He’s officially called a “water conservation specialists,” but Kevin Farrer is really more of a detective. His job: Plug the leaks at your house.

Your house? Yup. Or mine. He’s a San Diego city employee who will come to you and figure out where you’re wasting water. And he’ll do it for free. (There is a two-month waiting list, though.)

Farrer has performed a whopping 7,000 water “audits,” and one of the most recent came at the Point Loma home of Councilman Kevin Falcouner. We went along for the trip.

City water detectives like Farrer could make a serious dent in San Diego’s water usage if there were more of them. But their ranks have thinned.

Up north in Oceanside, residents in the Eastside neighborhood are making their voices heard by learning how to speak up.

Members of a community group, mostly Spanish-speaking women, are soaking up the insular language and customs of civic life. Now they feel confident enough to attend City Council meetings and report crimes to the cops. But a councilwoman says they still need to learn how to not only speak to power but demand attention.

Earlier this week, our columnist Scott Lewis demanded that attention be paid to San Diego’s plans to expand the convention center as the city falls apart. He’s succeeding: a debate has erupted on the pages of our site.

In the third part of a series, Lewis summarizes some of the most thoughtful comments we’ve received about the city’s future. He also wishes two major booster organizations would step up and ask the top local businesses not attached to the hospitality industry what they’d do with $750 million to build the local economy.

The reality, Lewis writes, is that “we needn’t waste our time” waiting for that to happen.

(By the way, Lewis and editor Andrew Donohue will be on KOGO/AM 600 today from 5-9 a.m.)

For the moment, the biggest boost we’re getting is from the federal government, which is spending $311 million on projects in San Diego County. Now, thanks to a new resource, you can find out exactly where we’ll be economically stimulated.

ProPublica, a non-profit, investigative news operation (where have we heard of one of those before?), has posted a database that allows county-by-county searches for stimulus-funded projects.

We’re taking a look at it, and we could use your help.

In voiceofsandiego.org news, we have a new City Hall reporter, Liam Dillon. The Philadelphia-area native takes time out to introduce himself and explain what brought him across the country to a new city. “Simply put, I believe in any community’s right to know how its government works.”

Good answer, good answer. But more crucially: What’s his favorite baseball team? It’s not the Padres, at least not yet. But at least its name begins with a P.

Elsewhere, The New York Times seems to put surfers in its pages as often as possible and the paper has now swooped in to profile Leucadia as a place “where locals come to surf, soak up the sun or simply stare trancelike from atop the bluffs.”

I actually enter a trance when I read stories like this. Ommmmmmm.

Finally, the U-T says some Chargers games are likely to be blacked out locally this year because they aren’t selling out.

Here’s the message: If you won’t come to our games, we won’t let you watch them on TV and possibly get enthused enough to come to our games.

It must make sense to somebody. Just not us.


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