San Diego Unified School District is still planning to sell off major land holdings to close the $86 million budget gap and county officials are not pleased. “As the district makes budget reductions,” reads the San Diego County Office of Education’s official statement, “we recommend that the district recommend ongoing cuts as opposed to one-time cuts to reduce the budget’s structural imbalance.”

In other words, the county thinks the San Diego Unified should tighten its belt instead of pawning off the family jewels.

Explainer: Why Council members Keep Mum on Land Use

It seems odd that an elected official would stand in front of a room full of heated constituents and calmly announce “no position” on the issue, but that’s exactly what happens during every land-use conflict in San Diego. In fact, Council members with a position on land-use policy legally forfeits their right to vote on the decision.

The rule was designed to limit bias in local issues and it recently led two council members, Sherri Lightner and David Alvarez, into the unfortunate position of no position on recent issues facing their districts. It’s a strange pretzel logic, but reporter Andrew Keatts managed to decipher much of the reasoning behind the twisted policy in this explainer.

San Diego Unified School District Reports on Itself

Sometimes the news literally writes itself. San Diego Unified school board President John Lee Evans wrote in to fact check our recent interview with the school district’s new CFO Stan “Data” Dobbs. Much of Evans’ claims reinforce the assertions made by Superintendent Bill Kowba earlier this week.

We highlighted some of the figures that were contested by both Evans and Kowba in our recent coverage and we confirmed that several of Dobbs’ most controversial numbers were false in a Fact Check of our own earlier this week. U-T San Diego’s editorial board weighed in on our interview with Dobbs yesterday.

San Diego Hospice Files for Bankruptcy

The ongoing federal investigation San Diego Hospice has led the facility into bankruptcy after it slashed most of its workforce and patient load.

The facility fell under scrutiny for treating patients that had more than 6 months to live, a violation of Medicare guidelines. We’ve been following this story for several weeks as it has slowly and painfully unfolded. Last month’s coverage can be found here.

We co-published these recent revelations with Kaiser Health News, a non-profit health policy news site.

Lightner Supports Filner’s Port Veto

Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner announced in a press release that she agrees with Mayor Filner’s methods for appointing port commissioners. As council president pro tem she has the power to override the mayor’s surprise veto, but it appears that will not be happening.

In a January segment of San Diego Explained we outlined the major reasons why the mayor’s veto decision was very important and why a revised appointment process is a big deal for the city.

Is Mexico’s Drug War Coming to an End?

The Mexican drug wars seem to be subsiding, reports USA Today. This data-heavy story reveals that the homicide rate from Tijuana to Tamaulipas has returned to pre-2007 levels, some of the first encouraging signs in a battle with the cartels that has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives. Featured heavily is University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and Mayor Bob Filner.

We looked at some of these same figures last October in our graphic analysis of San Diego’s violent crime history.

Quick News Hits:

• A Rancho Bernardo project struggles with a sea of red tape after Filner’s office demands to review every city project slated by former Mayor Sanders, according to the Rancho Bernardo News Journal.

• Carl DeMaio published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal demanding tighter federal regulation of state and city pensions.

• Apparently San Diego isn’t the only city that needs a Stumblr. The SD Reader reports that Chula Vista streets are also cracked and crumbling.

Correction: An earlier version of this report referred to Sherri Lightner as council president. She is president pro tem.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter at @CCWeatherby.

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.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter @CCWeatherby.

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