What We Learned This Week - Voice of San Diego

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What We Learned This Week

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This was a big week for me, for two reasons.

First, it was my son’s first week in daycare; second, in tweeting about the first, I became a Very Important Internet Celebrity. That last part is not exactly true, but the tweet did strike a chord.

Many, many people shared similar stories of child care costs that are bigger than mortgage payments, and many others said they’d dropped out of the workforce entirely because their salaries simply weren’t high enough to justify working and paying for child care.

A report this week found that the average cost of child care in San Diego is more than $1,500 a month – more than half of the median rent. A separate report found that child care costs are approaching the same amounts as housing, and university tuition in some states.

Weirdly, Ivanka Trump has not yet solved this problem, and it’s only getting worse.

One of the people who responded to my tweet was Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and she said something a little fiery – particularly for someone with many bills currently on the governor’s desk.

She and I talked later about what she’d meant and what’s been happening in the Legislature.

She said that the women’s legislative caucus has asked Gov. Jerry Brown every year for a billion-dollar increase to deal with child care issues, and “this is one of those areas where we just have not been able to get him to engage.” Though they have secured hundreds of millions more dollars, “it just doesn’t make a dent because the problem is so big and so expensive.”

A priority bill for the women’s caucus that would create a program to train and recruit new child care workers, and expand access to infant and toddler care was held in a committee earlier this month, meaning it won’t move forward this session.

“It feels a little like running in place,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m hopeful for next year.”

What VOSD Learned This Week

There are two big questions looming over the tent shelters housing homeless San Diegans: How does the city plan to pay for them going forward, and is there anything leaders can do to ensure more people living in them move on to permanent housing? We discussed the tents’ uncertain future on the latest VOSD Podcast.

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A high school teacher in El Cajon was suspended for sexually harassing a coworker, and was warned about his interactions with students. Years later, he was fired after a student said he touched her inappropriately. He’s fighting in court to get his job back, demonstrating how difficult it can be for districts to fire educators even if the state agrees it was the right call.

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Increasingly large quantities of drugs are crossing the border into the United States, yet federal officials are sending fewer and fewer drug cases to the DA’s office to prosecute. Those big drug shipments tend to cross through legal ports of entry – which is one reason we should be paying more attention to those spaces.

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A former Water Authority employee says she was fired for sending a FedEx from the office – and she and others believe it’s a sign of bigger problems within the agency.

Meanwhile, over at the city’s water department, the mayor has ordered a shakeup he hopes will help get the troubled agency going in the right direction.

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Grad rates across the state went down. That’s because the state was forced to implement a new formula that more honestly reflects who’s actually graduating from schools.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“Run with a dog. Run with six dogs. Hire a musher. Now you’re dogsledding.” – From a guide to how women can stay safe while running.

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