Why isn’t the San Diego Fire Department using excess reserve money to undo cuts to fire services?

The department shuts down as many as eight of its 47 engines each day to save money. But, there are leftover funds that aren’t being used to temporarily restore the cutbacks, even following the hubbub two months ago, when a child died after firefighters took more than nine minutes to arrive.

The message of some city officials is along the lines of, “A temporary fix isn’t the answer. Please vote for Prop. D to help us preserve public safety in this town.”

Of course, the people who want to restore the cutbacks are those who think Prop. D stinks.

In Other News:

• On one San Diego street, unlicensed vendors sell popsicles, perfume, potato chips, corn on the cob, candy and underwear from front yards, car trunks, collapsible tables, push carts and even baby strollers.

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But legal merchants on the street are fed up and angry. They pay for permits and licenses to operate legally, while their mobile competitors don’t. One legal ice cream vendor says unlicensed vendors sell ice cream and chips within feet of her truck. “Sometimes right next to me!

The legal vendors’ complaints were largely falling on deaf ears because authorities have higher priorities, but now new enforcement efforts are beginning.

• It’s an issue that’s been dogging county supervisors for years: Should they each be able to dole out $1 million or more every year to various causes? Following accusations of inappropriate spending and suspiciously cozy relationships, new guidelines now limit the use of what critics say is a “slush fund.” However, they have not put the funds on ice. Each supervisor will still have his or her own pot of taxpayer money to spend.

• The Morning Report is a big fan of its brand-new little sister, the weekly Arts Report. I predict that in just a few years, the Morning Report will be pulling the Arts Report’s pigtails and saying rude things like, “You’re Mommy’s favorite, aren’t you?!”


• In the U-T: “A nonprofit that has come under fire for the way it manages money from parking meters in Bankers Hill, Hillcrest and other uptown communities has three months to shape up.”

• A openly gay school board candidate is bashing his opponent over what the Gay San Diego newspaper calls his “business ties to antigay religious institutions, including controversial televangelist and self-professed faith-healer, Benny Hinn.” Gay San Diego also takes a look at the City Council candidate whose private anti-gay remarks — now disowned — have raised questions. Gay Democrats and Republicans are divided over whether she’s now saying what she believes, and her opponent is on the attack.

• A Slate columnist dismissed last weekend’s national dispose-of-your-prescription-drugs event as a “public-relations event” and a “stunt.” (Disclosure: I helped him research his story.) But it appeared to have worked in San Diego: the DEA says it gathered more than 2.5 tons of prescription drugs on Saturday and will burn them. Cops worry that unused prescription drugs, especially painkillers, will fall into the wrong hands. (KPBS)

• A deaf UCSD linguist has won a $500,000 MacArthur “genius grant” that she can use for any purpose. (U-T)

• Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the last game played by San Diego native Ted Williams and his last home run, too. Here’s a video of the Splendid Splinter talking about it. By the way, last year we interviewed San Diego’s pre-eminent baseball historian about Williams’ history here, among other things related to America’s pastime.

• News flash: it’s expensive to live here. The census bureau says the median house price — that’s the midpoint among all of them, not the average — is among the 10 highest out of the 50 largest metro areas, at $417,700.

Rents here are also the fourth highest, at a median of $1,224. That’s nearly twice the level in Pittsburgh, the cheapest of the metro areas, where the median rent is almost $7,000 less a year than here.

I hear they save a lot on sunscreen, too.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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