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In August we drew your attention to a deal made by the Poway Unified School District in 2011 that netted the district $105 million at a long-term cost of almost $1 billion. That report caught national attention as investors marveled and taxpayers scoffed at the possibility of such deals.

But it turns out that wasn’t a just a rogue case of extreme borrowing. The controversial bond deals have been used in school districts all over the state. Now, our Will Carless reports that top government officials in California are telling school districts to put pending deals on hold.

The state treasurer and school superintendent want new rules in place before borrowing begins again.

Mayor, Council Rivalry Escalates with Promised Port Veto

Yesterday, we reported that Mayor Bob Filner had told businesses along the harbor that he was going veto the City Council’s two recent appointments to the commission of the Unified Port of San Diego.

Scott Lewis explains more on the story today. It would be an escalation in the tensions between the mayor and the City Council. But the city attorney issued a new opinion backing up the mayor’s right to throw out the appointments and the council president, Todd Gloria, says he won’t fight that.

Meanwhile, a City Councilwoman Marti Emerald may have offered something close to the mayor’s reasoning at the council meeting when the appointments were made.

Citybeat reported that Filner got in Gloria’s face, wanting to know why he was compromising with Republicans.

Lewis also offers some clarifying points. Yesterday’s Morning Report said that labor leaders “were not pleased” with the selection of the council’s appointees. Lorena Gonzalez tweeted clarification yesterday saying that the commissioners selected were “our #2 & #3 choices” and that she “doesn’t favor a veto” by the mayor to stop the appointments.

Finally, a correction: We also wrote that Filner had until yesterday to veto the port appointments. Not true: He has until Jan. 23.

Buses Take the Pressure Off

It seems like a unicorn, but Andrew Keatts found it: A bus route with a commute time from Poway to downtown that is competitive with driving.

Keatts decided to ride along with one commuter.

“Premium express” bus lines in San Diego offer riders more comfortable seats, fewer passenger stops and the use of the carpool lane on busy rush hour freeways. They’re a lot like the “bus rapid transit lines” being touted by SANDAG in its 40-year transportation plan, reported our Andrew Keatts. But they only run during specific hours.

Keatts talked to riders who frequent the service. “More people should use it,” one man said. “I don’t know why they don’t.”

Fixing Streets: Slow Ahead

Fixing all that ails San Diego’s streets is going to be complex and expensive, with nearly $900 million in the city’s backlog, our Liam Dillon reported. Many, including City Council President Todd Gloria, have suggested floating massive bond measures that would provide the financing to fix those problems. But those hoping to vote on financing a major street repair initiative in 2014 may be disappointed.

“It would be difficult to have meaningful neighborhood involvement in this decision and still be on the 2014 ballot,” said Andrew Poat, the former Economic Development Corp. official who’s been spearheading the loan plan.

Governor on the Bird Poop Case

La Jolla Light reports there’s been something of a breakthrough on the struggle between La Jolla businesses and the bird poop tormenting them.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Sherri Lightner both received responses to their pleas for help from Gov. Jerry Brown, who says the Coastal Commission is going to be in touch with the city about solutions.

Meanwhile, the paper says that city staff have settled on a preferred solution for the guano and its stench: vacuuming.

For background, check out our San Diego Explained on the stench, what’s causing it and why it can’t just be cleaned up.

San Diego Explained: Coastal Height Edition

Two weeks ago we reflected on the 40-year anniversary of San Diego’s coastal height restriction and how it impacted the development of San Diego’s beach neighborhoods. In the newest edition of San Diego Explained, Keatts took NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to the top of one of Pacific Beach’s buildings whose construction helped sparked the effort to pass the restriction 40 years ago.

“San Diego 20” and Sequestration: Your Letters

A political science professor wrote a response to Scott Lewis’ effort to figure out who the “San Diego 20” were. And Mark Cafferty, the CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. is worried about how the federal governments scheduled “sequestration” program is likely to impact San Diegans. “We could see, for example, across the board rollbacks to defense spending, meaning thousands of San Diegans would lose their jobs and our recovering economy would suffer,” wrote Cafferty.

Occupy’s Lingering Fallout

In November of 2011, a group of San Diegans who aligned themselves with the Occupy Wall Street movement were meeting in the promenade outside City Hall. Ray Lutz, a La Mesa resident and activist who was once a candidate for Congress, set up a table to register voters. That act got him arrested, and he has been fighting his case in the courts ever since. Local lawyers Michael Aguirre and Bryan Pease have both acted as Lutz’s lawyer on the case.

Now, La Mesa Patch reports that the city of San Diego has moved the case to the federal courts. “If Ray Lutz wanted to make a federal case out of his November 2011 arrest at Civic Center Plaza, he got his wish,” wrote Patch.

News Nibbles

• The Equinox Center reports that maintaining the quality of life in San Diego is not going to be possible without changes, according to KPBS. San Diegans drive more than Los Angelians, housing costs in relation to income are too high, and water use is on the rise. 

• A five-gallon container of cleaning chemical fell off an aircraft in-flight and crashed through the roof of a Miramar-area business, reported NBC San Diego.

The LA Times reported that the container fell off an Osprey, an airplane that can maneuver like a helicopter.

• Mayor Filner, the man who is everywhere, showed up in Washington DC to address a multi-day conference of US Mayors. After a plea for help on border issues came from an official at the Commerce Department, Filner spoke for the mayors at the meeting. “I mean every one of us here would say, ‘Hey, listen to us,’” he said.  “We’re there, we know the problems, you should be talking to us. Don’t plead with us to help you.” (Yahoo News)

• Want to learn California politics from former Assemblyman and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher? His wife wished him the best of luck with teaching his first college class at UC San Diego last night. The class, she said, was “California Government and Politics.”

Sway Hips, Burn Calories

Living in San Diego means living in one of America’s most physically fit cities. But not everyone has the time, or the drive, to get in shape. For those who shudder at the thought of adding the daily grind of a gym to their lifestyle, San Diego Magazine is there for you

Ever tried “Bodyrok”? Have you considered becoming a ballerina or, for you gents, a dansuer?

Enough with the treadmills and stair climbers already; if you want to burn calories while laying around on your back or wiggling your hips, The Lazy Person’s Guide to Excersing in San Diego will lay out your options, from Pilates to Zumba.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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.

Seth Hall

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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