It’s easy to forget that when we talk about municipal government, we’re actually talking about a giant machine with thousands of nuts and bolts. Those nuts and bolts are people, and that machine requires heaps of office space.

Scott Lewis recently dove in to analyze the true savings of a much ballyhooed new lease for some 400-plus city of San Diego workers. Then he compared that to a similar lease, signed at about the same time, for the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG. That didn’t look so good for SANDAG.

And now he’s answering some reader questions about the deals.

The Department of Bob Filner’s Ideas

Mayor Bob Filner carries all the outward appearances of a mayor who plans to overhaul the role of city government and even the mayor’s office itself. And he just got the City Council to approve $1 million for a department whose name keeps changing. We’re calling it a think tank within government.

Whatever it is, Lisa Halverstadt outlines what we do and don’t know about it.

How’d San Diego Tech Get Here?

If you look around San Diego, you may have noticed that scientific research is pretty popular around here. In fact, U-T San Diego reported back in February that San Diego is the 2nd-largest life science research cluster in the United States behind Boston.

Reporter Kelly Bennett looked into the public records and discovered that the booming science industry was a deliberate and calculated gamble supported by a wide margin of the city’s voters.

The transformation from Navy port to biotech powerhouse began shortly after World War II and Bennett’s story traces the history from the first deals that brought research interest to the present day.

So What Is Innovation Anyways?

As part of this quest to understand what might stymie our innovation economy,it might help to set a baseline. What is “innovation” exactly?

Innovation is a buzzword, sure, but its also one of the most important parts of of the city’s ever-expanding research economy. Bennett takes a stab at defining it and invites your thoughts.

We’re looking at this nebulous concept as it relates to San Diego’s future, and we’d love to hear your input.

VOSD Radio: ‘The Reinvention of Local Government’

In this week’s installment of VOSD Radio, Scott Lewis and guest Andrew Keatts discuss the end of redevelopment and the rebirth of an entirely new kind of city management through private organizations. The two hosts also touch on our Fact Check of Filner’s soft numbers relating to the Balboa Park 2015 commemoration and how parks funding requirements effect city spending.

They even get in a few words about our June 27th event called Crafting Beer Policy. Obviously, I don’t think I need to explain why you should attend this riveting discussion.

VOSD Radio can be heard every Sunday morning live on AM 600 KOGO at 10:30am.

Reader Commentary: We Need a Sustainable Electricity Rate System

San Diego resident and California Apartment Association executive director Whitney Benzian writes to VOSD in support of establishing a realistic timeline to overhaul the outdated and disproportionate electricity rating system in San Diego. Benzian argues that the current tiered system was well-intentioned but is no longer effective in our current situation. He discusses the new proposed legislation known as Ratepayer Equity Act and how it could positively effect the residents of San Diego.

Quick News Hits

• The SD Reader reports that San Diegans for Open Government attorney Cory Briggs is challenging the legality of newly implemented assessment districts designed to review the spending of public funds. We did a San Diego Explained segment in May with NBC 7 San Diego that discussed how these ‘mini-governments’ came about and what they do.

• CityBeat argues that San Diego city attorneys should be appointed, a move they argue would eliminate the constant tension between the city attorney’s office and the mayor.

• In the ongoing debate over medical marijuana, Filner declares that pot shops are illegal and should be closed until new laws are passed to regulate their sales, reports the U-T.

• In an inspiring story and video, the U-T recounts how a Vietnam veteran was reconnected with his dog tags through social media. U-T comes through with a serious tear-jerker.

• SeaWorld is taking votes to name its new killer whale, reports NBC 7. Currently, the poor little guy is living with the name Baby Shamu, although three names have been proposed for the public offering. It’s a total mystery why ‘Vosdy’ didn’t make the list. We all think it has a very nice ring to it.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter at @CCWeatherby.

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.

Colin Weatherby is a freelance writer. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter @CCWeatherby.

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