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In past budget crunches, San Diego city officials tried to insulate public safety from cutbacks, but this time around things look very different. 

The city’s police and fire departments are being asked to come up with potential cuts of $108 million in the next budget. That’s the equivalent of about $86 per resident.

So far, it’s not clear how the city might go about this, but the fire chief has hinted that fire stations and lifeguards might take a major hit. He’d like however, to keep current levels of firefighters and paramedics. As for the cops, they haven’t shown their hand yet.

In other news:

  • The term “structural deficit,” which gets thrown around in discussions about San Diego’s budget mess, hints at the problem: The city’s financial foundation isn’t on solid footing. In fact, every year things get worse.

Now, a task force of local businesspeople that advises Mayor Jerry Sanders has issued a new report with advice on what to do.

What does it say? We dunno. The report is under wraps, and even the city doesn’t have a copy to give us.

If that seems odd to you, it does to me too. It turns out that the mayor and the task force disagree over who actually owns the thing.

  • Local newspapers reported this week that two workers at the San Onofre nuclear power plant say they were retaliated against for reporting safety violations. Earlier this year, a voiceofsandiego.org contributor, a former L.A. Times energy reporter, explored the plant’s history of safety issues.
  • Last summer, the city of San Diego instituted water-use restrictions. Residents have made thousands of complaints about water hogs since then, but the number of fines so far is zero. Previous fines you may have read about weren’t actually levied. Also: the city’s water usage was down in October compared to last year. That’s great news! I’m going to celebrate by washing my car.
  • Also: yesterday was the anniversary of an important day in voiceofsandiego.org history. And our Photos of the Day are of passersby posing in front of a brick wall in the Little Italy area that intrigues our photographer to no end. Here’s a photo soundtrack, courtesy of Oasis.

Elsewhere:

  • San Diego’s downtown homeless shelter may open as early as next week. (U-T)
  • Why is local U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa standing up for the waterproof ski and snowboard apparel industry? And how come Senator Dianne Feinstein wanted (at least for a while) to get a tariff exemption for a pesticide linked to the big bee die-off? CityBeat investigates.
  • CityBeat also drops by a mini comics convention in San Diego — the clunkily titled Quarterly Con — that drew a few hundred fans last weekend and may keep comic geeks off the streets between Comic-Cons.
  • The mayor of the city of Industry, which would like to build a stadium and woo the Chargers, is under investigation. (LAT)
  • San Diego makes Home Depot happier than, say, L.A. does. (L.A. Observer)
  • Finally, the LAT reports that a provision in the health-care bill before Congress increases Medicare payments to doctors in California. Physicians had complained that outdated reimbursements hurt docs in places like San Diego.

    According to the Times, the San Diego County Medical Society says the city of San Diego “is still considered a rural farm town under the Medicare payment system.”

— RANDY DOTINGA

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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