When Escondido voters passed Proposition P in 2004, raising taxes to build fire stations, they aimed to fix a crisis of emergency response times that was only getting worse. But shortly afterward, the economy collapsed, and instead of improving, “things were getting worse,” wrote Scott Lewis.

We’ve been writing about emergency response times in San Diego a lot recently. The time it takes for emergency teams to respond to a 911 call is too long, and it’s not getting better. Lewis cast his eyes north to Escondido to see how they dealt with a similar problem years ago. Instead of hiring more firefighters or adding “fast response squads,” Escondido spent their money adding more ambulances. It doubled its response capacity. Now they rely on neighboring cities for help a lot less.

Physician, School Thyself

Everyone agrees we need to train more doctors and nurses to meet coming demand. But Megan Burks found that, despite extensive training and field experience, foreign-trained doctors have to start most of their training all over again if they want to practice medicine in the United States.

“They have to pass three American licensing exams and compete for residency positions with fresh-faced medical school graduates – a process that often takes six years or more,” Burks reported. In order to complete the process, students take on debt that can near $200,000. “The path is long, it’s arduous, it’s incredibly costly,” said Sophie Cheetham, who helps immigrants find careers through the Bridge to Employment program.

Selling Transparency

“All five of the city’s top mayoral candidates have pledged to make their emails and text messages related to city business public record, even if they come from private accounts or cell phones,” reported Liam Dillon. That campaign promise comes on the heels of a complete breakdown in government transparency under Bob Filner, who also campaigned on a platform of transparency.

Dillon notes two of the mayoral candidates have already failed to release government correspondence conducted on their personal accounts upon request. Councilmembers David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer both sent late responses to a Voice of San Diego request for city emails stored in their personal accounts. Faulconer alleged that there were no emails, despite one having been published in the San Diego Reader.

Alvarez’s Resumé

For three years Alvarez has represented San Diego’s southwest neighborhoods. Lisa Halverstadt highlighted five projects Alvarez played a key role in. He was notorious for fighting downtown-centric projects under the Sanders administration. More recently, he pushed through a new Barrio Logan community plan. Here’s everything you could want to know about that.

• We’ll have a lot more coverage of the mayoral candidates coming up. You can now follow all our mayoral election coverage from one convenient (and good-looking) portal.

• That aforementioned Barrio Logan community plan has been causing a lot of raucous discussion recently. At its core is a disagreement about how to use the land in Barrio Logan in a way that will support both maritime business and residences. Andrew Keatts and NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia teamed up to fill you in on the situation in our most recent San Diego Explained.

On Splitting Up Convention Center

A joint-use convention center expansion, split from the current convention center by six blocks and shared with the Chargers? No thanks, wrote Felix Niespodziewanski, who is the director of conventions and meetings for the American College of Surgeons. “I would not risk our biggest revenue source on a venue that couldn’t guarantee space five to 10 years out,” Niespodziewanski wrote. “The NFL only releases its schedule within one year of the season.”

News Nibbles

• Thursday, our Scott Lewis moderated a panel on education hosted by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (video).

• San Diego has rehired two lobbying firms who were fired under the Filner administration. The firms lobby for San Diego’s interests in Washington, D.C. and in Sacramento.

• Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher pledged to help San Diego create 130,000 jobs by 2020.

• Starting with its opening on Monday, it’ll be free parking at the new Central Library downtown, for now.

• The number of charges that are “sticking” in the prosecution of 15 people caught up in a south county corruption probe are dropping precipitously, the U-T reported.

• Business Insider profiled the 11 “hottest” startup companies in San Diego.

• The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists are the latest in a string of non-profit groups to discover the payment processor Acteva, who was hired to collect donations for the non-profits, is just keeping the money.

• The Ocean Beach Town Council met and decided to “ban” any further events centered around throwing marshmallows on the beach.

• Breastfeeding mothers in Poway are heaping mad and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

News That Saves Your Life

As much as I would’ve liked to, I didn’t deliver today’s Morning Report by stopping by your house and delivering it to your doorstep. But perhaps I should think about doing that, if we’re ever going to compete with guys like U-T San Diego’s Eduardo Barajas. Barajas, who delivers the daily newspaper to residences (yes, they still print this stuff on paper and roll it up into a big wad), saved the day when he helped 79-year-old Sarah Erman escape her burning house at around five in the morning on Thursday. Barajas, like any good hero newspaperman, said he “just did what anyone else would have done.”

I welcome all suggestions on how I can possibly intervene in your lives in such an important way. In the meantime, thanks to Eduardo Barajas for leading the way in being awesome.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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