The planning group that represents the Uptown neighborhoods — the area in and around Hillcrest and Bankers Hill — wants to continue prohibiting buildings from reaching certain heights, at least for the next few years, Andrew Keatts writes. It’s up to the City Council to make the final decision.

There are already some tall buildings in the neighborhoods, especially in Hillcrest and Bankers Hill, which are home to medical office buildings and apartment towers for seniors.

The planning group, which advises the city, wants to keep limits at 50 or 65 feet, depending on the neighborhood; opponents want to taller buildings to bring in more middle-class residents and collect more developer fees that fund things like parks. On the other hand, more residents translates into more congestion.

• Height limits are just one part of planning the city’s future. The city’s requirements for parking with new developments have costs you might not have imagined.

A wild series of regulations decide what parking must accompany what developments with new, hard-fought exemptions emerging.

Keatts lays out the basics about parking regulations and how much it costs in a new in-depth explainer.

School Lawyers Say Barrera in Clear But for a Few Points

Sam Hodgson
Richard Barrera. Photo by Sam Hodgson

We’ve been tracking the discussion about whether Richard Barrera, the new executive at the Labor Council, has a conflict as he sits on the San Diego school board. The teachers and other school employees’ unions are part of the Labor Council and sit on its board. The U-T reported last night that the school district’s legal counsel told Barrera he’s OK but he should recuse himself from issues the Labor Council, or a significant portion of its membership, advocates. She also opined that he should consider recusing himself on issues regarding project labor agreements with construction unions.

Here’s a classic San Diego Explained on what a project labor agreement is. San Diego’s school board signed a big one after the 2008 Proposition S bond.

• Disrupting classrooms and not doing what they’re told can get schoolchildren suspended in many California schools, including those in the San Diego Unified district. But then the kids get to avoid having to go to their regular school. That’s good for teachers and other kids who might get to avoid a distraction, but is it bad for the suspended student? Good question.

It might soon be tougher for schools to kick out the offenders. Proposed state legislation would prevent suspensions unless students get in trouble three or more times, KPBS reports.

Filner Misses Mark in Tourism Flap

Mayor Filner got into another standoff with a local tax-funded tourism agency last week over what he said was its promise to fund the 2015 centennial celebration in Balboa Park. He told KPBS: “we came to agreement that they would get money but they would give a specified amount of money to what’s gonna be the most important tourist thing for the next few years.”

His claim, San Diego Fact Check finds, is “barely true.” Get more details here.

In another story, we dig deeper into the prospect that hotels could make decisions that would leave the tourism agency without money from taxes on guests.

Sidewalk Plea Draws Response

Earlier this week, VOSD reporter Liam Dillon made his case for why the city should spend $1 million to figure out where its bad sidewalks are and figure out how to fix them.

Our readers (including me) have responded with healthy doses of support and skepticism. You can read our comments here along with Dillon’s detailed response to questions about why sidewalks deserve special attention when the city has so many other needs.

• The city often tries to repair sidewalk bumps and cracks with asphalt because it’s cheap. Of course, it’s ugly too. The Stumblr, our decrepit sidewalk photo blog, spotlights an new example from the North Park area.

• Should the government ignore the risks of deficits to focus on the risks of not paying for infrastructure when it’s cheap to borrow money? Debate yourself silly at VOSD’s The Plaza.

Innovation Quest Update

Check out what readers want to learn as we launch our question to understand the challenges facing innovation in San Diego.

Quick News Hits

• Sports blogger John Gennaro ponders Tuesday night’s game while education blogger Christie Ritter explores how county schools can apply for more than $600,000 in professional development grants to boost arts programs.

• CityBeat profiles local attorney Robert Brewer, who’s campaigning to convince voters to fire District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and give her job to him: “Brewer says he’s running for DA for two reasons: He started out as a prosecutor and wants to return to being a prosecutor. And, he’s spent the last several months meeting with current and former deputy DAs, law-enforcement personnel and judges. What he says he’s learned: Folks ain’t happy with Dumanis.”

He’s especially critical of her her failed race for mayor and her willingness to endorse candidates for all kinds of elected positions. But he himself has a complicated political history: he was a Republican and is now an independent.

• “Tijuana and San Diego are like the Romeo and Juliet of cities; they want to take their relationship to the next level, but their parents insist on separating the two with a fence,” public radio’s “Marketplace” business show reports in a new story. Amazingly, the story doesn’t quote Mayor Bob “I’m Everywhere” Filner.

Hmm. Let’s hope one of the city’s doesn’t poison itself like a certain love-besotted teenage girl.

• Check out this slideshow of photos homeless deportees in Tijuana and catch up on our coverage of the border.

Column of the Month, via CityBeat.

• Last week, we told you about the city’s plans to get rid of the horrible stench at La Jolla Cove: It will try eliminating all the bird guano by spraying a compound made up of microorganisms that eat poop.

A reader sent in this rejoinder: “Maybe they should use some of the guano-eating compound in Sacramento or Washington?”

Good idea. But manure-elimination, like charity, begins at home. Let’s spread the bacteria around these parts first and target all the blowhards in the local political and media worlds. It’ll eat them alive! Then we can… Hey! Get that stuff away from me! Hel…

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. 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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