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Something often pops up in city of San Diego elections when they start to hit their climax: schools.

You might remember mailers and signs posted by the American Federation of Teachers in 2012 in support of Bob Filner for mayor. The teachers union has no direct interest in the city of San Diego — it doesn’t even represent teachers in the San Diego city schools system — but it dropped large donations in support of Filner with messages about how good he would be for schools.

Schools became a major part of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ campaign for mayor as well.

Now, it’s Rafael Castellanos’ turn. He is running for city attorney and has a new commercial up that features a group of kids screaming, “He wants better schools!”

The city, however, has no oversight of education.

The City Charter delegates authority over the San Diego Unified School District to the independent Board of Education.

I asked Castellanos what the city attorney could do for schools.

“I will prioritize the community justice section of the office to make neighborhoods cleaner and safer, which will help kids, especially in underserved communities, have a better standard of living and therefore better learning environment,” he wrote in a statement.

City Council candidate Ray Ellis has also been talking about education, even proposing term limits for members of the Board of Education.

“As we review our City Charter, which sets forth the format and structure of school board elections, we should evaluate a new system for school board elections that provides the right incentives to those leading our public schools,” his website reads.

So, he would push to change the Charter. Even if he was successful getting that through his council Counterparts, it would still have to go to a vote of the people.

He would pursue all of that just for term limits? You might remember an unsuccessful ballot initiative several years ago to reshape the Board of Education, mixing appointed members with the five elected trustees.

Ellis told me in a phone call he would not support that. He’d consider changes to the Charter only to impose term limits.

There’s not much city officials can do about education without a full-scale overhaul of that part of the City Charter. Keep that in mind as we go through the next two elections.

On Justice at Schools

Recently, on our podcast Good Schools for All, we talked to the dean of students at Hoover High School, who described the restorative justice efforts she’s implemented at Hoover. Turns out, these programs have a lot of promise in the effort to keep kids from suspensions that can harm their educational progress. But they are rolling out very slowly in San Diego Unified.

Rachel Evans looked into why.

Sacramento Report: Competing Death Penalty Measures

In the Sacramento Report, VOSD contributor Kelly Davis details San Diego law enforcement groups’ support of a measure that would speed up death-penalty appeals so that executions would happen more often. Supporters of the measure say they have gathered enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot. Meanwhile, another measure would end the death penalty in California. If they both pass, the one with the most votes would win out. Also in the Sac Report are details on Gov. Jerry Brown’s affordable housing plans, and a bill that is getting San Diego nonprofits all riled up.

Climate Action Plan Closure (or Not)

After we broke the story recently that there seems to be a lot of confusion about whether the city’s landmark Climate Action Plan is enforceable, the U-T asked City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to clarify. He responded. I read it three times and still don’t understand. Not sure if that’s his fault. Goldsmith’s chief deputy, Mara Elliott, since backed off a bit from her claims about how much work is still needed on the plan but she appears to have revealed that it will be very difficult to hold the city accountable for its climate goals.

Quick News Hits

Homeless people in Oceanside are using new beach bathrooms for shelter. (KPBS)

Two presidential candidates are coming. (Times of San Diego) (So is a former president.)

 The Chargers have dropped another $750,000 into their effort to qualify a stadium measure for November. The Chargers’ adviser, Fred Maas, said on Mighty 1090 that the team is doing OK collecting signatures but that the task is “Herculean.” The U-T’s Kevin Acee advises ardent Chargers fans ready to boycott and bully the city’s politicians into submission to wait and see for a while. He thinks the mayor may still support the plan.

 Manpower says unemployment is at its lowest rate in San Diego in nine years after a spike in tourism industry hiring for the summer.

 County Supervisor Dave Roberts does not want to talk about the scandal that plagued his first term as he seeks re-election. Awkward video alert. (10News)

 Dozens of San Diego leaders gathered at the Jackie Robinson YMCA in southeastern San Diego to celebrate the groundbreaking of its new 50,000 square-foot facility. Construction will take up to 18 months and the organization raised $26 million. Leaders hope to raise $6 million more to build a swimming pool and a sports complex. A partnership to build the pool in conjunction with San Diego schools dissolved several months ago.

Top 5 Stories of the Week

Here’s our list of the Top 10 most-read stories of the week. And here are the top five:

1. San Diego’s Surging Airbnb Listings, in One Chart
The city as a whole saw Airbnb listings rise 39 percent from February 2015. The number includes full-time entire home rentals as well as rooms or guesthouses rented out while the homeowner remains on site. (Ashly McGlone)

2. Opinion: DA Is Dead Wrong on Encryption
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and her colleagues argue that a new bill requiring tech companies to weaken the security of their products would assist law enforcement, but they fail to mention the cost: the safety of all Americans’ data. (Dave Maass)

3. Labor and Its Onetime Friend Turn on Each Other in Fight for Dem Party Influence
The Democratic Central Committee’s decisions on who it endorses can open the door for major spending on behalf of those candidates. City Councilman David Alvarez wants a seat at the table, but that’s pitted him against labor leader Mickey Kasparian, who’s backing his own slate of candidates. (Scott Lewis)

4. Beiser Encouraged Castle Park Students Not to Take State Tests
Kevin Beiser, who serves on the San Diego Unified School Board, sent a note to students and parents in his Castle Park Middle School class days before the class was set to take mandated state tests. In it, he encouraged students to opt out of the tests — something that’s forbidden by the state’s Education Code. (Mario Koran)

5. Fact Check: Are Vacation Rentals Making the Housing Shortage Worse?
The debate over how to regulate vacation rentals is especially hot in coastal communities, which have long been rental hotspots. It’s become a central issue in the race to represent City Council District 1, which includes vacation rental hub La Jolla. (Ashly McGlone)

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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