We’ve got handy answers to 12 questions about the proposed Balboa Park makeover, which goes before the City Council today. Here’s a sampling: An underground parking garage in Balboa Park? Yes, that’s the idea. A final decision today? No. One local billionaire exerting a lot of influence? Yes. Parking fees under the proposal? Definitely. And a chance the city might get stuck with a bill? Yup.

In a commentary, the executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation, the main group opposing the makeover, explains its objections. “San Diegans must stand up and oppose the bypass road and protect Balboa Park, San Diego’s greatest treasure. SOHO is not talking about living in the past, as detractors like to proclaim, we are talking about San Diego’s future.”

Commenters continue to weigh in, with some thinking the Cabrillo Bridge should be closed to traffic, an idea that eliminates the need for a bypass road but may require parking on the park’s west side. It seems to be a non-starter. As our FAQ notes, museums aren’t big on that idea because so much vehicle traffic comes over the bridge: “While the plan to close the Cabrillo Bridge gets talked about a lot, neither side is actively pushing for it.”

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One commenter says a parking garage with shuttle service could be built by the naval hospital. Another thinks big issues aren’t being discussed: “There are so many elephants in the room that even Tarzan would be nervous.” (Yes, it’s a jungle and/or savannah out there. Oh wait, that’s the zoo.)

And a reader offers an opinion that stands apart: “the park doesn’t need fixing. It doesn’t need to be ‘restored’ to a park from the horse and buggy days. Times have changed and the park changed with them, and it is just fine the way it is now.”

City Reluctantly Agrees to State Rules on Redevelopment

Without any cheer, the City Council voted last night to send $70 million in urban renewal money to the state. Meanwhile, an association of cities in the state and others sued to stop the state from dipping into redevelopment money.

The Role AIDS Played in SD Politics

Thirty years ago, San Diego had never had a gay City Council member, and the gay community’s political power was limited. Now, two openly gay people are running for mayor — the district attorney and a councilman. Others are serving as councilman, school board member, state senator and assemblywoman.

Factors as varied as redistricting and greater acceptance of gays may account for the political shift. But something else played a role: AIDS, which was first reported in June 1981. Activists from that time tell us that AIDS robbed the gay community of leaders but also created opportunities, particularly for lesbians.

• Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a candidate for mayor, says he supports the GOP-backed pension reform ballot initiative. That puts him in line with one GOP rival (Councilman Carl DeMaio) and against another (Bonnie Dumanis). (U-T)

• Rep. Bob Filner, another mayoral hopeful, is transferring money from his congressional committee to his mayoral account. “The transfer shows the fruits of Filner continuing to keep alive a congressional campaign he’s said he’s abandoned to run for mayor,” writes Liam Dillon.

Domestic Violence Accusations in Coronado Case

The man whose Coronado mansion became the site of a bizarre death last week and his ex-wife were involved in alleged domestic altercations before and during their divorce in Arizona, the U-T reports.

The newspaper also quotes an investigator as saying it remains undetermined whether the man’s girlfriend was murdered or committed suicide. She was found nude, hanged and bound on the property. As the U-T puts it, the investigator says authorities don’t believe the case is an accident that “stemmed from a sexual act taken too far.”

Backcountry to Pay for Fire Protection

California is now requiring homeowners to pay a $150 annual fee if they live in areas where the state provides fire protection. “Lawmakers are mulling over whether to revive proposed land-use restrictions that were killed just three years ago, after fierce objections from developers and local officials,” the LAT reports. Also, the governor wants a study of “how the state manages and pays for fires in those zones — and whether local governments should shoulder more of that responsibility.”

For These Dogs, Their Bite is Worse

Pit bulls accounted for 389 dog bites in the county in the fiscal year 2011, the U-T reports. Pit bulls accounted for 14 percent of bites but only 3 percent of licenses in a large chunk of the county. (However, it’s possible that the numbers are skewed due to a higher number of unlicensed pit bulls.)

Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and chihuahuas were also high on the list when it comes to number of bites compared to number of licenses. Toward the bottom: golden retrievers, poodles, pugs and bichons frise. Maybe those last ones are nice because they sound like they might be french fries.

Horn’s Whopper on TV

San Diego Fact Check TV recaps Supervisor Bill Horn’s epic huckster story about how he was jailed for taking part in a civil rights march in the 1960s. As you may recall, this is the story in which two men rose from the non-dead to rebut a claim from Horn’s spokesman that they’d passed on.

We also discuss “the greatest Fact Check in the history of Fact Checks” on VOSD Radio.

Borders to Shut For Good

The Borders bookstore chain, including some of the only remaining full-service bookstores in San Diego County, is going out of business. The chain couldn’t manage to sell itself during bankruptcy proceedings and will attempt to sell itself to liquidators. The chain could start liquidating — i.e., selling its products at a discount — by Friday, the WSJ says, and vanish forever by September.

I mourned the possible loss of Borders in a recent article. Still, Amazon’s prices have kept me coming (and clicking) back.

It turns out I might be a villain. “Who killed Borders, its well-stocked shelves, its nice chairs, its helpful staff, the coffee, and all that?” asked Slate’s Jack Shafer in a tweet. “You, the Amazon customer.”

Me? Um… hey, is that Stephen King over there? Look! (Whoosh!)

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 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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