Not long ago, the San Diego Unified School District decided students should graduate with the minimum requirements to enter college at state universities. Now, the class of 2016 will need to meet them, adding things like an extra year of math and two years of the same foreign language.

VOSD reporter Mario Koran noted this a few months ago and the district’s leaders took major umbrage. But now they’ve come with their own analysis and it’s not pretty: 41 percent of kids in the class of 2016 aren’t on track to graduate. Only 9 percent of English learners are, and just a quarter of those with special needs. Non-whites are facing big obstacles too.

What now? Summer school and potential waivers.

Election Update: Ebola Via the Border?

• How does one single congressional race — the only competitive one in town — manage to overwhelm our airwaves with nasty commercials? Easy: with lots and lots of money. Inewsource finds that the contest between incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters and former City Councilman Carl DeMaio race has drawn more than $5 million in spending from outside groups just from Sept. 15 to Oct. 21. That doesn’t include other types of spending.

“There really is no precedent for this much money coming into any race in San Diego from outside in such volume,” says a political observer.

• DeMaio is calling for a 1,500-mile border fence and the use of drones to achieve “100 percent monitoring and coverage of the entire border,” Times of San Diego reports.

He mentioned the Ebola virus as one reason to make the border secure. But he was not interested in immediately securing the Canadian border, where people with the Ebola virus could also enter.

• You don’t have to mail in your ballot or drop it off at the registrar. Several locations, including a few libraries, are now serving as drop-off sites. (City News Service)

• Hey! Guess who’s actually out campaigning for the first time this election season? Hint: It’ll be his fourth term and he’s not worried. (LA Times)

Stop(lights) Making Sense

• “City officials say they plan to install advanced stoplight systems across the city that can adjust the timing of green and red lights based on unpredictable events that have suddenly altered traffic flow, such as patrons from a sold-out movie flowing from a theater after the show.” (U-T)

• Cyclist deaths on the road are up nationwide, with 338 killed in California alone in collisions with vehicles from 2010-2012, a new report says. What’s going on? A scientist who crunched the numbers says lack of helmet use and alcohol use are factors; the numbers could be rising due to more cyclists on the road. The report points to another problem: roads themselves, which were often built for cars, not cyclists or people. (LA Times)

‘Jersey Boy’ Tickets as Free Speech?

“Lawyers for two companies accused in a corruption probe at Sweetwater schools are arguing they should not have to give back construction contract proceeds because the meals, trips and tickets they used to ply officials were legally protected free speech,” the U-T reports. The Sweetwater school district runs the middle and high schools in South Bay. The district wants millions of dollars back from tainted contracts.

Quick News Hits: Remembering an Officer

• A park in the Skyline neighborhood of the city has been renamed in honor of slain police officer Christopher Wilson. (KPBS)

• The LA Times says liberals are divided over California’s new law that will push public universities to prevent sexual assault by requiring students to get firm assent before sexual activity: “Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.”

One left-leaning writer believes the assault situation is so bad that “men need to feel a cold spike of fear when they begin a sexual encounter,” while another writer accuses him of “arguing for false convictions as a conscious strategy in order to strike fear into the innocent.” A top feminist writer, meanwhile, says the law is a “a feminist dream come true.”

• Another city ranking is out, and it says San Diego isn’t that snobby, although we do show “some ‘tude as part of the serious craft beer scene.”

Huh. Well, at least now we know why North Park frowns and sniffs quietly at me whenever I come through.

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 and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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