The city of San Diego is still on the fence about whether it wants to implement a 311 system that could significantly ease the burden on emergency call centers by routing non-emergencies to a separate call center as we reported Tuesday.

Now VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga has a new explainer on why the pizza guy or Uber driver might be able to find you when you call from a cell phone – but emergency dispatch centers can’t.

“The location data in your phone doesn’t always make its way to the folks at 911 due to technological limitations at each step from phone to cell tower to 911 center,” writes Dotinga.

That means if you have to call 911 using your cell phone, emergency responders will have a tough time tracking you down if you don’t know your current location.

The Learning Curve: That Stubborn Achievement Gap 

In this week’s edition of The Learning Curve, VOSD’s favorite crowd-sourced education column, I tackle a question from a reader who asked how the achievement gap in California compares to those in other states. 

The achievement gap is the difference between how well different demographic groups are performing on tests.

It’s a good question, but it’s a tricky one to answer. The National Assessment of Educational Progress collects and reports how public school students are doing on a common test, across states. If you look at the results of those tests, you’ll get some sense of how students in California stack up to other states.

The problem is that the NAEP test results list the percentage of students who tested “proficient” in a subject. And what California considers “proficient” may differ significantly from what New York considers proficient.

But a Stanford researcher has developed a way to compare achievement gaps across states. And here’s one major takeaway from his work: Achievement gaps exist in nearly every school district across the nation. And some of the school districts that we think of as affluent – such as Berkeley, Calif. – have some of the worst disparities in the nation.

SD Explained: The Slide of SD’s Avocado Industry

San Diego has long been California’s No. 1 avocado producer, but rising water rates threaten its position.

The local avocado industry really took off in the 1970s, when some people exploited a temporary loophole in federal tax law.

But these days, San Diego-area avocados are having more trouble turning profits. Why? Soaring water prices in recent years have made it harder for avocado growers to make money or compete with other growers who enjoy subsidies or lower costs.

Our reporter Ry Rivard joined our friends at NBC 7 to break down how the industry is changing in this week’s episode of San Diego Explained.

SDG&E Gets OK To Market On Alternative Energy Program

The city of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan includes the lofty goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. To do that, the city would likely need to create a new system by which the city itself purchases energy, instead of leaving that responsibility to SDG&E. The energy utility would still deliver energy to our homes, but a new entity controlled by the city would have control over which types of energy city residents used.

As KPBS reports, a state agency has just given approval to SDG&E to form a new district of its own that would let it lobby and market against the city’s efforts. State laws prevent utilities from competing with those attempts by cities, but SDG&E just became the first utility in the state to get permission to compete against these “community choice aggregation” energy programs.

Two years ago, VOSD’s Andrew Keatts looked into how Sempra Energy had used a state law related to community choice aggregation to tell local officials that they weren’t all that into the city’s idea.

Get-Out-The-Vote Mural Goes Up In City Heights

KPBS has teamed up with arts nonprofit the AjA Project and the Copley-Price Family YMCA to increase voter turnout throughout City Heights ahead of November’s election. The partnership just put up a “Get out the Vote” mural in City Heights.

Carpool Lanes Opening On 805 Freeway

Transportation officials unveiled Thursday new carpool lanes in the traffic-clogged Golden Triangle area near Sorrento Valley. The lanes will open to commuters next week, which planners hope will alleviate congestion.

East Village Unveils New Parklet

Mayor Kevin Faulconer cut the ribbon on a new parklet in East Village yesterday, saying “This is the start of really fostering open spaces, more walkability…bikability. This is a milestone under the city’s new permit process…We streamlined that process…so we can create more spaces like this one in the near future.” NBC has the story.

VOSD Culture Report writer Kinsee Morlan wrote last month about the difficult process of getting parklets approved by the city, including the one that just opened. It explains why there aren’t more in San Diego, even though other cities are seeing them pop up all over the place

Encinitas Housing Plan Set for November ballot

Encinitas voters in November will be asked to approve a state-required plan to demonstrate how the city will provide its fair share of housing.

Last year, VOSD scribe Maya Srikrishnan wrote about how the city was out of compliance with state law, leaving it liable to lawsuits from housing advocates.

Mario Koran

Mario was formerly an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about schools, children and people on the margins of San Diego.

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