Thirty-nine schools in San Diego are situated within 500 feet of smog-producing traffic corridors, despite a state law which prohibits it, Joel Hoffman reported. The air around freeways is considered too toxic for children to safely breathe, so a law was passed in 2003 barring their location there. “San Diego County is home to the fourth highest number of pediatric asthma cases in the country,” wrote Hoffman. “Being close to traffic pollution is one of the greatest environmental threats experienced by the children of San Diego,” one doctor told Hoffman.

Hoffman’s investigation was part of a nationwide investigation that found school attendees across the country are breathing air that is still dangerously saturated by emitting tailpipes.

Downtown Gearing Up

What’s a downtown community to do when it’s all the other neighborhoods that are suddenly the cool ones to talk about? While everyone’s attention is fixed on bolstering San Diego’s other ‘villages’, Andrew Keatts kept an eye on what’s going on in the downtown area, which is busy making big plans. “The group took what it heard during its town halls and its own goals and put it into a document called ‘Imagine Downtown,’” Keatts wrote. In it, they imagine a big tech company moving into downtown, and fantasize about replacing the financing model that died with redevelopment. The effort is being spearheaded by the Downtown Partnership, which is led by one of San Diego’s insiders, Kris Michell.

• Meanwhile, Civic San Diego, the agency that is overseeing projects leftover from the redevelopment era as well as some new projects, is busy with this recent list of projects from U-T San Diego, including a project centered around what to do with the old central library.

The Economy in Voice of San Diego

Keatts has been reporting on land use and neighborhood issues in San Diego since he started reporting for Voice of San Diego. Keatts refers to it as the “why your city is the way it is” beat, and he’s going to start expanding his definition of what fits into that narrative. “I’ll also be spending time looking for specific issues within the region’s business world,”  he wrote. “So let me know what types of things you want me to cover, and even what’s turned you off of business stories in the past.”

Craft Beer Capital: San Diego Explained

When you hear about Napa Valley, you might automatically think about wine. Some San Diegans are trying to foster that kind of strong association between San Diego and craft beer. But is San Diego getting passed up by competing cities for the title of “beer capital of America?” Andrew Keatts teamed up with NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to look at the impact craft beer has on our local economy in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Convention Center Expansion Blessed

“The proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center cleared its final regulatory hurdle today when it was approved unanimously by the California Coastal Commission,” KPBS reported. The commission ignored the advice of its staff. But don’t pull out the shovels just yet; a lawsuit over the financing of the expansion will have to be resolved before any ground can be broken.

The Coastal Commission’s next big decision? Whether to let Mitt Romney demolish his 3,009 square-foot home in La Jolla so he can build an 11,062 square-foot replacement. The project has ruffled some local feathers.

This Day in Shutdown

• There won’t be any centennial events at Cabrillo National Monument.

• There won’t be anymore research expeditions to Antarctica.

• There won’t be anymore new craft beers coming out!

• The FAA won’t be investigating all plane crashes.

On the upside, I’m pretty sure we’re still going ahead with Halloween. No word yet on Christmas.

News Nibbles

• Interim Mayor Todd Gloria thinks it’s “a bit optimistic” to think one person, the city’s Chief Operating Officer, can oversee all the city’s department directors, so he wants to change the management structure of the city.

• The municipal airport in Otay Mesa will get $900 million in improvement over the next 20 years.

• San Diego made this list of least affordable cities for middle class residents.

Handling Your Hens

Ever since the City Council gave the go-ahead for backyard residential farms to include chickens, goats and bees, the animals have been popping up in backyards citywide. If you’ve ever peered over your fence and coveted your neighbor’s hens, take heart. San Diego Free Press has your straight-talk guide to raising backyard hens. On the eggs: don’t wash them. On what to feed them: worms. And, if you are leaving for travel for a couple of days?

“You can feed them once before you leave. Then feed them again once you come back,” said Bill Tall of City Heights Farmers Nursery.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at 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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