A flare up at the Uptown Planners group this week is worrying biking advocates as a new bike-sharing program comes together. Like all community planning groups, Uptown Planners advises city leaders on neighborhood issues. The keyword here is “advise.” Sometimes the group’s opinion is ignored, as is the case regarding the city’s plans to debut the bike-sharing program and turn certain lanes on Fourth and Fifth Avenue over to pedal-pushers.

What’s the problem? “It was claimed, at various points, that the loss of parking would hurt local business, that residents who wanted to use bikes as a means of transportation should move to New York, that the benefits of the project were limited to social engineering and that the beneficiaries of similar projects are disproportionately white.”

This is Hillcrest, an urban area and not very conservative. An outcry there could indicate trouble to come as the bicycle push rolls on.

Behind Construction Mania in City Heights

City Heights, one of San Diego’s poorest and most neglected neighborhoods, has been undergoing a renaissance for a while now as it gets more attention from city leaders. Now eleven major construction projects are either underway or close. They include a renovated fire station, a relocated YMCA, a skateboarding park and more.

Megan Burks gives you the Cliff’s Notes style version of each one.

• Burks also sat down with Councilwoman Marti Emerald about challenges in City Heights and neighborhoods in general. She confirmed she is not running for mayor. She said the city’s new chief operating officer, Walt Ekard, is helping her and her counterparts understand “years’ worth” of operational problems City Hall is burdened with.

The Day in the Race for Mayor

• As expected, Councilman Kevin Faulconer declared that he’s in the race for mayor. As Liam Dillon notes, both of the most prominent candidates, Faulconer and Fletcher, are trying to appeal to neighborhoods.

• The new campaign will bring strict donation disclosure rules that require daily reports in some cases, the U-T reports.

• CityBeat really wants Councilman David Alvarez to run and stand up for progressive values.

• The U-T checks in with Bruce Coons, the preservationist and mayoral candidate who’s a step more prominent than most of the long and growing list of lesser knowns who say they want to run. Click here to read up on how his organization works.

Are You Ready for Some Football Concussion Discussion?

VOSD Radio explores an issue that our mostly sports-crazed staff has been following with interest: the drama within the NFL over what to do about the risk of concussions. Take a listen and you’ll also find out which man with a first name as a last name is the Hero of the Week and why a celebrity attorney (is there any other celebrity attorney besides this one?) is the Goat of the Week.

Quick News Hits

• VOSD has a new “engagement editor,” a recent grad school grad named Catherine Green. It’s a strange title for an important job: helping us connect with you (and vice versa). She introduces herself here.

• U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas is one of the few members of Congress definitely in favor of a military strike in Syria. Check out the Washington Post’s handy interactive of where the lawmakers stand as a vote nears. KPBS has more on our local delegation’s thoughts.

• Schools across the nation are preparing for a move to so-called Common Core standards. KPBS says millions should flow to local schools to help with the transition. Cindy Marten, the new San Diego schools superintendent, talked about the challenge in our on-stage interview a few months ago.

• The LA Times chats  with that celebrity lawyer (Gloria Allred) about the Mayor Filner mess, her battle for women’s rights and more.

• The U-T explores the controversial world of fundraising at public schools.

• CityBeat profiles Kelly Knight, a homeless advocate who’s “one of only a few folks doing targeted street outreach — putting names and stories to faces and using that information to try to link people to shelter.” She spoke at our event on homelessness earlier this year.

• The Hillcrest neighborhood honors its GLBT flavor with a big rainbow flag and a street named (and now a restaurant) named after political icon Harvey Milk. Now, 10News reports, there’s talk of giving rainbow colors to a crosswalk at University Avenue and Normal Street.

Yup: Normal Street, which has long been a central gathering spot for events in the gay community like a Halloween celebration and the pride parade.

How’d a street in that place get that name? Not from the usual sense of the word. Teacher colleges were once called “normal schools,” and there was one housed nearby in a glorious 1897 Irving Gill building. (It’s sadly gone now, but photos like this one remain.)

The neighborhood of Normal Heights is also named after the school. It has nothing to do with the normality of people who live there. Like me, for instance.

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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