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As we’ve been reporting, San Diego Unified is trying to work its way through a major dilemma: When it comes to public education, separate appears to be unequal, but un-separating through integration has huge drawbacks of its own.

Now, the idea is to give every neighborhood a quality school, a goal that’s stunning in its admission that this isn’t happening now. That way more parents can keep their kids at their local school instead of sending them across town. But won’t that keep schools segregated?

For perspective, VOSD’s Mario Koran reached out to Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. In a Q-and-A, Orfield says integration is worthwhile: “Desegregation done the right way is a win-win. It’s not taking something from somebody and giving it to somebody else. It’s expanding the opportunity and preparation of everybody. It’s not a miracle. It’s not a cure-all. It’s just a whole lot better than segregation.”

Orfield argues that integrated schools benefit all kids, not just black and brown ones: “You can’t really learn how to function very effectively in a diverse, multiracial culture in segregated neighborhoods, with segregated schools,” he said.

As for the idea that San Diego Unified can create a rosy future where quality schools are around every corner, even in the poorest parts of town, “no school district in the country has ever done it, to the best of my knowledge.”

Council Hopefuls Line Up on Briggs Plan

Cory Briggs and Donna Frye want to overhaul and increase the city’s hotel-room tax, kill a waterfront convention center expansion and pave the way for a downtown stadium. Now, two City Council candidates in District 1, which includes La Jolla and coastal areas, both say they support the idea. Barbara Bry sent out a release explaining she thinks the plan “is comprehensive, transparent and gives voters the right to weigh in on public-expenditures.”

Bry’s opponent, Joe LaCava, responded in a Facebook post that he’s on board too: “This initiative can be the proverbial win-win for San Diegans, the environment, and the tourist industry in a voter-approved package.”

El Niño: Everybody Panic? (Me First)

While everybody’s freaking out about El Niño, there’s an important fact to keep in mind: It’s not a guarantee of a wetter-than-usual winter, as Vox notes. El Niños usually mean this in California, but not always.

Also, here’s a handy explanation of how the El Niño got its name: It came from a fisherman in Peru in the 1800s “who first noticed a mysterious warm current that would appear around Christmas. They called it the ‘little boy’ or ‘Christ child.’”

Meanwhile, Slate offers a reason to actually freak out: “Humanity has never before had to deal with global oceans quite like this,” and the apparent changes brought on by global warming make things quite unpredictable. Remember when last month was the hottest October in San Diego history? The month worldwide was the “most unusually warm” ever.

• County water use last month, in the hottest October in San Diego’s recorded history, was down 19 percent compared with 2013. (City News Service)

County Calls PC Police on Itself

The County Board of Supervisors got into a snit over an issue that’s bedeviled politicians and newspaper editors for decades: What should people in the U.S. without permission be called? Their advocates object to referring to them as “illegals.”

A divided board, with two supervisors complaining about political correctness gone awry, decided to change the way it refers to these immigrants in its communications with lawmakers. They’ll now be known as “undocumented.” (U-T)

North County Report: Power to the People (Sorta)

VOSD’s weekly North County Report is out, leading off with a look at a bid to restore power to Oceanside’s citizen advisory groups, which got consolidated a few years back and are meeting some resistance as they try to get a bigger voice in how the city is run.

Also in the North County Report: Carlsbad sets a date for a vote on a luxury shopping mall development, another Airbnb battle might be brewing, labor trouble at a hospital and the rules on chickens and goats in Encinitas.

Quick News Hits

• A new state audit, the L.A. Times reports, finds that “the California Board of Equalization is failing to properly handle the money it collects, leading to funds being deposited in the wrong accounts and the failure to collect debts owed to the state.” The board isn’t small potatoes: It collects $49 billion (yes, billion) in revenue each year from sales taxes and other taxes.

• The GOP seems to be hopeful about a 2016 challenger to local Democratic Rep. Scott Peters: It’s giving special attention to a candidate and former George W. Bush aide named Denise Gitsham, though Roll Call calls it a safe Democratic seat. (Roll Call)

Bye, Anthony’s Fish Grotto. Well, at least we have lots of places to find good pizza. Meanwhile, no 450 tamales for you, accused illegal tamale smuggler!

• Also on the So Long, Goodbye, Farewell list: The U-T printing presses (the paper is now printed in L.A.): here’s what’s left.

• Employees at a San Diego warehouse called the cops and evacuated Wednesday after a “mountain lion” was spotted in their building. The police came and identified the culprit via security cam: a domestic cat of average size, roaming around.

NBC 7 has the details and the incriminating video. Nobody, as far as we know, has the cure for the resulting embarrassment. And don’t even get us started about that rug.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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