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Class sizes in San Diego Unified schools are on the upswing, and some parents and teachers are complaining about combo classes that mix multiple grade levels. The district may even face fines.

But, as VOSD’s Mario Koran reports, those very teachers who are complaining may hold the key to a fix. And they might not be willing to play ball unless they get more money out of the deal.

Some call that negotiating. Someone else, the most outspoken board member, prefers the word “extortion.” Maybe they’re both right.

Mayor Stalls on Transparency

Mayor Kevin Faulconer promised city government would be more transparent, but it’s taking a long time to get where he said we’d go. VOSD’s Liam Dillon looks at three areas where he’s fallen short of expectations.

• San Diego’s auditors aren’t just sitting around waiting for direction from the mayor. They’re out with a new report that says the city’s six non-profit neighborhood parking districts are a mess. The city manages them poorly, the audit says, and doesn’t track money spent on the program.

• Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazaran have signed the first collaboration agreement between the cities since 1994. (U-T)

• The city’s looking for office space. (NBC 7)

DeMaio Accuser May Be in the Clear

Todd Bosnich, the former DeMaio campaign staffer-turned-accuser, won’t face felony charges in regard to an alleged attack on his mother, and he may face no charges at all. His mother reportedly isn’t cooperating with authorities. (KPBS)

For background, check the latest chapter in our ongoing investigation of what actually happened in the DeMaio imbroglio. Our next article will explore Bosnich’s background and his credibility.

Tanks for the Memory, MRAP

San Diego Unified has finally unloaded its very own Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, military surplus that brought it nationwide embarrassment and no good explanation about why it got the thing in the first place. For background on the debacle, click here.

Where You’re More Likely to Blow Up

The U-T, noting that two kids were killed by a military shell in Tierrasanta some three decades ago, says several regions in the county are potential danger zones for abandoned explosives, especially some remote areas around Borrego Springs. One “critical” danger area is near Poway.

• San Diego has a long and grim history of deadly explosions, as we noted in 2010, from a 1989 car bombing in University City to a major Navy disaster and a dastardly film-related bombing hoax in 1924 that led three smiling tricksters to the local hoosegow.

Fixing a Broken Taxi System

U-T columnist Dan McSwain is out with a new column on the city’s broken taxi system and new fixes that will help consumers — maybe. “This is only a partial deregulation, setting the stage for unintended consequences. Drivers could see wages fall, consumers could see unwelcome volatility.”

Note one important aspect of the taxi dispute: San Diego has some of the highest cab rates in the country, even above other areas that face high gas prices.

• Annoyed by Uber’s bullying tactics? There are alternatives to the ultra-convenient cab-like ride service, PCWorld reports, like Lyft. (I’ve had good experiences with it here and elsewhere.) Another service called Sidecar is available here too. We explained San Diego ride-share services here.

Quick News Hits: SeaWorld Abides

• The SeaWorld chain is reacting to a tidal wave of negative publicity and a slump in visitors by pledging to … do a better job of promoting itself. Meanwhile, the SeaWorld-slamming documentary “Blackfish” isn’t going away: It just aired in the U.K. (Orlando Sentinel)

• Jim Garlow, Morning Report pen pal and pastor of the influential Skyline mega-church, is advising Catholics at the Vatican and telling people that the movement in favor of gay marriage is “clearly demonic.”

• Visitors traveling to Mexico via the border crossing in Otay Mesa won’t have to show a passport, provide details about their stays or pay $23 for visits of more than a week. Mexico has eliminated the slight extra hassle after hearing complaints from Mexican politicians and businesspeople. (U-T)

• VOSD’s Culture Report spotlights news about tourist-friendly videos promoting art around the city, a facelift for an organ and happenings at North County’s Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum.

Choo-choo! But maybe not chugga-chugga. That might be a coal-fired engine thing.

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

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

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