Morning Report: Where Traffic Is King

 

If you visit Rose Canyon during the right time of day, you’ll find old trees and dense flora; animals hopping, slithering and singing. And cars. Cars as far as the eye can see. “During the morning and afternoon rush hours,” writes our Keegan Kyle, “residents say Genesee Drive becomes an unbearable bottleneck and a dangerous crossing for pedestrians.”

Kyle is spending the week in City Council District 1, talking to residents about what matters most to them. In University City, traffic congestion is king. Some residents support plans for a new bridge, but others oppose it as ineffective and dangerous for Rose Canyon. The hot-button issue has already sparked a conversation in the comments of the story. Head over and make your voice heard.

It’s not all traffic for everyone, though. While walking the streets, Kyle found people with varied concerns, as small as rabbits and as big as libraries and fire stations. And then there’s the ever-present decay of street-level infrastructure. One resident characterized the dichotomy of wealthy La Jolla while gesturing grandly. “People think ‘Oh, La Jolla,’ but then you fall in a hole.”

With Your Own Eyes

Last week, Rob Davis was spending some shoe leather in District 5, meeting with people who live in Rancho Bernardo, Scripps Ranch and other areas talking about what keeps them up at night. Wildfires, broken storm drains and blocked-off roads all made the list. But some things you just have to see for yourself. Davis gives us a photo essay of his time in fifth district, complete with puppies, Porsches and prisoners.

Affordable Housing Check-up

Last year, Will Carless wrote at length about how much it costs to build affordable housing in San Diego, and why it costs so much compared to commercial housing. An alphabet-soup of government agencies are now involved in commissioning a study of the costs of affordable housing. Carless caught up with those involved to find out what’s happening now, and what will happen next.

Redevelopment’s Orphans

A major source of revenue for these subsidized housing efforts was redevelopment, which allowed a blighted neighborhood to keep more of its property taxes to fund construction efforts. When the governor and Legislature killed redevelopment last year, the projects that it had previously committed to funding were shoved into limbo. Now, the city has formed a successor committee, the San Diego Oversight Board, to recommend which commitments to keep, and which ones to throw out with the proverbial bath water. (U-T San Diego)

Brian Peterson, CEO of the Grantville Action Group, wrote to us questioning the choices of the board’s appointees. Specifically, he’s concerned about the appointment of former city councilman Michael Zucchet. “It would be nice if at least one of these appointees had at least the appearance of representing the best interests of the citizens, rather than the political interests of the mayor,” he writes.

Patenting Genes — Henrietta Lacks Series

We have partnered with the Henrietta Lacks Project, which is hosting a series of events examining research ethics and diversity issues through Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” This month, writer Alka Molhotra asks, “Does Patenting Genes Stifle Innovation and Health Care Access?

Lacks was an African-American woman who was the source of a valuable strain cells used for medical research. She didn’t sign off on that, though. Hence this series is about ethics and science.

The Declaration of Independents

It was 39 people — local business executives, the lot of ‘em — lined up in front of the Registrar of Voters yesterday to re-register themselves as political independents, and the cameras were there to capture the scene. U-T San Diego reports that the group, inspired by Nathan Fletcher’s recent snubbing of the GOP, endorsed a pledge that “decries the partisan gridlock in politics with a promise to elect capable leaders who will put the public’s interests ahead of party.” Many of the executives, but not all, have publically endorsed Fletcher in his bid to become the next mayor of San Diego.

The event drew criticism from leaders of both the local Democratic and Republican parties, who called it a “dog-and-pony show” and “another desperate attempt by the Fletcher campaign to keep their narrative going,” respectively.

Our Scott Lewis chimed in on Twitter about the event: “Important to note, biz dudes leaving GOP isn’t just symbolic. Some of them donated big in the past. Fowler gave San Diego GOP $25K in ’05.” He was referring to Ron Fowler, the CEO of Liquid Investments. Lewis also wondered what would happen to their party affiliations if Fletcher loses.

Yep, “biz dudes.” That’s how we roll on Twitter. You can follow Lewis for more of his political insights, abbreviated to 140 characters.

And, finally, The Daily Beast reached all the way across the continent to pick up on the Fletcher vs. DeMaio tension, calling it one of two races to watch as a bellwether for a potential nationwide rise of non-partisan sentiment.

News Nibbles

• We told you on Monday about a lawsuit filed to stop Walmart from continuing construction on a Sherman Heights Farmers Market building. Two lawsuits have been heard by the courts since then, and the score is Walmart, 2; Opponents, 0. (U-T San Diego)

• The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted on Tuesday to issue layoff notices to nearly 1,000 non-teaching positions and to 150 pre-Kindergarten teachers. NBC San Diego reports that the move could send some class sizes up to 40.

• The credit rating agency S&P raised San Diego’s credit rating two notches from “A” to “AA-,” they announced yesterday. They also opined that a shopping-spree scenario, where San Diego could issue bonds for all its hot-button projects — like an expanded convention center, a Balboa Park parking structure, and an $800 million deferred maintenance backlog — would only result in a “moderate” debt burden. (San Diego 6)

• Beaches that were already closed because of other massive sewage spills in March will be especially closed now that another sewage spill has fouled the waters of South Bay beaches. Two million gallons of sewage were released into the Tijuana River on Tuesday night. It is unclear when the affected beaches will reopen and it is unlikely that anyone will be held accountable for the spill. (U-T San Diego)

• The Christian Science Monitor is one of dozens of news organizations reporting that a San Diego-based Marine will receive an “other-than-honorable discharge” from the Marine Corps after he posted a comment on his Facebook wall indicating that he would not follow orders from Obama.

Bombs Away

Remember yarnbombing? We covered the practice before, but you can refresh your memory by checking out pictures on our Facebook page here and here. The trend involves “covering concrete and steel, urban structures and familiar objects like bicycles, with brightly colored, crocheted-to-fit, sweaters.” Readers loved it. The city of San Diego, however, did not.

San Diego CityBeat writes that one yarnbomber has been contacted by San Diego officials and given 10 days to remove 100 of the “sweaters” from Clairemont-area stop signs. The man was able to cover the stop-signs with green yarn, making them look like plants complete with leaves, using financial backing from a Kickstarter campaign.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf tweeted about the wrapped stop-signs, “I really like them :-( ” and asked supporters to send her letters in favor of keeping the stop sign stems. You can send letters to loriezapf@sandiego.gov.

Madonna Drama!

Many a time have I covered the saga of the Surfing Madonna in the Morning Report, and today is no different. The LA Times reports that the Madonna surfed her way up to Sacramento on Tuesday to be debated by a state legislative committee, and it was not kind. The committee decreed that, due to its religious theme, there is no place for the mosaic at Moonlight State Beach, where locals had hoped it would be permanently installed. The mural remains in storage, hanging loose, you might say.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or check him out on Twitter @loteck.

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Seth Hall

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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