“El Cajon Boulevard” evokes one word to many longtime San Diegans, and it’s not “story-filled.”

The street, which may be San Diego’s most famous (and infamous) main drag, is best known for its special brand of working women. But there’s much more to life on the dozens of blocks that make up The Boulevard. You’ll find diners and car lots, condos and ethnic enclaves, and more.

Our photographer Sam Hodgson has begun a new series called “Tales from the Boulevard” in which he’ll chronicle the street’s stories in words and photos. In the first installment, he visits the San Diego Center for the Blind, where he finds a 47-year-old woman who suddenly lost her sight last year.

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She’s struggling to keep her independence and learning about devices to help her shop for groceries and even figure out whether the colors of her clothes clash. And she’s hoping that her rare medical condition will fade.

Redevelopment Compromise in Works

California’s 10 largest cities — including San Diego — are working on a compromise to stop the governor from killing the local redevelopment agencies that focus on urban renewal around the state.

“The counterproposal, based on a plan released by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, calls for allowing the agencies to divert about $200 million a year to the state for 25 years,” McClatchy Newspapers reports. “That money would allow the state to finance a $1.7 billion loan to help bridge its $26.6 billion budget deficit. The plan would also require the agencies to pass through more tax money to cities to pay for local services and give about $50 million annually to schools.”

The governor’s office, however, doesn’t sound welcoming.

Also on the redevelopment front, the U-T took a look at an unlikely city to need the urban-renewing powers of redevelopment: Coronado. Yes, the city that’s seemingly full of ritzy homes and wealthy retired admirals thought it needed a helping hand to combat blight.

Blight? Sure. Coronado “took advantage of early legal definitions of blight — required to tap into the program — and drew its entire city into a redevelopment zone.”

Death of a Judge

Richard R. Thompson, a judge in the U.S. Ninth Circuit appeal court who spent decades in private practice in San Diego, has died. Details weren’t immediately available. He was born here and was nominated to the court by President Reagan in 1985.

A Peek at the Library’s Art

Here are two groups of people who don’t sound like they’d be the bosomiest of buddies: bureaucrats and artists. But they do have some things in common, including budgets and visions, and they often work together when public art is at stake. Arts editor Kelly Bennett wondered: How does it work?

She set to find out and reports what she discovered in a story about the “Hype, Hurdles and Complications” of the public art projects planned for the new downtown library. It’s a touchy topic these days as the mayor tries to trim spending on taxpayer-supported arts projects; to complicate matters, he included the library art on a list of projects that may be suspended, even though the money isn’t his to divert.

Kelly examines the process (which has taken years) and the ideas and checks in with the artists who made proposals some time ago. “When there’s a very, very long shadow between the inception, the creative spark and the realization of that idea, it’s very daunting to keep your energy at a high-pitch level and deliver what you planned,” said a local sculptor who helped choose the artists and their plans. “Unfortunately that’s the difficulty. Working with some of these municipalities, it’s antithesis to art.”

And Your Job Is What Again?

It’s a public agency with a $700 million budget, but you may never have heard of it. Even if you have, you might not be able to name the guy in charge. Now’s your chance: education reporter Emily Alpert introduces you to the county office of education, an increasingly important force in the world of local public schools. The big Goldilocks-ian questions for its future: Should it do more? Or less? Or is it just right?

Local Anti-Abortion Publisher Tries Once Again

As a rule, alternative weekly newspapers aren’t exactly bastions of conservatism. They tend to lean left — sometimes far to the left — and advocate progressive causes. Then there’s the San Diego Reader. Its publisher and founder, Jim Holman, is a leading player in California’s anti-abortion movement, and KPBS says he’s once again “involved” in an initiative that would require doctors to notify parents, except in special cases, when minors seek abortions.

The story doesn’t specify Holman’s involvement this time around. He bankrolled three parental-notification initiatives in the past five years, and they all failed. In 2006, the U-T reported that he’d spent $3.5 million on such initiatives within the previous two years and said the Reader didn’t accept personal ads for gays or ads for abortion clinics and strip clubs.

Row Row Row Your Lush

San Diego’s drinkers are a stubborn bunch. Banned from imbibing on the beach, they turned to the water and an event dubbed the Floatopia, enjoying intoxicating beverages on rafts in Mission Bay. Then the City Council said they couldn’t do that, either.

Now, KPBS reports that Floatopia organizers have a new idea: Rowtopia! A rowboat-and-beer event is now in the works for late March. But there’s a hitch. Drunken rowers, just like their tipsy counterparts who steer sailboats or yachts, may be cited for driving under the influence.

What’s a booze-and-beach enthusiast to do? A simple wetsuit-free dip in the ocean in March might do the trick: it’ll be the equivalent of a cold shower, long one of the best treatments for unhelpful urges of all kinds.

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

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

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