The Morning Report
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The new Mid-City bus line was once to imagined to be a robust transit system with exclusive lanes and pre-boarding payment options. But compromises have been made as the new bus line has developed, Andrew Keatts reports, and that’s thrown the line’s “rapid transit” label into question.
“Bus rapid transit has four essential elements: dedicated lanes, pre-boarding payment, bus priority at intersections and platform-level boarding,” according to The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.
The Mid-City line has some of those qualities, and that’s good enough for SANDAG, which doesn’t care for the “rapid transit” label and is set to rename all of its new-fangled bus lines under the name “The Rapid.” The Mid-City line will have exclusive lanes in some places, and bus drivers will have a way to signal traffic lights in order to get priority.
• A different transit corridor is ruffling some feathers in the UTC area. The disagreement is between residents and the Mormon Church over a trolley extension project that recently changed to put the trolley further from the church and closer to residences.
Talking Teacher Evaluations
San Diego Unified School District’s contract with the teachers union expires in June, and this week we saw the district’s first proposal for a new contract appear. This proposal is special for two reasons, Mario Koran notes; one, this is Superintendent Cindy Marten’s much-anticipated first labor negotiation with the teachers union. But even more interesting was the district’s proposal for redesigning the system for evaluating teachers.
Currently, “principals visit classrooms once every year or two to see how teachers are leading class,” Koran writes. The principal then grades the teacher’s performance. Under the new contract, the district wants “to include feedback from students and parents” as part of those evaluations. It’s sure to cause a fight — the union has even promised one. The teachers union president said the teacher evaluation was his “biggest disappointment” with the proposal.
According to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the homeless population in San Diego has declined by4 percent. The task force is the group that runs the annual homeless count that takes hundreds of volunteers out very early in the morning to count people sleeping in public spaces.
To put the number in perspective, Ana Ceballos and Lisa Halverstadt created a series of charts that map the rise and fall of the homeless population in the county.
“Jefferson,” The 55th State?
If one wealthy investor has his way, California would be divided up into not two but six states, all with variations of the name California except the northernmost section, which would be called Jefferson. “He just might succeed — at getting the issue on the ballot, that is,” writes Morning Report scribe Randy Dotinga.
The investor, Tim Draper, told the L.A. Times that he wants to make the split happen so he can feel closer to his government. Dotinga breaks down what the political ramifications of the idea might be, and what the popular reception to the proposition has been. “A silly idea that deserves to die,” wrote the Merced Sun-Star, echoing the many others who have publicly criticized the idea. But Draper’s idea has a friend U-T San Diego: “secessionist proponents are onto something,” they wrote last year.
Shamu-less SeaWorld: San Diego Explained
As we wind down our quest to understand SeaWorld’s impact on San Diego’s economy, Lisa Halverstadt joined NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to look into the question at the heart of the “Blackfish” debate: Could SeaWorld San Diego survive without its orca shows? They explain why it’s possible in our most recent San Diego Explained.
News in the South
As part of our News Literacy program, which seeks to provide equal access to news and information to all neighborhoods, Bianca Bruno and Scott Lewis met with Chula Vista residents to talk about what’s going on in that community and why they feel left out of the media’s coverage. “It’s because we’re treated as dispensables,” said one woman.
“Chaos” at Opera Board Meeting
As the story of the San Diego Opera perhaps enters its final days, the situation took a sharp turn Thursday as several of the opera’s board members were seen “storming out” of a board meeting, according to NBC San Diego. According to U-T San Diego, some opera-style drama made it into the meeting.
“Faye Wilson, a board member and former president, angrily shouted as she left the meeting, ‘Those idiots!’” the U-T reports. “Shouting could be heard from inside the room after they left.”
Candidates Debate for District 2 Seat
Candidate Sarah Boot and Councilwoman Lori Zapf met for their first debate Wednesday as they both seek the City Council District 2 seat in the upcoming June election. CityBeat provided audio and coverage from the debate, noting that Boot has attacked Zapf for being the only city councilor to accept a car allowance of $800. Zapf’s staff cried foul, though, and its since been confirmed that Councilwoman Myrtle Cole also takes advantage of the generous car allowance.
• San Diego has not been able to improve its child immunization rate, or many other health-related metrics of its youngest citizens.
• San Diego’s economy is now “firing on all cylinders” according to a UCLA forecast. Steady gains through 2016 will put more people back to work in the region, they say.