It’s a loophole big enough to drive $4 billion through.

The governor wants to save money by killing redevelopment, which (at least in theory) supports urban renewal in run-down neighborhoods. But existing projects will be allowed to continue. So cities have been spending like they just won the lottery, and San Diego is thinking about getting in on the fun. But not just to the tune of a few hundred million dollars, as it seemed a few days ago. Now there’s talk of approving almost $4 billion in projects that would be started as late as 2048.

Holy guacamole. That’s a ton of money, and a really long time and way beyond what any other cities have attempted to ram through.

Is this legal and feasible? We’ll see. A big stick in the eye of the governor? Four billion times yes!

The governor’s plan isn’t final yet, and the legislature can still save redevelopment’s life. You might assume it would do just that, considering that the Assembly and state Senate are chock full of former city council members who were big fans of redevelopment.

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Think again.

Redevelopment may have a pretty weak fire wall in Sacramento, as our now-completed survey of the 12 local state legislators revealed. The final score: four for redevelopment, two against it, and six who either are undecided or won’t say.

None of the Democrats said they’d support redevelopment, and the Republicans are divided. A similar scenario among the whole legislature — lukewarm support or opposition from Dems, a split in the GOP — could doom redevelopment’s future.

An equal-opportunity commenter zings legislators on both sides of the aisle (she’s a woman after my own heart) by pointing out a Democrat’s non-answer (do politicians get bonuses for ducking questions?) and the fact that some ostensibly anti-government Republicans are sure mighty supportive of government-supported redevelopment.

Congress Flushes TJ Sewer

An allotment of $10 million may not be worth a hill of beans in the federal government’s multi-trillion-dollar budget, but the House of Representatives did spend time to discuss one this week. The result: no funding for a project that aimed to reduce pollution in the US by building a $10 million sewer in Tijuana.

“When we are borrowing 40 cents on every dollar on the backs of our children and our grandchildren, I ask the question: why are we spending $10 million so that a sewer could be constructed in Tijuana Mexico?,” one congressman asked, according to The Hill. “Now I understand and I empathize with my friends from San Diego and that area, where waste apparently washes on the shore from Tijuana because they’re not acting responsibly with their matters.”

“Their matters”?

Local representatives were split: Democrats voted to support the sewer while Republicans (including Brian Bilbray, who made his mark in the sometimes-sewer-socked city of Imperial Beach) voted against it.

A Blessing Through Baby-Sitting

About 30,000 Somalis live in San Diego, with many of them — struggling to find work in a foreign culture. The women often take care of each other’s kids, but that meant that the baby-sitters wouldn’t make much themselves due to limits on how many kids they could take in.

Now, a non-profit is helping Somali women get the proper licenses to open day-care centers. As neighborhoods reporter Adrian Florido puts it, “It sounded like an innovative idea. Somali families tend to be large, and women need childcare to go to work but don’t feel comfortable taking their kids to non-Somali daycares. So why not train Somalis to do it themselves?”

Uh-Oh. I’m Hearing Voices Again

The Morning Report now has yet another sibling: a regular feature called Voices that rounds up, as engagement editor Grant Barrett puts it, “op-eds and remarks from anywhere on the web that matters to San Diego, both official and informal, including op-eds, letters, story comments, web forums, Facebook statuses, Twitter and elsewhere.” They’ve just gotta be “interesting and relevant.”

The first post notes local thoughts on topics from cockfighting and redevelopment to “cherry patches” (no, not fruit farms) and and our allegedly poor headline writing skills.

Who’s Getting Charged for This Trash Pickup?

The favorite word of commentator Scott Lewis may be “garbage,” and not because he spends his spare time dumpster-diving (as far as we know). He uses it to zing people who throw around inaccurate claims, and this time he’s got a county supervisor in his sights. He writes that Dianne Jacob made a “garbage claim” by declaring that the problem with the county’s strapped pension is the stock market.

“What she doesn’t like to talk about is the massive pension enhancement she and her colleagues gave themselves and their employees in 2002,” Lewis writes. “It was a 50 percent boost. That would have been one thing if it was a boost from that point going forward. No, it was a retroactive increase, a gigantic giveaway for time already served.”

No Chips in This Wal(mart)

San Diego Explained, our video series, helps you get a handle on the whole big controversy over Walmarts.

At Last, a Better Way to DC:

Flying to the Washington D.C. area can be a major pain. There are few direct flights from the West Coast to Reagan National, the most convenient and least crowded airport, so San Diegans often find themselves trudging through the nightmarish terminals of Dulles airport in northern Virginia. That may change: the Senate just voted to allow more cross-country flights to and from Reagan National airport.

You Did It!

Finally, a thank you from all of us. Last week, we tried something new. Our photographer Sam Hodgson needed a new wide-angle lens. Though we project a budget for equipment needs like that, we still need to raise the funds. We asked if you would help.

You did. Sam got his lens this week thanks to these generous people:

George Hauer, from George’s at the Cove

Joan Gabriel

Jere McInerney

April Bolduc

Maria and Joe Penny

Nat Cohen

Maddy Kilkenny

Frances O’Neill Zimmerman

and Sudelle Dotinga

Yes, that last one is my mother, who gave a donation to the photographer instead of a fabulously worthy cause like, say, the Morning Report. Hey, lady! Charity begins at home!

Seriously, remember our work is made possible because of your support. You can always donate here.

Correction: This Morning Report originally said that County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price made a “garbage claim.” It should have had the name of another county supervisor, Dianne Jacob. We regret the error.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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