One of our most controversial stories ever came to this conclusion: Government-subsidized affordable housing often costs far more to build than market-rate housing.

Advocates for affordable housing offered many explanation for the increased costs and challenged some of the more outlandish examples.

So what’s happened since we published the story in 2011? Our Will Carless provides an update.

It’s taking a long time for the state to come up with a promised study. Results may not be released until well into next year. Then public hearings might be on the horizon.

LoGo Puts on Candidate Hat as Politicians Play South Bay Shuffle

Lorena Gonzalez, the triumphant leader of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council has announced that she will run for the state Assembly’s 80th District, the seat currently held by her ally Ben Hueso.

Hueso is likely to vie for, and win, the Senate seat Juan Vargas is leaving to take Bob Filner’s spot in Congress as Filner is now San Diego mayor.

Gonzalez’ political director at the union group, Evan McLaughlin, is going to run her campaign and they insisted there’s a possibility that it won’t play out like this and Hueso may remain in his post until 2016. If so, that’s when Gonzalez would go for the post.

But she’s definitely going for the seat whenever it’s open and most likely, it will be this spring.

Chula Vista’s Steve Castaneda had told The Star News that he was going to run for that assembly seat too.

Gonzalez had long been rumored to be aiming for this after her move from the Pacific Beach area to Sherman Heights. She took over the umbrella group of local labor unions in 2007 after Jerry Butkiewicz left to join Sempra.

Who takes over for her may be the most interesting political question in all this shuffle.

Or maybe not. While Gonzalez and Butkiewicz had a heavy focus on politics, Gonzalez told the U-T it’s time for another direction.

“As we move forward, it’s time for the head of the labor council to be a little less about running a political program and more about running an organizing program,” she said.

Water Regulator Ready to Work on La Jolla Stench

A lot of vitriol has been directed to government regulators for not allowing La Jolla merchants or others to pursue common sense solutions to cleaning up the guano that’s chasing away restaurant visitors and tourists.

But it’s important to remember that no agency has even been asked yet if they’d allow any solution. And the head of one of the most important groups with responsibility to protect the Cove and coastal waters is saying he’s ready to talk.

Dave Gibson, executive director San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board told KPBS that there may be ways to clean that don’t require a permit. It involves sweeping and trash bags.

Open Wide

As talk grows about a plan to borrow a huge amount of money to fix the city’s public buildings, drains, sidewalks and streets (and more), the city is defending itself against allegations in the media that it’s not exactly transparent.

Now Showing: Balboa Park Presentations, Part II

Here are three more presentations from our Meeting of the Minds event spotlighting Balboa Park:

• Kim Duclo, a park ranger, spoke about some of the park’s most notable features and linked them to ones elsewhere, like L.A.’s Griffith Park.

• Marcos Espinosa told the story of his interest in music, his non-music day job, and why he crosses the border each week to come to Balboa Park.

• Local sculptor Ruth Hayward (who has a special place in my heart — see here and here) explains how she memorialized some of the pioneers who played a major role in turning the park into a jewel.  

Big Money for Stadiums, Thanks to Taxpayers

An infographic on does a remarkable job of showing the rapid growth of publicly funded stadiums in the U.S.  

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News checks out a new book that says “taxpayers in the U.S. spent about $10 billion more on stadiums and arenas for professional sports teams than they forecast.” We’ve previously noted the work of the book’s author.

Fresh & Easy Stores on Way Out?

Fresh & Easy grocery stores, which have given upscale local residents an alternative to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, could soon disappear from the entire nation, Bloomberg News reports. The chain’s parent company says the stores could close, be sold or partner with another company.

Downward Dogged

Yoga — yes, yoga — continues to bitterly divided the city of Encinitas, whose elementary schools have been embracing Ashtanga Yoga as a form of exercise. Some residents say it’s religious — they speak of “worshipful poses” and “mind-clearing meditations” — and they’ve raised a stink.

Others say that’s, well, a stretch, writes the U-T.

Party Poopers

It’s official: the U-T doesn’t want city employees to have any fun. A photographer in Ocean Beach caught a group of them raising the boom of their cherry picker to capture some photos of the coast.

Behind that Awesome Airplane Video

You may have already seen a local photographer’s amazing 25-second video mashup of five hours’ worth of airplanes heading into Lindbergh Field. Drop by a website called Petapixel and you can read about how the photographer put the video together.

So Where’s My ‘Innocence Project’?

As you may have heard, I was put on trial by a reader last week for making a felonious grammatical faux pas in the Morning Report. “Judge Hangem” declared me guilty and sent me to Folsom.

Some readers need to get out more. But I digress.

Yesterday’s Morning Report described a photo as capturing our new mayor “laying down on the job.” A reader wanted to pull me back into grammar court.

Objection, your honor! An editor made that error. I didn’t write it. I am innocent of all charges. And that’s no lay. Er, lie.  

Reviews that Make You Want to Yelp

The dawn of online commenting and reviews have given a lot of grief to book authors, journalists, restaurant owners, car dealerships and beyond. Whatever your endeavor in life, there’s a chance that someone on the Internet thinks you stink at it and everyone should know.

Many of us who get criticized just crawl into a fetal position and call for mommy. (Or maybe it’s just me.) A Little Italy restaurant called Craft & Commerce has a new approach: in its restroom, it plays recordings of negative reviews from the website

A sampling, according to Downtown News: “The bacon ice cream sandwich? Re: bacon — just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean you have to do it.” And “If I came back, I’d substitute the fries for something else. You know, like replacing one American puppet dictator with another.”

I’m not sure what our region’s resident restroom etiquette expert — yes, we’ve profiled him — would think about this. As for me, all that comes to mind is… bacon ice cream sandwich? Come to papa!

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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