The San Diego Unified school board needs money, so it’s turning to a capital appreciation bond, the same type of bond that got Poway’s school district in so much trouble a few years ago, reports Ashly McGlone.

Luckily, outrage over the terms of Poway’s deal led state regulators to put taxpayer safeguards on such borrowing practices, so San Diego’s new debt won’t be nearly as eye-popping.

In 2012, the Poway Unified School District got a load of bad publicity when we noticed its $105 million CAB would end up costing taxpayers $981 million by 2051 when it was paid off in full.

News of that extreme disparity led San Diego Unified, which was asking voters to approve its Prop Z bond measure at the time, to promise it wouldn’t use CABs in the program. But its earlier measure, Prop S, contained no such promise, and it’s as part of that program that the board’s now pursuing a new CAB.

The district’s new $100 million bond will end up costing taxpayers $235 million by 2040. It’s following new state rules that say the bonds need to be repaid within 25 years and cost no more than four times the principal.

The Fence That Brings a Neighborhood Together

Local artist J Ramond Mireles’s house is surrounded by the same sort of fence that surrounds many Logan Heights homes. His is bringing people together, instead of enforcing privacy.

He’s mounted seven large photographs along his fence’s exterior, each photo the face of someone from the neighborhood.

Logan Heights is mostly filled with black and brown people, and so is Mireles’ fence. He said none of his white neighbors have agreed to be photographed yet.

But the white artist thinks his project can help change the way city residents of different races interact.

“Before he moved to the neighborhood a few years ago, the longtime local said he rarely saw or interacted with non-white people,” writes Kinsee Morlan. “He said he thinks the majority of white San Diegans don’t interact much with people of other ethnicities either. He wants that to change and he thinks his public art project can help – or at least get people talking about race relations in San Diego.”

Behold, Your Nightmare Towing Stories

Liam Dillon recently uncovered just how much time and money members of the local towing industry were illegally pouring into local political elections.

But given the amount of time San Diegans spend in cars, we had a feeling our readers would have plenty of their own nightmare experiences with tow-truck drivers, and boy did you deliver. And they weren’t all negative!

Among the highlights: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña recalls finding her illegally towed car and simply driving it out of the lot, before paying the tower a reduced fee, and El Cajon resident Steve Cirone found himself part of an apparently unjustified street clearing that brought in some $18,000 to the towing company that took care of it.

San Diegans Still Rely on Driving

New Census data released last week shows the overwhelming majority of San Diegans still drove themselves to work, and did so at essentially the same rates they did a year ago, KPBS’s Claire Trageser reports.

Last year, 83.1 percent of San Diegans drove themselves to work, about 5 percent less than 10 years ago.

That modest progress won’t get the city to the goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan it’s working to adopt. That calls for 50 percent of residents who live within a half mile of high-functioning transit stations to get to work without driving.

The Homes We Live in — in One Chart

One reason it takes so long to make those changes to how we get around is because commuting decisions are largely driven by the types of communities people call home.

Washington Post’s Wonkblog put together a chart of every major American city and the types of homes its residents live in.

In San Diego, like comparable cities Houston and Dallas, more than 40 percent of residents live in single-family homes that lend themselves to a car-dependent lifestyle.

Quick News Hits

• Water temperatures off the coast of San Diego are up 4 to 5 degrees, and it’s “sent Mother Nature into disarray.” (KPBS)

• Meanwhile, the tropical rains we’ve experienced all summer are about to give way to hot Santa Ana winds. (KPBS)

• A new memorial wall at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in San Ysidro commemorates families separated by deportation. (KPBS)

• Four candidates have stepped forward to fill a San Ysidro school board seat vacated by a board member’s August resignation. (Union Tribune)

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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