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Our Lisa Halverstadt reported Wednesday that the San Diego Unified School District was preparing to install far more solar power systems in coming years.

Now, she takes a look back at the district’s struggle and missed targets over the years with solar and why officials think it will be different this time around. The goal before was to save money. But in the years after its initial roll-out of solar, the district’s electric bill actually went up, not down, “due to demand charges that large-scale commercial customers like San Diego Unified must pay,” Halverstadt writes.

Even once that problem was solved, San Diego Unified faced numerous challenges to completing solar projects. Unsuitable locations, regulatory obstacles and economics all conspired to block projects the district was trying to complete with outside contractors. But, never one for giving up on an idea, the district now has a new approach: own and operate the systems for themselves.

Class Start Time Blues

If given the choice, I doubt many people would choose to spend the wee hours of their mornings being lectured in a classroom about the intricacies of trigonometry. But such is the reality faced by teenagers in San Diego, who start classes as early as 7:25 a.m., Mario Koran writes. It has long been known that later class time starts produce better results, but Koran reports how the reality of busing students to school reigns supreme over the ideal learning outcomes.

And don’t forget about all the after-school activities. “If we pushed back the start of the school, days wouldn’t end for students until ridiculous hours,” Koran reports.

Stop That Slide: San Diego Explained

They call it the “summer slide”: all of that knowledge which escapes the brains of students while they are out frolicking and not reading books during their long summer vacation. Chollas-Mead Elementary School has designed a program to combat the slide which has already proven helpful for students. Now San Diego Unified’s trying to expand that program to more of its highest-need elementary schools. Catherine Green and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia highlighted some positive results in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Police Videos Need Watchin’

Police body cameras are often cited as a critical tool to ensure citizens are protected from police misconduct. One big problem with that: San Diego is among the least transparent when it comes to handling body camera videos, according to the website RouteFifty.com. “The Seattle Police Department releases all body camera videos, after redaction, to YouTube while San Diego treats them all as evidence,” they report.

But the protection door swings both ways. “Body cameras are overwhelmingly used to maintain the innocence of officers in cases of citizen complaints,” Gizmodo writes. So you would think law enforcement would be the first in line for requiring them, right? But you would be wrong. “Law enforcement lobbyists have so far blocked statewide policies” for body camera use, the Sacramento Bee writes.

Stadiums vs. Cities

Our Scott Lewis appeared on sports radio to discuss why the Chargers might be shy to agree to a deadline of Sept. 11 this year for getting on board with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to keep them here. The Chargers clearly want to keep their options open, and signaling they might be staying in San Diego, according to Lewis, would be the immediate end of their participation in the “race to Los Angeles,” which is currently focused on a proposed stadium in the city of Carson.

The site InsideSoCal.com notes that stadium plans aren’t going so well in Oakland. The Raiders might be the most likely of the three teams – including the Rams and Chargers – to make it to Los Angeles.

• Millions of dollars suddenly appeared in the city of San Diego’s budget to pay for a rushed environmental impact report, which is required to move forward on a new stadium. Meanwhile, as Lewis and NBC 7’s Wendy Fry pointed out, a long-sought sidewalk to keep San Ysidro kids safe while they walk to school still can’t get done.

News Nibbles

• San Diego city staff say the city needs to shut down a well-used public restroom downtown. City Council members recently expressed support for removing a public restroom near Petco Park. (KPBS)

• San Diego “far exceeded” the water conservation goals set by California for the month of June. (NBC 7)

• San Diego police officials say they are halfway through implementing changes suggested as a result of an audit performed after a spate of high-profile police misconduct cases. (KPBS)

• Pedestrian deaths in vehicle-involved accidents were way up in 2014. (Times of San Diego)

• The success of San Diego’s economy hinges on its ability to address income inequality, according to a new report. (Union-Tribune)

• SeaWorld wants to make larger tanks for its captive orca whales; opponents aren’t impressed and are trying to stop it. (NBC 7)

• Police involved in high-speed pursuits kill as many pedestrians as they do fleeing drivers, our Andrew Keatts pointed out on Twitter.

To The Last I Grapple With Thee

If you never read “Moby-Dick,” you are doomed to miss out on endless pop culture references for the rest of your sheltered life. But take heart! The Maritime Museum this weekend has offered to read to you out-loud Melville’s entire tome from beginning to end, starting on Saturday at noon, according to Times of San Diego. They reckon it will take about 26 hours of straight reading to harpoon this whale of a novel, but they’re promising “celebrity readers,” as well as the opportunity for you to sign up for five minutes of reading. They’ll provide the authentic ship experience, since it all happens aboard The Star of India, but you’ll have to bring your own spear.

(Don’t actually bring any spears.)

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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