The plan to expand San Diego’s Convention Center has been in the works for what seems like forever. It faces a crossroads next month in the form of a state Coastal Commission hearing, where regulators will OK the plan or force supporters back to the drawing board.

But even a Coastal Commission thumbs up doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a go.

Lisa Halverstadt has the rundown of what you need to know about the vote and the latest with the expansion plan, including who supports it, where the money would come from and where the Chargers land.

Alvarez’s Good Timing

Talk about good timing: Councilman David Alvarez landed in the spotlight this week just as his mayoral campaign gets into gear. A native of Barrio Logan, he played a crucial role in putting together the deal that helped the blueprint for the neighborhood’s future move forward.

Andrew Keatts recaps the compromise — which failed to impress maritime workers and Republican council members — and chronicles Alvarez’s personal connections to Barrio Logan: “The night before the vote, Alvarez said, he stopped at the pharmacy to pick up medication for the asthma he’s had since childhood. Asthma hospitalization rates in Barrio Logan are more than double the county as a whole.”

Councilwoman Wants Fire Station Answers

Much of the city’s Fourth Council District, which covers the largely ethnic-minority southeastern part of San Diego, suffers from slower response times to emergencies than other areas. Now, Councilwoman Myrtle Cole wants the city to explore creating a temporary fire station in one neighborhood.

The Day in the Mayor’s Race

• Donna Frye, the former councilwoman and almost-mayor, is expected to endorse Alvarez for mayor today.

• What issues do our readers care about most in the mayor’s race? Here’s what they told us.

The top priorities: the city budget; streets, sidewalks and pipes and neighborhood planning. (Public safety wasn’t an option in our survey, but it will definitely be a top issue too.) On the bottom: Cross-border issues.

• In a commentary, Felipe Monroig, president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, urges the next mayor to focus on “crumbling infrastructure” — “the biggest fiscal challenge facing San Diego.” He writes: “Simply delaying the development of a well thought-out plan and ignoring this massive problem only guarantees that the long-term costs to taxpayers will increase.”

• The sparse hours of San Diego’s public libraries will almost certainly get attention in the mayor’s race. In a new commentary, library branch manager Jeffrey Davis explains why libraries remain important today: “the facilitated sharing of expertise, assistance, curation, community rooms, workspaces, storytimes, early learning spaces and the like that has rocketed in value.”

Broadcasting Icon Passes Away

Jerry G. Bishop, a local radio and TV personality who was an even bigger star back in the Windy City, has passed away at the age of 77.

The Chicago Tribune’s obituary describes how he delighted 1970s TV audiences there as “Svengoolie,” the “coffin-dwelling hippie” host of horror films. He later moved to San Diego where he hosted the “Sun Up” morning show, worked as a radio disc jockey and owned the restaurants Greek Islands Cafe and Asaggio Pizza.

Quick News Hits

• VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro examines the ultimate impact of a Padres trade from back in 2011.

• The last school year was a bad one for local public health, KPBS reports, as a record number of kindergartners failed to get vaccinated. The apparent culprit? Skepticism about the safety of vaccines.

KPBS includes a list of schools with the lowest vaccination rates. Most are small private schools with fewer than 50 students, although some are public.

• The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has a new bishop: He’s Cirilo Flores, the fifth man to serve in his position. The U-T says Flores is 65 and worked as an attorney and a teacher before becoming a priest.

• A federal investigation “discovered that some agents and officers of the federal border agencies did not understand … use of force policies or when to use them,” KPBS reports. That wasn’t the only problem they uncovered. Turns out that the agencies don’t track how many agents face allegations that they used excessive force.

• Today in Yikes: The U-T has a story headlined “Iceberg nearly crushes SDSU scientists.”

• The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy isn’t impressed with San Diego’s commitment to energy efficiency, at least judging by “building codes, community-wide energy initiatives, transportation policies, energy-saving programs involving public utilities, and efforts to improve the efficiency of government building.”

San Diego ranks only 20th among 34 American cities, the Atlantic Cities blog reports. Boston, Portland, Ore., and San Francisco are ranked 1-3; the worst is Jacksonville, Fla.

Don’t blame me for our ranking. I’m not the one who left the iron on. Oh, wait …

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 and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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