It’s not unusual for a home to be built next to a business in San Diego, but the Barrio Logan neighborhood takes it to the extreme. Walk around and you might think no zoning laws ever existed: Plenty of houses sit among commercial and industrial businesses like recycling plants and car repair shops.

Nobody seems to like the way things are, especially considering that some of the businesses may produce pollution and make people sick. Now, the city has a plan. And another one.

We’ve created maps to show you what the two blueprints have in mind. To see them and our story, click here.

Both the plans expect Barrio Logan to fill up with more people, and both preserve areas for maritime and industrial businesses. But they differ in how they foresee a buffer between homes and industry.

Don’t expect quick action. It could take until 2015 to get final approval for the update, which requires validation by the California Coastal Commission. (The mayor won’t have an official say.) But whichever plan gets approved, the neighborhood’s councilman tells us things will be better than they are now.

Wrong Number? Bi-National Area Code Plan Poses Challenges

Mayor Bob Filner says one of his top priorities is to improve relations between San Diego and Tijuana, and he made a trip south of the border last month to promote bringing the cities together. Among other things, he said a cross-border area code would be a good idea.

It would also be unprecedented and complicated. In a new story, we explore the challenges facing the mayor if he pushes ahead to unite the two cities under one area code.

There would be a tremendous amount of bureaucracy to slog through, and the agencies that oversee the international phone system might not think it’s a good idea. Then there’s the matter of the phone companies (which might not want to lose the fees they charge cross-border callers) and local residents (who might not want to change their area codes).  

Meanwhile, the communications guru who proposed this idea more than 20 years ago tells us that it’s time has come and gone.

• More Filner news! He’s still raising money to pay $93,000 (as of Dec. 31) in campaign debt. If he doesn’t pay it off by early May, he can’t fundraise anymore.

The U-T finds that some strange bedfellows (big supporters of his opponent in November) are giving him dough.

According to the U-T, Filner says “he has yet to decide if or when he will sign an agreement needed to release hotel revenues earmarked for promoting the city as a tourist destination.”

• Filner held his first Saturday office hours over the weekend, chatting with hundreds of people who lined up at City Hall to bend his ear for a few minutes, talking about topics like deteriorating soccer fields and a march against violence. (NBC San Diego)

Readers Weigh in on Heights and Housing

We’re continuing to hear from readers about whether the city should continue to limit the heights of buildings near the coast. (Pro tip: If people say there’s no debate about something, there’s most definitely a debate about something.)

Some continue to urge us to move along since there’s nothing to see here. Says Deirdre Lee: “This is a ridiculous conversation … This is not an issue that needs to be worked on!”

Doug Diamond doesn’t mind the debate, but says it’s missing a few things: “I see the topic as one worth exploring, but only with a lens wide enough to take in all aspects of the debate.” And Sherilyn Watkins thinks coastal residents should get what they paid for, thank you very much: “We don’t pay sky-high prices to stare at luxury vacation condos blocking our view of the beautiful ocean.”

For these letters and more, check our round-up.

Quick News Hits

Boom goes the South Bay Power Plant. (U-T)

• The Wall Street Journal offers an infographic that shows a 2,200-foot underground tunnel below the border. The drug tunnel was discovered in 2010.

• Now there’s some hustle for you: Moments after the lights went out at the Super Bowl, SDG&E tweeted this: “Outage at the Super Bowl. Are you prepared?” with a link to preparation details, followed by a tweet about its app that includes a semi-handy outage map.

Why is the map only somewhat handy? Because many smartphones failed during our massive 2011 blackout. It turned out to not be an isolated problem for the AT&T.

• A couple summers ago, a big turtle wandered onto my driveway in my mid-city neighborhood. The cat was fascinated, and I was discombobulated. The turtle left, came back and then left again.  

Turns out that wayward turtles are an actual thing. A new Wall Street Journal story about an NFL player with a giant tortoise quotes a San Diego turtle guru, who says there’s a glut of stray African spurred tortoises.

As they became a fad, people snapped up tortoises. Then they got tired of them and left them to roam free. Many land in animal shelters.

That’s better than ending up under a tire or in someone’s soup. But it’s not good enough.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified which agency would be weighing in on the Barrio Logan community plan update in 2015. We regret the error.

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