The city’s blueprint for its future likes the idea of urban neighborhoods that are next to things like stores, jobs and public transit. That seems to fit the region of the city known as Uptown: Hillcrest, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill, Middletown (wherever that is) and some of University Heights.

So you might assume the city would want to let the region keep growing since it’s doing things right. But that’s not quite the case. A planned blueprint actually calls for future growth in the area to be more restricted, density-wise, than it is now. That’s known as downzoning, or allowing fewer people to cram into the same amount of space.

What’s going on? Our story examines how there’s concern that the neighborhoods simply can’t handle tens of thousands of new people, at least until the infrastructure — streets and so on — get improved.

Council Candidate’s Troubled Tenure

We take an in-depth look at City Council candidate Dwayne Crenshaw’s work for a local coalition that ended in allegations, counter-allegations and lawsuits.

Short Car Trips Galore? Not Quite

Councilman Todd Gloria is pushing for more neighborhoods to become more bike-friendly. After all, he said, recently, it’s possible to replace many short car trips with walking or bike rides. In fact, he said, 40 percent of driving trips are two miles or less.

But San Diego Fact Check finds that his claim is misleading because the number is off the mark.

Trauma Talk in City Heights

Last fall, we told you about a community of City Heights residents who have banded together to fight violence and talk about the trauma they’ve experienced from neighborhood violence. Now, the neighbors are asking San Diego schools to train teachers in how to understand the effects of trauma and help people deal with it.

Lose Hope Early and Avoid the Rush

“Padres fans already feel cursed to live an existence of perpetual mediocrity and false hope,” writes Active Voice blogger John Gennaro, and things aren’t looking up because the team has “missed every opportunity to build on the hope of 2012.”

• San Diego State made it to the Final Four — in terms of best beer. A sports blog explains.

Protecting Seals from Horrible Humans

It can seem odd sometimes when abused animals get more attention than abused humans. And then we hear a news story like the one about the awful women who were caught on camera harassing and physically abusing the seals at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla.    

That’s deplorable (and yet another landmark in the never-ending dispute over whether the beach belongs to people or animals). Now, the mayor has acted to protect the seals by closing the beach at night, U-T San Diego reports.

Other than the fact that it’s bizarre and offensive, does it matter if seals are harassed?

Yes, says the founder of the nature group that donated a “seal cam” to the city: “The pregnant seals are giving birth and when they’re harassed, they end up being separated from their offspring, and then the chances of survival for the offspring are very much reduced. And if they’re forced into the sea when they’re giving birth, that also doesn’t bode well for the seals.”   

Quick News Hits

• “The Public Utilities Commission has promised to hold a public meeting in San Diego soon about whether rate payers should continue to pay for the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant,” KPBS reports. But yesterday, it held a “private, invitation-only meeting in La Jolla, one day before a public meeting where Commissioners will decide about three new gas powered plants in San Diego.”

Councilman Scott Sherman says he plans to speak out against one of the plants, the Quail Brush Power Plant.

• A judge’s ruling could spell trouble for California public officials who want to keep their emails and text messages private even if they have to do with public issues. (Contra Costa Times)

• Meanwhile, public-records types are concerned about possible new costs. (KPBS)

• The city may be able to stop fluoridating its water if money isn’t available. (Reader)

• The endorsement list for Lorena Gonzalez, who is running for Assembly, keeps snowballing. She recently picked up support from Nathan Fletcher and Lani Lutar, former head of the local taxpayers association.

• Dylan Ratigan, a former MSNBC host, writes that he’s been in “search of meaning and purpose in my work and life.” He thinks he’s found it in North County where he’s working “to  build a 30,000 square foot ‘farm incubator’ that can serve as the prototype for job-creating,  water-saving, food-producing, veteran-led hydroponic organic greenhouses nationwide.”

• The Reader investigates how the port treated “600 local VIPS and various hangers-on invited to watch a power plant being blown to smithereens.”

The VIPs got a heated tent, special parking, coffee, tables, chairs and more, including a mercifully short 30-second speech and portable toilets. (There were no portable toilets for the public thanks to a snafu.)

Another tidbit: A waste company apparently paid $300 for the right to sponsor a supply of Dole bananas for the guests. No word on whether anyone sponsored the toilets. Maybe they can reach out to Papa John’s next time?

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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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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