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It’s a good thing new San Diego Unified CFO Stanley Dobbs is a veteran. Because his Q-and-A with our Will Carless has the potential to provoke some battles.
Dobbs says the district’s generous health benefits are “ridiculous,” San Diego teachers get paid $92,000 on average and that the district is teeming with excess staff members.
Read the whole write-up here. We’ve got the fact check engine started.
School board trustee Scott Barnett texted Carless with a response. He said that being open about district finances is usually frowned upon, and that he predicts Dobbs will be “taken to the wood shed.”
No Ruling Yet on Plaza de Panama
Kelly Bennett was at Friday’s hearing on the Plaza de Panama plan to transform Balboa Park, where both sides spent much of their time arguing over the meaning of the word “reasonable” because of a sticking point in how to interpret a city law. The judge said he’d rule on the plan as soon as he can.
Same Stink, Different Mayor
Bob Filner wants to roll up his sleeves and scrub the bird poop covering the La Jolla Cove off himself. Knowing he can’t, his office says it’s working on the problem but “there’s been little news on progress” since Filner took office, Lisa Halverstadt found when she checked in on the stench saga.
1,100’s a Crowd
The city Housing Commission touted its great turnout — more than 1,100 homeless San Diegans — for Wednesday’s Project Homeless Connect event.
But Liz Hirsch offered a different perspective: The crowds and juggling the free goods offered left her stressed and overwhelmed, she told Kelly Bennett in a new update.
Send Us Your Cracked, Your Broken, Your Messed-Up Sidewalks
We’re still seeking submissions of the gnarliest broken sidewalks for our new Tumblr, The Stumblr. Send us photos of crumbling sidewalks with your name, date taken and the location (ex. 100 block of Main St) in the city to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What We Learned This Week
The First Rule of the Coastal Height Limit: Don’t Talk About the Coastal Height Limit: Scott Lewis decided to clear the air after some readers seized on our coverage of the Coastal Height Limit: Talking about the limit and trying to dismantle it are two different things, he says.
• We heard from another plugged-in San Diegan who cares about the height limit this week: City Councilman Kevin Faulconer. He loves the measure and would fight to protect it if a real threat ever surfaced.
The County Is More Rural Than Not: San Diego’s sheer size and geography complicated the annual count of the region’s homeless population. More than half of the county’s 4,000 square miles are rural land, the director of the count said.
She’s right — Lisa Halverstadt examined the ratio in a Fact Check, and found: “San Diego County is composed of 1,019 miles of urban area and 3,242 miles of rural area. That means about 76 percent of the county can be considered rural and about 24 percent urban.”
The Future for Medical Pot Is Hazy: Medical marijuana access had a seesawing week. First Mayor Bob Filner told the city to back off enforcement of dispensaries. Then the U.S. attorney appeared to ease up on her crusade against dispensaries. Then they both backtracked.
Still, Filner has moved the needle on his pledge to create new rules that would allow dispensaries to operate within the city.
• In our Comments of the Week, reader Geoff Page objects to the Council acting on dispensaries behind closed doors.
Managed Competition Delays Could Be Another Budget Blow: Delays in implementing managed competition — the process that allows competitive bids for city services — could cost the city close to $4 million next year.
Mayor Bob Filner isn’t helping speed the process along, either. He thinks the entire system should be re-examined.
Attitudes Are Evolving on Homelessness: Our own Zack Warma was among those who weighed in on his experience tallying the region’s homeless population: “I now more fully appreciate the fact that homelessness isn’t just an East Village problem, or a beach community problem, but something that affects virtually every neighborhood in San Diego,” he wrote afterward.
Others have written in to say Kelly Bennett’s homelessness quest has helped shape their perspective, too. In a letter, reader Heather Rose detailed how her encounters with a homeless woman forced her to re-examine her own situation: “Maybe she can’t do something. Maybe for whatever reason the wiring has her confused, or depressed or mentally ill. And then I think about myself. Are there areas in my life where I have just given up?”
Another reader, Shannon Biggs, said she appreciates our regular check-ins with Liz Hirsch: “I now once again see the not-so-hardcore homeless who were there all along at my (and Liz’s) neighborhood Starbucks.”
Quick News Hits
• California has racked up more debt from capital appreciation bonds in the last six years than any other state, California Watch finds. And The Bay Citizen has a great interactive feature detailing CABs around the state.
• Another cool interactive feature: U-T San Diego’s graphic detailing this morning’s big power plant implosion.
Quote of the Week
“I’ve got hundreds — hundreds! — of excess employees. Hundreds of excess employees.” “Where are they?” “Every damn where.” — Stanley Dobbs, new CFO for San Diego Unified, in a Q-and-A with Will Carless.
Sara Libby is VOSD’s managing editor. She oversees VOSD’s newsroom and its content. You can reach her at email@example.com or 619.325.0526.
Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.
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