Not too long ago, charter school advocates went all-in to help the San Diego school district convince voters to increase property taxes for a $2.8 billion construction bond. The district pledged that $350 million would go to build or renovate charter schools.

Now, not yet two years after voters signed off, young charter schools “are being told they can’t have the money until they’re 5 years old — even though they were instrumental in helping pass the bond in the first place,” VOSD reporter Mario Koran writes.

Politics Roundup

• It’s not quite clear what people think Police Chief Bill Landsdowne should have done differently to prevent the rash of serious misconduct cases, but it is become more apparent that his job isn’t secure. Mayor-Elect Kevin Faulconer wouldn’t tell the U-T if he’ll keep the chief on the job.

• The right-leaning Lincoln Club flooded mailboxes with nasty fliers in recent campaigns and helped snuff the political hopes of its archenemy, two-time mayoral loser Nathan Fletcher. Late last year, Scott Lewis interviewed its volunteer chairman and donor, Bill Lynch.

Now, T.J. Zane, Lincoln Club’s paid president and CEO, is stepping down to focus on other activities. He’ll be replaced by Ryan Clumpner, a political whiz kid who helped run Carl DeMaio’s mayoral campaign and is currently chief of staff for North County-area Assemblywoman Marie Waldron. We recently had Clumpner on the podcast.

For his part, Zane will start a new think tank and reform advocacy group, the San Diego County Prosperity Institute.

• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis seems to be in for the fight of her life at the ballot box this year, and yesterday brought a defection: Adam Gordon, a prosecutor, resigned and joined the campaign of opponent Bob Brewer as coordinator. Gordon has worked on some prominent cases.

On Drought Front, We’re Not ‘Exceptional’ … Yet

In a nifty new map graphic, Mother Jones magazine looks at water usage in drought-stricken California.

Turns out the state produces 99 percent of all almonds in the country, and 90 percent-plus of walnuts, pistachios, broccoli, strawberries, grapes and tomatoes. It takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow an almond, and a third of a gallon to grow a single grape.

The map also amusingly labels the stages of drought in various parts of the state. We’re in “Extreme Drought” down here in S.D., which is worse than “Severe.” But unlike a big chunk of the central part of the state, we’re not yet at “Exceptional Drought.” What’s after that? “Holy Guacamole Is This a Big Drought or What”?

That reminds me: Where are avocados in this map?

Quick News Hits

• NBC 7 San Diego found the number of water main breaks in the city of San Diego has dipped below the annual average of 100 per year, but ahead looms another major infrastructure issue: asbestos cement pipes. That type of pipe is starting to break at a rate faster than the older cast-iron pipe. The station also mapped out the locations of water main breaks and cast-iron pipes.

Some of you have gotten to know VOSD member and events manager Zach Warma. He’s leaving for a new job up in L.A. He’s leaving us with a warm goodbye.

• The San Diego City Council has decided folks should not be allowed at all on the Children’s Pool by La Jolla’s famed seal colony from December to May. Now the issue heads to the Coastal Commission. (NBC 7)

• The City Council is going to try to once again set regulations for marijuana dispensaries. The last time it tried, advocates threw out the law after forcing a referendum. (10News)

• The Mexican national accused in the campaign finance scandal “is a surveillance evangelist whose company won a secret, no-bid contract with the Mexican military for computer and mobile phone hacking and spying technology in 2011,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports. “He is chairman of a company called Security Tracking Devices SA de CV, and he is now chained to a tracking device — on house arrest.”

• Jacob McKean, founder and CEO of Modern Times Beer, has a few thoughts regarding my recent VOSD story about a new report on the growth of the craft beer market in San Diego. In a new commentary, he says I bungled the issue of whether there’s a craft beer “bubble,” missed the point about the local foundation for the industry and fumbled remarks about who might go bust as the foam rises.

He does give me a bit of credit (“I will at least applaud Dotinga’s skepticism”) but then lowers the boom (“Dotinga asked all the wrong questions”).

You know what they say: The brewer giveth, and the brewer taketh away.

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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