The San Diego school district’s educators overwhelmingly agreed to accept the terms of a deal that will trade promised raises for the retraction of hundreds of layoffs. The school year will remain shortened, possibly by weeks, because teachers won’t work on furlough days.

The vote in favor of the deal was 3,033 to 1,468. The school board is expected to approve it today.

Under the worst-case scenario, the school year will be cut by 19 furlough days: five that teachers already take off as part of a previous arrangement, and 14 more if state voters don’t approve a tax hike.    

Map: The Kreep vs. Peed Vote

It was the race that launched a thousand jokes: Gary Kreep, the fiery conservative activist attorney who has helped shape a movement that claims the president wasn’t born in this country, versus prosecutor Garland Peed in the race for a judgeship. Kreep won, if barely, sparking outrage nationally and locally.

How’d he do it? By beating back his opponent in almost all of the backcountry and much of North County, our map of voting by precincts reveals. That’s not too surprising, but here’s a shocker: South Bay, a Democratic stronghold, went for Kreep big time.

• If you missed Kreep’s interview on KPBS’ Evening Edition, you’ll want to see that.

La Jolla Went Red in June

We’ve also put together a map to show you who won each precinct in City Council District 1. Democrat Sherri Lightner will face Republican Ray Ellis in a November runoff. At stake: party control of the City Council. (The council isn’t technically partisan, so parties don’t appear on the ballot, but everyone the parties play a big role.)

So who’s blue? Lots of areas in University City and on the UCSD campus went for Lightner. La Jolla went mostly red for Ellis as did Carmel Valley and North City.

Home Prices Show Bounce

Our housing and economics analyst Rich Toscano broke down the latest Case-Shiller index of home prices and notes that we are seeing an uptick along with constrained inventory for homes.

His historic graph of home prices compared to incomes going back to 1989 is worth a look.

Letters on Layoffs, Faulconer Jibe

• Sara M. Finegan, who works at Hage Elementary School, complains that San Diego district teachers are at the “bottom of the barrel in terms of teacher pay and benefits in Southern California.” (Check our story from 2011 for details on what we called the district’s “Cadillac Benefits” and “Honda Salaries.”)

She says “We haven’t had a pay raise in years” — she’s referring to across-the-board raises, not the ones that many teachers get as their experience and education grows — and writes that “although the cost of living is skyrocketing, we are willing to forego even a COLA [cost of living] increase in order to keep your child’s class size the same.”

• Matt Awbrey, a spokesman for Councilman Kevin Faulconer, defends his boss against VOSD Radio’s decision to award him the “Goat of the Week” honor. (Faulconer had falsely claimed that it takes the city 4-5 days to fix a pothole. The best we can determine, the average is 52 days.)

County Grand Jury Takes Scorn

The San Diego County Grand Jury can’t get any respect. Not from journalists, who routinely mock its watchdog reports. Not from politicians, who dismiss its work as irrelevant.

Now, CityBeat takes a look at the grand jury, which is under fire from Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who says it’s issued some “very questionable reports” recently. “At worst, the grand jury is losing its credibility, but it’s also losing its relevance.”

In particular, Emerald and others are miffed by a grand jury report on the city’s streets that included a mention of a study comparing roads here to those nationwide and finding them shoddy. The problem: the study looked at the county, not the city.

The foreman for last year’s grand jury isn’t impressed by the carping. “Anytime somebody criticizes you, you have to make yourself look as good as you think you can,” he said.

The grand juries are typically made up largely of retirees who have the time to serve on them.

Walt Ekard, the county’s chief administrative officer, likes to say this to incoming grand jurors: “The media’s going to love picking up on what you say, and it’s going to embarrass us for a couple of days—you have that ability. I have the ability to ignore everything you do and basically make your year a waste of time. So why not put all of that aside and let’s figure out how we can collaboratively work on this.”

Stuck in the Middle with No One

Californians are fleeing the major parties, especially the Republicans, and becoming non-partisan, reports LA Times columnist George Skelton, and big shots are joining their number. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, of course is one; he dumped the GOP in a last-ditch effort to gain traction in the mayor’s race. Another is Bruce McPherson, a former California secretary of state who also left the Republican party because he found its rightward tilt unbearable.

“There’s no middle,” he said.

Fletcher’s campaign manager says the assemblyman’s defection boosted him with voters. But, Skelton writes, “he was hurt by the subsequent lack of party fundraising and volunteer help.”

The online site Slate take a look at this LA Times story and quotes a Republican strategist who says the newfound competitiveness of congressional races in the state — one features local Rep. Brian Bilbray in a tough battle in a newly redrawn district — could force the GOP to evolve. “I think that’s going to show Republicans how to win in swing districts out here, and it’s going to moderate them on immigration and other issues.”

Now Is the Winter of Our Summer Content

The Old Globe Theatre is back with its summer repertory productions, including Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” KPBS takes a look at the play and “the art of villainy.” (Side note: I took an acting class at UCSD a few years ago and got rave reviews for producing a certain villain-ness while playing Richard III. Hmm.)

“He’s moving the chess pieces constantly and yet at the same time playing this character that everyone thinks he’s not smart enough to be moving all the pieces,” said actor Jay Whitaker, who’s playing the doomed king. “It always seems like he’s pushing people, everyone that he’s around, he’s pushing them beyond their comfort zone. And everybody’s being manipulated, all the time. There’s not a single person free from his manipulation.”

Wow, so I can go to the Old Globe and pick up pointers about how to get everybody else to do what I want?

A ticket! A ticket! My kingdom for a ticket!

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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