There’s a new map in town.

It’s got lines all over the place, creating nine City Council districts where there used to be eight. Plenty of people are carefully watching where the borders are drawn, including blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and gays who want to preserve or increase their political power.

What does the proposed map of council districts really mean? What might it change? We dig deep into an intricate world full of power plays and intrigue.

Highlights: A second district will have a Latino majority, although its white residents may wield plenty of power if they’re more likely to vote. The district with a powerful gay constituency will lose a neighborhood without one, even though it’s home to the current councilman. (Expect him to relocate.) And Asian-Americans, who have had little political power on the local level, aren’t going to have as much influence in a new district as they thought.

Marijuana Shops Aren’t Out of the Woods

On the face of it, it sounds like great news for fans of medical marijuana: after being hit with a successful petition drive, the City Council yesterday withdrew its new regulations on medi-pot dispensaries. But what comes next? What came before, the U-T notes: “Medical marijuana collectives in San Diego are illegal. But, as before, it is unclear whether the city will take any action to shutter them.”

The city could go after the shops or just let them be or find a middle approach. Or it could just ban them for good, as some counties in the state have done. The irony would be if the repeal of the regulations actually makes things worse for the dispensaries. But their supporters argue that the regulations weren’t much short of an outright ban.

As our City Hall reporter Liam Dillon tells me, is the dispensary types may have lost support where it matters. “This time it appears unlikely they’ll have much sympathy on the council to help them,” he said.

And the Games Played On

NFL players ratified an offer from team owners yesterday, ending the lock-out and paving the way toward a regular football season. puts it all into perspective: “Yes, there will be football in the fall, but the fans had to listen to all of this nonsense for more than four months.”

Dems Try to Bruise Bilbray in Debt Fray

Voters in Rep. Brian Bilbray’s North County district are getting debt-ceiling-related robo-calls aimed at “trying link Bilbray to the Republican congressional leadership and the hard line it is has taken on the issue,” the NCT reports. The district is a hot spot for the Democrats in the 2012 election, since the redrawing of its boundaries may make Bilbray even more vulnerable. (Bilbray faced close calls in 2008 and during a 2006 special election that got national attention.)

The NCT says possible Democratic challengers include Scott Peters, a former San Diego councilman, and former Assemblywoman Lori R. Saldaña, although she’s running for state senate.

For the U-T, New Advisers and an Old Complaint

The U-T has identified the people on its new editorial board of community members, “pioneers in an experiment that will grow over time,” as editor Jeff Light puts it. They’ll “will weigh in on issues as they see fit” and provide input to the editorial writers.

“Our aspiration is to be a forum whose ideas are rooted not just in compromise, but in pragmatism, independence and integrity,” Light writes. The board includes a consultant, educators, company leader, retirees and former basketball star Bill Walton, among others.

Meanwhile, commentator Bob Stein writes on our site about the U-T’s aggravating willingness to allow “ethnic, racial and religious epithets” to appear as comments online.

The U-T deletes some offensive comments, but not all and not always promptly. It is now a “platform for hate,” Stein contends. A Facebook commenter put it this way, pointing out how stories about deaths of young people spawn blizzards of blame: “Please make it stop.”

Many of the comments on the U-T site are indeed “vile,” as Stein puts it. We couldn’t even print some of his examples. (When a big story comes along, I often find myself drawn to the U-T comments to gawk at how low they can go. Yes, it’s just like driving by a gory car accident. And I often feel an urge you might be familiar with: “Someone is wrong on the Internet! I must DO something!”)

Some newspapers have staunched the avalanche of online garbage by requiring commenters to identify themselves. Light, the editor, has said that’s in the plans for the end of the summer.

High-Cost Affordable Housing on Radio

VOSD Radio checks in on the outlandishly high cost of cheap housing for the poor.

Pension Fact Checks on TV

Fact Check TV analyzes claims about the pension reform initiative, finding mistaken claims by both proponents and an opponent.

San Diegans Live Long (and Maybe Prosper)

San Diego is ranked 13th on the Daily Beast’s list of the major American cities whose residents live the longest. Over the last decade, the average life expectancy here for women has been 81.4 years. For men, it’s 76.9.

Wow. Maybe some of us will live long enough to hear our great-grandkids ponder San Diego’s eternal question: Will anybody ever do something about Mira Mesa’s rush-hour traffic congestion?

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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