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For some people, being present and mindful at meal times isn’t enough. Die-hard foodies really want to know their food.

Event series where participants get the chance to slaughter their own chickens, pigs or goats before eating them offer a level of connection that was too much for a group of Change.org petition-signers to handle. So the Nov. 23 “Death for Food” event was abruptly called off at family-run Suzie’s Farm.

“I’m surprised it blew up like this,” said Robin Taylor, owner of Suzie’s Farm. “The cycle of life on a farm includes death. It’s just what happens. It’s very disappointing people don’t want to know where their food is from.”

Our Clare Leschin-Hoar has more on the public outcry led by prominent animal activist and attorney Bryan Pease, and the odd disconnect between the event organizer’s stated goals and how he packaged the deal.

Localizing Teach for America

David Lopez is well aware of the criticisms lobbed against Teach for America. But the San Diego chapter’s executive director is most hung up on the complaint that the organization isn’t responsive to local concerns.

“We San Diegans are very sensitive about feeling like folks are coming into our community, and telling us how things should be done,” Lopez told Andrew Keatts on this week’s podcast.

And what about the idea that complaints about Teach for America are often pointing out a problem with the larger education system? “His response, in short,” Keatts writes, “was that too often we discuss elements of the education system as microcosms of the system itself. In reality, classes, schools, districts, charter schools – whatever – are usually facing their own particular set of problems.”

• What’s Teach for America getting right in San Diego? Check out its diverse pool of corps members, many of whom come from STEM backgrounds, and all of whom get solid support from the organization through classroom observation and feedback.

• Of course, Teach for America has its share of haters. The most ridiculous gripe they voice: that the organization gets funding from corporate philanthropists. So?

Welcome to the Good Life

Sure, plenty of state lawmakers get into politics with pure, public service-y intentions. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some sweet perks once they make it to the capitol.

Those include chauffeured rides from the airport to the capitol or the Sacramento home they maintain, a small fleet of aides to anticipate their needs and nightly events and fundraisers, often with free food and drink. As our Sacramento Report scribe Brian Joseph put it, “it’s easy to see how scandals are born.”

Also in this week’s round-up of news from the state capitol, a host of politicos behaving badly, thinking ahead to 2016 (Lord help us) and Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy-making, top-dollar projects.

Quick News Hits

• A parent-led fundraising group in Los Alamitos thought it’d be a great idea to let students skip homework if their parents donated money. The administration at Lee Elementary School didn’t agree, to put it lightly. We’ve looked at the deep-pocket influence groups like this – called school foundations – have had on San Diego schools. (NBC 7)

• Four so-called “straw donors” to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ 2012 mayoral campaign have been slapped with $35,000 in fines. Three of them were connected to the major campaign finance scandal involving a wealthy Mexican citizen that’s winding its way through federal court. But we also learned that a tow company owner also facilitated illegal donations to Dumanis. (U-T)

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer released good news about the city’s finances over the next five  years. He says he plans to spend more on infrastructure. (KPBS)

• Another woman has come forward with a new sexual harassment lawsuit against former Mayor Bob Filner and the city. Jeri Dines said Filner rubbed and grabbed her buttock at an event in May last year. (NBC 7)

• Yes, that water recycling project up for City Council consideration next week really is a big deal. KPBS has nitty-gritty details on what the project will change about our current situation, and VOSD’s Liam Dillon wrote about the Kumbaya moment surrounding it.

• Great news, San Diego beer fans: Writers on L.A.’s brew beat are now openly deriding our hometown breweries as “the big names from San Diego.” We’ve made it. (L.A. Times)

What We Learned This Week

• Todd Bosnich, Carl DeMaio’s former campaign staffer who’s accused him of sexual harassment, gave the Scott Peters’ campaign manager internal documents on June 5. The campaign manager told police about them June 9, and police picked them up June 11. But that’s not what Scott Peters initially told everyone.

• It’s a powerful number to throw around, but we can’t quite say 170,000 minimum wage workers will miss out on raises.

• San Diego schools have some work to do if they want to keep up with the Obama administration’s demands to deal with inequities across the board.

• It’s not quite an easy gimme for San Diego businesses to get city subsidies. Companies have to deliver new tax money before they can collect tens of thousands of dollars in tax or permit rebates.

Quote of the Week

“There is nobody in TFA who believes the way we change public education in America is to fill it with corps members. But we believe a great way to affect change is for corps members – whether those people stay in teaching, go on to become administrators, or work in a related field – to all have that front line experience in teaching.” –David Lopez, executive director for Teach for America in San Diego.

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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