When you don’t own a car in San Diego, getting somewhere on time — like a job — is especially tough. Even if public transit gets people to work on time, long rides can eat up big chunks of their day and keep them away from their families.

Last weekend, public radio’s “Marketplace Money” devoted an hour to the stories of five struggling San Diego families, including one woman who lives in a car with her kids after losing her job. Transportation challenges are a major obstacle for the poor, the program found.

You can read about the program here, listen to it here, and watch video of the show’s host talk about it here.

Fact Check: iPads First and Buildings Second?

Now here’s a bold and potentially damaging claim: A local taxpayer advocate says San Diego schools haven’t spent any money out of $2.1 billion it borrowed on major construction projects. She said it appears the district has spent more on iPads for students than big building upgrades.

And now, through Prop. Z, the district wants to borrow $2.8 billion more. No way, says the advocate.

Is she right? San Diego Fact Check finds that she certainly has reason to think she is: A report says the district has spent nothing — $0 — on major repairs and replacement.

The district says the number doesn’t tell the whole story.

So what’s up with that pesky report? Our Lisa Halverstadt has the details in her new story.

Arts Report: Hedge Fund

The Arts Report, our weekly compilation of arts and culture news, includes a look at the artistic hedges being installed at the new federal courthouse downtown. Our readers are divided over the project’s value.

There’s plenty more in the Arts Report, including links to stories about the surprising name for the 2015 exposition centennial at Balboa Park, more public funding for the arts and giant robots in La Jolla. (No, they’re not doing any housework.)

Convention Center: Plan A, Plan B, Plan C?

City officials want to expand the convention center at a cost of $520 million, and they’ve been busy figuring out how to come up with the money. But there have been hitches galore, and the whole dream could be dashed in court or elsewhere.

So then what? If necessary, the two mayoral candidates would like to put a major part of the plan — a tax on hotel visitors — onto the ballot. But local voters tend not to like the idea of approving taxes, even if they don’t have to pay them. So what’s the Plan C?

Our reporter Liam Dillon explains the situation in a new story.

Letters: Scavengers, Another U-T Cancellation

You can definitely hear them in my neighborhood late at night before trash days: scavengers gathering cans and bottles from recycle bins left out for pickup. In a letter, Craig Scott says this problem is getting worse: “How does the city deal with this issue?”

Also in letters, Paul Girard calls for free buses in downtown (they’re common in other cities), while Catherine Meyer says she’s cancelled the U-T after 55 years of subscribing: “I did this because of their offensive editorials and the hateful bias by the writers and management.”

We’ll find out later this month (when circulation numbers of newspapers nationwide are released) whether the rash of U-T subscription cancellations has had an impact.

And Tery Grey is infuriated by talk of expanding the convention center: “This city is not in business to make money for one segment of the population at the expense of another!”

To save you time catching up on letters, we’ve compiled these latest ones into a single post.  

Quick News Hits

• Clarification: Yesterday’s Morning Report suggested something is wrong with the reactors at the San Onofre nuclear plant. In fact, steam generators are the trouble spots.

• Columbia Journalism Review catches up on the U-T’s high-stakes tangle with the port over the future of San Diego’s waterfront.

• The Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a woman in Chula Vista late last month has a history of misconduct, according to court records unearthed by NBC San Diego.

• Voters are starting to get their mail-in ballots. Ready to hit the books and figure out how to vote? Check KPBS’s handy voter’s guide.

• It looks like Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is sitting out the mayor’s race (U-T). For background, click here, here and here.

• NBC San Diego reports that Ray Ellis, a Republican running for City Council and whose victory could turn the council red, has a history of not voting. Ellis will face his rival, Sherri Lightner, tonight in a debate moderated by Voice of San Diego member Joe LaCava.   

• The area around San Diego State is evolving. It’s now “one in which students live within walking distance of campus and find shopping and services they need nearby,” KPBS reports.

Maybe La Jolla’s UCSD, famously lacking in anything remotely like a college town, could take a hint. Back when I lived in a dorm there, in the late Pleistocene era, we had to drive five miles to find a midnight California burrito at a Roberto’s. Quelle horreur!

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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