The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
A while back, each of the county supervisors got $2 million a year to dole out to nonprofit community organizations. Critics cried “slush fund!” and reporters dug up cases of suspicious and misused grants. One supervisor even gave or tried to give funds to anti-abortion and Christian organizations.
The Board of Supervisors shrunk the fund to $1 million for each supervisor. But now, as we report, there’s a move to stick more cash into the money train and go back to $2 million per supervisor.
SD Schools: Cut One Teacher Each, Campuses!
The San Diego school district “has directed schools to eliminate one position from their [teaching] staff to help save money and keep the teaching force manageable,” the U-T reports. “Schools have been told to fill any vacant classroom teaching positions with a qualified employee from their support staff — literacy and math specialists among them.”
Meanwhile, 472 veteran teachers are retiring due to special incentives to stop working.
Teachers showed a flair for the dramatic by waving signs at the school board meeting this week that read: “Everybody says, it’s like the Hunger Games, they all just want us to send somebody for sacrifice.”
• San Diego Fact Check digs into this claim by school board member Richard Barrera: “We now rank at or near the top in these categories compared with California’s other large urban districts. San Diego Unified now has the lowest dropout rate of any of them.”
Is he right? He is. The claim is true. The district also scores well on a similar measure.
Building in Mid-City Just Got More Expensive
The City Council has jacked up fees on builders by almost 500 percent in San Diego’s urban core, also know as Mid City. Building one residential unit will cost a fee of $11,925, up from $2,545.
“It’s a risky bet that could pay off in more parks — or drive a wedge between the city and developers at the expense of the communities that need them,” VOSD’s Megan Burks reports.
Drone-Makers Confab Reveals Worries
Hundreds of people from the drone industry gathered at a conference in Point Loma this week and talked about hopes and hurdles. VOSD reporter Lisa Halverstadt was there and summarizes the big issues.
“They worry a big drone crash could injure a civilian. Or that a big privacy breach could turn the public against their industry for good. They think the alphabet soup of acronyms sometimes used to describe certain drones is confusing. And they want to know if the crazy plotlines on ’24’ could happen in real life.”
Government Roundup: Don’t Panic Over Big Cuts
• The county is cutting $97 million from funding for health services, but no one’s raising the alarm. As we report in a new story, Obamacare is picking up the tab for health care for poor people, so the county’s social services no longer need the money.
• Former San Diego Police Chief William Landsdowne, who resigned amid big questions about misconduct on the force, isn’t going quietly into retirement. He’s now working with ecoATM, “the nationwide network of automated electronics recycling kiosks.”
That’s, um, unexpected. So what will he do? A press release says he’ll be a “key contributor … to consumer safety and awareness around cell phone and device security and assist ecoATM in building and strengthening relationships with law enforcement across the country.”
Dumb? Yes. Despised? Not Really.
• So the Padres have drafted an NFL quarterback, and VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro is perturbed. In a new column, he writes that the team’s general manager “decided to screw around” by drafting Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns. “This “was a fun, quirky PR move executed the wrong way, at the wrong time, by the wrong team.”
• The Deadspin sports blog tried to answer this question: What are the least hated pro sports teams?
Well, guess who’s the most un-despised in baseball: the Padres. “The only way you could hate the Padres is if you’re a Cubs fan who is still bitter about 1984. Or if you hate Tony Gwynn. How could you hate Tony Gwynn? He’s a fat little hitting machine with a voice like Mickey Mouse. What are you, some kind of monster?”
Of course, the Padres are un-unloved because they never make anyone mad by beating the the heck out of them. That’s nice. Too nice.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.