The Morning Report
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Leaders of the San Diego Unified School District have been mighty proud lately of the district’s 92 percent graduation rate for the class of 2016. Our Mario Koran has been trying to understand for a while now what that was 92 percent of.
As he can now report, several thousand students who entered 9th grade four years ago aren’t part of the district’s graduation calculation at all.
As the class of 2016, more than 11,000 students entered their freshman year in 2012. But fewer than 6,000 ended up counting in the district’s 92 percent graduation rate this year. Thousands were excluded from the start because they were in charter schools. But to get to 92 percent, thousands of others had to leave the district’s traditional track.
What does this mean? One way to understand the data would be to understand whether the district shifted kids who weren’t doing well to charter schools. “If that was the case, the district’s projected graduation rate really wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of how well it prepared kids.” But the district won’t help us explore this easily.
Airbnb Aggravations? All You Can Do Is a Noise Complaint
The City Council this week refused to crack down hard on Airbnb-type short-term rentals, leaving many residents free to rent out their homes on a temporary basis.
So what does that mean for neighbors who are annoyed by unruly and loud out-of-towners? As our Lisa Halverstadt explains, they don’t have a lot of options. Unless new rules are implemented, neighbors will only be able to turn to noise complaints.
Questions Raised About Treasurer Hopeful
A woman named Ditas Yamane is running to be National City’s treasurer even though she was the bookkeeper of a troubled government-linked non-profit organization that faced major financial questions. “After her involvement in a matter where the proper use of taxpayer funds was brought into question and an obligation to transparently report the use of such funds was repeatedly not met, Yamane is running for a position that oversees the management, budgeting and use of the city and taxpayer funds,” our Maya Srikrishnan reports.
The non-profit organization’s job was to use property taxes to fund improvements in a special business district.
Yamane’s opponent, the incumbent, is using this history against her. But she says she’s separate from the troubled non-profit: “I am capable. I have held a lot of leadership positions with integrity and success.”
Family Claims Its Assets Frozen Without Charges
Reason.com is out with the story of a San Diego family whose assets have been frozen by San Diego police despite no charges being filed against anyone. The father in the family runs a medical marijuana business.
“On Tuesday the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm, filed a motion in California district court seeking the return of roughly $100,000 of the Slatic family’s money,” Reason.com reports. “The Institute for Justice argues the seizure was a brazen and illegal use of civil asset forfeiture, a practice that allows police to seize property they suspect is connected to a crime. The owner often does not have to be convicted or even charged with a crime.”
Election Roundup: Dems in Non-Disarray
“Democrats have tripled their voter registration advantage over Republicans in San Diego County since Jan. 1, according to a report released Wednesday by the county registrar of voters,” inewsource reports. “As of Tuesday, 609,427 people were registered to vote in the region as Democrats and 501,569 as Republicans, a margin of about 108,000.” Since January, “that reflects a gain of around 119,000 for Democrats, compared to 40,000 for the GOP.”
• If you’d like to save 67 cents in postage or a trip to your polling place on election day, you can drop off your mail ballot at certain libraries throughout the county and a few other places. Here’s a roundup via City News Service.
Chargers’ Closing Argument and Why Is the NFL Losing Its Grip?
Chargers chairman Dean Spanos has been doing interviews this week making the closing pitch for Measure C. Tuesday he was on the Mighty 1090 sports radio along with his advisor on the project, Fred Maas. When the host asked them what would happen if the measure got 60 percent of the vote but not the needed two-thirds, they both just laughed as though that would be dream.
• Take it away, Sara Libby: “For those keeping track, the Chargers are now pushing a joint stadium-convention center-startup incubator-blood bank.” Seriously.
• Our Scott Lewis made his own prediction on XTRA 1360 radio of how the measure will play with voters. (Hint: not well.)
• Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins tackles a question that has the suits behind pro football worried: Why are fewer people watching games this year? Is it because of the concussions, the on- and off-field violence, the abuse of cities and fans by stadium-mad teams?
Yes and no, Jenkins suggests: “The NFL has put less appealing and more disturbing action on the screen, and viewers are turning it off.” Too many commercials, too many penalties and too much wrenching drama. “It’s hard to dismiss the coexisting facts that the NFL has ruined the flow of its on-field stories while experiencing a spate of deeply negative stories off the field,” Jenkins writes.
S.D. Loses a Chronicler with a Dark Side
John Brizzolara, a San Diego Reader journalist for a quarter century, was a chronicler of our community’s darker sides, perhaps our closest equivalent to L.A.’s famed Charles Bukowski. Long troubled by addiction and health problems, Brizzolara faded from the Reader’s pages a few years ago. Now comes word that he died Oct. 11 of natural causes at Father Joe’s Villages. A Catholic blessing and a memorial gathering were scheduled for yesterday.
You can find examples of his work for the Reader here and here. In a 2011 Halloween column, he writes of a friend’s advice: “San Diego is not a town for heavy thinking. Everyone goes to the gym, or runs, or rides, or swims, or drinks, but I don’t recommend that for you. Focus on the nothingness that is everything here.”
North County Report: A Rumble of a Race
Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: There’s a county school board, and it’s become a major player in the debate over charter schools. Here’s another tidbit: The race for a seat representing a chunk of North County has become a humdinger, drawing almost $1 million in campaign donations.
VOSD’s weekly North County Report has the details.
Also in the North County Report: Big money in a small school board race, drama in the ever-dramatic Tri-City Hospital District and more.
Quick News Hits: More Like Funny Peculiar, TSA!
• Yes, you can write-in candidates for president on the California ballot, including one Bernie Sanders, but they must have been pre-approved otherwise they won’t count. And no, Sanders didn’t ask to be listed as a possible write-in. (L.A. Times)
• Let’s hope the TSA is better at detecting bombs than knock-knock jokes. Case in point: “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Hatchet. Hatchet who? Hatchets are prohibited in carry-on bags.”
Those are the actual words in a post on the TSA’s Instagram account about hatchets recently discovered in carry-on bags at three airports, including our very own Lindbergh Field. Yikes!
Turns out the TSA Instagram account is quite lively. People post photos of items like a a “cheese grater/sponge destroyer,” deer antlers, a mini-alligator head and a potato and ask TSA whether they can be transported in carry-on bags.
The answers in order: Yes, not advisable, yes (!) and yes.
Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you even a little creeped out that someone wants to tote an alligator head in their carry-on luggage, TSA?
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past 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.