House candidate Carl DeMaio has recently been making a pitch to voters in the 52nd Congressional District painting himself as a peacemaker, eager to build bridges in Washington. Scott Lewis wonders who this new peace-loving DeMaio is and what he did with the aggressive, uncompromisng DeMaio we all have come to know. “It’s a curious campaign and it’s simply not the case for electing DeMaio,” Lewis writes, noting that DeMaio’s largest impact in San Diego has come not from compromise but from being an intractable stalwart for his own positions.

“Over and over throughout his decade of experience in San Diego he bullied, pressed ultimatums and demeaned rivals,” Lewis write. This new peacemaking business? “It must be killing him inside.”

• DeMaio recently notched an endorsement from a business-friendly conservative group.

Performance Boost at Charter Schools

Charter schools may be doing better with underprivileged students than regular public schools, Mario Koran reports. “More than a quarter of students … who’ve historically fallen behind attend the state’s most ‘outperforming’ public schools,” he writes, citing a new report on California’s charter schools. But that’s not because those schools are posting exceptional standardized test scores. It’s because students are outperforming the predictions experts place on them, which are estimates based on their economic and family situations.

• The Seattle Times notes that San Diego Unified’s efforts to improve service to special needs children should be a model for other school districts.

Choosing Your Power: San Diego Explained

The term “community choice aggregation” is one you’re likely to hear more of in the coming year, and it’s all about whether you can choose to consume renewable energy or whether that choice is made by power companies. And in San Diego, it all depends on the city’s elusive new climate plan. Andrew Keatts teamed up with NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia to pierce through the confusing wordplay and get down to the real talk in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Pot Holes Take a Toll

We’ve been keeping an eye on the issue of degrading roads and infrastructure recently. Thursday, a report from a national transportation group estimated that San Diego’s poor roads are costing each driver about $1,900 per year. “In the San Diego area, 57 percent of major roads are in poor condition,” Fox 5 San Diego reports. The costs add up between car repairs and lost time and fuel due to backed-up roads, not to mention all the money you owe to your swear jar.

MRAP Gets Bad Rap

In case you hadn’t heard, our local school district is now the proud owner of a “mine-resistant ambush protected” military vehicle. San Diego Unified’s self-fashioned contrarian trustee, Scott Barnett, told NBC 7 he doesn’t agree with the acquisition, which he said happened without the knowledge of the district’s board. But since it’s going to happen anyway, why not lease the new vehicle to local law enforcement?

• The chief of SDUSD’s police department doesn’t like that idea, and notes that the armored military vehicle would be full of teddy bears. (KPBS)

• The district released images of what the vehicle would look like once it was ready to roll. At first, it was this. Now, apparently, it’s this. (Next, this, perhaps?)

News Nibbles

• The clock is ticking on the effort to collect enough signatures to stop a minimum wage hike in San Diego and put it up instead for voter approval. (KPBS)

• Disagreements over risky investing behavior at the county’s pension plan, and how much to pay its risk-welcoming consultants, have resulted in a lawsuit against the county. (U-T)

• A La Jolla company got its weight-loss drug approved by the FDA Thursday. (KPBS)

• “A tethered aerostat, which looks like a blimp, will hover 1,000 feet in the air” near Coronado as part of a military exercise in the coming weeks. (U-T)

• Starting Tuesday, a new California law mandates drivers give bicyclists three feet of room on the road. (NBC 7)

• Balboa Park officials are working on re-opening the park’s iconic California Tower to the public. (10 News)

• This is what happens when San Diego engineers have kids, get bored and make viral YouTube videos.

What’s Your Drought Plan?

Forget the ice bucket challenge. Do you think the solution for our water-starved state is more water storage? Or maybe we should focus on recycling water, or reducing residential water use? The California Water Challenge lets you choose your own adventure in unbearable drought, putting the decision in your hands to save water and yet paradoxically spend a ton of money.

OK, I lied. Here’s 10 local Rabbis doing the ice bucket challenge at the same time.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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