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As we reported yesterday, a new legal opinion emerged from the state that throws into question whether the mayor really had the power to veto two City Council choices for the port commission like he did. It came from the legislative counsel after a request from then-Assemblyman Ben Hueso.

Monday, the City Council unanimously agreed to new standards for nominees for the highly coveted and powerful posts. It also changed the voting process for the jobs. 

But, yep, the U-T reports that the Council going to refrain from implementing all this until the city attorney reviews this legal opinion questioning whether the mayor can throw out the choices the council makes. Here was our explainer about why it all matters.

• Filner’s other big battle has been over how to spend the money from a disputed tax on guests who stay at local hotels.

The latest edition of Fact Check TV offers a recap of our Fact Check of a Tourism Authority claim that a cancelled advertising campaign zapped local hotels. Fact Check TV also examines the mayor’s seemingly not-yet-fully-thought-out plan to impose an excise taxes on sales of medical marijuana, which Scott Lewis examined recently.

Filner went on KPBS yesterday and addressed the point, praising Lewis for cleverly getting the question to him through a tweet to the radio station. He said there’s an exemption in the law that will allow the city to tax the drug without a vote. San Jose imposed a similar 7 percent tax on marijuana but only after a vote.

City’s Sue-You Blues over Bahia Lease

The city tried to avoid legal challenges over its rush-rush-rush (and mighty peculiar) agreement to continue leasing landed to the Bahia Hotel. But it failed, as we report: It’s being sued anyway.

Auditor Investigations Released

We finally got a hold of those reports about the investigations into the San Diego city auditor. They mostly clear him of any wrongdoing.

Active Voice: Behind Those Test Scores

Test scores have definitely improved over the past several years at the elementary school where San Diego’s new superintendent served as principal.

But did the school’s scores outpace all its counterparts? As we showed last week, the answer is no. Some other similar schools did better.

Does this make the school’s performance “mediocre”? Our education blogger Oscar Ramos doesn’t think so. “I’m not suggesting that data doesn’t matter. It does. What we need to do is account for all of a school’s markers of success,” he writes, adding that he hopes the new chief does just that.

• That story on test scores at Central Elementary led our weekly hit parade, attracting more readers than any other article on our site. Here’s the full Top 10 list.

Meanwhile, our Will Carless talked about his story and other local news topics on KPBS and on VOSD Radio. Check our roundup here to listen.   

Quick News Hits

• The state Assembly has passed a bill to limit unusual school borrowing schemes like the one that’s tortured the Poway school district.

• “Titanic” (the movie, not the story of my love life) made an appearance in a sportscaster exchange during the horrific Padres game on Sunday. They invoked the tragedy depicted in the movie to actually try to buoy fans’ spirits. Our Scott Lewis has the play-by-play.

• The state wants residents to cut back on brush to stop wildfires. That sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. The U-T has the story. Check our previous articles here and here) for details about how San Diego’s devastating 2007 wildfires started and progressed.

• Last month, brake problems stopped the Sprinter trains in North County, forcing commuters to take buses and giving the region’s public transit system a big black eye. Tests of a train with repaired parts were successful, the U-T reports, but the trains will still be out of service for weeks or months.  

For background, check our Explainer.

• KPBS revisits the December thefts of valuable bonsai trees (but not a 300-year-old one) from Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden. The six stolen trees were worth as much as $400.

“A police report was filed. That was three months ago. The Garden hasn’t heard back,” KPBS reports. “Presumably, stolen bonsai trees are a low priority for law enforcement. But for those who practice the art of bonsai, a crime like this is devastating.”

• Which is better: Red-light cameras or charge stations for electric cars? Convention centers or festivals? Bike sharing or cable cars?  

The Atlantic Cities website is letting readers from around the nation decide in its NCAA-inspired “Urbanist Toolkit Bracket.” Readers whittled a list of 40 urban improvements to the Final Four: pedestrian-only streets, “congestion pricing” (special fees to drive when the roads are jammed), bike lanes and waterfront promenades. Now, it’s down to just two: pedestrian-only streets and bike lanes.

Some of the choices are a bit questionable. “Libraries with water slides” sound absolutely awesome, as does “wi-fi in parks,” but they both flopped in the first round of voting. Cable cars lost to bike sharing (hmm) while festivals beat stadiums (yay!).

The best approach, of course, is to put all 40 ideas into place. Then I could look up directions to the nearest waterfront promenade on my laptop while lounging in the park next to the festival on the pedestrian street.

Just don’t charge me when I’m congested.

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

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Randy Dotinga

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

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