The San Diego Convention Center is short on space and big on popularity, by the numbers.

Sizewise, it ranks 24th in the nation. But in terms of major event bookings, it’s seventh.

Boosters want to bring even more conventiongoers to the city by expanding the convention center at a potential cost of as much as $1 billion.

Is it worth it? We dig into the pros and cons and provide perspective on how San Diego stacks up in a country that one critic says is full of convention-center expansion boondoggles.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, smells more than a possible boondoggle. He has asked several government agencies — including the FBI and U.S. attorney general — to investigate “possible fraud” in the decision about where to put the 15-acre Navy Broadway Complex. Filner complains that the Navy provided misleading information.

On the housing beat, we look into new numbers about San Diegans who are behind on their mortgages and warn of the trouble brewing for those with good credit scores who took our risky loans.

Real-estate blogger Rich Toscano has been positively semi-optimistic lately, sort of. The trend continues: He’s got more evidence that the summer housing rally is for real. But, true to form, he’s still skeptical that it will last.

Speaking of downers, a new report about San Diego school test scores has one: Only 15 percent of high school juniors met state standards in math. There’s some good news too, however.

Elsewhere, it looks like the Francine Busby fundraiser fiasco isn’t going to fade away like clouds of spent pepper spray after the DA chose not to bring charges. The U-T and NCT report that the Encinitas woman who spent a night in jail after a fracas with a deputy is now mulling a lawsuit.

She also wants an independent sheriff’s oversight committee to be formed. But as the U-T notes, something like that already exists.

Years later, the memory of San Diego’s pension meltdown hasn’t gone away either. Pension whistle-blower Dianne Shipione is back in The New York Times for her testimony before a governmental board responsible for pension accounting rules. She says changes the board is considering is might be a little too late, considering all the havoc already wrought here and elsewhere by fuzzy pension math.

Up in Escondido, the NCT says a $200 million plan to expand the North County Fair mall is dead. The paper also reports on residents schooling SDG&E about the weather stations that could let the power company know when to kill the lights (and all electricity) during wildfire hazard conditions.

The NCT also says the troubled Tri-City Medical Center will have to wait a while longer to get an unusual loan from Orange County.

The hospital is in such a hurry that it was willing to pay $200,000 to get a deal done in the next couple weeks. But there’s a hitch: OC supervisors, who’d have to approve a deal, don’t even meet until mid-September.

Finally, Google has announced a new feature: you can now go to Google Maps (click on “Traffic”) to see whether local highways and thoroughfares — think El Cajon Boulevard and Mira Mesa Boulevard — are clogged. That way you can decide if that top-secret shortcut on surface streets will shave minutes off your commute.

If you’re thinking about saving time by driving through my neighborhood, don’t bother: It’s totally bumper to bumper here, so keep moving.


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