Next year, San Diego voters may consider whether to get rid of pensions for most new municipal employees and let them invest in 401(k)s instead. The leading Republican mayoral candidates all like the idea and have this answer for skeptics who worry that the workers could get stuck without a safety net: Hey, they can get an annuity and be just fine no matter what the stock market does.

Indeed, as Liam Dillon reports, “annuities can offer just as much retirement security as a pension. But there’s a catch. Unlike a pension, in order to have the money to receive a large enough annuity, an employee likely will have to bear much of the initial investment risk herself.”

We’ve got more details about how annuities work and the skin in the game that employees will have to provide themselves.

Feds Strike Against Pot Shops

U.S. attorneys from California, including San Diego’s, are scheduled today to announce they’re targeting medical marijuana shops, the Union-Tribune reports. Every dispensary in the city — about 180 — is expected to get a letter warning them to close down within 45 days.

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Letters sent so far have threatened property owners of spaces leased by marijuana shops, the AP reports. This isn’t a first, a marijuana advocate told the news service, since a similar crackdown on property owners happened during the Bush Administration: “It did have an impact. However, the federal government never acted on its threats, never prosecuted anybody, never even went to court to begin prosecutions. By and large, they were empty threats, but they relied on them and the cost of postage to shut down as many facilities as they could without having to engage in criminal enforcement activity.”

Meanwhile, San Diego’s city attorney, who’s already facilitated the shutdown of 12 of the shops, says he’s going after all or almost all of the rest in court for running afoul of zoning laws.

On Sewage and Politicians

We asked the mayoral candidates to weigh in on the sewage spills spawned by the blackout last month. Now here’s a non-surprise: All three of the leading candidates who responded want to fix things without making people pay more. The fourth major candidate, Democrat Bob Filner, continued to not participate.

Finding Where Labor Agreements Stand

As we’ve told you, there’s a big debate over the fate of agreements regarding construction in government-funded projects. “Organized labor argues a new state law would disqualify San Diego from certain state funds if voters approve banning the city from ever requiring union-friendly construction agreements,” Keegan Kyle reports. “The business groups leading the ban’s charge say there’s a loophole in their ballot measure to make sure that won’t happen.”

So which is it? We’re taking a closer look and getting opinions, including one from a local city attorney who says his city is following the new state law even without having a loophole like the ballot measure in San Diego.

Don’t Make Hay Out of Goat Debate

The city isn’t quite ready to allow goats to graze in local backyards because of concerns about the safety of milk from them. However, the city continues to move forward with plans to allow more leniency regarding produce stands, retail farms and chicken ownership.

Ace Is (Still) the Place to Park

Ace Parking will retain control of the airport’s parking lots, the U-T reports, winning an ugly battle. Airport board members went against a staff recommendation that supported rival Standard Parking.

“Both offered to work for less and save the airport more, as well as provide license plate recognition systems, high-tech management systems and more — while accusing each other of outlandish claims, lapses in integrity and conjuring dubious budget numbers,” the U-T reports.

A Bridge to Campaign Money

People connected to Bridgepoint, the locally based higher education company that’s been in hot water lately, have given $12,500 to the mayoral campaign of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, the Daily Transcript reports.

The fast-rising company has recently begun to flex its political muscles locally, as we detailed earlier this year, at the same time it’s come under fire from Washington, D.C. and state-level investigators for its business practices. The latest: The company recently revealed it was under investigation by North Carolina’s attorney general for possible violations of consumer protection law. (California Watch)

Seeking the Genetic Secrets of Golden Oldies

Those of us with limited maturity levels can’t think of Cloris Leachman without saying “Blucher!” (Neighhhh!) Forget that for a moment, along with “Phyllis” and “Dancing with the Stars.” The 85-year-old Leachman brings something else to mind: darned good aging. Now, scientists led by a top researcher at San Diego’s Scripps Health have taken notice.

The team has recruited Leachman and about 1,100 other people aged 80 and up to take part in a genetic study aimed at understanding why some people live to ripe old ages without serious physical or mental problems, MSNBC reports. The story includes details about Leachman’s plans to stick around (“They’re going to have to kill me with a lead pipe”) and her long-ago appearance in a spitting contest with Katherine Hepburn.

At the Tone the Time Will Be … Up

A couple readers went down memory lane when I mentioned the Time Lady in the Morning Report the other day. Remember her? Always accurate, always polite, always at the 853 prefix no matter what other digits you dialed afterward.

I recall one New Year’s Eve as a kid when I was thrilled to get through and hear her at midnight. (My childhood was a bit excitement-challenged.)

But she’s been history for four years now, ever since the phone company rudely sacked the service in Southern California.

At least the Time Lady no longer has to be on duty 24/7. But I hear she’s still working hard, telling people to “please make a note of it” 25,000 times a day.

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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