Start with funding challenges. Add “a lot of great ideas” and “well-intentioned committees meeting about things.”

What do you end up with? Not much.

That was the problem with San Diego’s grandiose plan to get transients off the streets by 2012: The parts didn’t make a whole. Or, for that matter, homes.

“But slowly, the plan is moving,” we report today, with the help of — you guessed it — money.

The clock is still ticking, however, and as we showed last week, San Diego’s homeless problems can be hidden from view.

While transients have no place to stay, a shortage of guests is sinking local hotels. The county is home to “about 10 percent of the 250 troubled hotels — either in default or lender-owned — across the state.”

We wrote about one such downtown hotel last month.

In education, the San Diego school board is moving forward with plans to study the idea of putting a parcel tax before voters. The cost of a consultant: $130,000.

The school board also tinkered with plans to spend federal stimulus money on smaller classrooms, bringing them to different schools than expected. But the feds still might refuse to play ball.

In commentary, columnist Scott Lewis got as good as he gave while tangling with City Hall and critical commenters.

What’s got him in a snit? He’s amazed that Mayor Jerry Sanders has launched a national media campaign to bash the state over its inept financial leadership.

It is, in his mind, a classic case of Pot v. Kettle. (I think the Supreme Court is deciding that case next term.)

One commenter accused Lewis of turning into talk-show host Roger Hedgecock (he didn’t mean it as a compliment) and another complained our columnist is displaying “whippersnapper bravado.”

Lewis has a suggestion for her. It reminds me of a newspaper editor’s last-straw response to a reader who kept calling to complain: “Lady, I’m canceling your subscription!”

In another post, Lewis pinpoints the limitations in what’s looking to become our most popular article of the week: Vladimir Kogan‘s comparison of city salaries to those in almost 900 other burgs.

Elsewhere, the U-T sends journalists to San Onofre State Beach, where au naturel sun lovers may soon have to cover up.

If you’ve been to a nude beach, you know this isn’t necessarily the best assignment in the world. Sadly, many people look better with clothes on.

Still, it beats covering an eight-hour school board meeting.

Also to the north, the NCT looks into the “wounding and later euthanizing of pigs at a Valley Center avocado grove where local Marines and sailors are being taught how to perform emergency first aid.”

Oddly enough, the NCT says, the feds prohibit “using weapons to wound dogs, cats, marine mammals and ‘nonhuman primates’ such as monkeys for medical training purposes.”

At least the seals off La Jolla have one less thing to worry about.

On a lighter note — actually a darker one — you may have heard about this week’s solar eclipse in Asia.

Big whoop. San Diego had an eclipse of its very own back in 1923. As we told you last spring, a young reporter — a whippersnapper full of bravado, you might say — wrote about it and became the first journalist west of the Mississippi to win the Pulitzer Prize.

So why did his great-granddaughter tell us he had a “vivid imagination”? Because, it turned out, he kept his readers in the dark.


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