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It was a nice thought. About a decade ago, city leaders said they’d pour at least 6 percent of the city’s operating budget into library needs by 2005.

But the City Council has waived the rule each year because of various obligations. And now, as Lisa Halverstadt reports, “most city officials, including one who is vying to become mayor, seem to see the 6 percent figure as more of goal than a mandate.”

Stopping the Meter on Cab Reform

Earlier this year, former Mayor Bob Filner made moves for the city to step in to improve oversight of the city taxi industry, potentially helping drivers rise above what they said were poverty wages and unsafe working conditions.

The City Council was supposed to drop $100,000 to review whether the city could regulate the industry instead of current overlord Metro Transit System. But, that money was never spent. The review never happened.

Instead, interim mayor Todd Gloria proposed that the city enter into a new long-term contract with MTS.

Gloria’s deputy chief of staff said industry reform “should proceed no matter who it’s under.” We’ll have to wait ’til next month to see whether reform stays in the picture. MTS will revisit the five-year contract proposal Jan. 16.

Those Hidden Arbitration Clauses

Will Carless uncovered some major issues within the world of mandatory arbitration earlier this year, focusing on a guy named John Perz, who said arbitration is why he got shafted by a car dealership. He couldn’t take the dealer to court because of the small-print arbitration clause included in a contract he’d signed.

Now there’s a new federal study out that shows two key things: About half of the debt owed by consumers for things like credit card loans, prepaid credit cards and checking accounts has to be sorted out through an arbitrator instead of a judge and jury, and “nearly all” of the clauses studied bar consumers from bringing class action lawsuits against lenders.

Carless cuts through some dry jargon to pull out some other interesting bits from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s report.

You Got a Permit for That Boiler Room?

When it comes to air pollution, worry less about the billowing smokestacks off in the distance, and more about the car repair shops around the block.

Along with boiler rooms and backup power generators, they require permits to pollute just like the big nasties.

Wait and See, Chargers Fans

Sure, Thursday’s upset over Denver was impressive — cause for celebration, no doubt. But considering the emotional rollercoaster this past season has been, it’s best not to hold your breath waiting for the Chargers to eke out another two wins from this inspiring two-game streak.

Meanwhile, the Padres are making some tame choices in trades, and SDSU teams had a notably rockstar week, John Gennaro reports in this week’s Sports Report.

What We Learned This Week

• There’s been a pattern of suspicious relationships between San Diego Unified district managers and the companies they hand-pick to contract with – and then drop the district to work for instead.

• You know what? The kids are all right. Some of them are even using Kickstarter to launch their own food truck.

• Two years. That’s how long it would take for the city to respond to your sidewalk repair request. Maybe in part because of the 200-some requests it gets each month.

• One Paseo, a multi-use development project proposed in Carmel Valley, could yank San Diego into the 21st century. Or it could represent the last gasp of “conventional suburban development” patterns. Either way, “retrofitting suburbia” sure sounds neat, doesn’t it?

• San Diego Unified officials do indeed have a plan to address disciplinary disparities – those crazy numbers we’re seeing in suspension rates. They just haven’t done anything with it in over a year.

• There’s at least one good note about San Diego’s lagging behind other cities in open data policies: We can learn from their mistakes, says Councilman Mark Kersey.

• If you believe in yourself, you can direct a neighborhood development discussion toward something besides parking. And if you can’t find time for Bill Fulton to answer all your questions, you can leave them at The Plaza.

Quick News Hits

• Wave bye-bye to three San Diego companies. Active Network, Websense and Omnitracks, all acquired by Vista Equity Partners, appear to be on their way to Texas.

• Qualcomm’s got a new CEO, and for the first time ever, his last name isn’t Jacobs.

• Ex-Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham has been out of sight for the last eight years after pleading guilty to having a hand in a huge bribery scheme. But TPM got a look aboard a “party palace” he used to use by the docks in Baltimore.

• Looks like unions could be losing some of their sway in California.

• The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein might not think inequality is the “defining challenge of our time,” but we’re still going to track its ripple effects across San Diego.

Quote of the Week

“The Ryan budget provides a starting point of a lot of good ideas … but a year from now, I want people talking about the DeMaio budget.” – House candidate Carl DeMaio.

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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