The county’s blueprint guiding growth in the county’s backcountry is a reality. The plan will steer “high-density growth toward rural town cores such as Fallbrook, Valley Center and Ramona and away from the far backcountry — where fire risk is the greatest and services such as roads and sewer systems are lacking,” reports the North County Times.

Property owners have protested the plan approved by the Board of Supervisors, saying it results in too much limitation on what they can do with their land — like restricting home-building there — and that it will cost them money. Supporters like its focus on public transit and preserving rural areas.

Supervisor Bill Horn, also an avocado farmer in North County, was the only one to oppose the blueprint. “He said the highest and best use of any piece of rural land is to develop it,” KPBS reports. “So, he said, new zoning codes are being created on the backs of local farmers.”

“A lot of these farmers are saving for their future,” Horn said. “So if you come in and down-zone them, they are losing that equity. And that’s a major issue here.”

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But Supervisor Ron Roberts, who represents much of central San Diego, applauded the plan. “Every environmental impact will be reduced,” he said. “We’ll have far more open space. This is a huge step.”

We took a deeper look at the general plan in an episode of San Diego Explained. We called it “the Really Fascinating Blueprint for How San Diego Grows.” (Catchy!)

The whole plan can be viewed on the county’s website.

Convention Center-Stadium Powers, Activate!

At the moment, plans for a major expansion of the convention center are moving right along, while money problems may kill dreams of a downtown football stadium. Now here’s an idea: how about combining them into one?

The top spokesman for the Chargers said the other day that such an idea — a domed stadium that would double as a home for conventions — “is getting some traction.” Restaurants and stores would likely line the half-mile between the new stadium and the old convention center.

There are plenty of roadblocks to such a proposal, including opposition from major players like the mayor and convention boosters. Timing might be a problem too, along with the complexity of such a dual project and the decisions of voters. But, as Liam Dillon writes, the stadium and convention center “might just end up needing each other.”

Behind the New Balboa Park Lawsuit

In their new legal attempt to put a roadblock in front of the Balboa Park remodel, a preservationist group is turning to a previous case from West Hollywood that it says supports its argument against an agreement struck by the city. But San Diego’s city attorney has turned to the same case to prove the city’s legal points.


In an effort to crack down on cockfighting, the county is preparing to ban residents with small properties from keeping more than one rooster. A county supervisor says California, unlike most states, doesn’t make cockfighting a felony. San Diego Fact Check finds that the claim is true: watching a cockfight or owning a cockfighting rooster is a misdemeanor in California.

“County authorities who investigate animal abuse say the new rules would make it easier to obtain search warrants and break up cockfighting rings,” Keegan Kyle reports. “By observing an unlawful number of roosters from public view, an investigator could more easily obtain a warrant to search the entire property for evidence of cockfighting.”

Finding a Solution to Affordable Housing

The system that produces low-rent housing for the poor in San Diego can be repaired, argues the director and supervising attorney for the Affordable Housing Advocates organization. She’s responding to our story about how $600 million only produced about 2,100 affordable housing units in San Diego over the last few years.

We can do this by directly subsidizing units, by adopting and implementing better plans, and by making consistent and prompt local land use decisions that encourage and support affordable housing development,” she said.

Escondido Needs to Lay Off the Sauce

The old joke goes something like this: “the only drinking problem I have is that I’m out of vodka.” But there’s nothing funny about Escondido’s drinking problem: it seems to have lots of drunks on its streets, at least in places that cops visit.

There have been 595 drunk-in-public arrests this year in the city, the NCT reports. These people went to jail, and even more sloshed folks ended up in a drunk tank to dry out.

The city’s police department has looked into the problem but is a bit bewildered. The NCT paraphrases a police official as saying “There were just a lot of drunks on the streets of Escondido — either stumbling around or passed out, or inebriated passengers who were left stranded after their drunken driver is arrested.”

Mail Carrier Returned to Sender

Not surprisingly, a temporary local mail carrier is out of a job after posting photos online of scary-looking dogs from his route (“All the Dogs Want to Kill Me”) and creating a zine called “Slave Labor Makes You Look Great!: A Brief Memoir of Carrying Mail in San Diego,” CityBeat reports.

His one-liner captions didn’t help either. (One was “‘He won’t bite you, but he will lick you to death,’ — Every dog owner.”)

The postal service say the mail carrier screwed up for, among other things, talking to a journalist and taking photos of dogs without permission. CityBeat says he also got in trouble for not carrying around dog-repellant spray. (So there’s a smell that dogs don’t like? Wow.)

I’ve heard a theory about dogs and mail carriers. It goes like this: Mail carriers come by the door six days a week, they make noise at the mailbox, and then — after bark-bark-bark — they go away.

Basically, every mail carrier’s visit is a chance for a dog to feel like king of the world: “I make a fuss, and they scram! I’m awesome!”

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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