took a whopping seven weeks to investigate last year. The city’s tracking system is riddled with thousands of errors and has been for years. And the city responds slower to pothole complaints in northern neighborhoods like Rancho Bernardo and La Jolla.
That got the City Council’s attention. Several council members told us they would commission an audit to figure out what’s going wrong.
The city has underfunded its roads for years. Though the mayor and others tout the money the city is spending on paving projects, city estimates show that it isn’t keeping roads from getting worse. San Diego has a roughly $900 million backlog of repair projects for roads and other city facilities.
If you want to learn more, start with our reader’s guide to the city’s pothole problems.
The Teachers Union Is Willing to Negotiate After All As a dire school budget situation shaped up this spring, San Diego’s teachers union continued its hard-line stance. It refused to renegotiate a labor deal that guaranteed raises for teachers next year, saying that district budget figures were made up.
So to close the budget gap, the school board laid off one in five teachers district-wide, 1,372 teachers in all.
In the end, the union blinked. It tentatively agreed this week to concessions that will restore those jobs. That’s one of the five key takeaways about the deal we outlined this week. For a better understanding of the union’s softening stance, check out our reader’s guide to our coverage of the union.
Moving to the Middle Can Be Awkward: Councilman Carl DeMaio, he of mayoral aspirations, has prominently decried the role that “downtown insiders” played in the city’s decade-long financial crisis. But as he tries to attract moderates, he’s gotten the support of a consummate downtown insider, Kris Michell, the former top advisor to Mayor Jerry Sanders. Our Liam Dillon, who has extensively profiled Michell, broke down what her support means.
Bob Filner Knows How to Work a Room: The mayoral hopeful got The New York Times’ attention this week during a hearing about veterans’ benefits. He attacked the Department of Veterans’ Affairs handling of a backlog of disability claims, turning a typically polite hearing into a tough interrogation. And it worked: Filner swung a Tea Party Republican to his side. We examined just how typical (and effective) Filner’s performance was.
Getting the News Online Will Cost Something: The U-T San Diego erected a paywall around its online content this week. Readers will get 15 stories free a month unless they pay $3.49 a week for the paper online. Careful! Click that link and you’ve only got 14 stories left.
A Quick Roundup
• Changes are afoot at the beleaguered watchdog Utility Consumers’ Action Network. Michael Shames, the former executive director who helped found UCAN in 1983, is officially out, the U-T reports. It’s a major change for the organization that announced it was under federal investigation earlier this year.
• Former City Councilwoman Donna Frye, who joined us for our first One Voice at a Time event this week, writes to explain the glistening and glittery artwork she brought along with her for us to auction off. Make sure to check out Frye’s sardonic take on the city’s notoriously disengaged populace.
• You comment, we listen. Our weekly roundup of comments on our site shows that at least one of you is really fed up with complaining to the city.
• The deal to roll back teacher layoffs has ramifications across San Diego schools. We’ve zeroed in on its impact in City Heights, and more in our weekly roundup of stories about that San Diego neighborhood.
Number of the Week: 52. Days it took on average last year for the city to respond to pothole complaints.
Number of the Week, Part II: 5. Days that City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said it took the city to respond to pothole complaints.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to Happy Talk Beach for the Big Happy Beach Party.
Rob Davis is a senior reporter at Voice of San Diego. You can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0529.