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A local activist named Mark Jones didn’t really have a public profile late last year when he stood up by lying down during a “die-in” protest at a City Council meeting. Now, people in politics know Jones’s name.

As VOSD’s Catherine Green puts it in a profile of Jones, the Marine veteran uses his energy and organizational skills to lead protesters galvanized by the #BlackLivesMatter movement. “I just think my part in it is to be a voice for a voiceless people, like that don’t have the type of passion or drive that I would have to get stuff done,” he said. “I can fight on their behalf.”

He’s doing more than protesting. Jones is quickly learning about how to make things happen in the world of city politics, and power players are raving about his debut as “an important voice in the community.”

S.D. Teachers Low on Pay, High on Benefits

Unlike just about everyone else who has a job, San Diego Unified teachers pay not a dime for their health insurance, even when it’s worth more than $28,000 a year for a single family. That’s an unusual thing for a local school district to do, and, as the U-T finds, these healthy benefits continue to give San Diego teachers a boost beyond salaries that are on the lower side.

Other interesting facts in the U-T story: teachers in Lakeside elementary schools top out at $106,000 a year well above the $87,000 level in San Diego Unified. District teachers want a 7.5 percent raise over 2 years. Keep in mind that many teachers get automatic raises as their experience and education levels increase, so this raise would come on top of that.

Politics Roundup: Budget’s Here

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is out with a $3.2 billion proposed budget for the city. The budget includes new funds for a variety of improvements, including longer recreation center hours, street repair and the updates of community blueprints.

Police remain the city’s biggest expense at $435 million, about 10 times the cost of the library system. The new fiscal year begins in July. (City News Service)

• The budget uses the “One San Diego” tagline just like the mayor’s charity that has raised questions about where it starts and the mayor ends.

• The U-T has a rundown of projects that are encountering resistance as they aim to bring 7,000 new homes to inland North County.

• A recent study in L.A. found that wealthier neighborhoods use three times as much water as poorer neighborhoods. (LA Times)

• The Morning Report yesterday reported that the mayor’s stadium task force says events other than football will help pay for a stadium. Task force spokesman Tony Manolatos took issue with this description: “What we say is, if it’s done correctly, you could bring in a bunch of events outside of football that would help pay for maintenance and operations,” he wrote.

In their opinion, these events might offset the cost of operations, but not the cost of construction. Got it?

Quick News Hits: I Spy a Pie

• “The widow of a Camp Pendleton Marine who committed suicide in the Vista jail is claiming in a lawsuit that the staff was warned that her husband was likely to harm himself but failed to properly monitor him,” the U-T reports.

• Germs have spawned another “poop cruise,” which sailed into port here yesterday.

• A “San Diego-based firm filed nearly 240,000 lawsuits against debtors in a recent four-year period, using our courts as its private collection arm,” reports liberal columnist Jim Hightower. “Problem is, Encore’s lawsuits are rife with errors, out-of-date payment data, fabricated credit card statements, and other fraudulent filings. Tons of them are missing original loan documents, payment histories, and other proof of debt.”

For more, including details about an Encore Capital settlement with the state of New York, check this NY Times story.

• The Onion has fun with the trend toward body cameras for cops, suggesting that they’ll be “distracting to officers who must now shift focus to cinematography and mise en scène” and provide an “accurate record of where police were when they turned off their body camera.”

• You might think today’s media is too interested in little things. It has always been thus. Yesterday’s Daily Transcript included a flashback to its content of April 14, 1913: “The crop of rhubarb in San Luis Rey river bottom at Oceanside… is reported in fine condition, and the soil well adapted for the cultivation of the plant.”

Actually, rhubarb reportedly doesn’t grow well here. Even so, it’s still on a menu or two. Word has it that a local Morning Report scribe goes to the legendary Chicken Pie Shop on El Cajon Boulevard just to hear the Czech waitress say “rhubarb” during the ritual announcement of the pie selection.

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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