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San Diego has two major food banks serving the region’s hunger need: the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, and Feeding America San Diego.

The former thinks the two are like chocolate and peanut butter — great things that could be even greater together. The San Diego Food Bank has tried to kickstart merger talks more than once, and donors to both groups have wondered whether a merger might cut down on overhead and bureaucracy. But Feeding America San Diego thinks the two groups are more like peanut butter and mustard — great things that serve the same need but work better separately.

Lisa Halverstadt explores the two groups’ missions and history, and talks with nonprofit experts who think the groups should explore collaborating more closely, if not merging altogether.

Water, Water Everywhere

The Union-Tribune raises the curtain on the opening of the Carlsbad desalination plant, and drives home the “peculiar San Diego problem” the plant has created: We’re about to have more water than we need, even as the drought continues, and even as state mandates to cut back remain in place.

“It’s real hard to tell [constituents], ‘You have to let your grass die,’ and in the same breath you have to tell them, ‘We have more water than we can use,’” Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall tells the U-T.

As VOSD’s Ry Rivard has explained, desalinated water is appealing because it represents a reliable water source the region can draw from, instead of relying on less stable sources like imported water from the north and east. What’s not stable, though, is how much desalinated water will cost.

• Not too long ago, the San Diego County Water Authority was a rare voice of skepticism when it came to those wildly popular turf rebate programs.

“In a strongly worded letter to the Metropolitan board, the County Water Authority said the rebates amount to a regressive tax that transfers money from low-income ratepayers to businesses and homeowners with large lawns,” Ry Rivard reported in May.

Now, a new audit of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s turf rebate program seems to lend some heft to the San Diego group’s concerns. The audit “found DWP’s program is ‘largely a gimmick’ that, while perhaps successful as an advertising campaign, fell short in terms of fairness and cost effectiveness,” according to KPCC.

The Los Angeles Times noted earlier this year that wealthy residents in Rancho Santa Fe claimed the most rebates from the Metropolitan Water District’s program.

• The Metropolitan Water District has become a big land owner along the Arizona border, rattling the nerves of farmers there. (Associated Press)

Local School Districts Beat Back Charters

School districts around the county are filing suit against “out-of-district charters” that they say siphon away students and state funding, according to the Union-Tribune.

The situation has become particularly heated in Grossmont, where hundreds of supporters rallied against the local high school district’s lawsuit seeking to shut down two charters.

A lawyer for San Diego Unified told the U-T that the district sues charter schools because it believes some are operating illegally, not because the district feels threatened. Shockingly, charters don’t buy that: “San Diego Unified and Cindy Marten want to send back all its student to their neighborhood schools and that won’t work because one school is not best for every child,” said the director of one charter school sued by the district.

Mario Koran has reported that charters within San Diego Unified have been feeling a space crunch as the district utilizes its space in a way that makes less available for charters.

Quick News Hits

• Mayor Kevin Faulconer met with the Kansas City Chiefs’ owner before Sunday’s game, pitching the city’s efforts to build the Chargers a new stadium. Faulconer, like he has in previous meetings, said it went well — which is a thing no one said about how the Chargers did later that day. (Union-Tribune)

• RIP, Nola. The San Diego Zoo’s endangered white rhino died this weekend. Now there are only THREE of them left, period. (Newsweek)

• Another kind of San Diego news: Carmen Sandiego is back. (Fusion)

Who Turkey’d Best?

From the journos who brought you Who Filled it Better? comes … Who Turkey’d Best?

The contenders:

• The tag team of Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilwoman Myrtle Cole and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman doled out turkeys to a neighborhood block party this weekend. The mayor had his sleeves rolled up, indicating he was ready to make some turkey deliveries, but this news clip suspiciously shows SDPD officers doing most of the bird lifting.

• Photo evidence shows Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez lifted at least one turkey at a giveaway she hosted. (Check out the fancy personalized tent!)

 Sen. Ben Hueso got an assist from a staffer for what must have been a very weighty turkey.

Turkey is delicious. That’s why there are no losers here.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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