Have you ever tried to fill up a leaky bucket? It’s a messy endeavor.

Now, imagine that the water is cash from Proposition 30 and the bucket is a troubled San Diego Unified School District, and this whole metaphor will begin to make a lot of sense. The hole? Well, that’s a bit more complicated.

Proposition 30 was meant to solve the public education funding crisis across California, but now it appears that nearly 61 percent of any new funding received by San Diego Unified will go toward reimbursing teachers for their long-delayed pay raises —raises that were used to plug the hole a few years ago. With the cork removed —and another few drops diverted toward administrators— only about one-third of the funds will ever get to our drought-stricken classrooms.

Our story takes a cold, hard look at the rough numbers and the agreements that brought on the district’s most recent fiscal woes.

San Diego Explained: Take a Walk on the Crumbly Side

In our most recent San Diego Explained video segment, reporter Liam Dillon takes on the tricky legal, logistical, and actual mess that is San Diego’s sidewalk infrastructure.

In his report, Dillon reiterates that while the city is legally responsible for sidewalk safety, property owners are responsible for the actual repairs. It’s an awkward system, but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to make a visit (and submit photos) to our blog, The Stumblr, to see the full extent of our city’s ailing footpaths.

‘I Am No Longer Homeless’

For readers who have been following our months-long series about homelessness in San Diego, Liz Hirsh has become a familiar face. Hirsh began writing in to VOSD back in December and graciously allowed us to have a window into her life as a homeless 58-year-old woman on the streets.

She sent us multiple dispatches from coffee shops around the city, and her latest proudly announced that she has found a permanent home through the CC Senior Housing program.

Hirsh was in the crowd for our Homelessness quest discussion last night at the emergency winter shelter. Stay tuned for a recap and for further updates on Hirsh’s big news.

That Hotel Tax? Yeah, Even the Hotels Call it a Tax

It walks like a tax and talks like a tax, but City Attorney Jan Goldsmith still insists on calling the TMD a fee. It may just seem like another three-letter word, but the distinction is important.

One requires a vote by the people, the other does not.

On Wednesday, Scott Lewis took on Goldsmith’s claim that the TMD “payors are the hotels.” And yesterday, he discovered that even the Hard Rock Hotel boldly calls the TMD a tax right on its receipt. It’s a tax that was twice rejected by the people of San Diego in previous votes.

Take a look at any old hotel receipts you may have lying around the house. If they say TMD tax anywhere, be sure to get a copy over to us.

Reader Comments: San Diego Politics Are Totally Insane

It may come as a shock to some younger readers, but San Diego’s political system was once a very different animal. In 2004, the city switched to a system that gave the mayor chief executive status and considerable power over the course of legislation. Longtime San Diego resident Ron A. Smith wrote in with a sharp criticism of “strong mayor” system, calling it an “unmitigated disaster.”

In our San Diego Explained segment about the change, we did a full analysis of the new system and NBC 7 San Diego put together a truly wonderful set of graphics.

In another commentary, reader Herb Morgan wrote in to comment on our recent story covering the spat between Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. Morgan believes that electing a city attorney is a completely “nonsensical” system that leads to blatant conflicts of interest. As he puts it, the city attorney’s political ambitions lead to a system where “the city is suing itself with borrowed money.”

Quick News Hits

• San Diego County Water Authority Chairman Thomas V. Wornham takes a shot at the Los Angeles Times for its criticism of the new Carlsbad desalination plant.

• Santana High School shooter Andy Williams spoke with PBS News Hour about Sandy Hook and says he thinks “it’s not really the same thing.”

• A Point Loma dispensary has named a new flavor after Mayor Bob Filner. The description says “this 1 won’t let you down.” Maybe not your first choice for a mellow nightcap.

• A recent public opinion poll says that 75 percent of San Diegans now support drinking reclaimed sewage water. Liam Dillon notes that the numbers are up 25 percent from a decade ago.

… Now my bucket metaphor up top just seems a little bit more revolting.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at colin.weatherby@gmail.com 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

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at colin.weatherby@gmail.com and follow him on...

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