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A few weeks ago, my son’s daycare held a little art show, where they displayed art pieces the kids had been working on for weeks.

The pieces, like they would be at any fancy art showing, were available for purchase. My son is 15 months old. His majestic work of art could be mine for the low price of $10. I pay nearly $2,100 a month for him to attend daycare, and was being asked to pay more for a scrap of paint globs and crayon scribbles.

Reader, I did not buy my own son’s art.

Such is the incredibly screwed up world that is access to child care that I still consider myself insanely fortunate to have found a place that offers me the opportunity to pay the equivalent of a mortgage each month.

I’m far from alone.

A 2017 University of San Diego study drives home some realities about child care in San Diego that will either shock you (if you haven’t had to deal with finding child care recently) or look depressingly familiar (if you have).

That year, there were close to twice as many children between the ages 0-5 with working parents as there were available child care spots.

The vast majority of families who need child care need it full time, yet many of the limited spots available have limited hours too.

San Diego’s high cost of living, combined with strict income eligibility rules for subsidies means many families that need help paying for child care don’t qualify for it.

The San Diego City Council’s Chrises – Cate and Ward, both of whom are also parents of very young children – are starting to explore what the city can do to help families struggling to secure and pay for child care.

On Friday, Cate released a proposal that would offer a financial incentive for residents who open new child care facilities in residential neighborhoods, in order to boost supply.

Ward, who chairs the Council’s Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee, said in a statement this week that he too will be identifying opportunities to help more families afford child care.

Other cities have gone so far as to fund universal pre-K or to use a dedicated sales tax to help fund child care programs.

If hearing about the depressing state of child care (and non-depressing possible solutions!) is your jam, I’m moderating a panel on the topic Tuesday – check it out here.

What VOSD Learned This Week

We asked for documents detailing complaints against former La Jolla High School teacher Martin Teachworth in 2015. San Diego Unified said it had none. We asked again in 2017. San Diego Unified said it had none. Now, as it’s complying with a legal subpoena for documents, San Diego Unified suddenly found lots of them. And they show officials believed his actions to be criminal, yet he was never disciplined.

One of the women who complained about Teachworth in 2003, joined us on this week’s podcast.

Meanwhile, Kevin Beiser has hunkered down and remained out of sight as his school board colleagues passed a resolution urging him to step down.

Elsewhere in the district, families at Porter Elementary say they’re struggling desperately to get services for their children to which they’re legally entitled. As districts and the state urge more accountability for charters and community colleges, there’s no plan to fix traditional K-12 schools like Porter.


Georgette Gomez announced in a VOSD op-ed that she plans to support Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to move the proposed hotel tax increase to the March 2020 ballot. The group behind a 2016 ballot measure intended to prevent such moves is not happy.

As the future of the measure is hashed out, a lawsuit over the effort to qualify it for the ballot is exposing some of the tensions that dominate the weird world of signature-gathering.


And so it begins: San Diego State wants the city to discount the cost of demolishing Qualcomm Stadium from the price it pays for the Mission Valley land.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“His insurgent hit single, ‘Old Town Road,’ is already so many things: a twangy rap song, a swaggy country song, a wink, a joke, a novelty, a smash, a cartoon tumbleweed that keeps gathering meaning, and for the next 15 minutes, proof positive that the contents of America’s musical melting pot can only achieve the viscosity of molten Velveeta when everyone is actually having fun.” – If anyone’s having fun, it’s the author of this great explanation of the debate over “Old Town Road.”

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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