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Our forum this week on the future of the troubled San Diego Police Department uncovered a few take-home lessons.

We’ve complied them in new post, but here’s a quick summary: The department isn’t among the most transparent in the country when it comes to its policies, the coming manpower shortage is going to be a doozy to resolve and the city attorney’s positions differ a bit from those in the city’s legal arguments in a police misconduct case.

Our National Rankings: Not Too Shabby

We may live in California’s second-largest city, but we’re really no higher than third in the eyes of the world and perennially comparing ourselves to that monstrous metropolis up the coast. (Los Angelenos would respond with a sneer if they still had working facial expressions.)

So forgive us if we have a bit of an inferiority complex and a burning desire to know how we rank nationally. How do we rank, anyway? Not too bad, as we explain in a new story about how we’ve been stacking up lately.

‘It’s Going to Be a Fight’

San Diego Unified has sent out an initial proposal to the teachers union. It wants a new teacher evaluation process, flexibility on class sizes and more professional development for teachers, among other things, and says all its plans evolve around the big Vision 2020 commitment to put a quality school in every neighborhood.

The teachers union’s immediate response: “It’s going to be a fight,” says a blog post on the group’s site. The post says the district is disingenuous in its request for a respectful process, and is asking for “a top-down comprehensive change to the evaluation process without union member input prior to the bargaining table.”

Twists in the SD Opera Saga

Don’t write off the San Diego Opera just yet. Turns out that its board may not have the right to close the doors: “Three experts in nonprofit management told KPBS that California law and the association’s bylaws say the board of directors alone cannot shut down operations.”

So who has that power? Some 850 members, that’s who — everyone who donated at least $100 to the opera, KPBS reports.

• KPBS says opera boss Ian Campbell, the target of much anger by opera fans, was snippy in a response to a complaint from a labor union of musicians, saying it made a “totally inappropriate threat.”

• The U-T says an opera rescue plan is in the works: “ideas include moving to cheaper offices, adjusting the season, downsizing productions, moving performances into unconventional venues (like a stadium or warehouses), finding new audiences and tapping new sources for donations.”

Politics Roundup: Shift in Spending on Homeless

• Want to know more about the mayor’s new proposed budget? Dig into the charts we’ve put together to explain how spending has changed between mayoral administrations.

• The mayor’s proposed budget shifts some spending on the homeless away from temporary shelters that are now open all year and toward other strategies. Not everyone’s on board with this change. (U-T)

• In an editorial, CityBeat says the mayor shouldn’t kill off the new Civic Innovation Lab, a creation of the last city boss.

• CityBeat has its own take on that meeting where local Dems tried to figure out what went wrong in the mayoral election. A political scientist said “the Democratic elite in San Diego were a house divided amongst themselves.”

Taxi Troubles in Pricey City for Cab Riders

• CityBeat digs into the roiling debate over taxi-industry regulations: Taxi drivers say they’re being exploited by the taxi companies that lease cars to them.

Nobody seems to know how any change may affect cab prices in the city, which have been among the highest in the nation in recent years, beyond those in Los Angeles and San Francisco. ranks cities by sample fares and puts us at No. 4, behind only Honolulu, Sacramento and San Jose.

The poor and elderly must often rely on taxis, and they’re probably not great target audiences for the new-fangled car services like Uber and Lyft. So the cab fares aren’t just a matter of interest to people with money to burn.

Quick News Hits

• VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro isn’t a fan of the Padres manager.

• The New York Times examines a state court case that could decide “whether California’s laws governing teacher tenure, firing and layoffs violate students’ constitutional right to an education.”

San Diego school board member Richard Barrera was a key witness in the case.

• San Diego Unified has sent out an initial proposal to the teachers union. It wants flexibility on class sizes,

• “A new lawsuit alleges that construction of Jamul’s new casino desecrated Native American burial ground,” NBC San Diego reports.

• What’s a pearl-laden Spanish ship from the year 1615 doing half-buried in the desert outside El Centro? The Reader knows.

• San Diego-based Chicken of the Sea hasn’t just given its trademark mermaid a modern makeover along with lush new locks. (Somebody’s using a new conditioner!) She has a new name too, Times of San Diego reports: Catalina. Yes, like the island.

That’s nice. But can please someone explain to me why tuna are “chicken of the sea”? And pass the mayo. I’m hungry.

Randy Dotinga

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

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