A couple decades ago, the very idea of charter schools was enough to unite education advocates of all political stripes. While they hardly shared the same perspective about worst-case scenarios, both liberals and conservatives feared a lack of rules could allow teachers to go wild and embrace questionable educational approaches.

Now, with plenty of statistics to rely on and plenty of students enrolled in local charter schools, the debate is the same as always: Do charter schools actually work? Or are they a threat to public education?

VOSD reporter Mario Koran says it’s time for a rethink of the whole discussion: “maybe it’s time for us to have a different conversation: One that focuses on where charters excel and whether that success can be replicated.”

Koran explores how factors like flexibility, teaching and an “X factor” explain the rise of charter schools even as the proof that they work overall is lacking.

Politics Roundup: Jarrett Is Officially in at Civic SD

The City Council has confirmed local developer Reese Jarrett to lead Civic San Diego, the urban renewal agency that rose from the ashes of redevelopment. We’ve explored his vision for the organization and a blip on his record.

• Opponents are still claiming lies in the minimum-wage referendum effort, but it will be difficult for them to do anything about it. (KPBS)

• The legal dispute over public access to private emails from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is continuing, now featuring an apology from Goldsmith himself. (SD Reader)

• Mother Jones takes a deeper look at the Chamber of Commerce’s decision to endorse a handful of Democrats, including the first openly bisexual member of Congress and San Diego’s Rep. Scott Peters.

Cyclist ‘Bikelash’ Drives a Debate

• Meet the word “bikelash”: It refers to the wide variety of reactions, some wacko and dangerous and others in the realm of reasonable, to the “resistance and hostility” to the rise of urban cyclists. CityLab takes a look and quotes San Diego’s own bike activist Samantha Ollinger: “Everyone has typically a very positive association with their first ride. So once you get people in that space, when they’re thinking about what it was like to ride as a kid, you’ve got them primed and ready and willing to listen to your message.”

Citylab is urging cyclists to give up their outlaw ways and stop demanding protections while “blithely salmoning up a major thoroughfare and expecting everyone look the other way.”

Quick News Hits: Hold the Salt

• Hot. So hot. SDG&E might set an all-time record for demand. (U-T)

• We might soon get drinking water from that big Carlsbad plant that will pull salt out of seawater: It’s ahead of schedule. (NBC 7)

• Some water-saving rules, like requiring restaurants to serve water on request, seem more symbolic than effective. What about rules on pools? The L.A. Times says they might fit into that same category: Pools typically use as much, or even less, water than a lawn of the same size. Pool covers can save even more water.

• The L.A. Times checks in on the Maritime Museum’s $6 million project to “build a full-scale, working replica of the San Salvador, the flagship of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo when he arrived in San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542.”

• The San Diego school district’s new armored military vehicle — now with teddy bears! — isn’t done being a national joke. Yesterday, the influential Jalopnik blog blasted the district and declared the school board’s resident loudmouth Scott Barnett (misspelled as Burnett) to be “possibly the only reasonable person left in the entire universe.”

Meanwhile, VOSD’s Scott Lewis posted this on Twitter: “I dreamt last night that @voiceofsandiego bought a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle and I was nervous about explaining why.”

He should tell people he’s afraid of rampages by Godzilla-sized local egos. They’ll understand. (In a related story: RAWWR! SMASH!)

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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