It’s been a long time coming, but city leaders announced Thursday they would start putting money toward fixing emergency response times that have plagued some of San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods.

Similar funding promises in the past never materialized, and these new ones still won’t be able to fully fund all the additional fire stations needed to fix the problems, reported Liam Dillon. “The city expects to allocate $3 million toward land and design costs for new fire stations on Home Avenue in City Heights and in Skyline as part of a $120 million infrastructure loan scheduled for City Council approval in January.”

We recently spent time looking at the families who are impacted by slow emergency response times, and the issue has crept into the top priorities of all three candidates for mayor.

Another Mayor Resigns

El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis resigned after some comments he made about Chaldeans provoked outrage.

Candidates Talk Infrastructure

The four front-running mayoral candidates met yesterday to debate, this time with a specific focus on the future of building things in the city (and getting the permission to do it). Andrew Keatts looked on as the candidates stuck mostly to their talking points, but he noted some specific proposals. Streamline the city permitting process, said Kevin Faulconer. Use public-private partnerships to spark investment in neighborhoods, said David Alvarez.

“And, yes, everyone is still very much in favor of neighborhoods,” Keatts noted.

• For those still mulling their choice for mayor, our Scott Lewis joined NBC 7 San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to highlight five things you should know about candidate Kevin Faulconer in our most recent San Diego Explained.

• inewsource has posted a visualization of the ceaseless Lincoln Club attacks against Nathan Fletcher and the group’s effort to support David Alvarez as its preferred challenger for Faulconer.

• KPBS ran their own 4-question interview with each of the front-runners, which gave them an opportunity to tell voters something we may not known about them. “I was a bouncer in a bar,” replied Nathan Fletcher.

Toxic Waste At School

Toxic waste may not be the first thing envisioned when thinking about public schools, but Joel Hoffman reported on how in San Diego, the two sometimes go hand-in-hand. He found five active toxic waste clean-up projects at or near San Diego schools, at sites as far flung as Alpine and in neighborhoods as prosperous as Rancho Sante Fe. “When toxic chemicals and metals seep into soil or groundwater, we may be walking above contaminated land without even knowing it,” Hoffman wrote.

Second Life for Civic Innovators

One idea Bob Filner had when he took office was to create a group inside city hall that would cultivate ideas for how to govern more effectively. Under interim Mayor Todd Gloria, the group will see some changes but will stick around, led by Planning Director Bill Fulton. Dubbed the “Civic Innovation Lab,” the group might work on projects like “fab labs” or on expanding the use of parklets.

“Fulton acknowledges the program will need to quickly show it can turn ideas into tangible results in the form of specific projects that impact residents,” wrote our Lisa Halverstadt.

What To Fix First

If your neighborhood’s wheels need greasing, now is probably the time to squeak about it. With a nearly $1 billion current backlog of infrastructure maintenance needs, city administrators are going on a city-wide tour to find out what priorities each community has when it comes to fixing things up. “It’s so important we engage the communities and have them help us understand what their communities need,” said City Councilman Mark Kersey. The meetings will take place through December.

Time to Can the Bags

City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner wrote in urging San Diegans to get behind the idea of a limited ban on plastic bags. The idea is making its way to the full City Council and will likely be voted on next year. “After years of discussion and delays, now is the time for San Diego to stop simply hoping that people will recycle and reuse, and finally take a stronger leadership role on limiting single-use plastic bags and reducing pollution,” Lightner wrote.

Not Feelin’ It

Sports blogger John Gennaro thinks he’s figured out why San Diego’s professional sports teams so often struggle to fill their stadium’s seats. He thinks the teams aren’t giving fans the emotional experiences they crave. “An emotional anchor is a memory, not just of a night but the experiences of an entire season or longer, that continually brings them back to their favorite teams,” Gennaro wrote.

News Nibbles

• The Children’s Pool in La Jolla once more faces closure so seals can birth and wean their young without being “continually chased” into the water by people.

• UT San Diego had this remembrance of what the Cedar Fire looked like when it ravaged San Diego 10 years ago.

• inewsource explained why they thought it was important to publish pictures of the women involved in their story about older women being fired from the North County Transit District.

Dough For Your “Mo”

Having only just rid themselves of their playoff beards, men and women enjoying their freshly shorn faces will need to keep their beard trimmers handy for a little while longer. November is “Movember”, reported NBC San Diego, a month when “Mo Brothas” and “Mo Sistas” raise awareness and funds for men’s issues like prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental illness. They do it by growing moustaches (or “Mos”), or by supporting others who are growing them.

“In San Diego, the Movember mania is strong,” NBC reported. Even local celebrity Greg Koch, the heavily bearded founder of Stone Brewing, will get in on the action with a “Shave The Date” kickoff event on November 1, when all participants start the month with a fresh shave. Koch will give up his two year-old beard only if he’s able to achieve his fundraising goal.

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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