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State Senator Christine Kehoe isn’t a fan of plans for an expansion of Interstate 5 in North County: “What do commuters gain after spending $3.4 billion? It will take seven minutes longer to travel from La Jolla Village Drive to Oceanside during rush hour. For $4.5 billion, drivers will save one minute and carpools will save 10 minutes.”

That would be one very expensive minute for solo drivers. Kehoe thinks it’s too costly, in more than one way, to expand freeways without building more mass transit first. Last month, she proposed legislation that would make it harder for state transportation officials to expand freeways near the coast.

Is Kehoe’s claim about the $4.5 billion minute true? San Diego Fact Check reviews Caltrans proposals and finds that it’s missing some nuance that complicates things a bit, making it mostly true.

Food Metaphors Get a Workout

Mayor Jerry Sanders is not impressed by the San Diego school district’s attempt to get a $64 million advance on redevelopment funds as a goodwill gesture. “I think that what we’re finding right now is just a giant food fight out there with all these things on the table,” he said.

Over at the county, Supervisor Ron Roberts isn’t happy about the governor’s plans to kill redevelopment, even though they appear likely to benefit the county: “They’re like a hungry bear. We don’t want to be the snack food,” he tells KPBS.

Liam Dillon has details on these comments and more in his roundup of the latest redevelopment news. Also, Keegan Kyle put together a graphic that shows how the city hopes to spend $4 billion in redevelopment funding. Note the very, very big chunk for downtown.

Meanwhile, the Orange County Register is not amused by all the money-grabbing that’s going on. In an editorial, it chides government agencies that are allocating redevelopment dollars like mad (including San Diego): “Governments at all levels should be fiscally prudent enough to at least stop what appears to be a mad rush to take advantage of taxpayers until the larger issues of continuing, scaling back or abolishing these tax-supported operations is resolved. Taxpayers deserve better.”

Duck, Duck, Tax!

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In 2008 local hotels agreed to add an extra two percent charge on guest bills beyond an existing tax. Or is the charge a tax, too? The answer looks to be crucial to the future of funding for the convention center expansion. Readers pondered the opinions of Scott Lewis, and he responds in a new post. The two percent, he says, is a tax because it quacks like one.

A Pretty Park with a Scary Side

Colina Del Sol Park in City Heights is a hidden gem with a dark side. It’s hard to find, but once you get there, it’s pretty enough. The problem: residents don’t like to use it because it’s considered a haven for criminals. Poor visibility — the topography makes it hard to see what’s ahead — may be to blame. Parents may worry about losing sight of their kids, and that could lead to fewer families and more troublemakers.

The solution may come in simple design changes designed to ease the nerves of visitors.

Raises and Charges

This is what City Hall will be talking about today: two high-level city employees got raises totaling $46,000 and the U-T reports that a former city parks employee “has been accused of embezzling about $101,000 in recreation center funds.”

Told to Go Away

An embattled Chollas View charter school is in the middle of a controversy that’s divided parents over allegations regarding the principal. The San Diego school district, which technically oversees the school, sent an investigator to check things out, and the principal demanded that he leave. We talk to the principal, who says things have been worked out regarding the investigation.

Also in education, Emily Alpert reports a Superior Court judge has ruled that a former San Diego County Office of Education employee who filed a wrongful termination suit against the agency must be given more than $200,000 in back pay and medical premium reimbursements — more than 11 times as much as the agency initially sought to pay him”

Sounds Like a Typical Workplace

We hear a lot about how hard it is to sack teachers. What about superintendents? The U-T uncovers an evaluation by the Del Mar elementary district school board of its former superintendent, who was fired and is suing. It provides a window on what sounds like a toxic relationship in the world of education: “You are openly hostile to the current Board President, you complain to Board members about other Board members, and you complain to District staff about the Board,” the evaluation says. The superintendent wrote a 57-page rebuttal.

Smile and the World Smiles With You (and Moves to the Other Side of the Street)

According to a UCSD behavior change expert, “smiling not only boosts the immune system and lowers blood pressure, it enhances other people’s view of you.” A Montreal newspaper looks at how acting like we feel a certain emotion can actually lead to our really feeling it.

OK, fine, I’ll smile more. I’ll start nodding too. Once I get the smile-and-nod thing down, I’ll be ready for the next meeting with my editor!

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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