Earlier this year, a San Diego school discovered by pure happenstance that there was lead in its drinking water.

Everyone’s glad a service dog happened to find the problem, but now people are looking for a testing regime that’s a bit more reliable.

The San Diego County Water Authority voted Thursday, though, to oppose a state bill that would require testing of schools’ water each year to be sure they’re lead-free. In opposing the bill, the agency said it’s happy to test schools each year – it just doesn’t want to pay for it.

A representative for one local water district said it was just “sexy” legislation: After the crisis in Flint, Mich., lawmakers are just looking for hot issues to address, she said.

As Ry Rivard reports, the water districts say they just haven’t budgeted to test every school. Plus, they said, it’s making water districts financially responsible for a bunch of schools that didn’t pay to improve their infrastructure.

“If the schools have bad infrastructure, I can’t see how that’s our problem,” said Frank Hilliker, a representative on the Lakeside Water District.

San Diego Is Struggling to Dispose of Craft Beer’s Smelly Byproduct

The many craft brewers who call San Diego home are facing a problem.

Once they finish a batch, they’re left with heaps of “spent grain” – the pasty, oatmeal-like residue from the malted barley they use to brew each barrel. They produce so much of it, though, that they can’t just throw it in the dumpster.

Even a small, upstart brewery is left with 1,000 pounds of spent grain a week, and disposing of it is a big challenge, Kinsee Morlan reports.

Often, local farmers pick up the grain for free and use it for feed. But with farmers’ needs mostly met, and new breweries still opening, it’s a problem expected to keep getting worse.

Councilman Chris Cate is now working with the Center for Sustainable Energy and UC San Diego to build a digester that could convert the spent grain into energy.

Sacramento Report: How to Get Attention as a Freshman Republican Assemblyman

Assemblyman Randy Voepel came to Sacramento this year and found a way to stand out in the Democratic-controlled capital.

He’s built a steady social media following by connecting his legislative efforts to Internet memes.

Oh, and he wears lots of funny ties.

For this week’s roundup of news from the Capitol, Sara Libby spoke to the staffer who spearheads Voepel’s social media effort about how the legislator from Santee hopes to capitalize on it.

Plus, she’s got an update on the bill aiming to bring single-payer health care to California – co-written by San Diego’s Sen. Toni Atkins – which advanced out of committee this week. And an organization of school bond watchdogs also met this week, aiming to help each other do a better job of making sure school districts wisely spend all the money they bring in for school infrastructure improvements.

VOSD Podcast: Slow Down With That ‘Stand and Deliver’ Reference

In reflecting on San Diego Unified’s 91 percent graduation rate, Trustee John Lee Evans this week said he felt like Edward James Olmos.

Well, he really said he felt Jaime Escalante, whom Olmos played in the movie “Stand and Deliver,” based on Escalante and a calculus class he taught in Los Angeles in the ‘80s.

Evans said many people (like Voice of San Diego) didn’t think the district could achieve that graduation rate, just like no one believed that Escalante’s students could reach academic feats.

The doubters in the film were racists. Evans was saying anyone who doubted the district were racists, too.

On this week’s podcast, Scott Lewis and I responded to his attack.

Likewise, we broke down SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman’s claim this week that the department has been unable to increase its staffing level, despite an increased budget, because of media scrutiny of police nationwide. I took a closer look at the claim – and the city’s yearly song-and-dance about SDPD’s recruiting and retention crisis – earlier this week.

In Other News

Councilman Chris Ward says San Diego needs to update a handful of its existing policies for dealing with its growing homeless population. (KPBS)

Apple has stopped paying San Diego-based Qualcomm for iPhone royalties, escalating a long-running patent feud between the two companies. (Associated Press)

A local judge has blocked a lawsuit by the Sierra Club that would halt development in undeveloped parts of the county until San Diego County passes a blueprint to manage the effects of climate change. The judge, however, added that Sierra Club could reintroduce the lawsuit if the county doesn’t make progress on that blueprint soon. (Union-Tribune)

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has announced that she’s stepping down as the county’s top prosecutor, and is exploring a run for the County Board of Supervisors, as we covered last week.

In the meantime, though, U-T Watchdog’s Jeff McDonald reported that despite her years of tough-on-marijuana rhetoric, Dumanis collected nearly $20,000 in campaign contributions in recent elections from people associated with pot shops.

San Diego State University is paying $10,000 in a settlement to a former student who was accused of sexual assault. (Union-Tribune)

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org...

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