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The state attorney general has sued to stop the $200 billion regional transportation plan that makes freeways a priority, saying it doesn’t do enough to get drivers out of cars.

“The 3.2 million residents of the San Diego region already suffer from the seventh worst ozone pollution in the country,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Spending our transit dollars in the right way today will improve the economy, create sustainable jobs and ensure that future generations do not continue to suffer from heavily polluted air.”

The plan, drafted by a local coalition of governments, sets a blueprint for the next 40 years.

Our story provides plenty of ways for you to understand this ongoing story, including a look at how the state became skeptical of the plan in the first place, a San Diego Explained video about where the money goes, a summary of key issues and a reader’s guide to the whole debate. 

An Ugly Schools Budget Emerges

San Diego schools superintendent Bill Kowba is proposing the elimination of 1,169 jobs including 821 teaching positions in his new budget, the U-T is reporting. Kowba is refusing to assume voters will approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax increases in November. The budget is a follow-up to his alarming memo last week.

His budget, of course, is subject to approval from the five trustees who oversee the district. The district must send out layoff notices in March if it is to retain the right to let go of teachers this year.

Here’s what’s happening to the district’s budget in four revealing charts.

What Might Kill the Convention Center Expansion

Our Liam Dillon lists the five reasons why the $520 million convention center expansion, which is up for discussion before the City Council today, might not come to pass. They include things like the risk to the city budget if things go wrong, the hotels vs. labor snit and the state coastal protection agency.

Meanwhile, two councilmembers and the mayor say they’re not in favor of the U-T’s alternate plan, which it splashily launched on Sunday. The mayor’s not on board either.

• The U-T’s news team covered its own plan today, which would transform the current shipping facilities at Tenth Ave. Marine Terminal into a “resort” with a stadium, basketball arena, beaches and more.

Tenth Avenue, though is still a working port. It has a new customer delivering wind power equipment. And this year, Dole, which imports bananas there, will have to decide whether to extend its lease.

• CityBeat notes that U-T brass met with the mayor’s office to talk about the newspaper’s proposal, and CEO John Lynch has reportedly been lobbying City Council members. He doesn’t have to declare himself a lobbyist, though.

“In other words, Manchester and Lynch can pretty much ignore the city’s rules, including fundraising disclosures, gift restrictions and registration fees, because they now own a newspaper,” CityBeat says.

Judge Confirms Balboa Park Makeover Ruling

A judge confirmed her earlier ruling against the city’s memorandum of understanding with supporters of a plan to remodel Balboa Park, NBC 7 San Diego reports. The city, though, released a massive draft environmental impact report on the project (available for review here). The purpose of the agreement the city entered into was to signal support of the project so that backers would feel justified generating that environmental impact report. It examines 13 alternatives to the proposed project.

If you’re able to read the gigantic document, please send along your observations.

Check our story from last summer for more details about the legal squabble.

Age Before Duty

The U-T looks at the GOP infighting in the mayor’s race, with three major Republican candidates already throwing mud at each other. One comment of note: District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is bringing up the age issue; her GOP rivals Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and Councilman Carl DeMaio are in their 30s.

“I have a 38-year track record,” she said. “Heck, I’ve been living and working in San Diego more than my opponents here have been alive.”

Fact-Checking a Councilman’s Job Claims

Councilman Todd Gloria told KPBS listeners that the urban renewal program known as redevelopment is a good idea, and he touted its record of helping to build the new downtown central library. He said 1,000 people were on the job daily.

Fact Check TV examines his claim, which the San Diego Fact Check blog earlier found to be false.

News at the Speed of Briefs

• The LA Times travel section profiled Sea World’s new “Manta” coaster, which opens in May.

• KPBS examines the potential impact of the Italian cruise ship disaster on the industry, which has a declining presence in San Diego.

SigAlert Turns 57, Still Stuck in Traffic

The SigAlert, described as perhaps “L.A.’s most iconic gift to the rest of the world,” is turning 57. The CHP has used it to warn drivers of major traffic jams since it was invented by a traffic engineer named Lloyd Sigmon.

Caltrans types planned to celebrate the birthday at its headquarters in Los Angeles yesterday.

I would love to have made it up there for the party, but I always get lost in L.A. because I follow the directions that Johnny Carson used to always give on his show: “How do you get there? Let me tell you friends, how do you get there! You take the San Diego Freeway to the Ventura Freeway. You drive to the Slauson Cutoff, get out of your car, cut off your Slauson…”

And then I need to take a cab home.

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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