San Diego Unified is preparing for a big workshop Tuesday to address how it can keep kids from fleeing to schools in other neighborhoods, or to charter schools, instead of attending their neighborhood school.

Part of the presentation includes a stark set of numbers showing which schools attract the fewest of the local kids eligible to go there. The numbers are pretty clear: Schools in wealthy areas retain most of their neighbors; schools in poor areas don’t.

“The district, at least according to the presentation, seems to think it’s mostly about charter school competition,” writes Scott Lewis. “If not a charter, many head to schools with better reputations, like Point Loma or La Jolla high schools. And while Hoover High might be falling apart structurally, Lincoln is a beautiful campus of modern buildings and amenities. It’s not the facility that’s turning kids and their parents off.”

S.D.’s Water, by the Numbers

Water, water nowhere, and not a drop to waste: All eyes are focused on the drought and the state’s order that urban water users start conserving big time.

We asked our new reporter Ry Rivard, who comes to us from West Virginia via Washington D.C., to help you get a handle on where our water comes from and where it goes.

There are lots of steps to consider. We each get water via the 24 local water districts, and those get almost all of our water (97 percent) via the County Water Authority, a kind of wholesaler. It, in turn, taps into a lot of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Colorado River; some (but not all) of that is distributed by the Metropolitan Water District.

An intriguing fact: While you may have heard about how almonds and alfalfa hay (for livestock) are draining huge chunks of the state water supply, it’s hard to know how much water in the county goes to farming.

Local farmers, by the way, are happy with the state’s adjustments to proposed rules about water use, the L.A. Times reports.

• We’ve got a verdict in that court case over tiered water rates that charge people more for the same amount of water if they use too much. An appeals court rejected this kind of pricing in San Juan Capistrano, potentially spelling big trouble for the reported two-thirds of water agencies that rely on this approach. (KPBS/AP)

• The L.A. Times’ drought coverage won a Pulitzer Monday.

Stadium News Roundup: Experts on Board

The city has hired experts to help it negotiate with the Chargers (not a bad idea, it seems). Meanwhile, a new report by National University suggests the mayor won’t be hounded out of office by a failure to keep the Chargers in town.

Police Unions Grapple with Defensiveness

As we’ve seen in New York City and South Carolina, police unions often go on the defense in public when one of their own is attacked over alleged misconduct. Compare that to, say, journalism — where colleagues often like to eviscerate one another.

But now, the New York Times reports, “police union officials around the country are rethinking how best to get their message out.” There’s some questioning of the instinctive circling of the wagons.

• The Washington Post examines the ongoing debate over the public’s right to see video from cop body cameras verses the public’s right to privacy and not see the worst moments of their lives on YouTube. One angle that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention: complaints from police about “the time and cost of blurring images that identify victims, witnesses or bystanders caught in front of the lens.”

In Washington D.C., a new mayor who claims devotion to open government wants to prevent body camera video from being susceptible to public record requests. In contrast to others in his position, the city’s police union chief wants more openness.

Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization, offers advice about “What You Need to Know If You’re Going to Record the Cops.” As we reported in the latest Sacramento Report, California lawmakers are considering bills that deal with cop cameras, and civilians who film the cops.

Editorial: Stay Strong on Vaccines

The New York Times likes the new proposed state legislation to toughen the rules regarding the ability of parents to prevent their kids from being vaccinated. There’s been a fuss over the legislation that pits the right of non-vaccinated kids to attend school against the right of every other kid to not get sick. “The legislators, however, must keep their eye on the most important goal — ensuring that virtually all students have been vaccinated,” the Times says.

Even if the state follows through on the legislation as is, it’ll be tough luck for year-round schools: The governor may not get to sign it until September.

Quick News Hits: Yup, That’s Us

• Looks like adult cyclists in the state won’t be required to wear helmets after all. Bicycling advocates say the law might discourage some people from biking in the first place. One cycling advocate said bike lanes and education of cyclists and drivers will truly contribute to health and safety instead of requiring cyclists to protect their heads via helmets. (L.A. Times)

• The New York Times explains why power companies are freaking out over the rise in solar power. The big hot spot: Not San Diego, where this has been an issue, but Hawaii.

• Southern California has a love-hate relationship with jacaranda trees, which produce pretty purple blossoms but make sidewalks and patios sticky and gross. (L.A. Times)

• You’re right, eagle-eyed viewers: A Sizzler spokeswoman (yes, there is such a thing) tells me that yes, that bizarre 1991 Sizzler restaurant video promo that went viral last week was filmed in San Diego.

• Say cheese! Remember Fotomat booths? Turns out they got their start right here in San Diego back in 1967, a Rochester, N.Y., newspaper reports.

No, the little booths didn’t have bathrooms. Yes, many of them are still around, just serving different purposes. And of course I found a cheesy Fotomat commercial featuring big 1980s hair just for you. You’re welcome.

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 is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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