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Hold onto your hats: the city’s finances and the future of more than $4 billion in urban renewal projects will be on the line today, as the state legislature is expected to vote on whether to kill redevelopment.

Last-minute legislation could do more than send the big plans to the boneyard. It may boost the city’s deficit too. But even that’s up in the air amid a frenzy of confusion and apparent deal-making.

Some things are clear. For one, the City Council decided yesterday in emergency session to transfer than $250 million in assets — nearly 135 properties — from the redevelopment agency to the city itself. For another, lawyers are starting their engines. If the legislature does bump off redevelopment, there will be legal challenges galore.

When Tech Support Is Another Kid

Every kid at North Clairemont’s Innovation Middle School has a laptop computer. And, if things go as they usually go with technology, every kid will eventually have a thingamajig that breaks or doesn’t work or falls off. You or I might call an 800 line and wait for an hour. These kids often turn to each other: they’re learning how to fix computers themselves.


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The tech team is called the Mouse Squad. Emily Alpert dropped by to watch it at work. “So what exactly is wrong with your computer?” one girl asked a classmate whose computer kept shutting down. “Does it happen intermittently? Like, only sometimes it happens?”

In its own small way, the Mouse Squad helps the district deal with the hefty cost of computer repair. And the kids learn things too.

Surprise Domino Effect Hits Schools

This wasn’t what San Diego teachers had in mind. The school board voted last week to cut $4 million in costs for administrators, but not all will be jobless. Some will head to the classroom, where they’ll bump teachers with low seniority. In the big picture, this means the district will now warn more than 1,300 teachers that they may lose their jobs, not 1,078.

Tea Party Rebuff

Local Republican congressmen rejected the appeals of Tea Party supporters and voted to allow the funding of the federal government for three more weeks. The local Democrats were divided, with Susan Davis voting yes (making her in the minority among Dems) and Bob Filner no.

The Latino-Tinged Future of Southeastern

Earlier this week, Adrian Florido wrote about the changing ethnic landscape of southeastern San Diego, where the number of blacks is falling as Latinos move in. But African-Americans still hold a lot of the political power. Florido follows up with a post that offers more perspective through census numbers and a look at the changes in another neighborhood.

LA Times: Thumbs Down on Nuclear

While national politicians remain leery of becoming nuke-bashers, the LAT is taking a stand against nuclear energy. In an editorial, it notes that the state’s two nuclear plants (including San Onofre near us) aren’t designed to withstand a quake as large as the one in Japan: “An earthquake that big would be expected to kill far more people than a nuclear meltdown, so it’s considered wiser to spend the money on community preparedness rather than plant safety. Even wiser would be not having nuclear plants in seismically active states like California at all.”

SD’s Violent Labor Revolt

Wisconsin has our attention today. But 99 years ago, a pitched labor battle drew the nation’s focus to San Diego, where city leaders tried to shut up a radical labor union by clamping down on free speech in downtown.

The move sparked months of protests, violence and vigilantism as a city of just 40,000 tried to figure out whether to support the crackdown or those with the cracked heads. My story tells the tale — featuring Emma Goldman, fire hoses unleashed on protesters and an actual tar-and-feathering — and shows how the fights on our streets were a harbinger of the Red Scare to come.

Paging Tippi Hendren

He was in the South Bay, not Bodega Bay, but photographer Sam Hodgson still found a Hitchcockian moment the other day.

This Will Drive You Crazy

You may have heard about web services like Foursquare that allow people to let the world know where they are and even the places they visit the most. (As in, “I’m the mayor of that sleazy bar down the street!”)

Now there’s a new San Diego-based service called bump.com that allows people on the road to contact each other. It uses images from security cameras and license plate recognition software to figure out where folks are. “It’s kind of like a Groupon and a Foursquare meets AAA and LoJack — all of which you can’t turn off,” its CEO tells ABC News Radio.

Just think: One day drivers may turn to their phones instead of their middle fingers when someone cuts them off on the 163. Progress!

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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