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Officials at San Diego Unified don’t want good schools and bad schools anymore.

Vision 2020, the district’s strategic plan, sets out to make every school in every neighborhood great. That way, kids won’t have to leave their neighborhoods to get a quality education.

It’d be just like the good old days (whenever that was), when everyone just walked to the school down the street instead of commuting long distances to special schools parents deemed better for whatever reason.

The problem with that well-intentioned plan, though, is big and so incredibly uncomfortable that not many people are addressing it, Mario Koran writes in a new story: If kids go to school in their own neighborhoods, segregation will not only continue, it’ll likely get worse.

Integration is one thing that actually seems to work when it comes to improving the quality of education for blacks and Latinos.

Koran looks at how the district’s doing after court-ordered desegregation in 1977 (spoiler alert: not good) and touches on how Vision 2020’s plan to keep kids where they are could make racial isolation in several schools even more of a problem than it already is.

Arts Orgs Eager to Build

The southeastern San Diego community plan hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1987. That’s meant centrally located urban neighborhoods that appear ripe for redevelopment – places like Sherman Heights and Logan Heights – have been left with antiquated zoning rules that don’t allow much of anything outside of single-family homes.

“It’s really held development back within these communities,” said Lara Gates, who works in the city’s planning department and has helped lead the plan update.

I checked in with two arts organizations that have been anxiously awaiting the zoning changes. Both have plans to build big, new projects in the region, and both projects are geared toward creating affordable live/work units for artists.

Why SeaWorld Wants a Hotel

Do as Disney did. Build hotels next to your amusement park and people will pay to stay and play there.

That’s the takeaway from a Union-Tribune article on the potential new hotel at SeaWorld. Hotel and tourism insiders told the Union-Tribune a new hotel is a safe bet for SeaWorld: People will fork over lots of cash to stay in a hotel if it means extra park perks, and keeping park-goers close means keeping their wallets nearby, too.

But SeaWorld’s going to have to jump through some hoops to get a new hotel. As Voice’s Lisa Halverstadt’s pointed out last week, the park will need to navigate strict city rules and regulatory hurdles to make it actually happen.

Carlsbad’s Mall Madness

A ballot measure on the controversial plan to build a shopping mall near the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad looks to be inevitable.

The Union-Tribune reports that the City Council, which already approved the project in August but was forced to reconsider when opposition organized a successful referendum campaign, is expected to put the project on the ballot, either in a special election or in June or November.

The developer, Los Angeles-based Caruso Affiliated, chose to pursue a novel method of getting its project this far.

As Voice’s Maya Srikrishnan reported back in August, the citizen initiative process Caruso used has bypassed the city’s normal planning procedures as well as the state’s big environmental law.

If the City Council does indeed open the project up to a public vote, the success of Caruso’s fast-track strategy will be decided by Carlsbad voters.

Chargers Sign a Veteran for Their L.A. Bid

Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s team derided the news that the Chargers had teamed up with Disney CEO Bob Iger as a “hail Mary” in the team’s bid to move to Carson. But sometimes hail Marys are caught — and this piece speculates that the move is helping the Chargers and Raiders’ bid for Carson a lot(CBS)

Some of the primary concerns with the Carson Raiders and/or Chargers project stemmed from the lack of prior experience in deals of this magnitude by either owner. Several other NFL owners wondered whether the design and operation of the project would be of the highest standard and whether the Spanos and Davis families were best suited to sort through the political and business climate of Los Angeles.

Iger’s inclusion assuages much, if not all, of that.

• NBC Sports has a different take.

Another ‘Unusual Circumstance’ for Dumanis

At a 2007 press conference, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said she wouldn’t endorse political candidates “except in unusual circumstances.”

Turns out, unusual circumstances happen more often than you might think. Dumanis has endorsed a whole lot of folks since her pledge.

This weekend, she did it again, this time showing up at Toni Atkins’ kickoff for her state senate campaign.

Quick News Hits

• The Colorado River is known for causing fights among the states that rely on it for water. But water shortages are so common now, California, Arizona and Nevada are tired of quarreling. Instead, the states have teamed up through water conservation efforts. (U-T)

• Local urbanists René Peralta and Jim Bliesner have reimagined the concrete Tijuana River bed as a giant solar energy farm. (U-T)

• San Diego County is asking the courts to resentence and reclassify a whole heck of a lot of inmates under Proposition 47. According to numbers from an ACLU report, local public defenders and prosecutors have filed the largest number of Prop. 47 petitions in the state. (U-T)

• Holiday shopping has begun. The county routinely inspects stores to make sure they’re sticking to the prices they advertise. An Apple Store at Westfield UTC was the most recent store to fail its inspection and be put publicly on blast.

Holiday Jeer

Voice’s Scott Lewis spotted some of the first Christmas Lights to go up in Ocean Beach. Take a look at the Chargers-inspired display, which he calls a “San Diego message of Christmas warmth.”

Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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