The City Council’s new infrastructure committee is making its big debut by starting small: Instead of trying to fix everything, it’s first trying to figure out what even needs fixing.

Our Liam Dillon analyzes the committee’s new plan

The plan [Councilman Mark] Kersey developed for the first year of the council’s new infrastructure committee doesn’t aim to build new things or even fix broken ones. Instead, it tries to answer these kinds of simple questions. The theory is that City Hall can’t repair anything outside its walls until it deals with the legacy of its own broken processes.

The Port in the City Government Storm

When Mayor Bob Filner flexed his veto muscles earlier this week, he took the ethical high ground, claiming that the appointment of two commissioners to the Unified Port of San Diego “should be more than just a popularity or personality contest.”

At first glance, his logic made a whole lot of sense. The bureaucratic formality of commissioner appointments should probably be held to a higher set of standards. Or any standards, as it appears that currently very few exist.

Our Scott Lewis did a close read of Filner’s letter and concluded that the altruistic posturing may actually have some major partisan overtones. Our coverage of the veto last week explains some much needed context for Filner’s decision.

Member Coffee: A Surprise Visit from Councilman Faulconer

VOSD hosted the latest Member Coffee event on Thursday with a room full of devoted readers, a healthy supply of the sweet brown elixir and a surprise visit from Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

Faulconer was kind enough to join us on his birthday to discuss a range of issues, including the mayor’s port veto and our new photo blog, The Stumblr, which he thinks is already turning some heads at City Hall.

Member Coffee is a regular event held on the last Thursday of every month (this month is the only exception, we promise) where we hope to directly engage our member base and find out what issues are most important to the citizens of San Diego.

San Diego Explained: Putting the New Homeless Center in Context

It’s no secret that San Diego has one of the largest homeless populations in the nation, but until very recently, the city lacked the funding and political will needed to tackle the issue head-on. With the upcoming completion of the Connections Housing center downtown, homelessness has taken political center stage. We teamed up with NBC 7 San Diego for an SD Explained segment spotlighting some of the latest efforts to measure and combat homelessness across the county.

In recent weeks, we have been following the Connections Housing project and homelessness in San Diego closely. We published a series of videos on Tuesday that discuss the political shift in attitudes toward homelessness and the current state of city-funded services.

A School Board/County Land Swap Is in the Works

Desperate for cash to make next year’s budget, San Diego Unified announced it would begin to sell off some of its land holdings around the city last year. Two pieces of land have already been sold, and a proposal to sell off a third parcel known as Camp Elliot was shot down in December.

Now it seems that the school board will be able to swap Camp Elliot for another parcel owned by the county. Many aspects of the land swap proposal remain unclear, but school board member Kevin Beiser provided VOSD with the few available details regarding the switch.

“Land swap means the parcel will remain open space and we could sell the other land it is swapped for. After more research and visiting with community members I think this is a win-win,” Beiser wrote. Read more of Beiser’s explanation in our latest coverage.

Correction: Susan Davis Also Voted No

In yesterday’s Morning Report we mistakenly wrote that Rep. Juan Vargas was the only local member of Congress to vote against a three-month debt-limit extension. Rep. Susan Davis also voted against the extension. Please excuse the mistake.

Letters: Does More Information Make Us Dumber?

VOSD reader Tate Hurvitz writes in with an ominous analysis of modern media, asking whether we can create profound social change with news coverage in a world dominated by a glut of information. Hurvitz is a project director for the San Diego Center for Ethics in Science and Technology. The center is sponsoring an event series titled “Exploring Ethics” at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Museum beginning Feb. 6.

Letters: Thumbs Up for Filner’s Trolley to the Airport

Reader Daniel Smiechowski likes Mayor Filner’s proposed idea to extend a trolley line to the airport reported by the U-T last week. In Smiechowski’s letter to VOSD, he argues the elegantly simple point that a major international city needs a light-rail link to its airport if it wants to be taken seriously.

Four Will Run for Vacant State Senate Seat

It looks like there will be four candidates running to fill the state Senate seat vacated by Juan Vargas when he was elected to Congress. The four candidates include Ben Hueso, Hector Gastelum, Xanthi Gionis and Anna Nevenic, according to the U-T. The rush to fill vacant government seats was set up last year when Bob Filner was elected mayor, causing a ripple effect all around the county. VOSD reported on this political game of musical chairs in December.

Quick News Hits

• The flu-related death toll in San Diego County this season has reached 14, reports the L.A. Times. The current number of deaths matches last year’s total and we still have two to three months left in the flu season.

• SB Nation gave the Mexican soccer club Xolos the full treatment, profiling the recent national champion soccer club’s unique cultural impact on both sides of the border.

• The California Review attempts to make sense of an alleged aerial drone crash at UCSD last October. It may have been a hoax. Or was it?

• The SD Reader reports that representatives from the Grand Del Mar hotel now deny that the advertised on-site helipad was ever designed as a landing for helicopters. 

• The veteran narco-reporting investigative magazine Zeta —published in Tijuana, but printed in San Diego for security purposes— is the subject of the new PBS documentary “Reportero,” a stunning look at the drug war and the dangerous craft of journalism in Mexico. A must-see film available online until Feb. 6.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter at @CCWeatherby.

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.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter @CCWeatherby.

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