While concrete can be cheap, it’s hardly the coziest of construction materials. It can make public gathering spots look cold and lifeless (hello, Civic Center Plaza!) and imposing instead of empowering.

So how did San Diego’s brand-new Central Library manage to be so comfortable and inviting? And why do some of its fans think it looks like it’s been around forever? I turned to Rob Wellington Quigley, the design’s architect, for answers.

In a new Q-and-A, Quigley explains how the building distinctly reflects San Diego (he thinks you wouldn’t see one like it anywhere else) and the legacy he hopes it leaves for future generations.

Also: Quigley says he’ll be happy to answer your questions about the design of the library. Drop by The Plaza, VOSD’s conversation nook, later today and ask away. We’ll follow up with Quigley later this week if we get a few good queries.

Mind Your Clusters

A new study examines the local economic impact of something called the “Sports and Active Lifestyle Cluster” that pumps $1.35 billion a year into the local economy. What’s that? We take a look in a new story .

And what’s an inactive lifestyle? Oh, never mind. I think I know. So where’s our cluster?

Health Care Reform: So You Don’t Like Your Boss’s Plan…

Second Opinion, our series of questions-and-answers about health care reform, tackles this issue: What are your options if you think your employer’s insurance plan stinks?

That’s an issue for a man who wants to stick with doctors from Kaiser Permanente but can’t get covered for them through coverage offered by his new boss. There’s not a lot the employee can do unless he wants to spend a lot of his own money.

Quick News Hits

• Correction: In Saturday’s Morning Report, we included a link to a press release from the city attorney about a retired police officer who had won unemployment benefits. It was a contractor for the city’s personnel department who lost the case for the city, not the city attorney, as the Morning Report implied.

• San Diego’s new Terminal 2 and Delta have gotten the crucial David Pogue endorsement. Pogue, the New York Times tech columnist and TV host, raved about a new little feature in the revamped airport.

• Our profile of a leading local brewer tops the list of VOSD’s Top 10 most popular stories of the last week.

• The U-T’s editorial board interviewed several local leaders about the proposed expansion of the convention center and compiles their answers here. However, the questions don’t dig deeply into critics’ concerns that the expansion will be a boondoggle due to a glut of convention space in the country.

• Police recruitment is down in San Diego.

• The weekend’s Santa Ana brought the usual winds, high temperatures, dry air, sinus problems, awesome sunsets and — of course — worrisome wildfires like one at Camp Pendleton that’s not yet contained.

SDG&E even shut off electricity to some parts of the backcountry because of worries about Santa Ana winds setting off fires by knocking down power lines.

So how can you figure out where the power’s out during dangerous weather or any other time? Head over to SDG&E’s handy “Outage Map.”

By the way, the U-T says rain and even snow are on the way.

• I have a couple friends who like to drift off to sleep to the dulcet tones of the San Diego police scanner. (Yes, my pals are peculiar. It’s in the job description.)

The scanner feed, which is available online through various websites (like this one) and smartphone apps, is actually pretty handy. Hear police sirens? Tune in to hear what’s going on, but remember that early reports are often wrong. Those gunshots might be fireworks, for instance.

If you want to blow your mind, head to this website, which — and I’m not making this up — combines the San Diego scanner chatter with various ethereal soundtracks. (The creator of the site explains it here.)

Traffic stops have never sounded more pleasant. Or more bizarre.

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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