Last week, Andrew Keatts explained why two City Council members refused to take positions on major land-use decisions in their district. When projects don’t conform to community plans, the City Council has to decide whether to change the community plan to allow the project.

And they’re not supposed to take a position until the hearings are complete.  Scott Sherman, a new member of the City Council, may not have gotten the memo. He said he’ll probably support a proposed senior housing complex some neighbors are fighting in Allied Gardens.

Will he lose his vote on the project? We’ll let you know.

It’s yet another battle produced by an outdated community plan and a developer with a project that doesn’t conform to it. Here’s a recent fact check that explains what a community plan is. And background to another battle to change the same community plan for a different and much larger project.

Updating ‘Managed Competition’

More than six years ago, the city had a bright idea: put some of its services out to bid in the hope that taxpayers would save money by paying less.

Five kinds of city services were put up for bid and &mdash surprise! &mdash city workers won each time. But at the moment, only the city’s publishing shop has actually completed what’s known as the “managed competition process.” (It sounds like outsourcing, but that’s a bit inaccurate since city workers can win the right to continue providing a service.)

Our Lisa Halverstadt offers a guide to where things stand and what comes next.

Why does it matter to you? Because the people who do projections about potential savings estimate that the city could save millions of dollars with managed competition.  

It’s the Yeast They Could Do

U-T San Diego has details about an architect’s vision for an old bakery building in the Logan Heights neighborhood: He wants to turn it into an artist’s colony, complete with places for people to live, work and eat. At the moment, as a U-T photo gallery shows, the building still holds lots of memories of the old days.

The news about the bakery leads the Culture Report, our weekly look at all things artistic and cultural. We have links to many other stories too, including tales of Justin Timberlake’s interlude with a local kid (everybody together now: swoon!), local roots music mainstay Makeda Dread (she introduced countless kids to reggae on radio station 91X) and a play inspired by penguins who shared a love that dare not screech its name.

Waiving Some Fuzzy Wording

Clarification time! Yesterday’s Morning Report referred to an effort by the president of the City Council to “waive” the city law that tripped up a plan to overhaul Balboa Park.

We got a complaint about the use of the word “waive” in this context. The plan is to create a specific exemption for this project within the law. In other words, the city wouldn’t ignore the law but change it just for this project.

Letters: Making It (Barely) and Another Park Plan

In letters, a reader writes about the challenges of surviving here: “I do see the future with the lack of affordable housing for San Diego. It doesn’t seem possible for ‘America’s Finest City’ to have this problem. It’s a shame.”  

A senior writes with the story of how she tripped on a broken Hillcrest sidewalk and suffered an injury: “I couldn’t find the name of the agency which fixes sidewalks so I couldn’t report it. Later, I discovered that several of my neighbors have fallen in the same spot. It’s the ugliest stretch of sidewalk and very dangerous.”

Urban designer Howard Blackson, argues for an alternative plan to rid a big chunk of Balboa Park of cars without going with Jacobs plan. His letter includes a nifty 1915 quote from Theodore Roosevelt about the future of San Diego’s waterfront.

You can actually watch film of Roosevelt visiting Balboa Park. TR, then a former president with an eye on a possible return to the White House, dropped by with his wife.

The videos are here and here. I withdraw a comment I once made in the Morning Report about how a woman in the second video (on the right) wore an unfortunate hat.

As I was subsequently informed by a maven, it’s actually an awesome hat. I stand corrected.

U-T Buying LA Times? Never Mind

“U-T San Diego’s publisher mistakenly told a GOP women’s gathering Monday that he was in negotiations to buy the Chicago-based Tribune Co.—owner of the Los Angeles Times and other major newspapers,” reports. We told you about Manchester’s supposed statement, also reported by, in yesterday’s Morning Report.

U-T CEO John Lynch says Manchester misunderstood the question, although witnesses reported that Manchester specifically said he was “in negotiations” to buy the company, reports.

Going further, Lynch said “the U-T will not participate in an auction of the Tribune newspaper assets.”

A few months ago, Manchester told KPBS this: “We certainly are going to look at [buying the Tribune Co.] We are looking at it, yes. I would like to, yes.”

The U-T bought the North County Times last year, shrinking the number of mainstream daily papers in the county to one.

Quick News Hits

• KPBS investigates the private security forces that provide security services on trolleys and trains. The security officers “worry everyday about how ill-equipped, untrained and unprepared they are to respond to even relatively routine emergencies, let alone a train collision or terrorist attack.”

• Skunks make quite a stink in San Diego during certain seasons of the year. My 2011 VOSD story about the skunk menace — pro-tip: take it from me and don’t scream when you see one — sparked a big response from Normal Heights residents in particular, who were suffering from skunk overload thanks to wildlife-friendly neighbors.

Now, reports that a rarely seen spotted skunk will be released into the wild in East County this week after undergoing rehabilitation. He was found injured in a trash can.

Oh great. Now the skunk will be less afraid of people and maybe move in to someone’s house. He’ll promise to stay for just a few days, then stick around forever. Just like your second cousin from Tallahassee.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that Councilman Scott Sherman announced his support for a proposed affordable senior housing complex in his district. Sherman said he would “probably” vote in favor of the project, and that he was “heavily leaning in that direction.”

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

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

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