Back in 1997, environmentalists and developers got together and crafted a compromise to keep San Diego’s endangered species from vanishing. The big deal was a big deal.

“Fifteen years later, developers have reaped their benefits. The deal eliminated the need for lengthy state and federal approvals to kill endangered species …,” our Rob Davis reports. “But a key environmental promise has repeatedly been broken. Undeveloped land has been preserved — some 33,000 acres in San Diego alone — but has often festered and been forgotten.”

What went wrong? A lack of money — the estimated $3 billion needed countywide over 40 years. There was a pledge to put a tax hike on the ballot. But it’s been just talk for years, and there’s plenty of doubt about whether an initiative could actually pass.

“The result: Thousands of acres have been set aside in San Diego County often with little way for people to legally use them,” Davis reports. “Instead, land… sits in limbo, accessed by those willing to ignore the No Trespassing signs and makeshift fencing, but not those who could give it the TLC it needs.”

Nathan Fletcher Pledges a Bike Friendly City

The latest VOSD Radio played off a recent Scott Lewis column on how the mayoral candidates are framing the issues and what they need to show voters.

Nathan Fletcher Wednesday tried to frame an issue: He wants to make San Diego one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities if he’s elected mayor.

Fletcher, who’s a cyclist himself, says his plan will make biking safer, increase the number of people pedaling to work and school by 65,000 in 2020, and create a bike-sharing program like those seen in other major metro areas around the world.

Bike San Diego’s pretty enthused. The site lays out the plan in detail and notes that Fletcher believes biking can be an economic driver as well. (For more on BikeSD, check out our Q&A from December, which provoked a long discussion in the comments.)

Fletcher’s plan attracted some criticism, too. Jay Porter, the owner of El Take It Easy and an avid cyclist liked many of the points but said it was mostly a list of desires, not a plan. And the conservative statewide blogger Flash Report ripped Fletcher in a series of tweets for pledging to implement the “Complete Streets Act of 2008.”

As for the bike-sharing program, our editor Andrew Donohue wrote a couple of years ago about one he’d seen in Minneapolis and wondered why there wasn’t a similar program here. Donohue admitted to being a bit excited his favorite mode of transportation was getting talked about.

• Speaking of the mayor’s race, KPBS radio and TV today is wrapping up its series of profiles on the major candidates with Bob Filner.

Rethinking the UCAN Mess

CityBeat’s David Rolland writes that his first impulse was to question the flood of allegations against Michael Shames, a leading local consumer advocate and head of the Utility Consumers Action Network. Now, however, Rolland is having doubts after talking to a former UCAN employee.

Our story on the UCAN allegations and investigations was our most read last week. Here’s the full list of our most read stories and you can always follow them with our best of the week email.

Quick News Hits

• El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox has resigned in the wake of an FBI search of her home, the U-T reports. It’s not clear what the FBI was looking for.

• The Mikey Show on FM 94.9 is no more, reports

• Assemblyman Marty Block, a Democrat who represents part of San Diego, is one of the three Assembly members who reported getting the most gifts, value-wise, in 2010, The Sacramento Bee reports. He reported $22,965 in gifts.

Only three of 133 state officials reported accepting no gifts.

• The $570 million sale of the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, owned by U-T publisher Doug Manchester, was the biggest hotel transaction in the entire country last year, the SD Business Journal reports. Locally, 42 hotels sold, up from 15.

• The government has appealed the $17.8 million awarded to a family for the deaths of four people when a Marine jet fighter crashed into their San Diego home,” UPI reports (Outcome Magazine)

• The state prison system will allow a man imprisoned for a 1979 murder in San Diego “to publish a book about how he bred and trained aggressive dogs, including the Presa Canarios that killed a San Francisco woman in her apartment corridor,” the SF Chronicle reports.  The woman’s 2001 death became a major news story; the dogs’ owner and husband were convicted on murder and manslaughter charges.

Bemoaning San Diego’s Lack of Sports Prowess

We did it again. Or perhaps more accurately, we didn’t do it again. Once more, San Diego is on the Forbes list of the Most Miserable Sports Cities, ranking at No. 5. (Atlanta is No. 1.)

Our pro sports teams have played in 104 seasons and have a grand total of one championship — the  Chargers, way back in 1963, when they dominated the AFL. “Neither NBA club in the city’s history stuck around, while the Chargers and Padres are a combined 0-3 in Super Bowl and World Series play,” the magazine says.

It makes you wonder if Queen made a point of singing “They Are the Champions” when they visited San Diego in concert.

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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