Early Tuesday, we compiled the four things you need to know about Bill Fulton, the very well-known new director of planning for San Diego. And later, we caught up with the man himself in a Q&A.

Fulton talks about his thoughts on redevelopment (he was apparently the only California mayor to support its demise), the future of zoning in the city, and a city government system that “gives us an unusual opportunity to really re-establish planning with a visionary approach.”

Sweet News for Sidewalks

VOSD reporter Liam Dillon, who’s made it his mission to get the city to do something about its decrepit sidewalks, explains in a new article how the City Council decided to get with the program this week.

The budget debate isn’t over until we’re sure the mayor isn’t going to veto everything, but things look pretty good for a $1 million sidewalk survey.

Meanwhile, the ever-trippin’ Stumblr is in North Park.

Photo courtesy of The Stumblr
Photo courtesy of The Stumblr

How Can We Give Artists a Hand?

Earlier this week, we published an interview with the city’s new arts commission chief. What can the city do to woo artists here and keep them happy?

Share your thoughts in The Plaza, our new community section, and let us know if you agree with the first person to comment: “The question isn’t ‘how,’ it’s ‘why.’ If art is commercially successful, it can be sustained here without help. If it is not commercially successful then why would we want to subsidize bad art?”

Letter: Wake Up, San Diego

In letters, former San Diego resident Walt Brewer has seen our effort to cover innovation and praises the region’s foundation of science, technology, engineering and math. But, he writes, “in contrast, local long-range planning displays a ‘we’ve got it made’ attitude for pleasurable living and pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined, mobility-restricted streets in ‘sustainable communities.’”

Filner vs. Goldsmith, Part XXXIV (Seal Edition)

The feud between the mayor and the city attorney goes on and on: Mayor Bob Filner testified recently in favor of a local activist who the city attorney is prosecutign because he stole a flag at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, U-T San Diego reports.

The mayor testified in April, but this didn’t make the news at the time.

The activist wants the beach to serve seals; the flag, put up by a group that wants humans to get priority at the pool, said it was open to the public. The activist pleaded guilty to a minor charge and must perform community service and stay away from the Children’s Pool.

An assistant city attorney took the opportunity to bash the mayor in a conversation with the U-T: “To have the mayor insert himself into an active criminal case in his capacity as mayor on behalf of the defendant is, obviously, a little bit troubling.”

Poop-Be-Gone Plan’s on Hold

That didn’t take long: There are now hitches in the plan to soak up stinky bird guano at La Jolla Cove with a concoction of poop-eating germs, NBC 7 San Diego reports.

The plan’s been delayed for a week for rethinking because of concerns the compound will make the rocks turn blue. And then there’s the not-so-minor mater of figuring out how to install ropes on the rocks.

The stench-by-the-sea has been a major nuisance for La Jollans. The onerous odor also annoys, bothers and vexes the neighborhood’s tourists and businesses. Catch up on the Big Stink by reading our previous story here.

Should School Board Members Be Full-Time?

San Diego Unified’s school board members make a small salary for serving, and all of them have full-time or nearly full-time jobs. Should board members devote their full work lives to the school district? City Council members are full-time, after all. Let us know in our The Plaza.

Quick News Hits

• VOSD’s Culture Report offers links to stories about art cuts at the port, drones at UCSD, break-dancing in Finland and more.

• Talk about outsourcing. The agency that runs public transportation in North County has sacked a wide majority of its employees in recent years, hiring contractors instead, KPBS/inewsource reports. But there’s a problem: “Ironically, one of those contractors… has found serious problems with the way NCTD manages its more than 150 contracts, covering everything from construction to legal counsel to bus operations.”

The audit “found the department is rife with inefficiencies, is buried in paperwork and awards far too many contracts without public bidding.”

• In the wake of the permanent shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant, SDG&E is restarting efforts to build a big gas-fired power plant, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, the head of a state utilities agency warns that Southern California will “need upgrades to its transmission system and to either build new plants or repower plants along the coast that would otherwise be forced to close because of new regulations on the use of ocean water for cooling,” the LA Times reports.

• A reader suggests that the now-defunct old downtown library could undergo an implosion — a la the South Bay Power Plant — with tickets sold to benefit the new downtown library.

That’s an intriguing idea. Can we get a line of librarians to stand on the sidewalk and shush the whole thing? Shhh!

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 randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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