This week in comments: Where government intersects with beer and medical marijuana, a new plan for Balboa Park, pensions and how to oust an elected official.

Jeff Hammett on “How Land Use Policy Can Make or Break the SD Beer Scene“:

Do the city’s zoning ordinances differentiate between breweries and brewpubs?

What is the current zoning process for breweries like Thorn Street, Automatic, Poor House and Monkey Paw? Are these breweries in commercial or industrial areas? All are mere feet from residences.

If there is no difference in city zoning ordinances between a small batch brewery and a large scale brewery, what about the city’s current land use policies is causing for a low ceiling for expansion of breweries in North Park and East Village?

It sounds to me that what the City Council will be discussing today (allowing breweries to operate larger tasting rooms in industrial areas) is not all that similar to the neighborhood approach that Blackson describes. If passed it could have the opposite effect. Instead of encouraging breweries to open in the urban core, it may push breweries to further out industrial areas where land is cheaper by allowing them to operate large tasting rooms.

Personally, like Blackson, I think the city should be encouraging more small breweries into our urban neighborhoods. People can walk, take public transit or easily catch a cab home if they drink too much. While it probably isn’t a popular opinion among some of my friends in the industry, I’m not so sure that allowing larger tasting rooms in industrial areas is the most sensible option as the industry grows.

Derek Hofmann on “Impermanence Is Key to Filner’s Balboa Park Plan“:

Last year, on the Sunday of Earth Day, I had trouble finding parking in Banker’s Hill. I couldn’t help but think that if the meters hadn’t been free on that day, it might have been a little easier to find a place to park.

So there’s a simple solution to the concern that clearing the Plaza de Panama of cars would crowd Banker’s Hill neighborhoods with cars, a solution that would not only ease the crowding but also provide a source of revenue to help pay for Filner’s Balboa Park plan. That’s two benefits for the price of one, and who doesn’t like two-for-one deals?

Bill Bradshaw on “San Diego’s Marijuana Confusion Hits a New High“:

I was there Monday as well, and I thought the two groups were about even, which surprised me given the huge profits being made in this industry. I’d have thought the advocates would have stacked the room more heavily. In my one minute allotted time I made the following points, albeit more briefly than this:

1. The situation is a farce. Until Duffy cracked down, there were over 200 pot shops in San Diego city. How many pharmacies are there? Well, I found about 120 in the phone book. It’s obvious to everyone that the overwhelming bulk of pot sold by these shops is for recreational use.

2. Filner’s proposal recognizes this; he just thinks the city should get a nice cut of the swag. I’ll give him credit for implicit candor, but not a practical proposal, because the details would allow an unlimited number of shops.

3. Each council member would be well advised to involve their local planning groups before making a decision, and should take the time to personally interview a few school principals in their districts one on one without an audience to get their input.

Monica Hagen on “Explainer: The Rocky Road to Recall“:

No surprises with our new mayor: Filner has been part of our San Diego politics for years. We know him as the smiling, abrasive Democrat who even got into a fray with an airline employee and now some people want a recall? Waste of time and energy. At least what you see is what you get with Filner. The voters knew who he was and he was elected despite his faults. Love him or roll your eyes, but kudos to him for consistency over time.

Patrick Flynn on “City Worker: Here’s the Truth About My Pension Plan and Salary“:

Megan- Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our city. Many of us understand that public employee unions protect both the workers and the city by safeguarding the institutional knowledge that a longtime employee like yourself brings to the table. Without a public employee union, each new politician could bring on replacements each term, who would spend all their time reinventing the wheel and learning the job instead of doing the work. That being said, many of us in the workforce feel marginalized, unappreciated, and overworked, and we work under the constant threat of being downsized out of our jobs. It can be frustrating to hear some public employees state that they could do much better in the private sector because many of us in the private sector don’t share that view of the current state of affairs.

Comments have been lightly edited for typos, spelling and style.

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Dagny Salas is the web editor at Voice of San Diego. You can contact her directly at or 619.550.5669.

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Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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