You might not have had time to read our big series this week on how one company cornered the market for local school districts artificial turf needs. The company, FieldTurf, used a defective product for many of the projects and used the eventual failure as an opportunity to up-sell districts on a more expensive product. An option many of them took.
So here are the Top 5 takeways — the Cliff’s Notes version — from Ashly McGlone’s probe. And here are all four parts if you want to catch up:
Part I: Across the County, Taxpayer-Funded Turf Fields Are Falling Apart After Just a Few Years
Part II: The Consummate Salesman
Part III: Despite Failures, San Diego Unified Just Can’t Quit FieldTurf
Part IV: How a Turf Company with High Prices and a Defective Product Cornered the SD Market
The Learning Curve: Announcing Storyboard
We are excited to announce the launch of our new reporting project called Storyboard, which aims to shed light on the stories that impact English-learning populations in our neighborhoods and beyond. Working along with New America California and San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, “we’ll collect data, then plan stories that will illuminate the opportunities and challenges multilingual students and families face,” Mario Koran writes.
Now that California voters have approved Proposition 58, making it easier for schools to open dual-language programs, those might include topics like how dual-language programs are funded, or whether dual-language programs are evenly distributed throughout our city. “All of those answers can be turned into stories,” Koran writes, and some of those stories will appear at Voice of San Diego in the near future.
Opinion: School Choice Drives Improvement
Mark Powell, who will represent District 1 on the San Diego County Board of Education beginning in January, points to San Diego’s school choice program as a driver of competition between public and charter schools. School choice programs let parents apply to have their child enrolled in schools outside of their home’s neighborhood. “These choice schools vary widely in terms of who is eligible to participate and how many students may attend,” Powell writes. He points to the charter Preuss school in La Jolla as an example of a school that is known for producing excellent results with low-income students. “Well-run charter schools create competition, and competition can trigger low-performing schools to improve,” Powell writes.
Weird Tax Holiday on Cannabis
California voters last week approved Proposition 64, legalizing recreational use of cannabis. As part of that proposition, the sales tax burden was removed from sales of medical cannabis and placed instead on sales of recreational cannabis products. The Union-Tribune’s Daniel Wheaton notes one small issue there: recreational sales aren’t allowed until 2018, but the sales tax relief for medical cannabis products takes effect immediately. “The sudden ‘tax holiday’ may cost the state millions in lost revenue,” Wheaton reports.
• Now that statewide legalization has passed and a local measure to tax cannabis has also passed, the San Diego City Council is considering a temporary ban on growing cannabis outdoors. (KPBS)
ABC News reports that a backlog of immigrants from Haiti who’ve been held in detention after attempting to cross into the United States from Mexico are now being released into this country due to overcrowding. An unnamed official “said releasing immigrants with orders to report later to immigration court is a tactic used when detention space is scarce,” they write.
Meanwhile NBC 7 San Diego reports on how experts believe the flood of immigration from Mexico to the United States “is over,” according to research out of UC San Diego.
Local Orgs Woo Bay Area Workers
The Union-Tribune’s Jennifer Van Grove reports on how San Diego employers are hoping to woo high-tech workers from Silicon Valley with an aggressive billboard campaign and a job fair in Mountain view. The billboards target former San Diegans who moved to the valley, and carry messages such as “Hey Engineers – Remember how much fun you used to be?” and “You’re a smart engineer, and you’re here?”
“The billboard is part of a massive, calculated campaign, dubbed the “#UltimateLifeHack,” Van Grove reports.
• For many, many years, through many votes and permitting struggles, we’ve been hearing about the proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill in North County. Prepare to hear about it no more. The Pala Band of Mission Indians purchased a big chunk of the land in question and agreed not to oppose housing development on the rest of it.
• The Rams broke ground on their new football stadium and surrounding development in Inglewood. At the ceremony, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporter Vincent Bonsignore that the Chargers have not yet requested an extension on their option to move to Los Angeles. That could be bad news if you want the Chargers to stay here. It may mean team leaders have decided they don’t need more time to work on a project here and will make the decision to move before January. Or it doesn’t mean anything at all.
• Chicano Park is one step closer to becoming a national historic landmark. (CW6)
• AAA expects that when you leave for your road trip over the Thanksgiving holiday that you will be joined by basically everyone. (Curbed.com)
• In the first study of its kind, a UC San Diego researcher has reported “that women who give birth for the first time at age 25 or older are more likely to live to 90.” (U.S. News)
• A new report released Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirms San Diego has the fourth largest homeless population in the country. We’ve recently written about local homeless numbers.
• Has the gun murder rate in California really declined by 56 percent since 1993? Nope, it’s actually 67 percent. (KPBS)
• District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is criticizing a Nashville, Tennessee downtown program that put a homeless man on a bus to San Diego. The man quickly landed in prison, got out, and then robbed a bank. (NewsChannel5)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.