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Voting “yes” on school bonds feels a lot like saying “yes” to funding badly needed classroom repairs.
But the thing is, school bond money can, and has been used to instead build flashy new football fields and athletic facilities.
As our Ashly McGlone explains, voters in November will be asked to consider Proposition 51, a statewide ballot measure billed as an effort to fix and improve school facilities. But if San Diego is any kind of bellwether, it’s important that folks understand what type of projects they’re being asked to fund.
“Since different types of construction projects aren’t prioritized over others in Prop. 51’s ballot language, it’s possible classroom repairs could take a back seat to stadium projects,” McGlone writes.
She draws comparisons between Prop. 51 and San Diego’s Props. Z, which was passed in 2012 and billed as a way to fund things like asbestos abatement and leaky roofs. But since the construction bond was passed, the district has said asbestos doesn’t really pose a risk. Using funds from Prop. Z and the earlier Prop. S, the district has spent more than $100 million on stadium and athletics projects since 2009.
Brown’s Busy Weekend
Gov. Jerry Brown only has until the end of the week to decide on all of the bills passed by the state Legislature this session. He signed and vetoed a new batch of them on Sunday, including a few from local lawmakers.
Here’s a sampling — for a full rundown on the new bills, check out the Sacramento Report this Friday.
Brown signed two health care-related bills from Assemblywoman Toni Atkins: one that takes a step toward addressing a long-running issue in immigrant communities, including City Heights: the need for interpreters in hospitals. Atkins’ bill doesn’t fund those services yet, though: It “requires the Department of Health Care Services to conduct a study and make recommendations for the best way to provide medical interpretation services for Medi-Cal patients who need them,” according to a release. Another Atkins bill closes coverage gaps for cancer screenings.
A bill from Assemblyman Brian Jones allow homebrewers to hold meetings where folks can taste their goods.
A big veto from Brown: He said no to Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bill that would create a new accountability system for schools.
Brown also vetoed the second diaper-related bill from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. Earlier this month, Brown vetoed Gonzalez’s bill to exempt diapers from sales tax. On Sunday, he vetoed her bill that would have provided a $50-a-month diaper voucher to families in the CalWorks welfare to work program. Brown offered the same explanation for both vetoes: that the change should have been made when budget discussions were taking place.
In response, Gonzalez turned to the one person she’s looked to throughout her crusade for more affordable diapers: Eminem.
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) September 25, 2016
Politifest Recap: San Diego Needs This
When I was hired at Voice of San Diego just over a year ago, I entered the offices with one big fear: Was I wonky enough? I was an arts reporter who had never dipped my toes too far into the political waters. I was also intimated by politics and had written a lot of it off as either too hard to understand or too boring.
Right out of the gate at VOSD, though, I was asked to listen to and summarize Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts’ weekly podcast discussions about local political affairs. I quickly discovered that this stuff is actually really interesting, important and easy to understand.
So yeah, I guess I’m a wonk now: I’m officially into it.
That’s why VOSD puts on Politifest, which was held this weekend at SDSU and featured keynote speeches from Reihan Salam and DeRay McKesson, plus sessions on lots of local measures and races. The goal is to make politics less intimidating and more accessible and exciting.
I felt all the feels as hundreds of San Diegans showed up – on a sunny Saturday that was packed with other events, no less – to proudly let their wonk flags fly.
We’ll probably roll out a few nuggets from Politifest over the next week, and we’ll definitely be releasing videos from the talks.
In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite Tweets from the day’s talks and debates (cruise through the #politifest hashtag if you have time):
• VOSD teamed up with SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies students, who were tasked with writing about Politifest. Here are the posts they produced.
• Like I said, professional videos of the Politifest videos are coming, but here’s the one shaky live video I took of the Chargers East Village stadium debate.
Weekend News Roundup
• The hot, dry Santa Ana winds are blowing, and firefighters are standing at the ready. (Patch)
• At least one local school is closing early Monday due to the temperature spike expected across the region. (10News)
• Mental Health Systems gets about $35 million in annual contracts from the county for the various services it provides. The U-T’s Jeff McDonald reports on an out-of-state consultant hired by Mental Health Systems who charged the charity for cushy things like limousines and repeated $400-a-night stays at a Coronado resort and spa. Needless to say, there have been some management changes at Mental Health Systems.
• Proclamations made by government officials are mostly just for fun and support, but a recent one by Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina that welcomed migrants to the seaside city didn’t go over too well with residents there, so he’s retracting it. (U-T)
• The Associated Press caught wind of the big jump in the number of Haitian, African and Asian migrants flooding into Mexico. The U-T and KPBS have been covering the phenomenon over the past few months. We chronicled the plight of many of them who are stuck in Tijuana awaiting word from U.S. officials in this photo essay.
• Thanks to a few cells from endangered animals and some liquid nitrogen, the future of animal conservation could be a lot brighter than we imagine. (U-T)
• Whoa. Some of these San Diego-based biotech companies are doing some wild things to help people lose weight. (U-T)
• San Diego Free Press has a detailed feature on former San Diego City Councilman Jess Haro.
• Get your party on while watching this week’s presidential debate. (10News)
Social Media Moments
• This brewery in Brazil made an American pale ale called “San Diego.”
• Want. #dessertalert