When they heard the news from a hotline, residents of San Diego County’s backcountry laughed or sighed. Some responded with a “yeah, right” and hung up.

All they wanted to do was get rid of hazardous waste. And we’re not talking the really serious stuff that needs to be buried in Nevada for a zillion years. These folks had ordinary paint cans, motor oil, batteries and computer monitors. They live out in the sticks and wanted to dump their junk legally, but cutbacks now mean they can only do that on certain days and in certain places, some that are quite a drive away.

The result: People are hanging onto their risky trash, disposing of it where it doesn’t belong or sitting around for weeks in wait. “I just want to do the right thing, because I live in this environment and want to take care of it,” said a man who had to wait six weeks to get rid of a handful of paint cans left behind by a Ramona tenant. “But they make it so darn hard.”

That’s One Costly Cushion

The city planned to allocate $4 billion for redevelopment projects. Then it was $4.1 billion. Then, finally, $4.4 billion, which the City Council approved last week. It turns out that the city has a $300 million “cushion.” Not the type you put on your couch, but spending leeway.

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The cushion wasn’t part of the public discussion, and city officials never explained what accounted for it. In fact, documents and a presentation included both the $4.1 billion and $4.4 billion numbers. As Keegan Kyle explains, “that the purpose of $300 million was not publicly reconciled spoke to the speed of the proposal’s movement, the lack of questioning and the scope of its long-term reach. The city has approved projects so far into the future that it doesn’t know exactly how much they will cost and preemptively assigned them a reserve fund to draw from.”

The city went money-happy (money-berserk, even) because the state is poised to eliminate redevelopment. Maybe. As Liam Dillon explains, there are plenty of questions that remain to be answered: Is it even legal to do that? What will happen to the city’s big dreams of a new football stadium and a bigger convention center? And when is the legislature going to get around to deciding all this? (Answer: not as soon as this week, it seems, but probably this month.)

About that stadium: the mayor and the Chargers president met yesterday to talk about financing, the U-T reports. But a vague joint statement seems to be the only public product of the confab so far.

You Say Target, I Say Tar-Zhjay, Let’s Call the Whole Thing … On?

Target and Walmart have their eyes on a vacant piece of property in the Chollas View neighborhood, a potential boon for a section of the city that’s long had trouble wooing major retailers.

At Least Something Will Be Covered Down There

UCSD is stepping into the Black’s Beach breach: the university says it will pay $500,000 to cover the cost of providing lifeguards at the world-famous nude beach in La Jolla. The UCSD-funded lifeguards will boost the city’s staff at the beach (which was earlier eliminated during the off-season and cut during the high season) through February 2012.

The beach, which sits at the bottom of a cliff near UCSD, is popular among surfers and nudists. As I wrote in a history flashback last year, visitors continue to swim and sunbathe in the buff (they number in the hundreds, and maybe more, on some summer days) although nudity hasn’t technically been legal since city voters banned it in the 1970s.

“If you work around nudists, nudity itself becomes uninspiring,” a former lifeguard told me.

The Rich Get … House-ier

San Diego is one of the hottest markets for home and condo sales in the $1 million-and-up bracket: sales jumped 14 percent last year, CNN reports.

Money for Measles

San Diego Fact Check TV examines claims about redevelopment money and a 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego that wasn’t nearly as costly as a critic of anti-vaccine activists said it was.

Did Issa Aide Hornswoggle Reporter?

Prominent media reporter Howard Kurtz was embarrassed not too long ago when he took six weeks to correct a story in which he wrote about interviewing Rep. Darrell Issa. Turns out Kurtz didn’t talk to Issa, but instead spoke to his spokesman.

Now there are a couple new twists. Last week, Issa sacked the spokesman for giving copies of emails from reporters to a journalist. Now, Kurtz says the spokesman impersonated the congressman during the interview.

Sorry, Howie, we’re not buying it,” says the Mediabistro site, pointing out that the spokesman (who’s 27) doesn’t sound like the congressman, who’s 57 and the famous voice behind the Viper “Step Away from the Car” car alarms.

Let’s Hope Favre Didn’t Sign Anything He Shouldn’t Have

Memorabilia from Green Bay, Wisc., is heading to San Diego to become part of the Navy’s new USS Green Bay ship. The mementoes include “a large mural featuring many city features, which will be hung in the ship’s mess hall, 43 Green Bay street signs to be placed throughout the ship, three Super Bowl trophy replicas autographed by Bart Starr and Brett Favre, a key to the city and several other items,” reports the Green Bay Gazette.

Savvy Sellers Now Take Credit

Some local Girl Scout troops are now accepting credit cards to pay for their perennial cookie boxes. Instead of just accepting cash, the tyke-sized sellers be able to swipe Visas and Mastercards through specially equipped iPhones.

How high-tech. Call me when I can charge a Thin Mint’s calories to someone else’s cellulite.

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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