Is it time to break out the champagne a day early?

If you’re selling a house, you might want to at least take a sip. Home prices in San Diego County went up by a teeny bit in October compared to the previous month, continuing a trend that’s lasted since June.

In a housing market that spent much of the decade in full swoon, this counts for good news. But as our story explains, a lot of this has to do with the federal government’s intervention. And almost a third of all San Diego borrowers remain underwater, including one we interview who says he’s “definitely in the deep end” but can’t — or won’t — walk away.

The analysts in our story won’t gloss over unemployment, and that this price growth isn’t yet due to a better job market. And while rising housing prices are great for sellers, not all hopeful buyers will regard the news with glee, especially those pinching pennies.

  • We’ve got more details about the new housing numbers and an analysis from our real-estate columnist, who has price tiers (and who knows what else) on his mind.
  • We’re continuing to look forward to 2010 with a story examining what’s next in the world of public safety. Our reporter Keegan Kyle summarizes some hot topics, including reports of rising prescription drug abuse and the impact of budget cuts. He’d also like to hear your thoughts about bad doctors and the local jail system, two subjects he wants to explore next year.
  • Our Photo of the Day is a bird’s-eye shot of construction workers on the job. It looks like they’re smoothing cement, which gives us the keyword for today’s photo soundtrack by Santana and Rob Thomas.

Elsewhere:

  • Two protesters in Imperial County, including the brother of former local Congressman Duncan Hunter, learned yesterday that they won’t be prosecuted for stringing safety lines across a canal where hundreds of migrants have drowned. (NCT)
  • This story is of interest here because of the role played by the San Diego County Water Authority in the dispute over the canal’s safety. As we reported earlier this month, the water authority helped pay for relining of a huge section of the canal and faces allegations that it’s not doing enough to prevent more deaths.
  • CityBeat bemoans the possible layoff of San Diego’s only urban forester, who says 30,000 street trees have been planted in the city during his 13-year tenure.
  • The U-T says a downtown soil cleanup project has begun (we wrote about it last month).
  • The U-T also says former San Diego City Council candidate Dwayne Crenshaw is facing a possible trespassing charge regarding his visit to a non-profit office where he worked until recently. There appears to be a dispute over whether he was rehired by the non-profit’s membership.
  • New details have been released about the Arizona sweat-lodge deaths that occurred at a retreat sponsored by Carlsbad self-help guru James A. Ray. As the NYT puts it, they ” provide compelling eyewitness accounts of the chaotic events during and after the ceremony.” One participant “told the authorities that she recalled Mr. Ray saying that those inside the lodge ‘had to surrender to death to survive it.’”
  • Finally, there’s a new list of the top 10 most literate cities in the U.S., topped by Seattle. San Diego didn’t make it, but we shouldn’t feel too bad: the cities on the list are often cold and dreary. How are we expected to read books here with all that glare from the sun?

— 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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