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The donors who fund nonprofits like to see results: Numbers of people served, the percentage of funds spent on programs, the overall impact on the community. But, as we report in a new story, it can be tough for fledgling inner-city groups to get money when the results of their work aren’t always obvious.

Our story focuses on an organization of “violence intervention workers” who are much more down-to-earth than that wonky job title suggests. They help families of homicide victims with things like grief counseling, groceries and referrals to other groups that can help them.

Now, activists are working to expand these kinds of programs, using efforts in Los Angeles as a model. But we’re not L.A. (spoiler alert!), and that’s raising some challenges.

Separate… and Unequal?

We’re continuing our examination of inequalities in San Diego schools by taking a deeper look at how classrooms in richer parts of town get a major boost from parent donors through foundations. “The broader question of whether foundations exacerbate inequalities hangs unanswered,” VOSD reporter Mario Koran writes.

For their part, “parents who run foundations say that raising money to fill funding gaps at schools is not only fair, it’s necessary.” Why? Because schools in neighborhoods like La Jolla miss out on funds that go to schools with poorer students. But do poorer students have extra needs that kids from richer families don’t?

Police Chief: Yes, Racial Profiling’s an Issue

• Thanks in part to our coverage, concern about racial profiling by cops is an issue facing the police department. How big of an issue? Shelley Zimmerman, the new police chief, gave an indication at a town hall meeting this week, as NBC San Diego reports.

“When they’re pulled over here instead of asking for drivers license or insurance they ask you if you’re on parole or probation,” one local mother told Zimmerman. When asked if racial profiling is an issue, the police chief said “Absolutely, because the community says it’s an issue.”

• KPBS profiles a retiring police sergeant who’s been on duty for 35 years.

He’s the leader of the Homeless Outreach Team, a unit of cops who rarely arrest people but instead try to help transients get off the streets: “Everybody on the street kind of knows the Homeless Outreach Team van, knows we’re not going to arrest them for whatever, that’s patrol’s job. So they kind of get to know who we are, and we offer all those alternatives. Like we could facilitate the winter shelter, we can facilitate into St. Vincent’s, we can facilitate into Rescue Mission, so that’s what we do.”

Nude Dancers Say Cops Stripped Their Dignity

“Twenty-five dancers at a San Diego strip club have filed a civil rights claim against the San Diego Police Department, claiming that police officers held them against their will and took revealing pictures of their tattoos,” NBC San Diego reports.

A police spokesman said the cops didn’t do anything wrong when they inspected the dancers Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club in Kearny Mesa.

Culture Report: ‘Face-Melting Riffage’ and More

The VOSD Culture Report rounds up arts and culture news, led by the demise of the San Diego Opera.

Other tidbits take note of a “throwback maven,” “face-melting riffage,” a busker festival, a typewriter maven and new owners for the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Show (the show so nice, they named it “art” twice!).

• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is unhappy about the opera’s demise and is supporting a petition to keep it alive. “It seems like the current leadership just gave up on the organization,” she tells the U-T.

Supporters will have to hurry since the opera is marching toward liquidation.

Gonzalez, a former labor leader, has more than arias on the mind. “There is, at any time, up to 400 total jobs at the opera, and that includes jobs like union carpenters, designers, welders, scenic artists, wardrobe folks. These are good, middle-class careers in the arts.”

Quick News Hits

• VOSD food politics blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar examines the fuss over a local company’s “sweetener enhancer” and the media’s confusion over its status.

• San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has fired Jim Barwick, the head of the real estate assets department along with two of his top managers. (U-T)

• The recent CHP vs. firefighter standoff in the South Bay — over access to a freeway accident scene — has spawned a legal claim. A firefighter who was handcuffed by a CHP officer says he was arrested “with malice,” the U-T reports.

• A memorial bench honoring the late TV newsman Loren Nancarrow will be removed from Del Mar’s Dog Beach and end up at a pizza place in Cardiff, 10News reports. The bench which looks like a big dog bone, has to go because it blocks emergency access to the beach.

• Ermagherd! The Jezebel blog has gone into full-squee mode over a photo of a teeny tiny orphaned San Diego-area kitten named Sprinkles who has a purple cast. Thanks, San Diego Humane Society, for the cute-splosion.

• I’m heading out of town today, and a friend wonders if I’ll be doing the usual complaining on social media about the price of bottled water at the airport.

Um, have we met? Of course I will! I’m already practicing the appropriate words — “Why, this is highway robbery!” — and deciding whether to grumble in weary resignation or enter full-fledged whine mode.

I also plan to complain about the overcrowded Southwest terminal, the long security lines and the fact that no one ever pages me to the white courtesy phone. And another thing… Hey! What do you mean I don’t get to come back?

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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Randy Dotinga

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

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