San Diego Schools Busing Program Gets Ugly…Yesterday’s snail mail brought myself and the parents of 22,000 other school aged children in San Diego a letter from the SDUSD Transportation Services Department demanding payment for the coming year’s busing within the next couple of weeks—or else. Dated July 31st (Yesterday was Aug 6th) and signed by Gene Robinson, “Director of Transportation and Distribution Services”, the letter also incidentally mentions that transportation fees for a single student will rise from last year’s rate ($420) to $500. A family’s second child gets the discounted rate of $250; additional children are not charged. The “or else” part of the letter is that, if you don’t happen to have that much cash laying around, your child will not be riding the bus this year. Programs allowing for monthly payment or by the semester have have been eliminated, so it’s all or nothing.
“Payment in full for each student must be received by the Transportation Department no later than August 24, 2012.”
Parents of students who are exempt from transportation fees, like those who are in certain classes of Special Education programs and Free or Reduced Lunch categories, still have to obtain certification and submit it to the Transportation Department by the August 24th deadline. I wish all those parents good luck in getting SDUSD to process their paperwork prior to the deadline. Apparently different divisions within San Diego Unified are incapable of talking with each other.
Now if the electric company wants to raise rates, they’re required to given customers notice. Credit card companies now have to give notice in interest increases. Voters (unless the situation involves hotels) are given the opportunity to weigh in on tax increases. But San Diego Unified’s Transportation Department apparently thinks it’s reasonable to increase rates, demand immediate payment and arbitrarily change the terms of payments for kids to ride the bus. I have contacted the School District about this situation and promise to keep readers updated on any further developments.
Laws and rules are just for the little people…. That’s the message that UT-San Diego’s CEO John Lynch seems to be sending. It seems that our daily paper’s Doug Manchester has been doing some remodeling down at their Mission Valley headquarters, including converting some ground floor space into an “auto museum”, showcasing vintage and collectable cars. The construction included installation of a permanent ramp into the building to allow the cars to be moved in.
When a City of San Diego inspector tried to visit the site last month to see if proper permits were obtained for the alterations, he was refused entry by newspaper employees. Voice of San Diego reporter Randy Dotinga contacted CEO Lynch by email this week to ask about the status of the museum and was told to “Get a Life”. A VOSD story this morning quotes a city spokeswoman who says that it appears that UT-San Diego did not have the appropriate permit to for the construction, noting that an the investigation is underway. From Dotinga’s article:
Lynch is no fan of city regulations. Earlier this year, he wrote to City Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office complaining that the paper received a city citation threatening a $1,000 fine for an illegal banner on its building, according to emails obtained by the San DiegoReader.
“If it weren’t for the digital sign pending approval, I would instruct our folks to run a piece on how this is so reflective of this city being anti-business,” Lynch wrote. “We are fighting to keep this business vital and if it were ever to go away, there would be 700 San Diegojobs that go with it.”
The “digital sign” refers to the newspaper’s bid to put what the Reader calls a “video billboard and news ticker” on the top of the existing U-T building.
That’s a separate project from the U-T’s announced plan to build a complex of 198 condos, 230,000 square feet of office space and shops on its Mission Valley property. The project reflects Manchester’s interest in advancing both the newspaper’s journalism and his own real-estate interests.
[City spokeswoman Lynda] Pfeifer said the U-T has not yet asked for a permit for the video billboard/news ticker on its current building.
For those of you who have been otherwise dazzled by the Olympics, or simply reading a book somewhere, the National Football League’s pre-season kicks off locally this week. Fans got good news yesterday when it was announced that enough tickets had been sold to lift a potential local TV blackout of the Green Bay Packers facing off against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday. History will be made that night as former Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference referee Shannon Eastin will become the first woman to officiate an NFL game. Sadly, this moment in history will be accompanied with a big fat scabby looking asterisk, as Eastin’s opportunity comes as the result of the NFL owner’s decision to lock out 120 unionized officials rather than continue negotiations.
Players are expressing concern that poor game officiating will result in increased injuries, as the hastily trained replacements, some of whom have been recruited from high school leagues, struggle to learn the ropes in the fast paced environment of the NFL. Replacement refs working the Hall of Fame game between New Orleans and Arizona on Sunday messed up the coin flip, incorrectly announcing the results. Fortunately, the error was quickly corrected, with the Cardinals winning the toss.
Any port in a storm will do… Or so San Diego Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio thinks. NBC7 News reports that that he was appropriating some of challenger Bob Filner’s rhetoric yesterday as he announced the endorsement of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, saying:
“We have many San Diegans who are unemployed, and too many San Diegans who are under-employed,” said DeMaio, the Republican who represents San Diego’s 5th City Council district at a noontime Shelter Island news conference. “And that’s why we need to invest in economic strategies that pay a dividend and create quality, middle-class jobs.” (Emphasis mine)
Where Romney didn’t go on his ‘most excellent’ European trip… As I predicted last week, UT-San Diego published Charles Krauthammer’s op–ed yarn entitled “Mitt Romney’s excellent trip”. It concluded, much to my amusement:
Score card? Romney’s trip was a major substantive success: one gaffe (Britain), two triumphs (Israel and Poland) and a fine demonstration of foreign policy fluency and command — wrapped, however, in a media narrative of surpassing triviality.
Now Bloomberg News is telling us about one place that the presidential contender prudently didn’t consider as part of his itinerary: Italy. It seems that Romney is persona non grata in that country as the result of some shady dealings having to do with taxes (natch!) not paid a dozen years back on profits from the purchase and subsequent sale of an Italian company. Directory company Seat Pagine Gialle SpA was bought in a leveraged buyout by Bain Capital, which apparently sold it a couple of years later at an artificially inflated price (25 times its actual value) just prior to the dot-com stock bubble crash. Italian enforcement officials raised concerns that the price was manipulated and investors traded on inside information. Italian investors lost their shirts as Bain exited the deal with a big pile of cash.
Thanks to a corporate strategy for avoiding income taxes that involved funneling funds through Luxembourg, Bain paid almost no taxes on a $1 billion profit. Romney, who was personally involved the decision to buy the company in 1997, walked away with an estimated $50 million. Resentment about the deal has been stoked by publication of three books in Italy that claim malfeasance on Bain and Romney’s part. His investments in tax havens are the focus of increasing scrutiny at the same time that cash strapped countries around the world are cracking down on such practices. The presidential contender has also been facing increasing pressure to release additional years of tax returns because of questions over his 13.9 percent personal tax rate, his Swiss bank account, an IRA valued at as much as $102 million and investments in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
If it’s Tuesday it must be time for more wingnuttia… Yes folks, the craziness just keeps on keepin’ on, and I’m makin’ sure that you keep up with the latest stuff rather than waiting for those recycled emails from your crazy uncle…
Obama ‘was’ gay and married to a man… Jerome Corsi, the reigning dean of wingnuttia and conspiracy theories has released a video that asks — and all but positively states that — President Obama is hiding that his former life as a gay or bisexual. Yes, friends, according to this version of ‘truth’ young Barack Obama may have even been married to his Harvard Pakistani roommate.
Now you can boycott Cheerios, because, Gay!.. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) recently announced a boycott of General Mills products, for all the usual reasons that wingnuts boycott things these days. Over at TowelRoad.com there’s a hilarious video up of an anti-gay activist attempting and failing to burn a box of ‘Honey-Nut Cheerios’ on the lawn of the General Mils headquarters. The unnamed man is quoted as saying:
“One out of every boxes of 8 boxes of cereal in this country is Cheerios. This is really the treat now for the homosexuals. And this is our protest of General Mills. They’re advocating same-sex marriages. So we are gonna torch some cereal.”
All the best ones come from the “America At It’s Best State’… Tennessee state Rep. Kelly Keisling (R) has emailed an alert to his constituents that claiming that President Obama will fake his own assassination to avoid an election against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The conspiracy screed, sent from a government email address in his office, Keisling forwarded along the word of warning that the President and the Department of Homeland Security are potentially working together to try to implement martial law, heading off an election by pretending the President has been killed. (h/t – Huffpost)
Facts don’t matter… Televangelist Pat Robertson, according Mediaite.com, has told his followers over the air that Sunday morning’s Sikh temple massacre in Oak Creek, Wisc., was ultimately because “atheists hate God.” Robertson’s conclusion comes despite there has been no evidence that the alleged gunman Wade Michael Page was an atheist. In fact, the neo-Nazi and white supremacy movements that Page was involved in usually embrace a form of Christianity that emphasizes racial purity and nationalism.
Feed Your Mind – And your body… Ah, the glory of encased meats! North Park’s Linkery Restaurant is hosting a combination food tasting and book signing event Thursday starting at 6pm. Author A.G.S. Johnson will discuss her novel, The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, which just happens to be set in Wisconsin’s sausage-making country. The Linkery will offer assortment of homemade sausage, sauerkraut, and other Midwestern fare. Tickets ($40-$55) include glass of wine or beer, food tastings, book discussion, author talk and signing, and gratuity.
On This Day: In 1934 the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling striking down the government’s attempt to ban the controversial James Joyce novel “Ulysses.” In 1987 a Los Angeles judge threw out a lawsuit against Ozzy Osbourne. The lawsuit had been filed by the parents of a teenager who had committed suicide while listening to Ozzy’s song, “Suicide Solution.” In 1999 San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn got his 3,000th hit of his major league career.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, PacificBeach (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm.
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas toDougPorter@