Recently, housing analyst Rich Toscano woke us up with a big finding: Home prices had reached a new low since the boom years when you adjust them for inflation.

Now, check out his latest determination: When you compare what people are making in salary and wages in San Diego to what mortgage and tax payments are, the ratios are at the lowest they’ve been with the available data. His numbers go back to 1977.

In other words, mortgage payments have never been more affordable in the context of incomes in a generation in San Diego.

Many of Toscano’s central insights over the years have come from the graphs he does comparing what people are making in San Diego to home prices and mortgage rates. Check them out now. During the bubble, the ratio to what homes cost compared to what people were making got way out of hand. Homes, he writes “are now modestly undervalued.”

‘Schools on the Brink’ All in One Place

We’ve gathered all five segments in the special San Diego Explained series “Schools on the Brink” we did last week with NBC 7 San Diego in one spot. Catch up on how San Diego schools got to the financial precipice and what its options are now.

And, in case you missed it, here’s a roundup of our Thursday night event that capped the special reports. One chart in particular that we showed at the event has gotten people talking.

Water Bill Mess

Frustrated with the city of San Diego’s new billing system for water use? Apparently, you’re not alone. And the city says it’s doing something about it. (Investigative Newsource via Union-Tribune)

Deafening Crowd Control Devices Proliferate

Did you know San Diego is home to the leading manufacturer of sonic blasters? LRAD Corp. makes the devices which “emit beams of sound with laser-like intensity” to communicate to, and control, large crowds of people. With protests raging across the world, sales (and controversy) are mounting.

Future of the Waterfront

Speaking of homes, when the market does fire itself up again, much of the construction will begin again in places like Barrio Logan and downtown. As we pointed out in a recent San Diego Explained, a battle between those who want to build homes and those who want to build things is raging.

If you build more homes near the waterfront, the harder it will be for the port of San Diego to develop out a major industrial import-export economy.

Yet a debate about whether importing and exporting at, say, Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is the best use of waterfront land continues as developers lust after it for any number of other uses.

Congressman Bob Filner, who’s running for mayor, has made it clear his major economic plan is to make the port as big of an industrial jobs-creator as it possibly can be.

What about the other candidates? What kind of port commissioners would they choose? Where do they come down on Tenth Avenue? Check out their responses (once again, Filner declined to participate). District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, for one, isn’t sure we are “maximizing the potential of that site.”

• Dumanis probably supports its current use a bit more than these guys: Protesters from the Occupy movement are going to try to block work at ports all along the West Coast today, including here. Port Chairman Scott Peters, a Democrat working to unseat Congressman Brian Bilbray, issued a statement urging them to back off.

The U-T checked in with Occupy San Diego and outlines the difficulties they’re having keeping it going.

• These are busy days for the port. County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Malin Burnham mixed it up on the op-ed pages of the U-T about Burnham’s plan to build 500-foot wings on the waterfront. Burnham says it’s iconic, Robert says it’s “out of whack.” And the U-T endorsed it as the makings of a great city (along with a new football stadium).

Here’s our backgrounder on the proposal.

Remember my favorite line so far: It won’t block your view, it just will be the view.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO at You can contact me directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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