The San Diego Unified school district has its eye on a chunk of land in Mission Valley where it hopes to eventually build a new campus. It makes sense because a new housing development is planned, but there’s a bit of hitch: Nearby schools are far from crowded.

In fact, as VOSD’s Mario Koran reports, they have plenty of spare room. Nine of 10 nearby elementary schools have extra space, and half of them have more more than 100 excess seats. There’s also the fact that the district has been selling off properties to pay the bills, so buying a new one is surprising.

At least one community member is sounding the alarm, and there are questions about whether the planned new school will fit in with the district’s overall vision.

• The L.A. Times digs into the huge burden facing state school districts as they try to find an estimated $20 billion to pay pensions for retired employees.

Meet The Fumblr: S.D.’s Failures, Magnified

No one knows if San Diego’s going to get a new football stadium, a refurbished old football stadium or none of the above. One thing is clear, however: Taxpayers are going to keep paying even if nothing changes.

But taxpayers do not pay for many other things. Like full repairs of streets and sidewalks. Or an upgraded City Hall website. Or late-evening library hours.

We could go on. And so could you. Now’s your chance: We’ve created a new feature called The Fumblr, giving residents a chance to vent about where the city’s dropped the ball.

You can check our introduction to The Fumbler here and then head over to the site to give politicians a piece of your mind and check the latest entries.

Bad Press for Guilt-by-Association Prosecution

Last week, we published an exclusive story about how the district attorney’s office is going after a young man because he was allegedly palling around with gang members.

(He denies being part of a gang, but prosecutors say his Facebook posts and other evidence links him to one.)

The story was the most popular on our site last week. (Here’s the full Top 10 list.) But the national media has focused on another man charged in the case, rapper Tiny Doo.

The Atlantic has a lengthy new story about the case titled “When Rap Music Is a Crime.”

The writer wonders about the ramifications of the case: “might other rappers start scrubbing their lyrics to avoid being threatened with life in prison? The real threat from a case like Tiny Doo’s … is that the government will chill the expression of inner pain that makes art powerful, whether judges and jailers like it or not.”

State Limits Meds for Foster Kids

• “State regulators are rejecting thousands of requests from California physicians to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to poor children and foster youth, a dramatic first step in the state’s new effort to curb the excessive prescribing of powerful mind-altering medications,” the Mercury News reports.

About 20 percent of request for the medications are now being denied in the wake of a Mercury News investigation that found the drugs were often used to control kids instead of treat mental illness.

The story quotes a young woman who said she began to fail in a San Diego high school after being “prescribed a combination of antidepressants, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers to manage the grief of losing her family because of drug abuse and domestic violence at home.”

Quick News Hits

• This winter, at least through February, has been the hottest on record in California dating back to 1895. A bunch of other Western states set the same record, while temperatures in the East were near or below average but far from the coldest ever. (National Climatic Data Center)

Meanwhile, El Niño is here! But it might be a bit too late (where have you been, baby?) to stop the drought. (Slate)

• Asking for a lady’s hand in marriage shouldn’t be this complicated, drone guy.

• A dive bar in Banker’s Hill called Cherry Bomb has made a national list of the top “Bad Decision” bars, the places “you’re guaranteed to do something stupid in.”

Hey, everybody. Don’t let the Chargers task force meet there. I’m totally, absolutely serious!

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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