For more than four decades now, the city has tried to protect ocean views by limiting the height of buildings at the coast to 30 feet. Our coverage of the anniversary and a 1972 law’s legacy awakened a slumbering controversy: Should we dump the rules or change them? Would it create more affordable housing and let more people live in a desirable area?

Andrew Keats has compiled some of the most intriguing responses in a new post. Here’s an issue you may not have thought of: Allowing more people to live along the coast in taller buildings could take the pressure off freeways elsewhere. And the coast is a lot cooler than, say, Santee or Escondido, cutting down on the financial and environmental costs of air conditioning.

What would that do to congestion and access to the beach, which is already a problem?

Where the Sidewalks End

Do you know whom to call when a sidewalk crumbles and threatens to land you on your keister during your daily constitutional?

The owner of the property behind a sidewalk may be responsible. Except not legally, maybe. And the city might help financially, or it might not.

Glad we could clear that up.  

“The end result is that we have crumbling sidewalks that are trip hazards and liabilities for the city and yet we apparently have no actual responsibility for replacing them, although we do one-offs here and there, for some reason,” Councilman Todd Gloria told us.

Our reporter Liam Dillon is launching an exploration of the city’s strange sidewalk tango. You can learn what he’s up to here and ask questions of your own. 

How Much Do the Homeless Cost

As part of our quest to understand the homeless problem, we’re trying to figure out how much they cost our community. Do you have thoughts on this? Help us out.

A Wider Race in District 4

The race to represent the City Council’s District 4, which encompasses much of southeastern San Diego, is getting more complicated by the day.

The number of candidates has reached five, the U-T reports, with more expected to make bids.

The election, to replace Tony Young, who quit, will be held on March 26 followed by a runoff. Here’s our refresher on what neighborhoods District 4 actually represents, sort of.

‘Big Boss Bill of Valley Center’ Makes Another Bid

U-T columnist Logan Jenkins checks in on County Supervisor Bill Horn, who’s running for a sixth and (thanks to term limits) last term.

Horn, the most Teflon-coated of local politicians, is as much a North County institution as the attraction as formerly known as the Wild Animal Park. Despite scads of bad press over the years about things like a questionable relationship and his tendency to throw taxpayer money at religious and anti-abortion organizations, he remains undefeated.

But Jenkins thinks “Big Boss Bill of Valley Center” may be in trouble.

There’s another wrinkle to all this. Horn’s political consultant, Tom Shepard, annoyed GOPers by recently working for, of all people, a staunch and Democratic liberal named Bob Filner.

Isn’t Shepard persona non grata to Republicans? Horn clearly doesn’t care. “I’ll talk to (local GOP chairman Tony) Krvaric,” Horn told Jenkns. “I give the party a lot of money.”

• A camera caught the hyper-partisan Krvaric nestled between Filner and labor leader Lorena Gonzalez at a dinner for the San Diego Association of Realtors. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith shared it on Facebook, pointing out how little Filner looks. It apparently was a return volley from when Filner told an audience of medical marijuana supporters that he could intimidate the “little guy” Goldsmith.

Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher was hurt by the photo (not really) tweeting that Krvaric would neither look at him nor shake his hand recently. Krvaric explained that he couldn’t respect someone he thinks has no principles.

U.S. vs. California on Marijuana

Filner can make as much noise as he wants about the medical marijuana issue, but until the federal government backs off, it doesn’t make much difference. 

The New York Times details the legal fight the state and some of its citizens are in with the feds.

We Won’t Be Chilling Out Much Longer

What’s everybody talking about? Outside of that weird spate of movie-theater shootings, three things have been on our minds: the cold, the flu and the first episode of “Filner Unchained,” which is sure to be a long-running series. We’ve got updates on the first two topics.

First, the Big Chill: As the zoo warms animals with heaters and an emergency homeless shelter opened, our how-low-can-you-go nighttime temperatures are expected to rise out of the 30s at the coast later this week. Lindbergh Field hasn’t topped 67 degrees all year.

If you’re shivering, maybe the tale of San Diego’s hottest day — and this awesome photo of a wilted 1963 Old Town “shopgirl” — will warm you up.

Second, the flu: You may have a hard time finding the vaccine; the Target in Mission Valley, for one, ran out. The county has details about where to get it here. Meanwhile, there’s controversy over the scary Google Flu Trends map that we’ve been telling you about.

Oh Baby

UCSD has created an “android infant,” complete with the ability to create different facial expressions, to help research into how the brains of babies develop.  

Robots are intriguing. It would be great to buy one that could perform all my daily chores: wash the dishes, feed the cat, write the Morning Repor…

Never mind.

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

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

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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