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The San Diego school board nixed a proposed charter school in City Heights even though the district superintendent, Cindy Marten, supported it. She later followed the board’s direction and advised state officials to deny an appeal, but they resurrected the school, called Thrive Public School.
In a new commentary, VOSD’s Scott Lewis finds something that’s peculiar: While Marten dinged Thrive for not having a clear plan to teach English to kids who don’t know the language, she was throwing the district’s own approach to the problem into upheaval.
“In one swoop, the district reassigned nearly half of its English-language support teachers,” Lewis writes. “There was no announced strategic shift or plan to improve how they are dealing with these students.”
Now the school will set up shop in City Heights but under state oversight, not district.
Transit Agency Not Worried about Old Taxis
The Metropolitan Transit System, which regulates taxis, is standing by its existing rules that allow cabs over 10 years old — about 40 percent of taxis in the city, according to our research. There’s no limit on how many miles that cabs can have on their odometers.
The agency’s chief of staff put it this way at a City Council committee hearing the other day: “My household has a 10-year-old car and a 6-month-old car and I put my two young children in both and I feel they are safe. We, as the people who check and inspect the cabs, feel they are safe.”
But a 10-year-old family car doesn’t experience the same workload as a San Diego cab, which can be on the road almost 24 hours a day and indeed racking up hundreds of thousands of miles. As we report in a new story, taxi drivers convinced the council committee that officials should crack down on older taxis and those that have been salvaged. But new rules are far from being final.
Our story includes updates on the status of other taxi-related issues. Taxi drivers want protections against high lease rates, underground sales of city-owned permits known as medallions, and alleged bullying by owners.
San Diego has long had some of the nation’s most expensive taxi rates, even higher than some other West Coast cities that must deal with the same high gas prices. A USA Today analysis in 2013 found that only Honolulu has a higher per-mile rate than our $3. San Francisco and Los Angeles are lower. (Our initial $2.80 charge as of 2013 is on the lower side, though.)
Advocates Say Kids Abused in Custody
According to newly released internal accounts, local juvenile-detention officers have repeatedly sprayed children with pepper spray to keep them in line. One girl was sprayed because she refused to strip naked in front of a male staff member. She was sprayed in the face four times and forcibly stripped. She ultimately landed in solitary confinement for 48 hours.
Led by a law firm that advocates for children, 10 advocacy groups — nine of them local — are demanding that the federal Department of Justice investigate the county probation department over its treatment of children in its custody, CityBeat reports.
“Only a handful of states allow juvenile-detention staff to carry pepper spray. More than 70 percent of facilities nationwide ban its use entirely,” says CityBeat, whose reporting led to investigations by outside groups.
There’s more: The complaint “raises a host of other allegations, including strip searches of incarcerated youths by adult staffers of the opposite gender, routine use of solitary confinement and isolation, and inappropriate use of force and restraints,” the U-T reports.
Quick News Hits: It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Nightmares
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer says he’ll veto the increase in the minimum wage, which the City Council has re-approved, but a council majority will be able to override him if it sticks together. (U-T) Meanwhile, KPBS profiles people who would be affected.
• The state is OK with the pricier renovation of the area in front of Horton Plaza. (U-T)
• A guy walked by me at Balboa Park yesterday and yelled this message my way: “People on the radio say we’re in the great tribulation period.” Duly noted.
• After a weekend of weird weather including a couple hundred lightning strikes, things are settling down in the skies. It’ll still be warm this week, but the forecast calls for a bit of cooling.
Good thing. While San Diego’s known for its weather, many out-of-towners fail to realize how difficult the heat can be to tolerate in older houses without insulation, cross breezes or central air. Case in point: I took a nap in the afternoon heat yesterday and dreamed I was taking selfies with a 7-foot-tall Dick Cheney.
Pro-tip: Do not try this at home.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.