Talmadge is one of San Diego’s more obscure neighborhoods, tucked near Kensington and San Diego State. But everybody knows the street that runs past it: El Cajon Boulevard, a perennial hotspot for vice and violence.

After years of finding needles and enduring brazen burglary attempts, Talmadge residents held a series of passionate meetings and put together a “neighborhood watch on steroids.” It’s no simple agreement among neighbors to look out for each other. It’s a nonprofit organization with vigilant all-night patrols, and citizens all but armed as they radio each other and call police when observerving suspicious lurkers.

They thought the effort would attract more police presence to the neighborhood. It had a different effect.

Columnist Scott Lewis says these citizen patrols may become more prevalent. In the first in a series of “Plenary Session” posts on the proposal to expand the Convention Center, Lewis writes about his disturbing vision of the “Dissolving City.”

Here’s where you come in. He’s going to post his interviews and notes on the expansion project but we all need your help looking through some of the documents he’s going to post. Check out his piece and chime in on the project.

Many minds are better than one, especially when it comes to something as complicated as government. If you have the spare brain power, we’d like to hear what you think.

We’d also like to hear what you tweet. And, of course, we’re still tweeting like crazy. Our editor, Andrew Donohue, just asked Mayor Jerry Sanders via Twitter if he supports SDG&E’s controversial backcountry fire-prevention-via-power-outage plan. Stay tuned to see what he says.

Earlier this week, we reported the surprising news that the downtown redevelopment agency is looking into housing the homeless on a warship. Now an official cautions that the exploration of the idea is “extremely, extremely preliminary,” and only came up because a citizen asked about it.

So the idea has gotten this far purely based on a resident’s brainstorm. Where is the city’s Suggestion Box, anyway?

There’s even more water-related news. The city reports that it received 691 complaints about water usage in June and opened 330 investigations. New water restrictions went into effect on June 1; these are the ones that tell you when you’re allowed to water your lawn.

In education, Tuesday’s San Diego school board meeting brought good news for supporters of a largely Somali charter school that wants to expand.

To the south, the Sweetwater Union High School District is fighting back against allegations that it violated labor law during negotiations over a new teacher contract.

Elsewhere, San Diego CityBeat reports on the city’s efforts to convert single-room-occupancy hotels into “supportive housing.” San Diego is home to more than 100 “residential hotels.”

The U-T covers the waterfront, noting that a planned park is missing from a proposed Embarcadero makeover.

Finally, a proposed power plant in Carlsbad is moving up the approval chain, despite concerns about health risks.

According to the U-T, a report says “the increased cancer risk from the plant will be less than one case per million residents, which it says is less than significant.”

We make decisions every day about how much risk we’re willing to tolerate. Still, it’s disconcerting to read these odds and wonder about that one unfortunate person who falls victim to a “less than significant” risk.


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