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VOSD alert! We’re launching our crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising $25,000 in 25 days to fund our third annual Politifest on Saturday, Aug. 3.

It’s not a regular election year, so politics will take a backseat as the state of our neighborhoods takes center stage. This event is for you, and we need your help to fund it. It’s also just a good chance to help pay for this service. Please donate today.

Also: At 4 p.m. today, we’ll open voting for the Idea Tournament finalists. We received nearly 30 proposals from community groups all across San Diego. We need your help to narrow it down to the top five finalists. Find out all the details on the Idea Tournament page. And now to the news.

An underground lake in the Mojave Desert is poised to quench the thirst of Southern California, and it may play a part in our future as we build a diverse portfolio of water sources.

But does the San Diego County Water Authority have an inherent conflict? We explain the dynamics of the Mojave project and try to answer that question in a new investigative piece that examines the authority’s connection to an advisor who has close ties to the owners of the land above the lake.

The advisor, Christine Frahm, is a former chair of the authority’s board. “She’s involved, at least indirectly, in shaping policies that could have a direct impact on the financial success” of the project and a shareholder at her firm.

Get Your Health Coverage Answers Here

Want answers about health care reform, which kicks in big-time on Jan. 1? Check our new Second Opinion blog. First up: Can you qualify for health coverage under the new system if you’re an immigrant with a green card?

City Hall Update: Sunroad, U-T v. Filner, Feuding

• Mayor Filner is refusing to respond to questions about a reported federal investigation into the now-infamous (and now-retracted) Sunroad donation, 10News reports: “I’m not going to respond to rumors and anonymous sources.”

• A U-T editorial zings Mayor Filner over the Sunroad mess, pointing to a new Supreme Court decision that it says prevents pay-to-play arrangements when it comes to things like permits.

The U-T and its publisher, Doug Manchester, have recently faced their own major permitting hassles.

The city targeted the U-T over its failure to get permits for a vintage car museum at its headquarters, Manchester got in a major tangle with the FCC over unlicensed cell phone signal boosters, and his hotel declined to get required permits for a helicopter pad.

• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins ponders how the “gobsmacking” feud between Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith ranks with San Diego twosomes who couldn’t stand each other.

Jenkins finds these counterparts: Spreckels & Marston, Golding & Schenk, Hedgecock & Miller, Pfingst & Dumanis and Sanders & Aguirre. Put all those names together and you’d have the world’s most dysfunctional law firm.

• CityBeat columnist John Lamb offers his own take on the infighting, complete with psychoanalysis. Goldsmith, he writes, “appears to go out of his way to project an aura of Father Knows Best but often comes off as the feckless neighbor in Bewitched.”

Tijuana, Baja Choose New Leaders

Baja California voters stuck with the National Action Party, or PAN, in Sunday’s election. It was a critical contest for the party, as the Los Angeles Times explained Sunday. Baja California is where the party got its first big wins, which led to national success. But a loss might have doomed it as the old Revolutionary Party, PRI, resurrects its success across the country.

For those of you who can read Spanish, here’s a take on the party’s win.

And, in Tijuana, voters appear to have picked Jorge Astiazaran for mayor. He was the “candidate for compromise.”

Legislation Update: Lifeguard Benefits, School Borrowing

• The U-T checks on the status of state legislation that we’ve been following closely: a bill that would clamp tighter controls on controversial financial schemes that school districts use to borrow money.

“Capital appreciation bonds” have been in the news for about year. Last summer, VOSD followed up on previous journalism and brought wider attention to their inherent risk by focusing on the huge amount of money that some Poway-area taxpayers have to pay for school construction. Other local districts have borrowed money in the same way.

The U-T story is unique because it offers several perspectives in favor of the borrowing strategy. An official with the California School Boards Association said it’s wrong to believe that taxpayers in future generations won’t benefit from current construction; he also questions why only K-12 and community school districts are targeted by the bill instead of other public agencies.

And a Riverside County school official said districts don’t have a choice about finding ways to pay for buildings: “They cannot fail the communities that rely on them.”

• An injured city lifeguard who had to go on temporary disability at 60 percent of his pay is advocating for state legislation that would allow lifeguards to get the higher benefits that cops and firefighters get, the U-T reports.

The legislation, pushed by local state Senator Marty Block, is awaiting the governor’s signature; it’s not clear if it will get it. Local Democratic legislators supported the bill while Republicans were divided.

A state analysis notes that 60 percent of normal pay isn’t necessarily a blow to a lifeguard’s income: it’s tax-free.

Hip, Hip… Hipster Haven!

Where is San Diego’s hipster haven, the neighborhood that’s most welcoming to the skinny jeans, handlebar moustaches and vegans?

Two words: North Park. How do I know? Because I’m a sentient being who’s been there. And because I’ve checked out this nifty “heat map” that shows where Yelp reviews mentioning the word “hipster” are clustered. Ground Zero for hipness is at University and 30th.

Resurrecting Progressive Radio

KLSD, a radio talk station for liberals, hasn’t been on the air for six years. Yet it remains a touchstone for San Diego progressives who — despite a lack of evidence — believe there was a right-wing conspiracy to push it off the air.

Now, a band of progressives has created a radio station that leans even further to the left. KNSJ/89.1 FM is based in East County, of all places, and airs a mix of local talk shows and programming from the BBC and Pacifica Radio, KPBS reports. (KNSJ stands for “Networking for Social Justice.”)

Shows focus on topics like the environment and the Occupy movement. One will be hosted by journalist Miriam Raftery (who recently attacked an art project about East County)

The station also broadcasts music, including songs like “They’re Bombing Again Tonight.” Says a station official: “We don’t want people to be sitting there for hours and hours and hours listening to somebody talk. I don’t think anybody would find that super entertaining.”

Wha…? People don’t want to hear chatter about politics all day? A chill just went up the spine of every journalist in San Diego. Cold. So Cold…

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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