What keeps the world of innovation afloat in our city by the sea? Atomic energy, medical research and aerospace are the old stand-bys, but a new era has changed the big picture.

In a new post on her continuing series on innovation, Kelly Bennett breaks down the new players — drones, genomes and an array of tech and more — with their relative impacts and challenges and some good ol’ data.

• Readers are weighing in with comments about our previous story about why San Diego can’t be Silicon Valley.

One local CEO took this article in our series on as a wake up call to get involved as a mentor to startups.

Protester Faces Jail over Chalk Sidewalk Messages

“North Park resident Jeff Olson will appear in court [today] to fight a charge of 13 counts of misdemeanor vandalism charges for writing protest slogans in chalk from February to August 2012,” the Reader reports. “The charges could send Olson to jail for 13 years and put him on the hook for $13,000 in restitution to the City and to Bank of America.”

Yes, that’s right: the city attorney’s office is prosecuting a man (a former congressional staffer, in fact) who wrote anti-bank slogans — in water-soluble chalk — on the public sidewalk outside bank branches in the Mid City.

Late-breaking news: Mayor Filner wants the City Council and city attorney to talk about the prosecution in closed session.

Be careful out there. Especially if you’re taking part in VOSD’s Sidewalk Art Contest. It might land you in the clink.

Hey Readers! We Need a Little Help

Do you live in the 50th Congressional District, which covers part of northwestern San Diego along with a huge chunk of North County from Carlsbad and Solana Beach to San Marcos and Escondido?

If so, VOSD journalist Lisa Halverstadt would like to hear from you. She’s working on a reporting project that needs volunteers. Email her here.

Fact Check TV: The Truth at Central

Fact Check TV revisits our exploration of a claim by the incoming San Diego schools superintendent about the elementary campus where she served as principal.

Something New for a City: Merit Raises

• The North County city of Carlsbad could be in the vanguard of a movement by public agencies to start paying employees based on their performance instead of giving them automatic raises, the U-T reports.

“When I hear that employees will get raises based on performance, I say ‘Welcome to the real world,’” says a taxpayer advocate. But unions have long fought merit pay, saying it allows workers to be treated unfairly because their bosses can’t properly judge their work.

Many public agencies like cities and school districts give automatic raises to employees — at least for a time — as the workers gain years of service.

Protections Amid the Poop

The cleanup of the bird poop at La Jolla Cove has attracted the attention of the NY Times.

The story quotes a biologist about how workers are being careful around wildlife. It’s not, it seems, a one-way street: “We don’t want to disrupt the nesting birds tending to their chicks. As far as the seals and the sea lions, we’re just monitoring them to make sure if there’s any aggression — really towards us — that we just back away.”

For more, check our story about how the cove cleanup was arranged in the first place.

Up to Brown If Public Records Bill Gets Flushed

The state Senate has backed away from a plan to make it easier for government agencies to blow off requests for public records, the Sacramento Bee reports. Now the governor gets to weigh in.

We explained the controversy in a story last week.

Quick News Hits

• The Stumblr, our broken-sidewalks blog, makes a rare visit to Clairemont.

• Our ever-hopeful sports blogger John Gennaro wonders if the surging-then-not-so-surging Padres are meeting the Phillies at just the right time.

•  Hundreds of bridges in the state are considered to be “functionally obsolete,” “fracture critical” or “structurally deficient.” But, as public radio station KPCC reports, that’s not necessarily a reason to freak out and stay home for the rest of your life: in some cases, these terms indicate minor problems like peeling paint or a lack of road shoulders.

• “Rep. Darrell Issa made nearly $60 million in 2012, according to a financial disclosure he filed with the House earlier this month,” Politico reports. The North County congressman, one of the most high-profile representatives in the House, was worth at least $355 million a few months ago, a big jump from previous disclosures.

• The Ocean Beach Street Fair attracted tens of thousands, including a guy in a “unicordian” outfit. Click here to see a photo via Reddit.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s impossible. Those things are mythical! Well, you’re wrong. It makes no sense, but accordians do exist.

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.

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.

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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