When the city of San Diego started recycling wastewater into something that was good enough for your lawn but not for your belly, it cost a lot of money and the city had few customers both able and willing to buy it.

So it lowered the price. That was 2001. Since then, rates for the other, potable, water residents consume at their homes have skyrocketed. But rates for the recycled sewage — the so-called purple pipe — have remained unchanged even three years after Mayor Jerry Sanders said they should rise.

And now the city does have customers for this water, 475 of them still paying the same low rate. Golf courses are using it. Home-owners associations are buying it. Some agencies are even purchasing the cheap water and selling it at a profit. Others say they’ve been waiting for the city to increase the price — even budgeting for it.

Rob Davis explains the situation.

In other news:

  • Since the beginning of educational systems, there have been problem students. For centuries, schools have expelled them.

    Many districts have alternative schools available for these students. But with its prevalence of Charter Schools, a new type of pupil purgatory has arisen in San Diego Unified School District.

    Charters have more freedom to remove troublesome kids. Though they’re not technically allowed to expel students more liberally, they can “disenroll” them. And if the student didn’t do anything worth expulsion from traditional schools, they can’t go to the special schools. That means they go to traditional schools often frustrating the principals forced to take them in.

    Emily Alpert describes the new purgatory these students enter.

  • For you housing market watchers, Rich Toscano has an interesting update. He said the housing market’s inventory jumped sharply, which may worry those who hope prices continue to rally. But it shouldn’t because it was matched and exceeded by an impressive volume of home sales. Home sales usually go up in March but not like this.


  • If you looked off San Diego’s coast yesterday, you could see an aircraft carrier — the USS Carl Vinson — just hanging out. It will be pulling into port this a.m. to its new home at North Island, giving San Diego three aircraft carriers. The USS Nimitz just returned from deployment. The USS Ronald Reagan will go on deployment again in a while. And now the Vinson will begin to make itself at home in San Diego. Several journalists were flown out to the carrier including NBC 7/39’s Alicia Dean, who tweeted some photos from the experience. Watch how the Navy handles parking and congestion concerns in coming months. Those problems will ease when the Nimitz leaves for work in Washington state (that detail via the U-T). But it will be interesting there for a few months. How far will the bridge be backed up in the morning? Send us your guess.
  • In case you missed it, the U-T’s Mike Lee put out an article Sunday about efforts to control stormwater runoff and its accompanying pollution. It describes what may be some scene setting as local municipalities begin considering new fees that would help them both deal with the pollution and perhaps convince people to make less of it. Of course the regulations pushing this have their share of critics.
  • The U-T also had a quick but interesting Q&A with the manager of Kobey’s Swap Meet, the event that takes over the parking lot at the Sports Arena every weekend. She discusses some of the effects she sees of the recession and why clothes are popular right now at the meet.
  • From what I could tell, SanDiego.com broke the news this weekend that Tom Blair, the longtime editor of San Diego Magazine had decided to resign for a “new opportunity.” Troy Johnson, the senior editor of Riviera Magazine, called it the “end of an era.” And it certainly did seem like a big deal for those who follow local media.
  • In other local media developments, Gloria Penner broke the news on her twitter feed that Bob Kittle, the former editor of the editorial page at the Union Tribune had confirmed he is now the new director of programming and content at KUSI. 
  • Finally, the roller coaster at Belmont Park, the “Giant Dipper” will be named a Roller Coaster Landmark by the American Coaster Enthusiasts on April 23.

Those of you who thought it was a glorified — and shaky — pile of sticks, please recant. It is a landmark pile of sticks.


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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