Some local restaurants have been leading the charge against a boost in the minimum wage because they’ll have to pay it to waiters and waitresses even though they get tips on top of their hourly rate. Now, a local restaurant group says it will start sharing tips with cooks, dishwashers and other employees back in the kitchen.

Arturo Kassel, the owner of several local restaurants, tells us that he ran the idea by the wait staff along with a take on “the widening income inequality.” They went along with the plan, he said.

There’s a dispute about whether sharing tips like this is legal, and if so, what types of workers can get a cut — can bartenders and bussers, for example, get in on the deal?

Reality Behind Rosy Graduation Stats

It sure sounds great: The San Diego school district has the lowest dropout rate and second-highest graduation rate among large urban school districts in California. But don’t break out the non-alcoholic champagne just yet.

As we report in a new story, the truth is more complicated. The district is actually a long way from reaching its goals when it comes to the task of preparing all students for college by making them pass certain courses.

Tech Challenges Facing the Cops

In a new story, we look at how the San Diego Police Department is coping with various forms of technology.

As we told you yesterday, attorneys challenged a San Diego police search of a suspect’s cell phone and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, which says cell phones of suspects can’t be searched without a warrant. San Diego cops will soon get a memo about how to handle cell phones.

Also, the police aren’t interested in drones (at least for the moment) but they are putting body cameras into use and trying out facial recognition software.

• “The city of San Diego is involved in a legal dispute with a nonprofit church that was hired by police to mentor children at risk of joining gangs,” the U-T reports.

The strange case revolves around the Metro United Methodist Urban Ministry’s claim that the police department owes it $43,000; it says the police suddenly wanted to know more about how money was spent. The city says the police department wrongly gave $17,000 to the church, and it wants the money back.

Politics Roundup: An Unusual Prosecution

• Back in 2004, the district attorney’s office went all out to prosecute a boy who was accused of shooting a pellet gun at another boy in Coronado. No one was injured. The alleged perpetrator denied the incident and passed a lie detector test, witnesses denied that he did it, no fingerprints were found on the gun and another boy confessed to shooting the pellet gun. A judge threw the case out.

So why was this boy prosecuted? Apparently because the victim accused him of the crime. The victim, the U-T discovers, is the son of the Mexican billionaire who’s been implicated in a campaign finance scandal involving District Bonnie Dumanis. She’s been facing questions about the college recommendation letter she wrote for the son.

There’s no evidence that Dumanis played a role in the 2004 case.

• The latest edition of San Diego Explained, our video series with NBC 7, takes a look at the county’s new $5 billion budget, which includes extra funds for advocates for nursing home residents, libraries, crime labs and security at the new Waterfront Park.

• County supervisors are divided over how to protect the Cleveland National Forest, a sprawling chunk of the backcountry, while allowing people to build on their own land. KPBS has details.

• The U-T reports that big fees for building projects at the port are turning off companies that want to develop along the waterfront.

• A survey suggests California residents aren’t big fans of major job protections for teachers that were at the heart of an explosive court case earlier this month. (L.A. Times)

Quick News Hits: War over Marshmallow War

• Yes, you too can crowd-fund your local wedding. Just ignore the stern glares from Miss Manners.

• Jack in the Box has a couple places in my heart: It’s the first place I ever worked (and where I got to experience the thrill of being burned by frying oil for tacos). And it spawned the best fast-food insult name in history: “Gag in the Bag.”

Now, the fine folks at the San Diego-based chain are hawking cronuts. What’s a cronut? Not going to tell you because you’ll just make the line longer. Let’s just say those troublesome deep fryers are involved.

• A pitcher with the San Francisco Giants now has two no-hitters under his belt against the San Diego Padres. The U-T is not impressed: “Are the Padres the worst baseball team in a century? Tough to say, but this is true: no pitcher had no hit the same team in more than 100 years, and (the pitcher’s) performance dropped the Padres team batting average closer to a historic 100-year low.”

What is going on? Oh wait, I know. A few years ago, the Padres left Mission Valley. Now they don’t have a prayer. It all makes sense!

• Ocean Beach is debating a soft topic: the annual Marshmallow War on July 4. Some residents think it’s gotten out of hand thanks to enormous amounts of trash, slingshots, “marshmallow guns” and more.

“To help out, many Ocean Beach businesses have promised not to sell marshmallows on July 3 or 4,” 10News reports.

Look for a black market in the white stuff. Definitely a sticky situation, but OB should be able to pull through.

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 and follow him on Twitter:

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Randy Dotinga

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

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.