For now, San Diego Unified School District is able to pay its bills and keep teachers in the classroom. But with a $115 million deficit awaiting the school district next  year, it’s unclear how long that’ll be the case. “One school board member says that if the district can’t make up enough of its balance, hundreds of employees — from janitors to area superintendents — could face the ax,” reported Mario Koran.

Layoff threats are nothing new for this district, but one might wonder how we find ourselves in this situation after the passage of the $2.8 billon Proposition Z tax hike in 2012, and the new cash flowing to the district from other tax hikes and funding formula changes.

Koran explains and breaks down the two big ways the district hopes to make payroll next year.

• Koran also found a district slide that makes sense of its complex budgeting system in one simple graph.

SeaWorld Pays Up

We’ve been on a quest to understand what SeaWorld’s place in San Diego and what the controversy over how it treats whales might mean for the city. U-T San Diego published a story claiming the city of San Diego “nets a minimum $9.6 million in annual rent for the 190 acres leased by [SeaWorld].”

Not quite true any more, Lisa Halverstadt found in our most recent Fact Check. In January, “the city started a new lease that incorporates two new revenues streams and a slightly higher required rent: $10.4 million.”

• The U-T reports that SeaWorld has hired a lobbyist to fight the bill introduced in the California legislature that would ban SeaWorld from using orcas in live shows.

• Meanwhile, SeaWorld claims the “Blackfish” documentary has had no impact on attendance at their shows, and reported higher-than-expected earnings.

Magic Pothole Solution Is Here

“You’re going to be seeing fewer potholes.” That was the promise from Kris McFadden, who was tapped by the mayor this week to be the new head of the city’s Transportation and Storm Water Department. “McFadden said the goal of the crews are to fix potholes within five days a request is submitted,” 10 news reported. Readers may recall that we’ve spilled our share of ink on the issue of potholes and sidewalks recently.

News Nibbles

• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is out there making controversial political endorsements again. She once vowed not to do that.

• A sign in front of an empty lot downtown reads “What Do You Want Here?” It’s part of a new effort to transform empty spaces in dense areas called “tactical urbanism.”

• If the City Council has its way, we’ll be voting on a higher minimum wage for San Diegans in November.

• This cringe-worthy path that San Ysidro High School students must walk to get to school might finally get a sidewalk installed on it sometime soon.

• More graphic details are emerging about the accusations against former San Diego police officer Christopher Hays.

• The U-T is diving into the state of San Diego’s budding coffee culture.

• The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has chosen the New York architect Annabelle Selldorf for an expansion that will triple the size of its exhibition space,” reported the New York Times.

Gorillas In Little Hats

Twitter was all abuzz yesterday when Forbes announced that San Diego took first place on their list of top cities in America to launch your start-up company. That’s a narrative that clashes with local business leaders who say our region is unfriendly to businesses. Forbes criteria for ranking cities included some strange indicators, like counting the number of companies with Facebook pages, or the number of companies that get online reviews. “We believe the next generation of small business owners will flock to cities not because of growing job rates and income levels, but because of community engagement and access to resources,” Forbes wrote.

But all of that was quickly forgotten when the San Diego Zoo announced the birth of a new baby gorilla (via c-section!) and posted a picture of it wearing a little blue hat.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at 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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