Over the next few months, you’re going to see more and more about membership at voiceofsandiego.org. If you’ve donated within the last year, you’re in and will enjoy a variety of new and improving benefits.

If you haven’t, or if you haven’t renewed in some time, please consider it.

What’s the point? CEO Scott Lewis lays out the organization’s central motivation — including the latest statistics of how many people it serves — along with what’s driving him and the team. Hint: It’s you.

“Our operation is only going to survive and thrive if we persuade as many people like you that it’s valuable enough to support it financially as possible,” he writes. He goes on to promise an increase in member benefits, beyond the intriguing benefits already offered.

The End (of Redevelopment) Is Nigh

The axe hovering over the head of California’s redevelopment agencies appeared to be falling last night, as the state Legislature passed bills that ravage the agencies’ budgets and direct the property tax dollars they had been collecting back to schools. “The decision throws just about every one of San Diego’s current and future plans into doubt,” writes Liam Dillon. Funding for a new Chargers’ stadium, an expanded convention center, and even the city’s budget all come into question due to the impacts of the new law.

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• There was drama. Two legislators scuffled on the Assembly floor after one inferred that the other was a member of the mafia who engaged in insurance scams, a la The Sopranos. Mayor Sanders took a break from “learning about yeast and fermentation” at a tour of a local business to issue a statement calling the new law an “extortion attempt” and “not legal.”

• Councilman Kevin Faulconer tweeted that he was disappointed. Then, he switched: “Scratch that. I’m beyond disappointed. I’m outraged. Sacramento is balancing its budget on the backs of San Diego and other cities.”

We’ve fact checked a similar statement before and explained where your property taxes go.

• It’s worth noting that Faulconer then passed along a note from a fan urging him to run for Assembly. “We’ll see,” he replied. There’s been some speculation about his potential Sacramento ambitions.

Alvarez on Lifeguards, Foreclosures

“We don’t have any training for our lifeguards,” said Councilman David Alvarez during a segment on KPBS radio last week. Alvarez was appearing to decry the injustices of cutting library, parks and rec center hours in an effort to allay the city’s budget crisis. Upon hearing this claim of untrained lifeguards, Keegan Kyle furrowed his auburn brow and ran a Fact Check: Untrained San Diego Lifeguards.

Alvarez was also discussing foreclosures with CityBeat this week. He’s “very interested” in proposing legislation that would create a registry of foreclosed properties, as well as impose fines on banks that don’t maintain them.

Education Discussions Explode

A teacher who implored her union president to open their contract and negotiate with the San Diego City Schools board has provoked a fascinating conversation in the comments. As the state finalizes its budget, the chance that she and many other less experienced teachers may lose their jobs is becoming more and more real.

• Emily Alpert has invited a series of education thinkers to take over her blog. Don’t miss Ramon Espinal on English learners and then Jerome Torres, an advocate for resetting the San Diego school board.

• Vlad Kogan, a UCSD Ph. D candidate, ran some numbers and declares that Torres and friends at San Diegans 4 Great Schools have not made the case that the San Diego Unified School District has failed — at least compared to all other districts. He concedes that there’s a low level of student achievement, but he lays down a challenge:

“The reformers must provide evidence that this failure is due to district policies, not to the underlying demographics of the students and parents in its district, and they must show that the proposed reforms would actually produce significantly higher academic performance,” he writes.

USS Carl Vinson: Beer, Green Bay Packers, and Asterisks

It’s been an eventful deployment for the sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson, which returned to Coronado yesterday after seven months at sea. “More than 1,500 combat operation sorties, two run-ins with pirates and one Osama bin Laden burial,” writes The Daily Transcript. But taking on such high-profile missions isn’t easy, and it led to the Carl Vinson skipping on ports of call in favor of higher security. As a result, the crew was rewarded with beer and a visit from the Green Bay Packers while under way.

What A Dump

As a Pacific Beach resident, I can always rest assured that any large household item left in my alley will disappear into the back of an unmarked pickup truck within a matter of minutes. Not so in the Barrio Logan and City Heights neighborhoods, which were the source of more than 63 percent of the illegal-dumping calls placed to the city in the first half of this year, reports CityBeat. “If that couch stays there for four or five days, I guarantee you another one’s going to appear; a mattress is going to appear on top of that in another couple of days, and then it just snowballs and you’ve got a huge mess,” said one Barrio Logan property owner.

Budget Fairy Brings Back Water Testing

County officials had previously warned that there would be significant cuts to the budget for water quality testing in the upcoming overall budget. But thanks to “a $7 million increase to a prior version of the 2012 budget for the county’s land use and environment group,” water quality testing will continue to be funded, writes the Union Tribune.

Just Passing Through

San Diegans are accustomed to playing host to all sorts of visitors, human or otherwise, that come through our city for a quick weekend or a brief vacation. Last year, Andrew Donohue and NBC San Diego explained the strange mating habits of the beach-bound grunion fish and described how you can go get a look at the seasonal ritual, often involving hundreds of beached fish. Well, they’re back. For the next couple of days, head to the beach late at night to catch this unique spectacle.

• Lastly, one more animal made its way through San Diego, albeit not alive. U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested a man and charged him with illegally importing raw meat after they caught him with 159 pounds of iguana meat (warning to the squeamish: the iguana meat is pictured in the link). MSNBC writes that the iguana meat is a delicacy in parts of Mexico and is not an endangered species.

It is undoubtedly coming soon to a county fair near you, deep fried, covered in chocolate and served on a stick.

Please contact Seth Hall directly at seth@s3th.com and follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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