When Poway Unified School District officials hired consultant Bob Moore from Kansas-based RJM Strategies, they were hoping to get a little bit of structured guidance for updating the district’s tech services and infrastructure.
What they got, after Moore’s four months of analysis, was a scathing indictment of the district’s plethora of internal problems. Ashly McGlone got her hands on Moore’s 18-page report, and details its findings that paint a vivid picture of a fairly inhospitable environment.
“Every organization has ‘creative tension’ between different teams. This seems to go well beyond healthy friction,” Moore wrote. “Of course the most important impact has nothing to do with technology, but the fact that the students in PUSD are not benefitting from experiences with technology that the district is capable of providing, given effective leadership.”
Moore highlighted inefficient spending and an understaffed, under-skilled IT department among the district’s primary issues. A memo from the superintendent indicates the district’s technology chief, Robert Gravina, has been placed on “special assignment” for a year or possibly longer.
Housing Commission: You Got Us All Wrong
Last week, Andrew Keatts and Ry Rivard rolled out their investigation of the Housing Commission’s Hotel Churchill project downtown, revealing the agency had turned down earlier proposals to do essentially what it plans to do now, except it’ll spend slightly more money and serve fewer low-income residents.
Gary Gramling, chairman of the board for the Housing Commission, took issue with the investigation. In a letter to the editor, Gramling points out the apartments, though fewer in number, will be larger in size (which we also pointed out in a subsequent post), and adds more insight to the agency’s decision-making process.
The Thanks We Get for Conserving Water
Ouch: San Diegans could see water rates jump 17 percent over the next year if a proposal by city utility officials gets approved. That’d mean a typical home’s average monthly bill would jump from $70.81 to $77.27, the Union-Tribune reports.
“I’m really happy that San Diegans have done a great job with reducing the water use, but now it’s impacting the system, and we have to raise rates to compensate for that,” city utilities director Halla Razak told the Union-Tribune.
Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.
• And yet, the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board urges readers to get on board with further conservation measures, pointing to San Diego as a shining example: “Its secret? Nearly a quarter-century’s worth of drought preparation and adjustment, dating to a 1991 water shortage that left the county vowing to end its reliance on imported water. Since then, per capita water use in the San Diego County Water Authority has dropped 31 percent, and it is already below its state-mandated 2020 goal.”
Quick News Hits
• The San Diego Police Officers Association is offering a tribute to a slain officer as a name replacement for Robert E. Lee Elementary.
• The Defense Department sold the parcel of land atop Mt. Soledad to the nonprofit that’s overseen maintenance of the controversial veterans memorial there since 1954. (CBS 8)
• The Republicans are coming. Namely, presidential candidates Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. They’ll be in town this week for the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council. (City News Service)
• Maybe San Diego’s reputation for being business-unfriendly is finally starting to fade. A new survey out by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce shows fewer local businesses are considering packing up and shipping out of San Diego. Now about 59 percent of county businesses see our local government as being friendly to business. (Times of San Diego)
That’s up from last year, when we kicked off our quest digging into San Diego’s business climate. For what it’s worth, one of the big myths we busted touched on whether business relocations really have that big of an impact on San Diego’s economy: They don’t.
• Thanks in large part to some tasty TV deals, the NFL had more than $7.2 billion in revenue to split among its 32 teams for Fiscal Year 2014. (Me, picturing that much money.) Because the Green Bay Packers are technically a public entity, they’re required to announce earnings, so we now know all the teams – including the San Diego Chargers – each took $226.4 million from the pot. (ESPN)
• Perhaps counterintuitively, there’s a strong case to be made by environmentalists against cities and states striving to run on 100 percent renewable energy. “Limiting a zero-carbon future to wind, water, and solar means greater costs of storing this energy, discarding other existing zero-carbon sources like nuclear, and generally blanketing the earth with panels and turbines as a means to save it,” CityLab reports.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed Climate Action Plan calls for 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.
• Zoe Schaver’s Monday story evaluating the Mid-City Rapid 215 a year after it started service prompted quite the airing of grievances on Twitter and Facebook. MTS responded, shedding light specifically on its progress with the Compass Card stored value program.
• Union-Tribune columnist Dan McSwain shared this interesting nugget from a new Berkeley study, which found green tax credits are mostly going to rich folks. (From the study’s abstract, for the jargon fans in the back: “The bottom three income quintiles have received about 10 [percent] of all credits, while the top quintile has received about 60 [percent].”
Hmm, that sounds familiar. Recall the San Diego County Water Authority suggested back in May that the wildly popular turf rebates are basically subsidies for rich people.
Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.