It’s fairly normal for school districts to have tense relationships between teacher unions and district officials over pay and benefits. But the Poway Unified School District, which covers a big chunk of North County (including part of the city of San Diego), has never been fairly normal. It has one of the best reputations in the county, and teachers and their bosses got along great.
Or so it seemed. As VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reports, the happy times are over amid revelations of violation of labor law. “Now other labor unions are mad, and new school board members — elected to provide more oversight in the wake of a bond-deal blowup — are seeking change.”
A $1.5 Billion Wi-Fi Boost?
The U-T’s Matt Calkins questions whether a $1.5 billion new football stadium — that’s on the very high end of cost estimates — will improve the experience of fans who actually go to games.
Now, he writes, “cracks are numerous. The WiFi is dubious. And the ancient JumboTron is just plain humorous.” The place also smells like urine, he contends. But a new stadium would presumably fix all this, so attendees would be able to happily smell, check their phones and laptops, and watch the JumboTron when there’s nothing (or something) happening on the field.
• Another U-T writer, Kevin Acee, thinks the city has to understand the need to pick up the pace to make the Chargers happy: “They are the clock operator, the referee and quarterback. They are the ones who need to be happy and the only ones who get to define what ‘good enough’ is.”
• Chargers tight end Antonio Gates “has embarked on a second career as a boxing promoter to prepare for life after football — and to help young fighters back home in Detroit get on the right track.” (Sports Illustrated)
• Our story about the trials and travails of Boltman, the Chargers sorta-mascot who has an unhappy relationship with the team, was the most popular article on the VOSD site last week. Here’s the full Top 10 Most Popular list.
In a related story, the photo of Boltman and the mayor will haunt my dreams.
VOSD Podcast: Women in Charge
VOSD was male-dominated in its early days, but it has since evolved into a more diverse news organization that better reflects the community it serves. Now, two of its three top positions belong to women. One of them is managing editor Sara Libby, who writes a weekly VOSD members-only column about local politics, women’s issues and other topics.
In this week’s VOSD Podcast, Libby joins deputy editor Catherine Green for a special “bosslady” edition devoted to women in power and the challenges they face. The podcast features guest Melissa Bell, a San Diego native and co-founder of the news site Vox. She talks about Vox’s experiments and its influential approach to news.
Call for More Data About Cop Incidents
In the L.A. Times, columnist Mariel Garza praises Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, who’s running for Senate, for her actions to combat the “crisis in confidence” that prevents community members from trusting cops.
But, reflecting a theme that’s getting a lot of attention in recent months regarding a lack of data about people killed during encounters with cops, Garza notes that the state keeps statistics about so-called “deaths in custody” but doesn’t release most of it. Besides releasing it, “it should analyze it and use it to inform public safety policy.”
Earlier this year, San Diego County prosecutors released an extensive report of statistics about shootings involving officers. But as KPBS noted, “it doesn’t identify any trends or highlight areas of concern.”
San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who talked with VOSD a few weeks back, has also introduced several measures aimed at boosting police transparency. One of her bills would require departments across the state to document use-of-force incidents, and another, which would provide guidance on body cameras, passed an Assembly committee this week.
Member of Top Political Family Dies at 72
School board member and recent San Diego City Council candidate Nick Inzunza Sr., a member of a storied and controversial South Bay political family, has died at the age of 72.
Inzunza lost his bid in 2010 to join the San Diego Council to David Alvarez but remained on the school board of the South Bay Union elementary school district. As we wrote in 2010, the “Inzunzas have been in local political office since the 1960s, and 40 years later the family was flush with political power. In the early 2000s, Nick Sr.’s nephew Ralph was District 8’s councilman. Another nephew, Nick Jr., was National City’s mayor.”
Councilman Ralph Inzunza went to federal prison after being convicted of corruption charges in 2005.
Clarification on Morning Report Item
In our April 6 Morning Report, we quoted from an item by U-T San Diego columnist Logan Jenkins, “MiraCosta Chief Buries Lead,” regarding the settlement of a lawsuit by the former president of MiraCosta College. A lawyer for the former president asserts Jenkins’ quotes imply that the former president’s claims lacked merit. The Morning Report did not intend to convey that implication and apologizes if anyone drew that inference. Court decisions upheld the viability of the claims, and they were ultimately settled by the college’s Board of Trustees by making payment to the former president.
Quick News Hits: Cat Got Your Blink
• Thanks to a rethink by state officials, it looks like the target for water use reduction in San Diego may be 16 percent instead of 20 percent. (AP)
• The University of San Diego is facing a new allegation over how it deals with reports of sexual assaults. (U-T)
• Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, is out with a new book called “How to Speak Cat,” the AP reports. Among his insights: Felines communicate in more ways than meowing (something they mostly do only with people), purring, yowling and staring at your face at 4 in the morning.
Then there’s this: “A slow blink from a feline, for example, is like a wink between friends,” what Weitzman calls “a kitty kiss.”
So go ahead and blink at your cat. But don’t blame me if she thinks you’re fresh.
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.