The San Diego Unified school district is low on teachers and low on money to hire new ones. This is by design, at least the first part, but something has to give. In this case, it’s teachers who are heading into classrooms instead of specifically assisting kids learning English.

In a new story, we examine the costs of this move. VOSD education reporter Mario Koran explains who English learners are, why schools are required to provide resources for them and and how they’re doing within San Diego Unified.

He answers other questions too, including this one: “So is this a big, fat disaster waiting to happen?”

Politics Roundup: Gonzalez Rising

• The City Council will give a $1.5 million tax break to a medical device company to keep it from skipping town for 10 years. (KPBS)

• State legislators fall in that middle ground between local politicians who are somewhat well-known (San Diego mayor) and those who only rise out of deep obscurity if they get in hot water (hospital board member).

But we now have a first-term assemblywoman who’s shaking up Sacramento, says the U-T in a profile of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez: “The Democrat’s reputation on the job is one of a firebrand unafraid to speak her mind.”

• Some of us won’t live to see the day when we can take the trolley from downtown to UCSD and the UTC mall. But the delayed project is still alive, the U-T reports.

• Another long-awaited project, the redo of the park in front of Horton Plaza, is moving forward too. (U-T)

Scripps Research Institute’s Troubles Continue

The president and CEO of Scripps Research Institute has quit in the middle of a fuss over his attempts to sell the facility, the U-T reports. The paper says several questions remain unanswered: “Where will the institute find money to make up for a huge drop in funding from the pharmaceutical industry? How will it raise private donations during a period of unprecedented turmoil? And how will the board work with a faculty that is suddenly suspicious of leadership?”

Quick News Hits

• The city’s desire to pull water from the Lake Morena reservoir has residents mighty steamed, the L.A. Times reports in an extensive story that focuses on how water politics have winners … and losers.

• The L.A. Times has a report on the big ruckus created when students at a high school in Carlsbad dared to produce a documentary about the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement.

Here’s a disturbing fact from the story: “According to the California Department of Public Health, the percentage of new kindergartners in San Diego County who seek exemptions from immunizations has increased from 1.09% 15 years ago to 4.49% last school year.”

• Southwest Airlines may be a low-price leader at Lindbergh Field, but its terminal is cramped and the lack of frills can turn off passengers looking for a comfy ride. Now there’s another hitch: Southwest planes have been showing up late around the country this year, the L.A. Times reports.

The airline blames unexpected scheduling problems and expects things will get better by late August.

• A local craft brewery is making a splash in Europe. (AP)

• In yesterday’s Morning Report, I linked to the cover of a 1951 mini-book by the late journalist Neil Morgan. It features a blonde bombshell posing on a boat with the San Diego skyline.

Who’s this woman who’d give Kim Novak a run for her money? Now we know. A reader identifies her as Mia Vietor, formerly Mia Macklin, who was married to the local heir to the Jell-O fortune. (Yes, there was a Jell-O fortune. Who knew?)

The late Mrs. Vietor, a onetime champion ice skater, is featured in photos at — of all places — Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. She also shows up on water skis (“A Water Sprite Skims the Waves”) in a glossy 1952 National Geographic spread about La Jolla.

The magazine informs its readers of a La Jolla boast: “This is a splendid place for elderly people and their parents.”

Three words: Worst. Slogan. Ever.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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