SeaWorld wants you to know its decision to create bigger orca enclosures doesn’t have anything to do with “Blackfish,” the critical film about SeaWorld’s treatment of the orcas. Nope. Totally unrelated.

The Friday announcement came after two days of big stock tumbles for SeaWorld after the company reported a drop in attendance and lowered its outlook.

As Lisa Halverstadt notes, the move is most certainly a response to “Blackfish” whether the company says so or not: “SeaWorld’s Friday announcement makes it clear it isn’t planning on giving up its mascot – in fact, it’s willing to invest millions into keeping its whales around.”

• Some great reactions to/explanations for SeaWorld’s plan from some of San Diego’s top thinkers are captured in this Facebook thread.

Survey Says: Surveys Suck

You probably saw lots of San Diego leaders celebrating this Forbes piece that put San Diego at No. 1 for places to launch a startup. This other survey that ranked San Diego 119th out of 150 cities for new businesses? Not so much.

San Diego lands all over the map on a lot of similar rankings. What binds each survey, though, “is an attempt to quantify a region’s business climate, a concept that’s defined more by perception than actual numbers,” write Lisa Halverstadt and Gwyneth Shoecraft.

Some local experts think it’s impossible to measure a region’s business climate – different organizations’ needs just vary too much.

The Surprising Link Between Teacher Tenure and Suspensions

We’ve been reporting for a while now on two education narratives – teacher tenure policies, and school discipline. Both affect local schools, but we’ve mostly treated them as separate storylines. A line buried in a San Diego Unified report that Mario Koran spotted this week, though, seems to prove that they’re closely linked.

The report says that less-experienced teachers, who are more likely to be found at poorer schools, might suspend students more often because they lack veteran teachers’ classroom management skills. “That idea validates the fundamental point made by California students in Vergara v. California, who argued that the weakest teachers disproportionately end up in low-income schools,” writes Mario Koran.

• The legal team representing the students in Vergara just got even stronger (it already had some titans): A Harvard professor will advise the group as it expands its challenges to teacher tenure to other states.

What We Learned This Week

• Universities could offer some clues on how to fix teacher tenure in San Diego Unified. (Speaking of teacher tenure, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins won’t say whether she thinks the state should appeal the big Vergara ruling.)

Diapers and tampons don’t just help women.

• The accusations in the campaign finance scandal got turned up a notch. The guy at the center of the scandal also has a long and colorful traffic record.

Scott Peters didn’t create the city’s pension problem, and he didn’t end it, either.

• Chula Vista has the lowest-staffed department in the county (though SDPD seems to complain the loudest).

• The push for Community Choice Aggregation is splitting liberals statewide.

Quick News Hits

• What’s in store for the sequel to parklets (a cool urban trend that’s basically a very, very tiny park)? ROBO PARKLETS. (NBC San Diego)

• Irwin Jacobs and local businessman Mel Katz penned a joint op-ed urging business leaders to back off their plan to send the new minimum wage hike to a referendum: “let’s not delay, let’s not divide, and let’s not throw good money after bad,” they write. (U-T)

Check back on our site later today for an interview with Katz on VOSD Radio.

• The Old Globe’s artistic director Barry Edelstein gets a nice shoutout in the New York Times for his role in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” which had a tryout run in San Diego last year.

Quote of the Week

“I will not tolerate any instances of racial profiling or even discourteous treatment to anyone in our community.” – San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, in a PSA released this week that took on big relevance in the wake of what’s happening in Ferguson, Mo.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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