Regional planners are keeping a secret: how they’re figuring out how we’ll get from place to place in the future.

At stake is a $200 billion plan for projects through the year 2050. Highways, trolley lines and bus routes, among other things, are due for upgrades. The regional planning agency is setting the blueprint for all this, but it’s secretive about how it’s come up with its models and formulas, which it says are proprietary.

It released its models to transportation advocates only on the condition that they don’t share them. “State regulators, the attorney general and the governor’s office all want the agency to make its models widely available and understandable so the public can participate in the agency’s decisions,” Adrian Florido reports.

Why are the models important? For one thing, they include assumptions that might be wrong, transit advocates say, including this one: Poorer people are more likely to ride transit while wealthier people will not, even if the service gets better. In other cities, like San Francisco and New York, people of all incomes ride public transit.

The agency’s director said it’s working on its models, and they’ll be available to the public, but not soon. He says they’re due to be released four years from now.

Arrest in Freeway Shooting Case

The CHP arrested the suspect in Monday’s freeway shootings as he drove through Los Angeles County, the Union-Tribune reports. A motorist recognized the car and license plate, which had been broadcast on digital freeway signs, and alerted authorities.

The shooter targeted at least four vehicles, hitting three and injuring a driver.

Authorities said the shootings were “truly bizarre” and didn’t look like road-rage incidents that typically arise out of a confrontation, the LA Times reports.

Solar May Not Fend Off Higher SDG&E Bills

SDG&E wants to boost rates for people who rely on solar or wind power, the NC Times reports. The utility thinks other users subsidize those with renewable power sources, and it hopes to increase rates by an average of $11 or $33 a month. (SDG&E sources offered different amounts.)

Wait, isn’t renewable energy supposed to be, you know, renewable? And stand-alone? It’s more complicated than that, the NCT reports: “Solar customers and others who pump power into the system get credit for every kilowatt-hour they produce. If they produce more than they use, they get a zero bill, or one very close to it, which means they’re not paying for electricity — or their use of the grid. But they do use the grid: They draw power in the morning, before their panels are producing, then they push power out during the day when they’re at work or school, and they pull it again at night.”

SDG&E’s idea is to charge the customers for using the grid.

Labor Agreement Ballot Measure

Project labor agreements aren’t terribly complicated: they’re union-friendly construction agreements sometimes used on major projects. Business boosters don’t like the agreements, saying they’re too costly, while labor advocates say they actually save money.

Simple enough. Now comes the tricky part. Soon, city voters will consider a ballot measure that would forbid the city from requiring that contractors use “project labor agreements.” Up in Sacramento, however, the governor has signed a bill that cuts off state funding and financial aid for projects in cities with the bans.

A local labor leader says the city could lose tens of millions in state funding each year if the measure passes. Supporters say the measure has a loophole that allows the city to get out of the ban if state money’s involved.

A lack of clarity from the state has left matters murky.

Mayoral Candidates on Banning Project Labor Agreements

We asked the mayoral candidates where they stand.

The three major Republican candidates for mayor all support the ban. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis offers some clarification, saying the measure “has been mischaracterized as a ban on project labor agreements. It isn’t a ban, it’s a prohibition on the City Council forcing Project Labor Agreements on the unwilling.”

There’s a new wrinkle: A state law could lead to cuts in state funding for cities with these kinds of bans. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher says it appears to be moot “because the ballot measure includes language that allows the council to consider a PLA if one is required to receive state or federal funding.”

Councilman Carl DeMaio said “union-only mandates” have hurt the city: “San Diego has lost out on private investment and jobs — and taxpayers have paid higher prices for government services and projects.”

New Chicken/Goat/Farmers Market Rules Get Airing

City leaders are about to check out new rules about chickens (they might be allowed closer to single-family homes), miniature goats and food sales.

Get Art While the Gettying Is Good

The Getty’s sprawling new exhibit about post-war art in L.A. isn’t just about the City of Angels. (And shouldn’t that city be Anaheim? Just asking.) It looks at art across Southern California, and two San Diego museums are among the 60 taking part around the region.

“One show takes over huge rooms with light projections and holes cut in walls, luminous sculptures and neon pieces that trick your eyes and may spark you to think about the way you see and perceive things,” Kelly Bennett writes. “The other is all about craft and design — finely handmade objects, home decoration and things we use in daily life like furniture and bowls and jewelry.”

Radio on Pensions and More

VOSD Radio tackles pension reform, the Chargers TV blackout, Fact Checks and the ever-looming specter of the Dissolving City.

Size Catters

A San Diego feline named Fizz Girl is the world’s shortest cat, according to the Guinness record-keeping people. She’s of the short-legged Munchin breed (no, not Munchkin) and is six inches tall, weighing a bit over four pounds. You can catch her on a video.

Let’s hope the kitty doesn’t have a Napoleon complex. She’s a cat, though, so having one might be a given.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

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

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