San Diego has become one of the microbrewery capitals of the country, and all those suds are boosting the local economy by an estimated $300 million.

We’ve put together several charts to help you put the industry’s size and its growth into context. One fascinating figure: There weren’t any new brewery licenses in the city from 2007-2009, but the numbers then zoomed to seven in 2010, 15 in 2011 and 17 in 2012.

• How’d San Diego become such a great place for beer fans? Among the speakers at VOSD’s sixth Meeting of the Minds culture event this week was U-T reporter Peter Rowe. He tracks the beer world and explained things this way: “Unlike Munich and other beer capitals, San Diego had no beer-related titans going back and back and back. We had no one who would stand up and say, ‘You know, we just don’t do it that way.’ … So no one hindered beer experimentation here.”

For more about what the speakers had to say at Meeting of the Minds, click here.

City Takes Steps Toward More Open Government

The city’s commitment to open government took a giant hit during the Filner administration when access to public records virtually ended. Now, the city is looking at overhauling how it does things, and Councilman Mark Kersey has released a draft of a new policy.

VOSD reporter Joel Hoffmann examines the proposal, which envisions a new “chief data officer” position and allows the city to take until 2018 to make certain data fully available.

One eyebrow-raising caveat: Data that only exists in the personal devices of employees (like laptops, cell phones and iPads) would be private if the city owns the device.

• Also in City Hall news: We’ve gotten tons of response from readers to our story explaining the state of the effort to expand the convention center at huge cost. Read the comments here.

City Heights Wants in on Bike-Share

City Heights residents pleaded their case this week to DecoBike, the company that will handle the city’s new bike-share program. The program is currently eyeing downtown and tourist-heavy areas for its stations, but residents of City Heights, where car ownership is low, want to see their neighborhood make the cut too.

There’s hope: “The program is scheduled to be implemented downtown early next year. The rest of the bike stations will go in one or two months later. [DecoBike spokesman David] Silverman said, in addition to tourist areas, DecoBike will focus on high-density areas close to mass transit. That could bode well for City Heights, which already has a robust bus network and will gain a rapid bus line next summer.”

The Day in Ex-Mayor and Next Mayor News

• We examine the endorsement battle between two of the top candidates for mayor: Councilman Kevin Faulconer and former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. Both want support from business; both want to play up neighborhoods.

• There was buzz in the waning days of Filner’s administration that city officials would try to ban him from City Hall. Now we know that the rumors were true.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith tells the U-T that a court hearing “was set to argue for an injunction to keep Filner out of City Hall, citing psychological problems.”

Quick News Hits

• Council President Todd Gloria, who’s serving as interim mayor, is in hot water with food truck owners because the city is now enforcing laws regarding them, the U-T reports.

• “Ambulance provider Rural/Metro denied a request from city officials Wednesday to remove a contract loophole that has allowed the private company to routinely arrive late, without penalty, to San Diego’s most life-threatening 911 calls,” CityBeat reports. “Rather than eliminating the loophole, city leaders have continually said the issue would be addressed in a long-overdue competitive-bidding process for ambulance services.”

• The governor’s office is set to sign a bill by local state Sen. Ben Hueso that will make it harder for school districts to embrace unusual money-borrowing schemes like the one that got Poway schools in big trouble.

• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants San Diego to close parts of Mission Trails Regional Park, one the largest city parks in the country, Fox5 reports. The feds say “the entire trail system in Spring and Oak canyons north of state Route 52, are unauthorized and have been illegally built within a federal conservation area.”

There’s more potential bad news for hikers and bikers: The feds “also called on the city to restrict trail use on Cowles Mountain, the Fortuna Mountain-Mission Gorge area and the West Sycamore area.”

• A big clean-up is planned for San Diego Bay, NBC San Diego reports.

• The Atlantic examines “The Boom Towns and Ghost Towns of the New Economy” in a new story. The Sun Belt remains hit hard by the recession, but San Diego ranks OK in measurements like venture-capital deals and new high-wage jobs.

• Summer ends soon, but that doesn’t mean the heat is gone. As I’ve been warning newcomers to town, San Diego’s hottest days come in September and October when those wildfire-friendly Santa Anas arrive.

Hard-boiled writer Raymond Chandler, who spent several years in San Diego and is buried here, knew the score. He famously began one of his books this way:

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

Hmm. When we finally get a Santa Ana, we’re going to need to call in San Diego Fact Check to investigate that last claim.

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

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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