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Hear ye, hear ye! Now is the time for all good community organizations to come to the aid of their city.

There are only 12 days left for community groups to submit a proposal for the Idea Tournament at Politifest 2013 on Aug. 3.

Community groups will compete against one another for the most compelling neighborhood project. The winner will receive a $5,000 grant from the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement. Visit Politifest.org for details.

Illuminating Street Light Choices

If you’re on the younger side, you may remember the popular “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that allowed kid readers to make their own choices and affect the plot. The series inspired “Choose Your Own Street Light Adventure,” our new look at the options facing residents who want to shed some light on their neighborhoods.

The story begins with a woman in the South Park neighborhood — now home to “the whole hipster thing” — who wants to make her street safer with more street lights.

She was blown off by city departments but ultimately reached a City Council rep who explained three options to her. We take a closer look at them.

Your mileage may vary: Some neighborhoods have even fewer choices when it comes to new street lights.

• The Stumblr is in southeastern San Diego: It makes a visit to a shoddy sidewalk in Logan Heights.

• In other City Hall news, VOSD Radio examines the mayor’s major overhaul of the planning department and explains why a councilman is worthy of being named Hero of the Week.

Food Stamp Drama Plays Out in Congress

VOSD food blogger Clare Leschin-Hoar has an update on the big debate over food-stamp cuts in Congress. Locally, they would cut per-meal allowances from $1.50 to $1.30 — $4.50 a day.

School Trustees Rake in the Bennies

Should you feel sorry for San Diego school board members who make tiny salaries for running the district? It’s no easy job sitting through an endless board meeting or trying to juggle pleas from people who all want something for themselves or their kids.

While the trustees aren’t exactly bringing home bacon, they’re in good shape if they burn themselves while frying it up in a pan: Their part-time positions come with hefty, full time-style benefits. As we report in a new story, their annual medical, dental and vision coverage is worth $13,330. They don’t pay premiums, and none of them has rejected the benefits.

Fact Check TV follows up on our previous coverage of a claim that all San Diego school board members have full-time jobs. The reality is a bit more complicated.

Council Praises Lease Deal

The city’s new lease for space at 525 B Street was unanimously approved by the City Council, which was full of praise for it.

Here’s the IBA’s analysis of the deal. Scott Lewis recently analyzed the lease’s true savings and compared it to SANDAG’s recent similar lease of office space, which didn’t come out looking very good for SANDAG.

Fizz-Fizz Goes the Poo-Poo

NBC 7 San Diego reports on how a clean-up crew is finally getting down to business at La Jolla Cove: It’s testing a foamy bacterial concoction that will hopefully eat the bird feces behind the Great Stench.

SD’s Schools Chief: Here Today, Retired Tomorrow(ish)

NBC San Diego has posted an exit interview with Bill Kowba, the retiring superintendent of San Diego public schools. He bemoans the cuts the district has faced and praises its employees: “We’ve survived, we’ve strived and we’re better for it.”

Automakers vs. Consumers

Earlier this year, we published an investigative series about how mandatory arbitration rules are allowing companies to fend off complaints from consumers.

Now, The New York Times takes a look at how automakers are trying to bypass lemon laws and class-action lawsuits by pushing arbitration requirements.

The Morning Report Gets Served

• In yesterday’s Morning Report, I went overboard and suggested that Mayor Filner bulldozed the Planning Commission last week. As readers pointed out, he actually prevented (at least for now) the bulldozing of two old cottages and forced the commission to follow procedure.

My apologies. I’ll be more careful about operating heavy-equipment metaphors.

• San Diego diners are a tough crowd. In our comments section, on Twitter and on Reddit, readers rejected my defense of local food servers who were maligned en masse by the Reader’s restaurant critic. “Nearly everyone I know has complained about San Diego service versus other top-tier US cities,” writes Paul Jamason on our site after taking a swipe at the “Morning Report guy.”

I’d like to get a little help from the help. Waiters and waitresses of San Diego, what’s your perspective on the quality of restaurant service here? And what’s your opinion about local diners? Drop us a line in our comments section.

And could you do something about the fly in my soup? Oh, it’s a fava bean? Nevermind.

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

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

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