The moribund construction business is showing signs of life again across the county — or at least a pulse. Major decisions are soon expected on plans to turn both seawater and sewage into safe drinking water.

And the current plan for the future of our transportation grid faces a serious challenge from the state’s attorney general and environmentalists.

Rob Davis breaks down why these are four major environmental storylines to follow. Davis spent much of the last year editing for us but is back on the environment beat, and these are just some of the stories he’ll be tracking. He’ll also be looking into public agencies and watching U-T San Diego’s transition under Doug Manchester.

What should he be paying attention to? Send him tips at rob.davis@voiceofsandiego.org.

It’s Fletcher v. DeMaio

A direct battle between Nathan Fletcher and Carl DeMaio is bubbling up in the San Diego’s mayoral race. The U-T San Diego says it “is quickly becoming the most interesting aspect of what has otherwise been a fairly respectful competition thus far.”

During Monday’s Young Republicans debate, DeMaio said of his opponent: “You can’t solve problems on a slogan and a smile.” DeMaio has also dinged Fletcher for his ties to labor unions because of his police officers endorsement.

For that, Fletcher accused DeMaio of hypocrisy, saying he’s taken more money from lobbyist and developers than any of the Republicans.

• DeMaio, the council’s loudest voice against taxes, has also faced cries of hypocrisy for his support of a tax hike for the Convention Center expansion. He recently tried to reconcile his support, and Fact Check TV takes a look at the validity of those claims.

Sounds Like a Major Acting Challenge

One actor plays 20 characters in the new two-man play we’re following, “How I Go That Story.” But that’s not all: he also provides the all the background sounds, including gunfire, planes flying overhead and even the jams at the tavern.

You can watch and listen to Watanabe as he grapples with one of the many challenges he faces in the show, which is now in previews. This is the latest piece in our new Arts: Embedded series, in which we track what goes on behind the scenes in the run-up to a major production.

VOSD Radio Gives Mayor Some Props

VOSD Radio often gets on the mayor’s case. But not always: In the latest episode, he’s named the Hero of the Week for his budget victory declaration, even though we point out his rose-colored glasses could use a new prescription.

Friends, San Diegans, Countrymen: Lend Us Your Favorite Stories

It’s good to share, especially if it doesn’t cost you anything. (That’s my motto!) Keep that on your mind as you read news stories that aren’t on our site. Each week, we publish the VOSD Reading List, a spin through articles about San Diego or how other cities are dealing with the kinds of issues we have here.   

If you come across an article that you’d like to share, send it to our web editor Dagny Salas along with a link and a few details about why you recommend it.

Meanwhile, I’ll sit here pouting and trying to forgive you for reading something that’s not us.

Enough to Give You Gas

San Diego has the most expensive gas in the country, the U-T reports. The average was $4.24 a gallon on Sunday, according to a survey. “Analysts attribute the higher prices at the pump to rising oil prices, speculation by investors, and the closure of some California refineries for maintenance,” the paper says.

Letting the Past Be Gone

Back in 2002, the San Diego City Council made a big mistake that contributed to the city’s giant and expensive pension mess, one that’s still being unraveled a decade later.

Did all the council members slink off into obscurity never to be heard from again in public life? No.

One of them, Scott Peters, is now running for Congress. As the U-T’s Logan Jenkins notes, the pension issue is haunting him still. At a forum in Rancho Bernardo, a questioner asked him about Rep. Brian Bilbray’s claim that Peters is “The Father of San Diego’s Pension Mess.”

“Peters admitted poor judgment and then pivoted to measures that he’d supported to improve, if not completely fix, the hemorrhage in the city’s budget,” Jenkins writes. “‘I’m the only one on this panel to do meaningful government reform,’ Peters said, doing his best to wring something drinkable out of Bilbray’s lemon.”

Quick News Hits

• State Senator Joel Anderson, who represents part of East County, has introduced legislation that would try to speed up California’s execution process by eliminating the automatic appeal to the state Supreme Court for defendants sentenced to death row, CityBeat reports.

• A sports anchor at Fox 5 has apologized for saying something rude on the air about race car driver Danica Patrick; the video of his slur went viral.

Earlier this month, a classic blooper video from Fox 5 — “JetPack FAIL,” the title on a YouTube video, says it all — ended up being featured on NBC’s “30 Rock” show.  

SD’s ‘Fairest of the Fair’

She’s one of the most famous of all San Diegans: she grew up here,  graduated from La Jolla High, was named “Fairest of the Fair,” went to San Diego State and became a weather girl on local TV. Jo Raquel Tejada would ultimately become a Hollywood star named Raquel Welch.

She’s now 71. In honor of a celebration of her career in New York titled “Cinematic Goddess,” Slate chronicles her career in photos.

Among the photos are shots of Welch with a couple of her husbands. It’s more proof, if you didn’t already need it, that Billy Joel isn’t the only guy who married up. Way, way up.

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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