In some ways, being a journalist turns out to have been good practice for becoming a parent.
Journalism involves a lot of quickly becoming an expert on topics with which you’re totally unfamiliar. In the course of a couple of days of covering a housing lawsuit, you become an expert on CEQA.
Having a newborn is kind of like that, I’ve learned over the last three months, except you’re poring your investigative prowess into studying the appropriate size, color and consistency of baby poop, and frantically Googling things like “newborn eye crust.”
I didn’t follow the news too closely while I was away. Though, unsure of how to make conversation with a newborn baby but determined to fill his head with words, I did read aloud to him from news roundups each morning – which means he can’t hold his own head up but is remarkably well-versed on the #MeToo movement and Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Still, I missed about 10,000 news cycles, particularly at the local level. Countless tweets, takes, beefs and blowups unfolded while I was busy cleaning spit-up out of my hair (that’s a lie, I mostly just made peace with the spit-up and let it sit and harden) – enough that I could never possibly catch up on them all.
Before I left, city leaders had failed – again – to enact policies governing vacation rentals. They were mulling a Convention Center ballot measure. And we were learning the extent to which schools sometimes fail to protect students from educators known to behave badly in and out of the classroom.
When I logged back in this week, I was greeted with press releases blaring things like “SD Mayor’s Deceptive Plan to Legalize Airbnb,” more news about a Convention Center ballot measure and an ever-growing list of stories about schools that fail to protect students from badly behaving educators.
So I’m giving myself a bit of a break as I jump back into journalism. Because I might have missed countless stories, but everything still seems to be right where I left it.
What VOSD Learned This Week
San Diego County supervisors will soon discuss whether to join the Trump administration’s side of a lawsuit challenging California’s sanctuary policies.
Then there’s the folks clamoring to join the board. They all say the board needs to spend more of its reserve fund on homelessness and housing.
Scott Lewis and I discussed the many ways the usually under-the-radar Board of Supervisors were in the news this week on the podcast.
Mario Koran pored through documents, and spoke to two educators who’ve done stints at Lincoln High, and pieces together a disturbing picture: Violent episodes are common at the school, and discipline can be doled out inconsistently. It all goes back to San Diego Unified’s switch to restorative justice practices, which aim to address underlying issues that cause students to act out. But if the practice isn’t carried out effectively, it can actually make violence at schools worse.
In coastal neighborhoods like Bird Rock, developers have learned to take advantage of a loophole that lets them build massive new homes while calling it a “remodel” of an old home. Developers are clearly flouting the spirit of the rule, but it’s also hard to root for the neighbors who would prefer to see nothing new ever be built.
And speaking of neighbors who don’t want new homes built: Lisa Halverstadt reported this week on some troubling new projections from SANDAG that show even if every city in the county built every last home allowed under their zoning plans, we still wouldn’t have enough housing by 2050 to accommodate growth. Of course, because of issues like neighborhood opposition, it’s highly unlikely all those homes will ever be built – meaning the shortage could be even worse. And it’s not just big, fancy houses that run into challenges: Halverstadt also details two failed affordable housing projects that underscore how difficult those projects can be.
More good stuff this week: Pot is going higher ed. A new report throws serious shade on SDG&E’s claims that it can deliver 100 percent clean energy. Lakeside teachers can take advantage of a deal that pays them to retire every year, not just during budget crises. This is what life is like for a deported father.
What I’m Reading
- Look, it might be a coincidence that I returned to my job in investigative journalism the same day one of the great mysteries of our time – WHO BIT BEYONCE? – unfolded. But then again, it might not be. (GQ)
- It’s not every day a former Supreme Court justice calls for a repeal of a constitutional amendment. (New York Times)
- Lawmakers in California and beyond have started to explore how to make diapers more affordable for working families. This fantastic piece delves into why they’re so expensive to begin with – essentially, they’re wonders of modern technology. (Tampa Bay Times)
- This is big: A Buzzfeed report casts doubt on the official account of how a former Russian media czar turned up dead in Washington D.C.
- The Name Bracket is back and the competition is FIERCE. My money is on La Royce Lobster-Gaines. (Deadspin)
- Wall Street Journal staffers say an editor improperly interfered with a story because its conclusions were too liberal. (Politico)
Line of the Week
“An earlier version of this article implied that chimpanzees ran the government depicted in 1968’s Planet of the Apes and its sequels when in fact political authority was vested in orangutans and chimpanzees served as a kind of scientist and intellectual caste.” – A wonderful and important correction to a Vox political analysis piece