The San Diego school board thought ornery former trustee Scott Barnett was out, but he’s pulled himself back in.

Barnett, a huge thorn in the side of board colleagues and education officials, stepped down just a few weeks ago, but he returned to represent a charter school in a land deal with the district. Keep in mind that Barnett was a fierce critic of the district’s bid to pay bills by selling property.

He tells VOSD’s Mario Koran that he doesn’t see a problem. But the district did and, ultimately, the charter school did too. The district warned the charter against working with Barnett, the school promptly dropped him and Barnett is crying foul: “I’m just trying to earn a living so I can pay my bills.”

Fight for the Minimum Wage!* (*For Free)

The Center on Policy Initiatives, a progressive advocacy group, wants to raise the minimum wage in San Diego beyond the state level, and it’s looking for a few good interns. A few good unpaid interns along with paid ones, that is, as VOSD’s Scott Lewis noticed.

No, you don’t get any pay but you can turn into a ‘glitter unicorn for social justice,’” Lewis notes. Whatever that is. The organization says its unpaid internship program is designed to provide a learning experience for students who can get college credit.

Unpaid internships, of course, are hugely controversial (including this flap over the “Lean In” author’s bid for unpaid help) and many groups around the country are scrapping such positions.

Laura’s Law Gets Early Nod

“The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has taken a significant step toward implementing a law that could give local courts power to order treatment for mentally ill people who may be a threat to themselves or others,” the U-T reports. “Laura’s Law” is controversial because it limits people’s rights, and it divided the Republican members of the board, with Supervisor Bill Horn saying he “has a hard time with the government controlling people’s lives.”

City Hits Jackpot in Court

Thanks to a court ruling, there’s good news for the city in its attempt to spend $120 million in borrowed money on things like libraries and fire stations. It’s a weird way of doing things, as we’ve explained. (U-T)

• San Diego will get less money from the federal government to help the homeless than some other parts of the state, including Sacramento, Oakland/Alameda, Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Here’s VOSD background about why we’re left behind.

Hey Everybody! We’re All Gonna Get Gurus!

The current mayor has a management guru, just like the previous mayor did.

Culture Report: Razzing Mraz

Local music star Jason Mraz has a day named after him here in the city where he made it big, and the VOSD Culture Report’s Alex Zaragoza is less than pleased about “our own diet version of Kurt Cobain”: “Seriously, what else can this city throw at the crooner?”

Also in the Culture Report: the “warrior or soldier of performance art,” funding questions at the San Diego Foundation, and an update on the San Diego Opera.

Quick News Hits: Romney May Skip Town

• Yesterday’s Morning Report incorrectly said taxpayers will pay for repairs to local water. Actually, ratepayers get stuck with the bill. There’s a lot of crossover between ratepayers and taxpayers, but they’re not the same thing.

• Inewsource continues exploring how local law enforcement agencies have seized alleged drug money, a practice that’s getting intense scrutiny on a national level.

• Past-and-possible-future presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to be ready to sell his La Jolla home. Yes, the one with the infamous planned car elevator. Even though he might dump it, controversial construction continues: “The new home is expected to be completed by the end of the year, although it is unclear whether the Romneys will move in or find a buyer.” (Boston Globe)

• A consultant being paid $1.3 million has come up with some downright wacky ideas for the future of the waterfront, including a bunch of “super highrises” topped by a 1,000-foot skyscraper, and the removal of ships and other things-in-the-way like the Maritime Museum, the U-T reports. The current height limit is 500 feet because the airport (and airplanes) are right next door to downtown.

Huh. Would you like to let the FAA know about this or should I give them a jingle?

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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