In a closely watched case around the state, a judge has dumped San Diego County’s 40-year, $200 billion transportation plan on the side of the road, saying it doesn’t do enough to deal with issue of climate change and greenhouse gases.

But a higher court may get the ultimate say.

The Superior Court judge, Timothy Taylor, made his ruling public yesterday. The San Diego Association of Governments finalized the plan last year.

(For a refresher, here were our five things to know about the plan).

This the first test of regional transportation planning under the state’s greenhouse gases law. Forcing the plan to change would be a big win for environmentalists, who know that leaders in other regions are waiting to see how this turns out.

Andy Keatts explains what happens next. Negotiations could resolve sticking points, but otherwise it looks like more court.

Grading City Services in the Sanders Era

We decided to look at the data and, with some graphs, illustrate how the city of San Diego’s services compare now to when Jerry Sanders became mayor seven years ago. 

There’s plenty of good news. “Crime is down. So are police response times. Hours at recreation centers held steady,” writes Liam Dillon. And library hours, which were drastically and painfully cut earlier, are actually up by a bit. Even the downtown Central Library is finally open on Saturdays again.

Great! But about those roads you need to take to get to your local branch… they’ve gotten worse overall and will continue to deteriorate.

Our story has more details and a look at how Sanders broke a promise to provide a report card on services.

Filner Lets His Hair Down

Photographer Sam Hodgson caught new Mayor Bob Filner laying down on the job (or “reverse planking” as editor Sara Libby labeled it).

Hodgson tells the story and more (with photos, of course).

As Hodsgon puts it: “The new mayor brings a wildly different personality to the office. His demeanor allows foes to brand him as a loose cannon; it’s also endearing to friends.”

Fact Checking Filner

Filner stood in Rancho Bernardo a few weeks ago and said: “in the 25 square miles that’s represented by this fire station, which is half the size, by the way, of the city of San Francisco, there is one fire truck and there is maybe a cop on duty. And if they’re called to different places we have nothing in this community.”

Is he right about fire coverage of RB? His claim gets a “mostly true” verdict, says San Diego Fact Check. There are other fire vehicles and surrounding cities have agreements with San Diego to help out.

Fact Check TV examines claims about electoral debt and vote totals.  

Big Ol’ Bond Blasted

Yesterday, we highlighted how new City Council President Todd Gloria trumpeted a potential infrastructure bond based on the idea Scott Lewis tried to explain a few months ago: Neighborhoods would make a list of their needs, and the city would put it all together, figure out a plan to pay for the most needed projects and put it all to voters.

The U-T followed the story and got the first shots fired against the idea. T.J. Zane, the leader of the Lincoln Club, blasted it as “outlandish.” It may, after all, include a tax increase.

But the Chamber of Commerce has been the one incubating it and one of Big Business’ top lobbyists, Craig Benedetto, took to Twitter to defend it.

“Much like the GOP leaders in DC, you gotta discuss all options. Drawing lines in the sand isn’t good strategery!” he wrote.

Now Showing: Balboa Park Presentations

The Culture Report leads with our Balboa Park events — last Saturday’s photography extravaganza and videos of speakers from last week’s Meeting of the Minds event spotlighting the park.

First up on the video front:

• Jose Ysea, a city employee, talks about the nearly 2 million tons of garbage that are moldering in the middle of Balboa Park in a largely forgotten landfill.

• Maren Dougherty, who spent weeks’ worth of nights in the park, highlights “Twenty Park People You Might’ve Missed.”

• Marlene Williams, who lives in Balboa Park with her family, describes its trails and her work with the Girl Scouts and Friends of Balboa Park.

Letters: More on Stench

In letters, Morgan Justice-Black of I Love A Clean San Diego writes that the best way to handle the La Jolla stench may be “to simply allow nature to run its course.” And Al Rodbell thinks he knows why Congressman-Elect Scott Peters won.

Elections Now and Forever, Amen

We’ll have a special election for City Council (Tony Young is resigning for a better paying job). We’ll have one for state Senate. (Juan Vargas just got elected to Congress.)

And now we may have yet another one: for state Assembly. An assemblyman, Ben Hueso, wants to go for Vargas’s job, the U-T reports.

These men are all Democrats, by the way, and it would be a shocker if a Republican won any of these seats. The Democrats’ powerful super-majority in the state Legislature is secure.

City on Hook for More in Predator Cop Cases

The total to be paid out by the city to victims of ex-cop Anthony Arevalos, convicted of soliciting sexual bribes from women, is nearing $1 million, the U-T reports. The City Council approved the latest settlements this week, and more could be on the way.

For background on the Arevalos case, check our coverage here.

East County vs. East County

The Far East Project: Everything Just As It Is,” a new book of art, photos and words, chronicles the grittier side of places like El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove.

The book definitely comforts the afflicted, as the journalistic commandment mandates. And now it’s afflicting the comfortable too.

East County Magazine, sounding like an outraged chamber of commerce, lambastes the book as full of images that “universally depict squalor, mediocrity, urban decay and despair… The text is mostly gritty and devoid of inspirational value…”

Why not, it asks, include photos of “the many fine new parks and sports facilities, new homes and shopping, or community celebrations in Santee”?”

“ART,” snaps one reader, “is not PR.”

The same goes for news. It’s not supposed to always be pretty. (That’s why so many of us in the business have faces made for radio.) 

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

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