Tomorrow is going to be a big day for VOSD. We’re hosting our packed-house conversation with the mayoral candidates at Birch North Park Theatre and, while we’re at it, we’re going to raise a quick $24,000 in 24 hours.

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Today’s the day: The City Council will decide whether to boost a fee on those who build offices, hotels and malls. The idea is that these projects produce a need for affordable housing and the money subsidizes construction of affordable units for those lucky enough to get them.

Are they proposing to raise it by 500 percent? Yes… and no. We’ll help you understand the numbers that various advocates are flinging around and dig into a potential legal snafu.

Fletcher’s Fix-the-Street Plan

David Alvarez has no problem talking about the need for the public to step up and pay for the infrastructure improvements and fixes he says the city needs. As we continue to example each candidate’s plans to fix our city’s declining streets and infrastructure, here’s a look at Nathan Fletcher’s ideas. In essence, we report, he wants to “stop things from getting worse, put someone in charge and then deal with the problem.”

More from the Mayor’s Race

• The LA Times profiled Alvarez. “Amid a hurry-up election to find a replacement for the disgraced Bob Filner, Alvarez has emerged as the surprise of the season, gathering more support, endorsements and donations than many insiders expected.”

• The U-T examines the promises of the mayoral contenders (spend, spend, spend!) and the realities facing them on the financial front.

• How much will it cost to replace a mayor? The city’s now estimating that the Nov. 19 election will run $4.7 million. It seems certain that a run-off election will be needed, but its cost isn’t known yet.

• The Associated Press recaps the mayor’s race and finds little chatter about the last elected guy to hold the office. “Bob Finer fatigue,” explains a former mayor.

New Task for Doctors: Explaining Health Care Reform

Dr. Carolyn Senger, a local physician, has taken on a new role: health insurance adviser. Senger, the state director of an organization that’s pushing doctors to get the word out, tells them: “Not only can I help you with your health, but I can also help you get some coverage.”

A new story on our site explains how Senger has plenty of company across the country, but doctors aren’t distributing the same message. Not by a long shot: both sides of the political debate are using healthcare providers to get their message out.”

This article comes to VOSD via Kaiser Health News, a non-profit outlet for news about the health system.

• The latest edition of our series of Q&As about health care reform examines what happens to the insurance requirement if a student pays college health fees.

Quick News Hits

• Our story about the “brain drain” in the administration of San Diego public schools was the most popular article on our site over the past week. Check the full Top 10 list here.

• More than 4 million Californians will be affected by new cuts in food-stamp benefits, the LA Times reports. The benefit for a family of four will dip by $36 a month.

• Looks like the Romney family will be able to tear down and then rebuild and greatly expand its La Jolla home without having to worry about any more legal obstacles, the U-T reports. Yes, this is the renovation plan that includes a four-vehicle garage and the infamous car elevator.

• We hear a lot these days about the potential for outsourcing of services at City Hall, but it can be hard for the average citizen to feel very affected by the debate. But even something as simple as a parking ticket — like the one I got the other day — can reveal the city’s dependence on outside contractors: the city relies on a “Parking Citation Processing Center” in the L.A.-area city of Inglewood. (So do other cities around here and elsewhere)

Speaking of parking tickets, here’s a not-so-fun fact: If you pay your fine online by credit card, you’ll get dinged with a $3 “convenience fee.” Trust me: I did not find the fee to be the slightest bit convenient.

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:

Randy Dotinga

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

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