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Morning Report: Schools Countywide Skip Key Turf Field Safety Test

Artificial turf fields harden over time – the padding beneath them wears and washes away in the rain.

The fields can get so hard, one turf industry veteran said that without the right amount of infill cushioning, the fields can feel like “the equivalent of frozen Earth or concrete.”

There’s a way to measure the hardness of a turf field. It’s called a G-Max test and, with heightened awareness of the danger of concussions in recent years, the NFL began performing a G-Max test before every game to make sure its fields are safe for players.

No such protections are in place for the majority of students who play on San Diego school’s turf fields, though.

A Voice of San Diego survey found nearly none of San Diego County’s public schools are testing their fields for hardness regularly and only a few districts have tested them at all.

VOSD’s Ashly McGlone talks with turf field experts who recommend fields get tested after installation and then annually, or at least every other year.

Yet McGlone found that several local school districts are skipping the tests altogether, something Larry Foster, a Bay Area landscape architect who designs synthetic turf fields for schools, said is like playing “Russian roulette” when it comes to the safety of the people who play on them.

Some schools have test requirements built into their field contracts, and still aren’t doing them.

Opinion: San Diego Democrats’ Lackluster Showing

In recent years, demographics and voter registration trends in San Diego have been skewing in favor of Democrats.

In a new op-ed for Voice of San Diego, local political science professor Carl Luna says local party leaders have failed to do much with their gaining advantage.

“San Diego Democrats now go into the future with no heir apparent to run for mayor nor a strong bench to take over vulnerable Board of Supervisors seats coming up,” Luna writes.

San Diego’s GOP, meanwhile, is “operating like a well-organized corporate conglomerate,” grooming a talented bench of future candidates and successfully rallying party leaders behind candidates and causes, Luna writes.

That Pesky Police Report

The U-T’s Michael Smolens compares the city’s handling of two recent news events – tree plantings to help combat climate change and the long-awaited release of a study that revealed racial profiling trends in local police traffic stops.

The press got an abundance of information about the trees, of course, but the racial profiling report was released solely to the U-T at 4 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving.

“Putting out bad news at the most inopportune time for public consumption is a time-honored ritual for politicians,” Smolens writes.

Still, he goes on to make the case for why the city’s attempt to bury the report is lame, especially for a mayor who’s said his mission is to increase openness and transparency at City Hall.

The U-T also compares the findings and techniques used by the San Diego State University researchers who conducted the study with other similar studies elsewhere and found the tactics and results to be consistent.

Weekend News Roundup

Retired city workers get an annual holiday bonus. The U-T looked at the numbers behind the so-called “13th check” program and reported that totals reached a record high this year.

A CBS sports writer tried the Tony Gwynn-inspired AleSmith Brewing Company pale ale and liked it.

Huh. Who knew the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor lives in Poway? (NBC San Diego)

This is cute: A local couple got married on the Ocean Beach pier and then boarded a float in the big annual OB Holiday Parade. (Times of San Diego)

Look at You, La Mesa

La Mesa is starting to look more and more like North Park, amiright?

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