A graphic created by San Diego Unified to demonstrate what it needs from the state to maintain current service levels.

To make its budget process more transparent, San Diego Unified has been circulating a graphic illustrating how much funding it needs from the state to stave off imminent cuts.

The graphic shows the district’s current $1.3 billion budget, the $59 million the district needs from the state simply to maintain its current level of service and another $350 million it needs from the state to reach what it considers “full and adequate funding.”

The problem, as VOSD’s Mario Koran writes, is that the graphic is distorted and confusing.

Primarily, that’s because it isn’t drawn to scale, and therefore fails to contextualize the district’s $350 million need against its $1.3 billion budget.

“It’s an exaggeration to make it look like the $350 million the district needs dwarfs the $1.3 billion it already has,” Koran writes. “The $59 million-need looks especially minor given the district’s full budget picture.”

We recreated the graphic, to scale, to provide a better comparison.

Koran also interprets other cryptic messages in the graphic like “1/2 New York” and speaks with the illustration’s creator himself, San Diego Unified school board trustee John Lee Evans.

End of Hep A Emergency

The County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to end the state of emergency declaration over San Diego’s deadly hepatitis A outbreak.

County health officials had indicated earlier this month that it may soon be time to end the declaration. The number of cases has been declining, and no additional deaths were reported between the end of October and Jan. 2, reports City News Service.

VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt provided more context on Twitter, detailing the number of cases and deaths in the county and reminding everyone of the initial, sluggish response to the outbreak.

Swiftly following the end of the emergency declaration, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells lifted the city’s highly controversial, temporary ban on feeding the homeless in city parks, reports the Union-Tribune.

New COO Could Help Shift City to Strong-Mayor Government

Earlier this week, the city of San Diego’s chief operating officer Scott Chadwick announced he would be moving to the city of Carlsbad.

Monday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer chose Kris Michell, a City Hall political veteran and former CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, to replace him.

The choice could help the mayor align his workforce to better execute his policy goals, writes VOSD’s Scott Lewis.

But such an alignment can also have a downside. Political priorities could subsume concerns for good governance.

Former Mayor Bob Filner stands as an example of where such an alignment between politicians and bureaucrats could go too far.

“At one point, he simply ordered building inspectors not to check out a project,” writes Lewis. “To agree to send inspectors to the project so construction could restart, Filner demanded a donation from the developer for one of his pet causes. If his other sins wouldn’t have taken him down, this may have.”

• Meanwhile, the Downtown San Diego Partnership has named its new CEO: Betsy Brennan, a former city council staffer and chief of staff to SDSU’s president. (Union-Tribune)

Culture Report: Music Knows No Border Walls

More than 70 Mexican and American percussionists will perform Saturday in a cross-border concert in Tijuana and Imperial Beach.

For this week’s Culture Report, VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan talks to Steven Schick, renowned percussionist and University of California San Diego professor, who curated the festival, about  the concert and its political implications with the national conversation on immigration and border security.

“There are a lot of people and ideas that cross this border,” Schick tells Morlan. “A wall is probably not going to change that very much. Those musicians on the other side of the border, they’re my friends. No physical boundary will keep me from talking to my friends or keep me from feeling like I’m a neighbor to the people in Tijuana, and our music underscores that.”

Also in this week’s arts and culture round up: a podcast about BBQ, puppets in City Heights and craft beer layoffs.

Opinion: Blame County Leaders for the Lack of Affordable Housing

It’s hard to find an affordable home in most parts of San Diego County.

For that, argues Cleveland National Forest Foundation President Jack Shu, you can blame the County Board of Supervisors.

In an op-ed, Shu says county politicians’ failure to adhere to its adopted blueprint for growth might be to blame for housing prices.

While the supervisors seem willing to change the zoning of agricultural land for sprawling master-planned developments like Lilac Hills Ranch and Newland Sierra, they also seem willing to let land zoned for 160 multi-family homes become a strip mall instead, Shu writes.

The Board will vote on the proposal in the unincorporated community of Lakeside, called the Lake Jennings Marketplace, Wednesday.

Quick News Hits

Former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said she would give $10,000 to charity after Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura illegally funneled thousands into her failed 2012 mayoral campaign. KPBS found Azano may have funneled far more money than that into her campaign. (Related pro tip from VOSD contributor Kelly Davis: Sometimes it’s a good idea to review e-mails before sending them to reporters).

• Tijuana continues to build a lot of condos, despite a surge in homicides in the region and Mexican currency woes after Donald Trump’s election. (Union-Tribune)

• The County Board of Supervisors approved $400,000 worth of wildfire-spotting cameras. (NBC 7)

• The La Mesa police officer who threw a teenage girl to the ground after she refused to leave Helix Charter High School campus will be reassigned until the department completes its investigation of the incident. (Union-Tribune)

Remembering a Padre Great

Our friends at The Kept Faith, the sports podcast that’s part of the Voice of San Diego Podcast Network, are kicking off “Trevor Week” on their blog. They’re spending the next seven days celebrating the career of (hopeful) Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee and Padre great Trevor Hoffman. The MLB Hall of Fame is announcing the 2018 class on Wednesday afternoon, and Hoffman is expected to make the cut. The Kept Faith will post their own thoughts and memories, and are welcoming special contributors from around the San Diego sports world to share stories, statistical pieces and well-wishes to the man who made walking to the mound cool. Follow along at thekeptfaith.com or on twitter @thekeptfaith

Maya Srikrishnan

Maya was Voice of San Diego’s Associate Editor of Civic Education. She reported on marginalized communities in San Diego and oversees Voice’s explanatory...

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