The Teach for America organization isn’t a guaranteed hit among teachers. Some of them worry that its recruitment of college grads to become teachers — and work in poor neighborhoods for at least two years — is the wrong approach.

So how is Teach for America doing after opening a new chapter here? We sat down with executive director David Lopez to get some perspective. In Q-and-A, he talks about the deal he struck with San Diego schools, the obstacles posed by San Diego’s unique culture (we’re not big on outsiders coming in and telling us what to do) and the evolution of the group’s approach.

Not the First Time for Cop Body Cams

The Police Department is looking into equipping cops with body cameras to track their interactions with people. Turns out they’ve tried this before, we report. This time around, they say tech advances make the cameras more feasible.

• In a commentary, resident Martha Sullivan calls for giving “the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices actual power to do the job it was set up to do … The police wield very wide discretion, which must be effectively checked by an independent body to which civilians can present their grievances for impartial investigation and corrective action.”

Election Roundup: From Mud to Measures

• From the Not Helping Department: “Look, we’re a pro-business political action committee. We sling mud, but we don’t sling that type of mud,” says a spokesman for the right-wing Lincoln Club, which is facing accusations (and a tiny rally yesterday) that it spread racist fliers in its bid against mayoral candidate David Alvarez, CityBeat reports. The head of the Lincoln Club similarly defended the group’s tactics to Scott Lewis after the first round of the special election.

• KPBS is out with a long report on why we have referendums in our state and city and how some feel they’ve moved beyond their initial purpose as a way for the little guy to exert power.

• A blog that covers technology and elections does a good job explaining ElectionMall, the political social-media company whose CEO is facing charges in connection with San Diego’s unfolding campaign finance scandal. “This isn’t the first time that the company has been involved in shenanigans,” says the TechPresident blog, although it doesn’t report anything other than a dispute involving a former employee.

Culture Report: ‘Bulgy, Judgmental Eyes’ Edition

Alex Zaragoza, the compiler of our weekly Culture Report, acknowledges that her siblings, with their “bulgy, judgmental eyes,” drive her a bit batty sometimes. (Bet the feeling’s mutual today for some reason!) “This is why I’m amazed by siblings who work together without punching each other’s lights out,” she writes, pointing to a pair of artistic brothers whose work is on display at the Mingei.

Also in the Culture Report: Museum Month, a graffiti artist named Maxx Moses who likes to discombobulate people, a VOSD scribe-turned-theater critic and the popping and locking (yeah, I’m looking up what that means too) of a break-dancing troupe.

Quick News Hits

• VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro takes note of a sports reporter’s frustration with the Padres.

• “Federal energy regulators have issued notices to several organizations they say violated electric reliability standards during the September 2011 blackout,” the U-T reports.

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins offers his memories of the late newsman Neil Morgan and their conversations about obituaries, like the one that Jenkins’ own father failed to get in the U-T.

The column includes Morgan’s recollection of some wise advice he once got himself: “Hang on to your typewriter, kid. It’s your only chance to change anything.”

• The City Heights neighborhood has a new park designed mainly for adults and seniors, KPBS reports.

• Starfish are dying mysteriously (and weirdly) up and down the coast.

• Cliche alert! Slate checks out the “apocalyptic wasteland” out at the Salton Sea, where a onetime resort community “is a bleached, rusted, abandoned wasteland. The water smells of salt, petrol, and rotting fish. The shores, once lined with sunbathers, are covered in green sludge and desiccated fish carcasses.”

The news outlet Vice has referred to the Salton Sea region as “post-apocalyptic,” while Curbed went with “apocalyptic.” Other online sources prefer “quasi-apocalyptic,” “post-apocalyptic hellhole” and “post-apocalyptic wonderland.” For its part, the U-T went with “post-apocalyptic feel.”

Reminds me of that timeless song from R.E.M.: “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Quasi-Apocalyptic).”

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

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

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