Ben Hueso, a local Democratic assemblyman, plans to introduce legislation next year that will clamp down on unusual long-term borrowing by school districts like the one in Poway, whose costly bond scheme has drawn national attention.

Among other things, the legislation — one of two bills that are on the way — would restrict many of the traits that made the Poway bond so unique, including its length (40 years), its inability to be refinanced and the high amount that must ultimately paid later (almost $1 billion) to borrow a much smaller amount ($126 million) now.

How Many Homeless Are Downtown?

There are more homeless people per square foot in downtown than anywhere else locally. But how many? It “depends on which number you’re looking at, when you’re doing the counting and what neighborhoods you count as downtown,” reports Kelly Bennett, who examines the challenge of the count and the multiple numbers that have popped up.

• Monday, Bennett looked at a few of the biggest promises and pledges in the homelessness situation in a story. Now, U-T columnist Matthew Hall offers a stark perspective: Nice try, but it’s not gonna happen.

The efforts “are laudable but laughable,” he writes. “Reduce it? Maybe. End it? I don’t think so… To be clear, my problem isn’t with their mission. It’s with their suggestion that we could ever hang a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner and move on.”

But the folks who use “end” and “homelessness” in the same sentence are standing firm.

VOSD Radio: Tracking the Peripatetic Mayor

He’s everywhere. He might be taking out your trash or sweeping your porch this very instant. Who’s he? Mayor Bob Filner. Our weekly, show and podcast, VOSD Radio, checks on his hyper-activity and explains his biggest promises so far, including some crucial context on the plan to power all public buildings with solar.

Man Seriously Injured by Palm Tree Wins Suit

“A man paralyzed by a fallen palm tree has won a lawsuit filed against the City of San Diego,” NBC San Diego reports. The man may have to undergo amputations to his legs due to the accident during a major storm that occurred in January 2010.

It’s not clear how much the city will have to pay.

The case focused attention on the city’s lack of maintenance of its thousands of trees.

On the city’s side, the defense said “city workers only cut down trees if someone tells them there’s a problem and in this case, nobody did,” NBC San Diego reports. “City attorneys also told jurors when the city does trim palm trees, it’s not to keep them healthy but to simply remove berries before they fall.”

As we reported in 2010, cuts in city funding have virtually eliminated tree trimming. Palm trees are a special problem because they’re more fragile than other kinds of trees and need more maintenance to look good and be safe.

Your Politicians on Gun Rights

In the wake of last week’s massacre, I decided to look at how local politicians rank according to the NRA’s evaluation of their support of the rights to own guns.

In Congress: the Republicans Duncan Hunter and the departing Brian Bilbray rank at 92 percent, Darrell Issa at 100 percent and the Democrat Susan Davis at 0 percent. There’s no ranking listed for ex-Rep. Bob Filner, who’s now mayor.

In the state Assembly, Republicans (including those newly elected) are at 92 or 100 percent; the Democrats are at 0 percent. (No one’s listed for the 79th district, which remains Democratic.)

Several local state senators aren’t rated, but the ones who are (both Democrats) are at 0 percent.

Quick News Hits

• A San Diego Explained segment looking at the very bad, not good at all year for the Chargers is at the top of our Most Popular list for the last week.   

• Three of the declared candidates for the City Council’s Fourth District race (it serves southeastern San Diego) gathered for a very brief chat on NBC 7 San Diego.  

• The CEO of the agency that runs the airport makes  $365,000 in pay and benefits (plus 46 paid days off a year, plus a possible bonus of 10 percent of her pay), and her bosses would like to figure out if she’s making enough. So they’re hiring a consultant to look into it, the U-T reports .

• Mayor Bob Filner wants a year-round rope to protect seals from humans at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool. (La Jolla Light)

• Researchers at UCSD report that they’ve used an “ontology” — similar to the underlying system that makes iPhone’s Siri understand what people say — to create “a computational model of the cell from large networks of gene and protein interactions, discovering how genes and proteins connect to form higher-level cellular machinery.”

Siri? Can you explain what they’re talking about? Hello? Dang. Stupid technology.

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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