“You could conceive and give birth in the time it takes to hire a new city worker,” reported Lisa Halverstadt, referring to the findings of an audit presented to the city’s audit committee on Thursday. Auditors found the average applicant for a city job gestated 280 days inside San Diego’s hiring process before starting their first day of work. Auditors made several suggestions they said would induce faster hiring, including filtering out unqualified candidates and setting deadlines for reaching milestones within the process.

We recently fact-checked a (true) statement made by Councilman Kevin Faulconer that the city’s long hiring process was hurting hiring efforts at the San Diego Police Department. “Many [applicants] did tell us that they opted out of our process because it was taking too long,” one police official told us.

Black-out Blame

For a bunch of guys whose patience is allegedly running thin with San Diegans, the Chargers’ management aren’t especially eager to get their games seen by TV-watching fans in San Diego. Scott Lewis tackled the unpopular practice of “blacking out” local football games that haven’t sold enough tickets.

“The Chargers have all kinds of means at their disposal to avoid blackouts,” Lewis wrote. “The team chooses not to exercise them.”

But while Chargers’ management plays Grinch with the team’s home games, they’re simultaneously asking fans for a huge hand-out in the form of a new stadium.

Judgement Day

On Wednesday, we reached out to our readers and asked them to opine on the fate of one of our most vocal and controversial commenters, who we’ve previously written about before. The issue: at what point does an individual commenter bother our readers so much that they would prefer that person be banned from commenting on our site? The answer seems to be that our readers aren’t sure where that point is, but they haven’t reached it yet.

Nuances of Pollution

This week saw a gush of raw sewage released into the San Diego River and the ensuing beach warnings to stay out of the water. Joel Hoffman reported that finding out what waters are “impaired,” or how bad those impaired waters really are for you, can be hard. “Water can be polluted without posing a risk to human health, and the list of impaired water bodies only reflects where researchers have tested samples,” Hoffman reported. For example, this week’s reported warnings were for waters impaired by sewage. Other waters are impaired because of the presence selenium, which, while toxic at high doses, also occurs naturally.

Hoffman has also been looking into high concentrations of pollution around San Diego schools. Despite laws barring the placement of schools near smog zones around busy roads, San Diego still has 39 schools that sit inside those danger zones. Hoffman joined NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to explain how schools use loopholes to locate inside smog zones, potentially putting school childrens’ health at risk.

Capital or Cures?

Is the privatization of science an impediment to the sharing of data, and therefore an impediment to major discoveries? An article from the Emperor of All Maladies Project questions whether we are missing out on the cure to cancer in pursuit of bigger companies and careers. “If we agree… that what we need is greater sharing of data and ideas during research (not afterward in publication), then the task is to re-imagine a funding system that asks for and rewards collaboration,”  they wrote.

Doubling Down On Barrio Logan

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said yesterday that a referendum challenge to the recently-passed Barrio Logan Community Plan Update shouldn’t shake the City Council’s resolve on the issue. The City Council voted in September to approve new zoning for residential and commercial construction in the neighborhood. Opponents of the new boundaries successfully gathered enough signatures to challenge the Council’s vote, although not without stirring controversy of their own.

“Gloria said the council has repealed its measures in the past under threat of referendums, and ‘all that’s gotten us is more of these referendum challenges,’” reported KPBS.

News Nibbles

• Newsradio 600 KOGO’s Cliff Albert, the longtime program director there, has apparently left the station. Here’s host LaDona Harvey’s take.

• San Diego will have to reimburse residents for fees related to a lawsuit the city lost in 2011.

• As the temperature outside drops, the homeless need blankets and coats.

• Drones are probably coming to an airspace near (or over) you, but they’re already in Julian and residents want to know what the drones are doing.

• A jailed County of San Diego worker who stole $360,000 worth of printer ink will have his pension reduced, which the first time that has happened under a new law.

• About 7500 gang members make up the 158 gangs that call San Diego County home.

• Iranians are irrational liars who should probably be bombed with tactical nukes in the event we have to attack them, according to local Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

• San Diego officials spoke out about the death of Nelson Mandela yesterday.

Nights or Nightmares?

Thursday kicked off San Diego’s annual Balboa Park celebration of the holidays, dubbed December Nights. The event draws hundreds of thousands of people every year to the food, attractions and free museums. U-T San Diego has a write-up of the myriad ways one can enjoy the event. Make sure you check out the 80-foot tree and stop by a booth near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for something called a “Shiskaberry.”

One thing you should make sure you don’t do? Drive to the event. Parking lots and street parking are clogged, and roads around the park will be jammed with people who don’t read the Morning Report. You find readers will wisely park at Petco Park or City College and take the free shuttle service, and enjoy a relaxing evening of well-Shishkaberried art appreciation.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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