Two City Council members say they want to rein in the powers of the city’s housing agency by preventing it from buying expensive property without oversight.

Lorie Zapf and Carl DeMaio, both Republicans, wrote in a memo that the Housing Commission — which deals with affordable housing — shouldn’t be able to buy property worth more than $500,000 unless the council approves.

It’s not clear if the rest of the council will go along. Some have said they understood what was going on back in 2009 when the council approved a new policy giving the agency more freedom to buy property. Others said they were misled into thinking their action would help the agency deal with the foreclosure crisis. Here’s more on questions about local affordable housing.

In other City Hall news:

• The council approved giving $700,000 to the arts, culture and nonprofit district at the former site of the Naval Training Center in Point Loma. The money will help the district deal with a surprise shortfall.

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• The council also gave another approval to a plan to extend a fee that some hotel guests must pay.

• The Union-Tribune recaps a verbal scuffle that broke out Monday between a couple of council members.

Mayor Weighs in on Stadium Prospects

The governor signed bills designed to make it easier for big new projects to be built, potentially including football stadiums desired by officials in Los Angeles and San Diego and our own proposed convention center expansion, the U-T reports.

Sewage Spill Revise and the City Excuse of the Month

The city has corrected the size of the two sewage spills that erupted as a result of the blackout earlier this month, the Union-Tribune reports. About 3.5 million gallons spilled, not 2 million; it’s not clear if the city will get socked with penalties.

A city report says officials are looking into more backup power, although it also says the city meets industry standards in regard to emergency preparedness. The report also patted the city on the back for treating 97 percent of sewage during the outage: “The unprecedented power outage was beyond anyone’s expectations and/or planning scenarios.”

In other words: Who would have thought the power would go out? That’s crazy talk!

For more about the sewage spills, watch San Diego Explained.

SDG&E in Hot Water over Helicopter Mishaps

State utility officials have grounded helicopters working on SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission line after the U-T discovered that accidents weren’t reported. An order from the California Public Utilities Commission “calls for a safety stand down to review helicopter operations, with training required and documented for all pilots and ground personnel,” reports the newspaper, which found that helicopters twice hit objects on the ground recently.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob sent a stern letter to the state agency, saying “if the commission does not act swiftly, I fear that property may be damaged, fires may result or worse — someone will die because of the utility’s cavalier attitude toward public safety.”

Smart Meters in the Spotlight

Some of the state’s power companies will have to allow customers who don’t want “smart meters” to be put on a list and avoid getting one for now, the NC Times reports, but it’s too late for all but a small number of local electricity customers.

The meters, which communicate information about power use through wireless connections, have come under fire as being inaccurate, a threat to privacy and unsafe. A La Mesa resident has been blogging about people who have complained of health problems caused by the meters. Power companies say they’re safe.

Finally, a Politician Like the Rest of Us

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, the son of former congressman and onetime presidential candidate Duncan Hunter, reported something unusual on his financial disclosure forms: no assets over $1,000 other than his House salary and his Alpine home, reports. Even his bank account doesn’t have more than $1,000 in it.

Hunter’s financial situation makes him unique among all the House representatives in the state, says.

Mayoral Rivals on the Hot Seat

We’ve posted video of our Politifest mayoral debate, which included discussion of hot topics like pension reform, a new Chargers stadium and medical marijuana. Here’s more on the mayor’s race.

Glean Insight into the Gleaners

Our news partners at the Media Arts Center have posted a video of the urban “gleaners” who pick produce at local orchards and donate it to food banks.

Quick, Find Me an Excuse!

A few weeks ago, I linked to a blog post about a sneaky way to avoid the hassle of carrying around multiple supermarket reward cards: just type in someone else’s phone number at the checkout counter. The post suggested 867-5309, from the 1980s pop song, because it’s likely to be in the system. It worked like a charm at Vons, even if I couldn’t get “Jenny, don’t change your number” out of my head.

Well, Jenny and I are out of luck: the number doesn’t work anymore, as the folks behind me in line discovered as I desperately tried alternate digits (“What’s the old number for the time lady? Or how about 555-1212? Help!”).

Don’t blame me, people! To borrow a handy phrase, this unprecedented development was beyond anyone’s expectations and/or planning scenarios.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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