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The city of San Diego recently realized it had become “a reactive organization lacking proper oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars were being appropriately and effectively managed.” After dealing with the shock of the realization, the city responded by adding a few top-level management positions to the city’s payroll. Stacey LoMedico is one of those new managers, filling the new role of assistant chief operating officer. Liam Dillon put some questions to LoMedico about the city’s budget, what she brings to the job, and how the government can create a job.
Don’t Vote, Appoint
A recent round of musical chairs in state politics has some politicians thinking that we should just do away with special elections for state legislature seats. To recap: Bob Filner became mayor, leaving his congressional seat open. Juan Vargas moved into Filner’s spot, resigning a state senator seat to do it. Then State Assemblyman Ben Hueso took Vargas’ old job, leaving an assembly seat open. The music finally stopped with the election of Lorena Gonzalez to Hueso’s old seat.
“The special elections for Vargas and Hueso’s seats cost San Diego County $1.5 million and $1.05 million respectively,” reported KPBS. Less than 15 percent of voters turned out to vote in those elections. Retired State Senator Gary Hart thinks allowing the governor to appoint people to vacated state legislature seats will “save taxpayers money, it will allow legislators to concentrate on government rather than campaigning.” State Senator Darrell Steinberg plans to propose legislation on the issue, possibly in January.
Homeless Housing In Transition
The concept of transitional housing for the homeless goes something like this: Get people off the street and into a bed, and try to get them into some programs that will help them get on their feet so they can find permanent housing again. But Citybeat reported this week that the future of the transitional housing model is unclear, having fallen out of favor. “[It’s been] replaced by what’s known as ‘housing first,’ which emphasizes getting people off the street as quickly as possible and into their own place,” wrote Citybeat. One report says the city needs 800 fewer transitional beds and 3,700 more permanent units.
• On a related note, the downtown storage facility where the homeless are allowed to temporarily store their belongings for free is once again under the threat of shutdown unless they can find funding.
• Opponents of a proposed ban of plastic bags at some retail stores are speaking out.
• The former treasurer for the city of Carlsbad was arrested on charges of grand theft and misappropriation of funds in connection with his role at a nonprofit organization.
• Lawyers for supporters of the Mount Soledad cross once again filed their appeal to get the case heard by the Supreme Court.
• That chihuahua that you see being trotted into your restaurant under the guise of it being a “service dog?” It’s probably not. But there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
• Two local politicians speak their mind about whether e-cigarettes should be locally regulated.
• The Huffington Post reports people inside Qualcomm are “freaking out” over the advanced technology in the iPhone 5s.
• Merry Christmas: Free parking at the new downtown central library will be extended from one hour to two hours.
RAD LAB Fills in the Gaps
A group of architecture students will get to bring their thesis project to life thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign and some investor funding. The RAD LAB is a “pop up marketplace that showcases locally made products and caters to those seeking outdoor activities and entertainment,” according to their website. They envision using empty lots downtown to erect marketplaces that will attract artists, food vendors and crowds. The group originally took their idea to then-Mayor Filner, who liked it and connected the students with helpful resources. The first “lab” will be located at the city block bordered by Park Boulevard and Market, G and 11th streets. They still have several permit hoops to jump through, but hope to be open seven days a week by the spring of 2014.
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.