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As the city of San Diego pushes to remake its decaying infrastructure, it faces a basic yet complicated task: it needs to fix roads faster than they are decaying to make any progress.

Right not, it’s falling $12.6 million short of simply keeping its streets, buildings and storm drains in their current state of disrepair.

That was just one of the startling statistics that emerged from a council hearing yesterday that could be a watermark moment in the city’s efforts to reverse roads’ steady decline.

“It showed that all elements of city leadership and bureaucracy — (Mayor Jerry) Sanders’ office, City Council, city staff, the independent auditor and the independent budget analyst — recognize the depth of the problem,” Liam Dillon writes.

We’ve been covering the decay of roads, buildings and sidewalks extensively and have a trusty guide to understanding the issue.  

• Our initial special report, A City in Disrepair, highlighted some of the worse-off spots around the city, including a police station in City Heights. We learned in the hearing that the city is getting ready to finally repair the leaky roof that had forced officers there to create makeshift raincatchers.

Big No-Go for Navy Broadway Complex

The Navy Broadway Complex — aka Pacific Gateway, aka the gigantic waterfront development project — did not pass go yesterday, and it most definitely did not collect $200.

The California Coastal Commission ruled that the project, in the works for decades, isn’t ready for prime time even though commission predecessors previously approved it, the Union-Tribune reports. The commission said things have changed too much since then, both with the project and the waterfront.

What now? The Navy “will now have to decide if it wants to seek a compromise, enter mediation or litigate the dispute,” the U-T reports. Meanwhile, developer Doug Manchester is left hanging: he “has a long-term lease for the property on which to build … a $1.3 billion, 2.9-million-square-foot office-hotel complex on the 16-acre site south of Broadway between Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive.”

We rounded up links to reaction and context from our previous coverage of the project.

Alarm over Possible Cancer Risks at Airport

Take your wallet out, stick your hands up in the air and hold still: No, it’s not a stick-up. It’s been the routine for almost two years for many travelers at Lindbergh Field, thanks to full-body X-ray scanners.

An investigation by ProPublica and PBS NewsHour finds that the use of radiation for non-medical reasons has broken a medical taboo and could lead to dozens of new cases of cancer each year. There’s more: the investigation finds that the government put the scanners to work at airports despite having a safer and equally effective option that leaves people radiation-free by using radio waves instead.

We’ve got details about why our airport uses the devices.

From Peace to a Police Action

The relationship between the Occupy San Diego movement and police has gone from warm-and-fuzzy to tense-and-troubled. Our photographer Sam Hodgson has been documenting the movement, and he provides a reader’s guide to how friendly cooperation with the police — note the photo of a top cop fist-bumping the protest’s head of security — moved to angry conflict.

Hodgson notes that the clashes with police aren’t the whole story of the movement, but he shares a lesson learned from watching the tension upclose: “It only takes one heavy-handed police officer to set off a group of protestors. And it only takes one misguided protestor to turn a peaceful group into a crazed mob.”

Anti-Nuke Forces Begin to Form

Hundreds of San Clemente residents have expressed concern about the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and now anti-nuke activity is only beginning to percolate south of the county line, the NC Times reports. The City Council of Solana Beach will consider whether to support a resolution calling for the closure of the nuclear power plant.

False Claim from Barrio Logan Industry Booster

A debate has broken out over the future of Barrio Logan, which is a crazy quilt of industry and several thousand residents along the waterfront. A proposed city plan would try to put a limit on the blending by setting specific areas for homes and industrial businesses, but company owners think it will crimp Barrio Logan’s economic prospects.

One owner argues that there’s a need for more space, and he said in a U-T letter to the editor that “Barrio Logan already has the lowest vacancy rate for industrial land in San Diego County — under 3 percent.” San Diego Fact Check finds that his claim is false.

For Local Venues, a Perennial Ticket Tango

A San Diego symphony performance might cost you $20 or it might run to (gulp) $96. A Balboa Park museum visit might be free or $17 or somewhere in between. And, of course, you’ll pay a wide range of prices to see a play, a rock group or a musical.

As our “Will Call” series continues, Roxana Popescu takes an in-depth look at how organizations figure out how much to charge in the Groupon era. There’s a lot of leeway because there are huge differences on the financial front.

One organization might heavily depend on donations and not rely that much on ticket sales, while another might rely on ticket-buying patrons to pay the bills. One local museum, for example, gets just 3 percent of its income from tickets, while a theatre gets 75 percent.

Supply and demand are major players too, of course.

This is all very helpful. Now I’ll know just how much to charge people to watch my upcoming interpretive dance in honor of the winter solstice. (Note to self: Learn how to dance. That should cost about $5,000 per ticket if only Mom shows up.)

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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