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According to the numbers, only two metro areas in the whole country — New York City and Los Angeles — have more homeless people than San Diego County.

But, as our reporting discovers, we’re not at the front of the line when it comes to getting federal funding to combat the homeless problem. In fact, we rank 18th in one measurement of federal funding.

Why? An archaic rule mandates where the money goes, and there’s not much we can do to get a bigger chunk of the dough.

We’re not talking about a few bucks. “San Diego has a similarly sized homeless population to Seattle, but the Pacific Northwest city was eligible for $23 million from HUD last year, versus nearly $16 million for San Diego,” our story reveals.

The discrepancy isn’t well-known to everyone who works with the homeless, but members of Congress have pushed for answers about the system. Now, three House members from San Diego County plan to join them. They each told VOSD they didn’t know about the problem, but now vow to look into the issue.

If you’d like to dig deeper into the numbers, check our spreadsheet that includes links to the original data.

Message in a Picture

The San Diego Unified School District has a new superintendent, and fittingly, we want to help you pass her some notes. Just get someone to take a photo of yourself holding a message for Cindy Marten (or take it yourself) and send it to us.

We’ve got details about this project here, and you can find the photos on the new Tumblr, Dear Superintendent …

Meet the Reporter in District Four

Our reporter Liam Dillon is embedding himself in the Fourth District, which is holding a City Council special election this month. The district covers much of southeastern San Diego and has traditionally been represented by a black council member.

If you’d like to meet him and discuss your concerns about local politics and government, drop by the Starbucks in Market Creek Plaza today from 8 to 10 a.m.

Why Not an NBA or NHL Team for SD?

In our latest Active Voice blog post, sports watcher John Genarro argues that San Diego needs to dream bigger than just two major sports teams.

No, he’s not calling for the Clippers to come back. 

But Genarro does think we can support NHL and NBA teams even though we’re a fairly small “market” among pro sports teams. “Maybe it’s time for San Diego to start over with their fans,” he writes. “Maybe it’s time to build a base, a die-hard crowd of 20,000 or so that shows up every night to give the home team an advantage.”

Quick News Hits

• A miffed judge sentenced a former USD basketball star to six months in prison in connection to game fixing, U-T San Diego reported. “You disparaged the integrity of a university and the integrity of basketball,” the judge said.

• A startling investigative story in CityBeat uncovered how local cops have been using license-plate-reading devices to monitor the locations of thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of local drivers. And then the information, which can be searched, is stored indefinitely.

KPBS talks to the reporter behind the story.  

• San Diego Christian College fired an employee for being unmarried and pregnant, a lawsuit claims, but wanted to hire the father of the baby prior to their eventual marriage, NBC reports. Why is a national TV network interested in this story? Because the plaintiff “joins a group of women who in recent years have sued the religious schools that fired them for getting pregnant out of wedlock.”

The college didn’t comment.

• Half of the people who live in San Diego County are women, according to the census. Forty percent are white.  

As for local judges who work for the state, well, not so much. Three-quarters are white, and fewer than a third are women, the U-T reports, according to a survey.

• North County’s San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly known as the Wild Animal Park) is known for a few things.

It’s a great place to go and see animals without feeling guilty about them being in cages. It’s the subject of a rather earthy urban legend that we fact-checked a few years ago (and found to be true!). And it’s the best place around to see butterflies.

As NBC 7 San Diego reports, staffers are getting ready for the big butterfly exhibit that starts later this month by accepting shipments of hundreds of butterfly pupae. The flying marvels will include monarchs and ” the zebra longwing, orange-barred tiger, swallowtail, blue morpho and Grecia shoemaker.”

We may have found the name for our next NBA team: The San Diego Blue Morphos! You heard it here first. (And, presumably, last.)

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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.

Randy Dotinga

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

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