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San Diego’s regional transportation plan directs that over the next five years, 75 percent of funding will go toward projects that are classified as transit projects. But in a new Fact Check, Andrew Keatts points out how that number could mislead folks into thinking SANDAG, our regional transportation planning board, has changed to be more focused on developing transit options than they previously were. The reality is that nothing has changed. “The plan the board just approved doesn’t include a single transit project in the next five years that wasn’t already planned for in the previous plan,” Keatts reports.
In fact, the plan is technically getting less transit-friendly. A project that envisioned connecting downtown to Hillcrest by streetcar has been pushed off from being completed by 2020 to being completed by 2035. Meanwhile, a big new highway is scheduled to appear within the next five years to connect the 905 to the new Otay Mesa East border crossing. But, since the new highway is a toll road, SANDAG doesn’t include it in the “75 percent” calculation. “If you add that project into the mix … the region will spend $2.5 billion on transit, and $2.4 billion on highways,” Keatts reports. “It’s basically a 50-50 split.”
Understanding ‘Linked Learning’
The big education news this week was that Memorial Prep in Logan Heights would be rebuilt and re-branded as a school focused on “career pathways.” That’s a $100 million project to shore up one of the least desired schools in the district. But the sudden focus on preparing students for careers caught Mario Koran’s attention, and he went looking into the data behind so-called linked learning, where students learn a normal curriculum but do so in a context related to a project or career.
“There’s evidence that students in linked learning pathways have better attendance rates, earn more credits and are more likely to graduate,” Koran reports. But savvy parents are concerned that linked learning is just a new name for vocational schools, which have traditionally “separated college-bound kids from those who are destined to head straight to work,” Koran writes.
Overseeing Bond Money: San Diego Explained
In the last decade, San Diegans have voted to approve billions of dollars in bond money for school projects and improvements. A citizen oversight committee oversees the expenditure of that money, ensuring the money is spent properly and fairly. In our most recent San Diego Explained, Ashly McGlone and NBC’s Monica Dean peered into the oversight committee and its chairman, Andy Berg, plays the role of watchdog while also acting as a lobbyist for electrical workers who compete for the same money he is watching over. Berg thinks the competing roles are an “inconsequential detail,” McGlone reported.
• Meanwhile, credit agencies like Fitch and Moody’s are very happy with San Diego Unified, noting comfort with the “strong oversight” of the district’s financial management. (SDNews)
Controversial Refugee Vote
In the House of Representatives Thursday, 47 Democrats joined most Republican members to pass a bill aimed at raising the requirements on refugees trying to make it to America from Syria. San Diego Rep. Scott Peters was among those Democrats who crossed party lines to vote for the measure, the L.A. Times reports. “It is not too burdensome for federal agencies to certify that admitted refugees will not endanger our communities,” Peters wrote in a press release. Like countless other bills approved by the House, this bill is largely symbolic since the Senate is unlikely to take it up and President Obama has promised a veto, The Hill notes.
The Superyachts Are Coming
If you’ve been down to the Embarcadero behind the Convention Center recently, you may have noticed some really nice yachts parked in the water. Those “superyachts” weren’t always there, and their presence is no accident. The Port of San Diego started pushing the location as a premier spot for yachts to park while on long trips, offering concierge and boat services. “Marine Group Boat Works serviced more than 60 vessels measuring larger than 100 feet in 2015,” The Log reports. “These boats are a floating economic stimulus.”
• If you’re looking for a walkable neighborhood, National City is your best bet, according to one report. (NBC 7)
• The tide of immigration from Mexico has turned, with more Mexicans leaving the U.S. than coming. (KPBS)
• The San Diego Union-Tribune is officially moving out of its current Mission Valley digs in favor of the 600 B Street building downtown. (Times of San Diego)
• Comic-Con is sticking to its story that it wants a contiguous expansion of the convention center, not a separate structure like the one proposed by Cory Briggs. Earlier this year, Lisa Halverstadt detailed what Comic-Con wants out of a convention center, and a rep told her that the event has been able to thrive by using venues around downtown and beyond.
• The County of San Diego will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a 16 year-old girl who committed suicide at a juvenile detention center in Kearny Mesa in 2013. (Union-Tribune)
• Google and Amazon are now rivaling in San Diego to see which company can ship a box of Cheerios or a roll of paper towels to you more quickly. Still no delivery via drone, yet! (Union-Tribune)
• The UC San Diego Associated Students Council apparently voted to stop funding all student-created media products because one of the products, The Koala, is too offensive.
• If you’re looking for a career change, the city of Encintas is looking for someone to “be a Lorax and speak for the trees.” While experience with being an arborist would logically follow, I can’t imagine a giant bushy mustache or a fluffy orange sweater would hurt your chances. (Union-Tribune)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.