Put together all those decrepit sidewalks, pothole-ridden streets and aging water pipes and what do you get? A big fat backlog of repairs to San Diego’s infrastructure.

Here’s another question: How much would it cost to fix everything once and for all? The city used to think about $898 million. Now, a new report says it may be more.

Is that true? San Diego Fact Check finds that yes, it sure is. Our story examines the challenges facing the city as it tries to repair itself without breaking the bank.

• That $900 million or so is coincidentally about the same as the “gap” between what the Chargers will pay for a new stadium and what it would cost, the Chargers chief marketing officer told a crowd. He mentioned how other cities have taxed tourists. (U-T)

At SD Schools, Principals Get Shuffled

Cindy Marten took her post as superintendent at the dais for the first time for a board meeting at San Diego schools Tuesday.

Christie Ritter captured how difficult Marten’s decision to reassign some principals and elevate some others has been. Fifteen principals just retired at the end of the traditional school year, and now seven more are being reassigned. One principal, of Burbank Elementary in the Logan Heights neighborhood, says she’s being pushed out unwillingly, setting up an emotional meeting between Marten and area parents.

• At Tuesday’s board meeting, President John Lee Evans told the audience that, with Marten in place, we should expect big gains in school performance. And he asked the media to fact check him in a few years to see whether there is indeed a quality school in every neighborhood.

OK then. On it.

Refugees Protest Interpretation Limits

We were on the scene yesterday in Hillcrest when a group of refugees rallied at UCSD Medical Center to raise awareness about the medical challenges facing immigrants who don’t speak English. Check our article for links to audio of three of the protesters as they tell their stories.

For background on the push for better medical interpretation services, check recent stories from the Speak City Heights news organization here and here.

Two bills to improve access to interpretation in the medical world are making their way through the state legislature.

Culture Report: Museum Art in 3-D

London calling? Maybe you haven’t had a chance to get to the U.K. and admire the artwork at the British Museum. Well, never fear: new technology can give you a nice view — and a feel — of sculptures across the pond.

KPBS has the details about a Vista man who’s using a 3-D printer to create copies of sculptures, including two from the British museum. He gives them bronze and brass finishes so they look a lot like the real thing.

What’s the benefit of a 3-D copy of a sculpture instead of a photo? For one thing, the blind can appreciate it.

KPBS’s story leads this week’s VOSD Culture Report, which also includes details about Metallica’s secretive visit to San Diego, a vegetable peeler salesman who takes art in hand and a cannon with quite a history.

Did a Public Official Harass KPBS Staffers?

There’s a startling tidbit hidden in a story about the partnership between KPBS and inewsource, the non-profit investigative outlet: the latter’s founder, Lorie Hearn, is “spearheading some reporting around possible harassment of KPBS staffers by a public official.”

So, who is this “public official” exactly, KPBS?

Food Stamp Use on the Rise

• The U-T finds that the number of county residents on food stamps has doubled over the past six years to a quarter million. Still, the county doesn’t rank high when it comes to reaching out to eligible residents.

Households of three — yes, three — aren’t eligible for food stamps unless their annual before-tax income is under about $25,000.

For background, check our extensive 2010 coverage of the county’s tattered safety net for the poor.

Mondo Electronic Billboards: Too Trashy?

Back in the 1990s, a U-T columnist led a valiant but doomed effort to keep San Diego State from building an electronic billboard to send messages to passing motorists on I-8. His campaign led to one of San Diego’s funniest moments when the billboard briefly declared to the world “Logan Jenkins hurt my feelings.”

The billboard even included a sad face complete with tear.

How quaint. That was a long time ago, before emoticons and the growth of big-honkin’ electronic billboards next to freeways in places like Escondido and National City.

Now, Jenkins reports, Vista is thinking about allowing them; Carlsbad and Encinitas have passed. “Is Vista really so hard up that it must prostitute its public land? If so, I guess a city, like many a poor girl in the House of the Rising Sun, has to do what a city has to do to survive in a cruel world.”

Quick News Hits

• Check the map set up by the county to follow the progression of the Chariot Fire in the backcountry near Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The map also shows the evacuation area.

• Ever wondered why the trolley doesn’t connect to the airport, dooming many of us to trying to beg people for rides to our flights? The airport has a plan and will present it to the City Council today.

• “A new bike-sharing program that will make at least 1,800 bicycles available for self-service use citywide will launch early next year in San Diego at no cost to taxpayers,” the U-T reports.

• Facing an outcry from residents who say they’re tired of noise and the prospect of “becoming the new Pacific Beach” (heavens!), city leaders in Encinitas today will consider new restrictions on the serving of booze. They may move closing time at bars to midnight from 2 a.m. or they could forbid any new businesses like restaurants from serving alcohol, KPBS reports.

Stay classy, KUSI!

• If you watch “Top Chef,” you’ve probably seen a lot of crème fraîche (I’m still not quite sure what it is), Padma Lakshmi’s scar and a spiky-haired chef named Richard Blais. He’s opening a restaurant in San Diego that will be named after its location in Little Italy: Juniper & Ivy.

Hmm. That could start a trend. With the assistance of a Twitter pal, I’ve already come up with a couple new restaurant concepts based on real San Diego street names: Camino de Pizza (it’s in Mission Valley) and Kamloop & Quapaw (they’re in Clairemont, named after Indian tribes).

Make your reservations now and avoid the rush.

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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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