This year, the Voice of San Diego staff decided to inaugurate a new tradition: Choose a Voice of the Year.

Inspired, of course, by Time magazine’s annual effort to decide who most influenced news for better or worse this year, we have done it our own way. We defined the Voice of the Year as the person who provoked the most important conversations in San Diego over the last year.

This is not an honor. It just is. As you’ll see from the choice. But we’ve added several other sub-categories of stand-out voices of the year.

Check out the whole special presentation to see who was the “alarm ringer” the “calming voice” and the “voice of blue San Diego” among several others.

Behind the Bring-Budget-to-the-People Movement

A local left-leaning think tank called the Center on Policy Initiatives has been bringing together dozens of local groups to seek input from residents about how the city should spend its funds. Known together as the Community Budget Alliance, the groups say they’ve had success convincing city leaders to push for programs that prevent crime, help students get to school safely and more.

In a new Q&A interview, we asked Christie Hill, a head honcho at the think tank, about what the alliance hopes to accomplish, how it’s working on the next annual budget, and how the efforts fit into the world of “participatory budgeting.”

The Passing of a TV Legend

Veteran local TV weatherman and anchor Loren Nancarrow died over the weekend at the age of 60 after chronicling his brief battle with brain cancer. The U-T has the story.

“I have a great family support unit. I’ve got insurance and a job to go back to. So many people lack one or all of those things, and that really bums me out,” he wrote recently. “The big lesson in this is you need to help other people, and I haven’t done enough of that.”

In Phoenix, Homeless Get Reprieve

We’ve heard politicians make promises about ending homelessness, and some of us in the media — well, me at least — have mocked these pledges as ridiculous.

Well, now Phoenix says it’s ended homelessness among veterans, Atlantic Cities reports: “a lofty-sounding policy goal that no other U.S. city has achieved.”

The mayor of Phoenix wants to go further and end chronic homelessness for everyone. For now, however, 222 homeless vets are off the streets thanks to local and federal funds and a system that prioritizes housing first.

— We’re in the final two days of our year-end fundraising campaign and we need a little more than $16,000 to hit our $100,000 goal. If you haven’t donated yet, please take a minute to give now. We can do this with your help. Thanks! —

Quick News Hits

• Very few stretches of highway locally are as scenic as the one between Tijuana and Ensenada. But some small earthquakes have destroyed a major section of the toll road. (NBC)

• If you care about politics or are involved in government, we’ve got an opportunity for you to catch up on what technologies and issues with tech you should understand and think about. Come to IT for Politicos, an event we’re helping sponsor Jan. 23.

• It hasn’t gotten much attention, but a new law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 will require people who buy shotguns and rifles to have their purchases documented, the U-T reports. Isn’t that the same as gun registration? There’s debate over whether it is or isn’t.

• North County news from the Carlsbad area: “The controversial Quarry Creek housing development cleared a large hurdle last week when developer Corky McMillin Companies made several significant concessions to settle lawsuits filed by environmentalists last spring,” the U-T reports.

• Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin is hopping mad about the never-ending battle over the Mt. Soledad cross: A new column is titled “Leftists Persist in Cruciphobia.”

“Militant atheists won’t rest until every last expression of faith is eradicated from the public square,” she writes. “They don’t stand for reason or religious liberty.”

• In a major investigative piece this past weekend, the NY Times attempted to debunk two theories behind the fatal attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Darrell Issa, the North County congressman who serves as the Obama administration’s chief inquisitor, is having none of it. (Slate)

• Yup, our city’s former chief executive has landed in at least one national Year in Review compilation. Take it away, humor writer Dave Barry (courtesy of The Washington Post): “In politics, San Diego Mayor Bob ‘Bob’ Filner resigns as a result of allegations that he is a compulsive serial horn dog who groped pretty much the entire female population of Southern California. He immediately becomes a leading contender in the New York City mayoral race.”

• For the first time since 2009, the Chargers are heading to the playoffs.

No, you aren’t hallucinating: The Bolts managed to beat the odds (and then beat some more odds and some more) to make it into a wildcard slot thanks to yesterday’s victory against the Chiefs.

Here’s my New Year’s resolution: I’d like to have as much good luck as these guys in 2014.

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

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