Morning Report: Big Changes Afoot in City Planning | Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: Big Changes Afoot in City Planning

School administrators take a powder, how Obamacare works when your income varies, SeaWorld film fires up activists and the PAC of the living dead.

The City Council today will consider a major reorganization of San Diego’s municipal bureaucracy, and the urban planning star brought to town by the last mayor is at the center of the proposed revamp.

“The item facing the Council would re-establish planning as a standalone department, completing what’s been a foregone conclusion since Filner hired big deal-urban planner Bill Fulton this summer while also remaking the city’s overall bureaucratic structure,” VOSD’s Andrew Keatts reports. Our story explains what the changes will mean and includes more organizational charts than you could ever imagine.

An Exodus of School Administrators

• Several high-ranking administrators in the San Diego school district have left or are shifting to new positions. There doesn’t appear to be any sign that the exodus is anything but routine, but that’s still a lot of transition.

• Our story about the tensions at San Diego’s Lincoln High was our most popular story of the week. Check the full Top 10 list here.

Second Opinion: Obamacare and Variable Incomes

If you’re a self-employed person, your income might go up and down from year to year. Second Opinion, our series of explainers about health care reform, takes a look at what happens to government premium subsidies when your income dances around the cut-off line.

Nature Pros and Nature Cons

• The anti-Sea World documentary “Blackfish” made a big splash on CNN last week and reignited the debate over whether the parks abuse killer whales, the U-T reports. We explored this issue in a Q-and-A interview last year with the author of a book that chronicles Sea World’s violent and deadly history.

• A Los Angeles Times photographer spent days at the San Diego Zoo and came up with some stunning photographs and a nifty video. From a reporter who came along: “One afternoon, passing the California condors, I glimpsed a tuft of unexpected fur on the rocks — a fresh spread of dead rabbits and rats, laid out by the keepers, for the scavengers’ brunch. the Backstage Pass program, I got slimed by rhino spittle, howled in harmony with an arctic wolf whose fur was as white as snow and fed flamingos using one of those red plastic cups you used to misplace at frat parties.”

• Chula Vista’s Living Coast Discovery Center won’t close due to lack of funds after all, NBC San Diego reports.

How Local Charities Lost Big

The Washington Post is out with a startling story that says more than 1,000 charities have reported losing significant chunks of money due to “significant diversion” — mainly embezzlement and theft.

Among local organizations, tax forms in the newspaper’s database says troubles took money away from Trauma Intervention Programs ($26,000 due to “conduct” of an employee), Charles I. Cheneweth Foundation ($55,000 in embezzlement by an executive director), Balboa Park Central ($50,000 in embezzlement by an employee) and Francis Parker School ($312,000 “diverted” by an employee).

Quick News Hits

• VOSD Radio takes a look at San Diego restaurants with local foodie Troy Johnson of Food Network fame. (He’s written a book too.) And the Goat of the Week award makes a rare visit to East County.

• So is the only main Republican candidate for mayor a conservative? Not if you ask Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s people, the U-T reports. “His campaign points out that he supports abortion rights, same-sex marriage, many of California’s gun-control laws and the Dream Act to allow a pathway to citizenship for qualified unauthorized immigrants.”

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins examines the challenging future facing Carlsbad’s Army and Navy Academy, the only military boarding school on the West Coast. It’s “confronting the real possibility that it sheltered a pedophile, repeatedly failing to heed warning signals that a molester was in their midst.”

According to the Reader, a new political action committee has appeared in opposition to the GOP’s least valuable player — Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, who’s running for mayor.

The PAC’s name, and I’m not making this up, is: Zombies for Responsible Government Opposing Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2013.

ZRGONFM 2013, for short. Catchy!

What’s this all about, then? The Reader speculates it has something to do with the time when Fletcher took part in a “Walking Dead” zombie night at a Padres game. I’m going to just assume that the folks behind the PAC, including a treasurer who’s supported GOP-leaning efforts, just want to make sure the next mayor has braiiiiins.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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