The Juvenile Court and Community Schools system’s public profile is small, but its impact is big: Each year it serves 12,000 students who have been in trouble with the law or face other problems. Some are teenage mothers or homeless.

Now, county education officials have shaken up the system, sacking principals and reorganizing the way things are run. At issue, as VOSD reporter Joel Hoffmann explains, is a recalculation of how these students should be taught. Critics, including some students, are not happy with the changes.

Weighing the Health Care Penalty

Health care reform, which kicks in big-time on Jan. 1, won’t affect most people. But those without insurance will have to get it or face a tax penalty. Second Opinion, our series of questions-and-answers about the changes to come, explores how much the penalties actually are.

Big Endorsement Goes to Alvarez

The regional Labor Council made an endorsement for mayor Friday night, and it wasn’t of former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, the Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat who’s become the darling of some (but not all) union types. Instead, the council went for Councilman David Alvarez, who just declared his intention to run a few days ago.

NBC San Diego has details and notes the divide that’s been opened: “The endorsement signals a deep divide between former labor leader Lorena Gonzalez, currently a state assemblywoman who is supporting … Fletcher, and the current leadership at the Labor Council.”

Even More Campaign News

• Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, who also sought the Labor Council endorsement, tells NBC San Diego that she’ll focus on clean energy and get the word out about her campaign with the potential help of “smart technology, new media and social media.”

• Our Reader’s Guide to Nathan Fletcher is VOSD’s most popular story of the week. Check out the full Top 10 list.

After Exposure, Woman Says, Filner Didn’t Stop

Carla Sette — a non-profit organization worker, ex-Miss Mexico and former local TV news reporter — was recovering from cancer when she met Mayor Bob Filner in June. She was hoping to work for him on the project to celebrate the centennial at Balboa Park.

As Sette writes in an extraordinary first-person account in the U-T, Filner hit on her during the first meeting. She says he continued pursuing her even after he publicly apologized to women he was accused of harassing.

Quick News Hits

• The U-T is out with a major investigation of care in local nursing homes for seniors. Hundreds have suffered assaults and injuries in the facilities, and “for many, poor care hastened their deaths. At least 27 San Diego County seniors have died since 2008 from injuries and neglect suffered in the facilities.”

“Their deaths, the paper says, “reveal critical failures.”

• USA Today asked everyone in Congress to reveal their position on attacking Syria. In San Diego County, Reps. Darrell Issa, Susan Davis and Scott Peters are undecided.

Rep. Juan Vargas is in favor; Rep. Duncan D. Hunter is against. Both of California’s senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, favor intervention.

• In a new travel story, a New Jersey newspaper raves about our fair city: “Sensational San Diego lives up to all of its hype.”

That’s nice, but the story has at least one error: It’s the Broken Yolk Cafe, not the Broken Yoke Cafe. And the story says San Diego is Southern California’s “most southerly city.”

Hmm. Maps suggest that Imperial Beach is actually farther south than San Ysidro, the southernmost part of San Diego. Of course, the geographical perspective might be misleading. Or maybe the mapmakers are in the pocket of Big Map and trying to fool us. Conspiracy!

Probably not. But one thing is clear: I really like saying “in the pocket of Big Map.”

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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