It has come time for us to reach an important milestone. We are 100 donors away from being able to say that 1,000 residents and supporters find our public service so valuable that they are willing to help pay for it.

Please take a moment and donate now at whatever level you choose.

If you donate, you’ll become a member of an organization whose only purpose is to help residents learn how San Diego works so that they can help make it as strong as possible.

For the next two weeks, you will see various messages like this from us asking for you to step up and help us fund this operation. Reaching 1,000 individual donors will send a powerful message to people here and across the nation who are worried about the future of public-service journalism.

Investigative reporting is the act of helping the community understand why something is the way it is, not just passing along information. Sometimes this means we end up discovering wonderfully inspiring stories with you. Other times it means that we end up explaining an inefficiency or uncomfortable reality.

But to spend the time doing that work, our reporters need the support of members.

And to all of you who have supported this public service, thank you. You get to see how we spend the money every single day.

Last year when the San Diego Chargers played the New Orleans Saints in a regular season game in London, a lot of fans would have loved to be in the historic city. One San Diegan in particular took the flight (first class), attended the game, paid for a guest ($1,200 total) and showed up at a $350/person reception for the team.

All this was on the public’s dime. Two years after the airport authority reviewed its policies on expenses for board members and employees, we review a litany of new expenditures like the ones above — all paid for by the fees shops and travelers pay at the airport.

You will want to download this story so you can go through it while drinking the $3 bottle of water during your flight today.

There’s just not a lot of money to waste these days, and in Sorrento Valley, a company is capitalizing on newfound thrift in the downturn.

BioSurplus is professionalizing the once-informal trading of used laboratory equipment. As local scientists and biotechs try to regroup after the correction, they’re finding the deals on these capital needs to be incomparable. “We do well when the industry is doing good, and we do better when the industry is doing bad,” says a BioSurplus representative in our story today.

Speaking of informal trading, the New York Times told the story Saturday of a San Diego woman who discovered recently that her prescription information for fertility drugs had been sold to advertisers in a “murky marketplace” along with other vital details of her life.

New federal rules may prohibit that in the future.

Summer vacations may be at their peak right now, but we’re working as hard as ever. Here’s to a good week. And again, please consider helping us get one step closer to reaching 1,000 total donors.

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