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Charities love to try to help the City Heights neighborhood, which is home to 70,000 people, many of them poor. Two foundations alone have dumped $265 million into City Heights since 2000.
“But despite that mammoth injection of cash, the foundations that have made long-term commitments to the neighborhood — Price Philanthropies in 1993 and The California Endowment in 2010 — have little hard evidence to show they’ve improved the lives of residents there,” writes reporter Megan Burks in a new investigative piece that takes a deep dive into the neighborhood’s past and future.
Various statistics, she reports, don’t show that the money’s made a major difference. But there are plenty of other more qualitative measures that the charities point to as success stories, like the City Heights teens who successfully got funds for a skate park in the neighborhood. Other residents say the neighborhood just feels better than it used to.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” says the son of Sol Price, the founder of Price Club, now known as Costco.
Everybody Wants a Piece of District Budget
San Diego public schools want to spend more money boosting education programs and give across-the-board raises to teachers. (That means teachers will get raises beyond the ones that many receive as they gain experience and education.)
There’s also trouble on the pension front as the district has to pay more into a fund. Does something have to give? VOSD reporter Mario Koran examines the tension and explains what teachers are hoping for — a raise of more than 6 percent.
New Charity Has Big Dreams
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that a new nonprofit called One San Diego will help some of San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods get a leg up: “For too long San Diego has been seen as a city split between the prospering neighborhoods north of Interstate 8 and southern neighborhoods that are left behind.”
“The nonprofit aims to end that division and give residents in every neighborhood an equal chance to succeed by doling out grants, providing incentives to small businesses and hosting public forums to look for other ways to help,” the U-T reports.
• The agency that’s now running urban renewal in the city is debuting something called a “community benefits consensus project” that will try to figure out what residents want in return for allowing new construction. (U-T)
• Speaking of neighborhood challenges, a new report says San Diego has the second-least affordable housing in the entire country, behind only San Francisco, among 25 big cities. “San Diego’s median income is about 38 percent below what it would take to buy a median priced home,” KPBS reports.
Not-So-Private Eyes, They’re Watching You
• Yes, you can record the police, The Washington Post reports, even as they’re recording you — as some are here — with body cameras. For more about your rights when you encounter the police, check our previous story here.
• The ACLU wants cities to consider its recommendations regarding privacy as many of them — like San Diego and the county — engage in more extensive monitoring of citizens.
Lessons From a Wife’s Horrific Death
John La Grange, a retired fisherman who lives in Solana Beach, watched his wife die of cancer in 2008. In Slate, he writes a deeply wrenching and moving essay about his sympathy toward Brittany Maynard, the young, terminally ill woman who moved to Oregon so she could take advantage of its Death With Dignity law: “As I see it, Maynard gave her husband a gift. She gave him a gift by preventing painful images from being burned into his brain … It will also be a gift to all of us if it gets us to think about how we want to die, and what memories we want to leave behind.”
La Grange, who met his wife at UCSD, writes about her horrific final moments and his wish that she, “his partner of 38 years whom he loved with all his heart, would die. Those memories don’t go away; they come back in dreams and nightmares.”
Quick News Hits: Got the Munchies?
• The once-sleepy block just east of Rite Aid in Hillcrest has only recently begun to develop a positive reputation for its restaurants. Now, the block is up for sale, almost of it, for $18.5 million, and it may undergo a major renovation. (U-T)
• Pacific Beach is a leader in the category of marijuana-themed sandwich shops. (I’m not touching the brownies, never mind the Blue Plate Special.) (Fox 5 San Diego)
• We’ve got news about strange things happening in the ocean again: KPBS reports that scientists have figured out why starfish — also known as sea stars — are dying en masse along the West Coast. The culprit: a virus called Sea Star Associated Densovirus. The virus, which is abbreviated as SSaDV, has been lurking around for at least seven decades.
SSaDV is no relation, as far as we know, to the actual 1990s NBC show that was called seaQuest DSV. If you see either one, however, make sure to run.
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.