Last year, Poway Unified School District borrowed $105 million. It won’t start paying the money back for 20 years — not even any interest. And by the time its done, it will have to pay $981 million total. 

All so that officials could fulfill the promises of an earlier bond and tax increase.

In a special report, investigative reporter Will Carless explores the deal voters agreed to and why it has raised concerns across the state. It caused at least one former supporter locally to say the district was not clear about what it was doing.

“Poway should have been more forthright with us,” said Lani Lutar, CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, which supported the measure. “Had we known then what we know now, we would probably have taken a different path.”

Opinion: Prosecutor’s Threats to Public Employees Are Hollow

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, the Obama administration’s lead federal prosecutor in the region, caught the attention of public employees recently when she threatened Del Mar officials in advance of that city deciding to put a medical marijuana access initiative on the ballot.

She said they were “not immune” from prosecution for helping people illegally get controlled substances. But, of course, nobody is.

The ACLU said she shouldn’t threaten public officials like that. But how much of a threat was it really?

In a commentary, law professor Alex Kreit says Del Mar officials have nothing to worry about

Opinion: Stats Aren’t Whole Police Story

Our recent critical examination of the San Diego police chief’s claim that crime was spiking and getting out of hand has provoked quite a debate.

In a commentary, police union representatives Jeff Jordon and Brian Marvel laid out the starkest possible warning about how bad things are in the department and why investment is needed.

They say we concluded in our piece that the plan the chief proposed the city adopt to put new resources in the department is not needed. Not true, responded editor Andrew Donohue. Our work “was very clearly about how the chief’s crime stats were flawed. Not the plan.”

The comments on the piece are worth a look.

Borrego Springs, Minus the Springs

A while back, I visited Borrego Springs during a scorching summer day to write a story about what it’s like to deal with temperatures of 115 degrees and up. A barista at a coffee joint (yes, a coffee joint) gave me this bit of local color: “My cat gave me a look this morning that said, ‘kill me now.’”

The hardy folk in Borrego Springs — plus various domestic pets like this flustered feline — still manage to survive summers. Then they thrive in winters when snowbirds drop in to enjoy golf, luxury and cozy temperatures.

But, as the U-T notes in a special report, big trouble is on the horizon: the water — which feeds the golf courses plus local farms and homes — is running low.

Never mind the town’s name: the region’s springs, in fact, could dry up completely with a few decades, and getting a pipeline out there could be impossibly expensive. The paper says other parts of the local backcountry face similar straits.   

Quick News Hits

• The NC Times takes a fascinatingly detailed and carefully non-sensational look at the local sexual bondage community, which has been linked — much to its dismay — to the grisly and high-profile murder of a Marine’s wife.

• A few years ago, hotel magnate “Papa Doug” Manchester spawned a boycott and became persona non grata in the gay community for supporting anti-gay-marriage efforts.

He later apologized “for the pain and conflict I have caused.” He’s now divorced and publisher of the U-T, which supports a gay man, Carl DeMaio, in the race for mayor.

But in an editorial on Sunday, the paper stood behind Chick-fil-A, the chicken restaurant that got major support from opponents of gay marriage last week: “Chick-fil-A had thousands of Americans provide its biggest sales day in history. Through it, the lines said, Americans want their country back.”

Coronado’s Encounter with Sex Symbol for the Ages

The weekend brought the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, who’s still the biggest sex symbol of all time. Here’s another anniversary, this one with a local angle: 54 years ago, Monroe began filming “Some Like It Hot,” her most popular film and the best movie comedy ever. (So says your friendly neighborhood Morning Report scribe.)

The filming didn’t start in our neck of the woods but would eventually end up there at the Hotel del Coronado, a stand-in for a beachside Florida hotel in the film.

Co-star Tony Curtis wrote in a book that the hotel was a “hotbed of gossip,” much of it about Monroe and how she looked.

When she came out of the ocean in one scene, she looked a bit heavy. A crowd of crew and gawkers muttered about her weight, and even director Billy Wilder made a snide note of it. Monroe snapped back: “You want your audience to be able to distinguish me from Tony and Jack (Lemmon), don’t you?”

There was even talk that she might be hiding something. Turns out she was.

Last week, I interviewed author expert Sarah Churchwell for The Christian Science Monitor about the surprising inner life of this remarkable woman. In a question just for VOSD, I asked Churchwell if anything about the Coronado shoot stood out. Yes, she said: “A lot of people don’t realize she was pregnant during filming, so when they call her fat, they are being unfair.”

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

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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