The California Supreme Court yesterday put a stop, at least for the moment, to part of the state’s bid to kill redevelopment programs and then allow them to resurrect themselves in a different form.

The court says redevelopment can continue while it considers a lawsuit against the state’s action. “If the case is successful, it will punch a $1.7 billion hole in the state’s budget for the current fiscal year, and could put schools, social services and other programs at risk for even deeper reductions,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

A decision is expected by early next year. The San Francisco public radio station KQED dives into the complications of the court ruling, and the U-T checks local reaction. See our redevelopment coverage for more.

Digging Deeper into Earthquake Safety

Join thousands of San Diegans who get the day’s news in their inboxes every morning. Get the Morning Report now.

We’ve posted video and audio about our joint investigation with KPBS that found that some 200 local school buildings may be especially vulnerable to earthquake damage but haven’t been fixed, demolished or even checked out.

In a follow-up, we note that the state’s Field Act, a bid for seismic safety, is “not a magic bullet.”

• Under new calculations the state is using, the San Diego school district’s drop-out rate is the second-lowest among large urban districts in the state.

Last Days for Hiking Guru

He’s written the most beloved book about local hiking trails — the last edition includes some 250 paths — and his “Roam-o-Rama” column made 861 weekly appearances in the San Diego Reader. Now, Jerry Schad, who’s in his early 60s, is near the end of his life’s trail. He’s suffering from end-stage kidney cancer, the U-T reports, and has already written his obituary and bid farewell to his readers. A memorial is in the works, and his wife — they’re newly married — plans to scatter his ashes in the desert.

“Just get out there!” the professor of astronomy at Mesa College wrote in the Reader last month in his final column. “You’d be hard pressed to find any other region in the world as scenically diverse and magnificent as Southern California. That statement is even more applicable to San Diego County.”

• The U-T remembers coffee empire creator and downtown visionary Bob Sinclair — “the instantly recognizable renaissance man with the handlebar mustache and a penchant for flamboyant hats and southwestern jewelry” — whose life we recalled earlier this week.

The Mayor’s False Balboa Park Claim

Mayor Jerry Sanders said 7,000 cars interact with “literally hundreds of thousands of pedestrians” at Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, the area between the art museum and the organ pavilion. The car number is correct, but hardly that many pedestrians walk around that plaza’s crosswalks in a day. An engineering firm counted several thousand each on two days in January.

The claim matters because proponents of philanthropist Irwin Jacobs’ big makeover of the plaza, which would get rid of cars, contend that safety is a big concern. The plaza is definitely a place where drivers need to keep their eyes wide open, much more than at the east entrances.

• Our members tackled the question of whether the park should get a remodel. Almost 200 members responded, many with long, thoughtful comments, and Jacobs plan attracted the highest level of support at 41 percent. Only eight percent went for the don’t-mess-with-it option.

• Rep. Bob Filner, a mayoral candidate, has finally weighed in with his thoughts about the Balboa Park makeover after earlier complaining about our strict question format. We gave him four sentences. He preferred to provide six to the San Diego Newsroom site, saying he likes the idea of removing cars from the park.

Hurdlers on the Affordable Housing Hurdles

San Diego Explained brings in athletes to help explain the high cost of affordable housing.

Arrest for Ex-Official from City Hall

Tony Manolatos, until recently spokesman and deputy chief of staff for City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, was arrested on suspicion of spousal battery and vandalism, the U-T reports. The police wouldn’t give details about the incident to the paper.

Manolatos, one of several former U-T reporters who went on to jobs at City Hall, left his job Tuesday after giving notice before his arrest.

The U-T last month referred to him as a spokesman for San Diego’s pension reform initiative; he provided a statement to the paper about a campaign issue. But a spokeswoman for the initiative’s official spokesman said Manolatos is not and has not been the official paid spokesman.

A Grand Festival for Policy Wonks

Gather around, political types! We’re holding a free festival next month — Politifest 2011 — that will celebrate constructive political discourse and feature a mayoral debate.

With a beer garden and an “Idea Tournament,” Politifest will be a mini Del Mar fair, just with more politics and no internationally famous deep-fried Kool Aid balls. It’s a family affair, too — there’s a chance we’ll have live animals other than political animals.

Update: We’ve altered this post to remove context about Manolatos and other descriptions because they were deemed not relevant to the news.

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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