The June primary election gets a little duller by the day — all hail Trump! — but we still have a few lively local races. Political junkies can reel them off: City Council, city attorney, board of supervisors. And, oh yeah, the county board of education.
Wait, the what? Yes, the obscure San Diego County Board of Education has become a hot spot for election drama. Voters will fill four of five seats, and charter school advocates are backing four candidates challenging incumbents. “They want to make sure charter schools get a fair assessment if they’re ever reviewed by the County Board of Education,” writes VOSD’s Mario Koran in a story that explores how the board has landed in center stage.
Charter schools aren’t the only issue. Newly elected board members will also get to choose a new superintendent for the county office of education, which has a hefty budget (almost half a billion dollars) and supports local school districts.
Election Roundup: Trump Triumphant
Now that he’s the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump is talking about his first 100 days if he wins the general election. Of interest locally: He plans to get a border wall designed by that point. A presidential historian, meanwhile, reminds us that “the president is not king.” (New York Times)
• There’s talk that Chula Vista voters will soon get to decide whether to boost their sales taxes to pay for infrastructure fixes. (10News)
• “Well that de-escalaTed quickly,” an editorial in the Union-Tribune began Wednesday. Tsk, tsk, U-T. Did you decide against “Use it or don’t Cruz it”? “Turn off the Cruz control”? Leave the humor to the professionals (me)!
L.A. Limits Solitary Confinement for Kids
L.A. County has taken a stand against solitary confinement for kids: Its board of supervisors has banned it “at youth camps and halls except ‘as a temporary response to behavior that poses a serious and immediate risk of physical harm to any person,’” the L.A. Times reports.
• “The staff for a civilian panel that reviews complaints against San Diego County sheriff’s deputies say two deputies violated department policies by using an in-house database for personal reasons,” the U-T reports.
Tracking S.D.’s Gassy Air
Inewsource checks in with researchers who’ve mapped hot spots for methane gas in the county. The good news: These levels of methane gas won’t harm people. The bad news: It hurts the environment. Local landfills appear to be major producers.
The city wants to reduce these emissions as part of its Climate Action Plan, but the story says “it’s not at all clear that San Diego is accurately counting its methane emissions.”
San Andreas Is Ready for a Jolt
Here’s something for your Worry File: an earthquake researcher says the San Andreas Fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll.”
But haven’t we had quakes over the years that have released pressure? Yes, but as the L.A. Times explains, the “last big earthquake to strike the southern San Andreas was in 1857, when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake ruptured an astonishing 185 miles between Monterey County and the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles … the San Andreas has not relieved stress that has been building up for more than a century.” (My unrelieved stress has been building up for quite a few decades too, but I digress.)
The story notes that the city of L.A. has made a major push to remodel buildings to make them more earthquake-safe. San Diego has not. To be fair, though, our earthquake history isn’t very shaky compared to L.A., Long Beach and other parts to the north.
North County Report: Arguing Density in Encinitas
VOSD’s weekly North County Report checks in on the battle over housing density in Encinitas, an unusual teacher contract dispute in Rancho Santa Fe and a court hearing to decide felony charges against an Escondido school board member. (Late update: He’ll go on trial on 13 felony counts, the U-T reports.)
Quick News Hits: Mapping the Roaring Twenties
• The board of Tribune Publishing, which owns the U-T and the L.A. Times, unanimously rejected a bid from rival newspaper company Gannett. (L.A. Times)
• In an L.A. Times commentary, two child advocates highlight a new report that says the U.S. Census is undercounting Latino kids, missing about 400,000 of them nationwide. “An accurate census is essential to the fair distribution of national resources,” they write, “and to the very life of our democracy.”
• Civic San Diego, the city agency in charge of tying up loose ends after the demise of the urban renewal program, is facing allegations that it’s not being open about its finances. (S.D. Reader)
• North County’s Rep. Darrell Issa is taking a stand on a hot topic: the seizure by law enforcement of the assets of suspected criminals. The process is “an obvious conflict of interest,” Issa writes, “and boy, is it profitable for law enforcement agencies.” (L.A. Times)
• New York Magazine takes a lengthy look inside the battle over SeaWorld’s whales.
• Remember those downtown-to-Balboa-Park gondolas that are being pushed by a county supervisor? They might be contagious. Now, a similar idea is being floated in Chicago. (ABC 7 Chicago)
• The most popular baby names in the county in 2015: Mia (for girls) and Noah (for boys). (City News Service)
• Population alert! The county is at 3.3 million, and the city’s at 1.4 million, as of 2015. Carlsbad and El Cajon have crossed the 100,000 line and Chula Vista is in its usual second place spot countywide at 265,000. (City News Service)
• It’s Throwback Thursday, so here’s a nifty 1928 map of San Diego. Click on the map to enlarge it and enjoy the details like the blimp (dirigible?) at Coronado’s Rockwell Field and Point Loma’s Naval Coaling Station and Theosophical Society building.
You’ll also find references to little-known bits of San Diego history, like the Ft. Rosecrans cemetery monument to a local Navy tragedy and the 1775 martyrdom of the Catholic priest Luis Jayme in our not-so-fair city.
There’s even a fashionable flapper or two on the map, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Marston’s Department store. And, yes, there are some regrettable Mexican stereotypes depicted south of the border.
Well, it’s (sort of) like they say: You can take the map out of 1928, but you can’t take 1928 out of the map.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.