The Morning Report
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They’re called lawmakers for a reason. State legislators sent hundreds of bills to Gov. Jerry Brown during the 2013-2014 legislative session, and he signed quite a few of them — including an impressive 91 from San Diego legislators.
Of those, “not surprisingly, given San Diego’s military population, a substantial number of them dealt with veterans and service members, although some lawmakers stuck to other themes as well,” writes VOSD contributor Brian Joseph in a roundup of what our reps have been up to. Other topics of bills include transgender rights, prisoner rights, dogs, life insurance, four-year degrees at community colleges and even the Armenian genocide.
Not surprisingly, the Democrats have been the busiest, but Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein also had 22 bills signed into law. Mark Wyland, a Republican state senator from North County, clocked in with just three.
English Learners Take Another Hit
First, the San Diego Unified school district declared that it needed to save money quick, so it turned 33 English-language support teachers into regular teachers, eliminating their positions without eliminating them. That’s about half of the teachers who are specifically assigned to help students learning English.
“Now the district says it’s going to be more than that,” VOSD reporter Mario Koran writes. “How many, it can’t say — principals have another week to make case that their school can’t spare the cuts. Some schools could be waived.”
As for what will happen once more English language support teachers are cut, “The district has a plan, at least on paper, but much of it includes vagaries like looking closely at data and forming a task force.”
VOSD Radio: The Californians Who Live in Vegetative States
Inewsource got national attention — including an appearance on “PBS NewsHour” — for its new series about the thousands of Californians who live in vegetative states. They spend their time in “subacute care units” known as “vent farms” because they’re full of ventilators keeping people alive artificially. These are often the people whose loved ones choose to keep alive.
The latest edition of VOSD Radio features Brad Racino, one of the Inewsource reporters who worked on the stories. “This is where people go when they don’t get better,” he tells our hosts.
Listeners and viewers wondered how the journalists got such personal access to families and patients. Racino says the families welcomed them. “They wanted this out in the light, they wanted to know what can happen to a loved one or a family member or anybody in the event of a traumatic accident.”
• On another podcasting note, we’ve got the full audio from our VOSD Live event, featuring Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Check it out if you missed last week’s show.
Election Roundup: The Main Event
The U-T profiles the cases for voting for Rep. Scott Peters or challenger Carl DeMaio in the only competitive local race for Congress.
Meanwhile, the U-T breaks out the Latin in an editorial endorsing DeMaio: “he’s sui generis — one of a kind … We’d strongly prefer a congressman eager to shake up the status quo to one who offers a languid, detached critique of it.”
• The L.A. Times says the intense national interest in races like Peters vs. DeMaio isn’t all about this year’s congressional election, which should keep the GOP in charge of the House or even boost its numbers: “The parties are positioning themselves for 2016, when the nation will next elect a president and when the political climate could be very different, and even beyond to 2018, experts said.”
• William Landsdowne, the San Diego police chief who resigned in disgrace over misconduct in the department, is one of the two co-authors of Prop. 47, would “downgrade six low-level, nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors,” the U-T reports. “The money saved in prison and prosecution costs — perhaps $200 million a year — would go to programs addressing substance abuse, mental health, truancy and victims services
Quick News Hits
• Our story about the auditor’s report on the fiasco that was the Balboa Park centennial was the most popular on our site last week. Check the full Top 10 list of our most-read stories here.
• “A federal judge has ruled that medical exams given to children who are brought to San Diego County’s emergency shelter by social workers violate the constitutional rights of the parents and children involved,” the U-T reports. The ruling comes in a lawsuit from parents with a child who was injured at a daycare facility. The county apparently didn’t trust the suspicions of doctors about the facility, and social workers took the kids away for two days. The county gave them drug tests — at the ages of 3 and 5.
• The Hollywood Reporter examines the legal case against MP3.com founder and occasional VOSD contributor Michael Robertson, who was recently hit with a $48 million jury verdict in “what might be the most complex copyright lawsuit of all time.” A judge has slammed both sides in the dispute and adjusted the damages. Also: The story says Robertson has changed his name to Michael Hammer.
• Yes, that was San Diego getting a shout-out in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch about a pair of feminist singers.
• Wanna snitch on your water-wasting neighbor? Apps may soon allow you to do so, the L.A. Times says. They’re already in place in other parts of the state. Will parents report every teenager who takes a 45-minute shower? Maybe! In a related story, this is another reason for me to be glad I’m not 15 anymore.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.