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Developers and new residents of Pacific Highlands Ranch in Carmel Valley did everything they were supposed to do.

The city demanded they build their new community with smart growth principles of higher density and without the sprawling yards that define so much of Southern California. Done.

The city told developers and residents they’d have to pay for their own park. Done. They paid for the park’s construction with a specific development fee. The money’s ready.

But now the city won’t build the park. City Hall says it cannot commit to maintaining a new park with the budget the way it is.

And that’s left residents wondering what they can do when they’ve supposedly done everything they were asked.

Some more news for a Monday:

  • In the 10 years since the California Innocence Project began at California Western School of Law, eight men serving long sentences in prison have been exonerated. And in just the last three months, the effort has overturned the murder convictions of three more inmates.

    The project’s leaders know what’s at stake with their jobs and that’s why they work so hard. They sift through hundreds of cases and letters from inmates pleading for someone to take up their cause.

    “If we say no, that person dies in prison. It’s almost a certainty. I can’t sugar it up for you in any way. The truth is, we are the end of the line,” said Justin Brooks, the project director.

  • Government reporter Liam Dillon has been posting the highlights of upcoming City Council agendas and soliciting your feedback. This is a fantastic service to those who might not be able to make it down to the meeting but who have something they might want to put perspective on.

    So take a look at Dillon’s blog, The Hall. On this week’s docket: A resolution to longstanding problems with the way the city handles federal Community Development Block Grants?

  • Saturday morning, we reported that County Supervisor Dianne Jacob had met with Bob Watkins, the chairman of the airport authority. Jacob had grown “extremely troubled” with his ever-evolving story of why he spent so much money traveling to London on the authority’s dime. She had stopped short of calling on him to resign until she had a chance to meet with him.

    She met with him and reported he was close to tears and very aware of steps he needed to take to regain the public trust. Meanwhile, State Sen. Christine Kehoe has some things to say about whether voters and public officials should have more power to remove someone on a board like that.

  • The U-T reported Sunday that dozens of the 620 people who retired from city jobs last year — many to avoid changes in benefit plans — are still on the city payroll. The city says they’re needed to pass along institutional knowledge, tie off loose ends or help with the transition.

    This is quite similar to what’s happening at San Diego schools where employees were persuaded to retire early with the Golden Handshake offer only to be rehired (while earning their pension) to help as hourly workers.

  • According to exconomy.com, at least five local biotechs have seen their share prices surge since the June 11 WHO ruling that the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) was pandemic.
  • Finally, photographer Sam Hodgson has pictures from Sunday’s Chargers loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He’s getting good at this.

Have a great week.

SCOTT LEWIS

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