An express bus is in the works, designed to take people from the South Bay to downtown San Diego along a special lane of the 805 freeway. Eventually it may go all the way up to Kearny Mesa and University City.
There’s a problem. Under recent plans, the bus wouldn’t stop — not once — in southeastern San Diego, even though it travels through it. That would mean 100,000 people, including many who need jobs and are willing to commute to them, wouldn’t have access to it.
Caltrans, which blames money woes, has changed its tune and is promising to include a bus station. “Now we heard from the community, and we’re taking a second look and saying this might be important to this community,” a Caltrans engineer said.
Ready, Set, Battle:
The City Council next week will decide whether to divert a bunch of debt from the city’s books to those of the downtown redevelopment agency, freeing up money to be used for other purposes. The agency, which is looking at being socked with a $150 million bill, is none too thrilled about this idea: they say they can’t handle all the new debt.
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There are more debt wars to come: the council wants to saddle the downtown agency with even more loan payments.
A local advocate for young people wrote that more than 7,500 kids run away from home in the county each year. Is that correct? San Diego Fact Check finds that it’s mostly true since the number is slightly outdated.
More Expensive but Less Experienced:
Our City Council is green. Really green, as in wet-behind-the-ears newbies, not as in greenly nature-oriented or being Green Party members. That’s the verdict of a new report that analyzes the city councils in 15 big cities: our councilmembers have, on average, the briefest tenure (an average of less than three years). San Diego also spends the fourth-highest amount per council seat (more than $1.3 million).
Will They Get an F in Timeliness?
Schools get report cards these days — they include details about things like expulsion rates and test scores — and they’re supposed to help parents make decisions about where their kids will go to school. Well, at least in theory.
This year, as in the past, San Diego schools are behind, saying they need more time. They want to release the report cards as late as April instead of this month.
“This might all seem like a lot of silly carping about a bureaucratic deadline,” education reporter Emily Alpert writes. “But if the report cards come out after parents have chosen schools, they can’t serve the purpose they were supposed to — and just end up being a chore for school districts. If that happens, it might not make sense to do them at all.”
In other school news, Alpert recaps coverage of a big community meeting held the other night in Point Loma over whether charter schools might be a good idea there.
Coastkeeper Group’s Ex-Head Has New Job:
Bruce Reznik, the former head of San Diego Coastkeeper, has a new job as director of Sustainable San Diego, a collaboration of groups — including the San Diego Housing Foundation, which funds his position — that focuses on transit issues and planning.
What will he be up to? “If you’re seeing I-5 and 805 and 94 widened and transit projects pushed off, that would mean we’re not being successful,” he said. “If you’re seeing a focus on transit, walkability and bike-ability, that would mean we are being successful.”
Environmentalists aren’t always pro-transit. A few years back, I wrote a story about how plans for transit development in Seattle had bitterly divided environmentalists there: some believed that commuter trains would pollute the air more than roads.
A Root-Woman-Rope Sculpture Grows in Encinitas:
The sculpture is called “En Pointe,” and it appears to be an upside-down woman hanging by a rope over tree-like roots. It’s certainly thought-provoking: Is she part of the earth? Is she being cooked over a fire? Or is there more (or less) to this creation of Lux Art Institute’s artist-in-residence? You could ask Alison Saar yourself: she’s sculpting at the institute’s gallery, and the public is invited to watch. We watch her, too, and learn she’s inspired by depictions of cadavers and themes of fertility, motherhood, race, gender and spiritual issues.
Like Mother, Like Son:
The Photos of the Day offer more shots of blues singer Candye Kane and her drummer son Evan Caleb, who are performing together in the Moxie Theatre’s “The Toughest Girl Alive” show about Kane’s life. I earlier interviewed Caleb about sharing the spotlight with his mom on stage.
Your Government at Work:
Local Assemblyman Joel Anderson has introduced a new bill in the state legislature. CityBeat notes its full text: “SECTION 1: It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to promote private sector job creation in the state.” That’s it. That’s the entire bill.
Weird Story of the Week (Month?):
A Rancho Santa Fe woman says no, she didn’t pose as a member of the Guggenheim family — yes, the museum people — in order to cheat investors. Prosecutors say she posed as a European countess. And that’s not all: ABC News reports that she claimed to be married to the guy who played know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin on TV’s “Cheers.” (That part has at least a bit of basis in reality: actor John Ratzenberger’s spokesman says yeah, he had a brief relationship with her a few years back.)
Up, Up and (Spend) Away!
We’ve got more on downtown money matters: The latest edition of San Diego Explained takes a look at how the city might pay to expand the convention center and features the debut of a fabulous new superhero named “Make It Rain Man.” (No connection to the “It’s Raining Men” disco song or, for that matter, to Dustin Hoffman.)
If we’re busy coming up with new superheroes, I hope someone will pay attention to my own creation: “Passive-Aggressive Man.” (“Mom” was already taken.)
His motto, if it’s OK with you: “No, you go ahead. Don’t worry about me and my sciatica. I’ll just start leaping over tall buildings in two bounds.”
Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.