Government isn’t know for being nimble. Case in point: More than five months have passed since the City Council approved funding for a $1 million study of San Diego’s decrepit sidewalks, but the project won’t begin for another few weeks.

The good news: That’s when local engineering students will start walking the city’s 5,000 miles of sidewalks and figuring out which ones are in the worst shape. (The city says it took a while to hire these students.) The not-so-good news: The process is expected to take more than a year. Then what? It’s not clear.

We spent several months exploring the sorry (and potentially dangerous) state of the city’s sidewalks.

Second Opinion: Obamacare in the Long Run

Second Opinion, our series of questions-and-answers about health care reform, tackles a question from a neuroscientist about how the Affordable Care Act will affect the amounts we pay toward Medicare and disability out of our paychecks.

The Weekend in the Mayor’s Race

VOSD Radio and the VOSD expanded podcast look at the spending in the mayoral campaign with an assist from reporters with inewsource and KPBS, explore negative campaigning hand out Hero and Goat of the Week awards.

• Nine out of the top 10 most popular stories on our site over the past week were about the mayor’s race.

• Councilman David Alvarez, one of the two candidates left standing, tells a website called Hispanically Speaking News that the toughest part of the campaign is over. “I always knew that the hardest part would be the first contest. Now that we’ve got past that, the differences between the two candidates will be pretty obvious and I think my chances are very good,” he said.

• The U-T dips into the chattier confines of Twitter and Facebook and finds that — surprise! — “wonks have been all over social media since Tuesday’s primary election, gloating and grinning about the strategies of the winners — and complaining about them as well.”

• The U-T also analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the remaining two candidates and notes that both are “low-key” with “nice-guy images.”

• In an editorial, the U-T says candidate Alvarez must provide “reassurance” that he’ll “implement the expressed desire of San Diego voters to make city government more efficient and less expensive.”

Guilt and Innocence

• San Diego — where Lee Harvey Oswald spent time as a Marine and which an exhausted Robert F. Kennedy visited the evening before his 1968 assassination — now has yet another grim tie to the Kennedy family. In a case of horrific timing, Sirhan Sirhan, RFK’s assassin, was transferred to the local Donovan state prison on Friday, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. Sirhan is 69.

The Los Angeles Times has details.

• VOSD’s newest reporter, Mario Koran, hails from the Midwest, where his former employer — the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — has just published his final story. It examines the problem of informants whose lies lead to convictions of innocent people.

Quick News Hits

• DNA tests have confirmed that the bodies found with the McStay parents in the Los Angeles-area desert are those of their two children, the L.A.Times reports.

The McStay family, which lived in North County’s Fallbrook area, vanished in 2010; their bodies were discovered earlier this month. It’s not clear who killed them or why.

• “The results of a federal criminal investigation into a deadly accident involving three bicyclists and a North County Transit bus are expected by the end of the month, according to sources close to the case,” NBC San Diego reports. “One cyclist was killed and a second was seriously injured in the collision.”

• The Atlantic investigates how an unidentified San Diego high school student’s Twitter account suddenly became beset by thousands of porn “spambots”: “One minute she’s doing homework and congratulating a friend on making varsity. The next, she’s the center of the this swarm of porny weirdness. It was like the setup for a new Spielberg sci-fi movie.”

• NBC San Diego tours the new additions to Lindbergh Field’s Terminal 2, including Phil’s BBQ, a spa, a Sharper Image store (they still exist?), a two-level roadway, a giant USO center and more. Stone Brewing pubs are on the way.

• Guess which city has the highest gas prices in the Lower 48 states at an average of $3.58 a gallon? (Via AP)

• A little bit of weather — a storm, perhaps, or Santa Ana winds — turns San Diego skies into a wonderland of color, especially around sunset time. We’ve got rainbows too, even one caught by a photographer in the teeny-tiny North County town of Rainbow. You can see the photo here.

A rainbow in Rainbow. What’s next? A photo of a guy named Julian in Julian, perhaps. Somebody normal in Normal Heights? Or maybe an elfin person (definition: “small and delicate, typically with an attractively mischievous or strange charm”) in North County’s Elfin Forest.

Well, I’m out on all three fronts.

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:

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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