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Good morning from Hillcrest and welcome back from the Christmas holiday.

  • We’ll lead off today with tThe New York Times gracing our fair town with a dispatch about the city’s endangered beach fire pits. Without them, beachgoers say, San Diego will be much less fun.
  • The U-T writes on the city’s hiring of more than 850 employees since it instituted a hiring freeze in Aug. 2008. The city says the employees it hired are critical. For background on the elimination of vacant employee positions to cut budget deficits check here.
  • A multi-million dollar effort led by the nonprofit San Diego Foundation will attempt to set long-range goals for the region, the U-T reports. The article also lists similar studies around the country.
  • The U-T follows up its story about a family charged by San Diego County for clearing brush on its property by showing that the practice is widespread.
  • The North County Times’ opinion page says county Supervisor Bill Horn should recuse himself from future talks involving a large housing project following allegations of improper contact with the project’s developer.
  • San Diego County has issued 260 medical marijuana patient identification cards since it started the program six months ago following a long legal battle.
  • The U-T details the city of San Diego’s list of people who haven’t claimed money the city owes them.
  • The paper’s opinion page argues that a Republican legal attempt to change the city’s campaign finances rules is wrong.
  • San Ysidro residents aren’t taking advantage of redevelopment agency funds to help improve their homes.
  • Giant heads are invading Carlsbad and the city is seeking public comment on the sculptures.
  • North County Times columnist John Van Doorn writes about controversy surrounding a proposed housing development in Carlsbad and says Escondido residents should support their mayor’s attempt to go after the Chargers stadium.
  • In other news around San Diego County, Oceanside’s redevelopment bond rating received a boost and the North County Times editorializes that the city’s public safety unions should be more open to concessions in upcoming talks. The North County Times also profiles the retiring director of the region’s planning agency. A retired businessman is running for Poway’s City Council. And La Mesa officials are considering a mixed-use development more than twice the size of any now in the city.

— LIAM DILLON

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